Wednesday, September 20, 2017

September 20, 2017

Garbage in, garbage out. That's a well-worn computer phrase for faulty data input resulting in faulty program performance. It's impossible for a computer program to run as it should when erroneous data has been entered. The same applies to life. 

"The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart." (Luke 6.45)

Our words confirm or betray the thoughts of our heart. They eventually are consistent with what we think. We might choose our words carefully enough for a while to hide our real thoughts, but sooner or later the truth will be told. Better we should carefully choose our thoughts than our words.

The battle is always for the mind. We have an enemy who knows this all too well. Enticing, alluring media can easily draw us in and preoccupy our mind with that which is displeasing to our Father and His Son. Subtle, less-than-the-best thoughts can also deter us from His ideal.

A deliberate effort to permeate our mind with the word of God is the only safeguard against a satanic, anti-God mindset. We can never defeat sinful thoughts unless we have pro-actively armed our minds with His word (Psalm 119.9,11).

We are what we think. So, what's on your mind? 


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

September 19, 2017

Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care? If you're a fan of 70s rock music you'll recognize those lyrics right away. They raise questions that are aptly answered in Ecclesiastes 3 - 

"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven" (Ecclesiastes 3.1).

Life is seasonal. We are born, and eventually we die. There is progress, and there are setbacks. Joy and sadness. Peace and war. Through all of life's seasons, time swiftly marches on. Thus, every season and moment is precious, and irretrievable.

I recently read about a government official who was riding in car, tending to work details. Suddenly, the car spun out of control on a rain-slick highway, collided with two other vehicles, and was badly damaged. Miraculously, all survived. But, in a moment life could have ended, or been forever altered.

We have this moment in time. It is like grains of sand sifting through our hands. We can never regain this exact moment in time. Make it count. Invest it in things of eternal value; the kingdom of God, and the cause of Christ. Use it to pray to the Lord of the harvest for the harvest and for workers. Use it to put the gospel in action. Use it to actively love others.

"I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime" (Ecclesiastes 1.12) Amen. May we do so in this moment, and every moment.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

September 13, 2017

Guard your heart. Protect your passion. Be careful what you devote your life energy to. Make it count.

Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life." (Proverbs 4.23)

It is a given in life: we pursue our passions. That which we believe in most strongly directs our actions and activities. That's why it's important for impressionable children and youth to form biblical values and priorities. These will be a driving life force in their lives.

But, even if we are grounded in biblical truth, we can lose passion. Thus the need to always guard our hearts. Persuasive causes and philosophies can capture our hearts, and we can devote life energy to less than the best.

The challenge before us today is to evaluate the passions that drive our pursuits. What is my key life passion? Is it truly what my Father, and my Lord Jesus desire for me?

This much is certain: we cannot go wrong in making Matthew 6.33 our life passion. I recommend to each of us that we guard our hearts against anything that is contrary to this great priority.

May a people with a kingdom passion be a mighty force in the world today - and every day.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

September 12, 2017

Is anyone listening? Sometimes it can seem as though we are a lonely voice crying out in the wilderness.

 came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make ready the way of the LORD, Make His paths straight. 'Every ravine will be filled, And every mountain and hill will be brought low; The crooked will become straight, And the rough roads smooth; And all flesh will see the salvation of God.' " (Luke 3.3-6)

Regardless of the popularity of the message, we are called to faithfully proclaim the promise of forgiveness through repentance, and the hope of the coming kingdom. It is urgent that everyone "make ready the way of the LORD," because the time is short. In an age of gross injustice, the ultimate justice of God's kingdom is coming.

Like John the baptist, we are His appointed messengers. We are His "advance team," preparing for the Second Coming of Christ as John prepared for His first coming. Current events indicate that this mission is an urgent priority. Through personal contact and pervasive media, we have the greatest opportunity that any age has ever seen.

Will you be part of the Second Coming preparation team?


Wednesday, September 06, 2017

September 6, 2017

What holds us back? Is there anything preventing us from fully following? 

"Then a scribe came and said to Him, 'Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.' Jesus said to him, 'The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.' Another of the disciples said to Him, 'Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.' But Jesus said to him, 'Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.' " (Matthew 8.19-22)

A man of means would find it challenging to unequivocally follow a man with few possessions. A man choosing to follow at some later time after his father's death will likely never do so. Dictating terms for following Jesus does not work.

The call to follow is simple and immediate. This is the moment of decision and opportunity. Will I choose this day and this moment to follow where He leads? To take action as He directs? Nothing is easier than attaching qualifiers to His call, but His call is unconditional.

What do you sense of His call today? Is there a specific action you sense He is calling you to take? A certain person to approach? A certain place to be? Nothing is more fulfilling or exhilarating than the adventure of following Him.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August 30, 2017

Wait often feels more like weight. Time weighs heavy when we try to patiently wait. Honestly, haven't we at times wondered why God doesn't work faster? The apostle Peter addressed that issue in stating, "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness" (2 Peter 3.9). Some count God slow according to their own reasoning. Wait is a weight.

Waiting ought to be strengthening rather than burdening: "Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27.14)

We know in our hearts that God's timing is always perfect, but impatience so easily rears its ugly head. It draws the action point away from God's timeline and places it on ours. We act presumptuously to our ow detriment. It's like the saying that the right idea at the wrong time amount to the wrong idea. Going forward with God's plan according to our timetable easily turns it into the wrong idea.

Waiting for the LORD is about character building. Waiting is not a time for impatience, but rather for gaining strength and developing faith. Courage grows as we let Him prepare us for action. More often than not, His apparent delays are for the purpose of getting us ready, not circumstances.

So, what are you waiting for? What are you learning as you wait for His next move? I need to learn from you, as do others. Your blog comment to these questions would be a blessing to many.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

August 29, 2017

A famous playwright once said, "I can resist anything but temptation." And that's the problem with temptation: it appeals to that which we are most vulnerable to. 

Jesus was confronted by the devil, the great tempter, during an extended wilderness stay. Having fasted for forty days, He was tempted to turn stones into bread (Matthew 4.2-3). He was then tempted to test angelic protection (Matthew 4.5-6), and then desire for worldly power (Matthew 4.8-9). He met each of these three great temptations by quoting God's word. He knew Scripture well enough to bring appropriate passages to bear in the heat of temptation. And therein is a great lesson and application for us. We surely will succumb to temptation unless we are so grounded in God's word as to resist it with His word.

Another outstanding example in facing temptation is Joseph, who was daily propositioned by his bosses' wife. His response reflects a deep devotion and love for His Father: "
How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?" (Genesis 39.9)

This much we can be sure of: temptation will come. Success or failure will be determined by how faithful we have been to "treasure God's word" in our heart (Psalm 119.11).

May we stand stand strong and true for Him in the face of every temptation that comes our way.