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Showing posts from April, 2013

One sentence is all you've got!

If you had just one sentence to describe the instructions you'd leave in someone's life which would rock their world, what would it be?  Some might offer "Trust God and take him as your Savior", while others might offer "Be open to change and live like every day matters".  You probably could offer a couple other examples here, but regardless of the example you offer, I don't think you could do as good of a job as Paul did in writing to the Corinthians.  He gave five key actions in the course of one sentence which will either make us or break us.  Let's examine them this morning:

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.  (I Corinthians 16:13-14 MSG)

1. Keep your eyes open.  I have spoken many times about the eyes as the window to the soul - they give insight into the condition of the man in what they reveal.  Today's advice from Paul is to keep them open.  Now, this may not…

Pushed or pulled?

Hold the high ground - it is the best and most successful position!  Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "If you would lift me up, you must be on higher ground."  He had something there, don't ya think?  For someone to lift another, they have to have a position which allows them to pull, not push another!  Think about it - you can only push or boost another up when you are at a point lower than they are.  If you are at a point higher, you can pull.  To push really means you are putting pressure against - so as to move what seems to be immovable.  To pull means you draw toward - so as to bring closer to where you are.  I think there is something to be said for being pulled, rather than always having to be pushed!

All of you, slave and free both, were once held hostage in a sinful society. Then a huge sum was paid out for your ransom. So please don’t, out of old habit, slip back into being or doing what everyone else tells you. Friends, stay where you were called to be. God is t…

Playing through!

I don't golf and you would not want to attempt to instruct me in this "fine art" of swing, stance, and aim!  I tried - once!  After about 4 holes and a hundred or so strokes, I decided there were other "relaxing activities" I might better pursue!  Don't get me wrong, I think it is great for those who actually manage to direct that tiny ball toward that tiny cup with great accuracy and untiring enthusiasm.  It is just not my "calling".  But...out of every experience comes some opportunity to learn a lesson or two.  So, although the course "challenged" me, there were lessons which came from the experience.  Once I actually decided to just stop "trying", I actually found the time out on the course quite enjoyable.  Peaceful, beautiful to the eye, and in a way, restful.  As I listened to the various other members in our foursome talk their way through the 18-holes, I heard some terms which actually began to speak to me of something…

Skip the bells and whistles on this one!

Ears that hear and eyes that see—we get our basic equipment from God!  (Proverbs 20:12 MSG)

If you have ever looked into buying some new appliance, a new car, or even a new home built to your specifications, you probably have had to consider just how many "bells and whistles" you wanted (or could afford).  The basic model comes with just the minimums - the more you add, the more the costs add up.  Soon, the $299 "deal" you saw advertised becomes $599 because you just could not imagine life without the extra spin cycles, and the automatic sensor for this or that!  Sometimes we find the "extra" stuff we just "had to have" gives us more headaches than they are worth in the end!  

Our passage today speaks to us of the "basic equipment" given to us by God. Ears that hear and eyes that see - basic equipment.  I wonder just how many times we take the "basics" for granted, focusing more on the "bells and whistles" we'd wa…

My Ebenezer

To get a handle on our passage today, let me give you just a little background.  Israel had allowed the unthinkable to happen - they had compromised their stand with God by taking on the worship of idols and the practices of the lands around them.  This was something God had warned them not to do.  As a result, they lost something of great value to them - the help of God in the midst of their battles - to them this was the Ark of the Covenant.  Now, they are surrounded by some pretty fierce attackers - the Philistines.  The armies of the Philistines were known for their superior weaponry, often causing great fear or panic in all those they faced in battle.  The Israelites are facing this huge army of Philistines - not having done so well without God's presence, they hope the return of the ark might have "changed their fortunes".  Samuel is addressing them in this chapter - seeking to see if the Israelite's jubilation over the return of the ark was just surface deep, …

No room for if

We have probably heard the saying, "No ifs, ands, or doubts..."  In most cases, it means we need to finish a task and make absolutely no excuses for not having it done when the time comes for it to be complete.  Our teachers in school set deadlines for reports which were due - meet it or the report would be reduced a full letter grade for each day it was late!  Our parents left us with lists of chores, expecting full-well each one to be marked off as complete before we ever turned on the TV.  Even our employers give us tasks and expect them to be complete - tying each completed item to the potential to remain gainfully employed!  It is not uncommon for us to be expected to start and see something through to completion.  Yet, there is one "thing" we might just struggle with getting to the place of completion alone - our faith!  Martin Luther King once said, "Faith is taking the first step when you don't see the whole staircase."

He asked the boy’s fathe…

Living creatively?

Ever been misled - you know, you believe something only to find out in the end it may not be exactly as you believed it to be?  We probably are more sensitive to this type of "deception" today because of all the avenues for reproducing the deception.  There is an overwhelming amount of social media where we can see all kinds of reports, only to find out some of them are phishing scams, viruses, or just plain false posts designed to lure us in.  There is the entire web to "research" this cure or that experience - and we all know everything on the web is true!  Our passage today deals with having a trustworthy interpretation or impression of ourselves and others - something we often don't do a very good job with, as well.

Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burd…

You looking for love?

Much earlier in this psalm, we find the words, "ForGod’s Word is solid to the core; everything he makes is sound inside and out."  Those words may not seem like much at first, but when you re-read them a few times, maybe they will begin to sink in.  God's Word is solid!  Nothing can rock its truth.  Most importantly, when his Word is embraced - spoken, heard and acted upon - it has an effect beyond our imagining.  Not to be missed - EVERYTHING God makes is SOUND - inside and out!  Now, if that doesn't rock your world - I don't know what will.  Most of the struggle we face in life is the struggle between knowing right and doing it - we get defeated with the "disconnect" between knowing and doing.  Look at the passage - EVERYTHING (and that also means EVERYONE) is sound - because God's Word brings order, peace and hope! 

Watch this: God’s eye is on those who respect him,the ones who are looking for his love.  He’s ready to come to their rescue in bad t…

Remembering?

Remember:  Keep in mind; remain aware of; recall.  For most of us, memory is a terrific thing - as long as what is remembered brings some kind of enjoyment.  When a memory is sad, or almost frightful, it terrorizes the soul and muddles the mind with its effect.  We all have different faculties for remembering things - for some, the mind is like a steal trap - nothing gets out.  For others, it is like a sieve, with many tiny holes which allow things to just plain leak out!  Is a memory ever totally erased?  I don't think so - it is there somewhere - we just may not recall it as easily or feel the same association with the memory as we once did.  It is possible to remember the details of some things and then totally forget those of another, isn't it?  If you don't believe me, try to tell me the definition of a an isosceles trapezoid! I knew that definition backward and forward while I was actually taking and practicing geometric equations, but today?  Nope!  I can tell you i…

Genetics?

There are two word which are similar, but have a totally different meaning when you get down to the nitty-gritty of it.  The two words:  Reformation and Transformation.  Reformation is the action of improving, but it involves altering or amending something to make it more presentable or suitable.  Transformation involves change, but it is at the core - it is the change in the very nature of the object.  Reformation involves "cleaning up" something - superficial at best.  Transformation included the exchange of on thing for another.  Any time we focus on "cleaning up our act", we are engaging in "reformational" action - any time we allow God to focus on "changing our nature" we are giving him access to do his tranformational work within us.

For though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, yet your iniquity and guilt are still [upon you; you are] spotted, dirty,and stained before Me, says the Lord.  (Jeremiah 2:22 AMP)

In medical terms, when…

Impatience is the enemy of growth

There are times in life when I get impatient with myself.  It is one thing to be impatient with another person who may be causing us to wait, or just not answering us when we are talking right to them.  Yet, it is quite another thing to look at ourselves in the mirror and get impatient with what it is we "see" there, isn't it?  I don't know about the rest of you, but there are times when I look in the mirror and absolutely nothing looks like I had hoped it would look! The hair just didn't work, the clothes were too tight/baggy, the skin showed a few blemishes, or the eyebrows were a little uneven - nothing like a "bad hair day", huh?  Now, I wonder just how many of us have these kind of days in the spiritual sense - you know, when you look into the mirror of the Word and find out the "image" you see staring back at you is not quite what you'd hoped for!  

“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch…

We SHALL - not we MIGHT

Wouldn't we all like to know what our future state will be?  We have this gnawing desire to know the future.  As parents, we want to see what our kids will turn out to be like, dream about what accomplishments they undertake, and imagine them doing certain things or marrying certain individuals.  As children, we imagine taking flight into the great unknown, discovering parts unknown to common man, or discovering some new invention which will set the world on fire with excitement.  As believers, what do we imagine about our future state?  Our imaginations often stop at what we can see in our mind's eye about what it is we can comprehend or believe about our children or ourselves.  We often don't look beyond what we can "see" into the unknown realm of what is "promised" to those of us who have put our faith in Christ Jesus.

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we sh…