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.”

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.”

Going to the Movie…

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or
praiseworthy – think about such things.”

Going to the Movie…

A father of some teenage children had the family rule that they could not attend PG-13 or R rated movies. His three teens wanted to see a particular popular movie that was playing at local theaters. It was rated PG-13. The teens interviewed friends and even some members of their family’s church to find out what was offensive in the movie. The teens made a list of pros and cons about the movie to use to convince their dad that they should be allowed to see it.

The Cons were:

– It contained ONLY 3 swear words
– The ONLY violence was a building exploding (and you see that on TV all
the time they said)
– You actually did not “see” the couple in the movie having sex, it was
just implied sex, off camera.

The pros were:
– It was a popular movie, (a blockbuster).
– Everyone was seeing it.
– If the teens saw the movie then they would not feel left out when their
friends discussed it.
– The movie contained a good story and plot.
– It had some great adventure and suspense in it.
– There were some fantastic special effects in this movie.
– The movie’s stars were some of the most talented actors in Hollywood.
– It probably would be nominated for several awards.
– Many of the members of their church had actually seen the movie and said
it wasn’t “very bad.”

They then said that, since there were more pros than cons, they
were asking their father to reconsider his position on just this ONE
movie and let them have permission to go see it.

The father looked at the list and thought for a few minutes. He said he could tell his children had spent some time and thought on this request. He asked if he could have a day to think about it before making his decision. The teens were thrilled thinking; “Now we’ve got him! Our argument is too good! Dad can’t turn us down!” So, they happily agreed to let him have a day to think about their request.

The next evening the father called his three teenagers, who were smiling smugly, into the living room. There on the coffee table he had a plate of brownies. The teens were puzzled. The father told his children he had thought about their request and had decided that if they would eat one of these brownies, then he would let them go to the movie. But, he explained, just like the movie, the brownies had pros and cons.

The Pros were:
– They were made with the finest chocolate and other good ingredients.
– They had the added special effect of yummy walnuts in them.
– The brownies were moist and fresh with wonderful chocolate frosting on top.
– He had made these fantastic brownies using an award-winning recipe.
– And best of all, the brownies had been made lovingly by the hand of their own father.

The brownies only had one con:
He had included a little bit of a special ingredient. The brownies also contained just a little bit of dog poop. But he had mixed the dough well and they probably would not even be able to taste the dog poop and he had baked it at 350 degrees so any bacteria or germs from the dog poop had probably been destroyed. Therefore, if any of his children could stand to eat the brownies which included just a “little bit of crap” and not be affected by it, then he knew they would also be able to see the movie with “just a little bit of smut” and not be affected.

Of course, none of the teens would eat the brownies and the smug smiles had left their faces. Only Dad was smiling as they left the room. Now when his teenagers ask permission to do something he is opposed to the father just asks, “Would you care for a brownie?”

Of course this is talking to adults as well as children. Satan seems to plant a seed that says the adult mind can handle those brownies and the children cannot.

Think about it. Is your stomach or mind affected by those brownies as an adult? Don’t be deceived.

I Cor 5:6b “…do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?”

And age makes no difference……………..

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.”

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.”

Do you want to be Rich…

1 Timothy 6: 6″But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Do you want to be Rich…?

Ronald Meredith, in his book HURRYING’ BIG FOR LITTLE REASONS,
describes one quiet night in early spring: Suddenly out of the night
came the sound of wild geese flying. I ran to the house and breathlessly
announced the excitement I felt. What is to compare with wild geese
across the moon?

It might have ended there except for the sight of our tame
mallards on the pond. They heard the wild call they had once known.
The honking out of the night sent little arrows of prompting deep into
their wild yesterdays. Their wings fluttered a feeble response. The urge
to fly to take their place in the sky for which God made them was
sounding in their feathered breasts, but they never rose from the
water.

The matter had been settled long ago. The corn of the barnyard
was too tempting! Now their desire to fly only made them uncomfortable.
Temptation is always enjoyed at the price of losing the capacity for
flight.

I Tim 6:6-10 “But godliness with contentment is great gain: for we brought nothing into the world, for neither can we carry anything out; but having food and covering we shall be therewith content. But they that are minded to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after having been led astray from the faith and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish
and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the
love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for
money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many
griefs.

Don’t allow yourself or your family to fall into this trap!