"Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool,but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered." --Proverbs 28:26 (ESV)
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Over the years I have been blessed by a number of great preachers and teachers. Not all of them were formally educated, so they were referred to as "self-taught". Most of these were much more than "self-taught" since they steeped themselves in the wisdom of the ages. He who walks with the wise is wise.
Solomon warned that those who are satisfied with their own insight are foolish indeed. The limits of self focused knowledge are many and the depth of such a one is quite shallow. Whether one has formal degrees or not, they need to remain a student to make a difference in life. He who walks with the wise is wise.
What efforts are you making to add to your learning my friend? Who have you chosen to serve on your "faculty" of teachers? Have you remained a student of the Scriptures, no matter how many years have passed? Don't rest in what you already know, because there is so much more to learn. He who walks with the wise is wise.
Monday, November 29, 2010
"Jesus said to them,“Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish." -- John 21:12-13
For almost thirty three years I have been a Pastor to people from almost every culture. While there are a variety of differences from one culture to the next, I have noticed one similarity. The time of socializing is most often shared around meals. The breaking of bread among neighbors, friends and family has always served as a casual door to deeper moments of sharing. A simple meal can be a valuable moment of significant communion.
This timeless practice was a common event in the ministry of Jesus. He fed multitudes that came to learn, as well as shared deep truths during an evening meal just hours before his crucifixion. His invitation to the Church of Laodicea was "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20) A simple meal can be a valuable moment of significant communion.
How has this last week been for you and yours my friend? Have you been rushed by the possibilities of great sales and demanding schedules? In the midst of it all have you made the time to just sit down with loved ones and friends to share your heart over a few bites of refreshment? You will find hearts more open to spiritual truths when sharing in a casual atmosphere. A simple meal can be a valuable moment of significant communion.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
"Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." -- John 20:30-31
A wise man once wrote, "Of making many books there is no end" (Ecclesiastes 12:12). These are true words indeed, as libraries exist all around the world with millions of volumes on every subject known to man. While there are unending tomes to read for knowledge and entertainment, there are only a few that will truly change the life of the reader.
As for the writings of the New Testament, the purpose is great and the power is life changing. They tell us of a mighty Savior who came to earth, performing miraculous works with the climax of resurrection from the dead. The purpose of these pages is to bring eternal life to the hearts of those who believe in Messiah Jesus. They were not written to be critically evaluated or academically discussed; they were recorded to change the life of the reader.
How do you approach the Scriptures my friend? Do you see them as just another ancient book filled with religious jargon? Or do you find the door to eternal truths and a deeper understanding of God? Remember, "... faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." (Romans 10:17) Read them to be changed and you will be!
Saturday, November 27, 2010
"Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home." -- John 19:25-27
Far too many families are lost to the pursuit of careers. Both men and women are consumed with making it big and finding success in their field of expertise. There is no sacrifice too great to achieve their goals. With such overwhelming preoccupation, family commitments fade.
Jesus went to the cross with the greatest goal in all of history. His purpose was to redeem the souls of mankind through the shedding of his blood. He became sin for sinners so they might be clothed with the righteousness of God. While this demand was tremendous, his devotion to family remained a priority. To Jesus, family commitments never faded.
How about it my friend? Where is your family in the flow of your life? Have you become so entrenched with your work and all your expectations that your family has become a distant second? Look to the cross and see the Savior; in the midst of incredible suffering, loving and caring for his mother. Be wise, and never, never, never let your family commitments fade.
Friday, November 26, 2010
"... “I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?” They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising." -- John 18:38-40
Life is all about choices. We choose our friends, our colleges, our spouses and our careers. Each of these choices ultimately determines the outcome of our future. Therefore, our choices are critical in more ways than one can imagine. Should we choose for the moment or the long run?
The day arrived when the people were given a choice between Jesus and Barabbas. The reasons for their choice may be more than meet the eye. Barabbas was a man of the world who followed the path of evil to fulfill his desires. Jesus brought the kingdom of God which called for a very different way of living. The crowd chose for the moment rather than the long run.
We begin our spiritual walk by choosing Jesus as Savior. But, do we choose his kingdom and lifestyle every day? Are you enticed by the way of the world that follows any path to fulfill its desires my friend? Or will you choose the path of Jesus that leads to eternal blessings? Be wise, and choose for the long run rather than the moment.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
"Give thanks to the God of heaven.His love endures forever." -- Psalm 136:26
After a long journey, treacherous weather and rampant illness a small party of puritans arrived in a new land. In spite of loss and sorrow, they recognized the providential provision of God and they made the time to give thanks for his gracious care... because His love endures forever.
As the Psalmist reflects on the history of Israel, he connects every event with the covenant love of God for his people. He saw the hand of God in every step of the journey and called for praise and thanksgiving. He spoke of victories, miracles and provisions that the Lord faithfully poured out upon Israel. The years were also filled with struggles and hardships, but the Psalmist repeated the eternal truth that His love endures forever.
Today is Thanksgiving my friend. Have you taken time to reflect on your journey through the last twelve months? Were there struggles and hardships that seemed to overwhelm? How did you survive the storms and rocky roads along the way? You know that the Lord has been with you every day and though there may be ice on the deck, there's a fire in the hearth because... His love endures forever!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
"How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity! ... It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore." -- Psalm 133:1, 3
I well remember how wet the fairways were early in the morning. While I was in high school I would work as a golf caddy, going out on the course at 6 or 7 in the morning. The moist dew would saturate my shoes, but it would prepare the grass for a hot day a head. The morning dew is a quiet and simple blessing.
As the morning dew refreshes, so the unity among brethren blesses. It permeates the community drawing the people together as one. Differences are set aside and shared commitments are embraced. You find love and concern for one another resting on every heart and conversation. Brothers and sisters labor together as one with a common devotion to the Lord. Daily unity is a quiet and simple blessing.
Why do we carry on from day to day without the blessing of unity? In the absence of such a refreshing presence is a dry harshness that rubs us raw. To live in unity and to strive toward that end is worth every effort. As the morning dew is a welcome relief to dry grass, so our lives, families and churches will find that unity is a quiet and simple blessing.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
"My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one." -- John 17:15
The causes that lead to military engagement are many. As a result our young men and women serve in parts of the world that place them in harm's way. They are given ballistic vests, Type III and above, having added steel, titanium, ceramic or polyethylene plates which can withstand high-powered rounds such as those from rifles. While we may desperately desire that they be safely at home, we provide them with gear that will protect.
As members of the Lord's army, we are placed on the battle field of life in the face of great evil. Knowing that we are here for a great purpose, the Lord doesn't seek for our removal. We have been sent into the battle to spread the good news of Jesus and show the world his love. Although we may be in harm's way as we serve, we have the Lord's intercession for protection.
When you are discouraged in the face of spiritual warfare, be strengthened my friend. As the evil presses in upon you with unending attacks, be assured of victory. Remember that you have the greatest "ballistic vest" in the Lord's intercession for your protection.
Monday, November 22, 2010
“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me." -- John 16:32
I remember the first Christmas I spent away from home. I was at college, working full time and unable to return home for the holidays. The dorm was empty and I was alone. The feeling was haunting and one I will never forget. When circumstances leave us alone, we need a companion.
Jesus was soon leaving the disciples and he knew his path would be hard. He had planned to meet their need for comfort by promising them the coming of the Holy Spirit. But he knew that he would be left alone in his suffering for sin. Thankfully, though he would be alone, he had a companion.
When you feel all alone and overwhelmed by the situation where do you turn? Will you simply sit in a cloud of discouragement or will you consider the fact that you are never really alone? As Jesus consoled himself in the face of lost support from friends, so should we remember, our Lord is with us always... to the very end of the age.(Matthew 28:20)
Sunday, November 21, 2010
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you." -- John 15:16
I had a "Red Delicious" apple at lunch today. Recently I read that this particular apple variety is the most nutritious, but for some reasons its popularity has waned. It has become a wonderful fruit that has lost its significance. How sad to be a fruit that didn't stand the test of time.
On the other hand Jesus had a higher expectation for believers. He has chosen and appointed us with a distinct purpose in mind. We are to bear fruit. Our fruit is to be spiritually healthy, God honoring and have a lasting effect in the face of eternity. We are to labor to produce fruit that will stand the test of time.
Are you satisfied with the moment and spiritual seeds? Or are you looking for the fruit that comes from proper planting, fertilizing, watering and time? Is your devotion to the Lord stagnate or productive? What are you doing today my friend to bear fruit that will stand the test of time?
Saturday, November 20, 2010
"But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." -- John 14:26
I remember many prayers being said during my college days. Needs varied from money for school to wisdom for the days following graduation. But the most interesting supplications were for help in taking exams. I always wondered what we expected of the Lord; to help us to be calm and remember what we studied or did we hope he would infuse unstudied knowledge into our heads. We can only remember what we have learned.
As this is true of academics so it is of spiritual growth. While we should depend fully on the Holy Spirit to teach us spiritual truths, his ministry also includes reminding us of the words and teaching of our Lord. But, how can he possibly remind us of truth if we have not entrusted it to memory. Reading and memorizing the Word of the Lord is a clear prerequisite for spiritual knowledge and growth. We can only remember what we have learned.
Do you expect the Holy Spirit to provide you with wisdom and guidance at just the right time? What will he have to bring to your mind when needed? Is there a vault of God's Word hidden in your heart? Have you read, reread and memorized the Scriptures so the Lord can "remind" you? Remember my friend; we can only remember what we have learned.
Friday, November 19, 2010
"Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!" -- John 13:37-38
Politicians offer you the world to get into office. They will commit themselves to almost anything and often believe they can produce. Then in the face of reality they realize that they don't have what it takes to succeed. Their promises are just too great.
Peter also spoke before thinking. His confidence was totally in the wording "I will". He was self assured that he was able to fulfill the most demanding sacrifice for Jesus. Yet, when the day arrived he found that he didn't have what it takes to succeed. Peter's promise was just too great.
Are you sure of yourself my friend? Do you really believe that you would lay down your life for Jesus? Or do you know that only by his strength can you hope to accomplish anything for him? Before you make promises to die for the Lord, why not just make a commitment to live for him today? By his grace, that's a promise that you can keep.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
"Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring." -- Proverbs 27:1
The Titanic, Pearl Harbor and the World Trade Towers all bear witness to the sober truth of unknown events in every day. On each occasion people went to sleep the night before with every reason to believe that many tomorrows were ahead. And on each occasion those many tomorrows failed to occur, because life is full of the unexpected.
As Solomon wrote these insightful words, I'm sure there were many historic events that came to his mind. Joseph woke up in a cistern, soon to be sold into slavery by his brothers. Moses stumbled into a burning bush, soon to lead a nation into freedom. His own father David took a walk on the roof, soon to commit adultery and murder. You never know what a day may bring, because life is full of the unexpected.
The important lesson is to plan, but never be presumptuous. Do you just expect to live forever? Do you expect to be healthy, wealthy and successful all your life? The truth of the matter is; tomorrow may never come, because life is full of the unexpected. So, live today with all your might for the glory of God and leave tomorrow in his ever capable and wise hands.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
“I will not enter my house or go to my bed, I will allow no sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.” -- Psalm 132:3-5
I well remember the days, weeks and months that my parents spent checking on the building of our new house. They would stay up late from night to night rechecking the design and progress. My folks sacrificed a lot to have a well built home for our family. But then again, they were devoted to more than a house.
More importantly, David was determined to build a house of worship for the LORD. He knew that such a task called for great sacrifice and he was willing to give his all for the temple of God. His sleep was of little importance in comparison to this great work. But then again, he was devoted to more than a temple.
How much do you give of yourself for the house of God my friend? Do you believe that a place of worship for the LORD is important enough to sacrifice your time, talent and treasure? Are you willing to give up certain pleasures and rest to build or maintain a building where Jesus is lifted up, proclaimed and praised? The question is; where is your devotion?
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
"Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God." -- John 12:42-43
The political world troubles me on many levels. One area that seems quite unacceptable is when someone with clear and long standing convictions changes them for the popular vote. When this happens often enough such individuals lose their credibility. These are people who love the praise of men over personal beliefs.
The above phenomenon is not reserved to the political realm. Jesus dealt with those who experienced true belief in him but were too afraid to express their faith. Their convictions were certain, but their cowardice was crippling. How sad when believers in Jesus love human praise more than praise from God.
How about you my friend? Does everyone in your world know that you are a believer in Christ? Without being obnoxious, have you made your faith known with courage and clarity? Have you been willing to suffer persecution or humiliation rather than hide your convictions? Make the right choice and love the praise of God more than the praise of men.
Monday, November 15, 2010
"When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept." -- John 11:33-35
The Doctor that delivered my first-born was a believer and a man of great empathy. When we would bring our son to his office with serious pain, Dr. Kolb would receive us with such kindness and understanding. This physician friend was always moved by our sadness and turmoil for our son, and his medical care was marked by his compassion.
The scene before us is so often presented with greater focus on the Lord's message and miracle rather than his incredible empathy. The shortest verse in the Bible may very well be the deepest verse in concept. The creator, sustainer, redeemer and coming King was deeply moved by the sorrow of friends and wept. His message and miracle was marked by his compassion.
Do you ever hesitate to take your sorrows and heartache to Jesus? While you know full well that he has the power to turn your world upside down and inside out, is he really moved by your brokenness? Be assured my friend, Jesus is deeply moved and I believe that he still weeps when his children weep.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” -- John 10:27-30
The well known insurance company slogan "You're in good hands with Allstate" has been around since 1950. The original thought originated from the company commitment to the insured individual. The safety and welfare of clients was of utmost importance to Allstate. Where else can we find such security today?
Security is a very significant word that springs from this passage. Jesus wanted to convey to his followers the thought of protection and provision for all eternity. Like sheep who rest in the ever faithful and watchful care of their shepherd, Jesus carries his flock in his powerful, yet gentle hands... hands that were pierced for them.
How is it possible for you to be fearful in the face of eternity? If you belong to the Good Shepherd, you are someone for whom he laid his life down. Since his hands were pierced for you and still took death by the throat in victory, are they not sufficient to hold you firmly forever? Be secure my friend... be eternally secure!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
"If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you." -- Psalm 130:3-4
I recently came across my sixth grade report card. Sixth grade wasn't my most stellar year academically. Yet, there it was, a written unchanging record of less than commendable grades. I suppose I could shred it or use it as kindling to start a warm winter fire, but the record still stands. It sure would be nice if some records just didn't exist.
How absolutely amazing, that the Omniscient God of the Universe has no record of his children's sins. With the Lord there is forgiveness and this gracious act is a most comforting and encouraging expression of love. Once forgiven, we'll never find an old time worn record of our sins anywhere. It just doesn't exist.
So, now you're forgiven my friend. What will you do with such a marvelous gift of love as this? Will you live any way that you want or will you strive to serve the Lord, with reverence? We have been forgiven with grace and purpose, live a life worthy of the One who keeps no record of your sins.
Friday, November 12, 2010
"As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work." -- John 9:4
Every morning, Monday through Friday, parkways across this land are jam packed with people headed to work. Then, as evening approaches, those same people make their way back home after a a busy day. While time passes and progress leads to great change, the work day remains much the same. The majority of people work "as long as it is day".
Some have called it the "Puritan Work Ethic", but the idea of working hard was embraced by our Lord long before there were Puritan Divines. He came to do all the work given by the Father in heaven while it was day. He led a focused life of productive effort accomplishing the tasks assigned. The Lord knew that night was coming "when no one can work."
How diligent are you in the work of the Lord? Have you a clear sense of his purpose for your life? Time flies for everyone of us and the night is coming. Will you be able to say that you made the most of the "day" you were given to accomplish the task assigned to you by the Lord? Work hard my friend, because "today" is the only promise you have.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
"Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." -- John 8:34-36
Over the years I've ministered to people who have suffered from substance abuse. For a very long time they believe that they are not addicted. They say, "It's just one drink, now and then". I grew up with family members that would have "just one drink, now and then." The truth was they were slaves to alcohol.
It doesn't matter how you package it, when you're addicted, you're a slave. We are sinners by nature and by action, and "everyone who sins is a slave to sin". You can deceive yourself by saying, "It's just one sin, now and then", but you're addicted. Freedom will only come to those who admit their condition and turn to the Son of God to set them free.
Will you stop and be true to yourself my friend? "... A slave has no permanent place in the family of God, but a son belongs to it forever." Sin must be admitted before freedom and a place in the family can be granted. Do you want to continue in life as a slave, or do you want to be "free indeed"?
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
"Thus the people were divided because of Jesus." -- John 7:43
People are divided for many reasons. Some hold different political views, others have different ethnic backgrounds and still others differ on social issues. There are those who will even fight for their favorite ball team. Still, none of the above can divide the entire human race.
Our verse for thought is factual and profoundly timeless. While no small passing issue can divide everyone for all time, Jesus does. He is the eternal watershed that divides all mankind. This is clearly stated in John 3:18, "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned". There it is; Jesus is the Mason-Dixon Line of history. There are those who believe and those who don't believe. The entire human race is divided because of Jesus.
What about you my friend? You have chosen or will choose to believe or not to believe and your eternal future lies in the balance. This is not a minor issue that you can ignore until it goes away. Every day you check the date on a calendar that is broken at the coming of Christ; B.C. and A.D. As time, so people, some are without Christ and some are with Christ... which are you?
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
"Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” -- John 6:26-27
A recent news item mentioned opposition to McDonald's Happy Meal toys. Some people believe that children only ask for happy meals to get the toy; they don't really care about the food in the box. Just imagine someone being more concerned with a toy that breaks in no time rather than a nourishing meal. Don't work for the stuff that spoils.
Speaking of food, there were numerous people who would follow Jesus anywhere, as long as he fed them. They were all about the momentary pleasure of a full stomach. But Jesus wanted more; he asked that people follow him for eternal reasons that would nourish the soul. He didn't want anyone working for the stuff that spoils.
Why do you follow the Lord my friend? Do you want some blessing in your job or special provision for your future? Are you satisfied with the immediate, and not really interested in the eternal? Jesus counsels every person who shortchanges themselves by seeking the toys of this world. He has so much more to offer... so don't work for the stuff that spoils.
Monday, November 8, 2010
"Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down." -- Proverbs 26:20
This last year brought more unfounded stories about political personalities. In most cases the reports were either totally untrue or gross exaggerations of minor incidents. These stories succeeded in causing uproar and in some cases damaged someone's reputation. People are all too quick to believe such tales and the fires they cause can burn on for years. It's best not to feed the fire.
It is sad to find the very same conduct in the church. From week to week certain people will carry unfounded stories and exaggerated details that will fire up the congregation. The purpose is quite different than political tales, but nonetheless great damage is done. If the tale bearer would hold their tongue and others would refuse to listen, peace would prevail. It's best not to feed the fire.
The counsel is timeless and significant my friend. Think before you speak, and if you must speak, tell the Lord first in prayer. If someone tries to get your ear with all kinds of gossip, encourage them to drop the subject and pray for those they are talking about. Remember; it's best not to feed the fire.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
"Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." -- Psalm 127:1
My wife and I love to watch the HGTV program "Holmes on Homes". The stories of poor construction and careless contractors are repeated weekly. In response, Mike Holmes comes in with a team of skilled builders to save the day. The conclusion is always the same; every project should be done by a reputable and dependable builder.
Jesus spoke of our spiritual houses in Matthew 7:24-27 and the Psalmist called our attention to the best builder. We can hammer and saw away every day, but unless the LORD builds our spiritual house, all our work is in vain. We will have leaky pipes, rotten floors and faulty electric. The conclusion is simple; every spiritual building should have THE reputable and dependable Builder.
The process is just as basic as the program "Holmes on Homes". When we are ready to build, we need to seek the only One who knows how to build spiritual homes. Don't try to be the "Tool-man" and end up with a mess on your hands. Take your need to the Lord and ask for HIS plans. Read his Word and you will find the building details laid out with precision. Before you build, take note my friend; you need a reputable and dependable Builder... you need the LORD.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned." -- John 5:28-29
We go through school and receive grades according to our academic performance. The more we study, the better our grade. Then comes that frightful day when we take the road test for our driver's license. We don't get a better grade if we study more. We don't get an "A", "B" or "C" license; we either pass or fail by our actions. It's one way or the other, there's no middle ground.
Eternity is one of those tests that one either passes or fails. It's all a matter of choice in this life. If we choose life in Jesus and are changed into righteous people, we will pass into eternal life. On the other hand, should we choose to embrace evil throughout life, we will fail into eternal condemnation. It's one way or the other, there's no middle ground.
There are many people who expect their eternal destiny to be determined on a graded scale. You may figure that enough good works will bring a good grade and a well deserved place in heaven. But the simple truth is, we pass or fail by our action of choice. Jesus is the only way, there's no middle ground. How will you choose?
Friday, November 5, 2010
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." -- John 4:34-35
Having lived in old houses all our married life has given our family an appreciation for the ongoing work that is needed. The list of jobs is never-ending and it keeps you going from one spare moment to the next. At times you might think the work is finished, but then you open your eyes and there is much more to be done. Some responsibilities take a lifetime and more.
Jesus was focused on a pressing task and all other pursuits came afterward. He was totally committed to finish the task assigned by the Father. At the same time he points out the ever present harvest of souls standing before us, if we will only open our eyes. The responsibility of reaching the lost and helpless multitude with the gospel is never truly finished. The task will take a lifetime, only to be passed on to the next generation.
Open your eyes my friend, and what do you see? Is it your neighbor, friend, fellow worker, classmate or family member? Do you see the crowds on your way to work or while you're shopping? How many of them are lost and helpless, in need of the Savior? The harvest will take a lifetime, and must be passed on to the next generation. Stay the course and never give up!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." -- John 3:19
Studies tell us that one of the simplest steps of crime prevention is the flood light. As a result of that knowledge we have a number of flood lights installed around our home. I also have more flashlights than can be counted for the same reason. Light changes everything.
Criminals will always run from the light to hide their actions. Darkness hides evil from correction just as it hides vermin and insects from extermination. There are those who live in the dark purposely, so they can continue in their immoral or illegal ways. Other people choose the light of Jesus because they want to change their evil ways. Light changes everything.
Have you chosen to live in the dark, hiding your lifestyle from the light of the Lord? The verdict tells us why some make this choice, but it also tells us that Light has come to provide a way out. Will you make that choice? Remember, Light changes everything.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
"... Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” -- John 2:9-10
You shop for a new car. The salesman treats you like a long lost brother and after your purchase you're lost again. The car you buy is absolutely amazing for a while, then time passes and it's not so amazing anymore. That's how life is: things seem to get less amazing every day. Is there anything that gets more amazing over time?
Our Lord's first miracle tells us so much about his future ministry in our lives. When we first come to the Lord it is so amazing. The sense of peace and joy is overwhelming and we wonder if the feelings will last. But as time passes the peace and joy only grows stronger and deeper. Far from the way of our world, when the Lord does his work, it only gets more amazing over time.
It was best said in Isaiah 55:2, "Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare." Choose wisely my friend and look to the Lord for his provision. When he blesses, it only gets more amazing over time.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
"Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus." -- John 1:40-42
I wanted to tell the world the day I got engaged. I also wanted to tell the world the two days that my sons were born. We all have exciting life changing moments that motivate us to tell the good news to as many people as possible. Why do we make such an effort to spread the news? It's because we want everyone to share in our joy.
When Andrew found the Lord and spent time with him, the very first thing he did was tell his brother. He was excited about finding the long awaited Messiah and he wanted everyone to know. He was overjoyed with his discovery and couldn't keep it to himself. He wanted everyone to share his joy.
Since you came to the knowledge of the Lord how has your life changed? Has the Lord blessed you in tremendous ways? Who have you told about these wonderful things? Why not be an Andrew today and share your joy with everyone?
Monday, November 1, 2010
"Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore." -- Psalm 125:1-2
I spent fifteen years surrounded by the mountains of Pennsylvania. Those days were quite pleasant, being surrounded by the hillsides, protected from wild coastal winds. In addition, we were often blessed with the splendor of beautiful rainbows and unparalleled valley sunsets. These mountains were the same for us as they were for the first settlers; they have never been shaken.
With such a picture the Psalmist likens the care and protection of the Lord. For the Lord surrounds his people like an unshaken mountain. The storms may come with ferocity and power, but the children of God are well protected in the "cleft of the rock" (Exodus 33:22). We are held in the palm of his great providential hands. And to put it simply, you're in good hands with the Almighty.
On any given day, you may feel threatened by the unknown and uncontrollable. Anxiety may press upon you like a heart attack, but all you have to do is stop, and take a look. Lift up your eyes to the hills and remember, from whence comes your help? It comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth, who surrounds you as the mountains surround Jerusalem... both now and forevermore!