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.”

Funny how…Where my Treasure is…

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,

Funny how…Where my Treasure is…

Actions truly do speak louder than words.

Funny how a $100 bill “looks” so big when you take it to church, but so
small when you take it to the mall.

Funny how long it takes to serve God for an hour, but how quickly a Team
plays 60 minutes of football.

Funny how long a couple of hours spent at church seems, but how short
they are when watching a movie.

Funny how we can’t think of anything to say when we pray, but don’t have
difficulty thinking of things to talk about to a friend.

Funny how we get thrilled when a baseball game goes into extra innings,
but we complain when serving takes too much of our ‘leisure’ time.

Funny how hard it is to read a chapter in the bible, but how easy it is
to read 100 pages of a bestselling novel or spend hours on the Internet.

Funny how people want to get a front seat at any game or concert, but
scramble to get a back seat at church services.

Funny how we need 2 or 3 weeks advance notice to fit a fellowshipping
event into our schedule, but can adjust our schedule for other events at
the last moment.

Funny how hard it is for people to memorize verses to share the gospel with

others, but how simple it is for the same people to understand and repeat gossip.

Funny how we believe what the newspaper says, but question what the Bible says.

Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven but don’t want to listen to the Gospel.

Funny how you can send a thousand ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread
like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord or
from His word, people think twice about sharing.

Mat 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Where is your heart this morning? I doubt there is one out there with myself

included who wasn’t a bit offended by one of those challenges. So…….

Romans 12:1, 2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

What Motivates a Parent…

What Motivates a Parent…

To understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will tell them:

I loved you enough…
to ask where you were going, with whom,
and what time you would be home.

I loved you enough…
to insist that you save your money and buy
a bike for yourself even though we
could afford to buy one for you.

I loved you enough…
to be silent and let you discover that your
new best friend was a creep.

I loved you enough…
to make you take a Milky Way back to the
drugstore (with a bite out of it) and tell the clerk,
“I stole this yesterday and want to pay for it. ”

I loved you enough…
to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned
your room, a job that would have taken 15 minutes.

I loved you enough…
to let you see anger, disappointment and tears in my eyes.
Children must learn that their parents aren’t perfect.

I loved you enough…
to let you assume the responsibility for your actions
even when the penalties were so harsh they almost
broke my heart.

But most of all,

I loved you enough…
to say NO when I knew you would hate me for it.
Those were the most difficult battles of all.
I’m glad I won them, because in the end you won, too.

I loved you enough…
To let you hate me at times.

I loved you enough…
to tell you about Jesus and His love………..
To really understand love, you must understand how someone could
sacrifice their only Son to pay the debt of someone who chose to break off fellowship with Him.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.”

With Jesus as your Savior then ALL IS GOOD…

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them
that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

With Jesus as your Savior then ALL IS GOOD!

The story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend
with whom he grew up.  The friend had a habit of looking at every
situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and
remarking, “This is good!”

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition.
The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had
apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after
taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off.

Examining the situation the friend remarked as usual, “This is good!”

To which the king replied, “No, this is NOT good!” and proceeded
to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he
should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took them
to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake
and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they
noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they
never ate anyone that was less than whole. So untying the king, they
sent him on his way.

As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken
his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went
immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. “You were right,” he
said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off. And he proceeded to tell
the friend all that had just happened. “And so I am very sorry for
sending you to jail for so long. It was bad of me to do this.”

“No” his friend replied, “This is good!”

“What do you mean, “This is good?” How could it be good that I sent my
friend to jail for a year?”

“If I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you when you were
captured.”

Situations may not always seem pleasant while we are in them,
but the promise of God is clear. If we love Him and live our lives
according to His precepts, even that which seems to be bleak and
hopeless will be turned by God for His glory and our benefit.

— Author Unknown

Romans 8:28-30 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”  

If Jesus is your Savior then ALL IS GOOD!

The Real CHRISTian…

The Real CHRISTian…

 I Pet 2:9-10 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a
holy nation,, His own people, THAT YOU MAY PROCLAIM the
praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had
not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”

A.W. Tozier

“The real Christian is an odd human being anyway. The Christian
feels supreme love for One he has never seen, he talks everyday with
Someone he cannot see, he expects to go to heaven on the virtue of
Someone else, he empties himself in order to be full, he admits he is
wrong so he can be declared right, he goes down in order to get up, he
is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is the poorest,
happiest when he feels the worst, he dies so he can live, he forsakes in
order to have, he gives away so he can keep he sees the invisible, hears
the inauditable, knows that which passes knowledge.”

The test. What is your life proclaiming? And of course remember, the
biblical requirement for being a Christian is that, ‘you must be born again’

Acts 11:26 “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch.
And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with
the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called
Christians first in Antioch.”

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.”

HAVE A GREAT DAY SERVING JESUS and remember what real
priorities Jesus would have you to practice!!!!

Salt and Light in a Dark World…

Mat 5:13, 14 “You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.”

Salt and Light in a Dark World…

We should be holiest in evil times. We live in a world that says, when it comes to spiritual matters “do not rock the boat or disagree with anyone”. If you do, you are then viewed as an intolerant person not open to the needs of others and not worthy to be in their group and you are a nasty person. There is a huge problem with that and if we buy into the world’s view and keep silent.

John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”
Jesus presented a very narrow way to reestablish the link with God that sin broke. He proclaimed that there is only One way.

John 14:6 “Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Mat 7:13,14 “Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Now if we are ‘born gain’, we are or are supposed to be the salt and light of the world. We are to provide truth to a dark world. So who wants to hinder truth from being presented to those who need it? There is any enemy doing so and until Jesus returns a 2nd time we will have to do battle with him.

The profaneness of the times should not slacken our zeal–but heighten it. The looser others are — the stricter we should be. Based on who is running our world today the opposition we come up against should not surprise us.

II Cor 4:3, 4 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

The way to hell is a well-trodden road. “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” Exodus 23:2. Dead fish swim down the stream — living fish swim against it. Mere professors cut the garment of their religion according to the mode and fashion of the times.

Let us keep up the vigor of our zeal, in degenerate times. We should by a holy contrariness — burn hotter in a frozen age. We live in the dregs of time; sin is grown common and impudent. It is excellent for God’s name and glory to walk contrary to the world. Let us be as lilies and roses — among the briars. Sin is never the better because it is in fashion! The impiety of the times, is a foil to set off grace all the more, and give it a greater luster.

This plea will not help at the last day-“that we did as most others did.” God will say, “Seeing you sinned with the multitude — you shall go to hell with the multitude!” Oh, let us keep pure among the dregs! Let us be like fish, which retain their freshness, in salt waters.

Mat 7:13, 14 It is better to go to heaven with a few — than to hell in the crowd! “Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in there at:”

Portions from Thomas Watson (1620-1686)

Mat 28:19a “Go you therefore and make disciples of all nations……..”

She Locked Her Keys in the Car Humor…

Phil 4:6a”Be anxious for NOTHING …”

She Locked Her Keys in The Car Humor…

A woman was getting a pie ready to put into the oven when the
Phone rang. It was the school nurse:  Her son had some down with a high
fever and would she come and take him home? The mother calculated how
long it would take to drive to school and back and how long the pie
should bake, and concluded there was enough time. Popping the pie in the
oven, she left for school.

When she arrived, her son’s fever was worse and the nurse urged
her to take him to the doctor. Seeing her son like that – his face
flushed, his body trembling and dripping with perspiration – frayed her,
and she drove to the clinic as fast as she dared.  She was frayed a bit
more waiting for the doctor to emerge from the examining room, which he
was doing now, walking toward her with a slip of paper in his hand. “Get
him to bed,” he told her, handing her the prescription, “and start him
on this right away.”

By the time she got the boy home and in bed and headed out again
for the shopping mall, she was not only frayed, but frazzled and frantic
as well. And she had forgotten about the pie in the oven.

At the mall she found a pharmacy, got the prescription filled and
rushed back to the car. Which was locked. Yes, there were her keys,
hanging in the ignition switch, locked inside the car.

She ran back into the mall, found a phone and called home. When
her son finally answered, she blurted out, “I’ve locked the keys inside
the car!” The boy was barely able to speak.  In a hoarse voice he
whispered, “Get a wire coat hanger, Mom.  You can get in with that.”
The phone went dead.

She began searching the mall for a wire coat hanger, which turned
out not to be easy.  Wooden hangers and plastic hangers were there in
abundance, but shops didn’t use wire hangers anymore.  After combing
through a dozen stores, she found one that was behind the times just
enough to use wire hangers.

Hurrying out of the mall, she allowed herself a smile of relief.
As she was about to step off the curb, she halted.
She stared at the wire coat hanger.  “I don’t know what to do with
this!” Then she remembered the pie in the oven.

All the frustrations of the past hour collapsed on her and she
began crying.  Then she prayed. “Dear Lord, my boy is sick and he needs
this medicine and my pie is in the oven and the keys are locked in the
car and, Lord, I don’t know what to do with this coat hanger.  Dear
Lord, send somebody who does know what do with it, and I really
need that person NOW, Lord.  Amen.”

She was wiping her eyes when a beat-up older car pulled up to the
curb and stopped in front of her.  A young man, twentyish-looking, in a
t-shirt and ragged jeans, got out.

The first thing she noticed about him was the long, stringy hair, and
then the beard that hid everything south of his nose.  He was coming her way.

When he drew near she stepped in front of him and held out the
wire coat hanger.  “Young man,” she said, “Do you know how to get into a
locked car with one of these?”

He gaped at her for a moment, and then plucked the hanger from her
hand. “Where’s the car.”

Telling the story, she said she had never seen anything like it.
It was simply amazing how easily he got into her car.  A quick look at
the door and window, a couple of twists of the coat hanger and bam!
Just like that, the door was open.

When she saw the door open she threw her arms around him.  “Oh,”
she said, “the Lord sent you!  You’re such a good boy.  You must be a
Christian.”

He stepped back and said, “No ma’am, I’m not a Christian, and I’m
not a good boy.  I just got out of prison yesterday.”

She jumped at him and she hugged him again – fiercely.
“Praise be to God!” she cried. “He sent me a professional!”

Phil 4:6, 7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your
Hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”