Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
While still a long way out, his father saw him and immediately ran to meet him. After the father’s compassionate embrace, his son began his humble confession, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son” (Luke 15:21). Wow! That was all his dad needed to hear, when he said, “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate (Luke 15:24).
A prayer for you - “Lord God, I pray for those who are living destructive lives. God, you are their only hope. Intervene, I pray. Save their physical lives and their eternal souls from destruction. Open their spiritual eyes to see the danger they are facing, then mercifully bring them to repentance that they might live again. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Tuesday, July 2, 2019
She found forgiveness for all the wrong she had done! The guilt and shame she had been trying to outrun was finally washed away. How did that happen? Faith. Jesus said, “Your faith has saved you.”
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
4. A real man has right priorities. Jesus said, “. . . what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36).Jesus was incredibly successful. Yet, despite His celebrity, He forfeited the riches of this world for something far greater. Men, be excellent in all you do, but do not look to your career, possessions, income or achievements for your worth or identity. Live for more than that. Do not forfeit your eternal soul in the pursuit of temporal things that provide momentary pleasure. Live fully and wholly for Jesus. In Him is found everything you need in life.
Thursday, May 2, 2019
I was recently visiting with some high school seniors and asked them what their classmates thought about God. "They’re sometimes confused", they said. I asked them to explain. "They see bad things happen in the world and wonder why. If God is God, then why didn’t He prevent it?" Immediately, I thought how so many adults wonder the same thing. No matter if we are a teenager or senior citizen, this is a common response to tragic situations.
When Jesus, God’s only Son, hung on the cross and was near death, He looked toward heaven and cried out in anguish, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)
When King David led the nation of Israel and was facing enemies who threatened the future of his nation he wrote, "Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" (Psalm 10:1)
When Moses was struggling to lead the Hebrew people, tragedy struck and the people rebelled. Moses lamented before God, "O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?" (Exodus 5:22)
It is natural for us to question or even become angry at God when bad things happen. But when they do, how are we going to respond? It is one thing to analyze and talk about situations from a distance, but what about when your right in the middle of it? Here are four ways Jesus responded to the evil and injustice of His own circumstances.
1) Accept the reality of evil and believe it can be defeated. When Jesus faced His death, He understood the evil that exists in the human heart and the evil systems in our world. He accepted its reality, but determined to walk through it, knowing evil would not overcome Him, but He would overcome it. Do not live in denial of your painful situation. Accept it. But know that Jesus is bigger, greater and more powerful. And when you place the full weight of your trust in Him, you can overcome.
2) Turn toward God, not away from Him. As Jesus hung on the cross feeling the weight of the world on His shoulders, He cried out, "Why God?" Notice, He did not complain to the thieves crucified next to Him or to others nearby. Rather, He turned His words of sorrow toward God, pouring out His heart and remaining faithful to Him, enduring to the end. Our emotions in the moment can lead us away from God, where we complain to others, mumble to ourselves or even lift our first toward the heavens. No matter how dark things get, keep turning to God. Do not believe your circumstances have the final say. Trust in God. Trust in Jesus.
3) Face evil with a spirit of forgiveness and graciousness. Jesus faced His unjust circumstances and accusers with forgiveness and graciousness. This does not come naturally. Our tendency is to lash out at others and become bitter and isolated. Only with the Spirit of Jesus in us can we live as He lived.
4) Overcome evil with faith in God. The Scripture teaches that Jesus faced His death with joy. How did He do that? He knew that He would rise again and conquer all the evil and injustice around Him. When devastating news comes, grab hold of Jesus. Endure. Persevere. If you have trusted in Christ, your suffering will be for a season. We do not know how long it will last, but our victory is certain. This is the believer’s certain hope, as Jesus rose again and overcame, so will we.
A prayer for you to pray - "Lord God, I take my questions, frustrations and anger, and lay them at your feet. I turn from my sin of unforgiveness toward others and anger toward you. Lord, be my Savior from my sin and my Savior in this dark valley. Rescue me oh God! Change my heart today. Give me hope. Give me You. In Jesus’ name. Amen."
Monday, April 1, 2019
From those toddler years until I was 20, I had been to-and-through everything related to church; Sunday services, vacation Bible schools, youth group meetings, church membership, baptism, communion, and the list goes on. However, no one except my mother ever talked with me about where I stood with God, and that was one conversation. Everyone else, including me, must have assumed I was in good standing with the Lord. Boy was I wrong. If I would have died as a youth, I am not sure what I would have said if God would have asked me, “Clint. Good to see you! Tell me, why do you think I should let you into this heaven I have built? Beautiful isn’t it?” My mind would either have gone totally blank or I would have quietly mumbled my list of church achievements.
Jesus once said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:21-23).
Notice how these people thought because they were involved in church activities and doing good, that it was okay between themselves and Jesus. However, to their surprise on Judgment Day, they learned they had it all wrong.
What was the problem? Look at Jesus’ response to them, “I never knew you.” As the people approached Jesus, He looked at them carefully and did not recognize any personal relationship with them. They were complete strangers. There was no love between them. No friendship. Nothing.
This was a picture of me. Every Sunday I was in the presence of Jesus. I read His Word. I was baptized in His name. I joined His church. I even prayed in His name. Yet, I never loved Him. I never considered Him my King, my Lord, my Savior . . . my friend. I had nothing but empty religion.
But praise God! Rather than letting me wait until Judgment Day to learn this, He opened my spiritual eyes, called me to Himself and transformed me into a new man. Today I can confidently say, “Jesus is mine and I am His.”
For over 400 years, the United States has had the name of Jesus preached across it. We have heard how He suffered, died on a cross, and three days later rose again from the dead. This Easter message is not new to us, nor does it cost us anything to be religious and go to church in America . . . but it costs you EVERYTHING to know and follow Jesus. Do not be surprised on Judgment Day. Do you love Him?
A prayer for you to pray– “Lord God, examine my heart. Point out if I do church and religious things out of obligation, to seek favor with you or to receive praise from others? Search me. Do I really love you Lord Jesus? Are you really my Savior and my friend? Today, I turn from religion and to You. Forgive me of my sins and help me to know you personally for the first time. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Where is the middle though? I think my friend is stating our attitude more than an actual position. We should have a Christ-like spirit of graciousness in our discussions, but then put a Bible in the middle of our conversation and point to it.
1. Engage in discipleship. Discussions on homosexuality need to move from a social and political nature, to a discipleship one, especially among the younger generations. Senior Pastors and Youth Pastors, I urge you to regularly teach what the Bible says about homosexuality. Currently the media, school teachers and university professors are discipling them. I know it is controversial and sometimes silence is preferred, but if the church is not going to disciple them, who will?
2. Show kindness. Love does not mean approval of conduct. Jesus taught us to love one another, and love means to show kindness and compassion. As a body of Christ, while we disagree with homosexuality, let us over flow with kindness and compassion to those in the life style and to those who advocate for it.
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Recently, my wife and I watched Ragamuffin, a movie about the life of Rich Mullins, a musical prodigy, and the difficult relationship he had with his verbally and emotionally abusive father. It reminded us of another movie, I Can Only Imagine, about the life of singer, Bart Millard, and the difficulties he too had with his father, who physically abused him.
A prayer for you to pray– “Lord God, I pray for the readers that are angry toward their dad. The things their father has done has caused great pain and division. Enable them to forgive, to release their father to you. To accept and love him just as he is. Do for them, what they cannot do for themselves. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
This ancient story from the Bible reminds me of our day. The mainstream of thought being broadcast to hundreds of millions is to enter a new year without any consideration of God. Through a casual survey of radio stations, articles, news items, podcasts and videos about the upcoming year, most of the content is godless.