Friday, September 25, 2015

Be Self-Controlled

Be Self-Controlled
So how is your self-discipline or self-control? Does it waver at times? What causes you to be distracted or get off course? Or even worse, what brings you into the ditch upside down?  I think we all have things that keep us from concentrating or focusing on what we should, or even forgetting what we should be doing. It might be nice to daydream for a moment, but getting off course can be disastrous to us and those around us. So what do we do?

Jesus makes clear what to do.Fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2 ).  He is the one who has begun a good work in us and he will compete it in the Day of Christ (Philippians 1:6).  It is easy to take our eyes off the ball. Like Peter we can take our eyes off Jesus and look at the waves, troubles, or fears and begin to sink. We can turn away from where we should be going and head to a rendez vous, to the bar, casino or whatever there is on the far side of town.


God has done a work in saving us on the Cross. He also continues to do a work in us through the sanctification by his Holy Spirit. This is a journey, a long, hard one. Yet we can be confident of this, that he will complete it. He does not quit on us, as we trust in him. Isn’t it a wonderful thing that God is faithful? That’s why I wrote Great is God’s Faithfulness. This work tells stories of God’s faithfulness through the Psalms. Yes, God has a good plan for each of us and he will complete it, if we will let him. Be self-controlled and disciplined. Obey, submit and follow him.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Creation

Creation
Psalm 90 Living Bible (TLB) A prayer of Moses, the man of God.
Lord, through all the generations you have been our home!  Before the mountains were created, before the earth was formed, you are God without beginning or end.
Psalm 19 Living Bible (TLB) The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of his craftsmanship.  Day and night they keep on telling about God. Without a sound or word, silent in the skies, their message reaches out to all the world. The sun lives in the heavens where God placed it  and moves out across the skies as radiant as a bridegroom going to his wedding, or as joyous as an athlete looking forward to a race!  The sun crosses the heavens from end to end, and nothing can hide from its heat.

In the early morning,  I love to walk out into the darkness to gaze into the starry skies above. The celestial beauty of God’s infinite creation is beyond my understanding. It is awesomely expansive and yet intimately close. Psalm 19 states that the heavens tell, declare, shout of the glory of God. It is a statement of his sovereignty, omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence. Before time, as there is no time in God, He spoke the universe into existence from sparkling stars to shining seas and serene flowers on earth. In Genesis, God created all including man. He blessed it all and gave man dominion over the earth, to subdue it and fill it.  He proclaimed that it was all very good. He told man to tend the Garden.  Although man disobeyed God and brought evil into the world, He still made us in His image and likeness with all the good characteristics of God.  Therefore His desire was and is for us to take care and conserve and build up the earth that it might be a blessing to all, especially Him.

Sadly, most of mankind has not obeyed or believed in the proclamations and truths of God and His creation. In fact, mankind is destroying and emptying the earth of vital resources. We are poisoning natural resources and each other through greed and selfish desires. The earth is not infinite. God is infinite, and He is long-suffering and patient, slow to anger. But His patience in not infinite. I believe the earth is nearing its end. I believe the End Time revelations have begun, and that like a marathon race, we are on the last lap in the stadium. The Tribulation is soon to begin. I believe those in Christ will be taken above before the devastation. However, that does not mean that we have a free ticket to abuse the earth and all that is in it.

We need to take care of all, to love one another as God has loved us. For those who do not know the Lord God, take a look at creation. It is much harder to believe that it is a random accident than to see a Creator in it. It is getting late,“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godliness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities- His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20).

It is not too late to find life and salvation. Jesus Christ lives that you might live. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:15-20).  He is the One through whom all life exists and has its being. By faith in Him we are made a new creation. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation; the old is gone and the new has come! (2 Cor. 5:17).


He has created it all and desires that through Him, we become a new creation that will continue to create new life in Him that all may be saved in Him who created it all, AMEN

Thursday, September 17, 2015

It's all Over My Head



His T-shirt was over his head as he stood near his locker at the YMCA. We were talking about things of God that are allowed in our lives. The comment, “It’s all over my head” was a profound thought and response to our conversation. There is much in life that we don’t understand. There is war and illness, divorce, suffering and death.  It is all part of our walk on earth.  From a worldly perspective it can make a person angry or even bitter.  But from a spiritual and Biblical world-view there can be a better understanding and acceptance of these troubles and temptations.

Job was an amazing character in the Bible. He was a righteous man and God put him to the test against Satan. He allowed Satan to take everything from him except his life. This I do not understand. Job was asking God about this great suffering, even with “bitter complaint”, so would have I. He was a wise man and said, “God understands the way to it and He alone knows where it dwells (speaking of wisdom).” (Job 28:23). Job’s friends assumed that the troubles came because Job had sinned, a common and incorrect Old Testament view. When his wife told him to curse God and die, he answered, “Shall we not accept good from God, and not trouble” (Job 2:9).

God confronted Job in all his complaining to tell him that He, God was Creator and sovereign over all and in all. He asked Job about all His wondrous creation. Job said I know that you can d all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). Job came to a place where he could say, “My ears had heard you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes”(Job 42:5). God greatly blessed the rest of his life. Job had withstood the tests and came forth as gold” (Job 23:10). That is part of the answer. God wants us to submit and obey and receive the blessings, come forth as gold.

Yes in suffering we are to “Come near to God and He will come near to you” (James 4:8). For God will keep in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast on Him (Isaiah 26:3).

God also wants us to know that suffering is temporary “ for our momentary and light troubles are achieving for us eternal glory” (2Corinthians 4:17).  


Many things are over our head in life, beyond understanding. Some will become clearer through time. God will not tell us why, but He will tell us what to do and how to do it if we ask without doubting as James tells us. He also tells us that our trials are making us mature and complete lacking nothing. God wants us to ask for wisdom and seek His counsel always. That is the personal relationship He wants with each of us. So next time you are pulling your shirt over your head, know that you will come out from the dark in due time. Don’t let the world pull the wool over your eyes.
“It’s All Over My Head”

His T-shirt was over his head as he stood near his locker at the YMCA. We were talking about things of God that are allowed in our lives. The comment, “It’s all over my head” was a profound thought and response to our conversation. There is much in life that we don’t understand. There is war and illness, divorce, suffering and death.  It is all part of our walk on earth.  From a worldly perspective it can make a person angry or even bitter.  But from a spiritual and Biblical world-view there can be a better understanding and acceptance of these troubles and temptations.

Job was an amazing character in the Bible. He was a righteous man and God put him to the test against Satan. He allowed Satan to take everything from him except his life. This I do not understand. Job was asking God about this great suffering, even with “bitter complaint”, so would have I. He was a wise man and said, “God understands the way to it and He alone knows where it dwells (speaking of wisdom).” (Job 28:23). Job’s friends assumed that the troubles came because Job had sinned, a common and incorrect Old Testament view. When his wife told him to curse God and die, he answered, “Shall we not accept good from God, and not trouble” (Job 2:9).

God confronted Job in all his complaining to tell him that He, God was Creator and sovereign over all and in all. He asked Job about all His wondrous creation. Job said I know that you can d all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). Job came to a place where he could say, “My ears had heard you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes”(Job 42:5). God greatly blessed the rest of his life. Job had withstood the tests and came forth as gold” (Job 23:10). That is part of the answer. God wants us to submit and obey and receive the blessings, come forth as gold.

Yes in suffering we are to “Come near to God and He will come near to you” (James 4:8). For God will keep in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast on Him (Isaiah 26:3).

God also wants us to know that suffering is temporary “ for our momentary and light troubles are achieving for us eternal glory” (2Corinthians 4:17).  


Many things are over our head in life, beyond understanding. Some will become clearer through time. God will not tell us why, but He will tell us what to do and how to do it if we ask without doubting and James tells us. He also tells us that our trials are making us mature and complete lacking nothing. God wants us to ask for wisdom and seek His counsel always. That is the personal relationship He wants with each of us. So next time you are pulling your shirt over your head, know that you will come out from the dark in due time. Don’t let the world pull the wool over your eyes.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Road Home

The Road Home
“Go’in Home”. Words to this Negro spiritual are encouraging and the music is moving. Then I heard the gospel hymn
Road Home.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbwhSP3ZIq4)  This hymn, the words of which follow was sung by a choir at a recent memorial service for a friend who died of brain cancer. I found the melody and words overwhelming and yet peace carrying.
Tell me, where is the road
I can call my own,
That I left, that I lost
So long ago?
All these years I have wandered,
Oh when will I know
There’s a way, there’s a road
That will lead me home?

After wind, after rain,
When the dark is done,
As I wake from a dream
In the gold of day,
Through the air there’s a calling
From far away,
There’s a voice I can hear
That will lead me home.

Rise up, follow me,
Come away, is the call,
With the love in your heart
As the only song;
There is no such beauty
As where you belong;
Rise up, follow me,
I will lead you home.

This world is not our abiding home and often is full of storms that make us yearn for a better place, our home in heaven. It is a beautiful place described in Scripture as the city of light where “The Lamb” is the light day and night. Revelation tells us that in heaven there is no more curse or death or pain or tears.  Down the center a pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and the Lamb flows.  There are trees of life on both sides baring new fruit monthly and the leaves are for healing of the nations.  Here the Bright and Morning Star, Jesus Christ rules. How do we know, because John the beloved Apostle was taken there to a high mountain to view and return to tell us.

How do we get there? If your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life you are going.  How do we get in The Book?  By trusting in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the One who came to die for you and me, and then rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. Yes, He alone in the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by Him (John 14:6-8). We are all sinners saved by the grace of God if we will receive the gift. There is no other way; we cannot save ourselves. No good works will do; as most world religions will hope. This hope leads nowhere good, but only to darkness away from the Light of God.  ’God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5).

You are the road home!
You are the Way of Life!
There is no other Way to go
That brings the Light of Life.

Cast your cares upon Him,
He will lead you home.
Trust in the One, the Shepherd,
The Guide, the Gate.
He will lead you home.

The road is wending, steep and hard,
But I will lead you home.
Do not despair, for I am where,
The road will lead you home.

Below the earth, above my heaven,
“I am the Road,
also the Truth,
and the Life.
I will lead you home.
There is a Road of Righteousness
And I will lead you Home.

Are we there yet? Keep looking up for your redemption draws near. Come quickly Jesus- Maranatha!!