Monday, November 28, 2011

Who's Looking Up to You?

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"Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king."  - 1 Peter 2:17

I want you to think back over the span of your life. Perhaps that's 20 years, perhaps it's 70. In this time frame you have had the opportunity to observe others behaviors, character, integrity and life story. Right now I want you to picture the single person who influenced your life with goodness in these areas. Can you see that person, is your memory drifting back to a time when that person impacted your life. Perhaps they were a coach, a pastor, a teacher, a friend, a parent or friend's parent, or perhaps someone more distant like the President or civil leader. Ask yourself this one question - "Did you respect that person?"

Now, I want you to do something similar and picture the single person who brought you down, disrespected you, lacked character or integrity and seemed infatuated with causing you pain. Can you see that person, his/her face. Ask yourself this one question - "Can I forgive that person?"

We are told in 1 Peter to respect everyone, love your brother, fear God and to honor the king. Why is it that we have a hard time respecting and loving others? I believe it comes down to the scale we place them on. When we look at someone’s character and life story through our own eyes it is easy to see their faults and weaknesses compared to what we know goodness and righteousness should look like. If we held up a mirror though would we use the same measuring stick against our own life. Perhaps we should try to see them through God's eyes.

Now, I ask you, "Can God love someone even if that person is unlovable?" (eg. person #2 above) I think you would agree with me that the answer is pretty obvious yes. The second part of the question then is "Do you believe God loves that person as much as He loves you?" We learn through the teachings of Paul, Peter and John that Jesus Christ died for the redemption of all man's sins. Not for some, not for only the good ones or the little ones, but All. Who are we to try and put judgment and hierarchy against the sins of man. By doing so we are basically stating that God's love and forgiveness has limitations as to how much sin He is willing to forgive. This is a dangerous slope that many will use to their benefit and continue to sin, knowing that God will forgive.

Now that's just downright disrespectful to God and Jesus Christ directly. To this person I simply ask them to consider the wrath of God and to seriously fear it. For in Matthew we learn that many will cry out, "Lord, Lord open the door, and Jesus will reply, I do not even know you." Do not fear God my brother or sister. If you are anything like me, you need to fear yourself and your inability or lack of desire to conform your sinful nature. It is a daily commitment and discipline to walk upright and be worthy of the respect of others. For do not forget that as you are looking up to and respecting your peers and leaders, others are looking up to and respecting you. Live a life that is worthy of their respect and discerning eye.
- Rich

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Fear Not

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“The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” – 1 Kings 19:11

What are you afraid of?
Seriously, do you believe that your situation is beyond the help of God, Almighty?

Life is difficult, but the Lord is the Creator of all things.  He is your rock and fortress in times of trouble.  We need not fear anything that mankind puts in our way, if our hope is in the Lord.  Satan will use fear to cause you to question God’s love for you, and to challenge your faith in His presence in your life. Fear not, for God never leaves your side or turns His back on you.  We face burdens and challenges to strengthen our faith and build more trust in Him as our provider and comforter.

Take a look at
1 Kings 18:16 and 19:31, Elijah, the only remaining prophet of the Lord at that time faces over 450 prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel.  All other prophets of God had been killed by King Ahab and Jezebel.  After several hours of calling on their gods of Baal to send fire to light their sacrifice, nothing happens.  Elijah, builds an alter and sacrifice, pours water on the wood to the point of saturation, then prays for the Lord’s glory and anointing on the people that day.   He asks the Lord for fire from heaven and the Lord strikes fire to the altar, and immediately the 450 prophets of Baal fall prostrate and recognize God as Lord.  Elijah then proceeds to kill all of them, and send a message of God’s power to Ahab and Jezebel. Then we see Jezebel’s response threatening Elijah’s very life, sending him running with fear into the wilderness.  

What had happened to this mighty prophet of the Lord?  Where had his confidence and courage gone?  How could he fear for his life less than 24 hours after slaughtering 450 prophets of Baal?  In the wilderness Elijah comes face to face with the Lord to receive strength, courage and the resolve to continue forward on his purpose for the Lord.  In 1 Kings 19:15-18, God informs Elijah that there are many prophets to come in the future days, ensuring him that he is not alone.  He comes to Elijah on that mountain in a gentle whisper of love, comfort and peace, to strengthen Elijah and give him a conquerors perspective.  Elijah leaves that mountain revitalized to carry on and continue his purpose in the Lord.

We all get off track.  Even the greatest prophets and messengers of the Lord had fear, weakness and struggled with the evil of mankind.  Look at Adam, Moses, Elijah, David, Joseph, Abraham, Peter and Paul and you find each of them challenged along their path.  You serve the same Almighty God that they served, and His love and strength is as plentiful for you today as it was for them.  You must come to the point in your life where you give up control and trust in His power, love and purpose.  Today is that day.  Give your worries and concerns over to God and hear His word for renewal and strength to carry on.

Almighty God,
You alone are worthy of our praise and worship.  You alone can provide our strength, courage and purpose.  You alone can overcome any struggle we face today.  You alone can calm our fears and help us see through our worries and concerns.  We bring our burdens to You today because it is too much for us to carry.  We are pressed beyond our capacity and call upon You for our help, Lord.  Give us the heart of a conqueror and overcomer to take on the challenges that mankind place before us.  We trust and hope in You alone as our provider.  In Jesus name we pray – Amen.
© Sondove Enterprises, 2011
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Real Deal

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“And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them.”  – Luke 21:8

Walking along the streets of Beverly Hills it is not uncommon to see someone famous, or someone who closely resembles someone famous.  Actors and actresses are often found shopping along Rodeo drive or checking out the nightlife along the Sunset Strip in Hollywood.  Many times though they are mingling right alongside of the tourists without even being noticed.  Without makeup and an entourage of paparazzi and body guards, most of us would not even recognize them walking down the street.  Then there are the times when we catch ourselves asking, “Was that so and so….” or “I think that’s …….”  We recognize them even without the makeup and fan fare.

Jesus tells us clearly in the scriptures that when He returns, there will be no need for us to try and recognize Him.  There will be no reason for Him to tell us who He is.  Those who have developed a relationship with Jesus Christ will know without even questioning when He returns.  In
Matthew 24:23-27 – Jesus tells us that many will come proclaiming to be the Christ, or many will tell us to go here or there because Christ has returned.  Yet, Christ Himself states, “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”  We are assured that His second coming will not be something that will be missed by those who know Him.

The key is to know Him.  This is accomplished through a daily walk with the Savior.  Reading the scriptures, studying them, finding quiet times with God to explore the unanswered questions you have, and learn of His ways.  God sent Jesus Christ as the living sacrifice, so that we might enter into His presence.  Study Christ’s life, understand His passion for peace, justice and loving others.  Grasp the principals of Jesus ministry to serve others and to serve God at the same time.  It is your responsibility to pursue God, He has already opened the door, there is nothing more that needs to be done other than your choice to receive His grace.

Heavenly Father,
I stand before You convicted of my unrighteousness, guilty of sin in my life and the desires of my flesh.  I lay down my sins before You with thanksgiving and peace knowing that You alone can wash them away.  I long for the day of Your return and stand for the truth of Your Word.  I trust in Your promise of returning one day, to draw us to be with You in heaven for eternity, and I pray for those who are falling prey to the deception of the false prophets and evil-doers who come claiming to be You.  Let these people find Your truth and call upon You for their salvation, not upon mankind.  In Jesus name I pray – Amen.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2011
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

See the Big Picture

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“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” –Psalm 46:1

We’re all looking for answers, challenging the status quo and pushing back against the system, less we become complacent and devoid of emotion in this tumultuous world.  There are people in the streets and on the rooftops demanding to be heard.  There are those that are fed up with the injustice of the bureaucracy and being suppressed under someone else’s control.  When it all comes down to it – people want freedom, justice and equality.  But what does this mean?  Does equality mean that every person is entitled to the same results regardless of their contribution to the outcome?  Does equality mean that everyone should receive the same reward without the sacrifice, hard work and commitment?  If this were true, at what point does equality cease and entitlement begin?

There are people fighting in cities all over the globe for equality between the haves and the have nots.  Yet, there are tens (if not hundreds) of millions of people living in true oppression in Haiti, Africa, the Far East and remote areas of the world.  If those with roofs over their heads and food on their table consider themselves subjugated by the system, then what do we say to those people in the world that have absolutely nothing at all?

It’s easy to blame others for our circumstances in life, it’s much more difficult to look in the mirror and realize that we have been given everything we need to change our position and yet we have squandered it.  Our Creator has given each of us the strength, ability and wisdom to be change agents in this life.  Change for His Kingdom, and the equality that means something in eternity.  He is our strength in times of trouble, if we are willing to trust Him with our problems.  This is difficult though.  We want to be in control, able to solve our own problems in a very visible and reactive manner.  It’s human nature to root cause the problem and solve it when possible.  God’s timeline very seldom aligns with ours, when it comes to solving problems and overcoming fears in life.  We have become conditioned by this fast paced internet and global society to want answers now.  Solve the problem and move on is the belief of most.

God’s view is eternal.  His perspective is less focused on the minute hand and much more on the millennium.  Think about it this way.  Let’s say there is a 3/4” diameter rope that is tied to a pole in Houston, Texas and the other end were somehow connected to the Moon (384,403 km away). You lay a penny on the end closest to the pole in Texas, balanced delicately so as not to fall off.  The penny represents your life on earth, in the flesh, from birth to death.  The rest of the rope represents the eternal time you have with God in heaven.  God’s plan of salvation is designed to give you this eternal life one day.  The brief moment that we are upon this planet seems to pre-occupy the minds of the masses, when in all honesty it is nothing more than a microscopic point on God’s timeline.

We need to shift our focus away from the inequalities of this world and learn to trust in God to get us through this life on our way to join with Him in heaven one day.  We spend so much time trying to solve the corruptness of this world, without taking into consideration that it can never be made peaceful, pure and just.  God promises these things in the New Jerusalem when the battle on this earth has been completed.  Live justly and righteous as God has taught you, do not trust in mankind’s ability to solve these problems, but trust only in Him who has your eternal life in His hand.

Heavenly Father,
You have given us a heart of compassion, a sense of right and wrong, and a desire to bring justice and equality to all mankind.  Help us to use this passion and desire to bring others closer to a relationship with You.  Thank You for making me just who I am, filled with Your love and driven to make a change in the world that impacts Your Kingdom.  I remain focused on the eternal timeline and less on the daily calendar, but help me Lord to bring this perspective to others who are struggling day to day.  Be a provider for them, that their needs are met and they might find comfort and peace until You usher in the New Kingdom.  In Jesus name I pray – Amen.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2011
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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Well Done

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“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!... “ – Matthew 25:23a

Imagine walking up to the pearly gates one day. There's St Peter. and looking through the gate you see Paul with Isaac, Abraham and Moses, here comes John (the beloved), and there's Billy Graham and Mother Teresa. Peter motions for you to come this way, down a hall to your right before you enter the gates of heaven. At the end of the hall is a large white throne, blinding in it's aura. Rising from the throne is Jesus Christ himself, holding out his scarred hands. He takes your hand and you feel the scar tissue rubbing against your palms. He looks into your eyes with unbelievable love, leans down and whispers in your ear, "Follow me, but don't say a word."

He leads you to a staircase that rises almost endlessly and effortlessly you follow His lead up the 100's of stairs, blinded by the light at the top. Finally you step off of the top step onto a golden platform. There are two figures standing in front of you, one Satan and the other the Almighty God - shining in all of His glory. Satan claps his hands the room darkens and his screeching voice laughs and says - "roll the tape of this one's pitiful life." The countdown begins - 5 - 4 - your nerves on end, your becoming embarrassed, knowing what's going to be shown - 3 - tears rolling down your cheeks, your weak and trembling as you fall to your knees - 2 - squeezing your Savior's hand - 1 -

The film rolls and it is you as a baby, giggling for the first time, then learning to walk, then laughing and learning to talk, ride a bike and hit a ball...there you are at church, singing worship songs and there you are at 13 getting baptized. That's weird you think to yourself, I didn't remember seeing a dove that day. Your graduation, your first kiss, the perfect score you got on that Physics test. Then your grandpa's funeral, and who is that image next to you holding you close, propping you up. Your wedding, and your baby girl...the tears filling your eyes as you see your baby talking with angels in the hospital room....

Satan screams as the film continues, clapping his hands for the lights to turn back on, but no response. The film shows all the joys, wonders and peace of your life. Satan turns to come toward you, lunging with his pitchfork. "You are mine, now come with me." Christ steps between you and he. Satan's pitchfork goes right through Christ's heart and His white robe releases a single drop of blood which drips onto your hand. As it does, you are transformed into the perfect image of Christ, risen from the grave. Satan screeches and falls from the golden platform as you rise to your feet, alone in front of your Creator. God opens His arms and you hear His voice for the first time, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter My kingdom with thanksgiving." The door to your left opens and there stands Peter next to an open gate. Christ and the others cheer and high fiving, hugging and singing praises as you descend the golden pathway into heaven.
Make no mistake about it, the day will come when you stand before Your Creator.  Revelation 20:11-12 talks of the Great White Throne judgment happening right after one’s death.  Heaven or Hell, this is the only decision that will come from this judgment, there is no deliberating, no jury, no evidence – only God Almighty and the Book of Life.
Heavenly Father,
Your word is clear, there is one and only one way to receive eternal life with You in heaven, through a belief in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  No condemnation, no guilt, no shame – the blood of the Lamb will cleanse my filthiness.  Your grace allows me and my imperfections to be made whole once again and to stand blameless and perfect in Your presence.  I long for the day to hear Your words say; “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  In Jesus name we pray – Amen.
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You Veterans!

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Thank You Veterans!

"The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them. " - Proverbs 11:3

To all of you who are veterans, I want to take this moment to personally thank you for the freedom that you fought so hard to provide for me and my family. We walk in the best country in the world, and you were responsible for making this country what it is today. It is my prayer for you and your family that you find peace and comfort in your life here at home.

I think about the heroes that have stood up for America, with integrity, courage and bravery. In the face of danger and the difficult decisions that must be made on the front lines, they stand there, ready to fall for the country and people they love. Integrity is defined as "adherance to moral and ethical principles; moral character and honesty". Other's might define it as "doing what's right in the eyes of God, despite what your enemies or peers say is right."

Walking with integrity takes commitment, diligence and a confidence in your beliefs and the underlying truth of those beliefs. Hard decisions face each of us every day, and choosing to stand upright for God's truth will always lead you down a path of righteousness. Falling prey to the political correctness and tolerance will lead you away from righteousness. Proverbs 11:3, clearly states God's plans for you to follow when faced with these decisions. Like our armed service veterans stood with integrity for this countries foundational truths, we need to stand for the truth in our lives.
- Rich

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Time to Step Up

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“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” -1 Timothy 6:11

Walk straight and keep your eyes focused on the obstacles coming your way.  Your path will not be easy, but it will be fulfilling, for the Lord your God will guide your feet and bring you through the onslaught of those who intend you harm.  Hold fast to His wisdom, truth and courage and realize that in His sovereignty, He is in control of all things.

To be a man or woman of God, means to walk with integrity, strength and courage founded only in the truth of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.  When the world presses down upon the weak, they bend and conform, but when it presses down upon the righteous they stand firm and defend the Lord.

We are not perfect, nor can we be.  Only God is perfect, displayed through the life of His Son – Jesus Christ.  We are charged though, to be righteous and holy in our actions, knowing right from wrong, good from evil and truth from deception.  We are told in scripture that the world will hate us (
John 15:18) for our beliefs and because the prince of this world (Satan) is intent on destroying God’s love for mankind.  In the face of evil we have no strength in our own flesh, but only through the wisdom and faith in the Lord above. 

Hold on to the values that drew you to the Lord and remind yourself daily that you belong to the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth.  In Him, and only in Him will you find peace and rest from your daily battles.  Be the man or woman of God that you were called to be.  Amen
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Come, Follow Me

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“But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”- John 16:7

Have you ever considered what it would have been like to walk with Christ for that brief 2 years of His ministry.  There was no limit as too how much the disciples would learn from Him and no end to the confidence that they must have been filled with.  Knowing that they were in the presence of the Messiah, in the flesh, must have been overwhelming to most of them as it would be today.  Imagine that Jesus Christ walked the earth today.  Wouldn’t you seek Him out and want to walk with Him, wherever He was going?  I would not hesitate to pack my things, put my family on a plane and go to wherever He was preaching.  Think about it for just a moment.  Joyce Meyers, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Brian Houston and the 100’s of incredible Ministers, Preachers and Christian Music artists fill an auditorium with ten to twenty thousand people every weekend.  How many more would show up if the one and only Son of God were preaching on stage?  I propose you couldn’t build an auditorium large enough.  We are all that thirsty for the opportunity to connect with the Savior of the World. 

That’s just it though.  We want to connect, but do we want to commit? In
Matthew 19:21. Jesus told the rich man, “First, go and sell all that you have, then come and follow me.”  The rich man went away rejected and saddened, knowing that he could not give up everything he had worked so hard to accumulate.  Peter, John, James, Andrew, Paul, Matthew and Mark are all examples of those who left everything they had to follow the Messiah.  Would we be so willing today?  Does God ask us too?

Jesus Christ promised He would return one day to draw up to Him those who have accepted His salvation. (
1 Thes. 4:17)  We do not have the privilege of walking this earth side by side with Jesus Christ in the flesh.  But, we often fail to realize that we are walking daily with Christ through the Holy Spirit.  He brought the Holy Spirit to live within each of us until He returns.  Why?  Why was this such an important part of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ?  You see, I propose that Jesus knew, with incredible depth, the hearts and weaknesses of mankind, that He knew we would be lost without God’s presence personally.  The Holy Spirit is completely God, completely Jesus Christ and lives in you.  Yes – in your heart, if you have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. 

This Holy Spirit provides the same love, grace, mercy, strength, courage, wisdom, direction, guidance and passion that Christ in the flesh gave to the 1st century AD people of Israel.  We must come to the awareness and acceptance that we are walking with God in every part of our life and that this Holy Spirit is here as our helper just as Christ was for the disciples.  Quit looking here or there for Jesus Christ and look within for the Holy Spirit, whom Christ gave to you until His return.  Experience the purpose of following Christ without having to travel around the world to do it.  Choose to live out the call upon your life to follow Him, and just do it.

Heavenly Father,
Thank You for the Holy Spirit dwelling within my heart.  Thank You for providing a comforter, counselor and helper to guide my life in line with Your desires.  Help me to remain righteous and to understand how best I might serve You through my life.  Holy Spirit speak to me in ways that only You can, and help me find peace in serving You wholeheartedly.
In Jesus name I pray – Amen.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Always Look Up

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“With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God." -Mark 10:27

If you stand at the base of Mount Everest and look to the sky, you will see the challenging 29,029 feet summit reflecting the bright sun.  If in winter you will see the chilling winds blowing the ice and snow as if a volcano had just erupted.  The jagged rocks edge and the ice covered terrain create a fear of unknown and danger to the onlooker.  But in 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary, looked up at this magnificent wonder from the creator of the universe and ascended to the summit, along with Tenzing Norgay.  Together they rejoiced in the accomplishment and buried a cross and a few sweets at the top in remembrance.  They had accomplished something that had been tried many times for the 30 years prior, yet had never been done. People had died in their attempts, and some had successfully made it back down to tell the stories that it could never be done.  Today, there are groups of 40 at a time that reach the summit, alongside the help of trained expert Nepali Sherpa’s, and lots of oxygen tanks.

What is your Mount Everest?  You don’t have to travel to Tibet to take on the unfathomable task.  Remember, “You cannot climb a mountain without looking up.” (Rich Palmer)  There are things in your life everyday that have you at a point of despair and ready to give up.  Finances, health, relationships, rebellious children or even the large task at the office.  God is an ever present source of answers in your life and through the Holy Spirit is engaged in your daily activities and decisions.  Turn these big challenges over to the Creator of the Universe, with a humble heart and desire for Him to take control.  It may not be accomplished in a day or two, because in many cases it is a learning experience for you and those around you.  But, God hears your prayers and will carry it through in His timing.  We see in Philippians 4:19, “my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus”  You need to trust and have faith in this word from the Lord.

Prayer:Heavenly Father,
Thank You for Your love and Your all powerful spirit within each of us.  Thank you for guiding our footsteps in the way of your will that we might have the opportunity to impact the lives of others for Your name’s sake.  Let this prayer fall within Your will for my life, as I lift my struggles to You fully knowing that You can handle all things.  I humble myself before You and look to follow Your ways in dealing with this situation, for it is bigger than I am able to handle.  Lord, bless me as Your servant and show me the way through this circumstance that is within Your will.  In Your name I pray - Amen

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

We Need to Focus

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“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” – Proverbs 19:21
Working late, again.  Time is precious and they are only little for a few years.  The day will come when they walk out the front door, get in their car and drive off to their own life.  We all realize the consequence of spending less time with our children and more time on the job, yet we still keep doing it.  There was a song in the 70’s from Harry Chapin title “Cats in the Cradle” about a man who was too busy to spend time with his son and then loses the opportunity when his son grows up.  Casting Crowns wrote a few years back titled, “American Dreams” about a man who pursues his own dreams with the excuse of providing for his family; and all the while his family crumbles around him.

We have allowed our life to become so busy that it becomes secondary to try and squeeze the kids in somewhere along the way.  Time management has become a major challenge in life because we aren’t willing to put our own plans aside to focus on the important things in life that align with God’s purpose. Have we truly become too preoccupied for the most important job we have in life ? – raising our children to love God. 
God has laid out a plan for your life that is centered around loving Him and sharing His love with others, including your spouse and children.  There are 86,200 seconds in a day and we can’t have more, regardless of how many times we ask.  Think about the fact that a good nights sleep should be 7 to 8 hours (25,200 to 28,800 seconds) and we work for 11 hours (including commute ~ 39,600 seconds) we have 5 to 6 hours left to share with the family.  This model hasn’t changed in hundreds if not thousands of years.  How we spend these precious 5 to 6 hours has though.

Bills, errands, kids activities, shopping, television, the internet, email and even working when we get home have become the norm for these few hours we have to spend with our family.  What are we prioritizing?  It’s time to look inward and ask if we are truly focusing on the most important things in life, or are we just going through the paces.  Don’t get caught up in the pressure of living to the world’s expectations for you, and start living to God’s expectations.  Peace is possible if you are willing to make some difficult time management decisions.  It’s your life, not theirs and God wants your focus on His plans.  What will you choose?

Heavenly Father,
Forgive me Lord for allowing my time to be consumed by the world’s choices.  You have outlined the purpose and plan for my life before I was even conceived.  Holy Spirit, I call upon You to help me focus on God’s plan and live within peace in knowing that I am prioritizing the right things to expand His kingdom.  Help me to realize what is wasteful and live to bring my family and loved ones closer to You.  I trust in Your plan for my life and look to live with a bigger purpose.  Thank You.  In Jesus name I pray – Amen.

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Friday, November 4, 2011

It Takes Trust

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“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” – Revelation 21:4

(c) Micheal T. Sedam/Corbis
 In all of the libraries around the world there are books upon books upon books around self-healing and the importance for releasing emotions that are bottled up inside of us.  The process of anger management involves calming oneself to a point where the emotion is removed from a situation and the choices become logical and objective.  Let’s face it, each of us hold onto hurt feelings, bitterness, anger and fear much longer than we should, and it’s not healthy physically or spiritually.

Yet, in all of these libraries, there is nothing in any of these books that tells us how to remove the grieving process from our heart and mind.  We all realize the fact that everyone eventually dies.  There are estimated 155,000 deaths every day around the globe.  Even though we know it, it is nearly impossible to prepare for the emotional roller coaster that comes along with the loss of a family member, loved one or close friend.  The mind is bombarded with wonderful, joyful memories of the times spent together, and the little things that made that person unique.  Moments later the heart is overwhelmed with grief and longing for more time to say the things never said, do the things that had been promised and just spend more quality time together.  We miss them, and the realization that it is final compounds the longing that is held within.  This is natural and recorded in history as far back as mankind exists. 

God created us to love one another and to love Him.  This love between family, close friends and loved ones runs deeper than the surface love of mankind.  Wrapped up in this love is a bond between hearts that when separated cause us to feel emptiness inside.  We need to realize that the love God gave us to share with others is only scratching the surface of the enormous love He has for us.  Your Creator knows exactly what you are going through when you are grieving the loss of a loved one.  He created you, He know your feelings, emotions and pain.  He is the one to turn to for comfort during this process.  So many times, people will turn away from God during this process out of anger and bitterness; rather than drawing nearer to Him for understanding and comfort.  The pain and emptiness inside can be filled by His love and His peace if we allow it to happen.

I heard the advice of another once that has stuck with me, “It’s important to thank God for the times you had with this person, rather than struggle over the times you missed out on.”  Time is not present in eternity.  There are no alarm clocks, day timers or meeting notices in heaven.  We will reunite with our loved ones without any fear of separation ever again.  Revelations tells us there will be a new heaven and a new earth, with no pain, suffering or evil.  We will not sin in heaven, we will not fear death and there will be no tears.  God will be present amongst us, and in His perfection, all unrighteousness will be gone – envy, greed, pride, jealousy . . . . the list goes on.  We will walk in perfect peace with our loved ones forever and ever.  It is hard to imagine because we have no ability to understand what a world would be like without fear, pain or emotional tension.  To understand the love of God and the fact that we will be enveloped in this love is beyond human comprehension, but we learn in scripture that we are to trust in this love to get us through this life, even though we don’t understand it.

It’s important to grieve and relish in the memories of our loved ones that have passed away, but do not allow Satan to steal the joy of God’s promise for eternity from your heart.  It is truly a joyous occasion for the believer who has passed away, to be embraced by Jesus Christ as the angels celebrate and welcome them home.  In the grieving process, try to find a way to also celebrate with them as well, it is an important part of the healing process.

Heavenly Father,
We love You Lord.  Thank You for the assurance that heaven is filled with joy, peace and praises.  Help us to find this peace through our grieving process as we battle with the emotions of losing a loved one.  We trust in Your word that we will be reunited with them one day and we hold dear to this promise as we cope with the longing within our hearts.  Ease the pain and longing Lord with comfort, peace and love from Your Holy Spirit.  Fill us with Your peace to see our way through this process, which only You can do. In Jesus name we pray – Amen.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2011
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Take A Stand

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“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong”- 1 Corinthians 16:13
I went and saw a movie the other night called “Courageous”.  I won’t give away the story, but I must say it was a very inspirational movie that caused me to reflect on who I am and what I’m doing with my life.  It’s a great movie about what it means to be a father in today’s world, and challenges every man to step up his game, take responsibility and to lead in his household and the welfare of his children.  I highly recommend it to those of you who are Dad’s or going to be.

What does it mean to stand with courage?
  - Honor God
  - Faithful
  - Integrity
  - Honesty
  - Moral character
  - Trust
  - Do the right thing, regardless of others opinions
  - Stand up for what you believe in

These are just a few things that come to my mind when I think about what it means.  The life we live is very fast paced, by choices we have made.  We have an endless supply of information and means to communicate through a variety of devices.  We have become tethered to our electronic world to the point where we spend less time in actual conversation with those around us than we do with those in ether.  There are over 900 stations on my TV for every possible thing you might want to see at any given moment.  If we are not cautious we easily could find ourselves becoming addicted to these distractions and less mindful of our family and loved ones.

Paul writes to those in Corinth to be on their guard, faithful, courageous and strong in the face of adversity and temptations.  It is no different today, nearly 2000 years later.  Sure the distractions, temptations and attacks of the evil one have changed, but we are no less prone to be pulled away than these early churches were.  Life is about the moments, not the milestones.  We are all guilty of looking for the next big moment in life, when thousands of little moments are passing us by one at a time.

Don’t allow the distractions of life pull you away from the important moments in life.  Loving God, your spouse, your children, your family and friends is important.  Our joy in life is stolen when we aren’t paying attention or become complacent in seeking out the important things in life.  I know I have allowed the busyness of life to steal my joy at times, and it takes me away from those that are important; including God.  Standing firm in our faith with courage and strength requires that we be conscientious about what is important.  You need to take the first step and discover those things in your life that are distracting you from what’s really important.  I assure you, chatting, texting and surfing 900 channels are not the things that will be left as your legacy one day; but the love, courage and faith that you demonstrate and live out will.  It’s time to make a stand.

Heavenly Father,
Give us Your wisdom, guidance and courage to stand for the things that are good, wholesome and righteous in this life.  Help us to break the addictions of being caught up in the world’s view and focus on the things that matter in life.  We long to do the right thing and spread Your love to others. In Jesus name we pray – Amen.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2011
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

An Immeasurable Distance

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“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
“He did what?  Seriously.  Man he’s going straight to hell for that one.”
I overheard a man on the phone saying this.  It caused me to stop and think about how great our God is.  So many of us walk through this life harboring guilt, shame and feelings of unworthiness because of something we have done or something we have said in the past.  The bible is clear in Romans 3:23 – ”for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”  We are not alone in our acts of unrighteousness in this world.  But that alone does not condemn us. 

Do you believe that Jesus Christ lived?
Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on a cross as a sacrifice for mankind’s sin?
Do you believe that Jesus Christ rose again on the 3rd day to take away the sins of all mankind forever more?
Do you believe that Jesus Christ is your personal Savior and Lord?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, then why do you hold onto the feelings of unworthiness in life?  If you, like me, believe these to be true, then you must accept that His redeeming blood and the grace of God the Father is sufficient for any sin you have committed.  For if it is only sufficient for some of the sins, but not all; then it is insufficient for all.  Jesus didn’t die on a cross and rise from the grave so some of mankind’s sins could be forgiven.  If you are harboring guilt or shame over something in your past, do not hesitate another moment, but take it directly to the Lord for forgiveness.  Right this minute.

When I was a boy we used to take a rubber ball and bounce it off of the garage door.  The harder we threw it, the harder it would come right back at us.  Now take that same rubber ball, walk to the top of a hill and throw it as far as you can.  You will not see that ball again unless you go looking for it.  God’s word promises that your sins will be cast as far as the East is from the West (
Psalm 103:12).  The last time I looked at a map, this is an immeasurable distance.  Therefore your sins will never be thought of again, and no longer condemn you from the grace of our Lord.  You have to trust in the fullness of His grace and love, and upon forgiveness, repent and turn away from this sin.  Do not go looking for it once it has been cast away. 

Heavenly Father,
You are wonderful Lord, Holy and righteous.  Thank You for sending Your Son to die on a cross and bear the pain and suffering of my transgressions.  Thank You for Your loving grace that brings eternal peace and freedom to my life.  Help me to walk away from my sins and know that You have forgiven and forgotten them.  Give me strength and courage to avoid the temptation of these sins in the future.  In Jesus name I pray – Amen.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2011
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