Conversation with the hair stylist…

1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready
always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the
hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Conversation with the hair stylist…

A man went to his favorite shop to have his hair and his beard cut as always. He began to have a good conversation with the person who attended him. Like always they talked about many different things and various subjects. Suddenly, they touched on the subject of God.

The person said: “Look man, I don’t believe that God exists.”

“Why do you say that?” asked the customer.

Well, it’s so easy; you just have to go out in the street to realize that God does not exist. Oh, tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God exists, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can’t think of loving a God who permits all of these things.”

The customer thought for a moment, but he didn’t respond because he did not want to start an argument. Especially as he sat in the chair and the barber was using a scissors to trim his hair…

The worker finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the shop, he saw a man in the street with long hair and a beard. It was very long, and a long time since he had his hair cut.

The customer entered the shop again and he said to the barber: “You know what? Hair stylists do not exist.”

“How can you say they don’t exist?” asked the surprised stylist. “I am here and I am a one. Why, I just worked on you!”

“No!” the customer exclaimed. “Hair stylists don’t exist, because if they did there would be no people with long hair and beards like that man who is outside.”

“Ah, hair stylists do exist, what happens is that people do not come to me.”

“Exactly!”- affirmed the customer.”That’s the point! God does exist. What happens is people don’t go to Him and do not look for Him. They choose to do it their own way. And the way of mankind is sin. That’s why there’s so much pain and suffering in the world.”

Mark 8:36-37 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

So who is to blame for all the ugliness in our world?

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Back to the beginning for the whole story.

Gen 3:13-19 “And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So, the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.  And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”

WE ARE TO BLAME! Is there a solution?

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 life everlasting.”

Do you have the Son?

Who Packs your Parachute…

I John 5:11-13 “And this is the record that God has given to us Eternal Life and that life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life and he who has not the Son of God has not life. These things have I written unto you who believe on the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have Eternal Life and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

Who Packs your Parachute…

Charles Plumb, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was a jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands.

He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.

Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!”

Plumb assured him, “It sure did, if your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said “Good morning, How are you?” or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was a sailor.

Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?”

Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day.

Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory-he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason.

The real parachute!

Mat 11:28 “Come unto Me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest…”

I John 5:13 “These things have I written unto you who believe on the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have Eternal Life and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

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.

Baseball and getting Home Safe…

Eph 2:8a “For by Grace are you saved through faith…”

Baseball and getting Home Safe…

Bob and the Lord stood by to watch a baseball game.

The Lord’s team was playing Satan’s team.  The Lord’s team was at bat,
the score was tied zero to zero, and it was the bottom of the 9th inning
with two outs.

They continued to watch as a batter stepped up to the plate whose name
was Love.  Love swung at the first pitch and hit a single, because Love
never fails.

The next batter was named Faith, who also got a single because Faith
works with Love.

The next batter up was named Godly Wisdom.  Satan wound up and threw the
first pitch.  Godly Wisdom looked it over and let it
pass: Ball one. Three more pitches and Godly Wisdom walked, because
Godly wisdom never swings at what Satan throws.

The bases were loaded The Lord then turned to Bob and told him He was
now going to bring in His star player.  Up to the plate stepped Grace.

Bob said “He sure doesn’t look like much!”  Satan’s whole team relaxed
when they saw Grace.  Thinking he had won the game, Satan wound up and
fired his first pitch.  To the shock of everyone, Grace hit the ball
harder than anyone had ever seen.

But Satan was not worried; his center fielder let very few get by.
He went up for the ball, but it went right through his glove, hit him on
the head and sent him crashing on the ground; then it continued over the
fence for a home run!  The Lord’s team won.

The Lord then asked Bob if he knew why Love, Faith, and Godly Wisdom
could get on base but could not win the game.  Bob answered that he did
not know why.

The Lord explained, “If your love, faith and wisdom had won the game you
would think you had done it by yourself.  Love, faith and wisdom will
get you on base, but only My Grace can get you home.
My Grace is the one thing Satan cannot steal.”

Eph 2:8, 9 “For by Grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is a gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

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.”

Who can I Trust…

Exodus 20:3-4 “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.  Thou
shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that
is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the
earth.”

Who can I trust in?

God created us to live in a social environment, and to be “knit together
in love.”  I know that I need other people.  But I also know that I’m a
sinner (saved by grace through faith) living in a fallen world full of sinful people.
I know that we have an adversary who constantly seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.

In the final analysis, I must place my complete trust in the Living God and in
Him alone.  The danger in trusting other people is that they can become gods.

If we are careful, we can start living and planning our life based on “their”
leadership, “their” opinions, and “their” performance.  And when things don’t go as
planned or hoped, we are all capable of going into an emotional, mental,
physical, or spiritual tailspin.

Let’s face it.  Who among us has had a career or a business plan
that panned out “perfectly?”  Who among us has not experienced major business
curve balls?

Perhaps you were just overlooked for a promotion or raise.
Perhaps you are being mistreated by an unreasonable boss.
Perhaps a valued colleague just made a big blunder-and you’re caught in
the painful aftermath.
Perhaps you expected a customer to sign a big contract, but it fell
through at the eleventh hour.
Perhaps you expected to get paid on-time by a client, but you’re still waiting.
Perhaps your company was just sold, and you’re finding it difficult to
adapt to the new culture.
Perhaps your company just announced that your division is closing or
moving elsewhere…or going through another
infamous “reorganization.”

Be of good cheer: God sees everything and knows everything.  Your 100%
solid Shield of Faith in the Lord will quench all the fiery darts and equip
you to keep moving forward regardless of what other people do or don’t do!
God has a wonderful way of working things out for good-often in mysterious
and unexpected ways!

– William Beckett

“Trust and obey…there’s just no other way…to be happy in
Jesus…than to trust and obey!”

 Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on
your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

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……..”