Saturday, August 31, 2013

Real Zeal - August 31, 2013

Revelation 3:19 (The Message)
19"The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they'll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!

Revelation 3:19 (Amplified Bible)
19Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].

How do people know that you are a Christian? Has it changed your behavior? Do you have a Christian face and a worldly face? Do you walk your talk? Do you "run" your talk? Are you charging ahead in faith knowing that God loves you and is in control? Are you enthusiastic about being a follower of Jesus Christ? Do you "wear your faith on your sleeve"? Is your faith contagious, spreading to all who come in contact with you? Do those most close to you reflect your behavior and faith?

You need to continually be asking yourself these questions and many more. God keeps a check on your obedience, but the best way to walk in obedience is by being continually zealous for God. The more you exhibit your faith in public, the less you will be tempted to doing wrong. As Christ's ambassador you are less likely to fall into sin, because you know that in doing so you minimize His sacrifice on the cross on your behalf.

So, the best recipe for staying straight and disciplined for God is to go all out in zeal, joy and enthusiasm, demonstrating for all those around you in whom you have placed your faith.

Friday, August 30, 2013

In God We Trust? - August 30, 2013

Psalm 20:6-9(New International Version)
6 Now this I know:
The LORD gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.

7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.

9 LORD, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!

There has been much debate over the last couple of decades about whether or not we should use "In God We Trust" as our national motto, and have that motto appear on our currency and in public places. There has also been a misuse of a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association in the state of Connecticut, concerning their concern about a state sponsored church (i.e. The Anglican Church in England), in which he mentioned that there should be a separation of "church and state".

Somehow this statement made it into the courts and was used to twist the Supreme Court's interpretation of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, and due to Judicial precedent became a practice where the courts have done all they can to discriminate against religion in the public square. Unfortunately that has been at our peril. One need only look around to what happens to generations of children who have not had the benefit of Biblical teaching to help them set a "moral compass".

Too often these children do not learn, until they are adults(and I am one), that the way of the world and the prohibition of the Bible and faith have dire consequences on the way one grows up. Parents do all they can, but once children reach the age of five, they spend a quarter of their waking hours a year in school, and maybe a total of 2 days a year in church (if they go). Then they are off to college and are immersed in the world's secular, hedonistic culture. No wonder they come home very changed from when they left, and usually they have to go down the wrong track before they finally straighten up and discover the wonderful life available in following God.

Our forefather founded this country on Judeo/Christian principles for a reason. The reason was that they knew that man was a "fallen creature" and without the constraints and discipline found in following a faith in God, man would rather pursue their own worldly way. This often leads to self-interest and pursuit of selfish gain, and ends up creating chaos within a community. Have you ever heard of the "me generation"? When the focus is on ME rather than THEE, one will usually end up causing alot of self-damage and damage to others before they come to their senses.

If you want to live a life worth living, and if you want to see you country restored to goodness, it is time that we put God back into the culture, and finally follow the admonition of our nation's motto, "In God We Trust"!

Photo by Kevin Dooley, 9-1-2007, Village of Gila Springs, Chandler, AZ, posted on flickr

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Looking for God - August 29, 2013

Psalm 63:1-8(GOD’S WORD Translation)
1 O God, you are my God. At dawn I search for you.
My soul thirsts for you. My body longs for you
in a dry, parched land where there is no water.

2So I look for you in the holy place
to see your power and your glory.
3My lips will praise you
because your mercy is better than life itself.
4So I will thank you as long as I live.
I will lift up my hands to pray in your name.

5You satisfy my soul with the richest foods.
My mouth will sing your praise with joyful lips.
6As I lie on my bed, I remember you.
Through the long hours of the night, I think about you.

7You have been my help.
In the shadow of your wings, I sing joyfully.
8My soul clings to you.
Your right hand supports me.

We are all creatures that require intimacy. We need to have a closeness with others, and deep in our spirit we need intimacy with God. Every heart has a lonely vacuum that has to be filled, and if we don't fill it with God, we try and fill it with the emptiness that the world offers. Sooner or later we are empty again and on the hunt for a refill from the things of this world. Only with an intimate relationship through Jesus Christ can we ever hope to be completely and forever filled.

Jesus took on human flesh to be able to identify with us and to have a relationship; He longs for intimacy with us. As David sought closeness with God in the psalm above, so too we must seek a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bless-able! - August 28, 2013

Psalm 119:1-8(New International Version)
א Aleph
1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.

2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
but follow his ways.

4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.

7 I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.

There is a word that gets thrown around alot among Christians, and that is the word "blessed". It is used for almost everything that someone gets, but sometimes it people get a little cavalier about it. What does it mean to be "blessed"? It is the tangible favor of God; as the Bible tells us in James 1:17(NIV)"Every good and perfect gift is from above". He is the One who gives us whatever "blessings" we receive. It really isn't something we truly do on our own.

Then the question comes up, "What is a blessing?" To many people in the world it is something material, or a lucky break, or something earned. Yes, that can be a "blessing" too, but what ultimately matters is whether or not we are living in God's will when we receive it. I believe that true "blessings" are long lasting; it's the gift that keeps on giving.

It's God's favor being "poured out" when we are within in His will, and you can feel it in your spirit. For instance, how do you feel when you do something good for other people, and you make it known that you are doing it because of your relationship with Jesus? I know that you feel really good, because that is what I have experienced. To top it off, you not only receive the "blessing" from your actions here and know, but you store them up for the future with God as well. That to me is a true blessing.

Yes, God can give you things, things that are tangible, and yes, you can call those "blessings", but usually those do not last very long. I don't think that God will be checking our checking accounts when we get to heaven. So what must we do to receive such "blessings"?

- First, we must be "bless-able", able to receive what God desires to give us by being aligned with His will for our lives. That means throwing off any barrier to God's goodness, such as sin in our lives or ill-will towards another, and making ourselves available to His leading.

- Next, we must listen to God and obey His instruction, follow those leadings of the Holy Spirit that move us to doing things for others.

- Then we need to be open to receiving God's blessing, and be sure to offer Him praise and thanksgiving for what we receive.

God loves to bless those He loves; all we need to do is to be sure that we are "Bless-able"!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Your True Inheritance - August 27, 2013

Colossians 1:3-6;9-14 (New Living Translation)
3 We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, 5 which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.

6 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.
9 So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

There has always been two kinds of money in socio-economic terms for the rich; there is "Old Money" and "New Money". Old money is "the inherited wealth of established upper-class families" or "a person, family, or lineage possessing inherited wealth."[1] The term typically describes families wealthy for generations. The Nouveau riche (French for "new rich"), or new money, refers to a person who has acquired considerable wealth within his or her generation.[2]

Much is always made in our society about these two classes of people, and many of us get caught up in the trap of wanting to be part of one of these groups. We labor for our entire lives striving for making it at least to the latter of these, the "New Money" group, but try as we might, very few of us will get there. I do believe it is because God has other, bigger, grander plans for us.

In "Old Money", the wealth and money that is accumulated is inherited. This means that recipient does very little to receive the benefit of the inheritance. It has been given through someone else's effort, and they are the beneficiary of the inheritance by fact of birth alone. Many times the gift of the inheritance passed by means of a will, and after this legal process has occurred, the wealth is conveyed. In many cases, because these people did little or nothing to receive the gift they have been given, they usually repay that gesture by behaving badly, squandering and wasting the gift.

When we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, who has redeemed and rescued us from our sins, and our Lord, who calls us to live a holy life in gratitude for His gift, we too receive an inheritance. We receive the inheritance of sharing in the future kingdom of God. Just as in the inheritance of "Old Money", we have done nothing to enable us to be the beneficiary of God's gift. It is because of Christ's death on the cross that has allowed us to be offered the inheritance. Once we accept the truth of salvation, the inheritance of God's grace is conveyed to us.

This is an amazing exchange of a wealth that is far more valuable and precious than money. But we can squander this gift just as the some that inherit money do; we can behave badly and waste the precious gift. Thank God that in His infinite mercy, He continues to extend His grace. This is an eternal gift that can never be revoked, because it is based on God's effort and not ours.

As we read in Colossians, we need to seek God, so that He can give us "complete knowledge of his will", and give us "spiritual wisdom and understanding". We need to always live to "honor and please the Lord", so that we might produce "good fruit" of the spirit that helps us to grow and be pleasing to God.

As we embark into a New Year, accept the inheritance given us through Jesus Christ, and make every effort to be good son or daughter of the King that will serve Him as a "good and faithful servant".

[1]"Old Money" The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 05 Nov. 2008 as noted from Wikepedia
[2]"Nouveau riche" Merriam Webster. as noted from Wikepedia

This post is a re-post of one of my past blog posts. I believe it is very appropriate for today as it was when I first posted it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Insatiable Desire - August 26, 2013

Psalm 119:17-24 (New International Version)
17 Do good to your servant, and I will live;
I will obey your word.

18 Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.

19 I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide your commands from me.

20 My soul is consumed with longing
for your laws at all times.

21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are cursed
and who stray from your commands.

22 Remove from me scorn and contempt,
for I keep your statutes.

23 Though rulers sit together and slander me,
your servant will meditate on your decrees.

24 Your statutes are my delight;
they are my counselors.

What do you hunger for? What drives you with an insatiable desire? It may be something in this world, a passion, a goal, an accomplishment. It could be a job or career, sports, children, even church. All of us are driven by something. It becomes an all-consuming appetite that needs to be satisfied.

In this portion of Psalm 119 the writer is driven by his hunger for God's word, and his desire to please God with his obedience. You can read the passion in his words and feel the emotion in what he is writes. If only we had the same hunger for the word of God, and an all-consuming appetite to please God!

How do we do this? As a Christian, we have help. We have the Holy Spirit that takes up residence within us. He helps us to have that all-consuming desire to please God, and to live in the light of His mercy and grace. If you truly believe and you are truly saved, no matter how bad it might get, and no matter how lost one might seem at times, there is no way that you can walk away from God.

If you have a new relationship with Jesus Christ or if you have been following the Savior for many years, get into God's word. Pray for the Spirit to inhabit your desires and give you a hunger for His will. Share what you learn and talk about it with fellow believers and with those that don't know God. You will find that God will give you an appetite for the things that truly satisfy.

32 Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven; it is my Father who is giving you the true bread from heaven. 33 God's bread is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
46 "No one has seen the Father except the One who is from God; only he has seen the Father.47 I tell you the truth, whoever believes has eternal life.48 I am the bread that gives life.49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but still they died.50 Here is the bread that comes down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give up so that the world may have life." John 6:32-33;46-51(New Century Version)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Praise! - August 25, 2013

Psalm 98 (New International Version)

1 Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.

2 The LORD has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.

3 He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.

4 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;

5 make music to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,

6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn—
shout for joy before the LORD, the King.

7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.

8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
Let the mountains sing together for joy;

9 let them sing before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.

As you have enjoy a beautiful weekend and as you prepare for your new week, let us be mindful of God who has given us everything. Let us pause to give Him glory and praise. Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Effortless - August 24, 2013

Isaiah 40:28-31(GOD’S WORD Translation)
28Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The eternal God, the Lord,
the Creator of the ends of the earth, doesn’t grow tired or become weary. His understanding is beyond reach.

29He gives strength to those who grow tired and increases the strength of those who are weak.
30Even young people grow tired and become weary, and young men will stumble and fall.

31Yet, the strength of those who wait
with hope in the Lord will be renewed.
They will soar on wings like eagles.
They will run and won’t become weary.
They will walk and won’t grow tired.

If you have ever seen an eagle in flight, as it soars upon the thermals, it looks effortless. The eagle just soars and glides and rarely flaps its wings except to lift itself onto another thermal. It can do this for long periods of time without growing tired. It is a beautiful thing to watch.

The prophet Isaiah, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, likened walking with the Lord as "soaring on wings like eagles". When we choose to follow Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of our lives, our living in this present age can become somewhat effortless as well. Not that we do not encounter difficulty, but God gives us the strength to rise above our circumstances.

We need to place our hope in the Lord in all that we do, and wait on Him to take care of all our difficulties. When we do, we will obtain the endurance to weather whatever we are confronted with, and truly "soar like an eagle".

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Sure Thing - August 23, 2013

Revelation 21:5-7(New Living Translation)
5 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”

6 And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7 All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

There are very few sure things in life, in fact you often hear people say that the only sure things are death and taxes. Even so, many of us fall into doing many things thinking that they are sure things, only to be disappointed both in the situation and ourselves. After this has happened to us several times, because we often have short memories, we eventually become somewhat jaded and extremely pessimistic about any new opportunity.

There is a sure thing that seldom gets mentioned in that list of sure things, and that is salvation. It does carry with it conditions that have to be met. We can be sure of our salvation, our hope and promise for eternal life with God, if we accept the free gift of God in Jesus Christ. Jesus paid for all of our sins by His death on the cross, and in doing so He has given us His sure promise that we can be made right with God.

If you are looking for a sure thing, why not accept the "blessed assurance" that God offers? Why not commit your life to serving Jesus, and you will be sure that your eternity is taken care of.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Right Time - August 22, 2013

2 Corinthians 6:1-2(New Living Translation)
1 As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. 2 For God says,

“At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.”[Isaiah 49:8]

Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.

Many have taken for granted that their lives will take them to a "ripe old age". For many if you ask them what will happen to them when they die they will answer that they don't need to worry about it, because its a long time from now. No one believes that the present day will be their last, and we have to be thankful to the grace of God that we have not all been "vaporized" for our arrogance. It's interesting that they also often state that "life is to short", but talk to them about spiritual matters and they will simply give you the "brush off".

In addition, many Christians take their salvation for granted is well. Many believe that just because the go to church and have been baptized that they are "okay" with God. They wrongly believe that because they know a few bible stories and they are part of the Christmas and Easter crowd that their place in heaven is set. Their are also those who "religiously" go to church services week after week, and they truly believe that their membership will "open the door to heaven" for them. Are there those who are truly saved among these groups? Sure, but whether or not you are "saved" should not be taken for granted.

You need to be sure today, right now, that you are truly "saved". Salvation means that you admit to God that you have sinned against Him, broken His rules. You accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, as the One who out of His love for you, willingly died on the cross as payment for your sins that you have committed and will always commit. It is also believing that He stepped out of the grave, being resurrected three days after He died, and appeared to many witnesses to prove that He was God. And that Jesus Christ then returned to heaven and is at the right hand of the Father, where He waits for you right now. This is a free gift that you cannot earn because of your "good works". God is the One that has redeemed you, made you right with Him solely out of His love for you.

If you are unsure of your salvation, or if you have been putting off embracing the love and redemption that God is offering you, today is the day to make sure. It is the "right time" to accept Jesus Christ and make yourself right with God. You do not know what tomorrow will bring. Make sure of your eternal destiny before it is too late.

If you want to make sure of your salvation or you want to learn how to be saved, just follow the link and you will find what you need.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Don't Quit - August 21, 2013

Galatians 6:9(New King James Version)
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Galatians 6:9(New Century Version)
9 We must not become tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time if we do not give up.

There are times in this life when we feel like quitting; times when the burdens and difficulties become so large that we don't think we have it in us anymore to survive. We thought that as Christians that somehow this would all be easier, that we would be insulated from the "bad" things.

But we were never promised that life would be nothing but "smooth sailing", and Jesus warned us that by following Him, we would even have more trouble.
Many in this world face constant persecution and some even death because of their love and service for Jesus.

Everyone goes through times of trouble, and if you aren't going through it now, you will very soon in the future. The great thing about following Jesus Christ is that in the trouble, He promises to be with us. God's plan is not that we won't have trouble, but that we will be refined and stronger for it, and that in facing our difficulties, we will be better prepared when future difficulties come. And if our trouble is because of service to Him, then He will have a place for us in eternity.

Whatever you are going through right now, don't give up. God has a plan for your life, and He will help you as you go through it.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"Lone Ranger" Faith - August 20, 2013

Proverbs 27:17 (New International Version)
17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (New International Reader's Version)
24 Let us consider how we can stir up one another to love. Let us help one another to do good works. 25 Let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us cheer each other up with words of hope. Let us do it all the more as you see the day coming when Christ will return.

Many of you reading this remember the Lone Ranger. Although he was a hero of the old west, he didn't go very far without his sidekick Tonto. Tonto was there to support him when he got into a jamb, and he was always good for a little Indian sage advice when the Lone Ranger was trying to figure things out. Where would our hero have been without his trusty friend?

The same goes for Christians. We really have a tough time if we try to be a "lone ranger" when it comes to our faith. We are at our most vulnerable when we are alone; that's when Satan really tries to mess with us. Nothing brings him more delight than to pick off lonely Christians one at a time.

What's even more problematic is when we don't have other like minded people around when we are in need of advice and guidance. Christian men need other Christian men, and the same is true for Christian women. If we are married, no one is more important in our relationship with God than our spouse, but there are times when we just need the company of someone of the same gender.

So I would encourage you to seek out other believers, and make sure you get together often. There is nothing better than to have a strong Christian friend behind you that you can trust, It will help you become the hero of the faith that God means for you to be.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Living in a CNN/BBC/Fox News World - August 19, 2013

2 Peter 3:3-7 (New International Reader's Version)
3 First of all, here is what you must understand.In the last days people will make fun of the truth. They will laugh at it. They will follow their own evil longings.

4 They will say, "Where is this 'return' he promised? Everything goes on in the same way it has since our people of long ago died. In fact, it has continued that way since God first created everything."

5 Long ago, God's word brought the heavens into being. His word separated the earth from the waters. And the waters surrounded it. But those people forget things like that on purpose. 6 The waters also flooded the world of that time. It was destroyed.

7 By God's word the heavens and earth of today are being reserved for fire. They are being kept for the day when God will judge. Then ungodly people will be destroyed.

On any given day, you can hear about things about the daily lives of the inhabitants of our modern world. We live in a "CNN/BBC/Fox News world", where minute by minute we can see the whatever is happening on this planet. People going about their lives, going to work or school, on vacation or play; those being born or those who have died, the good and the bad; we can see everything, anywhere, anytime.

The world goes on, day after day, totally oblivious to the fact that for all of us, our days are numbered. Our frenetic pace of life blurs the fact that there needs to be more than the daily march toward the end. But by the looks of those who report to us what is happening or happened, it is all smiles and laughs, and lines of script. To those hustling and bustling about their day, it is just another day, another dollar.

There are times when an event stills our pace and causes us to pause. There are those situations where we slow down to briefly stop and think about what is actually going on, but soon the trials of life, the needs of the moment, overshadow that brief moment and we are flung right back into the tempo of life. Once again unconcerned about anything but the trials of our everyday lives; an unspoken story on the evening news.

For many the thought of eternity, the thought of our own demise is a long, long, time in the future, and why worry about it? Were all good and much better than the next guy! Surely God will understand why we do what we do! Why be concerned? People have been talking about you better do this or that for years, and everything is pretty much the same as it has always been. So we get up and go about our daily business, and we let the future worry about itself.

In our CNN/BBC/Fox News world, there really are many cultures, and many different people, and many ways of doing everything; many ways to God and many ways to show for it. Its day here and night over there; people having fun here and hurting each other there. There is no right or wrong only what you feel is right for you. Be careful though or you'll make the evening news!

So what am I trying to say about our world today? Its really not what I have to say, but it is what would God say if He were to show up today, in our CNN/BBC/Fox News world?

Photo "Times Square" by Guikkiko, 7-1-2005 from stock.xchng

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Seeing the Light - August 18, 2013

Matthew 13:15 (New International Version, ©2011)
15 "For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them."(Isaiah 6:9,10)

2 Corinthians 4:1-6 (New Living Translation)
1 Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. 2 We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.

3 If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. 4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

5 You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

I often wonder why it is so hard for so many people to not understand what Christ offers us. I wonder why God allowed me to finally "see the light" after living so long in darkness. I have often said, "it was as if a light bulb went on", when I realized and understood the good news of Jesus Christ. The transformation of my life started dimly at first, kind of like those CFM bulbs that take a while to get bright, but nonetheless it illuminated the darkness I had lived in for many years, and changed me.

For many this is a difficult concept to grasp, how God can take someone who is lost and transform him into a new person. Jesus quoted Isaiah when he was describing the hardened hearts and closed mindedness of the Jewish leaders of his day, and Paul writing to the Corinthians, described this as a "veil" from Satan that "blinded the minds of those who don’t believe".

We see this today as we see a world around us doing all it can to ridicule, disparage and remove Christianity from the daily lives of people. It is easier for many to accept ridiculous New Age concepts or religions that behave contrary to civilized society, than to accept the grace and mercy of God providing mankind with a way to be redeemed from their sin. And the world does all it can to believe in anything but Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

It took awhile before the veil was lifted and God's bright and shining light revealed to me that I could be made clean, that I could be redeemed and start over again, because of the gift of Jesus. I am thankful for it, and I try to do my part in sharing Christ's love with others. As the world looks to an uncertain and dark future, I have the knowledge of the hope that gives me certainty. That knowledge is the light of the message of Jesus Christ.

My prayer is that we who call ourselves followers of Christ can shine that light of Jesus, and do our part in overcoming the darkness.

Photo "Creepy Basement Light" by Hortongrou,11-18-2005, from stock.xchng

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Finding Utopia - August 17, 2013

Acts 2:42-47 (New International Reader's Version)
42 The believers studied what the apostles taught. They shared life together. They broke bread and ate together. And they prayed. 43 Everyone felt that God was near. The apostles did many wonders and miraculous signs.

44 All the believers were together. They shared everything they had. 45 They sold what they owned. They gave each other everything they needed. 46 Every day they met together in the temple courtyard. In their homes they broke bread and ate together. Their hearts were glad and honest and true.

47 They praised God. They were respected by all the people. Every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.

People are always looking for the perfect place, free of want, strife, hunger, pain, that can fulfill all the needs of the human spirit. To many that place, that state of society is called Utopia. This title was derived from Utopia by Sir Thomas More, written in 1516, about an imaginary island representing the perfect society. In the book More describes the ideals in this land pertaining to all manner of society, life and religion.

Today, there are many political ideologues that think they can create the perfect utopian society, based on a socialist governmental system. Unfortunately, the perfect society requires perfect individuals to live perfectly, before all of the ideals of can be met. This is totally unrealistic, because mankind can never be perfect. Inside all of us exists selfishness, greed, contempt, malice, and many sorts of characteristics that would make a perfect co-existence with other impossible.

There is one way tha we can almost get there. A way that we can live in peace and harmony, caring for each other and sharing everything to the mutual benefit of each other. The only way is if we all believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and base that society on living the way He would expect us to, by always following His example. It would only be possible if we fully surrender ourselves to His leadership.

This was how the early church existed as recorded in the New Testament book of Acts. We read that "they shared life together, broke bread and ate together, they prayed, and everyone felt that God was near. They shared everything they had, sold what they owned, and gave each other everything they needed. Their hearts were glad and honest and true".

Someday soon God will restore everything to the way he originally intended, but until then we need to live out our Christian faith and strive to live like the early church. Not only with our fellow believers, but with everyone we come in contact with. By our example, we can hope to add to our group of fellow believers, and help many to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, while we wait for His return.

Photo from Living Word Fellowship, Ilhas, Goa, India, where they live out their faith in fellowship with other believers in Christ. It is lead by Michael & Shvetha Fernandes, and you can read their story in their "About Us" section of the website.

Friday, August 16, 2013

How Long Lord? - August 16, 2013

Psalm 13 (New International Version)
1 How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?

2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?

3 Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, 4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the LORD’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

For many these days have been difficult. If it is not something financial because of the economy, then it is either some personal struggle, an illness, a passing of a loved one, or a crisis in the family. We lift up our voices in prayer, wanting to have God give us an answer, but it doesn't seem to come. What do you do when you are desperate, down and out, struggling, and wanting relief from your troubles and distress?

Remember His faithfulness. Remember what He has done for you in the past. Remember that He has never taken you through something that did not turn out better in the end. Count the times He has carried you through; write them down and pray a prayer of remembrance saying, "Lord, I remember when you brought me through ..." Lift up you current struggle to Him and ask Him to do as He has in the past. He longs to hear your prayers.

God has a reason for your trouble and distress. He will not let it be in vain. His purpose is greater than what we can see. It will all be for good. Remember Him, and how He has demonstrated His love for you.

Photo from "This Thing Called Cancer", 10-3-2010,Daynas-Journey Blogspot

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Helping Hands - August 15, 2013

Galatians 6:2 (New International Version)
2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

There is a growing spiritual poverty in our country. More and more people are lost and have nowhere to turn to relieve the stresses and pressure of their lives. Depression, anxiety, addiction, compulsive behaviors (over-eating, excessive gambling, spending, etc.) and substance abuse are all soaring. The times are hard but the relief is close to everyone.

It is times like these that the church of Jesus Christ can be at its finest. As believers, we are to be the "hands and feet" of Jesus. We are to be those who provide help and assistance, along with the hope and grace that are available through a commitment to God's gift of Jesus. Our eyes need to be open to opportunities to help, and our hands need to be open to share in the blessings that God has given us.

If someone you know is in need of a helping hand, now is the time for you to be what you have been called to in Christ. Now is the time for you to pick up your brother or sister and let them see Jesus through you.

Photo "Baby's Hand", 6-22-2008 from

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Finding His Peace - August 14, 2013

John 14:27(New International Version)
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Philippians 4:6-7(New Living Translation)
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

What is God's remedy for our troubles and distress? What do we need to do in the face of the difficulties, especially when it seems that God is not doing anything about resolving it? How long must we go through this without hearing from God? What will break us free from our troubles and distress?

Working through our troubles is always a process, and when things are most difficult our approach to God needs to reflect that. We must seek our loving God in prayer, making sure we are walking in obedience to His word, continually having faith in the promises He has made to us, and we must always remember the times He has been faithful to us in the past.

At the end of the day we need to embrace the peace that He offers. When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, He provides for us the comfort and companionship of the Holy Spirit. We need to rest in the comfort and peace that the Spirit gives us, rather than fighting in the anxiety of the moment. We need to have faith that God is in control, and He will not let us fall. We may not always like what we are going through, but at the end of our struggles, He will be there with us.

Photo from "If you live to be 100",5-27-2011, source: cosmicallybeautiful

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Confident Assurance - August 13, 2013

John 14:15-17(New International Version)
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

We long to hear a voice from Heaven, to tell us that God hears us, and is watching out for us. We wonder, what must we do to break free from the troubles and distress of our lives? What assures us that God is listening and working with us through our situation? What gives us the confidence that God cares about us?

If we want to always have God's favor, and know that He will work everything out for us, we need to walk in obedience; we need to live the right way. We need to follow His instructions found in His word and do what He asks us to do. As Jesus said above, our obedience, keeping His commands, shows Him that we love Him. The great thing is that God helps us to be obedient, because His Spirit convicts us when we do wrong, and guides us back to following Him.

Our love for Him, demonstrated by our obedience, guided by the Holy Spirit, will give us assurance that God is will help us work out our troubles, and it will assure us that He cares for us.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Price of Privelege - August 12, 2013

Romans 5:1-2(New Living Translation)
1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We live in a world that boasts in its material wealth. No matter where you go on this planet, the desire is the same, the pursuit of riches. Many sacrifice everything to have it all, and to live a life of luxury. For many the urge is so strong that they will do anything for it, and there are countless examples of the price of privilege. The cost for some can mean their very lives both in the present and for eternity.

But by the faith and because of the grace and mercy of God, we can obtain the undeserved privilege of spending our present and our eternity in the presence and favor of God. Where as privilege in the world's terms requires work and cost on our part, because of Jesus Christ we can obtain it for free. It costs us nothing, but it cost God everything. Thank God that He loved us enough that He would pay such a great price for our benefit.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday Praise! - August 11, 2013

Psalm 108:1-5(New Living Translation)
1 My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart!

2 Wake up, lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn with my song.

3 I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations.

4 For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

5 Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.
May your glory shine over all the earth.

This is the time of each week to sing God's praises. God's desire is that we set aside a day for praise and worship, and for most Christians this has been Sunday (or in some circles Saturday). Why praise Him? He created us all, and in our day-to-day lives we can quickly lose sight of Who is the real source of everything we are and have. Let us take the time to give Him praise, and to especially give praise to Jesus for the indescribable gift He has given us: Himself, as the required sacrifice for our sins. May the Holy Spirit bring to your mind God's countless benefits that He has blessed you with.

Photo from "The Year of Living Thankfully", posted 3-3-2008, from As For Me and My Haus

Saturday, August 10, 2013

God's Amazing Grace - August 10, 2013

1 Timothy 1:14-16(New Living Translation)
14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.

15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.

16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.

One of my favorite hymns (and it turns out my favorite movies) is "Amazing Grace". The words of this hymn were penned by John Newton July 24, 1725 – December 21, 1807), who was an English sailor and later in his life, Anglican clergyman. His story is one of conversion, repentance, and how a relationship with Jesus Christ made a significant impact on his life, that took him from being a sailor and Captain of a slave ship to being a minister, hymn writer and abolitionist. Published in 1779, it is "amazing" that even in secular venues, the hymn has received widespread acceptance. The words point to how through Jesus our once wretched state can be transformed by embracing God's love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness; it is the story of redemption.

I can really identify with both Paul, as he writes of his salvation in Christ, as well as John Newton. I too can claim the mantel of once "being even the worst of sinners", because I too was brought from the depths of my worldly and sinful self to a life worth living in Jesus Christ. Not that I am perfect, but I have a far clearer understanding of where I was and where I am going. God "grabbed a hold of me", and I will never be the same. Yes, I do have struggles like everybody else, and I do feel overwhelmed and defeated at times, but knowing that the Creator of the Universe guides my steps and has secured my eternal future gives me confidence that every day will be better than the one before.

I know that there are some out there that read my blog, that do not have a true knowledge of Jesus Christ. There are also those that may be cynical about so-called "religion", that probably think I have "gone off the deep end". My word to you all is get to know the real thing; get to know who Jesus Christ really is. Not the sterilized, wimpy version that is ridiculed by the world and the media of our day, but the real man's man who was not afraid to stand up to the evil in His day. Who willingly was ridiculed, beaten, abused, and then carried His means of execution to the place where He was put to death, all for our sakes. Who later stepped out of the tomb in which He was laid, walked among the living for over 40 days, and later returned to Heaven where He is today. Really check it out for yourself; you don't have a right to ridicule Him until you have.

Yes, Jesus does SAVE, and to me that is "Amazing Grace"!

Photo of John Newton from the movie Amazing Grace, 2006

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Eyewitness to the Truth - August 8, 2013

2 Peter 1:16-18 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
16When we apostles told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we didn’t base our message on clever myths that we made up. Rather, we witnessed his majesty with our own eyes.

17For example, we were eyewitnesses when he received honor and glory from God the Father and when the voice of our majestic God spoke these words to him: “This is my Son, whom I love and in whom I delight.”

18We heard that voice speak to him from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.

How many times have you heard a skeptic say that the Bible is nothing but a bunch of fables, legends and myths? I am sure it has been plenty of times. Skeptics just love to say things like that to prove to everyone that they really don't know what they are talking about.

Rarely has someone that has truly studied the Bible say that what they studied was "make believe". There is more proof for the Bible than any other text of the same age. As I have said before, there is more evidence of Jesus Christ's existence and message than there is for Julius Caesar, yet you never hear that Julius was fable, legend or myth.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, the good news is that we have eyewitness, first-hand knowledge of Jesus Christ, both as a human being and in His glory. Peter, James and John were present, all who were authors of books of the Bible, and we can have confidence that what they tell us is true. Jesus is who He said he was, and you can trust the word of those who carried on His message and as was the case for Peter and James, even gave their lives for it.

We can have confidence in our faith because eyewitnesses to all that was said about Jesus was written down and given to us. The next time you are faced with a skeptic, ask them first if they have ever read and studied the Bible, and them point them to the eyewitness account.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Endless Love - August 7, 2013

Ephesians 3:14-19(New Living Translation)
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.

16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

For us living in modern society, it is hard to fathom how much God really loves us. He is unseen and intangible, so our understanding of His love is based on faith; our trust in His word and the example He gave us of Himself, Jesus Christ. Love for us in human terms has only one equal, that of our love for our children. It is that relationship that we can understand the unconditional love of God.

Sure, there are times that our relationship with our children is strained, but in most cases this is a love that endures, that is endless, from birth until death. Their is little else more important to us than our children, and for most of us, we would give our very lives to for them. In fact, for most of us, our very lives revolves around our children, and anything that happens to them can affect us deeply.

How could our Creator prove to us that He deeply loved us? In the Old Testament, God's love was spoken of, but not very easily encountered. Thank God that He stepped out of Heaven, and through Jesus Christ, who walked in flesh and blood, the love of God was demonstrated in His earthly ministry, and ultimately in His sacrifice on the cross for our sins. In that single act, just as we would die for our children, God gave His life so that we could live with Him for eternity.

Now that is endless Love!...If you are longing to experience the love of God, accept the gift that He offers. Jesus Christ has paid the price for everything sinful that you have done and will do; release yourself from the bondage of those sins, and allow yourself to be embraced by His love.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Can You Lose Your Salvation? - August 6, 2013

Hebrews 6:4-6 (New International Version)
4It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Hebrews 6:4-6 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
4Some people once had God’s light. They experienced the heavenly gift and shared in the Holy Spirit. 5They experienced the goodness of God’s word and the powers of the world to come. 6Yet, they have deserted Christ. They are crucifying the Son of God again and publicly disgracing him. Therefore, they cannot be led a second time to God.

Can you lose your salvation? Once you have believed and accepted that Jesus died as a payment in full for our sins, can you fall back into a sinful life and be lost forever? This has always been a hard passage for many, and it has always been a source of anxiety for Christians.

The Bible seems to state so clearly that once we come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ that God will not ever let you fall away. Read these words from Jesus:

John 6:37-40 (New Living Translation)
37 However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. 38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. 39 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 up at the last day. 40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”

Paul also touched on this in these verses from his letter to the Romans:

Romans 8:35-39 (New International Reader's Version)

35 Who can separate us from Christ's love? Can trouble or hard times or harm or hunger? Can nakedness or danger or war? 36 It is written,
"Because of you, we face death all day long.
We are considered as sheep to be killed." —(Psalm 44:22)

37 No! In all these things we will do even more than win! We owe it all to Christ, who has loved us.

38 I am absolutely sure that not even death or life can separate us from God's love. Not even angels or demons, the present or the future, or any powers can do that. 39 Not even the highest places or the lowest, or anything else in all creation can do that. Nothing at all can ever separate us from God's love because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done.

There has long been a dispute between those who believe in "eternal security" and those who don't. Those on the "eternal security" side state that once you have been saved, even if you backslide (fall back into a sinful lifestyle), you will always be saved from going to hell. The other side believes that if you fall back into a sinful lifestyle, you can lose your salvation and end up in hell. The verses above in Hebrews certainly seem to confirm this.

This is how I see it: First of all, if your conscience is bothering you whether or not you have passed the point stated in the verse above, then you are probably alright. Not that you should be testing God by continuing to sin, but I believe that if you truly believe with you whole being that Jesus Christ died for your sins, you have accepted His work on the cross, that God has forgiven you, and from that point on you will seek to lead a new life God's way, you are going to spend eternity with Him. The Bible is too full of promises for the repentant believer for it to be any other way.

The important word here is "repentance", turning away from your former life of sin. Once you have accepted Christ's work of salvation, a believer should always be continually working on living the right way with God's help, and working on Jesus being the Lord of their life:

Philippians 2:12-13 (New International Version)
12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Second of all, it defeats God's purpose for our lives if we are constantly wondering if we are saved or not. Christ died once in for all for the sins of all the people; past, present and future. Once we have accepted this, we need to move on, working daily to know God better and seeking to please Him. Doing otherwise, puts the focus on our works, rather than on what Jesus did on our behalf.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (New International Version)
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

So if you are worried whether or not you will lose your salvation, good. Stop doing the things you shouldn't, turn away from it and start leading the life that God expects you to live.

This is a reposting of a previous post. I felt this topic is one worth repeating for those who might not have seen it.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Walking In The Light - August 5, 2013

John 8:12(New Living Translation)
12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

In our world many are trapped in a life of sin and death. Almost every place you turn, there is an undercurrent of evil that pervades daily life. Many times this remains hidden behind the scenes, but every so often it comes to the surface. Yes, we read and watch daily as bad things are shown happening in the media, but occasionally it boils over and is revealed in a big way. Those who live surrounded by evil will eventually reveal themselves out in the open.

Counter to this is exhibited daily by those who follow Jesus Christ. Because He has freed believers from sin and death, and defeated evil, they are free to "walk in the light". That means that the good thing they do can be done freely in the open, bringing God glory, and revealing to others what is available as a follower of Jesus. Life in the light of God brings joy and peace, and this fact brings "light" to every dark corner of this world.

How do we see this? It is seen in the face of those who have been suppressed and abused in places all over the world, where the only real good is brought to them by the followers of Christ. It is seen in the faces of those who come in from the street, to feel the warmth and caring of those who love Jesus and are willing to give them food for their bellies and their soul. It is also seen in the persistent prayers and smiling kindness of those who bring comfort in hospitals and hospice.

No matter where you turn, the darkness of tragedy and evil can be illuminated through the love of Jesus. Be sure that His love shining in your heart is shared with all of those who come in contact with you.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday Praise! - August 4, 2013

Psalm 66(New Century Version)
1 Everything on earth, shout with joy to God!
2 Sing about his glory!
Make his praise glorious!
3 Say to God, "Your works are amazing!
Because your power is great,
your enemies fall before you.
4 All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you.
They sing praises to your name."


5 Come and see what God has done,
the amazing things he has done for people.
6 He turned the sea into dry land.
The people crossed the river on foot.
So let us rejoice because of what he did.
7 He rules forever with his power.
He keeps his eye on the nations,
so people should not turn against him.


8 You people, praise our God;
loudly sing his praise.
9 He protects our lives
and does not let us be defeated.
10 God, you have tested us;
you have purified us like silver.
11 You let us be trapped
and put a heavy load on us.
12 You let our enemies walk on our heads.
We went through fire and flood,
but you brought us to a place with good things.

13 I will come to your Temple with burnt offerings.
I will give you what I promised,
14 things I promised when I was in trouble.
15 I will bring you offerings of fat animals,
and I will offer sheep, bulls, and goats.


16 All of you who fear God, come and listen,
and I will tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth
and praised him with my tongue.
18 If I had known of any sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened to me.
19 But God has listened;
he has heard my prayer.
20 Praise God,
who did not ignore my prayer
or hold back his love from me.

If you were to construct a song of praise to God, what would it be? Would it be as the one above, telling what God had done for you? Would you lift up praise for what He has given you, and how He has worked in your life? Would it tell all how He has saved you from your sins, or your difficulty? Would it praise Him for the blessings you have received? What words would you sing to Him? How could others be blessed by your testimony of praise?

I know that most of us do not think of how we worship and praise the Lord. Sure, we may participate in Sunday services, and for many of us in churches with contemporary, we may be moved to lift our hands and lift praises in song, but how do we really personally praise God? Have you ever really thought how your psalm of praise would read? Would it faithfully speak about what God has placed in your heart?

Yes, many questions and to some of you they may seem redundant, but I feel it is important that we personally praise the God who has created us, sustained us, and given us everything, including salvation from our sins through Jesus Christ. Our praises are our way of showing God that we love, honor, and revere Him. He has done more than we can imagine, and He continues doing so with each breath we take.

Think about it; meditate on it. Sit down and create your own psalm, or song of worship. Write down what God has done for you and let it be your prayer and song of worship to Him.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

His Will, Not Mine - August 3, 2013

Matthew 6:8-10 (New International Version, ©2010)
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven."

In my many years of following Jesus Christ, and living as I believe God would want me to, it has always been hard for me to always know if what I was doing was what God wanted me to do. Soon after I became a Christian, I sort of allowed myself to be on "autopilot" thinking that God would direct me here or there.

Probably the most difficult question that a believer in Jesus Christ has is what is God's will for their life. It was the same for me. I wanted to know what God's will was for me, and what He wanted me to do while I was here to serve Him. For some, God is really clear and gives them specific direction, but for me it wasn't that easy.

For a time I felt that if I only believed, God would guide me here or there. I soon learned that I was abdicating my responsibility in this. I was not some mindless puppet with God pulling the strings. He had already left me alot of information to follow, and if I was going to know what I was supposed to do, I had to live by the instruction manual He had made available to me, and not just "wing-it". If I was to really know what He had in store for me, I would have to spend time in His word.

Understanding God's will can be difficult, so over the next few days I will look at what His will is, how He reveals His will, and how you can know what His will is for your life.

Photo "Shine Sky" by Flaivoloka, 7-6-2008 from stock.xchng

Friday, August 2, 2013

Who's Thirsty? - August 2, 2013

Isaiah 55:1-2 (New International Version)
1 "Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.

2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

John 4:13-14 (New Century Version)
13 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give will never be thirsty. The water I give will become a spring of water gushing up inside that person, giving eternal life."

Revelation 21:6-7 (New Living Translation)
6 And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7 All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

We are in early August and it is hot. Add the humidity and the heat "penetrates to the bone". Prolonged exposure to the hot sun causes us to lose body fluids and can result in dehydration. Our bodies overcomes this drive to replace the loss of fluids by giving us a craving, thirst. Continued heat and exposure, and our thirst can become unquenchable.

We experience this same kind of unquenchable thirst when we are seeking God. All human beings have an emptiness inside, a thirst, that has to be filled with something. Most often we try to quench this thirst with temporary, external things. Or we believe it can be quenched through our works or actions as is found in many religions. We think that this emptiness can be filled by going through certain "holy" rituals, but unless we are filled from the inside, we will never be satisfied.

In Isaiah God invites all who are thirsty to freely come to the waters. Jesus picked up this same theme when he offered the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well "living water". He offered her water that would fill her from the inside out and produce a spring that would continue to fill her. And Jesus makes this same offer to all that come to Him, and he will quench their spiritual thirst.

What fill us with from the wellspring of living water that leads to eternal life? It is Jesus Christ through the presence of the Holy Spirit, that will continue to freely fill us, when we accept the free gift of salvation that God offers us through His mercy and grace. When you become spiritually dehydrated from the heat you encounter from the fires of life, come drink from the living water God offers and never be thirsty again.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Broken Hearts - August 1, 2013

Joel 2:12-14(New International Reader's Version)

12 The Lord announces to his people,

"Return to me with all your heart. There is still time. Do not eat any food. Sob and cry."

13 Don't just tear your clothes to show how sad you are.

Let your hearts be broken.
Return to the Lord your God.
He is gracious.
He is tender and kind.
He is slow to get angry.
He is full of love.
He takes pity on you.
He won't destroy you.

14 Who knows? He might turn toward you and have pity on you. He might even give you his blessing. Then you can bring grain offerings and drink offerings to the Lord your God.

How often God pleads for us to return to Him! Throughout the Bible we read of times when despite their disobedience and gross sin, God gave them opportunity after opportunity to return back to Him in faith and obedience. He had no joy in allowing His people to go through trials and suffering, but if it turned their hearts, and helped them to once again follow God, then it was worth it.

God's desire is to be with those He has created. In His love for us, He longs for us to follow Him. He doesn't want us to just go through the motions of being religious; He expects us to be broken hearted over our disobedience to Him, and to turn back to Him. He has even taken it a step further with us by having Jesus pay the debt of our sins.

Let's face it; it is in our nature to be disobedient to God. So much so, that we have invented countless ways to justify the bad we do, taking it so far as to form "religions" that give us permission to sin. One day we will all come to the realization that the One true God is unchanging, and He expects a "contrite heart"(Psalm 51:17), a heart that breaks when we disobey Him. And in that brokenness we reach out to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and redemption.

Then and only then, He will bring us back to Him. Then and only then can He bless our lives.