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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Progress

I was reminded recently about a business model concerning three boxes. Each one contains things that businesses need to do to achieve success. The first one is about managing your present business. The second is about forgetting (not being crippled) about past mistakes, and the third is focusing on future ideas and success.

In our Christian walk I think there are also three questions we need to ask ourselves.

Where have I been?
Honestly admit your mistakes, and ask God for forgiveness.

Where am I now?
The choices we make need to honor Christ and satisfy biblical morality.

Where am I going?
Honor the past but keep going forward. God will feed your heart through His Word, but we must seek Him to be transformed.
Remember- progress in your faith allows you to come closer to Christ.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Cross Power


There is a cross at the emperor's gate to ancient Rome's coliseum.  the same place that saw the Apostle Paul beheaded and countless other Christians killed because of their faith in Jesus. A pope had the cross placed there many years ago as a symbol of the power and eternal aspects of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross 2,000 years ago.



I find it ironic that none of the emperors are immortalized here. The work of God and His power to overcome is highlighted. The cross is more than something to "behold", but is something to grab hold of every day. Using that same overcoming power we can apply it to life's crisis and hardships.
 God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,  having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. - Colossians 2:13-15

Always hold on the power of the cross of Christ. Amen?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Looking for Opportunities

The book of Jeremiah teaches us great lessons on the nature of God and His relationship with people. It is said that Jeremiah had the ministry of opposition. Do you ever feel like when you take a stand for Christ all you get is attacked? Be encouraged God is with you, and if you are being faithful then you put a smile on His face. That is what counts. 

Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. "Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest '? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. "Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.… John 4:34-36


Always keep your eyes and heart open it's harvest time! Amen?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Church Activity

Bill Hybels is famous for saying that the local church is the hope of the world. The rest of that quote is "when the church is working right". The Bible talks about the relationship between God and His church.


“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. - Jesus (John 15:9-17)





Let's be the church God wants us to be. Amen?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Flash Praise

Have you ever watched a movie that was a musical? Right in the middle of some action they break out in song and dance! Life would be more entertaining if we did that in real life. Think how your life and those around you would be if you just broke out in spontaneous praise of God during your day.
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth. -David


Seek God's face... always. How will you seek Him today?
Always seek God - He is near and not hiding. Amen?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ducks

I love this story! Soren Kierkegard, the 19th century Danish religious philosopher, tells a story about a town where only ducks live. 
Every Sunday the ducks would waddle out of their houses and waddle down Main Street to their church. They waddled into the sanctuary and sat in their proper pews. 

The duck choir waddles in and takes its place, and then the duck minister comes forward and opens the duck Bible. 
He reads to them…“Ducks! God has given you wings! With wings you can fly! With wings you can mount up and soar like eagles. No walls can confine you! No fence can hold you! You have wings. God has given you wings and you can fly like birds.” 
All the ducks shouted “AMEN!” and they all waddled home.


God has offered us all we need today. Are we complacent? Has God called you to something great for Him? 
Has he called you to fly, but choose to waddle?

Today, take God at His Word... and FLY! Amen?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

You’re Right

Have you ever heard? Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right! Consider the Word of God on the subject:
    
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. Matthew 21:21

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.Colossians 3:17

May we always do life the best way - God’s way. Amen?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Better than I Deserve

 I heard the other day someone who responded to the question, How are you? with Better than I deserve. That got me thinking about how with Christ we are better off than we deserve.
The thief on the cross next to Jesus being crucified said to the other criminal, We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” – Luke 23:41. The thief recognized his punishment was due him because of the crimes he had committed. He also realized the Jesus did not deserve the punishment. Christ too the punishment we deserved to pay the price for our sins.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious; slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. – Psalm 103:8-12
Always realize with Christ you are better than you deserve. Amen?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Promised Land

The Promise land was God’s, and He was giving it to His People. So I (God) have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.- Exodus 3:8 They had God’s word on it, and now they had to go and claim ownership over it. The same is true in our lives. It’s not in the obtaining of God’s promises; it’s the occupying. The Lord’s Word is absolute. I love this visual: Jesus said, “It is finished”, and He sat down. Why? Because He had done His part – now it was up to us.

Remember Jesus said the harvest was plentiful, but the workers were few. Harvest is the result of something you do. God gives us people to share the Gospel with. It is part of your inheritance from your Father. That part has nothing to do with your action but with your identity. Do not become confused. The Lord has given us all we need. What have we done with it?


Before God’s people went into the Promise Land they were all blessed and given a task. We cannot enter into the land until all of us are doing our jobs. It’s that “body of Christ” thing – all working together… Amen?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Father's Love

A few years ago my church hosted a Men of Honor Simulcast. It came from the church in Georgia that made the movies Courageous and Fireproof Here are some of the notes I took on what effects our relationship with our children. I thought they would be appropriate to revisit today.

Whoever has your children's heart has their trust.

3 ways to win their hearts

1. Attention -give them all they require in time and energy
2. Affirmation - bless them! God verbally approved His Son Jesus in the Bible in public.
3.  Affection - pour it out on them, love them unconditionally.

5 Ways to lose their Heart

1. Abandonment
2. Anger
3. Harsh Words
4. Hypocrisy/Lying
5. Demean their Mother

Win your children’s heart - it's never too late. Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Going to 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 (Ephesians 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 grand-kids. 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." See you in church tomorrow.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Application of the Word

A few 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 s 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?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

What About Change?

The last few weeks at my church 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?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Morality

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. Amen?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Desired Wisdom

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. 

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

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Wisdom Gained

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 strongact like a man3 and observe what the LORD your God requiresWalk in obedience to him, and keephis 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?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Let's Grow

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?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Bread

All during Israel's 40 years in the desert God provided food. Moses pointed out that by providing manna to eat, the people learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that come from the mouth of the Lord. Most of us have never known serious or chronic hunger. You have never lacked bread. This abundance creates the illusion that we can rely on what we obtain. We worked for the money, went to the store, paid for the bread, brought it home, and prepared it. Where is God in that equation?


The great irony is that while most of us and our neighbors eat well, many people retain a spiritual hunger they cannot satisfy. The Israelite's physical hunger became an illustration of an important spiritual principle. Our lack of physical hunger threatens to prevent us from seeing this principle. Our spiritual hunger should lead us to turn to God who provides “the bread of life” (John 6:35). If skeptics are honest, they usually admit to feeling that the gnawing spiritual hunger. This where a believer can help them see how God has provided for them (For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16). Amen?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

God's Provision

Sometimes the barrier to seeing God’s guidance and provision is fear and doubt. The challenges are too daunting and people decide that they cannot step out on faith. Other times, the fundamental problem is pride. They may decide to trust only in what they can see and hold in their hands. This self-determined life focuses on self and neglects to remember God. Even believers often take one of these approaches, having grown accustomed to a “practical” approach to life. Either cause leads to the same expression: disobedience. Where God invites trust and faith, they respond with indifference or doubt that God really does provide.

Faithful remembering highlights God’s provision in the past. No one can realistically look back over life and honestly come to the conclusion that God has not provided. God’s blessings are universal to a degree. All people benefit from our good and loving God. Just as the heavens proclaim God’s glory, our lives are testimonies to His guidance and provision. May the light of Christ shine brightly in us as we depend on and honor Him with all we do.
Amen?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Follow the Plan

Methods have changed over the years, but the message has hopefully remained the same. We want to introduce children to God, the Bible, and Jesus. We use many creative ways in doing so. Somewhere during all the crafts, games, songs, and skits, the great stories of the Bible are told. I dare say that is where most people receive their basic theology. Songs tell us about Jesus’ love, letting our little lights shine, and of course the B-I-B-L-E song creates lasting impressions for all of us. Many start their Christian walks by making decisions to follow Christ during these types of events.

A problem develops as we grow older, when our faith and Bible knowledge stays “childlike”. The stories we heard about Noah and the Ark, Jonah and the whale, baby Moses, and Jesus’ miracles are wonderful, but as we mature as believers our understanding of God’s Word must grow too. 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 wholeheartedly 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? Let’s follow His plan, church! It will be the greatest adventure we have ever been on. Amen?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Are We There?

There is Language used in the Land Between – Phrases like: “For now”, How much longer”, “Are we ever going to get there?”, “No one cares”, “I am all alone”,” I can’t stand this”, “Hope it stops soon”, Why Me?

Does this sound familiar?  Most of us would like to get from here to there without the journey.  But it's in this land where we can learn the most about God and ourselves. God will meet you during this time. Tell Him, “It’s too heavy, I can’t carry it.” Bring your complaints to God rather than complaining about Him. Thank God for meeting your needs of yesterday and trust in His ability to provide today. The Great I Am - Can see you through!

Soil that has been hidden, hard, or resistant can turn into a Crop of Abundance. Look to the Creator of all things and ask for the growth He so desires for us to have.
Amen?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Waiting in the Land Between

We moved out to our 23 acre mini farm in Ohio the Spring of 1987 the grass was growing and the flowers were blooming. I never saw anything more lovely and green in my life! We had a big storm the second night we were there that knocked our electric out, and wondered how many more we would have to endure that Summer. The answer ended up being zero. It never rained again. By mid Summer everything looked to be dead or dying, and the ground started to crack. The ground became drier and drier even though I tried watering and watering. It didn’t seem to help, but then I noticed my hard work had not gone to waste. Something was indeed growing! The soil was fertile... for weeds! The dry and dusty ground was indeed a fertile place.

Even in good weather when plants are thriving, the weeds grow and spread much faster than the plants I desire to keep. It’s as if the weeds need very little to germinate and grow. I think the same thing happens to us. God brings us to a dry and dusty place for the
purpose of creating something beautiful. Sometimes we think nothing will grow in the place God has put us because it feels like a dry and barren desert. But that’s not true! 

The soil God has planted us in is indeed fertile ground. It is a soil in which God desires to nurture us through our struggles and drive our roots deep. God’s desire is that we would trust Him and bloom with thanksgiving, praise and joy even in a desert. Too often we respond to His nurturing by giving back a bumper crop of weeds in the form of complaint and doubt.

The Israelites were no different. God brought the people of Israel out from Egypt and and was moving them towards a beautiful land that had been promised for years. One year into the journey the Israelites find themselves between the lush green land of Egypt and the Promised Land. They are in a desert. Seemingly nothing will grow in this “Land Between.” But the Land Between, despite being a desert, is fertile ground for many things to grow.

If this is where you find yourself look with new eyes today and see God's hand. It's there.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Fearing Change

People are afraid of changeChange makes people anxious. Philippians 4:4-7 says, Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Christians should NOT be afraid of change. Our God is a God of change. In Revelation 21:5 He declares “Behold, I make all things new”. God does all kinds of “new things” in our lives every day. God can do great things when His people allow Him the freedom to change their lives and their church. 

God wants His church to reach out beyond their comfort zones to reach more and more people for Christ. Fear keeps us from doing it. We need to be the church who looks toward God - with anticipation

When it comes to change we have five Choices We can be Agents (make it happen) of change, understanding of change (it's okay to ask questions), trusting of change (follow your leaders), ignorant (what happen?of change, or fearful (be a hindrance) of changes. Which are you?

Some people are afraid because the “giants” of life get in our way from seeing God. That shouldn’t be a problem. We can dream big dreams because we serve a big God. Amen?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Learning Change

Many churches balk at even the slightest change in their routine. Even when they’re fairly sure the changes would be something pleasing to God they still resist. Over the next few days we will be learning 4 truths about learning change. We'll look at the first on today.
 Things weren’t a whole lot different back in the days of the early church.
People back then didn’t like change anymore than people now do. When we read about the events in Acts 10, it may be hard visualize how earth shaking the events actually were, but the changes God brought to pass reverberated in the early church for the next 50 or 60 years. If you had any question about how monumental this event was, you’d at least get a hint about how disturbing it must have been for the New Testament Christians by the way in which God introduced the idea to Peter.
Acts 10:10-17 (Peter) became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean." The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven. While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate.
In these dreams, God was telling Peter – He was going to do something new, and that “new thing” was waiting at the gate. Peter was a good Jew. He had been raised to obey the Law of Moses, and one very prominent part of that law dealt with what animals you could eat…and what animals you couldn’t.
In Deuteronomy the Israelites were told: “You may eat any animal that has a split hoof divided in two and that chews the cud.  However, of those that chew the cud or that have a split hoof completely divided you may not eat the camel, the rabbit or the coney. Although they chew the cud, they do not have a split hoof; they are ceremonially unclean for you. The pig is also unclean; although it has a split hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses….… anything that does not have fins and scales you may not eat; for you it is unclean.(and, of the birds) you may not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, the red kite, the black kite, any kind of falcon, any kind of raven,…" And the list goes on and on and on.
From their childhood, every Jewish child learned which foods were clean for them to eat… and which were not.(Deuteronomy 14:6-8,10,12-14) At the time Acts 10 was written, the church has existed for less than 10 years. ALL during that time, the church consisted only of Jewish believers. They no longer offered sacrifices… because Jesus was the perfect Sacrifice. They no longer kept the Sabbath as their holy day… because they now celebrated Sunday to remember Jesus rising from the dead on the 1st day of the week
In spite of the fact they didn’t do those things any more the Christians in this early church were still very much good Jews. They still thought like Jews, so they still avoided things like the unclean foods listed in the Law of Moses.
It was a new time for the church but they hung on to new ways even though it wasn't what God wanted. May we the church of 2015 learn that God's way is always best - even when we have to change. Amen?

Friday, June 5, 2015

Blessed Assurance

We can be assured that no weapon waged against God’s can succeed. Rely on God’s promises for your welfare as He is your Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep. Faith in God delivers us because the Lord quickly comes to rescue those who cry out. Obedience/faith- God to work all things together for good.

Great faith in God delivers us from the fear of human beings.
- Protection -Baby Moses did not know it at the time, but God’s protection shielded him from every evil power.
- Power -No power is able to hurt you when God’s protective arms are wrapped around you. When you feel most neglected, abandoned or insecure remember God is watching over you.
- Care - God’s care of us in our infancy is yet another reason to praise Him. Pharaoh cruelly sought to destroy Israel, but his own daughter had pity on a Hebrew child, and not only so, but, without knowing it, preserved Israel’s deliverer, and provided Moses with a good nurse, even his own mother. It's about His design, plan, and purpose!

Anyone can be raised to greatness through God’s providence. The Lord’s power is able to deliver anyone at anytime from any place of adversity.  For He will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. (Psalm 72:12)

 Are you willing to ask the Lord to deliver you from whatever trouble, difficulty or fearful insecurity you are facing?

Allow Him to take you from Here to There! 
Amen?