Keep Going

Perseverance is easy, for a little while, but a little while won’t get you too far. Do you think Stephan Curry would be the all star he is today if he gave up when he didn’t get a scholarship to a major university? Do you think Albert Einstein would have accomplished all he did if he gave up because he didn’t get accepted into the illustrious Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich? Do you think Joseph would have become the second in command of Egypt if he had given up after his brother’s betrayal and settled to being just a slave? We are to keep praying, keep believing, keep going! As James wrote, we are going to have trials, but they will only strengthen us, keep going! As the widow nagged the judge for justice in one of Jesus’s parables, her persistence paid off, keep going! Jesus said to ask, seek, knock, and then sometimes wait, but while you are waiting, keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking! God wants what’s best for you and your loved ones and He will provide what is needed at the precise time. Believe in His promises, believe He will answer what you are praying for, be strong and firm in your prayers, and keep going!

 


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Your World

It’s amazing how many worlds there are within the world. Like there is the world of sports, the world of art, literature, education, music, acting, the world of boating, sailing, fishing, cars, racing, motorcycles, and on and on. These are all worthy pursuits but they can become all consuming. After spending however much time in your world, how much time do you give to God’s world? Whose world always gets first priority? Do you only pass through on Sundays or do you make yourself available? If you have given your life to Jesus, you are a part of His church. His church, the body of Christ. is God’s vehicle on earth and He wants you on board. Whether you’re a finger, a toe, or an eye, you are an important part of the body. We need to be a part of other worlds so we can be a witness for the Lord, but don’t get so consumed in your world that you don’t have any time for His! We are to love God and serve God, and love others and serve others and that begins at the household of Christ!


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May Your Blessings Continue

After celebrating our Independence this week, a great Saturday morning breakfast honoring our veterans, and a moving cantata honoring and thanking our Heavenly Father for blessing our great country, let’s not let it stop there. Make sure to continue to honor and thank the Lord, not just for our nation, but for His blessings in your life each day. Continue to pray for our country’s leaders, even though God already knows they need it! Continue to pray for our servicemen and women, our police, our firefighters and EMT’s, all those who provide self-sacrificing service that we may live in peace and safety. Our way of life does come at a cost, make sure you are honoring and praying for those that pay that cost for you. We thank You Father for the freedoms we enjoy, for the blessings You’ve bestowed on this land, and for all the men and women who have served so proudly and brave. May You continue to bless America!


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Standing Tall

The world casts a wary eye upon those that claim the name of Christ, that call themselves Christians. It’s always watching, waiting to point out any fault or miss-step we might make. Once you have accepted God’s gift of grace, you are called to a higher standard, His standard, and if we are to win the world for Jesus we need to live what He preached. Do you strive to do your best at whatever you do? Do you work the extra mile to get the job done for your employer? Are you kind, quick to forgive, non-judgemental but welcoming to those that don’t know the Lord? Are you spending time in His Word, ready to answer any questions of why you believe in Him? Remember Paul’s encouragement to Timothy that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man (woman) of God may be complete, thoroughly equip ed for every good work.” You say, hey wait a minute, I’m not an evangelist, probably not, but you are an ambassador! From everywhere you go to everyone you meet, you are representing the Lord. Make sure you are standing tall before the Son, living up to His standards, and giving the world nothing to cast it’s wary eye upon!


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Easy To Be Bad

Why do people choose to be bad rather than good? Because it’s so much easier and fun to be bad. Like, who am I hurting if I drink too much sometimes? How many fatalities are caused by drunk drivers, how many families, abuses, lives are destroyed by alcoholism? Hey, it’s only a joint, it’s not addictive, until it is, until you need something stronger and stronger, until you’re selling your soul for the next fix! It’s only sex, everybody is doing it, it‘s no big deal. But how many abortions, how many marriages, relationships, friendships, how many hearts have been devastated by no big deal? So many people see God as this judgemental figure with a big black marker checking off their sins instead of a loving Father who has set boundaries to protect His children. He didn’t make up rules so He could judge us, He gave us guidelines so we may enjoy life to the fullest. Sometimes the lure of being bad and it’s self filling pleasures hide the self destructive consequences. Don’t be blinded to the truth, life is so much more enjoyable living in the good. Thank You Father for Your loving hand. Thank You for Your boundaries. Thank You for forgiving us when we test those boundaries. Thank You for Jesus!


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He Set the Bar

Fatherhood is not for the faint of heart.It is full of awesome joys but also awesome responsibilities. Father’s are to set the bar for their children, but sadly, over the last few decades the bar has been dropping like the ball in Times Sq on New Years Eve! It’s time for father’s, men, to live up to the role to which God has called them. Love your wives as Christ loved the church. Let your children know and see that! Spend time in prayer, seeking God’s wisdom for your children, your family, yourself. Don’t be afraid to discipline your children. They need boundaries, limits, and sometimes a spanking. Whoa, don’t let Dr. Spock hear that! Provide for your family but provide more than just the physical needs and toys to keep them occupied. They need you, your attention, your presence, your love, kindness, and gentleness, and your unconditional forgiveness. Our Heavenly Father has provided us salvation through Jesus, He will provide all our needs (not necessarily our desires), He gives us unconditional love, and is always there when we need Him. You want to see society change? This is the standard we need to attain with our families, wives, and children. God set the bar, now we need to be men and live up to it!


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Coming Home

Rather than get in trouble by loosely paraphrasing, I’ll assume you all know the parable of the prodigal son. Let’s look at a couple of it’s major points. First, just as the father immediately forgave and restored his wayward son, so will our Heavenly Father do to anyone who asks Him. There is none, no not a one, who hasn’t sinned against Him, and there is none, not a one, He won’t forgive and redeem. Don’t ever count anyone out, as long as they have breath there is hope. Second, the older son was so offended by his brother’s sins that he could not rejoice when his father forgave them. Does the church portray what I’ve always called the Prodigal Son Syndrome, do you? Are we more concerned with pointing out the wrong doers in the world or saving them? How many politicians with opposing views do you pray for? Do we rejoice, as the angels in heaven do, when someone, no matter how heinous they may have been, gives their heart to the Lord? Do we smugly turn our backs on the wicked worldly, knowing they’ll get what they deserve or do we pray for their salvation? Prayer is the most powerful weapon on earth. Let’s all make sure we don’t have that older brother attitude. Then we need to start to seriously use the powerful weapon God has given us and be ready to rejoice as the prodigals start coming home!


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Good Tree, Bad Tree

Are you a good tree or a bad tree? That question came up in one of the many confrontations Jesus had with the Pharisees. In this particular one, they accused Him of casting out demons by the ruler of the demons. While He was soundly rebuking them, He made a couple of statements we need to consider. “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who doesn’t gather with Me, scatters abroad.” Many people, priests, and pastors have done much harm in the name of Christianity. They have caused many to be “scattered abroad” most likely never to return to the Lord. Are you a gatherer or a scattered? You are either on the Lord’s side or you’re not, there is no middle ground. You can’t straddle a picket fence. Next, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Our words define us. What words fill your mouth; words of encouragement, kindness, praise or words of criticism, coarseness, controversy? We are meant to be good trees bearing good fruit with nary a doubt of whose side we are on. Granted every piece of fruit we produce may not be perfect, we will always be in need of pruning, but strive to be that good tree. Want a little inspiration? Remember the bad trees will be cut down and thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Makes a little pruning sound pretty good!


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Got Plans

After the Jewish people were led in captivity to Babylon and everything seemed hopeless for them, the Lord used Jeremiah to deliver some encouraging words. “I know the plans I have toward you, plans of peace, not evil, to give you a future and a hope … you will seek Me, and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart, I will be found by you …” Our lives teeter on a precarious balance, and whether by our own doing or uncontrolled circumstances, they can be turned upside down in a heartbeat. We can feel like we’ve been dragged off into captivity! So, what do you do when that happens? You know that God still loves you, you know He wants the best for you, you know He has a plan for you. So you seek Him with all your heart! Let no amount of tragedy deter you. The worse it gets, the harder you seek and He “will be found by you.” As we honored our graduating students yesterday there was no better advice we could give them as they head off into their lives. In all aspects of your life, seek God’s plan first. You may think you have a good one, but I venture to say His is better. Whether graduating high school, college, or well into retirement years, we all walk a tightrope through life. Continually seek His balance, listen to His leading, and if you slip off the tightrope, you know that He is the best safety net ever!


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Rejoice

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice,” encouraging words from Paul to the church at Philippi, ones that should be resounding in every Christian church today! Christians should be the most joyful people on the planet. We know the risen Savior, we know He redeemed us, we know we are going to spend eternity in heaven with Him, and we didn’t do a thing to earn that privilege, He did it all for us! Sure we all have troubles from time to time, but we need to look past the temporal to the eternal. God loves us, He wants us to share our problems with Him so He may give us His peace that passes all understanding. Stop sucking on lemons and and let the world see your joy! Come to church smiling, leave with a bigger smile because you have been singing His praises, hearing His Word, and spending time with your brothers and sisters. If we are going to attract unbelievers to the Lord, it will be with a smile not a pious pout! Remember the words of Nehemiah, “… the joy of the Lord is our strength!” Start flexing those muscles and rejoice!
 

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