Friday, March 30, 2012

Praise HIM!

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Revelation 1:17-18)

John fainted at the sight of the risen, glorified and majestic Savior!Yet this magnificent One who went to the cross for our sins and endured the beatings, the spitting, the humiliation . . . the cross: He is still Savior, Friend, Lord, Master, King and Sovereign!

What a wondeful Savior! What an amazing God who would come to this earth to save a wretch like me! Think about it as we approach Holy Week . . .

For the first time or for the millionth time . . . ponder all God has done and praise HIM! Bow down . . . lay prostrate . . . faint as John did in amazement and awe . . . this is MY GOD!

WOW!!!!!!!!! Thank you Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Costs of Following Jesus

If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple
. (Luke 14:26-27)

These are some of the most challenging words of Jesus. To be a discipl of Jesus we must hate our very own family? No . . . no . . .no He is not saying that. What Jesus is saying is that to follow Him and truly be dedicated to Kingdom work, God must be enthroned upon our hearts! There can be no other Lord, no other Master. Our love for the Lord will make our feelings for others seem like hatred!

Before following after Jesus Christ, we must count the costs! Are we willing to have to say "No" to others? Are we willing to be criticized for comng up short of human expectations. Are we willing to lose friends, lose sleep, lose the role of most popular?

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
(John 18:36)

Jesus realized this when faced by the soldiers in the Garden. he had counted the costs of giving Himself up for man. He was dedicated to please God however. His disclpes did not understand. But He did . . .

Whatever we face in life. it pails in consideration to eternity. What has God called you to do? DO THAT! . . . . but not for the pleasures of man, but to serve God's purposes!

Saying "Yes"to Jesus is a bold step. It will not always be popular. The world may never understand!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Not everyone understands . . .

But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.
(1 Samuel 12:24

All of us suffer from times of loneliness, isolation, and rejection. It is inevitable in the Christian walk especially. The closer we get to the Lord, the further away the world becomes. The things we once held dear . . . the people we once trusted . . . the things we once did . . . the places we once frequented . . . An intimate walk with the Lord calls us into a deeper and more meaningful lifestyle. However, not everyone understands!

Many of the prophets and other persons in the bible suffered from loneliness and even depression. In fact, many of our great Christian leaders of this age have experienced bouts of isolation as well. Even for the common folk like you and me, it is not strange to have friends misunderstand us. Many times family members will isolate us and unknowingly keep us at a distance. It seems to come with the territory.

This is why I believe Peter instructs us to love the brotherhood!

Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
(1 Peter 2:17)

Despite being treated as exiles at times, Peter urges us to contiue in our intimate walk with the Savor and do our best to live in harmony with everyone. Hard as this is at times, it brings glory to God and even brings others to a deeper understanding of what it looks like to know Him!

hang in . . . we are not alone! God is always desiring to move closer to us, even as the world pushes us away. How much do we desire the Lord? Are we willing to lose the world?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Not Super-Christians

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
(Matthew 11:28-30)

Jesus understands being tired, weary, disappointed, and in need of rest. Especially as we approach Holy Week, it is important to know that He understands we are not super-Christians!

As Jesus suffered the cruelest of punishments and sufferings, we can be assured of His mercy. We can know that He reaizes we gert weary. Life can grind at our very soul. The more we labor for Him, the more the world can beat us down. At times it does not make sense. We become physically and emotionally drained. We need a lift. We need comfort. We need rest, not just for our bodies, but for our souls!

My pastor reminded me recently that even Jesus could not reach everyone! He too was rejected. He too was ridiculed. He too was told He was not good enough.

Whatever is dragging us down today we can rest in knowing our Savior has been where we are. Let us go to Him and find peace and solice. While it is good to get away, someties all we need is time with Him. Make that special time in the day to get alone with Jesus and pour out feelings of rejection and frustration. Let Him know when we hurt.

Lord, can be any other way? How can I get through this? Let him know the deep down heart issues of life.

But plan that time away too . . .

Monday, March 26, 2012

This Little Light of Mine . . .

Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:16)

This little light of mine, I'm gonna' let it shine . . . It's not just a cute Sunday school or Vacation Bible School song. It is a way of life for the one who loves the Lord! What good is to call ourselves believers and followers if we blend in with everyone else? In whom is our belief? Who are we following anyway . . . the in crowd . . . the politically correct . . . newest rave?

Paul would reiterate the freedom we have in Christ to be unique for Him and Him alone. Our goal is not to please people or ourselves, but to be free to serve others and to bring glory to God.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31)

Our life is not our own. We have been bought at a high price . . . the blood of Jesus Christ. We are now free from the constraints of this world, so let's not be held back anymore! Allow the spotlight to shine brightly upon the Savior!

Friday, March 23, 2012

sin less and less until we are sinless

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.
(Luke 8:17)

It is not an excuse to say "God knows all about me" in order to keep sinning. Knowing that God is omniscient shopuld cause us to constantly be humbled and striving to be sinless in His sight! Peter calls us to be holy . . . because God is holy! (1 Peter 1:16)

Paul warns us that grace is not freedom to sin. (Romans 6:1-2) In fact, grace gives us freedom to not sin. We are no longer slaves! We are free to live as Christ intended. I realize it is not easy . . . as my students in school and in our mentoring always remind me. But I do not need their reminders . . . I have enough of my own sin to deal with!

However, the goal is to sin less and less until we are sinless! We can do it. We have the Spirit living within us! God loves each of us and desires everyone to be saved. However, it takes repentance (turning away)from a sinful lifestyle, not a continuance day after day in the same things God calls SIN! The Holy Spirit convicts us and strengthens us to live holy.

All things are possible with Christ . . . all things!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Decepetive philosophies

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
(Colossians 2:8)

In such times as we live today, the followers of Christ must not back down to the ideas of tolerance, justifying anything and everything just because people want to do it. Decepetive philosophies are rapant!

Folks are trying to twist the Word of God to fit any and all circumstances. Others are saying God does not matter any more. Some are even saying that God will save everyone one day anyway . . . after all He does love us! Not so . . .

. . .that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:10-11)

There are a lot a foolish people today. Many more are simply lost. But one day . . .

Our mission is to spread the truth, not to tolerate lies. God forbid it will be on me that I did not share God's TRUTHS with someone and they end up in hell! As we learn, we need to share. Never stop studying God's Word and always be ready to answer the lies. We can not be ashamed, but boldly declare the TRUTH in love.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Real Talk . . . You Decide!

The LORD said to Moses, Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the LORD your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. . . . Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable. . . . Everyone who does any of these detestable things . . .such persons must be cut off from their people.
(Leviticus 18:1-29)

From the Old testament to the new, God simply says that some things are sin and not to be tolerated by the Christian. Real talk!!!! Though every sin is indeed forgiven by the blood of Christ, to be forgiven one must sgree with God that it is indeed sin! We cannot choice what sin is based upon our cultural world view at the time. God has set His limits as to what He will tolerate.

Here is what the apostle Paul says:

Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.(
1 Corinthians 6: 9-20)

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
(2 Corinthians 5:16-17)

So if we are truly saved we must agree with our Lord and Master. God has made His decision . . . now you decide!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Planning time . . .

Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.
(John 4:35-36)

What are we waiting for? No sooner than we blink, Christ will return! We plan our retirement. We plan our vacations. We even try to plan our children's futures. But do we plan to do God's work?

Failing to plan is planning to fail! God invites us to participate in His plan of reconciliation. Why do we refuse to work alongside the King of the universe? Are we ashamed?

Time is short. Include God in your planning . . . today and in the future. Matter of fact, just join God and let Him do the driving!

Monday, March 19, 2012

No Room for Egos

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
(James 3:17)

There is no room for egos when it comes to God's work. As He grants us wisdom to carry out His will, the work is done in harmony with one another with peaceful cooperation and cohesiveness. It's one for all and all for His glory! It is the entire Body working hand-in-hand to accomplish the will of God, not to bring any one person any claim to fame.

At least that is how James lays it out . . . . he would go on to say:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
(James 1:27)

You see, religion is simply a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.( A relationship with Jesus Christ involves much more than that. It is a lifestyle and a one-on-one intimate connection with the Creator of this world and the Lover of one's soul! Christ becomes the center of a true believer's life and his entire existence should revolve around pleasing the Lord!

Does this describe our lives today? Does it decribe our church? Well, we all have some work to do . . .Beginning with me!!!! Let's stop criticizing the world and begin to clean up our own heart's desires first. (1 Peter 4:17) May the Holy Spirit reign within us and shine throughout our lives. The world needs more of Jesus and less of me.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Their story . . . our story . . . is HIS-tory!

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

(Traditional Irish Blessing)

As you ponder this olde Irish blessing it is my prayer that you come to understand and respect the traditions of other people groups and their culture along with their faith in our God. It is not against the bible to embrace one's culture. Since the beginnings of man, God has allowed man to live out his faith in his world view. In fact, He encourages us to be a bit different yet still one faith since back in Genesis when He seperated man and caused us to scatter.

So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.
(Genesis 11:8)

Tradition and God can and do go hand in hand. The problem comes when the tradition overtakes the truths of the Bible and we become focused on "us" and not God. Many ethnic groups from every corner of the earth boast of proud histories: noble African kings and queens, courageous Spanish explorers, proud Irish immigrant farmers, and the list goes on . . . Many tell the stories of how God guided them through, fought for their freedom, and held them together through many situations of struggle.

Their story . . . our story . . . is HIS-tory!

Embrace your culture, but do not allow it to overshadow God's role> God is above all culture. He has allowed us to be so diverse to bring Him glory in such a beautiful way! Their is beauty and unity in the diversity of His people. Enjoy it . . . embrace it . . . live it out all to His glory! (Revelation 7:9-10)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Truth or Popularity?

. . .let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, this man stands before you healthy. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, that has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.”
(Acts 4:10-12)

Peter and John did not worry about the politics of the day. All the leaders of the Hebrews were coming to arrest them . . . the priests, the Sadducees, the captain of the temple . . . yet they contiued to declare the truths about Jesus Christ! Now, present before the entire Sanhedrin, Peter spoke boldly and directly to them! There was no hint of political correctness at all.

Truth or popularity . . . what do we seek in life? In times when public figures seek the popular vote and water down genuine faith, what will we do? Do we crumble and fold or become even bolder in our stand for the savior?

There is no other option. There is no other choice. There is one answer. There is one TRUTH.

It is JESUS! Say it . . . LIVE it!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Not Awesome, Just Me!

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
(Romans 3 :10-12)

I am reminded daily that no matter what my family and friends might say about me it is what God knows about me. . .I am not awesome, just me! I am a sinner and I do not need anyone to remind me of that. I mess up often enough to know it for myself. Whether it is at home, at work, or just in my heart, I blow it daily! Not seeking God enough, not paying enough attention to my bride, blowing it with the kids, being selfish . . .

Just as I am, though tossed about With many a conflict, many a doubt;Fightings within, and fears without,O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
(Lyrics:Charlotte Elliott (1789-1871)

Over the years I want to believe I am better than I was yesterday. However, the more I want to believe it, the more I realize it has nothing to do with me. Any change in me is because of God. Left alone to myself, I am worthless . . . just a nobody!

So with God's guidance, I do my best to live by these words . . . .

I'm just a nobody trying to tell everybody,about somebody, who can save anybody.
(The Williams Brothers)

God is awesome, I am just me!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Personal Plea . . . .Putting God to the Test?

Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
(Malachi 3:8-10)

How many of you would purposely take from God? How many would put Him to the test? On July 8, 1741 in Enfield, Connecticut, Jonathan Edwards once said, preached a sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" in which he painted a vivid picture of one's fate without the grace of God. If not for God, there goes me!

How many of us go through life taking God for granted? How many of us live a selfish life . . . caring for our own needs and the needs of our families, yet ignoring the outcry of the needs of those right next to us? While God provides, He also calls every believer to participate in His work.

Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?
(1 Corinthians 9:7-12)

Not only is it a blessing to participate in mission work, it is a responsibility. Paul lays it out in his words above. Those in ministry deserve to make a living! However, we cannot study, teach, spend time with those in need, give to the needs of those we serve, nor prepare properly if we have to spend the majority of our time earning our keep for both ministry and family needs. When called by God, life becomes both sacrificial and rewarding. It is a 24/7 challenge to suport both a family and a ministry.

This is where every believer comes in . . . every believer participates . . . every believer benefits! It is not the church's job to support missionaries . . . it is your responsibility and my responsibility! The burden of fundraising and the personal feelings of rejection cause many to throw in the towel and resign from ministry. This is a black eye for the church for all the world to see. It is embarrassing!

So will you answer the call of God to be a part of His work? May I challenge you to take God at His dare? Try Him! (Malachi 3:10) Will you commit to support the work God has given to us, so we too may be able to commit to serve rather than found begging for bread? We pledge a lifetime to the Lord and His people. Will you in turn pledge a lifetime of support? Please do not quit!

I dare you to trust God as you give! No one can out-give God!!!!Please give today . . . God bless you!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Not a makeover, but a takeover!

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
(Ezekiel 36:26-27)

God is not after a re-do or a re-take. He does not in the remodeling business. He is not asking us to accomodate His desires for us.

God is asking for a chance to give each of us brand new life. God wants to replace the old ways we do things . . . how we think . . . how we love . . . how we breathe!

Not a makeover, but a takeover!

God seeks a spirit that wants His will. He desires total transformation. It is not about band-aids and ointments, but internal resetting of the bones and heartbeat. It is not an instant Christian-in-a-cup . The process is often long, grinding and painful. But take it from a hard-headed, but eventually I got it now disciple . . . it is worth it!

Stop fighting the call of God upon your life. Allow Him free course and experience God to the fullest!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Family Ties

Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
(Matthew 10:37)

These are hard words to swallow . . . for those who do not understand what a personal relationship with the Lord really involves. Jesus gives us a hint in the previous verse. At times, those of our own household cannot understand our relationship with Christ. This can be the biggest struggle for a believer.

Jesus is not telling us to hate our families! He is simply saying that we love the Lord so much and are dedicated to His will, that our love for our famiy is diminished. God becomes our priority. Many will not understand this and assume we do not care for our families anymore!

Ever experienced this reaction? I have heard it many times and it breaks my heart. I love my family. I just hope and pray that they will come to love the Lord and see the difference!

At times I feel so isolated and alone. It comes with the territory. Rejection from family hurts, but the intimacy with Christ is so much sweeter. Taking a stand for Christ can strain family ties indeed! I thank God for a bride who knows the Lord as I do and understands the call into serving the King. Being one together with our Lord forms an unbreakble three-chord strand! (Ecclesiastes 4:8-12)

Is family tying you down . . . seek the Lord today!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
(Matthew 24:35)

Nothing lasts forever . . . well not as we know it. God's word will never pass away. As for man, well we are made for eternity as well. The difference is that God is eternal, with no beginning or end. Man had a beginning, when God decided that He wanted to create a living, breathing being with a soul . . . made in His likeness. (Genesis 1:26-27) Our soul will also live on in eternity with a new eternal body to house that soul, but where will we be living then? Heaven or hell is a choice made while we yet live!

God's promises are true. It may not seem too relevant to some in this day with all the illness, wars, bitterness, and disasters. But it's all part of the process. Time is winding down! For some who have already passed away, it is too late. However, for you and me and our young ones following behind us, there is a chance!

God is calling out to all who will listen. Repent and be saved. Accept God at His Word. Do not delay! Listen carefully today and follow His direction.(Hebrews 3:15) Will today be the day you decide to become a child of God?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

However, as it is written: "No eye has seen,no ear has heard,no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him."
(1 Corinthians 2:9)

Have you ever just considered for a moment to allow God full control of your life? Imagine the possibilities! Mr. Moody, (Dwight Lyman Moody) did just that and God did a magnificent work in his life. Consider the following:

Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield, is dead. Don't you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal- a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body.

I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever.

Henry Varley, a very intimate friend of Mr. Moody in the earlier days of his work, loved to tell how how he once said to him: "It remains to be seen what God will do with a man who gives himself up wholly unto Him." When Mr. Henry Varley said that Mr. Moody said to himself: "Well I will be that man."

Mr. Moody was not concerned with titles, degrees or positions of autority. He simply desired to be used of God. I want to be that man too! How about you? (Romans 12:1-2)

Have your way Lord!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

God Knows

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
(Psalm 145:17-19)

David knew how to praise the Lord. He knew the depths of forgiveness and he also knew the private and personal fellowship one can only have with our God and Savior! He had been through some things and he knew where to turn when everyone else abandoned him.

My pastor always reminds me that if we are doing well, beware of a pitfall. If we are struggling, bright days are ahead. We are always either going through, coming out, or heading into a challenge. That's life! In sports, I have learned to never get too excited or too down. It is best to stay in the middle. We are never as bad as we seem or as good as we think we are.

God can keep us focused and level-headed. We cannot allow people to tear us down or build us up too high. It is God's knowlwedge of us that counts in the end. I realize it is hard at times to see how God views us. This is a challenge for me at times. When people tear at your very heart it hurts. Yet when those very same people make you out to be a super-hero, that too can be damaging! We must stay in close connection with the Lord!

I am so thankful that God knows my heart and still loves me. I am thankful He hears my cries and my pleas for His intimate presence. He saves me from eternal hell, but He also saves me daily from myself and others

God knows . . . and He still loves me!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Reputation or Integrity?

I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.
(Revelation 3:1-2)

Oh yes, God knows the real me! No matter my reputation among men, God knows what's truly up within me. He knows my real motives. He knows what I really want out of life. Am I after His will or about my own business? Is it my reputaion, (what man thinks) or my integrity (what God knows about me) that counts?

Jesus, even as a young boy,was in touch with the Father . . .

“Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
(Luke 2:49-52)

At times we can grow stagnant in serving the Lord and begin to accept man's applause and be set upon pleasing people. Serving people's needs is one thing. Being about our Father's business is quite another! Many times, God's agenda may just cause a few eyebrows to be raised among His people! What God has forme is for me! If man is a bit confused (even our closest freinds and family)it's ok. God will deal with that. Eternity is at stake and we must get back on track! We cannot afford to have our deeds left unfinished as the Lord said to the church in Sardis.

What is God writing about you and me? What would He say? Are we alive and active for Him or dead men walking . . . just getting by and going through the motions? Ask God . . . seek His face . . . let's have Him challenge us to remain in the race pursuing His will. If man understands fine. If they join us, fine. If they do not, it's ok too. Let's keep our hands on the plow and move forward. There is work to be done!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Spring into new life . . .

Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.
(Hosea 10:12)

The weather seems to be warming up and we can see the evidence of Spring as the bulbs which were planted in the fall begin to bloom among the grey landscape. Yes, the growing season is upon us, but the soil and seeds have been prepared months ago. The bloosoms do not come about on their own. The ground neede to be softened, fertilized, and mulched. The bulbs and seeds needed to be secured well below the surface. God had to water and supply the proper environment for growth.

The prophet Hosea uses agricultural verbage here to folks understand the relationship between sowing and reaping in a spiritual context. If we involve ourselves in the righteousness of God, then the result will be spiritual blessings. We must allow God to soften our hearts to receive his seeds of love, compassion, sacrifice, servitude, and forgiveness. We must receive His discipline to plow up the stony ground allow past sins and disappointments to be turned into new growth and blossoms of forgiveness and re-direction.

The folks of Hosea's day understood the agrarian metaphors. It may be a bit difficult today. perhaps if I say "garbage in, garbage out" we can better understand. What we put into a computer will have a direct result in what we get out of it. Our efforts have much to do with the results, whether it is sports, education, or relationships. Will this be just another spring . . . or a spring into new life??

Friday, March 2, 2012

God first . . .

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
(Proverbs 3:9-10)

God should get the best of everything we have. He deserves it. He controls it. He gives it to us in the first place! What would any of us have without God anyway? Are we actually robbing God (Malachi 3:8-9) or actually robbing ourselves?

God gives back way more than we could ever imagine.(Luke 6:38) Yet we do not give to God to get back. We give out of love and out of thanks! God wants a cheerful giver after all. He desires a gift that is overflowing with gratitude and joy.

God promises phsical and spiritual blessngs to the one who gives to God. (2 Corinthians 8:13-15) It is not necessarily how much we give, but how we give!(2 Corinthians 9:6-9)

Is God first in our giving? Do we first think of God or ourselves? Do we actually believe that God will meet our needs as we share what He has given to us?

I can tell you from first-hand experience: God cares for those who give to Him. he is a good Father! Try Him for yourself . . . give your all to God!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Power Surge

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
(1 Peter 5:10)

Peter knows about going through a power outage. He has to be thinking about when he gave in and let God down. Telling people "I do not know Him!" when questioned about his relationship with the Lord? (Luke 22:57) Yet he repeats the very same thing Jesus said to him as he was restored. (John 21:15-19)He encourages all of us to allow Jesus to make us whole again.

As a doctor sets a broken bone, God alone can can and will restore the broken, the wek, the fractured lives we live. God alone can restore stability despite our feelings of uncertainty. God will give us the power needed to succeed, even when we seem to be drained ofevery ounce of energy. God alone can make us steadfast and unmoveable (1 Corinthians 15:58)in the face of the most threatening attack the enemy can muster.

God is the power surge we need. He is the generator when the lights go out. He is the eveready battery that never needs re-charging.

Are we plugged in?

Storms and Faith

Jesus got into a boat. His disciples followed him.  Suddenly a terrible storm came up on the lake. The waves crashed over the boat. But Jesu...