Passing the Test

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Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.- James 1:2-4

While attending grade school especially during my high school years, if there were ever an opportunity that I could get my hands on the answers to a quiz or test, I would certainly take advantage of this fortuity. Continue reading

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Thinking For A CHANGE

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Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2

Following my accident in 1994, I spent a year in physical therapy along with numerous trips to doctors and hospitals. They ran MRIs, CT Scans, EEGs as well as regulating my medicines to help alleviate the seizure activity I was having. Continue reading

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Enemies of the Soul

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“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”  – Romans 8:37

When I was about ten years old, growing up in Bossier City, LA., we had a family which lived on our street that just didn’t seem to get along with anybody. They had a son whose name was Ricky which was about the same age as I was and he was always attempting to start some sort of trouble with me for some unknown reason. Continue reading

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A Song In The Night

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Yet they don’t ask, ‘Where is God my Creator, the one who gives songs in the night? – Job 35:10

Sunday, a week ago in our early morning service which Karen and I attend, about twenty minutes into the worship service, the church lost all manner of electricity at the church. Our Assistant Pastor had just left the platform following the opening prayer, when all of a sudden, “Poof”, there went the lights within the sanctuary. Continue reading

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For Such a Time as This

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“…Who can say but that God has brought you into the palace for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

I love the story of Esther. To me it speaks such volumes about purpose in our lives. If you’re not familiar with the story. Allow me to give you the Cliff Notes version.

Beginning in Chapter 1, King Xerxes is throwing a big celebration. One day he summoned his Queen, Vashti, but, for some reason we are not told, she does not come. As a result, Vashti was deposed and a new queen sought. The method for finding the new queen begins with inviting all the beautiful young woman of the empire to go through a year of beautification and then Xerxes would pick one. One such Jew names Mordecai served in the King’s court. Mordecai had an orphaned cousin whom he raised. Her name was Hadassah, or more commonly known as Esther. Esther is chosen as Queen and after a few years, Mordecai learns of plans by the evil Haman to lead a massacre against the Jews. He alerts Esther, and she agrees to tell the king in Chapter 4.

When Mordecai sends Esther word that the Jews are going to be annihilated, he basically tells her in Esther 4:13-14, “Don’t think that you can just ignore this disturbing trend.  Yeah, I know it’s been tough, but this is your destiny. God put you here. It’s no accident that you are a Jewish girl and now the queen of Persia.” Esther knows confronting the king is likely to mean certain death. Mordecai tells her to get a spine and do it anyway. After all, the lives of countless Jews are hanging in the balance.

Eventually, Esther taking significant risk, enters the king’s chamber, and alerts him to the plot. In a strange twist of events, the evil Haman has to honor the righteous Mordecai, and then Haman is impaled on the very stake he had prepared for Mordecai.

There have been many times in my own life when I’ve had to go to God and ask, “Lord, is this where I am supposed to be?”..”Am I fulfilling your purpose for my life in what I am presently doing and where I am at this moment in time?” Chances are, you’ve also asked the Lord this very same thing perhaps. But you know what I’ve found out about this very subject and question? As long as I am seeking & serving Him each and every day to the best of my ability with what He has called me to to do through His word, I don’t have to fret or lose peace over it. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33 that “if we would seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, then he will give you everything you need”. Yes, my friend this even includes knowing and walking in God’s will for your life. 

So my friend, if you’re possibly at some crossroads in your life today and not sure about whether or not you’re living in God’s will for your life, begin to seek Him above all else. This definitely calls for seeking Him in his word, in prayer and in fellowship with the Body of Christ.

Or like Esther, you may be possibly discouraged in where you are in life and where God presently has you and desires to use you in your present situation . I’ve been here many times as well and have seen God move mightily when I surrendered my will to His. My friend, I truly believe that He is using you more than you may be seeing at the surface level. Trust Him and know that He has great plans for you…right now…For Such a Time as This!

Remain Blessed,

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Payin’ It Forward

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“…When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” – Luke 12:48

Today’s writing is in response to Monday Morning Minutes being nominated and receiving the Blogger Recognition Award. Continue reading

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The Greatest Sermon

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“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20

The speaker at our woman’s club was lecturing on marriage and asked the audience how many of us wanted to “mother” our husbands. One member in the back row raised her hand.

“You do want to mother your husband?” the speaker asked.

“Mother?” the woman echoed. “I thought you said smother.”

– from the Reader’s Digest, October 1993

This Wednesday Karen and I will celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary. To God be the Glory! Continue reading

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The Forgotten Jesus

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. – Deuteronomy 11:18,19

I’m quite sure that many of you like us are beginning to take down your Christmas tree & decorations this week. Continue reading

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Asleep in The Light

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For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! – Ephesians 5:8

There I was, nestled ever so comfortably beneath the covers of my cozy warm bed with not a care in the world. Then without warning, a clue or prelude, a sudden flash of light appeared in an instant through my eyelids. The world in which I had inhabited just moments before, had been suddenly and without warning, changed in the blink of an eye. My dear sweet wife evidently believed very strongly that is was time for me to awaken from my slumber sleep. So what was I supposed to do but reach down and grab a handful of covers and pull them directly over my head to once again enter my domain of darkness which I had gotten so cozily used to through the night.

When Jesus entered the world over two-thousand years ago, He also entered this dark world in an instant when His glorious light penetrated the entire universe. The birth of the Christ child fulfilled Isaiah’s ancient prophecy:

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom, a light has shone” (Is 9:1)

Also in the book of Malachi we read:

The newborn Son of God shines like the sun; he is the “sun of justice” who brings “healing rays” (Mal 3:20)

Jesus is the “true light” (Jn 1:9), the “Light of the World” (Jn 8:12; 9:5; 12:46), and He was born during the night watch (Lk 2:8), at midnight, when it was pitch black outside, the time when the darkness was the deepest and most intense. On that first Christmas night, the light shined in the darkness (Jn 1:5a), the glory of the Lord shone (Lk 2:9), the darkness has not overcome it (Jn 1:5b), and it enlightens everyone (Jn 1:9).

I was speaking with a very dear pastor friend of mine last week who is about to turn eighty-four this week. I consider him an earthly spiritual father to me as many years ago, he opened my eyes of what it truly means to walk in the faith and not waver as a man of God. His example continues to speak volumes to me to this very day and challenges me to live a life of holiness unto the Lord.

In our discussion, he turned to me at one point and said, “Bryan, I believe people are in such a state of slumber and I’m not sure what its going to take to wake them up”. I totally agreed with his words and we went on to share about what God had done in each of our lives and continues to do out of His faithfulness and commitment to His Word for the remainder of our visit.

Dear friend, there is coming a day and it is drawing near more rapidly as the days go by. Jesus Christ is getting ready once again to approach this dark world and enter the universe in all His splendor and glory as the reigning King of Kings and Lord of Lords when He comes to take His bride, His Church.

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left. Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:36-44)

My earnest prayer for each of us this Christmas would be that we all rise from our slumber and sleep and yield our body, soul, and spirit to the One and only One that is worthy of all our praise, honor and worship.

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you & your families.

From our house to yours.

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Remain Blessed,

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Coming HOME for the Holidays

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“The Prodigal” by artist Ron DiCianni

So he got up and went to his father.“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. – Luke 15:20

Within the next week or so, families across the land will greet loved ones who have traveled many miles to make it home for the holidays. My wife and I are no exception as we eagerly anticipate the arrival of our son and daughter-in-law who is presently with child, our second grandchild!

They live as mentioned before in many of my posts, in the gorgeous mountains of North Carolina. We only get to see them in person maybe twice a year but thanks to technology and the internet, we are able to see them every week or so through Face Time. While I’m so grateful for this modern convenience which makes it possible to connect with them, there’s nothing like being there in person and sharing an embrace, conversation and just enjoying being in the presence of your loved ones.

As I was reflecting recently upon their arrival and being able to spend time with them and the other members of our family, I began to think about the “Home” coming of the prodigal son as Jesus spoke about in Luke 15.

The story goes that a man had two sons and one day the younger asked his father to give him his share of his inheritance which the father did. The younger son departed and went and squandered his wealth in wild living thus, the word “prodigal” which means “wasteful living”. Verse 14 reads that After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. How very often dear friend that you and I do this very same thing in that only after we have tried everything, spent everything, searched the internet, read books,  spoke and listened to everyone else, including our own thoughts and reasoning, that only when we finally see that we are in need, that we then choose to return to our Heavenly Father.

As the story continues, this son finally came to his senses and thought about all that he had while in his father’s household and set to seek his father’s forgiveness while feeling ashamed and no longer felt worthy to be called a son. But a beautiful and remarkable picture of grace unfolded as the son was still a long way off. Verse 20 reads “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” The father immediately told his servants to get ready for a homecoming celebration For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. (v.24)

Wow, what a beautiful representation of God’s forgiveness and grace for all of mankind.  When we who had turned away and went astray as this prodigal son,  leaving our heavenly Father’s presence only to eventually realize that He is all we really needed all along.

As you continue through this glorious season we call Christmas my friend, may you know that you always have a place that you can truly come Home to for the holidays. A home not made with human hands but with an eternal love expressed on a cross through Jesus by the shedding of His blood at Calvary. And our heavenly Father is always watching and waiting eagerly awaiting your arrival as His son and daughter ready to forgive you and celebrate your return Home.

Remain blessed,

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