Saturday, December 19, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Often times we read from this text and immediately reflect on the awesome faith of Abraham to be obedient to God's command and take the son of promise up on Mt. Moriah to offer him as a sacrifice. And what a measure of faith that was. As I'm sitting here typing this blog, I look over at my beautiful 8 year old daughter Breanna as she watches cartoons, and I realize that my faith is not that strong. I couldn't do it! Abraham was truly the Father of Faith.
But turn your attention from Abraham for a moment, and think to yourself..."What about Isaac?" Here this young man that carried the wood that would be used for his own sacrifice, followed his father up on that mount, and without attempt of fight or flight, allowed his daddy to bind his hands and put him up on that altar. Can you imagine the view from his eyes as the father he loved and trusted leaned over him with dagger drawn and tears flowing..prepared without hesitation to take his life. My goodness what a faith Isaac had; not as much in God, but in his father.
There is something powerful I believe we can learn from Isaac:
1) If we have faith to follow....
Do you have faith to follow Jesus? We easily follow our parents, our friends, political leaders, even celebrities, but even us who are of the faith, sometimes and to some places find it hard to follow Christ. Our walk with Christ will not always lead us to places of prominence or down roads of riches. Sometimes He leads down paths of pain, loneliness, and obscurity, though ultimately for our good, still hard nonetheless. Will you follow him still? To follow Him, you have to trust Him.
2)..and, we are willing to obey...
Will you obey God? Not can you obey Him (because we can), but will you obey Him? The Lord told Saul that to obey is better than sacrifice. We will give our money, our time, and our talents, but will we obey Him without question or hesitation? He says love those that hate you, will you obey? He says love thy neighbor as thyself, will you obey? He says take up thy cross and follow me, will you obey? You see, our problem is not knowing what to do, but doing what we know. Will you obey Him?
3) ...then, God will provide.
Verse 13 says, "And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son." On that day, God tested the faith of both Abraham and Isaac. And because they both had faith to follow, and were willing to obey, they were able to witness the Lord provide in an unexpected and miraculous way. It was then that Abraham called the Lord, Jehovahjireh, which means "the Lord will provide". Not He can, or He might, but He will provide.
Has the Lord brought you to a place in your life where you are finding it hard to follow? Are you facing trouble, turmoil or temptation, and it is just hard to trust Him. Just think about Isaac and remember that if you have faith to follow, and you are willing to obey, then God will provide.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8, King James Version)
One of our missions here at Helping Hand Ministries is to "Reach the World on the Web with the Word". Initially I just thought that would be through this blog. The number of you visiting the site is growing, and I have gotten great feedback on it. But I watched this video on YouTube and realized that there are so many other ways that we can reach out with the Word. Check out this video and you too can see how "cyber-connected" people are these days all around the world. Then pray with us that we can make the best use of all available technologies to reach people with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Did You Know 4.0
Thursday, November 26, 2009
On a previous blog post "GPS - Part 1", I shared how God is like a GPS in that He sees where we are and where we are going. And so, we ought to trust in Him and seek His direction for our lives. Looking at Exodus 13:21, we see 3 other truths about God which should prompt us to follow Him as our GPS.
1) God is above us: Just as the pillars of cloud and fire were above the children of Israel, so God is above us. Psalm 97:9 says "For thou, Lord, art high above the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods". God is holy, and His ways are higher than our ways. Though He loves us, He is not like us. Just like Israel, we can be hard-headed, selfish, shallow, materialistic, and overall sinful people. Sometimes we try to bring God down to our level by finding ways to justify how we are. But we can't, because He is above us. God doesn't come down to our level, but He reaches down to pull us up to His.
2) God is ahead of us: The passage says that the Lord went before them...to lead them the way. Anywhere God tells us to go, He goes first. Life can be like swimming a raging river, crossing an icy lake, or passing over a rickety bridge. But God never tells us to go over it alone...He goes first. God leads from the front and not from the back. That's why our Lord in scripture said "follow me", because He is ahead and leading the way. If you are crossing a bridge of hurt and pain, He has already crossed it. If you are crossing a river of troubled times, He has already crossed it. If you are crossing the icy lake of loneliness and despair, He has already crossed it...and He is waiting on the other side for you.
3) God is always moving forward: When things get scary and uncertain in life, we often want to turn back....to old places, old acquaintances, old ways (like Israel wanted to go back to Egypt). In our weakness, we would rather have hard and familiar (ex. abusive relationships) over hard and unfamiliar, even if it will lead to our promised land. But we can't turn back. If we are following God, then we will move forward because He is always moving forward.
Are you using your GPS...God Positioning System? Don't rely on what you see or what others are doing. Let the Lord be your guide, and He will never lead you astray. Remember that God is above us, ahead of us, and always moving forward. Trust in Him!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I have been feeling "disoriented" in my walk with Christ lately. Not sure what to do next in my ministry, cautious about jumping out too far to pursue things in my ministry, because I want to be sure its what God wants, but just not getting clear signs from Him. I want to be in His purpose, and I'm afraid to be out of His will. So I am cautious and trying to be patient, but I also feel like I'm standing still when I'm used to moving forward. You ever felt like that? Not sure what the next step is in your career, your relationships, or your life in general?
I am reminding myself that God is faithful and true, and not just to me, but to His purpose and His will. What He has planned for me is in motion, even if I can't see it. So I guess the uncertainty is in me and not in Him. Though I can't see down the road, He can and He always knows exactly what He is doing....and it is always for my good. So I'll wait on Him...and I'll trust in Him...because I believe in Him!!!
If you would like to share thoughts on this or what you may be going through, or if you would like to shed some Light on the matter with a scripture passage, please leave a comment or email me at email@example.com
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Exodus 13: 21-22 "By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people."
You ever used a GPS? It is an amazing little device. To think that multiple satellites are high up orbiting the earth, sending signals back to this little hand-held gadget which tells you where you are and showing you where you need to go. It doesn't give you your location relative to something else, but your exact longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates...your position on this globe, hence global positioning system. And that is so important to the functioning of the device, because you cannot find where you are going unless you know exactly where you are.
I was using my GPS one day, and it came to me that it is a metaphor for God. God sits on high and looks down and sees exactly where we are, not just positionally, but spiritually as well. And He is not concerned with our relative location, that is where we stand in comparison to others. We would prefer to use relative location, as we often position ourselves as "good" as long as we are doing better than someone around us. But God sees exactly where we are in relation to Him, and from His viewpoint, He can see everything ahead of us and everything behind us. In fact, His vision is even better than a satellite because it takes several satellites to get GPS coordinates for the whole earth, but God can see it all. His vision is not bound by height, depth, distance or time.
So in your travels through this life, are you using your GPS...God Positioning System? Are you choosing your directions through the twists and turns in life based on your own limited vision and wisdom, or are you trusting in the One who sees all and knows all?
As Israel wandered through the wilderness, God gave them His GPS, by way of the pillar of the cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night to guide them from where they were to where He wanted them to be. The problem was that they were hard-headed people and didn't always rely on His GPS. And because of that, they suffered unnecessarily and delayed their arrival to the land of promise.
Don't delay your reaching God's promise for you. Trust in God and let Him be your guide (Proverbs 3:5,6). Don't make decisions based on what you see right now or what you think. Read God's word and pray daily, and He will give you direction even through the toughest times you may face.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Jesus had a divine appointment that was scheduled before the foundation of the world. He went out of His way, geographically and socially speaking, to keep His appointment. The woman with whom He had the appointment was just another woman at the well to those watching, and even to the woman herself...but not to Jesus. You see, He had something for her...a gift.
He opened up the opportunity to reach out to her by simply talking to her. Because she was a woman and a Samaritan, it was not socially acceptable for Him to do so; she would have been beneath other Jewish men, as Jesus was, and they would have looked down on her if they had looked at her at all. She was just as amazed as everyone else that He spoke to her.
Jesus said to her , "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." He was offering her God's gift! But what was it? What could God's gift be?
Ephesians 2:8 says "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of your selves, it is the gift of God". God's gift is His grace. His unmerited favor. We are sinners and we think, say and do bad things no matter how hard we try not to, and we deserve to be punished for that. But because God loves us, He forgives us and offers us His grace. He then pardons us of our sins, and Jesus took that punishment on Himself to the cross.
I could go on and on teaching on this scripture, but let me leave you with this. Offered to that woman at the well that day was God's gift of grace, which was wrapped up in Jesus Christ. No matter what kind of life she had lived, how many mistakes she had made, or how much guilt she carried around, Jesus offered her the gift of God's grace. And guess what?!.......What He offered to her, He's offering to you!!
Monday, August 3, 2009
Exodus 14: 10-14 "As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."
Ever see the movie "The Ten Commandments" with Charlton Heston playing the part of Moses? I'm sure you remember from that movie that the climax of Israel's exit from Egypt came at the banks if the Red Sea. There they were with the Red Sea ahead of them, mountains on both sides, and Pharaoh and his army drawing in close from behind. The amazing thing is that no amount of movie magic could possibly capture the true awe of what actually played out that day. Read Exodus 14 for the full story.
Reading that story, you can easily see that with the odds stacked so amazingly against them, there is no doubt that without God's supernatural intervention, they Never Would Have Made It!....Yes, that's the title of a powerful song by Minister Marvin Sapp that has really struck a chord with many people. You can watch his video on You Tube. I think so many people relate to that song because we all can think of times when our backs were against the wall and situations in life, even some of our own making, were about to take us down. We were at the point where there was nothing really that could be done to save us. And if it had not been for the Lord who showed up and showed out, we have to admit, we never would have made it!
If you are facing a Red Sea in your life now, there is something I want you to learn from that story that can help you in your situation. You need to know that your deliverance requires that you take a step of faith. God parted the water, but Israel had to have faith enough to move forward. Can you imagine the courage it took for them to see the "wall of water on their right and their left" (verse 22) and to trust in God enough to walk through that. That's the same faith you need right now to keep moving ahead in your life inspite of what you are facing. And guess what, that faith is in you! Just believe in God, trust that He cares for you, and take a step forward, not by what you see, but by your faith in God. I don't know what that step is, but ask God and He will show you. And as soon as He does, you take it!
Just like Israel, you can't turn around now. You have come too far. But at the same time, you can't stand still. You have to keep moving forward. Your deliverance, your help, your peace, your answer is just ahead.
As Moses told Israel, "Do not be afraid, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today..."(verse 13). One day soon, all of what is in front of you will be behind you, and you will have to tell everyone, that if God had not parted your waters, you never would have made it!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Genesis 32: 25-26 "And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me."
I am following-up on my thoughts from my last posting titled "Wrestling with God." As I mentioned, God is very precise in choosing His words. With that in mind, I was curious to know why was it that when God wrestled with Jacob, He struck the hollow of his thigh (hip). Perhaps one reason was that it was a way to stop Jacob from running. Jacob had been literally running, because he was afraid that the consequences of his poor choices were about to catch up with him. But with his hip hurting, he could no longer run.
We try to run too. We try to flee from who we are and what God wants to do with us. We try to escape by pursuing worldly things; sometimes by avoiding church or God's people. Sometimes we even try to escape through drugs or alcohol. We run, but the fact is we can never get away from the two people that we are ultimately trying to escape...God and ourselves!
Sooner or later, by God's grace, He will stop us from running (the easy way or the hard way...its your choice), and He will wrestle with us. His goal in doing so is not to destroy us, but to change us. Jacob wrestled until the break of day. Some of you have been wrestling all night, and you feel like its over for you, that you won't survive. Just hold on because the sun is about to rise in your life, and the day that breaks will be a bright new day. You will be a whole new person with a whole new life. God changed his name from Jacob (trickster) to Israel (Prince with God). You too will have a new name. You will no longer be known by what you used to do; you will be a Prince with God.
So if you are still wrestling with God, hold on. I know the night is dark and the pain is great, but you are about to see a brand new day dawn in your life. God is holding on to you because He loves you. Don't let go!!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Genesis 32: 24-25 "And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him."
Jacob was an interesting character in the Bible, who had an extraordinary walk with God. Like all of us, he had a sordid past that he was not proud of. He had managed to live up to his name (literal meaning "trickster"), and cheated his brother out of his birthright (read Genesis 27). And now he is on the run in fear of the consequences of his poor life choices. Ever been there? I have? But what I had to realize was that what I was trying to run from was not a circumstance, a consequence, or even another person. What Jacob and I both were trying to run from was ourselves. Jacob and I had to eventually stop running and allow God to deal with, or wrestle with...ME!
There are several points I'd like to cover in this sermon blog on this passage, but for now I will cover two that I think will help someone reading this, and then I will follow-up with my next posting.
The first thing to note is that Jacob was alone. God often needs to get us to ourselves in order to work on us. Distractions from other people and other things make it difficult to look within to see the change that needs to start with "me". So if you are feeling lonely, and it seems everyone has left you, maybe its that God has gotten you to yourself so that He can work on you.
Another thing that jumped out at me as I meditated on this passage was that the Bible says they "wrestled". I believe God is purposeful and precise with His choice of every word, so there had to be a reason He chose "wrestled" and not boxed, or raced, or argued, or the hundreds of other words He could have chosen. The reason I believe He chose this is because of the nature of wrestling. Let me explain.
I must admit that I like watching Ultimate Fighting. For those not familiar, it is a type of fighting that involves what they call Mixed Martial Arts; basically the fighters use all kinds of styles and techniques. Some start off boxing, or kicking, or elbowing, or you name it. But they often times end up on the mat wrestling, more or less. As I watch that, I see that wrestling is slow, drawn out, tiring, and involves very close contact. I mean they roll around on that mat and really get all up in each other's business, if you know what I mean.
That's why God chose to wrestle with Jacob and with us, because that requires us to have close contact with Him. That involves Him getting entangled with us, getting all up in our business, reaching into every corner and curve of our lives. Why? Well, because He doesn't want to just black our eye, which changes how we look on the outside, but will fade after a few days. No, He wants to really get in there and work on those things deep inside of who we are, and change us from the inside out.
Someone reading this is feeling what I have felt. You feel worn out and weary because of the wrestling. You feel all alone and you are dealing with some inner struggles that seem the be getting the best of you. Don't you worry. Though it feels bad, God is working on your good. He is getting in there and fighting those things in you that if left alone will destroy you. I know that because of this painful and seemingly unending struggle you are going through its hard for you to understand it, but God is doing this because He loves you. If He didn't, He wouldn't go to the trouble, and leave you the way you are or were.
Just hold on, let God do His work, and know that the outcome is......You Win!!
Monday, May 25, 2009
Do you have big plans for the future? Maybe you're a child or adolescent and you dream about what you will be when you grow up. Maybe you are teen at or near graduation and you are thinking about education or work beyond high school. Maybe you're an adult and you're planning to start a family, changing your career, or saving for retirement. All of us try to look as far up the road as we can and have great hopes for the future. But to get to tomorrow, we've got to make it through TODAY.
When David was but a boy, the prophet Samuel anointed him to be the next king of Israel. This young, rosy cheeked shepherd boy was to become the great king of God's chosen people. But between the time he was anointed, and the time he was appointed, he had a great hurdle to overcome. That hurdle was over 9 feet tall and went by the name Goliath. On that morning in the Valley of Elah, David's future wasn't as much a concern to him as was what he faced that day.
Someone reading this blog right now is having a hard time hoping for your tomorrow because you can't see past what you are facing today. Though your giant may go by a different name, I'm sure its just as big, and just as determined to defeat you. Maybe its your health, your finances, your marriage, bullies at school, an addiction, or the loss of a loved one. This giant is staring down at you, and you don't think you are going to make it through today.
Of course you know that David did make it past his giant to reach his tomorrow. But how? Well, he did two things. First, he reminded himself of how God had helped him to overcome his giants in the past. David remembered when God helped him defeat a lion and a bear. Just think back for a moment of times past when you faced other situations and how God, through His power and mercy, delivered you then. Guess what!? He'll do it again!
Secondly, David was not afraid because he knew that it was God's fight and not his. He boldly proclaimed to his enemy, "All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands." Though God has brought you to this fight, and He will bring you through this fight, you should know...it is really not your fight. You are His vessel, His instrument by which He will bring Himself glory.
So count yourself blessed that God has given you front row seats, and prepare to watch Him show up and show out. Just remember that God is in control, He is mighty in battle and though you can't see it right now because of the giant you are facing, He will bring you to victory. So you can keep on Hoping for Tomorrow, While Facing Your Today!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Pop quiz question of the day. "What was Moses' mother's name?"....(Can you hear in your head that music from Jeopardy?)...What?! You mean to tell me you don't know Moses' mother's name? Don't bother looking in Exodus 2 to find it. Her name is not mentioned there. And don't bother beating yourself up about it. I didn't know either before I was studying for this sermon and really searched for it.
Her name was Jochebed (Exodus 6:20 & Number 26:59). Isn't that amazing that as iconic of a figure Moses is all around the world, among many religions and the non-religious, his mother nearly goes nameless and largely unknown. But isn't that like many strong mothers. Their work so far reaching, yet so unnoticed. If you really look down to the foundation of many families, most churches, and throughout society, you will see...the Faith of a Mother.
Look at Jochebed's faith. She had the faith to take her son after hiding him for protection from the decree of Pharaoh to kill all the baby boys born to Hebrew women (read the full story Exodus 1-2). Then in a desparate effort to save him, she put her son in a basket and her faith in the Lord, and sent him down the Nile River. She had no idea what awaited him down that river, but she knew...God did. That's the faith of a mother.
And of course, God worked it all out. While she was lying in bed crying over her son, God was redirecting the alligators, calming the waters, and controlling the weather. Then He prompted Moses' sister Miriam to follow him down the river, gave Pharoah's daughter the notion to go down to to bathe at the perfect moment, put compassion in her heart to want to save the baby and a bright idea in her head to get a Hebrew mother to nurse him (Moses own mother none-the-less).
But when Jochebed kneeled at the bank of the river, with her baby in that basket, she didn't know all that would happen. She couldn't see that far down the river, metaphorically speaking. What gave her strength and peace to send her son down the Nile, to watch him slowly drift away from her?...a Mother's Faith.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
If you are familiar with the story of Job, then you can understand why he would ask,
"Where then is my hope?". Job lost his possessions, his family, and his health. The only thing left to lose other than his life was all hope.
Many of you reading this can empathize with Job. Maybe it has been so long since you have seen a mountain top, you think all that's left is the valley. Maybe you have been through a viscous and downward spiraling cycle that has taken you from bad to worse in the blink of an eye. Sometimes when I preach, I can see that kind of weariness in the eyes of the heavy laden. The look that says, "I give up". Sometimes that look can be seen in my own eyes.
I believe if you look within yourself, you will see what Job saw, and what I have seen. If you dig down and pull back the rubble that has piled up in your life, the sickness, the broken promises, the financial ruin, the failed marriage, whatever it is, just pull it back and you will see that under all of that debris, is still a seed of faith. Now you may be saying, "no all my faith is gone, there's too much bad for me to believe in anything good". Trust me, that seed of faith is still there. How do I know? Look in the mirror. Get close enough for your breath to fog it up, and you will see...You're still here! If it wasn't for that seed of faith, what you have been through would have killed you or caused you to lose your mind.
See, its that faith that gives you hope. Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for..." Though Job wavered, complained and doubted, he still had faith enough to say, 'Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." (Job 13:15) That seed of faith gave him hope.
The Hebrew word for hope is tigvah (tik-vah) and its literal meaning is a chord, rope or string. So when you feel like everything is going wrong, and you are hanging on by a string, hope is that string. So I say to you, if you think all hope is lost, tie a knot in that string and hang on! As long as you have faith in God, you just know...There Is Hope For You!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Matthew 5: 14-16 "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
The bible often shows the contrast between light and darkness, obviously using something we understand in the physical to help us understand a concept in the spiritual. Light represents purity, holiness, and a relationship with God. Darkness represents sin and distance from God.
Jesus here in Matthew says that we, i.e believers, are the light of the world. Wow, that is an awesome statement. This is a dark and scary world we live in. Just look around you, or listen to the news. You will see that this world is full of darkness, and yet our Lord says you and I are the light for this world.
See it works like this. God is light (1 John 1:5), and once we are saved He lives within us. Therefore His light is in us. Those people around us that are not Christians are wondering around in spiritual darkness trying to find their way. They are walking down a dark road. You and I are the only one with a flashlight. They are stumbling, unable to tell where they are going. Some have wondered into the ditch, others pointed in the wrong direction, or worse headed for destruction. They need our light. So it is critical that we let our light shine among men, so that we can lead people out of that darkness.
Sometimes we feel uncomfortable being different, and sometimes those in the darkness don't want the light, and therefore don't want to see us coming. So we are tempted to hide our light, so we can blend in. That will only mean destruction for everyone.
The darker this world gets, the more it needs your light. So, Let Your Light Shine!
Are you walking in darkness, trying to find your way? You going through life, but it has no meaning? I was like that too. You should Try Jesus!
Monday, April 20, 2009
Jonah 1:1-2 "Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me."
You may be familiar with the story of Jonah and the Whale, as it's traditionally known. If you know the story from beginning to end, you know that its a story of the success of a ministry in spite of the failure of the minister. God gave Jonah very direct and explicit instructions. He was to go to Nineveh and warn them to change their wicked ways or God was going to bring destruction to them. Having his mission and his direction, Jonah immediately prepared himself, gathered his things, and got on a ship....going in the opposite direction. Not because he misread his boarding pass or because he didn't know where Nineveh was, but he intentionally avoided doing what God called him to do. What God wanted him to do did not match what Jonah wanted to do.
You ever experienced that? You ever felt God leading you to do something you didn't want to do? Ever come across something you knew was the right thing, but just didn't want to do it? I have. We have various reasons why we don't want to. Jonah's was because he didn't like the people of Nineveh, and didn't feel like they deserved the warning. Sometimes its for selfish reasons like that, or laziness, or fear, or whatever it is. Nonetheless we often go in the opposite direction of our purpose.
There's not enough time in this blog to cover all of Jonah's adventure, but you should read the Story of Jonah. You'll see that every time Jonah tried to step off the path of his purpose, God brought him right back. God used the wind, a whale, and a worm to get him back on course. I think you will see that this story teaches us three basic truths:
- Running from your purpose does not change your purpose, it just delays the fulfillment of it. From the foundation of the world, God already decided His reasons for creating you and saving you, and (now here is the real big pill that's hard to swallow) ultimately that reason is not about you, its about Him.
- God has a path mapped out for you. He has a plan for getting you from point A to point Z. Sometimes we can only see as far as point D, and from our perspective and without understanding of what point Z is, point D makes no sense and is either scary or unappealing. So we try to take a detour, shortcut, or like Jonah, turn and go the other way. (Another big pill alert) The fact is, you are going to point Z, its God's will. So either you can go the easy way, or the hard, whaley, windy, wormy way.
- Though you may not be able to see it or understand it, God's way is the best way. Praying for God's will, accepting God's will, and living God's will for your life is the best way for you. Don't go on how things look around you, or how you think things will turn out. Trust in God, and know that He loves you and has your best in mind. Going God's way will bring blessings to others and to you.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
At the end of Jesus' journey here on earth, He turned His attention and teaching to His disciples to prepare them for His departure. Between the time He returned to Jerusalem (Palm Sunday as we observe) and the time of His crucifixion (Good Friday), He spent a lot of quality time with the 12. At the Passover feast, which would be His last, our Savior humbled Himself and washed the disciples feet; even Judas though He knew he would betray Him. As He looked ahead to coming events, Jesus foretold of the betrayal of Judas and the denial of Peter. He also spoke to them of both His departure and His ultimate return.
In verse 19 of the Gospel of John, chapter 14, Jesus said something very profound that should resonate with us at this Easter season. He said "...because I live, ye shall live also." Just think of what that means, because He lives! What if He were dead? What if He didn't rise on the third day? What if they had found more than an empty tomb? Everything would be drastically and eternally different.
Meditate on this. Because He Lives....
...we know that His word is true. He told us He would rise on the third day and He did. And since He kept His word on that, we can have faith in His promise to return for His people (that includes me; does it include you?). Jesus said "Let not your heart be troubled...I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again..."
...we can live. Because He lives, we now have the holy spirit to comfort and guide us. This is a tough world to live in, and without that help, how would we make it?
....we will live. Most importantly, because He lives, we can believe in His return and our place in Heaven is secured, if we only believe.
Billions of people all around the world pray to dead gods who can not hear them, much less save them. But Jesus is alive! And to echo the words of that great hymn, I know that life is worth living just because He lives.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."
Paul wrote this letter to the church in Corinth, a place close to Greece, and a people very familiar with the Olympic games that first started there. He spoke in terms they could understand, a race. Paul implied that a Christian life is less like a sprint, short and fast, and more like a long distance marathon. Life is a long stretch that spans over hills and valleys. In order to endure this long distance race of life, we must do three things according to this scripture passage.
- We must go into "strict training". An Olympic marathon runner, even months before the race, will train everyday and be very particular about what they put into their bodies. Likewise, we need to train daily, ie. read the word and pray every day, and be careful of what we put into our bodies, not only what we eat, but what we watch, read, and hear.
- We are not to "run aimlessly". We are to run with a goal in mind; the end. Too many of us are living for today, and tomorrow, but not for eternity. Do you want to go to heaven? Do you want the ones you care about to go to heaven? Are you living like you do? We are to run discplined lives, ignoring distractions that will get us off course.
- We must "beat [our] body and make it [our] slave". To run a race, you must have discipline. Discipline is the process of training your body to do what it does not have a natural tendency to do. A body does not have the natural ability to run a 26 mile marathon. Even the greatest long distance runners could not run that far on their first try; likely not even close to it. In fact when you try, your body will do whatever it can to stop you. Your lungs will tighten, you'll have a pain in your side, and your feet will burn. Your body will scream out to you to STOOOOPPP! But, a determined athlete will keep going, beating its body into submission. So too, we do not have the natural ability to live up to the commandments of God. Our flesh has a tendency to pull us away from Him. Don't believe me? Just think about how sleepy you always get when you decide to read the bible; how hard it is to turn the other cheek; or how easy it is to covet material things others have. Nevertheless, a disciplined Christian learns to tell its flesh, No!
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Fear is one of the greatest hindrances that will plaque your life. It is the wet blanket that stifles the flames of your hopes and dreams. Many a plans, ambitions and good intentions have died untimely deaths because of fear.
What do you fear? Speaking before a group of people? Dogs? Water? Losing your job? Have you ever thought to yourself, What could I do if I were not afraid? Just think about how awesome your life could be, that happiness you could experience, what you could accomplish, or the people you could reach.
Peter had the amazing experience of walking on water with Jesus, but it was cut very short because of his fear. At first he saw Jesus walking on water and that so motivated him that he forgot about the contrary wind and how the ship was tossed to and fro, and he stepped out on faith, believing in himself, and more importantly believing in Jesus. But once he was on the water, the reality of what was supernaturally occurring set in, and his mind rationalized that he could not do...what he was actually doing. His mind told him, "you can't walk on water" even though he was already doing it. Fear is a strange and powerful force, and the fearful threats we concoct in our mind are often much greater than what actually exists.
Jesus' response to Peter was intriguing. The Savior said, "Oh thou of little faith." What the Lord was trying to teach Peter that day, and what He is trying to teach us now is that fear and faith cannot exist in the same heart and mind at the same time. If you are of great fear, then you must be of little faith. Conversely, if you are of great faith, then it stands to reason that you are of...(say it with me now) LITTLE FEAR! Riiiiighttt...! You got it.
- Fear is natural, so don't be too hard on yourself for being afraid. We're all afraid of something, and God loves you, fears and all.
- A spirit of fear, or an overpowering fear that prevents you from being all that you are purposed to be and doing all that you are purposed to do, is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7).
- Ignoring your fear doesn't fix it, it feeds it. You can't overcome your fear of Bart the Bully by going the long way home from school, because your fear is not in him, its in you.
- When you feel consumed by your fears, remember that Jesus is always there with you; just call on Him and He will reach out His hand to help you.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Isaiah 59:19 "So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him."
Isaiah prophesied to Israel in a time when they had turned away from God, and were experiencing the trouble that comes from doing so. I want to point out that God's relationship with Isreal in the Bible, is a picture of His relationship with the collective Body of Christ today, not the world at large, but His chosen people, the Church. So when we read here in Isaiah His warnings to Israel, they are warnings that should be heeded by the Church today. You may be thinking, well my local church is not like that, we have not turned from God. Well maybe yours hasn't, but it should concern you just as much that others have, because we are all "one body". I put it like this, if the foot is infected with cancer, then worry should be on the head, cause sooner or later, and before you know it, the cancer is surely to spread."
Isaiah tells us that Israel's sins "have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear" (verse 2), and during that time their enemies in surrounding lands were able to come in against them during their weakened spiritual state. So the enemy was coming in like a flood. You ever feel like that? Feel like the enemy, temptation, worries, troubles, or sickness, is not just trickling into your life, its coming in like a flood. I remember noticing the Morton salt box when I was a kid and it had a picture of a girl on it with an umbrella with the tag line "When it rains, it pours". That's how it seems in my life sometimes. You ever feel like that?
Think about what a flood is. Each drop of rain by itself is small and harmless, but when the drops keep falling and falling and falling, then the ditches start to swell (or street gutters for you city folk), and then the creek, and then the river, until its more than what it can handle. However, water is good. We need it to live, and over 70% of our body is made of it. So really a flood is too much...of a good thing. Many of us have been flooded by too much of a good thing, like maybe money, influence, freedom, etc., and now the enemy is coming in like a flood and we feel like we are going to drown. Its too much to handle.
But hold on. Look at verse 19. Isaiah says that when the enemy comes in like a flood, and he will, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. Do you know what a standard is? In military terms, its a flag that is raised to claim a conquered territory. Remember in those old war movies there was one on the front of the charging force, one who carried a flag, and if he fell, another would pick up that flag and march on with it. It would often be staked at the top of a hill to proclaim victory, that this is now our territory, and we are letting you know that we will fight to keep it.
Think about it. God is saying that no matter what enemies are coming at you all at once, satan, money, temptation, sex, power, sickness, death, no matter what...God is lifting up His flag, staking His claim in your life, and proclaiming this one is mine, I have fought for him or her, I have already defeated the enemy on the cross, and now I claim this territory as mine!
Oh my goodness, this gives me chills. I get so down sometimes when so many things are going wrong and coming against me. I have matured as a christian I think, and there are a lot of things I can handle through faith, prayer and obedience that I couldn't before. But when so many things come in at me at one time, when the enemy comes in like a flood, I feel overwhelmed and that I can't make it, and honestly I want to give up sometimes. I really believe that the Lord has me typing this on this early Saturday morning because there will be at least one who will read it who is going through a flood right now. I know how you feel. Be encouraged and have hope in knowing that God knows what you and I are going through, and even when we feel like giving up on the fight, He never ever will!
So, don't give up, keep on fighting, and RAISE UP YOUR FLAG!!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Hosea 1:2,3 "When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, "Go, take to yourself a prostitute and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD." So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son."
The story of Hosea in the scope of biblical history and prophesy is about the Kingdom of Israel's waywardness from God, His initial judgment upon them, yet His ultimate forgiveness of them. But as you look deeper into the story of Hosea, we can all place ourselves into it and see our own failings, and God's mercy towards us in spite of them.
God told Hosea to find a prostitute and marry her. What a strange command. He was to find this woman, labeled in another translation as adulterous and yet another as a woman of whoredom; this woman who had been promiscuous, indiscriminate about those with whom she had and would share her most intimate self, and he was to ask her "will you marry me".
Nor more outlandish that was than the fact that a holy God, would offer Himself to us, an unholy people. For we too like Gomer are "guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD". Maybe not adultery in the literal since of the word, but yes we all at times have "run out" on God. We have given more time and attention to the things of this world than the one who created it. We have pursued the lusts of our flesh, courted the wealth of this world, and abandoned the lover of our souls.
But know this. The beauty of God's loves is that it is unconditional. He does not offer His love based on what you do, nor will He withdraw it because of what you do. He simply loves you. He knows exactly who you are and what you have done, and yet and still He reaches out to you and asks, "Will you marry me?".
Revelation 19: 7 says "Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready." Jesus is the groom and we are His bride. He has paid our bride price with His own life, He has fashioned a ring from the nails that pierced His hands and feet, He has gone to prepare a home, and there He waits until the time is right to return for His bride.
He knows you and yet He loves you. He's down on His bended and wounded knee and proposes to you "Will you marry me?" And I have one question...Will you say..."I Do"!?
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
1 Kings 17: 2,3 "And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan."
When you read of Elijah's story in 1 Kings 17, you will see the prophet received several commands from God to...Go. God tells him to Go and hide by the brook Cherith, then later the brook dries up and He tells Elijah to Go to Zarephath to meet a widow where He would provide for him, and Elijah would save her son. Then the Lord tells him to Go and deliver a message to King Ahab. God did great and mighty things through Elijah only because he was quick to obey Him no matter the challenge or the perceived outcome. When God said GO, Elijah would GO.
There is a song I like that Karen Clark-Sheard sang that says, "The safest place in the whole wide world is in the will of God...so when God says Go...Go!" That is so true. Sometimes God says stay, but many times He says GO! Think of others in the bible. What if Abraham didn't Go into the land that God promised to show him, or Moses didn't Go down to Egypt and deliver the children of Israel, or Jeremiah didn't Go down to the potters house, or Naaman didn't Go down to the Jordan to be healed. What if Jesus didn't Go up on Calvary to die for your sins?
What if I didn't Go down to the alter that Sunday morning about 11 years ago, or Go to my pastor and tell him the Lord had called me to preach about 9 years ago, or Go to my desk and type this blog tonight about 10 minutes ago? What if?
I know where you are in your life, your relationships, your job, your church, or your ministry may be really familiar and really comfortable, but perhaps God is telling you to Go. Don't Go for the wrong reasons though. Elijah went and hid in the cave out of fear, and God asked him "What doest thou here". Don't Go out of fear, or desire for notoriety, or to follow the crowd, or for selfish ambition. But listen for His still small voice, and if He is telling you to Go, its because He wants to bless you or be a blessing through you, or both.
So when God says Go......Go!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Matthew 8:1-3 "When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.
We use the word footprint to describe a lot of things. We talk about footprints in the sand, footprints across my heart, and the footprint of a house. We can even calculate our carbon footprint, which is a measurement of our negative impact on the environment. Specifically, a footprint is the mark or impression made by a foot. Its what you leave behind when you track through a room, or walk down a path. Every where we go, we leave our footprints, both literally and figuratively.
Jesus here in Matthew left His footprint in the life of this man with leprosy. He was suffering from an incurable, highly contagious, socially degrading disease. When no one else would even get close to him, Jesus reached out and touched him. That was probably enough to fill his heart with joy. But the Savior didn't stop there. He healed him. He cured the incurable, and gave hope to him who was hopeless. What a footprint Jesus left in that man's life.
Metaphorically speaking, we too leave our footprints in the lives of others. With the things we say and do, we leave our mark or impression. That can either be a good footprint or a bad one. We may meet someone momentarily and leave a shallow impression, with either a smile or maybe a harsh word. For some others, we leave a deep and lasting impression that can affect them negatively or positively for the rest of their life.
Right now, close your eyes and think of someone who has left their footprints in your life, either good or bad. If the person you are thinking of has left a bad mark in your life, maybe even a scar, forgive them in your heart, and pray that God will help you to never leave a bad impression like that in someone else's life. If you are thinking of someone who left a good impression in your life, do whatever you can to pay it forward, and be that same kind of influence in the life of someone else. Also, thank that person if you have the chance.
Remember, wherever you go, you are always leaving your footprints.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Acts 9:3-4 "And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?"
We often are judged, or judge ourselves, in terms of who we are by what we do. We say, there's that doctor, or that preacher, or that drunk or drug attic. But really who we are is not just what we are doing at this moment or phase in our life, but rather a collection of experiences, thoughts and beliefs all along our path in life. That path is carrying us from who we are today towards who we will be tomorrow, and next year, and so on. That path is not a straight one. Its filled with hills, valleys, bumps, potholes, detours, and stop signs, but its a path that is taking us in a general direction.
Remember when you were young, or younger, and you thought of what you wanted to be when you "grew up". There are probably few of us adults that have actually arrived at the place where we thought we would be, for better or worse. I know I sure didn't (for better). As you continue to move forward on your path in life, you have to ask yourself, Am I going to be who I was going to be?
Paul, as written here in the Book of Acts, was on a definite path. He was a man very knowledgeable of Judaism and Hebrew law, yet very zealous about persecuting Christians. Here we read that he was on the road to Damascus, on his way to arrest Christians for simply believing and teaching Christ. He was on his path, but something happened on the way. He encountered Jesus at a crucial and spiritual fork in his road. He became a new person on a new path in life. In fact he was not going to be who he was going to be.
Before I met Jesus on my path in life, I was generally a good person, but I was headed down a road of destruction. Now I'm on a new path. Like a fork in the road, when I first went a new way, I was not far from who I was going to be. At first you could not tell a big difference between who I was and who I was going to be. As time went on, the new me grew more and more different from who I was going to be.
What path are you on right now? All paths will have ups and downs, but it is either one that leads you closer to God, or away from Him. If you are on the wrong path, this very moment you are reading this blog is your fork in the road. Choose a new way. Choose Jesus. Or maybe you have recently chosen a new direction, but you are feeling discouraged because things don't seem much different. You still struggle with the same struggles. I say to you, keep going. Don't turn back. You're on the right path.
Robert Frost wrote, 'Two roads diverged in the woods, and I took the one less traveled; and that has made all the difference." Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life". He provides the path, but only you can choose it. Only you can answer the question, Am I going to be who I was going to be.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Daniel 3: 25 "He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God."
The Maltese Cross has come to be known as the symbol of firefighters. The way its typically drawn now, its hard to tell its a cross, but it is. Ever wonder the history behind it? Well here it is.
In the 1500's, there was an order of knights, the Knights of St. John, on the Isle of Malta. Malta is an island nation located in the Mediterranean Sea. The knights participated in the fight against a group of muslims called the Saracens to regain control of Jerusalem. The Saracens used a cruel weapon which involved throwing bottles filled with a highly flammable liquid into the ranks of the Crusaders, followed by flaming torches. Many of the Knights of St. John were burned alive, and others risked their own life to save their brothers from dying a painful, fiery death. Some, in putting out the flames of their brother, would themselves be engulfed and lose their own life.
These knights were much like today's brave firefighters, who willingly rush into the flames at their own peril to save another. That bravery was painfully displayed on 9/11 when 343 New York firefighters lost their lives running into burning buildings, while everyone else was running out. God Bless those brave knights.
In the book of Daniel, we see these Hebrew boys facing their own fiery trial. As they were thrown into the fiery furnace, perhaps there were some of their closest friends who stood by, wishing they could do something to help them, but all failed to summon the courage to risk it all to go in and save them...except one. There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. King Nebuchadnezzar looked in expecting to see the charred remains of those boys, but instead he saw 4 men loose, and one of them looked like the Son of God.
See just like those boys, we too have a friend that sees us in the burning building of our lives, our circumstances, our hurt, or our habits. And when no one else can or will come in and save us, JESUS WILL! In fact, He already has. One day Jesus rushed into a burning building while everyone was running out; Peter ran out, John ran out, everyone ran out. He dowsed the flames of sin that was consuming us, and took them on Himself, and He died on the cross. John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends"
So when you are facing the fiery furnaces in your life, and you will, know that Jesus will take you through the fire. Remember the Maltese cross and the Savior that died on it for you.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Luke 4:32 "And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power."
In my last blog, I addressed the need to read God's Word on a regular basis, and the fact that many do not read it nearly enough. I will confess, that I need to read it more. I ask that you pray for me that I will discipline myself to read the word everyday, and the Holy Spirit will keep in me a craving to do so. So lets share a little on the Power of the Word.
When Jesus walked on earth, His presence and demeanor in itself commanded no real respect. In appearances, the scriptures say there was nothing special about Him. When Judas betrayed Him and brought the Roman guards to arrest Him, he approached Jesus so they would know which one to arrest. Unlike Kind David and others described in scripture, Jesus did not physically overshadow those around Him. But when He spoke, oh His word was with power! The word for power here is exousia, meaning authority. It was not how He looked, but what He said that got people's attention. What many who where there to hear Him with their own ears failed to realize was that He was the very word that He spoke.
3 things to remember about the Power of God's Word:
1. The Word is God, and God is His Word. John 1:1 "In the beginning the Word was with God, and the Word was God." We cannot have God in our life without having His word in our life. Many people want to be close to God, but don't want to read His Word. Impossible!
2. God's Word is forever. Isaiah 40:8 "The grass withereth and the flower fades, but the word of God shall stand forever." Even the words of the greatest speakers and writers will one day become irrelevant, but God's Word will stand the test of time.
3. It is God's Word that Saves us. Romans 10:17 "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
We live in a tough world, and the only thing that will help us defeat the devils in our life, even if that devil bares our name, is the word of God. When Jesus was confronted by satan after having fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He didn't confront him with an arsenal or an army, but with the Word. So to prevail in the battles you face in life, take up the sword which is the word of God, and fight on, because there is Power in the Word.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
I ran a survey here on Reverend Evans asking how often you read your Bible. Obviously the results are far from scientific and no where near enough people responded for it to be considered an adequate sampling. Nevertheless, you can see that 12% reported reading the Bible rarely, 50% weekly, and 3% daily. I think this is fairly representative of the people that would read my blog, i.e. Christians interested in studying and learning from God's word.
I would venture to guess that if we could sample thousands, both Christian and non-christian, "churched" and "unchurched", (and if people were honest), we would find that we would have a larger percentage towards the rarely and never end of the scale. Why do I say that, you ask? Well, I really believe that every time a person reads the Bible, there is a change. Whether big or small, noticed or undetected, there is a change. The Bible is just that powerful. But, when I look around I can scarcely see the evidence of change in people's lives.
I can only guess as to why people don't read God's Word....and yes I'll be happy to share them with you (thanks for asking). Let me just share a couple reasons why I think many church-going Christians don't read the Bible enough.
- I think even many regular church goers don't read the word for themselves, but rely on the preacher to "give them a word". I hear preachers say that sometimes "I got a word from the Lord for you" or "God sent me here to tell you..." and they go on giving their opinions and not expounding on the Word of God. You know what, everything God has to say to us is IN HIS WORD! READ IT!
- I believe that we all lead such busy lives, that we have allowed God's Word to be pushed aside. We don't realize we are doing that because we comfort ourselves with the notion that "I made it to church today and got a good word, and now I feel better". But God's Word is as important as eating, and we wouldn't survive very long only eating one big meal every Sunday, would we?. Job said "I esteem thee more than my necessary food".
God ordered my steps and I was educated as a teacher and spent a few years teaching high school. So let me teach you God's Word. I can help you not only learn God's Word, but also learn how to learn God's Word.
Leave a comment and tell us why you think people don't read the Bible like they should.
I will soon blog on a snippet from a sermon I preached on The Power of the Word. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
One of the side affects of living such a busy life, is that I sleep through all my dreams now. I rarely remember any of my dreams, and I feel like I'm missing out. However, I still use waking moments to daydream. I love to dream about what will be or what could be. I imagine myself living in and up to the fullness of God, and I try not to let the cold shock of reality steal from me the promises that a dream can bring. It is my ability to dream that keeps me positive, motivated, and in touch with God's plan for my life.
Joseph was a dreamer too. God blessed him with a gift to dream and interpret dreams, not only his own, but also dreams of others. In fact, it was through dreams that God revealed His plan to Joseph. But not everyone was excited about what his dream revealed. Even his own brothers hated him for what God promised Joseph through his dreams.
Here are three things to remember and live by...
Rely on God's eyes and not yours. We can only see to the corner, but God can see around the corner. 1 Corinthians 2:9 "Eyes have not seen, nor ears heard...the things God has prepared for them that love Him."
Look up and not around. Don't count yourself out based on what you see right now. Where you are right now may look nothing like your future. Look to God for your strength and guidance. Psalm 121:1 "I will lift up mine eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help, my help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth."
Live by what you believe and not what you see. We believe in a God that we cannot behold, and with that same faith we must live by what He says, and not what we see. 2 Corinthians 5:7 "For we walk by faith and not by sight".
For all you dreamers out there like me, I want you to be aware that some and often many will mock your dreams, and even hate you for them. Some of you will find your dreams quite hard to believe in because they stand in such contrast to what your reality may be right now. But in spite of how bleak things may seem, or the negativity the "haters" will bring, I've got two words for you...DREAM...ON!!
Monday, March 16, 2009
Psalm 51:1-3 "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me."
David's prayer recorded here in Psalm 51 came at a time of deep sorrow in his life. The sin he had committed by taking the wife of another man and having that man killed was pointed out to him by the prophet Nathan (read about it in 2 Samuel Ch. 12). I can imagine that at the moment he truly realized the wrong he had done, a huge wave of regret flooded his heart.
Any of you readers have any regrets? As you look over the pages of your life, reviewing the story of your own making, you probably flip through pages that chronicle many joys and accomplishments for which you are mighty proud. But the truth be told, maybe not to me or anyone else, there are also many pages in there that you wish you could forget. We all have them, I know I do. Sometimes we like to compare ourselves to others and boast that we have fewer pages, but we all have them; and God is not pleased with one single page.
Here is the good news. The bible says in Jeremiah 31:34 "...I will forgive their iniquities and remember their sins no more..." and Micah 7:19 reads "You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea." Wow, that is great news for me! How about you?
Regret can be a tremendous force in your life. It can steal your joy and wipe away your dreams. If you flip through the pages of your life and find there some that you regret were ever written, just know that God loves you, He cares for you, and if you ask Him, He will forgive you. And you can rest assured that God knows how to forgive and forget. If you have done that, then go ahead and.....Rip Out the Pages!
If you have some things that you really regret, and you want God to forgive you and help you get past them, why not post a comment (anonymously if you like), reach out to the Lord and let us all pray for you.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
James 5:16 "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."
I'm sure that many of you have experienced the true power of prayer. You have prayed and it did more than offer you an opportunity to get things off your chest. It was more than a vain attempt to hope in something higher. You have prayed and seen things change. Maybe not right then; maybe not how you imagined or planned, but you prayed and things changed. I know I have.
James here writes, "the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective". You know as we read the bible, our eyes often focus on the things we want to focus on, at the exclusion of very important truths. When I first read this verse, my eyes zoomed in on the part about prayer being powerful and effective. I then started to imagine me praying for things I want, and I receiving them. But I overlooked the disclaimer...of a righteous man.
That does not mean that a person who is always good, will always get what he or she prays for. Righteous man here means one who has the righteousness of Christ, or more plainly put, is right with God. The only way we can get right with God is to have Jesus in our heart. Then God no longer sees our righteousness, which the Word describes as filthy rags, but instead sees the righteousness of Christ, which was substituted for us on the cross.
Are you right with God? Before you can have powerful and effective prayers, you have to believe in Jesus and claim Him as your savior. Psalm 66:18 says "If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened".
Receive Jesus, and you will find out that There's Power in Prayer!
Have you seen the real power in prayer? Why not leave a comment and share your experience.