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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Saying No

The other day I was at Borders checking out their Going out of Business deals.
As I was looking at a book I heard an employee next to me talking to a woman who had “borrowed” one of the stores carts. She had loaded it with items. The employee told her she wasn’t suppose to use it, and would take her books to the front where she could pay for them later. The woman strongly resisted saying, ‘You can’t have them. Somebody will steal them.”

That person left and shortly another employee came to relieve her of her cart but met the same resistance. It was getting a little weird, so I went to the other side of the store where the music is displayed. After laying down a cd I was looking at a hand quickly reached in front of me grabbing the cd and putting it on her cart. Yes, the woman had followed me! I went down further and she reached in front of me again grabbing the item I was looking at. I quickly went down the row over to the next aisle, and within seconds she was standing at my side.

I asked, “Can I help you?” She replied, “I’ve ran out of ideas of things to put on my cart so I will take things you are interested in.” I prayed quickly and looked her in the eye, “You need to stop this right now.” She looked down and said, “I will, I promise, I am sorry.” She left her cart and left. I guess that was a hobby of hers to go around picking up all sorts of things, and then leaving without buying. The employees were glad she stopped.

I thought about this later and came to the conclusion that this is like our relationship with God sometimes. We get busy doing all sorts of things that really don’t help others, but we don’t know how to stop. It’s freeing when we’re told to stop! We can promise God that we will stop, say we are sorry, and then change our behavior. That’s cool. I think they call it repentance and forgiveness.

Do you need to “stop” certain behavior, thoughts, or words today?

Have a good and Godly day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Digging Deeper

As we mature as believers our understanding of God’s Word should grow as well. A deeper understanding of the Word of God can only occur if we spend time hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on it. The account of Jesus feeding over 5,000 people is one of these stories. We learn as children about Jesus’ love, using a little boy’s lunch, and the great miracle that followed. By digging deeper into this passage we can learn Biblical truths that give us direction, and help us grow in Christ.

We can learn lessons in giving, receiving, and blessings when we are doing God’s work. First we must be willing to give whole heartedly to the work of the Lord. The boy in this story gave all he had to Jesus. In his eyes and those around him it sure didn’t seem like much, but because of his faithfulness, and belief that Christ can truly do all things, something unexpected was about to occur. In our lives, we may feel that what we have to give isn’t much, but when we give it all to Him, heaven rejoices. What in your life have you not turned over to the Lord for His kingdom’s work? He is waiting for you.

The Lord will receive from us what is given to do His work. If you notice, Jesus didn’t go looking for food, but accepted what was offered to Him. God is funny like that. He told a group of church people one time that after a poor widow gave a couple of coins in the collection plate that she was the greatest giver. Why? Because she gave all she had.  Jesus wants us to give our gifts of service, money, talents, and resources to do His work. When we have that same giving heart as the widow, God will accept it, multiply it, and allow us have it back to use it in ways we can never imagine.

It says that Jesus took the fish and loaves and blessed them, and then He gave it back to them. The disciples distributed the food, everyone ate all they could, and there were 12 baskets of leftovers! When Jesus blesses what we have entrusted to Him, it will come back to us many times over. Just think about what God can do with your offering. Probably something we could never expect, but will be amazed at what He can do through willing followers. Are you ready to accept Jesus’ blessing?

Have a good and Godly day.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Get Up

Not long ago I bought a book because I liked what it said on the cover, “God wants you wise, free, and full of power – seizing life beyond belief.” The introduction shared that it was fresh look at Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

It shows us:
“The futility of sin – and how to overcome the old sin nature.
The wonder of true freedom in Christ.
The awesome potential of walking in the Spirit.
The revolutionary power of God’s kingdom.
The centrality of love to the Christian faith.
The abundant ministry available to you through the fruit of the Spirit.”

It said that today we are caught up in the same traps that the Galatians were in because of their foolish thinking. The message is liberating for the faithful, and a reminder to stop our foolish thinking!

I wondered why a fairly recent book was selling at the dollar store, but thought it might help me in the “I’ve Fallen” series I was preparing. I learned that the author was the founding and Senior Pastor of an 11,000 member church and president of  a 22 million member evangelistic group. The named sounded familiar, then I remembered. He was one of those national Christian leaders who fell from prominence because of a sex scandal. Subsequently he lost his job and fell from public grace.

Our first reaction would probably be to toss the book. I came to this conclusion, just because the author fell to sin does not change the message Paul gave. It just wasn’t applied to his life. Before we get too “self-righteous” I think we need to confess that we don’t always apply God’s Word to our lives all the time either. An Amen or Oh-Me is in order here!

David, in the Bible, illustrates this “non-application” in his life as well. He knew how to obey and please God, but failed. We all fall down, just like television preachers, and people every day do. The goal in all of our situations should be to “Get Up” with God’s help. Amen?

Have a good and Godly day

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Storms

This week a friend of mine (half-kidding) said, “Have you notice that all the blizzards and hurricanes happen on Sundays? Maybe Mother Nature isn’t happy with us.” First I corrected him that there is no Mother Nature, but there is a Father God who is in control of all things including the weather.

He is correct in that this has been a crazy year of weather: record snow accumulation, record rain falls, and now hurricane Irene. We’ve experienced more than our fair share of “bad weather” Sundays.  I have said for years that nothing happens by coincidence, so I had to give this some thought.

We certainly could make a case that God isn’t too happy with the conditions on earth, but I doubt he would intentional keep God’s people from gathering. My first thought is that “weather happens”, and it will never make any sense to us. The Bible tells us that there will be storms, earthquakes, and other natural phenomenon till Jesus returns.

I look at these storms as a reminder for us as to who is really in control! We look to the Lord during these times of natural disasters for protection, help, safety, and restoration. When other crisis occurs in our lives we need to remember where our help, power, and strength come from – the Lord.

May we all continue to join in prayer for God’s help and direction, through this storm, and the storms that are sure to come as well. Amen?

Have a good and Godly day.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

How to Deal with Storms


With Hurricane Irene heading up the coast, and all the preparations being made, it reminded me of a recent study on David. King David had to deal with a few crisis and storms in his life, and there were two constant things he did to see him through. He took time to worship God and to pray.

David was forced to evacuate his city but still kept his focus on the Lord. Even in the midst of this dangerous situation he offered sacrifices to God until everyone had left the city. David was literally running for his life but that did not mean that he would not seek the presence of God. When we take the time to worship it is literally seeking the presence of God. David understood something that we often forget, when a crisis comes, worship needs to remain a priority in our lives.

Far too often, we allow circumstances and difficulties to come between us and our ability to worship. Worship must be a priority in our lives because when we go through hard times we must seek the presence of God. He can accomplish what we cannot.

Prayer is one of your most valued resources during a crisis. Just as worship is a seeking of God’s presence, prayer is a seeking of God’s provision. David understood that if he was going to get through the crisis, he needed God’s provision. When you go through a crisis seek God’s provision because he has the ability to deliver all of your needs.
 
Crises are a fact of life and we all have to deal with them. Your problems may not be to the extent that David had to deal with or a hurricane, but the reality is that when you go through them, you don’t go through them alone.

When trials face you, that is the time to seek God’s presence and provision even more earnestly. Today maybe you are going through a crisis, take some time to seek God and find His strength and support for your life in a fresh way.

Have a good and Godly day.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Make a Difference

Matthew 22:34-40, John 13:34-35, and Matthew 28:18-20 are the life-blood in the life of a servant. They are called: The Great Commandment, The New Commandment, and The Great Commission. Our purpose as God’s body is to serve God in the way He has called us to serve Him. You have purpose in Christ; the church has a purpose in Christ.

We must strive to become more like Jesus in our attitudes and behaviors.

The mission has not changed. But the approach to accomplishing that objective has changed. You are not the same person you were 10, 20, or more years ago. Your town is not the same as it was 10, 20, or more years ago. Time marches on yet, God’s plans are timeless. His desire to fulfill His plan is the same now as it has been from the beginning. He has given you everything you need in His Word.

The Bible has instructed us to Gather as God’s people, to Grow in faith, love and service, and to Go into the world as His disciples.

God’s church must together strive, to know His purpose, so that we may be obedient to Him in fulfilling His call to serve Him, One another, and Our neighbors. You can make a difference, we must make a difference. God is counting on us to make a difference. Amen?

Have a good and Godly day.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Keeping It Right

In the 6th chapter of Judges we see God’s people worried about tomorrow and not about today. They did evil in the sight of the Lord, but questioned why He had let so many bad things happen to them.

In this passage we see Gideon wanting to bake bread but threshing in a winepress. He was in the wrong place, acting like He was doing something other than what God had for him to do. In other words, God was calling Gideon to service but he was acting like a wino! God recognized his potential as a warrior if he had faith and was obedient to what was told to him. Gideon blamed God for all of Israel’s woes. The Lord tells him that they made a choice to not obey and be faithful. He reassures, this would be warrior, that He is with Israel and they will be victorious. Gideon’s focus became clear, his faith restored, and he worshiped the Lord.

Are you in the wrong place, acting like you’re doing something other than what God has for you to do? We have the potential to be mighty in God’s army if we get our focus back on Him. God has a great Complaint Dept. It never closes. He is like a best friend who we can carry on and on too, but love us anyway. Instead of playing the blame game with God we should follow Jesus’ directions.  He tells us to, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things will be added unto you”. There are no maybes. It’s His plan and kingdom, and we are called to be obedient.

God calls His people brave and mighty. He has not abandoned us. Like Gideon we need to trust and obey. Remember on this day and every day to be strong in the Lord. Worship and praise Him with your life. Let the Lord guide and lead you to victory. Praise God for this moment!  

Have a good and Godly day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Getting It Right


Everyone likes hearing good news and having good things happen to them. We will praise God for the “big” things in our lives, but have you ever said, “Praise God for this moment!”? Thank Him for being able to wake up, get out of bed, enjoy His creation, and His people. We need to recognize and express our gratitude for being alive at this very time in history.

In what is known as the Lord’s Prayer it says, “Give us this day our daily bread” Most of us would say the most important part of this verse was the “bread”. We have to eat right? Some would say it is “give us”. We do need the Lord’s provision and help in meeting our daily needs, but I believe the most important part of this model prayer is “this day”. God will supply, and you’ll have bread again, but never this day to repeat. Do we live our lives with this type of mentality? We need to focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have, and give God the glory.

I’m afraid we don’t do a very good job at this. We worry about so many things that we can’t even focus on this moment. Instead we focus on money, our jobs, family, bills, and our stuff a lot more than about how we are going to glorify God each day 

May we remember to praise Him more, and begin today! Amen?

Have a good and Godly day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Purpose of Purpose

Many people don’t seem to have a clear sense of purpose. They’re like boats without rudders. They drift from place to place, relationship to relationship. They not only do not chart a course, they don’t even stay anchored anywhere.

We have become the “whatever” generation - characterized by our lack of conviction, commitment, and purpose. It is not that we are so flexible – it’s that we are so ungrounded. We constantly shift because nothing much matters. The world offers many inadequate ways to cope with what troubles us, but they are merely diversions and distractions. The Bible is the only true source that can give us direction and purpose.

In the Bible, Esther lived up to her purpose in a very tough time (Esther 4:13-14). Are we living our lives for such a time as this?

Don’t let excuses get in the way of what God might want to accomplish through you. God had a purpose in mind when He chose Moses. Moses overcame his shaky start to become a mighty man of faith. (Exodus 4:1-13)

Remember all of us are on a Mission from God! Stay focused and He will show you your purpose.

Have a good and Godly day.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What's Up?

For years when anyone asked me, "What's up?", I would respond, "God's up!". You know what after all these years I still believe that. If God isn't up then where would we be? The Bible tells us to keep looking up. That is where our help comes from - every time!
By the way, I also still believe, "God is good all the time, and all the time God is good."
I am so glad that I serve a good God. That helps me look up. Amen?
Have a good and Godly day.