Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Positive Thinking?"

People have made positive thinking a god. Norman Vincent Peale made a bundle of money with writing a book called, "The Power of Positive Thinking." People believe if you think positive thoughts, good things will happen. I want you to know, I think being positive is important, but it is never to over-ride reality! For many who live by the power of positive thinking, those positive thoughts have a way of clouding what is really going on.
The question is asked, "Then why does it seem like the power of positive thinking works?" Let me show you why. God's word tell us: "What the wicked fears will come upon him but the desire of the righteous will be granted." (Prov. 10:24) When God's word speaks of the wicked, He is addressing all those who are not in fellowship with Him. People outside of Christ are wicked. For those in Christ, if we take Christ out of the picture, we would all be wicked. That's difficult for some to accept. "There is none righteous, not even one." (Rom. 3:10) "For all have sinned and fall short of the grace of God." (Rom. 3:23) "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." (Rom. 5:6) Just in these verses we have a picture of mankind. No one on their own is righteous! All of us have sinned and that makes us all ungodly. Ungodly people are wicked! Back to the question, "Why does it seem like the power of positive thinking works?" It is because if you get ungodly people to start thinking positive, it slows down a lot of fears in their lives! "What the wicked fear will come upon him..." You slow down the negatives of fear and it slows down the results! That's why it seems the power of positive thinking works.
Many make positive thinking their god! They believe that thinking positive will bring about positive results. Their faith is placed in the positive thinking! I know some won't like hearing that, especially if they are positive thinkers. Positive thinking has to be kept in perspective of God! The danger of living by the power of positive thinking is one can begin to abuse the word of God for their own positive thinking. For instance, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13) Many apply that verse from winning in sports to gaining an advantage over another in different situations. However, when one is honest with this text, Paul is speaking of being content no matter what circumstances one finds themselves. Trusting Christ is the only answer to contentment! Those made righteous by the blood of Christ realize their source of strength and its not found in positive thinking: "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe." (Prov. 18:10) "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding." (Prov. 3:5) "Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb. 12:2)

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Four Powerful Words"

The four greatest words anyone can build their lives on came from the mouth of Jesus. In teaching His disciples to pray, these words were monumental in recognizing God's power being released in the life of the one praying. When Jesus was in the garden, grieving in His soul, He bowed humbly and prayed to His heavenly Father using these four word in three different prayers. These four words became the entrance to the power and strength from God. He faced great hostilities with a power man has never seen and overcame death because of these words. His life was built around these four words and He tried to get His own disciples to see the significance of them.
The four great and powerful words are the easiest to repeat but it is completely a different thing to believe in them. Many often say them, but their lives reflect something different. What are these four words? THY WILL BE DONE! Putting faith in God by allowing those four words to be real brings life changing power into one's life. When we can say those four words from an honest and good heart, we place our lives, surrendering ourselves completely into the hands of the Almighty. That means our personal desires, all our plans and thoughts are given over into the care of God. Until these words are uttered and acted upon, our lives will change very little. Our lives will still be shallow while claiming we have a great relationship with our Lord. Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to make progress? Have you found yourself struggling with little things wondering why it is so difficult to overcome? Maybe you just find it a struggle to change period!
Four little words spoken from the heart, given to God brings about life changing results. Maybe it is time to reflect on our personal lives and put some life changing faith in the Lord stating, THY WILL BE DONE!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Remember the Duck!"

I can't remember who I heard it from or I would give them the credit. A little boy named Johnny was visiting his grandparents on the farm practicing with his sling shot. He increasingly became discouraged, as he could never hit a target he aimed at. As he was walking back to the house, he saw Grandma's pet duck. Out of an impulse, he loaded up his sling and let it fly, hitting the duck square on the head, killing it. He was shocked at first and then the grief hit. In a panic, he hid the dead duck in a woodpile, only to see his sister watching his every move.
After lunch that day, Grandma asked his sister Sally to help with the washing of dishes. Sally replied, "Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today, didn't you Johnny?" Sally whispered in Johnny's ear, "Remember the duck!" Johnny did the dishes. Later in the day, Grandpa asked if they would like to go fishing but Grandma said, "I'm sorry, but I need Sally to help me clean the house and prepare supper." Sally smiled and said, "Well, you wouldn't believe this grandma, but Johnny told me he wanted to help you clean the house, didn't you Johnny?" She leaned over and quickly said in his ear, "Remember the duck!" Sally went fishing with grandpa while Johnny stayed and cleaned.
After a couple of days of Johnny doing all the chores, Johnny finally broke down and went to grandma telling her the whole truth of killing her duck. Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug and said, "Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing. I forgive you! I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you?"
How many times are we enslaved to the power of sin, trapped in our guilt, feeling our lives as helpless and hopeless? We feel so alone and no one is aware of our misery. Each day becomes a struggle just to do simple tasks. We hide and fake things because we want no one to find out while inside we waste away. Why do we do this? Because we do not see our Lord as a forgiver and helper of our weaknesses! In Christ, if we would be honest, humble and confess our sins (I John 1:9), God would embrace and forgive us. The difficulty is we do not want to face our sins and be humble and honest, so sin continues to hold on to us, making us its slave. We decide to try harder in areas of our lives only to fail more. Over time, it will eventually wear us out where we will completely quit trying. Have we forgotten the sweetness of forgiveness? Do you really want to be free? Sin speaks, "Remember the duck!" Christ speaks, "It was for freedom that I set you free!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"The End"

We face many obstacles in our lives. We see hurts, corruption, the pain at the loss of a child and the list goes on and on. Questions arise and hearts become dismayed because we just do not understand. Marriages end in nasty, hateful battles and life at times seem so unfair. We find ourselves asking, "Is this all there is? Is this what God intended for us?" People groan and become depressed about situations not knowing what is going on. People in such difficulties see this as the end! They live like it is the end and this is what the end of their lives have become.
Despite what is going on in our political world and all the deception that accompanies it, it is not the end! The end isn't going to be some huge comet on a collision course with earth! The end isn't about the sun moving from it's existing place and burning up this earth! The end is not about global warming or hostilities of terrorists that exist. The end is not about a body riddled with cancer or a child that is so loved passes on. It's not about a ride in a black limousine or the clanging of a cemetery gate. In this life, we will all face heartaches and difficulties. Sometimes it may make us wonder about things, but this is not the end. We will see wars and hear rumblings of wars but that is not the end. There will be earthquakes, famines and hurricanes, but that is not the end.
The end will be GOD! No matter what we go through and how much heartache we face, the end will be GOD! Nothing else, just GOD! We look around us with all the hurt and fears that attack us. We might shed tears over the hurts and losses but we need to lift up our eyes of faith and know that the end is GOD! The last word, the last state of our being is not going to be our circumstances or the pain of mate that has gone astray. The end is GOD!
God's promises aren't empty they are real because the end will be GOD! Mourning will be turned to joy because of GOD! Life will conquer death because of GOD! One day we will be done with all the hurt and corruption only to be in the presence of GOD!
"Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat. But according to His promise we are looking for a new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells." (II Pet. 3:11-13) For the believer, the end...GOD!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


He preached for more than twenty years and was one of my best friends from Texas. Today, he is divorced, drinking and into other things that are so opposite of what the Lord is. People ask, "Why?". They were involved in the church, teaching, helping and always taking young people to different places and events. Married for twenty two years, today they are divorced and as far from the Lord as one could get. People ask, "Why?". He was an elder in the church for 27 years. Known for his kindness and Scriptural insight, he and his wife shared their lives with so many. Today he left his wife for a much younger woman moving in with her, completely hard toward the things of the Lord. People ask, "Why?. How can people, who have done so much good for so long, seeming to have everything going for them end up in such sinfulness? The answer is simple.
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life." (Gal. 6:7-8) There you have it. All those years of looking good, even probably thinking they themselves were doing well at times, it was all done "sowing to their own flesh." Our flesh will eventually destroy us! There is one little word in the above verse called "corruption" which comes from a Latin word that means to break into pieces little by little. Our flesh, our natural tendencies and desires are what drives many people. You can read the flesh at work in Gal. 5:19-21 and see how it stirs us. Over the years of sowing to our natural tendencies, our flesh begins to break us down, piece by piece, bit by bit until one day, we have had enough of God and all that matters is our flesh and fulfilling our desires. The desires of our heart have become so strong, that we finally move on them and those mentioned above are the end result. Can you imagine, thinking all this time we are walking with the Lord only to grow in our fleshly desires that corrupt us! The flesh and those desires have been at work the whole time until people are finally overcome. We know the Spirit of God, who brings life and peace (Rom. 8:6), would not lead us into such disasters of our lives.
This is practiced over and over in the lives of many who claim God and our Lord Jesus Christ as theirs. Whatever you sow to, your life will reflect that! Sin works through our flesh side and Christ works the Spirit side. You will decide which one you will give in to. Your flesh, your feelings, wants and stirrings that you think will make you happy, will break you down piece by piece each time you give in to it. The Spirit of God will lead you to overcoming your flesh, taking you deeper and deeper into life and peace (the very things fleshly people say they want) and the end result will be eternal life. I know "why" and it is determined what you sow to!

Monday, September 22, 2008

"It's the Bullfrog!"

The wise man penned these words of the Lord: "He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him." (Prov. 18:13) How easy is it for us to react and give a response or answer without hearing or understanding the complete situation? I know I have reacted at times, drawing a conclusion without finding out all the details and it embarrassed me!
They were a family of five with two boys and a girl. It was a Sunday morning and the Lord's Supper was being taken. There were two teen girls sitting behind them and sudden, giggling broke out with the girls. The mother was annoyed and turned over her right shoulder and gave that "knock it off" stare. The girls quieted down. It didn't last long and the giggling started but this time a little louder. The mother turned again, giving a hard look at the girls and shaking her head. They quieted down once again. Seconds passed and the giggling started up a third time and the mother was really annoyed wondering where the parents to these teen girls were. The mother turned over her right shoulder, reached back pointing her finger in the face of one of the girls. The girl looked at her and spoke in a soft, low voice, "It's the bullfrog!", pointing to the mothers left shoulder. The mother turned around looking to her left and there was her 5 year old son, holding a bullfrog, squeezing it watching the face and neck of the bullfrog puff up twice it size. The mother grabbed her son and out they went. After administering stern discipline, she came back in feeling badly how she had jumped on these teen girls while the real problem was caused by her own son. Immediately after services, she apologized to them for her quick corrections toward them.
Sometimes we need to make certain we hear the complete matter before jumping to a conclusion. That applies to our own familes as well as others. Things do not always seem as they appear and it is better to be patient and wise, rather than quick to determine a situation without hearing (or seeing) the whole matter. We might be shamed in front of others. If we aren't careful, we might hear the words, "It's the bullfrog!"

Friday, September 12, 2008

"On the Road Again"

I am leaving tomorrow for a meeting in Rochester, New York this next week. This will be my sixth year there. There are many brethren there with a heart for the Lord. It is always an encouraging time for me and an opportunity to help. This is my last scheduled travel for this year. I will go back to Buffalo next May and have been contacted by the congregation in Jamestown, N.Y. about coming there next year. Too many of us in the midwest and south do not realize some of the struggles many of these congregations go through. It is very different dealing with the mindset and people outside of Christ. The church is ususally small in the midst of a different breed of people that need the Lord.
I will try to find some time to write while I am there, provided I have access to a computer. Rejoice in the Lord always!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"People Ask"

I have had a couple of e-mails asking if it gets easier raising your children when they get older. That is a good question and it can be a little difficult to answer since families and the raising of children vary in house to house. I wish more families would rally around the spiritual issues as that gives children their best opportunity for solid footing in their personal lives, to be faithful to the Lord and end up saved in the end.
Children go through stages. First, there is that cuddle, innocent stage where you the parent are their world. Second, there is the innocent child stage of reaching out to others. As they become more trusting of certain ones, their world expands beyond the parents a little but there is still no place like home! Thirdly, there comes the first major change. They develop friendships with others and that world with just their parents slowly slips to sharing with others. Friends become more interesting and the desire to spend time with them becomes greater. Next comes the teens. They are wonderful years as they discover many things about themselves. I hear parents say, "Oh, that's just a teen thing!" whenever their children act in ways that are less than pleasing to the Lord. What a terrible attitude for parents to take! The Lord expects our children to be respectful and obedient and parents to teach and train them in that. (The early childhood years are really for training and preparing them for this!) You cannot allow a child just to do things on their own and allow them to make decisions when they want to make poor or ungodly decisions. They need to be trained in how to make wise and holy decisions, not left to follow everyone around. By this time in a child's life, many parents just shrug responsibility off and let the teen decide what they want on their own!
Finally, adulthood arrives. New challenges are faced. Mates are sought out and it can weigh on the soul of the parent that their child will pick a god fearing mate. The day arrives for marriage and the joy that is seen is wonderful, but too often, that joy is turned into sorrow as we watch the marriages of our children falter. Parents are left without words and what to do because they realize it is beyond their control. Marriages that are solid are built around the Lord. Your training will show up as your children watched your marriage in their growing up. It is their faith now and a lot of your teaching/training will reveal itself in ways you never thought.
The question was asked, does it get any easier in raising your children as they get older?Yes and no! Yes in regard to their personal independence and strength. No in regard that the concern for their spiritual well being is a constant in your heart. Much prayer is offered and more as they grow older because the temptations are more numerous. But all in all, just work on showing them the Lord Jesus and pointing them to God and the rest will be up to their personal faith! Remember, there are no 'do-overs' when it comes to your children! What you raise and how you teach them is what you will get!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Learn To Enjoy"

Jesus changed peoples lives. He set people free, always giving life, healing some, soothing fears, giving back people their self-respect. People still discover He is able to strengthen, giving power to overcome and they glorify Him because of it. Have you ever thought about all the benefits we receive, the cost involved to deliver those benefits to us? Can you hear the words yelled out, "He saved others, He cannot save Himself!", while hanging by nails on a cross? Yet Jesus thought that price paid was worth paying for our eternal destiny. Even when He was struggling for a breath, a thief beside Him turned to Him for salvation and life! The very moment of His dying and He was saving someone. What does all this tell us about the life and character of Jesus?
Our salvation was not cheap! Jesus is still bent on saving people today. He didn't go through all the pain and suffering to turn His back on you. He brought heaven with Him to save us! What really happened to our sins? Did they just go...poof? Christ didn't speak our sins away into oblivion. He didn't analyze our sinful behavior or just oppose our sins. No, He condemned sin and sentenced sin to the death chamber and buried them far away! He struck the very heart of sin by paying the ultimate price and stamped in the book of life, across our names: PAID IN FULL!
There was a fellow by the name of Philip Doddridge who had heard that an Irishman named Connell was sentenced to death at Northhampton in 1741. With his personal expense and great ordeal of troubles, Doddridge investigated the whole matter and found proof positive that Connell was innocent. But it was all for nothing because the courts had already passed judgment he was to be hung. The judge asked Connell if he had any final requests and he said yes. "Judge, as we pass in front of Mr. Doddridge's house heading toward the gallows, could we stop for just a moment?" The judge agreed. Connell wanted to kneel there and offer a blessing on the man who had spent so much and tried so valiantly to save him.
The procession stopped and Connell cried out in a strong, clear voice, "Dr. Doddridge, every hair of my head thanks you! Every drop of my blood thanks you! You did your best to save me, but you couldn't!"
This man's gratitude really rebukes us who take our salvation in Christ so lightly! We treat our salvation more like a courtesy than a passionate love for Him. People are so ungrateful daily (unless someone points it out to us), so bored and...well, they don't enjoy the relationship day by day! Sometimes we live like we possess a painting rather than forgiveness. "What a beautiful picture you have on your wall!" And we reply, "Oh, I found that at such and such and really enjoy it!" That is our attitude sometime toward our forgiveness. Enjoy your relationship! Live and bask in it and realize the pain-staking cost that went in to setting you free. May I borrow the words of Connell that we might express in some way: "Every hair on my head thanks you! Every drop of my blood thanks you!"

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"The World's Effecting Us"

It concerns me how the world is effecting so much of our thinking, especially the religious world. We pick up on the little sayings and quotes, not even aware that some of the things that are said may not be of God. I hear sayings like, "God isn't finished with me yet!" or "God doesn't make junk!" and the list goes on to many more. I saw a young person in Christ recently wearing a tee shirt that said, "Godwieser...when you say God, you've said it all!" The catchy little quips from advertisers that are taken to our Lord using His name in their place must be so disappointing to Him. Why do we pick up on all this so easily? John taught us this, "They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them." (I John 4:5) The world is full of catch phrases and little sayings and we bring them right into our thinking and lives, not even aware it might not be true. It seems the sayings of the world have more impact than the sayings of God.
The other day while out with my granddaughter, there was a little lake with some ducks on it. She pointed them out and said, "Grandpa, look! There's some pretty ducks over there." I looked over and said, "No, I think those are rabbits!" She had a funny look on her face and said, "Grandpa...they are ducks! They quack and swim in the water! Rabbits don't do that!" She was right! They looked like ducks, quacked like ducks and swam like ducks because they were ducks. When people look like the world, speak like the world and act like the world, where are they from?
We need to be careful how we allow things of the world effect our thinking and talk. Maybe we need to heed more carefully: "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." (Phil. 4:8) I believe that is some of the most sound wisdom and insight to God we could be given!

Monday, September 8, 2008

"Decisions, Decisions"

You need to read this with an open mind and think about it. I believe I may have already addressed this in times past, but I need to make things more clear. Many go through life, wondering about changing jobs, or moving to a new location and there could be a variety of other things we face in our changing lives. We look to God asking His specific plan for us, to reveal His will for our lives. Things get complicated. We pray, look and wonder. People believe God has a plan for every detail of their lives, as if He has a graph on His wall with our lives all mapped out step by step. We grope about with little assurance on what He wants us to do. How are we really to know? If we take one direction and He has another, do we mess up His graph?
Let's think together and be real. I know of nothing spoken in God's holy word that He has a plan for each and everyone of us! That does not mean He does not care about us and the decisions we make, but I have never read once where God says He has a plan for us! He is more concerned about the kind of decisions we make rather than what decisions we make! We want to change jobs and we pray for the will of God. There is nothing wrong with that. But what is the motive and intent behind our decision? That's the real issue! Is it for money? Will it place a burden on the family? Will it help or hinder spiritually? Those are questions that determine everything. Motives are the bottom line issue in our lives. Listen to God speak: "You ask and you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures." (Jam. 4:3) Too many I have known jump into things without considering the spiritual effect on their lives. That's the concern of God. All our decisions should be affected by our relationship with God!!! That does not mean God has our lives mapped out. Our decisions are based on seeking to please Him. Our decisions are geared to bring Him honor and glory. I had a lady one time ask me to pray they sell their house because they were buying a new, bigger house. Nonsense! I never did or ever will pray for something like that for another. What are they saying about their relationship to the Lord? I do not believe she ever read Jam. 4:3.
In all our lives, we have the opportunity to make choices. God doesn't sit back and say, "Have at it and hope it all works out!" He works with us, in us trying to shape us and mold us into the likeness of His Son (Rom. 8:29). We gain His wisdom to help us make sound, spiritual decisions for our spiritual betterment. We understand He does not answer selfish, self-centered prayers and requests. The next time you are trying to make a decision about a new direction in your life, you might check your motives first as that is the most important thing to God and in your praying, look to make your decisions based on His honor, His glory and to please Him in all respects. Only then you will see what doors open and a better direction for your life! "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (I Cor. 10:31)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"Live As One"

God's intended purpose for man through Christ is to live as one. He didn't bring us into Christ to live as independent units or alone to ourselves. It was not His intention here in this life or eternally! God destines us to be one!! Just listen to Him speak: "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal. 3:26-28) The words from God speaks to us to show us where God is trying to lead us.
In Genesis 3-11, we have recorded for us man's self asserted lives that began in the Garden of Eden and culminated in the plain of Shinar. Man tried to show on our own that we could make and do anything we wish without Him, even if it meant using our strength and own power that ended with erecting a tower to our glory! How God looked with disgust and did not allow such non-sense to happen. There would be no home without Him, no name without Him, no glory without Him and no rest without Him. Man became scattered!
In Christ Jesus, God brought reconciliation. Reconciling man to Himself, God announced no more independence and failure. In Christ Jesus we are clothed and made as one. If there is a place on earth where someone can run to to be free from racism, elitist attitudes, unholy behavior and self righteous assertions, it should be those in Christ, the church! But many times, this isn't a reality, even though it should be. We simply have made the community of believers in Christ something other than what God intended. We fight, argue and split over personalities, hurt feelings and the misuse of Scripture. (I am not speaking about false teaching but those who misuse their Bible for their own purposes that divide us.) Arrogance hits us and we call it defending the faith. People are thrust aside because they do not see eye to eye with another on matters of opinions. The words of God falls on deaf ears and must tear the heart of God to no end.
Some years ago at a congregation, they were planning an outreach program to bring those unreconciled into God's house, His love. They came to the building to pray for this outreach. A man was called upon to open the period with a prayer. He stood, people bowed their heads. Silence...a long silence with nothing said. People began looking up to see what was going on. This one leading was standing, shaking his head back and forth. He tried to speak but there were no words. The place became silent as a tomb and every person watched him walk through the people as he made his way to a certain place. He motioned to a man to come toward him. The man came. Who knows what was whispered, but tears fell, they hugged and the prayer began right where they stood together. Slowly another got up, went to one they had a grievance with. Before long, many were standing, tearfully reaching out to those they had hurt or had a wrong attitude toward asking for forgiveness. Right before everyones eyes was a transformation that took place. They were coming together as one in Christ Jesus. Their outreach to the lost became very effective after that day.
That should be what we all realize. We are a covenant people and as God's covenant people we are the only hope the world has to see the peace of the Lord Jesus, molding us to live as one. We come from many different background, with different habits but have one thing in common: We were lost and have been found! We were isolated and are now united! We were destitute and poor and in Christ we have been made rich! We are in Jesus, not as independent units but part of a single whole.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Have you ever had one of those days when your mind just will not respond to your...thinking? I realize that is a strange question but I am having one of those days. My mind is full but it will not respond to thinking. Nothing seems to come together. I am preparing my class to teach tonight but my mind will not respond to my thinking! I guess you could say the more I think, the more I stink!
I thought about not writing today, but I do need to encourage us to move forward. Even on the days when the mind is not operating on the level it normally does, I still needed to write. Here's the deal: even on days when our physical bodies does not respond, does that mean we have lost our relationship with the Lord? Never! The Lord is still the Lord and we are still in Christ and He stands good on our account interceding for us, helping us and His grace reaching us despite our weaknesses and failures. I am not claiming one can never lose their salvation. I am saying to the sincere, penitent believer that Christ will always do every thing He says and even more and it really comes to the forefront when we are weak and struggling! I just wish my brethren could grasp that and move forward on their bad days!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"Know Where the Answers Lay"

His name was Charles Proteus Steinmetz. He had physically deformities but one of the most brilliant minds in the field of electricity. He immigrated to the United States in 1889 as a political refugee from Germany and was hired by GE in Schendenctady, New York. As an engineer, Steinmetz designed the massive turbine generators used by GE. One day, without warning, those generators broke down and the plant completely shut down. The plant manager brought in mechanics and technicians in order to save money, but they could not figure out what was wrong with the generators. Frustrations were growing and with each passing hour, GE was losing great sums of money. Finally, they called Steinmetz. The electrical wizard came to the plant, puttered around a couple of hours, and then threw the switch. The lights blinked on and off and the turbines began to turn. GE was back in operation to the delight of management.
A few days later, GE received a bill from Steinmetz for $10,000. The management at GE were taken aback and did not want to pay such money! They felt the bill was excessive for the amount of work that had been done. They returned the bill with this note attached: "Charlie, isn't this bill just a little high for the couple of hours of 'tinkering' around on those turbines?" Steinmetz returned the corrected bill to GE and it read: For 'tinkering' around on the turbines - $1. For knowing where to 'tinker' - $9,999. Total: $10,000." GE paid the bill!
This is a great illustration how people live their lives. Many want to cut corners or turn to the wrong sources for their answers to life instead of the one who knows how things work. God is our Creator, the One who put us together and understands every detail of our complex makeup. Man is still trying to figure man out. I hear many speak of going to "professionals" in order to get their lives in order. Christian's turning to a world, separated from God, still in their sins and leaning on them for answers about the confusions and frustrations of life. People turning to those "darkened in the understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart." (Eph. 4:18) But in the rational of thinking, many think they are the professionals, being trained in this line of work. If they are excluded from the life of God and darkened in their understanding, what do they have to offer? Life? The power of God and the wisdom of God? We need to think carefully about the God we preach/teach about the 'god' who we turn to in times of confusion and turmoil. "Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence." (II Pet. 1:3) "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." ( I Cor. 1:24) "In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Col. 2:3) "And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." (Isa. 9:6) Maybe we do not believe or know where the answers to our lives really lay?

Monday, September 1, 2008

"What's the Real Problem?"

People are always searching and seeking more from God's word. I am thankful when people study for themselves, looking deeper into the truth of God that He has revealed to mankind. I want to encourage people to study and accept what is written. There is a dangerous part of this. Some look with wrong motives. They seem to seek things that one cannot find in revealed Scriptures, but they think they have found them. They end up twisting or manipulating God's word to suit their personal thinking. I have met many of these types over the last 28 years and there is something that they all have in common: they never seem to share their "insight" with those of us who are sincere in our seeking out the truth. If they do share it, it is blasting and condemning or they make is so confusing you have no clue what they are saying. (Simplicity was always a strong suit of Jesus and His apostles.) If you watch such people, they are "stand-offish" or elusive from the rest as they believe they found the real answers, while ignoring the simple truth of loving the brethren, helping each brother and sister in their walk. (I John 5:1-2)
How can we make certain that we can know the truth as revealed in God's word? For some, they believe that we have not been given enough in the revealed word of God. They long for, seek out an exhaustive blueprint wanting to know every turn and twist on this thought and that. Good, loving, faithful and sensitive servants of the Lord do not need exhaustive blueprints about our life and worship! Why? Because they trust the Lord in His revealed word and whole heartily respond to what is written! If God has not given us a detailed, blow by blow blueprint of each and every avenue of our lives, He knows something we don't: He knows we don't need to know it!
The way one goes about to live and grow in the revealed truth we have is to embrace what we have been given! I know some think that is too simple, yet the church at Corinth was corrected for their minds being led away from the purity and simplicity of the truth by the deception of the devil (II Cor. 11:3). Sometimes people smarts get in their way of a heart of trust and accepting the revealed truth. (God's word reveals knowledge makes one arrogant but love is what builds people up. I Cor. 8:1) They simply think there is more that we don't know and they are going to find it. It carries them away into a hurtful mind set and will eventually destroy them! (I have personally witnessed this many times.)
I personally believe that God does not need to add one more single word to Scripture. We have all we have and it is explicit enough. Too many seeking out all this "special knowledge and insight" miss the point. Read carefully Romans 12:1-3. Paul insists that the mercies of God should be what motivates each one of us to present ourselves back to God so we can be transformed into His likeness while saying no to the world. It will lead us to knowing what is good, acceptable and the perfect will of God! Right there we have all we need to know. Obey and offer yourself without reservations or haggling over what this means or that means. That's where knowledge seekers fall short. The first thing about offering yourself back to God and renewing your mind is stop thinking more highly of yourself! What do all these who seem to think they find some "special insight" do that others do not? They think more highly of themselves and their aloofness shows it! Their smarts get in the way of faith. Edifying the brethren, encouraging one another toward the Lord is not sought. If they do, they will select a very few they feel closer to while stating the rest just would not understand. That's not coming from God and His revealed word. The real problem is not a lack of information and seeking the truth revealed, it is a lack of "transformation"!