Saturday, January 30, 2010
Look at that face. That's one handsome face if I do say so myself! I think you've seen this picture of our first-born son before. When I look into that face it reminds of this verse. He represents the next generation to me. His generation is the one to whom I am commanded to declare the fullness of the Gospel and God's mighty acts. My question simply for you today...is who represents the next generation to you? Do you have that face, name, person in mind? Now, the question is how good a job are doing? Are you investing in the next generation? Are you making a way so that a generation yet to be created will one day praise the Lord? If so, keep on. If not, redirect your course. Our lives are but a midst, but His fame is forever. Let's make sure we declare it!
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
We can see God's presence and love all around us. Since I am not used to seeing snow so much in the winter, every snowfall is a thrill for me to watch. I love waking up and seeing the white blanket drape over rooftops and envelope cars. The beauty in nature is surely a sign of His presence, but in people and science we are able to see His glory, too. He surely is evident across the globe.
A truth that I see from the verse mentioned above is that God is present at all times. He will always be there for us to help when we ask Him for it with a sincere heart. Do we believe that He is all around us? Are we asking for Him to lead us moment by moment? My past pastor, Dr. Ed Young, used to fall on his knees and pray before his sermons, saying, "Lord, let me get out of the way" as he asked God to speak through Him. Reflecting on this prayer, I see how important it is to give glory to our God at all times as a true follower of Him.
As we see God's presence surrounding us, I pray that it increases our desire to love Him and put Him first. It is true that we will not be able to show our love like Him, since He sent His Son to die for what we have done against Him. Yet, we can "let ourselves get out of the way" so that His love can be shown to the world.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
I have to admit that I am wondering what happened to being a living sacrifice? Even in the Christian world, it seems that the "me" syndrome has gotten most of us. It is all about "me" and what "I" need and "my" ministry and doing what "I" feel called to do.
I find it most interesting that Romans 12:1-2 about being a sacrifice is followed by the importance of the parts of the body functioning together as one in Christ. We are to work together for the good of the kingdom. Regardless of the church we are in, the seminary we are connected to, or what ministry we are involved in. We need to be doing kingdom work that is all about Christ and not about "our" own ministry.
When will we learn? Let's work together for the good of the kingdom and stop worrying about who gets the credit. Let's be a living sacrifice today and everyday so that Christ is honored.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
It leads me to deep depression.
When I see a star, I tend to think of strength and confidence. I find myself putting my hope in this symbol when it is on a police officer or a flag, since it can create a feeling of security. I see, though, that this symbol does not ensure dependability. God, however, is always worthy of our hope.
If someone asked you to explain why you hope, what would you say? The other day, my friend expressed that she rather be sure of something rather than just hope in it. The dictionary defines hope in several ways. Yet, how does the Bible define hope?
The Bible teaches us that hope is not seen (Romans 8:24) and we must wait for it (Romans 8:25). As Christians, we hope in the promises made by Jesus Christ to love us and save us (1 Thessalonians 1:10). Hebrews 6:19 explains, "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure..." (NIV). The Bible speaks of a confident hope in God's promises because they are trustworthy and grounded in love.
Romans 5:5 explains, "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us" (NIV). The hope described here is not an unsupported optimism. It is a confidence in God's future promises and is based on God's love, expressed when He sent His Son to die for us to save us.
The Bible teaches us to hope in God, who, with His never-ending love, will always be there for us. Romans 5:8 explains, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (NIV). I pray that we will have hope and confidence in Christ and be able to show others His love.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
- Throw Off Everything That Hinders & Easily Entangles Us From Running God's Race!
The Holy Spirit is faithful to show us anything that needs to go! Anything that is causing us to get tripped up and/or stop "on God's straight and narrow track" that leads to knowing Jesus, Sharing Jesus, and Leading Others to do the same! What do we have to do? It is important to know what easily entangles us personally, develop a plan of perseverance, and Obey God!! THROW OFF EVERYTHING that is not helping us Run God's Race! We can get "entangled" in unhealthy attitudes, habits, thoughts, actions, relationships...ask God to search EVERYTHING in our life as we trust Him for His ability to Run Unhindered towards the finish line = JESUS!
- Run With Perseverance Your Race!
When I run if I look to my right or to my left, I get off track! When I keep my eyes fixed straight ahead on the race marked out personally, I stay on course as His witness and I am able to run with perseverance! God has a race marked out personally for each one of us, as His witnesses. He has specific people that He puts in the path of our race that He strategically organizes supernaturally! How many times have we met someone that we knew God put in our path that needed to hear The Good News about Jesus or needed to hear something specific about our personal testimony? When this happens to me, it gives me a "a kick, a second wind, a burst of spiritual energy" to keep running and keep sharing Jesus! The race we run is like a marathon that requires perseverance! Take heart because Jesus runs ahead of us and prepares the pathway of perseverance! Jesus loves us so much that He gives us "witnesses" that "cheer us on" as we RUN His RACE! Who can we "cheer on" that is Running His Race With Perseverance?
You Can Do It!!! Keep Running God's Race For JESUS!!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YhP5zSicdk (Run With Perseverance!)
Monday, January 18, 2010
"He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. After Priscilla and
Priscilla and Aquila "explained the way of God more accurately" to Apollos (who was a Jew). After Apollos spoke in the synagogue, they took him home and explained the promise of Jesus (the Messiah) in such a way that he could understand it.
What does this mean for us? The passage speaks to me on many levels. First, I love that Priscilla and Aquila were out in the marketplace. They were not just sitting at church waiting for an unbeliever to come to visit. Secondly, how cool is this...they must have gone up to Apollos after he spoke and invited him over to their home. They didn't go confront him but they friended him and invited him over - possibly for a meal or refreshment. Thirdly, they took him where he was (a Jew) and pointed him to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
When is the last time you sought out someone and invited that person over? When did you take that person and bring them with you to walk life with you? I was impressed with one of our seminary gals who befriended a young high schooler from another country to come to Starbucks with us. This young gal did not grow up learning about Jesus, but by the testimony and life of this student, she is seeing the good news of Jesus Christ.
Who are you explaining the gift of the gospel to? Let's agree to look for the opportunities that God has before us every day!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
In the first chapter in Matthew, the list of Jesus' ancestors can seem quite long. Yet, it shows how God planned from the beginning that Jesus would come to the world to save us. In life, we can see how planning with God's guidance can make such a difference.
It is important to seek understanding as we plan: "Folly delights a man who lacks judgment, but a man of understanding keeps a straight course" (Proverbs 15:21, NIV). God and others He puts in our life can help us determine what is the "straight course." We must remember to ask Him lead us as we plan, for: "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us" (1 John 5:14, NIV). Then, in the end, we can celebrate all He has done!
I admire how Jeff Johnson explains following God: "That we may be sons and daughters of vision." I pray that we will remember His holiness and divine wisdom as we plan this year.
Link to the song "God Over Us" by Jeff Johnson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sdu1yvNzRVI
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
With the start of a new year, I have seen an increase in coupons, commercials and commitments specifically targeting those who want to lose weight. All of the sudden the healthy foods are featured in the supermarket flyers. Gyms are offering zero membership fees and bring a friend free days. Millions of new water bottle designs hit the shelves, each with new and improved features! It seems at this time that our culture suddenly recognizes a need to shed some extra pounds and begins to focus every area of life around this problem. How people use their time, money, food, drink and resources all comes back to this one specific goal. In the middle of all of this, I can’t help but think of Hebrews 12:1-2, where the writer pleads with believers to throw off everything that hinders us from following Jesus. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” I wonder what it might take in my own life for me to decide to reorient my entire life because I was so concerned with putting to death the sin and extra weight that keeps me from Jesus. What would I need to change about how I use my time, money, resources? What accountability would I need for my attitude, discipline and focus? Whether or not you are in the group of people choosing to throw off a little weight this year, let us commit as followers of Jesus Christ that we will choose to throw off everything that might keep us from running after Jesus with all of our hearts! “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Friday, January 8, 2010
As we are beginning this new year, I have been convicted of the need to be diligent to take advantage of every opportunity I have to share the gospel. As I also made a new commitment to take advantage of an exercise facility we have close to our house, I saw an elderly lady named Faye (age 90) at the sport's center. I have seen her several times over the past two years and even gave her a ride home on one occasion. (She usually rides the public transportation bus to get there and home.) She was leaving as I was arriving. Normally I am in a hurry to exercise and get finished, but this time I was trying to remember what was important so I stopped to talk to her. As we had the same conversation that we have every time we talk (starting with: "Now what is your name?" [she does have dementia]), I was able to steer the conversation to spiritual things. I was able to ask her about her church background and then to ask her: "If God were to ask you why He should let you into heaven what would you tell Him?" (a question form Evangelism Explosion) She was quick to respond that God wanted us to do our best and she had done her best. I was able to share with her the importance of asking Jesus to forgive us for our sins and that we can never be good enough on our own. Faye listened and was quiet a moment before she asked me what my name was again.
I don't know if she understood what I was saying or not, but I do know that I was trying to be obedient in sharing the good news of the gospel. And I know that I will continue to have that conversation when I see her the next time.
Prayer: "Lord, help me remember to keep the main thing the main thing!" (i.e. sharing the gospel)
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Click! (Pause) Click! Huff.
Click! (Pause) Click! Hmm.
The man next to me on the plane and I stared up -- the lights above us refused to work. We were both on our last leg of an eventful traveling experience. He seemed ready to sleep, and I was ready to read. As we waited to tell the flight attendant about the lights, we slowly began to talk. Within a few minutes, our conversation turned to a discussion about God.
My row-mate asked me what I believed about God's divine nature, and I explained that I think that God is three-in-one – God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. He said that is what he believed, but he recently talked with someone who believed that Jesus and God were one, but not the Holy Spirit.
His eyes got as big as the mandrill on The Lion King (Rafiki, picture link below) as he said, "He is God! We cannot always explain Him." We laughed as we talked about how we try to explain God sometimes, but our minds are not like His. He exclaimed, "We must just have faith!"
It was a relief to be reminded that God does not expect us to understand everything about Him. No matter how confusing some things are about Him – such as the idea that God can be three in one – we are free to choose to have faith in the all-powerful, all-knowing God whose love never ends.
I pray that even though we may never fully understand our Lord, we may grow in our faith in Him this year.
Picture from iGoogle's "Places to See"
Monday, January 4, 2010
Original Text: T. O. Chisholm
Tweaked by Jaye Martin : )
Music: C. Harold Lowden
1. Tweeting for Jesus a life that is true;
striving to please Him in each tweet I do,
yielding allegiance, gladhearted and free,
this is my pathway of blessing to Thee.
O Jesus, Lord and Savior,
I give my tweets for Thee;
for thou, in thy atonement,
didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other master,
my heart shall be thy throne,
My tweets I give, henceforth to live,
O Christ for thee alone.
2. Tweeting for Jesus who died in my place,
such love constrains me to answer His call,
follow His leading and tweet Him to all.
3. Tweeting for Jesus wherever I am,
doing each update in His holy name,
willing to suffer affliction or loss,
deeming each tweet as a part of my cross.
4. Tweeting for Jesus through earth's little while,
my dearest treasure, the light of his smile,
seeking the lost ones He died to redeem,
bringing the weary to find rest in Him.
Let's tweet for Jesus this new year! Happy New Year!
"For we who live are always given over to death because of Jesus, so that Jesus’ life may also be revealed in our mortal flesh" (1 Corinthians 4:11, HCSB).
Friday, January 1, 2010
You see, I think I've discovered something far better than a New Years' resolution...Jesus' redemption & life changing power. This is what I mean, what if instead of making a resolution to lose ten pounds, be a better person, or do more...what if you made a total heart, mind, life shift? What if you went at the year seeking to obey Jesus out of the great love you have for Him? Instead of focusing on your physical body and seeking to achieve some worldly standard of good looks, what if you focused on your stomach not becoming your god and even worship Jesus as you exercise? What if the motivation was that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, so you're going to make a shift in what you put inside of it so that your body can be better equipped to serve & love Jesus? What if you decided to saturate yourself with God's Word and determined to memorize a chapter of Scripture (this is a personal passion, memorizing passages of His Word, not just a verse here and there) so that you may not sin against God? How different would your year be then and not just your year but your life in general? Maybe, just maybe, if we didn't focus on being more productive but focused on sitting with Jesus and discerning & proving what His will is we'd find that busyness is not godliness. And we're far more "productive" walking in the path He has ordained for us than we are running around like chicken with our head cut off, you know what I'm saying? What if your aim was redirected toward heaven and focused on Jesus not on earthly things?
My prayer is that this resonates with you...this change in thinking. And don't get me wrong if you want to make a New Years' resolution that's just fine, but I'd rather Christ make a life change. I think if you accept this challenge...a slight but certain shift in thinking...your 2010 would be far different.
Don't just make a New Years' Resolution. Ask Jesus to change your entire life!