Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hope Is A Three Letter Word

Hebrews 11:1-3 (New Living Translation)

1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

Have you ever wondered why some things seem worse for you than they do for others, even when they are good things?

Hope: To place confidence; to trust with confident expectation of good.

Hopeless: Destitute of hope; having no expectation of good; despairing.

Our thoughts have a lot to do with the way we perceive things. Even a blessing can seem like a curse if we have the wrong point of view. This is the difference between hope and despair. There doesn't have to be a crisis to prove this out.

All the people that are mentioned in this chapter had the best outcome in mind even when they went through hardship. When times were tough they made it through because their viewpoint was not tainted by their trials. We judge things by what we see and what we see may not always be true. They lived for something that they couldn't see and believed that there was always something better for them.

Every day is a blessing and should be viewed that way. We accumulate them over time and that mounting quantity should make us realize how large a blessing that we have. I may be an eternal optimist but our expectation should be that there are always better days ahead.

After all,

hope is a three letter word...


Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Do Over Day

Lamentations 3:22-24 (New Living Translation)

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

Have you ever had a day that started out promisingly and ended up extremely miserable?

We've all had those days once or twice (a week). I'm sure that we can all relate to the disappointment associated with those experiences. It's hard to get them out of our heads.

I had one of those days recently and this morning the thought occurred to me that I needed to take a different view of that day. Returning from a walk I looked at the sky and felt a gentle breeze as I sat there in the shade. The longer I sat there the more I thought about this day.

Why can't we all look at each day the same way?

I thought about how amazing it would be to get up every day and walk outside, if only for a few minutes, and think about how God has allowed us all to experience His love without any restraint in our hearts. While I sat there a calm came over me that I hadn't experienced in a while. It felt good to be alive!

There really isn't any difference between a bad or good day. The only thing that makes them different is how we view them. God makes every day the same because He loves us, He's merciful and every day is a new day in Him. When He gives us something it has to be good.

I decided that everyday would be

a do over day

because in Him they will all be all right.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Great Respect

Acts 10:33-35 (Today's New International Version)

33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us."
34 Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts those from every nation who fear him and do what is right.

The KJV says that God is no respecter of persons in the place of does not show favoritism. It means that God doesn't esteem any one person above another.

Come on, He has to love some people and hate others, what about those third world idol worshipers? Well, He loves them too. Peter thought that the Jewish Nation was the only group that was worthy of hearing the Good News. God showed him otherwise.

If we don't approach the people that we have deemed unworthy, and tell them about the Lord, we've missed the point. Do we really think that we know better than God?

Every person that we meet is a potential believer, we just need to show them God's love. Isn't it amazing how good God is to all of us?

Why can't we just show Him...

a great respect?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

It's All Relative.

Mark 3:31-35 (New Century Version)

Jesus' True Family

31 Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to tell him to come out. 32 Many people were sitting around Jesus, and they said to him, "Your mother and brothers are waiting for you outside."
33 Jesus asked, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" 34 Then he looked at those sitting around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 My true brother and sister and mother are those who do what God wants."

relative: something having a relation or connection to something else.

Jesus recently started His ministry and had just chose twelve of His disciples to be apostles and gave them power to do Gods' work. He returned to His hometown and a large crowd gathered to hear Him. The religious leaders there were angry with Him and His teachings and tried to slander Him. His family felt that it was necessary to save Him from the situation; and that's where we pick up on this passage of Scripture.

The thing that was relative to the situation was the will of God and not the will of His family. Jesus let the people around Him know what was important to God. In order to do Gods' will our bond to Him should be stronger than our bond to man. It wasn't that which was relative to man that's important but what is relevant to God.

We need to tap into the Spirit of God so we can do Our Father's will. The Holy Spirit is stronger and more powerful than anything a person can muster on their own. The most pertinent thing in our lives is our relationship with God.

If you really think about it;

it's all relative ... to God.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

You Think You Have Problems?

Romans 8:35-39 (New Living Translation)

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Have you ever had something happen to you and felt that God must hate you because of it?

We do things or have things happen to us that make us think that God doesn't love us. God must hate me because; my car won't start, my kids won't listen, I don't have any money, I'm sick and can't get well, the list goes on and on. We equate God's love with things and situations and we pull away from Him.

Things happen, and most of them are out of our control, but God's love for us doesn't change. Paul tells us that no matter what the situation is, God loves us. Even the things that we can't see won't separate us from God's love. He loves us and He's there for us, we just need to reach out to Him.

I guess what I'm trying to say is:

think about the solution.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sweet Land Of Liberty

1 Peter 2:11-17 (The Message)

11-12 Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.
13-17 Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God's emissaries for keeping order. It is God's will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you're a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.

Do you think that your liberty in Christ allows you the freedom to do anything that you want to do?

We are in this world but not of it and it is something that we easily forget. We want to make our mark in the world anyway we can and oftentimes at the expense of others. God wants us to be blameless. He doesn't want us to say that we're blameless and then live anyway that we care to.

Peter did an excellent job of describing what this liberty is all about. Our lives should be examples of Christ in us. This example that we live should be enough to show the world the difference that God makes in our lives. He goes on to say that we should respect the world's authorities because God put them there for His reasons. Our freedom comes in serving God, not breaking the rules.

We should also love and respect our fellow believers. They seem to take the biggest hit from us because it's easy to take them for granted (they understand, it's ok). It's never right to take advantage of anyone. True liberty is walking out our Christian lives. We enjoy the freedom to do that.

Love God, pray for our leaders, respect each other and let this truly be a

sweet land of liberty.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Plans Anyone?

James 4:13-17 (Today's New International Version)
Boasting About Tomorrow

13 Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money."
14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
15 Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."
16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.
17 So then, if you know the good you ought to do and don't do it, you sin.

Have you ever made arrangements to do something and at the last minute everything changed and those plans were ruined?

It happens all the time. We make elaborate plans, and convince ourselves of the outcome ahead of time, only to be disappointed when they don't turn out our way.

We are all guilty of this, even if we have the best of intentions, because we don't consult with God about the plans we make. The height of arrogance is believing that we know our lives better than He does, and it is sin. We don't ask Him for His guidance and then we blame Him when things don't go our way. How would you feel if someone did that to you? Now multiply that several times and you'll get a vague idea of what God experiences with us, His children.

Now the good news is that God shows us the things that are beneficial to us, we just have to take the time to look for them. We miss too many of God's good things by ignoring His guidance. This puts the Lord's will into a new perspective; what He wants, not what we want, thy will be done.

That is pretty simple but it still leaves us with one remaining thought:

Plans anyone?