Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Quiet Time: Be Boastful

BE BOASTFUL
 
1 Praise the LORD!
            Praise God in His sanctuary;
            Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
2 Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
            Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
            Praise the LORD!
Psalm 150:1-2 & 6 

Praise: to be boastful. To be blown away.

It should be easy to praise God in church. After all, corporate worship is basically boasting about the God we love. From Fanny Crosby to Chris Tomlin faithful psalmists have worked hard designing songs boasting about God’s greatness. But when was the last time you did?

I hear someone saying, “I can’t carry a tune much less write one.” Well, that may be true, but you can probably string together a few lines of poetry. Check out No Talent No Problem.

The psalmist was blown away by the God of Israel. He looked at the world He created, saw the signs and wonders of the seasons, the preciseness of times, days, and years (Genesis 1:14) and was moved to write a song boasting of God’s greatness 

TODAY:
Spend time today observing the preciseness of God’s creation. Notice how everything happens within a very specific period of time.

Remind yourself throughout the day, “This moment was created by God.”

Write a song or poem boasting about how God showed Himself through the moments He created today. 

PRAY:
LORD, help me to live today mindful of the moments You have created. By Your grace, I will praise You for You have created all things for Your glory; including me.
 
 
 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Quiet Time: I Can Know


Sarolta Bán (Digital Artist)
I Can Know
Knowledge is powerful

"Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
- Deuteronomy 7:9
I can know:
 God personally
   God as LORD of my life.
      He alone is God.
         He is faithful.
            He keeps His covenant (agreement, pledge, promise).
               He keeps His lovingkindess (devotion, unchanging love).
                   This knowledge will impact future generations.
                       Future generations will be drawn to love and follow Him.
   This is a promise that extends beyond today, tomorrow, and time eternal.

If I say that I know God personally as LORD of my life, the only God, Who is faithful, true, and loving; then, I will love Him. If I love Him; then, I will keep His commandments (John 14:15 & 1 John 2:3).

If I keep His commandments, then,  my love for God will be evident to those around me. If my love for God is evident, then, my children and my children’s children will see this relationship. If they see, then they will believe, If they believe then...

 
 
 PRAYER SUGGESTION: Go back a contemplatively read through the "I can knows" turning each line into a personal prayer. (ie: Thank you God for making yourself known. Help me to get to know you better each day.)
 
 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Quiet Time: Hedges and Highways

Hedges and Highways
A DIY approach to thorn bush removal

The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns, But the path of the upright is a highway. – Proverbs 15:19

 
“If you want to know the easiest way to do something; watch a lazy man work.”

The first time I heard this statement, I found it funny. But, it cannot be true. Because, a lazy man simply will not spend the time it takes to think through a job, let alone, accomplish it in the most effective and efficient manner.

The bible actually contrasts the slothful man with a person who pleases God. I suppose that’s how laziness made it to the list of “Seven Deadly Sins”. 7 Deadly Sins 
Consequently, there’s a promise in this verse for the Christ follower to remember: God makes the right walking man’s way sure like a raised well trodden road in the wilderness.  This sure sounds better than the dark overgrown briar patch path in the woods for the sluggard.
Sometimes what is perceived as laziness is actually a lack of knowledge. That’s why I love “How To” books. We can actually learn a lot about overcoming laziness from them. I have one that has grown  dog-eared from use over the years. It is easy to follow and chock full of illustrations, as well as, the perfunctory step by step approach to completing the task that most all DIY books list.

Taking the DIY approach, may be helpful in avoiding laziness.
First, we pray for God to help us do the project for His glory (1 Cor. 10:31). Next, act with knowledge by actually reading the instruction pamphlet (Prov. 13:16). Then, get advise; or, at least check YouTube , especially, if it’s something we’ve never done before (Prov. 11:14). Finally, make a list of all the tools and parts needed laying them out where they’re easy to reach (1 Cor. 14:40). Finally, just do it (Prov. 14:23).
My attic ladder installation list
 
 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Song Series: I Have Decided


I HAVE DECIDED

I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word. – Psalm 119:101

I HAVE RESTRAINED:
Every person makes a choice.

MY FEET:
Feet walk us where we want to go.

FROM EVERY EVIL WAY: 
evil is real and can be pursued.

THAT I MAY KEEP YOUR WORD:
the Word can be rejected as well as, accepted.

The first dinner date my wife, Deseri, and I had was to a lakeside restaurant located in a very rural area of our state. I wanted to make a good first impression, so, I chose the secluded café for its noted ambiance and beautifully prepared meals.  Night fell as we drove to the place and, to make matters worse, a terrific thunderstorm set in within the first few miles of our leaving the main highway (no GPS back then). Visibility was terrible; we could hardly see the street, let alone street signs.  After a couple of hours on the back roads, we finally found our way to the interstate only to discover that we had traveled nearly one hundred miles in the wrong direction. The good news is, she married me anyway!
Sometimes our plans are good, our pace is routine, but our path is uncertain because we have no map to check once the storm sets in. Except for the grace of God, we would never find our way back to the right road.  
Every person makes a choice every day to walk in the Way or to walk away.

1. Determine to follow God’s plan.

2. Surrender to God’s pace.

3. Follow God’s path.

4. Check God’s print.
 
 
 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Song Series: Let Us Adore


Let Us Adore
Using more than half a heart

 7Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. 8And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship (adore)  Him.” – Matthew 2:7-8

Herod had Jesus in the midst of his kingdom but nowhere near his heart.
The magi had Jesus in their hearts while they were nowhere near their kingdom.

Herod said that he wanted to join the magi in worshipping the Christ child; but, what he really wanted to do was murder Him. So, how can a person like Herod, who knew so much about the coming Messiah, be so far from knowing Him as Savior? Because Herod had no faith.  And 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 seek Him.(Hebrews 11:6).

It took at least two years for the magi to reach Jesus. Now that’s faith. When they found Him, “ they fell to the ground and worshiped Him.” (Matthew 2:10) TWO YEARS, before their faith became sight. And the first thing they did was fall down.

I recently read an article title NIGERIA: CHRISTMAS IN MAIDUGURI,  by Voice of the Martyrs, describing how “Dozens of children clapped and sang as a Christmas celebration began in a Maiduguri church. Although they were among the thousands of Christians who fled Islamic extremist violence in northern Nigeria, inside, there were smiles and songs.” These kids and their parents were forcibly driven from their villages, presently living as refugees, and unable to return to their homes, yet, they had the joy of Jesus ringing in their hearts. That is worship…that is faith…that is….so, convicting. 

“Let Us Adore”, is the 11th track on the Wake Up the Wonder album by Elevation Worship, it is an acuminating song reminding the worshiper that Jesus deserves to be adored with abandon. The first verse reads:

For the unclean, the unholy

For the broken, the unworthy

You came, Jesus You came

For the wounded, for the hurting

For the lost and for the lonely

You came, Jesus you came

 

May-be we need to make a concerted effort to get away from  the familiar things that distract our hearts from all Jesus is this Christmas to better remember why we adore Him.

 
 
 

 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Quiet Time: God in the Darkness


God in the Darkness
Pressing On In God's Presence
 
"The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." – Deuteronomy 31:8

A pastor friend recently shared how God often shows up in the darkness.

So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. – Exodus 19:16

And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. – Matthew 14:25

One thing struck me: How God sometimes cloaks Himself in order to grow our faith. Like the Hebrews and even Moses (Heb. 12:21) we may be full of fear; but, soon enough we find that His presence dispels our panic.

It’s easy to freeze when fears arise; however, if we press on, like Joshua (Deut. 31:8), we soon find the promises of God made sweet by His presence.
How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
- Psalm 119:103

Honestly, I don’t always see God in the circumstances, but that’s okay. I know He’s near; even when my faith is small.  
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)
And that is enough to keep moving forward.
 

You can't wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time.
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Quiet Time: Trust Takes Time


Trust Takes Time

For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest upon the land of the righteous, So that the righteous will not put forth their hands to do wrong. – Psalm 125:3

Recently, someone very close to me revealed that they’d been living a lie. I listened quietly to their confession and worked hard at not being judgmental. Frankly, their bad behavior really had no affect on me “personally”, but it certainly affected my personal relationship with them. It’s going to take some time before I trust them again.

Interestingly, the reason this loved one gave for moving in the wrong direction was their weariness in doing what they knew was right when everyone around them dispassionately did what was wrong. In other words, they simply became tired of trusting God.

When Christ followers lose their ability to patiently endure, they also lose their ability to walk in fellowship with Christ.  We realize that our personal relationship with Jesus is affected by sin, and sin hurts (Psalm 32:3-4). But we are also encouraged that our Advocate stands ready to forgive (1 John 2:1). Albeit, the consequences of our actions continue.

 God’s word tells us to trust Him, regardless of the circumstances, because He’s not only the test giver but the time keeper; and, trust takes time.

Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. – Psalm 126:5

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. – Galatians 6:9

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. – 2 Corinthians 4:17

 

You get to choose: the bruise of offense or the balm of obedience.
 
 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Quiet Time: Get Out


Get Out

You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word.
Depart from me, you evil ones, so that I may obey my God's commands.
– Psalm 119:115-116

Get out of my house!

That’s exactly what I’d tell anyone who disrespected my family with foul language or rogue behavior.

Reading this verse reminded me that, often times, not only do I not push evil away; I treat it as a welcomed guest in my home.

If I’m not careful, I find myself agreeing with the belligerent political pundit, laughing at the foul mouthed comedian, or sneering with the hateful movie hero extracting his own brand of vigilante justice.

It is difficult to wait on a word from the Lord when the majority of time is spent ingesting the world.

Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God. – Psalm 119:115 (NLT)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Song Series: Only King Forever

Only King Forever by Elevation Church

Celebrating God's faithfulness

Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us."  - 1 Samuel 7:12

I've been working on this song from Elevation Church and was encouraged by the testimony from their worship leader:

"The banner over our lives is Jesus. We may try to put our faith in things that may fail us..., but Jesus will never fail, His love will endure forever, His promise is everlasting; He is a faithful King."  - Wade Joye, Elevation Worship

Up to this point in 1 Samuel the Israelites had suffered defeat at the hands of the Philistines.

Point of fact, this was the very place "between Mizpah and Shen", where the arc of the covenant, which represented God's presence in the midst of His people,  was forcibly taken from them in battle (1 Samuel 4:1)

But here we see a new day dawning. The old defeats and personal failures have been overcome by the LORD their helper and God was again in their midst.

Victory  is found in Christ alone; when victory comes, be sure and set the stone.





Friday, October 10, 2014

Quiet Time: Time to Turn


Time to Turn

but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. – 1 John 1:7

You don’t feel close to Christ.

Walk right and you will.

Christian, come back to Christ.

Remember the good way (Jeremiah 6:16),

Repent, and be refreshed (Acts 3:19).

Thus says the LORD, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' – Jeremiah 6:16  

"Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; - Acts 3:19
 
There is no place you’d rather be.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Quiet Time: Blasphemy


Blasphemy!


The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" - Luke 5:21



In light of recent events, I’ve been trying to understand the Muslim belief system. From what I’ve studied thus far, it seems a bit like the works based faith of the religious leaders who accused Jesus of blasphemy back in His day (Luke 5:21)

According to one Christian theologian, blasphemy is showing contempt or a lack of reverence for God or something sacred. A violation of the third commandment, it was punishable by death (Lev. 24:15-16).

I suppose this is one reason Islamic adherents are killing those who don’t believe what Muhammad said the angel Gabriel told him back in the 6th century.

People tell me that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. I don’t see how this could be true.

A Christ follower believes that Jesus is indeed, the Son of God and “In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9).

Furthermore, we sometimes pray to Him just like Stephen did (Acts 7:59) call on His name for salvation as every believer does (Acts 2:21) and worship Jesus just as early disciples did; and, as all believers will do in heaven according to (Matthew 14:33 & 28:17, Luke 24:52, John 20:28; Revelation 5:11-14).

It seems to me that there is no way to reconcile a Christ follower to the disciple of Muhammad since Christians worship and live for Christ by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit for the glory of God the Father (2 Corinthians 5:15) and, that, according to the Quran, is blasphemy.

I do see one HUMONGOUS difference: salvation is a GIFT (Acts 11:17-18).

No man can be forced to freely believe, love and worship Christ as his Savior and Lord.


For further study:
 Jesus in Islam
Understanding and Answering Islam

Here's a site with a few podcast that may be helpful:
Islam a Conversaion




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Quiet Time: God Is Unshakable

God Is Unshakable

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance – Romans 5:3-4

God is unshakable, therefore, our confidence is unwavering.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Quiet Time: Have It All

Have It All
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance… - James 1:2-3

An unbelieving friend of mine, who’s pretty well off commented, “I know God has blessed me,” but I wondered, why do you think its God Who’s “blessing” you?

I once listened to a former New Age guru give his testimony on how, before coming to know Christ, he had worldly riches and power. A high position, money, lots of stuff, and according to him, even some sort of super-natural power to accomplish things in his career that his competition were unable to see, let alone do.

Then he said something I’ll never forget, “Satan will give you whatever it takes to keep you from Jesus.”

I thought, “Wait a minute; the Devil is going to give me what I want?” Ponder that; what if success is the worst, not the best, thing that could ever happen to us?

After all, the children of Israel turned their backs on God once the hard times were over and riches flowed in the “land of milk and honey”, the wisest man in the world said “A man is tested by the praise accorded him.” (Proverbs 27:21) Jesus said we’re headed for trouble when everyone talks good about us (Luke 6:26).

The point I’m making is not that we should want pain over prosperity, but that, for the Christ follower, pain reveals something that prosperity never will; true faith. It isn’t that we need trials in order to have salvation, but trials do have a way of showing us that our faith is real.

I like what a pastor friend of mine says,
“God doesn’t waste pain on His children.”

Question: When something difficult unexpectedly comes your way do you immediately seek your Father’s face or do you immediately seek a way of escape?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Quiet Time: No Confidence

No Confidence

For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh – Philippians 3:3

Expert advice is everywhere.

I take college classes at night. Every course that requires a written essay also requires expert references for and against the subject matter.

It seems that the professor isn’t at all interested in my personal opinion on a subject. He wants to know if I truly understand the intricacies as learned from the leading men and women, usually PhDs, who have mastered the particular field of study.

A true believer does not come to Christ by knowledge alone. In fact, sometimes he comes to Christ in spite of what his head tells him he should do. His confidence is found not within himself, but in Christ Who died for his sins and Who rose again from the dead. His present, as well as, his future is in Jesus’ hands.


Christ followers have confidence in Christ alone.



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Quiet Time: Praise the LORD Together

Praise the LORD Together
 
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord! – Psalm 150:6

Deseri, my wife, and I just finished having our quiet times as we sat together on the patio listening to the birds and enjoying the early morning coolness.

We both were reading quietly to ourselves from Psalm 150, but then, seeing that I had paused to look up at her, she began reading out loud from Psalm 1 (a favorite of mine).

While she was reading I remembered an old Ron Kenoly recording titled “Let Everything that Has Breath” and looked it up on the laptop.

We listened to the song together and my hands spontaneously raised to heaven while my heart filled with the peace and joy from the presence of the Lord.

As the song finished, Deseri, slipped her hand in mine and we began to pray through Psalm 1 and Psalm 150:

Lord, You bless us by Your word; help us to meditate upon it both day and night that we might be like trees planted by streams of living water which yield their fruit in their season, and who’s leaf does not whither, and in whatever we do we will prosper.

Oh, God, we praise You!

Help us to praise you not only in Your sanctuary but also in Your mighty expanse; for all Your mighty deeds and Your excellent greatness.

Father, may we use everything at our disposal to praise You. Every instrument and every breath of our  lives.

Oh God, let everything that has breath praise You, Lord!

PRAISE THE LORD!

Amen.
 
Ron Kenoli - "Let Everything That Has Breath"
 
 

 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Quiet Time: United In Prayer


United In Prayer

These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. – Acts 1:14

I met with a group of pastors for prayer yesterday. No business was discussed, no marketing strategies, or talk about new church programs and old church problems. No, we simply prayed.

Many tears were shed as different pastors led in prayer for the specific needs of those present in the meeting. Then even more were shed as we prayed for God’s name to be lifted high and for many souls to be saved; for Christ follower’s hearts to be renewed, and the church revived, all for the glory of Christ Jesus our Lord.

What struck me though was the devotion of these men to gather for prayer. Sure we expect pastors to pray, after all, that’s a part of their job, right?

No, it is a calling on the life of every believer in Christ. From the eldest to the youngest, male or female; we need to unite in prayer with one heart and one mind to the glory and praise of our Heavenly Father, regularly.

The pastors gathered because their hearts long to see the reality of the indwelling Christ made evident in the lives of His people.

One way we make Christ evident  is when we devote ourselves regularly to prayer.

So, who have you prayed with lately?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Quiet Time: Happy for You


Happy for You

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. – Romans 12:15

It often seems like men live as if they’re in competition with one another.  

Therefore, I suppose it is quite unnatural for us to rejoice when something good happens to our “competitors”.

And yet, here we see that God explicitly desires us to be happy when good things happen to others. As a matter of fact God wants us to be joyful in all types of uncommon and even uneasy situations.

God wants us to be ecstatic when someone comes to know Christ as Savior and Lord (Luke 15:7). Not only then, but we’re to rejoice that our own names are written down in the Book of Life (Luke 10:20). How about the challenge to be glad when men persecute us for being followers of Christ? (Matthew 5:12)

Doesn't it seem with most biblical commands, that what we’re being told to do often goes against what we naturally want to do?

Therefore, it makes sense that rejoicing takes faith-filled practice. In other words, we rejoice even when we don't "feel" like it.

Why not stop right now and thank God for how He has blessed someone else. Then ask Him to help you  get excited about the things that cause Him joy.

 Favorite Song of All by The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Monday, September 1, 2014

Quiet Time: Bearing Burdens

Bearing Burdens
 
Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ
– Galatians 6:2

I feel your pain. Really?

As a young boy I remember how easily I’d cry when people would share their pain and prayer requests at Wednesday night prayer meetings. It seemed so easy back then to put myself into their family’s situation and sense the anguish that mom was experiencing over a seriously ill child or the worry that came with a dad’s job loss.

Somewhere along the line, though, it became wrong to emotionally connect with another’s sorrow. That was something that men just didn’t do. So, I learned to listen with stoic indifference. It never seemed right; it wasn’t right.

The bible tells me to help “bear” or carry the heavy load of a fellow Christ follower. I picture a person about to fall under a heavy weight. He’s going down fast, but right before he falls and is crushed by the hardship, a brother steps up and helps shoulder the load. The burden is still present, but now it’s lighter and a little less “burdensome”.

On a side note: I love large church gatherings,  but there’s something to be said for what today is called “Small Group Bible Study”. This is where people can really connect; especially if it is in a home setting. There’s just something about being in someone’s living room that makes it easier to be open and real. “Doing life together” is a little cliché now a days, but that’s really what happens in a small group.

I’m learning to feel another's pain gain. I even find myself tearing up when listening to a pain-filled prayer requests. I do indeed pray for the need, but now I find myself also asking God how I might help lighten the load.

Bearing one another’s burdens helps us to fulfill the law by loving our neighbor as ourselves.

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." – Galatians 5:14
 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Quiet Time: The Wife of My Youth


The Wife of My Youth

He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14"Yet you say, 'For what reason?' Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.
– Malachi 2:13-14

When I pray for Deseri, I often use the term, “The wife of my youth”. It helps me remember how long we’ve been together (friends since 4th grade) as well as, our covenant marriage relationship (this September makes 30 years).
I hate being sideways with her, and according to this scripture, God doesn’t like it much either.
Honestly, no one likes to be at odds with their spouse; that means, GUYS, treating our wives as if they are anything other than cherished companions will keep God from receiving our worship and may even hinder our prayers ( 1 Peter 3:7) Further more it gives satan an undeserved foothold toward taking down the relationship (Ephesians 4:27)
An older friend once told me, after he and his wife ended their marriage of forty plus years, “Doug, when you put God out, you let the devil in.”

Guys, may I step on your toes?
Do not go to worship today without getting things right with your wife first; and, going forward, get things right, right away.
 
Cherish the Treasure - Steve Greene
 
 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Quiet Time: An Excellent Wife


An Excellent Wife
No Pushing Please
 
An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.
– Proverbs 31:10

Behind every man is a good woman pushing him out the door.

My pastor friend likes saying that, and to a point, it’s kind of true; that’s what makes it so funny.

But, one thing I love about my wife is how she nudges instead of pushes me when I overlook the obvious. I call her, “My Other Conscience”, because she often helps me refocus on righteousness with a quiet word or a gentle touch.

For example: when I’m in a conversation and I cut off the person who’s talking, Deseri nudges me ever so slightly to let me know that I’m being rude. Or, if I’m watching a movie (I like action movies) that has foul language, she’ll let out a little, “Oh!” and that’s my cue to find another movie to watch.

I don’t think an excellent wife is found; she is given – by God, and she helps her husband gather the treasure that truly matters.
 
Check out this old song by Buddy Greene "A Virtuouse Woman"
 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Quiet Time: Help My Unblief


Help My Unblief

Immediately the boy's father cried out and said, "I do believe; help my unbelief."  - Mark 9:24

Why it is that one person has the faith to believe in the Christ while another does not?

Do some people not have faith because they are more skeptical, analytical, or worldly wise than others?

History proves this not to be so. Many skeptics have come to know Christ in a real and personal way.

Some of the better known former skeptics are C.S. Lewis, Professor Antony Flew, and Dr. Hugh Ross, not to mention, of course, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, Alister Mcgrath, and Ann Rice. All of these people are more intelligent and critically sharper than the average Joe; but that doesn’t answer my question.
 
I went back to the bible to see what it had to say about how a person actually gets “saved”.

Here are a few verses that came to mind:

·         God draws.  (John 6:44) No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

·         The Holy Spirit convicts.  (John 16:8-10) And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;…

·         The Word speaks. (John 15:22) "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

·         Man Understands.  (Romans 1:20) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

So God draws a person to Jesus, The Holy Spirit convicts the person that Jesus died for his sin, the Jesus confirms what the Spirit convicts, and the man understands (even without the bible, if I’m reading that right) to the point that he will be judged in accordance with his understanding without excuse.

Simply put, I see that the question of why one believes and another does not as boiling down to God’s sovereignty to draw and man’s ability to accept or reject.

How God’s unconditional love is juxtaposed with His holiness and righteous judgment for all humanity is beyond my feeble comprehension, but it is not beyond my ability to trust His omniscience.

 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Quiet Time: Bragging Rights

Bragging Rights

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips. – Proverbs 27:2

 I loathe political ads.
In most cases, the ads convey the candidate’s message, “I’m super but the other guy stinks.”

Ironically, if we have to tell others how good we are, then, we’re really not that good.
The Christ follower lives not for the commendation of men, but of Jesus alone.
(John 5:41) "I do not accept glory from human beings, (2 Cor. 10:18)"For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends."
A daily quiet time, especially in the early morning, is a critical component in our walk with the Lord.  I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. (Psalm 119:147) In a practical sense it is like we're giving our day over to God before it even begins.

I wonder what would happen if a political candidate determined to serve in his position for Jesus alone? One thing is sure; his political ad would be dramatically different from those we see today.
Reality is, I can’t do anything about negative politics, but one thing I can do, is spend each day getting to know my Savior better so that His presence affects my present.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16).


 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Quiet Time: Work Hungry

Work Hungry 

A worker's appetite works for him, 
For his hunger urges him on. 
– Proverbs 16:26 

 I memorized this verse as part of a challenge from my friend Bill. I say that to say this, Bill, just informed me today that he intends to retire in 2015. I was shocked!

You see, Bill is an incredible team member who has the best work ethic I’ve ever seen. He seems to never slow down and has a great reputation as a Christian who goes above what is considered an honest eight hours. I love that guy!

In my early years, Bill and I once worked together at the same facility (he works several miles away now) and we used to pray together before the start of each work day.

We also challenged each other to memorize scripture. Bill was really good at remembering the reference and I was better at recalling the actual scripture verse, so, I’d announce the verse and he’d call out the reference throughout the day to see if we still had the scripture memorized. What a great way to work!

I remember the day we memorized Proverbs 16:26. When we read it, we both felt like God was encouraging us to eat less during the day so that our energy levels wouldn’t fall off as usually happened after stuffing ourselves on a big lunch. You know what? It worked! No kidding, we ate enough to keep us satisfied without feeling satiated and were able to stay steady all day long.

Bill will be greatly missed at the company. But I’m glad that I have several memory verses hidden in my heart (Psalm 119:11) to remind me of his faithful walk with Christ and our friendship together.

The world needs more Bills. (He also teaches biblical concepts of finance...the pun is intended)