Tag Archives: Jesus

A Promise that could change your life!

life-change-aheadWhat could happen right now which could change your life forever?  Win a million dollars…..get married…..have a child…..or maybe meeting an extremely important person you admire?  I’m sure there’s many moments or opportunities we could list which seem like game changers for our life’s path.

What about trusting God?  Sure, we don’t think of this one because we’re generally oblivious to it.  Trusting in God is something we think we do subconsciously, second nature, or even in our sleep.  Think about this seriously…..wouldn’t learning to trust God, especially His promises change your life completely?  Let me challenge you briefly to learn to trust God completely, or you could continue to live the way you do.  “What’s wrong with how I’m living?”  Glad you asked, so let’s address two main issues.

When I fail to trust God and won’t live with faith in His promises…..

……Insecurity

governs my living.  We all make bad decisions; some more than others.  I’ve not met a person who was insecure and made good decisions.  Insecurity stems from a desire to do, or be, or attain something which you are not able to.  No matter what you do, you won’t be able and this doesn’t merely annoy you, but it makes you insecure.  The last thing we want anyone to know about us is we have limits, and yet we all know each of us is limited…how odd!  If you were to make a list right now of everything you’d like to do or be or have, that list would reveal where your heart is and where you put your confidence.  Where is your confidence?  It’s probably in yourself.  People put their confidence in the same person they know is limited and insecure about.  What you’ve found out even more so is your faith in God is lacking.  Faith in the promises of God guards you against insecurity.  What I have is given by God; whether that is my material possessions, my attributes, or my abilities, and whatever I do not have I can trust God to make up the difference.  What do we call this?  Faith in God, and with faith always comes trust.

When I fail to trust God and won’t live with faith in His promises…..

……Jealousy

governs my living.  Have you ever thought, “Why them and not me?”  If so, its because you were jealous.  Have you ever noticed people have such a difficult time being happy for someone else who has what they lack?  We will compare ourselves to others constantly, and pick apart their personality and character to justify why they shouldn’t have and we should have what they possess.  There’s probably a term for this…….oh, what is it?…….Jealousy!  Why do we find it so difficult to rejoice with those who are rejoicing.  We may be jumping up and down, screaming in excitement with them but deep down in the darkest recesses of our hearts we wish it were us and not them…..jealousy………it just eats at us and devours us, so we can never be thankful for God’s blessing on someone’s life.  Jealousy, like insecurity, stems from a life lacking faith to trust in God’s Word.  Faith understands and accepts God gives and takes away, and it receives what God does in either case.  You know what else….faith is satisfied with what God has given and is blessed.  God could give you and another person a cookie.  Jealousy looks and says, “God gave them a bigger cookie!” but faith says, “Thank you God for my cookie!”

If you want a pivotal moment which could change your life then I hope you will ask God for greater faith to trust Him, to be content, and be satisfied with what God has brought into your life.  What you have may not be what others have, and who you are may not be who others are but praise God for what He has given you and who He’s made you to be.  Often our insecurity and jealousy merely stem from misunderstanding how uniquely blessed we are.  The promises of God….His Word, and the faith He willfully gives us to accept both can be a life-changing moment which sets our course for eternity.

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Yeah, but is He any good?

good-or-badI’m Italian, and I let everyone know wherever I go (just ask anyone who has met me).  Naturally, I love Italian food, and is it because I’m Italian?  Sure – whatever, but it’s also because Italians do everything the best (did I mention we have serious pride issues??).  So, whenever someone says to me that an Italian restaurant is good,and as I’m nodding, smiling, and seem moved by such a glowing review, I’m thinking deep down, “Yeah, but is it any good?”  In this case, I know this person, and I know what they think is good, and their standard may not be my standard for authentic Italian food.  I know what my tastes are and what my standards are, so is this place going to meet my expectations?  Hmmmm, I’m not so sure.  Never mind that my standard of expectations may be completely flawed, and the food is actually good.

People are such skeptics even when they think they are very open-minded. Many times we aren’t.  We seem to be easily driven to decision by what others say.  Sometimes its based on what I know about you because I know what you like, and it isn’t what I like, so a decision is made to reject what you just said.  Other times, we place so much value in the position of those we don’t even know.

For instance, there is a famous app on most people’s phones where they can leave reviews about basically any registered business.  Generally, people leave negative reviews.  We  are eager to complain while keeping praise to ourselves.  So, a new Italian restaurant opens up, and I look them up and there are a few bad reviews, and I decide to pass.  Based on what?!?  The statements of people I don’t even know.  The next time someone looks at you puzzled, its because you, me, them, someone…..just doesn’t make a lot of sense sometimes.  Well, maybe a lot of times!

Jesus is surrounded by skeptical thoughts and notions too.  People have formulated their opinions about who Jesus is, what He did, and even where He is right now based on the thoughts or ‘educated’ opinions of those they know or don’t know.  They’ve heard positive things about Him and they wonder, “Yeah, but is He any good?”  Basically, will He fit my definition of good?  They’ve heard negative statements about Him, and they’ve rushed to a judgment of, “Yep….that’s what I thought!”  Either way, they haven’t taken the time to know Him themselves, and that’s a problem.

Psalm 34:8 states an important truth – “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”  When it comes to everything in life, you can’t have an opinion on what you haven’t experienced.  If you have a non-experiential opinion, its merely based on the tastes of someone else.  If you want to know what Jesus is all about then you have to come experience Him for yourself.  This verse tells us we will discover He is good when we experience Him.

I know, I know, I know….you’re thinking…”But, there are people who went to church all their life and now they don’t.  What does that say about Jesus?”  Did I also mention how particular Italians are?  Something can be good, but we will nitpick on this or that and what could have been done better when in all reality, it is good just how it is.  So, what a statement like that says about Jesus is this: it means Jesus didn’t suit their tastes, but that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong, or false, or misstated about Jesus as God’s Word has stated.

Here’s something to think about – just because someone says something is wrong doesn’t mean anything is actually wrong, it just may be wrong in their own mind according to their own personal preference.  Let’s be freed from giving greater place to the words of short-term human beings and listen to what the infinite, eternal God who sent His Son to die for our sins and be raised to life is saying to us.  People need to receive His Word, live by it and they will see their personal preferences are misleading, but He is good and worth following after.

The facts are the facts – people reject Jesus for the same reason they do good Italian food – personal preference, but that is never a good reason to reject what is good!

 

What is the Perfect Present?

Woman Opening Red Gift BoxWell, there’s not many more shopping days left until Christmas and people all over are feeling the stress which comes with the self-inflicted demands of finding the right gift.  How much should I spend?  Should I get something practical or merely gratifying?  Does a gift exist which keeps on giving?  This site gives 31 gifts which keep on giving… 31 Gift Ideas – Enjoy! and I have to say that #20 is a real memory maker!

We have to admit, we get caught up during this time of year with buying gifts for so many people who fill our lives.  It’s not something we struggle with all year long, just at this time.  What is the perfect gift?  Really, what we want to know is how to give the best gift ever which eclipses all other gifts that person will get….c’mon, just be honest…it’s true!

As you’re looking for that perfect gift for that special someone, don’t forget the greatest gift you can give all year long but especially at this time of the year – Jesus.

What if we were as determined each day to resemble Jesus to those around us as we are obsessed with finding the right gifts at Christmas?  What if we were so committed to recognizing opportunities to relate who Jesus is?  How about becoming intentional about sharing not only our faith, but our reason for it?  (1 Peter 3:15)

We have devoted so much time to making sure we give the best gift we can give, but it is a temporary gift.  We all know…..nothing lasts forever, let alone its expected lifetime.  Things break, get lost, lose their allure, and they may even be……wait for it……re-gifted!  Yet, the Jesus we each serve never fails, never forsakes, and He is always relevant to what lives need most – salvation.

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, and we have the opportunity to share with others our generosity and love which comes in the form of many different types of gifts.  Yet, let’s not forget to give what matters most – Jesus.  He’s a gift which can change a person’s eternity.  He’s a gift which can change the life and outlook of someone today.   More than any temporary gift I can give, Jesus will be a gift which keeps giving again and again to those who receive it – hope, joy, love, salvation – He can give what is needed most!

 

 

An Active Thanks to God

Slide1It’s nice to be thanked for what you’ve done, how you’ve gone out of your way for someone, or how you’ve just shown how much you cared.  We like to be recognized for what we believe we’ve done for others because it makes us feel good about doing it.  Unfortunately, many times we have reduced our thankfulness to just a word and maybe we’ve been unappreciative for what others have done for us because we expect them to do it.  We may justify our neglect of thankfulness by feeling it is their duty to do what they’ve done for us.  Perhaps we even expect God to perform a certain way because, after all, He’s God and He’s supposed to do this or that.  Fortunately for us, Colossians  3:12-17 can correct our error.

Colossians sheds some light on how we respond thankfully to God because of the salvation He has brought to our lives through Jesus.  See, we can’t merely say, “Thanks, Jesus!,” and go on living however we please.  There is an action involved with our thankfulness and Colossians shows us we actively thank God in three ways.

1.  Give the Word a Home.

vs. 16a

Have you ever lived with someone who is difficult to get alone with, or even worse, made it clear they didn’t want you present.  They invited you in but now have issues with how you decorated your room, how you do the dishes, and how you put the roll of toilet paper on the holder.  Not only is there constant conflict, but it is all you anticipate.  If we say we desire Jesus and to be saved, and we invite Him into our lives, but will then give no place for His Word in us, we are the same as that difficult person you lived with in the past.  We knew who He is and what He would expect, but we invited Him in and all we do is fight Him on what He desires to do.

If I want to give the Word a home in me, I’m going to have to learn to live harmoniously with Him.  To do this, I must hear God’s Word.  Matthew 13:9 makes it clear that I have the ability to hear God, and the ability to tune Him out, but I must make a choice to hear Him!  Next, I have to handle God’s Word. (2 Timothy 2:15)  Jesus accused many of being ever hearing but never perceiving.  They heard the Word but were clueless as to what it meant or even how it applied to their lives.  That’s what happens when you won’t get experience with the Word by spending time in your Bible and learning it.  Thirdly, you have to hide it in your heart.  (Psalm 119:11)  I’m not trying to contradict myself from what was said before, but what I mean is you need to treasure God’s Word.  Just like you would put a piece of expensive jewelry in a safe place, God’s Word has to be treasured  and exalted.  You must value it above all other objects in your life.  Lastly, you have to hold it fast.  (Philippians 2:16)  God’s Word can’t stabilize your life if you won’t stand on it.

2.  Give the Word Purpose

vs. 16b

Something Warren Wiersbe once said in a book I read made an impression on me long ago.  Not to quote him exactly, he mentioned how we are not producers but distributors.  God produces in us what we are then instructed to distribute.  We don’t have to come up with the plan because God already has His plan.  Now, I’m part of that plan, and what He has done in me is what I’m to distribute to others.  This part of the verse tells me how to distribute God’s Word.

First, I’ve got to be able to teach others God’s Word.  This shouldn’t be understood in the context of actually getting in front of people and teaching them, but more easily taken as being able to instruct someone in God’s Word.  This is valuable to believers you know where you may be encouraging them in the promises of God or even in a testimony about God to those who don’t know Him.

Second, I must admonish others in God’s Word.  I realize we don’t like to tell people what they are doing wrong, but if we have any love for one another, we will be able to speak the truth in love, or as Colossians says here, ‘with all wisdom.’

Third, I must praise God.  Teaching and admonishing are important, but I wasn’t created expressly for those purposes, but I was created by God to give Him praise.

3.  Give the Word Meaning

vs. 17

Colossians 3:17 finishes up with reminding us to give God’s Word meaning in all I do, whether its in my actions or in my words.  Well, that pretty much sums up all each of us can do, right?  It may be hard to practice, but we have to speak as Jesus would speak.  After all, I’m not out to model what a true believer is, but I’m a representation of Jesus.  Each of us is seeking to show others who Jesus is.  What better way than to speak as He did (in the Word) and does now (through the Spirit).  Not only is it important to speak like Jesus, but also to live like Jesus in the actions I take.  We are told to think before we speak, and it would be best for believers to consider Jesus before acting out.  How would Jesus respond?  How would Jesus correct?  How would Jesus show love?  That’s important for us to understand.  And lastly, Paul reminds us to give thanks.  Jesus didn’t complain, but He accepted the Father’s Will, and even when it was difficult, He found it meaningful and worthwhile and God was worthy to be praised.  People around us need to see how Jesus has helped us stop complaining about our circumstances, worrying about outcomes, or even being afraid of the known and unknowns of life.  We can show them how Jesus would respond by living in joy continually, giving thanks to God always, and possessing the peace which comes from knowing He loves us and is for us.

Live it out this week…..

Being thankful for my God and His work in me, I will live His Word through my life!