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July 1, 2014, 10:01 AM

GERMINATOR TERMINATOR!



GERMINATOR TERMINATOR

Okay maybe the title implies that I have been hanging around the kids too much!  But actually it is a significant truth that I learned after a series of presentations when I felt empty, exhausted, and fruitless.  I couldn't shake the feeling or thoughts of discouragement!
I had to first ask myself the question if I had done my homework in preparation.  Knowing that I had prepared and presented to the best of my ability I now knew that I was powerless to make any changes in the results.  It was then that it dawned on me that it was now God's turn to do the work!  For only after it was out of my hands/mouth could God have a chance to give increase to my measly efforts!  So I began to both pray and rejoice for God to give increase to His Word!  The feelings of discouragement left immediately!  Suddenly my mind was flooded with illustrations of how God works after our investment.
It is much like after the stroke for a batter or golfer.  It would seem that after contact with the ball is over what we do with our position would matter little.  But every professional knows is it the follow through that separates the men from the boys!  This is a significant truth in training a horse.  When pressure is applied to the bit and a horse responds by lowering his head, it is extremely important for me to immediately drop the reins.  Ironically the horse's head will follow the rein to an even lower more relaxed position.
While it is in our power both to plant and water a seed it is really only when it is out of our hands that God gets the chance to do His work!  It was after Jesus prayed and fed the crowd that the increase became evident to all.  So what is the point I'm making?  When we face something very challenging it is easy to recognize the need for prayer, but what about after the event?  I am beginning to think that this may be the most critical time for prayer!
Now is the time for the GERMINATOR TERMINATOR!  The next time you prepare for a significant event, commit to pray BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER!  After all the Enemy also seeks to steal the seed after it is sown!  And Jesus was teaching them a parable that WE SHOULD ALWAYS PRAY AND NEVER FAINT or LOSE HEART! (Luke 18:1)
 




June 10, 2014, 2:35 PM

Cisterns that Hold No Water



Jeremiah 2:11-13

 “Has a nation changed gods     When they were not gods?     But My people have changed their glory     For that which does not profit.     “Be appalled, O heavens, at this,     And shudder, be very desolate,” declares the LORD.    “For My people have committed two evils:     They have forsaken Me,     The fountain of living waters,     To hew for themselves cisterns,     Broken cisterns     That can hold no water.

 

          We were created to enjoy God our maker. Everything that surrounds us is His, the earth, the heavens, the sea, and all that is in them. It is the corruption of sin that blinds us. It causes us to see ourselves, as well as all creation, as independent and self-existent. As we buy into this lie we begin to think that either we control our destiny or that there are other gods directing all existence. We create our own fictitious world. This is appalling!!!  Jeremiah speaks to this blindness in regard to Israel and Judah. When man is carried away like this it amounts to an exchange. In essence, man exchanges glory for something that is worthless. He exchanges something reliable and sustaining (his God), for something that is useless (a fairy tale).

          We must examine ourselves. What do we trust in today? Every aspect of our lives is to be governed by our relationship to our God. We look at the beautiful horizon and we see our God. When we are thankful, we are thankful to our God. When we experience pain or fear we run to our God. When we are uncertain we ask God. We search the scripture for truth. We long for His reality over sin corrupt fantasy.

          May it not be said of us: “They have forsaken Me,     The fountain of living waters,     To hew for themselves cisterns,     Broken cisterns     That can hold no water.”

 




June 3, 2014, 10:32 AM

Symptoms of the Self-Focused



When Christ is Not the Center

 

What does a believer look like, that no longer seeks to keep Christ as their central focus of life?

What would someone who is not spiritually maturing look like? These signs of spiritual immaturity are the symptoms of not being engaged in the walk that identifies a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

From Acts to the end of the New Testament the Scriptures were written to help true disciples of Christ know where it is that need a tune-up, and overhaul, and an alignment to get back onto the Way of following Christ as His disciples. That is the "teaching them to observe" portion of the Great Commission.

The Epistles are the practical daily lessons, or doctrines that we are to personally embrace. Then these "teachings" are what we share from our experience, to help other believers know how they are to follow Christ; and what hinders them from pleasing Him.

We can summarize the key elements that Christ left in the New Testament for believers to "observe", and explain what any neglect of that would look like for a true disciple. Here is a simple way of showing this analysis. You know you need to be taught how to be Christ-centered:

 

Symptoms of the Self-Focused: Me But Not Christ Life

As Christ's followers or disciples we are to seek Him as our goal, purpose, and direction each day. When we don't it is no longer Christ who leads, but us.

If you have: Usually only a marginal desire for God's Word (virtually "Biblically illiterate").

If you: Often walk in the flesh; and usually do not know the difference between walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit.

If you have: Few, if any, "works of grace", i.e., no evidence of being filled with God's love to serve others, giving, etc.

If you are: Usually stuck in the basics, with no evident growth.

If you have: A limited desire for fellowship with other believers, you can "take it or leave it".

If you have:  strong desires for worldly possessions; and are driven by selfish ambitions; and often exhibiting a spirit of competition.

If you: Often feel great difficulty in repenting/forgiving others.

If you have: A lack of compassion for the lost.

If you are: Not actively assisting in the spiritual development of others.

If you have: A limited sense of God, His character or His will.

If you have: A life filled with fear, anxiety, and the absence of peace.

If you are: Often covetous, boastful, prideful, manipulative, etc.

If you have: Only partial victories over sin.

If you have: A non-existent or lackluster prayer life.

If you have: Little or no time or sincere interest in God-centered worship.

If you are: Not really accountable to anyone for anything.

If you have: A very small degree of grace and mercy toward others or self.[3]

 

If any of the above symptoms are in your life today, now is the time to repent. Forsake all areas of selfish living by right here, gathered before Christ:

 

Today We Renew Our Pledge: Not I but Christ

 

Make Paul's distilled down purpose in life your very own again today:

 

I want the result of my salvation to always be the goal of: "not I but Christ". He must increase and I want to decrease.

 

I want to always remember that the method of my salvation: "He gave Himself for me". I was bought at a great price and now I belong to Him.

 

Galatians 2:20 (NKJV) I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

 

Re-Affirm Christ As the Center of Your Life

 

Cry out in faith to Christ and say:

 

"I want to stay crucified with you oh Christ.

No longer do I want to live for me.

I want to renew my surrendered life of following you".

 

Christ is always to be the center of life to us who are saved, who are born-again, and who are believers. As true disciples of Jesus: Christ is central to everything.

 

This devotional is an excerpt from a recent message by Dr. John Barnett.  




May 14, 2014, 10:27 AM

Relationships are a Work in Progress



There are those who enjoy the process of a thing and those who mostly strive for the end result. I am an end result kind of guy. I mow the grass, trim, edge, and plant in order that I may sit back at the end of the day and enjoy what I’ve accomplished. I endure the labor for the reward. However, there are those who really do enjoy the labor as much and sometimes more than the reward. In relationships, be they friendships or a marriage romance, it is important to realize that there really never is a finished product. We must learn to enjoy the journey with the goal of making it more meaningful as we go along.

          When we begin a relationship we have a perspective. It is new, fresh.  As we progress and our perspective changes we often experience difficulty, conflict. This is part of the journey. Difficulty and conflict are “opportunities” to deepen respect and faithfulness. If we seek to overcome these obstacles we experience the reward of a new fresh prospective which we can enjoy for a time. However, we must keep in mind that the relationship will always ebb and flow this way. Often as we are sitting back and relaxing, enjoying the scenery, we unconsciously neglect one another making it necessary to reorient ourselves. Financial hardships, busy schedules, health problems, etc. are also opportunities for growth in intimacy.

          Always remember, grass freshly cut will need to be mowed again.




April 22, 2014, 4:03 PM

The Gospel



One of the main tenants of the Gospel is that we are delivered from the corruption of sin, which is through lust. Man’s attempt to gain happiness or significance apart from his Creator has brought him nothing but heartache and death. He has been thrown out of the presence of God to deal with the consequences. It is the design of God to let man come to an understanding that the path of sin is not satisfying, comforting, or profitable. The result of walking in sin is only death. We are to carry that Gospel to the world, “that they may know”.


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