Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Being Part of God's Plan

29 Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.” (2 Samuel 7:29)
            David was often known to meditate on God’s word. Born of this desire for a deeper connection to God, David desired to build a permanent dwelling place (the temple) for God’s glory. But to David’s surprise, God said no! There are many things I’ve asked for and am pretty certain God has said no. The question is then how do we react when God says no to our hopes, aspirations, and dreams? David’s response is a great example of how we should handle this disappointment. He humbly gave thanks to God, praised Him for his character and works, and reaffirms his complete dependence upon the Lord (2 Samuel 7:18-29).
            David had hoped to build a house for the Lord, but it was the Lord who ended up building a house for David. This house is known in Scripture as the Davidic covenant. It is the promise made by God to establish David’s throne forever. How’s that for a promise? In David’s prayer recorded in verse 29, he is asking God to bless his family and his descendants. He knew that God always kept His end of the covenant even when Israel strayed from their end of the deal. David knew that God would bless His people through His covenant for generations to come.

            David’s desire to build God’s house was a good one. Even though it was not God’s will for David to build the temple, God did praise him for having the desire in his heart to do something wonderful for God (2 Chronicles 6:8). When we find ourselves having specific desires to serve God, we should thank Him. We should then seek Him in prayer and meditate on His word to see if our dreams and desires are in alignment for His plan for our lives. Sometimes when have to put our dreams on the backburner or let them die completely. We see things not turn out the way we had hoped, but we must always remember the Lord’s promise in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  We can do great things for God, but they may not be the things we imagined doing for Him. Seek His will for your life and have a blessed week!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Even Jesus had Family Issues at Times

Whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother (Mark 3:35).
            Do you ever have any trouble with family members? If you’re like me, that’s a resounding yes. If you have problems with people in school, the chances are you will never have to see them again after graduation, or at least not very often. But when it comes to family, you have to see them at holidays, weddings, funerals, and other special activities. It may give you comfort to know that even Jesus had problems with His family members too.
            Jesus’ own family thought He had lost His mind. After all, He did claim to be God in the flesh. They saw Him as too religious! Too radical!! They were concerned that He had gone off the deep end and came to rescue Him before He damaged the family reputation too horribly bad. They did not realize until after His resurrection that He had come from heaven to rescue them…
            Why had He left His great paying job at the carpentry shop? He had no place to lay His head much less a few of life’s luxuries. And who was this ragtag band of questionable disciples following Him around everywhere He went? Tax collectors? Ugh!! Fishermen? Pew!! His family did not understand and they definitely did not approve.
            Have you ever noticed that when someone is consumed with nutrition and health, it doesn't seem to bother their family? If they are running every day, no one gets worried. If they are lifting weights three or four times a week, no one is concerned. But if they are reading their Bible every single day, the family’s alarm bells start sounding. When someone is excited over sports, you just dismiss them as a fan. But if you are truly excited over spiritual things and want to talk about God a lot, people call you a fanatic. Someone once called an old-timey preacher a nut. The preacher replied, “At least I’m fastened onto the right bolt!”
            Jesus issues this invitation: “Let me be Lord of your life.” Having your family’s approval is worth a lot, but have the approval of heaven is priceless! Obey God today, follow His plan for your life, and hear your Heavenly Father say, “This is my beloved child, in you I am well pleased.” Latch onto God. Have a blessed week!!!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Are You Self-Suficient ?

21 I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, ‘I will not listen.’ This has been your way from your youth, that you have not obeyed my voice. (Jeremiah 22:21)
            Ever since the Garden of Eden, human beings have had an inclination to be totally self-reliant. When we are successful, we often lean even further into this attitude. We thing that the blessings we are enjoying are a direct result of our own abilities and resources. The Word of the Lord, however, asks, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). Self-suficiency can be a destructive and deadly spiritual state.
            There are many other concerns that may hinder us from hearing the Lord’s voice. Even good and proper things – responsibilities of life – may press us for our time and cause us to neglect our fellowship with and dependence upon our Lord Jesus the Christ. Luke 10:38-42 gives us an account of Jesus’ visit with Mary and Martha’s house. Martha was diligent in preparing dinner for Jesus. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him teach. Jesus told Martha that Mary made the better choice – spending time with Him. While the meal that Martha prepared would soon be eaten and forgotten, Mary would be changed forever by her close fellowship with Christ. Dependence upon Him and fellowship with Him should cornerstones of our lives.

            I hope you are truly aware of your dependence upon the Lord, whatever conditions you are facing in your life. We need Him for everything, even the air we breathe is a gift from God. I sincerely hope God grants you the blessing of dependence upon Him. I pray that you hear His voice and obey promptly the things He asks of you. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Feeling Distant from God?

6 And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the Lord. (Judges 6:6)
            Have you ever felt distant from God? The first question we should ask when we realize this feeling is why. Could it be from our own straying and disobedience? This is the picture we see of the people of Israel in Judges 6. They had not obeyed the voice of God (v.10). The Israelites had suffered for years at the hands of the neighboring nations. Through their own spiritual wondering and disobedience, the Lord had allowed it, yet they still continued to tolerate or worship pagan idols.
            Disobedience will always put a chasm between God and us. God is never the problem. If we are distant from Him, the problem lies within ourselves. James 4:8 reminds us that when we draw near to God, He draws near to us. If disobedience pushes us away from God, what will draw us back to Him? Repentance! Repentance is the desire to turn from sin. You are doing a 180 degree turn, an about face, and marching back toward God. It is not simply the desire to escape the pain and consequences of sin.
            The thing we must remember is that even through God’s discipline and chastisement is that we are His children. His true desire for us is that we be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). Solomon wrote, “11 My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, 12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11-12).

            Some parent may be passive or permissive in their style of discipline, but our heavenly Father is neither. He does not allow us to do whatever our deprived nature pleases. Just as the Father said of His Son Jesus, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). He desires to say of us, “This is my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.” Our Father in heaven wants the best for His children. The best He can give us is the character of Jesus (sanctification). Obedience develops our character; disobedience destroys our character. Our Father will not sit idly by and watch us destroy ourselves. He wants what is best even if that means discipline.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

You Can't Take It With You

7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. (1 Timothy 6:7)
            We know this for a fact. I have either preached or attended a total of 8 funerals during in the relatively short time that I’ve been here.  It is definitely a sobering thought.
            A wealthy landowner was trying to buy some additional land near his estate. A neighbor observed that his only motive was to prevent someone else from buying it. So the neighbor asked, “Sir, do you want to only all of the land in the world?” “No,” the wealthy man replied, “just the land that joins mine.”
            Many people believe that contentment and true happiness comes from having enough money to do whatever they like whenever they want to do it. Other think it comes from have a good, close-knit family or having a life with no problems. That is why they constantly think that having a little more money or changing their relationships or improving their circumstances will bring this contentment.
            It’s just not so. This true happiness comes only from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We must believe that He will supply all of our needs. Contentment is not found in things, circumstances, or other people. It is truly found in knowing that our heavenly Father loves us and cares for us.

            The writer of Hebrews understood the true source of contentment when he wrote, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). To express it in another way, discontentment comes when we think that having money or the latest electronic gadget or newest fashion will make us happy. Scripture affirms that true happiness is obtainable only through Jesus. Knowing that He provides us with what we need when we need it produces stress-free living at its best. Be strong and courageous in this and do not be afraid. You are valuable to God.