Monday, July 19, 2010

A Dark Dreadful Place!

Psalm 119:105 "Your word [is] a lamp to my feet And a light to my path."

I will never forget, back in 1981, my father took us on a road trip to visit our family in southern Texas. On our way back home, we went by way of Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico, seeing one of the largest underground caverns in the world. I enjoyed the underground hiking trails and the automated speaker phones, explaining the various limestone formations. "Stalactites" and "stalagmites" quickly became a part of my vocabulary as I gazed at the wonders of it all.

We decided to follow a guided tour by a National Park Ranger who led us down elevators, twists and turns, pointing out scenic passageways,etc. At one point, the ranger gathered us all around in a group and warned us that it was soon going to get very dark in the underground, man-made lit cavern. He then proceeded to turn out the lights while continuing to speak to us. The lights went out.....and I've never been in such a physical darkened place in all of my life. He asked us to put our very own hands in front of our faces and asked if we could see anything. It was so dark that I could NOT see a thing, even with my hand right in front of my nose, total darkness! Without any light, the cavern could be a very dangerous, dark, dreadful place, with not a chance of escaping.

I think of how non-Christians are in a very dangerous, dark, and dreadful place.......but with only ONE chance of escaping sin and death. That one and only chance of escape is not chance at all, but the submitting of one's heart to the one and true God, Jesus Christ. As Christians, we were once in sin's grasp, in total darkness, and destined to total darkness and destruction, being eternally separated from the LIGHT, God's presence. Pray that we would be able to tell others, by His Spirit, and speak of His truths.

If you are not a Christian, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ that He is God's one and only Son, that he was raised from the grave on the third day after dying on the cross for our sins. Jesus is alive and well! Do this and you will be saved and live eternally with Him when you die.

I thank God that He allowed me to escape total darkness and that I am walking in the light. I am a believer of Jesus Christ, God's one and only Son! I also thank Him for His word, that it is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path! I read His word ,and He reveals our lives to us much like when the ranger finally led us along the path with a flashlight after being in such intense darkness. I want to live my life step by step in the light!

1 John 1:7 "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Random Thoughts Ending the Week!

Wow! What a week. It all seems to be a blur. I am sure that a lot of you can relate. Here are the top 10 things that come to my mind randomly at this time.

1) Lord, thank you for a good productive week in the ministry. We had a good rehearsal Thursday night, and we can't wait to sing praises to you with the rest of the congregation this Sunday.

2) We are gearing up to hear what Pastor Shaun Matako and his wife Jodi have to say to our congregation at First Baptist, via Skype this Sunday morning. We are looking for a quorum for July 25th, for a vote to see if they will be called to pastor our church. Please keep this in prayer.

3) I have enjoyed a time of Bible study with our friends and church members, Vicki and Frank.

4) Thank you for what you have been teaching me, Lord, about living and worshiping you in obedience. Thank you for showing me from the book of Ecclesiastes, that life without you is meaningless!

5) I love my wife, Sandra, with all of my heart. When I was really sick with vertigo, Wednesday night, she really helped me get through it. The Lord shows me more and more how much she cares for me. I love and care for her too.

6) Worland Babe Ruth Baseball is winding down this summer. My son, Jacob, has played catcher and pitches for the All-Star team playing in this weekend's district tournament. Good luck to all of our ball players. Play hard, and may the best team win!

7) Our Pembroke Welsh Corgi (dog) had puppies, six of them, a week ago. We are receiving so many phone calls about them already. We hope to sell them, when they are old enough, to help Jacob get his braces.

8) Hopefully my wife and I will be able to get some yard work and gardening done over the weekend. Being gone a lot can take a toll on us trying to catch up on "whacking down the jungle"! At least I don't need to use a machete.

9) It was great having some of our family from California staying with us and visiting. I enjoyed the walks, talks, barbecues, and laughter around the house. I especially enjoyed the visit to the mountains, picnicking and fishing!

10) The Wyoming Boys' School ministry team was invited by the WBS superintendent for an appreciation barbecue for all of those involved in connection with this institution. It is an honor to be a part of it. Thank you, Lord, for allowing this open door of ministry throughout the year for the boys that are incarcerated.

I hope that you all have a great weekend. I hope to see some of you soon. God bless you!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Worship in Obedience!

A lot of people think that worship is just singing songs on Sunday mornings during a "worship" service. Unfortunately even some mainstream Christian artists give the impression that worship is just singing. This simply is just not true. Worshiping our Lord is how we live our lives in obedience to Him. Yes, giving of our tithes, offerings, service, studying God's word, listening and the application of the teaching of God's word, etc. are all acts of worship, but it is in our total walk and reliance in the Lord, led by the Holy Spirit, that we call true worship of our Lord. Let me add that it isn't just on Sundays either. It's each and every day.

We love Him by our obedience to His Word and by the direction of the Holy Spirit. We are to obey His commands. When we do this, we show that we love Him in loving worship. On top of that, the great thing is that our faith is the victory that overcomes the world:

1 John 5:3&4 "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith."

The Lord gives us life. We want to constantly be in worship for Him. Without Him we can do nothing!

John 15:5 "I am the vine, you [are] the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."

We want to know Him, and know Him more! We want Him living in us. How do we know that He is living in us? By the Spirit!

1 John 3:24 "Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us."

Let's read God's word. Let's pray each day. Let's fellowship with Him and each other. Let's serve Him. Let's give to Him. Let's live in obedience. Let's worship!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fun 4th of July for the Garza's!

What a fun time for us this last 4th of July weekend. I just wanted to write down the "goings on". I was so thankful to get a day off making it a three day weekend in order for us, as a family, to be able to spend time together. Here is a list of things we did this last weekend:

1) We got up early on Saturday morning and drove to Cody, Wyoming to see the Cody 4th of July Parade. It was very entertaining to see all of the horses, cars, floats, marching bands, etc. A highlight was seeing the Wyoming State Marching Band. I was excited to see so many kids from First Baptist Church represented in the band. I hope I didn't miss any of them, but congratulations in a performance well done to: Hannah Compton, Garrett Compton, Marshall Blom, Joe Mitchell, Shailee Michaels, and Mikala Michaels. There may have been more, but I didn't see them. Wow! Great job!

2) Enjoying a time of cruising over to McDonalds and then to Wally World (Walmart) in Cody was fun.

3) Sunday morning we got down to the church early, getting ready to worship with our First Baptist Church family. It was wonderful, once again, to sing songs of praise and learn from God's word.

4) Then it was time to go home, eat left-overs, and then get a short time of napping in before the evening festivities with family.

5) We headed over to Sandra's parents ranch in Manderson for dinner and fireworks! Cousins from California joined in on the fun with food, laughter, and fireworks!

6) All the members in the family chipped in for fireworks with, by far, the most fun display I have ever been to. We even had a few sky rockets fall over before takeoff and coming right at us! One blew up right at my feet as I leaped to the left as fast as I could. I should have been on America's Funniest Videos! And then came Pastor Jess Rollema's FINALE! Great job Jess! You outdid yourself! We as spectators lived to tell about it once again! HIGHLY EXPLOSIVE!

7) Our cousins from California, the Randalls, stayed the night at our house Sunday night in preparation for the next morning, Monday the 5th of July. The kids all played and talked until the wee hours of the night....about 1:00 a.m. in the morning. I'm still exhausted from trying to get some sleep.

8) On Monday morning Sandra and I got up at 6:30 in the morning to get all of the farm chores done, letting everybody else sleep in. We then got quick breakfasts and got ready to head up to the Big Horn Mountains for a Subway picnic lunch and fishing at West Ten Sleep Lake and Creek.

9) After driving up the West Ten Sleep Lake, we had a great Subway sandwich, chips, cookies, fruit salad, and pop. We then headed toward the lake with fishing poles in hand, gear, and bait. Fishing was a great time, especially helping our youngest son Josh break in his brand new fishing pole that he purchased a few days ago. With the combined efforts, all the family caught fish, including brookies from the creek. Fun! Fun! Fun!

10) We then headed back to our house, ordered Pizza Hut pizza, and had a big family chow-down meal. The boys then played the Wii video games, then did some more fishing in the canoe at the Worland Pond, and finally ended up playing on the trampoline back at our house until dark. The adults enjoyed conversation and trying to keep up with the little ones.

All-in-all, it was a great 4th of July celebration! We had a great time. Lord, thank you for the wonderful time with family. Thank you for the freedom that we have. Help us to remember that freedom isn't free. Thank you for our troops that fight for our freedoms in America too. God bless America.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dear Lord...remember us. Bless the USA.

Dear Lord,

You are my Lord and my God. My prayer is that you continue to bless the United States of America. I realize that the entire country has not been obedient in worship to You. However, I know that many of us still worship you in obedience. We are Christians first and Americans second. Lord, I am proud to be an American...but first and foremost I am a child of Yours, dear God.

I am proud of my American heritage, and I know that our country was established on the foundation of Your truths. Our founding fathers built this country recognizing You, and trusting in You. However, even in my lifetime, I have seen many changes in America that I am not proud of. It is seemingly getting worse as time progresses, corruption in our government, lies, murder, stealing, murder with abortion, rape, sexual impurity,..the list goes on and on. I know this is a sinful world. Dear Lord, I know that the time will come when you return...and I want that to happen, and I know that your word does say that it will happen.....

At the same time, I pray for hope for our be able to rise up once again as truly one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Lord, your word says this in 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning [His] promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

I believe this is exactly what our nation needs to do...our nation needs to repent. I don't want to see anyone perish, dear Lord. Give us the strength, determination, knowledge and wisdom, as Christians and guided by the Holy Spirit, to be used by You to help others receive Jesus Christ, and repent. I pray that there will be a true revival across our lands.

God, please bless America as you have done in the past. Lord, I came across this verse earlier today from the Old Testament:
Exodus 32:9 "And the LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and indeed it [is] a stiff-necked people!"

Often times I see our nation of The United States of America being "stiff-necked", looking in the wrong direction. Loosen our necks, Lord, that we may look to you, seeking Your face.

God, I want this verse to be my prayer for America, much like in Exodus 34:9 "Then he said, 'If now I have found grace in Your sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we [are] a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance.'"

God Bless America, Lord. God Bless America.

In Jesus' Name,