Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Enter with thanksgiving


      4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving 
         and his courts with praise; 
         give thanks to him and praise his name. 
      5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; 
         his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Ps 100:4–5). 

Sometimes things in life make you appreciate and understand scripture more so than when had not experienced them.  Take for instance when scripture takes about that suffering produces patience strength and hope.  You and I can't really grasp the concept until we endure some type of suffering.

This pandemic COVID-19 has affected so many things in our lives; some of it we are currently recovering from and some, well, who knows when it will go back to normal.  Most churches have opened back their sanctuaries for in person worship, but some still have not.  My prayer in the midst of this shutdown of houses of worship is that when doors open back up that church goers would come to appreciate the significance and importance of being able to worship together in person.  I cannot speak for everyone but for myself, when we came back together on June 14 to resume worship my heart was overwhelmed with thanksgiving, praise, and joy.

I experienced this one other time, when after a major surgery I was unable to attend church for over 12 weeks of recovery.  Many of you may have experienced the same type circumstances, and can understand that feeling. You understand what it is to miss being in a house of worship.

Don't misunderstand me, the technology that has allowed us to worship virtually was a great short term solution.  I know people will say that they can worship at home on TV, internet, or radio.  There is some truth in that because yes you can.  However, there is not substitution to being around the people of God, for the worship of God, in the House of God.

There are still some that are unable to be in person for worship for many reasons.  For you know that we understand what you are going through, and know that you are missed and we look forward to the day that you can join us again.  Then you as well will experience the joy of entering with joy and thanksgiving in your heart.  But until then, stand firm, believe, and rejoice in knowing that this too shall pass.


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

What did you say?


If you been around for any length of time you know that even though you say something, repeat it, and repeat it again some people just don't hear it.  If you have children you know that you can have them look into your eyes and say something, and they will still come back later and say they didn't hear you.  Your probably familiar with the eyes glazing over and knowing that they are day dreaming about some distant world, what they want for snack, or what they thought someone said to someone at sometime.

We laugh as this is our children or grandchildren we are talking about, however did you know that we consistently do this to God.  God speaks to us every day, and yet we aren't listening.  We thought we heard something, and we go to Him and we ask, "What did you say?".  God knows it.... He knows we mean well..... He knows that its not always intentional......  As you can imagine as frustrated as we get with our own children/grandchildren God also does with us...

      11 “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. 12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts  to follow their own devices. 13 “If my people would only listen to me,  if Israel would only follow my ways, (Ps 81:11–13). 

If we would only listen to Him.  I mean really listen.  God is constantly speaking to us.  He always has our best interest at heart.  He is always trying to lead us in the path He has designed for us.  He has a perfect will for our life, however whenever we don't listen we miss the path.  If we would only listen, if we would only follow His ways.

So what would it take for you to listen?  What would it take for you to slow down for one minute of the day and listen to what He has to say.  It is important, no, it is of most importance that we listen.  Make that change, take time to listen...

Have a great day, Chris 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

losing that foothold


      2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;  I had nearly lost my foothold (Ps 73:2). 

Sometimes being a Christian is like climbing a mountain.  It can be the hardest thing you have ever done, takes a lot of self-discipline and energy, but when you look down/back at how far you have come the view is so beautiful.  The problem is when we are climbing and our foot slips, or we nearly lose our foothold.  This happens so many times, we can feel like we are climbing and gaining so much ground, then our heart drops and breathing gets fast because we nearly slip.... nearly.   We nearly fall into our old habits, we nearly fall back into old routines, we nearly commit the sin that we battle so often.  Or maybe we did slip, maybe we did lose our foothold, maybe we did fall back, and we grab hold of whatever we can to stop from falling and losing our sanity.  We feel like we are hanging on by just a thread.  At that moment, or in that moment, that is when all the safety equipment comes into effect.  The safety is equipment is for us because no matter how skillful, careful, and experienced you may be anyone, and I mean anyone can slip.  

The psalmist here gives a narration of many troubles he had had (envy, ignorant, and being in vain), because of all this he nearly, be reminded of nearly, slipped.  But then he was reminded of the following:

      23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel,          and afterward you will take me into glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart         and my portion forever. 27 Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. 28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.  I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;          I will tell of all your deeds.  (Ps 73:23–28). 

Some truths found in these verses when you are climbing that mountain called life:

  • God is with you and is holding your hand
  • God is guiding you
  • God is your strength and portion
  • God is near, so it is good
  • God is your refuge
  • God is your story to tell
keep climbing you are safe with God!  

have a great day, Chris

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

November Cant get here fast enough

 "If you can't stand the sight of your own blood, don't get into politics" - Mike Huckabee

Understand that this blog is NOT written to endorse any specific candidate.  I have a great concern, and it becomes greater every single time elections roll around.  When it comes to political parties there are strong beliefs on both sides, and the gap seems to get wider and wider between the two.  For some who are hot and heavy into their political parties they can't wait for the next election, they can't wait to talk about how much they hate the other party, they can't wait to try and uncover as much mud as they can on the opponent, and they can't wait to slam the people who support their opponents.  As some look forward to an election, I loathe it.  Elections bring out the worst of some.  People can be mean and down right ugly during elections. Social media becomes a sounding booth, or a slamming booth, against those who claim to be "friends".  People start calling each other names like "crazy, blind, morons, uneducated, racist, or deplorable, and so on".  You can't label people as such, it is not fair nor is it true.  I am a registered Republican.  The other day I heard someone say that if your a Republican you are a racist.  I know this to not be true, and if you believe that then you have issues and not me.

What really drives me bonkers is when people start making the statement: "you can't be a Christian and vote for ________" or "how can you be a Christian and vote for ________".  As a Christian let me remind you and me some things.  

You don't know people as well as God does, therefore you do not have the right to judge someone's Christianity based upon their political status.  You may not understand why people vote or think the way they do, but your not supposed to and you don't have to.

7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

In your ways and thoughts, you are not perfect either:

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)

I am responsible for me and you are responsible for you.  Quite frankly, I don't want to be responsible for someone else's life, I have enough on my plate with myself and my children.

People are not crazy, blind, morons, uneducated, racist, or deplorable based upon who they vote for.  If you are like me the struggle is real.  The last several times I have voted for president, or any office for that matter,  I have found myself thinking is this the best our political parties can do?  Is this really the best we have to offer?  I digress, but since Reagan I have had struggles (and BTW I wasn't even old enough to vote until 1990).  The best I can do (and anyone for that matter), is to make a list of what you believe, what is important to you, what is your value system, what will you compromise on and what won't you.  Sometimes I feel like voting like Brewster's campaign was in "Brewster's Million" and vote "NONE OF THE ABOVE".  At the end of the day it is your right and your vote, it doesn't matter what anyone else says or what anyone else thinks.  I long for the days when people could have opposing views and still get along.  I'm not perfect nor am I trying to paint a picture that I am.  What I can tell you is that I can be friends with someone who doesn't think like me, I can sit down and have a meal with someone who opposes that which I am for, I can have a conversation with someone who disagrees with things I agree with.  And So could Jesus.

Don't buy into what all the media, talk show hosts, news, and famous people with a microphone are trying to shove down your throats.  They all have agenda's, and not everything is a conspiracy.  Think for yourself and don't believe everything you see or hear.  Also, remember that it is not the political candidate, famous athlete or actor, news anchor, or talk show host that you will spend your days with.  It, however, will be co-workers, family, friends, and neighbors.  People burn a lot of bridges because of politics.  Love your neighbor as yourself.

I am not ashamed to say that I look for certain things in candidates, I am pro-life, I am for 2nd amendment rights, I am for smaller government, I am for less government intervention, I am a fiscal conservative, and believe in a  balanced budget.  I am also for a leader that can unite a divided country, and listen to the people....NEITHER candidate has the ability to do so.  So what does one do?  I can't not vote...  far too many people finding themselves having to try and pick the "lesser of two evils".  I can't tell you home many times people tell me you shouldn't vote that way, but how can you not.  I pray, pray, and then pray some more and fill in the circle beside a candidate that I know I can't support fully, and yet know my responsibility as an American is done because i voted, and I respect the person in office and pray for them (regardless of their political party) because that is what Scripture tells me I am supposed to do.

My name is Chris Reese and I loathe election time, but I vote because it's my responsibility and right.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

What is truth?


As I stated in an earlier blog (titled "Good News) we live in a society that it is hard to know when we are being fed the truth and when we are being fed untruth.  It is hard to watch the news anymore because it is hard to know whether what we are being told is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  As a believer you want to keep up with local, national, and world news, however, if I am honest many days it is hard to stomach what we are being told because most of it has an agenda behind it.

So is there truth that you and I can hold on to, is there solidarity in what we read and hear.  How do we know?  Who can we trust?  What can we do?  Let me remind you of Psalm 33:

      4 For the word of the LORD is right and true; 
         he is faithful in all he does. 
      5 The LORD loves righteousness and justice; 
         the earth is full of his unfailing love. 

      6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, 
         their starry host by the breath of his mouth.   

      9 For he spoke, and it came to be; 
         he commanded, and it stood firm. (Ps 33:4–6, 9). 

1- there is the solidity of the word, three key words in verse 4: right, true, and faithful.  All three words express the solidity of the Word of God.  Right, true, faithful;  God is truth, it is His nature, it is in His being.  Truth is God.

2- His word creates.  By the very spoken Word, God created everything!!  How do we know that to be true.  Simply look around.  The earth, its substance, its decor, its inhabitants, and most importantly you were all created by Him.

3- His word has Power.  There is power in truth.  All God has to do is speak and it comes to be, He commands and it stands firm.  What He says and does cannot be undone.

So in a world where the truth is hard to decipher, stay in His Word.  His Word it truth.  His Word will sustain you in days of doubt, His Word will encourage you in days of discouragement, His Word will build you up when the world is bringing you down.

So What is truth?  God is truth!

Have a great day, Chris

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Good news

I have to be honest I quit watching the news.  I don't want to be a conspiracy theorist and say that the news is "fake news" or politically driven, but I do say that most have an agenda.  However, I quit watching the news because they never seems to have good news.  The most powerful button I have found is the "off" button on my remote.  We are so inundated with depressing, bad, agenda driven news that I just had enough.  I used to watch ESPN Sportcenter for sports news, but now it is political and agenda driven, so everything now that I need I find it on an app.  I digress and get to my point.  I was reminded today of some great, no some awesome news.  As a Believer in Jesus Christ we already know the following, but let's be reminded of good news:

      1 Blessed is the one 
         whose transgressions are forgiven, 
         whose sins are covered. 
      2 Blessed is the one 
         whose sin the LORD does not count against them 
         and in whose spirit is no deceit. 


      5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you 
         and did not cover up my iniquity. 
         I said, “I will confess 
         my transgressions to the LORD.” 
         And you forgave 
         the guilt of my sin.  (Ps 32:1–5).

Some points of good news to ponder:

  • You are blessed! and what follows is how/why
  • your transgressions are forgiven - things you have done/will do are gone as if they never happened
  • your sins are covered - hidden never to be found
  • your sins are not counted against you - God does not keep the list of things you have done wrong, they are not added up and brought back up, they are gone
  • I acknowledge my sin to You - we can go before God and confess anything, He does not belittle, make fun of, roll His eyes, beat, slap, or ridicule us
  • greatest of all: He forgives the guilt - God doesn't just forgive us, He forgives the guilt.  We walk around with so much guilt of things we have done, God has forgiven He does not hold us accountable to that which we have asked for forgiveness for.

So, be reminded of the good news of the Gospel.  God is so great, we are so blessed.  With a world that is overrun with negative media, bring some positive into your life.  

Blessings, Chris

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Beauty of Creation

General Revelation: Where God reveals Himself through His creation.

(WLOS tower on top of Mount Pisgah)

      1 The heavens declare the glory of God; 
         the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 
      2 Day after day they pour forth speech; 
         night after night they reveal knowledge. 
      3 They have no speech, they use no words; 
         no sound is heard from them. 
      4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, 
         their words to the ends of the world. 

 (Ps 19:1–4). 

 Today's blog is a little different.  The verses are pretty self explanatory.  God's creation is beautiful and screams the glory of His handiwork.  Creation needs no speech, used no words, and no sound is heard from them, and yet  His creation reveals who He is.  Enjoy this blog as I post some of the most beautiful places I have seen.  

(Cumberland Gap, Tennessee and Kentucky) - above

(overlooking El Paso, Texas)

(Arizona or New Mexico?)

(Pacific Ocean, San Diego CA)

(The View from 30,000 +/- feet)

(Rainbow over Hominy Valley Fields)

(or just a beautiful sunset from your own backyard)

There are so many more that I could share (Grand Canyon, painted desert, etc.) but that would take a while.  

What a beautiful creation we live in, but also YOU are a beautiful creation.  Created in the image of God.

Have a blessed day, Chris