July 21, 2016
A Heart To Hear
Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”
The British teacher Oswald Chambers points out something unique about Isaiah’s call from God: God did not direct His call to Isaiah—Isaiah overheard God saying, “Who will go for Us?” Somehow Isaiah overheard the counsel of God concerning a need for someone to prophesy to Israel. God didn’t say, “Isaiah, go for Me.” Instead, Isaiah heard the need and recognized it as something God had prepared him to do. Thus his response, “Here I am. Send me.”
A willing heart is the first step in finding God’s will in our lives. We cannot expect God to force us or to plead with us about the calling in our lives. In Mark 1:17 Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Their response? Immediately, they left there nets and followed Him. Willingness, openness, receptivity, a listening heart— these are the prerequisites for determining the call of God.
IF you want to serve God, immerse yourself in prayer and Bible study with a heart that is ready to hear what you know you must do. Remember, God will never force you to do anything for Him. But when we really understand what He has done for us, the question changes. Not, should I give my life to serve Jesus, but how can I not give my life to serve Jesus?!
I realize not everyone will leave their jobs (nets) and follow Jesus. Honestly, I sincerely believe that you can follow Jesus and live a life that pleases Him right where you are because God has you right where He wants you. Yet, I totally believe that there are many people in our community and the communities around us that are NOT where they are supposed to be. Why? Lots of reasons: fear of losing out, fear of messing it up, lack of faith, greed for worldly possessions, sometimes flat out disobedience. But I've lived on both sides and I can honestly say with every fiber of my being that the ONLY security is following Jesus. What this world has to offer is temporary and 2nd rate at best! Get out of the boat, my friends! Get out of the wading pool and let's get out there where Jesus is and where He wants to take us. There's nothing like it and you'll never regret it. I promise and so does He!
July 07, 2016
So, when my alarm on my phone went off this morning, I started to ponder all the things that I needed and wanted to do today. Oh my, I'm a busy person. My life is really important and I've got this agenda that just needs to happen or the earth just may stop turning. Did anyone else wake up with those kind of thoughts? Well, maybe not the earth stopping and such exaggerations. But you know what I mean, right? I contend we all woke up with an agenda or a plan of attack for the day. And honestly, you are important and what you have to accomplish is probably way more important than my plans. But we all are someone today on our way to do some things that are very important to us. And that's what matters to us, right? Is that wrong? Yes and no. It's not wrong in the sense that God knows what we think and He doesn't condemn us for feeling important and getting stressed when plans get changed and such. But yes it's wrong when we continue to think that ours is the most important job in the world and that God and everyone else exist to make our lives better and blessed.
John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.
So, it's 12:30pm and I've just realized for the day that my purpose today isn't to accomplish my goals and plans. My purpose is to worship Jesus and to allow Him to guide my day. If that takes on the appearance of interruptions, than so be it. I pray that God interrupts my day a lot today so that He can use me for His Kingdom work and for His glory. May He bring someone across my path that needs to see and hear and experience Jesus and may God find me faithful to be Him to a world that really needs to see Him today! Amen~
June 15, 2016
Well, once again I'm reminded of what I say almost every week from the pulpit- We have no guarantees of tomorrow! Yesterday, a family from Elkhorn, NE was on vacation at Disney in Orlando, Florida. A father, mother and their 4 and 2 year old sons set out to enjoy some family time and make some memories! As the day ended yesterday, the family was just hanging out near the Seven Seas Lagoon. The 2 year old boy was walking along the water's edge when an alligator came up out of the water and snatched the 2 year old into the water. The father rushed in and battled the gator but was not strong enough to rescue his son from the iron grip of the gator. After being bit and cut several times, the father stood there helpless as the gator took this man's son down into the water and disappeared. Who could've imagined this is how their day would end? Who could've pictured that this 2 year old boy with so much life and energy would be viciously attacked and drown by an alligator at Disney of all places? This afternoon, they found the lifeless body of this 2 year old boy at the bottom of the lake. It's beyond my comprehension. I can't even imagine their grief but I do know for certain that God is near to the broken-hearted and He promises to carry us through this life of uncertainty and it's many challenges. I pray that God holds this family near during their grief and sorrow and whatever other emotions come with. I pray that God brings healing in His time and I pray that this family as well as all of us really take notice that yesterday is history. Tomorrow is not a guarantee and today is called the present because it truly is God's present to us. It should never be an expectation. Every day that we are allowed to wake up and breathe God's air, let's rejoice in Him. Let's love like it's our last day on earth....because honestly, it just might be!
May 04, 2016
There’s a word that I’ve been hearing a lot lately in our country. For that matter, I’ve been hearing it a lot in our community and in our churches. It’s the word, ‘if.’ And it seems to stem from our current political situation. We are getting ready, as a country to elect a new leader of our great nation. I think we’ve learned from past experience that our country can still be great even with a less than great leader. Sometimes we even stretch the scope of that word ‘leader’ as it is just a fact that someone being placed in a role of authority doesn’t make them a leader any more than box being placed in a garage makes it a car. Over the past year, we’ve been hearing politicians and some not even politicians making their case of why they would be the best people’s choice to be the next President of this country. And as the race unfolds, more and more candidates drop from the race as they see they are obviously not the people’s choice to represent them in the White House. People are frustrated for a various number of reasons. Some people are frustrated that Christian principles have not been exemplified in the country’s leadership. Many are frustrated that our military has once more been deflated to less than what is minimally needed. And yet others are frustrated at the fact that our national debt has skyrocketed. But I contend that for the most part, people are frustrated that once in that position of leadership, they don’t follow through with what they promised. They prove themselves to be promise breakers and thus liars and frankly, people are tired of being lied to.
And that leads me to the title of this article, “If”; People say, “If this person gets elected, I’m moving out!” “If this person gets elected, our country will be beyond fixing.” “If this person gets elected, it will hasten the judgment of God on wickedness.” If, if, if. Can I tell you something? And this may come as a shock to some readers but change is never dependent on who’s in the White House! Change is dependent on what happens in your house! It’s time that we stop making this election out like it’s the end all of everything. Don’t get me wrong, I believe this election is crucial and I’m watching it very closely and I’m very involved and I believe God calls us to action, not to be complacent and not to simply complain all day. So, here’s the ‘if’ that we should really pay attention to:
2 Chronicles 7:12-16
Then one night the lord appeared to Solomon and said, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this Temple as the place for making sacrifices. At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.
You see, the recipe to restoring our country to the great republic it was set up to be lies within each one of our hearts and within each of our homes. I believe it would be wonderful to have a person of God, a person of courage, and morals, and integrity in the White House. But honestly, what matters the most is that you are a person of God and of courage, and morals, and integrity. You be a difference maker and a world changer. It’s not what happens in the White House that will change our country, it’s what happens in your house! Question: Are you up for the “If” challenge from 2 Chronicles?