The Clock and Worry…

Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

The Clock and Worry…

The clock had ticked for many years. Two ticks per second every day, 120 ticks a minute, 7,200 ticks an hour, 172,000 ticks per day, 1,209,600 ticks per week and 62,000,000 ticks a year.

One day the clock started to worry about its responsibilities. All those ticks it had to tick. The clock started to cry and promptly had a nervous breakdown.

The sick clock went to a clock physiatrist and explained its troubles.

“All those ticks”, he said, “I don’t see how I can stand it?”

The psychiatrist said, “Wait a minute, how many ticks must you tick at a time?”

“Oh, I just tick one tick at a time”, said the clock.

“Well”, the doctor said, “Just go home and think about ticking only one tick and until you have ticked that tick don’t think about ticking the next tick”

And so the clock went home and ticked its way into oblivion.

The element missing in this short story that is vital to our lives is the element of giving thanks as noted in Philippians 4:6. Praise overcomes worry when we develop its attitude in our lives. Think about what happens when your mind is occupied with giving thanks vs. worrying.

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Of course, to have this type of peace you must first have a relationship with the peace giver.

Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved.” Jesus, name above all names!!!!!!!!!!

Handling Suffering as a Christian…

James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

James 4:13-15 “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”

Handling Suffering as a Christian

The title of today’s challenge sounds a bit strange. And if you are not a ‘born again’ Christian you have no chance of understanding and accepting it. We live in a world where many teach that health, wealth, prosperity and the total absence of suffering brings fulfillment. And of course, our human nature totally agrees with that thought. There are even teachers professing to be ‘born again’ that teach the same. They teach that to experience otherwise reflects a weak faith or sin. While it can be a result of sin the scriptures never proclaim that if we suffer for the gospels sake it is a lack of faith. Actually, it is just the opposite.

When we are drawn to Jesus as our Savior and we dig into His word to find meaning for our lives and we hear that, “”Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Wow, that stops us dead in our tracks. Many, who never study and never grow from the milk of God’s word to being able to handle the meat of God’s word never even address this question.

Can it really be true? If I am to live for my Savior who died for me can I expect some level of persecution? The answer from scripture is a loud yes. If the world disliked and even hated Jesus and we profess what He professed then the world will not like us either. That’s a tough one to swallow. Like you my flesh prefers that people would like me. And what if I am experiencing zero persecution. Does that mean my spiritual priorities are not correct? Yes, that could be the case. Ouch! We can only know that by asking God to answer that question and then we must do something contrary to our human will. We must truly be open to the answer. Remember the answers to prayer are yes, no and wait. Yes, is not the only option God has. When I hear no or wait it does not mean that God did not answer my prayer.

There are promises in the word of God that don’t seem much like promises to many believers. Persecution is one of them. Scripture proclaims that all whose purpose of heart is to live godly lives in this present world shall (certainly) suffer persecution, as did their Lord. Maybe we contemplate such verses and think they should say something like, “And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall be appreciated for their goodness and rewarded with approval, good health and fortune while in this world.”

The Holy Spirit through Paul said to the Philippians, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” We probably would be more comfortable if that were to read, “For unto you it is given…not only to believe on him, but also to be blessed with health, wealth and prosperity.” But it doesn’t say that. Reading and allowing the Word of God to change our lives are two entirely different things. Are you a reader only? Ouch, another convicting question.

So why would I want to be open to persecution??? As noted in James we are in this life but for a short time. Our lives are but a vapor that comes and disappears quickly. Our time to serve our Lord is short. This time on earth is but a grain of sand on the beach in comparison to eternity. And if you are a believer you will spend eternity with God. There is also a judgment seat or awards ceremony for believers. The judgment seat is not to judge our sins that Jesus took care of but to award us for services rendered while on this earth. I would rather hear, ‘well done’, than to hear how I missed the prize or to hear a silence because of lack of commitment on my part while on this earth.

We are to serve out of obedience. Disobedience is viewed by God as a tragic sin. Check it out over and over in scripture in both the OT and the NT. God never accepts disobedience. Our sins are washed away by Jesus blood so my salvation is secure. While works cannot save us they are very important after being ‘born again’. Serving Jesus while on this earth is now or should now be my focus! And when done correctly it will bring some level of persecution.

Remember persecution comes in many different ways including verbal, lost friendships, physical punishment, lost job opportunities, etc. In America at least for now the verbal, peer pressure and life style issues are the greatest persecution we see. So maybe all is not lost with that slap in the face that you just received, literal or figurative. Pray and think before you allow your fleshly frustration to take over. It may be that you are doing exactly what you should be for His glory!!!!!

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.”

A CHRISTian Soldiers Request for Transfer

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.

A CHRISTian Soldiers Request for Transfer…

To: Commander and Chief Spiritual Armed Forces, Jesus Christ

Dear Lord:

I am writing this to You to request a transfer to a desk job. I here
with present my reasons:

I began my career as a private, because of the intensity of the battle
You have quickly moved me up in the ranks. You have made me an officer and given me a tremendous amount of responsibility. There are many soldiers and recruits under my charge. I am constantly being called upon to dispense wisdom, make judgments, and find solutions to complex problems. You have placed me in a position to function as an officer, when in my heart I know I have only the skills of a private. I realize that You have promised to supply all I would need for the battle.

But Sir, I must present You a realistic picture of my equipment. My
uniform, once so crisp and starched, is now stained with tears and blood of those I have tried to assist. The soles of my boots are cracked and worn from the miles I have walked trying to enlist and encourage the instructed troops. My weapons are marred, tarnished and chipped from constant battle against the enemy.

Even the Book of Regulations I was issued has been torn and tattered
from endless use. The words are now smeared. You have promised You would be with me throughout, but when the noise of the battle is so loud and the confusion is so great, I can neither see nor hear You.

I feel so alone. I’m tired. I’m discouraged. I have Battle Fatigue. I
would never ask You for a discharge. I love being in Your service. But I humbly request a demotion and transfer. I’ll file papers or clean
latrines. Just get me out of the battle–please, Sir.

Your Faithful, but tired, Warrior.

——

To: Faithful, but tired, Soldier, Spiritual Armed Forces
Location: The Battlefield
SUBJECT: Transfer

Dear Soldier:

Your request for transfer has been denied. I here with present my reasons:

You are needed in this battle. I have selected you, and I will keep My
Word to supply your need. You do not need a demotion and transfer.
(You’d never cut it on latrine duty.) You need a period of “R&R”
–Renewal and Rekindling. I am setting aside a place on the battlefield that is insulated from all sound and fully protected from the enemy. I will meet you there and I will give you rest. I will remove your old equipment and “make all things new.” You have been wounded in the battle, my soldier. Your wounds are not visible, but you have received grave internal injuries. You need to be healed. I will heal you. You have been weakened in the battle. You need to be strengthened. I will strengthen you and be your strength. I will instill in you confidence and ability. My Words will rekindle within you and renewed love, zeal and enthusiasm.

Report to Me tattered and empty. I will refill you.

Compassionately,

Your Commander-in-Chief, Jesus Christ

Author Unknown

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.”

Do you need a Counselor…

Do you need of a Counselor…

Where do I turn when I need help? When it seems like everyone and everything has failed me and I am lost for a solution. And yes, we all regardless of our mental state need counsel. So, where does the counsel we need come from?

Psalms 1:1, 2 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.”

Psalms 119:9-11 “How can a young man cleanse his way? BY TAKING HEED according to Your Word. With my whole heart have I sought You; Oh, let me not wonder from Your commandments. Your Word have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against You|”

There is only one Counselor Who never changes His counsel down through the ages and He recorded His counsel for us!!!!!!!! So the question this morning is where will I turn for lasting and true counsel. Much counseling in our world treats the symptoms and not the root cause of the issue.

Our God and His word will search for the root cause rather than treating symptoms. If your counselor does not have Jesus as their Savoir they can only treat the symptoms because God’s truths seem foolish to them. Why is it that those who have not trusted Jesus as their Savior cannot give me counsel that will help me with my issues?

I Cor 2:14 “But the natural (unsaved) man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Why would God direct us to not listen to the counselors of the world? As with all important questions we find the answer in God’s word. Real and lasting truth cannot only be found there.

John 8:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

The counselors of this world by not knowing Jesus as their Savior do not hold the word of God to be their source of knowledge and truth. So they counsel you with the best they have which can never get to the root cause of the problem and solve it. Their counsel is based on the wisdom of the world. Which is ever changing. God’s truths or absolutes never change.

Malachi 3:6a “”For I am the Lord, I do not change…”

While there are some government organizations that can offer assistance in trying times our ultimate and only pure source of help is found by seeking a loving God who wants to restore the relationship with Him that sin broke and ever recorded and protects His word of truth so that we have it.

Mat 5:18 “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one title will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

Enjoy your reading today and listen for its truths and directions. God’s word is our Counsel! If you need help check with your church to identify counselors who will guide you with truth that never changes and to counselors who understand where lasting help comes from. And remember, no reading or studying equals no enlightenment from God!

2 Tim. 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Obeying God…

Mat 16:24, 25 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Gen 6:22 “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did”

Obeying God…

Has there ever been a time in your life when you submitted to the Holy Spirit toward a lifetime of obedience to God?

The life of obedience is a life of following Christ. Once you commit your life to be one of obedience, you will still face choices to obey or disobey.

You will not always choose correctly, and you will not be without sin.

However, once you make the commitment to a lifetime of obedience, God will take that commitment and bend your heart in His direction.

Obedience, then, becomes a normal way in which you and I respond to the circumstances of life. Obedience becomes not merely a decision, but a lifestyle.

In Genesis 6, we read about God’s call for Noah to construct the ark. Yet

Noah’s compliance with that particular decision is not how Noah embodied obedience. It’s why we remember him, but Noah had already committed his life to walking with God. Verse 9 tells us that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.”

Therefore, when Noah was presented with the decision to obey God and build an ark when rain was not just unexpected but literally foreign to the people and the terrain, he obeyed. Noah obeyed because he had, at some previous point, committed his life to be one of obedience unto his Lord.

Seven principles for learning to live a lifestyle of obedience include:

1) Learn to wait upon the Lord in prayer. If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything until God directs you-usually through a multitude of means, including His Word, the church, circumstances, and prayer.

2) Develop a love for the Word of God. This is God’s primary tool of speaking to us. As we learn to meditate on the Word of God, we will learn the ways of God.

3) Obeying God oftentimes means going against human reasoning. If we wait until we understand, we’ll never be obedient to God. He will never lead us in opposition to His Word, but He will sometimes lead us in opposition to our definition of common sense.

4) Realize that God will sometimes cause us to walk in the dark. He will sometimes call us to walk in a direction where we cannot see a clear path.

We can pray and argue all we want, but God will not always show us where we are going; He simply commands and waits for us to submit.

5) We must learn to expect struggles. Plainly, some things God will ask us to do; we just don’t want to do them. Sometimes we don’t want to obey because we’re afraid of failure. Understand that God never requires something of us that isn’t for our best and for His glory.

6) Realize that there’s no substitute for obedience.

7) Learn to leave all the consequences of our obedience to God.

The issue hasn’t changed with time. The issue is this: Is Jesus Christ worthy of your obedience, and has there ever come a time in your life where you said, “Lord, from this moment on, as a way of life or lifestyle, I choose to obey You no matter what”?

** Read the key passages and answer the questions below.

  1. (Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 15) What does God say are the rewards of obedience and the consequences of disobedience?
  2. (Genesis 12:1-3) Which one of the above principles applies to Abraham’s call from God?
  3. (1 Samuel 15:1-29) What does Samuel tell Saul that he did wrong?

What was the consequence of Saul’s action? What do you learn about God in this passage?

  1. As you read this, what did God bring to your mind in regards to something He is calling you to do?
  2. If you have not done it before, take this time to commit to God in prayer your desire to obey Him fully. If you do not have this desire, be honest. Ask Him to place it in your heart.

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, and follow Me.”

The Apple of His Eye…

Psalm 17:8 states that God will keep us, “as the apple of His eye.”

The Apple of His Eye…

A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill.
In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?” Hands started going up.

He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.”
He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up He then asked, “Who still wants it?”

Still the hands were up in the air.” “Well,” he continued, “What if I do this?”
And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.
He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty.  “Now who still wants it?”

Still the hands went into the air. “My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value.

It was still worth $20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value in God’s eyes.

To Him, dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to Him.

Mat 10:29-31 “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Vanity of Vanities, all is…

Vanity of Vanities, all is……

Ecc 12:13 “Vanity of vanities, says the preacher, all is vanity!

All is vanity!!!

But it doesn’t have to be!!!

How do I obtain LASTING peace and joy? Solomon started his life in God’s will but it turned into Solomon doing his own will later in life. He started off by seeking God’s will be done but then the flesh turned him to seeking his own will over God’s.

He tried to find lasting happiness by the material pleasures he owned and by the people he surrounded himself with. God had told him and his people not to intermarry with the gentile nations. Solomon disobeyed and…

I Kings 11:4-6 “For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites.”

The lesson is that you cannot have the most important thing in life in conflict with what is the most important thing in your spouse’s life. The command is the same for the NT saints and who they commit their lives to in marriage.

Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as David his father had done. Solomon had all the world could offer so how could this happen? Listen as Solomon leaves us some great advice.

Ecc 12:1,8,13,14 “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have not delight in them’. Vanity of vanities, says the preacher, all is vanity! The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgement, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

Solomon’s conclusion was that the temporary joy that this world offers is vanity. America’s gods offer the same. They are sex, self and money. In and of themselves each is not evil, but if they become our god they then keep us from God and are evil.

The question for you and I is; am I seeking my own will over a lasting relationship with Jesus????

Luke 9:23 “And he said unto all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.