Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Love Your Neighbor

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’  - Luke 12:20

As they came over the hill, their eyes deceived them.  For miles in every direction all they could see was sand.  The glare from the bright sun off of the grains of sand nearly blinded them as they continued moving forward, determined to make it back to the small village.  Pulling the scarves over their faces, they press on one step at a time on weak legs.  Regretting the moment they left the Land Rover and wishing for some shelter from the sun.  They knew the small village was less than 5 miles away, which they should be able to make before nightfall, if they kept moving and drinking their water.  Then everything changed when one of them stumbled over something in the sand.  Unearthed was the hoof of a horse.  They quickly began brushing away the sand and uncovering the body.  What they weren’t prepared for though was the hand that reached up from beneath the horse and grabbed them. 

Digging faster, they held onto the arm and pulled until finally the face of an elderly man with cracked swollen lips, and bruises under his eyes emerged into their view.  Freeing the man from the horse’s weight, they had to lift him and carry him away from the dead animal, which was slowly being covered again by the blowing sand.  The man could hardly stand and his voice was near a whisper.  His eyes begged them to help him to the next village.  The two travelers looked at each other and began debating what they should do.  One wanted to help the aged man, while the other was concerned about their own safety and water supply.  The older man had nothing, but the shirt on his back and pants.  No hat, glasses, scarf or shoes on his feet.  The blisters on his feet and hands represented the sheer heat of the sand to the touch.

The more compassionate of the travelers, unwrapped his scarf and covered the mans head.  He took his canteen, shaking it realized that there was less than half left, but handed it to the older man.  He removed one shoe and sock and helped them man secure them to his feet (one on each); and then proceeded to do the same to his own feet. He gave the older man his hat, his glasses and salve for his lips and blisters.  As the man drank the last of the water, savoring the final drop, the trio began walking.  Hour after hour past until finally on the horizon were the peaks of the white tents of the nomadic village.  By the time they reached the village the older man and the good Samaritan were parched, dehydrated and exhausted.  The other traveler was tired, but looked fine in every other way.

As the three entered the village there became a loud commotion and people ran over toward the men.  Pushing past the two foreign travelers they poised all of their attention on the older man.  Picking him up, lying him on a stretcher and carrying him to the medical tent, he received wonderful care and treatment.  A few moments passed before the attendees came back to the two travelers.  The one villager that spoke English looked to the compassionate one, and said,  You come, be near the King and find rest and nourishment.  Then he motioned the other traveler off to find his own treatment and nourishment from the water troughs near the livestock pens.

Everything we have is from God above.  He is not in the business of manufacturing or mass distribution, but He is in the business of creating intelligent minds and creative thought.  He is in the business of providing each of us skills and talents that allow us to make a living.  Look around yourself – your laptop, your table, your chairs, your car or transportation, your food, your furniture, your water . . . it all is spawned from the Creator of the Universe.  Not a single one of you can take any of it with you when you pass on.  It is the compassion, the love and the charity that we share in this world that have lasting values as we stand before the King of Kings.
Almighty God
You have given me everything.  My mind, my spirit, my heart and my passions all stem from Your creative process.  You made me to do Your will, and to expand Your Kingdom.  Thank You Holy Spirit for building in me a compassionate heart for others.  Help me to reach out and be an instrument of my God.  In Your name I pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

It's Not About the 8%

"You believe there is one God. Good! But the demons believe, too! And they shake with fear. ”
- James 2:19

If you walked down the street in any metropolitan city today and asked the very basic question:
"Do you believe in God?"
What percent of the people would respond with an answer of Yes?

Would you believe 50%, what about 75%, how about 90% - does that seem too high?
In 2005 statistics from in a global study indicated that less than 8% of all those surveyed indicated they did not believe in God. This means that 92% would answer yes to the above question. Is this higher than you thought?

With such a large number of people believing in God (albeit their version of God) why does the moral fabric of our world continue to spiral downward. James summarizes it very clearly in his scriptures - even the demons believe, and even they shudder in fear of the Lord. It comes down to what we are doing with the belief we have in God. How do people realize that you are a believer? Do your actions represent your beliefs? There are those that believe in God, yet have no fear or concern of the consequences of their actions.

The unrighteousness and decline of our moral fabric continues to propogate throughout the world, despite such a large percentage of individuals who recognize there is a God. Consider that Satan believes in God, yet continues to fill the minds of individuals on this earth with the notion that God isn't the One in control - we are. He fills our mind with selfishness, pride, arrogance, lust and addictions (to food, sex, drugs, alcohol, work, . . . ). His intent is to create uncertainty in the eyes of God's children, and create an independence from God, knowing all to well that he can defeat you and I by ourselves. Yet, when we are in the word and living with and for God, his task is unsuccessful.

Verse 20, states " without works is useless." If there are 92% that believe in "a" God, how does the truth of God come through. Your actions, when led by the spirit, will represent to the world who God is. This is what differentiates your faith from others. We must live by faith, a faith rooted in Jesus Christ through listening and following His examples and teachings. Then share that with the world through our daily walk, actions and love.

Almighty God,
Protect me from the evil in this world. Guard my heart and guard my mind from becoming complacent in doing Your work. Prepare me for the task at hand, to reveal Your gospel to others and in doing so, open doors for them to meet You. Holy Spirit, help me to understand the right words to say and the right actions to take to overcome the evil and confusion in this world. In Your name I pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Waiting for a Word

“This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.” – Matthew 11:10

Four hundred years had passed by, since the Israelites had heard a word from the Lord.  Prior to that was the age of the prophets: Isaiah, Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekial, Zechariah, Malachi (just to name a few).  They would speak the Lord’s will to kings and priests and interpret dreams and visions.  Malachi was the final prophet of the Old Testament, and the final word from the Lord communicated through Malichi was, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6)

Generation after generation had passed on the words of Abraham and Jacob, Joseph, King David, Isaiah and Daniel.  With each passing of generations over that 400 year span one can imagine that their hearts were hardening little by little.  Their desire was heavy for the Lord to speak with them once again and give them a message of salvation.  Some 430 years after Malichi’s final words were written, God sent John the Baptist as His messenger to the people.  Their desire and thirst for a word from God drew them to the wilderness where John baptized them with water.  The drought appeared to be over and God was once again speaking with His people. 

I’m sure the people were looking to John as if he were Elijah.  He spoke with directness, truth and anger from the Lord.  Challenging the wickedness of the people, who had fallen far from God’s righteousness.  He chastised the pompous leaders for their debauchery and perversions of God’s truth.  God’s voice of repentance was preached loud and clear through this man in the wilderness.  I can envision the lines of people standing near the water’s edge, listening to him and questioning, could this be the Messiah.

We read the scriptures which tell us in the Old Testament and the New Testament that God would send a messenger before He sent the Messiah.  Jesus Christ birth shortly followed John the Baptist’s birth.  So when He came forth and proclaimed Himself as the Son of God, why did the people question it?  We are on the back side of history now and read how this story played out.  Yet still many are blind to the truth that is revealed through the prophecies and scriptures.  Nearly 2000 years have passed since Jesus Christ walked the earth.  Since that time, the Holy Spirit has walked with mankind as our comforter, healer, helper and counselor.

Hearing from God is available to you and I every moment of every day, should we chose to receive it. 
Heavenly Father
Thank You for Your messenger and voice in the wilderness.  Thank You for loving us enough to send Your Holy Spirit to dwell within us and guide our footsteps each day.  Help us to hear His words and trust in His guidance in our daily walk.  Your voice is never far to those of us that believe.  Teach me to trust, and walk in Your light.  In Your name we pray – Amen©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

2 Simple Words - I'm Sorry

“Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the LORD. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD.” – Jeremiah 23:24

There was a loud crash from the other room.  I stood up from my chair and made my way down the hallway and into the room where the noise had come from.  I knew she had been in there playing and I was very concerned that she had been hurt.  As I walked into the room the book shelf was on it’s side and all of the books scattered across the floor.  She was standing facing the wall with her hands over her face and keeping perfectly still.  Her 3 year old body was so small and compact.  I called out to her to see if she was okay.  She closed her shoulders even more and pretended not to hear me.  In her little mind, if she couldn’t see me, than I couldn’t see her.  I walked up behind her, knelt down and wrapped my arms around her little body.  I felt her tense up as I touched her, then I whispered in her ear, “I love you, did you get hurt?”  Immediately her body relaxed and she lowered her hands.  She turned around and looking up said, “I sawwy Daddy, it was an accident”

We all walk through life as if God is not aware of every move we make.  He is omnipresent by nature and intimately aware of every single move we make.  Every word, every thought, every action are all within His domain.  Can you think of one place you could go, where God is not?  When you were young, you may have snuck out at night to go hang out with some friends.  You may have hidden behind the barn or school to do something you shouldn’t have done.  You may be sneaking around now engaged in activities that you know are wrong.  You might be hiding these things from those around you; your loved ones, your friends and family; but are you trying to convince yourself that God is not aware of it?

We are all born into sin and have a natural propensity towards unrighteousness.  God, full of grace and mercy, knows this above all things.  This is why He provided the sacrifice for our sins – His son Jesus Christ.  The perfect lamb of God, died and was risen from the grave in order to take away the sins of man forever more.  You are a blessed child of God Almighty, and His grace is sufficient for anything you have done wrong.  Don’t hide your face from Him, but rather embrace Him and tell Him you’re sorry.  

Loving Father
You are awesome in Your works, grace and mercy.  I rest in knowing that You have forgiven me for my unrighteousness and wrong doings.  I once again kneel before You, asking for You to cleanse my spirit and fill me with Your Holy Spirit once again.  I long to do Your will in my life and share Your glory with others.  In Your name we pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Experience the Glory

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Notice how this scripture doesn’t say, “Because you are faithful”.  Let’s face it, most people are not faithful to God.  Over 50% of the world’s population would say they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.  Many would say there is no such thing as God and that it is simply the fabrication of man’s inability to cope with the unexplainable things in life.  If our ability to draw upon God’s love, protection and strength were solely dependent on our faith in Him, none of us would stand a chance.  Even the faith of the most devout amongst us cannot stop the evil one in this world.

First, we must acknowledge that God is Sovereign in heaven and upon earth.  He is supreme over all things, and every knee will bow before His throne (
Isaiah 45:23, Romans 14:11).  No one is exempt from the authority of God the Father, not even Satan himself.  Having said this, Satan is allowed, within God’s Sovereignty, to roam the earth these days and bring death, destruction and unrighteousness.  We can ask the questions all day long on why God would allow for this to happen, but consider who you are asking the question of.

Do I really have the authority to ask anything of the Father?  Just because I lack the ability to wrap my head around His grand plan for all mankind, doesn’t mean that I have the right to demand an answer.  Understand, this is not a democracy.  He is God, I am not.  Although, I have an opinion based on my limited knowledge and finite capabilities, He knows all and sees all.  He has given mankind free reign to decide their path in life, even though He has a plan for each and every one of us.  My inability to follow His plan demonstrates a lack of faith in Him as my Sovereign Lord.  I love Him, I trust Him and believe in His Son Jesus Christ as my Savior, but still lack the faith to actually follow Him. 

 The Lord is faithful though.  He is faithful to His promises throughout the scriptures.  His promise of salvation is made to you and to me, and He will be faithful in providing it.  On this earth though we will face the evil one, through trials, temptations, addictions, pride, arrogance, selfishness, . . . and so on.  To overcome the evil one in this world, requires a continuing daily commitment to the Sovereign Lord of All.  The closer we get to the Almighty, the stronger we become in our ability to fend off the evil one.  This doesn’t mean that we won’t face problems, or tragedies in life.  He never promised that.  He promised protection and strength from the evil one (not from evil).  I propose that this protection is an end of world statement more so than a day to day event.  Satan can cause enormous pain and suffering in our daily lives, but through a strong faith and trust in God the Father, he cannot take our salvation.  Eternity will last forever; ”to infinity and beyond” (to quote Buzz Lightyear) and we will spend it in one of two places: 1) in heaven with God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit; or 2) in the pits of hell with the Prince of Darkness.  God is strengthening me and protecting me daily to abide in Him and He in me, so upon my death I will experience all the glory of His kingdom.

Almighty God
I look to You for my strength and resolve in dealing with pain, suffering and temptation in this life.  I hold true to Your faithfulness to keep Your promises and defeat the evil one on the last day.  Strengthen me daily Lord to do Your work and to be a light to others.  In Your name I pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Just Trust Him

“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

I love sports.  I was playing softball years ago and in the middle of the game the strangest thing happened.  I played shortstop, an infield position between second base and third base, and was quite capable of stopping most balls hit near my area.  I recall the memory as clear as yesterday.  We were all in ready position as our pitcher released the pitch towards home-plate.  Suddenly, from nowhere a bald eagle swooped down near home, leveled off and flew straight at me near shortstop.  He went right over my head and then flew off into the black night sky.  I fell to the ground it was so close.  The sheer size of the eagles wing span was unbelievable, and the grace and power that it flew with was inspiring.  Its bright white head and tail feathers and yellow pointed beak will forever be etched in my mind.  Needless to say, the batter proceeded to hit the ball on a hard line drive that went right past me, but I had seen one of God’s awesome creations really close.

The eagle’s wings are designed in such a way to allow for flight to the extreme heights (
seen as high as 15,000 feet above sea level
).  Often times I will look and see an eagle soaring high in the sky. Effortlessly the great bird coasts on the thermals and current of the invisible wind with its wings spread wide and grand.  In this manner the eagle is trusting in the principals of flight and the aerodynamics by which it was designed.  He knows when to conserve strength and ride on the wave of wind, and when to use his awesome, powerful wings to propel himself through the gusts or turbulent cross winds. 

There are days when I get out of bed and think to myself, “How will I ever make it through this day.”  The pace of life is often times unbearable and leaves me exhausted, even before my feet ever hit the floor in the morning.  I’ve come to appreciate this verse through personal experiences when it is difficult to find a renewed strength.  I trust in the Lord and His purpose in my life to be my strength.  I’ve come to the realization that when I trust God’s plan, I am able to move forward with conviction and strength that is well beyond my physical abilities.  When I focus and trust in my own abilities, my strength is quickly exhausted and I often fall short of accomplishing that which I set out to do.

I propose that each day you seek the direction God has for you.  Trust in knowing His plans and purpose and your strength will be renewed as you set out to take on the world.  Allow God Almighty to elevate your perspective from your own myopic view of life to His grander perspective, and then seek that which He has set out for you.

Loving Father
I come to You this morning seeking Your will in my life.  I acknowledge Your presence and I trust in Your plan.  You have given me grace by which I am called Your son and You have spoken Your word to my heart to reach the world.  I long to serve You in a manner that is worthy of Your glory, and I ask for Your renewed strength in my life to fulfill that purpose.  In Your name we pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Test of Endurance

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” – Luke 9:23
Life is filled with the “I want to’s”.  Even in our prayers we tend to get into a rut of asking for things and telling God Almighty what we would like Him to do.  I propose that we are better fed by quieting ourselves and hearing from Him what He would like to do through us.  Pursuing God is a daily choice we all have to make.  It isn’t something that is turned on today and then coasts through the rest of life. 

Many of us become interested in something and start off excited and ready to take on the new challenge.  A few weeks in, the excitement wears off and reality sets in.  Often times these new projects become secondary priorities, third priorities and eventually cease all together.  Now, on the other hand when someone makes a commitment to something, we often times see less excitement at the onset and more dedication of their time and effort.  A commitment is for the long haul, it’s requires endurance more so than an excitement.  Recently I took the kids to watch an Ironman competition in our city.  I watched as these men and women of all ages swam 2.5 miles, road their bikes 112 miles and then ran 26 miles, all in the course of one day.  Every one of these athletes had dedicated the last year or so to prepare for this event.  This dedication and total commitment pushed through the pains, muscle cramps, dehydration and desire to quit that might have cropped up now and then.  Looking into their eyes as they would run by, there was a determination to not give up, despite the obstacles between them and the finish.

Paul the Apostle, when speaking to the elders in Ephesus, encouraged them to pursue the life that Christ had laid out for them.  In
Acts 20:24; Paul confirms that he himself is in a race to complete the task given to him by the Lord Jesus.  We are to take up our cross each day.  I do not believe this is intended to be literal, but rather metaphoric for your purpose.  You see, for Jesus Christ that cross represented His purpose.  He came to die for your sins and mine.  So for him to tell them to take up their cross and follow Him, was to tell them to find their purpose in life and dedicate it toward pursuing Jesus Christ.  It takes a commitment to pursue Christ because despite everything we learn each day, there is so much more to learn the next.  You will never have learned everything there is to know about following Him.  There will be obstacles, there will be times when you feel you can’t go on and want to give up.  This is where you need to deny your thoughts and focus on God’s eternal plan.  The race is long and takes endurance to complete.  You must run with the confidence of the Savior though to finish strong in the Lord.    

Almighty God
I am Your workmanship.  In You, I find my purpose for living.  Help me today to live out that purpose in all that we do, that others might see You through me.  In Your name I pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Stand Strong

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  – Psalm 91:2
Peace and quiet: enjoying the comfortable feeling of being at ease with the situations in life.  When’s the last time you felt true peace in your life?  In the world there are constant challenges and stressful situations that can easily overwhelm someone.  There is no doubt that you will have problems and stress in your life.  The key is how you are going to deal with it.

We read the history books and factual accounts of the early Christians battling persecution and even death for what they believe in.  Historians and 2nd century writings tell us that John the Apostle was boiled alive in a vat of oil at the hands of Roman Emperor Domitian.  John survived that attempt on his life, by a miracle of Jesus Christ.  John was then banished to the island of Patmos to die.  There Jesus Christ appeared to John and we have the book of Revelations as a result.  Stephen was stoned to death, Paul was beheaded and Peter was crucified on a cross upside down.  Polycarp, one of John’s disciples and the arch-bishop of the church in Smyrna (modern day Turkey), was burned alive at the stake, refusing to renounce his Christian faith.  The thing to realize is that the persecution of the church of Jesus Christ did not stop in the 2nd century AD.  No, that’s when it began.

We look at the Roman Emperor’s of the 1st and 2nd centuries and think what horrific things they did to the early Christians, yet we have the same thing going on all over the world today.  Jesus Christ, and those that believe in Him will always be persecuted (
John 15:20).  Not because people are against Christians, but because Satan is still trying to prove his authority and power.  Here we are in the 21st century and Christians are still persecuted in countries all over the world.  It is estimated that well over 100 Christians are killed for their beliefs every year.  There are recorded accounts of persecutions and killings in over 40 countries around the globe to this day.  Even despite the killings, as terrible as they are, Satan is attacking Christians every day through other religions, through the media, through politics, through temptations and trials of every sort.  If Satan can get you to a position where you no longer trust God as your protector and Lord then he can push you to renounce Jesus Christ’s redemption and sacrifice all together.

This war will one day cease, and in that day Satan and his minions will be cast into the depths of hell.  Until that day though, we must stand strong and trust in God’s promise for eternity through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Almighty God
Your word is truth.  Your grace is available through a belief in the Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  I believe that He lived, He died and He rose again to take away my sins.  I believe that my purpose on this earth is to serve You, and to follow the teachings of Your Son.  I trust in Your promise of eternal life with You in heaven one day.  I rely on You for my strength to overcome temptations in life and to shelter me from the storms brought on by this world.  In Your name I pray – Amen©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Achieving Life's Goals

“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” – Mark 8:36
Running as fast as possible.  The days just seem to blur together into one continuous journey of deadlines, missed opportunities and disappointments.  When I was a younger man, I had set goals for my life.  Every single goal I set at the age of 24 has been met and far exceeded.  Financial goals, family goals, life goals and of course the dream of a little house and white picket fence.  The problem wasn’t achieving my goals in life, the problem was not thinking big enough.  You see, every goal I set at the age of 24 was accomplished before I was 28.  I had a great job, beautiful wife, 2 kids, 2 cars and a house with a fence.  The problem was my appetite wasn’t satisfied.  I had met my goals, but it wasn’t enough.

You see, the human side of life wants to continually strive for more.  When is enough – enough?  Bill Gates, one of the world’s wealthiest men today was once quoted, “If I never make another dime, I could spend 3 million dollars a day for the rest of my life.  I tell you what, I’ll give you 1 million dollars right now for your right arm.  I’ll give you $1 million and I get to sever your right arm off.  Do we have a deal.  Every time we think to ourselves, “If only I could … , then everything would be better”  we deceive ourselves into believing that we can control our happiness and our contentment in this life.  Perhaps you’ve found yourselves in the situation where you know if you could just win the lottery, all of my troubles would go away.  This implies than that we have more faith in the dollar than we do in God.

There is nothing on earth that will take away your problems.  Sure, a few extra bucks here or there could help get you through a tough time with bills, but the next morning you’re going to wake up and there will be more problems heading your way.  Come to peace with the understanding that what we have on this earth is temporary and is only meant to sustain us while we do God’s work.  Once this is understood, then the doors are opened to look at our problems with an eternal perspective.  Break the mold of having a worldly perspective, focused on obtaining more and more, yet never satisfying that hunger and desire.  Trade it in for a perspective focused on meeting Gods expectations and serving Him.  With this as the goal in life, you will find that your needs are met along the way.  I’m not promising that your wants will be met, but God’s grace and love are sufficient to meet all of your needs.

Loving Father
You have provided for us in plenty.  You have provided everything we need for our purpose in life – to serve You.  Help us to put aside our desires, our wants and our greed, in lieu of pursuing a stronger relationship with You and serving You more completely.  In Your name we pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Strong Enough - Happy Father's Day

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!"  – Matthew 16:22
HAPPY FATHER’s DAY to those of you who are father’s.  I wish you much peace and joy today and throughout your life as you watch your children grow in Christ.
We’re fixers.  Men, that is.  We spend our life trying to fix problems that come up.  Problems at work, problems at home, problems with the kids, problems with the wife and even problems with the church.  There is something inside of men that drive us to fix things.  Sometimes it’s a blessing, like when the handlebars on my daughters bike were loose, or when the latch on the backyard gate was broke.  Sometime’s though it is not a blessing.  When my wife just wants a someone to listen, or when my kids feelings are hurt because a neighborhood bully said something mean.  You can’t fix these things, it requires compassion, love and understanding.

Peter rebuked Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Filled with his desire to fix the situation in a manner which aligned with his understanding of Jesus’ purpose on this earth, he told the Savior of the World – “Not on my watch”.  His pride, his confidence in himself and his desire to control the situation had overcome his faith and trust in God’s plan for salvation.  Do you recall how Jesus responded to Peter?  "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
He immediately put to rest any attacks by Satan to thwart the plans of God the Father.

This determination to solve problems our own way and in our timing is inherent in all of us.  We must take a step back and seek the intent of God the Father in our actions and decisions in life.  Not everything has to be fixed, sometimes we just need to be there, to love and to understand.  As a father of 5 and grandfather of 2, I struggle with this daily.  I am constantly trying to fix things the way I think they should be, without considering that perhaps God has a much bigger plan for the situation or brokenness that I am going through.    

As father's we are chartered with the job of leading our families in a way that demonstrates the love of God in a way that clearly establishes a foundation that will endure. We look to our fathers for loving discipline to teach us right from wrong; for moral and ethical guidance to carry on a legacy from generation to generation; for leadership in decision making to frame our independence and for strength to make it through the struggles we face in life. A father brings vision to a family and when led by God's wisdom and courage will ensure that his children experience the love, peace and enduring grace of the Savior. When we struggle with life’s challenges in our families, at work and at home we must learn to trust in God’s authority and power to be strong enough.

Almighty God
I pray for the father’s in this world.  I pray that you fill them with a passion for serving You, a desire to be in Your will and the strength to stand firm in Your ways.  This world is attacking the family from every angle Lord and we need You as our guard and our shield of protection from the enemy.  Build up a fortress, beginning with the father’s in every household, to stand against evil in this world.  For only through You can we be made strong.  In Your name we pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

21st Century Psalms - Choose Freedom

My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
Oh God, my Savior
has ransomed me
and like a flood
His mercy reigns
Amazing love, Amazing grace
             - Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone – by Chris Tomlin – 2006 “See the Morning”

Chains hung heavy from their shackled wrists as they were moved slowly through the crowd.  People shouting, yelling obscenities and spitting upon them.  They hid their children from the men hobbling along the dirt streets, with chains between the heavy shackles around their ankles.  Their bodies were beaten and fresh blood oozed from the lacerations on their backs and chests, where the whip had dug into their flesh.  As the approached the wooden steps, some of them would fall which caused a cascade of falling as the chains connecting each of their bodies, one to another, would pull them off balance.  Once they had all ascended the few steps and were all lined up on the platform, they were stripped of any remaining clothing, lest the covering of their loins, and stood there helpless before the onlookers.  Then the bidding would begin.

Did you think I was referring to the disciples, the followers of Jesus Christ?  No, not at all.  I was referring to the slaves that were bought and sold as nothing more than animals less than 150 years ago.  The slave trade in England, Spain and the Americas was big business and took every ounce of humanity away from the men, women and children that were auctioned off like livestock.  The song Amazing Grace was written by John Newton, a slave trader from England in the late 1700’s. As I wrote in my book,
Truly Amazing Grace, “..After coming to the revelation of the grace of Christ in his life, it became his life’s passion to abolish the trafficking of slaves because of the inhuman and unjustness.  The song lyrics represent the anguish that John Newton was going through as he struggled to find his own worth in God’s eyes, after partaking in slave trading for so long.” 

In the 1st decade of the 21st century many musical artists have adopted John Newton’s Amazing Grace with refined lyrics.  Chris Tomlin’s version calls out the chains that bind each of us in sin.  The chains of bondage keep us from fully experiencing the love and grace of God the Father as we remain addicted to our own desires in life.  We must understand that God’s mercy and grace will not bend and mold to our desires in life.  They are immutable since the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We are to mold our desires to be in line with His grace and mercy you see.  The grace of the Father is available to all mankind if we chose to accept it.  What chains bind your heart to the world today?  What chains and shackles keep you from living all out for the Lord?  God and only God has the key to loose the chains that bind your heart and mind.  The owness is upon you to choose freedom though.
Heavenly Father
I lift all glory and honor to You for the freedoms You have given me in my life.  Forgive me, for I am blind to my sin, to the addictions in this life that keep me from serving You completely.  I am unworthy of Your love and mercy, but by Your grace I am accepted.  I cannot fathom the love You have for me, to allow me in all of my filth to enter into Your presence.  I choose freedom from the worlds bondage in my life and lift my eyes to You in awe and wonder.  In Your name we pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

21st Century Psalms – It’s Our Job

If we are the body
Why aren’t His arms reaching
Why aren’t His hands healing
Why aren’t His words teaching
Why aren’t His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way
Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
We are the body of Christ
              - If We are the Body – by Casting Crowns – 2003 “Casting Crowns”

Convicting yet truthful.  Casting Crowns lyrics generally hit right in the core of our humanity, our weakness and our laziness.  How many can stand up with open arms, loving and accepting arms of our Savior and welcome others in.  So many times we hear stories of the gossip, the stories, the judging and the snide remarks about someone, generally behind their back.  I recall hearing a couple at lunch one Sunday after church complaining about another person (call him Joe) in attendance that morning.  They were commenting on how they had seen Joe Friday night at the bar, being loud and obnoxious after having drank too many margaritas.  Then they went on to talk about Joe’s bitter divorce after he was caught in an affair with a close family friend.  The conversation died down after a few minutes, but the indictment and judgment had already been made.

Pastor Kerry (Shook at Fellowship of the Woodlands) used to say – “We are a church of imperfect people serving a perfect God.  If you find the perfect church, don’t join, ‘cause you’ll make them imperfect.”  You see we have all fallen short of God’s perfect creation in one way or another.  I’m a procrastinator, I curse now and then when my temper flares up, I lose my patience easily and I’m a workaholic which distracts from my family time.  But, God and I are working on all of that and I know I am loved, accepted and cherished by Him enough that He would give His own Son’s life for someone like me to enter heaven.  If my sins are forgiven, than so are Joe’s (above).  Jesus did not die for some sins and not others, or for some people and not others.  He died to take away the sins of all mankind. 

Our role is to be God’s hands, feet and voice to the nations.  We are to love others as God first loved us (John 15:12) and to show compassion to others with humility and sympathy (1 Peter 3:8).  Jesus taught his disciples to love others, and in turn His word has taught you and I the same.  You don’t have to love their actions, but it is our job to love them as God would love them.
Heavenly Father
Forgive me Lord for my judging of others.  I long to be like You and able to see past the surface and know their heart.  I want to be able to share Your love and grace with every person I meet.  My heart longs to serve You more completely and be Your hands, feet and voice to the lost.  Help me to grow in my knowledge and faith that I might be of service to You and bring You glory.  In Your name we pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

21st Century Psalms - I Know You

I find myself just living for today
‘Cause I don’t know what tomorrow’s
going to bring
So no matter if I rise or fall
I’ll never be alone, oh no…
Nothing compares to the
Greatness of knowing You, Lord
                         - Nothing Compares by Third Day – 2003 “Come Together”

We have seen a world that has dramatically changed in the last 8 years since Third Day came out with this song.  Hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes and earthquakes have ravaged the spirit of God’s people on this earth.  The stock markets have climbed to heights never before experienced and then crashed, taking millions if not billions out of the hands of God’s people.  Through drugs, sex, greed, pride, selfishness and a declining moral fabric, sin abounds amongst God’s people.  Every one of us have struggles and burdens that we carry with us each and every day, trying to solve the problems on our own.

Just as Paul wrote in Philippians 3:8; “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”, there is nothing in your life that can be compared to the love, peace and grace given by knowing Jesus Christ.  There is no amount of riches that can be compared to His love.  There is no amount of good service that you can do that can make Him love you more than He already does. 

Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 40:18; “To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to?”  We walk this earth trying to describe and understand God based on things we see, touch and feel.  He is indescribable in earthly terms.  This is why He sent His Son, as a man to walk amongst us and teach us of His kingdom.  If you look to your left and look to your right you will not find God, for He is not of the world, His Kingdom is above ours.  God is within you.  His Holy Spirit resides in your heart and longs for you to find your way back to knowing Him.
Heavenly Father
You are above all things, mighty in works, and beyond comprehension in loving me.  I do not deserve it, but You love me anyway.  I knowingly turn my back on You, but you love me anyway.  Your grace and mercy fall upon me despite my unrighteousness and lift me up when I am weak.  Truly there is nothing that compares to knowing You as my Savior and Lord.  In Your name we pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

21st Century Psalms – Face to Face

Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for You Jesus
Or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in Your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing Hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
                  - I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me – 2002 “Almost There”

As children our minds were filled with imaginary friends, games and situations.  I absolutely recall imagining hitting the home run with bases loaded to win the World Series for my team.  I recall imagining being the hero on the white horse saving the damsel in distress from the evil madman.  But now, many years later, when I close my eyes the problems of the day materialize in my mind.  Worry about the bills, the project that’s late at work, the kid’s schoolwork, my health and the other 10 million things going on at any given moment.  It seems impossible today to relax and calm myself enough to actually allow my mind to get beyond the stress of living.  Are you in this same boat?

God doesn’t want us worrying about these things though.  He asks us to trust Him and to cast our worries upon Him.  As we carry these burdens in our daily lives we become unproductive and unable to serve Him with everything we have.  I’ve found that it helps to imagine myself sitting in the grass next to God Almighty when I am completely stressed.  Filling my heart and mind with His glory and His presence, and recognizing that everything I have and everything I am is His.  I can do nothing without Him.  The sooner I am able to come to this realization the sooner I am able to breathe in His beauty, peace and love.

Let the imagination of your childhood fill your mind and heart once again.  There will come a day when you will be standing before the Lord, in all of His glory, majesty and wonder.  Until that day comes though, you can imagine yourself face to face with Your Savior and relinquish your worries and cares upon His shoulders. 
Loving Father
I humble myself before You with awestruck wonder.  I lift my hands and praise Your name, and give You all glory.  Renew my spirit Lord, fill me once again with the fire and love that consumes.  Help me to release my burdens and trust in You.  In Your name we pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

21st Century Psalms – His Love Endures

From the rising to the setting sun
His Love endures forever
and by the grace of God we will carry on
His Love endures forever
Sing Praise, Sing Praise
Forever God is faithful
Forever God is strong
                           - Forever  by Chris Tomlin – 2002 “The Noise We Make”

Have you ever gotten a worship song stuck in your head for days?  For several years I was involved in the ministry at Fellowship of the Woodlands and had the responsibility of creating the graphic images for the praise and worship songs.  I would spend three to four days each week getting the graphics just right to match the lyrics of a song and hopefully relay God’s love and compassion through the visual aspect of the Sunday morning service.  There were a few songs just after the turn of the century that would get stuck in my head all week long : Forever, God of Wonder, Above All, Awesome God, Open the Eyes of My Heart – just to name a few.  I still find myself singing these songs to my kids at night when I put them to bed.

What is it about a praise and worship song that makes it speak so deeply?  With all of the music in the world today vying for our attention, these have staying power.  Perhaps it is because they draw us closer to the God of the Bible.  With deep roots in scripture most praise and worship songs bring the Psalms and scriptures to life and draw us to a closer understanding.  David found that music and singing to God gave him the opportunity to bare his heart and soul before the Lord.  I believe in each of us it is inherent to draw some emotional tie to music and in doing so open up our heart to hear God’s word.

In the gospel of
Matthew and Mark we are reminded that even the Lord himself with the disciples sang songs of praise to the Father in heaven.  Singing praise and worship is another way of demonstrating our deep love and devotion to God the Father.  Paul references singing hymns in several places throughout his writings; most memorably while he and Silas were in prison.  God’s love is poured out upon us in many ways, and we need to take in all of it.  His grace is love, the beauty of the earth is His love and music represents His love.  The emotion you sometimes feel when you hear certain music draws us closer to His enduring love.  It reminds us that no matter how difficult life is, how steep our struggles, God is always there.
Loving Father
Fill me with Your love oh Lord.  Help me to see the purity and the beauty of everything You have given me.  Be my strength when I am weak and the song in my heart to keep me focused on You.    In Your name we pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011