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.”

How to Forgive…

Col 3:13a “bearing one another and forgiving one another…”

How to Forgive…

One day a while back, a man, his heart heavy with grief, was walking in the woods. As he thought about his life this day, he knew many things were not right.

He thought about those who had lied about him back when he had a job. His thoughts turned to those who had stolen his things and cheated him. He remembered family that had passed on. His mind turned to the illness he had that no one could cure. His very soul was filled with anger, resentment and frustration.

Standing there this day, searching for answers he could not find, feeling this entire world had failed him, he knelt at the base of an old oak tree to seek the One he knew would always be there. And with tears in his eyes, he prayed: “Lord- You have done wonderful things for me in this life. You have told me to do many things for you, and I happily obeyed. Today, you have told me to forgive. I am sad, Lord, because I cannot. I don’t know how. It is not fair, Lord. I didn’t deserve these wrongs that were done against me and I shouldn’t have to forgive. As perfect as your way is Lord, this one thing I cannot do, for I don’t know how to forgive. My anger is so deep, Lord, I fear I may not hear you, but I pray that you teach me to do this one thing I cannot do – Teach me To Forgive.” As he knelt there in the quiet shade of that old oak tree, he felt something fall onto his shoulder. He opened his eyes. Out of the corner of one eye, he saw something red on his shirt.

He could not turn to see what it was because where the oak tree had been was a large square piece of wood in the ground. He raised his head and saw two feet held to the wood with a large spike through them.

He raised his head more, and tears came to his eyes as he saw Jesus hanging on a cross. He saw spikes in His hands, a gash in His side, a torn and battered body, deep thorns sunk into His head. Finally, he saw the suffering and pain on His precious face. The impact was so great it was as if he could hear Jesus say; “Have you ever told a lie,” he asked?

The man answered, “yes, Lord.”

“Have you ever been given too much change and kept it?”

The man answered, “yes, Lord.” And the man sobbed more and more.

“Have you ever taken something from work that wasn’t yours, Jesus asked?”

And the man answered, “yes, Lord.”

“Have you ever sworn, using my Father’s name in vain?”

The man, crying now, answered, “yes, Lord.”

Many more times, “Have you ever”? The man’s crying became uncontrollable, for he could only answer “yes, Lord.”

Then Jesus turned His head from one side to the other, and the man felt something fall on his other shoulder. He looked and saw that it was the blood of Jesus. When he looked back up, his eyes met those of Jesus, and there was a look of love the man had never seen or known before. He now understood, Jesus didn’t deserve this either, but He willingly went through it for lost sinners.

And that was him!

Col 3:13 “bearing one another and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you must do so.”

A Glinpse of Heaven…

Let not your hearts be troubled||

A Glimpse of Heaven…

Isaiah 6:1-3 “In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: With two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory.'”

Imagine the day it is your turn to be before the throne of God!!!

What will you hear?

Well done or I never knew you! Yes, there will be many who think their eternal destiny is with God in heaven but will not be there. Why? Because they are trusting in their works or church affiliation or in something other than the sacrifice that Jesus paid on Calvary for the sins of mankind for their eternal destiny.

Mat 7:22, 23 “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’. And then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’.

Jesus is coming a second time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And we will all one day stand in front of Him. Are you ready?? If you have placed your faith in Jesus then…..

John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go, I WILL COME AGAIN and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

Heaven is real and unfortunately so is hell.

Are you ready?

John 3:3b “…you must be born again!”

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!!!!

Life Requires our Best Effort for God…

I Cor 10:31b “…or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Life Requires our Best Effort for God

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his
employer contractor of his plans to leave the house building
business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying
his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed
to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and
asked if he could build just one more house as a personal
favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to
see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to
shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials.

It was an unfortunate way to end his career. When the
carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the
house, the contractor handed the front door key to the carpenter.
This is your house, he said, my gift to you.

What a shock. What a shame. If he had only known he was
building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.
Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way,
reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best.
At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then
with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find
that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had
realized that we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your
house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall.
Build wisely.

It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live
it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously
and with dignity.

…do all to the glory of God!!!!!!!

Luke 9:23-25 “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. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”

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……..”