Sunday, December 26, 2010
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)
When I first became a Christian, I decided that I would somehow find a way to live in two worlds. I was planning to hang out with my old friends and still be a Christian. For a time, it was almost like I was in a state of suspended animation. I wasn’t comfortable with my old buddies, but I wasn’t quite comfortable with the Christians, either.
So I decided to be Mr. Solo Christian. I even said to my friends, “Don’t worry about me. You’re thinking I’ll become a fanatic and carry a Bible and say, ‘Praise the Lord.’ It’ll never happen. I’m going to be cool about this. I won’t embarrass you, but I’m going to believe in God now.”
However, as God became more real to me and I began to follow Him more closely, He changed my life and my outlook and my priorities began to change as well.
There are people who will discourage you from growing spiritually. They’ll say, “I think it’s good you are a Christian. I go to church, too—at Christmas and Easter, and for weddings. But you’re getting a little too fanatical. You actually brought a Bible to work the other day. We were so embarrassed. You’re no fun anymore. We’re glad you have made changes in your life, but don’t become too extreme.” There are people like this who will discourage you.
When this happens, you have the choice to either do what God wants you to do or to go with the flow. So here’s the question: Are you going to let people hold you back? Are you going to let people discourage you from wholehearted commitment to Jesus Christ?
The path will divide before you at this very point. Take the way of God’s blessing and favor! The first step will be the hardest, but He’ll be with you all the way.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
In John 6, we see a huge crowd following Jesus in Capernaum. Why is this? Because Jesus had performed His most popular miracle ever: the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus had taken the little boy’s lunch and blessed it and multiplied it. And everyone was filled. They thought, This is great. Not only does He teach us, not only does He dazzle us with miracles, but He gives us a free meal.
When the crowd pursued Him, Jesus told them, essentially, “Let’s skip the formality. I know why you are here. Stop laboring for the bread that simply feeds your stomach. I am the bread of life. I want you to focus on spiritual things. I didn’t do that miracle to just feed you that day. I was trying to teach you something more. Don’t labor for the food that perishes.”
Jesus was saying that life is more than the things of this Earth. Life is more than food, more than clothing, more than possessions, more than a career, more than the pursuit of success. Believe in Him, and eat the bread of life.
Feed on Him every day and grow strong. As Jesus promised, this is food “which endures to eternal life.”
Saturday, December 4, 2010
A little boy was always getting into trouble in his Sunday School class, so in exasperation, his teacher said to him, “I want you to know that God is watching you all the time. Even when I can’t keep my eyes on you, God has His eyes on you. He is watching you. So you’d better straighten up.”
The boy was terrified by the thought of God watching him all the time. After Sunday School, he told his parents, “The teacher said that God is watching me all the time.” They could see that the thought terrified their son rather than bringing comfort to his heart. So his parents put it into proper context for him. They said, “Yes, it’s true that God is always watching you. But the reason is because He loves you so much that He can’t take His eyes off you.”
Many times when we think of God watching us, what comes to mind are the surveillance cameras we have in public places today. I knew someone who worked in a department store and showed me how these work. They are hidden in places where we tend to never look, and they can pretty much watch everyone.. People don’t even realize a camera is turning around and following them wherever they go.
So when we consider the fact that God is watching us, we might think, That is terrifying. But it all depends. If we are rebelling against the Lord, then the thought of it can be more than a little frightening.
But if our hearts are right with Him, then what an incredible comfort! He never loses track of us, never misplaces our file, never takes His loving attention from us for even one moment. God is watching us, but He loves us so much that He can’t take His eyes off us. We may lose sight of God, but He never loses sight of us.
Monday, November 29, 2010
God wants to clean your house, cleanse your temple. Under the old covenant, the temple was either a tabernacle in the wilderness or a great building in Jerusalem where the high priest, representing the people, met God.
But ever since the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, God doesn’t live in a temple. John wrote in Revelation 21:3,
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.”
Under the new covenant, God lives in the hearts and lives of His own people.
We are so careful about cleaning the outside of our bodies. But what about the inside? Is there something that needs to be cleansed inside? The Bible tells us,
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
When we give our lives to Christ and put our trust in Him, He comes in and cleans house. He throws out old clothes, old furniture, even the old food in the refrigerator. Then He lays down beautiful new carpet. He puts in new furniture. He fills the refrigerator with the finest gourmet foods. And we realize that He took the old things away only to put something better in their place.
God wants to clean house. Let Him do that. Invite the Spirit of the living God to do whatever He needs to do to make your life—your inner temple— a place where He will feel at home.
-Blue Ridge Broadcasting-
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
It is possible to hear God’s Word with our ears, but not with our hearts. Jesus knew that we can often hear without understanding. That is why He would so often say, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” If we were to paraphrase that in our modern language, Jesus would be saying, “Pay attention to what I’m saying. Listen carefully to what I am telling you right now.” He who has ears to hear, let him hear. It is attention with intention.
I do quite a bit of traveling. When I get on a plane and take my seat, I hear the safety message that the flight attendants give before every single flight. They have a long list of information to give out, pointing out the exits and the location of the oxygen masks and life vests. But often I don’t pay attention. I may look at a magazine instead. Because I have heard it so many times, I think I don’t need to listen.
But what if a few minutes after takeoff the pilot came on the intercom again and said something like this? “We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties, and the flight attendant is going to go through that safety message for you one more time,” I can guarantee you that I would be listening. Why? Because my life would depend on it. I would want to know where those exits are. I would want to know what steps I needed to take. I would like to survive in an emergency.
And that is precisely how we should read the Word of God. We need to listen carefully. It is attention with intention, listening with the desire to apply what we have read to our own daily situations, because so much depends on that infusion of wisdom and life. Probably more than we’ll ever know.
(Blue Ridge Broadcasting)
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Life is simply a journey towards eternity, towards our true home in heaven. Pastor Rick Warren explains this reality in his book, Purpose Driven Life.
He stated that, “Life on earth is just a temporary assignment, it’s like a mist, a fast runner, a breath and a wisp of smoke…” This is so true because “earth is just a temporary residence” or better say a practice ground on what is really waiting for us there in heaven. We won’t be here long so we don’t have to get too attached…
The Bible says “For we were born but yesterday, our days on earth are as transient as shadow…” Job 8:9
There are only two permanent things here on earth and that is “Change” and “God”… We may live 40, 50, 60, 70 years or perhaps longer than that but time would surely come knocking our way and would tell us, “Hey, I’m really sorry, but your life has come to an end…” But let us cheer up co’z it is also the start of our supposed life there in heaven…
Monday, August 9, 2010
It’s not that unusual to pick up a newspaper, read an article, or turn on the news and learn that another celebrity has checked into rehab or another rock star has overdosed or committed suicide.
We have a hard time understanding how these “beautiful people,” these men and women who seem so perfect to us in their airbrushed photos and Tinseltown world, could be utterly miserable and bitterly unhappy. The truth is, many of them have the same problems that we do—even though they possess some of the material things we can only dream about. Yet many of them have discovered the emptiness and futility of living for “things” or for “celebrity.”
The world offers a fleeting happiness that comes and goes fast. Its happiness depends entirely on personal circumstances. If things are going well, then you’re happy. If circumstances in your life have taken a bad turn, then you are miserable. But God offers you a happiness that will be there in spite of your circumstances. It’s not a happiness that grows out of what you have, it comes from who you know. The Bible says, “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!” (Psalm 144:15).
The world tells you to take drugs, party, and get drunk. That’s where it’s at, they say. But God says, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).
Have you been settling for a cheap substitute? If so, you have been coming up empty. Maybe, like Solomon, you will conclude that it is meaningless. Just so much emptiness, like a bubble that bursts or a wisp of a vapor. That’s the conclusion everyone will eventually come to. So you can either take God’s Word for it now or you can learn it the hard way.
(Blue Ridge Broadcasting)