Merry Christmas 2014!

This is a special time of the year. Many of us look forward to this special time of year. It is not just the young ones. It is like all of us that are involved in racing look forward to the opening race and how special that is. There is a lot of work to get the car or truck ready and it seems whatever the date is for the first race there is a crunch to get things finished and ready to go racing. Matter of fact, if we are not careful we can be so busy that we miss the fun and the moment. We need to draw back and really look at what is going on around us and 1) be thankful and 2) really notice what’s important about the time of year whether that is the start of a race season or this time of year.

So please right now let’s stop and think about some of the important things of this season as we look at a few verses and share a few thoughts on them.

Luke 2:22-34a 22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word,30 for my eyes have seen your salvation31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,and for glory to your people Israel.”33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.34 And Simeon blessed them

First, verse 22-24, we see obedient parents trying to honor the LORD and follow the Law. As parents it is important that we remind our little ones and not so little ones that the focus of this time of year needs to be the LORD and not just this time of year but throughout the year we are to be attentive to the LORD. We need to take the lead in training up those around us in the Word and to have a hunger ourselves for the LORD and allow the Bible to speak into our lives.

Next, verse 25-27, we see a fanatic fan! Ok not quite the same. A man named Simeon was yearning to see the Christ and God had promised him he would. You have seen the fan that, well, is a little over the top. They really go nuts. Simeon showed that kind of passion for the LORD. How much do you yearn for the LORD? How much do you yearn to spend time with Him in prayer and in His Word? Can you imagine the hours Simeon spent that the Holy Spirit was upon him? This time of year we should be focused on Jesus as Simeon was.

Third, verse 28-32, think about the feelings, the emotion Simeon must have had as he took the babe in his arms. I see Simeon as one that was humble and had to be focused. He knew what he was looking for. Do you know what you are looking for? What are you focused on at this time of year? Is it the parties, the songs, the presents, the food, the “Christmas” movies, etc…? Can you block all those fun things out or will you get sucked into the culture? Have you been intentional in asking God to allow you to be fixed on the Lord, the Savior?

Finally, verse 33-34, tells of Simeon speaking to Jesus, holding Him knowing that this was the Promised One and then turning to Mary and Joseph and the four of them enjoying this moment of time that would be written down as part of history, forever remembered. That 2,000 years later we would remember this moment as the parents, Mary and Joseph, were going, “WOW” why would God choose us of all people. We see the humility of simple humans only special because God choose them. Then to have Simeon speak a blessing on to them – WOW again. (side note, several times I have written about the importance of writing and speaking a blessing into your children and others around you. I hope you are doing that but be careful and don’t go off to the other side of that ditch of saying something God does not intend you to say.)

This Christmas would you think of Simeon and be intentional?

  • Will you be intentional in reading the true Bible story of Christmas?
  • Will you share it with excitement, the same excitement as the children with Christmas?
  • Will you ask the LORD to bring a passion like Simeon for seeing and hearing from the LORD?
  • Will you be intentional in taking aside a loved one and blessing them?

Have a Merry Christmas!

Todd

#19 Why Do You Think You Can Get Away Free on This?

Have you ever wondered when you hear of someone who blatantly cheats and gets caught and then hear them go on a tirade, did they really think they were not going to get caught and did they not think they were going to get punished? My kids will do something and I will wonder if their same think of thinking? Then even worse, when I do something and I know is wrong, it is sin. So what is it?

There is a cost to cheating. There is a cost to wronging another person. There is a cost to sin.  Here in Proverbs 6:26-29 we will see what God thinks of it. Proverbs 6:26 for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts down a precious life. 27 Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? 29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished. I would ask you to really stop and think about that. Is there a sin in your life right now that you are trying to ignore or one you are trying to get away with? Remember we studied earlier that we cannot hide anything from God. He sees all our good and all our sin.

Some of the strongest language God uses against adultery is found in Proverbs. The LORD is direct because He knows what damage this sin, sexual sin, does. Do you take your purity that seriously? Do you take others’ purity that seriously? I hope you do because we need to change how we think about purity and sex in this country. Both guys and gals need to take a stand for purity. Will you right now stand with the LORD?

Proverbs 6:30-35 30 People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, 31 but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house. 32 He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. 33 He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away. 34 For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge. 35 He will accept no compensation; he will refuse though you multiply gifts.

I don’t understand the first part of verse 30. It is one of those that I am waiting for God to show me what He means by it but the second part is clear. A theft is to pay 7 times the amount they have stolen. In this example it will be everything they have. The theft and the adultery is placed in the same level and we see they are destroyed too.

The bottom line is that if you cheat or lie you are always looking over your shoulder just waiting to get busted. It is much better to just be truthful and honest and pure. Stop and think about that. Is there anything that the LORD brings to your mind that you need to confess and repent of? If so, it quickly. God will honor your broken and humble heart.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,

Todd

Give Thanks 2014!

Each year we come to this time and we change our attention, at least many of us do. We slow down (right) {actually it is just as busy if not more so} reflect for a few minutes on all that we are “blessed” with. Too often we are thankful for the things we have and people around us who love us. I say that jokingly but the sad thing is it is way too true.

I would like us to turn to God’s Word and to the LORD and draw our attention unto Him. I would like us to focus on God and offer our thanks to Him. I would like us to truly slow down and pause not just in word but in our hearts and lives.

Do you have some time that you can stop and think? Maybe you only have time to read and stop and think about one of the below verses. That’s ok. Take your time. Maybe you have a block of time the next couple of days. Even better! Maybe you can stop and think about a verse 3 times for the next three days. That will get you through all 9 of the verses I have listed. Remember there are hundreds of great verses on thanksgiving. The main thing is DON’T RUSH. Do you have some time you can really give thanks? Let’s do that by looking at some verses and then take some time thinking on them.

Here is what I plan to do with the verses and time. I am going to start by asking God to help me set aside some time to think, pray, listen to Him and His Word. Then I am going to ask God to open my heart to His teaching. I am going to also ask the LORD to protect the time from the enemy, my flesh and distractions. Next after a pause to quiet my heart I am going to read the verse two, three maybe even four times and then I am going to sit or kneel and see what the LORD brings to mind to be thankful for. I am not going to ask anything of the LORD, maybe for others. I am just going to be thankful. I am going to have a pad of paper next to me and write down bullet points especially those God reminds me of so that I can encourage them with a word of thanksgiving in specifics. I may write the verses out so that I can place them in my pocket or somewhere that I can refer to them during the day.

1 Chronicles 23:30 They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD. They were to do the same in the evening

2 Chronicles 29:31 Then Hezekiah said, “You have now dedicated yourselves to the LORD. Come and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the temple of the LORD.” So the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all whose hearts were willing brought burnt offerings.

Daniel 2:23 I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you,

John 11:41-42 Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

1 Corinthians 1:3-4 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:3-6  I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.

1 Chronicles 16:8-12 Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,

Psalm 28:7-9 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.

May your week and more be filled with thanksgiving, thanksgiving unto the LORD!

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,

Todd

Veterans Day 2014

As Veterans Day approaches we need to stop and say thank you to each person who has served, is serving and will serve this country. Your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed. We know many families who have given much for us to enjoy the freedom we have. We continue to pray daily that those serving will get home safely.

You know how important I think it is to thank the men and women who have served but this year I want to spend a moment thinking of others who have served and are serving. Please stay with me on this.

Whenever I think of those who in the armed services, I also think about the ones who serve here on the home land as police, firefighters, in hospitals, etc. Thank you for your service. I also think of those who serve the LORD. I do not just mean the people in “full time” or “paid” ministerial positions. I mean the Dad who spends time in the Word and in prayer and teaches, pours out, the Bible on his family. I mean the Mom who is training her kiddos. It is the Grandparent who prays and encourages the children of several generations. It is the neighbor who cares for the one across the street and so on. They all serve in important ways.

Think with me on these verses.

Deuteronomy 6:13-18It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

“You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you. And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may go well with you.

Do you see the clear message on who to serve in the above verses? It is the LORD God we are to fear and then to serve. Verse 14 tells us we are not to go after other gods. This is a huge statement. We can so easily please other things before the LORD and really serve them. The next verse is a good warning to us in America. Many around us in this country are not following and serving God. They are following and serving entertainment, self, a religion, money, a job, sports, education, etc… We are to beware not to fall into the world view that doesn’t include God as the foundation and cornerstone.

It is good for us to remember that one of God’s attributes, one of His characteristics, is that He is a jealous God. This is good for us to think about. Why would God be jealous? Since He is loving, it means He has our best interest in mind. He has the right and entitlement to demand our focus and attention. I know if we are distracted by anything else it will lead us away from Him. Stop and really think about that.

Verse 17 states we are to be diligent in keeping His commandments. The word diligent = OT:8104; shamar (shaw-mar’); a primitive root; properly, to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; generally, to protect, attend to, etc.1 Do you see that we are to protect, to guard God’s Word? How are you doing at knowing the Bible and guarding it while spreading it at the same time?

If we are faithful in our study and living out of the Bible it will help us in doing what is right and good in the sight of the LORD. Verse 18 says this and gives us a promise. Now that promise does not mean that it will good well as in easy or entertained but instead it will go well as God see it going well, that is us being faithful to Him no matter what is going on around us.

So please, if you thank a soldier this weekend, or you say thank you to one who has served in the past, please also thank someone you know who has faithfully served the LORD and impacted your life.

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Pastor Todd

1(Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Pray for the Sauter Family

Our hearts are heavy with sadness and sorrow as we learn of the loss of Jim Sauter. Earlier this summer I wrote on seeing Jim Jr and Sr working on a car in Marshfield. It was a great memory and there will be many of Mr Sauter.I know I have a lot of them and I am sure you do too. He was an easy guy to like and look up to.

Please take time to pray for the LORD to provide comfort, strength, love to the Sauter family. We know there is little we can say or do to comfort those hurting but God can be enough for each one of them right now.

2 Corinthian 1:3-7  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (NIV)

Dear Lord,

May we see the hope that only You can provide. May You give strength and comfort to the Sauter family. May they look to You, God.

Death with Dignity

I have been asked a couple of times about the stories circulating about death with dignity. You know I usually try to relate my blog post to racing but not this time. I am going to go straight to my thoughts and what I think God and Scripture think on this subject.

My first thought is that I as I hear the stories of those choosing this is their health issues that I understand are real. It is not like they have some health issues that are minor and going to go away. I think of the families and the person struggling with health challenges and it is hard for me to imagine what they are going through. You that know my family has dealt with some severe health issues so I do have a glimpse of the continuous challenge and emotions strain.

I will break this into groups and try to explain one at a time.

First, Value of life, the sanctity of life

Let’s allow God to speak through His Holy Scriptures.

Job 12:10 In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. NIV

Psalm 39:4Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. NIV

Psalm 139:13-16 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. NIV

We see here that God give life. He is the Creator and we know from many other Scriptures He loves us deeply. He always is truthful and always kind. I do acknowledge that there is a fallen world that we live in and we have all sinned and are part of the fallen world. Because of sin this world has disease and death. It is important for us to know that God is the one that numbers our days and He values us. He does not want to see anyone die before they are born nor does He want any to die early.

Second, in each case I have read about I hear a LOUD cry of hopeless

Isaiah 57:10 You are wearied in the length of your way; Yet you did not say, ‘There is no hope.’ You have found the life of your hand; Therefore you were not grieved. NKJV

We are going to address where that comes from but we can understand in a world that preaches that it should be easy and we should always be comfortable we can see why in these cases there is a hopelessness. Clearly there is NO hope outside of Jesus but there is great hope in Jesus.

Third, there is an unseen battle

In Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. NKJV

There is a battle between good and bad righteousness and evil. God is a God of life and light. Satan is the god of death and darkness. There are clearly two sides at war. We see it all around us. In 1 Corinthians 15 the Scriptures tell us there is a victory and it is the LORD Jesus Christ.

Fourth, know we have a battle on our hands let’s think of who we battle against. It is the Devil and he is a complete liar. John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. NKJV John 8:55 Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. NKJV With those verses in mind we see that we have to be careful because we know our hearts can easily be deceived especially when we are weak and in pain.

Fifth, Suicide is not directly addressed in the Bible but we know that God gives and loves life and that the enemy hates life and loves pain, suffering and death. Suicide leaves behind pain and suffering. We also see this in Revelation 6:16-17 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” NIV. In the suicides in the Bible it was always nonbelievers and always looking for an easy way out. God loves us and He wants to be there for us but He will not push His way into our lives. He waits on us to invite him in.

In conclusion I am saddened to hear of those that are in such great pain and grieved even deeper that they see no hope. I would pray that there would be someone close by that would show them God’s love and they would see they can reach out to Jesus for hope and salvation.

I know this is a tough subject with many sides and I may not have given the explanation that some wanted but if a house is on fire you want someone to run into the house with truth or if you are about to drink poison you would want someone to warn you. I hope my love comes through that I just want to help and would be glad to spend time one on one with you if you have questions or want to challenge what I have said.

May the greatness and goodness of God be evident and may you have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,

Pastor Todd