Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
- You can hear a lot of complaints about spiritual darkness in the world today. But then, complaining never solves a problem, does it?
A little physics here: Light is energy and has properties that can be measured. Darkness does not. Why? It is simply the absence of light. Light is a "something". Darkness is... nothing.
Allow God's light--His Spirit, energy, character, and life--to shine through you today. It can overcome spiritual darkness and can give others who see it in you an opportunity to choose.
"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. (Isa 60:1-2 NIV)
Friday, April 25, 2014
- Purpose. Balance. Two words often in conflict because fulfilling purpose creates demands--which become difficult to keep in balance.
We are struggling with that in this ministry right now. (Yes, ministries and ministers struggle too. Some just don't admit it...)
Working hard to get our office ready, we find it easy to let the tasks consume our time. We know the need and feel the pressure.
But we must not neglect the relationship with God regardless of our tasks. Why? I believe that without the relationship, the tasks cease to have a purpose.
So, please cover us in your prayers, especially right now. Thanks!
For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do what I want. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them to eternal life at the last day." (John 6:38-39 NLT)
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
- Fear of rejection: it is one of the "big ones". For many, it is one of the more paralyzing fears to deal with. It can hinder us from doing or saying things we should, stop relationships before they begin, and so much more.
Do you think it is a significant reason we fail to share Jesus with others as often as we could? I think so...
But like any fear, it can be overcome. Feeling safe and loved in a secure relationship is a good place to begin--essential, in my opinion. We can have that kind of relationship with Jesus.
They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand. (Acts 4:2-4 NIV)
Monday, April 21, 2014
- Does it hurt when someone fails to keep their word? Sure it does!
So, how do you think God feels when we fail to keep our word to Him? Think He feels hurt? Yes, He forgives us, but He has feelings.
Aren't you glad He always keeps His word and doesn't hold a grudge?
"The LORD has kept the promise he made. I have succeeded David my father and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the LORD promised, and I have built the temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel. (2 Chr6:10 NIV)
Sunday, April 20, 2014
- "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 NIV)
We read words on the pages of a Bible. Because it was a long time ago, what happened can feel far removed from reality. Without meaning to, we can let the scene become sterile, matter-of-fact, even "clean".
The sacrifice of Jesus was not a sterile, "clean" scene. It was ugly. The beatings were merciless. The flesh on his back was torn open. His beard was ripped from His face. The thorns that impaled his scalp were sharp. The pain of nails driven throug h his flesh was searing. His blood was hot and red.
He hurt, He bled, and He died that weekend. We sometimes do not even feel comfortable saying the words! How much less could we imagine what He endured. It was a painful, humiliating, and unimaginably horrible death. He died for you. He died for me.
Do not allow the distance of time to distance you from the reality of the suffering and pain that Jesus experienced. He commanded us to remember!
- "For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." (1 Cor 11:23-25)
This weekend, let us remember. Let us consider His suffering. And let us lift our heart! s, our hands, and our voices to Him in acknowledgement that we remember, in unrestrained expressions of gratitude for His terrible sacrifice, and in exuberant and triumphant praise for His victorious resurrection.
Jesus is alive! REMEMBER!
Thursday, April 17, 2014
- Ever notice that when a catastrophic event occurs, many either seek God or blame Him? At such times, how many do you see who trust Him regardless of what happens? Not as many? (It is not easy to do!)
You know some of the things that have happened to us, so know that these are not flippant, idle words. We have "lived" them.
- I would rather seek God "out of desire rather than in desperation". Then, when something unexpected occurs, I can better respond out of relationship than react out of panic or fear.
- Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!" The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:26-30 NIV)
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
- In a few days, Believers around the world will be celebrating Jesus' death and physical resurrection. It happened: His death is one of the most well-documented in ancient history, as is His resurrection by reliable, contemporary eye-witness testimony.
But greater than all the facts is the relationship you have with Jesus. Do not allow anyone or anything to compromise what you believe--and what you KNOW.
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. (2 Cor 11:3-4 NIV)
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
- It has been said, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." To me, that means something's value can be what someone sees in it.
I also recently heard a story of an early Picasso painting that was discovered handing in the kitchen of a factory worker in Italy. It had been there for decades, the family unaware of its value.
Sometimes, our lives are like that. We do not realize our value--and we may not feel valuable at all. But Jesus has a different idea of what we are worth: in His opinion, we were worth dying for.
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Mat 6:25-30 NIV)
Monday, April 14, 2014
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. (Rom 8:15-16 NIV)
Friday, April 11, 2014
Thursday, April 10, 2014
- The excuse: "I'm not happy." What is it used for? To end marriages, ruin careers, quit on life, betray relationships...
Happiness depends on circumstances, however, joy, like love, is a choice. While I cannot control all the circumstances of my life, I can control my choices. In fact, they are the only things I can truly control, and unlike circumstances, I am accountable for them.
Two millenia ago, the Macedonians had joy that no external circumstance could affect. They knew it was a choice. They chose wisely.
Two thousand years later, we can too--regardless of circumstances.
Now I want to tell you, dear friends, what God in his kindness has done for the churches in Macedonia. Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, their wonderful joy and deep poverty have overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford but far more. And they did it of their own free will. (2 Cor 8:1-3 NLT)
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
- We often ask God what to do, sometimes sincerely, sometimes out of habit. But how often do we ask Him what not to do?
And why do I say that? Because I believe that knowing what not to do can be more important than knowing what to do, just as can knowing what not to say.
Do not assume. Seek God's wisdom in everything.
You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. (Acts 20:34-36 NIV)
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Friday, April 4, 2014
- Here is an interesting perspective on being "led by the Spirit":
What if--right now--something happened to your cognitive abilities and you were unable to recognize the faces and voices speaking to you? You could hear them, but could not connect an identity with them.
How would you feel? Could you trust them? What would you do?
Now, what about what you "hear" in your mind and spirit? Are you sometimes unable to recognize those voices? For me, those times are of even greater concern!
What to do? Pray. Spend quality time with God. I find that the better I know Him, the quicker I recognize voices that are not His.
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." (Rom 8:12-15 NIV)
Thursday, April 3, 2014
- "I'm not impatient; I just don't like to wait." I used to say that... as a joke, of course. But I have to admit that I really did act that way at times.
I have learned (the hard way) that God's timing really is best. I have learned to trust it. I may not always like it at first, but it always works out for the best. Always.
Jesus' brothers said to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. For even his own brothers did not believe in him. Therefore Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come." (John 7:3,5-6,8 NIV)
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
- I believe that, like Jesus, we all have a purpose in God's plan--a reason we are here. However, many things can distract us from it: tasks, demands, ambitions, desires... and the list goes on and on.
He knew His purpose. If you do not know yours, ask God. Then, be patient for the answer. If you do know it, I ask you the same question I asked myself this morning: What are you going to do today that moves you closer to your destiny or helps you fulfill it?
Like Jesus, we too have a choice. We are responsible for what we do.
At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. (Luke 4:42-44 NIV)