Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rescue, our only hope!

Recently we watched the Television in amazement as the news of "The Miracle on Hudson" played out. We see this plane full of people making a quick detour to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River after hitting a flock of Geese. This plane suddenly lost all engine power and basically became a huge glider that had no where to go but down. The pilot, capt. "Sully" as we've come to know him, stays calm and glides that plane into the Hudson River and the end result is all the passengers and crew survive the crash landing. He's a hero in the eyes of all of us who watch this take place and especially to those that were on board that airplane. Sully", in his humbleness gives the credit to his crew as well. When we hear him speak of the event, he says he doesn't feel like a hero, he was just doing what he's trained to do, and he never forgets to remind us that he could not have done this without his crew. Getting the plane down safely was his responsibility, but after they landed in the river... what next? Fortunately for those on board, a Rescue was on the way. Recent pictures show people standing calmly on the wings of the plane with their feet in the ice cold water, awaiting rescue. Rescue now being their only hope!

You see, just as those folks survived the crash, they still were not out of the water. If they had not been rescued, they would have perished even though they made it through the crash landing. Let me ask you this question... Have you been rescued? You may be asking, "Rescued from what?" The truth is you can live your whole life and survive all the crashes and wrecks you go through, and still perish in the end. God rescues people everyday by offering them the gift of eternal life. God is your Hope. God is your rescuer. To live life without Jesus Christ as your Savior, is to like surviving the crash landing in the River and thinking, whew, that was close, I made it! I'm alive! But even during this time of celebration, the life threatening dangers are still there. The plane is slowly sinking and unless you get rescued you will die in that icy cold water.

Don't live your life surviving events only to drown in the end because you didn't see the danger and refused to call out for help. God will answer your call for help. Once your realize that you need to be rescued, then it's easy to call out for help and accept being rescued. Those refusing to be rescued do not realize the danger around them.

Again, have you been rescued? I have. No matter what happens in my life, I've been rescued from a place called Hell. I will not go there. God gave me eternal life the day I gave my life to him. The day I surrendered to Him and asked Jesus to become Lord of my life. I was saved! I was rescued. I didn't change my lifestyle first, I didn't clean up my act, I didn't try to become someone I wasn't, I simply realized that I was in trouble and that Jesus was the only one that could save me.

Joel 2:32
Acts 2:21
Romans 10:13
Psalm 68:20

Rescue, our only hope!

Monday, February 16, 2009

What will tomorrow bring?

What will tomorrow bring?
I don't know, but God does!

For every question in life that we have... God knows the answer!
For every fear that we face... God is always with us!
For every challenge we endure... God knew we'd make it!
For every friend or loved one we've lost... God helped us through it!
For every time we didn't understand... God did!
For every time we didn't know which way to turn... God showed us the way!
For every time we were in the dark... God gave us light!
For every time we felt hopeless... God gave us hope!
For every sickness we have... God is the cure!
For every sin we commit... God forgives!

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord... God gives eternal life!

What will tomorrow bring?
Put your trust in the One who knows... God.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Stay focused

There is only so much you can do. There is only so much that you can control. If you want to be frustrated beyond belief then try and do everything and control everything. Seems the hardest thing to learn is realizing that you can't fix it all. The next thing that you must learn is that it's not always up to you to fix. You see as a leader that's hard to swallow. Leaders are fixers. We see the problem and then develop a plan to get it fixed. We're used to dealing with action plans, achieving budget goals, and taking the steps necessary to get the results we need. But I think it's important to always remember, some things are under your control or supervision, while others are not. Realizing what is and what isn't can help determine the level of our involvement and focus. Once we know what it is we can fix or control, then stay focused on it and don't get distracted by the things you can't do anything about. Doing this will help you to stay focused to achieve better results and leave behind what's not yours to deal with.

In the movie "Apollo 13" the crew in outer space has very little battery power left to power up the space module. They must determine the exact amount of amperage needed to power it back up and then by flipping switches in a specific order they begin to turn on the equipment. We watch as each piece of equipment powers up and the amperage usage creeps up and up until they come dangerously close to overloading the amount of power supply available to them and risk not being able to start the space module back up. If they go over the amount of amperage they have available to them, nothing will work. Kinda like us isn't it. Sometimes we extend ourselves too thin, we drain ourselves of our energy worrying, concerned about, and even stressing over things we have no control over. Then nothing works! We don't have the energy or stamina to deal with the responsibilities we are accountable for. So we don't perform, we don't achieve, we don't accomplish our goals, and we wonder why life is so hard. We can worry about the news and what we hear on it, yet most of it we have no control over.

Many people today are worried about many things. The news will scare you to death. The economy is in rough shape. We're probably all in for a rougher ride before it gets better. Focus on your life and what you can do to impact your situation. God is with you and believe it or not, He's aware of all that is happening... let Him take care of all the stuff you can't or shouldn't. Focus on what He'd have you do for your family, in your job or career, in your church, with your friends in your community. Be ready to serve wherever God leads you, but remember this... Don't spread yourself so thin that the great gifts that God has given you today become lost because of your lack of focus on what's important to you now. Love your kids, love your spouse, work hard and ethically for your employer and seek God's relationship and direction in your life. God promises not to give us more than we can handle... so if you feel overwhelmed, maybe, just maybe it's not God that piled the plate so full. Think about it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

"Father, forgive them"

The following words were spoken by Jesus at the time of his death on the cross. Luke 23:34 "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Jesus knew the weight of this moment in time. The whole world needed forgiveness of sin even if we didn't realize it at the time. Even though we were crucifying Jesus, even though we were hurling insults at him during his death, even though we turned our back on him, he knew and understood that we had not a clue as to what was going on. We did not know or understand the significance of this event in history. Jesus knowing this... called out to his Father God to forgive us for what we were doing and God in his graciousness forgave us and gave us new life through his son Jesus. God forgave the Jewish leaders, the Roman politicians and soldiers, all the bystanders, and everyone that participated in the murder of his Son because Jesus asked for us to be forgiven. God answered Jesus prayer and opened up the way of salvation through the sacrificial death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ.

I've always been amazed at God's love for us. The fact that he would sacrifice his son as an atonement or payment for our sin. Even more amazing is even though Jesus was being killed and suffering so greatly during this painful death, he sees past the moment and the pain and asks God to forgive us. I must think that the suffering was so great for both Jesus and God, that a reminder from Jesus to his Father was needed. Seeing the hate from the people, seeing the satisfaction that these people must have had on their faces, would be enough to think... forget it! They don't deserve eternal life, look at them, ungrateful, unappreciative, terrible, evil people! God could have easily poured his wrath out on the world at that moment and said forget it all! But Jesus said... Father forgive them, they don't know what they're doing. A reminder of our ignorance. So God allowed it to happen and raised his son up from the dead three days later and provided a way for us to have eternal life. To live in the presence of almighty God forever forgiven and free of sin.

God does forgive! But we must ask just as Jesus asked for our forgiveness during his crucifixion. You see if we ask for His forgiveness it means that we trust that He can forgive us. You wouldn't ask God for forgiveness unless you truly believed that He had the ability and authority to forgive you. God has proved his unfailing love for us because even in his misery of seeing his Son dying on the cross He forgave us as Jesus prayed for us. We can see another example of God's love and forgiveness during Jesus death on the cross. Luke 23:39-43 shows us again the love and forgiveness of God. As this man, this criminal was dying, he turned to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and Christ accepted him. You see, even in his misery, Jesus had mercy on this criminal who decided to believe in him. It's never too late to turn to God for forgiveness. This also shows us that it's not our works that save us but rather our faith in Christ. It's in our belief that God can forgive us of our sin and it's when we come to Him asking for forgiveness that we see the love of God poured out on us. Instead of getting what we deserve (death and separation from a Holy God) we get eternal life. It's not earned, it's not deserved, it's simply a gift of love because of our faith and belief that God can forgive us if we ask.

So the next time you realize you've sinned against God, take it to Jesus and ask for forgiveness. When we ask for forgiveness we are actually saying, I've wronged you in some way and I know you don't have to forgive me but I'm asking for your forgiveness. Please forgive me. The result is one or the other. Forgiveness or not. When you deal with people... sometimes they choose not to forgive you when you ask. They can't get past the fact that you've hurt them and they refuse forgiveness. But when you ask God for forgiveness remember that he will always forgive you because the ultimate test was during his Sons death on the cross. Even though we drove the nails through Jesus hands and feet, even though we drove the spear through his side, even though we hung him on the cross, and even though we whipped and beat him, God forgave us.

Don't you think that God will forgive you of the sins you committed today? You see there is nothing that you can do that God can't forgive you for? The worst thing we could have ever done, we did already, and He forgave us for it. So don't carry around guilt for your sins of today. Acknowledge those sins and take them to Jesus for forgiveness. Just as Jesus saw the ignorance of the people that were putting him to death... He also sees our weaknesses, our foolishness, and our sinful ways. Just as he did then, he does today... he stands ready to pray on our behalf before almighty God. Again he will pray... "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

What do you need forgiveness for? Take it to Jesus and be forgiven.