Sunday, December 30, 2018

Tomorrow Isn’t Guaranteed




“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”  -Ephesians 5:15-17

 

What a year 2018 has been. New relationships have begun, old ones have come to an end.  Dear Loved ones have been lost and new life has begun.  As it draws to a close are you looking back with amazement as to how the Lord has blessed you, or are you looking back with relief that it is finally over?  You sat 365 days ago planning for all of the things you expected to accomplish in 2018. How did that go for you? Were you able to make progress on your resolutions for the year, and improve upon this one and only life you have been given? As you plan for the coming year, I’m sure you are thinking about family, friends, vacations, work, school and your own personal goals for finances and health. Where is the Lord’s plan fitting into your planning?

Starting on Tuesday, January 1st, you will have 1 year, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes or 31,536,000 seconds in the calendar year of 2019. What if the world ends this year and you knew for a fact that Jesus Christ was returning at 12:12 AM (GMT) on March 12, 2019? Would your plans for the year be different? Would you focus on achieving your bucket list, making millions of dollars, getting that promotion, losing weight or reducing your cholesterol?  You could create a countdown chart on your wall with the exact number of days and live in a constant mode of rushing to accomplish everything before it got to zero.

According to the Psalmist in Psalm 39:4 – “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end & the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life”  But even then, the Lord does not promise you even one more day.  In Luke 12:20, Jesus tells us; “But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” There are no guarantees to have tomorrow, so do not live in such naivety as to think you can control the number of days you have left.

I propose that you take this day to outline your plans for 2019 as if it were the last year before Jesus Christ returns. March 12, 2019 is no more likely than any other day to be the day that Jesus Christ returns, but we should be living as if we knew He were coming back any moment. Prepare a plan for the year focusing on these 5 areas:

1. Write out your testimony. How did you come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord?

2. Commit to a quiet time of praying with the Lord every day regardless of your time schedule and busyness. A few minutes or an hour, commit to giving the Lord time each day

3. Make of list of 25 people you will pray for throughout the year. Pray for each person every day, or rotate through the list as you are led by the Holy Spirit.

4. Take the initiative to have an open discussion about your faith with at least 10 people that you are unsure have a relationship with Christ.

5. Tithe to your local church. If you aren’t attending a church, you should. Fellowship with other believers makes one’s faith stronger

Of all of the promises in the Bible, the promise of Jesus Christ to His disciples to return and bring them to heaven with Him, is the one I am holding true to this year. I do not propose to have any knowledge or prediction of when Jesus will return, but I do have His promise. My goals for 2019 will be centered around expanding His kingdom one person at a time or one hundred if it is within His will. Through DailyThoughts, one on one discussions, social media, and public speaking events; I intend on spreading the word of Jesus Christ as far as the Lord will allow. Won’t you find a way to celebrate the Lord and spread His good news this year as well. Think about it. If every Christian were to take this task seriously and successfully reach out to one unbeliever this year, the multiplicity principal would effectively double the size of God’s Kingdom in one year. It all starts with you taking your part and following the Lord’s lead. I promise, if you are willing to step out and spread His message, He will ensure that you are used in accordance with His plans.


 

Prayer:

Loving Father,

You have promised in Your word to return and bring us home in Your timing. We are not guaranteed another day in this world, therefore work within each of us to prepare our hearts, mind and soul for that day. Help us to be evangelists for You this year. Help us and give us confidence to take every opportunity as it unfolds to share Your gospel with others. In Your name we pray – Amen


© Sondove Enterprises, 2018

For more Daily Thoughts go to: http://sondove.blogspot.com
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Friday, December 28, 2018

Is God Still With You?



“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” -John 1:14

Three days have passed since Christmas morning. I’m sure that sometime during the last 5 or 6 days you have read through or heard the story of Jesus birth in Bethlehem as captured so beautifully in Luke 2. As the time passes and we become more engaged in our day to day life again, the stresses begin to accumulate, the worries start up again and for some the message of Christmas begins to blur again for another 11 months. We need to make a stand against the temptation to slide back into our pre-Christmas routine. As foretold in Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Things are not the same.

His life was foretold by over 20 different people as far as 800 years before His birth. Everything from who His parents would be, where He would be born, what His life would stand for, His persecution, His death and His resurrection. Most historical figures and leaders lived a great life and then their story was captured and documented for the interest of educating the minds of the future. But He was not like other historical figures. Unlike any other person in the history of the world, Jesus Christ, was biography was written before He ever breathed His first breath.

God was with Adam in the Garden, with Moses on Mount Sinai and David in his battles. He was with many other individuals throughout the scriptures. He carried these hero’s and saints through their struggles, trials, hardships and their weakness’. God not only gave them insight through His authority and power on earth, He gave them the wisdom and confidence to know that He was always there for them, no matter what. Abraham prepares to sacrifice Isaac because he knew God would provide a lamb. David battled Goliath because he knew God would overcome. Job gave up everything he had and relied solely on God’s love and promise as disease and experiences near death came upon him. These are just a few examples of what happens when God is with someone.

Jesus means Immanuel, God With Us. This single statement was prophesied by Isaiah, and restated by the angel to Joseph in a dream. When God was with the saints of old, we saw how He protected, nurtured and cared for them. Through the birth of Jesus Christ, that exact power and blessing is available to all of us. He came to us because He knew we could not come to Him in our fleshy, sinful state. God’s desire is for us to be with Him for eternity, so He took it upon Himself to come to us, and walk side by side with us through this life to allow that reunion one day. He will carry us when we are weak, provide knowledge and insight into righteousness, convict us when we fall and set us back on a path of purpose for His kingdom. God is with us – that means you, me and everyone since Christ’ birth. It is upon us to seek His guidance and love. Some believe that this promise was only for those who walked with Jesus for those 33 years. This could not be farther from the truth. He promised us a comforter, counselor and teacher in the Holy Spirit to be with us always, until the day of His return. His death was not the end, but rather the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s promise. Immanuel, God is with us, lives on through His resurrection and continues to provide strength, love, security, comfort, help and wisdom if we only reach to Him.

Prayer:
Almighty God,
You came to us through a child, born in the humblest of settings to fulfill a promise for all of mankind. You promised to walk with us, guide us and be our strength, if we would only turn to trust You. We come before You Lord, seeking Your will in our lives, Your wisdom and Your love. Just as You carried the saints of old through their struggles and temptations, guide our steps in a path of righteousness as well. Help us to recognize Your control and will in our life. In Your name we pray - Amen



© Sondove Enterprises, 2018

For more Daily Thoughts go to: http://sondove.blogspot.com
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Do We Need Christmas?


 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”  – John 11:25-26


Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in April 15, 1865 by John Wilkes Booth in a tragic manner that would forever be memorialized in the hearts of Americans.  Considered to be one of America’s greatest Presidents, he did considerable things to get this country through the Civil War, and reunite the country afterwards.  His Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves across the Confederate states and eventually across the entire United States of America.  Upon his death, there were definite dividing lines between those who defended his works and those who opposed it.  His grave was the site of no less than 5 examinations over the course of twenty five years following his death.  Each in an attempt to prove that he was indeed dead and that his body had not been “taken up” as had been the rumors of the day.  It was in September 1901 that his body was exhumed for the last time and sure enough, he was still there as was witnessed by 23 individuals at the sight on that day.

Jesus Christ was born to break the bondage and slavery of all mankind, from the evil and unrighteousness of Satan in the world.  In contrast to Mr. Lincoln though, three days after His death and burial, Jesus Christ was not in the grave.  This was witnessed by no less than 6, but likely many more on that glorious resurrection morning.  The two guards, Mary and the other Mary, Peter and John are captured in scripture as witnessing the empty tomb with the stone rolled away.  Even more wonderful though is the large number of witnesses to Jesus Christ walking amongst the people and talking with them after his death and resurrection.

Jesus Christ was born for the resurrection.  He claimed so Himself numerous times throughout the New Testament.  He was born that man no more shall die, not referring to a physical death, but a spiritual & eternal death.  God is perfect, and demands perfection to enter into His kingdom of heaven.  You and I are incapable, despite our best efforts of achieving the perfection that is required to meet God’s standards.  The gates of Hell are wide and inviting to all of mankind as the easy path through life.  Sin is tempting and impossible to avoid in our human state, but Jesus Christ because of His divine soul and incarnate birth was capable of resisting Satan right through the point of death on the cross.  His death and three days in the depths of the earth seemed an apparent victory for Satan.  It was on that third day though, through His resurrection that Jesus Christ broke the chains of slavery for all time and provided a perfect sacrifice for all of mankind’s sin and allow us to enter into God’s perfect heaven through His sinless perfect life. 

He lived 33 years of sinless perfection in God’s eyes.  He resisted the temptations of this life, the trials and pitfalls that face all of us.  He overcame pride, envy and jealousy through humility and a servant’s heart.  He loved unconditionally, and opened the door of heaven to all mankind, not just a chosen few.  If His resurrection is false, then all of Christianity is false as well.  The foundation of Jesus Christ birth, death and purpose on this earth was for the resurrection to take place and create the path of salvation for us to be redeemed back into the grace of our Father in heaven.  There is no other way for you nor I to cleanse our sinful life enough to enter into God’s eternity.  Good works will not cleanse your soul, prayer will not cleanse your soul and money certainly cannot cleanse your soul.  Belief in the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, alone will wash away the sins of this life and allow you and me to stand before the Lord perfect.  We need Christmas, because we needed a Savior and a path of salvation to draw us back into the arms of God the Father.


Prayer:
Almighty God,
Your Son Jesus Christ came into this world for the purpose of providing a path of salvation.  Your Word tells us that through His death and resurrection You have opened the door to heaven for those of us that believe on Him.  Forgive me for my sinful flesh and my worldly desires.  Wash my heart and mind anew as we continue to celebrate Your Son’s birth.  Help me to rekindle my spirit with Your word and Your promise of eternity with You.  Strengthen me this day to walk in Your grace and share Your light with all that I meet.  In Your name we pray - Amen


© Sondove Enterprises, 2018

For more Daily Thoughts go to: http://sondove.blogspot.com
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Christmas Blues


“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.””  – Matthew 2:13



Well, it has come and gone.  All of those weeks preparing for Christmas, and it seems to be gone in a flash.  The excitement of family joining together, the presents under the tree, the Christmas carols, the shopping, the Christmas dinner all have become a part of our memories now.  Was it everything you expected it to be?  All of that excitement reached a crescendo and now life begins to resort back to normalcy once again.  Perhaps the family has left to return home, the tree is now at the curb-side and there is that dreaded feeling of emptiness as you evaluate what has transpired.  Did you get everything you wanted?  Did the reunion with family members and friends meet your expectations or leave you wanting more?

The post-Christmas blues meet many of us head on after the build up to an emotional high on Christmas morning.  We all have expectations going into Christmas.  Following that wonderful event we are then left to compare the reality with our expectations, and many times if falls short.  The joy, laughter and happiness that fill your heart leading up to Christmas may seem distant now.  I propose that it is simply because you are focusing on the event and not the act of Christmas.  You see the gifts, the fellowship, the reunions and the parties are nothing more than an event celebrating the act of His birth.  Many have argued that his birth did not even happen in December, and I’m okay with that.  You see, it’s not about the exact day He was born, it’s about celebrating His birth, which leads us to celebrating His life, His death and His resurrection.


We know that Mary & Joseph went through a period of Christmas Blues so to speak.  After the birth of Jesus you would expect that they would have time to just rest in peace and raise God’s Son.  A chance to celebrate His birth and God’s choice to bring Him to the world as a part of their family.  Mary had spent 9 months preparing for the event of Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem.  At some point in the Savior’s first year an angel appears to Joseph, once again, and tells him to take the child to Egypt.  Without hesitation, Joseph packs up his family and goes.  When God speaks to you and tells you to move, you move.  God was in ultimate control of every part of the Christmas event, and didn’t stop once the baby was born.  It wasn’t as if God brought Christ into the world and then told Mary & Joseph, “Alright, now it’s up to you.  Good luck.”  No.  He was involved every step of the way.

Just like in your life, and mine, God didn’t bring you to a point of salvation and then walk away.  At your baptism He didn’t wash you clean and then say, “Okay, now stay that way.  My work is done.”  God never promised you and I an easy path in life, as a matter of fact He promised just the opposite in John 16:33, “in the world you will have trouble.”   The key is to continue relying on God to see you through and around these troubles.  The Lord is still in control, even when you feel lost, empty and alone.  It is more important to listen to His word and be in accord with His direction on your life when you have reached the summit and are on the way down the other side.  The Christmas Blues can bring along with it serious depression for those left wanting more, and feeling lost in a world of materialism, self-centeredness and jealous envy of others.  What is important is to look upward and focus your attention on the One for which Christmas is all about.  Throughout the year we can celebrate the Messiah in our lives, through our actions and in our quiet times.  Draw near to Him each day and re-discover the wonder of Christmas over and over.


 

Prayer:
Heavenly Father,
Thank You for the wonder of Your Son’s birth.  Thank You for helping us through this stress-filled, exciting time of Christmas, while keeping our eyes focused on You and not on ourselves.  Help us to let go of the emptiness that can ensue following this blessed event, and draw closer to You.  As You demonstrated through Joseph’s dreams You are in control at all times.  You alone can lead us through this depression and back into our Savior’s arms.  Guide us Lord to daily walk with You and never feel alone in this world. In Your name we pray - Amen



© Sondove Enterprises, 2018

For more Daily Thoughts go to: http://sondove.blogspot.com
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Monday, December 24, 2018

Remember: He Wrote the Book




Click Here: Read Luke 24

“One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”  ” – Luke 24:18


There are those moments in our lives when the things we most expect to happen don’t happen, or the things we fear the most do happen.  Part of strengthening our faith in the Almighty Creator involves trusting that He is right even when everything around us seems to be going wrong.  Have you ever been disappointed in God Almighty?  Has there been a time in your life when you just knew that if God did things this way (or that way) that everything would turn out just perfectly?

Many had followed Jesus, believing that He was the Messiah, the Christ that had been foretold by the Prophets throughout their scriptures and teachings.  He had come to set things right for the children of God and redeem Israel back to a place of authority over the rulers of Rome.  Their expectations were set in this world and mostly involved taking over the power of Herod and then Caesar.  As they walked with Jesus for 2 years or so and saw the many miracles and acts of love He continually demonstrated, they had to be amazed.  I imagine that there were many late night conversations between the disciples about how amazing this man was and they would conjecture on when He would take over.  In their mind, I imagine, they were patiently planning how it would all take place.  How they would strike the authority of the day and take over the palace.  It was only a matter of time.  They had it all figured out.

Then He was taken from them.  He was captured by the Roman guard, beaten, crucified and buried.  Their dreams, their expectations and plans all went down the drain in a matter of 24 hours.   What was this about?  Was this man just playing the part and misleading them all this time?  Doubt began to creep into their minds alongside the sorrow of losing a friend.  Their understanding of the prophets of old, and the scriptures that had been handed down from generation to generation was suddenly less clear and confusion abounded. 

We all try to fit Jesus into our life and paint expectations for what He should and shouldn’t be.  We want Him to solve our problems the way we would solve them, and get to the answer sooner than later.  We view the situation and in our finite mind develop the strategy and vision on how to solve the problem.  We believe if God just does this, that and the other thing all will be well.  What we fail to realize is that we are living in God’s plan, He is not living in ours.  When we come to the understanding that we are not in control, but only a participant in a much bigger story authored by God the Father, then we can come to fully appreciate the love, grace and mercy He has given to us.

He was not born to make your life easier and to fit into your plan, but rather to ensure your eternal salvation is set and that you are fitting into God’s plan.  From that first Christmas morning to His death, resurrection and living word, He is here for you.  On this Christmas Eve 2018, gather the family together and tell the story of the man Jesus, for it is our responsibility to ensure the next generation and those around us are also privy to God’s plan of salvation.  Be blessed and have a very Merry Christmas.


© Sondove Enterprises, 2018

For more Daily Thoughts go to: http://sondove.blogspot.com
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Jesus Final Words


 
Click Here: Read Luke 23
“It is finished” – John 19:30
“Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.” – Luke 23:46



His first words (recorded in the Bible) were in Luke 2:49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?””  He knew from the earliest age that He was here to fulfill the plans of His Father in heaven.  Now, 32 years later the time had come when he had completed his purpose on this earth, to be the shepherd of mankind, to lead them to His Father; he was ready to accept death.  Hanging on the cross for over 6 hours now, the flesh of his beaten body gives way to the rise of His soul.  He had taken on the sins of mankind and the sacrifice was now complete. 

Christ’s final words from the cross reflect the redemptive action that was required of the sacrifice.  In this statement, Jesus calls out to God as “Father” and rightfully claims the transition from humanity back to his place at God’s side.  In Jewish custom, the Passover required that the spotless perfect lamb be sacrificed and handed over to the priest for the payment, the redemption of the sins of a family for that year.  Along these lines, Jesus hands over his spirit, that of the spotless perfect lamb of God, to his Father in heaven as the final payment for the sins of mankind.  His flesh was beaten, bruised and disfigured, yet his soul was pure, blameless and sufficient for the redemption of All mankind.  Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 2:5-6 : “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.” 

In his final words, Jesus connects himself with King David statement in Psalm 31:5: “Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.”  His truths are throughout the bible, not just the New Testament.  With this statement he fulfilled the prophecy from Isaiah 53:10: “..when you shall make his soul an offering for sin..”  He was there at the beginning, at the creation of the world, with God in all of His splendor.  His words are upon the lips of the prophets and the saints throughout the Old Testament, and then throughout his life on this earth, his words were upon the disciples and apostles throughout the New Testament. 

At the completion of his final words from the cross the earth shook, Satan laughed victoriously and the Savior’s body fell limp on the cross.  I envision that his declarations of defeating Jesus Christ, the Messiah, rang through the halls of Hades.  But, he would soon realize that the grave could not hold this Son of God.  His flesh had died, but His soul had fulfilled God’s perfect plan for redemption.  At the last breath of Christ, the curtain (veil) that hung in the temple separating the Holy of Holies from all mankind was ripped from the top to the bottom.  God removed the separation that had been created between Himself and mankind, and brought forth the New Covenant with mankind.  The Blood Covenant of Jesus Christ, that whosoever shall believe in Him as Savior and Lord will receive eternal life.  As Jesus breathed His last on the cross, the grace of the Lord took over forever more.  We are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and the faith of His testimony.  Thank you Jesus for suffering and dying so that we might have life and life abundantly.

As you draw near to your Christmas celebration it is important to remember and celebrate His birth, but it is even more important to remember and celebrate His death and resurrection.  He came as the propitiation for your sins, and it was upon His shedding of blood that we are able to find salvation and repentance for our iniquities.  His gift to you was eternal life, your action is to accept this gift, within your own free will.  Won’t you consider the cost of what He gave up for you as you celebrate His birth this Christmas?

 

© Sondove Enterprises, 2018
For more Daily Thoughts go to: http://sondove.blogspot.com
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts 
 

Saturday, December 22, 2018

He Never Listens




Click Here: Read Luke 22

“And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." – Luke 22:42-43



I’m sure you’ve been there.  Needing something desperately, at the end of your rope, no way out and filled with despair.  Hitting your knees, and lifting your words to heaven in the most earnest prayer possible, you ask the Lord to help.  I’ve been there myself, crying out to the Lord for a specific answer, knowing in my heart that it had to be in God’s plans.  I waited patiently for His answer, for the circumstances to miraculously change and my prayers to be answered.  Time passed and no answers, no changes in the situation and if anything it had gotten worse.

Unanswered prayers are on the lips of all of God’s children, some for our good and some for our growth.  I have found that often times when I am discouraged and impatient with God’s timing, is when I am focusing on my own desire for the prayer to be answered, not on His will.  Do you believe that God has a eternal perspective and not a moment by moment perspective?  If so, if you believe God to be omniscient, then you must understand that just because we want something, it might not be in His will.  This is the hardest part.

What we don’t see in our myopic view are the halo effects of the Lord’s response.  As an example, you might be praying for a miraculous healing of a loved one’s illness.  Could the Lord reach down with His healing hand and remove the sickness, cancer or infirmity?  Instantly, if it were within His will to do so.  But, it may not be.  So, why wouldn’t it be within His will?  What if, hypothetically the medical practitioners could be influenced through the circumstance and come to a relationship with Jesus Christ as a result?  Or if your relationship with the Lord is strengthened, and you become more dependent and accepting of His control and power as a result.  You see how the perspective of the Lord is bigger then the circumstance that is right in front of you.

So it was with our Savior as captured in Luke 22nd chapter.  32 years separated from that glorious night of His birth into this world to save us from our sins, Jesus Christ now knelt and prayed that the cup be taken from him.  Knowing that He would be captured, beaten, tortured and die; He prayed that the Lord find another way to solve the problem if possible, so He would not have to endure it.  God, in all of His Sovereignty and loving control said, “No, my Son.  As much as it hurts Me to say no, this is My plan of salvation for mankind.”  As a father of 5, and grandfather of 5, I could not have that much courage.  I could not make a decision to watch my own flesh and blood be beaten, tortured and crucified.  I would fight with every ounce of energy I have, even to death, to protect and keep them from suffering. 

So, what if God had answered Christ’s prayer and decided to save His Son that night?  The plan of salvation, grace and eternity would have been halted at that moment.  The halo effect of God’s decision that evening before Christ’s arrest has covered your sins, mine and the worlds ever since that glorious day of His resurrection.  God knew the eternal plan was more important than the immediate desires of His Son’s heart and left that prayer unanswered.  This must be kept in perspective as we look at the prayers that we lift to our Heavenly Father.  We do not see the halo effect of the outcome when we look through our eyes.  So, although we may not like it and it might even hurt (emotionally or physically), we must trust and have faith that God is in control and He will work all things for the good of His kingdom.



© Sondove Enterprises, 2018
For more Daily Thoughts go to: http://sondove.blogspot.com
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

What Will You Give Him




Click Here: Read Luke 21

“He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.  “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others.  All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.””  – Luke 21:2-4

 

When I was a boy, my favorite Christmas cartoon was The Little Drummer Boy.  I can’t tell you why, but for some reason I connected more with this story than any of the other Christmas favorites – Rudolph, Frosty, Here Comes Santa Claus or Charlie Brown’s Christmas (although this was  a close second).  Each year as time would draw close to Christmas, TV Guide would publish the schedule of Christmas shows and I would seek out this cartoon before the others.  There is something about a story that exemplifies the act of giving rather than receiving that spoke to my heart.

In Acts 20:35 Paul reminds us of what the Lord said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  For the most part I believe Christians grasp this concept, but have difficulty putting it into practice.  Especially in today’s economic climate where it is so unnerving to look outside of our own four walls at the poverty and brokenness in the world when we are struggling with the credit collectors ourselves.  So often when we think of giving, our mind immediately shifts to focus on the financial side of the equation.  This is natural, but limited in scope.

The Lord has given you talents and gifts that He has not given to everyone.  It is what makes you unique in character, persona and wisdom.  These gifts are not for your benefit but for His and were intended to be used to glorify His Kingdom here on earth.  Some of you have the gift of counseling, some of music, some of writing and some of cooking; as examples.  As we near Christmas, how can you use your gifts to help others and in turn bring glory to God in the process.   If you’re good at wrapping presents, consider setting up a gift wrapping table at the local mall and wrap presents for free.  If you love to bake, then use that talent to make Christmas cookies for your local firemen or police officers and take a plate into them with a letter of thanks.  If you love to sing or play the guitar, consider setting up a chair in the shopping area of your town and serenade those passing by with Christmas carols and bring a little cheer to their day.  Carry extra blankets in your car, so when you see a homeless person, you can give them some comfort this Christmas.

Be the hands and feet of our Savior to the world by giving back this Christmas.  You and I both know that the joy inside is generally overwhelming when you see the true appreciation of someone when you take the time to give to them.  The expression of love from the heart cannot be matched by any monetary or material gift.  Like the little drummer boy, you may not have the financial means to give a present, but you have everything you need to give someone love this Christmas.  You just need to take the initiative to do something about it


 

© Sondove Enterprises, 2018
For more Daily Thoughts go to: http://sondove.blogspot.com

If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts 

 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Who Do You Belong To?


Click Here: Read Luke 20


Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”  He saw through their duplicity and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied. He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”  -  Luke 20:22-25



Do you belong to God?  Don’t we all?  For it is He who has given us life, and has the ability to determine our time of death.  Our existence, from the moment of our conception to the moment of our last breath, is filled with the act of pursuing fulfillment in this life.  I propose that the only way to fully find that fulfillment is through the purpose of God, our Creator.  His miraculous design in your brain, heart and spirit have set you on a path of purpose for His Kingdom.  You are given every gift and talent you need to fulfill this purpose.  It’s what makes you unique in this world of stereotypes and cliques. 

Eleven years ago today the Lord blessed our family with the birth of my youngest daughter – Emma Noel.  She is a beautiful, gifted, loving, happy child filled with the love of God and the ability to share that love with everyone she meets, unashamedly.  In her I see the humility, the charity, the faith and trust in God that each of us should be living with daily.  I look at her and dream of who I’d like to be, and I see glimpses of God through her eyes and actions.  At her tender age, she is a great example for all of us to give back to God what is God’s.

The world wants your time and treasure.  Your friends, your family, your acquaintances and even your enemies want all of you.  The choice then remains for you to give back to the world what belongs to the world, but give to God what belongs to God. Use your gifts and talents to share His love with those around you this season.  Tell them of His love and of His desire for their salvation.  You are given the opportunity to pursue Him through your actions, like a child, do this without abandon, and give back to God what is His.


 



© Sondove Enterprises, 2018
For more Daily Thoughts go to: http://sondove.blogspot.com
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Even He is Forgiven


Click Here: Read Luke 19
“All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’ ”"  - Luke 19:6
 
You are a sinner.  I am a sinner.  Every one of us is.  We are born sinners and without the grace of God, our sin, regardless of how great or how small, will keep us from being with God in eternity.  For He demands perfection, the perfect sinless life, to be in His presence.  This is impossible for mankind, and this is why Jesus Christ was born.  He came as the propitiation, the sacrifice for our sins, so that through His death and resurrection, our sins could be forgiven.  How great is this forgiveness of God the Father, that He would allow for you and I to enter into heaven, knowing the evil and sinful lives we have lived? 

The sound of steel sliding on the linoleum floor, hinges squeaking, long over due for some WD-40 and then the ominous sound of metal on metal as the door slams behind you. You stand before a tall man carrying a sidearm, who says nothing but motions for you to step into the side room and you oblige. Here you take off your coat and remove your shoes. You place your keys, wallet and anything else in your pockets other than coins into the small locker. After your feet have been inspected and you've been patted down you're allowed to re-dress yourself and take a seat in the visitor’s area.

Once inside the walls you hear the screaming and the yelling. When you walked through the gates at the entrance, they threw bottles and pamphlets at you, all the while carrying on about how "bad" the man is that you have come to see. Now as you sit alone in the cold grey room, staring through a plexi-glass window, you begin to question if this was a good idea or not. Before you have the opportunity to reconsider the heavy metal door on the other side of the room opens and there he is.

Dressed in orange, with shackles on both feet and both wrists, secured to a chain that surrounded his waist and ran down the backs of his legs. His beard was overgrown, yet his head was still bald. His eyes were bloodshot and he looks peaceful not mean and angry like he looked on the cover of the newspaper. His opening words through the small hole in the middle of the window, "I'm sorry, please forgive me." stumbling through his words, he begins to cry. "I can't bring her back to you and I know you hate me, but I need you to forgive me so I may die tonight in peace."

Well, there you have it. Based on this small picture of the situation at hand, is there any love deep enough within you to forgive this person for the crime that has been committed against a loved one of yours. We are all inherently sinful at birth. Choices we make in our lives push us down a path filled with righteousness or evil, and the several shades of grey around it. Many have discovered the narrow path provided by a single man dying on a cross to open our eyes to our sinful nature and bringing us to the point of redemption for our sins. This man, Jesus Christ, gave us the example of forgiveness and grace, and made that available to every one of us, should we accept it.

Back to the story, however heinous the crimes were, he has that same opportunity for eternal life in heaven. Whether he accepts Jesus Christ before he breaths his last is not for you to decide.  But, the opportunity is there, as difficult as it would be, to share Jesus with this man. Jesus did not come to preach to the saved, but to the unsaved. We are asked to carry that message forward and share it also with the unsaved. It's easy to share Christ with someone wearing a cross or kneeling next to you in church. Being a Christian is not an easy path though, and we are His arms, legs and voices in an evil world. Think about it my friends and act if you are able. Be blessed.
.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2018
For more Daily Thoughts go to: http://sondove.blogspot.com
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Monday, December 17, 2018

It’s Time To Step It Up


Click Here: Read Luke 18
 
“But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” – Luke 18:16-17
 
Jesus father figure on earth was Joseph.  Not much is known about him, other than he was from Bethlehem, and lived in Nazareth near Galilee. He was a carpenter by trade, and a devout Jew by heritage.  We know this because of his adherence to Jewish law and the visit of God’s angel to tell of Mary’s pregnancy.  Jesus as a boy would have followed Joseph, watched him and learned from him about life, about hard work, about how to treat others.  I can imagine Joseph knew of his son’s special place in God’s plans, which had to cause some level of uncertainty in his abilities as a father to God’s son.  We don’t see Joseph at the end of Christ’s life, during his years of ministry, death and resurrection.  But, when Jesus calls the children to come to him, all of the instincts from his loving fatherly relationship with Joseph kick in.  I can picture him laughing, tickling, hugging, and bouncing these children on his knee, while demonstrating just how much they are loved by God the father.

What a blessing it is to be a father and a grandfather.   There is nothing that can come close to the joy of seeing your children grow, mature and experience life to the fullest.  When they are born, you realize just how little you know about being a Dad.  The fears, the commitment and the protector in you develops quickly though.  It’s amazing how much you realize the selfishness that is within as you begin to whittle away at your own desires and begin to take on theirs.  The life mission of a parent shifts from dreams of personal gain and success, to supporting and fulfilling the dreams and desires of others.

Small things in their life began to take on huge meaning. With each passing moment, they become more distant and self-sufficient.  Within a very short time, you realize they do not need you as much as you need them.  They try your patience as they make mistakes, but they love you more than you deserve or could ever imagine.  As a parent you also will make mistakes in life, and the ones most impacted, by those mistakes, will be the ones you are trying to protect the most.  But, this is also the same group that will be the most forgiving and accepting of your faults and failures.


Realize you are their role model, you alone will determine who they become in life and what they will aspire too.  Jesus came to the earth as our role model.  He lived a life perfect from sin, loving others and speaking the truth and righteousness of the Father.  His war was with Satan, not mankind.  He brought a message to the masses that we are to love one another, and forgive one another.  He is our guide, our safe place and our example to live by, so that our children might one day claim Him as their own. 

You need not live perfectly in this world, for it is impossible to do so.  But, you do need to live a life that your children and the children around will see Christ in your actions.  Just as Joseph had the task of raising the son of God, you have the task of raising disciples of Jesus Christ.  Step up and realize the potential God has placed within you to parent these children for His Kingdom.


© Sondove Enterprises, 2018
For more Daily Thoughts go to: http://sondove.blogspot.com
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Just Who Do You Think HE Is?




Click Here: Read Luke 17

 

“So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”  – Luke 17:10

 


I believe one of the issues we face today is a sense of entitlement.  We all have it to one extent or another, some more deeply than others, but apparent in all of us.  It’s not new and it’s not of our own doing.  It’s inherent in each of us from the origin of sin.  We are born with a bent towards pride, arrogance and independent thinking.  We teach our children from the time they are young that they need to learn to stand up for themselves because nobody else is going to do it for them.  As true as this is when viewed from the lens of humanity, it is completely opposite from the perspective of our Lord and Savior.  Why is it that most people require everything be taken from them before they realize that they need a Savior?  We wouldn’t wish anyone to fall into the depths where they are completely lost, but it is not beyond the Lord to allow that to happen if that’s what it takes. 

There is a necessity in one’s relationship with Jesus Christ to realize just who is in charge.    When you think about it, we idolize other humans – Kings, Queens, Presidents, the Pope, Actors/Actresses, Athletes, billionaires and even some in the ministry.  We get nervous approaching these individuals if and when they are not quarantined off from society.  With this in mind, ask yourself, do you treat the Lord with the same reverence?  One of my favorite bands is Casting Crowns, and they have a song title “Who Am I”.  It addresses straight on, the humility that is required when approaching the Lord.  Who are we to ask anything of the Father?  What right do we have to stand in His presence and ask Him to do something on our behalf?

We are His children, that’s who.  We are called to help others, love and be compassionate with others, serve others and forgive as we have been forgiven.  Perfect these things, execute them the right way every time and with every other person you ever come in contact with; and you are still unworthy of the righteousness that is required for eternity with the Father. 

The scriptures tell us that despite our unworthiness and unrighteousness, by His grace we are still forgiven.  He sees beyond our sinful nature and sees the heart of man.  The Son of God stands in our place covering our filth and unrighteousness with His perfect sacrifice.  Through Him we are redeemed and become worthy to stand in the presence of the Lord Almighty.  This doesn’t give us reprieve from His calling to serve, help, love and be compassionate to others. 

No, indeed if we are pursuing Christ as our salvation, these things fall into line.  For those whom are saved are compelled to righteousness and discover redemption can only come through our acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior and our Lord.  The Holy Spirit dwells within each of us and drives us to this righteous behavior.  The Lord hears the cries of His children, so come to Him and lay your burdens down with humility and reverence for you are calling on the All Powerful Creator of all things.  He alone is worthy of your praise, no man is.




© Sondove Enterprises, 2018
For more Daily Thoughts go to: http://sondove.blogspot.com
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Hear His Voice



Click Here: Read Luke 15
 
"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?" - Luke 15:4
 
 
He knows them by name. As the shepherd sat at the top of the hill, overlooking Bethlehem, he kept close watch over the sheep that roamed the hillside. There were so many, it was impossible to count them all. As the day went on, the sun became hot and he realized that he needed to move them closer to the river for shade and a drink. Using his stick and lifting his fingers to his lips he whistled. Bleating and baaing, the sheep began moving instinctively along the narrow path over the side of the hill. Then barking was heard as well, as 2 Australian Sheep dogs came from behind the rocks.
 
 They split as they began running along side the sheep on opposing sides. A nip here and a growl, a bark and a body nudge now and then, these 2 dogs herded the sheep in a congregation with the shepherd pulling up the rear. Over the side of the hill they proceeded to walk and down into the valley the 1/2 mile or so toward the river's edge. As the shepherd watched and whistled his commands from the back of the flock, the dogs would respond in action. Then it happened. As one of the dogs were chasing along the side a single sheep was split from the group as the path took a bend around a rocky ledge.
 
 The shepherd called out a command to the dog on that side in his native dialect, at which the dog broke away from his natural pattern and moved to the rear of the flock. The shepherd with staff in hand began descending the rocky ledge in search of the one sheep. The other dog instinctively moved from his side to the center and widened his circular pattern. Together they continued the herd moving forward. The whole flock had moved perhaps 50 meters farther down the path, when coming up from the rear was the shepherd carrying the wayward sheep over his shoulders. Upon reaching the flock he set the sheep down and the dogs, resumed their roles along the sides. As the path narrowed through the valley, the trees were providing shade and the sun became hidden by the rising hill behind them. The sheep, all of them, were now safely in the valley and enjoying fresh grass still wet with dew, and drinking from cool river bed. The shepherd and his 2 dogs took a spot near a shaded outcrop of rocks and watched their flock through the afternoon.
 
 We are kept in line by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Their constant observations of our life choices and actions result in conviction and guidance to steer us back to the narrow path. Through the scriptures we learn of the Son of God and we are guided on how to live this life. Sometimes begrudgingly, sometimes with anxiousness, but always with an understanding of where we are going. The Holy Spirit dwelling within each of us is a constant companion that delivers God's love and conviction in our decision making. The Father knows each of us by name and has promised to carry us when we struggle, back into the fold of fellow believers all going the same direction. There is not one that escapes His vision or compassion. Each with an ear for His voice will come when He calls them, and He will receive them into life eternal with Him.
 
 Praise God for His mercy, love and guidance to keep us on track and within His fold.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2018
For more Daily Thoughts go to: http://sondove.blogspot.com
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Cut It Down



Click Here: Read Luke 13
“And he spoke this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit thereon, and found none. And he said unto the vinedresser, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down…”  – Luke 13:6-7

The other night we were out looking for a Christmas tree.  As we wandered up and down the rows and rows of trees, looking for that perfect tree, we saw many that had seen better days.  Charlie Brown’s tree had more needles if you know what I mean.  I actually thought of this verse as I was looking upon a particularly bare tree standing right next to a tree that was full, firm and had a wonderful shape. 

As a Christian, I am called to bear fruit in His image.  We all are.  Being in the word, we learn, we grow, we are fed and nurtured as we mature.  From these learnings and experiences, we are then to show that fruit in our daily walk, in our actions, words and decisions.  The fruit, much like the figs on the fig tree, demonstrate life in abundance and are proof of our roots.  A lemon tree will not produce peaches, nor an apple tree produce cherries, or an orange tree produce pineapples.  Each tree produces the fruit from it’s original seed, it’s root. 

So, if a fruit tree is not producing fruit, Jesus says it should be cut down.  The Christmas tree that I saw when we were out the other night, dropped needles every time it was touched,  Evidenced that the root was dead, that there was no nutrients being fed to the branches.  This tree had one destination and that is the burn pile at the end of the season.  A tree without fruit has one destination according to scripture.  The eternal, inextinguishable fire for eternity.

So it is with our faith, and our walk with Christ.  It is one thing to say you are a Christian, but a completely different thing to actually walk the walk and demonstrate it in your actions and deeds.  Could the passerby look upon your words, your actions and your decisions and know that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, or has your branches, your fruit been dried up?  It’s time to feed the vine, and bear fruit once again.  Be in the word, prayer and quiet yourself to hear the Lord this Christmas.  Renew that spirit once again and let His light shine through your actions.  You are not a tree to be cut down and left for the burn pile.  You are a strong tree, full of rich seeds, waiting to be fed.  Let those around you see the fruit of the Saviour through you.


© Sondove Enterprises, 2018
For more Daily Thoughts go to: http://sondove.blogspot.com
If you would like to be added to the email distribution please click here: Daily Thoughts