Monday, December 29, 2008

God is watching

You know even when you think no one is watching, always remember that God is. Those little secrets that only you know about... not really... God knows. Those things we say or do when we think no one else can see or hear... God knows, he sees all, and he hears everything. Does this give you comfort or does it scare you to death? I think if we were honest, it's probably pretty scary to think that God sees everything we do.

Proverbs 15:3 says...
(3) The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.

Hebrews 4:13 says...
(13) Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

Think about the things we try to hide from other people. We'll try so hard to portray ourselves in a different light or image to others hoping they don't see how we really are, yet we won't even give thought to the one that really matters and that's God. No matter how hard we try to cover up, God sees it all and he alone (not our friends or other people) he alone is whom we are accountable to. We've got it backwards. We shouldn't worry what our friends or others think, we should be more concerned about what God thinks about our actions and our thoughts. Are our motives pure or selfish? Do we act one way alone at home but completely different on Sunday mornings in church? One things for sure, God knows.

Finding Rest

In my line of work the Holidays are my busiest time of year. Time seems to fly by and it seems I have very little time in every day to do all that I need to get done. I think most people feel the same way during the Christmas Holiday season. A lot to do in a very short amount of time. Finding rest is something that escapes me and after the Holidays are over... I'm beat and exhausted and desperately in need of some rest. It's like I've been running on battery power and I have about 5% power left and if I don't get plugged in real quick to recharge, I'll shut down.

Today I came across this verse that really helped me.
Psalm 91:1 says...
(1) Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Another reminder that if we'll simply seek shelter from the hectic and chaotic world we live in under the shadow of our Almighty God, He will give us rest. I think the rest comes from surrender, I think the rest comes from knowing that God is in control, I think the rest comes from the peace of the Holy Spirit. To be under the shadow of the Most High, means that we are under His protection. There's great comfort in this and there is peace that restores our body.

Simply put, by dwelling and abiding in Him... no matter how intense and crazy it gets, by entrusting ourselves to his protection and pledging our daily devotion to him, we will be kept safe and get the rest we need.
Are you plugged into the power source or are you running off battery power? I've never seen a battery sustain power on it's own. Eventually it must be recharged. You and I are the same way. Today... find time to spend with the Most High and rest, recharge.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

That's not possible

Can you imagine an angel of the Lord telling you that you are going to give birth to the son of God? "But I'm a virgin," Mary says! No big deal... the angel says, "the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the son of God"... Mary faints and eventually wakes and reflects on the craziest dream she's ever had. Well, not exactly the way it happened, but the only part of my little story that makes sense at all is the part where Mary faints and thinks it's a dream. You see, the part that is true, is unbelievable. The part that is not true, makes sense.
Luke 1:26-35 (the birth of Jesus foretold)

The bible is full of stories and events that happened, but in our own wisdom, there's just no way they can happen. They just don't make sense. A virgin birth! Impossible! Well nothings impossible with God. Those of us that have faith, know this to be true. It's not what we see, or what we can understand... it's what we know God can do. We don't have to see to believe, we don't have to understand to be assured that all things are possible with God.

Luke 1:36-38
And the angel continues to say... Oh yes, I almost forgot to tell you... You remember your relative Elizabeth? Yes she's very old and everyone says she's barren and can't have children, but guess what? She is pregnant too! She's right now in her sixth month. You see... nothing is impossible with God!

I can only imagine Mary's excitement and extreme confusion at all that was happening. How can this be? It's impossible! But Mary had faith in God. If God said it would happen, then it would. When Mary and Elizabeth reunited there was great joy and excitement between them as they both acknowledged what God was doing.
Luke 1:39-45

Nothing is impossible with God... all you have to do is believe that God will do what he says he will do. That's why we know that our prayers will be heard. That's why we know we have eternal life! The next time you think, "That's not possible." Remember with God, it's possible. The bible is filled with promises of what God says he will or can do for each of us. The only requirement is that we believe He can.

May God bless you this Christmas! Many folks are going through some trying times. Loss of loved ones, facing surgery or other health issues, so many people out of work or just not able to make ends meet anymore. Just remember, with God, anything is possible. You don't have to understand how it can work out, just trust that God can do what he says and hold fast to his promises. Keep the faith.

God bless you all, and have a Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What's Abraham's faith got to do with me?

The answer to this question is... because God has promised us eternal life through a right relationship with Him through our faith in Jesus Christ. Because of ABRAHAM'S faith in God, Abraham was counted as righteous and Abraham's right standing with God is what gives him eternal life. God also made a promise to Abraham because of his faithfulness. God promised to make Abraham the father of many nations. Abraham is the father of all who believe and when God counted Abraham as righteous, it wasn't just for Abraham's benefit, it was for our benefit as well assuring us to be counted righteous if we too believe in God, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

Romans 4:17-25
(17) That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, "I have made you the father of many nations." This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.
(18) Even when there is no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping - believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, "That's how many descendants you will have!"
(19) And Abraham's faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead - and so was Sarah's womb.
(20) Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.
(21) He was convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.
(22) And because of Abraham's faith, God counted him as righteous.
(23) And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn't just for Abraham's benefit. It was recorded
(24) for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
(25) He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.

Amazing... Because of the faith of Abraham, God made a promise to him that allows us to have eternal life as well. So it's because of Abraham's faith in God that we have been given the opportunity to believe, but it's important to know that Abraham's faith saves only himself. It's only by our own faith in God that we can have eternal life.

Romans 4:24
(24) for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
Romans 5:1
(1) Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
Romans 5:8-11
(8) But God God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
(9) And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's condemnation.
(10) For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his son.
(11) So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Adam's sin in the beginning brought condemnation to everyone. His one act made us all sinners, but Christ one act of righteousness brings us eternal life if we have faith and believe. God's wonderful grace and his free gift of eternal life are for all who receive it by faith in what Christ did to make us in a right standing with God. His blood washed away our sins.

Romans 5:18-21
(18) Yes, Adams one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.
(19) Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.
(20) God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant.
(21) So just as sin ruled over all people and brought to them death, now God's wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I thank God for father Abraham! I thank God that Abraham had the faith he did. It wasn't because of Abraham's good deeds that God counted him righteous but because of his faith.

Romans 4:3-5
(3) For the Scriptures tell us, "Abraham believed God, and God counted him righteous because of his faith.
(4) When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned.
(5) But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.

Romans 4:13,16
(13) Clearly, God's promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God's law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith.
(16) So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham's. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.

As a son, I always wanted to grow up to be just like Dad. My Dad set some great examples for me to imitate. To be like my Dad was something I always wanted to be. Even today at my age (48), I think of what my Dad would do in certain situations and circumstances. Well what if we looked at Abraham in this same way. We can look at Abraham's faith and see that there is hope in any situation. No matter how hopeless it looks, faith in God can overcome our hopelessness. What an example Abraham is for each of us. He was tested, he was told he would be the father of many nations yet he was an old man and Sarah was barren, but the bible says that Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger. You see, Abraham's faith set the way for us. For us to be made righteous with God, we must have the kind of faith that Abraham had. We must have the same faith that Abraham had in believing that he would be the father of many nations just because God said it would be. So it is with our own faith in believing that God sent his Son to die on the Cross so that we can have eternal life. Christ's act of righteousness allows God's wonderful grace to be received by all who believe.

So what's Abraham's faith got to do with me? .... everything!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thank God for work

The alarm clock sounds... it's 5:00 AM. You slowly crawl out of bed and make your way to the shower. Got to wake up! Yes, it's another day of heading off to work. How nice it would be just to sleep in. Instead we have to get up and go to work yet another day.

Have you ever felt this way? Ok, I mean have you ever not felt this way? It's tough going to work when we dread it, isn't it? Your job may not be all that you had hoped it would be. It may not be the best hours of the day to work, your place of employment may not even have the friendliest people to work with, but you know what? You have a job. I'm not being sarcastic here, I'm wanting you to see that no matter how bad you think it is... it can be a lot worse. You know, we complain about so many things. At every opportunity when things get tough, we wonder what it would be like to work somewhere else. When your boss is a jerk, we think it's time to move on. When your co workers aren't friendly to each other, we want to move on. When we don't get the hours we wanted to work, we want out.

Let me help you appreciate your job, because if you don't appreciate your job... you really need to. Take a look around. What do you see? Are you blinded by your hurt feelings and disappointments that you don't see that the job you have is helping to put food on the table? It's helping to pay the bills. It is providing some degree of income for your family. What's the alternative? No job? I'm always amazed at how miserable we'll make ourselves with the job we have when we could simply be thankful for it instead. maybe if we realized how fortunate we are we'll appreciate what we've got. It's happens to all of us. The excitement of our employment last a few weeks or months and then we're no longer satisfied. What happened? What changed? We're no longer thankful. We begin to feel like were owed something else. We begin to think the work is too hard. We begin to think our boss is too mean or unfair with his or her expectations. We begin to feel were not appreciated. We begin to fall into the trap of thinking it's always better somewhere else. You know what I've found out over the years? Your job is what you make it! I've never worked for a place that didn't have tough people to work with... my experience... be friendly right back and things usually work out fine. Don't get your feeling hurt and throw away your job because of somebody you can't stand working with. Do all you can to improve the situation, quit expecting them to change, and try that ol change thing yourself. Your the only one that can change things, you have no control over the other person. And remember this... if you quit and move on to another job, my bet bet is his brother works there, or someone just like him anyway. People like that are everywhere. reminds me of when my son was younger and in school. He had a teacher that he could not stand. He felt this teacher always picked on him and would tease him and embarrass him and he became very angry about the way he was being treated. Everyday he would come home from school and complain about this teacher. "What did he want me to do?" Run in there and yell at the teacher? Seems to be what most parents do now days isn't it? But instead I figured this was a good time to teach him a true life lesson. One that I'm sure he'll never forget. I told him that his teacher was the boss, the authority, and you may not like it, but that's the way it is. That's life, and unless she does something illegal or inappropriate you better figure out what makes her happy and quit fighting her. Wait till you get out there in the workplace and you encounter that boss you can't stand. Are you going to quit all the time and run from job to job? No... you figure out what you need to do to please your supervisor. Young people today have the wrong mindset. They think it's "sucking up" to please the supervisor. I call it it performing at work and being appreciated for what I do. Until I become the boss, I work for one. I must understand this or I will fail in my job. I'll always be upset, I'll always have my feelings hurt and I won't go anywhere. I'm surprised at how many people fail to realize that their supervisor is the very person that can perpetuate their career. I guess what I'm trying to say today is that we need to find the good in our job, rather than the bad. Appreciate what we have. We'll be a lot happier and work won't be such a burden.

Not that your boss, teacher, or co workers are your enemy, but what does the bible say about those you have problems with. Love them Jesus says....

Luke 6:27-31
"But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise."