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

Friday, September 15, 2017

Can You See What I See? (A Morning Prayer)

Good morning Lord. Thank You for another day. To wake up this morning and breathe the breath of life is a gift from You...and I am grateful.

Lord, with the fall air starting to settle in, I am reminded that it is almost fair season. Of course You know that I went to the state fair a couple of years ago with my daughter on a school trip, and it was the first time in a long time. I really enjoyed it. When I was a kid, momma and daddy used to take us almost every year. I loved the food, and the rides and the prizes.

Oh yeah, I remember one year I got an invisible dog. See, it was this leash with a small dog harness on the end. The leash actually had a strip of metal wire in it to make it stiff, and so you would walk around holding it like you were walking an invisible dog.

Lord, it was the coolest, because I must say that when I first saw some one walking around with one, with the leash and the harness hovering over the ground in front of the person walking it, I thought for a second "Wow, a real invisible dog?!?". Not to mention that person was talking to it like it was a real dog. So in my childlike, 5 or 6 year old mind, I was starting to believe in a dog I could not see.

Father, to some it may seem a little disrespectful to compare You to that, but You know my heart and You know where I am coming from with this.  But...that sorta reminds me of how I need to live my life. See, to us right now, You are an invisible God. Even though I know that You are as real as I am or anything else, I can't see You. But, I have a faith that allows me to believe in You. Like Your word says, my faith is "the evidence of things unseen". So because I have faith, I don't have to see You.

But there are some around me in my community, at work, or possibly in my church who don't yet have that faith, and therefore they can't see You. So Father, I believe You fetched that invisible dog out of my memories so that You could remind me to live my life in a way that people around me can see my invisible God. If I think like You're real, talk to You like You're real and act like You're real, then sooner or later others will believe You are real. They will start to see You even though...they can't see You.

Lord, You are real to me, and I want You to appear real through me. Help me to help others see what I see so they can believe what I believe. I know one day I will really see You, but until then I will keep on living like I already have.

I love You. In Jesus name. Amen.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Be Careful of What You Hunger for When You Get Hungry

Ever notice how the hungrier you are the more you lower your standards for what you are willing eat? I think back to one time when I was probably 12 or 13. I was out playing basketball in my backyard with some of my buddies. I don't remember what time of day it was, but I do know I had been out there for a while. We played game after game on that dusty court. Then all of a sudden I started to feel weak and jittery. I felt a little light-headed too. And I had the sudden craving for something sweet.

I didn't know what was wrong with me then. Down the road when I learned of what diabetes was, I thought maybe I was a diabetic. That's been checked, and checked off. No diabetes. So then I realized I had simply burned up my energy reserves. I was a skinny lil fella then so I had little stored up in fat. So that feeling and craving was my body's way of telling me to refuel. Sort of like the "Fuel Low" indicator on cars now.

So I told the boys I had to see them later. I went into the house searching for something sweet in momma's kitchen. I couldn't find anything, except for an almost spent half-gallon carton of ice cream in the freezer. It was the three kind, Neapolitan, with nothing but a smidgen of strawberry left. I don't particularly like strawberry. Not to mention, because no one else liked it much either, it had been there long enough to get a little freezer burn. Good for throwing in the trash right? Normally I would think so too. But I was hungry, shaky and jittery. So, I grabbed a spoon and cleaned out that carton.

Oh come on. Don't give me that look. You know you have done it. Maybe not with old ice cream, but perhaps with pizza so old it was curled up on the end. Or left overs that didn't quite pass the smell test. You know how it is. The hungrier you are the more you lower your standards for what you are willing eat. So we have to watch what we hunger for when we get hungry.

And that's not just true for us physically speaking. It is true for us emotionally and spiritually as well. When we are weak and low, we have the tendency to lower our standards, slide our morals to the back burner, give thought to things we normally say no to. When we are emotionally weak and spiritually hungry we will find ourselves tempted by things we never would even blink at otherwise.

I am sharing this because it's important that you know that; most importantly because satan already knows that. Why do you think he tempted Adam and Eve with the fruit? Why else would he tempt Joseph (old testament) with sexual promises from Potiphar's wife after he had spent 2 years in prison? Why would he wait to tempt Jesus after He had fasted for 40 days? You better believe that satan understands your hunger better than you do.

So what are we to do? Well, first of all, as best we can, we need not let ourselves get to the point of spiritual or emotional starvation. We need to feast on God's word DAILY! Let it fill and nourish our souls. And not just books that others have written about the Bible. Those are ok, but don't let that be your only source of spiritual food. If you're not a babe in Christ any more, then you need to eat more than just the regurgitated words from someone else. You should go directly to the table of the Lord and eat the bread of life. You eat every day right? So read the Bible everyday!

We should also satisfy ourselves emotionally on the things, or even with the people, that are acceptable to God. You know who and what they are and aren't without me having to go into detail about it. Right?! If you're the Bible!

But even with that, we will sometimes still find our spiritual stomachs growling. And what if there is nothing around but what's like that freezer burned ice cream? Well, then you listen to the words of the Prophet Isaiah "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40: 29-31)

My friend, if you're hungry, Wait on the Lord! And be careful what you hunger for when you get hungry.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Looking at the World like Lot - A Morning Prayer

Good morning Lord. Thank You for another day. As You opened my natural eyes this morning to see this day, open my spiritual eyes to see what You would have me to do in it.

Father, I am troubled about the times we are living in, particularly for our country. All too often we hear about another violent act or mass killing. One of the most devastating hurricanes and flooding just hit Texas, and before the rain even stopped falling, scammers were already on the prowl. Where I'd thought our collective feelings about race had changed for the better, now it appears many were hiding how they really feel....and some aren't hiding it any more. We've got the most advanced medical system in the history of the world, yet still so many can't afford to go to the doctor or buy their medicine. The list could go on, but I'm depressing myself just typing this out.

Lord, with all of this swirling around in my head, I thought about Lot. I read in Genesis chapter 11 that when Abraham and his nephew Lot decided to part ways because the land they were living in could not support them both, Abraham allowed Lot to choose which land he would take. He could have taken the land to the left or the land to the right. Your word says that Lot looked out onto the plains of the Jordan and to the city of Sodom. He SAW that it was a well-watered, lush and beautiful land filled with the promise of prosperity. So that is what he chose. I can imagine all the hopes and dreams that he had for himself and his family that he was building on this new place where he was building his new life. Lot was living off the promises of the place, and not the provider of the place.

But Lord, the glitz of the city lights of Sodom never blinded You to what was really going on. You saw that it was a city full of sin. Today, Americans describe places like Las Vegas as "Sin City" almost like it is a badge of honor; they even market to tourists with that tag. But Lord, as it was in Sodom, so it is today that it is a serious matter. And so I read on about how wicked the city was, and how it almost consumed Lot. You eventually saved him, but You destroyed the city.

I can only imagine how differently Lot felt about that city on his way out of it from when he was on his way in. I can only imagine how his feelings for it changed from when it sparkled with the lights of lavish lifestyles, to when it glowed with flames of destruction. Once his eyes were opened, Lot's heart toward Sodom changed enough for him to say "Behold, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shown by saving my life..". Sadly, the same is not true of his wife. Her heart still longed for Sodom, which was shown when she disobeyed You and looked back, and became a pillar of salt.

Lord, my prayer is that people in this country, especially those close to me and all my FB friends will turn their hearts away from this world and turn it towards You. How sad it is that so many see how sinful and destructive this world is, and yet in their hearts still long for what it has to offer. Lord, help us all to get past this world even while we are still living in it. You have a better place prepared for us who believe in Jesus. And I long to see Him there. I love You.

In Jesus name. Amen.