God knows ALL…

Mat 11:28, 29 “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest.

Who knows All

When you are tired and discouraged from fruitless efforts…                                                       God knows how hard you have tried.

When you’ve cried so long and your heart is in anguish…God has counted your tears.

If you feel that your life is on hold and time has passed you by…God is waiting with you.

When you’re lonely and your friends are too busy even for a phone call…God is by your side.

When you think you’ve tried everything and don’t know where to turn…God has a solution.

When nothing makes sense and you are confused or frustrated…God has the answer.

If suddenly your outlook is brighter and you find traces of hope…God has sustained you.

When things are going well and you have much to be thankful for…God has blessed you.

When something joyful happens and you are filled with awe…God has smiled upon you.

When you have a purpose to fulfill and a dream to follow…God has opened your eyes and called you by name.

When you realize life is for eternity and only Jesus can save you…God awaits your calling upon His Son to save you.

Remember that wherever you are or whatever you are facing…GOD KNOWS ALL!

Mat 11:28, 29 “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am
gently and lowly of heart, and you will find rest unto your soul.”

Be NOT Conformed to this World

2 Cor. 5:21 “For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Be Not Conformed to This World

Our culture is riddled with a poisonous spirit of entitlement. We always think we deserve more. We’re disappointed with our family, neighbors, church, the waitress, the sales clerk, the government and the department of motor vehicles. Ultimately we’re disappointed with God. He hasn’t given us everything we want and think we deserve.

What madness! If only we could see our situation clearly–even for a moment. We deserved expulsion; He gives us a diploma. We deserved the electric chair; He gives us eternal life with Him if we will accept it by grace through faith. Anything less than overwhelming gratitude should be unthinkable. He owes us nothing. We owe Him everything. When you realize you deserve nothing better than hell, it puts a “bad day” in perspective, doesn’t it?

Christians in the Sudan and many other countries around the world–who’ve suffered unspeakably for their faith–are deeply grateful for God’s daily blessings. But us? We whine and pout with the “I deserve more” and “Why me” mentalities.

Thankfulness should draw a clear line between us and a Christless world. If the same spirit of entitlement and ingratitude that characterizes our culture characterizes us, what do we have to offer? We have become the salt that has lost its seasoning power and may be good for nothing. Ouch! God is sovereign in the affairs of mankind which must be our attitude toward all issues. The results of sin are the only ones that God did not design and even those results God can use to teach and train us if we allow Him to.

To know if you have it you need but check out your attitude of gratitude. Are you thankful for even the things that appear to be catastrophic in your life? If they are not a result of sin then I brought them on by myself. God can never tempt or author sin. Don’t get captured by the attitude of the world or the opinion page of the local newspaper. Scripture teaches that we are to count ALL things or situations in our lives as joy and that God is sovereign in the affairs of mankind.

If I grasp that I deserve hell, I’ll be filled with gratitude not only for God’s huge blessings–including my redemption and home in heaven–but also for His smaller blessings: sun, rain, a beating heart, eyes that see, legs that walk, a mind that thinks and the unspeakable joy of the trials that bring spiritual growth. And my whole focus would change. Because Christ allowed Himself to be crushed under the weight of my sin, I’ll enjoy forever a clear mind and perfect body. Never believe anything about yourself or God that makes His grace to you seem anything less than astonishing. Because that’s exactly what it is.

Portions from; Randy Alcorn, “The Grace and Truth Paradox,” Multnomah Publishers 2003, pp. 33-35

The rest of the story….

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah.”

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.”

Romans 12:1-2 ” I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye 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.”

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.”

Caring for others…

Ecc 4:10b “…But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.”

Caring for others…

A few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win.

All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back……every one of them.

One girl with Down’s syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, “This will make it better.” Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story.

Why?

Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.

“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle”

I’m not sure of the authenticity of this article but I am sure of its lesson.

Ecc 4:9, 10 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.”

Mat 25:40 “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'”

Run, Christian, Run…

2 Tim. 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Run Christian, Run….

      In scripture we are told our spiritual lives need to be viewed as a race and even as a war. Let’s focus on the race for a moment. As a runner I can relate best to that one. Understand that I am back in the pack but I do understand the preparation and the race itself. Many do not like running but there is so much discipline to be learned by what it takes to run in a race, especially in a Marathon.
Bob Wieland lost both of his legs in Vietnam. But that didn’t stop him from entering and finishing the Los Angeles Marathon. He completed it in a little over one week making every step with his arms and his hands. He even crossed America on his hands. It took him three years to do it!

If anyone had a reason to quit it would be Bob. Yet he chooses to finish his races. Your “race” is any track or ministry that God has set you on in your life. And we each have at least one spiritual gift supporting that race or ministry according to I Corinthians 11. You may have started well, but due to hardships you have stopped running. God encourages and challenges us; Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Or you may have not yet started even the preparation for the race.

There are many Biblical examples of runners who started, stopped but also restarted once they recognized their spiritual failure. Abraham started well, faltered, and got back on track. The race started with God directing him to leave his country, his people and his father’s household and go to a land that God would later show him. How many of us could or would respond to that directive by God. Talk about requiring faith. To his credit he obeyed. He left his comfort zone big. Just think about what he was asked to do and the fact that God did not tell him where He would direct him to. Most great works of God begin that way for our lives. It takes stepping into the water before the waters will part. And we many or most times do not know the paths God will lead us on until we begin the journey or are in the midst of the journey. It requires that trait called faith.

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.”

As Abraham journeyed he left behind him a trail of altars of praise. At Shechem God appeared to him and he built an altar there to the Lord. I have a journal I keep that I hope acts as an altar of praise of our lives (Loie and I) for now and for the next generations to view. To God be the glory!!
As with each of us Abraham also failed. Genesis 12 says, “There was a famine…and Abram went down to Egypt.” A hard time hit and Abram’s faith literally went south. In Egypt, Abram made compromises that were unthinkable. A spiritual famine hit his life and his faith weakened for a moment. Out of fear he lied about his relationship with Sarah but God still protected him against himself and the world around him. It’s comforting to me to know that so many great Christians struggled. And more comforting to know that our God does not leave us when we fail. He patiently awaits our return.

I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
But the race was not over for Abraham or for us when we fail. He returned from his detour. Just like the direction we hear God giving to the Churches in Revelation 2:4, 5 “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” he returned to where he had first built an altar. And he returned quick enough so that God did not remove his candlestick or ministry. There he called on the name of the Lord. He went back to the point of his original surrender which is how you get back on track. In our hearts we must go back to the time when God seemed so close and His will seemed so clear. At that original altar we ask for forgiveness and surrendered to Him again.

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

When that paraplegic marathon participant crossed the finish line in a race he had every reason to quit, he explained it this way: “This was not natural; this was supernatural. It was only done by the grace of God.” That’s how you’ll finish the race you started!

2 Tim. 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Heb 12:1, 2 ” Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

So let’s get going or let’s return!!!!

Listening to God…

Listening to God…

Can I sit and be taught by God today?

II 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.”

But aren’t those the books and teachings of men?

II Peter 1:20, 21 “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

“Let us seek to know Him in the Word. It is in the Word we will find the Holy Spirit. Don’t read too many other things. Some of you will say, “Look who’s talking!” Well, go ahead and say it, I don’t mind; but I am reading fewer and fewer things as I get older, not because I’m losing interest in this great, big, old suffering world, but because I’m gaining interest in that other world above. So I say, don’t try to know everything. You can’t. Find Him in the Word, for the Holy Ghost wrote this book. He inspired it, and He will be revealed in its pages.”

–A.W. Tozer

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

 

So, who’s feet did you sit at this morning to start your day?
Sitting before the Lord

“Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone; only God is here. In His presence I open, I read His Book; for this end, to find the way to heaven. Is there a doubt concerning the meaning of what I read? Does anything appear dark or intricate? I lift up my heart to the Father of lights: ‘Lord, is it not thy Word, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God”? Thou ‘give’s liberally and upbraids not’. Thou hast said, ‘If any be willing to do thy will, he shall know.’ I am willing to do, let me know thy will. I then search after and consider parallel passages of Scripture, ‘comparing spiritual things with spiritual’. I meditate thereon, with all the attention and earnestness of which my mind is capable. If any doubt still remains, I consult those who are experienced in the things of God, and then the writings whereby, being dead, they yet speak. And what I thus learn, that I teach.”

–John Wesley, Preface to Standard Sermons

It does take commitment.

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 you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and perfect will of God.”

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.”

The Children’s Bible in a Nutshell…

Psalm 98:4 “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.”

A child was asked to write a book report on the entire Bible. Here is what he wrote:
​ ​
The Children’s Bible in a Nutshell

“In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says, “The Lord thy God is one,” but I think He must be a lot older than that. Anyway, God said, “Give me a light!” and someone did.
​ ​
Then God made the world.  He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren’t embarrassed because mirrors hadn’t been invented yet. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden … Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn’t have cars.

Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel. Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.

One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check. After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast.  Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.

Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Hesston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh’s people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable. God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include: don’t lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor’s stuff.  Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother. One of Moses’ best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies.  Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town.

After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn’t sound very wise to me. After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore. There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don’t have to worry about them.

After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of The New Testament. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying to me, “Close the door! Were you born in a barn?” It would be nice to say, ”As a matter of fact, I was.”) During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Democrats. Jesus also had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus.  Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.

Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount. But the Democrats and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn’t stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead. Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, and then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.”

Job 8:21 “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouting.”

Blessed are the Merciful…

Mat 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” 

Blessed are the Merciful for they….

A young nurse understood mercy in this way. She was just getting started
in her career when she was thrust into a situation where there was a patient who 
could not show any appreciation or response to those caring for her. 

The patients name was Eileen. She had a cerebral aneurysm, broken blood 
vessels in the brain that left her with absolutely no control over her body. As near 
as the doctors could tell Eileen was totally unconscious and unable to feel pain and 
unaware of anything going on around her. 

Caring for Eileen was the most thankless task you could have on the hospital 
staff. One an older nurse came to the young nurse who was just getting started and 
she said to her, ‘ when it is this bad the only way you deal with it is to detach yourself 
emotionally from the whole situation. You have to be cold toward it, you can’t get 
involved, because if you do you will just become discouraged and distressed’.

But for some reason the young nurse decided not to take the low road. She 
decided to take a different approach. She decided she would not treat this person like 
everyone else had treated her. When she was on duty she would come into the room 
and sing to Eileen, and she would encourage her and bring her little gifts which Eileen 
could never open.   

        One day when things were especially difficult and it would have been easy to 
take out her frustration on Eileen she was especially kind. It was Thanksgiving Day and 
the nurse said to Eileen, ‘I’m in cruddy mood today Eileen, because it was supposed to 
have been my day off. Now that I’m here I’m glad. I would not want to have missed 
seeing you on Thanksgiving Day. Do you know it is Thanksgiving Day? ‘. 

Just then the phone rang. As the nurse reached for the phone she turned to 
Eileen and suddenly she saw something that no one at the care facility had ever seen 
before. Eileen was looking at her and she was crying. Big damp circles stained her 
pillow and she was shaking all over. That was the only human emotion that Eileen 
ever showed to anybody on the staff. And a few days later Eileen died. 

The young nurse closed her story in the campus magazine by saying, ‘ I keep 
thinking about Eileen and it occurred to me that I owe her an awful debt. If I had not 
met Eileen I might never have known what it is like to give myself to someone who 
could never give anything in return.

Mercy is giving to those who cannot return the action. 
Mercy is loving as Jesus loves us. Unconditionally.

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.”

Through the Storm, through the Night…

Romans 8:28 “And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good,

even to them that are called according to his purpose.”

Through the Storm, through the Night…

Back in 1932 I was 32 years old and a fairly new husband. My
wife, Nettie, and I were living in a little apartment on Chicago’s South Side.

One hot August afternoon I had to go to St. Louis, where I was
to be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting. I didn’t want to
go. Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with our first child. But
a lot of people were expecting me in St. Louis.

I kissed Nettie good-bye, clattered downstairs to our Model A
and, in a fresh Lake Michigan breeze, chugged out of Chicago on Route 66.

However, outside the city, I discovered that in my anxiety at
leaving, I had forgotten my music case. I wheeled around and headed back. I found Nettie sleeping peacefully.

I hesitated by her bed; something was strongly telling me to
stay. But eager to get on my way, and not wanting to disturb Nettie, I
shrugged off the feeling and quietly slipped out of the room with my music.

 

The next night, in the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd
called on me to sing again and again. When I finally sat down, a
messenger boy ran up with a Western Union telegram.

 

I ripped open the envelope. Pasted on the yellow sheet were the
words: YOUR WIFE JUST DIED.

 

People were happily singing and clapping around me, but I could
hardly keep from crying out. I rushed to a phone and called home.

 

All I could hear on the other end was “Nettie is dead. Nettie is dead.”

 

When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy.
I swung between grief and joy. Yet that night, the baby died.

 

I buried Nettie and our little boy, both together, in the same
casket. Then I fell apart.

 

For days I closeted myself. I felt that God had done me an
injustice. I didn’t want to serve Him any more or write gospel songs. I
just wanted to go back to that jazz world I once knew so well.

 

But then, as I hunched alone in that dark apartment those first
sad days, I thought back to the afternoon I went to St. Louis. Something
kept telling me to stay with Nettie.

 

Was that something God? Oh, if I had paid more attention to Him
that day, I would have stayed and been with Nettie when she died.

 

From that moment on I vowed to listen more closely to Him. But
still I was lost in grief.

 

Everyone was kind to me, especially a friend, Professor Fry, who
seemed to know what I needed. On the following Saturday evening he took
me up to Malone’s Poro College, a neighborhood music school.

 

It was quiet; the late evening sun crept through the curtained windows. I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse over the keys.

Something happened to me then. I felt at peace. I felt as
though I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody,
one into my head-they just seemed to fall into place:

Precious Lord, take my hand,
lead me on, let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn,
Through the storm, through the night
lead me on to the light,
Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.

As the Lord gave me these words and melody, He also healed my
spirit. I learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when we feel
farthest from God, this is when He is closest, and when we are most open
to His restoring power.

And so I go on living for God willingly and joyfully, until that
day comes when He will take me and gently lead me home.

Tommy Dorsey/ “The Birth of ” Precious Lord

Neil and Rosemary Merckens

“Be still and know that I am God” ~Psalm 46