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Don’t Wait

We just returned from SOAR 2018 (Sold Out and Radical) youth conference.  One of the great things that happened this week, is the conference recognized modern heroes of the faith.  Two such men, Bobby Tucker and James Schoenrock, both surrendered to God’s call to preach young, 13 and 11 years old.

This prompted me to think back on my life.  I surrendered to special service at about 12 years old.  From then until I was 17, I had plans which didn’t include much thought of God nor the commitment I had made.  As that last year wound down, I started an elaborate negotiation with God.  I bargained with every possible position in His service of which I could think.  Finally, as my senior year in high school began, I yielded to His will wholeheartedly without any lines I would not cross.  The rest is history!

This week made me wish I had not waited.  My advice to all would be yield to His call now.  Don’t wait for the right time and place.  Don’t wait until it is more convenient.  Like Samuel in 1 Sam 3, when God calls, respond, “speak Lord, your servant is listening.” And respond as Isaiah does in Isaiah 6, “here I am, send me”.

Don’t wait, yield to God today!

Pray

Paul constantly prayed for people.  His letters are filled with references to his prayer life on behalf of others.  One of those blessed to be in Paul’s prayers was Timothy.  Timothy had diverse interactions with Paul.  He was his friend, fellow traveler, son in the faith, and a pastor in the Christian church. Although the two men were often separated from each other, their prayers provided a source of mutual encouragement.

Paul said, “I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day.” 2 Timothy 1:3 HCSB

We too should pray consistently for others, especially for those who do God’s work.  Pray for each other.  Pray for your pastor, teacher, worship leader, missionary.  Pray for those you lead.  Prayer should be a part of every moment of every day.  It should come as easily as breathing does.

Let’s pray for each other!

 

 

Water that Plant

have two plants in my home which are the same species. One is thriving and adding new leaves all the

time. The other looks pitiful. What is the difference? The good looking plant is by the kitchen sink. We

regularly water it since it is by the source. The other is a couple of rooms away from water and only gets

water when we think of it, or happen to notice it looking badly. Yesterday, I went in the laundry room

and noticed it was wilted and sad. The funny thing is that shortly after giving it water, it perked up. But

the weeks of neglect have left it stunted in comparison to the healthy plant by the water.

As I congratulated myself on emergency hydration for my plant, Psalm 1 came to mind. In the first Palm,

the life of one who spends time in the word is contrasted with one who doesn’t. The blessed person

meditates in the word of God day and night. They are described this way in Psalm 1:3 (ESV)

3 He is like a tree

planted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season,

and its leaf does not wither.

In all that he does, he prospers.

Just like regular water to my plants, God’s word is a vital need for our spirit. Regular and complete

access to water keeps one plant healthy and has caused it to thrive. They cycle of

drought and meager rescue water is barely keeping the other plant alive. Our spirits

need frequent and abundant nourishment from God’s word.

The Rock

Have you ever had a book change your life?  As a kid, I discovered JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series.  I read them many times.  I was captivated by the struggle of good versus evil and the little guy playing a major part in the final outcome.

There is another book which captivated my mind and heart at a young age which still impacts my life.  As a young child, Momma would read us Bible stories.  The heroes of my childhood were Samson, David, Moses, and Joshua.  Later, I learned about the teachings of Paul, John, and Jesus.  I still learn something new and see how the word of God shapes my life.  It is no wonder the prophet Isaiah sad “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”  Isaiah 40:8  NIV

God’s word is alive and works within us to conform us to the image.  They key is to put it into practice.  Jesus said, Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24  NIV Jesus instructs us that life built on the rock of His word stands the test of time.  He also contrasted that life with a foolish one. “ 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:26-27 NIV.

God’s word is a solid foundation upon which we can build our lives.

Give

Have you ever needed something?  I’m not talking about “need” like many today do.  We really don’t need the updated latest greatest cell phone.  We want that.  No, I’m referring to those basic needs of life:  food, clothing, shelter, security.   Has there been a point that you felt in a bind for those basic necessities?  If you have been through lean times, you can relate to those in need.  We all have needs which go beyond the basics.   In our culture, many add to the basics things such as sanitation, education, touch, etc.

Wherever you draw the line, as God’s children, we are called to give to others.  Solomon in writing his book of wisdom wrote often of this.  Proverbs 22:9 says (ESV) “Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.”  Jesus said, “give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 ESV.  Notice that in both in the Old and New Testaments, the principle of generosity is same.  Give and you will be blessed.  God expects His children to be giving people.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  The purpose in giving is not so that God will give back to us.  Giving is not a get rich quick scheme!  Giving in love is the aim.  It is good for us to give.  It is the method God established to take care of those in need.  He even included it in the national laws of Israel recorded by Moses.  However, when we live life God’s way, we are blessed.  Those blessings may not always be financial, but blessings of God will flow.

Living a godly life includes giving to others.  Let us look for needs and meet them as we go through our lives.

Amazing change

I have always loved the show, “My Fair Lady”. An uneducated and unsophisticated girl who earns her living selling flowers on the street is turned into a case study. The professor begins teaching her proper English and manners. All of this is for a bet that he can pass her off as royalty at the ball. The transformation which occurs is amazing!

Jesus often encountered people and transformed them. Mark 5 records one of the most dramatic encounters when Jesus delivers a man from being possessed by a legion of demons. After the change, we find the following conclusion of the story:

Mark 5:17-20 “Then they began to beg Him to leave the region. As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed kept begging Him to be with Him. But He would not let him; instead, He told him, ‘Go back home to your own people, and report to them how much the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy on you.'”

Jesus here set out a vital principle in conversion. The demon possessed man wanted to follow Jesus, a noble goal. However, the Master’s plan was for him to stay and be a witness in the very area he had once terrorized. People would see the changed life and believe even more. The transformation would be his greatest tool in sharing Christ with his neighbors.

Jesus still transforms us and leaves us in our communities to be a witness wherever the Lord has us. As we go through life, our behavior, words, attitudes, etc should point people to Jesus. We have the same mission. As we live for Him, we can make a change in our community. As v. 20 says, “they were all amazed.”

May God use us to amaze our neighbors and win more to the faith.

Dangerous division

John MacArthur, the expositor and preacher, has said this about strife in the local church, ‘Strife brings fractured fellowship into the church of Jesus Christ, which robs Christians of joy and effectiveness. It robs God of glory, and it robs the world of the true testimony of the gospel – a high price for an ego trip’.

Jesus spoke of a divided kingdom in Mark 3:24-25 “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rebels against himself and is divide, he cannot stand but is finished.”

Division can destroy anything. Whether discussing a business, church, or a family, having division undercuts its effectiveness and will cause destruction. Jesus here makes that point to explain how He couldn’t be casting out demons through Satan’s power, otherwise, Satan’s kingdom would be divided. Jesus desires us to be unified with each other around Him. He is the great uniter. He tore down the walls of separation which mankind and built. He brings together all types of people in His church.

We must work to keep His church united. We must work in our families to cling to each other in unity. We must all walk in God’s ways as reveled in His word. This keeps us on the same path working for the same goals. That eliminates the opportunity to be selfish and to ignore each other’s needs.