Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Discovering the Root of Your Will

“Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.” – Isaiah 56:1

Have you ever noticed that the longer you focus on doing things that are right and just, the more difficult it becomes.  Especially when there is little recognition or evidenced results in the situation.  We are designed to seek self-proclamation and attention when we are doing good things.  By the nature of our human psyche we often times do things simply to boost our own image and our own recognition.  Yet, even though it is natural and common place, it does not justify the abstraction from the glory and presence of God. 

Doing good works and helping others is a representation of those who are following Jesus Christ’ teachings and striving to grow in their Christian walk, but it is not unique to the Christian church.  As the scriptures tell us in James 2:19, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”  Muslims, Buddhists, Hari Krishna’s and even atheists do good works to bring glory to themselves.  What makes good works from a Christian more meaningful to the recipient then good works from any of these groups?

God has placed a purpose in your heart and mine to do good works for His glory.  Putting aside our selfish and prideful thoughts, and simply help others with the intent that God is lifted up.  We draw others to Him through our actions and allow them to gain a better understanding of His love, peace and grace as a result.  Seeking justice must be present in our actions and this often eludes mankind, for justice is often hard to grasp from the perspective of the Lord.  What is just in His eyes vs. what is just in yours?  If others receive benefit at your expense is this justice?  As long as His glory is revealed and His name is praised, than yes it is. 

His return is soon upon us, and we are told to be busy about His business and sharing His love and words with others.  So we must ask ourselves, how busy are we?  If He were to return tomorrow, would you be found busy serving others on His behalf?  It is my hope that you are drawn to discovery of how you can serve as we draw closer to His time.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Reliable News is Hard to Find

{God said to Ezekiel} “I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.” – Ezekiel 37:22

Did you read the news today?
Was it a paper, or was a it a web-site, or did you watch it on your favorite cable channel?
Of course you believe everything they are telling you right; because we know they don't have an agenda or any intent of convincing you toward their interests.
How many of the news outlets you "trust" on a daily basis are telling you what will happen in the year 4715?  I would suggest that they have a hard time telling you what will happen next month or in 2016.

Let me introduce you to Ezekiel.  One of many authors of the scriptures we call the Bible.  He walked the earth around 700-600 BC.  He was a prophetic man, which means he heard from God directly on things that would come to be.  His prophecies detailed future events relating to the children of Israel.  He prophesied about their hardships, their scattering, and their gathering back to their land along the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea. He then went on to prophesy of the wars that the Israelites would face, and their ability to overcome opposition from around the world.

Fast forward to 1948, when they were at war with Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.  They overcame those countries attacks and established themselves as a sovereign government from that point to where we are today.  'm very serious - over 2700 years ago, this man of God, wrote on parchment with the ink from fruit trees at the time of a war that would take place on the soil of Israel, in which the Israelites would overcome impossible odds and reclaim the land given to their ancestors (Abraham, Moses and Joshua).

Is there a single person in our midst today that could tell you and I what will happen in 2700 years?  No.  I don't believe so.  But, we have written proof that he prophesied this and it acutally came to pass, just as he said it would.  Doesn't this at least peak your interest to know what else this man of God prophesied and cause you to at least be curious as to if his other prophesies will come to fruition in our very near future?

If you trust CNN, FoxNews, Yahoo, Huffington Post, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, etc. etc. etc. when they are frequently wrong on modern day stories, why aren't you able to trust this man who has proven time and time again to be accurate in his prophetic writings?  You may believe the Bible is a fictional story, but there are numerous demonstrations of these events over time that are without doubt or question factual.  Perhaps you might want to reconsider the validity of the scriptures once again.

Do You Still Day-dream?

"At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children." - Matthew 11:25

As children our minds were filled with imaginary friends, games and situations.  I absolutely recall imagining hitting the home run with bases loaded to win the World Series for my team.  I recall imagining being the hero on the white horse saving the damsel in distress from the evil madman.  But now, many years later, when I close my eyes the problems of the day materialize in my mind.  Worry about the bills, the project that’s late at work, the kid’s schoolwork, my health and the other 10 million things going on at any given moment.  It seems impossible today to relax and calm myself enough to actually allow my mind to get beyond the stress of living.  Are you in this same boat?

God doesn’t want us worrying about these things though.  He asks us to trust Him and to cast our worries upon Him.  As we carry these burdens in our daily lives we become unproductive and unable to serve Him with everything we have.  I’ve found that it helps to imagine myself sitting in the grass next to God Almighty when I am completely stressed.  Filling my heart and mind with His glory and His presence, and recognizing that everything I have and everything I am is His.  I can do nothing without Him.  The sooner I am able to come to this realization the sooner I am able to breathe in His beauty, peace and love.

Let the imagination of your childhood fill your mind and heart once again.  There will come a day when you will be standing before the Lord, in all of His glory, majesty and wonder.  Until that day comes though, you can imagine yourself face to face with Your Savior and relinquish your worries and cares upon His shoulders.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Breathe Through It & Tell Them All

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”  - Joshua 24:14-15

Did you breathe? When the news caught up to you that your loved one was gone, did you breathe; or was the sheer emotional trauma such that you were left in stunning disbelief?

Death of a loved one is something that cannot be prepared for. Even in the circumstances when we know it is coming the event of one's last breath is in most cases overwhelming. There is no way to prepare the heart or the brain for the absence of one's presence, and when it happens, nothing can stop the memories from showering through the veil of deterministic hardness.

My friend, Terry, lost his father this week and I ask for your prayers and condolences to be upon him and his family as they celebrate the life that was and the eternity that lies before; while still suffering with the mourning and loss of their beloved.

In this though, I also ask that each of you take record of those around you. Your parents, grand-parents, siblings, spouse, children, grand-children, friends and extended family. Every one of them will die, and though it is not a pleasant or joyous thought it is a reality. You, through your relationship with them, have some responsibility for what happens the moment they take their last breath.

If you have done nothing to understand their faith in an eternity with God, the Father; than do not jump to the conclusion that it is indeed secure and sealed. Take the step of sharing the salvation story with each of them. If you don't, are you certain that someone else will? If you are challenged by having this dialogue with the most precious people in your life, how deep is your love for them. If you have shared and they have chosen otherwise, then your prayer closet should be filled with their picture and your prayer life overloaded with their name upon your lips. Each must choose for themselves whom they will serve, but it is upon your shoulders to at least share your belief, so they have an understanding.

Don't claim to love them, and not be concerned about their eternal rest. For they will see death one day, and that day is not within your control. So, I suggest you be busy about his business, as if it were the most important thing to do with your day.

Peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, be upon you and your family Terry - I love you brother.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I'm Tired of CNN and FoxNews

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."  - John 13:34

It's blue and green.  The caps are covered in snow and rise above their foundation.  Through the vapor it's easy to see why we are so unbelievably blessed.  From my vantage point all is at peace, love surrounds each and every one of us and the daily struggles seem to diminish.

we are destined to impact the lives of those around us.  We alone can decide to make that a positive or a negative experience.  When the horizon is covered by a blanket of white clouds and the sky is filled with nothing but eternal blue depth, how can one not be caught up in the beauty of this world.

Step out onto your front porch today and share love with one another.  Who cares if they are Democrat or Republican, Christian, Muslim or Atheist.  For one moment love them regardless of who or what they believe or stand for.  Yes, you have your differences, but their heart still beats and their hands, though calloused by life, are still worth shaking.  There is but one world, and one race of humanity.

Any hostility, anger, hatred, racism, greed, envy or arrogance stems from your own inner being, not theirs.  You have created this image of those around you, based on your experiences and knowledge of them.  You alone are in control of how to manage this feeling, so take control and quit letting the media, your friends and your family tell you what to think.

It may cost you dearly.  But I assure you, if you do nothing, then nothing will ever change.  You be the catalyst and let them know that you are willing to press on.  An open comment to all of those in my FB community: You and I do not agree on many things, and I am choosing to love you anyway, despite our differences.  Can you do the same?