Stay the course, Fight the good fight…

I Tim 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith…”

Stay the course….A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into
the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule ‘braying’ — or –whatever
mules do when they fall into wells.

After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with
the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the
trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told
them what had happened…and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the
old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his
neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back…a thought
struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of
dirt landed on his back…HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP!

This he did, blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up…shake it off
and step up…shake it off and step up!” he repeated to encourage himself.

No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the
old mule fought “panic” and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING
UP!

You’re right! It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted,
STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THAT WELL! What seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him… All because of the manner in which he
handled his adversity. HEY THAT’S LIFE!

If we face our problems and respond to them positively and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity… THE ADVERSITIES THAT COME ALONG TO BURY US USUALLY HAVE WITHIN THEM THE POTENTIAL TO BENEFIT AND BLESS US! As our Lord states in Romans 8:28, all things truly can work together for good in our lives when we are focused on Him instead of ourselves.

Remember that FORGIVENESS–FAITH–PRAYER–PRAISE and HOPE all are
excellent ways to “SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP” out of the wells in which
we find ourselves!

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Simply put; Stay the Course and Fight the Fight for the Glory of Jesus Name!!!!!!

Jesus is coming to Earth again…

Jesus is Coming to Earth Again!!!

Jesus came the first time as the Lamb of God to be sacrificed for the sins of mankind. Anyone trusting in Him and His sacrifice for their sins will spend eternity with Him. Most expected Him to come the first time as a ruling King and rescue the Jewish nation from the slavery and control of Rome. His first coming was recorded in…

Mat 2:1, 2, 11 “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’ And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down AND WORSHIPPED HIM.”

Did you know that Jesus is coming AGAIN as a Lion from the tribe of Judah|||||?

Dan 12:2-4 “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine, like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

All of mankind must choose between Jesus and eternity with Him or… Some to everlasting death (hell) and some to everlasting life with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So, how do I make sure that I am with Jesus for eternity and not doomed to everlasting punishment?

Acts 16:31 “So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Note scripture does not say to add any trust in your Church, your good deeds, your wealth or any other work you do to be saved and spend eternity with Jesus. So, which Judgment Seat will you be at when Jesus returns? If you are not 100% sure of where you will spend eternity now is the time to find out.

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Titus 3:5 “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit”

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

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.”

Everyone placing their faith for where they will spend eternity into something. How about your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers……..? What are you placing your faith in? 

Romans 10:14 “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him?

And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him?

And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”

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.”

The Faith of our America’s Founders…

2 Chron. 7:14a “If my people…”

The Faith of America’s Founders…

Founding Faith!

In this difficult time for our country it does us well to remember and build on the faith of our founding fathers! Note how they were not afraid to reference Jesus as their source of strength!!
How about us? When is the last time we gave credit to Jesus for something in our lives and the unsaved world heard us?

George Washington, father of our country, first president of the United States said;

“Bless O Lord the whole race of mankind, and let the world be filled with knowledge of Thee and Thy Son, Jesus Christ.” “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” “Of all the habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. . . . Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” (From his farewell speech, 1796).

Patrick Henry, American Revolutionary leader:
“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians: not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States:

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

Benjamin Franklin, At the Constitutional Convention of 1787:
“I have lived long, Sir, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. . . . My views . . . are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from the anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruption’s of Christianity, I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be; sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others.”

Prayer that opened the first Continental Congress in September, 1774:

“My soul shall be joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in his salvation. . . .
Awake and rise to my defense” Contend for me, my God and Lord” (Psalm 35:9, 23)

John Adams, on that prayer;

“Who can realize the emotions with which they turned imploringly to heaven for divine interposition and aid? It was enough . . . to melt a heart of stone. It seemed as if heaven had ordained that Psalm
to be read that day.”

George Washington:

“Direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the Lamb, and purge my heart by Thy Holy Spirit. . . Daily frames me more and more into the likeness of Thy Son Jesus Christ.”

Alexander Hamilton, signer of the Constitution:

“I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy.”

So, how important is it that I vote on who takes office and on what promise or principles do I base my vote on? Material or moral promises? You decide. That is one of the blessings we have in America. We can decide…..

2 Chron. 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Eph 6:12-13 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

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.”

Who Packs your Parachute…

I John 5:11-13 “And this is the record that God has given to us Eternal Life and that life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life and he who has not the Son of God has not life. These things have I written unto you who believe on the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have Eternal Life and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

Who Packs your Parachute…

Charles Plumb, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was a jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands.

He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.

Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!”

Plumb assured him, “It sure did, if your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said “Good morning, How are you?” or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was a sailor.

Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?”

Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day.

Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory-he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason.

The real parachute!

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

I John 5:13 “These things have I written unto you who believe on the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have Eternal Life and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.”