Wednesday, January 30, 2013

GOTTA-GO!!!!


I LOVE this Photo!!!!! ;o)
GET WHILE THE GETTING IS GOOD! It’s often a good adage to live by. Learn to leave while people still desire you to stay. Leave when you've still got some game left. Know when you’re getting in over your head and it’s time to swim for shore. Know when it’s time to go and then go, while you still have your wits about you. As the Kenny Rogers’ song reminds us,

You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
They’ll be time enough for counting when the dealin’s done.

     It all sounds like solid advice, but is it?

    What if Jesus would have followed that advice? Where would we be today? What about the Apostle Paul, or Martin Luther? What about Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Martin Luther King, Jr.? What about Mother Teresa or Elisabeth Elliot? What if these people, and countless unnamed saints, gave up when the going got tough? What, if when stormy seas seemed to prevail, these faithful ones jumped ship? Where would we be today?

     To follow Jesus is to take up your cross, the implement of death, and carry it willingly upon your shoulders. As Dietrich Bonheoffer wrote in The Cost of Discipleship, “When Jesus calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Not a very comforting thought, but one that surely agrees with Scripture.  The Apostle Paul penned, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

     So, how do we live when life gets tough? We grab hold of the truth of Galatians 2:20. We live a life of faith, not in ourselves or our circumstances or even in our church, but in Christ the Son of God; this Son who loves you and gave Himself for you. To place your faith in anything or anyone else, will always lead to defeat. Our only hope is in Christ. As the hymn writer wrote,

than Jesus blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, 
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, January 21, 2013

ANNUAL PHYSICALS


CHECK-UPS ARE GOOD, most of the time. The last couple of times I went to the doctor for one of my annual physicals I thought everything was fine, but once the blood work came back the doctor got one of those, “Hmmm, this is interesting,” looks on his face, which of course led to a long string of more tests. Thankfully, when all the results came back nothing serious could be found. As my doctor said, “Well, at least we know what you don’t have.” Somehow, I didn’t quite find the comfort the doctor thought I should with his statement.
     In reality, knowing what you have, or don’t have, can be important for your ongoing health, and what is true for our physical bodies is doubly true for our spirits. Getting regular spiritual check-ups is vital for our ongoing spiritual health. Our destination of heaven maybe secure, but our daily spiritual life can be better if we maintain good spiritual health.
     Please allow me to offer you some helps for maintaining good spiritual health.
1.    Maintain a good daily diet consisting of time in God’s Word, praying prayers of praise, thanksgiving, and seeking God’s wisdom for yourself and others. The “medical term” for those last two is supplication and intercession.
2.    Maintain a regular exercise program which consists of worshiping with other Christians and Christian-like service, as in helping those in need, volunteering to help out in the ministry of the local church, and faithful giving of your vital resources of time, talents, and treasure.
3.    Have fun. Get outside and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. Take time for resting your body (medical term: Sabbath.) Read poetry, play in your garden, goof-off with your family. Enjoy the gifts that God has given to you, even a delicious BBQ hamburger!
4.    Get a regular annual check-up. Make an appointment with a pastor (got two great ones here J) just to talk about your walk with Christ. If not a pastor then someone you know who has faithfully walked with Christ, and their life and language shows it. Get those check-ups before you need them. Don’t wait until you’ve already got a cancer growing within you.
     There you go: some good, practical and healthy steps for you to take to maintain a strong spirit -- one that knows the presence and peace and power of the Lord, because it is daily seeking to surrender itself to the Great Physician. As writer and poet Garrison Keillor often says, “Be well. Do good works. And keep in touch.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, January 13, 2013

CRAZY HIGH!


WHEN OUR DAUGHTER TRINITY WAS 15 MONTHS old we took her on a vacation that included Niagara Falls. I being one who is not too crazy about height…OK, honestly, I was petrified, was not at all in favor of getting too close to the fence that kept me from falling headlong into the foaming abyss below me. I was also not in favor of having Linda taking my 15 month-old daughter to have a lean-over-the-fence-looksee at the uncontrollable power raging over the Falls. Needless to say, they went to look and I stayed put.
     
This past week, during our office staff meeting, we were talking about cliffs and high places and the fear they can bring to some people. Pastor Ron brought up the point that there seems to be a psychological event that takes place when you stand at great heights looking over a great expanse. There is this sense of being sucked into the expanse, off the cliff. It’s not so much a fear that you will trip and fall headlong to your death, but rather that there is something out there pulling at you. You realize you have neither parachute nor wings to fly and you back up, even dropping to the relative safety of your knees to move away from the forces at work upon your mind. Yep! Scary stuff if you ask me!
    
I think some of us feel that same sensation when we seriously consider following Jesus Christ. There is this rush of fear that says if I get too close to following Jesus as a fully devoted disciple, He will just suck me right off the cliff and down I will plunge. We believe that Jesus calls us to do the impossible, fly without wings. After all, He called the Apostle Peter to walk on the surface of the Sea of Galilee, which Peter did, that is until he took his eyes off the Lord and sized-up the impossibility which he had undertaken, and down he went. (Matthew 14:22-33)
    
Jesus calls each of us to this same walk of faith, or flight of faith as the case may be. He can provide exactly what is needed for us to do the humanly impossible as long as we keep our eyes on Him; and should we become overwhelmed by the reality of our impossible situation, Jesus is there to grab us by the hand and lead us safely to the other side of the chasm before us. If being a disciple of Jesus was easy, everybody would be doing it! And yet, He calls all who would come, to come.  (Revelation 22:17)
    
What’s keeping you back today?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Jesus the Son of God -- A Review


Jesus the Son of God: A Christological Title Often Overlooked, Sometimes Misunderstood, and Currently DisputedJesus the Son of God: A Christological Title Often Overlooked, Sometimes Misunderstood, and Currently Disputed by D.A. Carson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars




View all my reviews

Monday, January 07, 2013

THE PAST IS THE PAST


IT DOES NOT MATTER, IT WAS IN THE PAST.”  This is one of my favorite movie lines of all time. It is spoken by Rafiki the shamanistic monkey in the Lion King, after he has just bopped the young Simba on the head.  The lesson being what is in the past cannot be changed, and it is now time to move on…a time for new beginnings.

As we round the corner into this new year we are culturally afforded the opportunity to begin again. It is a time for resolutions, for new beginnings, for promises of better you. I have made lots of New Year’s resolutions over the years, the only one I ever kept was to break all my New Year’s resolutions.

We have closed the door on 2012 (thankfully, the Mayan’s were wrong) and we set the course into the uncharted waters of 2013. I would like to encourage you to take a moment not to dwell on the past or the future, but rather to focus upon the realities that are true right now…at least for those who have gratefully responded to God’s gift of grace and salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Consider just a few of the truths about those things that are already present:
  •  We have already been rescued from darkness and brought into the Kingdom of the Son. (Colossians 1:13)
  • We have already been blessed in the heavenly realms with spiritual blessings. (Ephesians 1:3)
  • We have already the hope of the glorious inheritance in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 1:18-19)
  • We have already been adopted by God as His children. (Hebrews 12:7-12)
  • We have already been chosen by the Father through the work of the Spirit and the blood of Jesus. (1 Peter 1:1-2)
 We could go on, and in fact, I would encourage you to do so. Instead of dwelling on the past, be it good or bad, instead of worrying over the future, why not take some time, search God’s Word and find those realities that are already true.

Let us look forward with hope, because of the grace in which we presently stand, because of that which was already accomplished for us through Jesus on the Cross!

Yep! This would be a good time to shout out, HALLELUJAH, THANK YOU GOD!

Enhanced by Zemanta