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April 18, 2016

Whining or Winning

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

They cried out to the Lord, and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt?”…

The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Exodus 14: 11, 14 (NLT)

I wonder what that day was like as Moses and the Israelites stood there on the banks of the Red Sea waiting for what seemed to be an inevitable and tragic fate to occur. I suspect it was a lot like today—sunny and beautiful with just a touch of breeze in the air, even though maybe a bit sandy, and with storms forecast for later.

Their journey to that day and to that point on the banks of the Red Sea had begun when Moses was led by God to go to the Pharaoh of Egypt and demand that he let God’s people go, to free them from slavery. It didn’t happen, and so one thing led to another and the Lord sent one plague after another—ten plagues in all—upon the Egyptian people until the Pharaoh finally relented and told Moses to take the Israelites and go. Now. Quickly. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

April 11, 2016

All the Way to the Finish!

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

II Timothy 4: 6-8 (NIV)

That passage in Paul’s second letter to his beloved Timothy, is one of the great passages of encouragement contained in Scripture, where Paul begins to pass the mantle of responsibility to Timothy. Look at it again from The Message translation, when Paul says—

You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, He’s an honest Judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for His coming.” II Timothy 4: 6-8 (The Message)

Did you notice the subtle challenge Paul sets forth to Timothy and to each of us? “I’ve run hard right to the finish,” he says, “believed all the way.”

There’s the challenge for Timothy and for you and me; that no matter what you are going through, no matter what we face, no matter how many times we’ve fallen, or how many missteps or detours we’ve suffered—run to the finish. Or as the NIV translation above says—fight the good fight. And we’ve just come out of the season of Lent and Holy Week, leading to Good Friday and Easter Sunday—with the example of the One who fought the good fight, and ran hard right to the finish on the cross and then the empty tomb. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

April 4, 2016

The Rest of the Story

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 

Luke 24: 1-6. 8 -9 (ESV)

It was a morning much like to today a few years ago, when I got the news that our precious five-year-old Basset Hound, Luke, wasn’t going to make it. He had developed a cancerous tumor—undetectable until it was too late—which had spread to cover over eighty-five percent of his stomach. Surgery wasn’t successful, and he continued to grow weaker in the days which followed until that last day when he died.

The next day our son, Nathan, drove to Gainesville with our youngest Granddaughter, Ellie Kate, to help Lynda and me bury Luke’s body in a special spot in the backyard.

While Nathan and I prepared the gravesite that morning, Lynda and Ellie Kate gathered flowers for him from around the yard. All kinds of every shape, size and color. And then Ellie Kate assisted in the site preparation, by jumping into the hole in the ground we were preparing and troweling away her share of dirt—while her clothes told the story for all to see of what she had been helping with. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

March 28, 2016

Who Saw That Coming?

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”…

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

John 20: 1-2, 6-8, 11-16 (ESV)

Listen to this familiar verse from John 3:16— “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

And then the verse after that, which we don’t hear quoted as much—verse 17:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

There it is. That’s why Jesus came, and went to the cross and rose again.

But who saw any of that coming? (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

March 21, 2016

Drop Anchor—In Easter

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them,

Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”

And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.

Luke 24: 1-9 (ESV)

Some months before the Chicago Fire of 1871, a wealthy Chicago businessman and attorney by the name of Horatio G. Spafford had invested heavily in real estate on the shores of Lake Michigan. All of his holdings were completely wiped out by that fire. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts
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