Monday, January 27, 2014

The Goodness of God

So I forgot my blogger password and just got around to resetting it.  Here's a recent post that went straight to Facebook since I couldn't sign in.

January 17th

I Just want to remind you this morning that God is good. He is good regardless of whether you believe it. He is good regardless of your circumstances. He is good, even to those who are as undeserving as you and me. Yes, we are completely undeserving of His goodness and love, yet He loves us and extends grace to us on a daily basis.

The reality is, I should be dead. Strong statement I know, but very true (I'm sure some of you can relate). His grace has seen me through and will continue to see me through until the day He calls me home. Until that day I will live for Him, loving people and stumbling toward Him all the way.

I hope you experience His goodness and grace today. Maybe you just need to look around because it's there for all to see!

*FYI it is my intention is to begin to post more regularly here...  stay tuned!

Monday, October 7, 2013

You Are Loved!

Just felt compelled to say this tonight,


Whether you feel it or not, it is true.

Whether you believe it or not, it is true.

God loves you more than you know. He's not a vengeful God waiting to exercise judgment for everything you have done wrong or for your unbelief. He is a loving God who went to the greatest lengths to let you know how much He loves you.

"God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins."
1 John 4:9-10

Don't ever let the devil lie to you and get you to believe that you are not loved or that you are worthless. You are deeply loved by God. Value is based on what something is worth. God says that you are worth His One and Only Son. That's the price that was paid for you.


It is true. You are loved by God and many others.

If you ever find yourself in a real time of need, don't hide. Find someone to talk to. If I can help in any way let me know and I will do whatever I can to help.

"Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us." 1 John 4:11-12


Friday, August 2, 2013

Do It Anyway!

Do It Anyway - Mother Teresa

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

I recently read this poem and was reminded of how often I forget what life is really about.  So many times my perspective is colored by my finite view of things.  This caused me to once again ask myself the following questions:
What really matters in this life?  Why am I even here?  Who am I living to please?  

Wrestling with these questions help our perspective begin to change from finite to eternal.  When I begin to think about that which really matters, I am then motivated to live for Christ and the reality of His Kingdom.

His Kingdom may be unseen and we may struggle at times to understand how we are to function as a part of it, while living in this earthly kingdom, but we must not forget that it is the Kingdom of God that we must live for and "seek first."

I love the end of this poem and think it basically sums up life "You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God."  We will all stand before Him one day and give account for what we did with the life He has given us.

May we think more about Him and less about our circumstances, critics, fans, enemies, excuses and problems.  "It was never between you and them anyway."

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Where is your trust? Is it in Jesus or your own ability to control and manipulate things according to your will? Do you believe that He is good and all things work for the good of those who love Him? If so, stop sweating the small stuff. Enjoy life and rest in His love and care for you. When you are tempted to be anxious and worry, just remember that a sparrow doesn't fall to the ground without Him knowing and He has all of the hairs on your head numbered.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Alone in the Darkness?

“If I ever become a saint—I will surely be one of ‘darkness,’” were the words of Mother Teresa in September of 1959. “I will continually be absent from heaven—to light the light of those in darkness on earth.”

Two years earlier she wrote this to Archbishop Perier of Calcutta:

"There is so much contradiction in my soul.—Such deep longing for God—so deep that it is painful—a suffering continual—and yet not wanted by God—repulsed—empty—no faith—no love—no zeal. Souls hold no attraction—Heaven means nothing—to me it looks like an empty place—the thought of it means nothing to me and yet this torturing longing for God. Pray for me please that I keep smiling at Him in spite of everything. For I am only His—so He has every right over me. I am perfectly happy to be nobody even to God..."

Sometimes it is good to know that you are not alone in your struggles. In our darkness we tend to forget that many saints who have gone before us shared similar experiences.  Can you imagine the feelings of failure Peter must have had after his denial of Jesus? How about when you read Paul's heartfelt struggles in Romans 7, as he seems almost tormented by his battle with the flesh?  And to hear the despair in the heart of a modern day saint like mother Teresa.  

This should remind us that even in our darkest moments, we are not alone.  There are many great men and women of faith who have shared similar struggles.  In fact, there are probably people around us right now who have been there and can relate to our pain.  You will never know unless you are willing to be vulnerable with those God has put in your life.

And we should never forget that He knows and loves us in spite of our failures, struggles and unbelief.  

He is always there.

"But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.  
Psalm 3:3-4

We must take off our masks and let others in.  That is when the healing begins.



Monday, July 23, 2012

The other 90%

One of the biggest complaints that I hear from people who leave churches or refuse to attend a local church is they feel like pastor's talk too much about money.  I recently had a wealthy businessman tell me that he was tired of being treated like an ATM, called on to build another man's kingdom.  As a result, he and his wife spent the better part of the last two years worshiping in their home with a handful of other believers. Please understand that this man is someone who has given generously and is someone that I respect as a mature follower of Jesus.

I think it is sad to see how many pastors focus on trying to get people to "tithe" to their church.  In my humble opinion, ministers spend way too much time talking about something that Jesus basically never talked about.  Jesus only mentions the tithe one time and that is when He is rebuking some religious leaders for "tithing."  That's right, Jesus wasn't impressed with their tithe.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former." Matthew 23:23

Apparently these individuals were giving as a religious act or duty, but their hearts were not engaged.  Giving should be something that is an act of worship.  It is the response of someone who understands that all he or she has is a gift given to them by God.

"You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today."  - Deuteronomy 8:17-18

"Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand."  - 1 Chronicles 29:13-14

The truth is that we only have what has been given to us from God.  All that we have is a gift.

The question that should be asked of all of us is "What are we doing with what has been given to us?"

People often ask questions like "how could God allow so much suffering in the world?"  "How could God allow children to starve to death?"  "Why doesn't God do something about the fact that almost a billion people live without access to clean drinking water?"  "Where is God?"

Sometimes I am tempted to ask those same questions as well.  The problem is that I am pretty sure that God is looking at us with those same questions in mind.  "Vic, how could you allow so many children to starve?" "Where are you and what are you doing with what I have entrusted to your hands?"

You see, God has the resources to take care of all of the needs that we see around us.  The only problem is that in His infinite wisdom, He has decided to give those resource to each of us and He has left it up to us to be stewards of His resources.

So to me the question is not whether or not you are "tithing" to a local church.  The question is whether or not you understand that all you have has been given to you by God and that you are responsible as a steward of those resources?

Don't get me wrong, I think it is a good thing for people to tithe to a local church.  But don't be like the religious leaders who thought that was the extent of their religious duty.  God cares about the other 90%.  God cares about the people that are in need all around us.  God has blessed us so that we can be a blessing.

I am reminded of the words of Paul:

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, 
so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to 
God.  - 2 Corinthians 9:6-11

If you live in America, you are rich.  You have been made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion.  We are blessed so that we can be a blessing.

This morning I received a phone call that left me sitting in my chair in Panera, weeping. I don't know what it is about Panera but God often meets me here  :)

I have a friend in Guatemala named Cesar.  Some of you know him or may have read some of his story in my book. Cesar is suffering from degenerative disease and is in the last days of his life.  Well, the doctors have been saying that for more than 5 years, but now it does seem like he is getting close to going home.  Though Cesar is suffering greatly, the love of God radiates from him. Every time I see him, he is encouraging me in some way.  He quotes Scripture and always reminds me that one day we will be together and he will no longer be confined to his bed.  "We will be with Jesus running on streets of gold, playing soccer and enjoying His presence, " he says.  Whenever we have taken a team to Guatemala, we always take time to visit Cesar and his family.

This morning I received a phone call from a friend who met Cesar on one of those trips. He was calling to let me know that he and his wife have been thinking about Cesar.  He went on to say that in response to how much Cesar had blessed their lives, they wanted to be a blessing to him and his family. Knowing that I will be in Guatemala later this week, my friend asked me to communicate to Cesar that he need not worry about his family.  He said that he wanted him to know that they have decided to start a fund that would be established to be sure that his children are well fed and that all their medical needs would be taken care of. He said that he didn't want his brother to carry the burden of worrying about his children as he prepared to leave this world and be with Jesus.

Wow, what a blessing!  

What you need to know is that my friend is not a millionaire.  He is middle class American who has come to the understanding that all he has is a gift given to him by the Father.  He realizes that he has the responsibility of stewarding those resources and I would say that today His Father is well pleased.

May we all be challenged to rethink what we do with the resources entrusted to us. There is a lot that God wants to do in the world and we are His chosen vessels to accomplish this.

"The earth is His and everything in it." 

What we do with His resources matters.

We matter.

We are blessed to be a blessing.

The world waits.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Just Read Your Stinkin' Bible

We recently finished a 14 week study through the book of Ephesians. Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus is encouraging and very challenging. He spends the first part of the letter reminding those who follow Christ of all the blessings that they have received in Him. He talks about being called by God and the inheritance that is ours as saints. He then goes on to challenge believers to live differently in light of the blessing and calling that they have received. As the letter comes to a close, Paul talks about relationships. He begins with husbands and wives and then goes on to address parents and children and slaves and masters. Right after this discussion on relationships, Paul reminds his readers that they are in a battle. I find the placement and timing of this very interesting. It's like he is saying "You are children of God, abundantly blessed by the Father. Be sure to live as His children, loving and serving one another. And by all means don't forget that you are in a battle."

You are in a battle. Did you realize that?

It's easy to forget that as we go through our daily lives, there is a spiritual battle raging all around us.  

When was the last time you heard someone say "God has a wonderful plan for your life?" Now let me ask, when was the last time you heard someone say "the devil has a plan for your life?" Whether we realize it or not, he does.

Paul implores his readers to put on the full armor of God so that they can take their stand against the devil's schemes. He has a scheme. He has a plan. We must be ready. Paul begins his discussion regarding the armor of God by saying that we must "stand with truth like a belt around your waist."

We are bombarded day in and day out by lies. They come at us from all sides and from various sources. Commercials tell us what we need in order to be happy. Some parents tell us we are not good enough. Friends tell us what we need to do in order to be accepted. We are either too fat or too skinny, too tall or too short. Lies, lies lies.

There is only one way to combat the lies that we are inundated by, and that is with truth. We must stand with truth like a belt around our waist. The belt was the thing that held the armor of a Roman soldier together, it was essential. Our belt is truth and truth is found in the Word of God. We must know God's truth in order to take a stand against the lies of the enemy.

 Here is just some of what God says about the importance of His Word:

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105 

“It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12 

"To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 

“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified." Acts 20:32 

"Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." (John 17:17) 

God has given us His Truth so that we can combat the lies that come against us in our daily lives. Do you have the truth inside you so that you can take a stand against the devil's schemes?  The devil has a plan and he would like nothing more than to destroy you, your marriage and your family.  God has a plan and he has given us everything we need for life and godliness. However it is up to us to take full advantage of all that is available to us.

Read God's Word daily. Let it be your food and the Truth that helps you to stand!

As one guy put it, "Please, just read your stinkin' Bible!"  I think that says it all.  :)

For His Kingdom


p.s.  Just read this by A.W. Tozer and thought I would add it to this post:

"Any wrong idea of God is bound to give us a wrong idea of ourselves.  We can know ourselves only as we know God. If our theology is false, our anthropology must be false.  If we are wrong about God, we will never know who, what or why we are where we are."  

Another reason why we must read our stinkin' Bibles  ;)