Friday, February 27, 2015

Growing Older

"the length of our days in seventy years-or eighty, if we have strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away." (Psalm 90:10).
Enjoy the following humorous you tube piece on "growing older."

Friday, February 20, 2015

Remember His Wonders

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known to the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always; remember the wonders he has done.” Psalm 105:1-4. 

We need to remember what the Lord has done in our lives. Moses kept reminding the Israelites of God’s faithfulness. Yes, sometimes he complained, not about God but about God’s people who complained. Yes, it is hard to live in a world where people are constantly grumbling and griping. But in this, remember what God has done.

 In his book Recapture the Wonder, writer Ravi Zacharias explores the wonder of creation. It seems we forget often what God has done, the wonder of creation in the waterfalls and Redwoods, the celestial skies at night or in the reds of sunset or a blood moon. Mostly we forget that God is always with us and is working on our behalf even when we don’t see him. I paused in my New Year’s contemplation to remember what God has miraculously revealed or done for me, before and after I trusted Him as my Lord and Savior.

 ·      He saved me and a friend from death in a plane crash at the foot of Mt. McKinley in Lake Talkeetna. 

·      He saved me from death falling down a waterfall in Dead Man’s Creek in the Yukon.
·      He saved me from my sin as I drove home from Portage View Hospital where I served as CEO, and redeemed me in his love.\
·      He miraculously and instantaneously healed me from deadly tick-borne diseases.            
   ·      He brought me the Father’s love and lifted me from the floor with His Holy Spirit.          
  ·      He took me through the valley of the shadow of death in an imploding church crisis to a place of brilliant healing.
  •   He saved me and my wife from death in a head on car crash in St. John and showed me his    promise in Psalm 27, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear.  The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid.”

    He is Immanuel, God with us and he will keep His promises to save us from ourselves and the world as we trust in him, even though we will go through valleys of the shadow of death.  Let us remember His Wonders!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Love

Valentine’s Day is another Hallmark holiday, but clearly its message is straight from God. “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6). This is one of only several  times in scripture that only or one thing is written, so pay attention.

In 1 Thessalonians 1:3 Paul reminds us, “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”  James also reminds us that faith and action work together and that faith without works is dead. Yes, LOVE is an action word.

In the so-called “love chapter”, 1 Corinthians 13, love is defined in amazing detail. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…Now we see but a poor reflection, then we shall see face to face…And now these three remain, faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.”  I am reminded that this kind of love is not possible on our own, but only by and with the Holy Spirit within us. 

John admonishes us in 1 John 5:3, “This is love for God: by loving God and carrying out his commandments.”  And 1 John 4:16, “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. In this way love is made complete for the day of judgment.” This is a powerful and simple directive, but again, we can only do this by the power of the Holy Spirit. John continues in the next couple of verses to share all important help. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love castes (or drives out) fear. We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:18-19).

Well there it is valiant Valentine visitors. What a challenge, and what a promise from God to us. Love is all that matters it seems to say. This is putting ourselves aside and loving our neighbor as ourselves. The Good Samaritan did, and so can we, with God’s help

Happy Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 13, 2015

Be Kind Always

Be Kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). I have been speaking about the word kindness recently. It is the word I have chosen for 2015 to be my guide through all circumstances. It is the fruit of the Spirit in action. It is really not possible without God’s help. There is certainly evidence that our society is becoming less kind and compassionate. In fact it seems like payback and vengeance are the words that have driven much of our social interactions. So what do we do?

I don’t think I could move ahead well unless I knew at a heart level that God has forgiven me my sin, trespasses, debts? He has forgiven us because we need it. We cannot do it to or for ourselves. In fact it took God’s giving us His own Son as a ransom for our sin. Right, it took death to bring life. We need to be redeemed from our sins, cleansed, made new, the old gone and the new come. We can’t do it.  I always wondered why it was so hard to be nice and kind. Well it is because I can’t without God within me. We must receive the gift of God’s own choosing, the gift of His Son to be with us and within us.  How? By confessing our sin, turning to God, and turning around.

For me it was some 23 years ago in a blizzard, driving a snow covered road along Lake Superior at midnight. Dramatic? Yes, it was dramatic as I heard God’s word coming to me over the radio telling me how to start anew and turn from my arrogance and selfishness to a new life trusting in God. Oh it has been a difficult journey and a pilgrimage as I have walked the rough upward trail toward holiness. Yes, holiness is a pursuit, for without it we cannot see God the writer of Hebrews tells us. Thomas Jefferson told us in the Declaration of Independence that it is the pursuit of happiness that is an unalienable right.  It is a pursuit and the main pursuit of Christians around the world. St. Paul said, “If it is possible, as far as it depends upon you, be at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).  Jesus is saying be peacemakers.  It is God’s responsibility to repay, we are to be kind. In fact Romans 12:20 goes on to say, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.” Taken from Proverbs 25:21. This is how we overcome, with good.

It is not a small struggle for me in my work. I once had a co-worker who was not very kind or compassionate. In fact they seemed to have the gift of a critical spirit.  As one of my teachers, Chuck Swindoll, taught me, it is not a gift of God, but should be buried in the back yard.   I must find ways to give food and drink from the fountain that God has given me to bestow on such difficult people.  This is more teaching from God's word for me and maybe for you in 2015. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pursuit of Holiness or righteousness

The Pursuit of Holiness (Chap. 1)
Being a farmer would be very difficult because we would need to rely on God to provide sunshine and rain. Being a Real Christian requires us to do the same. That means that there will be hard times- But God will provide for all of needs in His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).
Heb 12:14- “Pursue holiness for without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
Meaning: Diligence of effort; Long-term-lifelong process.
Note: I want to add the hypothesis that “Righteousness” is a synonym to Holiness.
Ps 11:7- For the Lord is righteous. He loves righteousness: his countenance beholds the upright.  Ps 111:3 righteousness endures forever;  Prov 11:19-righteousness leads to life;  Rom 9:31 pursue the law of righteousness.

Chap.1- Holiness is For You- “For sin shall not be your master; because you are not under law, but under grace.” Rom 6:14
Besetting sins that dog- anger, fear
Promise good and bad news: Holiness expected and promised birthright of every Christian.
Holiness- image- goodie 2 shoes, holier than though- Misconception: it’s about prohibitions- sing, dance chew or go with girls who do, self-righteous, perfection
Holy 600x in bible- Leviticus on holiness (Command be holy for I am holy)11:44
1Th 4:3-7- God’s will to be Sanctified- avoid sexual immorality- God called us to purity no impurity.
1Pe 1:14-16- obedient- not evil desires, but holy
Rev 22:11- Do right, for I am coming soon
Eph 4:22,24-put off old self- corrupted, put on new self – attitude created by God to be righteous. Daily
Problem #1- Sin- self-centered not God centered
God wants us to walk in obedience (submission)- about God, victory about self.
God will be victorious in us.

Problem #2- misunderstand living by faith (Gal 2:20- to live is Christ to die is gain.  Faith vs. flesh.- personal responsibility to follow Christ

Friday, February 6, 2015

Kindness Continued

“The best of all is, God is with us.” Raising his arms in victory, these were John Wesley’s final words, welling up from the deepest part of his soul. He experienced the fulfillment of God’s promise of His presence: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4).
Yes, Immanuel, God is with us wherever we go, so do not fear. Has the meaning of Christmas truly filled your spirit? Are you still filled with fear like the Shepherd’s or are you thinking of the spirit of Kindness or other fruit of the Spirit?  I have been writing about “kindness” and how to live in it.

You know that the Bible is full of scripture on kindness. A brief review this morning showed 56 texts dealing with God’s kindness or the need for each of us to model His kindness. Proverbs is full of admonitions on kindness, 11:17 says, “A kind man benefits himself.” Do not forget God’s benefits. Proverbs 12:25, “but a kind word cheers him up.” We also know that a happy heart makes the face cheerful and that a cheerful heart has a continual feast- hallelujah. Back to kindness, “however is kind to the poor lends to God and is honored by God.” Perhaps one of our favorite verses in 1 Corinthians 13:4 reminds us that love in patient and kind. And Paul continues in Ephesians 4:32 saying, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving just as Christ forgave us. In Ephesians 2:7 he says that Christ’s incomparable riches of grace are expressed in his kindness. In 1 Thessalonians 5:15 he tells us to, “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” Did you get that, to be kind to each and every, ALL people. Now there’s the hitch. There are difficult people in this world, right? Well, if we are filled with the Holy Spirit we will be kind to all, for the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

So what do we do? “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance, and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:12-14).  Peter opens this book by saying that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness through Him who gave us this great and precious promise.

Well, there are some more thoughts about my theme word and character trait of the New Year.  I am feeling better that I can do it with God’s help. How about you? Happy New Year.
I have listed a website that has a short talk on kindness that is worthy of a listen.