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?

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!

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.”

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 fleshly 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 fleshly wills. 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.”

Do you see yourself as a Servant…

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that
you present yourselves……………….

 

Do you see yourself as a servant!

You know, it’s a good thing to stop the world for a little while and
go back to where it all started.  In fact, Jesus may be inviting you
even now to go back with Him to where it all began.

In Matthew 28:10 from the Word of God, Jesus has just blasted out
of His grave on Easter morning, and He has a message for His disciples:
“Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see Me.” And
they did. It was there that Jesus told them, “All authority in heaven
and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of
all nations…” (Matthew 28:18-19).

Why this trip by the disciples back to Galilee to be with Jesus?
They were in Jerusalem at the time. That’s a long 90-mile walk from
Galilee. No cars, buses or trains back then. And Jesus would send them
back to Jerusalem to start their mission. So what’s the reason for going
back to Galilee? I believe it was because that’s where it all began.
That’s where they met Christ. That’s where they abandoned everything to
follow Christ. And that’s where they needed to go after all the battles,
the failures, the mountains, and the valleys they had experienced since
they met Jesus and before He launched them on a mission beyond belief.

Jesus may be asking you to go back to your Galilee, to remember
the wonder of what He did to rescue you, the things about Him
that captured your heart then; the time you surrendered fully to His
purposes for your life. All of that tends to get obscured by all the
knowledge you’ve acquired, all the responsibilities you’ve taken on, all
the disappointments and disillusionment, all the complexities of your
life. Jesus is saying, “Come back with Me to where we started, so you
can remember again just who I am, who you are, and just what I’ve
created you to do.”

When you started, it was pretty simple: one man or one woman
following one Savior wherever He was going. And we had that burning
desire to learn more of the One who saved us and the desire to share
that knowledge was almost overwhelming. Now with all the other voices in
your life, it must still be that one man or woman following that one
Savior. He wants to go back to that point where you sensed things that
He was calling you to do. It’s still His calling on your life, no matter
what has happened since then. And there was probably a time and a place
where you totally surrendered to Him – no strings attached – maybe at a
camp, a conference, in church, alone in your room.

If you cannot remember that time the calling in your heart is for you
to do so. Jesus wants all of us. In the beginning of your spiritual walk you didn’t
care where that commitment took you, how much money you had, what sacrifices
would be required. You were all His for whatever He wanted you to be and
do. Maybe that unconditional surrender has become a conditional
surrender, encumbered by your position, your possessions, your
convenience, your comfort, a lot of stuff. And Jesus is calling you back
to that original surrender where it all began.

It’s time to go back to your Galilee – to rekindle your first love
and remember that it’s still all about Jesus. Jesus wants to bring you
back to where it all started so He can take your life where it’s never
gone before!

———————————————————————
Portions from Ron Hutchcrafts (#5087) 11 July 2006
 
Rev. 2:4-5 “But I have this against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love.  Remember therefore whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent.”

Barber Shop or Hair Salon Conversation…

1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready
always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the
hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Barber Shop or Hair Salon Conversation

The Bible tells the born again believer to have an answer for why you believe what your faith is placed in to those who ask you why. This is a good example of an answer to one of the most common reasons people give for ignoring God and His goodness.

A man went to a barber shop to have his hair and his beard cut as always. He began to have a good conversation with the barber who attended him. They talked about so many things and various subjects. Suddenly, they touched on the subject of God.

The barber said: “Look man, I don’t believe that God exists.”

“Why do you say that?” asked the customer.

Well, it’s so easy; you just have to go out in the street to realize that God does not exist. Oh, tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God exists, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can’t think of loving a God who permits all of these things.”

The customer thought for a moment, but he didn’t respond because he did not want to start an argument. Especially as he sat in the chair and the barber was using a scissors to trim his hair…

The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the barber shop, he saw a man in the street with long hair and a beard. It was very long, and a long time since he had his hair cut.

The customer entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: “You know what? Barbers do not exist.”

“How can you say they don’t exist?” asked the surprised barber. “I am here and I am a barber. Why, I just worked on you!”

“No!” the customer exclaimed. “Barbers don’t exist, because if they did there would be no people with long hair and beards like that man who is outside.”

“Ah, barbers do exist, what happens is that people do not come to me.”

“Exactly!”- affirmed the customer.”That’s the point! God does exist. What happens is people don’t go to Him and do not look for Him. They choose to do it their own way. And the way of mankind is sin. That’s why there’s so much pain and suffering in the world.”

Mark 8:36-37 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

So who is to blame for all the ugliness in our world?

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Back to the beginning for the whole story.

 Gen 3:13-19 “And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So, the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.  And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain, you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”

WE ARE TO BLAME! Is there a solution?

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 life everlasting.”

Do you have the Son?

Controlling your Temper…

Proverbs 25:28 “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Proverbs 16:32 “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who
rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”

Controlling your Temper…

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.  His
Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he
lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.
Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger,
the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He
discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those
nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper
at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested
that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able
to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell
his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.
He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the
fence.  The fence will never be the same.  When you say things in
anger, they leave a scar just like this one.  You can put a knife
in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say
I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”

A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.  Friends are
very rare jewels, indeed.  They make you smile and encourage you
to succeed.  They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they
always want to open their hearts to us.”

As with all needs our heavenly Father provides the answer for correcting the problem called anger and also called sin. It goes against our flesh or what part of us feels is the solution. That is because our flesh and the world rebels against God. But to have that peace in our lives that passes worldly understanding we need to implement God’s solutions and deny our fleshly desires. Correcting anger starts here;

Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

The Bible or the TV, you choose…

II Tim 2:15 “Study to show yourself approved to God, a worker
that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Joshua 24:15 “But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites (Americans) in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”

“The Bible or the TV, you choose”
They lie on the table side by side
The Holy Bible and the T.V. remote and Guide.
One is well worn and cherished with pride.
Not the Bible, but the T.V. remote and Guide.
One is used daily to help folks decide.
No, not the Bible, but the T.V. remote and Guide.
As the pages are turned, what shall they see.
Oh, what does it matter, turn on the T.V.
So they open the book in which they confide.
No, not the Bible, but the T.V. remote and Guide.

The Word of God is seldom read.
Maybe a verse before they fall into bed
Exhausted and sleepy and tired as can be.
Not from reading the Bible, from watching T.V.
So then back to the table side by side,
Lie the Holy Bible and the T.V. Guide.
No time for prayer, no time for the Word,
The plan of Salvation is seldom heard.
But forgiveness of sin, so full and free
Is found in the Bible, not on T.V.

Here is great passage to keep in mind when viewing the TV, your computer, thinking of a movie, listening to radio…..

Philip. 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Finding Absolute Truth…

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

Malachi 3:6a “For I am the LORD, I do not change;

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.”

Finding Absolute Truth….

For all you scientists out there and for all the students who have a hard time convincing these people regarding the truth of the Bible…here’s something that shows God’s awesome creation and shows that He is still in control.

Did you know that the Space Program is busy proving that what has been called “myth” in the Bible is true? Mr. Harold Hill, President of the Curtis Engine Company in Baltimore Maryland and a consultant in the space program, relates the Following development:

I think one of the most amazing things that God has for us today happened recently to our astronauts and space scientists at Green Belt, Maryland. They were checking the position of the sun, moon, and planets out in space where they would be 100 years and 1000 years from now. We have to know this so we won’t send a satellite, up and have it bump into something later on its orbits. We have to lay out the orbits in terms of the life of the satellite, and where the planets will be so the whole thing will not bog down.

They ran the computer measurement back and forth over the Centuries and it came to a halt. The computer stopped and put-up a red signal, which meant that there was something wrong either with the information fed into it or with the results as compared to the standards.

They called in the service department to check it out and they asked, “What’s wrong?” Well, they found there is a day missing in space in elapsed time. They scratched their heads and tore their hair. There was no answer.

Finally, a Christian man on the team said, “You know, one time I was in Sunday school and they talked about the sun standing still.” While they didn’t believe him, they didn’t have an answer either, so they said, “Show us”.

He got a Bible and went back to the book of Joshua where they found a pretty ridiculous statement for any one with ‘common sense.’ There they found the Lord saying to Joshua, “Fear them not, I have delivered them into thy hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee.”

Joshua was concerned because he was surrounded by the enemy and if darkness fell they would overpower them. So Joshua asked the Lord to make the sun stand still! That’s right, “The sun stood still and the moon stayed—and hastened not to go down about a whole day!”

The astronauts and scientists said, “There is the missing day!” They checked the computers going back into the time it was written and found it was close but not close enough. The elapsed time that was missing back in Joshua’s day was 23 hours and 20 minutes-not a whole day.

They read the Bible and there it was “about (approximately) a day” These little words in the Bible are important, but they were still in trouble because if you cannot account for 40 minutes you’ll still be in trouble 1,000 years from now. Forty minutes had to be found because it can be multiplied many times over in orbits.

As the Christian employee thought about it, he remembered somewhere in the Bible where it said the sun went BACKWARDS. The scientists told him he was out of his mind, but they got out the Book and read these words in 2 Kings. Hezekiah, on his deathbed, was visited by the prophet Isaiah who told him that he was not going to die.

Hezekiah asked for a sign as proof. Isaiah said “Do you want the sun to go ahead 10 degrees?” Hezekiah said “It is nothing for the sun to go ahead 10 degrees, but let the shadow return backwards 10 degrees. Isaiah spoke to the Lord and the Lord brought the shadow ten degrees BACKWARD!

Ten degrees is exactly 40 minutes! Twenty-three hours and 20 minutes in Joshua, plus 40 minutes in Second Kings make the missing day in the universe!

Isn’t it amazing? Our God provides all the truth and direction needed for our lives. All we must do is believe and seek!

References:
Joshua 10:8 and 12, 13; 2 Kings 20:9-11

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

If God said it, I believe it and that settles it……!