It is all about your Perspective…

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”

It is all about your Perspective…

A little girl walked daily to and from school. Though the
weather that morning was questionable and clouds were forming, she made
her daily trek to the elementary school.

As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, along with
thunder and lightning. The mother of the little girl felt concerned that
her daughter would be frightened as she walked home from school, and she
herself feared that the electrical storm might harm her child.

Following the roar of thunder, lightning, like a flaming sword,
would cut through the sky. Full of concern, the mother quickly got into
her car and drove along the route to her child’s school.

As she did so she saw her little girl walking along, but at each
flash of lightning, the child would stop, look and smile. Another and
another followed quickly, each with the little girl stopping, looking at
the streak of light and smiling.

Finally, the mother called her over to the car and asked, “What
are you doing?” The child answered, “God just keeps taking pictures of me.”

“And a little child shall lead them…”

That story is a great lead in for truths from God’s word. It reminds us that

God desires pure and unquestioning faith for us to first be ‘born again’ and then

to please Him during our walk as CHRISTians. The faith like little children display.

Here is the test. For that need you have this morning, what or Who are you trusting to fill it?

Luke 18:17 “Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”

 

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.

 

Hebrews 10:38 “But my righteous one shall live by faith: And if he shrinks back, my soul hath no pleasure in him.”

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.”

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 except two, Joshua and Caleb, 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.

Obeying God…

Mat 16:24, 25 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Gen 6:22 “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did”

Obeying God…

Has there ever been a time in your life when you submitted to the Holy Spirit toward a lifetime of obedience to God?

The life of obedience is a life of following Christ. Once you commit your life to be one of obedience, you will still face choices to obey or disobey.

You will not always choose correctly, and you will not be without sin.

However, once you make the commitment to a lifetime of obedience, God will take that commitment and bend your heart in His direction.

Obedience, then, becomes a normal way in which you and I respond to the circumstances of life. Obedience becomes not merely a decision, but a lifestyle.

In Genesis 6, we read about God’s call for Noah to construct the ark. Yet

Noah’s compliance with that particular decision is not how Noah embodied obedience. It’s why we remember him, but Noah had already committed his life to walking with God. Verse 9 tells us that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.”

Therefore, when Noah was presented with the decision to obey God and build an ark when rain was not just unexpected but literally foreign to the people and the terrain, he obeyed. Noah obeyed because he had, at some previous point, committed his life to be one of obedience unto his Lord.

Seven principles for learning to live a lifestyle of obedience include:

1) Learn to wait upon the Lord in prayer. If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything until God directs you-usually through a multitude of means, including His Word, the church, circumstances, and prayer.

2) Develop a love for the Word of God. This is God’s primary tool of speaking to us. As we learn to meditate on the Word of God, we will learn the ways of God.

3) Obeying God oftentimes means going against human reasoning. If we wait until we understand, we’ll never be obedient to God. He will never lead us in opposition to His Word, but He will sometimes lead us in opposition to our definition of common sense.

4) Realize that God will sometimes cause us to walk in the dark. He will sometimes call us to walk in a direction where we cannot see a clear path.

We can pray and argue all we want, but God will not always show us where we are going; He simply commands and waits for us to submit.

5) We must learn to expect struggles. Plainly, some things God will ask us to do; we just don’t want to do them. Sometimes we don’t want to obey because we’re afraid of failure. Understand that God never requires something of us that isn’t for our best and for His glory.

6) Realize that there’s no substitute for obedience.

7) Learn to leave all the consequences of our obedience to God.

The issue hasn’t changed with time. The issue is this: Is Jesus Christ worthy of your obedience, and has there ever come a time in your life where you said, “Lord, from this moment on, as a way of life or lifestyle, I choose to obey You no matter what”?

** Read the key passages and answer the questions below.

  1. (Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 15) What does God say are the rewards of obedience and the consequences of disobedience?
  2. (Genesis 12:1-3) Which one of the above principles applies to Abraham’s call from God?
  3. (1 Samuel 15:1-29) What does Samuel tell Saul that he did wrong?

What was the consequence of Saul’s action? What do you learn about God in this passage?

  1. As you read this, what did God bring to your mind in regards to something He is calling you to do?
  2. If you have not done it before, take this time to commit to God in prayer your desire to obey Him fully. If you do not have this desire, be honest. Ask Him to place it in your heart.

Luke 9:23 “Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

Kids Letters to God…

Luke 18:17 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not accept and receive and welcome the Kingdom of God like a little child shall not in any way enter it.”

~~~ Kids’ Letters to God ~~~

Dear God,
In Sunday School they told us what You do. Who does it when You are on
vacation? – Jane

Dear God,
I think about You sometimes even when I’m not praying. – Elliot

Dear God,
Did You really mean “do unto others as they do unto you?”
Because if you did, then I’m going to fix my brother. – Darla

Dear God,
I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset You made
on Tuesday. – Margret

Dear God,
I read the Bible. What does “begat” mean? Nobody will tell me. – Love, Allison

Dear God,
Are you really invisible or is that a trick? – Lucy

Dear God,
Is it true my father won’t get in Heaven if he uses his bowling words in
the house? – Anita

Dear God,
Did you mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident? –
Norma

Dear God,
Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don’t You
just keep the ones You have now? – Jane

Dear God,
Who draws the lines around countries? – Nan

Dear God,
The bad people laughed at Noah – “You made an ark on dry land you fool”.
But he was smart, he stuck with You. That’s what I would do. – Eddie

Dear God,
I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church. Is that okay?
– Neil

Dear God,
What does it mean You are a Jealous God? I thought You had everything.
– Jane

Dear God,
You for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy. – Joyce

Dear God,
Why is Sunday School on Sunday? I thought it was supposed to be our day
of rest. – Tom L.

Dear God,
Please send me a pony. I never asked for anything before, You can look
it up. – Bruce

Dear God,
If we come back as something – please don’t let me be Jennifer Horton
because I hate her. – Denise

Dear God,
My brother is a rat. You should give him a tail. Ha Ha. – Danny

Dear God,
Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their
own rooms. It works with my brother. – Larry

Dear God,
I want to be just like my Daddy when I get big but not with so much hair
all over. – Sam

Dear God,
You don’t have to worry about me. I always look both ways. – Dean

Dear God,
I bet it is very hard for You to love all of everybody in the whole
world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it. – Nan

Dear God,
Of all the people who work for You, I like Noah and David the
best. – Rob

Dear God,
My brother told me about being born but it doesn’t sound right.
They’re just kidding, aren’t they? – Marsha

Dear God,
If You watch me in Church Sunday. I’ll show You my new shoes.
– Mickey D.

Dear God,
I would like to live 900 years like the guy in the Bible.
– Love, Chris

Dear God,
We read Thomas Edison made light. But in school they said You did it.
So, I bet he stolid Your idea. Sincerely, Donna

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

A Parent Looks Back…

A PARENT LOOKS BACK

Where did the decades go? How could they have sneaked by so
fast? How could my little girl with ringlet hair and cherubic smile
already be twenty six years old? How could that little boy on the big
wheel now be thirty and married and raising his own children.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that they learned to write their names?

Now they are writing term papers, using e-mail and working to support
another generation. Wasn’t it just yesterday they asked Jesus to be
their Savior? Now both live in other parts of the country.

Gone are the preschool years, the elementary years and now the
teenage years. With the loss comes the recollection of so many great
times, and so many opportunities to reveal God’s goodness, His
guidelines, His love and His salvation.

As I think back on the opportunities I had during their
formative years, I’ve concluded that the most vital aspect of parenting
is your relationship with them. Only then can we maintain the fellowship
with our children where we instruct them properly. When parents and
their children share a relationship of mutual respect, new moments of
teaching build themselves into a lifetime of love and strong values that
they will not depart from.

Mom and dad make it easier for their children to listen to their
teaching by nourishing the relationship. It helps to make looking back a
great experience. GOD GIVES US CHILDREN for a time to train them in His
way, to love them and to teach them how to follow and obey.

Children may not inherit their parent’s talents, but they will
absorb their values; Portions from our daily bread – Jan 10 1997

Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the
more, as ye see the day approaching.”

A Parent Looks Back…

What impact does my life have on my family and generations to come?

Some statistics;

When mom only takes the children to church, 15% of those
children grow up to be active in a church.

When dad only takes the children to church, 55% of those
children grow up to be active in a church.

When neither parent takes their children to church, 9% of those
children grow up to be active in a church.

Our lives have a huge impact on our children by our words and
our deeds. The choices that you make with your family today will
determine the quality of life in your family tree for generations to
come. That’s why one person can make a difference and if you help your
family to know Jesus, it will be the single greatest and most fulfilling
task of your life.

Exodus 34:7 “…VISITING the iniquity of the fathers upon
the children and the children’s children to the
third and the fourth generation.”
Psalm 78:4
 “WE WILL NOT HIDE them from their children;
we will TELL THE NEXT GENERATION the
praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
His power, and the wonders He has done.

According to the Christian values that govern my life, my
most important reason for living is to get…the Gospel
safely in the hands of my children. Of course, I want to
place it in as many other hands as possible; Nevertheless,
my number one responsibility is to evangelize my own children.
I hope the mission of other fathers agree with that ultimate priority.
– James Dobson

Proverbs 22:6 TRAIN UP a child in the way he should go, and when
he is old he will not depart from it.

Today I Taught My Child to…

Recognize it or not we will;

“Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go…”

Be careful! Our lives are bigger teachers than our words.

“TODAY I TAUGHT MY CHILD”

When I got mad and hit my child, “for his own good, I reasoned
I reconciled and then, I realized my plight. Today, I taught my child to fight.

When interrupted by the phone, I said “Tell them I’m not home.” And then
I thought, and had to sigh, Today, I taught my child to lie.

I told the tax man what I made, forgetting cash that I was paid And then
I blushed at this sad feat, Today, I taught my child to cheat.

I smugly copied a cassette, to keep me free of one more debt. But now
the bells of shame must peal, Today, I taught my child to steal.

Today, I cursed another race. O God, protect what I debase. For now, I
fear it is too late. Today, I taught my child to hate.

By my example, children learn, that I must lead in life’s sojourn. In
such a way that they are led, by what is done, and what is said.

Today, I gave my child his due. By praising him instead of rue. And now
I have begun my guide; Today, I taught my child his pride.

I now have reconciled and paid, to IRS on all I made.
And now I know that this dear youth; today, has learned from me, truth.

The alms I give are not for show, and yet this child must surely know.
That charity is worth the price; Today, he saw my sacrifice.

I clasp within a warm embrace, my neighbor of another race…The great
commandment from above; today, I taught my child to love.

I speed along at 80 mph because everyone else was doing it and after
all, wouldn’t I be a safety hazard if I didn’t. Today I taught my child to justify sin…

Someday, my child must face alone, this world of fierce some undertone,
But I have blazed a sure pathway; Today I taught my child… to pray.

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is
old he will not depart from it.”

Fires of Life that Build and Restore…

Hebrews 12:11 “Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

Fires of Life that Build and Restore…

Each summer we read of fires out west and around the world. We frequently think of them as being disasters. Did you know there are fires in our lives that are intended to develop us spiritually? And yes, we frequently view those as disasters also. There are some misguided souls that teach that if you have fires in your life it is not a good thing or it is because of weak faith. The biblical reality is that some fires in our lives are noted in scripture as trials and tribulations and are required for our spiritual development of our faith.

When we view the reports of the wild fires or drive by where one has been we see that over time they actually renew life. If you’re going through a fire in your life right now, that will be something very important for you to mentally grab a hold of. If you don’t, all you’ll see is the damage and you’ll lose any sense of hope. And then instead of renewal or development the fires bring on discouragement.

It may be that those fires (trials and tribulations) have burned through your family recently, or your church, maybe your business or your relationships. Maybe they have affected your health. And there is no doubt that the fire has taken away a lot. There’s no denying the pain from the fire, but that’s never the whole story. You need to know the “rest of the story”. Maybe what we view as damage is actually development. What a paradigm shift!

1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;”

God describes the fires of life as trials. If you are a believer the only fire in your life not from God are those that are a result of sin. God sees us as valuable like gold. The fires are not forever; they are “for a little while”. And notice what the purpose of the fires or trials is. The purpose is not to destroy but to “refine” the gold or to get the impurities out so that it increases its value. And if we are honest with ourselves we have many impurities that we need to be purged from our lives.

The challenge we have is to view those fires as trials and tribulations sent from God. To count them as joy as James 1:2, 3 says. That’s a tough one but if you believe that God is doing a work in your life that knowledge will give you the courage to say thank you to endure. God sees us as worthy of purifying, improving, and getting ready for greater things. But that requires denial of self and spiritual development on our part. The fire that appears to take away so much, actually brings new life if we stay close to God during the fire.

What kind of new life does God bring out of the flames? For one thing, He helps us focus the rest of our life on the things that really matter. Everything in our lives goes in one of two columns. One column for things that really matter and another for the things that don’t. A lot of times we get those columns confused. When we ask God for the wisdom to know the difference we then can set God focused priorities. When we look to God we then can emerge from the fire more committed to His glory instead of self comfort and glory.

The fire often forces you to sort out where your identity is really anchored. Is it in a person, your job, or your title, or your performance, or your appearance, or in your relationship with Jesus Christ? Or putting it another way the fires help us to see where our real priorities in life are. Are they in self or in serving our Savior? The flames often drive you to a new closeness to Jesus.

Yes, the fire destroys. But it only destroys the parts or things of our lives that have no eternal value. And thank God, that is not the end of the story. The fire also renews!

Portions from Ron Hutchcraft Ministries and “Renewing Fire.”

II Cor 12:9 “And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”