Tag Archives: vision

Seek God – Find Life

Seek God – Find Life

The following quotation was read by Dr. Adrian Rogers and taken from an essay by a 17 year old boy.   This boy wrote an essay on the topic of “union with Jesus Christ” as part of his school work in a Christian school.  As you read this, at first it may sound like a terrific essay:

“If we examine the history of man’s nature as an individual, we constantly observe that spark of divinity in his breast. The enthusiasm for what is good. The struggle for wisdom. The longing for truth are being smothered by the flames of desire and greed. The zeal for virtue becomes deathened by the tempting voice of sin and turns into a mockery as soon as we feel the full impact of life. Our hearts reason, history the word of Christ all call out to us loudly and convincingly to tell us that union with Him is absolutely necessary and without Him we would be rejected of God. For He alone is able to deliver us. Once a man has obtained this virtue, this union with Christ, he will awake quietly and composedly, await quietly and composedly the blows of fate. He will bravely oppose the storms of passion. And endure undaunted the rage of the wicked. For who can crush him or rob him of his Redeemer?”

“What’s the problem with all of that? Not a thing in the world, so far as truth is concerned. But if he had been writing an essay on Geography or history he would have done just as good a job because he had a brilliant mind. He knew the answers but he doesn’t know Jesus. Founded atheistic Communism. Can you imagine, a person knowing all of that truth and yet not knowing the Lord?

The person who wrote it was Karl Marx. Karl Marx, the founder of godless, atheistic Communism. The one who wrote the diabolical book, Das Kapital. The one who has caused more misery, more bloodshed, more hatred, more violence, more division, I suppose, than any other man who ever lived. Karl Marx wrote this when he was a seventeen year old boy.”  – The Adrian Rogers Legacy Collection

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.

Graduates, purpose to hold the following principles in your daily life going forward.  These principles are taken from Amos 5:4, 6, 8, 14.  For example: Amos 5:4 says, For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:

In fact, each of the above references say much the same thing: Seek God – Find Life.

  • You are leaving High School, but you are not leaving God.
  • Some people walk all alone in life. Israel was walking away from God and Amos warns them that they were walking alone.  Can two walk together except they be agreed?  No! They were all alone because of their sin.
  • No matter what happens in life, we must keep seeking God.

Keep seeking God.

God’s people, to whom Amos was preaching had been worshipping false gods for a long time.  They had a lot of stuff and in many ways they worshipped their material things, possessions, and money.  Read the book of Amos for more details.  Greed, stealing, and coveting was all too prominent in everyday life.  If they were living in our day and age, they would have looked a lot like us; plenty of food, too much stuff, and lots of money.  Possessions and stuff was now controlling them – much like many of us today.  If they were alive today, they would have had the best cell phones, the fastest computers, and the best-looking cars.  They had everything that mattered materially in life because God had previously blessed their fathers and forefathers.  They had enough and more than enough, but they did not have God.

Think of it this way: We do not have much of a life if we live without God.

God’s people had left God.  They were walking through life all alone.  They had stuff, money, families, jobs, land, chariots, and things – but they had left the Lord. Please note the following and examine your heart…

  1. Success Can Blur Your Vision of God.
  2. Stuff Can Weaken Your Value on God.
  3. Situations Can Lessen Your Victory in God.

Current and old chapters of life end, new chapters begin – Keep Seeking God.  Seasons go, and seasons come – keep seeking God. Changes happen in life – keep seeking God.

Follow what Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

When we seek God first – that is when we really find living.

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The Allowances of the Heart

The Allowances of the Heart

Amy Carmichael, a Christian missionary to India wrote, “Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace…If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace. In that stillness you know what His will is.”

What you allow your heart to think impacts the result of either being happy or angry, satisfied or hungry, peaceful or in conflict.  What is allowed into your heart will influence you for either good or bad.  Having a single-hearted perspective frees a person to enjoy more of the blessings of life than to having a multi-directional heart that feels torn at times and unfulfilled because it is being pulled in many different directions.

A heart and life over-stimulated in so many directions may “melt away” like a drawing in the sand along the sea shore.  It’s purpose, direction, and meaning are erased over time.  However, a heart focused on the Lord will not lose sight, forget it’s purpose, or miss it’s meaning for being on earth.

Here are 3 perspectives of a single-hearted person:

  • A Content Heart. Psalm 107:9, For he (God) satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
  • A Happy Heart. Psalm 90:14, O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.  And Psalms 144:15, Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.
  • A Peaceful Heart. Hebrews 13:5, Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  And Psalm 119:165, Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Peace is found in Jesus. Peace is more than the absence of conflict- it is the presence of Christ.

Ask the Lord to help your heart to be singularly focused on Him.  When we “love God first” all the other relationships, circumstances, and events – work themselves out.  What will you allow you heart to be focused on today?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blurriness of Christmas

The Blurriness of Christmas

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.  Matthew 2:11

Consider the last few days in this month of December.  Lots of people are talking about “holidays” and Christmas. Many people appear to worship Christmas instead of worshiping Christ.  It is an easy thing to do.  There are holiday parties, travel to grandparents, gift exchanges and more.  I enjoy the holiday decorations, lights and nativity scenes we see all over the place.  The movie industry, commercial sales industry, and society as a whole are celebrating.  But, it is clear they are celebrating something other than the events in the Bible. The busyness of Christmas can give us blurry vision.

When the wise men saw baby Jesus they kneeled down to worship Him.  They did not loose sight as to why He was here and what Jesus was doing on the earth.  Just like when the cold temperatures outside and the warm temperatures on the inside causes the windows to fog up sometimes, we can have a hard time seeing Christmas for what it really is.  There is such a disparity in the perceived “reasons for the season” in the world today.

Pray and ask the Lord to help you not loose sight or have blurry vision during this holiday season.  With all the busyness and possible distractions of this season, take some time to kneel in prayer, thanking and praising God for His Son and our Savoir Jesus, the Christ.

 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better or Worse?

Better or Worse?

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.  Romans 6:6-7

Trips to the eye doctor!  Getting new eyeglasses or fitting contacts can be a good thing.  Being able to see or understanding why headaches are more frequent and that these sight issues can be treated are terrific.  I am amazed at the new machines and the visual tools that the eye doctors of today utilize.  Place your face against a big “mask looking thing” and look at the image on the wall.  Sound familiar?

What does the eye doctor say to you?  You are looking at a wall with letters of all sizes on it.  Then after looking and talking down the list the doctor says “Is that better or worse?”  He flicks a button and the lens in the tool he is using changes and he says it again: “Is that better or worse?”  Over and over again he says the same thing until he arrives at a lens that you declare is working well for your set of eyes to see better.

Eye doctor visits are visual “resets” that help us see better after getting the proper contacts or glasses.

In the aftermath of the Islamic terror strikes on America on 9.11, many Americans had a “reset” in their spiritual vision.  Many people started to consider eternity and getting things right with God.  The attacks shook our world in many different ways, from economics, military, public safety, and even spiritual considerations.   We learned about terror groups that hate Christians and that want to kill those who live with the “western ideology.”  What I am saying is that some people hate the American way of life and the American way of life was initially rooted in Judaic/Christian Values.  The attacks and this hatred we endured changed our perspective.

People changed for the better.   Living with God in mind is living with a better perspective.  Church congregations grew.  People prayed and read the Bible who had not done either practice in years.  Folks said they were turning back to the Lord.  Some people trusted Christ for salvation and were born again and others became religious for the next several weeks, months, and even years.  Priorities, motivation for life, and service to God became key components of the lives of many people.

Then time goes by.  Just like our eye vision, sometimes over time we do not see as well as we once did.

Each human is composed of three components: Body, Soul, and Spirit.  We are a trichotomy.  We are free to choose what we believe and how we will live.  Just like we go to the eye doctor when we need an eye exam, we all need to take time to examine our spiritual lives.

I like the following quote from William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) who said: “Christianity promises to make men free; it never promises to make them independent.”

It seems like people living in America today want to be free. Many want to be free to do what they want to do.  God would rather us be free to do what is right rather than what is wrong.  We are free, but as Christians, we are not independent from God.  If you are a believer in Jesus, you must be totally dependent on Jesus.

Romans 6:6-7 gives us great insight to the old nature and the new nature.  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. 

Your body, the flesh, wants to do wrong.  This is our human nature.  As Christians, God has given us a new nature.  You are a new person in Christ Jesus.  God is not saying to destroy your body in these verses; He is saying to not let the old nature control your life.  When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, He made it possible for you to live in true freedom.  You have freedom to no longer follow the mandates of your sinful, fallen nature, but to joyfully live life for the Lord Jesus Christ.  The old nature was crucified too.  Backslidden Christians are allowing the old nature to “revive” and control their lives instead of enjoying the freedom Christ afforded over that old nature.

Jesus gave us real freedom when He died on the cross.  Our lives must reflect the victory that He purchased at Calvary.  As we remember 9.11 once again today, consider your life in retrospective: “Is life better or worse?”  Am I still free to do right, or am I claiming my freedom to do what my old nature wants for me to do.

We don’t have to look far to realize that a giant pendulum of morality and godliness in society is swinging far away from the side of righteousness.  People who once saw clearly their need to seek the Lord are now no longer interested in the things of the Lord.  Even if they are Christians, they have fallen into the traps and fallen for the lies of Satan to “live the way you want to live.”

Why not seek a “spiritual reset” today?  Just like when you go to the eye doctor to get help, go to church this Sunday and discover what you have been missing and see how you can honor the Lord once again with your life.

Are you “better or worse” in your walk with the Lord than you were 14 years ago?  “Better or worse” than you were a month ago concerning spiritual things?  How about today?  As time goes on, the temptation is to “let things go.”  Examine your life.  Make changes for the better… starting today.