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

#18 Oh, We Changed the Rules, That’s ok, Right?

How would you feel if the rules changed? You got to the track and they told you that this rule is now changed and you cannot race unless you change the car. And then you pull into tech after the race and the rule changes again and they DQ you. You would be pretty upset. Well to me I see that a lot in America. We are trying to change the rules yet God does not. In the area we are going to deal with again God has not wavered from what He says. So let’s pay attention. By the way #17 if you are counting.

Yes He starts this section again with “My son” for the 17th time. Then the LORD reminds us again about parents and that we are to listen. Note: that is listening to the things that line up with God. I have seen so many parents that have it wrong in the area of relationships and purity. I am praying that a generation will take a stand for purity and truth. Are you, I mean seriously praying and with other couples and parents?

Proverbs 6:20 My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.
Echo! We have seen this in previous chapters. It is important that both parents teach Godly things and children keep them and don’t turn from your parents. Honor and respect goes both ways and remember both sides of this relationship has a sinner. Catch that this important.
Proverbs 6:21 Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck.
The teaching need to be passed down from generation to generation but they have to be “owned” by each generation. Make them your own, not just your parents. Also they have to go from your head to your heart really believing them yourself.
Proverbs 6:22 When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.
There can be peace and we can be given guidance in the middle of this chaotic life but we have to be surrendered to the LORD and His teachings. We have to follow Him wherever He leads. That means saying “Yes” to the Spirit and “No” to our flesh. I used the word “our” for a reason. It is not someone else. We have make the right choices, you and I. This verse also reminds us that we should not look for times we can take a break from God and His commands. It is every moment, every step.
Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
Again an echo of Psalms and earlier in Proverbs. God is the light and His Word a lamp unto our feet. Do you want to stumble around in the dark or walk in His ways and on His path? And discipline is good (care with the things going on right now. We are talking about God disciplining not man disciplining)
Proverbs 6:24 to preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.
Now it gets pointed. The above statements lead to the area of purity. God is saying not to get sucked into the world pattern of sex, lust and immorality. Purity is important to God and blessed by Him. It is worth the wait. It is worth saying “No”. It is worth keep the marriage pure. Stop and read that again. Take a stand against the junk that the world throws in our faces.
Proverbs 6:25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;
This warning goes out to guys but think of it from gals too. Guys, where is your purity setting? Ladies, where is your modesty setting? Sometimes it seems pretty low in what I see. Guys and gals, you too need to stop acting like what the world says is ok and take a stand for purity.
Guys notice the “heart”. I once heard a prof say it is not the first look that is sin, it is the return look or the long gaze that is sin. Don’t get drawn into her tease, it is of the evil one.

Have you done wrong in this area? Have you sinned? DO you want to turn from that sin and get right with the LORD? Do it right now. Go humbly, broken and surrender before the LORD and confess and seek His forgiveness and restoration.

God really wants us to get this, to understand it and to live this out. So let me ask you, how intentional are you at making sure you are not lusting or acting on that lust? How protective of your purity are you? Are you trying to lure others into sin? I hope you will take a stand opposite of what most the world thinks and says. I hope you will agree. I hope I have your attention and you will be intentional. I hope you will live a life of pure. Have you done wrong in this area?

Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,

Pastor Todd

#17 Take a look, Who is working?

Have you been on the hill at MIS, Elko, or Jefferson and just looked down into the pits and seen the work going on? As I walk the pits there are a lot of teams scrambling to get changes made, trying to find that speed. Have you been in the work place and watched people working hard? I see it often and then I see the teams and individuals that are relaxed. Some are relaxed because they are confident they have prepared and found the speed they need but sometimes I see people loafing around. Most often those type of people are not very successful on the track or at a work place. Yes we have to have a balance of work and relaxing and play but we need to be careful not to go into the ditch on either side of that. As we open back up to Proverbs listen to God’s warning here, Proverbs 6:6-11 6 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard?10 When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest,11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
Do you see the stern warning that God gives to the lazy? There are sub messages here to 1) Prepare for seasons. In times of plenty set aside for times that are lean. 2)Be able to work without constant direction. Often you see those that are able to see the big picture and do the work that is there. Other times there are some that have to be directed and stood over. Find the work that has value and do it. 3) Watch your sleep. I know that often there is not enough sleep in this country and this generation that has a phone or I Pad at the ready. I’ve heard it said that it is like a badge of honor to answer a text at 3:00 in the morning, proving they are available all the time. Here is it warning of too much sleep. I am not going to put a number there but check and see if you are getting enough, too much or too little.
To help remember: PBW
Have you been around the person that you just cannot trust? No, I am not talking about politicians. There are those that you cannot trust their words or actions. God gives a warning here in Proverbs 6:12-15 12 A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech,13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, 14 with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; 15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing. Listen to the warning God gives and we should also be on the alert to those actions as we are around others and talk with them. Catch that last statement, “in a moment he will be broken beyond healing”. That is a strong statement the LORD makes there. This is a person that has gone completely bad, evil.
Is it hard to think that God would hate? I often hear of God’s love and He is love. This is true but there are some that take God’s love to a wrong conclusion. They think He loves so much that He will never hold us to accountability. That gives us a free pass to sin and that is not true. God hates sin! Read it again. God HATES sin. Listen toProverbs 6 16-19 16 There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
As we think about these three sections of Proverbs 6 we see God loves us and is patient with us. He wants to instruct us and He wants to bless us. But, we need to listen and obey Him. It is not good enough just to listen or even listen and agree. He wants us to obey Him in our work, in our rest, and in our words. Did you catch that? Let me repeat it (go back and read it again). What will you do this week or in the next week to live this out?
Have a great day racin’ in the SONshine,
Pastor Todd