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.

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.”

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.”

The 10 Commandments….

Exodus 20:2a-6 “I am the Lord your God…

  • “You shall have no other gods before
  • “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

The 10 Commandments….

When you hear of someone worshipping an Idol you usually picture some statue with people praying to it and even making offerings to it. So when you are asked if you worship idols you immediately think that you are not in with those folks.  You see yourself as being good at least on the first two commandments of God having to do with idol worship. If we truly are keeping the first two then the other eight noted below should be easy. But if you are breaking the first two then the next eight are usually a product of that sin of idolatry. Look at them and you will see that if you are worshipping anything, person or statue and not worshipping God then breaking the other eight automatically in process. And remember that says we can sin with the mind as well as our hands. An example is anger. We can murder with the mind, commit adultery with the mind and sadly so it goes.

  • “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
  • “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
  • “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
  • “You shall not murder.
  • “You shall not commit adultery.
  • “You shall not steal.
  • “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
  • “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

So, the real question is whether idolatry is simply the worship of some statue or can it be the worship of other items or people including self. A preacher some 300 years ago gave the following list of 7 questions as a test to folks to see if they were worshipping idols. When you read it you will see that our nature or humanity is the same today as it was then so the test is as relevant today as it was then. I have added the verses that help me on each question and hopefully you also.

  1. What are you most disappointed with right now?
    1. Ex 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”
  2. What do you sacrifice your time and money for?
    1. Mat 6:21 “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”
  3. What do you worry about? What scares you?
    1. 2 Tim 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
    2. Mat 6:33-34 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
  4. Where do you go when you hurt?
    1. Mat 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
  5. What makes you mad? The following is an example of righteous anger…..
    1. Mark 11:15 “So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.”
  6. What brings you the most joy?
    1. Romans 14:17-19 “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”
  7. Whose applause do you long for?
    1. 2 Tim 4:7-8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

 

So, how did you do on the quiz? And if you did not like some of your answers what are you going to do about it?

 

I John 1:8-10 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

 

It’s never too late to change your worship patterns.

 

Heb 12:1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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.”

Compromise and Soul Erosion…

Psalm 4:5, “Offer right sacrifices, and trust in the Lord.

Numbers 32:23b “…and be sure your sin will find you out.”

Compromise and Soul Erosion…

Some great places have been really damaged by the slow process
of erosion. So have some great people. That’s why you’ve got to make the
choices that will stop the erosion in your life.

And we’ve all got a powerful example for that in the Word of God in
the Book of Daniel, chapter 1, beginning with verse 5. Daniel is one of a handful
of promising Jewish young men who have been taken to Babylon after
King Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of their land. The king includes them with
some of his own Babylonian “first-round draft picks” in a leadership
development program that will ultimately propel them to greatness in the kingdom.

Everything was fine until the king, “assigned a daily amount of
food and wine from the king’s table.” This was a special “training table
diet” designed to make them into the best physical specimens possible. But
that kind of food was totally out of bounds for Jews back then, as defined
by the laws of their God. A tough choice here! You’re on your way to
greatness, and right here at the beginning you’re being asked to
compromise a little. At stake could be your whole future and maybe even
your life if you defied the most powerful man in the world.

But the Bible says, “Daniel resolved not to defile himself with
the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission
not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show
favor and sympathy to Daniel. This official was afraid he might be
executed if Daniel and his Jewish comrades ended up looking worse than
the others. So Daniel persuaded him to allow a ten-day test of an
alternate diet of vegetables and water. Long story short, Daniel and
company,  the Bible says, “looked healthier and better nourished than
any of the young men who ate the royal food,” and “the king found none
equal to Daniel” and his friends.

God may be asking you to risk everything right now on what
looks like a very expensive faithfulness. It could really cost you to do
what’s right, to hold to your convictions, to refuse to compromise your
integrity or your purity. You’re risking everything on the faithfulness
of our God. It’s tempting to give in to get ahead … to get that need
met … to get out of that jam. But with your compromise goes a huge
piece of you and the blessing of Almighty God. Resist that eroding tide.

And remember that God’s favor is for God’s faithful. You may,
like Daniel, find yourself in different environments, pressured by
different expectations, but you’ve got to be sure that it’s always the
same you. You have to “resolve not to defile yourself” – to build an
uncompromising wall against even the first step that would take you
outside the ways of your God.

Mat 6:33a “But seek first of all His kingdom and His righteousness…”

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

The Lessons of Life…

Proverbs 4:13 “Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life.”

The Lessons of Life…

From Paul Harvey:

We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I’d like better.

I’d really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would.

I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated.

I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car.

And I really hope nobody gives you a brand-new car when you are sixteen.

It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep.

I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.

I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother/sister. And it’s all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he’s scared, I hope you let him.

When you want to see a movie and your little brother/sister wants to tag along, I hope you’ll let him/her.

I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.

On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don’t ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won’t be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.

If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.

I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books.

When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a boy\girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.

May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your
tongue on a frozen flagpole.

And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandma/Grandpa and go fishing
with your Uncle.

May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy if they are with at home with Jesus!

May you feel joy during the holidays.

I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor’s window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Hanukah/Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you — tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness.
To me, it’s the only way to appreciate life.

Written with a pen. Sealed with a kiss. I’m here for you. And if I die before you do, I’ll go to heaven and wait for you.

We secure our friends, not by accepting favors, but by doing them.

Psalm 71:17 “O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.”

No Time to Pray…

Matthew 28:19-20 “Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and,
lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Mark 1:17 “And Jesus said unto them, come you after me, and I will make you to
become fishers of men.”

No Time to
I knelt to pray but not for long,
I had too much to do.
I had to hurry and get to work
for bills would soon be due.

So I knelt and said a hurried prayer,
and jumped up off my knees.
My Christian duty was now done
my soul could rest at ease…..

All day long I had no time
to spread a word of cheer
No time to speak of Christ to friends,
they’d laugh at me I’d fear.

No time, no time, too much to do,
That was my constant cry,
No time to give to souls in need
But at last the time, the time to die.

I went before the Lord,
I came, and I stood with downcast eyes.
For in his hands God! Held a book;
It was the book of life.

God looked into his book and said
“Your name I cannot find
I once was going to write it down…
But never found the time”

Rev. 20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”