Wednesday, July 18, 2018

His easy yoke...

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -- Matthew 11:28-30
There is nothing more rewarding than serving the Lord. For me, preaching is an incredible blessing and fulfillment. The only weariness that comes is a physical exhaustion after a long day or week of service. Within my heart I am rested and at peace. Sleep comes easy and joy comes in the morning. I have found rest in Jesus at the same time I have taken his yoke.
The above comment is my testimony of finding rest in serving the Lord. Jesus offers to all who will come, rest from their worries, guilt, discouragement, bitterness, heartaches and anxieties. He brings peace and purpose that satisfies to everyone who will follow him. The rest Jesus offers isn't cessation from work; it's a new labor of love that fulfills the soul and brings joy to the life. What a privilege to be  partners with the Lord as we wear his easy yoke.
Are you following the Lord in your daily life? Have you taken on his yoke, learned from him and found rest for your soul? The invitation has been given and now it's up to you. Rest is not illusive and unattainable; it's a genuine offer to all who will come to Jesus. The promise is his and the privilege is ours... will you come to Jesus today? 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Don't be afraid...

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." -- Matthew 10:29-30
One of the world's best-known and most abundant small birds is the "House Sparrow". It lives in towns and on farms worldwide, having accompanied Europeans from its original home in Eurasia and northern Africa. Introduced into North America in 1852, it spread across the continent within a century. A little bird, beyond counting, blessed with God's caring.
Jesus spoke of dangerous times of opposition and persecution for the Christian. But there is never a time that the Lord isn't with every believer, just as he is with the sparrow. The time never comes that Jesus doesn't care. We may feel as if we are one among so many, but the Lord watches over every one of his children. He values those who are his.
Do you feel that you are so very small in the works of the kingdom? Or, that your struggles are not to be compared to the needs of others? Remember that a high price was paid and you are greatly valued by your Lord. You may be one among the countless billions, but you are one assured of countless blessings. "So don't be afraid."

Monday, July 16, 2018

What do you see?

"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." -- Matthew 9:36
Crowds may mean little to you, but wherever I go there are crowds. For twenty years we lived in the metropolitan region of New York City. People were in abundance and they were everywhere. The interesting question is; what goes through the mind when we are surrounded by such crowds? Do we see them as a burden, or do we see their burdens?
Jesus was never impersonal or uncaring about the multitudes that followed him. He saw their emptiness and their need for someone to care. He saw their broken and storm ravaged lives and he was moved with compassion. Their need for the Shepherd touched him to the core. To Jesus, they were never a burden; he just saw their burdens with eyes of love.
Are you upset and irritated when you are surrounded by too many people at the mall, on the road or in the grocery store? What do you see with your "born again" transformed eyes? Do you see them as Jesus sees them? Do you see that ... "People need the Lord"?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Main Thing...

"Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”" -- Matthew 8:21-22
Life can become so busy that we lose sight of our priorities. Once, I was so busy preparing for a trip that I forgot to fill the gas tank. I had a family in our church years ago so preoccupied after church that they left without their daughter. There are some matters that should hold our interest above all else. We need to keep the main thing, the main thing.
Jesus may seem to be quite cruel at this point in his response to this disciple. But, he knew far more about this man than words can express. He knew the heart of the matter and there was something in the picture that was keeping this disciple from the goal. We may have excuses galore that explain why we need to put off spiritual callings. Yet, the Lord knows when we have just lost sight of our priorities.
Have you proposed reasons for putting off the spiritual disciplines and demands of today for another time? Has the Lord called you to a task that you are procrastinating over? Don't lose sight of the goal my friend, and keep the main thing, the main thing!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Forgive and Forget...

"He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends." -- Proverbs 17:9 
I put a screwdriver through my hand years ago. Since the injury was located between the thumb and index finger I was constantly reopening the wound from activity. As a result what should have cleared up in a week or so took months. Reopening a wound always slows down the healing process.
Offended hearts are much the same as wounded hands. Once the offense is dealt with, it needs to be covered over with love and forgiveness. Time will bring the desired healing. On the other hand, if we choose to repeat the incident we reopen the wound and healing will separate close friends.
What good does it do to harp on the wrong done to you? Does it really contribute to healing? Do you feel better after you revisit the situation with your friend or do you feel more grieved? To forgive and forget promotes the love that heals. Value your friendships and whenever you are offended, deal with it and let it go. Time will bring the desired healing.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Be Honest!

"Yet I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay." -- Psalm 70:5 
We live in world that applauds achievement by sweat and blood. The Marines are always looking for "A Few Good Men" and Olympic coaches drive their athletes with "you can do it". The idea is centered on never admitting personal weakness and living strong. For most people it's unacceptable to say "I am poor and needy".
I have always appreciated the writings of David for a number of reasons. One significant aspect of the Psalms is his complete honesty and transparency. David was a strong warrior and powerful King, but he never hesitated to express his need for God's help and deliverance. When he was hurting and in trouble, an open heart cried out, "I am poor and needy".
Do you ever free too proud and independent to acknowledge your need? Have you been led to believe that you can go it alone? Is personal strength enough for the battle? Or are you willing to be honest with yourself and the Lord with a simple prayer... "I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God."

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Just Do It!

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." -- Matthew 7:24-25
People spend millions of dollars every year attending instructional conferences, workshops and reading numerous handbooks. Their purpose is improvement of skills or life in general. Sadly, there are many whose skills or lives never change. The reason is simple: they fail to put their learning into practice.
Many Christians suffer from the same experience. They study the Scriptures and read any number of books on spiritual growth. They attend conferences and listen to speakers galore but see little to no change in their spiritual lives. The endless cycle only discourages the average believer as they crumble in the midst of every storm that comes their way. The missing element is always the same: they fail to put their learning into practice.
If you hope to have a strong life, built on the rock, practice is required. You can't just know it my friend, you need to do it. We learn how to pray by praying, we learn how to serve by serving, we learn how to trust by trusting, we learn how to love by loving and we learn how to forgive by forgiving. As always, we can only learn by doing. NIKE made the point well years ago in their commercial: "Just Do It".