Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

When God Says Go....


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!


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Try Jesus!




Saturday, March 28, 2009

Footprints


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.

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Try Jesus!



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Am I Going to Be Who I Was Going to Be?


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.

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Try Jesus!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

He'll Take You Through the Fire.


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.

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Try Jesus!




Monday, March 23, 2009

The Power of the Word.


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.


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Try Jesus!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I've Got a Word From God!


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".
I encourage you to read your Bible. Even if you are an avid reader of my blog, which I hope you are or will be, use it as a pathway into reading your Bible. Read the context of the scripture references I give. Take the topics I discuss, and search it in your Bible. This is a Word-blog an not an Eric-blog. I promise to bring you to, and help you understand the Word. That is my calling, and to be honest, I don't really have a whole lot to say outside of talking about God and His word. :)

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.

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Try Jesus!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dream On!

Genesis 37:5 "Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more"

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!!


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Try Jesus!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rip Out the Pages


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.

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Try Jesus!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

There's Power In Prayer!!



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!

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Try Jesus!


Have you seen the real power in prayer? Why not leave a comment and share your experience.

Strong Man Full of Weaknesses

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

The story of Samson in the old testament is a fascinating one. He is probably best know for his strength. His feats of great strength included killing a young lion with his bare hands, single-handedly killing a thousand men with only the jawbone of a donkey, and carrying the city gates of Gaza about 38 miles. The strong man competition that is popular today would be a walk in the park for Samson.

Though he was known for his strength, his life was probably most ruled by his weakness. See Samson was a strong man full of weakness. His weakness was for women, and it was eventually a woman, Delilah, who literally brought him to his knees.

Weather we are man or woman, young or old, strapping and strong or frail and feeble, we all have an inner weakness. Maybe its not a weakness for the opposite sex like Samson, but its something. Maybe yours is money, gambling, pornography, or eating. Whatever its name, this secret sin haunts you in the night. And though you try and try, it gets stronger and stronger.

Let me encourage you because God said through Paul that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. It is the fact that we have this and other weaknesses that God can show His power through us. God knows our struggles and He cares. And just because He allows it to go on for while doesn't mean He won't help us. He is either waiting for us to do our part, or He is allowing it to bring out the good in us somehow...or both.

Are you a strong man or woman who is full of weakness? Don't give up. Turn to God. Paul said that His grace is all we need! His power can really show through when we are weak. Be strong in the Lord!

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Try Jesus!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Let Me Hear You Shout....Kaizen!!


2 Corinthians 3:18 "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."

改善 is the Japanese word "Kaizen". It is a "Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life." (www.wikipedia.org). My father-in-law Buck first told me about this practice which they have implemented at his office furniture manufacturing company where he works. This philosophy started in Japanese businesses, including Toyota, which has made them so competitive in the world. Now many American manufactures are adopting the same philosophy in order to compete. The philosophy teaches that you can always make work processes easier, eliminate waste, and improve production. Simply put, there's always room for improvement.

In an earlier blog, I talked about change. We all can change if we want to. But equally important for us to understand, is that change is not a one shot deal, a once in a lifetime occurrence. Some Christians think that once you give your life to Christ and get saved, you clean up the big things, and then that's it. We think as long as we change the really big, obvious things and clean ourselves up enough to go to church, then all we have to do is hold on until the Lord comes. But really and truly God wants us to practice continuous improvement in our lives.

Paul wrote that we are being transformed, the word "being" implying that we are in the process of change. Not, we have changed, but we are being changed. The $5 seminary term is "regeneration". If we truly believe in Jesus, and confess that He is real and we really need Him (Romans 10:9) we are saved in that very moment. That is, the road we will take when we die changes from south-bound to north-bound, if you get my drift. That happens immediately, but our transformation or regeneration is only getting started, and it will continue until we part this life or the Lord returns. So...there is always room for improvement.

Its like cleaning up your house. You first clean up the obvious, the things visitors will see when they come over. You wash the dishes, make the beds, and sweep the floors. We do that as Christians; we stop stealing, cheating, lying, and cursing (at least while others are watching :) But the Lord does not want us to stop there. There is room for Kaizen. What about the cobwebs in the corner, the dirt under the couch...the gossiping, the jealousy that hides in your heart, the anger, hurt and unforgiveness that you hold on to.

Brothers and sisters, let's move forward. Let's allow God to continue to improve us. As Christians, its like we're swimming up river. Its hard, but with God's power it can be done. But you have to keep on striving, pushing, praying, and obeying. You have to keep swimming. The moment that you stop trying, that river will carry you back. Let me hear you shout KAIZEN!!!

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Try Jesus!

Friday, March 13, 2009

There's a Place at the Table for You!


John 14:2-3 "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."

Jesus told His disciples, as He is telling us, that He has gone "to prepare a place for you." When I was younger, I took that to mean that He was going to build heaven. But as I got older and understood God's word more, I realized that He didn't have to build heaven. Heaven was already built (read Genesis ch. 1). Now I realize what He meant was He was going to prepare a place for me in heaven. I imagine it like there being a grand dining table. A table not only set for a king, but one prepared by a king. I can imagine that the silverware is sparkling, the flowers are freshly cut, and the feast is spread. I look around the table and can see name tags marking the places of those invited to this grand and eternal feast. In my minds eye, I walk around the table and see names like Moses, David, Elijah, John, and Peter. Then my eyes come upon a name that brings a smile to my face. In beautiful calligraphy it reads...."Eric Evans". Wow, He really has gone and prepared a place for lil ole me!!


The beautiful thing about this truth is that there is plenty of room at this table. Invitations have actually gone out to everyone, and the King is more than able to accommodate all that may come. Unfortunately, not all will RSVP.
It's sad that there will be a number of empty chairs. But not mine! I will be there. I ignored the invitation for a long time, but I finally replied before it was too late. I may not be the first to be seated, but I will be seated.

How about you? Did you even realize you were invited? You are!! I really hope to see you there. Don't forget....There's a Place at the Table For You!!


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Try Jesus!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Little Is A Lot In the Hands of God


Matthew 14:19-21 "And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children."

Of all the miracles of Jesus, this is the only one recorded in all four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John). And what a miracle it was. There were thousands that had followed Jesus to hear what he had to say, and it was then time to eat...but nothing to eat except 2 little fish and 5 loaves of bread. To any of us holding this meager meal, one would look at it and suppose an impossible situation. But in the hands of Jesus, the impossible becomes possible, the hopeless becomes miraculous, the natural becomes supernatural.

A closer look at this passage reveals 3 things that can help us to understand and connect to that same mind-blowing power of God. The verses show that Jesus blessed, He broke, and He gave. He blessed, or gave thanks for the little that He had. We are sometimes so busy wishing and waiting for more, that we forget to thank God for what we already have. He broke the bread. Some may have been so careful with the bread because it was so limited, that they would have been afraid to break it. No matter how little what you have may seem, don't be afraid to use it; your time, your talents, or simply YOU. And finally, the bible says Jesus gave. He could have kept it all for Himself, but instead He gave. We must overcome our fears and doubts, have faith in God that it is He who will provide for our needs, and give no matter how little it may be.

If you think about it, Jesus was, well...a little. He came as a little baby, grew up in a little town, had little that was special about him by the measures of man. But in the hands of God on Calvary, He became a whole lot. There a carpenter became a savior, a lamb became a lion, a servant became a king.

After you read this, go look in a mirror. You might see what is by some measure little compared to others or the standards of this world. But God sees His child, His creation. You remind yourself that A Little Is A Lot in the Hands of God!!

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Try Jesus!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

You Can Change if You Want To!!

2 Corinthians 5:17 "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold all things are become new."

In the last year, we have been bombarded by the word CHANGE. In the presidential campaign of 2008, both presidential candidates aggressively played on Americans desire for change in this nation. One touted the ability to bring "The Change You Need", while the other promised "Change You Can Count On". Regardless of which candidate you believed could really bring about that change, nearly everyone will agree that we need change; high gas prices...we want change; failing financial institutions and economic collapse...we want change; political instability around the world, rising health care costs, gang violence, failing schools......We Want Change!!!

You know, God wants change too; but the change He is more interested in is not as much change in the world, but change in you and me. He wants a change in our hearts that will bring a change in our lives. But change is hard.

We have higher expectations of change in others than we do in ourselves. Strange considering the only person I can change is me. Though we struggle to change; we go to seminars, sit through counseling, make promises, even take medicine; the truth boils down to the fact that YOU CAN CHANGE....IF YOU WANT TO!! You really can. You don't have to be the way you are, if you don't want to. You can stop those bad habits, if you want to. You can be a better person...if you want to.

I'm not talking about you have the strength, ability or resources to change if you want to, because there will always be something that you can't outsmart or over power. There will be something so powerful over you that no matter how much you hate it and want to change it, you can't. However, if you really want to change, and you get to the point (as the old folks say) that you get sick and tired of being sick and tired, you can throw your hands up, acknowledge you can't do it on your own, and come to Jesus. Then, He will enable you in time to change (in some things quickly, and some not so quickly).

Paul wrote, If any man is in Christ... that is you believe in Him and have turned your life over to Him... then he says you are a new creation. You will become a totally different person, a whole new you.

If you want things to be different in your life, just remember, You Can Change...If You Want To.

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Try Jesus!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Beware of the Wedge!


1 Corinthians 1:10 "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought."


Did you realize that a wedge is one of the oldest and simplest tools, yet it is also one of the most powerful. I grew up in the country, and we had a wood burning stove. So I learned at an early age how to split or "bust" wood. Even the hardest of woods, like oak, maple and hickory, were no match for that wedge. You simply take the small end and find a crack in the wood, tap it into place, and then start hitting it as hard as you can ( we call it "frailing on it"). The further you drive it, the larger the wedge gets and the further it divides the piece of wood.

In the same way, we sometimes allow the enemy to take the smallest of things and cause the greatest of divisions among God's people. The smallest disagreements have divided some of the greatest churches. Relatively minor differences have split the best marriages. That small issue comes up, and we don't let it go. We keep holding it over others' heads, keep bringing it up in conversations, keep frailing on it and frailing on it, until that otherwise solid piece of wood is split in two.

Where does the enemy use this wedge? Where it will hurt the most. In marriages, in families, and in churches. Why does he use a wedge? To divide, delay, deny, deter, and disrupt God's plan to seek and save the lost. Is his strategy working? To a great extent YES!! Statistics show that about half of all marriages end in divorce. Also, consider this. When Christ left this earth to return to heaven, the "church" was a relatively small group of followers who were of many races, nationalities, creeds, and colors, all held together by a simple yet unifying title - Christians. Now we are not known primarily as Christians. We identify ourselves as Baptists, or Methodist, or members of this church or that church. There are hundreds, if not thousands of denominations and sub-denominations, oftentimes dividing the Body of Christ by relatively small differences in doctrinal emphasis. Church, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

So what can we do? Well here is an easy way to remember a good strategy in this internet-based world we live in. We need to WWW - Watch, Worship, and Work. We need to watch out for the enemy's tactics. When that argument or division comes up, see it for what it is, and don't let him win. We need to worship, that is, focus on God. If we keep our eyes on Him, and spend our time serving and praising Him, we will be too busy to even notice those little dividers. And finally, we need to work. There is too much work to be done. There are souls to be saved and lives to be changed. You will find that those that complain the most, are the ones working the least.

So, remember to Beware of the Wedge!!



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Where Are You?!?

Genesis 3: 8-9 "Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, 'Where are you?' "

The Lord was not calling on Adam and Eve as if He could not find them. He is an all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present God. He knew exactly where they were. His question was asked that they would pose that question to themselves. The question addressed not so much as to where they were physically, but where they were spiritually.

And so too, that question should resound in our own hearts. God is asking you today, Where Are You? Where are you in your faith? Where are you in your family life? Where are you in your relationships with others? Where are you in the purpose He has for your life? Where are you?

I must say this question has really caused me to evaluate where I am in my life. I can see that I am where I'm supposed to be in some areas, and in others I am not. But at least the first step is figuring out where exactly I am. Some say that you don't know where you're going until you know where you have been. I say that you can't get to where you are going until you know where you are.

The next time you go to the mall, look at the map they have placed at strategic points. It shows you how to get to the stores, shops and attractions in the mall. For it to be of use, the first thing you must find is that big red star that says "You are here". If they did not have that marked, that map would be useless. In your Christian walk, you should want to move forward, to become more Christ-like, to move from point A to point B; but you first need to be aware of where exactly is point A.

Stop for a moment and ask yourself "Where Are You?!"




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Monday, March 9, 2009

A New Man or Just New Clothes?

Matthew 5:20 "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

You've heard it said, "its the clothes that make the man", but can our clothes really change who we are inside? I can dress up like a doctor, but does that make me a doctor? I can put on a tool belt, work boots, and stick a pencil behind my ear, but does that make me a skilled carpenter? Sometimes I try on our mission projects when building wheelchair ramps, but the really skilled carpenters soon see right through my "costume". I can dress like a christian, go to church like a christian, sing hymns like a christian, and even tithe like a christian, but does that really make me christian?

In the bible, the Pharisees (a sect of religious leaders) wore, did and said the "right" things, but Jesus often pointed out that their hearts were far from Him. I too can try to dress the part and cover up who I really am, but the real me will come through sooner or later; and God sees through it immediately.

God can really change you if you want Him to. Not just dress you up so that you can appear to be good in the eyes of others. He can change you from the inside out.


2 Corinthians 4:16-18 "Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but is unseen is eternal."

So what's it going to be? Do you want to be a new man, or just have on new clothes?

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