Friday, February 27, 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
- We all have a "comfort zone": a way we like to do things and a way we like things to be. And we all like to think we would go outside our comfort zone to help someone--until we have to actually go outside our comfort zone to do it. (You know that is true...)
We must never compromise our integrity or relationship with God for anyone or anything. But our ideas of how things should be, well, that is another thing entirely.
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. (1 Cor 9:19-22 NIV)
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
- There is a slang term we sometimes use to describe something bad: "It was the pits!" That is not new: David talked about pits too. His context was different, but close enough to convey the "feeling".
Has your life felt like "the pits"? As one who has "messed up" more than any human should be allowed, I can tell you that I believe God can take your ruin, restore your life, and give you a future and hope you could not possibly imagine while in "the pits".
So, I say from the perspective of my experience: If your life is in "the pits"now, it does not have to remain that way, following David's advice in Psalm 103 is a good way to begin your climb out.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits--who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. (Psa 103:2-5 NIV)
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
- Nothing takes God by surprise or catches Him off guard. Nothing strains His resources. Nothing causes Him fear, concern, or uncertainty. He is in total control. Always.
I am not there yet. Far from it! I have a lot to learn.
However, I have learned that I can believe He is there and trust Him. If He is there and I am with Him, I can be more at peace by trusting that He has everything under control--even when I am concerned about my future, caught by surprise, or in need.
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. (John 6:5-10 NIV)
Monday, February 23, 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
- While looking back at past regrets and failures is discouraging, celebrating the good things God has done for us in the past gives us hope and is something He instructs us to do.
Brothers and sisters, I can't consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don't look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God's heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus. (Php 3:13-14 GW)
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
- I was asked this question early in my "walk": "If being a Believer was a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"
I still think about it to this day. And here is another question to think about: "If it was a crime, would you share your faith anyway, regardless of consequences?"
For us today, those are rhetorical questions about hypothetical situations far from our reality (at least for now...).
For Peter and John, however, it was very real: sharing their faith was a crime, they were arrested and jailed, and yes, they did it anyway, regardless of consequences.
The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. 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 4:1-4 NIV)
Monday, February 16, 2015
- Sometimes I hear God very clearly. Then sometimes, I feel as though I am "groping in the dark" trying to understand what to do. Have you felt that way too? (I have yet to meet anyone who has not.)
I have learned that even when I cannot consciously recognize His voice, He is still guiding, directing, and watching over my life--to the degree that I trust Him and allow it.
Next time you feel "in the dark", read Isaiah 50:10-11. Those verses have been especially comforting to me during "dark" times. I hope they will be so for you too.
So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. (Eph 5:15-17NLT)
Friday, February 13, 2015
- Why do we do this?
I like to think about where this ministry was 16 years ago, and where it is today. And I believe that if He kept us alive and going for these many years, we have many more that just began today!
I like to think about the always-on-time qualities of God's Word. The same insight that ministered many years ago is still fresh and potent today because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
There is more, but those are some of the things I think about when I send these messages. What about you?
For the LORD grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of good sense to the godly. He is their shield, protecting those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of justice and protects those who are faithful to him. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will know how to find the right course of action every time. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise planning will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe. Wisdom will save you from evil people, from those whose speech is corrupt. (Prov 2:6-12 NLT)
Thursday, February 12, 2015
"As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say." (John 12:47-50 NIV)
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
- Rocks, towers, wings: symbols that are not relevant to our lives today. But how about these: stress, panic, depression, hopelessness, uncertainty, fear? Yes, we know about them. They are not arrows shot from an enemy's bow, but they injure us just the same.
In David's day, a rock was a place of advantage over an enemy, a tower was a strategic place of safety, and under a wing represented safety, protection, and security.
What would you call relief from any of those things? Whatever you call them, they can be found in God, just as in David's day.
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. (Psa 61:1-4 NIV)
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
- You are loving God. You are trusting Him. You are following Him with all your heart. And... WHAM--something really bad happens! Does that mean that God abandoned you, or is unable to take care of you?
Absolutely not! This may not be what you what to hear, but Hebrews 12:7 says: "Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children." (TNIV)
I can tell you that the hardships I have experienced are far more precious to me now than the easy times ever were. Even if it were possible, I would not undo them now--and if you know anything of my life, that is saying a lot!
I have said before, "If it took all the pain I have gone through to know God as I know Him now, it was a bargain." So, if you are in difficulties now, take courage and take heart; God can turn it all to more good than you can now imagine.
But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. (Phil 2:25-27 NIV)
Friday, February 6, 2015
Thursday, February 5, 2015
- Have you ever seen something you thought was wrong, jumped to a conclusion before you knew the facts--and before you asked the Lord about it--and blurted out something that you later regretted?
Yeah? (Me, too.) Do you know anyone who hasn't? (I don't either.)
It really annoys me when people do that to me. Think how the Lord must feel! I am grateful for His patience. Aren't you?
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor." Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. (Mat 26:6-10 NIV)
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
- When someone asks, "How have you been?", have you ever answered, "Busy!"? But then, that is not answering the question, is it? And what does "Busy!" really mean?
Stop and ask yourself: "What HAVE I been doing and WHY have I been doing it? If you are like me, that can lead to an "Ouch!" moment!
A tougher question: "Am I doing what God has for me to do?"
Which can lead to: "Do I even know what He has for me to do?"
There is the prize...
Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest's servant. But Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup the Father has given me?" (John 18:10-11NLT)