I Love It When God Shows Off

So the story I'm about to tell you was given this morning during service.

During the worship service, the Holy Spirit let me to call all the men forward and speak into their lives.  If you don't know what I mean by that, God had a special message just for them this morning.

It was an encouraging message from God to be who God created them to be.  Whether they are fathers, husbands, boyfriends, grandfathers, employers (and the list goes on) ...

... Colossians 3:23-24  23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

I prayed for the men.  For their success.  That they would be Godly fathers and husbands.  That they will follow God will all their heart and that in all they say and do they will lead.  I prayed that their families and marriages will be blessed.  I prayed that their workplaces will be blessed.  

I encouraged them to be leaders as they follow Christ.  I urged them to make the difference in this church, their homes and in their world for Jesus.  

After that wonderful time together one of the men stepped out for a moment and after being prayed for received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in other tongues.  (Acts 2:4; Acts 19:6; Acts 10) 

God is doing a work in men's lives.  Men who commit themselves to follow Christ, men who commit to integrity, men who desire to raise up the next generation of boys and young men to be followers too.  

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, help me to be the person You created me to be today.  AMEN  

Us Vs. Them

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Every day can be a struggle.  We know that.  But what are you struggling against?  

Yourself?  Some people get up in the morning, look in the mirror and see their own worst enemy.  They disgust themselves.  The idea of them doing anything successful only depresses them because they know how it is going to turn our - failure.  

Others?  Some get up, and before they even look in the mirror, they are thinking about who they are going to war with today.  Not to say that conflict is a part of life.  But some people believe that the world is out to get them.  

I would like to suggest a third option. 

Hell.  Paul wrote the passages above.  If you don't know Paul was beaten repeatedly, run out of town, and falsely accused which led to imprisonment.  Yet, he never blamed himself or the people who put him there.  He saw a bigger picture. 

Paul shared His faith in Jesus with others.  He would frequently lead people to change their lives and follow the Messiah.  Hell wanted him to shut up and now!  He understood that there was something bigger than money, reputation or power.  It was eternal.  

If you don't know there is an eternal struggle going on for your soul.  Jesus, through His death and resurrection, has guaranteed our victory.  But that victory is conditional.  If we will repent of our sins and follow Him with all our heart, we will not only know eternal victory but joy and peace today.  

Hell may have already lost the war, but that doesn't mean they've given up on the battle.  It is their goal to see you lose faith doom your soul.  Some might say, "Well God would never do that to me."  God didn't do it to you.  You have to choose for yourself.

Joshua in Joshua 24:14-15 told the Israelites that they had to make a clear choice. 14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Choosing Christ actually does change your life. Your real enemies will take notice. But 1 John 4:4 says it well, ... for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I want to be on your side today.  AMEN  

I Can See Clearly Now!

"I Can See Clearly Now" is a song by Johnny Nash from 1972.  Why I was thinking of the lyrics this morning is beyond me.  The song wasn't from my era or genre.  But I was thinking about the lyrics,  

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sun-shining day
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sun-shining day

Not that I'm trying to spiritualize this song, I'm not.  But there is a truth here that I want to share with you. 

There are times in your life that you cannot see what God has in store for you.  Often times we blame God for this lack of vision, "Well, He hasn't told me."  But I believe that it's more about us.  We are afraid to know what is coming next because it might be bad news.  

When we settle our hearts and listen, the rain goes away, and we can see the obstacles that are in our way.  

Romans 12:6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;
Prophecy can be about telling the future.  But it's more about telling the truth in the present.  It doesn't take much foresight to know that you will need Jesus in the coming days of your life.  You will need His guidance and power.  Life without Him is hopeless.  

So tell the truth to yourself now, quite your heart to listen to His voice and follow His lead into the future He has planned for you. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, help me to see clearly now.  AMEN  

I’m Frustrated

I’ve been working on a computer project most of today.  It was supposed to take about an hour.  8 hours later I was losing it.

So I took a few minutes to drop off my daughter at dance.  On my way back to church I drove by a guy dressed in a Statue of Liberty costume.  He was waving at people as they drove by with a sign encouraging them to have their taxes done there.

I honestly thought how I would rather be out there waving at traffic than to be back at my office working on a seemingly impossible task.  Really!

I heard a pastor once say that frustration is eventually productive.  He was sharing a story about when he first started preaching he locked his knees and passed out behind a pulpit.  That was bad enough but he grabbed the pulpit as he passed out and pulled it down on top of himself.  

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Now I doubt that Isaiah had a computer in mind when he wrote that.  But his words can encourage us today.  Whatever we face God is with us.  Never forget that.  He is for you, never against you.  

PRAY:Dear Jesus, help me through my frustration today. AMEN 
About two years ago I wrote this blog.  I reread it today, and it inspired me.  I thought I would share it with you again.  

The desert was a proving ground for Isreal. But there is an even stronger example of this in the New Testament.

Matthew 4: 1- 2 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

After Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit led Him into the desert. There He would be tempted personally by Satan himself. You can read how Jesus faced each of these temptations with the Word of God. Oddly enough, the same words were spoken to the nation of Isreal while they were wandering around in the desert.

My first assignment in ministry was a wilderness experience. I don't like talking about it too much because it makes the church where this happened look bad. But that was 30 years ago now. Both the church and I have changed - drastically for the better.

What did I learn in that desert experience? I learned that God had called me into the ministry. Good, Bad or ugly didn't matter. I was here to serve Him. I also learned that I loved my wife more than ever. Through this experience, our marriage was galvanized.

After I had moved on, some of my contemporaries would approach with their stories of trouble and woe. I would look at them and say, "Been there and done that." Then they would ask me to help them through their tough times. I gladly agreed.

Now if you asked me to go through that desert experience again, would I say yes? Absolutely ------- NOT! But would I trade what I learned there? Not for anything in the world.

PRAY: Dear Jesus, I want to learn everything I can in my desert experiences. Then let me help others as they go through it too. AMEN.

What Did You Experience Today?

God created you to experience His presence and character every day.  I know that some people think that it's a Sunday only thing, but really?  Do you think that God only works on Sunday?

Lamentations 3:22-23 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

God is a creative God.  That means that He's never boring or dull.  The world would like for you to think that a relationship with Him takes all the fun out of life, but I'm here to tell you that isn't true.  

Each day God is going to share some new truth, a new vision, a new song or a new challenge to bless you with.  Each day God is going to help you see more than you've ever seen before.  He is going to help you discover more than you've ever known.  He is going to empower you with more than you can imagine.  The question is, "Do you want it?" 

Every go to someone's house, and they ask you, "Would you like a drink of water?"  After saying yes the give you directions to the kitchen and tell you which cabinet holds the glasses?  I have.  If I wanted a drink of water, then I had to go get it.  

Well, this is true with God.  God will give His new mercies to you each day.  But you've got to show up for it.  

Pray for it first thing.  PRAY:  Dear Jesus, teach me, show me, do something new in my life today.  AMEN

Look for it.  Don't go through life aimlessly.  Look for God to show up!  He will