Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. – Judges 21:25 (NLT)

This is the last verse of the book of Judges.  It's a sad summary of the state of the Israelites at this time.  Throughout Judges Israel continually falls away from the Lord by worshiping other gods and doing whatever they decided was good.  Sooner or later God would take His protection away and they would be defeated.  

Even though His children acted like spoiled brats, God still loved them enough to raise up a Judge to come to their rescue when they cried out to Him.  But as spoiled children can often do, once things got good again, they began thinking of themselves instead of God.  And the cycle would continue.

It's easy to get caught up in ourselves and our own lives and forget that God has a plan for us that goes beyond ourselves.  Like spoiled children we can place our own lives or our families' lives ahead of everything else and dismiss those in need whom God places in our paths.  

Are we any better than those who worshiped idols if we neglect God's will for our lives?  Are we any better than those who sought to disobey God's commands if we don't faithfully seek out God's desires for us?

In those days Israel had no king.  As Christians we claim to have a King.  But our claims are only justified if we follow where He leads us and become what He wants us to be instead of doing whatever seems right in our own eyes.

In the love of Christ,


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

And after the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. – 1 Kings 19:12-13 (NIV)

What are the distractions of your life?  Is the telephone ringing?  Are you pulled to the computer to check your email?  Is the TV blaring or the kids yelling?  Is work always on your mind?  

We can become so distracted with life that we miss the gentle whisper of God.  Be careful not only to make time for simply being quiet, but also to listen through the busyness of the day.  God may not come to you in a burning bush.  He may chose to come when you least expect it, whispering your name.  So be ready...and listen.

In the love of Christ,


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

My conscience is clear, but that doesn't prove that I'm right.  It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. – 1 Corinthians 4:4 (NLT)

Just before this Paul states that he's not concerned with how others evaluate him.  This is because he wasn't there to please them, but instead to show them the mysteries of Christ.  Whether they thought he did a good job or not, or whether they thought he was right or not was not as important to him as pleasing God.  

Today's focus is not on that though.  The part that stood out to me today is verse 4.  Paul says that his conscience is clear.  I think he means that he's done what he believes to be right.  Many people today are faithfully doing what they believe to be right in God's eyes.  I hope each of you who read this have a desire to please God by doing right instead of wrong.  But many who think that they are doing right must be wrong because there are others who believe that they are doing right, and they're views/actions are polar opposites of the other group.  

Confused yet?  Let me share a couple examples.  Some argue that homosexuality is a sin and should be treated as such.  They believe with all their hearts this, which determines their actions.  Others argue that in the times we live in things are different than biblical times and being born homosexual cannot be a sin because God would not do that.  This leads to their actions.  Neither group is meaning to be unChristian (though sometimes the actions born out of this debate can be).  Both sides "consciences" are clear.  They both believe that they are doing what is right.

A more recent debate has been whether or not we should allow Syrian refugees in our country.  Some believe it's the Christian thing to do because we should show love to those in need, while others believe that we might be allowing more evil into our country since many might be disguised ISIS supporters.  Both groups believe that they are doing what God wants (or at least I hope so).  Both cannot be right, but both sides "consciences" are clear with their stance.

Paul said that his conscience was clear, but get this; "but that doesn't prove that I'm right."  Who among us is arrogant enough to say that he or she knows God's will in everything?  Paul finishes by saying that, "It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide."  

I'm not saying we shouldn't stand up for what we believe.  I am, however, saying that we should remember that there is always a possibility that we might be wrong in some things.  Even though our consciences are clear and we believe we have the Truth on our side, let God examine those whom we disagree with.  It's not our job to judge anyway.  And though we might believe our stance to be the right one, we should never stop seeking God's guidance through prayer and the Word, just in case God has something He wants to point out to us about our own beliefs.

In the love of Christ,

Monday, November 16, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

"Meaningless!  Meaningless!" says the Teacher.  "Utterly meaningless!  Everything is meaningless." – Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NIV)

I wonder how many in our culture today would say the same thing.  Could it be that so many in our own communities are dealing with depression because they feel like their lives are meaningless?

Solomon is the man who has been credited with writing the book of Ecclesiastes.  Let's remember that he was a man who had it all…a king of kings…known as the wisest man to live…having all the worldly pleasures.  But still he saw life as meaningless.

In the Life Application Study Bible there is an illustration about a chocolate Easter bunny.  Maybe you've taken a bite into one at Easter only to find that it was hollow.   On the outside everything looks great.  The chocolate tastes good.  It's inviting.  But soon you notice that it’s empty on the inside.

Many people feel that way today.  Even Solomon felt that way as he searched for meaning in the things of this world that he could gain or accomplish.  If people try to fill this emptiness with worldly pleasures or hard work or anything else other than God, then they will fail at finding meaning.  For it's only through our relationship with God and serving Him that we can find true meaning.  This is what we were created for.  And this is the conclusion that Solomon came to at the end of Ecclesiastes when he wrote 

"Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." (Ecclesiastes 12:13 NIV) 

This is where Solomon found his meaning.  And it's where we can as well.

In the love of Christ,


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

The Lord gave me a message. He said, "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world." 

"O Sovereign Lord," I said, "I can't speak for you! I'm too young!" 
                                         Jeremiah 1:4-6 (NLT) 

When I was a kid, we used to ride our bikes all around the neighborhood in Covington, TN where my grandparents lived.  At times we'd ride to other people's houses looking for others to come out and play baseball or football.   As we got a little older though, we found that it was quicker calling people when we wanted to get up a game.  Of course that was before the invention of Call Waiting.  And there were often times that we would get a busy signal. 

Think about God's calling to you in this same way.  He calls each of us.  Sometimes He finds us at home, but at other times He gets a busy signal…or maybe the answering machine.  How frustrating that must be for God!  Can you imagine how He feels when we're too busy for Him?  Or how about when we make up excuses for not accepting? 

Jeremiah claims that he's too young.  Who in their right mind would listen to a boy?  Speaking for God requires a certain maturity that comes in part with age…or at least this is what Jeremiah must have been thinking.  Our excuses may be that we're too young, too old, too busy, not equipped, etc. 

It doesn't matter how young or old we are.  It doesn't matter how well we speak or how eloquent we are.  God's calling isn't governed by whether or not we're capable. What matters is that if God calls us to something, He'll give us what we need to accomplish His task.   

Jeremiah didn't think of himself as being worthy.  But if God only called those who were worthy, who would He ever call? 

Remember, you don't have to be worthy.  You just have to be willing.  Are you ready for God to call you?  Are you waiting and willing to pick up the phone when He does?  Or are you screening your calls from God much like one might do a telemarketer or some other person they don't want to talk to? 

In the love of Christ,


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thought of the Day !!

If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. – Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT)

This may seem awfully extreme.  What if there is someone who’s done something so terrible to me that I just cannot forgive him or her?  The answer to this is quite frankly, to forgive some people is impossible, at least in our own power.  But Scripture tells us that everything is possible with God.  The one who created the world and you in it, can empower you to do anything He so desires, including forgive.  You must ask for His help and patiently wait for Him to work through you. 

Forgiveness is not approving or excusing or even pardoning what someone has done.  It’s not placing ourselves at the mercy of someone who will simply use that forgiveness to continually mistreat us.  It also does not eliminate times when tough love is necessary.

What forgiveness does is this.  It chooses not to keep a record of the wrongs done to one's self. Forgiveness is an inner condition where we rid ourselves of bitterness instead of holding on to it and allowing it to pull us down.  Also, people can be forgiven, and at the same time have to endure the consequences of their behavior.  For example, if someone does something to you that is illegal, forgiving them does not mean that they should not have to submit to the laws of the land. 

The person hurt most when we don’t forgive is ourselves.  We’re the ones who carry around the stress.  So giving it all to God and allowing Him to help us forgive is not only the best thing for our souls, it’s the best thing for our lives here on earth.

In the love of Christ,