Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Announcement That Changed the World

The Announcement That Changed the World

There have been many famous announcements in history.  For example, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed a paper with 95 statements about the Catholic Church.  The “95 Theses” was an announcement that changed the world.  People began protesting the Catholic Church because it did not follow the Bible.  Historically, Baptists were never part of the Catholic Church, but this announcement of Luther started a turning back to the Bible for many people.  On July 4th, 1776 the most important human statement of political principles in the history of the world was announced.  The Declaration of Independence was signed on that day, changing the world.  In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell patented his first telephone.  This technology announcement changed the world.  English scientist Lord Kelvin called it “the most wonderful thing in America.”  In 1879 Thomas Edison announced the invention of the light bulb that forever changed the face of this planet.  What a blessing the light bulb has been to millions of people the world over.  On April 6, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson declared “the world must be safe for democracy” and declared war on Germany.  The US troops made it in time to rescue Paris from falling to the Germans.  In September 1938 President Roosevelt cabled Hitler and told him to turn from his course of war.  Again in April 1939 President Roosevelt informed Hitler and Mussolini of the American people’s desire to avoid war and promote peace.  The only message these tyrants could hear was war.  After the attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, the next day, December 8, 1941 America declared war on Japan, three days later on Germany, and Italy.  These are some announcements that changed the world…

Only a few announcements in history changed the entire world.

  • The Angel of the Lord told Abraham in Genesis 22:18: And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
  • Moses took God’s message to Pharaoh in Egypt: “Let My People Go.”
  • The Angel of the Lord gave the birth announcement of Jesus Christ to the shepherds; what a world/eternity changer! I DO NOT KNOW how to compare the birth of Christ to the Death and resurrection of Christ.  BOTH are important.  Both announcements are needed.  Jesus was born to die.  IF He did not rise again, He would have been an ordinary person who lived and died.  That is why His resurrection is called the Announcement that Changed the World!

Here is the greatest announcement as told in the book of Matthew…

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.  3  His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:  4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.  8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.  9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.  10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.   –  Matthew 28:1-10

His friends and family members were witnesses to His death.  What a tragic, saddening day, when the innocent Lamb of God was led away to be crucified.  “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” the people jeered.

Sin is a separator.  Sin separates us from God.  Death is the penalty for sin.  Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, gave Himself as a perfect sacrifice.  Man is not good.  We are sinners.  Titus 3:5-7 says… “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  Jesus died in our place at the hands of hateful people and of a Holy God.  Jesus became sin for us – that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.  Man hated Him.  The Father turned His back to Him.  Jesus suffered our death and our Hell so we could be saved.

One commentator said this: “The friends of Jesus saw him and heard him only a few times after that Easter morning, but their lives were completely changed. What seemed to be the end proved to be the beginning; what seemed to be a cause for fear proved to be a cause for courage; what seemed to be defeat proved to be victory; and what seemed to be the basis for despair proved to be the basis for hope.”

The sacrifice had been given.  Christ had died and was buried, placed in the tomb.  His body was wrapped in linen and laid on a stone bed with a stone covering the tomb entrance.  The stone was sealed probably with a cord and wax attaching both the stone and the exterior cave wall.  Similar to the sealing of letters, the wax would give away if there was any tampering.  Sabbath Day had passed, by the time the ladies who came to properly and permanently bury His body with spices.  They were confronted by the Angel of the Lord at the tomb on Sunday, the first day of the week…

The Angel of the Lord had rolled back the stone and sat on it.  Then the Angel appeared, the earth shook, and the soldiers fell down and fainted in amazement.  By the time the ladies arrive it is early in the morning, sunrise.  They get to the scene and find the Roman soldiers lying on the ground, the tomb door rolled away, and an angel sitting on the stone!

This booklet is written to let the reader know:  Jesus rose from the dead!  The greatest announcement in the history of the world is that: “Jesus is alive!”  The power in the Gospel is that Jesus rose from the dead!

There are 5 points in the announcement the angel gives pertaining to Christ in this passage. 

Notice verse 6 and 7 in particular:  “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”

“He is Not Here.”

If you were able to take a roll call of famous religious leaders of the past, if they were able to respond, what they would say.  “Buddha?”  “Here.” ”Muhammad?” “Here.”  “Joseph Smith?” “Present.”  Gandhi? “I’m Here.”  None of these men have risen from the dead.  Their bones are still in the tombs in which their body was laid at the time of their death…

Jesus was and is not in the tomb.

What a big difference in contrast to Jesus.  On the Cross Jesus cried out as John 19:30 says, “It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.  Jesus was dead, the Roman soldier verified this when he thrust the spear through the side of Christ.  Water and blood gushed out – Jesus was dead.  Jesus was buried in the tomb.  When the ladies arrived at the tomb, it was three days earlier Joseph of Arimathea had wrapped up the body of Christ and laid it in the tomb.

Jesus was not in the grave clothes. John 20:5-7, tells us what John saw: And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

We do not expect dead people to move!

The women initially thought “someone stole His body.”  The Bible records in John 20:2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. The body of Jesus was missing.  The body of Christ was not where it was laid to rest.  “He is not here” is a powerful start to this announcement.

“He is Risen.”

Jesus defeated the grave.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:55, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” The tomb, the grave did not have power over Christ.  Jesus rose from the grave.

Jesus Defeated Death.  Death had no power over Christ.  Jesus willingly gave His life in dying on the cross for our sins.  He took our death.  Death is the penalty for sin.  The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.”  Jesus had no sin of His own.  He took our sin upon Himself and paid the price for our sin with His life.  Jesus rose again, victorious over death.  Believer, we need not fear death.  Sometimes Christians sorrow at the moment of the death of a loved one.  If we are believers and if the loved ones were saved, we will meet again one day.  For the believer, death is compared to sleep.  Read I Thessalonians 4:13-18 for more details of this truth.

Jesus defeated Satan. For a moment, Satan may have believed he had won.  The Son of God was dead.  Satan witnessed his destructive plan unfold and then thought that he had defeated God.  Darkness fell upon the earth, Satan celebrated.  What a blow to that old serpent when “up from the grave Christ arose!”   Hebrews 2:14-15 says, Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

The penalty of sin, including the power of the grave, of death, and the power of Satan were defeated when Christ rose from the dead!  Believer, Because Jesus is alive, we are no longer in bondage to sin.  We are no longer dominated by Satan.  We are no longer doomed to death!  Jesus is alive – He gives a new life to believers!

“Come and See the Place.”

What a beautiful sight.   This author has yet to visit the tomb, but think with me about the magnitude of the moment when the stone rolled away and Jesus walked out of the tomb.  What a big event occurred in that small place outside the city of Jerusalem.  Notice with me as we look at this place through the eyes of the witnesses who were there…

The Tomb is Empty.  Jesus was not in the tomb.  When we go to the cemetery or find a tomb, we expect to find corpses, dead people, and bones in the tombs.  As we peer along with these ladies in to the tomb, there is nothing dead in there!  This tomb is a new tomb, freshly built and given to Christ by Joseph of Arimathea. No one else had ever been buried in there.  Now after the resurrection, the only evidence that it had been used was the fact that the grave clothes were still there, but there was no-body there!

As we peer into this place we realize that Salvation’s Plan is Complete.  When Mary Magdalene goes into the tomb – She sees two angels, one on each end of the place where the body of Christ was laid.   In the OT the Lord gave a covenant to the Jewish people.  They had the Law and the Tabernacle, and the Holy of Holies, and in that place the Lord gave the “Ark of the Covenant” with the Mercy seat on top of the ark.   The High Priest would go into this place once a year on behalf of the people. Exodus 30:10 describes this by stating, “And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.”

What picture the Ark of the Covenant and the Cherubim on either side looking to the mercy seat displays.  A new covenant was convened on that day.  A new testament in action based on the blood of a perfect sacrifice, the sacrifice of God the Son, Jesus Christ.  God’s plan for salvation was complete.  For the first time in History, there was no more need for perpetual, daily sacrifices.  Christ made the sacrifice – once for all!

“Go and Tell.”

Every Resurrection Season, we see “Easter Lilies” as decorations.  The Easter Lilly is called that because it is blooming and opening up in the shape of a trumpet, as if it is announcing the resurrection of Christ.  It’s a new day on the earth! What a reminder of the need to go and tell of the resurrection of the Savior. 

Go tell other people are the instructions.  The angel tells the ladies to go and tell His disciples.  They needed to know what had happened.  Then with the fact of the resurrection in their mind, they were to go and tell others.   Jesus went to the people.  What an example Jesus is for us.

Would you take a pal to Easter worship if Jonas Brothers sang?”  is the title of a  USA Today, April 3, 2010 column which said the following  “There’s an unsettling theme in recent religion news. It’s not that U.S. Christians no longer celebrate Easter but that the evangelical spirit — defined as a drive to share this “good news” — seems to be waning. Christians, it would appear, are slacking on the job and their friends’ and families” souls are on the line, church leaders say.

A Christian Research firm, The Barna Group, has identified two key problems: First, many Christians are hazy on Jesus’ resurrection. Second, even those who know this is the core message of Easter, largely don’t share this faith with others.  David Kinnaman, president of Barna, told Baptist Press:  … those who celebrate Easter because of the resurrection of Christ are not particularly likely to invite non-churched friends to worship, suggesting that their personal beliefs about Jesus have not yet translated into a sense of urgency for having spiritual conversations with their acquaintances. Barna’s survey of 1,000 adults in February found just 42% tied the meaning of Easter to Jesus’ resurrection and only 2% called this day “the most important holiday of their faith.” Of those who identified themselves as active churchgoers, less than a third (31%) said they would invite guests to Easter worship services this year.

Maybe it would help if the Jonas Brothers were headlining the worship singing. That’s the idea Rev. Rick Warren had for his California megachurch Saddleback and now its Easter celebrations Saturday night and Sunday morning at Angels Stadium are “sold out.”’

What a tragedy is found in that reportLove and Truth go together in the Bible.  We love people – but not to the neglect of truth.  We need not compromise Biblical standards to tell people about Jesus Christ.   Just as the Apostles took the message of Christ to others, we are commanded to do the same.  Every Christian ought to be a missionary where he lives.

They told them the Gospel.  Dr. James Ray went to England to share the gospel and plant churches.  He told me about how he took an ad out in the newspaper personal section. The area of the newspaper that may read like this “Man seeks woman, etc.” His ad read: “Dear John, please call me at……..”  An answering machine at the other end said:  “John I just wanted you to know that your sin separates you from God.  John you need Jesus to be forgiven of you sin…..”   Dr. Ray received over 500 calls!  Some of those men named “John” were saved!

Years ago a man commented to DL Moody that “I do not like your way of evangelizing.” To which Mr. Moody responded: “I like my way of more than your way of not evangelizing.”

Christian friend, if Christians do not testify to the fact that Jesus is alive – who will?  If believers do not go into the world and tell the lost of Christ – who will?   What is the greatest need of the following people?  The unwed mother, the hateful teen, the jealous co-worker, the teacher of evolution, the neighbors who are constantly fighting each other, the arrogant driver, and the drunk college student?  Their greatest need is Jesus Christ!

The Gospel is the message of Salvation.  God’s love and grace caused Him to demonstrate His love by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die and rise again for us!   The Resurrection is the central theme of Christianity.  The Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ! Thank the Lord that the Gospel is available to all, but applied only to those who believe.

“I, the Angel of the Lord, Have Told You.”

The Resurrection is a Miracle of God.  No resurrection has ever happened without the power of God.  Anyone who was ever really dead and came back to life did so by the power of God.  The “touch and go” that some people claim to experience is not resurrection.  Jesus was dead, in the tomb for three days.  In a future day, Satan’s Antichrist will look like he is wounded to death in an attempt to claim resurrection power.  He will try to appear as powerful as Christ to the world who witness him.  Resurrection power however, is only of God.

The Resurrection is a Message from God.  Jesus spoke to Martha, the sister of Lazarus after Lazarus had died of sudden illness.  John 11:25-26 records, Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Based on the authority of the Word of God – God is extending salvation to you today.  He wants you to be saved today.  What would keep you from accepting the gift of eternal life.  Jesus paid the price for your sin, when He bled and died on the Cross.  Today you can trust Christ and receive salvation.  2 Corinthians 6:2  says, (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Today is the day, you can believe in the resurrection.  You can receive Christ by faith, and have His eternal salvation.  The greatest announcement in the world is that Jesus Christ is alive!

I enjoy the old Gospel hymn, “He Lives!”  Around 1933, Alfred Ackley, wrote these words and put them to music…

“I serve a risen Savior
He’s in the world today.
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy;
I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him
He’s always near.”

“In all the world around me
I see His loving care,
And though my heart grows weary,
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading,
Through all the stormy blast;
The day of His appearing
Will come at last.”

“Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him,
The Help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.”

The chorus continues, “He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.”

The power in the Gospel is that Jesus rose from the dead!  Christianity is based on the fact that Jesus rose from the dead – had He not, all the preaching of the past 2000 years would have been in vain.  All the people who died for this Gospel would have died for a lost cause.  All the lives that have been touched would have been misled.  I am glad to tell you based on the authority of the Word of God, that Jesus came up out of that tomb!  Jesus is alive!

Would you be saved today?  Admit to the Lord that you are a sinner.  Believer that Jesus died on the Cross, shedding His blood for your sins.  Receive Christ as your personal savior. 

Believer, thank the Lord for the Sacrifice Christ made for you.  Thank the Lord for the salvation He has afforded you.  Ask the Lord to help the message of the resurrection to be a constant reminder of His grace, mercy, and love for you.  Be faithful to the Lord.  Find ways to share His message with others.

May the Lord bless each reader with the wonderful announcement made on that day:  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”  The Resurrection of Christ is the greatest announcement ever given, and it changed the world!

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The Initiative of Missions

The Initiative of Missions

Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.  John 20:21

The tomb was empty.  The disciples were hiding in the Upper Room.  Jesus shows up.  He appears in the middle of the room even with all the doors and windows of the Upper Room closed.  The resurrected Savoir speaks about peace, the peace of God.  Then He directs the attention of the mesmerized disciples to the thought that just as the Father sent Jesus on a mission of rescue, Jesus was now sending His disciples.  He then enables them with the filling of the Holy Spirit.  Later in Acts 1 they are empowered by His Spirit.  Jesus initiates the call to participate in missions.

As disciples of Jesus, we are called with the same calling.  We are to go into this world and preach the Gospel.  While not everyone will be in ministry “vocationally” we are all in the ministry of giving out the Gospel.  You can help your church witness by giving out Gospel tracts and inviting people to church.  Concerning missions; Praying, giving and going are all important aspects.  You may be involved in praying and giving which then provides for those who actually go into vocational missions.  It could be that the Lord calls you to go into missions.

Three thoughts about missions:

Missions is Intentional.  Churches are not planted on accident.  When the disciples went about the world 2000 years ago, they preached, saw people saved, discipled, baptized and local churches formed.  Church planting is the primary goal of missions.  In order to start a church, evangelism and discipleship must take place.  It is good to note that discipleship always starts with evangelism.  It is impossible to truly have one without the other.  We are to “make disciples.”  This is very intentional when planting the seed of the Gospel and watering with the Word.

Missions is an Investment.  Speaking of “grace giving” or “faith promise missions giving” Paul says in Philippians 4:17: “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.”  The believers in the church at Philippi were consistent in giving finances to Paul and his mission work.  When a soul was saved, a convert discipled, and a church established, that was fruit added to the account of the believers.  Their financial investment paid off in spiritual dividends.

Missions is Invitational.  The invitation is open to “whosoever will.”  Whether a young child, or a down and out adult, the invitation is still the same.  Jesus said in Matthew 11:28: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” And in 19:14: “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”   Whether it is here at home or on foreign soil: “Come to Jesus.”  Rich, poor, famous or infamous, healthy or not healthy: “Come to Jesus.”  The invitation is open for all.

It is the Lord who has initiated the call to you and I to be “sent” and to take His message to a needing world.  Are you participating in the evangelism opportunities of your local church?  Are you praying for and giving finances to missions?  Are you willing to go if the Lord calls you to vocational missions?

Let the words of Jesus resonate in your mind: “Even so send I you…

 

When Dreams Come True

When Dreams Come True

“And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.”  Genesis 37:5

 

“Dream Big Dreams!”

“Follow your dream.”

“Make your dream happen.”

The world philosophy says much about dreams today.

While the New Testament has several people who are given dreams, there is no evidence that God continues to give dreams today.  Then, the dreams were part of God’s special revelation, the Bible.  The dreams Joseph is given are revelation of the Lord.  Today we do not receive special revelation.  We have a completed Bible.

However, the Lord does burden our hearts.  We are convicted by the Spirit of God to action.  The Lord gives us “desires” that are informed by our Bible knowledge and yielding to His Holy Spirit.

For the Christian, the dream must be rooted in the Bible.  Following God leads to fulfilled dreams.

Don’t just follow a dream; follow the Maker of the dream. 

Here are 3 considerations on the way to seeing dreams come true.

 

The Path to the Dream Does Not Always Make Sense. 

The Lord may not take you straight to the conclusion of a dream.  When the dream came, Joseph saw his promotion and blessing, but he did not see his the problems he was to face.  On the way, he was enslaved (Gen. 39:1-6).  He was accused (Gen. 39:7-20).  He was imprisoned (Gen. 39:21-23).  And he was forgotten (Gen. 40:23).

Many “health and wealth” teachers fail to mention the heartache, suffering, and difficulty that followers of Jesus will truly face.  “Name it and claim it” did not work for Joseph.  He endured much suffering and the path he was on did not make sense.  Truly, Joseph was following God, not a dream.

 

The Hand of God Can Be Traced to the Dream’s Fulfillment. 

Arriving at the fulfillment of the dream is seldom a quick proposition.  For Joseph it took many years before the dream was fulfilled.  All that time, the hand of God was evident in his life.

The Lord prospers Joseph in spite of the circumstances and the lowly positions he held. Everything that Joseph touched was prospered.  The Lord also gave an opportunity for growth.  Joseph was not ready for the fulfillment of the dream until he endured the time and trouble he faced.

Sometimes the Lord allows problems in our lives to make us into the people He wants us to be.  If we never had any problems, why would we need God?

  • Sometimes problems come because of our sin. Genesis 3:17 says, “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.”
  • Sometimes problems come because of the sin of others. Daniel and Joseph are examples.
  • Sometimes the problem tempts us quit, but God can help. I Corinthians 10:13  states, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
  • Sometimes problems come to grow us. Such is the case with Joseph on his unlikely journey to become Prime Minister of Egypt.

The Lord oversees the dream.  God was the maker of the dream and He was the One who could bring it to pass!  Joseph was faithful, not to his dream, but to the maker of the dream.  Psalm 37:4 -5 teaches, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”  We trust God with His will. 

 

The Equipping of God for the Ministry Enables the Dream. 

Joseph was equipped of God to declare God’s Word (Gen. 41:25-32).  When speaking to his brothers, the jailer, and the Pharaoh, he merely told them the Word of God.  His dream was from God and Joseph was living a life according to the Word of God.

Dreams can come from the world, our flesh, and the devil.  For example, Jeremiah 23:25-27 demonstrates that some believers forgot the Lord and chose to follow the dreams of Baal, a false god.

Or the dream can come from God.  The dreams Christians arrive at are realized because they are living the Word of God.  They are walking through life with the Maker of the dream.  The dreams God has for you are always rooted in the Bible.  God-given dreams are never in contradiction to the written Word of God.

Joseph was also equipped by the Lord to fulfill the will of God (Gen. 41:33-50).  The famine was prepared for.  An administrative brilliance is displayed.  A nation was spared.  Pharaoh takes his advice from the former slave and rejected brother.

The dream of the sheaves is fulfilled in Genesis chapters 43-44.  The dream of the 11 Stars, Sun and Moon bowing down takes place in Genesis chapter 46.  The dreams God gave did come true

Following God leads to fulfilled dreams.  Don’t just follow a dream; follow the Maker of the dream. 

In one interview, Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots, told 60 Minutes, “Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think, it’s got to be more than this. I mean this isn’t, this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be.” “What’s the answer,” asked interviewer Steve Kroft. “I wish I knew,” Brady replied. “I wish I knew.””  (Ministry127)

When we follow our dreams instead of following the Maker of dreams, we will feel empty, unfulfilled, and will fall short of glorifying the Lord.  Ask yourself these reflective questions:

  1. Am I following my dream or the Maker of the dream?
  2. Will I be faithful to truth when the tough times come?
  3. Will I grow spiritually through the circumstances?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Closers of Life

The Closers of Life

The sport of baseball will begin soon.  Spring training will start and players will spring into action, training, preparing, and conditioning for a new season.  I enjoyed playing the sport and played the position of pitcher for several years.  “Going the distance” is a phrase that is used when a pitcher starts the game and pitches each pitch for the entirety of the game.

Today most pitchers are not expected to go the distance.  There are now “closers” who plan to pitch the last inning or two.  They anticipate going to the mound fresh and energetic to strike out the opposing team.

The closers are watching the game, invested, and interested in what is happening.  They are eager to do their part to accomplish the goal of winning the game.

There are many people in Scripture that are good examples of starting and finishing.  In addition, there are several “closers” who conclude the good things that were started.

Consider the following:

  • The Lord & Moses: So Moses finished the work. Exodus 40:33 …
  • Moses & Joshua: …until every thing was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua… Joshua 4:10
  • Boaz & Ruth: Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day. Ruth 3:18
  • David & Solomon: So Solomon built the house, and finished it. I Kings 6:14
  • Jesus & The Father: I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. John 17:4
  • Jesus & The Father: When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. John 19:30
  • The Lord & Paul: I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.  II Timothy 4:7

Each good action started with the Lord putting a desire in the heart of the man.  The Lord gave direction and Moses, Joshua, Paul and the others all responded to the will of the Lord.  They finished what the Lord started in their lives.  Even Solomon finished what David had been saving materials and money for – the Temple.  The idea started with God.

Jesus completed the will of the Father in accomplishing the greatest need man had – the payment for our sin on the Cross.  Jesus paid it all and finished the work of salvation.

Philippians 1:6 instructs: Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

It could be your marriage, family, a job, a ministry, a vocation, school year, education, or book you are reading:  Be a finisher of what God puts in your heart today.  Be a “closer.”