When It All Goes Right!

Stories are such a great thing.  Life is made of stories.  When someone asks you about your life, what do you tell them?  Date of birth?  No that's for the DMV.  You tell them about life when . . . . 

It is really cool when you hear a story that you had a hand in.  

So today, someone comes into my office and shares with me a moment from their weekend.  They told a story of how they helped a family member with a problem.  What they shared with them was something that I taught them.  

Now I am not patting myself on the back.  I am ecstatic that my friend was able to help.  

So my question to you is.  What are you saying that others are repeating? 

Matthew 10:32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,

Speak positively.  Words of encouragement are always repeated when said often and passionately. 

Speak with the purpose of investing.  When you speak, give something away.  Give wisdom.  Give love.  Give life and hope.  

Speak the truth in love.  Don't use the truth as a sledgehammer.  Use truth as a guide.  Say it with love and people will follow.  Say it with anger and people will run away.  

PRAY: Dear Jesus, speak into my life so I can share it with others.  AMEN  

I Believe In Mircales

But first, let me define what a miracle isn't.

It isn't something that "just happens."
It isn't something that is unexplainable.
It isn't something that happens because we tap into an unknown part of our minds or the universe.
It isn't something that ghosts or aliens do.

It is something that God does.  I've seen miracles, and while I cannot explain all of them, I do understand who did them.  God.

The dictionary defines a miracle as, "a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency."

But why do miracles take place?

Psalm 77:14: “You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples” (NIV)

Miracles reveal God.  There are a host of people who deny that miracles still take place today, but yet here we are.  Every day people are healed, delivered and provided for.

Miracles reveal His love.  The "why" behind the miracles would seem to be self-serving to God.  That He wants or need attention.  In fact, the opposite is true.  His divine intervention in our lives is His acts of love to our need.  

God gets the credit.   Sure He should get the credit.  Who wouldn't be thankful to the doctor who saved their life or gives credit to the person who leads them away from bad decisions?  

What miracle are you seeking today?  What is your first step to that miracle?  Go to the one, the only one who can do anything about your need.  Jesus. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I need a miracle today.  AMEN

Pastor Jones and the Christmas of Doom - Part 2

So, as I wrote yesterday, this email shows up in my inbox with this title. "Pastor Jones and the Christmas of Doom."

This got me to thinking about giving, especially the heart of giving.  Giving has a powerful effect on your body, soul and spirit.  It encourages you, it lifts you up and gives you hope.  The more you give, the more you enjoy life.  

But how should we give.  Here are a few thoughts.

Sacifice with joy 
2 Corinthians 9:6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

The principle is simple.  Whatever measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  Jesus talks about this when He says, Luke 6:38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

This isn’t Karma.  We don’t believe in that.  The principle is clear.  You choose what you want to receive.  If you sow grief, you will receive grief.  If you give with joy, you will receive joy.  So give and give with a joyful heart.  Not from a self desire for more, but from a unselfish desire to bless others.

Give with generosity - Don't be stingy
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

My thought here is simple.  Be as generous as you desire to be.  But more importantly choose to be a generous as you desire.  Give yourself permission to be generous and it doesn’t have to be with just your money.  It can be with you time, your skills, or your love.

Share with love. - Give with love
1 Cor. 3:3  3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing

Love is the key.  Showing love to others is a high calling from Christ.  Sharing your life with generosity is one of the greatest gifts you will ever give.  

As you approach this holiday season, remember.  The greatest give you can give someone is the hope of Christ.  Give generously and with love.  That’s a gift they will never forget.  

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, teach me to give with all my heart, soul and spirit.  AMEN. 

Pastor Jones and the Christmas of Doom

So this email shows up in my inbox with this title.  "Pastor Jones and the Christmas of Doom."  I have to be honest.  It sent shivers up my spine.  Christmas and the holidays are like that quote from the Tale of Two Cities. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, . . . "

The Christmas ads are playing, (Hey at least they aren't those political ads we've been inundated with here in Florida for the last few months.)  Christmas trees tents are up and ready to receive their pine scented evergreens.  Christmas lights are being tested and preparations for holidays traditions have begun.  

Matthew 1:20-21 While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. 21 Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Hope and salvation have arrived!  The curse from the Garden is now going to be addressed once and for all!  This is the message of Christmas.  The curse has been reversed.  The baby will become a man and give His life as a ransom for everyone!  This is and still is the most significant news of all time.  This is the reason why we celebrate.  This is why we sing, "Joy to the World." 

So how does this beautiful message of Christmas go from joy into doom?  

Because people try to get more out of Christmas than they put into it.  It is in that moment that Christmas then turns into a holiday.  Just another time of year to take a day off and do something different.  

Jesus said in Acts 20:35 Remember that our Lord Jesus said, “More blessings come from giving than from receiving.”

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, this year I want to celebrate Christmas, not the holidays.  AMEN  

What are you looking at?

Col. 1 15 - 16 
Christ is exactly like God, 
who cannot be seen.
He is the first-born Son,
superior to all creation.
16 Everything was created by him,
everything in heaven
and on earth,
everything seen and unseen,
including all forces
and powers,
and all rulers
and authorities.
All things were created
by God’s Son,
and everything was made
for him.

Are you looking up or looking down?  

I've heard people pontificate about this verse before.  They ask questions like. "If Christ was here then what do you mean He cannot be seen?  If He is first-born, therefore He must have been created, ergo He isn't God."  Really? 

Christ is exactly like God because He is God.  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. 
He is King over the universe.  Paul is speaking to who Christ is in the present?  He is no longer human.  He is King of kings and Lord of lords.  

He is the first born, not because He was born or created.  The firstborn, the oldest son of a Hebrew family, had special privileges.  He is superior in all ways to us.  He was there when the world and humanity were created.  He was there when everything in heaven and on earth was created.   

All of this was done to bring Him glory.  To honor Him.  

Who do you serve?  You serve who you pay most attention to.  Who are you looking at?  If you pay attention to your fears, then fear is your god.  If you pay attention to money and material things, then they are your gods.  

We look up and see our Savior and our King.  If we keep looking down, all we will see are excuses to exclude Christ from our lives.  Look up!  Today is a new day to see the one who created everything and then gave His life so you could live today and for all of eternity with Him. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I'm looking at You today.  AMEN  

Your Chosen

Col 1:12 - 14 I pray that you will be grateful to God for letting you have part in what he has promised his people in the kingdom of light. 13 God rescued us from the dark power of Satan and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who forgives our sins and sets us free.

So I was talking to someone the other day, and the conversation went south on me in a hurry. 
- "I just can't believe . . . "
- "What were they thinking . . . "
- "Why do I have to do this . . . "

Gratefulness is a gift, but it's a habit also.  If you don't use it, you will not only lose it, you'll become grumpy and ungrateful.  

Paul was praying for the church to be grateful.  He didn't wish that they would be, he wasn't hoping that they would be.  He was praying that they would be grateful that God included them in His Kingdom.  

Do you realize that you are part of God's solution for this world?  God has chosen you to work with Him to change lives, families, marriages, and futures.  He has decided to empower you, give you wisdom and call you with a purpose.  He has chosen to provide you with hope and a future.  God has chosen you, 

So stop and give thanks.  Be grateful that you are a part of God's Kingdom.  

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I am giving you thanks today.  Thank you for choosing me.  AMEN