Use It or Lose It!!

even-smaller-bug-light111 Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” — Exodus 4:11, 12 NLT

God has given each of us particular gifts and we use those gifts daily in our secular lives but when God asks us to use them for His work, we suddenly pretend we don’t have those abilities.  Take Moses, for instance, forty years earlier, Moses had no problem taking charge.  He killed an Egyptian who was beating a slave. The next day, he comes out and tells the slaves to quit fighting each other.  Those are characteristics of a leader. But, now after forty years of desert training, when God wants Him to use those same talents to free His people and lead them through the desert, Moses suddenly can’t.  If  you think God was happy with Moses, you are wrong.  In fact, He met Moses and was about to kill him and would have except for the actions of Zipporah.(Exodus 4:24-26)  
In today’s world, think about the effectiveness of the church if:
​E​very school teacher volunteered t​o teach Sunday S​chool​
Every​ CEO or business leader volunteered for a leadership/mentoring position
Everyone who served others in any position served in the church
Whatever talent you have, you used that talent in the church
Just think about this:  The Creator of the universe, the Omniscient God would not ask us to do a job that He has not specifically given us the talent and the training to do.  If God knew someone else could do the job better than we could, then He would have called them instead of us!  The next time we feel that little nudge to volunteer, before we say “no”,  think about the results in the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30).
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ​ — Eph. 2:10 NLT​
Post 01-24-2016

Living in the Sonshine

even-smaller-bug-light124 God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act. — Exodus 2:24, 25

God never forgets a promise.  He had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would one day free the people from Egypt and that time had now come. He had listened to the groaning of His people long enough.  God never fails to deliver on a promise, but He has His own timetable to do so.  He used Moses to fulfill this promise.  If God has made a specific promise to us, individually, He will fulfill it but it may very well be after we have gone through a period of groaning and travail. He has made a specific promise to all of His children.  The first part of that promise was fulfilled when He came in the flesh to redeem us from sin and free us from our bondage to satan.  We and all of nature are now in a period of groaning, waiting for His return to take us out of Egypt (the world).  When He does come back, we will fly away with Him to our Promised Land. A land flowing with living waters and filled with the light of the Son.  No more groaning, no more sorrows, no more pain, a land where the lamb will lay down by the lion.
22 If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed. Our Lord, come! — 1 Cor. 16:22 NLT
Post 01/23/2015

Don’t Be Afraid

even-smaller-bug-light112 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?”  13 Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, 14 so ignore them.  — Matt. 15:12-14a NLT

Pilate washed his hands and declared that he was innocent of the blood of Jesus.  He could have just as easily told the crowd that he would not allow them to take Jesus because he found nothing deserving of death in the actions of Jesus.  ​Without Pilate’s permission and without him furnishing the guard detail to carry out the crucifixion, the crowd would not have been able to crucify Jesus.  The Jews had no authority to sentence anyone to death or to carry out the death sentence. Though Pilate did not participate physcially in the crucifixion, neither did he stop it from happening even though he had the authority to do so.  Pilate had worldy authority to do something.  We have a hgher authority who has authorized us to speak out when the name of Jesus is being blasphemed and God’s name is being taken in vain.  Do we think that we can hide behind our fear of offending others and not speak out?  Do we think Jesus is pleased when we stand by and do or say nothing when injustices are taking place before our very eyes?  Jesus put His life on the line by offending the religious leaders and rulers of that day. He gave up His life so that we could have the authority to speak and act in His name. If we can trust Jesus to save us and keep our souls safe throughout eternity, surely we can trust Him to protect us when we follow His example and His commands.

10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. — Isaiah 41:10 NLT

Post 01-22-2016

 

His Sake or Our Mistake?

even-smaller-bug-light120 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. — John 15:20 NLT

In His lifetime here on earth, Jesus suffered rejection, ridicule, mockery, and finally death on a cross.  While he was living out His life as an example to us, He promised us that we would be offended and suffer persecution as well.  When we suffer for His sake, we should be happy that He has chosen us to suffer with and for Him because we will receive a blessing here and a reward later​.

 

11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.– Matt. 5: 11, 12 NLT

God also disciplines His children and the discipline is for our benefit so that we grow and mature in His service.
 

19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. — Hebrews 3:19 NLT

I like the NLT translation of this verse because the way most of us Chrisitians sin is through indifference.  So what, if my neighbors are lost, I am not going to get involved.  Yeah, I felt that little nudge to speak or act but I am not going to do anything.  Yes, I should visit the sick but I just don’t have the time. Woe unto us!!  Jesus will not ignore these sins of indifference, there will be discipline for His children in this world, not in eternity.  The kids of satan may prosper here because they are not God’s children to discipline but they will suffer punishment, the full wrath of God’s anger, for an eternity.  So, we don’t need to concern ourselves with how God handles them. 
We need to be concerned over why we are suffering:  Is it persecution for His sake or discipline for our mistake?
Post 01-21-2016

Small Beginnings – Big Endings!

even-smaller-bug-light110 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. — Ephesians 2:10 NLT

When we think about God’s choices and blessings from a human viewpoint, they make little or no sense to us.  Why would God call this person or that person to do a particular job?  Why would He call them and not me?  If we look deeper, those that God calls are given greater responsibilites and  asked to do things that most of us would never agree to do.  Look at the prophet Isaiah.  God told Isaiah to walk around Israel for three years naked and barefoot preaching and prophesying. (Isaiah 20)  That’s not exactly what I had in mind when I accepted Jesus as my Savior and it is not something I would want to do.  With great blessings, there is usually great sacrifice.  Mary was chosen to be the Mother of the Messiah. The angel told her she was highly favored and blessed and she certainly was.  But with that blessing came much suffering and pain of heart for Mary.  She watched as her own family and their own people rejected Jesus on a daily basis,  She watched as He suffered great pain from a crown of thrones that mocked Him. She watched as He suffered even greater pain on the cross and as His side was pierced and His life flowed out of Him.  I would not want to watch a child of mine go through that.  God prepares each of us for the work He knows that we will do.  We should be grateful He has chosen us for whatever task He has prepared for us to do and do it to the best of our ablilty.  Don’t miss out on the blessings because we feel the work is small and insignificant.  Nothing God asks us to do is insignificant.
10 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” — Zechariah 4:10 NLT
Post 01-20-2016

The Eye of the Storm

even-smaller-bug-light13 You will keep in perfect peace  those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.4 Trust in the Lord forever,  for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. — Isaiah 26:3, 4 NIV

The eye of a hurricane is the calmest part of the storm, there is usually no wind and the skies are clear.  It is usually true that the stronger the storm the better defined the eye of the hurrciance will be.  The eye is surrounded by an eyewall of thunderstorms that contain the most dangerous weather.  When a hurricane is at sea, the eye is still calm except at sea level where waves may reach a height of 130 feet.  If we can compare the violence of the world around us to a hurricane, we can see that there is a place of peace and calmness in the middle of all that chaos. But we can’t just sit on the surface and wait, we have to prepare for the storm by keeping our eyes on Jesus and not on the world.  By trusting completely in Him, we can rise above the waves and live in peace in the midst of the storm. When the storm starts to dissipate, the eyewall will start to break down and we will experience some winds but they will not be strong enough to harm us.  There will be some rain but only enough to water us and make us grow, not enough to wash us away. God never allows more than we can bear.  If we choose to focus on the world and its carnality, we will find ourselves in the eyewall of the storm. But if we repent and pray Peter’s short prayer. “Lord, save me”, He will str​e​tch out His hand and pull us to safety.  We can’t stop the hate and violence in the world, but God has provided a place of peace and safety for His children. The choice is ours.  We can choose to stay focused on Jesus and live in the peace that He gives us or stay where we are and live in the chaos.

10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, ​ yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,”  says the Lord, who has compassion on you.  ​ — Isaiah 54:10 NIV​

Post 01-19-2016

From the Head to the Heart

even-smaller-bug-light137 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. — Matt 13:37-39 NIV

We are warned over and over in the Bible, that as the end draws nearer, there will arise more and more false prophets even in the church. They will seem genuine to those who do not have the Holy Spirit abiding in them and therefore, have no discernment.  They will preach and teach a “cheap” grace.  A grace based on head knowledge and not on what we have in our hearts.  They will expound doctrines that do not require holy lifestyles or they will add manmade rules that require more than the Bible requires for salvation.  Whether they add to or subtract from the Biblical requirements for salvation, they are both wrong.  When we have truly accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and He gives us the Holy Spirit, we are saved.  We are clothed in His holiness and righteousness.  There is nothing we can do to make ourselves more holy or more righteous than He made us.  A Christlike lifestyle is the external proof of what we believe in our hearts not what we know in our minds.  Our thoughts and actions are the fruit of the Spirit, a good tree will bear good fruit and a bad tree will bear bad fruit.  It is a natural and a spiritual law that we cannot change.  For fruit trees to bear an abundant crop, they require a lot of care.  So, everyday, fertilize the tree with scripture and wash it with the water of the Word.
Post 01-18-2016