Tag Archives: life

Fireworks and Service

When lighting the fire for a bonfire or cookout, as the night sky is lit up tonight with fireworks, or as your kids whirl a sparkler, think about the service that affords us the freedom you are enjoying today.  Someone served to enable today’s celebration.

Jesus, speaking in John 15:13 said, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Of course, Jesus is the ultimate example of servant-hood.

Jesus served the will of God the Father.  In John 6:38 Jesus declared: For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  If you are a Christian, a follower of Jesus, you too are called to serve God the Father.  Do His will for and in your life.  Find His plan, then do it.

Jesus also served men.  His purpose for dying on the Cross was to save us from our sin.  His mission was a rescue mission.  Our sin separated us from God, and the blood of Jesus was shed to cleans us and cover us of our sin.   When God sees a Christian, He does not see the sin of that person, He sees the righteousness of Jesus!  Amen for that.  Jesus served the interested of mankind in making salvation possible.

We too can serve other people.  The Apostle Paul knew what it was to serve the Lord and serve other people.  He said in Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

By Love.  It was because of the love of God for man that God sent Jesus.  It was because of love that Jesus died on the cross in our place.  We deserved that death.  It was because of love.  Love is the motivator for any service to either God or other people.  Service conducted with love is service that God accepts and that pleases Him.

As we celebrate freedom, take a moment to thank the Lord for His service to you in the Lord Jesus.  Then look for ways that you can serve other people too!

We are the most like Jesus, when we are serving others!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In Search of Contentment, Pt. 5

Find the Supply of Jesus for You. (Vs. 19)

In the context of this passage, Paul was commending the Philippian church members, because they were faithful to send Missionary Paul money to help him further the Gospel and plant new churches.  Paul is the New Testament missionary that most missionaries pattern their ministry after – even today.   Jesus gives a promise to those Christians who are faithful to give to missions work specifically – “God will supply all your need.”

These church folks were content with what money and things they had – so much so that they gave above their regular tithes and offerings to God through their church and gave extra to help Paul and other missionaries.  These people had great faith in God and were not consumed with material gain.  God has said – “I promise that I will give the selfless everything they need in life.”  Do you believe this promise?  Would you give more to missions if God asked you to?

A content person is willing to give more, and because of that willingness, God actually gives him more – to give in return!  It all starts with contentment.

There are several things in life that cannot be bought.  Like the old Mastercard commercials said: “Some things money can’t buy, for everything else, there’s Mastercard!”

  • Good health has no price tag.
  • Good friends cannot be bought.
  • Great marriages are priceless.
  • Great kids are worth every investment you put into them (and more).

Here are some things that only Jesus can supply.

The Peace of Mind. 

Jesus said in John 14:27, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Years ago, Ray Cazis summarized a Duke University study on ‘peace of mind.’ Factors found to contribute greatly to emotional and mental stability are:

  1. “The absence of suspicion and resentment. Nursing a grudge was a major factor in unhappiness.
  2. Not living in the past. An unwholesome preoccupation with old mistakes and failures leads to depression.
  3. Not wasting time and energy fighting conditions you cannot change. Cooperate with life, instead of trying to run away from it.
  4. Force yourself to stay involved with the living world. Resist the temptation to withdraw and become reclusive during periods of emotional stress.
  5. Refuse to indulge in self-pity when life hands you a raw deal. Accept the fact that nobody gets through life without some sorrow and misfortune.
  6. Cultivate the old-fashioned virtues—love, humor, compassion and loyalty.
  7. Do not expect too much of yourself. When there is too wide a gap between self-expectation and your ability to meet the goals you have set, feelings of inadequacy are inevitable.
  8. Find something bigger than yourself to believe in. Self-centered egotistical people score lowest on any test for measuring happiness.”

That is a good summary with many biblical applications for our daily life.  Are you living with peace in your life, or is your heart and mind full of anxiety today?  Most of what we worry about will never happen anyway.  Many times, it is the stuff we hope to have or patterns of life we resort to that are contributing to the lack of peace we may experience.

 

 

Please read on the the conclusion of In Search of Contentment, PART 6…

Why Did Jesus Die?

Why did Jesus Die?

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.  2 Corinthians 5:21

The stage was set.  The actors were each in their places.  The script was ready to be followed.  And yet, there were no special effects.  No unique and moving soundtracks playing in the background.

The scenes leading to the Cross on Golgotha included, a last supper, the singing of an hymn, prayer, and betrayal.  A man’s ear was cut off.  Jesus re-attached and healed the ear. Armed men came to arrest the innocent and submissive Lamb of God.   Jesus willingly went with them

After the mock trials, false witnesses, and and shuffling between leaders, Jesus was led to be slaughtered.   The people were cheering.  There was applause, laughter, and mocking.

After being beat, the bloodied Jesus carried His cross uphill to the place of the skull.  Jesus was going to the Cross as any common criminal. Sinner. Man.

Except Jesus did not deserve to die.  With

Is God Against the USA?

Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.  Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts; and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.   Nahum 3:4-5

Is God against you?  “You should see my problems right now…” you may exclaim, “it seems He is against me!”  Maybe, but maybe not.

Is God against the Unites States?  Perhaps a better question is – is the United States against God?  It appears that we are against God more and more each day.

When Abraham Lincoln was asked, “Which side do you think the Lord is on, the North or the South?” He gave this thoughtful reply,  “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side. My great concern is to be on God’s side. For God is always right!”

Notice in the verse above the words “Because” and “Behold.”  Because of the sin of Nineveh and the Assyrian Empire, the Lord was against them.   Generally speaking, the Lord is for an individual and for a nation.  He gives them a chance to know Him and to serve Him with their lives.  God loves people and Jesus gave His life for people!

The reason God would go against someone or a against a nation is because the person or nation has been against the Lord in their decisions, mindset, and actions.  Consider this:  Nineveh had received the Word of God as preached by the prophet Jonah 100 years before Nahum wrote his short book.  When Jonah preached “40 more days the Lord will overthrow” -the people repented.  They turned from their sin.  The king, the rich, the poor, everyone in Nineveh turned from violence, idolatry, adultery, witchcraft, and evil.  They turned to God and He forgave them and accepted them.

Fast forward to Nahum’s day.  Instead of living lives of repentance, they had returned to their sin.  It is because of their sin, the Lord said He was now against them.  God declares His intention to judge, punish, and humble this proud arrogant people.   Notice the vivid language in verse 5 as to how the Lord was going to humiliate them.

If it seems that God is against you, be sure to check for any unconfessed sin in your life.  He does chasten and correct those He loves.  Confess the sin.  Repent and turn from it.  The Lord will forgive and restore any person or nation who turn back to Him.   Anytime a person feels God is against them it is rooted in the fact their their personal choices have been going against Bible principles.

Any hostility starts in humanity.  Romans 8:7 teaches, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”  Enmity means “opposition, a reason for hostility.”  Our sin, sin nature, and carnal mind directs us away from the Lord.

Let’s consider this on a national scale now.  Notice what Nahum 3:1 says, “Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not…”  Nineveh was bloody.  They were full of violence.  The USA is not far behind the Assyrians of ancient history.  We are bloody and violent too.   Our entertainment is full of violence.  It is difficult to find a video game that is not violent.  Our streets, schools, and screens of any size has lots of violence in them.  Any casual viewing of the evening news reveals this.

Even many in “health care” are violent.  If you could talk just one the the millions of babies murdered each year, he/she would say – “yes abortion is violent.”

According the worldometer.info are the following staggering statistics:

“According to WHO, every year in the world there are an estimated 40-50 million abortions. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day.”

“In the USA, where nearly half of pregnancies are unintended and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion [1] , there are over 3,000 abortions per day. Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies in the USA (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion. [2]”

The USA is violent to the most helpless among us.  Not much compassion or love to say the least.  How could God judge Nineveh and not judge the USA?  They Assyrians were given much when Jonah preached and they repented, and the Lord held them accountable 100 years later.

Jesus said in Luke 12:48 “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”    The USA had been given much.  We have been blessed, but it is very clear we have abandoned God.   We will give an account to God.  It is possible that part of God’s judgment on a nation is when we kill our own young…

What if God is giving us one more chance?  I believe that could be the case.   The Ninevites were destroyed by the Medes and Babylonians and the Lord used these foreign nations to punish them “because” of their sin.   They chose not to repent of sin but to run full speed into their sin.  In recent weeks, many states are running straight into more easy killings of the unborn in abortion.

God would rather save you than to see you remain condemned in your sin. Romans 5:8 teaches one of the most amazing things: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  In spite of your sin and my sin, God loves you and loves me so much that He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us.

While God does judge sin, He also makes a way to escape the punishment for our sin.  Rescue is found in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Trust Jesus today.  He shed His blood, died in your place, and rose again the third day!

Christian, repent of sin, while you can.  God’s judgement could come soon.   Make sure that you are yielding your life the Lord each day.

 

 

 

A Simple Life

A Simple Life

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  2 Corinthians 11:3

Have you felt overwhelmed lately with the busyness of life?  I am trying to slow down on purpose to be more reflective and thoughtful.  Perhaps you are busy right now.  Us Americans tend to rush to this event then run to that event. We barely make it to work, school, or church on time.  Many arrive late, if they arrive at all.  Depending on your life stage and if there are kids in your home you are running them all around as well.

Why are we in such a hurry?  Why is life so busy?

  1. We have the same amount of time as we have always had. 24 hours a day.
  2. We attempted to crowd more things into those 24 hours.
  3. With the promise of more leisure time, we depend on electronics and technology.
  4. Even with the fluctuation of inflation, and the value of the American dollar, we have more money and resources than any nation or people in the history of the world.

Is it possible that while we may be “getting more done” that we are actually accomplishing less?  The answer to that question’s rests primarily on your list of priorities.

  • When was the last time you began a new meaningful relationship and friendship with a person or family at church?
  • When was the last time you gave a gospel tract to a neighbor or spoke to an acquaintance about Jesus?
  • When was the last time you prayed before the Sunday morning Bible study and church service and participated with gladness?
  • When was the last time you and those in your household opened a Bible and prayed together?
  • When was the last time everyone in your house enjoyed a dinner together around the table with no television or cellphones taking away from the moment?

One of Satan’s greatest and most effective strategies has been to keep good people busy doing good things, so they cannot engage in the more important and best things.  Satan remains subtle in many ways today.  Most Christians do not run after gross and obvious sin.  Adultery, fornication, lying, cheating, are not usually where good people start to drift.  It is in the seemingly small and mundane things.  They go after potentially good things and are so busy the neglect the best things.  Before long, the best is squeeze out of their lives.

Renowned scientist of yesteryear, Albert Einstein said:

“The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.”

I like that thought.

Are you too busy?  Feeling overworked, stressed, and frazzled?  Try taking some of the non-essentials out.  Be sure to continue or start the basic expectations of the Christian life.  The times of solitude in prayer, moments of discussion with family, and the accountability of being with others in church will only refresh and encourage you.

Sports teams, dance and art class, the local school, and the lessons you signed up for cannot replace the simple things that God has given to us – in Jesus.

While Satan is making life complicated and adding new priorities to your list – Jesus is simplifying our life! He wants you to enjoy the simple things and to find meaning in “being with Jesus” not just running around trying to achieve things in so many areas of life.  With all the available “distractions” it is a wonder that anyone goes to church or opens a Bible any more.  Yes, it is that bad for many people.

Learn from Jesus in Matthew 11:29, He said: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”  While Satan wants you to carry your own weight in being busy in life, Jesus wants you to find rest.  Don’t “yoke up” with Satan or this world!  Jesus has a different and better pace of life based on relationship with Him.  It is OK to slow down.  It is good to reassess and refocus the direction of your life.  Take a step back: “Am I running all over when God wants to give me rest?”  Or: “Am I so busy that I no longer have time for God? Family?” Or: “for the things that really matter most in life?”

Find a simpler life in Jesus.  Put the main things in life – first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Can’t Wait

I Can’t Wait!

And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.  Psalm 39:7

You have said it.  You have thought it.  Any young person you have near you has also said it – “I Can’t Wait!”  We can get excited over many things in life.  Looking forward with expectations of good things is natural.

“I can’t wait to see if the Yankees win.”  “I can’t wait for the basketball season to start.” “I can’t wait until the medicine or treatment helps me to feel better.”  “I can’t wait until school is out.”  “I can’t wait until our wedding day!”  “I Can’t wait until I see Jesus.” Or my favorite: “I can’t wait until…. dinner!”   These are common examples.

Make you own “I can’t wait” statement:  I can’t wait _____ _______ ________.

What if we changed our thinking and our perspective a little bit?  Instead of focusing on an event, situation, or outcome, what if we placed our expectation in a person?  Not a spouse (or fiancée). Not a promotion, start of a season, or outcome of a game.  What if our expectation was in Jesus?

In the 13 short verses of Psalm 39, David portrays his need for the Lord.  He declares that his hope is in the Lord.  He mentions controlling his tongue, sorrow, anger, his physical frailty, the vanity of most men, deliverance from evil, the judgment of God, praying to the Lord, and recovering strength in moments of weakness.  He covers a lot of topics in this short chapter!  Right in the middle, in verse 7 he says: “What wait I for?”  It is a good question!  If our hope, expectation, satisfaction and fulfillment is completed in Jesus, what are we really looking forward to in life?  What more can a Christian have if Jesus is truly his “All in All.”

I believe that we should have healthy expectations.  We should be looking ahead and be forward thinking in our mind.  At the same time, while we are looking forward to events and outcomes, we must realize that true fulfillment, peace, and satisfaction does not come from the Yankees winning.  Real satisfaction is not found in relationship, events, or outcomes – but in Christ.

This is what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote in Colossians 2:10: “And ye are complete in him…”  While the “I can’t wait” things may be good, Jesus is the best.  What more can we find in life if we do not place our hope in Jesus and Jesus alone?  The answer is nothing.  Without Jesus at the center of our life, decisions, and personal satisfaction for living, we will not find true purpose or meaning for life.

The next time you say: “I can’t wait…” look ahead to Jesus for a moment and remind yourself how He is the ultimate goal we are looking for.  Find your fulfillment and completion in Him.

 

 

 

 

A Demonic Inspiration?

A Demonic Inspiration?

One 12 year old Michigan girl set herself on fire attempting the “Fire Challenge” she saw on Youtube.  She burned over half her body and will need 3 more surgeries.  She poured rubbing alcohol on herself and lit a match.  This “challenge” phenomenon on social media is a dangerous trend that appeals to many young people and teens.

Other challenges include the “Hot Water Challenge” with kids being burned with boiling water.  Participants either pour the boiling water on self, another person, or allow it to be poured on them.  An attempt to see what level of pain tolerance one has?  Perhaps. Dangerous and foolish no matter the reason why.

Kids are easily influenced for foolish things.  Be careful of Who and What you allow to influence your kids.  Avoid giving young person unmonitored access to the internet on ta phone or computer.  It could turn our dangerous for them and for you.  Have guidelines, expectations, and accountability in place.  Like 1 Corinthians 15:33 teaches, Be not deceived: evil communications (Companions) corrupt good manners.  If you want your child to turn out right, make sure you instill discernment for who influences your child as a friend, or companion. Even the internet companions hold tremendous influence.

Speaking of the Christian’s physical body, 2 Corinthians 6:16 says, And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

As Christians, our bodies and our lives belong to Jesus.  His desire is that we care for our bodies.  We are the temple of the living God and as such, our bodies are to be cared for and maintained to the glory of God.

What is the deal with setting self on fire?  Here are several thoughts that may put this ridiculous activity in perspective.

  • Hell is full of fire.
  • Fire is indicative of judgment.
  • Satan wants people to go to Hell.
  • A demon possessed boy in the New Testament passage of Matthew 17:14-19 would constantly jump into a fire. Jesus rescues this boy.

And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, 15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. 16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. 17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. 18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

Could it be that “self-harm” is suggested by a demon?  Is it possible that the “fire challenges” are demon inspired?

While Jesus is interested in life – Satan and his demons are interested in death and dying.  When kids are tempted to play “Russian Roulette,” or get as close to drowning as possible, or have a self-induced near-death experience – are these forms of Satanic oppression or even possession?  I believe it is very possible.

God says, take care of your body and live.  Satan says, destroy your body and die.

Parents, if you find your teen participating in self-harm or similar dangerous activity, please take them to Jesus right away.  Jesus is the answer your teen is looking for.