Monthly Archives: October 2015

Got Christ?

The other day I spoke with a young man who is lost. Having grown up in the church, somewhere around his college years he bought into a worldly view of God and Christ and the Holy Spirit. None of it made sense to him any longer. Score one temporarily for Satan; but remember, Christ always goes after His lost sheep.

You may be contemplating the same things. Maybe you’ve decided Christ isn’t for you or maybe you’ve never even considered Him for your life. Well, I’d like to share with you just some of the promises Jesus Christ offers us when we make the choice to follow Him.

“The perks” of being a believer.

1. Your life, as insignificant as it may seem to you in a world of billions of other people, has meaning, has a purpose, and is loved and adored by the One who created you.

2. You will be given eternal life. The Bible tells us Heaven is a beautiful place.

3. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will be with you always.

4. The peace and joy you will experience in knowing Him will not be understandable; but you will know it is there.

5. The people around you will be blessed because of the impact you will have on them.

6. Favor will fall on your life. He will bless your life.

7. He will guide you through every storm, trial, and struggle, and never leave your side.

8. You will become a new and different person.

9. You will be redeemed.

10. Death cannot take you.

John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

Find Christ – find meaning.


How I act

 

Proverbs 26:21 reads, “As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.”

It is human nature to want to be liked by others. I’ve heard that 20% of the people we will encounter in our lifetime will not like us. In other words for every 10 people I know, 8 will like me and 2 will not! The question is why do we tend to focus on the 2 that do not like us instead of the 8 who do?

When I was a little boy, my dad used to take me to an auto-parts store. It was similar to Autozone but more of a Mom and Pop store. The owner did not like my dad; in fact, whenever we were in the store, he was rude and condescending to my father. He had this look about him as if my dad was the last person on the planet he wanted to see. One afternoon as we left the store, I asked my dad why he was so nice to the man when it was obvious the guy hated him. Pops took my hand, and as we walked to our car he explained, “That guy? Michael, he is always that way to me.”

“I know!” I answered, “and you are always so friendly to him. I want to punch him in the nose!”

Pops laughed. “I can’t do anything about the way that fellow treats me. What I can do is control how I act toward him.”

There is no doubt we will interact with people who are rude and treat us poorly; but it doesn’t mean we have to respond in like fashion. Do not allow others to dictate how you behave. The moods and negativity of others cannot alter yours unless you let them.


My prayer

This morning I’ve gotten a late start. The sound of the rain, the warmth of the covers, a conversation with my wife, and the time ticking away. Time waits for no one. It accepts no excuses nor adjusts for events or crises or celebrations. Time moves whether we like it or not.

Life is so very fragile. As I communicated with God, I realized how aware God is of the seasons of life. We tend to think because He is outside of time that He really does not understand. I mean, someone who has been around forever and will be around forever, really shouldn’t “get it,” but He does.

I do not know what your day holds. You may be excited to start the morning. Your feet may have hit the floor running. You can’t wait to get to work or school. Maybe you have a breakfast meeting with a friend or you’re visiting a family member. Maybe today is the day your baby is born.

And then, I know all too well, that some of you dread today like the plague. You’re facing unsurmountable odds, difficult decisions, news you do not want to hear. Maybe you are heading to take a test on material you haven’t studied, or today is the day you know your boss is going to fire you. Maybe you opened your eyes to what you hoped was a bad dream but the reality of the loved one being gone is real.

I do know this, whatever you are facing today – God is in it. Whatever you need today – God will cover it. Whatever happens today – God is prepared for it.

Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” 

Romans 8:38-39, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 14:16-17, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

God holds you in the palm of His hand with a love we cannot comprehend. Move forward with the confidence you need because He is with you.

 


Busyness

Ecclesiastes 2:24, ” There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil (in his labor). This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,”

When I was a little boy, one of my childhood friends had the coolest tree house I’d ever seen. His dad built it for him. When we would go over to his house, we always played Swiss Family Robinson and fought pirates. I could swing from a rope into another tree and slide down the trunk – that’s how incredible it was!

My friend’s dad was a builder and architect, thus the reason for the elaborate tree house. John would comment, “This weekend, my dad and me are going to spend the night together in the tree house!”

On Monday morning I would ask John, “How was it? Did you spend the night in the tree house with your dad?”

And he would always reply, “No. He said he was too busy.”

Busyness and working are two entirely different things. God calls us to work – to labor – to provide for our families and impact His Kingdom. He calls us to work to keep the material things He has given us in order; but many of us confuse working with busyness. Busyness destroys families; busyness destroys relationships; busyness destroys lives.

God wants us to enjoy life and to enjoy one another. He wants us to make time for Him every day in prayer, reading the Word, and in church. He wants us to make time for our children, our friends, our spouse, our parents and siblings. He has asked us to enjoy the world around us – go hiking, watch the sun set and rise, listen to the birds, climb mountains, ride bikes, paint, laugh, and spend the night in tree houses with our children.

What is keeping you busy these days? Has your work become an obsession? May a hobby has overtaken your schedule?

You know, John and his dad never did spend the night in the tree house. Somewhere in about the fifth or sixth grade, John’s dad had a heart attack and died. His mom moved her kids back to her home town in Oklahoma, and I never saw him again.

Busyness. Take the time today to evaluate what is occupying your life and keeping you from enjoying what God has given you.


The only thing to fear

John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

I once heard someone say that “do not fear” was written in the Bible 365 times – one for every day of the week. I loved that; but then I realized it wasn’t true and after studying the subject further, found that ‘do not fear’ is commanded a little over a hundred times. Still, God says it quite a significant amount of times.

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. 

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

Scriptures such as these encourage me. You and I have nothing to fear because God’s love casts out fear. He is the protector, the provider, the rock. With Him, we have nothing to FEAR.

Deuteronomy 6:13, “Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name.”

Joshua 24:14,Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.”

Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

The very instructions not to fear in the Bible, which is found some 100+ times; the very same word is used in the context of God to fear Him. To take these scriptures and rationally lay them out – we are told “do not fear;” “love God;” “perfect love cast out fear;” but, “fear the Lord.” Looking at it this way, it seems contradictory and confusing.

Perfect love casts out fear but the fear of the Lord brings wisdom. When we sin, we fear the consequences. When struggles come our way and hardships surround us, we fear the outcome. Because of the love of Jesus Christ, He took the burdens of our sins and trials and hardships and conquered them on the Cross. The only thing to fear is being without God; being away from His presence; being outside His protection. The fear of the Lord is being outside of Him; but His perfect love for us forces our fears away. He is BIGGER than anything we could ever encounter. He is STRONGER than anything that could ever harm us. He is more POWERFUL than any evil force that could influence us. What we have to do is stay in His perfect love and fear has NO hold on us.

Today, pray about your fears. Understand that your faith in God doesn’t prevent scary things from coming into your life; your faith in God equips you to handle them.


To Overcome

We have authority over the devil. Jesus tells us in Luke 10:19, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

Luke 9:1, “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases…”

Authority is the right to command and enforce obedience. Just as He gave this authority to His disciples, so has He given it to us. In some ways we can consider it a Power of Attorney to act on His behalf against demons. He has given to us the authority to act in His name since He is not here on earth. When we use the name of Jesus Christ, Satan has to listen to us.

In Acts 3:6, Peter says, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

Peter did not have the power to heal. What he acted upon was the authority to use the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to heal.

Do you know the devil trembles when he hears the name of Jesus? Demons have to leave at the name of our Savior. Satan must release his hand from you by the authority of Christ.

Some people take the privilege to mean that Satan will leave them alone. We will face trials and struggles. Hardship will at times surround us; but when it does, remember who you serve and under whose authority you reign.

Today, ask God for the confidence to act under His power and authority. Thank Him that He conquered Satan at the Cross.


The Word is Alive

2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;”

I often hear people speak of the inconsistencies of the Bible. Most of these people are only reading portions of it or a few verses and claiming a fallacy. The beautiful part of the writers of scripture is God allowed them to express His teachings in various ways. The Bible, when read in its entirety, has no inconsistencies. Every part fits together, chapter after chapter; verse after verse; word after word. Some stories are told in duplicate but by different writers. We find this in the New Testament. While Matthew and John may have been at the same events with Jesus, they tell the stories of Him in different ways. But isn’t that human nature? Does anyone tell a story the exact same way?

It really doesn’t matter who wrote the words to paper; because, the Bible is the documented Word of God. His Spirit did the talking and He used different men to write it down. We can trust in every word of the Bible for it is God’s words to us. The Bible is the greatest instructional writing for our lives ever written. The Word is alive and can be used by us to navigate how we are supposed to live. Make the Bible an important part of your every day.