Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Light

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.” - Luke 11:33-36

One year we traveled north for the holidays, through a heavy snow storm. Since our trip was made at night, every now and then we had to stop to clean the snow and ice off the headlights. Within a few miles the lights were once again reduced to a very dim condition. We had power and we had bulbs but we had little light.
In the same way, when we travel through the storms of life we need good eyes. We need eyes that provide the body with light so we can shine in the darkness and not be filled with darkness. The light of Jesus brings us all the light we could ever need. The more we learn from the Lord the more light shines within. But, while we can have the availability of light, if we don't focus our eyes on Jesus, we have little light.
Simply put, the more time you spend with Jesus, the more light you will have. Do you want to shine for the Lord today? Remember that you can only shine with the light that he gives. It's what you choose to read and watch that really makes your eyes good. If you take in too much "snow" your eyes and life will be dim. But if you take in the Word and things that are worthy, your eyes will be good. Your whole life will shine in the darkness for Jesus, because you have great light.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Obvious

"As the crowds increased, Jesus said, 'This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.'" - Luke 11:29 
There are currently 421 members of the "Flat Earth Society". These people believe that the earth is a flat disk centered at the North Pole and is bounded along it's southern edge by a wall of ice, with the sun, moon, planets, and stars only a few hundred miles above the surface of the earth. This only goes to prove that there will always be people who refuse to believe the obvious.
When our Lord spoke to the multitudes they were filled with unbelief and sought more miraculous signs. He knew that no matter how many signs would be given, unbelief would prevail. In God's divine design, only one distinct sign would be given... the resurrection. And yet, in a later account that Jesus speaks of in Luke 16:31 we read, "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead". There will always be people who refuse to believe the obvious.
In five days we will celebrate Resurrection Sunday.  The world simply recognizes the day as a holiday known as Easter. They give it no real credibility other than a time to give children Easter baskets with candy and goodies. Meanwhile, many people are still looking for that special miracle from God. But, the tomb is empty, He is Risen! What more does God need to do for anyone to believe? Why will you not believe the obvious? 

Monday, April 14, 2014

One thing is necessary

"But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." - Luke 10:41-42
Every season has the potential to overwhelm a person with stress. Particularly on Easter, many families will come from miles around for food and fellowship. In addition to this, special programs will often be planned at church or school. As the calendar begins to fill up, there just doesn't seem to be enough hours and days to get it all done. If we're not very careful, we will become "anxious and troubled about many things."
When the above words of counsel were given, do you think that Jesus was suggesting that food was not necessary? Or was He encouraging Martha to slow down and follow the example of Mary? Being sure that we have quality time to sit at the feet of Jesus makes every day so much easier. When we put the Lord first, everything else falls in place in just the right way.
"One thing is necessary"! In simple words my friend, let's keep the main thing, the main thing. Martin Luther put it this way, "If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day." Life must go on... but it always goes best when we start with Jesus.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

What's your 10-20?

"However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” - Luke 10:20
A good many years ago my wife and I owned CB radios. They were popular for just about everybody on the road before there were cell phones. These archaic forms of communication served us in many ways. We would chat with each other when our schedules took us in different directions and we would share traffic information that would make our traveling easier. But, the most important information was our location.  This was given in answer to the CB slang "what's your 10-20?"
When the seventy-two evangelists returned from a successful outreach campaign they were overjoyed with the results. Miracles and spiritual victories were abundantly reported. The power of God thrilled their hearts and they couldn't say enough about His great provision. But the Lord redirected them to the most important of all works of God. He called them to rejoice in their names being written in heaven. The overshadowing question for every person should be this; when you leave this earth, what will be your 10-20?
You might have already noticed that our Scripture of reference today is a 10:20 passage. I would have you take this to heart my friend. There will never be any spiritual accomplishment or personal gain on this earth that will compare to whether your name is written in heaven or not. At the end of life's journey, the only important question that will remain is ... "What's your 10-20?"

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Never look back

"Jesus replied, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.'" - Luke 9:62
On February 19, 1916 Joseph T. Higgins of Holy Cross College gave away a victory to Dave Caldwell of Boston A.A. in the 1,000 yard invitation race. The loss was a true curiosity since Higgins was one of the country's top middle distance stars and the captain of the 1916 undefeated Holy Cross College track team. Why did he lose this race you may ask? Simple, he looked back...
When Jesus calls us to follow Him he means business. As the United States Marines put it, He's looking for "a few good men". Discipleship was never meant to be an easy path, but with full concentration on the Lord and His goals much can be accomplished for His glory. To achieve such a "win" in life every disciple must keep focused and never be distracted by looking back... 
Stay the course my friend. Plow the field for the glory of God and be faithful in all your labors. Run the race with your eyes always "looking to Jesus" (Hebrews 12:2) and set aside all that would get in your way. "Press on toward the goal" (Philippians 3:14)  and never be found looking back...

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Cutting Edge

"And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone..." - Luke 9:35-36
I have had knee pain for ages. Arthroscopic surgery has helped to some degree, but I still take a Glucosamine supplement. Before I refill the bottle, I usually take time and read about newer competitive products. It's always interesting to see how many additional ingredients are included that supposedly make the product "cutting edge". We never seem to be satisfied with the basics in life.
Peter, James and John had traveled with Jesus for three years. They experienced the teachings, miracles and abundant provisions of the Son of God. One would think that Jesus alone would be quite enough for these guys. But Peter, like so many down through the years, thought three would better than one. Then there was a word from the Father ...  “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” The message? Be satisfied with the basics in life.
Jesus is far more than just "basic" my friend. He is our all, and in all, according to Paul in Colossians 3:11. Jesus is... Alpha and Omega, Author of Salvation, Ancient of Days, Almighty, Bread of Life, Bridegroom, Bright Morning Star, Creator of all things, Cornerstone, Captain of Salvation, Chosen of God, Chief Shepherd, Days-man  Defender, Door of the Sheep, Day-star  Emmanuel, Firstborn, Fountain of Life, Good, Gracious, Great Physician, Head of the Body, Heir of all things, High Priest, Holy, The"I Am", King of Kings, King of the Ages, Lamb of God, The Life, Lily of the Valley, Light of the World, Lord of the Harvest, Lord of Lords, Love of God, Man of Sorrows, Merciful, Mighty God, Messiah, Master, Name above every name, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Passover Lamb, Redeemer, Rose of Sharon, The Resurrection, Righteous, Refuge, Rock, Root of David, Savior, Shepherd, Son of God, Shield, Sun, Star, The Truth, True Vine, Wonderful Counselor, Wisdom of God, The Way and The Word of God, just to name a few names and attributes. So,we really don't need more than Jesus alone. Let's get back to the "Basic One" of life... for Jesus is, and always will be "The Cutting Edge"!  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Plans...

"When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing." - Luke 9:10-11

Plans, plans, plans! Day by day we plan the hours to the minute. We live by tight schedules that will be the most productive and get the job done. Plans keep us focused, plans keep us busy, and plans bring us success. Sadly, too often plans become the goal, an end in and of themselves. The question is... "Do our plans allow room for the unplanned?"
Jesus planned to debrief the disciples and further mentor them alone, in a restful place. But the crowds came and he "welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God".  Most often, the unplanned turns out to be people. Jesus always made time for the unplanned and welcomed the providential occasion with open arms. Because he loved people, "His plans allowed room for the unplanned".
What's your plan for today? Will you get it all done the way you want? Are you focused with the intensity of an Olympic athlete? Or are you prepared for the unexpected intrusion of people who need the Lord? Are you willing to make time for those who didn't make an appointment? The question is... "Do your plans allow room for the unplanned?"