Friday, December 27, 2013
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Friday, November 22, 2013
Friday, November 15, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Friday, October 25, 2013
Margot Woelk was one of Adolph Hitler’s food tasters. Her job was to sample the foods of the German Nazi leader before he ate them to ensure they were not poisoned. For nearly three years,Margot ate the most delicious foods known to man. In her later years, feeling convicted about her service to the Nazi leader, she decided to speak about her horrid experience. She said, “The food I ate was the most delicious I have ever eaten in my life. It was only the best vegetables, asparagus, bell peppers, rice, pastas, and about everything you can imagine. The only problem was I could never enjoy it. For nearly three years I lived in constant fear surrounded by the best the world had to offer. My job was to eat the best foods that could have been poisoned. Every day I ate and never enjoyed the food because I feared that meal was going to be my last.”
What do you fear? People are paralyzed every day by constant fear. Fear of death, sickness, people, rejection, intimacy, failure and many more rob from people every day. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Fear is not from God but from Satan. What are you afraid of? Fear is a paralyzing spirit. It will keep you from fulfilling God’s calling on your life. Satan uses fear to terrorize you. 1 John 4:18 says, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” God is love and drives fear away. The Amplified Bible says in 1 John 4:18, “full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror!” If you are being tormented and are terrified of the fear that is robbing your life then you need to trust in the Lord to remove fear and replace it with His perfect love.
Fear comes to us all in various forms. My kids were once, and are sometimes still, scared of the dark. What helped them? Light! When Satan throws the dark fears of this world at you, counter it with the light of Christ. His Word! Do what David did in Psalm 56:3. He said, “When I am afraid, I will have confidence in and put my trust and reliance in You.” So when Satan berates you with the fear of loneliness you come back at him with, “God will never leave me or forsake me” (Hebrews 13:5). When he tries to scare you with the fear of death, remind him, “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54). When the fear of lack comes on you, just recall, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Whatever phobia you may have, Scripture has an antidote.
There are many storms in life that are seemingly scary. Sometimes God calms the storm. Sometimes the storm rages on and God calms the person. God can calm you in the roughest of storms. Fear doesn’t have to captivate you any longer. God has made you to have faith, not fear. Worry, anxiety, and doubt are minions of fear. Don’t bow down to them but have faith and confidence in the Lord. Isaiah 41:10 reminds us to, “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, and I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” I encourage you today to face your fear and don’t run from it or hide in it. Remember that Jesus is with you. Don’t be paralyzed by fear but go forward in faith. If God is for you, who (or what) can be against you (Romans 8:31)!
Friday, October 11, 2013
Are you stressed out? Here is some help – the word “stressed” is the word “desserts” spelled backwards. You’re welcome! Stress free now? Me either. There are a lot of great things found in Scripture to help you deal with stress. One of my favorite verses is John16:33. Jesus Himself said, “These things I have told you so that in me (Jesus) you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.” Now that’s great news that meets every one of us right where we live. While all of us are faced with varying troubles, Jesus overcomes them all and gives us peace. I didn’t say He takes all of your troubles completely away. You can have peace in the middle of your troubles. Peace isn’t the absence of trouble but the presence of the Lord in the midst of them.
Another verse in the Bible I remind myself of frequently is Philippians 4:4. “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.” When does this verse say to rejoice? ALWAYS! How do you rejoice in sickness, death, or pain? How do you rejoice when your mate leaves you (that’s assuming you want them to stay)? I think this verse tells us rejoicing is a character trait of the Christian. While trouble may present itself, true joy is found in the Lord, not circumstance. He is joy. Joy isn’t good and not bad. It is Jesus! I think this verse reminds us to focus on the joy of the Lord and not to worry. Philippians 4:6 reminds us to also be anxious about nothing. What does worry produce? Usually more worry. Someone once said worry pulls tomorrows clouds over today’s sunshine. None of us can add a single hour to our life (Matthew 6:27). Worrying about tomorrow’s problems today is bad medicine. Matthew6:34 goes on to say, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.“
Another thing Scripture tells us to do is pray. I didn’t finish Philippians 4:6 in the previous paragraph. It says, “be anxious for nothing” but doesn’t stop there. The key to not being anxious is prayer. The verse continues to say, “but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” The next verse implies that prayer in the middle of anxiety brings peace. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Prayer puts your troubles into perspective and causes you to remember to “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). God cares about your struggles. Take them to Him and throw all your troubles on Him. He can bear our burdens where you and I cannot. Sometimes we worry or are stressed out because we think the wrong thoughts. Proverbs 23:7 says what we think in our hearts is what we are. If you consume yourself with negative or “worst-case scenario” thoughts, you will drive yourself crazy. When the Devil says, “what if…” to you, tell him, “so what!” Philippians 4:8 says we should think about only what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Other thoughts should be taken captive and made to obey the truths of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Paul knew how to be content in every circumstance (Philippians 4:11). Whether he had little finances or was hungry, he was content. He knew God was for him and not against him (Romans 8:31). Stress free living really is this: godliness with contentment which brings great gain (1 Timothy 6:6). You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13). God will supply all your needs according to His righteousness (Philippians 4:19). You can overcome stress in Christ!
Friday, October 4, 2013
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Friday, September 27, 2013
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Have you ever prayed selfishly for something? Have you ever prayed for something and after it happened you wish you hadn’t prayed for that? What about praying for something that didn’t happen and you are glad that it didn’t? It is true we should be careful what we pray for. A story is told of a man who asked his pastor to pray for him to become a solid giver to the church. The pastor and the man prayed that God would help him be a consistent giver and increase his business so he could give more. God answered his prayer and blessed his business so much he went from tithing $40 a month to $500 a month! The man called his pastor back and said he didn’t know if he could keep up with tithing that much money now and his pastor said, “Ok. Let’s get together and pray and ask God to decrease your income back to when you only tithed $40 a month.” The man got the point and continued to honor God in his tithe.
What is your motivation for asking God anything? Sometimes, we don’t receive answers to our prayers because we pray with wrong motives. James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” We must make sure our motives are pure when asking God for anything. Other times we ask for things we are not fully prepared to receive. For instance, Paul prayed, ““I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death (Philippians 3:10). Paul received exactly what he prayed and was prepared for it. He died for Christ and shared in His sufferings. Are you willing to pray that? I’m not saying you will die if you pray that. What I mean is are you willing to receive fully what you ask for? Are you willing to walk through the answer of your prayer? If you pray to do the right thing you must also pray for the strength to carry it out.
Friday, September 6, 2013
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Friday, August 9, 2013
Luke 2:52 says Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and men. I want to shape these four areas of my kids’ lives as well. Wisdom means helping to guard and shape their mind. I want them to have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and a Biblical world view. I want them to grow in stature. This isn’t talking about their physical height but their moral character. Their actions should be formed by the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Favor with God means He molds them and shows them their purpose in Him. Favor with man means through their relationship with God, their personality grows and influences their relationships with people.
I also desire to give my kids the right platform for launching their lives. I pray four things for them every day: (1) that they would give their lives to Jesus; (2) that they would be called into full time ministry, (3) that they would marry Spirit-filled, born-again, ministry minded spouses, and (4) that they would raise children to do the same. In order to do this my wife and I have to model this. One of my favorite verses is Malachi 4:6. I pray it all the time for my kids. “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” Our hearts have to be one with the Lord as parents before we can instill the heart of the Lord in our kids.
There are many dangers I want to protect my kids from. I am not naïve enough to think I can shield them from every harmful influence in life. But I can give them the right foundation to make the right decisions when faced with trouble, temptation, or trials. Change will come in their life. How do they see me deal with change? What does the Bible have to say about it? Failure will happen (either to them or by them). How do they remain who they are in Christ beyond the bad grade or let down from a friend? Rejection is evident – even Jesus was rejected. Showing them how He overcame will help them overcome and be confident in Christ’s love for them. He never leaves them (Hebrews 13:5) and loves them unconditionally (Romans 5:8).
My wife and I want to point our kids towards the ways of God but the only way to do this is found in Joshua 24:15: Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” We can’t drop our kids off at church and expect this to happen. We have to steer their lives toward Christ as they see us make daily choices to follow Jesus. The greatest way we can honor our kids is to love them like Jesus does, show them Jesus’ ways of living, and pray for them daily. Who cares if I leave them great wealth, provide a good education for them and keep them busy in great activities if I never show them Jesus?
Monday, July 29, 2013
Friday, July 26, 2013
Monday, July 22, 2013
When I was applying for a job in high school I remember my dad saying, "You'll never get a second chance to make a first impression." That meant do my best to impress the boss so I'd get the job. I did and Fred's was a good place to work for about a year. When you meet someone you try make a good impression on them. What if you make a bad impression? They will probably always remember that and label you as they first saw you. You may not get a second chance to make a first impression with people but you do with God. "His mercies are new every morning" (Lamentations 3:22-23). When I wake up I have a new day to grow in and use for Him. His grace covers my yesterdays - the bad, the "never good enough's", and my best attempts at good. If I have messed up and sinned He forgives my sin. God forgives and "remembers our sins no more" (Hebrews 8:12; Isaiah 43:25). Only an all-powerful God can be all-knowing and forgetful at the same time. He doesn't hold them against me or keep a list of my wrongs. He gives me the greatest mulligan ever - forgiveness in Him.
I'll buy a mulligan every time I play in a golf tournament. While not everyone does, I'm thankful for friends and family who allow me to mess up and make things right. I'm more thankful for a God who gives me new mercies every morning and doesn't hold my sin against when I ask for forgiveness. I'm glad God gives second chances.