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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Don't Pity the Fool

A famous person used to use a threat of, "I pity the fool!" But we read in the Bible that God uses what seems foolish in man's eyes for His good. I love this part of Paul's letter to the church in Corinth (and also for us). "Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

No matter what the world thinks of us fools or the foolish things they we do - take heart. God is using us! Amen?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Brand New Song

The next time you worship God in musical form consider what the Bible has to say about it in Psalm 98 (Message).

Sing to God a brand-new song. He’s made a world of wonders!
He rolled up his sleeves, He set things right.
 God made history with salvation, He showed the world what he could do.
 He remembered to love us, a bonus To his dear family, Israel—indefatigable love.
The whole earth comes to attention. Look—God’s work of salvation!
 Shout your praises to God, everybody! Let loose and sing! Strike up the band!
 Round up an orchestra to play for God, Add on a hundred-voice choir.
 Feature trumpets and big trombones, Fill the air with praises to King God.
Let the sea and its fish give a round of applause, With everything living on earth joining in.
Let ocean breakers call out, “Encore!” And mountains harmonize the finale—
A tribute to God when he comes, When he comes to set the earth right.
He’ll straighten out the whole world, He’ll put the world right, and everyone in it.
Apply God's Word to your praise and worship. Amen? 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Asking of You


I hope that all Christ followers would say they would do what God asks them to do. The question may be; how will we know what He is asking of us? You can begin by reading Scriptures that will encourage you as you listen for His answers. Consider the following passages, and what He is asking of you.

Psalm 138:8 The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of your hands.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

John 10:14-15, 27 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Ephesians 4:15-16Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

James 1:5-8  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.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Pray for ears to hear what He will show you. Ask for wisdom about following up (or not following up) with the things He shows you.

Amen?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Stand Out


Today let’s look at what could be Noah’s Closing Words of Encouragement to us.
1. Don’t be afraid to stand out in a crowd. Pleasing God should always be our focus.
2. Don’t be afraid to do something for the first time. It may be our first time but God will not leave us alone.

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” - Genesis 9:12-16

When you look at a rainbow remember, “One person can make a difference”. Amen?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Difference Maker


In Genesis 6:22 we see the difference maker in someone’s life. Noah did everything just as God commanded him. Noah would tell us that when you obey God:

You can make a difference for your family. Noah saved them from destruction.

You can make a difference for God’s creation. Noah was used to give humanity a new start.

You can make a difference for future generations. Noah’s family was the beginning for all people.

You can make a difference for God. Noah saw there was still one righteous man.

You can make a difference at any age. Noah was 500-600 years old!

Be a “difference maker” for God! Amen?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

One Person


Another great hero of the Bible is a man named Noah. Most of us when we hear his name we think of the ark, the animals, and the flood. Actually, the God story of Noah is that One Person Can Make a Difference (even in the most difficult times and culture).

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. - Genesis 6:5-8

Finding favor in God’s eyes starts with faith in Christ. Amen?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Good and Bad Guys


Role models are needed today more than ever. We can get our inspiration from the heroes of the Bible. That’s why I am going to preach and blog on them over the next few weeks. When I was younger it was easy to discern who the good and bad guys were. The good guys wore white hats, had great smiles, and clean cut. The bad guys wore black hats, greasy hair, and dirty. If you missed these clues you just had to listen to the background music! You always knew if something good or bad was about to happen.
Today good and bad people wear different colored hats and have different levels of hygiene. Maybe we should take our lead from what Jesus said.
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. - Luke 6:45

Focus on Jesus He’ll help you discern what is good from bad. Amen?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Taken Up

For years when anyone asked me, "What's up?", I responded, "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."

Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 3:16: "Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory."

I am so glad that I serve a good God. That helps me look up. Amen?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Such A Time

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. Amen?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Glorify

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?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Counting On

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?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In Control


Esther is a great God story. These might be her closing words of encouragement:

1.  For a period of time you may not understand God’s planning
and purpose for your life.
(She was orphaned, taken away from her family for the King,
and then became Queen of a country that was not her own.)

 2. When you realize God’s plan you’ll feel empowered.
(A “For such a time as this” moment.)

 3. Taking a risk is easier when you know God is in control.
(This comes through prayer, fasting, taking Godly advice,
and being led by the Spirit.)

Who is in control of your life?

Even if you do not understand, know that God will empower
you to do His will, and know that He is in control. Amen?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Wants Us to Be


We need to be where God wants us to be. We see in Esther what He requires:
10 Then Esther instructed him to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”
12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” 17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions. - Esther 4:10-17

To follow God's plan it requires:
1. Courage - She laid her life on the line.
2. Initiative - She had to go by herself.
3. Awareness (of God’s purpose) - "For such a time is this".
4. Prayer - She, her friends, and community prayed.
5. Planning - She spoke after she had the King's favor.

Follow the Lord's plan - be prepared. Amen?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Different

For the next couple of days we are going to look at one of the great heroines of the Bible. Her story starts in Esther 2:5-11;
"Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah. Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.
 When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.
 Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her."

Esther was placed in a different family, culture, and country.
Have you allowed God to place you where He needs you?

May all Christ Followers be ready to be used by Him regardless how "different" it is for us. Amen?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Real Community

Community is God’s answer to having healthy relationships. We all need positive Christ following people in our lives. The Bible is clear on how this can be beneficial to our health.

“When you gather, each one of you be prepared with something useful for all: Sing a hymn, teach a lesson, tell a story, lead a prayer, provide an insight… Take your turn, with no one person taking over. That way… you all learn from each other.” 1 Corinthians 14:26, 30-31(Message)

We learn from each other. Make wise choices on from whom and what you are learning. “As each part does its work, it helps the other parts grow, so Christ’s whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Ephesians 4:16 There is an interconnectedness in the body of Christ (believers). When one person hurts we should share in their pain. When one rejoices we can all rejoice with them.

The big problem in our culture is that we do not want to commit time to relationships. A huge factor there is that we are too busy and overextend ourselves. Then there is nothing left to give. Another problem is we develop hard or complaining hearts. Life becomes “all about me”, and everyone else needs to get in line - behind me! The Bible teaches that we should, Open your homes to each other without complaining.” Peter 4:9 (TEV) That means making others a priority and not an afterthought. Open your hearts and life to others who can journey and grow with you. It is a much better plan. Amen?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Be Well

Many ask how can I grow in my faith? Start by asking God – “Help me grow. Help me with my unbelief.” You start reading His Word. You get into the Bible.

There is a great story in the
Biblle about a man who came to Jesus, his child was sick. He had faith but it was weak.
The man brought the child to Jesus, Jesus said, “Do you believe I can heal her?” He said, “Lord, I do believe! Help me with my unbelief!” Jesus said, “that’s good enough!” And He heals the child

 Let’s say to God right now… Let me know your power - help my faith grow.

God’s promises are real, But I will restore your health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord. - Jeremiah 30:17 Believe and apply God’s awesome plan to your life starting right now. Change your life today. Strive for the faith, belief system, and healthy life God desires for you to have. Amen?

Friday, July 15, 2016

All Your Ways

I once offered a camp scholarship to anyone in my Youth group if they memorized this passage.

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

They did - all 50 of them did!

It was the best money I ever spent. They were able to quote it, remember it, and made it part of their lives. Even today many years later some will still say it to me when I run in to them.

Apply Proverbs 3:5-6 to your life journey and see where it takes you.

Memorize and live it today. Amen?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

You Are Invited


We used to get invitations to life's big events in the mail that contained something called a RSVP. It meant we needed to respond Yes or No by calling or returning a small card to the one planning the event. Now, most of my invites come through social media. I noticed a change to the old RSVP system. We can now respond to the invite - Yes, No, or Maybe!
I don’t like maybe. Either you are in or out, but our culture feels we need this third alternative. Do we ever treat God this way? Well... You Are Invited! God wants us to participate in His kingdom’s work. He has called us to be obedient in living life a certain way. What is your response?
 In your great love revive me so I can alertly obey your every word. Psalm 119:88
As a Christ follower value the things that God values – say Yes. Amen?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Pray Jesus


Prayer isn't the least thing you can do in a crisis, it's the most important thing you can do! The question for a Christ follower is not should we pray, but what are we praying for? People ask, and we should pray for healing and comfort. But I would like to offer to you a startlingly alternative- pray Jesus! Complete healing and true restoration can only come from Him.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

The world needs Jesus more than we need gun control, mediation, new laws, or anything else. Pray that Christ would come in to the hearts and lives of those who are embittered, angry, hurt, or full of hate. Only Jesus can offer love, hope, mercy, forgiveness, and a peace that passes human understanding. We all need Jesus.
Amen?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Core Values

I was recently encouraged by a post on a church volunteer website about a Christian's Core Value.
Churches that have a higher percentage of people involved in serving live out these six values found in 1 Corinthians 1:2-9. To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


PRAYER- The Church needs to rely on this to see God in all aspects of their ministry.
The PRIESTHOOD of All Believers - The church seeks to equip people for ministry in the family, the church, the community, and the world.
SERVANT Leadership - Demonstrates genuine humility, authenticity, accountability, and genuine care of people.
TEAM Ministry - Willingness of people to work for the good of the greater body.
INTENTIONALITY - Through the intentional implementation of systems to prepare, connect, and equip people for ministry inside and outside the walls of the church.
Proactive Toward CHANGE - The church continually changes its methods, but maintains the consistent message of God’s Word.
Let's continually work on the values we need for serving God’s Kingdom. Amen?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Grace Happens


Learning about and growing in grace is a life long process. Doing it God’s way every time is always best. The greater our understanding and application of God’s grace the more we’ll be able to receive. If our understanding of grace is small then our acceptance of grace will be small. It’s all about focus.



Many times we try to be “people pleasers” instead of desiring to make God smile. Do you care more about worldly appearances than Godly integrity? If so ask God right now to change your heart.



As you live a grace-shaped life, commit each day to investing grace into your decisions, words, relationships, and everything else you do. Allow grace to happen here, there, and everywhere you go.



Praise God for His fabulous gift called grace. Amen?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Following Instructions


God's Vision (Life Instructions) will bring five things in to your life.

1. Vision brings definition. Vision defines our decisions on life. Can you form a one-sentence vision statement for your life?

2. Vision brings design. Just like the steps in life: conception, gestation, birth, growth, maturity, and finally reproduction. Previous visions are reproduced into newer and expanded visions – the dream goes on.

3. Vision brings about doing. Nothing happened in the rebuilding of Jerusalem until Nehemiah’s vision took on definition and design. This brought about the motivation to rebuild. Doing the vision serves as a witness to other believers and to the world who is watching

4. Vision brings direction. Where are you headed? Personal vision guides your life.
5. Vision brings dependence. Visions should be God-sized so there is no way for them to be accomplished without Him. The Lord sees our potential.


God wants us to be and do His thing! (if not we’ll go back to a visionless life). The Lord says, See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43:19

Allow this vision to be birthed and grow in your life.

Seek the Lord – you will find Him. Amen?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Instructions

Today let's look at the different Bible versions from Proverb 29:18. As you consider each one ask yourself these questions:

What is the problem in each version?
What is the result of the problem?
How does “But God” change the outcome?
Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction. (NIV)
If people can’t see what God is doing, They stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed. (Message)
Where there is ignorance of God, crime runs wild; but what a wonderful thing it is for a nation to know and keep his laws.(LB)
Where there is no word from God, people are uncontrolled,  but those who obey what they have been taught are happy. (NCV)
Where there is no prophecy, the people cast off restraint, but happy are those who keep the law. (NRSV)
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (KJV)
Vision is vital to Christian living. Those who grew up memorizing KJV remember this translation. Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (KJV)
The word vision (revelation) means “to mentally perceive or to contemplate”. The word translated perish (restraint) is used in the OT as “to go back”.  In Numbers 14:3 God’s wandering people wanted to “go back” to Egypt. Those who have no vision, no perception of what they could be, seem to have no clear direction in their Christian journey.
Before every great undertaking in life there is someone who has a vision for the task ahead. Every Christ follower needs to discover God’s vision for their life.
Amen?

Friday, July 8, 2016

What's Important

Ten things God won't ask:

1...God won't ask what kind of car you drove; He'll ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation.

2...God won't ask the square footage of your house, He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.

3...God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet, He'll ask how many you helped to clothe.

4...God won't ask what your highest salary was, He'll ask if you
compromised your character to obtain it.

5...God won't ask what your job title was, He'll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.

6...God won't ask how many friends you had, He'll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.

7...God won't ask in what neighborhood you lived, He'll ask how you treated your neighbors.

8...God won't ask about the color of your skin, He'll ask about the
content of your character.

9...God won't ask why it took you so long to seek Salvation, He'll
lovingly take you to your mansion in heaven, and not to the gates of Hell.

10...God won't ask how many people you asked to church, He’ll ask if you were ashamed to talk about Him to your friends.

Never be ashamed to live out or tell of the Gospel. Amen?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Mightier

Years ago when I was a kid my parents took my brother and I to Niagara Falls. It is a magnificent example of the Creator's majesty and power. The raw power of the Falls and the millions of gallons flowing over it is awesome. I was shocked to hear that a boy (my age at the time) had survived going over the Falls. How is that possible? At the bottom lay boulders and jagged shards of rocks. 


The truth is it would be impossible without God. The same God who created it's might is powerful enough to catapult a child beyond the base and in to a pool of water to be rescued.
Maybe today you feel like you are headed over a falls in your life. Maybe you think that there is no humanly way to escape. Then cry out to Jesus! He is an expert of making a way where none exists - all things are possible for Christ our Lord. 

He is mightier than all the noise in your life. He can bring peace in to your world. Amen?