Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Time

Time, can go by fast or slow. We can't believe how long some things take while other things seem to flash by our eyes before we know it. Time, is both a friend and enemy. Time, seems to be more socialistic because everyone has the same amount of time,. You can spend time, and you can save time, (at least in a figure of speech). Time, can be invested or wasted. The Bible says that there is a time, for everything (Ecceliastes 3:1-8). The Bible also teaches us that God has set eternity in our hearts - now that is a long chunk of time,. Most people wish they had more time,. If you have time,, let me share with you just 2 passages from the Bible that teach us about using time,. Here they come, one at a time,... 1.) Ephesians 5:15-17 15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time,, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 2.) 1 Peter 1:1-3 1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time, in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. Do you have time, for 3 short comments on these passages? 1. Time, is to be spent/invested wisely in ways that will bring glory and honor to Jesus. 2. Time, is to be weighed in how it is carrying out the will of God. 3. Time, can easily be spent foolishly. Well, my time, is up and it is time, for you to get going - spend your time, wisely :-)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Escape

Have you ever found yourself in a situation that was drawing you in like a whirlpool sucks in water?  How about a sticky situation where your heart is racing to engage in a deed that you know would feel good but would be wrong?  These sort of situations are called temptations and they are powerful, strong, alluring and often, overwhelming.  We often choose to just give in, after all, it is easier than fighting off the temptation.  When we give in, the rewards that were promised if we engage the temptation quickly vanish into darkness, sorrow, guilt, remorse or despair.  
The Scriptures teach us that when we encounter temptation, that God will provide a way of escape (2 Cor. 10:13).  We also learn from the Bible that Jesus was tempted in every way that we are tempted, yet, without sinning (Hebrews 4:15).  Jesus is a great example of how to overcome temptation.  Let me point to you one example of how Jesus escaped a very alluring temptation in His life.
In John 5, Jesus was doing a lot of strong teaching and getting in the face of the religious leaders of His day.  Many of the common people were loving it!  In John 6 Jesus fed over 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish, hardly enough for the Jesus and his disciples.  Jesus does a miracle and creates from two dead fish, more and more fish that never swam but tasted oh so good.  He also created more than enough loaves of bread from five to fill up 12 baskets full when everyone was stuffed.  Because of this and other miracles that Jesus had done, the crowd was getting excited.  They were looking to Jesus and they were thinking that He would make a fantastic leader who will care for them better than anyone ever had in all of history.  Listen to what John 6:15 says, "So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone."
I believe that Jesus was tempted to desire to become king of the apple of His eye, but instead, He escaped.  He escaped by withdrawing from the temptation to spend time with the Father asking for help, comfort and confirmation of the right path to follow instead of the one that might give the greatest short term feel.  
There are other ways of escape and they should be explored and implemented in your life.  However, this is a powerful one verse example that Jesus gave us on how to escape strong temptation by withdrawing from the situation (immediately) and turning to God in prayer for strength, relationship and comfort.
I pray that you continue to walk in holiness for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Do You Experience a Life Worth Living, or Just Read About It?

I want to have a life worth living, do you? To have a life worth living, I must choose to take risks, be exposed to potentially dangerous elements and put my heart on the line for those God calls me to engage. A life worth living has deprived me of my life, my pride and my priorities. A life worth living has given me real life, real exaltation and real priorities - all of these things are defined by Jesus Himself and are found easily if you read the Gospels. Jesus invites you and me to have a life worth living. Jesus promises to walk with you and empower you to live this life. Because He invites you, I also encourage you to follow His invitation. Most of us like to read or watch adventure stories. The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Braveheart and the Lord of the Rings are popular examples of our God inspired thirst for adventure, battle and winning. But if we are to experience the real depth of adventure and a life worth living, we must each choose to step out into the adventure that God places before us. For many people, they would rather watch or read about a life worth living instead of living that life. To live our a life of risk, exposure and pain is necessary if real life is to be experienced. We each have to choose how we will live out our lives. Will we watch others live a life worth living and wonder if we could ever do that, or, will we choose to step out and walk the life worth living knowing that pain and sacrifice lies ahead - but also the words, "well done my good and faithful servant, enter into my rest." In choosing to live out the life Jesus invites us to requires a stream of decisions that will make up who you are. A life worth living begins in our hearts and flows out into our decisions. Matthew 12:33-37 & Matthew 15:10-20 lay this out clearly. I suggest we all spend some time pondering these passages. A life worth living will have fruit that will be recognizable as being good, "you will know them by their fruits." Who you are is more important than what you do. If you are a living a robust life for Jesus, then what you do will move towards matching the way Jesus lived; on the edge, expending Himself for others, spending time with the Father and caring deeply that people have a strong relationship with Jesus. The character of a life worth living is built upon facing pain, conflict, loneliness and fear - moving through those experiences towards truly being godly. There are no short cuts to true and godly character. It is a life consistently purified by trials, struggles and a strong uncompromising focus on Jesus Christ. So I guess the question for you and I is, will we live a life worth living, or simply watch others live it out? I pray you'll choose to trust Jesus and live it out. It really does take strong disciples to make a strong church.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Shopping for Suitcases

I never thought shopping for suitcases would excite me, but it did earlier this week. On Monday, Debbie and I had a rare day to be alone so we maximized it by visiting 5 or 6 Ross discount stores. Before you wonder how visiting 6 Ross stores is 'maximizing' your time together, hear me out. You see our family is getting ready for a grand full family vacation. By full family vacation I'm talking about 15 people. My parents, my brother and his daughters, my children, grandchildren, Debbie and Rachel - we are all going on a grand family vacation for 9 days. I'm so ready for 9 days of doing nothing but getting a tan, sipping on cool drinks, taking walks, enjoy the ocean and sitting around eating good food and telling tall stories. So, our luggage has been around the world a couple of times and has broken zippers and tears in the fabric, it is time for new luggage. Deb and I took off and enjoyed breakfast together at Mimi Cafe's and then off to the first Ross store we went. We found a nice suitcase but we wanted to find three that are alike or at least similar. The prices are great at Ross, but you never know what they will have in stock. Off to the second store. We found another piece of luggage close to the first one so we bought it and then off to the third store, then the forth, fifth and sixth. I was actually excited to get to each store to see what they had to offer. We ended up with three nice and inexpensive pieces of luggage. I came home and lined them up in our master bathroom. As I stared at the three pieces of luggage, I began to dream about checking in at the airport for out vacation (with our new luggage) and decided right there that the luggage would remained lined up in our bathroom for the next 60 days until our vacation. When I told Debbie of my decision, she just rolled her eyes, but I knew it would keep me excited about our vacation each time I passed them by. In my office I have a large wooden sign that says "Believe". Every time I look at it, I dream about people I know who are moving closer and closer to Jesus. I will dream, just for a moment, about a friend and ask Jesus to continue to woo them closer to Him. Communion is another symbol of dreaming for me. When I see or experience communion my heart is reminded to be thankful for all that Christ has done for us and that He is coming back to get us. The more I think about the word 'Believe' or I see the bread and cup of Jesus, I dream about something greater. These symbols will often cause me to think about heaven - that eternal vacation with Jesus Himself. My bags are not packed, but every time I walk by the luggage in my bathroom, they call out to me to think about my upcoming vacation. Why not have some things in your life that cause you to dream about heaven and other spiritual realities. It might just keep you going strong on your spiritual journey.