Friday, August 22, 2014

Thought of the Day !!

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.
                                                        1 John 1:9 (NLT) 

I don't know about you, but I can come up with any number of excuses why I've done some of the things I've done that are contrary to God's wishes for me. They go something like, "I really didn't mean to..." or "It wasn't meant to go that way..." or "I had a right to say..." or "It really wasn't my fault.  I just got caught int he middle" or "It's only human nature to feel that way."

I imagine you could add your own to the list.  But I read somewhere that God doesn't care about excuses.  All He wants is confession and then to forgive. 


When we have sin in our lives we can find ourselves feeling guilty and so it's more difficult for us to face God.  So confess what's wrong in your life and ask for God's help in those areas.  He would much rather forgive you than punish you.  That's because our God is a loving God.  


In the love of Christ,
greg

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thought of the Day !!

  My heart rejoices in the LORD!
  The LORD has made me strong.
Now I have an answer for my enemies;
  I rejoice because you rescued me.
                              1 Samuel 2:1 (NLT)


Does your heart rejoice for the Lord?  Or is your day filled with all the negative things surrounding you?  Every morning that I get out of bed I know that God has awakened me.  He has given me breath.  He is prepared to protect me from my worst enemy, the devil.  And more importantly, He has given me a purpose.  For this my heart rejoices in the Lord.

Hanna, the mother of the great prophet Samuel from the Old Testament, rejoiced because she had been barren, but God had given her a son.  Her enemy was her husband's other wife who used to make fun of her for having no children.  But at the time she sang out this verse, God had blessed her with a son and would later bless her with more children. 

May your heart rejoice in the Lord as well.  If it's difficult finding something today to rejoice about, give God thanks that you are alive.  Then ask how He can use you so that you will be blessed as you bless others. 

Rejoice today.  The alternative would be to be sad or angry.  Which is more fun?  Which will make for a better day?  Rejoice in the Lord!

In the love of Christ,
greg

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Thought of the Day !!

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
                                                                                 Isaiah 43:2-3 (NIV)

We are precious in God's sight.  He promises to be with us through the troubling times in our lives and to lead us out of them if we will allow Him to.  This is one of the greatest promises that God offers us...to not abandon us.  People often times abandon Him.  But even in the case of those, He never forgets them and accepts them back if they wish to come.

As His children, we should emulate this kind of behavior.  I once knew a lady that didn't care much for the Church.  That is, until her father was on his death bed.  When she saw how her parent's church members gathered around, supporting and showing love to the family, she was changed.  And she began going to that church.  In her deepest hours of need, she found something out about God.  She found out that He would never abandon her.  Our God is not opposed to presenting Himself in tangible ways.  You might not hear Him speak through a burning bush, but you just might through other people.

Life is supposed to be about relationships with God and each other.  It can be as long as we realize that God will not abandon us...and we commit ourselves to never abandoning Him or each other.

In the love of Christ,
greg

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Thought of the Day !!

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
                                                                            Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)

In today's world of suicide bombers, rapists, killers, muggers, thieves, etc. there may be very little desire to entertain strangers.  As if the real world stuff wasn't bad enough, we then turn on the TV or watch movies that are more violent than ever.  And we believe we have to think of our safety and those with us when a stranger comes up to us looking for a handout.  

It used to be ok to pick up someone on the side of the road who needed a ride.  But how many are willing to pick up hitchhikers today?  And then, of course, there's all those out there that are trying to take advantage of us.  There are people who don't want to work for a living and would rather con people and work the system.  

And still the Bible teaches us to entertain strangers.  Jesus says that those who give the hungry something to eat and the thirsty something to drink, who welcome the stranger or visit the sick or imprisoned, will be the ones who will have a place with the King.  

Sometimes we just have to step out on faith and ask God to protect us.  At other times we have to use our common sense.  Cell phones can be used to call for help for someone on the side of the road (instead of stopping) if we're not sure.  If somebody comes to us each week needing money for gas to get their momma to the same doctor's appointment, we can say "No more".  We can buy the gas for them (instead of giving cash) or help them find a job.  The truth of the matter is that even if we're being conned, duped, taken (or however you want to put it) nine out of ten times, we may entertain an angel once.  Or to put it another way, we may entertain Christ.  For He said if we do for the least, we've done for Him.

I, for one, would rather be duped 9 out of 10 times and do the work of Christ once than let my Savior down.  

In the love of Christ,
greg

Monday, August 18, 2014

Thought of the Day !!

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
                                                                  1 Peter 4:8 (NIV)    

"Love each other deeply."  Can we just decide to love someone, or is it a feeling we really don't have much control over?  The answer is yes and yes.

Feelings will come and go.  And these feelings can be difficult to control  But true love is much more than a feeling.  True love is first a choice and then an action taken that's not based on feelings, but on that choice.  This is sacrificial love, the kind Jesus has for us.  This is what he commands when he says "As I have loved you, love one another."  This is also the kind of love Peter means when he says to "love each other deeply."

As Christians who've accepted Jesus, we have the power of the Holy Spirit in us.  This is where we find the ability to love others.  Instead of complaining about or ignoring or being angry at others, love them deeply, using the power of the Holy Spirit inside you.  This will cover a multitude of sins, making up for many things you've done wrong yourself.

In the love of Christ,
greg

August 17 Sermon - YouTube

August 17 Sermon - YouTube

Friday, August 15, 2014

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)


I just finished reading the book of Judges and this is the last verse of the book.  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,
greg

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thought of the Day !!

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.
                                                             Psalm 5:3 (NIV)

I like to say a "Good morning" to God each day as I wake.  It just seems to get the day started better.  But as the scriptures say, we can also lay our requests before him after we wake.  

They also say that we are to wait in expectation.   There are two key words here, "wait" and "expectation".  Don't expect God to fix all your problems with a single word or motion right then.  God works in His own time, sometimes immediately...but more often later, teaching us patience.

Even though we shouldn't expect God to answer us immediately every time we come to Him, this doesn't mean we shouldn't expect Him to listen and respond.  He hears every word that you breathe or think.  I shudder to think of all He's heard me say (good and bad).  And He does respond in His way and His time.  

So each morning (or anytime for that matter) don't forget that God is listening.  Give Him thanks and praise first.  Then lay your requests before Him.  And then wait in expectation.

In the love of Christ,
greg