Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thought of the Day !!

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”
                                                                   Genesis 4:9 (NRSV)


God was asking about Abel because He knew that Cain had murdered him.  Cain was responding by asking if he was responsible for his brother's whereabouts.  Over time this famous line "Am I my brother's keeper?" has become an expression to mean that in general one is not responsible for another person.

When Jesus came into the world, he taught things like "Love one another" and "Do unto others and you would have them do unto you" and "when you've done to the least of these, you've done to me".  In doing so, he answers the question "Am I my brother's keeper?" with a resounding "Yes!" 

We are our brother's (and sister's) keeper.  We are told to care for those who can't take care of themselves.  These people are our brothers and sisters.  They are God's children.  And God desires us to care for each other, no matter what family name, race, background or social status. 

So let us be our Brother's/Sister's keepers today.

In the love of Christ,
greg

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Thought of the Day !!

Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
                                                2 Corinthians 12:10 (NLT)

More than just about anything, I would like to be able to sing and play guitar (mostly sing).  I love to sing praise songs.  I love singing to the Lord.  But I have to keep it down because nobody around me should be subjected to that kind of torture.  :)

I guess you could say I'm weak in the area of singing.  But singing is a part of worship.  And God has made me stronger in other areas of worship so that I can still be strong in worshiping Him. 

We all have weaknesses.  We all have times when we feel weak.  If we didn't, we'd rely more on ourselves and our own abilities.  Our weaknesses can be used for good in that they point out our reliance on God.  Don't worry about being weak...as long as you are strong in the Lord.

In the love of Christ,
greg

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

▶ Sept 14 Sermon "Does God Want Me To Defend Myself - YouTube

▶ Sept 14 Sermon "Does God Want Me To Defend Myself - YouTube

Thought of the Day !!

My eyes fail from weeping,
  I am in torment within,
my heart is poured out on the ground
  because my people are destroyed,
because children and infants faint
  in the streets of the city.
                             Lamentations 2:11 (NIV)

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
   the bitterness and the gall.
 I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.
 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
                         Lamentations 3:19-26 (NIV)


Lamentations is a small book in the Bible that is written by the prophet Jeremiah as a lament about the condition of Judah.  The Babylonians have come and destroyed the temple and taken many into slavery while killing others and leaving still others destitute.  This is not a good time for God's people.  The Northern Kingdom of Israel has already been taken by the Assyrians and now the rest of God's children are being conquered.

This is definitely not a good time in Israel's history.  So why would God allow such a thing to happen to those He has called to be His people?  The answer, in a nutshell, is sin.  Sin is our turning away from God.  The Israelites turned their backs on God by worshiping other gods and the idols of neighboring countries.  For this, they were punished.

In 2 Kings there is a king named Ahaziah in the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  He falls and hurts himself.  Instead of seeking help or understanding from his God, he chose to sent a group of people to a far away country to consult the god Baal-Zebub.  Baal-Zebub is referred to in the New Testament by Jesus but by the more common Beelzebub (a term sometimes used for the devil).

Even today we can ask the question why.  Why do such bad things happen?  Ultimately, the answer is sin.  It's not that the good folks that are suffering today from this or that have reached out to Beelzebub.  But we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  And over time, since the beginning of this world with Adam and Eve, sin has occurred and changed God's perfect creation into something much worse.

I look out my window and see a beautiful scene.  The sun is up.  The grass is a pretty green.  If I stay here long enough I might catch some deer coming into the yard.  But even this beautiful scene is not without it's flaws.  There are still brown spots and places I cannot get grass to grow.  There is a dead limb hanging from a tree in the middle of my view.  This is typical of God's creation; greatness skewed by some flaws.  It's humanities flaws (or sin) that has made God's creation less than perfect.  And the domino effect from Adam and Eve forward has made things go bad in this world.

Oh there's more to it than this.  But in a nutshell, bad things have always happened as a result of this world becoming imperfect through humanity's sin.  But instead of leaving with this dismal thought, let me finish up with Jeremiah's conclusion.  He stated that God's faithfulness to us is great, even though ours to him may not always be.  He said that our salvation is in Him.

One day this good, yet imperfect, world will pass away.  Salvation comes to those whose hope is in the Lord.  On that day sin will be eradicated.  On that day perfection will be restored.  On that day there will be no more suffering.  Praise God who is faithful to His children.

In the love of Christ,
greg

Monday, September 15, 2014

Thought of the Day !

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
                                                                     John 8:12 (NIV)
 
When the light is turned on in a room, all in that room is seen.  We see the television in the corner, or the picture on the wall that we bought because it made us feel good.  We may see that comfortable chair that we have sat in many times before, or that certain item that we've been looking all over for.  But there are other things that can become painfully visible to us as well.  The dust that has piled up an inch thick or the stack of bills that is a reminder to us that they're all due now.  The point is, we see the good and the bad when the light is turned on. 
 
Jesus said, in the Gospel of John, that the light came into the world but the world loved darkness.  Think about that room and it's reminders of a cleaning that is needed or debts owed.  When the light comes into our lives, we see the greatness of God, but we also see the same as in the room I just mentioned.  We don't want to be reminded that our lives have become dirty or that we owe a debt to the one who created us.  We don't want to know that things are not as perfect as the front we put up.  And so, seeing the light can hurt.  But the light is not turned on to make us miserable.  It's turned on so that change can happen.  And when this change happens, we will be made better and happier people. 
 
The only way to be really happy is to be clean and debt free.  And the only way we can be clean and debt free is through the powerful love and forgiveness that comes from the light of Christ.
 
In the love of Christ,
greg

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sept 7 Sermon "What Do Bad Things Happen to Good People" - YouTube

Sept 7 Sermon "What Do Bad Things Happen to Good People" - YouTube

Thought of the Day !!

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called-one Lord, one faith, one baptism.
                                                              Ephesians 4:1-5 (NIV)

It's not just pastors or missionaries who are called by God.  Each of His children are called.  First we are called to accept His invitation to be in a relationship with Him through His son Jesus.  Secondly, we're called to love one another as Christ loves us.  And thirdly we are each called for different purposes here on earth according to the gifts that our Father gives us. 
 
Some live a life worthy of the calling that God has placed upon their hearts.  Others fall short of this.  Which are you doing?  How is your everyday living?  Is it worthy of your calling? 
 
In the love of Christ,
greg

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Thought of the Day !!

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
                                       Psalm 103:8-12 (NIV)


Let's take a moment or two today to think about how great God's love for us is.  Think about what a perfect parent would be like.  He/She would not be hot-headed and easily angered.  He/She would not hold grudges against the child.  He/She would punish to teach, not for his or her own enjoyment.  And the love that this perfect parent would have for the child would be deeper than the deepest ocean and higher than the farthest heaven.  The perfect parent is God the Father.

There is a song by Matthew West called "More", which is a song from God's perspective.  The chorus goes like this:

I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine, and you shine for me too
I love you yesterday and today
And tomorrow, I'll say it again and again
I love you more
I love you more


Today think about just how much your Father in Heaven loves you and how He shows it by what He does...and also by what He doesn't do.

In the love of Christ,
greg

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Thought of the Day !!

     One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
     The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!
     He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples.
     In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."

                                                                  Luke 8:22-25 (NIV) 

The disciples had just witnessed the great power of Jesus.  And they were afraid.  This just isn't supposed to happen.  This should encourage them that they're following the right guy...shouldn't it?

Yet today I feel like we can be afraid of the power of Jesus as well.  Paul tells us that we're saved from a life of fear, but sometimes we just won't let it go.  Now some fear can be good.  I know that if I go down a dark alleyway or see a bear in the woods or a snake in my back yard under my feet, I'm going to be afraid.  That just might save my life. 

But some of us are afraid of truly experiencing the power of God in our lives or our churches.  And often times this fear is the fear of change.  If I receive power from God then He may expect something out of me.  If my church experiences the power of the Holy Spirit we won't know what we'll look like after He's finished.  We may not have the same people leading us, or we may not look like the same church anymore. 


And then there's always the fear of death.  As born again Christians we're supposed to have assurance of what will happen when we die.  But plenty of people still have a sliver of doubt, which I'm sure causes fear. 

Jesus said to ask and we will receive.  If you're afraid of the power of God changing you or your church or your family etc., then ask for courage...peace...assurance.  And keep asking for it until you get it.  Your Father in Heaven awaits you.  Tell Him what you fear most.  And ask Him to see you through.

In the love of Christ,
greg