Tuesday, April 22, 2014

To Win

"In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." - Luke 14:33

Olympic swimmers wear very little when they compete. Their swim suits are designed for speed and competitive edge. They even wear caps to prevent their hair from hindering their progress in the water. They dress with one purpose in mind, to win.
The words found in the latter part of Luke 14 are hard and demanding for anyone who would be a disciple of Christ. Yet, the Lord's concern for those who follow him is to set aside anything that holds them back spiritually. The spiritual life is a demanding race for Christian disciples, and Jesus has one purpose in mind, to win.
Will you read this passage today with an open heart and mind? Will you take inventory of your life in light of Christ's demands? What's holding you back in the spiritual race today? As a disciple of Jesus "let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." (Hebrews 12:1) Take your spiritual life seriously and have one purpose in mind, to win.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Be Compelling!

"And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled." - Luke 14:23
Every day we are compelled to participate in some purchase or new financial plan. There is no end to those who would sell us the moon if given the opportunity. On one hand, some of these dear people really believe in their hype and then others are just in it for the monetary gain. But, whatever the reason, they are determined to fill their quota.
The Lord portrays the Kingdom of God as a banquet. The invitations are rejected by an ocean of excuses. Finally the direction is given to compel people from the highways and hedges to fill the house. This story has much truth to consider, but for the believer we are given a fresh call to invite others to accept our Savior's call. We believe the truth and it has given us great reason to compel others.
Paul states in 2 Corinthians 5:20, "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."  Be encouraged afresh my friend to "compel" and "implore" your world on behalf of Christ. It's well worth the effort!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

His Way!

"Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”" - Luke 13:14

"Revival Here - Every Friday Night"! When you've seen such signs, what comes to mind? Do we really think the God of all creation will ever be tied to our schedules? We look for the Lord to do great things, but only on certain days and in specific ways. What makes us believe that God can be put in a box? God works miracles every day, not just Fridays... his way, not ours.
This synagogue ruler was driven by a misguided commitment to God's Sabbatical commandment. He was a strong believer in man-made additions to the Word of God. As a result, his expectations of God were terribly limited. He concluded that God would only do the miraculous six days a week. The irony of the story comes when this man sees a mighty, supernatural work of God before his very eyes, but is unmoved. By putting God in a box, he lost sight of the fact that God works miracles every day, not just six... his way, not ours.
Is your life so tightly scheduled that God has been given an appointment? In contrast to this synagogue ruler, do you expect revival only on Sundays? Will you allow God to do great things in your life, anytime and in any way? Look to Jesus today; he's doing great and mighty things, because he works miracles every day, not just Sundays... his way, not ours.   

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Division

"Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather  division." - Luke 12:51
Tomorrow will be Resurrection Sunday. This is a day of great celebration and rejoicing throughout the Christian community. A vast multitude will gather to lift up their voices in praise and worship of the risen Savior. Yet, while churches across the land will be filled with believers, there will also be a larger number who will be unmoved. 
On this day, some will have an empty tomb and a full life, and others will have a full tomb and empty life. The empty tomb is THE watershed of history. Those who have received the risen Christ are transformed by his light and those who reject him are still trembling in the darkness. The empty tomb has given undaunted faith to the believer and unending fear to the unbeliever. There can be no greater division.
When you see the golden morning sun, lit up with great splendor, are you ready for a beautiful day? Then, as you see the Son of God, risen from the dead in all his glory, embrace Him as the Lord of life and rejoice. Many will take the low road of rejection to their sorrowful loss, but you my friend, choose the high road of faith and celebrate the One who brought division through an empty tomb!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rest in Him

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!" - Luke 12:25-28

Over the years I have been put to sleep during minor surgical procedures. Prior to the procedure I had various thoughts about the process as well as the outcome. Will everything go alright? Will they discover anything serious? The next day I realized that all my concern amounted to nothing and was of no help to physician. I probably should have been put to sleep long before the surgery so I wouldn't worry. Just as the surgeon can do his best when we rest in his hands, the Lord does his best when we rest in him.
Occasionally Jesus shows us the silliness of our ways. How silly to worry about anything. Worry has never added or subtracted from the events of life. God is in control and he cares for his own with great precision and compassion. As the psalmist reminds us in Psalm 147:11, "the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love". God's "unfailing love" is his spiritual anesthesia for us in the midst of life's surgeries. When you know his love you will rest in him.
Lay your heart on the pillow of God's love today and let him do what he does best. When the anxiety rises within, remember how much more the Lord cares for you than the lilies and rest in him.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"Stuff" or people?

"Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.'" - Luke 12:15
The time eventually came for our family to sell the home my in-laws lived in for a good many years. This was a major down sizing and we ended up renting a dumpster to achieve the goal. At first we thought the rental unit would be too large, but by the time we were done it was overflowing. The truth is; abundance of possessions isn't always a good thing.
Whether we are greedy or just hoarders, having too much of a good thing is just that; too much. This mindset can rob you of satisfaction and the pleasure of eternal values. Jesus gave a clear warning ... "Watch out! Be on your guard" Your life consists of far more important treasures than the "stuff" you accumulate.
Paul gave us considerable food for thought in 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, "For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy."  It's not about abundance of possessions my friend, it's all about people. How many people are you accumulating for Jesus?

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.