Tuesday, December 27, 2011
As morning came and Elisha's servant went outside, he saw the entire Syrian army encamped around the house. There were horses and chariots, a great host, so with terrific fear the servant ran inside and cried to Elisha, "What shall we do?"
Elisha's reply was surprising - "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them" (2 Kings 6:16). The servant did not understand, so Elijah then prayed, "Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." "Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha" (2 Kings 6:17).
God brought victory and deliverance to Elisha and Israel that day. God's armies were always there with Elisha, but it took faith to see them, to know that God was near.
2012 has arrived. Our future is renewed and yet unknown. There will be both good and difficult days, victories and defeats, gains and losses.
But God is with us! Therefore, anything is possible. Although we may be weak, God is omnipotent! Our only true limitation is the degree of our inability to believe in what God can do. The vision we need is not what human eyes can view. It is our inward faith in God that guides us and makes the unthinkable a reality. It all depends on what we choose to see.
We can change the world this year if we want to. God is here, He is alive, He is poweful, and He is active. Make no mistake. It is not God we are waiting for. We are really waiting for ourselves.
"Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things..." ~ Psalm 119:18
Monday, December 19, 2011
We live in a time of convenience. Products are more consumer friendly than they have ever been. Technology has advanced to the point that you don't even have to do anything anymore to get things done - you can just talk to it or touch it with the end of your finger and it an instant - whalah!
Life has become so convenient that people don't know how to be incovenienced. Two minutes in line is too long. Waiting for your computer to go to the next screen better not take more than a second or you will want to throw the whole thing out the window. Our cars have heated seats and dual temperature controls. I am not even scratching the surface here...
All of these blessings also pose a great danger. We allow our attitudes to be changed from those of charitable work and service to the need to be served. Our approach to God as a society is changing. We want the church to serve us, and we will be at worship and love God as long as He doesn't ask too much.
On Sunday, December 25th, 2011, there will be churches all over the country who will be more concerned about what is convenient than what is commanded. Some will not even have worship, because they don't want to make it a "hardship" for people on Christmas Day.
How ironic that people are so concerned about how Christmas falling on Sunday may effect their plans! It was not convenient for Jesus to leave heaven and come to earth. It was not convenient for Him to be born in a manger. It was not convenient for Him to die on a cross. God has done everything for us - going so far beyond what was convenient to save our sinlful, wretched souls. This was an act of love, for love not only know how to be inconvenienced, but it endures and sacrifices without limits.
In the midst of this Sunday holiday, I wish for all of you the happiest and healthiest season together. Love God enough to show Him that you are not going to do things at your convenience. Love God enough to honor His commandments.
"Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, 'Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.'" ~ Acts 24:25
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
When you think of what brings pure joy, isn't it interesting that it rarely has anything to do with yourself? Pure joy is seeing your young children laughing and singing and dancing. Pure joy is watching people who are less fortunate have the greatest Christmas of their lives. Pure joy is witnessing a husband and wife obey the gospel together and change the entire spiritual future for themselves and for their family.
What brings God joy? He rejoices over us for good, to bless us (Deut. 30:9). He rejoices in His perfect works (Psa. 104:31). He rejoices when sinners repent (Luke 15:7, 10). He rejoices when we know and do His will and thus have joy in ourselves (John 15:11). When we begin to rejoice about the right things we can acknowledge that we truly have been transformed to be more like the God who made us.
Simply put, to have the love of God is to feel the joy that is experienced in causing and witnessing the happiness and prosperity of others. There is no joy that can compare with the joy we receive from changing lives. This is what God did for us. How great is our God, who has decided to share with us this ministry, which brings into our hearts and into our lives - pure and eternal joy!
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." ~ 3 John 1:4
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
If you were raised like me, this holiday season has always been about Christmas trees, presents, Santa Claus, and getting together with friends and family. It is not a religious holiday. I am confident that this is as it should be, for we have no authority to make December 25 a holy day. I urge you to do some study on the origin of the holiday before deciding for yourself and your family on this issue.
But regardless of how people choose to celebrate Christmas, I have to admit that for a preacher this is a pretty sweet time. I am trying my best to get non-beleivers to believe in God. I am constantly urging believers to think about Christ and the church. I am striving to get the wayward members to come home to God. And this is the one time of year, that nearly everyone in our country and many around the world recognize that Jesus is real. Not only do they regonize Him, but they extol Him and give glory and praise to God for the gift of His Son.
It is always interesting to get Christmas cards from members of the church. Some are religious cards and some are not. Based on the cards I can see how they celebrate or think about Christmas. It reminds me that we need to educate ourselves regarding what we should believe and practice. It also reminds me that people are generally good and kind and thoughtful, and they really want to be this way all of the time. Christmas just gives them a reason to remember how they should be.
At the end of it all, I know Jesus is the reason for every season! After all, He made the world and everything in it! And I admit unashamedly that I am glad to hear so many people unafraid to acknowledge Him every December - even if it is only for a short period of time.
"For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." ~ Luke 2:11