Sunday, September 22, 2013

Just a Little Help

Read It, Learn It, Live It, Share It
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!" – Philippians 4:4

When the fire leaped over the highway and expanded the blaze to the fresh grass and forest, the firemen took a deep sigh and positioned their streams of water in that direction.  Wild fires know no boundaries, they seek to destroy and they destroy anything in their path.  They draw strength from their environment and accelerate through the heat generated by the very same coals that were once tall timbers.  Each year we see thousands if not millions of acres destroyed by wild fires in California, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona.  As the fire rages on, the very homes that are at risk are often times owned by the people holding the hoses and using the pick ax to stop the inferno.

In September 2011, in Bastrop, Texas there were wild fires that burned for over a month, destroying over 34 thousand acres and 1,645 homes.  Many of those homes were the homes of the fire department volunteers from that area, who were putting their lives on the line to save the homes of other individuals while their very own homes burnt to the ground.  One woman firefighter, Mizzy Zdroj, was fighting fires for days on end, and coming home to check on her own house which was right in the line of fires cutting through the countryside.  She left one morning knowing that her home was in danger of being hit that day, but she went to work regardless.  Her home was destroyed that day, while she was fighting to save other neighbors homes and she lost everything. 

Her story became known to the folks at Extreme Home Makeover, and with volunteers from the neighborhoods around Bastrop, they came together and built the Zdroj family a brand new home by the end of December 2011, 2 months after the devastation.  The hearts, the love, and the commitment of hundreds of people gave back to Mizzi, because Mizzi had given so much to them.  In the face of tragedy, people came forth and joyously gave to others.  It was hard, it required sacrifice, but it was done out of love and joy.  The joy that comes from the Father above, expressed through His children, one to another.

When you see someone struggling, hurting and in pain; be that moment of joy in their life.  Take the time to reach out to them, to help, to love and to rebuild what they have lost.  They need to see the joy of the Lord expressed through His people.  That is our mission, that is our purpose; to be His hands and feet to those in need.
© Sondove Enterprises, 2013
For more Daily Thoughts go to:
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Friday, September 20, 2013

More than an Illusion

Read It, Learn It, Live It, Share It
“Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water.  “Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus." – Matthew 14:28-29
The art of illusion is to distract.  To force someone to follow their logical path of knowledge and understanding of physics, and then represent or appear to do something that contradicts that knowledge.  This leads the observing audience to believe the magician actually was able to defy logic and the unknown.  One of the most memorable “tricks” I have ever seen performed was David Copperfield walking through the Great Wall of China.  In the illusion he intends to draw the audience into believing that he can slow his molecular structure down enough to actually pass through the molecular structure of the stone, concrete and earth which makes up the great wall.  Of course the observer on television is watching the whole thing through an illuminated shadow displayed on a sheet.  We don’t actually see his physical body morph into something of a density able to pass through the wall.  But that’s the art of illusion, and after all it’s really for entertainment purposes.

That brings us to walking on water.  Illusionists have succeeded to demonstrate that it is very possible to walk on water.  Because of waters clear properties, a piece of glass or clear plastic can be placed just under the surface and be completely invisible to the viewer.  Yet to the magician, his feet are  strategically and perfectly placed on the translucent bridge, giving the illusion that he walks on water.  The New Testament account of Jesus walking on water, and the account here in Matthew of Peter walking on water was not an illusion though.  It was not for entertainment purposes, nor to misdirect the thoughts of those observing.  It was the act of obedience and faith demonstrating the power of the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth. 

God controls all elements.  He created them, knows where they have come from and where they are going.  The question Peter poses to Christ is his acknowledgement that everything is within Jesus control, even the density of the water molecules that are crashing against the boat he is in.  Peter doesn’t desire to walk on water to prove that he can and others can’t, but to prove that he fully trusts in the Lord’s divinity and power.  By saying to Jesus, “Tell me to come to you on the water.” he is seeking that which is within the will of the Lord, rather than his own heart.  Upon Jesus command and acceptance of Peter’s request, He issues one word, “Come.”  In that one word all of man’s knowledge becomes obsolete.  We know that physically it is impossible to walk on water.  That one word was able to put change in place to allow for the density of the water to uphold the mass and density of the human body.  By changing one or the other’s molecular structure for that instant in time, God demonstrates His incredible power over all things.

Peter must have stepped from that boat with complete faith that God can do all things, even allow him to walk on water, if God so chooses.  With complete faith in His Master’s control of the elements, he steps from the boat, thinking completely illogical.  As his foot presses upon the waves, his eyes are upon his Savior.  One foot in front of the other, each step demonstrating more and more to Peter that God can do all things.  But we all know the rest of the story.  I propose that the logical mind of Peter had to be battling the impossibility of what he was doing.  As he begins to think about what is happening rather than trusting in God’s ability, he begins to sink.  By shifting his focus from the power of God to the worldly thoughts and his humanity, Peter fell to his own fears.  In verse 30, we find Peter crying out to his Savior once again to “Save me!”  too which Jesus immediately did.  There was no I told you so, no condemnation.  He didn’t allow Peter to tread water for a while and reflect on his lack of faith.  No, Jesus immediately reached down and saved him. 

We each struggle daily trying to allow Jesus to work within our lives.  Trying to put aside our own thoughts and understanding of the world and allow Him to penetrate and take control.  When we have our eyes focused on our own path in life and our own knowledge of the world, we are destined to fall.  This story of Peter tells us that when we are following the call of the Lord, the opportunities for us to do the impossible is very real.  It is no longer our control of circumstances that make things happen, it becomes His omnipotence and sovereignty that allow us to do great things.  Like Peter though, we will always struggle with our own humanity and worldly things.  They are physical, logical and within our realm of understanding.  We have no ability to see the great things God has for us until we give up control to the One who can save us. 

Prayer:Almighty God,
You are awesome in all ways.  We do not have the ability to see Your majesty and the completeness of Your power without first seeking Your will in our life.  We read in Your word of the miracles and power of Your hand and stand amazed.  We glorify You in our praises and lift You up to be honored before all of mankind.  Help us to see Your plans for us and help us to look past our limited knowledge and understanding and embrace Your omnipotence beyond our humanity.  Through You we can do all things, and absent of You we will continue to struggle and need Your salvation.  Help us to trust in You now.  Amen
© Sondove Enterprises, 2013
For more Daily Thoughts go to:
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How bad was your day?

Read It, Learn It, Live It, Share It
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." – Matthew 5:11-12
 “ Church Destroyed as Attacks Against Christians Continue to Increase Across India.” (Sept. 17, 2013)
“NIGERIA: Five Christians killed in roadside ambush near Jos” (Sept 9, 2013)
We are taught in scripture to take the Good News to the world, this is the Great Commission of the Christian church.  Do not take the Great Commission; that the Lord has given you; lightly.  Realize that your brothers and sisters around the globe are putting their very lives on the line to spread the message of Jesus Christ.

As we roll over this morning to take on the challenges of the day, how complacent are we in light of the persecution of the church?  I for one am spoiled rotten in my life as a Christian.  Each morning I have the freedom to enjoy my morning with a cup of orange juice, a bowl of cereal, watch the news/sports or latest sermon series on TV, write my devotional and then head off in my car to an incredible job with a Fortune 50 company for the day.  I work in a nice, climate controlled office building with a cafeteria, coffee shop and all of the technology I could ever need.  Throughout the day I will have 2 to 5 casual conversations about Christ with other fellow Christians or those seeking prayer in their day, and then I come home to a beautiful family at night.  I enjoy freedoms and luxuries in my life that many in the world with never experience or fathom.  Yet I have the audacity to complain about the daily churn and difficulties of living for Christ in 2013.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the freedoms granted to me each day, but I often compare myself to those who are daily putting their lives on the line for the cause of Christ.  Those that are waking up each morning with nothing to do but spend the day evangelizing and spreading the Good News to people in their local area and around the globe if possible.  When I hear and think of those who are persecuted for claiming to be a Christian, or talking about Jesus Christ, or wearing a cross or carrying a bible; I can’t help but think that I am spoiled in my Christian walk.  It’s one thing to build a strong faith and relationship with the Savior of the World.  My morning quiet time is doing just that.  Through that quiet time I am growing as a Christian, but, it’s something completely different to “live” for Christ in this world.  When we living for Christ we not only impact our lives, but we have the ability to introduce Christ into the lives of many. 

Today, pray for those around the world that are living in persecution of their local government and non-Christian religious institutions.  Pray that their mission is carried out this day and that they are able to change the hearts of the unknowing to see Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  Then, pray for your own heart, soul and mind to be more aware of God’s calling on your life.  God does not call all of us to be evangelists, missionaries, preachers and teachers; but He does call us all to be disciples of Jesus Christ and take the message to the world.  You need to do your part each day without fear of what mankind and the establishment will do.  God is your sword and salvation, trust in Him and do His work while you still have time on this earth.

Almighty God,
We are all called to be disciples of Your word.  You have provided for each of us the opportunity to share Your gospel with those we come in contact with each day.  Help us break down the feelings of insecurity, confusion and fear that stand in the way of us reaching out to the world.  God, make clear in our hearts Your calling on our life.  If it is to be a missionary, an evangelist, a teacher, a preacher or simply a vessel of Your love for others – help us to see how You want to use us as a part of the Great Commission. Amen

© Sondove Enterprises, 2013
For more Daily Thoughts go to:
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Let Him Lead

Read It, Learn It, Live It, Share It
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

  Often times it is so hard to get out of God’s way and just let Him do what He needs to do.  Countless times I have tried to solve problems in my life based solely on the knowledge, the wisdom and the information at my fingertips, only to be frustrated in the attempt.  In most cases the circumstances leading up to each situation were self-induced through procrastination or lack of preparedness.  Other times, something unexpected happens and we are immediately thrown into a tail spin trying to figure out how to deal with it.  The problems that come into my life are no different than the problems that are facing you, your neighbor, or any one of the other 6.2 billion inhabitants on this planet.  The difference comes in how we react to the problems when they arise.

  What are you going to do when you go to the office tomorrow and the doors are locked?  Or when you go to your school and the professors explain that due to budget cut backs your ECON class is cancelled, and there are no refunds on tuition?  How will you deal with the grief and mourning of losing a loved one in a tragic shooting or car accident?  The person in front of you in line at the grocery store pulls a gun out of nowhere and demands the money from the cash register and then bolts out the door.  How important is that box of macaroni and cheese you have in your shopping basket at that moment when compared to your very life, and the life of those around you?

  The reality is you can’t control every aspect of your life, regardless of how much you try.  There are forces well beyond the bounds of your visibility that are impacting all aspects of your life each and every day.  The breath you take is impacted by the quality of air around you, which is impacted by the people around you who might smoke, or the pollution/smog in your particular city.  Your ability to drive is 100% dependent on the quality, maintenance and reliability of the vehicle you have chosen to drive today.  That battery may or may not start the next time you turn the key.

  There is one and only one true North and that is God Almighty.  He is truth, love, mercy and grace; and He sees all that you are going through today, tomorrow and beyond.  Your days are numbered and in His wisdom and omniscience, He has planned your path from here to there.  The real question is whether you will follow His plan or your own.  As you wake each and every morning, are you looking at your calendar with your plan in mind or are you seeking His path through your day?  The scriptures in Proverbs tell us to “In all things, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”  Trust this.  Trust that God is watching over you and your daily life.  Minute by minute He is active and engaging in aspects of your life with or without your knowledge. 

  Through quiet time and sincere prayer to God the Father and the Holy Spirit, dealing with the problems each day become more manageable.  Simply trusting that God is not surprised by anything that happens in your day makes one realize that He must also then have a plan to overcome the obstacles in our path.  Learn to hear His voice and follow His path, and your ability to see through the chaos and uncertainty in life become much easier.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2013
For more Daily Thoughts go to:
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Monday, September 16, 2013

No Whining, Just Winning

Read It, Learn It, Live It, Share It
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people." – Proverbs 14:34

  Living in righteousness requires that one fully embrace and understand the meaning of the word.  Most people will immediately discount the word righteousness, because it brings with it an expectation of perfection and living a Christ-like life.  Certainly, we agree that righteousness (the act of being righteous) implies that one is living within societies accepted standards of morality, values and justice.  But who defines those things?  Is there a single standard for being righteous or living morally?

  The essence of righteous living draws one to conclude that a person is living upright and within the boundaries set by men and by God.  For the root of righteous stems from the old English term right wise, meaning a person that was wise and correct in their actions.  In the reference of scripture the term has Hebrew roots in the word “tsedaq”, which means accurate, fair, justice, rightly or Holy. 

  Can a nation live righteously?  Can you?

  We often times step away from that which seems daunting and unachievable and throw up our hands in defeat.  What use is it, I am only one person, how can I change the nation?  It’s this attitude of poor me and helplessness that continues to be the demise of our society in general.  When those who stand for righteousness stop caring, the enemy has won.  You and I may not single handedly teach people across the nation about turning from their sinfulness and toward righteousness, but we can teach those around us.  Those in our family, our friends our sphere of influence are within our reach.  It becomes a choice as to whether or not you are willing to stand up for it or not. 

  The word righteous appears in the Bible nearly 500 times because we are called to live in this manner.  Christ lived upon this earth as an example of a righteous life.  Can you become righteous as Christ is righteous, hardly.  You were born into sin, by the very nature of the blood that runs through your veins.  On the other hand, He was born of the Holy Spirit, through the virgin Mary without the sin of mankind.  He was perfectly righteous from the moment of His first breath and through His last upon the cross.  We have faith in His righteousness as our salvation, for God demands perfection and righteousness for eternity with Him.  Without Christ as the sacrifice for our sinful nature, there is no way to achieve righteousness on our own.  You might be able to be righteous for 4 or 5 minutes at a time now and then, but your very sinful nature will once again get in the way.

  Despite your attempts at living righteous, you will find it unachievable.  Bring the Holy Spirit into the equation, and all of a sudden your righteousness meter goes up dramatically.  Follow the Holy Spirit’s lead in your life and influence those around through His direction and one by one, many by many we can make an impact in the righteousness of this nation.  Nothing is beyond the capacity or capability of our Father in Heaven.  He is above all things and when we choose to trust and follow Him, we can do amazing things with the little bit of skill and talent He has given us.  Start with your household and then work your way out from there.  Start living with righteousness in your own life through the strength and power of the Holy Spirit, then let that expand to those around you.  You’ll be surprised how much influence you really have.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2013
For more Daily Thoughts go to:
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Friday, September 13, 2013

It’s a Big World

Read It, Learn It, Live It, Share It
“Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia " – Galatians 1:21
We take travel for granted in today’s world of fast paced and seemingly endless desire to see the world.  I travel quite frequently for business and with my family for vacations and weekend getaways.  Stepping onto a plane to fly away for customer meetings, or supplier meetings has become commonplace in mine and my family’s life.  Yet, I must ask myself as I walk through airports, hotel lobbies and down the streets of cities all over the globe, what would God have me to do for these people.  Only recently have I taken seriously the opportunity God has given me to bring His “good news” to a larger audience.  I now make a point of walking a lot while I am in other cities and praying for the people there.  Praying that God stir a revival in them, that they become filled with the Holy Spirit and that they recognize Jesus Christ as the savior of the world. 

In the biblical days of Paul, Peter and the disciples their mission was to take the “good news” to the world.  There were no planes, trains or buses to hop on though, they were left to use what God had given them.  They walked, rode camels or horses from town to town.  After spending time with the disciples in Jerusalem Paul was taken to Caesarea, because his life was being threatened by the Jewish leaders of the time.  Just as Paul (Saul) had persecuted the disciples and believers of Jesus Christ, he had become the hunted.  His prolific passion for spreading God’s word to every man, woman and child was upsetting the powers of control in the Jewish and in the Roman world of that day.

Paul, left Caesarea and started his missionary work on his travels back to his homeland of Tarsus.  Along that route he would go through Syria and Cilicia and take the time to engage the local people there in a convicting manner.  Sharing with them his testimony and the love and grace of Jesus Christ everywhere he went.  He started up churches in these areas, sustained by fellowship with other believers.  Paul would continue to check back with these churches throughout his life of ministry, to ensure that they continued in righteousness and growing in the Lord.

Paul sets an example for all of us to consider as followers of Jesus Christ.  Everywhere Paul went he was excited and unashamed to launch into a discussion of salvation and grace.  Most of us tend to focus on our small circle of influence and less on the global picture.  The world’s population today is exponentially larger than in the biblical days, and many use this as an excuse to “let someone else do it”.  I challenge that thinking though and ask myself constantly how can we expand our reach for the Lord.  It’s time to step out in faith and with the conviction of Paul, proudly proclaim the salvation of Jesus Christ to the world.  There are over 6.5 billion people in the world.  Over 2 billion claim to be Christian, of which some estimates say only 25 – 30% are truly living for Jesus Christ, while the other 70% acknowledge Jesus Christ as God’s Son, but don’t necessarily follow the principles of His teaching.  Ask yourself this one question as you embark on your journey today: “If Paul were here with us today, what would he be doing to reach the other 4.5 billion people of the world?”  If not you, than who is going to stand up for Jesus Christ in today’s world?  

Almighty God,
The world is Yours and all that is in it.  There are men, women and children all over this planet that have denied Your Son, and have chosen another path in life.  Help us to be Your feet to take the message to the masses just as Paul, Barnabas, John, Peter and the other apostles did in the early church.  We trust You to put the opportunities in front of us to share Your message unashamedly.  We  seek to reach the unrighteous in a way that will bring glory to You, put Your words on our tongues and let us be filled with the passion, desire and fire of Paul to reach the world.  In Your name we pray - Amen

© Sondove Enterprises, 2013
For more Daily Thoughts go to:
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Get Out of the Valley

Read It, Learn It, Live It, Share It
“Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” – 1 Kings 18:21

  As my eyes looked over the fullness and rich landscape, my mind was captured in a battle between the greatness of history and the promise of the future.  It’s mind numbing when you realize that your feet have walked the paths, the trails and the steps that men of such great stature have also walked.  There is a pseudo connection between the past and the present that creates an image in your mind of what it must have been like in those days, despite the fact that millions if not billions have also place their foot in that same spot.

  I recall as a young boy coming through the tunnel, and then stepping onto the turf at the University of Michigan football stadium “The Big House”.  Walking to the center of the field and seeing my foot on the yellow (maze) paint of the big block “M” is something that immediately brought forth a flood of memories while at the same time painted a dream of one day actually playing on that field.  It filled me with the desire to dream big, to set high goals and visualize the stadium filled with 105,000 screaming fans.  The day dream ended all to quickly as the coaches at the football camp barked out their instructions for us to begin the daily football drills.

  But something was different when I stood on Mt. Carmel and looked down over the Jezreel Valley and the Valley of Megiddo.  The history was not something I had watched on Saturday afternoon’s with my dad and my brother, but something I had only read about and without pictures.  Elijah called down fire from heaven on this mountain, as he put his faith and trust in the Lord Almighty to battle those who worshiped Baal.  Was it possible that I stood in the exact spot, who knows, but the reality of His presence fell upon me as I read from 1 Kings 18 that day.  The realization that our God is so big, omnipotent and glorious; the emotions welled up inside of me as I journeyed in this place.  

  Many believe the Megiddo valley (Valley of Jezreel) is the location of this final battle between the King of Kings and the armies of the Beast.  In Revelations 14 we read of a river of blood flowing “ deep as the bits of horses for 180 miles” through the Israel in that day.   Looking out over the valley once again, my mind saw the picture painted by John in the book of Revelations 19.  I picture the Lord of Lords coming down with an army from heaven and destroying evil once and for all on the earth.  Standing on the top of Mt. Carmel, one can see clearly Mt. Tabor, Mt. Gilboa and the Kishon river that passes through the valley, near Jezreel.  Today the Israeli Air Force landing strip is here, but one day I picture millions of bodies covering the land, while birds eat of their flesh (Rev. 19:17-18), and the river is filled with blood.

  God’s wrath will pour out upon the evil of this world in this very valley (I believe).  It saddens me that people can see the history of this place, read the factual accounts from thousands of years ago, and still choose not to believe that the future picture is just as real.  You don’t need to visit Mt. Carmel or the Jezreel Valley to understand that the end is coming and there will be a final battle of good vs. evil.  God will once again reign down from heaven and destroy that which chooses to refuse Him.  He demonstrated it through Elijah on this very mountain in 1 Kings 18 and 2 Kings 1; we need not look too far to realize He will do it again.   

© Sondove Enterprises, 2013
For more Daily Thoughts go to:
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Fount of Wisdom

Read It, Learn It, Live It, Share It
“With whom will you compare me or count me equal?  To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?" – Isaiah 46:5

  I am reminded of a song (see lyrics below) from 4 or 5 years back that clearly spoke to me just how magnificent and incredible it is that God Almighty thinks about me.  When we face challenges in life and it looks as though there is no way out of a particular situation, we often times turn to those that we love and ask for advice, help and support.  It’s not that this is wrong, because we are called to help one another when they are in need and to love one another through their heartaches.  This is being Jesus to those around you and we are designed to do this.  But, the realization that hit me a few years back was that as frequently as we call on our friends and family, we very seldom actually call on God to help us through our daily struggles.  I began asking myself why. . .
1)      I can’t comprehend how He can help us when I can’t see Him, feel Him or hear Him
2)      We don’t want to bother God with our silly little problems
3)      We’ve done something wrong and going to God will require admitting it
(hint, hint: He already knows)
4)      There is no real relationship with God, we simply say we believe so we can get to heaven when we die
5)      God is good, pure and righteous and the problem I’m facing is unethical or immoral
6)      Other people are watching and I’m somewhat embarrassed to pray in front of them
7)      He didn’t help me the last time I prayed
I’m sure there are other reasons for not turning to God for help.  I ask that you sit back and ask yourself one question: “Who knows more than God?”  If you truly believe that there is an answer to that question other than no-one, then by all means go and ask that person for help.  The reality is that God created the heavens, the universe, the galaxy, the sun, moon and stars and the Earth and all that is within it.  His bank account is infinite, His mercies are plentiful and His love overcomes every single broken heart.  He has poured out His grace upon mankind, not because we deserve it, because we surely don’t; but because He loves us so much. Grasping that concept is the key to understanding who God really is.

We live in a society framed up by the digital era, and we expect instantaneous results to our questions or problems.  God does not work that way.  He doesn’t have a cell phone, laptop, tablet, or TV.  There is no need for email in heaven.  He hears your thoughts before the words leave your lips.  He thinks in the big picture, not in the small stuff and therefore just because you want something done by Friday, it may or may not be beneficial in the long run.  Trust in His sovereignty and trust in His love for you.  He’ll not let you fall, though you might stumble a time or two.
My Redeemer – Nicole C. Mullen
Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning
and Who told the oceans, you can only go this far
and Who showed the moon where to hide till the evening
Who’s words alone can catch a falling star?
Well I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testify
Let this life within me cry
I know my Redeemer lives

There is a God that spins things in orbit
Runs to the weary, the worn and the weak
and the same gentle hands that hold me when I'm broken
They conquered death to bring me victory
repeat chorus(1x)

He lives To take away my shame
and He lives, forever I'll proclaim
That the payment for my sin
Was the precious life He gave
but now He's alive and there's an empty grave.
repeat chorus(2x)

© Sondove Enterprises, 2013
For more Daily Thoughts go to:
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Monday, September 9, 2013

Let It Go

Read It, Learn It, Live It, Share It
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”" – Psalm 46:10

  It came upon the horizon just as it had the day before, and the day before that.  First the glimpse of orange and pink hues break through the darkness which lies upon the depth of my perspective.  Suddenly, the crescent broke the surface and began to rise over the imaginary line which separated the physical earth from the atmosphere.  I sat on the deck of the cabin and watched as the fog lifted from the earth’s surface and the sun in all of it’s glory became full in the morning sky, as if it were a toy ball sitting upon a wire in the distance.

  I picked up the guitar and strummed a few chords, just resting in peace with the Lord on that brisk morning in the Tennessee mountains.  Looking down into the valley, one could see the lights of the other cabins, just coming on as others were likewise rising to make the coffee that morning.  In the distance one could hear the cry of an eagle and the crunching of paws upon the dried leaves on the forest floor.  Perhaps a bear was walking toward the river for breakfast, or perhaps the chipmunks were playing once again and rustling the leaves as they ran.  I sang out a chorus of  “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me, and then simply sat back and listened to the beauty of the stillness upon the mountain that morning.

  For 10 maybe 15 minutes, I wasn’t worried about the overdue bills, the projects at work or the truck that was in dire need of repair.  I wasn’t consumed with getting somewhere, or seeing someone, or hurrying to and fro.  I was simply resting in the presence of God the Father and the beauty that He has given us, and it felt incredibly good. 

  If you are like me, you find it hard to rest, to be still, to feel His presence each and every day.  Life has a tendency to consume every waking moment with some stress ridden thought of the action list that never seems to go away.  Between the act of being a responsible provider for the family, a productive employee at work, a conscientious student at school, a taxi driver, grocery shopper, nurse, chef, dry cleaner, landscaper, auto mechanic, teacher and loving parent; it is nearly impossible to stop and clear our mind for just a few minutes.

  God is still sovereign and oversees all things.  If you believe this to be true, as I do, then why are we so hesitant to trust in His word that He will carry our burdens and lighten our load, if we only trust in Him.  Exalt Him, raise His name on high, far above all things in this world and acknowledge that He alone can see us through our challenges, struggles and heartaches.  We spend countless hours trying to solve the problems of this life on our own without seeking His help or guidance.  When His desire is that we bring it to Him, lay it at His feet and follow His plan of action.  Hear His small still voice echo through your mind, telling you the way of righteousness and your path’s become much clearer.

  This doesn’t make the problems go away, but realizing that He is the creator of all things and omnipotent in His power, brings comfort in knowing that He alone understands the hurt, pain and suffering you are experiencing.  Find the opportunity each day to come before the Lord in quiet stillness with your heart open and ready to hear His word.  Lay your burdens down, acknowledge His authority and glory and fell His calming spirit over your life.  It is our own stress and anxiety that complicates the daily worries, nothing of His doing.  But, He is capable of calming your spirit and clearly seeing you through the day’s events, if you’ll trust Him.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2013
For more Daily Thoughts go to:
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Friday, September 6, 2013

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Read It, Learn It, Live It, Share It
“And I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them." – Ezekiel 39:21
 Three words that people often times forget about when they think of the Lord: “smite”, “wrath” and “forsaken”.  Perhaps because we don’t want to think about that part of God’s character because it creates fear and requires that we actually try to abide by His guidelines.  There is references throughout the scriptures that God is Holy, Perfect and Righteous and at the same time Vengeful, Jealous and Omnipotent.  As such, as is demonstrated in Kings and Judges and throughout much of the Old Testament; He has very little tolerance for those that choose to refuse Him and the love He has offered to the world. 

  In the times before the Messiah came to the earth, mankind dealt with the realization that there was a God through the Prophets: Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Zephania, Zecharia and Malachi just to name a few.   They were intercessors and communicators from God to the children of Israel and Judah, delivering instructions on how to live within God’s plan, and what would happen if they did not.  Kings, Priests and Governments listened intently to their every word to better understand how to serve the one true God, or in some cases how to battle against His people.

  So, did God’s character change?  Is God still a God of wrath, judgment and vengeance?  The answer is unequivocally – Yes.  The book of Revelation was revealed to John, the beloved, while banished to the prison Isle of Patmos.  In this book Jesus Christ, Himself, reveals to John what will happen in the last days.  War, pestilence, suffering, death, destruction and inhumane acts from one upon another will envelope the earth and those that remain during the tribulation.  There is much discussion on whether that includes or does not include the believers and followers of Jesus Christ.  Many, including myself, believe we will be taken up before the tribulation, but there are just as many that believe we will all go through tribulation and then be drawn up.

  The reality is that the day is coming that God will unleash His wrath once again upon the earth’s inhabitants that have refused to accept His love and saving grace.  The time is coming when according to Ezekiel 38 and 39, we will see God, Himself, defend Israel in a manner of such magnificence that all mankind will know that it was God and nothing else.  As tensions mount in the Middle East, are we nearing the realization of a prophecy from 2700 years ago before our very eyes?  As we watch the unveiling of events in the high tension areas of the world, one must wonder if we aren’t drawing ever so near to the last days. 

  This then begs the question about your own salvation.  Should war break out in the Middle East, and God shows His wrath upon those that attack Israel, where do you stand in your belief and relationship with Jesus Christ?  Will it take the actual realization of this war to convince you that the Bible and all that is within is God’s own Truth revealed through man?  If you reference other prophecies from Ezekiel, Isaiah, Daniel or others, you will find the majority have already come to be.  Is that enough to convince you of His existence?  What is it that you are waiting for? 

  God’s wrath and judgment are very real and will bring bitter pain and suffering to those who refuse to follow Him.  The scriptures of war, destruction and vengeance in the Old Testament are all the proof you should need that mankind cannot withstand the wrath of God and I can only believe that come tribulation and ensuing judgment day will be greater than anything recorded in the scriptures of old.  You are right in fearing God, but you are also covered by the grace and love of Jesus Christ as your mediator and intercessor between you and God.  He has taken the wrath intended for you and I and carried it to the cross where He became the sacrifice for our iniquities.  Therefore, we will not receive the full wrath of God as we deserve, as those in the Old Testament did (reference the Midianites, those in Sodom and Gomorra, and the Philistines).  We experience the full love, grace and mercy of the Lord in our life, because we follow the One True Messiah – Jesus Christ.


© Sondove Enterprises, 2013
For more Daily Thoughts go to:
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I Still Do

Read It, Learn It, Live It, Share It
“And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” –Matthew 19:4-6

 26 years ago, we stood in front of a congregation of friends and family. The candles were lit, the sun shown through the stained glass windows and I held the hands of my wonderful, beautiful bride. Pastor Ken Boyd presided over the ceremony and talked of a relationship founded on the love and guidance of God our Father was able to withstand any struggles this world could bring forth. We were more than two young kids in love, we knew from the beginning that God had brought us to that very place for a purpose much bigger than us.
Love is a precious commodity and can be given or withheld based on our emotional feelings at any given moment. But, let me tell you this about the woman I was fortunate to marry. Her love is as genuine and unconditional as you will ever find on this planet. She has been gifted with the innate ability to love others through their problems, heartache and circumstances when others would normally turn away. I am so overwhelmed by the love she has given me for the last 26 years that it is beyond description.
A marriage built on the strength of the Lord and the principles of love, grace, mercy and servitude will endure.  The ratio of marriages that are ending in divorce is at an all time high, and it is my belief that in every single case you could trace the cause back to one of these areas.  There are situations of abuse, adultery and addictions that come between a husband and wife, and I hypothesize that these are outward actions to a deeper self-centeredness in one of the two partners.  Selfishness, pride and ego are all examples of one who is more concerned about themselves than those around them.  This individual offers up no grace or mercy and in most cases is not willing to serve the other person’s needs first.

If individuals took the words of the Lord seriously prior to marriage, I propose their marriage can withstand the trials of this world.  There are 3 levels of relationship: the Spiritual, the Emotional and the Physical.  At the young age of 20 – 25 most are so drawn to the other by the physical appearance and in most cases put this ahead of either the emotional or spiritual.  Any relationship that is built on sex, intimacy and a physical relationship is destined to fail at some point.  There is no substance there to hold it together for the long run, because let’s face it; there will come a time when that attractive, passionate spouse is going to become older and most likely less passionate.  At that point, what is left to provide strength to overcome obstacles in life.

The preferred path of relationship is to develop from a spiritual basis or foundation, evolving into an emotional relationship and then the realization of a physical relationship after marriage.  This path centers on God and the Holy Spirit as the strength of the relationship, forming the intimacy between the two individuals.  A solid foundation that will last throughout the married life between the man and woman shares a core belief in the one true God.  When life’s obstacles, struggles and situations arise the faith that binds these two together is held onto as the armor to defend what God has brought together. 

Furthermore, each individual with a strong relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, enters into the relationship with an attitude of love, mercy, grace and servitude.  As Christians, we are tasked in becoming more Christlike in our maturing life cycle.  This includes serving others first and thinking of themself second.  This self-lessness allows individuals to overcome many of the problems that cause strife in relationships today.  On their wedding day, individuals have no problem promising that they will stay with someone for the rest of their life, through good, bad, sickness and health; but without the love of God drawing them together and holding them together, it is nearly impossible to remain committed to that promise. 

The joy of my marriage to Lisa is that after 26 years I can still stand before her with love in my heart and state – “I do”.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2013
For more Daily Thoughts go to:
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts