Jun 25, 2009

Hope of His Calling

“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling …” Ephesians 1:18a (NKJV) What is the “Hope of His Calling?” God has a plan for your life. Jesus was placed on a cross to die for our sins; but that was not the end!

We read in Matthew 28 in the Bible that Mary found not only an empty tomb, but also a risen Savior! Upon that fact rests the entire plan of the redemptive work of God; with the resurrection came salvation! -

This meant that Jesus was God; Christ was deity in the flesh.

This meant that God had accepted Jesus’ atoning work on the cross.

This meant we have assurance of righteousness; not judgment or condemnation.

This guarantees our bodies also will be raised in the end to new life.

This means HOPE for our future; end of death. “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 (NKJV)

This passage tells us: - We have His grace through Jesus Christ! - We have been enriched in everything; all knowledge & utterance! - We are short of no Gift! - We can expect the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ! - We can expect to be confirmed and found blameless! - We can expect God to be faithful concerning us! - We can be in fellowship with Jesus! It’s all up to you. Jesus already paid for it all. It’s free; you don’t have to work for it:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8 (NKJV) We have a future FULL of HOPE! “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you; says, the LORD, thoughts of peace, not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

"The Hope of Glory" by Randy stonehill

Oh how much more could any man desire
Than to know why he draws his every breath
Oh how much more could any soul require
Than that the Lord is near him at his death

Do not forget love's Greatest Story
God knows the tears you have cried
Just set your sights upon the hope of glory
It was for this that Jesus died

For every mile of rocky road you climb
There is a jewel added to your crown
For every doubt that drags you down sometimes
There is an answer that will be found


Carry on, my family of the Light
All those who march unto a different drum
And know that truth will guide you through the night
Until we rest in kingdom come


 Written by Randy Stonehill© 1986 Stonehillian Music/Word Music (a div. of Word, Inc.)(ASCAP)

Jun 19, 2009

If You KNEW You Could NOT Fail?

We were driving to a high school graduation party when Cathy asked me the question; “What one thing would you most want to do if you knew that you couldn’t fail?” Cathy had been pondering the question for the past few days.

She said, “That’s a different question than “What one thing would you most want to do if you had unlimited resources?” “Seriously; what would you do if you knew that you couldn’t fail?

What risks have you been afraid to step out to do simply because the fear of failure was too great?” She said, “One of the things that you could do is tell others about Jesus; that is something that you could do and not fail. We don’t witness because we believe that we will probably fail.” My friend, how could you fail if you were simply telling others about Jesus?

We can’t fail at “witnessing” – telling others what God has done for us – telling what we’ve seen and heard – how God has revealed Himself through Jesus Christ in our lives. We are simply telling what we’ve experienced through God’s Word and His Holy Spirit come alive in our lives; and the difference He has made! But we think that we’ll fail; so we don’t even try to succeed!

The disciples were afraid to go out and take a risk just before Jesus went back up into heaven. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28: 18-20 (NKJV)

Jesus has all authority; and we are to go and share what he has done in our lives because of it.

So let me ask the question one more time; “What one thing would you most want to do if you knew that you couldn’t fail?” You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by stepping out by faith in the Lord. You have everything to lose and nothing to gain by giving up.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)

Jun 13, 2009

What's Growing in Your Garden?

I love this time of the year! Yards, flower and vegetable gardens are alive with color and vibrancy! I love working on planting, and mowing, and weeding; yes, all of the work is worth it! I love to see what new plants and flowers have grown up since last fall.

Sometimes I am amazed at new flowers or plants that I forgot that I planted. Funny thing is with gardens is that I have certain plants because I planted them, like roses. And, I don’t have certain plants, like orange trees because I didn’t plant them.

Some of you are thinking; “It took you how long to figure this out?” Actually the Apostle Paul communicated it before I did in his letter to the Galatians. Paul was talking about doing well to all people when he wrote in Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (NKJV)

Why is it that we understand this spiritual principle in the natural with things like gardening, but can’t seem to apply it all areas of our lives? We plant tomatoes and yet we don’t even think of looking for potatoes to come up in place of the tomatoes. We diet and exercise and are usually not shocked when we lose weight and gain strength. We read the Bible, and we get filled with the wisdom of God’s Word.

Why is it that we think that we can plant ideas, thoughts, lusts, time, attention, etc. to our days and think that we will get something other than what we have sowed to or given our time to? Why are we always shocked when sin gives way to compromise and then grows a harvest of sinful behavior which eventually leads to death? Why do we think we can compromise in what we look at or spend time with and not think that it will affect our lives in any way?

James 1:15 says; “Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (NKJV) My friends, we must pay more close attention to what we are sowing; what we are giving our time, thoughts, energy, attention to. Jesus isn’t going to be mocked; whatever we sow we will reap.

His plan is that we have fruit (that honors Him) fruit that remains: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” John 15:16 (NKJV) John 15:1-8 (New King James Version) 1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[b] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Mocked: μυκτηρίζω [“muktērizo” pronounced:̄ mook'-tay-rid'-zo] (From a derivative of the base word that means snout, as that whence lowing proceeds from); to make mouths at, that is, ridicule: - mock.);

Jun 6, 2009

Half-Time in the New Year

It’s June 6th. How are you doing today with the resolutions that you made on New Year’s Eve? How is your plan to be a good person working out for you? Are you still doing the things that you want to do? Are you finally in a place where you no longer do the things that you hate doing? So how is your attempt to be a “godly-person” working out for you; not so good, huh? My friends, we were never meant to “do it on our own”; we can’t! And the quicker we realize it and stop trying, the sooner we will ask the question; “Ok, so how do I make this faith walk work?” The Bible is telling us we need to cooperate with God to do His will. Hebrews 12:2 tells us need to be “LOOKING unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith…” Philippians 2:13 tells us “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." Some good questions to ask yourself are; “Do I believe that Almighty God is the Source of my will?” and “Do I believe that He is in me to do it?” That, my friend, makes all the difference in the world! He started it; let Him complete the work! This way the pressure is off of us to be perfect, but rather to surrender to His will as He perfects us into the image and likeness of His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). Remember; He started this new life in us and He will complete it (Philippians 1:6). He loves us more than we will ever know and He isn’t giving up on us. I’ve attached a couple of songs by Keith Green who was a great Christian song writer-musician. The first talks about doing the things that we don’t want to do instead of the things we want to do. The second talks about the first time that we trusted God.

Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day to stop trying and start trusting by asking God to help you; knowing that He will! The Holy Spirit longs to help us; ask Him! Turn from whatever He points out as sin and then set your heart to follow His lead as He will continue to help you to change as a child of God. Be blessed my friend as you grow in the grace of God.

----------------------------------------------------- “Romans 7” by Keith Green The very things I hate, I end up doing, The things I want to do, I just don't do. Lord it seems so sad, why am I so bad? When in my heart I only want to be like you. The very ones I love I end up hurting, The ones I want to help I pass right by. Now I want to be, finally set free The grace you've shown, the love I've known, Please let it shine through me. I want to love them, the way you do, I want to serve them, by serving you. Lord how I know your tender heart must be broken, By all those unkept promises I've made, The question still prevails; please take away the doubt, About how you forgive, and still you live inside when I fail. I want to love them all, the way you do, I want to serve them, by serving you. I want to be like you; Jesus I do. I want to love them all, the way you do, I want to serve them, by serving you. ---------------------------------------------------------- “When I First Trusted You” by Keith Green Well I thought I depended upon You. At least that used to be what was happening with me. In those times of our first sweet communion, Nothing got in the way; I heard your voice everyday. When I first trusted You, gave my life to You. When I trusted You. Well there’s something that needs to be cleared up. I feel so sorry inside that my first love has died. Cause I've tried in my own strength to follow. When I've known all along, I just couldn't go wrong. If I'd only trusted You, give my life to You. If I'd trusted you. Oh, trusted You. Well I thought I depended upon You. At least that used to be what was happening with me. In those times of our first sweet communion, Nothing got in the way; I heard your voice everyday. When I first trusted You, I gave my life to You. When I trusted You.

Jun 4, 2009

You Can Trust Him by S. M. Lockridge

No barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessing. He's enduringly strong; He's entirely sincere. He's eternally steadfast; He's immortally graceful. He's imperially powerful; He's impartially merciful. He's the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world. He's God's Son. He's a sinners Savior. He's the centerpiece of civilization. I'm trying to tell you, Church-You can trust Him! He does not have to call for help, and you can't confuse Him. He doesn't need you and he doesn't need me. He stands alone in the solitude of Himself. He's august and He's unique. He's unparalleled; He's unprecedented; He's supreme and pre-eminent. He's the loftiest idea in literature. He's the highest personality in philosophy. He's the supreme problem of higher criticism. He's the fundamental doctrine of true theology. He's the cardinal necessity of spiritual religion. He's the miracle of the age. He's the superlative of everything good that you can call Him. I'm trying to tell you-you can trust Him! He can satisfy all of our needs and He can do it simultaneously. He supplies strengths for the weak. He's available for the tempted and tried; He sympathizes and He sees. He guards and He guides. He heals the sick. He cleansed the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharges debtors; He delivers the captives. He defends the feeble; He blesses the young. He regards the aged; He rewards the diligent. He beautifies the meek. I'm trying to tell you-you can trust Him! He's the key to knowledge. He's the wellspring of wisdom. He's the doorway of deliverance. He's the pathway to peace. He's the roadway to righteousness. He's the highway to holiness. He's the gateway to glory. You can trust Him! He's the Master of the mighty. He's the Captain of the conquerors. He's the Head of the heroes. He's the Leader of the legislators. He's the Overseer of the overcomers. He's the Governor of the governors. He's the Prince of princes. He's the King of kings. He's the Lord of lords. You can trust Him! His office is manifold. His promise is sure. His life is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy. His burden is light. I wish I could describe Him to you! He's indescribable because He's incomprehensible. He's irresistible and He's invincible. You can't get Him off your hands. You can't get Him out of your mind. You can't outlive Him and you can't live without Him Pilate couldn't stand Him when he found out he couldn't stop Him. Pilate couldn't find any fault in Him. The witnesses couldn't get their testimonies to agree. Herod couldn't kill Him. Death couldn't handle Him. And thank God the grave couldn't hold Him. There was nobody before Him. There will be nobody after Him. He had no predecessor, and He'll have no successor. You can't impeach Him, and He's not going to resign. YOU CAN TRUST HIM!

That’s My King! S.M. Lockridge

The Bible says my King is a seven-way King: He’s the King of the Jews - that’s a racial King. He’s the King of Israel - that’s a National King. He’s the King of righteousness. He’s the King of the ages. He’s the King of Heaven. He’s the King of glory. He’s the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords. That’s my King!
Well, I wonder… do you know Him? David said “the Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handiwork.” My King is a sovereign King; no means of measure can define His limitless love. No far seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of the shore of His supplies. No barriers can hinder Him from pouring out His blessing. He’s enduringly strong. He’s entirely sincere. He’s eternally steadfast. He’s immortally graceful. He’s imperially powerful. He’s impartially merciful.
Do you know Him? He’s God’s Son. He’s the sinner’s saviour. He’s the centrepiece of civilization. He stands alone in the solitude of Himself. He’s august and He’s unique. He’s unparalleled. He’s unprecedented. He’s the loftiest idea in literature. He’s the highest personality in philosophy. He’s the supreme problem in higher criticism. He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology. He is the core, the cardinal necessity for a spiritual religion. He is the miracle of the age, and He is the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him. He’s the only one qualified to be an all-sufficient Savior.
I wonder if you know Him today. He’s the only one able to supply all our needs simultaneously. He supplies strength for the weak. He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He guards and he guides. He heals the sick. He cleanses the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharges debtors. He delivers the captives. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent and He purifies the meek. That’s my King.
Do you know Him? Well, my King is the key to knowledge. He’s the wellspring of wisdom. He’s the doorway of deliverance. He’s the pathway of peace. He’s the roadway of righteousness. He’s the highway of holiness. He’s the gateway of glory. That’s my King.
His office is manifold. His promise is sure. His light is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I wish I could describe Him to you . . .but He’s indescribable. He’s God.
He’s incomprehensible. He’s invincible. He’s irresistible. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hands. You can’t outlive Him and you can’t live without Him. The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him. The witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree about Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Death couldn’t handle Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him. That’s my King. That’s my King!
Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever and ever and ever. How long is that? And ever and ever! And when you get through with all of the forever’s, then… Amen! Amen! and Amen!

Jun 2, 2009

Taking Flight

Sunday, May 31st, my youngest daughter graduated from High School. And, Lord willing, four years from now, this same daughter will graduate from the same college that my youngest son graduated from last weekend. Graduation usually marks a moment of reflection for the past 13 years and excitement for the future. A time to look back:

All 6 of my children graduated from high school with honors; one was a National Merit Scholar. All six of my children have chosen to pursue college in some form after graduation from high school; several of them have gone on to do post graduate studies with the accompanying degree for all of their efforts. All six are a blessing in my life.

So here is a big “Praise the Lord!” for His success in our children’s lives.

The truth is; at graduation something else happens in the life of a child and his or her parents; a new relationship happens. It is a relationship in which the child (now a young adult) starts to spread his or her wings and fly from the nest. We’ve trained, planned, practiced, and now the time is here; and it doesn’t always feel right. It’s always hard on me as a dad.

You see, for the next several years a new graduate will disappear; not completely from my life, just from my arms or “wings”. They will fly new places and “forget” about dear old dad until a few years later when all of a sudden the child appears and remembers dad and comes home to his arms once again.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; Ecclesiastes 3 says that “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” This is the time when children become adults. This is the time when children leave the nest and take flight instead of being under the “wings” of their parents.

For me it’s during this time that I understand a little bit better how much our Heavenly Father longs for us to be with Him; safe under His wings. I understand a little bit better how much the Lord longs to gather His children to Himself.

When Jesus walked the earth (remember He only did what He saw the Father doing), He modeled the Father’s love as He wept over Jerusalem, longing to gather them: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37 (NKJV)

Perhaps it’s been a long time since you’ve been with The LORD; referred to by Jesus as our Heavenly Father. Today would be a good day to remember and return to the safety of His “wings” . He longs to be with you and have you abide with Him.

Psalm 91: "Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God " 1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” 3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. 4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. 5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, 6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. 8 Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, 10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. 12 In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. 13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.” (NKJV)