Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Without Excuse

But they have not all obeyed the Gospel. For Isaiah says, "LORD, who has believed our report?" So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. But I say, have they not heard? Yes, indeed: "Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the end of the world (Psalm 19:4)." (Romans 10:17-18)


Funny that this word in Romans was written so long ago, just 30-40 years after Christ resurrection. Even stranger that the quotes come Psalms and Isaiah, before the incarnation of Christ! 


Many today ask what happens to the ones who have never heard the Gospel . . . the Good News of Christ.  Yet the psalmist, along with the prophet Isaiah and apostle Paul, all say the Word of God has not been obeyed. 


Even today, the question is not have we heard, but have we obeyed! Enough has been said and done for folks to believe. 


Will we walk in obedience to Christ or in step with the world?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Stay!

They said to Him, "Rabbi" (Teacher) "where are You staying?" He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where He was staying and remained with Him that day. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah." And he brought him to Jesus. (John 1:38-39)


I am amazed how the first disciples dropped everything and followed Jesus. Of course there were those who simply turned away and never followed, but the ones who did follow did not hesitate. They were searching for Messiah and when they found Him, they did not delay. They did not say they had to get something else done or finish this or that . . . Jesus said "Come" and they followed. In fact, they STAYED with Him! They called others as well.  


Oh, if I could have that kind of commitment to STAY with Jesus. Yes, I know my Savior and I love Him and all He does for me, but I wander way too much. It embarrasses me. After all He has done and all He is, why can't I STAY? Why can't I tell everyone every day? How can I forget? How can I be so preoccupied with life when I am neglecting the One who gives and sustains life?


Jesus, keep me near You . . . Especially when I stray . . . Do not allow me to wandered too far too often. Keep me nearer . . . nearer . . . 


Monday, September 28, 2015

Labor or Service?

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10) 


God has gifted everyone with physical gifts and unique personalities. Additionally, He gifts every believer with one or several spiritual gifts with which to serve the Body.  First we must discover these gifts but then we must use them . . . Not for the applause of man but rather to the glory of God. 


We are to serve where needed, when asked, and when it may even be uncomfortable or challenging. Those rewarded here on earth will receive just that; an earthly reward. However, those who serve humbly, sacrificially, and quietly will receive their reward from God in heaven. We must choose whom we will serve and also how we will serve.  There are eternal consequences!


So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God. (Romans 14:12)


Are we prepared?

Friday, September 25, 2015

I can't hear You!

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26)


Some say they cannot "hear" from God. However, we have the assurance that if we have faith in God and diligently seek Him, He will reward us. (Hebrews 11:6)


 Perhaps we are simply asking the wrong question! Instead of asking why we do not hear from God, perhaps we should be asking the Holy Spirit to teach us and ask Him to give us a discerning ear to be able to discipher His voice from among the many noises in our hearing. 


Just a suggestion . . . I am going to try it today myself!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Burdens can be heavy....

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my Rock and my Salvation, my Fortress; I shall NOT be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my Mighty Rock, my Refuge is God. Trust in Him at ALL times, O people before Him; God IS a refuge for us. (Psalm 62:5-8)


Frustrated? Hurt? Alone? Looking for a place to escape? God alone is the answer! He knows us. He feels our pain, anxiety, and frustrations. He knows how frail we can be and how challenging life can be at times. 


Just look back to the Garden of  Gethsemane when Jesus Himself felt a bit frustrated and unsure: "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done." (Luke 22:52) No matter what we are facing, the answer must be, "Nevertheless Father; Your will and not mine"!  


God knows! He cares! He will give us all we need to get through. For His glory we must press on so He may accomplish His will in and through us.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

No More Sacrifice Needed . . . It is Finished!

I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. (Psalm 116:1-2)


I love the Lord. He heard my cry and pitied every groan . . . What a love song . . . What a Savior . . . 


At a time when Jews around the world celebrate Yom Kippur, we can celebrate our Savior who has already atoned for every one of our sins. He has sacrificed Himself . . . Shed His own precious blood in exchange for your life and mine. 


Oh, how I love Him! Oh, how I need Him! Oh, how I praise Him! 


Do you love Jesus today? Let Him know with a heart and words and a life of praise!

Toned for our sin. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Send me? Use me? Why not, He is God!

So I said, "Woe is me, for I am of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts."  . . . "Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is purged." And I heard the voice of the Lord saying: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? THEN, I said, "Here am I! SEND ME." (Isaiah 6:5-8)


Sinful, unworthy, sorry, messed up, jacked up, wretched . . . That was me too before the Lord rescued me. Yet even after being found by the Lord, I still felt unworthy to ever really serve Him. I mean, thank God I was saved, but to work for Him? Even today I doubt myself often . . . But God


He uses the broken, the unwanted, the left out and the unworthy. He wants those the world has rejected. He desires the undesirables. He uses the used up! Thank God that He has not forgotten, rejected, or cast away you and me. 


He specializes in do-overs. Never doubt what God can do . . . give it all up for Him and His will. He will reward greatly!


Monday, September 21, 2015

Quiet War

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the PEACE of GOD, which surpasses ALL understanding, will guard your hears and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy . . . meditate on these things . . . and the PEACE of GOD will be with you. (Philippians 4:6-8)


I have heard it asked often, "How can one be so calm in such a trying moment?" Whether it was asked of a cancer patient or one surviving a natural disaster, I have heard the same reply: "It was God!" 


Knowing God is always in control helps the believer to trust Him in the most trying of times. However, the key is to know God intimately before the trial begins! 


Having a solid relationship with the Creator of ALL things enables us to endure ALL things. Trusting God in the good times and bad, seeking His face daily, speaking with the Father EVERY day . . . prepares us for the worst days. Because challenges distract us, we must know where to turn before tragedy strikes. Then when it comes, and it will come we will indeed have His PEACE than many will not understand! 


Challenging times are overcome within the quiet wars of quiet times with our Father.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Character Counts!

But also for this very reason (being called by God), giving all diligence, add to your faith VIRTUE, to virtue KNOWLEDGE, to knowledge SELF, to self -control PERSEVERENCE, to perseverance GODLINESS, to Godliness BROTHERLY KINDNESS, to and brotherly kindness LOVE. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sin. . . . Make your call and election sure . . . For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things . . .   (2 Peter 1:5-12)


Once saved by His grace, we still have some work to do. We do not work to become forgiven but we do work to build upon our faith and to labor for the Lord so others may come to know Him. The biggest way for others to see Christ in us is in our character. We should grow in the FRUIT-of-the-Spirit: if in fact we are indwelled by that very same Spirit!  


How we conduct ourselves both publically and privately reflects who we are and to Whom we identify. Do folks identify us with Christ . . . The Messiah . . . The Soon-coming King or do we line up with the rest of the world? 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Here I am Lord, use ME!

The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone (Psalm 118:22) and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense (Isaiah 8:14). They stumble, being disobedient to the Word, to which they were also appointed. But YOU are a CHOSEN GENERATION, a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, a HOLY NATION, His own SPECIAL PEOPLE, that YOU may proclaim the praises of Him Who called YOU out of darkness and into His marvelous light . . . (1 Peter 2:7-9)


Think back to when we first heard God's voice . . . We knew it was God . . . We were sure . . . But ME . . . God is speaking to ME


Remember when Samuel (1 Samuel 3) kept hearing his name being called and finally Eli told him to respond "Yes, Lord"? From then on, Samuel began to serve the Lord, despite the struggles. 


We all have a specific calling . . . A special task God has for each one of His children. Each believer has been endowed specific physical skills and spiritual tools with which to work. 


Have YOU heard? Have YOU answered? God has a special place just for YOU, a special task for YOU, and a special people for YOU to serve. 


Seek Him . . . Question Him... Answer Him . .. With a "YES, LORD!"


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Do YOU BELIEVE?

I have been crucified WITH Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but CHRIST lives IN me. So the life I live NOW in the body, I live because of the FAITHFULNESS of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20) 


I GIVE them eternal life, and they will NEVER perish; NO ONE will snatch them from My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and NO ONE can snatch them from My Father's hand. (John 10:28-29)


I had the question yesterday about losing ones relationship with the Lord once it has been established. Well, as we can see in the verses above, once a person commits . . . TRULY COMMITS, to Christ, God the Holy Spirit now takes over. We no longer live, but Christ live within us. NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE can undo what God has done. It is a question of if one has truly REPENTED, not if one can lose their relationship with Christ. It is also a question of if one TRUSTS the Word of God.


I believe . . .

 


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Clay . . . Simply Clay!

The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because He does not wish for anyone to perish but for to come to REPENTANCE. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief . . . (1 Peter 3:9-10)

"What should we do brothers?" Peter said to them, "REPENT, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins . . . (Acts 2:37-38)


We focus so much on the so-called sinners prayer as we share the Gospel that we only focus on the decision, rather than the heart of the one to whom which we are sharing. We focus on numbers and our success.  However, that was never so in the early church! No work for the Lord is about us. It's all about Jesus! Our very lives are simply tools in His hands.  


As we share, pray, and engage others, the goal is to lead them to REPENT of their sins and come into an eternal relationship with our Savior.  We may not see the fruit. Others may come along next week, next year, or ten years from now.  We are simply part of the Master's plan.  We do not want anyone to be falsely secure about their eternal  future. 


As we are reminded, He is the Potter and we are simply a lump of clay upon His wheel. We can do nothing and nothing we do is of any significance without Him! 


Monday, September 14, 2015

Directional Signs

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in FAITH, with no DOUBTING, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:4-8)


Some rather straight forward and practical advice from one who knew Jesus pretty well . . . his brother James!  We need to simply allow God to have His way with us. After all, He created us and has a wonderful design for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) if we will just go by His plans. 


When we have questions, we need to seek the Author of our story, not someone who is simply in the audience. God promises to share His knowledge freely and liberally, if we only ask and then follow the instructions. The problems come when we ask and then disagree with the Creator. We think we have a better plan. So we doubt . . . 


Doubting causes a dizzying affect upon our lives. We begin to believe anything. We try everyone else's advice. We leave God out and we fail. 


James reminds us that if we don't trust God at His word He will not share it with us. He will leave us to our own devices and schemes. That is never a good thing. 


Take it from me: God knows best! I have tried it my way too many times and failed. God has a better plan. Trust Him! 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Sparrows' Nest Ministries Summer trip to Ocean City, MD

These are highlights of our annual end of year trip with our teens. This year we visited Ocean City MD. We usually take the teens away for a week, but for lack of funds, we were limited to a day trip.

Check out the photos section of our web page to see the activities:

https://picasaweb.google.com/110113682663305304879/TSNOceanCityTrip2015


Won't you consider supporting our 2015-16 program so we may do even more to reach teens for Christ?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Comfort in Christ

Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all COMFORT, Who COMFORTS us in ALL our troubles so that we may be able to COMFORT those experiencing ANY trouble with the COMFORT with which we ourselves are COMFORTED by God. . . He delivered us from so great a risk of death, and He WILL deliver us. We have set our hope on Him, that He WILL DELIVER us yet again . . . (2 Corinthians 1:3-4,10) 


The Lord's decisions stand forever; His plans abide throughout the ages. How blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord . . . The Lord watches from heaven and sees ALL people . . . and takes note of ALL their actions. . . We wait for the Lord; He is our deliverer and shield. (Psalm 33:11-18)


Remembering those who were killed and injured; their families, friends and co-workers; those who served in rescue efforts; and yes, even the survivors of those to blame . . . Too many to name but you know and God knows . . . God is able and He cares. . . He is still full of mercy and grace . . . He is still God!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Words that MOVE

And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, "You are my beloved Son; in You I am well pleased." (Luke 3:22)


Ahhh . . . The words of a parent letting a child know " I love you" . . .  "I am proud of you". It gives life to a toddler, a teenager, even an adult child. For those of us who have never heard these words there remains a hole within our souls . . . But God speaks to us as well!


Words of affirmation last a lifetime. Like in this case with Jesus, hearing this public affirmation not only let the whole world know "I love you", but it also prepared Jesus to move forward. He had the confidence of His Daddy! 


Who needs our encouragement today? Maybe it's even you and me? 


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pleading Jesus' Blood

Be anxious for nothing, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication, with THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known to God; and the PEACE OF GOD, which surpasses ALL understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)


So how can one go through so much turmoil and stress and seem to be calm? How is it possible to have PEACE when there is nothing but chaos and unexpected challenges? 


Paul tells us that in EVERYTHING, that means EVERY situation, talk with the Lord and let Him know . . . Then TRUST Him! THANK Him because He knows, cares, and is at work. Stay out of His way once we give it to Him. Let Him work it out. Just stay in close contact with Him and there will a PEACE that no one else can understand except for fellow Christ followers.  


The BLOOD still heals, forgives, and transforms. It not only forgives sin, but allows our testimony to be seen by others (Revelation 12:11). We may not be murdered for our beliefs, but the way we live can surely reflect the dedication and commitment we have to our Savior. 


Give it to God and don't take it back . . . Easy to say but hard to live out. However, we must do just that to have the PEACE OF GOD rule in our lives!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Post-Labor Day Prayer . . .

O Lord, hear my prayer! Pay attention to my plea for help! Because of Your faithfulness and justice, answer me! . . . . My strength leaves me; I am absolutely shocked. I recall the old days; I meditate on all you have done; I reflect on YOUR accomplishments. I spread my hands out to You in prayer; my soul thirsts for You in a parched land . . .show me the way I should go, because I long for You . . . Teach me to do what pleases You, for You are my God. May Your presence lead me into a level land. O Lord, for the sake of Your reputation, REVIVE me!. . . . (Psalm 143;Net Bible)


Our teens are faced with so many different and more challenging situations than we ever faced, yet in God's eyes, nothing really has changed. Like David, it is best to simply place the situations and the teens in God's hands. Like David, we as parents, mentors, and teachers need to allow Rabbi Jesus to teach us so we may in turn model and teach our teens. 

Allowing Christ into a situation, not just wanting Him present but giving Him complete control, gives added confidence and peace. Knowing He is leading gives us freedom to walk in faith, not just in the classroom or in the church, but in this crazy and challenging world. 

This is my prayer Lord: REVIVE us again . . .Teach us to teach others. Lead us to lead others. Give us boldness to follow Your precepts so others may take the bold steps needed to follow You as well!

Friday, September 4, 2015

How is THAT possible?

But without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He IS, and that He IS a rewarded of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)


Moses ask of Godin Exodus 3, "What shall I say to them?" and God replied, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"


This is so profound both for the Israelites and for us today! The writer of Hebrews tells us that we first must BELIEVE that God IS . . . We must KNOW without a doubt that He is Who He says He is! Even Moses knew this. "Who is sending me? How will they KNOW?" The Jews knew by His faithfulness. They knew by His character. They knew by experience.


How do we KNOW today? Do we DILIGENTLY seek after God? Do we have EXPERIENCE with Him? We tend to trust the people and things with which we are most involved. To know someone is to spend time with them. 


How well do we know the Lord?


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Run Forrest, Run!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God. . . You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin . . . Therefore, strengthen the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight the paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather healed. (Hebrews 12:1-4,12-13)


The image is that of runner who would throw off his robe and outer clothing to run without hinderance. A runner today is constantly examining his gear; shoes, running outfit, spikes, even body hair! If anything slows him down, even for tenths of seconds, he will remove or change it. If something can make him faster, he will try it. Some will even bend the rules! 


The writer of Hebrews encourages us to look for the examples of the past and observe their life and how they endured for Christ. We have yet to face the kinds of trials they faced, yet we do face challenges. At times they seem like mountains . . . Terrible storms . . . Challenges that have no end in sight. Yet, as with Moses, Joshua, David, Paul, and others, even our Savior, we will endure as we keep focused on the goal . . . The  finish line! We must do whatever it takes to honor God.


The joy of our salvation . . completing the task . . .  allowed Jesus to look past the cross and to the end result. Despite all He went through, it was worth the shame, the pain, and the embarrassment. We were worth it. 


What is the goal for you and me? Is it worth the struggle? Hang in . . . Jesus knows our struggles. He is here. He cares. He will take us through. Just take the first step . . .

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Prodigal

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowlines and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. there is ONE body, and ONE Spirit, jut as you werecalled in ONE hope of your calling; ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism; ONE God and ONE Father of all, Who is above all and through all and in you all. (Ephesians 4:1-6)



I often wonder what God sees in me and how He puts up with me. What about you? Do your sins get on your nerves? I imagine how I must frustrate God! Yet here Paul reminds me that I am His prisoner . . . His servant . . . yet also His son! As a Daddy, He is disappointed in me, but He is also ready and willing to accept me and call me to repentance daily. I am His prodigal son indeed!



Just as in my relationship with my bride and children, I must be willing to go to God humbly seeking His forgiveness. The more I realize how frail I am, the more I receive His grace to carry on. God desires oneness with His children. It is the same with family.



As a husband and father, I must not only offer grace and forgiveness, I must also seek it! I must go to my wife humbly asking for forgiveness. I must apologize to my children when I blow it. I must seek oneness within the family as God desires oneness within the Body of Christ.


Why does God put up with me? Why does my beautiful bride put up with me? It's all God's grace! Thank God for grace!



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Inside Out

Therefore, since we have this ministry, just as God has shown us mercy, we do not become discouraged. . . But by open proclamation of the Truth we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience before God. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing . . . For we do not proclaim ourselves, but JESUS CHRIST as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus' sake. For God, who said "Let light shine out of darkness"(Genesis 1:3, Isaiah 9:2), is the One who shined in our hearts to give to give us the light of the glorious knowledge of God in the face of Christ. (2Corinthians 4:1-6)


Whatever, wherever, however God has us serving, it is so others can see the living and true God in and through us. He has equipped each one of us with certain physical abilities at birth and we have developed them over the years. In the same way, when we were born again, God instilled within us certain spiritual gifts in which to present Him to others . . . To serve the Body and the world. 


So wherever we find ourselves in this journey, whatever we might be doing, we are to allow our distinct personalities and gifts to shine forth so others may see the Jesus in you and me. Allow God to work in you from the inside out


Do not be a clone. Be whom God created . . . Be YOU!

one stable foundation,

Then  as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings  are here! ” ...