Friday, July 29, 2011

No 2nd Chances

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?"” – Mark 8:36
The father of one of my best friends in school told me one day when I was just a small boy, “There are two things in life that are unavoidable: taxes and death.”  I’ve experienced one and I haven’t yet figured out how to avoid the later.  In Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, Paul tells us “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot   If unlike me, you have figured out the key to avoid death than you have little inspiration for seeking answers to the questions about life, purpose and what comes next.  Unfortunately, the rest of us still struggle with these questions as we hear the clock ticking on the wall in the front room.

I hear in the news of the death of another actress, singer or actor and I find myself more concerned over their salvation than what they did in life.  Amidst all of their triumphs, success and celebrity status, did they ever come to a relationship with Jesus Christ?  That opportunity has now passed them by, they don’t get a 2nd chance.  In death the one thing we can’t do is fully understand the last thoughts, feelings and emotions of someone the moment they pass away.  Often times we are there as they draw their last breath, and we know how they seemed leading up to that moment, but we don’t know their absolute last thought when it’s over.  I’ve speculated that many are screaming inside as this moment approaches and they realize that eternity is for real, and they’ve chosen foolishly.

Life is unpredictable and filled with uncertainty.  You have the opportunity to make choices in life and to do something with what you have been given.  We are all born for one purpose – to serve God.  In doing so, we love one another, become stronger in our faith and prosper in the ways of the Lord, not necessarily in financial wealth.  If most of us were completely honest with ourselves, we would realize that our priorities in life are wrong.  It’s easy to make a statement that God is first in your life, but are you living like He is?  Does your life example demonstrate to those around you that God is the center of everything you do, or is He the One you visit on the weekend. 

You get one shot at this, there is no 2nd chance.  Your purpose in life is defined and waiting for you.  In my heart, I know what my purpose is; and I’m sure you have a good idea what your’s is as well.  The problem we all face is whether we accept it, embrace it and will act on it.  It’s not a mystery and hidden away somewhere that you’ll find sometime in the future.  It’s inside of you right now, dying to begin.  The only reason most of us haven’t found our purpose is that we are unwilling to accept the one that’s been laid out for us.  Choosing to embrace your purpose in life, likely means forfeiting some other things in life.  When it all comes down to it – you have made a choice and the real question is – are you happy with the choice you made?

Almighty God,
I kneel before Your throne and thank You for giving me a life to serve You.  Thank You for the opportunity to share Your gospel with others through this medium.  I ask that You take this word upon Your spirit and spread it as far and wide as possible.  Help each person receiving this message today to grow in their understanding of purpose in their life.  Holy Spirit, I pray that You convict each of us in a way that we long to serve the Father as He so deserves.  In Your name I pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Discovering the Short Path

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us ” – Hebrews 12:1

Human nature is to find the shortest path between two points and take that path.  We learned this in Geometry, along with many other algorithms and formulas.  But this one can be applied to most decisions we make in life.  Time is a precious commodity and wasting it leaves one frustrated, stressed and often times dejected.  Most of us will look at the problems we face in life, analyze multiple avenues to address those problems and then proceed with executing the plan with the fewest obstacles, quickest time to resolution and the least painful or stressful.  There are those times though where we must go “through” some pain or stress in order to resolve a particular problem in life.  It’s in these circumstances where our character is formed, strengthened and matured.  We each carry with us scars from our past experiences that influence every decision we make about the direction we are heading.  These scars though, many times keep us from seeing clearly how to reach our end goal.  We all need to learn to look beyond the obstacles and scars from our past and trust in His plan for where we are headed.

Paul, the apostle, summarizes it well in Hebrews 12:1.  Before we can discover our path and purpose in life we must first break free from the sin that holds us back.  I have noticed that many of us are questioning what God’s plans are, yet while we are waiting for an answer we continue living in the sinful condition of our past.  We can never be made perfect, because mankind is born with a natural propensity towards unrighteousness.  But being born again marks a point in time where we accept God’s plan of salvation, invite the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and repent from our sinful ways. 

Repent comes from the Greek word – “metanoia” which means a change in the inner man, a change of heart.  The scriptures are clear – true salvation comes with repentance (Acts 3:19; 17:30; 20:21; 2 Peter 3:9) which means we need to turn from our former ways.  We cannot accomplish this on our own, thus building a stronger faith and reliance on the One who can – Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit. 

As strong as you think you are, Satan is much stronger.  Not just physically; I’m referring to mentally and spiritually.  Granted his spirit is evil, but he is 100% committed to it.  After salvation your spirit is righteous and holy, but must be accepted and strengthened through continued learning and participation on your part.  Therefore, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to help us overcome our weakness and natural tendency to sin.  Then we can begin running the race that God has mapped out for us.  This race or purpose in life is filled with serving Him with everything we have and therefore requires that we are committed to eliminating the unrighteousness that stands between us and Him.  This creates the shortest path to serving God and finding our purpose in this life.

Heavenly Father,
You have given us a spirit of overcoming sin in this world.  The Holy Spirit dwells within us and guides us to repentance and righteousness.  Help us to strengthen our daily walk with the Holy Spirit, that our lives might be a representation of Your holiness and loving mercy.  Fill us with Your love that we might be overflowing to others as we walk this path of life.  In Your name I pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I said Nothing

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  – Romans 8:38-39
(c) Richard Palmer, Sondove Enterprises
Continuing along the thread of finding my purpose in life, I wanted to touch on the issue of worthiness.  An unbelievable number of people have been convinced by others or by the devil himself that God will not accept you because of . . . . . . {you fill in the blank}.  As for me, I choose to leave the blank empty and trust in Romans 8:38-39.

Have you ever considered the total number of sins that could be identified?  It must be in the tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands.  Every curse word, every thought, every jealous action, every lust, every addiction and so on.  You can see that the list would get very long very quickly.  Now that you have a vision or a thought of how lengthy that list is, I want you to sort it and put the worst sin at the top and the least sinful act at the bottom.  Could you?  Is it even conceivable to rank sins against one another and say, “this one is worse than that” or “well at least I didn’t do that”? 

Regardless of how you ranked them, and the accuracy by which you believe you have crafted this list, it’s important that you recognize this one fact: You don’t have that authority.  It is not your job or right to determine which sin is greater than another.  Does God have a ranking system?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that Jesus Christ blood is sufficient for all sin, and that by accepting that He died for me, mine are forgiven.  All of them.  Every single one.  You see, if a drop of blood is sufficient for just a handful of sins, but not all of them, than it’s not a sufficient sacrifice for any of them.  I am not about to put a limit on what Jesus can or cannot redeem.  As the Son of God Almighty and the sovereign God of the Universe, who can challenge His authority on any matter? 

There is nothing that can separate you from the love of God the Father and His grace through the redeeming death of His one and only Son.  Many feel guilty for things they have done or said or thought.  Some will even say, “But you don’t understand, there is no way God can love me after what I have done.”   I believe God’s answer is, “I said nothing can separate my love from my children.”  You must grab a hold of this scripture and decide to believe it.  Get past the thing that is keeping you from serving God.  Quit with the excuses and realize that He loves you despite how unbelievable your past has been.  Once you realize this, then you can begin to understand what He wants you to do in life.

Heavenly Father,
I trust in Your word, it’s truth and promise for eternity.  I have sinned against You in unbelievable ways, and for that I am truly sorry.  I ask for Your forgiveness and mercy on my soul, and I trust in Your grace that I am redeemed and given new life in Christ Jesus.  In Your name I pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The First Thirty

“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” – John 2:4
I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior at the age of 12 because I was afraid of going to hell.  I knew enough about it at that age to know it was not something I wanted, so being the solution guy, I did what needed to be done to ensure that I didn’t end up there.  What happened over the next seven years of my life though became the foundation of who I am today.  All through school, I enjoyed being involved in youth group for one reason or another.  I was learning about Christ the more I hung out at church with the other kids (a dozen or so) and in doing so I was realizing that I wanted to lead them.  Just a year out of high school, I still wanted to be actively involved in the youth group at First Baptist Church of Tecumseh.  I was living at home while I commuted to and from college and this made it easy to remain engaged in the activities at church.  One Sunday after church a young man from our youth group pulled me aside.  He had been crying and his eyes were swollen and red.  He was a Senior at a local high school but stood at least 8 inches taller than me.  After inquiring if he was okay, he looked down at me with a big smile and his words impacted my life forever , “Thank you for sharing Jesus Christ with me.  I wanted to let you know that I accepted Him as my Savior last night, because of what you said at the youth meeting, and I am going to be baptized next week.”

The funny thing is, to this day I cannot tell you what I said to that group of youth the night before.  But what did happen is that something clicked inside of me and I began to realize that our purpose in life is to share Jesus Christ with others.  It is the calling on every life ever born.  Some stumbled upon this fact early, even in their adolescence; while some don’t realize it until they are on their death bed.  We are all a part of the information and evangelism community though.  At some point the opportunity will come for you to share Him with others as well.  It’s important to know who He is and what salvation looks like.

Where was Jesus when he was nineteen?  What about 16 or 22 or 27?  We don’t know for sure do we?  What we do know is that he lived in Nazareth and had likely learned the skills of carpentry from his father – Joseph.  He was born during the reign of King Herod.  Records tell us that King Herod died in 4 BC.  You recall after the birth of the Christ child, fearing the loss of his throne, he had ordered the massacre of all children 2 years or younger.  If this decree went out in his final days, then Jesus had to have been born somewhere between 6 and 5 BC.  There is little known about Jesus first 30 years or so, other than Luke 2:46 which tells us that Jesus was teaching in the temple at the age of twelve.  He was born with a purpose, to redeem the sins of mankind.  Yet, it was not until he was in his thirties that His ministry began.  Jesus, turned water to wine, at the request of his mother, despite His apparent unwillingness.  This miracle is the first recorded miracle of His 3 year ministry on this earth.

The majority of Jesus life was spent preparing for His purpose.  His ministry was less than 10% of His entire existence on the earth, yet it has been eternally impactful.  We all are being conditioned, trained and prepared for our purpose in life.  The important thing to keep in mind is that we are not in control of the timing.  Only God knows the perfect timing for your contribution to His Kingdom, the key is to be ready when it happens.  Being prepared takes consistency and patience.  Be in His word daily; learning, growing and preparing.  The day is quickly coming when He will ask you to step up, be ready.

Heavenly Father,
Thank You for filling each of us with a passion to serve You.  You have given each of us a purpose in Your Kingdom and the desire to live within that purpose.  Help us to be prepared when the opportunity arise to share Your truth with others.  In Your name I pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Let it Rip

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.” – Matthew 27:51
When Jesus Christ gave up His spirit on the cross His ministry as a man had finished.  He was born to die and in doing so provide a means by which the sins of mankind could be forgiven and their righteousness reconciled with God Almighty.  His very life was a threat to the Jewish community because He ushered in a new covenant between God and man.  Not a covenant that would replace the Mosaic covenant (10 Commandments) or the covenant with Abraham, but one that would complete them.  The death of Jesus Christ resulted from a sacrifice that God, Himself, provided for the sins of man.  No longer was it necessary to sacrifice the perfect lamb each year to atone for your sins, Jesus death covered it. 

When He took His last breath and His body went limp on that cross, the veil in the temple ripped from top to bottom, not bottom to top.  This seems small, but is a huge statement.  The veil (curtain) in reference was a large heavy cloth hung from the ceiling to the floor, separating the “Holy of Holies” from the rest of the temple.  In Solomon’s temple the Ark of the Covenant and the staff of Aaron resided here in the Holy of Holies (holiest spot in the temple) placed upon the rock, Eben Shetiyyah,  which marked the exact center of the world.  Only the high priest could enter into this room and offer the sacrifice of atonement for man’s sins.  When Jesus Christ died on the cross, God tore the veil in the temple to represent that salvation and atonement for sins was now available to all mankind directly through His Son Jesus Christ. 

In Hebrews 9:7-14, Paul writes about Jesus as the atonement for all mankind.  With the removal of the veil, it symbolized Him as our mediator, the intercessor, between us and God.  He is going forth on the behalf of those who testify that He is Lord and Savior. 

Heavenly Father,
You have established a covenant with all mankind, through Your Son – Jesus Christ.  By His death we are redeemed and by His resurrection we are given eternal life with You in heaven.  Thank You for Your love, Your mercy and grace for allowing me, a sinner, to be with You in heaven one day. In Your name I pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Take a Breath

“What will I do when God confronts me?
   What will I answer when called to account?” – Job 31:14

Life is given and then it is taken away.  It is not cyclical but linear in nature, as with everything there is a beginning and there is an end.  You have no control over the beginning.  You were conceived without any effort on your part.  You were given life at conception, formed in your mother’s womb and given breath at birth.  Every breath since that day has been accounted for and calculated on a linear timeline.  It is not something you can recapture once it has left your lips. One day it will be complete and breath will no longer pass over your lips, and on that day there will be a reckoning.

Daniel gives us a very good visual of the judgment day in
Daniel 7:9-10.  The Lord seated upon His throne, opening the books.  As you stand before the Lord and you are asked, “Why should I let you into My perfect heaven?”, what will you say?  Do you truly believe in that day that your actions in life are hidden from God Almighty?  Every breath is recorded, do you not also believe that every action is known?  We are all guilty of unrighteousness and sin in life, for not one is worthy of heaven’s riches.  There is nothing you can say to excuse your sinful nature and your reckless lifestyle.  If this is the case, than who is worthy of entering God’s perfect heaven?

On that day, I will stand ashamed before the Lord.  Ashamed of my transgressions, disobedience and unrighteous behavior throughout my entire life. But, I envision that standing right next to me will be only One who is worthy of the Father’s Kingdom.  I can picture in my mind, Jesus Christ, standing by my side and lifting His eyes to the Lord with these words, “Father, this one is worthy because of My sacrifice.  His sins are forgiven.”  You see, Jesus Christ was not just a prophet, He was not just a nice guy, He was not just a miracle worker, He was not just a teacher, preacher and rabbi, He was not just an example of God’s love and mercy, He was not just another man with a plan.  No, Jesus Christ was and still is to this day, the Savior, the Lord, the Lamb of God.  By no other means will your life be deemed worthy of entry into God’s perfect Kingdom, than by calling upon the name of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. 

It’s not recorded in the scriptures to fill white space, it is recorded so that you might have eternal peace with God the Father.  You have no idea how many breaths you have left in this life.  You don’t count them on a daily basis, but He does.  You cannot defy death, and you will be held accountable for your actions.  He is your only chance at salvation, this is the truth of the Bible.
Heavenly Father,
Thank You for sending Your Son to take on the sins of the world.  Thank You for providing a path of salvation for me to enter into heaven one day.  I have lived a sin-filled life and despite my desperate attempts to live within Your commandments, I am unable.  I recognize that I do not deserve heaven, but by Your grace, through Jesus Christ alone I can receive it.  In Your name I pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Seek and You Will Find

“. . . The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you” – 2 Chronicles 15:2b
On any given Saturday there are three to four thousand people wandering about the local shopping mall in my town.  It’s large – 2 stories, nearly 150 stores and easily 1.3 million square feet of floor space.  There are shoppers of every size and age - young, old, parents, children, grand parents and single adults; each going about their business with little care of those around them.  Shopping for trinkets, clothes, shoes, electronics, books and whatever else they fell they need to meet whatever temporary desire they have at any given moment.  Now place a 3 year old child in the middle of any given store in this mall.  Place the parent of that child in the parking lot outside the mall.  What are the chances that they find each other without the help or aid of any of the other shoppers or employees of the mall?  The parent runs from store to store frantically looking under the clothes racks, in the back rooms, behind the cabinets and counters.  The child is wandering with little steps, afraid and likely crying; moving from this store to the store, aimlessly looking for the familiar face of his or her parent.  Statistically, their chances are less than 10% while all of the other shoppers are in the mall.  You get the visual, right? 

Now, strip away every other person in the mall except the child and once again place the parent outside.  What just happened to the parent’s chances of finding their child?  They go up dramatically.  It’s still a task of looking and there is still a child fearfully crying somewhere, but there are no distractions, no other noises or obstacles in the way.  The chances are highly likely that the parent will find their child.  When found there will be much rejoicing including hugs, kisses and “I Love you’s”

We allow distractions in our lives to pull us away from seeking the One that loves us.  Just like the parent in the mall we are charging through life, unable to find the true meaning because of all the noise, the obstacles and distractions we surround ourselves with.  God is available to all mankind, but we have to choose to pursue Him.  His grace is sufficient for the salvation of everyone, but we have to want it.  God’s purpose in your life is right before your eyes, but often times we are too busy to recognize it or accept it.

Clear the noise, the distractions and the obstacles from your life and focus your thoughts and energy on seeking God first every single day.  I guarantee, if you are seeking Him, you will find Him.  I feel sorry for the individuals who intentionally choose to not seek Him, for they will never find Him and will suffer one day because of it.

Heavenly Father,
Your love is pure, righteous and beyond comprehension.  You give redemption and grace to us though we do not deserve it.  Your Word promises that You will not turn from those who seek You and we trust in this promise.  Help me Lord, share this grace and love with others that they might see Your glory.  In Your name I pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nothing Less than 100%

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”  And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”  – Isaiah 6:8

I sit in meetings at the office and listen to the complaints about how much there is to do and how overwhelmed people are with the workload.  I’m in the same boat.  Every day it seems as though more and more things need to get accomplished and there is a never ending list of those things that get re-prioritized lower in the stack.  If we allow ourselves to become consumed with work in this life, than we are playing right into the hands of the evil one.  For you see, busyness is one of his tools.  If he can keep your hands and mind focused on earthly problems and projects that are relatively insignificant in the eternal perspective than he can keep you from doing the work of the Lord.

One of my favorite verses in the Word of God is Isaiah 6:8.  It represents everything that is in my heart and desire for life.  Even today, in the 21st century the Lord continues to seek those that will stand, step forward and say, “Here I am Lord, send me.”  With a heart for serving God, an open mind and willingness to go or do whatever He asks, there is nothing that is beyond this person’s reach.  The problem is, at least with me, I remain bound by the world’s priorities and lack the faith to free myself to pursue God’s plan.

Isaiah was driven by hearing the Lord in a prophetic manner and able to communicate this to the King’s of the 8th and 7th century B.C.  He was able to have counsel with the leaders of the day and articulate with precision and clarity what was to happen to the Israelites into the future.  He became God’s messenger and his prophecies became a foundation for Christianity, as they detail the coming Messiah and the end of times.  He became one of the most well known prophets of the Bible because of his ability to communicate and evangelize the truth from God without sugarcoating it.  Many did not like what he said, and refused to believe and/or follow it and paid the ultimate price because of it.

Isaiah’s knee still bled when he stumbled along the rocky roads and mountainous terrain.  He ate three meals a day and got a goodnight’s sleep most nights.  He married and raised a family to serve the Lord as well.  He didn’t travel far, but his words and messages have resonated in the hearts of mankind for nearly 3000 years.  We don’t know exactly how old he when he passed on, but it’s safe to say that he served as a prophet for a long time, covering the reign of four different kings of Judah.  So, what does any of this have to do with you and I?

Isaiah, was dedicated to his task in life and it wasn’t riches, wealth, material possessions or fame.  His task in life was to live for God, and do or go wherever God asked of him.  He made himself 100% available to serve God with passion, rather than live for those around him and be driven by earthly direction.  Do you believe God still desires His children to dedicate themselves to serving Him as Isaiah did?  If the answer is “No”, than the resulting conclusion is that God changed over the last 3000 years.  I, for one, am of the belief that God is immutable and unchanging.  Therefore, what God requested of Isaiah is the same that He requests of us today.

“Abide in me, and I will abide in you.” (
John 15:4-5)  Jesus tells us to bear good fruit in our life, and that this is only possible through abiding in Him.  Note, He’s asking, “Pretty please, won’t you do this for me.”, but rather He’s instructing us.  God hasn’t changed, neither has His requirement for us to step forward and say, “Here I am Lord, send me.”  We are here upon this earth for one purpose and one purpose only when it all comes down to it.  That purpose is to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, all your soul and all your might.  By doing this, our hearts will become open to serving Him fully.
Heavenly Father,
In Your word You have taught us the meaning of serving You by loving others and sharing of Your grace and mercy.  Help me Lord to align my priorities in a manner that best suits Your desire for my life.  I seek to serve You with every part of me and to be busy doing Your work in this life, rather than man’s work.  I choose to abide in You, Lord, and ask that You abide in me, such that my life will reflect Your grace to others.  In Your name I pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

His Right Hand

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
Is anything more powerful than God?  The One who created all things and brought forth the lamb of salvation, so that all may enter into His grace.  What is it that He is unaware of in our life that we should be so fearful?  Nothing can separate you from the grace of God, other than your choice to refuse it.  The promise of eternity is real for those who proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  With knowledge of this truth, is there anything at all in this world to be afraid of?

After his conversion on the road to Damascus, Paul matured in his faith over many years.  It didn’t happen overnight and without significant struggles and trials along the way.  Consider all of the nights he was imprisoned, taken before rulers, and authorities to have his very life threatened.  Consider being pursued by Roman soldiers and Jewish mobs because of your beliefs.  Eventually, after many years of ministry Paul wrote in a letter to those in Philippi (
Phil 1:20-21) – “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  This is the maturity in Christ that we should all be seeking.

Holding on to this truth of eternal life with God the Father and Jesus Christ should drive everything we do.  This strong faith and trust in God cannot be shaken by daily trials, temptations and struggles.  There are times when we are weak in our humanity and easily influenced when bad things happen.  It is at these times we must rely on the strength of the Lord’s promise.  Come to realize that the worst thing that can happen on this earth is death, and even then we are blessed with eternal life in Him.  I strive to find the strength of Paul, if I am given another day of life on this earth I want to spend it living for Christ, and one day I will not have life, but will be forever more living with Christ.
Heavenly Father,
Strengthen me Lord when I am weak and afraid.  Be my comfort and counselor in times of trouble, and provide me the assurance that You are above all things and in control.  Help me to live each day to the fullest in Your grace and wisdom, that others may be touched along my path.  In Your name I pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Where's the Lamb

“Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”. . . ” – Genesis 22:8a

As the sun reflected off of the long jagged blade, the boys eyes became large and fear rippled through his mind.  He struggled mightily against the ropes that bound his hands, and tried to kick his feet upward to no avail as they were bound also.  In his fear and confusion he thought of everything he had done that might have caused the situation.  Wasn’t he good enough? Hadn’t he helped out enough in the fields and with the livestock?  Did his mother know what was going on?  Only 10 hours ago he had been bathing in the river and then horsing around with his brother.  Was his brother in on it?  Why was his father going to kill him?  What had he done wrong?

Isaac was the only son of Abraham and Sarah.  God had promised Abraham that through this boy great nations would rise up and that all others would be reckoned.  God’s covenant with mankind would be
through this child, the son of Abraham.  This covenant would be an everlasting covenant until the end of days, and demonstrated by the circumcision on the 8th day of the boys life.  King’s would come from his lineage, and rule the nations of God in the promised land forever more.  Why then was this boy now bound and laying upon an alter to be sacrificed by his own father?

Imagine if you would for a moment; your father and you walking up a hill together, building an alter together of sticks that you yourself had carried.  Then your father lifts you up, sets you on the pile of sticks and binds your feet, then your hands, and lies you back on the wood.  He reaches into his satchel and pulls out the blade and lifts it to plunge into your heart.  You would think he was mad, crazed or deranged.  Somewhere he had lost his mind and now you were going to die because of it.  We know how the story ends, but at that moment Isaac did not.  He truly thought his own father was going to kill him.

Most people rightfully focus on the incredible faith of Abraham. Would God truly allow me to kill my only son?  This is the son of His covenant with me, through Sarah, to which all nations will be reckoned.  Why then would God tell me to sacrifice him?  There must be a bigger plan.  He trusted the Lord enough to actually go through with what he was asked to do.  He trusted in the covenant that God had made with him.    As a father of 5, I cannot even imagine what unbelievable emotions had to be running through Abraham’s mind. 

But, what about the boy.  How would Isaac ever look at his own father in the same light again.  Did this experience strengthen Isaac’s faith in God as the provider of all things?  I rightfully think it did.  He personally experienced the grace of God and the mercy of His love through the provision of a sacrificial lamb at the perfect moment.  Similarly, you and I have received that same last minute salvation from God the Father.   

Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the perfect lamb of God, we are all redeemed.  This is the new covenant with mankind, that whosoever believes in Him (Jesus Christ) will have everlasting life with God the Father in heaven one day.  Jesus Christ comes from the lineage of Abraham through Isaac and has paid the ultimate price for our transgressions and unrighteousness.  Redemption is only available through the lamb that God has provided on our behalf. 
Heavenly Father,
As You provided for Abraham, You have provided for each of us the perfect sacrifice.  Our lives are filled with unrighteousness and sin from the moment of our first breath.  Through Your perfect plan of salvation though we are forgiven and receive grace to allow us life eternal with You in heaven.  Thank You for giving of Your only Son, that we can be redeemed in His blood. In Your name I pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's Going to Rain

“And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.” – Genesis 7:5 {In Context}

Bill Cosby is one of my all time favorite comedians.  His humor was mostly clean and non-disparaging to others.  One of his comedy skits was simply called Noah which describes the Lord requesting Noah to build an Ark and bring the animals in 2 by 2.  Looking past the humor in Bill Cosby’s delivery is the underlying problem that we all face each day.   Can you imagine the reaction of Noah when the Lord spoke to him about the ark?  Simply minding his own business, following the Lord and living righteously.  Then all of a sudden a voice from heaven reigns down and tells him to build an ark, because He is going to flood the earth and wipe out all of mankind, save Noah and his family.  Now that’s a pretty big task if you ask me.  I can’t imagine the Lord telling me He’s going to destroy the earth and I was His choice to start over again.

Do you ever feel or hear the Lord asking you to do something?  How often do we look at the request as an impossible task and push back or find a way to avoid the task?  I know I do.  I’ve rationalized it, thought about it, tried to put my head around the greatness of what He is asking.  The problem comes when my own mind cannot comprehend the Lord’s request and I dismiss it, because it’s outside of my “comfort zone” or because I can’t figure out how the pieces all come together.  I can imagine the great Saints (David, Paul, Peter, Moses, Joshua) looking on from above saying, “Really….did he just blow off God’s request.”  It’s like that though, it really is.

Think about it.  The Creator of the Universe, time and all matter, requests for us to do something, and we have the audacity to think about it, and then say “No, not right now.”  There are people all over the world taking a stand for Jesus Christ and doing what the Lord asks them to do, trusting completely in His plan, His word, His supply and His grace.  Giving up everything worldly to pursue the plan He has laid out for them.  So why do some of us not do what He has asks us to do?  Is it money, is it family, is it fear of the unknown, is it lack of faith and trust?  I’ll step out and answer this question on my behalf and the answer is yes to all of the above.  How about you?  What’s stopping you from following the Lord’s plans for your life?

Noah listened to the Lord, trusted His word and did what He was asked to do.  I’m quite sure the Lord’s plan for you doesn’t involve building an ark, but it is likely just as impactful in an eternal perspective.

Think about this.  If you were 18 years old again and had your entire life ahead of you; no job, no bills, no house payment, no car payment, no obligations.  What would you do if the Lord said, “Come and follow me”?  Now realizing that you likely do have obligations, bills, a job and a house payment; how much more complicated is it to follow the Lord’s calling?  Should it be, or does this say we actually trust ourselves more than we trust God.  In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says these words - “follow me” - 7 different times.  If you are wondering what God’s plan is for your life, I think this is a good place to start. 

Heavenly Father,
I hear Your call on my life.  I desire to follow Your call, but my humanity and worldly views are getting in the way.  Please help me to overcome my desires to fully embrace Your plans for me.  I want to do Your will and serve You with all that I have.  I give You the glory, in Your name I pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Water the Spirit

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” – James 1:22

We are all familiar with the phrase “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.”  Much can be drawn from such a simple statement, as it pertains to life.  We are constantly bombarded with information and data from the internet, the news media and the water cooler.  Some of it is true and can be traced back to facts, but the majority of it is here say, and biased interpretations of the facts and some is just bold face lies to mislead others for one reason or another.  We have all become accustom to the instant answer.  With so much information at our fingertips, we are looking for the quickest route to data, so we can move on to other things in life.  Many have completely forgotten how to do research, verify facts and follow through with learning about something rather than just knowing about it.

Do you know the difference between knowledge and wisdom?  It all comes down to critical thinking, and seeking depth rather than surface level knowledge.  When someone tells you something, you have gained knowledge on that subject.  That knowledge represents the opinion of someone else, and their interpretation and biasness is woven into the data.  It isn’t until you take the time to learn about the particular topic, read, study and gain a deeper understanding that you have gained wisdom on the topic.  So many people are to busy to actually spend the time to learn about something and have become complacent in life.

The same thing applies to your walk with God.  The Holy Word of God is filled with information about who God is, why He is, where He is and how to reach Him.  To each individual the word becomes alive in different ways and must be learned at a different pace.  It is not sufficient to simply see a scripture and take the learnings and teachings of another as the depth of God’s word for you.  You must take the time to read, learn and study it for yourself.  The scriptures apply to your daily life in a way that is unique in many ways.  Certainly, there are the common places where it’s black and white and fully comprehended in the same manner by all; but the meat of the scriptures is intended to be personal between you and God.

I recommend that you take this part of your life seriously and spend the time each day to learn all that you can from God’s word.  There is nothing more important than strengthening your relationship with your creator: the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit.  I realize it’s daunting if you are just starting out.  That’s okay, here’s a tip to get you going.  There are generally 31 days in a month and there are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs.  Why don’t you start with one book a day?  You can also take any one of the Daily Devotionals that come out each day, grab the scripture verse and then read the chapter from which it came to get the full context of the verse.  Have a notepad by your side and simply jot down the thoughts that come to mind while you read through His Word. 

Grow in your daily walk with Christ, and you will soon find that your relationship with Him becomes stronger and your thoughts are soon transformed towards righteousness, love and grace.  I pray that you will take this step in your walk and seek wisdom from the bible, rather than surface level knowledge.  Take the initiative and dedicate the time to the most important part of your life, the results have an eternal impact.  Be blessed.
Heavenly Father,
You are awesome in all ways.  You have given me life and the opportunity to share Your love with millions.  I am thankful for Your grace and loving mercy to receive me into Your fold.  Help me to grow in my wisdom and understanding of Your word that others might see Your glory through me.  I lift You up in praise and worship, in Your name I pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm Good Enough

“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit”  Titus 3:5

“But I’m a good person, and have always helped other people.  Surely, if there is a heaven, God will let me in.”  I have heard this or some derivative of this numerous times throughout my life.  Many people believe that if they are good enough, God will be impressed by their work and open the gates to heaven.  There is this belief that we can make it to heaven on our own goodness, truthfulness and righteousness.  Nothing could be farther from the truth based on the Word of God.

I don’t care who you are; Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, the Dali Lama, Bill Gates, the Pope, the President, Prince William or Princess Kate; you are not worthy of heaven.  You’re not.  God demands perfection for entry into heaven, and not one of us is perfect in every way.  Our thoughts, our actions, our attitude, our charity, our service, our health, our worldly beliefs, our lusts, our addictions are all areas where we fall short of perfection in one way or another.  Your best 15 seconds, where you are your most holy and righteous in actions and prayer, are still filthy rags in the eyes of the Lord.  Only one has lived the perfect life, and that is Jesus Christ (God Incarnate).  From the moment of His conception, by the Holy Spirit within the womb of a virgin, through His life of love, mercy and miracles; to His death on the cross, burial and His resurrection; Jesus Christ lived within the perfection of God the Father’s design.

Therefore, He alone has created a bridge between our sinful existence and God’s required perfection.  Your life can be filled with philanthropic and missionary work for the homeless, the hurting and the hungry, and you will have done amazing things for other people.  Yet still, without accepting Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, you will not enjoy the splendors of God’s eternity.  All of the greatest karma, incantations and well doing will only make you happy in this life, but leave you completely empty for eternity.  In God’s Holy Word we read;
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”  Matthew 7:21-23
In Matthew 19:16-25 we find a rich young man asking Jesus, “What must I do to get eternal life?”  Jesus replied with, “..there is only One who is good.  Follow the 10 commandments… then sell all you have, give to the poor and come follow me.”  We cannot do enough good works to get to heaven, we must decide to follow Jesus Christ and rely solely on His righteousness and the grace of God the Father to enter into His Kingdom.  One day you will stand in judgment before the Father in heaven.  With Jesus by your side, He will testify of your acceptance and belief in His sacrifice, and because of this, usher you into eternity with God the Father.  I fear for those who stand before the Lord alone, without accepting Jesus Christ.  For despite their goodness, kindness, and righteous efforts, their fate will be eternity in the pit of fire.

Lord of All Creation
You have made it clear in Your Holy Word, that only those who believe in Jesus Christ will be saved.  Our righteousness, goodness and loving acts are insufficient for entry into Your perfect heaven.  I ask for Your mercy and grace to flow through me that others might come into Your glory and accept Your Son as their Savior and Lord.  In Your name we pray – Amen
©Sondove Enterprises, 2011