Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter & quotes

Jesus was killed on Friday and rose from the dead on Sunday.  He endured separation from God for you and I.  If you do not know about Jesus I hope that today you will pick up a bible or check out a site like and read about His life.  My life has been forever changed because someone I did not know and long before I was born followed His Father's will to die for me.  I am one of those that cry at the drop of a hat so today has been a bit emotional.  Today at church it was brought up that it was not the criminals or low life's that killed Jesus, but the religious leaders that saw Him as a threat.  It had to be done in order for life to be changed. 

God gave us a most wonderful gift.  The question is, will you accept it?

The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances.  Robert Flatt

Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there.    Clarence W. Hall

Easter is not a time for groping through dusty, musty tomes or tombs to disprove spontaneous generation or even to prove life eternal.  It is a day to fan the ashes of dead hope, a day to banish doubts and seek the slopes where the sun is rising, to revel in the faith which transports us out of ourselves and the dead past into the vast and inviting unknown.    Author unknown, as quoted in the Lewiston Tribune

Where man sees but withered leaves, God sees sweet flowers growing.    Albert Laighton
He takes men out of time and makes them feel eternity.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Angels, roll the rock away;
Death, yield up thy mighty prey:
See, He rises from the tomb,
Glowing with immortal bloom
.    Thomas Scott, "Easter Angels"

Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness.     Floyd W. Tomkins

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Luke 15:1-10

v. 2 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."  Jesus was never afraid of what people thought of Him.  There will be judgmental people throughout out lives yet their opinions are just that - opinions.  They do not reflect reality or truth when coming from a place of hatred or jealously.  The Pharisees went out of their way to avoid "unclean" people.  Jesus knew their hearts were more important than any outward appearances or perceived uncleanliness. 

v. 3-10 "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.  Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.  Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'  I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one.  Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?  She calls her friends to say 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.'  In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents

One of my favorite stories in the bible.  I know I say that a lot, but I have many that are my favorite.  This one is fitting for me since I was the lost sheep who got rescued by the Shepherd.  Some may think that a shepherd leaving the 99 to go get the 1 is foolish, but the Shepherd does not want to lose a single one of His sheep.  The 99 were safe because they were in the fold, the 1 was in danger and needed to be found.  Each sheep is more valuable than they know.  I was a lost sheep and knowing that my Shepherd came and found me to save me is something that still makes me cry.

For those who have been lost like me can you believe that there is more rejoicing when we repent than righteous people?  We are a collective in the Kingdom, but each one of us is so valuable that angels rejoice when we are found!  It's that amazing?  Despite what seemed like a lost cause, we finally are home.  Sometimes when I hear a story about someone who either walked away from God and came back or someone who just found Him for the first time I am so overjoyed that I start crying. 

Palestinian women received ten silver coins as a wedding gift.  Besides their value, they must have been sentimental like a wedding ring today.  What if you lost your favorite piece of jewelry?  You would tear apart your house to find it and would be so happy once it was found. 

In the search:
  • No rejoicing - he is anxious for the lost
  • No hesitation - despite the time, energy, darkness of night, he still pursues the lost
  • No anger - even though the sheep has cost him dearly, he counts it as nothing
  • No pause - love makes him forget himself and renews his strength
  • No giving up the search - he will not return defeated
At the capture:
  • Wanderer found - safe in his arms
  • Weight borne - the lamb rides on the shepherds shoulders
  • Distance traveled - shepherd traveling painfully the length of road the sheep wandered so wantonly
  • Shepherd rejoicing - the sheep is so dear that its weight is a load of love
  • Sheep rejoicing - it has been found and now is safe, its perfect restoration secured
In the home bringing:
  • Jesus must carry us the distance, we can not make it on our own
  • If you are in the fold then you are family
  • Jesus loves when others rejoice for their brothers & sisters
  • Repentance is being brought home, the angels rejoice for each one of us
  • One sinner can make all heaven glad                                     
A little boy, in a Christian family in Amoy (China) wished to make a profession of religion and was told he was too young.  The boy replied 'Jesus had promised to carry the lambs in his bosom.  I am only a little boy; it will be easier for Jesus to carry me.'
                                                                                                                        Spurgeon's Sermon Notes

"General Garibaldi, an Italian officer in the 1800's was on his way home when he met a shepherd sad over the loss of his sheep.  Garibaldi launched a search with his soldiers and they searched through out the night.  The soldiers were ordered back to bed since the sheep was not found.  The next morning Garibaldi's attendant found him sleeping.  He was very surprised since the general was always the first up in the morning.  The attendant came back later and woke the general up.  When the general woke the attendant saw the general pull out a lamb from under the covers and was told to take it back to the shepherd.  The general had kept up the search through the night after everyone else had gone to bed, until he found it."

                                                                                                                         The Preachers' Monthly

Friday, March 29, 2013

Quote - Laura Ingalls Wilder

"As you read my stories of long ago I hope you will remember that the things that are truly worthwhile and that will give you happiness are the same now as they were then. Courage and kindness, loyalty, truth, and helpfulness are always the same and always needed."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Luke 14:15-35

v. 15-24  Someone at the table with Jesus said "Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God."  Jesus replied "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guest.  At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.'  But they all alike began to make excuses."  The excuses were: I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it.  I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out.  I just got married, so I can't come.  When the servant told the news from the invited guests the master was angry and sent the servant out to seek those that were poor, crippled, blind and lame.  There was still room so the master told the servant "Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.  I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet."

It was customary in those days to send out two invitations.  The first was to announce the event and the second was to let them know everything was ready.  The guests insulted the host by making excuses for the second invitation.  God first invited the Jewish people through Moses and the prophets.  The people accepted the first invitation that they were to be God's people.  The second was to believe in His son which many had decided to make excuses why they could not accept.  I know that I had accepted the invitation in my teens and the cares of life got in the way so the invitation fell in a deep crevice until one day I found it and opened the long lost envelope and accepted once again.  Many think that they have to clean up their act before God will take them in, that is not the case.  We can never be cleaned up enough without Him in our life.  God takes us just the way we are today.  Then He will start to work with us to make us who He sees us to be.  God's invitation is open to all. 

v. 25-27  Jesus said "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-yes, even his own life-he cannot be my disciple."  This line is confusing to me so I looked up other translations.  I use, when I looked up this verse with God's Word Translation it said "If people come to me and are not ready to abandon their fathers, mothers, wives, children, brothers, and sisters, as well as their own lives, they cannot be my disciples."  This version makes more sense to me.  We have to be open to Jesus no matter what the cost.  "And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."  The Romans had criminals carry their own cross to their execution site and it also showed a sign of submission to Rome.  Jesus' words were a challenge for those that wanted to go deeper and a warning for those that were not ready to following Jesus. 

v. 28-33 "Suppose a king is about to go to war against another king.  Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?"  The decision to follow Jesus is not one to take lightly.  The cost is too great to not think it out. 

v. 34-35 "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?   It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.  He who has ears to hear, let him hear." 

"Salt can lose it's flavor if it gets wet and dries.  We are not to blend into the world, if we lose our saltiness then we become worthless.  We are to preserve the good in the world, keep it from spoiling and bring new flavor to this life.  This requires careful planning, willing sacrifice and unswerving commitment to Christ's kingdom."   NIV notes

Just because we have ears doesn't mean we can truly hear. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Luke 14:1-14

v. 1-6 Jesus was invited to the home of one of the Pharisees, they were watching Him and waiting to trip Him up.  There was a man suffering from dropsy, which was an abnormal accumulation of fluid in bodily tissues and cavities.  Jesus asked "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?"  But they remained silent so Jesus healed the man.  Then He asked "If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?  And they had nothing to say."  These men were confronted with a question that they did not have an answer to.  Many make excessive rules that seem to not be able to fit every circumstance and then they are speechless.  I believe that the Pharisees were so out of touch with the general public and their needs that they were silent on this matter. 

Jesus healed seven times on the Sabbath:

Mark 1:21-28     Jesus sends a demon out of a man
Mark 1:29-31     Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law
John 5:1-18        Jesus heals a lame man by the Pool Bethesda
Mark 3:1-6         Jesus heals a man with a shriveled hand
Luke 13:10-17   Jesus restores a crippled woman
Luke 14:1-6       Jesus heals a man with dropsy
John 9:1-16        Jesus heals a man born blind                                                                        NIV notes

God would not have been pleased if Jesus had ignored those people's needs just because of man made laws.  Our laws have no jurisdiction over God.

People may wonder why Jesus was still around the Pharisees when He had denounced them so many times.  Jesus was not afraid of men or their false thinking of elevated power.  Sometimes we are around people that we do not like and do not have our best interest at heart.  We are not to fear anyone or anything if we have God.  Some might get disheartened that Jesus did not add daughter to the list of things that fell into the well.  Jesus was a champion of women, but during those times and at that place it would not have had the same impact that a son or animal would have had to those Pharisees.  Don't worry ladies, we are highly valued in the Kingdom!

v. 7-14 Jesus teaches about seeking humility.  When He noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, He told them this parable: "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited.  If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this man your seat.'  Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place.  But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.'  Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." 

In our society people are constantly trying to get ahead and be seen.  Whether it is social status, house, car or group of friends, don't let your position be anything but humble.  Jesus is telling us how we should see things differently.  Over and over again Jesus keeps pointing out that the humble will be exalted and those that exalt themselves will be humbled.  He spoke the truth and the most important parts were emphasized.  Should we not pay extra attention to the things He said repeatedly?  Jesus said we should not be exclusive about whom we invite.  I don't think that in today's world you can easily invite people off the street into your home, but I do think that we will not grow much if we don't venture outside our safe circle of friends.  Is there someone new at church or work that you could invite to lunch or to grab a cup of coffee? 

Humility is not putting your self down, that in it self is sin since there is such a focus inward and you are withholding it from God to handle it yourself.    We also need to see the gifts we are given and use them.  I like to look up the definition of words to gain a clearer understand of their depth.  The definition of humble is: not proud or arrogant; modest, having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, low in rank, importance, status, courteously respectful, to make meek: to humble one's heart.

"Humility is not self-degradation; it is realistic assessment and commitment to serve.  Truly humble people compare themselves only with Christ, realize their sinfulness and know their limitations."  NIV notes

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Luke 13:10-35

Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues and there was a crippled woman there.  Jesus said to her "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.  Then He put His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God."  The religious leaders were indignant that Jesus would heal someone on the Sabbath.  The Jewish leaders had so many rules for what you could not do on the Sabbath that they were missing an amazing opportunity to see a miracle.  The leaders must have thought that healing was considered work and you were not allowed to do you job on the Sabbath.  The religious leaders told the people to come and get healed on the other six days, not on the Sabbath.  Jesus replied "You hypocrites!  Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?  Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?"  The leaders took care of their animals and yet they could not rejoice when this woman was healed from something she had for 18 years.

v. 18-20 Then Jesus said "What is the kingdom of God like?  What shall I compare it to?  It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden.  It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.  It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough."  The people were thinking Jesus would come and fight Rome to free all God's people, but Jesus made it clear that was not the case.  Mustard seeds are tiny.  Jesus was saying that the Kingdom would start out quietly and what would appear to be insignificant at the time.  Also, the yeast that gets kneaded into the dough.  A small amount of yeast gets forced into the dough with time and pressure and that yeast will double the size of the bread.  The Kingdom would eventually start to grow outward and spread all over the world. 

v. 22-30 Jesus was heading towards Jerusalem.  Someone asked "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?"  He said to them, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.  Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door to us.'  But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'  They will say 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.'  There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.  People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.  Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last."  Jesus was heading towards His death and He still preached.  No matter what we face we are to stay steadfast and follow God.  To enter through the narrow gate takes a desire to know Jesus and we have to follow Him no matter the cost.  We should not put off getting to know Him.  The door will not stay open forever.  One of the saddest things in the entire bible to me is when Jesus says "I never knew you."  Do not profess to others that you are a follower, but are deceptive and evil on the inside.  Many people know things about God, but who will acknowledge their sins and accept forgiveness?  I think that when we get to Heaven it will be a big surprise at who is there and who isn't.  God's kingdom will include people from all around the world.  Israel's rejection of Jesus as the Messiah was not going to stop God from His plan.  I believe that Israel is not just the Jews who believe in Jesus (there are many), but all who follow Him.  I also believe that the Jewish people have a special place in God's heart and I look at them as my brothers and sisters.  I have heard people say that the Jews are irrelevant because of Christianity, beware in that thinking which will lead you down a prideful road.  Can you imagine some of the worst people in history being in heaven or some of the most respected preachers not being there?  Some of the world's forgotten people are great in the eyes of God.  How do your values compare to what the bible says to value? 

v. 31-35 Some of the Pharisees told Jesus to leave since Herod wanted to kill Him.  Jesus told them that He would continue to drive out demons and heal people and the third day He would reach His goal.  "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!  Look your house is left to you desolate."  The Pharisees were not concerned for Jesus' safety, they were trying to trap Him themselves.  Jerusalem had rejected many prophets and would reject the greatest one of all. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Luke 13:1-9

Pilate had killed some Galileans and a tower had fallen on others and had killed them.  Pilate might have killed those people because he saw them as a threat against Rome.  The workers that got killed from the tower falling on them, maybe the Pharisees thought that they deserved what they got.  Jesus dismissed the idea that accidents or human cruelties were God's judgment for especially wicked sinners.  If that were the case then all the "bad" people in the world would not stay in power or live long lives.  Your righteousness is not determined by how you die or if you get a miraculous healing.  We all will die at some point.  Jesus did not share why some people live and others die tragically.  So I believe we are not supposed to try to figure it out because we never will.  Jesus decided to take that time to focus on our need to repent.  v. 3,5 "I tell you, no!  But unless you repent, you too will all perish."  Jesus was focused on the Kingdom more than anything else because that is the most important thing of all.  Jesus repeated Himself twice.  Anytime He says something more than once I think we should really pay attention. 

v. 6-9 "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any.  So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any.  Cut it down!  Why should it use up the soil?'  Sir, the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it.  If it bears fruit next year, fine!  If not, then cut it down.'"  In the Old Testament fruit trees often represented Godly living.  God is the gardener and He is tending His garden.  Why would He want to keep a tree that is taking up room and soil from another tree that might produce mass amounts of fruit?  God takes tender care of his trees and makes sure they have plenty of light to keep the darkness at bay, He gives the trees living water so they will not wilt, and makes sure that the soil is healthy and is full of what the tree needs.  The enemy tries to pull out the tree by it's roots as if it were a weed because to him we are weeds.  The devil knows that if he can destroy us under the surface at the root then what shows above ground will just be rotten and lifeless.  He will use whatever means necessary to destroy us.

Are we producing good fruit or are we just taking up space?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Luke 12:49-59

v. 49-53 Jesus said "I have come to bring fire on earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!  But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!  Do you think I came to bring peace on earth?  No, I tell you, but division.  From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.  They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

He knew what He had to do on the cross and it sounds like He was ready for that part to be over with.  The physical pain He knew would be great, but I think what was even worse was the spirit separation from God.  Jesus said that He had a baptism to undergo which He was already baptized by John in the river earlier.  It almost sounds like that we undergo a second baptism when we die to go be with Jesus since His second baptism was Him dying.  We will undergo a massive change leaving here.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I never really thought about that before.  I love reading the bible because even if I have read something many times before I am amazed how things jump off the page for what I am dealing with in the present moment.  It's as if it was hidden before and has now been unlocked for me to see. 

I did not go to church much growing up, but I never heard that Jesus was hear for anything else other than peace.  Jesus said He came for division.  I believe since this is so huge that it will divide people across the world and even in their own homes.  The battle lines are drawn we just have to figure out which side we are on.  Jesus expects a decision to be made for each person so that will cause conflict if all in one family do not believe in the same thing.  There is no middle ground.  In our world it is pushed to think that there is no one right way for anything.  Lukewarm equals acceptable.  God's economy is different from ours.  Are you willing to risk family and friends approval in order to follow God?  Many have been separated from everyone they know, but now they have a new eternal family that is a comfort.  Every person who follows Jesus is part of one big family.  It does not matter what you look like or where you are.  You are not alone in this world.  When you are a world outcast then you might be doing something right in the Kingdom.  There are many that pray daily for all believers.  So just think, somewhere in the world someone is praying for you today!  It's that wonderful?

Did you ladies realize at the end of those verses the uneven amount of women against women compared to the guys?  Not only mothers and daughters against each other, but MIL and DIL against each other.  Jesus expects division based on our ability to choose whether we will follow Him.  The enemy creates division to keep anyone from choosing Jesus.  He knows that is we keep busy fighting we will never really grow in God. 

v. 54-59 Jesus told the people that they were good at forecasting the weather, but failed at interpreting the present time.  "Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?  As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.  I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny."

For the longest time most of the world's occupation had been farmers.  They knew to keep an eye on the weather because their job depended on it.  Yet, they could not see the most important thing in all of history.  Today we have all this knowledge and yet many do not choose to follow God.  There are an insane amount of law suits that could be avoided if people chose a different path.  Don't get me wrong, there are real reasons for some lawsuits.  Although some seem completely out of control.  The amount of anger in society is scary.  The world seems to be ok with it, it will only get worse the closer we get to the second coming of Jesus.  The act of forgiving is as if it were in a fairy tale.  Something people did long ago.  It is the key to open the door to healing.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Luke 12:35-48

v. 35-39 Jesus warns about His second coming.  "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning.  It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.  You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him."  Last year was a year full of talk about the end of the world.  I remember a preacher in the US who said he knew when the end was, that day came and went just like any other.  The bible says that not even the angels know the day or hour when Jesus will come so why do we think we know?  Answer: the devil.  The problem with setting a date is that after that day then you look just like one of those crazy Christians and that is not good for the Kingdom.  The point of this passage is to be ready at all times.  We do not know when the end will come, but we are to be prepared all the same. 

This reminds me of the story of the grasshopper and the ant.  The ants were getting ready for winter by storing up food in the fall and the grasshopper was just had fun not worrying about anything.  When winter came the grasshopper begged the ant for food and was denied because they had to make sure all the ants were going to have food for the long winter.  The grasshopper missed out because he chose not to be ready for what was going to happen anyway. 

People who have a true love of God are willing to do the following: be sincere, ready to witness, are trusting, very generous, and diligent.  We are to do these things now, there is no need to wait.  Much of our reward will be in heaven.  If it were instantly given our reward here on earth then don't you think it would go straight to our heads?  We would start to think it was all us and slowly push God aside. 

v. 41-48 The disciples asked if the parable was only for them.  Jesus responded "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?  It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns.  But suppose the servant says to himself, 'My master is taking a long time in coming,' and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk.  The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.  He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.  From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

No matter what you are in charge of whether it is a large company or a home, we are held accountable for our actions.  The more responsibility we have the more that is expected of us.  Especially those who are supposed to be representing God.  This blog and my writing are my ministry, I will be held accountable for what I say and I take that very serious.  I want to share God's word around the world so I better be doing a good job of sharing the bible.  Don't think that just because you aren't in a position at a church that you don't have a ministry.  God has placed people in every job imaginable around the world and they have a ministry.  What ever you are passionate about is probably your ministry.  You may love to bake and share food with people, volunteer your time at an animal shelter, rock babies who have no mom or dad, teach your children about the bible, etc.  You see we all have been given gifts and responsibility that we are supposed to be using right now. 

"God will not hold us responsible for gifts that He did not give us." NIV notes 
Although we will be held accountable for the things we should have done while here.  No position is too small in the kingdom, all are equally important.  Big time mega preacher is the same as the cleaning lady at the office.  Because if you are representing God correctly to those around you then you are doing exactly what God wants you to do.

I know that the sentence "He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers" seems harsh yet there is a battle going on all around us.  This is the longest war in history that will one day be resolved.  I know that if you do not know much about the bible then things sometimes come across as harsh.  God is love, however this has eternal consequences that God takes very seriously.  The entire bible is full of people just like us and the choices they have made.  It shows the rewards or consequences based on their decisions.  God wants us to choose Him because the alternative is pure darkness and pain.  After suffering for many years at the hand of the enemy I would not want to choose to join him for all of eternity.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Luke 12:22-34

I have not posted due to being sick so I'm on the road to recovery and I am glad to be back. 

v. 22-28 Jesus said to the disciples "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.  And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?  Consider how the lilies grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith.

I think this is one of the biggest problems that block our faith.  If you give over to worry then you are not giving it to God to handle.  Yes we are supposed to be concerned about matters here on earth, but to worry and stress over things especially those that we have no control over is pointless.  I believe worry is a sin, anything out of balance can be a sin.  By now we know that stress can cause great damage to our bodies yet we keep doing it.  I have seen so many that worry until they are physically sick.  I also worry, but I try to give it to God when I know that I've been thinking about something too long, realize that I have no control over the situation and really see that I am not letting my Father take care of me.  Jesus tells us that we can not add a single hour to our life by worrying, I believe there are many that take hours away due to the stress they put their minds through.  Don't let the cares of this world weigh you down.  The devil knows that if all your attention is on worry then none of it will be on God. 

How to overcome worry:
  • Simple trust in God, this is shown by praying instead of worrying
  • Your perspective on your problems and how they match up to God's kingdom
  • A support team, surround yourself with other people who will pray for you and not join in on your worry party.
v. 31 "But seek His kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.  Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions and give to the poor.  Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Do you give God every part of your life or do you keep certain things from Him?  If there is anything you are hiding from Him I pray that you will give it over to Him.  Many want God in their lives yet will keep areas off limits to Him.  He wants to be involved in every area of your life especially the deep dark parts that you don't want anyone to see.  When you release everything to Him it takes it off your shoulders and you feel free.  He does not criticize, demean or make fun of you.  He will show you love, peace and acceptance that the world would never give you. 

I think for most people God doesn't want you to sell everything you own to give to the poor because then how would you be able to help others after that?  I believe helping others is a life long duty that Christians are supposed to do to honor God.  Do you use your money wisely?  Are you willing to give more than just what is asked at the Christmas offering at church?  The Barna Group did a study in 2008 that said that 24% of Evangelicals in the US tithed which was the highest group in that study.  I am not surprised, our country is so ridiculously wealthy and only 1 out of 4 gives back to the church.  That was the same time as our economic crash in the US so the percentage probably dropped after that study.  Can you imagine what we could do if every Christian tithed?  I challenge all of us to give back to the church, charity or someone in need.  If 10% is not an option, then give what you can.  Have you thought of doing any of these: paying for someone's food in the drive-thru line behind you, taking a dinner to someone who has had surgery, dropping off food to your local food bank.  Don't worry that the money will be misused.  Once it leaves you and is given to another you are not responsible for the outcome.  If you give with good intentions, He knows.  I think God is perfectly capable of taking care of those that misrepresent Him for their own gain. 

Growing up my mom would tithe and when my dad did not want to she would give from their total income from her paycheck.  That made for not much take home pay for her, but I have seen God do amazing things because she made a point to give back to Him all those years.  God took care of her when dad died and she was able to sell her house in 2008 in only seven weeks.  The house down the street that was similar took several years to sell.  Back then the market was not that great, but God can amazing things if only we will believe and have faith.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Some of my favorite quotes from - Martin Luther King Jr.

Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

The time is always right to do what is right.”

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

"I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made. No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent, we are interdependent."
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others. In dangerous valleys and hazardous pathways, he will lift some bruised and beaten brother to a higher and more noble life.”

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
This is the great new problem of mankind. We have inherited a large house, a great ‘world house’ in which we have to live together– black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Muslim and Hindu– a family unduly separated in ideas, culture and interest, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace.”

The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”