What if this Great CHRISTian…

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

What if this Great CHRISTian??

  • What if Billy Graham had not decided to develop and use the Spiritual Gift of Evangelism that God gave him?
  • What if Joni Erikson Tata had allowed her accident to put her into deep depression instead of allowing God to use it to minister to the handicapped?
  • What if DL Moody had decided to leave school early, join a gang and spent the rest of his life in prison?
  • What if James Dobson had decided to move to Africa and be a wild game hunter for his profession?
  • What if Peter had allowed his denial of Jesus to place him into a level of depression that kept him from serving the first Church as one of its Elders and Teachers?
  • What if Mary out of fear had chosen to not follow God’s will for her life?
  • What if Joseph out of fear had refused to recognize God’s will for his life and turned into a complaining self pitying person?
  • What if you decide to live life with the worldly goals of obtaining wealth and fame instead of what God has for you?
  • What if you decide not attend a local biblically sound church because there are too many hypocrites there?
  • What if they and you had never placed their faith in Jesus as their Savior?
  • What if you never decide to decide??????

Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Advertisements

The Empty Chair and Jesus…

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Mat 11:28, 29 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The Empty Chair and Jesus:

A man’s daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her
father. When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his
head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat beside his bed. The
minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. “I
guess you were expecting me,” he said. “No, who are you?” said the father.

The minister told him his name and then remarked, “I see the empty chair;
I figured you knew I was going to show up.” “Oh yeah, the chair,” said the
bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?” Puzzled, the minister
shut the door. “I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said
the man. “But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I
used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head.”

“I abandoned any attempt at prayer,” the old man continued, “until one day
about four years ago my best friend said to me, ‘Johnny, prayer is just a
simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest:
Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see
Jesus on the chair.’ It’s not spooky because He promised, “I’ll be with you
always.” Then just speak to him in the same way you’re doing with me right
now.’ “So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of
hours every day. I’m careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an
empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the
funny farm.” The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the
old man to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him
and returned to the church. Two nights later the daughter called
to tell the minister that her daddy had died that afternoon. “Did he die in
peace?” he asked.”Yes, when I left the house about two o’clock, he called
me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek.

When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there
was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he
leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed.

What do you make of that?”

The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, “I wish we could all go like that”

Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord.”

Facts! Heaven and Hell are Real…

Facts!  Heaven and Hell are Real….

Facts!   Heaven and hell are both real. Both are supported and mentioned many times in scripture. We all spend some 70-90 years for most of us on this earth and then comes eternity in one of those two places. That word eternity is not a word that is easily comprehended but it is real. Many choose to avoid even thinking about where they will spend eternity. God said the choice is ours to make. Sin broke our relationship with God and we have a choice as to whether we will allow Jesus to restore it for us. What we do with the sin in our lives determines our fate.

  • All are sinners. (Rom 3:10, 3:23, Isaiah 64:6)
  • Sin brings on death and all of the worlds ugliness. (Romans 6:23)
  • God cannot commune with sinful people who like Adam and Eve break their relationship with God by sinning. (Gen 2, 3)
  • A sacrifice is needed to restore the fellowship we break with God by our sins. (John 3:16, Romans 5:8)

Facts! All false religions claim that works are our means of restoring that relationship. Some of those religions even have the name of Jesus in them. Just having the name of Jesus in your church doctrine does not assure your salvation n or that the church you are attending is feeding you and your family God’s truths. Ask one telling question. Does anything needed to be added to the sacrifice that Jesus paid on Calvary to provide me salvation and eternity in heaven with God? Does Baptism, Church membership, Church attendance or sacraments etc need to be added… If any are being taught as a needed activity along with Jesus sacrifice for our sins, then….

 

Gal 2:21 “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

 

Ephesians 2:8, 9 “For by grace are you saved by faith, and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone would boast.”

 

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.”

 

Heb 10:11 “Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices,  which can never take away sins.

 

The sacrifice of Jesus our Savior is all we need!

 

Heb 10:12 “But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God.”

 

Heb 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

 

Which sacrifice do you trust in this morning?

Serving the Master…

Luke 9:27 “If anyone will come after Me, let them deny themselves,
take up their cross daily, and follow Me.”

Serving the Master…

The Master was searching for a vessel to use.
On the shelf there were many,
which one would He choose?

Take me cried the gold one,
I am shiny and bright and of great value
And I do things just right,
my beauty and luster will outshine the rest
and for someone like You Master, I would be best.

The Master passed it with no word at all.
He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall.

I’ll serve you Dear Master;
I’ll pour out your wine and be at your table whenever you dine.
My lines are so graceful and my carving so true,
and silver will always compliment you.

Unheeding, the Master passed on the brass,
it was wide mouthed and shallow and polished like glass.

Here! Here! Cried the vessel,
I know I will do.
Place me on your table for all [men] to view.

Look at me, cried the goblet of crystal so clear,
my transparency shows my contents so dear.
Though fragile am I, don’t cross me,
I will serve you with pride,
And I am sure that I will be happy in your house to abide.

The Master came next to a vessel of wood.
Polished and carved and it solidly stood.

You may use me Dear Master,
The wooden bowl said,
but I’d rather you’d use me for fruit; please no bread.

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay,
Empty and broken, it helplessly lay.
No hope had that vessel that the Master might choose,
to cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.

“Ah, this is the vessel I’ve been hoping to find;
I will mend it and use it, and make it all mine.
I need not the vessel with pride in itself,
nor the one so narrow to sit on the shelf.
Not the one who is big mouthed, and shallow and loud,

Nor the one who displays its contents so proud.
Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right,
But this plain earthen vessel filled with My power and might.”

Then gently, He lifted the vessel of clay,
mended it and cleansed it and filled it that day.

He spoke to it kindly, “There’s work you must do.
Just pour out to others, and I’ll pour into you.

Most of the first 12 disciples were simple fishermen, not theologians or Bible College professors. That provides me with the confidence that I can be used just as they were for I am as they were, a jar of broken clay requiring my Lord’s shaping. Our Lord never asks us to walk in our own natural strengths and abilities but to walk dependent upon His strength and abilities.  That dependency forces us to our knees which is a wonderful place to be. God then can become our source of wisdom, knowledge and strength. The following verse really helps explain it better than I ever can;

2 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.”

Matthew 11:28-29 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
((   ))
O   O
——————–|||—(_)—|||————————-
Till Jesus returns!

The Sense of a Goose and Teamwork…

Heb 10:25a “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds…”

The Sense of a Goose and Teamwork

When you see geese flying along in “V” formation, you
might consider what science has discovered as to why they
fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an
uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in “V”
formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater
flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and sense of
community can get where they are going more quickly and
easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one
another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels
the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone – and
quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the
lifting power of the bird in front.

If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in
formation with those people who are headed the same way we are.

When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the
wing and another goose flies point.

It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs,
whether with people or with geese flying south.

Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to
keep up their speed.

What messages do we give when we honk from behind?

Finally – and this is important – when a goose gets sick or
is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of formation,
two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down
to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose
until it is able to fly or until it dies, and only then do
they launch out on their own, or with another formation to
catch up with their group.

If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each
other like that.

Heb 10:24, 25 “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

What Love looks like…

 

Matthew 25:40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Bobby was getting cold sitting out in his back yard in the snow. Bobby

didn’t wear boots; he didn’t like them and anyway he didn’t own any.

The thin sneakers he wore had a few holes in them and they did a poor

job of keeping out the cold.

Bobby had been in his backyard for about an hour already. And, try as

he might, he could not come up with an idea for his mother’s Christmas

gift. He shook his head as he thought, “This is useless, even if I do

come up with an idea, I don’t have any money to spend.”

Ever since his father had passed away three years ago, the family of five

had struggled. It wasn’t because his mother didn’t care, or try, there just

never seemed to be enough. She worked nights at the hospital, but the

small wage that she was earning could only be stretched so far.

What the family lacked in money and material things, they more than made

up for in love and family unity. Bobby had two older and one younger sister,

who ran the household in their mother’s absence.

All three of his sisters had already made beautiful gifts for their mother.

Somehow it just wasn’t fair. Here it was Christmas Eve already, and he

had nothing.

Wiping a tear from his eye, Bobby kicked the snow and started to walk

down to the street where the shops and stores were. It wasn’t easy being

six without a father, especially when he needed a man to talk to.

Bobby walked from shop to shop, looking into each decorated window.

Everything seemed so beautiful and so out of reach. It was starting to

get dark and Bobby reluctantly turned to walk home when suddenly his

eyes caught the glimmer of the setting sun’s rays reflecting off something

along the curb. He reached down and discovered a shiny dime.

Never has anyone felt so wealthy as Bobby felt at that moment.

As he held his new-found treasure, a warmth spread throughout his entire

body and he walked into the first store he saw. His excitement quickly turned

cold when salesperson after salesperson told him that he could not buy

anything with only a dime.

He saw a flower shop and went inside to wait in line. When the shop owner

asked if he could help him, Bobby presented the dime and asked if he could

buy one flower for his mother’s Christmas gift. The shop owner looked at

Bobby and his ten-cent offering. Then he put his hand on Bobby’s shoulder

and said to him, “You just wait here, and I’ll see what I can do for you.”

As Bobby waited, he looked at the beautiful flowers and even though he was a

boy, he could see why mothers and girls liked flowers. The sound of the door

closing as the last customer left, jolted Bobby back to reality. All alone in the shop, Bobby began to feel alone and afraid.

Suddenly the shop owner came out and moved to the counter. There, before

Bobby’s eyes lay twelve long stem, red roses, with leaves of green and tiny

white flowers all tied together with a big silver bow. Bobby’s heart sank as

the owner picked them up and placed them gently into a long white box.

“That will be ten cents young man.” the shop owner said reaching out his

hand for the dime. Slowly, Bobby moved his hand to give the man his dime.

Could this be true?  No one else would give him a thing for his dime! Sensing

the boy’s reluctance, the shop owner added, “I just happened to have some

roses on sale for ten cents a dozen. Would you like them?”

This time Bobby did not hesitate, and when the man placed the long box into

his hands, he knew it was true. Walking out the door that the owner was

holding for Bobby, he heard the shop keeper say, “Merry Christmas, son.”

As he returned inside, the shop keepers wife walked out. “Who were you

talking to back there and where are the roses you were fixing?”

Staring out the window, and blinking the tears from his own eyes, he replied,

“A strange thing happened to me this morning.  Just a few minutes ago, a little boy came into the shop and wanted to buy a flower for his mother with one small dime.  When I looked at him, I saw myself, many years ago.

The shop owner and his wife hugged each other tightly, and as they stepped

out’ into the bitter cold air, they somehow didn’t feel cold at all.

 

********************************************************

2 Thes 1:3 “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers,

and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more,

and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.”

Is it well with your Soul…

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Is it Well with your Soul…

Maybe it is just my imagination and I hope so, but it seems to me that much of Christianity does not see the persecutions and trials of this world as having merit. Am I wrong and how does my life stack up is the nagging question? I know that in my heart I do not like persecution and trials so if I can avoid them, I will. Then I see scripture that says if there is no objection to my life style by the world then I may be a Christian in hiding. And worse yet, if no trials then I might not be saved. Ouch, that thought process is not one that I wish to pursue.

First I check out my eternal life and find I am confident that I have asked and am trusting in Jesus sacrifice for my sins to be sufficient for my salvation. Nothing can be added from my end (Gal 2:16-21). Then comes the question of how my life as a believer stacks up to His will for me. If I do not change to meet my Savior’s will for my life just what will I hear at the Judgment Seat of Believers. I know my sins are washed away so they will not be on display there but how about my life’s work or lack of work for my Savior after being “born again”?????

The second verse of “It Is Well with My Soul” puts persecution in perspective.

Tho Satan should buffet, tho trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

And an example from scripture helps us to put trials into perspective.

Paul is one of those examples. As we review his life as recorded in scripture we see that he was given “a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Almost every saint of every age could echo Paul’s concerns and the request for God to remove those thorns.  Trials do come to each child of God.

That is a given. How we look at them is not. “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you” (1 Peter 4:12).  God had a purpose in Paul’s life, and He has a purpose for us.  Paul couldn’t clearly see the purpose, and, at times, we can’t either. We can, however, “glory,” as Paul did, or “rejoice,” as Peter advises, or “count it all joy” as James records in response to the knowledge of God’s loving oversight.

 

I love this thought from that passage on removing the thorn in II Corinthians. I memorized it so I could have it ready when the difficulties of my life are better understood by listening to my God. Paul accepted God’s answer to his prayer that he requested three times and the answer was.  God’s grace is sufficient; you need that thorn in your life for a much greater purpose and outcome than the immediate fleshly satisfaction of it being removed.

II Cor 12:8-10 “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 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. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”