Thursday, August 28, 2008

Intersections, by Jarvis

Acts 17:26-27
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

Lon said "Developing the habit of looking for God," (Presence, by Lon Alderman) and recognizing God, I might add, in every situation, that He is close. I have had a similar week to yours. Too many things flying at me, yet I was calmed and awed at the same time as well. One evening I'm out in the proverbial sticks and my cell phone stops working, conflicting meeting schedules, vehicle making concerning sounds, and last night I snapped my $100 fishing rod in the tailgate, and that was all just yesterday.

All opportunities that tempt you to think you're about to be stranded, alone, or financially drained. This time though I found myself calmly turning and smiling at God, as it were, and without having to speak a word, I handed my dilemma over, and went back to the task at hand.

I am coming to learn that these disconcerting "opportunities" that present themselves are actually intersections, not roadblocks, avalanches, or dead ends. Opportunities to acknowledge God, and his supremacy over your situations.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Presence, by Lon Alderman

Acts 17:26-27
From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

Thanks to Jamie for pointing me to this passage! I love these verses (particularly verse 27) because it speaks about the closeness of God. This week I have felt the presence of the God in a new and fresh way. The experience has been awesome!

As I've traveled through some VERY busy and challenging times over the last few days, I have regularly experienced a quiet, yet powerful, presence. The experience has simultaneously calmed and awed me! I have recognized this presence in a variety of settings - some quite stressful! This presence has to be the Holy Spirit!

Now I'm working on developing the habit of looking for God as I navigate my day. I'm learning that no matter where I am or what I'm doing, "He is not far from" me!

Seek Him!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I will help you, by Rachel Smith

Writing is a funny thing. Sometimes I think I have something great to say and then it comes out all gibberish. Other times I have nothing to say and then I get all this great feedback that it helped someone.

I think that's how I know if I have prayed enough before I write. Come to think of it, that's how I know if I have prayed enough before any decision or action in my life. If it goes well (not necessarily easy mind you) and I feel at peace, then to me this is a sign God is in it.

Ironically, I tend to fight this. I want to rush in and decide, move, get it done. In my defense I am a leader and normally these qualities are seen as positive. But God is the ultimate leader. And when I lead under His guidance things go so much better. Today I will learn to follow and trust in the one that created me.

Moses had these same troubles.

Exodus 4:10-12
Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."

The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Reflections, by Jarvis

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

My head is spinning! I couldn't get past the scripture verse. "...for this is God's will for you..." How many times have I asked (more like demanded) to know God's will in a given situation? What does He want me [to do] in this situation? Be joyful, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances. Honestly, most of time I just wanted to know that I was doing what I should be doing, while waiting on a prayer to be answered. Or at the very least that I was not producing the very barrier(s) I was seeking to get over or around. So now I know...again. Yes, I continually need reminded!

My second revelation here is "joy". "Be joyful always." I have prayed for joy to return to my life for years, but this verse indicates that joy is my choice; an act of the will. It would seem my revelation has become an indictment. I over-think too many things. I suppose my comments on this Blog may attest to that, but knowledge is no substitute for joy. After all,
Adam and Eve gained knowledge after they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and what joy did that bring them?

Third thing that has rattled my cage this morning: Compartmentalizing God. Lon said (Immediacy of God), "The vast, and I mean VAST, majority of my time is not focused on Jesus!" We cannot escape from God's presence, so if I know this, why don't I at least acknowledge his presence, like I would if my best earthly friend were to follow us throughout the day? In my mind, that would be praying (communicating) continually. Of course, there are ways of communicating without speaking, but that's for another time...


Friday, August 22, 2008

Immediacy of God, by Lon Alderman

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

It might be an attempt to manage the overflow of information that swamps my mind. It might be the inability to handle more than five or six thoughts at one time. Or, it might just be laziness. Regardless of the reason, I tend to compartmentalize my life.

There is family time, work time, time to eat, and time to relax. There is time to be serious, time to have fun, and time to zone out. Oh ya, and there is time for God. I "give" Him 30-45 minutes each morning and a couple of hours on Sunday. I give Him a short nod before eating and, depending on the meeting, I give Him 90 seconds before we start.

Do you see the problem? The vast, and I mean VAST, majority of my time is not focused on Jesus! God is always with us - He promised! (Hebrews 13:5) As a matter of fact, we can't escape His presence even if we tried! (Psalm 139:7-12)

Today, let's be aware of the immediacy of God. Then in each moment we can prayerfully, joyously, and thankfully experience His presence.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Free-Care, by Rachel Smith

I'm a member of this Freecycle group online. Basically if you have something that you want to give away you post it and your trash may just be some one else's treasurer. In turn you can accept free items from others. It's a pretty neat way to recycle. I've seen just about everything from 1/2 used bottles of shampoo to old bicycles and guitars. I have also seen people post a "wanted" item and end up being able to fulfill some needs.

Sometimes people's needs go beyond a twin bed frame. I wish there was a "Freecycle" to meet emotional needs as well.

Offer: unconditional love and encouragement, pick up anytime.

I guess we would call that Christianity.

Acts 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

300th Post - Celebrate!, by Lon Alderman

Psalm 145:3-7

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.

One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.

They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.

They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

This is the 300th Daily Build Up posting! I celebrate the Lord's goodness for it His hand that has accomplished this milestone. Sing praises to the Lord!

Through God's awesome work in this blog, God has encouraged hundreds of people around the world! Praise the Lord!

God is abundantly good!


PP (ie., post-post) Please send your praises for how God is moving in your life. You can make a comment on this post or email your thoughts to:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Reversed Flow, by Lon Alderman

1Thessalonians 5:11
"...encourage one another and build each other up..."

My ministry is to lift the hands of church leaders like Aaron and Hur lifted the hands of Moses. I come alongside pastors and lay leaders to "lift" them through one-on-one coaching, training workshops, or any other way I can encourage them. It's a wonderful honor to be used by God in this way.

And, it can be taxing.

Over the last two weeks God has awesomely reversed the flow! Different people have come alongside and lifted my hands! I have been encouraged in a wide variety of ways. I received kind words, slaps on the back, unexpected donations, compliments, and some very challenging questions.

Thank you to Tim, Jim, Dale, Andrew, Martha, Mary Ellen, Ed, and Ray for your encouragement.

You lifted me!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Step By Step, by Lon Alderman

John 14:1
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

I am confident that through God's grace my life's journey will end in heaven. It is the daily steps of life that trip me up.

I allow the challenges and disappointments of the day to distract me. Instead of trusting God moment by moment as I travel through the day, I most often go on auto pilot. I take my eyes off of Jesus and get to work. It is then that the tripping begins.

Here's the fourth stanza to a great old hymn, "God Will Take Care of You":

Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
when dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.

Every step of the way!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Success, by Rachel Smith

How do you know when you have become successful? By what measurement do you gauge your accomplishments?

We often get wrapped up in the expected cycle of our culture. Go to school to the highest grade, graduate. Go to another school to the highest grade, graduate. Get a job to the highest level, promote. Get another job to the highest level, promote. And on and on we go. So do you ever wonder when you're done? Is it retirement? Death? Are we busy doing life rather than living it?

And if so what do you miss out on by trying to get to the top level of every circumstance? or rather, who do you miss?

I'm not saying that success is a bad thing. But moving up the ladder blindly to the next ladder without checking out those around you can be dangerous.
In the book of 2 Peter 1:5-7 we are given a ladder to help us in progress in God's kingdom.

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Start climbing

Monday, August 11, 2008

What does God really want?, by Rachel Smith

I'd like a sign. You know, a great big neon flashing sign "God's will here"

I've been praying lately for God's will in my life and I got to thinking I better watch what I ask for. Or at least understand what I'm asking for. Thankfully, He did give us a guide book to tell us His will. He also encourages us to enter into an ongoing relationship with Him so we can understand His will.

I guess I got my sign.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 It is God's will that you should be sanctified

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Clay, by Lon Alderman

Romans 9:21
Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

I think this is one of the great challenges of following Jesus. That is, we must realize and accept that the purpose for which God is forming us may be more "common" than "noble".

God makes some people to have Billy Graham type impacts. You know, headliners that become almost household names even outside of the Christian community.

For the rest of us though, our purpose is not so "noble". However, we mustn't think that "common" means unimportant. It is awesome and terribly important to be made for even a common purpose when the Potter is God Almighty!

God is good!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Forged, by Lon Alderman

Isaiah 54:16
See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work...

I'm attempting, for the first time, to read the entire Bible in a year. At present, I am (only) four days behind. In today's reading in Isaiah, I ran across this interesting passage. It reminded me of God's ongoing creative process.

We are continuously being "forged" into becoming a particular "weapon" for a particular "work". One might think that as the one being forged that there isn't much for us to do but wait for the next pounding or shove into the hot coals. However, there is something the "forged" can do. We can seek the Lord.

As we seek the Lord two wonderful things will happen. First, our relationship with Jesus will grow and flourish as we weather each pounding. Second, God's purposes will become our purposes as we withstand each overheating. In this way He will make us fit for our work.

Seek the Lord!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Indiana Jones, by Rachel Smith

I have been enjoying the early Indiana Jones movies with my children. My favorite scene is from the original movie. This samurai guy is throwing a sword around in a wonderful display of skill and beauty. It shows just how great he is at sword fighting. Indiana assesses the situation and then shoots him.

You can see it here

I remember watching this in the theater as the audience rushed with laughter. This huge display of fighting technique ended in one bullet.

It made me think about the battles we face every day.
When I go into a battle do I prepare and train to show my enemy just how great I am? Am I so worried about how I will do that I forget the other guy could just pull a bullet? Or do I ensure my victory by giving the battle and the Glory to God? I think sometimes we make it harder than we have to. Thanks Indy for the reminder!

2 Chronicles 20:15
'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Unite and Pray, by Rachel Smith

I was reading in the old testament today the story of Jehoshaphat defeating Moab. (2 Chronicles 20) I would encourage you to read it.

We are often in battles where there is no possible way we can win. The numbers tell the story. The other side has more people to fight and appear to be in better condition to advance their position. This was the case for Jehoshaphat.

But, instead of hanging his head low and giving up he did a very interesting thing. He gathered all the people to fast and pray. They praised God. He even prays, "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." (vs12).

When you don't know what to do- gather the troops. Unite in praise and prayer and fix your eyes on God.

2 Chronicles 20:12-13
O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Do you ever wonder?, by Rachel Smith

Do you ever wonder? I do. I wonder a lot. It seems I wonder even more as my kids ask me those hard to answer questions. "Why is the sky blue?" "Where do leaves come from?" 'Why are they called leaves?" "Why does it always rain on the day we are suppose to go to the pool?"

Too many times my answer is, "Let's google that and see."
The Internet is a great tool and there is a lot you can google, but for the real answers you need the Bible. So the next time you are asked a hard question- see what the Creator has to say.

"Where is snow stored?"
"Does the rain have a father?"
"Who directs the lightening?"
"Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?"
Check out Job 38.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

All I Need, by Lon Alderman

Philippians 4:18-20
I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

These are challenging times for those of us that depend on donations to keep their ministry afloat! Two tough factors have converged. First, this is summer, which is a chronically challenging time to raise funds. Second, this economy has people running a bit scared. The result in my case is that donations have decreased to a disconcerting level.

If I’m not very careful, my concerns about the financial future of this ministry can become overwhelming. The truth is that the circumstances are overwhelming, just like God planned it! That is, if I could fund this ministry on my own merits, then I would expect the glory for it, too. But nothing could be further from the truth. It is only through God’s provision that we are serving in our sixth year!

“To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Friday, August 01, 2008

What if...?, by Rachel Smith

We all wonder this sometimes. What if...and the dot dot dot is usually some concern for the future or our health or our finances or even our children. While those concerns may all be very real and valid just wondering and worrying won't change anything.
Prayer changes things.

We are to be told not to be anxious, about anything. This includes all of those what ifs. But rather be thankful and prayerful.

Just for today try to pray rather than worry. Anytime your brain says, "well, what are you going to do about that" answer by praying. Instead of coming up with solutions or worrying about not having any, let God be in charge. Go to Him with everything today.

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.