It is all about your Perspective…

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”

It is all about your Perspective…

A little girl walked daily to and from school. Though the
weather that morning was questionable and clouds were forming, she made
her daily trek to the elementary school.

As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, along with
thunder and lightning. The mother of the little girl felt concerned that
her daughter would be frightened as she walked home from school, and she
herself feared that the electrical storm might harm her child.

Following the roar of thunder, lightning, like a flaming sword,
would cut through the sky. Full of concern, the mother quickly got into
her car and drove along the route to her child’s school.

As she did so she saw her little girl walking along, but at each
flash of lightning, the child would stop, look and smile. Another and
another followed quickly, each with the little girl stopping, looking at
the streak of light and smiling.

Finally, the mother called her over to the car and asked, “What
are you doing?” The child answered, “God just keeps taking pictures of me.”

“And a little child shall lead them…”

That story is a great lead in for truths from God’s word. It reminds us that

God desires pure and unquestioning faith for us to first be ‘born again’ and then

to please Him during our walk as CHRISTians. The faith like little children display.

Here is the test. For that need you have this morning, what or Who are you trusting to fill it?

Luke 18:17 “Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”

 

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.

 

Hebrews 10:38 “But my righteous one shall live by faith: And if he shrinks back, my soul hath no pleasure in him.”

Life is Short – No Regrets…

James 4:14 “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.”

Mat 6:33 “But seek you first the kingdom of God and its righteousness…”

Life is Short – No Regrets…

If I knew it would be the last time
that I’d see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly
and pray the Lord your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time

that I’d see you walk out the door,
I would give you hugs and kisses, and then call you back for more.

If I knew it would be the last time
I’d hear your voice lifted up in praise,

I would memorize each action
and word so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time,
I would spare a minute or two
to tell you that I love you,
instead of assuming you KNOW I do.

If I knew it would be the last time
I would be there to share your day….
Well, I’m sure you’ll have so many more,

I can just let this one slip away.

For surely there’s always tomorrow to make up for an oversight, and we always get a second chance to make everything alright.

There will always be another day to say our “I love you”, and certainly, there’s another chance to say our “Anything I can do?”

But just in case I might be wrong and today is all I get, I’d like to say how much I love you and I hope we never forget that tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike, and today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight….
So, if you’re waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes you’ll surely regret the day
that you didn’t take the extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss, and you were too busy to grant someone what turned out to be their last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today and whisper in their ears, tell them how much you love them and that you’ll always hold them dear.  Take time to say “I’m sorry,” “Please forgive me,”  “Thank you “or “It’s okay.”

And if tomorrow never comes you’ll have no regrets about today.

Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men to die once then comes the judgment”

To truly have no regrets……

Mat 6:33 “But seek you first the kingdom of God and its righteousness…”

The Shock at the End of Life…

The Shock at the End of Life… 

Many have been fascinated with the story of the Titanic. The sinking of that seemingly “unsinkable” ship after a collision with an iceberg is filled with human drama that has inspired endless movies, books, and documentaries. Finding the Titanic at the bottom of the Atlantic fueled greater interest – and greater information – than ever before. Some of the drama of those discoveries has been within our reach as the Titanic artifacts exhibit has been on display in some of America’s leading museums. You can see many personal items recovered from the Titanic’s debris field along with displays that recreate the feeling of being a passenger on that doomed ship. When you go in the exhibit, you are given a boarding pass with the name of a real person who had been aboard that awful night. At the end of the exhibit, there’s this big wall with the names of everyone aboard – first class, second class, third class, crew. Every person is either on the list that says “saved” or “lost.” And of course you look hard for your name.  You may discover that you were one of the few crewmen or passengers who were “saved.”

Or the terrible alternative is that when you look for your name you will see and feel a portion of the experience of being one of the lost. Sadly many today leave their Eternal destiny and their saved or lost position up to their religious affiliation or their family heritage. You do not need to. God tells us in His own words in the Bible that we do not need other men to teach us. If we will but come to Him with the faith of little children He will provide us with the knowledge of what we must do to be saved.

Do you know this morning where you will spend Eternity and what confidence do you have in that knowledge? I mean truly KNOW? Be honest with yourself and actually ask the question. Or like the Titanic passengers are you going along for the ride assuming that someone, something or some organization has you covered? If you have a doubt this is not a topic to be shy about. It’s your Eternal Destiny. Doubt is removed by asking God for His guidance on this vital issue and having faith in His providing it.

You do not have to question where you will spend Eternity! If you believe the Word of God it tells us in I John 5:11-13 that we can KNOW without a shadow of doubt where we will spend Eternity. Finding out where you will spend Eternity has Eternal consequences! You may want to continue to search God’s word for the answer. It is the only place on this earth that you can totally trust for its reliability. May I suggest;

The Romans road to salvation; See Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:13
Based on what sacrifice or merit will I be saved or lost? Ephesians 2:8, 9 – Titus 3:5 – John 14:6

So, do you know where you will spend Eternity and what is that knowledge based on? If you are not sure I would enjoy talking with you about your Eternal Future! And I will not give you my opinion or philosophy but I will show you what God has to say. Then it’s up to you. As Joshua said, ‘Choose you this day whom you will serve…….’.

1 John 5:11-13 “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

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

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.”

Understanding the Bible…

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

Understanding the Bible….

The story is told of an old man who lived on a farm in the mountains of eastern Kentucky with his young grandson. Each morning, Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading from his old worn-out Bible. His grandson who wanted to be just like him tried to imitate him in any way he could.

One day the grandson asked, “Papa, I try to read the Bible just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?”

The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and said, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring back a basket of water.”

The boy did as he was told, even though all the water leaked out before he could get back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, “You will have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again.

This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was “impossible to carry water in a basket,” and he went to get a bucket instead. The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You can do this. You’re just not trying hard enough,” and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got far at all. The boy scooped the water and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, “See Papa, it’s useless!”

“So you think it is useless?” The old man said, “Look at the basket.” The boy looked at the basket and for the first time he realized that the basket looked different. Instead of a dirty old coal basket, it was clean.

“Son, that’s what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, it will change you from the inside out.” That is the work of God in our lives. To change us from the inside out and to slowly transform us into the image of His son.

How do I allow myself to be changed from the inside out?

Romans 12:2 “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.

Take time to read a portion of God’s word each day, and remind a friend by sharing this story.

Renew your mind with God’s truths…

2 Tim. 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Those who do not have Jesus as their Lord and Savior have one major problem!

I Cor 2:14 “ But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.”

There is one thing needed before you can understand the Bible and know that you will spend ETERNITY with God….

 John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God

 John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

The Future and Coming Events…

Phil 4:6, 7 “Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

The Future and Coming Events!

You now find yourself in a traffic jam on a main highway. And of course you are already running late.  (By the way in the book of Daniel it says that our pace will pick up in the latter days.) This is not supposed to happen. A moment ago, you were sailing along the Interstate. Now, as you inch along with hundreds of other cars, there’s bumper-to-bumper traffic as far as the eye can see. As your temperature rises you think about how this could have been avoided. If I had listened to the radio traffic report or if I had noticed the truckers taking off ramps for other routes.

It’s good to have inside information of what’s ahead for our lives, especially if it’s inside information on what’s ahead forever! You know, that eternity issue that is so very hard to visualize. If we only had some solid intelligence on what’s on the other side of the day we die, we’d know what road to take and what road to avoid. Thankfully, God hasn’t left us in the dark about what’s ahead.

In fact, Jesus gave us a dramatic, sobering report from someone who ended up on the wrong road. It’s the story of a beggar named Lazarus, who actually goes to heaven when he dies and a rich man who ends up in hell. Did you know that in scripture Jesus talks more about hell more than He talked about heaven? Maybe because He knows we wouldn’t want to believe it.

In Luke 16, beginning with verse 23, the Bible says, “In hell, where the rich man was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'” The answer in vs. 29-31, “Abraham saith unto him, they have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, no, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

Rather than guessing about what hell may hold we do have scripture to tell enough to hopefully awaken us to think about our eternal destiny and the destiny and friends, family and neighbors around us who may not have heard or accepted the gospel. There are no second chances, no relief if we ignore the gospel, no water to quench the fire. But God never meant for any of us to go there. Hell was prepared for Satan and his demons, but hell is the eternal death penalty for those who defy God and run their own lives. God had every right to just leave us condemned. But instead, because of His awesome love for us, He sent His one and only Son to take that death penalty for our sins when He died on the cross. Jesus experienced hell so we don’t ever have to.

God sends no one to hell. We do that by our choice to accept or reject Jesus and the sacrifice He paid for our sins. If there is one decision or choice where anxiety is appropriate it would that question. Where are you going when you die and based on what?

Don’t risk another day without Jesus as your Saviour.

Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death.”
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Matthew 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.”