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Friday, September 30, 2011

Desire

David had left to his son the plan, finances, and materials to build the temple. Solomon so desired to honor God and his father in succeeding as king and temple builder. It was up to God to help him on his quest. That night the Lord came to Solomon to provide the answer.

2 Chronicles 1:7-12

7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 8 Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. 9 Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 11 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”
His request was made a reality. God appeared to Solomon and asked him to ask for whatever he desired. His asked for wisdom and knowledge so that he would be able to lead God’s people, Israel, in a way that honored the Lord. God was so pleased the he granted it and gave him much, much more. He made Solomon the wisest, wealthiest, and most honored man ever!
Why did Solomon’s request for wisdom please God so much?
I think it pleased him because it focused on God and others first.
How do your requests make God feel? Are they focused on Him and others?
Have a good and Godly day.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Importance

2 Chronicles 1:1-6 -   Solomon son of David established himself firmly over his kingdom, for the LORD his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.  2 Then Solomon spoke to all Israel—to the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, to the judges and to all the leaders in Israel, the heads of families— 3 and Solomon and the whole assembly went to the high place at Gibeon, for God’s tent of meeting was there, which Moses the LORD’s servant had made in the wilderness. 4 Now David had brought up the ark of God from Kiriath Jearim to the place he had prepared for it, because he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem. 5 But the bronze altar that Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made was in Gibeon in front of the tabernacle of the LORD; so Solomon and the assembly inquired of him there. 6 Solomon went up to the bronze altar before the LORD in the tent of meeting and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.

Solomon stood silently before the tabernacle at the great high place at Gibeon. The smoke had just lifted from the last of a thousand offerings to the Lord. Solomon had prayed and watched as sacrifice after sacrifice was brought to the altar and presented to God. With his Father gone, and not sure who to trust, he had no one to turn to but God.  All those who had rebelled against his father, and who had shed innocent blood in that cause had been executed or exiled. The pressures of leadership were weighing greatly on him.
Instead of following the advice of man, Solomon chose to go to the tabernacle and seek God. He knew that his father had captured God’s heart, and that was more important than anything else in his life. He wanted to meet the God of David for himself and learn to follow his own path before the Almighty. It was his job now to rule the kingdom his father had brought together in a way that it would prosper and honor God. This task was too great without God’s counsel. Nothing was more important.
What is the most important thing to you?
Have a good and Godly day.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Now What?

We are told of King David’s death in 1 Chronicles 29:28: He died at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth and honor. His son Solomon succeeded him as king.
It was now up to the son of the king, Solomon to step up and follow his father’s wisdom and direction. Seek, find, and follow the living God. Give Him everything and be ready to be used by Him in a mighty way. As wonderful as it was to have a wise godly Dad he must now make his own choice and personal relationship when it comes to the Lord.

Do you remember the scene in Jaws where they are out looking for this great white shark that had been killing people? While Roy Scheider’s character was throwing out bloody bait the 25ft shark shows up, and it was as long as their boat! He goes to the Captain and says, “We’re going to need a bigger boat!” This is a famous line, but do you realize he could have said, “Lets get out of here – We can’t handle this – Let’s go hide somewhere safe”. Instead he decided that they were still going to catch that great white, but their plans needed a major adjustment. Solomon knew that his life would have to be adjusted, and he needed a big God to achieve his plan.

In our lives when are confronted with change how do we respond? We can flee, give-up, or hide but God desire us to turn to Him to achieve our destiny.

2 Chronicles sets the scene that led to Solomon’s receiving of great wisdom. God had to help Solomon accomplish his purpose and calling to be the king of Israel. This story is full of life-changing principles that can help us to live the kind of life we’ve always wanted; a life that will honor God, influence people for good, and be a difference-maker in this world we live in. It is a great truth in which we can learn so much about obtaining wisdom, and living for God.

May God reveal and help us to become the kind of people He longs for us to be. Amen?

Have a good and Godly day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Walk and Talk


Solomon was the wisest man in the world of his time. The Bible says that aside from Jesus, he was the wisest man in the world ever.
Since he is known for his remarkable wisdom, the questions beg to be asked: Where did all this great wisdom come from, and how did he receive it?
 Let’s start by looking at 1 Kings 2:1-4 and David’s Charge  to Solomon: 1 When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. 2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, 3 and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go 4 and that the LORD may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’
The Father, David, gave this wisdom to his son, Solomon. There are three things he is told: 1. Be Strong 2. Act like a man 3. Observe God’s commands. The first two have to do more with the physical, but the last one touches on something much more critical – the Spiritual. The crucial aspects of a wise and Godly person are to keep your walk and talk the same, and be focused on Christ.
Your heart, mind, and soul must remain faithful to God. If David’s family kept the Lord on their “heart’s throne” then they would remain as the head of a thriving nation. What great advice and a promise to give to your child! Be what God wants you to be and He will do great things in your life, your children, and your children’s children lives. Keep Him on your “heart’s throne”. Amen?

Have a good and Godly day.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ask

One of the greatest minds in the western world became known to us in the 1960s. We first learn of his brilliance through the following poem.
Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, A tale of a fateful trip that started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship. The mate was a mighty sailing man, the skipper brave and sure. Five passengers set sail that day, for a three hour tour, a three hour tour.
The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed, If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the minnow would be lost, the minnow would be lost.
The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle With Gilligan, The Skipper too, The millionaire and his wife, The movie star, The professor and Mary Ann, Here on Gilligan’s Isle.

The professor held three degrees in science from MIT and most of his inventions (including a method for recharging the batteries in the radio) utilized coconuts and bamboo. Aside from his proficiency in science, he was also adept and well-versed in law, literature, social sciences, and the arts. He also held various degrees from USC, UCLA, SMU, and TCU). The Professor with all his ability to build anything from coconuts and bamboo was somehow unable to Fix the Boat or create a raft to leave the island! That is what the castaways really needed. - You can have all the education, experience, and training in the world, but not have the wisdom that God desires for us. This week we’ll focus on a man who can help us unlock the secrets for having Godly wisdom, his name is Solomon.

Pray that you’ll receive all the wisdom God has for you.

Have a good and Godly day.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Invitation


God is inviting you to pursue wisdom. Over the next eight weeks we will be working together to receive, use, and share God’s wisdom. We begin this pursuit by entering a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. "That if you confess with your mouth that, "Jesus is Lord", and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9).

Have you accepted Christ as Savior and made Him Lord of your life?

Once that relationship is established, it’s a journey that calls you to passionately pursue wisdom, to embrace an accurate moral code and to build a life plan consistent with God’s plan.

There are sermon videos, teaching videos, small group notes, and much more available to you at: www.fbcredbank.com Please use these resources to help in your quest for God’s wisdom.

Today I will be preaching on and begin our week’s study, The God who asks to be asked.

He who knows others is knowledgeable; he who knows himself is wise.

Have a good and Godly day.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

God’s Plan


Proverbs 19:21: "Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. To live wisely, we need to build a life plan that is consistent with God’s plan.

"What is God’s plan in my world and how can my life plan fit with God’s plan?"

Look at Matthew 6:19-34 from The Message to see what Jesus had to say on the subject.
19Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. 20Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. 21It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
22“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light23If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!
24“You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.
25“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. 26Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
27“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? 28All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, 29but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
30“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? 31What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving32People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works.  33Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

We need to build a life plan that’s consistent with God’s plan, giving Him all our attention and start today. A step towards wisdom is reliance on God. Amen?

Have a good and Godly day

Friday, September 23, 2011

Moral Code

To gain wisdom one must follow an accurate moral code.

The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. - Proverbs 4:18-19

The "path of the righteous" is that well lit road that God illuminates with His Word and guides us with His Spirit. As we journey down the road the sun (and Son) will get brighter and brighter as we become more obedient to His will and ways.

In contrast "the path of the wicked" is in deep darkness that never brightens. In this darkness sin, evil, pain, and deception will thrive.

The not so funny thing about the dark is that the more we expose ourselves to it – the more we adjust to it until it’s too late. With the sun, it may take some getting used too at first, but then we can bask in its warmth and light. Light and Dark are symbolic with good/evil and heaven/hell. Choose the Son – He’ll bring life giving light and wisdom in your life.

We can find an accurate moral code by using God’s Word.

A good place to start is the Ten Commandments.

  1. No other Gods
  2. No idols
  3. Not use God’s Name in vane
  4. Remember the Sabbath
  5. Honor parents
  6. Do not murder
  7. Do not commit adultery
  8. Do Not Steal
  9. Do not  Lie
  10. Do not covet

Once we’ve done business with God on these we’ll be able to accept more guidance through His Word and Spirit.

Have a good and Godly day.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Passionate Pursuit

How can you passionately pursue wisdom?

We start by boldly asking God for it. I love what it says in James 1:5, If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  We start our pursuit of wisdom by asking for it, and believing God has promised it.

We can also pursue wisdom by reading the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, Wisdom books in the Bible would include the study of the Psalms, Job, Proverbs, the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes. Reading through these books is a good place to start.

Another way we pursue wisdom is by developing the art of observation. Watch how people and nature respond to different stimulus and situations. What kinds of actions occur under different circumstances?

A final way we can pursue wisdom is by reading. There is great knowledge and wisdom to be found in many different books, papers, and online articles. Always apply God’s filter through the help of the Holy Spirit to discern if it fits with God’s standards.

There are other ways of passionately pursing wisdom. Ask God to reveal what lessons he wants you to learn today, and allowing Him to lead you to the source.

Have a good and Godly day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pursue Wisdom

Where do you start to pursue wisdom?
Proverbs 1:7 says: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." This foundational principle is found throughout the Proverbs. We show wisdom in fearing God. Fools do not want His direction, guidance, and control.
Look at what other Scriptures have say on the subject:
 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.” -  Hebrews 12:28-29
And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,-  Deuteronomy 10:12
Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.-  Deuteronomy 10:20-21

The fear of the Lord consists of hating evil, sin, and all things not of God. It is also about loving God with all your heart, mind, body, and soul. The Scriptures say we are to delight in doing God’s will. Psalm 112:2 "Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands." Jesus said that if we show our love for God through our obedience.

Proverbs 4:7-8 says, Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.
The pursuit of wisdom is one of the most important things in life we can do. It’s more important than making a lot of money, or anything else in this world for a believer. Love Jesus? Love His wisdom.
Have a good and Godly day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What Are "Proverbs"?

Proverbs are short, memorable sayings whose meanings are relevant to many different situations. In movie Forrest Gump we hear many proverbs also know as Gumpisms:
"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”, and "Stupid is as stupid does" are examples.

Here are some other modern proverbs:
If you're too open minded, your brains will fall out.  
Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in his shoes. 
Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than living in a garage makes you an automobile.  
A closed mouth gathers no feet. 

Even though some wise sayings make you smile there are still a lot of truth to them. In the introduction to the book of Proverbs in the NIV Bible it states: Proverbs was written to give “prudence to the simple, knowledge and direction to the young (1:4) and to make wise men wiser (1:5). Acquiring wisdom and knowing how to avoid the pitfalls of folly will lead to health and a Godly life.

The Proverbs instruct God’s people on how to live successful, happy, reverent, secure, and blessed lives. God’s direction and wisdom are available for everyone. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs. It’s there for the taking.

Why not decide right now to read one each day for the next month?

Have a good and Godly day.

Monday, September 19, 2011

What is Wisdom?

The dictionary defines "wisdom" as the ability to discern what is true or right. So our English word "wisdom" has both moral implications--discerning what’s right--and intellectual implications--discerning what’s true.

Wisdom is the God-given ability to perceive the true nature of a matter and to implement the will of God in that matter. Dr. Larry Lea

Wisdom is what is true and right combined with good judgment. Bill Hybels

“Exodus 28:3 - Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest. (NIV)

Daniel Villa in his Wise Living series shares the following: The Hebrew word translated "wisdom" in the Bible is a bit more colorful than our English word. The Hebrew word translated "wisdom" is hochma, and it usually refers to some kind of skill or ability. It was originally used to described the work of weavers who weave the elaborate garments of Aaron, the high priest. Since the high priest and his clothing typified the ultimate high priest, Jesus Christ, it was imperative that the weavers follow God’s exact specifications for the priests’ garments. The weavers’ ability to follow God’s design for manufacturing the garments was labeled “wisdom.” From that point on, the Israelites equated wisdom with a skill for living, and wisdom has since been defined as “the skill to live life according to God’s plan.” The wise person is one who patterns his finances, his goals, his relationships, and every aspect of his life according to the specifications revealed in God’s Word. So the Hebrew word distinguishes wisdom from knowledge, because a person can have a mind full of facts, yet lack authentic wisdom. Often the authors of the Bible use this word hochma to describe people who are skilled in a trade or a craft, like wood working, metal working, embroidery, or weaving (New International Dictionary of Old Testament Exegesis and Theology, Vol. 2, p.133). This same word is used for people who are particularly skillful in tasks like trading, leadership, and even sailing. Look at Proverbs 3:19-20. These two verses represent many verses in Proverbs that describe the relationship between wisdom and God’s creation. God designs the blueprint for the universe, but then its wisdom who actually builds off that blue print.

Wisdom is what we need to fulfill God’s purpose for your life. God has a design for each of us. We need wisdom to fulfill that design. Seek wisdom.

 

Have a good and Godly day.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Why Wisdom?

All of us carry with us the collective wisdom passed on to us by the people who’ve been most significant in our lives. We’ve picked this wisdom up from parents, friends, teachers, leaders, relatives, and all the people who shaped and molded us as we were growing up.

What wisdom sayings have you taken hold of that guides you today?

Here are some “pearls” on being wise you may have heard:
Knowledge talks, wisdom listens.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!
Only the wisest and the stupidest of men never change.
Don’t let your victories go to your head, or your failures go to your heart.
I don’t know what the key to success is, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.
When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends.
The mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work unless it’s open.
Don’t look where you fall, but where you slipped.
If you are not part of the cure, then you are part of the problem.
The only time you run out of chances is when you stop taking them.
The best things in life are not things.
An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
Think like a man of action, and act like a man of thought.
He who knows others is learned; he who knows himself is wise.

What kind of wisdom did people pass on to you?

Some of it was probably pretty good, and some of it was probably wrong. Part of growing up is sorting through that stuff, keeping the truly wise, and rejecting the unwise.
Seek wisdom.

Have a good and Godly day

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Preparing for Change


“Generations come and go but it makes no difference. The sun rises and sets and hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south and north, here and there, twisting back and forth, getting nowhere. The rivers run into the sea but the sea is never full, and the water returns again to the rivers, and flows again to the sea. History merely repeats itself. Nothing is truly new; it has all been done or said before. What can you point to that is new? How do you know it didn’t exist long ages ago? We don’t remember what happened in those former times, and in the future generations no one will remember what we have done back here” (Ecclesiastes. 1:4-7; 9-11).

Solomon didn’t think there was anything new. His thinking was probably clouded through not being where the Lord wanted him, but from God’s view He’s not surprised by the things that are new to us.

What is your attitude towards change?

There are certain principles and truths about change.

1.     The future will not be like the past, and usually not what we expect. When we allow God to make the changes it will be extraordinary.
2.     The rate of change will be faster in the future then in the past. In today’s world with new technology changes happen at lightning speed.

Growth equals change. Please don’t confuse immobility with stability. To resist change usually doesn’t equate to security. Change is the price we pay for growth.

I’ve heard it said, We must give up to go up! In order to experience what change offers we must let go of the way we’ve always done things. Seek His ways and plans. They’re always better that anything we can come up with on our own.

Have a good and Godly day.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Doing

When it comes to our relationship with God and His church it is sometimes one sided. We have great expectations of them, but find serving, obeying, and following an inconvenience and a problem. We need to focus fully on God and seek His plan and vision for our lives.

President John F Kennedy, a man of vision, said in His inaugural address:

Now the trumpet summons us again - not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are - but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation" - a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility - I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation.

 Listen carefully to these last words. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it -- and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. 

Energy, faith and devotion will bring light into our country, and the glow can truly light the world! Are you ready church to let the light of God shine? Then ask not what God or the church can do for you, but what can you do, where can you serve, where can you minister, to bring glory to the kingdom of God? It is time for God’s church to rise up and “stimulate” the world in the Name of Jesus! Amen?

Have a good and Godly day.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It’s Time

God is calling us to be about His agenda, purpose, timing, and perfect will. It is time that we truly seek revival and renewal to be God’s children. We need to love and worship Him alone with all our heart, mind, body, and soul. Are we ready to get off the slippery slopes and sinking sand to stand on the only firm and sure foundation, the Rock of our salvation Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God? Shall we set about trying to recover that “first love” and joy of knowing Christ? Will we be willing to listen and obey God’s increased demand call on our lives, time, finances, heart, and actions? Will we help our neighbors and country to hear the truth, that we do trust in, want to bless, and will strive to be “One nation under God”?  I believe it’s time!

In 1963 the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood before God and the country in front of the Lincoln Memorial and said these words: I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together and, to stand up together.
The Word of God says in Numbers 12:6, he said, "Listen to my words: "When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. Today we find our situation like the one found in 1 Samuel 3:1, the boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.  The Bible prophesies in Acts 2:17, “‘in the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
It is time “even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow” to have a dream. Realize that God is in charge, and he can do all things. By His strength and in His will He can use us as part of His purpose and plan. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together and, to stand up together. By God’s Word He will reveal Himself and give the vision for our church and country, but we must turn to Him in faithfulness, obedience, and love. Amen?

Have a good and Godly day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bearing Fruit


I’ve notice how heavy the apple trees are with fruit right now. It looks to be bumper year. I am happy for the apple growers, and hope a lot of apple pies are in my future! You know the trees are doing exactly what they were created for – to bear fruit. In the Bible we are told to bear fruit as well.

In John 15:1-11, Jesus taught that it's God's will that we bear much fruit (Vine and branches). As we do so, God is glorified, and we prove to be Christ's disciples. The New Testament speaks of two kinds of fruit:
1.     The fruit of Christ-like character (Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit of the Holy Spirit includes nine characteristics that should fittingly describe those who call themselves Christians. - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
2.     The fruit of Christ-like influence (Acts 10:38 –power of the Spirit, doing good, healing). We're called to make a difference in the world in the name of Jesus.  

What kind and how much fruit are you bearing?

Have a good and Godly day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Who do you love?

I think one of the greatest motivators for change is love. It is our love for Christ that should lead us to the greatest change in our lives.

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world."  - 1 John 2:15-16

The world should not make decisions for a believer. Focus on Christ, hear His commands, and be obedient. Jesus said if you love me …

Let's show our love for Christ by being His hands and feet - loving God with all we have, and loving the world in His name. Amen?

Have a good and Godly day.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Changed Heart

What if, for one day, Jesus was to become you?

What changes would others notice in you?

I know it’s a hard question to answer, because we all come up so short of Christ. I read this recently, “If you are in Christ, you already have the heart of Christ. We need to act like Him! Ouch! Most of us need a “heart transplant” – one like Jesus.

He wants us to have a heart like His (Not like ours):
1. Pure – not greedy
2. Peaceful – not hassled
3. Purposeful – not distracted
4. Pleasant – not cranky

Revival in our hearts only happens when we meet God, and we change because of this meeting.

God’s purpose over our preferences can only happen through prayer. We communicate with God through prayer, but here is a problem when our prayers are Counterfeit (Imposter, imitation, not the real thing). Counterfeit Prayer = Counterfeit Change! We must go to Him with the right heart. We will all ultimately stand before God and give an account, and that “accounting process” can start today.

Let us strive to have heart like Jesus!

Pray, I am His, and He is mine! He said it and that settles it. God is in control, I am on His side, and That means all is well with my soul Everyday is a blessing, and I am thankful because of Jesus!

Have a good and Godly day.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Change


Recently we’ve been talking about change. The biggest change that could happen in someone’s life is to accept Christ. The change doesn’t end there. I remember a song “The Change” by Steven Curtis Chapman


Well I got myself a T-shirt that says what I believe,
I got letters on my bracelet to serve as my ID,
I got the necklace and the key chain,
And almost everything a good Christian needs, yeah,
I got little Bible magnets on my refrigerator door,
And a welcome mat to bless you before you walk across my floor,
I got a Jesus bumper sticker,
And the outline of a fish stuck on my car,
And even though this stuff’s all well and good, yeah,
I cannot help but ask myself ………………………

What about the change, What about the difference,
What about forgiveness, What about a life’s that showing,
I’m undergoing the change, yeah, I’m undergoing the change.

Well I’ve got this way of thinking that comes so naturally,
Where I believe the whole world is revolving around me,
And I got this way of living and I have to die to every single day,
Cause if God’s Spirit lives inside of me, I’m going to live life differently,

I’m going to have to change; I’m going to have the difference,
I’m going to have the grace; I’m going to have forgiveness,
I’m going to have a life that’s showing, I’m undergoing the change.

God loves us just the way we are, but loves us too much to leave us that way!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation. The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

What changes do you need to consider?
Have a good and Godly day.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

More Change


I preached a message recently titled, “Change to Stay the Same!” using 1 Corinthians 1:17-18 as my text. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
It leads us to the question: What does it mean to stay faithful to the Gospel? And how can we preserve its original meaning? The problem usually is that we focus on trying to preserve the way we’ve always done it, and not on being the best at sharing the Gospel. Truth is understood through language, culture, and the time it happens. Believers and churches (hopefully made up of believers) should be in a process of constant refocusing to be true to the meaning of the Gospel. We have a choice between facing the future or backing in to it (looking backwards to what was instead of what can be)

There are four areas to change in order to stay faithful to the Gospel:

1. In our understanding – new spiritual and bibiblical thoughts. We need tradition (values & roots) to grow & be strong, but not traditionalism (roots us down, deadens us, and makes us dogmatic).

2. In our dialogue – new commitment to conversation with “others”. We need to listen with “God” ears, and hearts.

3. In our connectedness – new focus on missions. We need to recognize opportunities to connect with other believers, and if necessary create new ones.

4. In our fellowship – new ways of being the church. The question is not about why we feel as we do about God, but seeking and proclaiming the truth about God!

I’m excited about what God wants to do in our lives. We just need to stay faithful - even if it means doing things differently.

Have a good and Godly day.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Raising the Bar

When I was in school I was on the track team. I did pretty well running the 400 and 800 meters, and sporadically they allowed me to compete in the long jump. On the days we would practice jumping I couldn’t help but marvel at the other jumpers that competed in the high jump and pole vault!

The pole vault seemed to need too much instruction and technique, but how hard could it be to just jump over a bar? I found out that jumping 2, 3, 4 feet was easy but once the bar was set higher it seemed too be impossible for me to do. I watched the high jump athletes soar over the bar with ease. I knew that if I tried to jump at those heights I would surely not make it, so I went back to running and jumping – low and long. I walked under the bar and told those jumpers I wouldn’t be taking up any more of their time.

I’ve thought about that experience a lot recently. In our lives we tend to run the same things over and over again. They’re safe and we have had some success. Even if we look at doing something else the fear of “knocking the bar off” keeps us from trying. May I suggest that “knocking the bar off” is not the worse thing that can happen. Walking under the bar and not trying at all would be a tragedy.

Walking under the bar leaves us with untapped experiences, opportunities, and trying something new that might change our lives. God wants us to raise the bar when it comes to faithfulness, purposefulness, obedience, and serving Him. Knocking the bar off doesn’t mean we have failed it means we have attempted to do something bigger than ourselves.

Setting the bar higher demonstrates that we are willing to try, grow, trust, follow, and believe that “all things are possible in Christ”!

The African Impala is a big antelope that can jump 13ft high and 30 feet long in the wild. You can see them at the zoo. Ironically a 3 foot fence keeps those born in captivity secure in their areas. Why? They raised them since they were young and were never taught what they can do naturally.

Therefore a short fence intimidates them from trying to get out, and they don’t even attempt to go over it.

What is your 3 ft fence? What is keeping you from going higher and farther than you have ever gone before?

God wants you jump. Are you willing?

Have a good and Godly day.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Controlling the Tongue

It was a particularly tough football game, and nerves were on edge. The home team had been the victim of three or four close calls, and they were now trailing the visitors by a touchdown and a field goal. When the official called yet another close one in the visitors' favor, the home quarterback blew his top.

"How many times can you do this to us in a single game?" he screamed. "You were wrong on the out-of-bounds call, you were wrong on that last holding call, and you failed to say anything about a late hit in the first quarter." The official just stared.   The quarterback seethed, but he tried to suppress language that might get him tossed out of the game.   "What it comes down to," he bellowed, "is that YOU STINK!" The official stared a few more seconds.   Then he bent down, picked up the ball, paced off 15 yards, and put the ball down. He turned to face the steaming quarterback.   "And how do I smell from here?" he asked.

There are so many times when it is hard to "bite the tongue" and say nothing. The urge to say "something" seems so overpowering that the words sometimes erupt before we have a chance to think them through. Unfortunately, those words have consequences.   The minor offenses result in 15-yard penalties.   The more serious offenses result in years of regret and heartache, or perhaps broken relationships that take years to rebuild.   No wonder James had such strong words of praise concerning the person who is always able to control what he says: 2We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. 3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. (James 3:2-12)

"He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.   Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive." (Prov.17:27-28)

May your words today be few, calm, and carefully thought out.  Amen?

Have a good a and Godly day.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Obedience

I was using the ATM at my local bank the other day. It’s set up like a lot of banks with a set of glass doors to the machine and then another set in to the bank. I always watch the people coming in while I’m making a withdrawal. I saw this man coming in the door at a pretty good clip. He comes in the first set of doors and turns right behind me and runs right in to the glass wall!

He falls to the ground hard, and his file and papers going flying. I turned and helped him to his feet. As I picked up his papers I asked if he was okay. He replied, “What happened?” I told him he ran in to a wall. He said, “That’s impossible! The man from this bank told me to come through the doors and turn right and I’d be at his desk.”  

Well, he was okay and went on through the second set of doors to his appointment. I thought now there is someone who takes instruction literally!

Even though it was kind of funny I can appreciate someone taking and following directions to the letter. Jesus said, “If you love me then obey my commands”. Makes you think. If God spoke literally to us and told us to go and do this or that would we?

Wait a minute, I think He did.

Have a good and Godly day.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We’ve Never...

When John Maxwell was a young Pastor he was asked by another Minister to come to his declining church to help them with ideas to stimulate growth. A group of leaders were assembled and Maxwell laid out a plan to help them reach their community. When he asked if there were any questions, an older man stood up and said, “What if we try theses ideas, and they don’t work.” Maxwell replied, “What you’re doing now surely isn’t working, so why not try something else!”
   I’ve heard it said that the last words of dying churches are “We’ve never done it that way before.” When translated it means “We’re not changing!” This attitude has been with us since Moses led Israel out of Egypt.
   We see in Exodus 17 that the Israelite community quarreling and grumbling about having no water. They looked at all the old ways for provision, but there were no rain clouds, no streams, no lakes, and no wells. They said that they would rather be slaves back in Egypt. What they failed to realize is that God doesn’t always work in ways we understand. Israel needed to (as does His church today) trust in Him. Moses went before the people as instructed by the Lord, and struck a rock with his staff. Water poured out from the rock, and provided for all their needs. God is able and willing to do that for us today, but we continue to look backwards instead of focusing on Him.
   Later in Numbers 20, the same scenario happened again. This time not only the people were quarreling, but the leaders forgot to listen and obey God. Moses and Aaron were told to speak to the rock, but instead Moses decided to “do it the old way” and struck the rock with his staff. They did get water, but Moses and Aaron were forbidden to go into the promise land because of their disobedience. The key to God’s provision and direction is our obedience. We must keep our focus on Him not the past.
   In Numbers 21 we see the nation quarreling and complaining again. This time the Lord sent venomous snakes that bit and killed many Israelites. The people confessed their sins, and asked Moses to pray to God for forgiveness. He was instructed to place a bronze snake on a pole, and anyone bitten could look at it and live. God’s people need to do that today. We must confess our sins, ask for forgiveness, and place our trust in the One who was lifted up on the cross; Jesus Christ, in order to have eternal life. By focusing on the Savior we must look forward because he is our hope and eternity.  
   Jesus didn’t die for us to be comfortable, but to be convicted in sharing the Gospel with a lost and dying world. We need to quit quarreling and complaining, and start listening and obeying. By forsaking our preferences and being directed by His purposes we will see many come into His kingdom. That is His hearts desire, and it should be ours also. Let’s do it God’s way.
Have a good and Godly day.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Church

The church is both organism and organization; a living thing comprised of a certain order, regular worship services, with doctrinal standards, institutional norms, and defined rituals. Without the institution of the church nurturing the flock and protecting the faith for two thousand years, there would be no Christianity.

Love the church because Christ loved the church. She is his bride--being washed clean by the word of God (Eph. 5:25-26). If you are into Jesus, don't rail on his bride. Jesus died for the church, so don't be bothered by a little dying to self for the church's sake. If you keep in mind that everyone there is a sinner (including yourself) and that Jesus Christ is the point and not you, your dreams, or your kids, your church experience might not be as lame as you fear.

Perhaps Christians are leaving the church because it isn't tolerant and open-minded. But perhaps the church-leavers have their own intolerance too--intolerant of tradition, intolerant of authority, intolerant of imperfection except their own. Are you open-minded enough to give the church a chance--a chance for the church to be the church, not a coffee shop, not a mall, not a show, not a social club, not a concert, not a nature walk, but a wonderfully ordinary, blood-bought, Spirit-driven church with pastors, sermons, budgets, problems to solve, people in need, and a world to reach?

The Church, because it is Christ's church, will outlive American Idol, the NFL, and all of our grandkids. We won't last, but the Church will. So when it comes to church, be like Jesus: love it, don't leave it. As Saint Calloway once prophesied to the Brothers of Blues, "Jake, you get wise, you get to church."

Have a good and Godly day.