Worry is a Fog….

II Tim 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Worry is a Fog…

According to the National Bureau of Standards, a dense fog covering seven city blocks to a depth of 100 feet is composed of something less than one glass of water. That is, all the fog covering seven city blocks 100 feet deep could be, if it were gotten all together, held in a single drinking glass; it would not quite fill it.

This can be compared to the things we worry about. If we could see into the future and if we could see our problems in their true light, they wouldn’t blind us to the world — to living itself — but instead could be relegated to their true size and place.

And if all the things most people worry about were reduced to their true size, you could probably stick them all into a water glass, too.

Like Thomas the choice is ours. Walk by faith or walk by sight? Of course to walk by faith you must first know the One you have faith in. How is your faith this morning or does fear and anxiety rule?

Phil 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

There is one exception. If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior you do have something to worry about.

Rev 20:14-15 “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Is sin for real…..

Is sin for real….

It’s a big mistake to think that you can control sin in your life or worse yet, to think there is none. I know it is word that is very seldom used by this age we live in, but it has not lost its relevancy with God. The enemy has convinced most that it is a concept of a past age and not for the days we live in. Be very careful….one of the wonderful things about our God and His scriptures is that they do not change down through the ages. We can count on what we read in scripture to be as true today as it was when it was first given to us by God, its Author.

Malachi 3:6a “For I, Jehovah, change not; ….”

For many in America if you have the right kind of home, vehicle and stuff than that is what life if all about. Sin that breaks fellowship with a loving God is generally not a part of the equation. If God’s word is relevant for today, and it is, then what does it say? The Holy Spirit using Paul’s life sums it up nicely…..

Rom 7:15-18 “For what I am doing I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice, but what I hate, that I do. If then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law … But now, it is no longer I who does it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.”

Everyone is accountable for his or her sin. Blame cannot be placed on any person, place or situation so we escape its consequences.

Rom 14:12 “So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

Rom 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.”

Rom 3:10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:”

Rom 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death…”

That’s the bad news. So, how do I control sin? Now for the good news.

Rom 7:24-25 “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

So, Who do I confess my sins to?

1 Tim. 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”

Check out your life this morning and seek forgiveness when needed.

Overcoming the Marathon of Life…

Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Overcoming the Marathon of Life….

When a five-year-old starts school, it can be more than he or she bargained for.

It was the second morning of the kindergarten experience and Mom hears; “Do I have to go back?” Oops! An encore to this new experience was a little overwhelming. The rationale for not going, “Well, I already went yesterday.” We don’t have the heart to tell them there’s sixteen more years of this!” And off they go to day two, of year one, of sixteen more years!

The youngster is feeling overwhelmed, and they sure would have sunk if mom had tried to explain the educational marathon that lay ahead. They have no idea. But cheer up, they will make it. We did. And with only a few scars. We completed some level of education and we did it by taking one day at a time.

Life like our school experience is a series of challenges that seem overwhelming. Looking back it seems that school was the least of them. Maybe you’re facing one of those right now and it looks huge; a bombardment of responsibilities and it’s too much; stressful deadlines, trying to raise your children, trying to make your marriage work, facing a long medical marathon, digging out of that financial pit. And then you hear that on top of that to truly be content and fulfilled it requires you to live your life for Jesus Christ. Actually making Jesus Lord of your life brings all of the others into a whole new perspective but right now that may not be in view.

The Word of God offers us comfort and direction in these times. The OT like the NT offers examples of how we should respond. The following example is God offering direction to His people Israel in their time of need. And remember, God does not change down through the ages. He provides you and me direction today from the same values and truths that has been at mankind’s feet from square one. Unfortunately like our ancestors we are slow learners.

The setting is God readying His people to enter the Promised Land He had selected for them. There was one requirement. It required faith on their part to recognize that He would overcome the obstacles, regardless of the size. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Deuteronomy 7:17. “You may say to yourselves, these nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out? But do not be afraid.”

They were facing, as they entered the Promised Land, huge walled cities and barbaric tribes – overwhelming obstacles, overwhelming challenges. Of course the only reason they were perceived as overwhelming was because they were judging the outcome of tackling them to be as a result of their strengths and abilities. There truly was no way in the strength of their own that these obstacles could be overcome.

Deut 7:22 “Do not be terrified by them for the Lord your God is among you, and He’s a great and awesome God. The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little.”

Those same words of hope are from the same God we serve. Do you believe it? God will win this one with you and for you, but not in one great victory. The new student won’t be able to get their education completed in one day, or in one week. It’s going to be little by little, year by year. God’s plan for how we handle the overwhelming is the same. One at a time but all accomplished in His time and in His will. It is extremely important to remember that the answer to our need and prayer may not and most often do not line up with what our fleshly and finite minds picture it. At least that has been my experience. Why not? Because God said;

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”

Maybe you’ve been wondering how you’ll ever beat some trial or sin that’s been beating you, or how you can carry out your desire to dedicate your whole life to Jesus. How to let Jesus be the Lord of that weakness in your life. How to have His priorities for your life and not let your flesh rule. Yes, even weak faith. Take it one day at a time. Today you can either have another twenty-four hour victory or defeat. The end result truly is mine to choose. You will not be able to dedicate your life to Jesus unless you do it by dedicating each new day.

Luke 9:23 “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

How is your faith this morning????

Have a great day committed to serving the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus!

Learn from our Lord’s truths recorded for us. The sad result of the whole generation of Israel at that time was that they all died without going into the Promised Land because they chose to not believe that God was able. Their children were allowed to go in but not the adults who rejected God.

Fighting our Enemy the devil….

In this age of devil’s food cake, the Blue Demons, the Devil Rays, etc.

Remember one huge truth. Satan is as real today as he was when he was kicked out of heaven for wanting God’s glory for himself. And his objectives remain the same as when he helped Adam and Eve to sin.

John 8:44b “…he was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. He speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

Satan and his host of fallen angels walk the earth today. Their goal is to guide people to an eternity destiny without God and tormented because of it.

I Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour,

Job 1:7 “And the Lord said unto satan, from where do you come? Then satan answered the Lord, and said, from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”

So, how do I battle his attacks is the question? The answer is to fight the good fight of faith today and never be deceived.  There is a war going on for souls. And if he no longer can have your soul he can still keep you from serving Jesus. The answer of how to fight him is….

James 4:7 “SUBMIT yourselves therefore unto God, RESIST the devil and he will flee from you.”

 I Tim 6:12a “Fight the good fight of the faith, lay hold on the life eternal…”

True Patriotism….

Mat 4:19 “Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

From John Newton’s Letters:

True patriotism!

Dear friend,

Allow me to say, that it excites both my wonder and concern, that a Christian minister such as yourself, should think it worth his while to attempt political reforms. When I look around upon the present state of the nation, such an attempt appears to me, to be no less vain and foolish, than it would be to paint the cabin–while the ship is sinking! Or to decorate the parlor–while the house is on fire!

When our Lord Jesus was upon earth, He refused to get involved in disputes or politics, “Friend, who appointed me a judge or arbitrator over you?” Luke 12:14. “My kingdom is not of this world! If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight!” John 18:36. God’s children belong to a kingdom which is not of this world; they are strangers and pilgrims upon earth, and a part of their Scriptural character is, that they are the “quiet in the land.” Psalm 35:19.

Satan has many contrivances to amuse people, and to divert their thoughts from their real danger!

My dear sir, my prayer to God for you is–that He may induce you to employ the talents He has given you, in pointing out sin as the great cause and source of every existing evil; and to engage those who love and fear Him, (instead of wasting time in political speculations, for which very few of them are competent,) to sigh and cry for our abounding abominations, and to stand in the breach, by prayer, that God’s wrath may yet be averted, and our national mercies prolonged! This, I think, is true patriotism–the best way in which people in private life may serve their country.

I consider the ungodly as saws and hammers in the hand of the Lord. So far as they are His instruments, they will succeed–but not an inch further! Their wrath shall praise Him, and be subservient to His designs!

If our lot is so cast that we can exercise our ministry free from stripes, fines, imprisonments, and death–it is more than the gospel has promised to us! If Christians were quiet when under the cruel governments of Nero and other wicked persecutors, when they were hunted down like wild beasts–then we ought to be not only quiet but very thankful now! It was then accounted an honor to suffer for Christ and the ‘offence of the cross’!

Those are to be greatly pitied, who boast of their ‘liberty’–and yet they do not consider that they are in the most deplorable bondage as the slaves of sin and Satan, under the curse of God’s law and His eternal wrath! Oh! for a voice to reach their hearts, that they may know their true and dreadful state–and seek deliverance from their horrific thraldom! May you and I labor to direct them to the one thing, which is absolutely needful, and abundantly sufficient.

If I had the wisdom or influence to soothe the angry passions of mankind–I would gladly employ them! But I am a stranger and a pilgrim here in this world. My charter, my rights and my treasures, are all in heaven–and there my heart ought to be. In a very short time, I may be removed (and perhaps suddenly) into the unseen and eternal world–where all that now causes so much bustle upon earth–will be of no more importance to me–than the events which took place among the antediluvians!

In the hour, when death shall open the door into eternity–many things which now assume an ‘air of importance, will be found as light and unsubstantial as a child’s dream!

How crucial then, is it for me–to be found watching, with my lamp burning, diligently engaged in my proper calling! For the Lord has not called me to set governments right–but to preach the gospel, to proclaim the glory of His name, and to endeavor to win souls! “Let the dead bury their own dead–but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God!” Luke 9:60. Happy is that servant, whom his Master finds so doing, when He returns!

As you have forced me to respond–both duty and love have obliged me to be faithful and free in giving you my thoughts.

I recommend you to the care and blessing of the great Shepherd and Savior; and remain for His sake, your affectionate friend and brother,

John Newton

Mat 28:19,20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”Amen.”

The Painer – Humor and Truth for your day….

Humor and truth for your day…

Proverbs 20:23 “Diverse weights are an abomination to the Lord, and a false balance is not good.”

The Painter

There was a tradesman, a painter named Bill, who was very interested in making a dollar where he could, so he often thinned down his paint to make it go a wee bit further. As it happened, he got away with this for some time, but eventually a local Church decided to do a big restoration job on the painting of one of their biggest buildings. Bill put in a bid, and because his price was so low, he got the job. And so he set about erecting the scaffolding and setting up the planks, and buying the paint and, yes, I am sorry to say, thinning it down with turpentine.

Well, Bill was up on the scaffolding, painting away, the job nearly completed when suddenly there was a horrendous clap of thunder, and the sky opened, the rain poured down, washing the thinned paint from all over the church and knocking Bill clear off the scaffold to land on the lawn among the gravestones, surrounded by telltale puddles of the thinned and useless paint.

Bill was no fool so he figured this was a judgment from the Almighty, so he got down on his knees and cried: “Oh, God! Forgive me! What should I do?”

And from the thunder, a mighty voice spoke…

(You’re going to love this)………………………………….

“Repaint! Repaint! And thin no more!”

On the other side of humor, isn’t it wonderful that if we admit to and confess our sins that our God will forgive us our sins?

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

The Apple of His Eye….

Psalm 17:8 states that God will keep us, “as the apple of His eye.”

The Apple of His Eye

A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill.
In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?” Hands started going up.

He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.”
He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up He then asked, “Who still wants it?”

Still the hands were up in the air.” “Well,” he continued, “What if I do this?”
And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.
He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty.  “Now who still wants it?”

Still the hands went into the air. “My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson.
No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value.
It was still worth $20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value in God’s eyes.

To Him, dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to Him.

Mat 10:29-31 “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”