There’s a Fast-Food Place You’ve Got to Try!

29 04 2019

My wife and I get to the west coast of the U.S. at times and when we do…I have a confession to make.

 

We do love a hot, unique at times, different and fresh meal.  But every chance we get, we’ll request or gravitate toward a place called In-N-Out Burger.  It’s fresh, it’s hot, it’s clean, it’s friendly and it’s fast-food at its best! Real milkshakes, real fries, real burgers with very few menu options

 

My wife goes for the “protein burger” and I go for the “Double-Double.”  That’s 100% of double the meat and double the cheese. Harry and Esther Snyder started this California craze in 1948.  Not until the 1970’s did they start to expand and today there are around 250 restaurants as far east as Texas.   The current owner is Lynsi Snyder, the Snyders’ only grandchild.

 

 

But it was Harry and Esther’s son, Rich, who did something unique, something a bit subtle and yet awesome.  Rich was a devoted born-again Christian; it was Rich who decided to add the Bible verses to the chain’s cups and burger wrappers. “Hamburgers are so popular,” his pastor at the Calvary Chapel explained. He thought it was a great way to, “Awaken people to the fact that the Bible is relevant and has the answers for today’s problems.”

 

On every burger wrapper, on every French fry box and on every beverage cup there is a scripture from the word of God.  Yep, Harry and Esther’s son, Rich, is still getting God’s word out to every customer who comes through the door even though he was killed in a plane crash many years ago.

 

Not my usual blog post, but I do love a good burger.  So, if you’re ever near an In-N-Out Burger restaurant, it’s one great fast-food meal.  Make it a date night with your bride!





The Guarantee of Resurrection Life

21 04 2019

Many years ago, after a particularly difficult trial I was put through at the hands of another leader who was lying and misrepresenting his position for personal gain, I left that particular meeting pretty downcast and confused.  I knew he was not telling the truth, as did my wife, but there was really no defense to be made.  It was one of those times in your life that you know you were just going to have to deal with the personal pain and loss.  As well, we worked closely with this person and that fact did not help the matter.

 

Trials are like that sometimes.  You simply have no defense.  You take the hit, knowing you stand with truth and integrity.  You, as well, console yourself with the understanding that God knows, cares and will walk you through it.

 

But the best advice from this situation came to me just following the meeting when one of the persons in charge pulled his car alongside of me and said, “Remember, Steve, after every death you die there is a promised resurrection.”  I listened graciously, but with some questioning in my heart wondering just where he was during that awful meeting we endured.

 

Years later I still carry that statement with me because of its powerful truth, its lifelong encouragement and its depth of meaning.  There is a New Testament truth we hold onto as Christians.  That truth is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth and then gave up His life to die on a cross.  On Sunday, Easter we call it, He was no longer dead but alive forevermore. Following His resurrection, there was a continual stream of persons who witnessed that resurrection and literally saw Jesus after His grave experience.

 

Are you walking through a trial right now?  Are you facing a hardship or a broken relationship?  Have you been hurt or suffered loss in some way not provoked by your own behavior?  It is this time of the year that we remember the New Testament guarantee of resurrection life.  For after every death you die, there is a promised resurrection!

 

Have a glorious, life-giving Easter.  Our Savior is ALIVE!





Nehemiah Did So Much More Than Build a Wall

15 04 2019

The Old Testament man of God called Nehemiah was a king’s cupbearer turned leader of Israel.

 

He is well-known and honored for his obedience to leave a very comfortable position serving king Artaxerxes to return to his people, the Israelites, to rebuild the walls and gates around Jerusalem. It was a daunting task, but Nehemiah continually spoke faith-filled words like, “The God of heaven will give us success.”  The assignments were handed out and the walls were being rebuilt even through opposition.

 

But were the walls his most meaningful feat?  I actually think there were others that were just as important – perhaps more important.

 

First, Nehemiah saw something amazing happen in Israel as they went to work on the walls together. In chapter nine we are told the Israelites, under Nehemiah’s lead, gathered together to fast and pray.  The result?  Repentance.  They confessed their sin and the wickedness of their forefathers.  Then in chapter ten, we are told what followed confession was a new-found desire to once again obey God’s commands.  They took an oath to follow the Law of God, given to them by Moses.

 

Following this, the Israelites started tithing again, including a tithe of their crops and a tithe of the tithe to the treasury.  They would stop neglecting the house of their God!

 

Finally, Nehemiah reestablished the Sabbath.  With repentance, with obeying God’s commands through His Law and with tithing, Israel would also find rest in God’s Sabbath principles.

 

Nehemiah’s Initial response challenges me, “When I heard these things, I sat down and I wept.  For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”  (Nehemiah 1:4).  Am I hearing God’s commands for me in the midst of my day?  Am I willing to step out and obey?  Am I willing to do something that others see as radical?

 

But perhaps most important for each of us, this story causes me to think that Nehemiah’s obedience and passion require a profound question: what breaks my heart; what am I weeping over?





Seven Benefits of Praying Couples

8 04 2019

My wife and I have found a place of intimacy that far exceeds any level of intimacy within a marriage through our connecting in prayer.  We have made this a priority for many years and have grown our marriage in numerous ways through the vulnerability of prayer together.  Here are seven benefits that we have identified from praying together.

  1. When we pray, we find agreement with God and with one another. Agreement is far more powerful, life-giving and life changing than disagreement.
  2. Through prayer together we are not so self-focused, but rather, we are focused on God, one another and the needs of those we are praying for.
  3. We are recognizing our need to trust outside ourselves. We are realizing we cannot provide all the needs or answers.  We are humbling ourself to say, we need God.  Prayer reminds us and our family that God IS our source.
  4. Prayer helps us to grow in grace and patience. We learn to wait on God.  We also learn to confess our needs, brokenness and vulnerability. We, before God, recognize our need for forgiveness.
  5. We communicate our life issues when we pray and that helps us to hear out loud those needs. We pray what is on our heart and when we hear one another’s heart, we know what deeply touches us and concerns us.
  6. Prayer changes us as we learn to listen to God. It changes us financially, emotionally, mentally and sexually.  In all ways we are changed as we reach out to and then hear God’s still small voice.  Our hearts and our minds are transformed through prayer and we experience a greater level of oneness.
  7. Praying together increases our intimacy. As intimacy increases our trust levels increase and as our trust levels increase, our strength and bond together grows stronger.

Helping you to start your prayer trek

  • Purchase a devotional book, read and then pray.
  • Take turns praying/reading.
  • Start small or brief and grow your time.
  • Find a specific focus and pray.
  • Walk your neighborhood and pray.

  • Pray together with your children teaching them to pray.
  • Pray in the car when there is a lull in the conversation.
  • Pray when one of you or your children are not feeling well.
  • Pray with thanksgiving to God repeatedly.
  • Bless one another in prayer.  Bless one another’s day, workplace, etc.
  • Ask your spouse how you can pray for them.




I Slept But My Heart Was Awake

1 04 2019

I’m not sure if you recognized it, but my title for this blog is actually a verse in the Bible. It’s found in Song of Songs.  I find this verse to be fascinating.  I know scientifically that while I sleep, my mind is awake, but according to this verse my heart can be also.

 

My heart has been described as the center of my personality, my emotions, my intuition, my affections, my spirit.  The heart is also described as the innermost center of things.  My heart can be awakened to love or hate, fear or trust, light or darkness.

 

Jesus said it this way, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”  Luke 6:45

 

Jesus’ words beg us to reflect on what’s in our heart.  If you honestly desire to know what’s in your heart or another’s, simply listen to what language comes out of your mouth and theirs.  It will reveal the heart.

 

We have the option to store love, generosity, compassion, service, kindness and passion for God’s kingdom in our heart or we can store jealousy, hate, judgement, criticism, comparison and negativity in our heart.  It is truly up to us.  I think I can guarantee each of us one thing.  If it’s the latter, our awakened heart, while we sleep, will not find peace or rest for our soul.








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