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March 17, 2016, 10:43 AM

Encouraging Principle by which to Live


I saw this picture yesterday when I started my computer. The elements of it struck me immediately. Here you have a man holding a light bulb up to the sun.  Man likes to think that he creates. After all the light bulb is an awesome invention that changed the world.  However, as this picture illustrates, it is the power of God that provides illumination for the light bulb. God supplies the power, the resources, and the wherewithal to harness what He supplies. I am encouraged. True power, strength, stamina, etc. come from God. The light bulb by itself is almost useless. It has to have power to perform its main function, to light up a room. This helps me understand a very important principle. By myself, apart from God, I cannot fulfill my true purpose. I am not all I can be. I was not designed to operate outside of a relationship with my Creator. I must daily hold myself up to the Light. I must connect with my Savior. When I do, His life giving, life sustaining power streams in and the filament of my heart glows with His eternal light. Today, don’t go it alone. Don’t base your self-worth solely on your ability. You are HIS workmanship created IN Christ Jesus for good works. IN Him we become a glorious display of His power.  “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

 




March 24, 2015, 11:36 AM

Mission Driven Prayer


We pray so often for personal needs to be met. This is not a bad thing in in of itself. However, so often our need met is the end. It is not meant to be the end. We pray about our anxiety to get peace. When the on looking world sees our struggle, then peace, they wonder from where it comes. When they know we are asking God for healing and watch transformation take place as we gain perspective through our pain, they stand amazed. The healing may occur. It may not. But they see our faith grow as we find solace in our loving Father.

God blessed believing Abraham so that he would become a blessing. Part of the blessing of Abraham was the revealing of a holy God to the world through a nation. Ultimately, Jesus Christ was the finale of the blessing.

The 23rd Psalm is a great one for our encouragement. When I think of this Psalm it always reminds me of the meticulously kept farms and ranches I’ve had the privilege of viewing. As I drive by I always wonder about the owner. It takes a lot of work to keep a place looking beautiful. It is equally tedious sometimes to keep herds and flocks in good form. The owner must have tremendous resources and resolve.

As the world looks at our lives driving by, what do they see? Are they left wondering about our owner? When you pray for God to meet your needs, look beyond the fulfillment of the need. Realize that God has greater purpose for meeting your needs. Yes indeed. He wants us to enjoy His blessings and find peace. But remember, there is a world watching. Live life in such a way that makes your audience want to stop and stay a while. Be ready to tell them about your Shepherd.




March 11, 2015, 10:10 AM

There is Hope


Adam and Eve once had it all. Their Creator had given them life. They were in the paradise of God and walked with Him in the cool of the day. There was complete communion with the one who knew them better than they knew themselves. They were blessed beyond all comprehension. No fears or pain. No need or worries. The land in which they lived had only one boundary. They were commanded to abstain from the fruit of only one tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It seems clear that in the midst of such a vast paradise, one tree would eventually fade from daily concern. Besides, when the penalty of crossing this one boundary is death, who would risk it?

However, there existed one who had already transgressed divine jurisdiction. His life had already become a hopeless one. He rejected the Creator’s authority and wisdom. Overcome with disdain for the God of all gods he sought to lead astray the crown of His creation, man. It seems that evil desires company. His plan was to deceive the woman into thinking that God had held back blessings from them. He wanted them to believe that God was deceitful. He wanted her, for a moment, to think for herself apart from God.

The result was death. Death means that she (and her husband) could no longer walk in communion with God. From this point, man would continually second guess the wisdom of God. He would begin to trust his own judgment. As a result of this corruption man would live a life of futility and disappointment. Adding to this pointless existence man would physically die and his soul would be cast into darkness.  

Oh how sweet it is that God did not leave us to ourselves. Knowing we would be deceived He had a plan in place to rescue us from despair. We look back now at God’s infinite wisdom as we see the Gospel unfold throughout history. Praise be to our glorious Creator and Savior.

  1. The inevitable end to our enemy and the mode of our salvation (Substitution).
    1. Genesis 3:15, 21
  2. Fellowship being restored through God’s eternal plan
    1. The tabernacle (later the temple and presence of God), the mediator (the priest), and the sacrifices
      1. Deuteronomy 12:5-7
  3. Jesus is the culmination of God’s eternal plan.
    1. Hebrews 2:9-18, 4:14-16
      1. Through Him we are united with our Creator.
      2. He is our mediator and He becomes the eternal sacrifice.
      3. He destroys Satan, our enemy.
      4. He frees us from fear of death.
      5. He frees us from slavery to our sinful corruption.
      6. He becomes a faithful, merciful Way into the presence and fellowship of God.



August 20, 2014, 3:55 PM

Authentic Beginnings


 

This is a blog I wrote some years ago. God transforms lives!

I remember when I gave my heart to Jesus. I was fourteen. I had grown up in church for the most part. We were at least Sunday morning attenders. As a tween I remember being less than enthusiastic about going when my parents would wake me. I was a shy kid and did not have many friends at our church. That said, I did have one good friend. He was the son of one of my mom’s friends. I remember the summer of my fourteenth year well. The church youth group was beginning to announce summer camp and my mother and her friend wanted their sons to attend. I can tell you that neither one of us had any interest in such an adventure. However, with much coercing we agreed. I could not have known, as I boarded the bus, that what would happen at camp that summer would change my life forever. One evening as the preacher was wrapping up his sermon I became painfully aware of my position before God. I knew I needed Jesus. I had come close before, but was concerned of the embarrassment I would feel walking to the front during invitation. This time was different. No other thoughts affected me, only my need for Jesus. I went forward in the customary way, followed the group to another room, and was lead in prayer by a designated counselor. I remember him asking me how I felt. I do not recall what I said. I do remember that there were no fireworks or a welcome home band. The rest of camp is lost in my memory somewhere.

          The next major event in this story has to do with a Bible I still have in my possession.  My grand dad had told me that I needed to read God’s word as a Christian. On a weekend we were visiting the town of my birth he took me to the local Christian book store. We picked an NIV study Bible. We took it to my grandparent’s home where they both wrote me an encouraging message in the front pages. I took the Bible home and an amazing thing happened. I began to read it. Now that sounds fairly unexciting in in of itself. However, I was not the kind of kid to pick up a book and read. I was a doer. I wanted to be outside physically experiencing my interests. I only tolerated and sometimes had to be forced into reading school assignments. So to sit down and read the Bible was quite a stretch for me. Strange thing is, I wanted to read it. And as I read, amazing truth began to be revealed. I did not understand all of it. But certain portions seemed to elevate off the page and catch my attention. This experience began to pull me into the path of the Lord and it made me long for His desire. My life drastically changed course.  

          I remember another incident. When I was a young teenager, there was a term that described the situation of many kids my age. Because of our situation we were called “latchkey kids”.  This meant that we rode the school bus home to an empty house. Our parent or parents were working. So we spent a few hours alone each weekday. I can tell you, an unsupervised male teenager can get into a lot of mischief. You can imagine. I remember one day after school. A couple of boys were scheduled to fight in a friend’s front yard. I was standing there like everyone else watching these boys beat the sense out of each other (as if they had any sense). Suddenly a thought came to mind. “I really do not want to be here. I probably shouldn’t actually. I think I will go on home.” And I did.

          As time moved on, I spent more time at church with the folks who wanted God’s plan as their own. I was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I even spent some years (about 3) running from God following graduation from high school. However, it was always clear that my God and Savior had a hold on me. He allowed my sin to break me to the point that I was taught not to run.

          The point, there was a most certain change in the course of my life. God’s people became important to me. God’s word became something I longed for. His plan became paramount. Consider these verses: Romans 1:8, Colossians 1:3-6, and I Thessalonians 1:2-10. Notice the common theme? The report of their faith in God left the boundaries of their city. They walked in faith, experienced and walked in the love of God; they had hope in the glory of God at His coming. They turned from their sin to serve the living and true God. Their lives went through a most certain change and it was evident to all.

          Are God’s people important to you? Do you enjoy assembling together with the Saints? Please do not answer by saying, “Yes, but I do not like crowds. I prefer to see a preacher on TV and spend time with Christian friends one on one.” You see God has ordained us to congregate as a group as often as we can. I did not want to go to church before I was saved. That want changed when Jesus entered my heart.

          Do you love the word of God? Are you interested in reading it? Do you read it? Please do not answer by saying, “Oh yes I agree with the word of God and enjoy the preacher’s sermons. I just do not really understand it. After all I was not a very good student or reader.” As you have read here today, I was not a good student either. I hated to sit and read when I could go do something else. A Bible was given to me and the Spirit of God gave me the desire and understanding to begin reading it. His word has become my hope. That was never the case before.

          Is God’s plan paramount in your life? Do you pray, “God make your way known to me that I may follow it.” You should understand by reading the word of God that God has specific instruction for men, women, children, husbands, wives, families, and churches. He has a plan for employers and employees. He gives principles for spending your money and other resources. He gives us instruction on regulating our thought life. His plan should literally touch every area of our lives. Please do not accept an answer like: “I do the best I can. I try to keep my kids in church. I try to do honest business and work hard. I help others when I can. I hope God accepts what I try to do.” “What is the problem?” You ask. This is shooting in the dark. If God has entered your heart by the Holy Spirit, He will cause you to be certain about seeking Him. You will be drawn to Him. You will read His word. You will want to join with God’s people. When you learn of His plan you will deliberately seek to change your course. It will not be a shot in the dark.

          Will you be perfect at walking with God? No. Will you have periods of failure sometimes? Yes. But as you walk with Him you will discover the truth in  II Timothy 3:16-17.  Read it. As you read His word God will show you what is right (Teaching or doctrine), what is not right (reproof), how to get right (correction), and how to stay right (training in righteousness). Walking with God is not a shot in the dark.

Final question: Has he changed your life? 




July 8, 2014, 5:00 PM

You have Died


 

As I grow in my understanding of my God and Creator I am utterly amazed! I am realizing through His word that we were created to live fully in relation to Him. He created the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them for us to enjoy, explore, and study. However, as we reached new levels of elation, discovery, and knowledge, we were meant to worship Him more. All roads were meant to lead to a deeper affection for God. Unfortunately, Eve was deceived into thinking that there was more to be had. God’s way was not best. She broke faith with God and Adam followed suit. Sin, and consequently death, entered God’s perfect world. Adam, Eve, and all creation were sent into a tail spin to destruction.

Even so, God had a plan already established to return the creation to its former order and glory. It all culminates in Jesus Christ. Through Him we can begin our restoration. We can begin to see again. We can begin to learn how to have true joy and fulfillment. Look at Colossians 3:1-4. “1Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” Once again we are called to the high life for which we were created. Our problem: In sin we search for fulfillment in things in in of themselves apart from relationship to God. We must learn to enjoy things in relation to God. For instance, I love music. For me music stimulates all sorts of pleasing thoughts depending on the music. I may dream of overcoming great odds or driving the streets in a really awesome car. Don’t judge me! We have all done it! (LOL) For the most part, my pleasure was selfish with my glory as the goal. This kind of pleasure, however, is fleeting and empty. True fulfillment comes when the music begins to lead me into the enjoyment of God. This I have experienced often. A note: This does not limit me to a narrow genre of music. Some might say, “In order to worship God I must listen to contemporary Christian music or hymns or the like.” This is not so. It is not the genre, but the mindset. If my mind is constantly focused on the grace of God in Christ, then I will choose music that helps me in that arena.

God did not create Adam to enjoy the earth and sky and sea apart from Him. The greatest elation, discoveries, and knowledge come when we are drawn into the presence of God by what we enjoy…….

 


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