Thursday, July 7, 2016
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
What is your motive? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines motive as: Something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act. The suspect's need or desire was to acquire money and goods with the least amount of effort possible. He decided that fraud and theft was the best way to act. His motive was greed. What need or desire causes you to act? What is your motive? As followers of Jesus our motive should be to glorify God by serving one another in love. Paul reminds us of this in Galatians 5:13:
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use Liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
As believers and followers of Jesus we are free from servitude to the law. Jesus went to the cross to free us from the law. We must look at Jesus on that cross before we act in this freedom. For if we use our freedom for the opportunity to serve our flesh, we will lose this freedom because we become slaves to the people or things we attempt to fill the hole of emptiness within us. When we serve the flesh our motive is to fill the hole of emptiness with anything other than Jesus.
Jesus calls us to serve one another in order to reflect Him and glorify God. Our motive for this call should be love for if we serve one another without love, we are serving with the wrong motive and are simply serving our flesh. Love must be our motive for everything because true Christian love is the motive of true Christian conduct. Don't block out the names of those you serve so that service becomes an impersonal action devoid of love. Instead, make your service personal and full of love so that you reflect the ultimate service that Jesus has done for you on the cross.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Monday, May 18, 2015
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
I responded to the post office and observed hundreds of pieces of mail, including parcels, on the floor of the post office box section. When the employee asked me if the earthquake caused the mess, I told him that while earthquakes might cause things to fall to the floor, I had never seen an earthquake cause the contents of ripped open letters and packages to disappear. When the employee looked at me as if he was waiting for further explanation, I told him that there was most definitely a burglary as the contents of the torn mail were nowhere to be found. When he continued to stand there in disbelief, I also pointed out that one of the side doors of the post office appeared to be pried open. This employee still seemed skeptical until I finally pointed out that someone had also unsuccessfully attempted to pry open the vault door. Since this employee expected to see damage to the post office caused by the earthquake, that is the only thing he saw. The earthquake loomed so large in his mind, that it clouded his vision.
Is an earthquake clouding your vision? Are you only seeing what you expect to see? Are you allowing temptations, trials, or circumstances to stumble your faith? In chapter nine of Matthew we read of two blind men who followed Jesus and cried out to him for mercy. When Jesus asked them if they believed he could restore their sight, they said, “Yes.” Then in verse 29 we read:
Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.”
These two men did not allow their blindness to prevent them from following Jesus. They did not allow their affliction to prevent them from crying out to Jesus for mercy. They did not allow their inability to see to blind their faith. These blind men expected that Jesus could restore their sight. If they were doubtful and came to Jesus with an attitude that they could not be healed, then they may have never been healed. Their doubts would have literally clouded their vision. Their doubts would have prevented them from seeing the truth.
Don’t let an earthquake cloud your sight or hide the truth. Instead, allow your faith to grow by immersing yourself in God’s Word. Allow your faith to expand with each new circumstance or trial. Allow your faith to see that truly clear vision is obtained only by focusing on Jesus.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
After 15 hours of pain in my left side and repeated vomiting, I realized I needed to visit the emergency room of my local hospital. I was severely dehydrated and the pain was excruciating. The doctor told me he suspected I had kidney stones, but he needed to do a CT scan to confirm it. As a result, he wanted to know if there was any possibility that I was pregnant. When I said no, he replied, "Everyone says that."
I looked him in the eye and said, "I'm pretty sure you have to have sex in order to get pregnant and since that has never happened, then there is no possible way that I am pregnant."
The doctor shrugged his shoulders and gave me a cup in which to urinate so he could determine whether I was pregnant or not. I advised that I had nothing to give since I was dehydrated. When he gave me water to drink, I told him I could not keep anything down. He told me to try to drink it. I did, only to have it immediately come back up. So he gave me a shot to prevent vomiting, so I could drink water, so I could pee in a cup, so it could be determined that I was not pregnant, so I could have a CT scan to determine I had kidney stones. I felt like I was the subject of a mutant version of the nursery rhyme called "The House That Jack Built": that went something like this:
This is the girl dehydrated in pain
That even water, her stomach could not contain
That a shot was given so water would remain
That urine could flow in a cup like rain
That a test could determine, No Baby Jane
That her word would remain without stain
That a CT scan could simply explain
That the pain was due to kidney stones
That morphine could be used to stop the moans
That lay in the hospital emergency room
It was frustrating that I was not believed. I was indignant that this doctor would not believe me because he said everyone lies. Everyone? Really? Was I not believed because I was a single female approaching age fifty? Are there no singles my age who are not sexually active? But as I thought about this later and put myself in the doctor's place, I may have reacted the same way. Since we are constantly deluged with sexual immorality in this world, it has become socially acceptable to be sexually active outside of marriage. Those of us that choose to follow God's Word about remaining sexually pure, do not flaunt our purity like those that flaunt their sexual conquests. So the world believes we are an extinct species. But God knows. He commands purity. Paul instructs us in 1 Corinthians 6:18:
Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.
Flee sexual immorality. If you flee it, you will not be caught by it. Sexual immorality is a direct attack on the Holy Spirit who lives inside us. We defile the temple of the Holy Spirit when we engage in sexual immorality. This temple, my body, is not even mine to defile because God owns it. Jesus paid the ultimate price for it when He went to the cross.
I struggled to even write about this subject because I have always considered my commitment to sexual purity as something that was between me and The Lord. I thought that if I spoke about it, I would open myself to attacks from Satan who does not want me to follow God's commands. But God's plans are always higher than my own.
After much thought and prayer, I realized there are others who may think they are an extinct species because of their commitment to remain sexually pure in a world filled with socially acceptable sexual immorality. No one wants to feel alone so the pressure to be like those around us can be extremely high. Don't believe you are an extinct species. Rather, know that your species thrives because God provides strength that can withstand any amount of pressure to those that remain obedient to His Word. Pray for me as I will pray for you to continue in this commitment we have made to The Lord.
Monday, February 3, 2014
Thursday, October 24, 2013
During my career in federal law enforcement, I was asked to assist in a multi-agency investigation of a nationally known trade school suspected of fraud and possible ties to a terrorist network. As part of the investigation, search warrants were issued for all branches of this school throughout the country. My assignment on the morning of the search warrant of the local branch of this school was to wait for the first employee, believed to be the custodian, to arrive in the morning so that entry could be gained to the school without unnecessarily damaging the doors. Once my partner and I gained access, we were to make sure that no records were destroyed and to radio the rest of the agents waiting nearby to conduct the search.
As I waited in the very early morning hours in a parking lot adjacent to the school, an agent from another agency drove up and voiced concern about a white van that he believed was conducting counter surveillance on our operation. When he pointed out the van, I told him that I had seen that van and it was not involved in any nefarious activities. When he asked me how I could be so sure, I told him the van just dropped off patients at the kidney dialysis center and was probably headed out to pick up more patients.
The problem was that this agent attempted to complete a job that was already assigned to someone else. As a result, he abandoned his own post and assignment. The agent in charge of the entire operation counted on each agent to complete their own job assignments. The agent in charge saw the big picture and how each assignment would lead to a successful outcome. Though it was not critical in this instance, disobedience of the agent in charge of the operation could have been critical, and even deadly in a different situation.
Have you abandoned your post and your own assignment? That is, have you abandoned your spiritual gifts in the pursuit of ones that you deem more important or more exciting? In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul compares our spiritual gifts to parts of the body. Each part is important to the body's function. If one part of the body fails to complete its role, the body may experience sickness, disability, and even death. Paul instructs us in 1 Corinthians 12:17-20:
If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.
God as the Holy Spirit is in charge of the distribution of spiritual gifts. He sees the big picture and He knows which gifts are needed and when they are needed. He created a great diversity of gifts that are to be used in cooperation with one another. Don't disobey the Agent in Charge and attempt to be an eye, when you are assigned to be an ear. Instead, embrace the gifts that the Holy Spirit has assigned to you so that the most important operation of all, serving and glorifying God, can be completed harmoniously and successfully.
Friday, May 31, 2013
Since I worked the same territory during my entire federal law enforcement career, there were many recidivist law breakers that became well known to me. There was one such offender that I felt progressed through his career of crime in parallel to my career of crime fighting. This suspect repeatedly committed the same offenses for which I arrested him at least seven times throughout my career. Because he repeatedly committed the same offenses, I would look up the date of his release from prison because I knew within a couple of months I would once again chase him down in order to arrest him. My fellow agents joked about it and posted a picture in my office of the old Warner Brothers cartoon of the sheepdog and the wolf who greeted each other every morning while they punched a time clock. Their "work day" activities consisted of the sheepdog chasing the wolf who was bent on eating the sheep. Then they would say goodnight to each other as they clocked out for the evening. On the picture in my office my co-workers labeled the sheepdog, "Teri" and the wolf with the name of this suspect.
On my last day of work before retirement, I picked up this cartoon and thought of the divergence of each of our paths. My path led to retirement and new opportunities to serve The Lord, while the suspect's path led to a long prison term. This divergence in paths was due to the choices each of us made. I shared my faith with this suspect on several occasions, gave him a Bible and even invited him to church. Yet, he always seemed to return to that time clock as a wolf.
Are you punching the time clock as a sheepdog or a wolf? That is, are you living according to the Holy Spirit in that you serve Jesus, or are you living according to to the flesh in that you serve yourself and your selfish desires? Sometimes sheepdogs can become wolf-like when they snarl, growl and bare their teeth. After all, sheepdogs and wolves are closely related species that belong to the scientific genus, Canis. Inside each of us a deadly war is raging between the sheepdog and the wolf. The wolf greedily latches on to the temptation and sin around us, while the sheepdog desperately fights off the overwhelming hunger of the wolf. In Romans 8:13 Paul tells us:
For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
We can only defeat sin (the flesh) by starving it and replacing it with righteous and Godly behavior. Jesus triumphed over sin when he willingly died for us on the cross. When we follow Him and obey Him through the leading of the Holy Spirit, His victory becomes our victory in that we will have eternal life. We obey the commands of Jesus by filling our minds with God's Word and staying in constant communication with Him through prayer. Don't feed your wolf. Instead, unleash the power of prayer and God's Word upon your wolf so that your Sheepdog may triumph.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Friday, January 18, 2013
Approximately one month before I was due to retire from my law enforcement career, I assisted on a search warrant and arrest of a suspect and his girlfriend well known to our agency as repeat offenders. My position as we approached the house was to cover the side yard in case the suspects attempted to flee out the windows. As my fellow agents approached the front door, both suspects ran out the back door into the side yard. With my firearm pointed at them, I ordered them to stop and put their hands up. The male suspect immediately scaled the eight-foot high wall dividing his yard from the next yard. His girlfriend also attempted to scale the wall. When she discovered that she was going to be unsuccessful in this attempt, she called out to her boyfriend, "Help me, don't leave me, help, help!”