Sunday, March 1, 2015

Without Question

"Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”" - Acts 21:13-14 
We have a number of young men who have spent numerous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every time they left for a new tour we had great concern for their safety. The truth is; no one wanted to see their loved ones go to war. But our young men and women who choose to serve their country go where they are called... without question.
The Christian life to which we are called is warfare. There are some battles that are more demanding than others, but Paul was ready to serve the Lord, anywhere at any cost. He was deeply loved and no one wanted to see him exposed to danger, but when his Commander and Chief called Paul obeyed... without question.
Has the Lord been calling you to new challenges lately? Have there been dear loved ones that are worried for your "welfare"? Have they expressed emotional concern and tried to discourage you? Take a lesson from Paul and obey your Masters call. May "The Lord's will be done."... without question. 
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CONSIDER THIS

 "Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed,
 “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.
 Yet not as I will, but as you will.”" 
- Matthew 26:39

Saturday, February 28, 2015

One Purpose

"From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows." - Psalm 22:25
Why do you show up to work each day? There are many reasons, but most are focused on one purpose. Some are only interested in the paycheck, while others are interested in the pursuit of a career. Whatever the reason, there is a driving force to bring you to work and motivate you in the demanding hours of the day. Every day you arrive at your office or plant with that purpose in mind.
What is it that drives you in worship? Do you have a reason for getting up Sunday to Sunday and joining the assembly of believers in worship? Have you ever asked yourself what your "theme" is and what "vows" are yet to be fulfilled? The psalmist was clearly focused on the Lord alone as his theme and the promises he wanted to keep. David arrived at the temple with a purpose in mind.
Tomorrow is the Lord's Day. May you attend worship with one purpose in mind... the Lord. May your one theme of praise be... the Lord. May your promises be met every moment of worship to... the Lord. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

On your Guard

"I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears." - Acts 20:29-31 
We have a neighborhood full of squirrels. Usually they are cute little creatures who scurry up and down the trees. On one occasion though, we had a rogue squirrel that chased people, jumped onto their backs and would bite them. Someone eventually got hold of the little guy and put an end to the spree of terror. While this little "nut case" is gone and things are back to normal, we never know what may suddenly jump up, so we are always on our guard.
Paul was far more concerned about "savagery of the soul" than "terror from the trees". He knew that people would come into the church with ulterior motives and lead believers astray. Some would come "into" the assembly and some would jump up from "within". His words of caution directed the Ephesians back to three long years of consistent teaching and warning from God's Word. He called on them to remember and be on their guard.
The church seems to be a quiet neighborhood where we should feel spiritually safe. But, there will always be those who will sneak in without warning and "distort the truth". We need to be well versed in God's Word and always alert to those who "will not spare the flock". Read the Word daily, study faithfully, listen carefully and be on your guard.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Whole or Half?

"Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power." - Acts 19:18-20 
In a time when unemployment is so high, employers can be very demanding in their hiring choices. They are looking for employees that will be fully committed to the business. They want someone who will  leave their personal life at home and come to work completely focused. Anything less than this work ethic will lose someone their job. In this climate, there is no place for half-hearted workers.
In the same way, disciples of Christ are expected to be fully committed, leaving their past behind. A great number of new disciples in Ephesus were coming to Christ from a background in the occult. They recognized the need to make a complete break from this past if they were to be faithful followers of Christ. The sacrifice and monetary loss was great, but on that day in Ephesus, there were no half-hearted disciples.
When you came to Christ you became "a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17) As the heart becomes new, so should the lifestyle. Our connection to past sins and gods needs to be broken forever. The Lord looks for disciples who are fully committed and totally focused on Him. Have you taken practical steps to put the past behind you with a whole heart, or are you still a half-hearted disciple?
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A QUOTE FOR THE DAY


"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."



- Jim Elliot, October 28, 1949 (Martyred Missionary)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The personal touch

"He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately." Acts 18:26
The days of "Mom & Pop" stores are quickly slipping away. The mega store with all its bells and whistles is the place to go for whatever you may need. The stock is plentiful, the prices are great and tons of people can shop at the same time. There is one thing missing though... the personal touch.
In the days of Paul, Apollos, Priscilla and Aquila people gathered in large groups for worship and study, but they also spent quality time in the home "explaining the way of God more adequately". From the very early days of Acts 2:46 believers met in the Temple courts and their homes. While group study and fellowship was of great importance, they also studied together in their homes. They saw the value of... the personal touch.
Some believers are satisfied in meeting together in the mega church setting. This might be 10,000 people or it could be just 100 people. The attraction of the larger church seems to be more like the mega store, providing a vast number of ministries. But in the process, the one-on-one discipling and mentoring has slipped away. You and I can make a difference today, if we will take on the mantle of Priscilla and Aquila. We can open our hearts and our homes to others and share the "way of God" in small individual settings. In a day of mega everything, we can still provide... the personal touch.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Close Examination

"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." - Acts 17:11 
A Cubic Zirconia or a beautifully cut diamond... which would you prefer? Given the stone was free for the taking I am sure most people would choose the real thing. From a distance you might be fooled, but under close examination, there is always a difference. Our world is full of knock-offs and fakes that catch the eye and skillfully mimic the original. To know the difference you need a close examination.
In the days of Paul, there were many traveling orators; some brought truth and some deception. As a result some people became very cautious as they listened to visiting speakers. Some were of far more "noble character" than others and carefully compared Paul's teachings with Scripture. These were men and women who wanted the real thing, so they made time daily for a close examination. 
In the same way today, there are charlatans who mimic true preachers of the Word. They look slick and they are enticing. Their words are smooth as they smile their way into your heart but, are they giving you the truth of the Word? Which would you prefer... a Word from God or a word from man? To know the difference we need to be in the Word daily for a close examination.
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A THOUGHT FOR THE DAY 
  
“Sadie,” a Labrador retriever belonging to the Charles Thurber family in Terra Linda, California, was ordained as a minister of faith by the Hilltop House Church in San Rafael. The dog’s name and $15 were submitted by the Better Business Bureau of San Francisco through a newspaper ad. By return mail Sadie received her “Certificate of Ordination.”

Anyone can be ordained...
but only those called of God will have a word from God.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Avoid being bit

"Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house" - Proverbs 5:7-8
I worked my way through college and held a number of jobs of interest. For quite a while I worked with guard dogs on the night shift. I noticed that whenever most people saw me approach with the dog, they would avoid us like the plague. They knew the dog had teeth and were afraid of being bit.
Solomon gave very practical counsel in how to deal with temptation and sin. He knew the best way to fight temptation was to avoid it at any cost. The sin nature is most vulnerable to the taunting and tantalizing of sin's temptations. When we know the source of such temptations, it is wiser to "keep a path far from her" for fear of being bit.
Sin has a way of wooing us into its lair. We often find ourselves wondering how we ended up so far from the path of righteousness and in so much trouble. The lesson is simple: sin is subtle and enticing, but it has teeth. Be wise... learn the source of temptation and "do not go near the door of her house". Avoid it like the plague for fear of being bit
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A THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

John Burroughs, the naturalist, says that when a hawk is attacked
by crows or king-birds, he does not make a counterattack, 
but soars higher and higher in ever widening circles
 until his tormentors leave him alone.