Archive for August, 2016

But

August 14, 2016

An English teacher once taught never to use the word “but”.  She said whatever positive thing you could say would be counteracted if you added “but” and said anything else.  I would hold there is one exception.  When you make a statement, either positive or negative and say “but God”, you know you are going to end up positive, because God trumps everything—all the time.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.”  Zechariah 4:6

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Freedom

August 14, 2016

There are people so enamored of freedom, they are unwilling to submit to moral restraints of any kind.  Yet, cultures where people’s moral or religious beliefs inspire them to live by the golden rule (Do to others as you would have them do to you) allow much more freedom.  A lack of cultural morality leads to the sort of chaos and civil unrest that begs a heavy force of law, backed up by heavy handed law enforcement.  This is hardly the outcome those hating restraint were desiring.

Origin of the New Testament

August 14, 2016

Some people write they are troubled by the New Testament of the bible because it is a collection of accounts and letters written by human beings.  What if the whole book were delivered miraculously from Heaven?  Would that make it more acceptable or believable?  It still would rely on human eyewitness accounts to document its arrival.

A Prayer for Our Nation and Its Future

August 13, 2016

Dear Father, we come before you pleading for our nation and its future, because we know you established all the nations and their boundaries, and you hold the future of all in your hands.  We know you are almighty, that you know everything and nothing escapes your attention.  No one can fool you or hide from you.  And you are good.  You work out good for all who love you–ultimate good, even when the package in which your goodness arrives sometimes looks frightening to us.

We know Father that you hold the fate of all nations and all leaders in your hands.  In the bible we are taught “For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south.  But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.”  Psalm 75:6-7

We are also reminded “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His.  And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”  Daniel 2:20-21.

And we are taught:  “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”  Proverbs 21:1.

We believe these things Father, and so we believe you have chosen our leadership, even if sometimes they are disobedient, rebellious and arrogant before you.  We know you could take away their place if you chose, and you could change their thoughts and hearts if you chose.  Sometimes you are working out purposes we cannot see.  Yet, Lord, we fear leaders who would force us to turn away from your will for us and away from you.  Please do not allow such leaders to have power over us for the temptation to disobey you out of fear of our government might be too great for us.

Father, change our leaders hearts and turn them toward you, but even more change the people of this nation.  We confess we have sinned against you.  We have often looked to our government to solve our problems instead of looking first of all to you for your guidance and your help.  We have sinned in other ways–our violence, our selfishness, our misuse of everything that is good, our sin against your will for family life, our failure to love you as you deserve and our failure to love our neighbor as you have commanded.

Father, please forgive us, and please change us.  Please give us a future and do not destroy our nation.  Change our hearts toward you.  Help us put your first.  Give us new hearts that love you and love others.  Give us the desire, patience and strength to maintain the families you planned for us to have.  Our sin and selfishness have destroyed our families and other relationships.  Because we are so far from you, we have become angry, divided people, blaming others for our woes.  Yet, our separation from you is to blame.  Only when we recognize you, appreciate you, thank you and walk humbly before you, will we let you heal us.  Do what you must to this nation Lord.  Shake us awake, make us aware of what we must change, and give us the strength and wisdom to turn back to you and your ways.

We need you more than ever.  We sense the time is short before you must stop the evil on this earth.  Help us Father.  We ask this in the name of Jesus, name above all names, most powerful name in the universe.  Amen

Finding Your Way

August 13, 2016

“How can I find out what God created me to do?”  Many of us struggle with this issue.  I imagine many of us think God’s plan for our lives is something we have to struggle to find out. In reality God is already working in our lives, planning ahead of time what we are to do and preparing us for it as well.   Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s workmanship, created for a life of good works which God has already prepared for us to do.”   I believe we can rest assured that God will put those opportunities before us that lead us to what He would have us do.  Another clue is what we are talented at doing.  Since God created and awarded all of us with certain talents, they will match what we are to do.  The third thing is what gives us joy.  God is no sadist, and a clue to our calling is the kind of work we love.  It would be rare that God would expect us to make a long term commitment to something we hate doing (it would be only if He changes us first).  So in short, God won’t let us get too far off the track.  If our hearts are in the right place, the place where opportunity for good, our talent and our joy intersect is our “sweet spot” –the place we belong..

The Future

August 2, 2016

A number of pundits have predicted a rocky four years to come.  Everything is being predicted from an economic collapse, to war, to further terrorism, chaos, confusion, a breakdown of law and order, riots, corruption, and so on.

People who believe Jesus know that the way we have been living in this country in no way matches the picture He painted of God’s plan for us.  He also painted a picture of a cosmic battle of good and evil involving spirits and powers that are active yet unseen.  Many believe his predictions of the time of the end are coming true before our eyes.  If judgment falls in the next few years, it will fall first and hardest on our leader.  And I wonder, why would either Trump or Clinton want to be in that place?

Magnificent Obsession

August 2, 2016

Someone on Facebook asked for our all time favorite book.  I had to think a bit, but I think the one which had the most impact on me as a young person was Magnificent Obsession by Lloyd C. Douglas.  It is the story of a drunk driver who survived his accident–and the victim who did not survive.  Prompted by guilt, the main character strives to learn about the life that was lost, and in so doing, decides to continue what the deceased had started.  He lives the rest of his own life doing good.  Of course, the skeleton of the story in no way does it justice.

What the story does for me is motivates me to carry on the work of the one who gave his life so I could live.  Jesus is my hero, and I live because of Him.  My life is not only due to Him, but my second chance is due to His death.  Because I am supremely grateful for my new, eternal life, I want to live out my life doing what matters most to Him.