Monday, November 28, 2016

"Why Do You Believe?"

  If someone came to you and asked you why you believed what you believe, could you tell them? I am certain some would give a Scriptural answer. The next question comes, "Well, why do you believe that?" You might stumble for words but probably end up saying, "Because the Bible says that." As they continue to probe they ask, "Why do you believe in the Bible?" What would you say? How would you respond? Would you simply state that it is God's word? Then comes the big question, "How do you know the Bible is God's word? The Quran, the book of Mormon also claim to be the word of God!" Would you have an answer?
  Do we not realize how important it is to know why we believe what we believe? Over my many years I have watched the children of many growing up in the Lord's church and are talked out of their faith either in college or early adulthood simply because they have no understanding or conviction about what they believe. Other children just walk away and think nothing of it. They simply went with mom and dad growing up with little to no understanding. The belief by many parents is they will get what they need at worship or study. No real conviction of faith was ever developed. We can turn the page and find many Christian adults fall to pieces when their faith is put to the test because they have no real foundation of strength because of the lack of conviction. Many adults do not know why they believe what they believe. They simply exist without any real desire and the moment a problem arises, off they go to something else or quit. Many find their belief that easy to rob!
  We need to believe God's word is God's word but unless you know why it is so you won't last long when confronted with ideas and you can be easily swayed to something else outside the realm of truth. Paul stated to the church at Colossae when speaking about the treasures that are hidden only in Christ and found no where else: "I say this to that no one will delude you with persuasive argument. For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ. Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude."  (Col. 2:4-7) Paul was making certain they were grounded and rooted. What about you?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

"Praise or Praise?"

  Do you sometimes think how disjointed we might be in our adoration of God? Worship is not something longed for by many. It's just a place to hang out because it's Sunday. Now I am speaking general terms here. When was the last time you looked so forward to worshiping God with His body? Or a matter greater, when is the last time you adored God with thanksgiving and praise simply because you belong to Him while at home or the office? Nothing scheduled but simply a heart of praise. Sometimes I wonder if the only time we give our Father and loving Savior praise is when the word shows up in a song or Scripture. 
  Let's turn the page. Listen to us at times. We openly speak of a sports team, a world catastrophe, an election or our children and grandchildren and make every point about that we can. Where is the praise to God? Where is the speaking of our glorious Father to one another? When was the last time you were speaking with another and said, "I was reading Scripture and listen to what I found in our Lord?" 
  One more step forward. Is the only praise and thanksgiving that flows from our hearts and lips are from 10-noon on Sundays? And we pick it back up again on Sunday evening? Or maybe our national holiday of Thanksgiving? That's all we have? That's all that's going on in our heart?
  The greatest blessing, THE GREATEST BLESSING of all is the salvation we possess in Jesus. From doom to salvation and you earned nothing.What a Savior! What a love demonstrated on our behalf. It thrills our hearts when our children or grandchildren says something so loving, unrehearsed and we share that with others. What about the Lord? How much do we really adore the God of our salvation? Your heart praise says it all!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"Remember LET"

  We didn't create ourselves! This creation (and we are part of it) did not become "very good" because of our flourishing. There was one word from the lips of God that stood along: "LET"! And it was so. No matter where you look in this created world among humans or things created with humans, it was all unaided and by the word "LET" from our Creator. Ten times God spoke "LET" and it was so. The power of the Almighty. The humans created enjoyed all the blessings of this relationship simply because of  Jehovah God. We exist simply because of the loving labor of the Father and no other involved.
  On that 7th day it was all finished and complete and from that beginning and that word "LET"is the same pattern every week. Work expected six days and rest on one. Creation was not remembered. It is the Creator, the Almighty, Jehovah, Yahweh was to be acknowledged on that 7th day. Mankind was called to remember the existence of God and He alone is our blessing in a blessed environment and it is all His work. In all this, the nation of Israel was making a grand and glorious confession on the 7th day that they owe all they are and have due to Jehovah God. That was to take away their concerns for tomorrow by remembering Him and His creating power today. Here they were working their harvest and storms coming in which might destroy what the people worked so hard for. The storm is set to hit on the day of remembering and praising their Creator. Panic? We have to put all aside and get in the crop? Debts must be paid and can only be paid by the harvest? Were they to become a nation of merchants? The 7th day, the Sabbath, is God's call to a relationship! God can and will continue to provide no matter what storms He sends!!
  We fast forward to today. Here we are, immersed into union with Christ, a new creation. In Christ we have become His workmanship anew. What sin took, God created again. From the raising of Jesus to eternity to come, God created and it had nothing to do with our working. God raised Jesus on the first day of the week unaided by human hands. We enjoy the blessing of this relationship simply because of Jehovah God. We exist in Christ because of the labor of God. What are we called to do? Get your things done 6 days but on that first day, the day of the resurrected Savior, remember Me. Share in the Supper to remember His creative, saving power and rejoice in the covenant. Do this as His people. Rest in the Lord! Rejoice and be glad for your Creator upholds all things by the word of His power and that includes every aspect of your life. Simply put, remember "LET"! 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

"Dwell On These Things"

  "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)
  Are you having difficulty holding on? Do your find yourself tossed here and there with ease? Are you angry and bitter in certain situations? How much time to you put toward God and His word? Here we are called to "dwell on these things." These things we are called to dwell on should be at the very fiber of our spiritual well-being. By lending your mind to God in this manner, you are giving Him the right to help, to control, to grow and strengthen you. If you we do not give our minds to God in this manner, life becomes one complicated mess and we are easily taken down.
  "Dwell on these things" are how we are to shape our lives. David concluded in Psa. 19, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer." David knew his speech and thoughts needed to honor God and be acceptable.
  We need to dwell daily on things that are true. True carries the idea of reality and trustworthy. Our minds needs to dwell on true things inspired by God not man. We need our minds centered on what is true according to His truth. Filling and dwelling on what is true keeps us from coming to wrong conclusions and reacting in wrong ways.
  We need to dwell on things that are honorable. Honorable carries the idea of what is serious and dignified. It relates to things that are pure and holy. How do we think on holy things? Psa. 119:38 speaks: "Establish Your word to Your servant, as that which produces reverence for You."  The more you dwell on God's word, spend time with God's word the more it will lead you to thinking honorable thoughts leading to reverence of God. Reverence for God seems missing. Acceptable worship to God is from reverence for Him (Heb. 12:28). Our minds needs to dwell on the honorable things from God to us. 
  We need to dwell on the things that are right. Right is what is just according to God. It reveals there is a divine standard we need to hold to. If we are going to follow what is just we must think according to God's standard. 
  We need to dwell on things that are pure. Our minds need to be given to reflecting the holiness of God. We live in a world that impure and impurity confronts us daily. If we allow our minds to dwell on the injustices, the impurities around us, our lives will not improve. We are called to be holy as God is holy (I Pet. 1:15). We are called to use God's wisdom which begins with purity (Jam. 3:17). We need to dwell on God's holiness. His purity expressed in His word.
  We need to dwell on things that are lovely. Lovely deals with what is attractive and desirable. Wouldn't that fit God's word? Doesn't God call the women to be known for the godliness of their adornment? (I Tim. 3:10/I Pet. 3:3-4) Dwelling on God and His word are what helps us see the things that are true attractants in our lives and pleasing to Him.
  We need to dwell on things that are excellent and worthy of praise. What is excellent about bad situations mulling them over only to anger us? What is praiseworthy of evil? Why are we drawn into knowing more about failures of others or the evil that happened to someone? What does that do to our minds? It's sure not making us more pleasing to God!
  The more we "dwell on these things" from God's word the more we will have our thinking conforming to His power and love. What will happen next is your life will begin to follow God's holiness. This is a natural spiritual progression. Only by dwelling on these things will you begin to practice these things. Let's up-grade our living today!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

"A Good Father"

  "For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet unborn, that they may arise and them them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments."  (Psa. 78:5-7)
  Parenting is difficult. The role of teaching falls squarely on the shoulders of the father! From the days of Israel to our time, the Lord expects the teaching of the children to come from the father. That doesn't mean the mother has no responsibility. The mother plays a big role but the lead and direction is set by the father. "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring  them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."  (Eph. 6:4)
  How does one know they are a good father? Most of the time father's  are working before the children are awake and arrive home after the children finish their day at school. This presents a problem as many father's forget about...FATHERING! Too many father's emotionally disconnect from their children because of work or schedules and never re-connect. The children are left on their own many times and the mother has had to deal with a landslide of issues dealing with them. Thank the Lord for godly mothers!! A good father will be connected even while away working by making certain the things needed for the day are met. A good father is connected to the mother and working with that makes sure their children are trained and taught to put their confidence in God and keep His word!
  A good father makes tough decisions that affect the home with spiritual impact. That means a good father understands his model before the eyes of his children. Children have a very unique set of "antennas" that not only hear and see but replay the behavior they see in their father and mother. Father's make a decision to be godly before the eyes of their children and directs the home into spiritual alignment.
  A good father keeps the hearts of his children encouraged toward the Lord and His word. "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart." (Col. 3:21) Father's are to be well-balanced in dealing with their children. Not overly critical or harsh but putting the right amount of discipline while teaching a life of contentment and happiness. Walking with the Lord brings great contentment in the heart and a father should know this. That means a good father is there for his children no matter what.
  A good father sees his heavenly Father as the source of his confidence and holding faithfully to His word. We know our faults but it's not the faults that take center stage. It's the progress toward the image of Jesus that matters. When you fail, humility is there. When you succeed, humility is seen. When you struggle, humility drives you to the source of help and strength. Yes, a good father makes godly decisions pointing the home to THE FATHER from whom all praise and honor are due. A good father effects not only his children but the generations to come to "put their confidence in God" and "keep His commandments."