Baseball and getting Home Safe…

Eph 2:8a “For by Grace are you saved through faith…”

Baseball and getting Home Safe…

Bob and the Lord stood by to watch a baseball game.

The Lord’s team was playing Satan’s team.  The Lord’s team was at bat,
the score was tied zero to zero, and it was the bottom of the 9th inning
with two outs.

They continued to watch as a batter stepped up to the plate whose name
was Love.  Love swung at the first pitch and hit a single, because Love
never fails.

The next batter was named Faith, who also got a single because Faith
works with Love.

The next batter up was named Godly Wisdom.  Satan wound up and threw the
first pitch.  Godly Wisdom looked it over and let it
pass: Ball one. Three more pitches and Godly Wisdom walked, because
Godly wisdom never swings at what Satan throws.

The bases were loaded The Lord then turned to Bob and told him He was
now going to bring in His star player.  Up to the plate stepped Grace.

Bob said “He sure doesn’t look like much!”  Satan’s whole team relaxed
when they saw Grace.  Thinking he had won the game, Satan wound up and
fired his first pitch.  To the shock of everyone, Grace hit the ball
harder than anyone had ever seen.

But Satan was not worried; his center fielder let very few get by.
He went up for the ball, but it went right through his glove, hit him on
the head and sent him crashing on the ground; then it continued over the
fence for a home run!  The Lord’s team won.

The Lord then asked Bob if he knew why Love, Faith, and Godly Wisdom
could get on base but could not win the game.  Bob answered that he did
not know why.

The Lord explained, “If your love, faith and wisdom had won the game you
would think you had done it by yourself.  Love, faith and wisdom will
get you on base, but only My Grace can get you home.
My Grace is the one thing Satan cannot steal.”

Eph 2:8, 9 “For by Grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is a gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

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.”

Going to the Movie…

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or
praiseworthy – think about such things.”

Going to the Movie…

A father of some teenage children had the family rule that they could not attend PG-13 or R rated movies. His three teens wanted to see a particular popular movie that was playing at local theaters. It was rated PG-13. The teens interviewed friends and even some members of their family’s church to find out what was offensive in the movie. The teens made a list of pros and cons about the movie to use to convince their dad that they should be allowed to see it.

The Cons were:

– It contained ONLY 3 swear words
– The ONLY violence was a building exploding (and you see that on TV all
the time they said)
– You actually did not “see” the couple in the movie having sex, it was
just implied sex, off camera.

The pros were:
– It was a popular movie, (a blockbuster).
– Everyone was seeing it.
– If the teens saw the movie then they would not feel left out when their
friends discussed it.
– The movie contained a good story and plot.
– It had some great adventure and suspense in it.
– There were some fantastic special effects in this movie.
– The movie’s stars were some of the most talented actors in Hollywood.
– It probably would be nominated for several awards.
– Many of the members of their church had actually seen the movie and said
it wasn’t “very bad.”

They then said that, since there were more pros than cons, they
were asking their father to reconsider his position on just this ONE
movie and let them have permission to go see it.

The father looked at the list and thought for a few minutes. He said he could tell his children had spent some time and thought on this request. He asked if he could have a day to think about it before making his decision. The teens were thrilled thinking; “Now we’ve got him! Our argument is too good! Dad can’t turn us down!” So, they happily agreed to let him have a day to think about their request.

The next evening the father called his three teenagers, who were smiling smugly, into the living room. There on the coffee table he had a plate of brownies. The teens were puzzled. The father told his children he had thought about their request and had decided that if they would eat one of these brownies, then he would let them go to the movie. But, he explained, just like the movie, the brownies had pros and cons.

The Pros were:
– They were made with the finest chocolate and other good ingredients.
– They had the added special effect of yummy walnuts in them.
– The brownies were moist and fresh with wonderful chocolate frosting on top.
– He had made these fantastic brownies using an award-winning recipe.
– And best of all, the brownies had been made lovingly by the hand of their own father.

The brownies only had one con:
He had included a little bit of a special ingredient. The brownies also contained just a little bit of dog poop. But he had mixed the dough well and they probably would not even be able to taste the dog poop and he had baked it at 350 degrees so any bacteria or germs from the dog poop had probably been destroyed. Therefore, if any of his children could stand to eat the brownies which included just a “little bit of crap” and not be affected by it, then he knew they would also be able to see the movie with “just a little bit of smut” and not be affected.

Of course, none of the teens would eat the brownies and the smug smiles had left their faces. Only Dad was smiling as they left the room. Now when his teenagers ask permission to do something he is opposed to the father just asks, “Would you care for a brownie?”

Of course this is talking to adults as well as children. Satan seems to plant a seed that says the adult mind can handle those brownies and the children cannot.

Think about it. Is your stomach or mind affected by those brownies as an adult? Don’t be deceived.

I Cor 5:6b “…do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?”

And age makes no difference……………..

Pursuing a Spiritual MBA…

Pursuing a Spiritual MBA

Real truth with a spiritual MBA is available to us. It comes
through the teaching of the Holy Spirit and of course the Holy Spirit uses

His text material, the Word of God. You can obtain it if you….

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. ”

Be careful when pursuing your Spiritual MBA. There are some sources in worldly high places not worth listening to…they see God’s truths as not relevant for today. And are foolishness for directing our lives. They are called the unsaved or not ‘born again’.

I Cor 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God:  for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

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

Why is it that many times the things I think are appropriate are really not what God sees as appropriate? Even when I feel I am lined up with God and His will for my life. That being the case then I need to trust God even if my inner self does not agree.

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.”

Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seems right unto men, BUT the ends thereof are the ways of death.”

It will take commitment and obtaining your reference material from the
one source of truth we have in this world.

II Tim 3:16 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness:”

2 Peter 1:20,21 “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.  For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Now that we understand how important it is to pursue God’s truth and values and we know where to find them then here is one final exam. Who is the owner of truth?

John 14:6 “And Jesus said unto them, I am the way, the truth and the
life, no one comes to the Father, BUT BY ME!”

Now that we know where truth resides we can focus on reading it and letting it change us so we can truly be educated in the things that matter for eternity!

Have a great day seeking and serving Jesus!

HAPPY STUDYING…

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.”

With Jesus as your Savior then ALL IS GOOD…

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them
that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

With Jesus as your Savior then ALL IS GOOD!

The story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend
with whom he grew up.  The friend had a habit of looking at every
situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and
remarking, “This is good!”

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition.
The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had
apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after
taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off.

Examining the situation the friend remarked as usual, “This is good!”

To which the king replied, “No, this is NOT good!” and proceeded
to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he
should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took them
to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake
and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they
noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they
never ate anyone that was less than whole. So untying the king, they
sent him on his way.

As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken
his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went
immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. “You were right,” he
said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off. And he proceeded to tell
the friend all that had just happened. “And so I am very sorry for
sending you to jail for so long. It was bad of me to do this.”

“No” his friend replied, “This is good!”

“What do you mean, “This is good?” How could it be good that I sent my
friend to jail for a year?”

“If I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you when you were
captured.”

Situations may not always seem pleasant while we are in them,
but the promise of God is clear. If we love Him and live our lives
according to His precepts, even that which seems to be bleak and
hopeless will be turned by God for His glory and our benefit.

— Author Unknown

Romans 8:28-30 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”  

If Jesus is your Savior then ALL IS GOOD!

The Real CHRISTian…

The Real CHRISTian…

 I Pet 2:9-10 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a
holy nation,, His own people, THAT YOU MAY PROCLAIM the
praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had
not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”

A.W. Tozier

“The real Christian is an odd human being anyway. The Christian
feels supreme love for One he has never seen, he talks everyday with
Someone he cannot see, he expects to go to heaven on the virtue of
Someone else, he empties himself in order to be full, he admits he is
wrong so he can be declared right, he goes down in order to get up, he
is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is the poorest,
happiest when he feels the worst, he dies so he can live, he forsakes in
order to have, he gives away so he can keep he sees the invisible, hears
the inauditable, knows that which passes knowledge.”

The test. What is your life proclaiming? And of course remember, the
biblical requirement for being a Christian is that, ‘you must be born again’

Acts 11:26 “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch.
And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with
the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called
Christians first in Antioch.”

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.”

HAVE A GREAT DAY SERVING JESUS and remember what real
priorities Jesus would have you to practice!!!!