Grace

Pro-Football was so much better when I was a kid.

So was McDonald's, music, and the smoke free summers.

Yet somehow my kids are better people than I ever was.

And I'm not even some incredible dad.

You know what I think it is?

Grace!

With You

Joseph was sold into slavery.

And "the LORD was with him."

He was tossed into prison.

Once again, "the LORD was with him."

God "found" Hagar as she wept in the wilderness. 

And comforted her at the well.

It was when God saw Leah was "hated"...

He "opened up her womb."

Moses spent forty years in the backside of the desert.

And it was there he saw the "Mountain of God."

David was left out and not called upon by his father.

Yet knew even if his parents abandoned him...

The LORD would not (Psalm 27:10).

And the newly converted Paul headed into the desert.

Alone.

Not for three days. 

Or three months.

But for three years!

And "conferred" with God.

In all of those instances...

Isolation wasn't the first choice that they made.

And being alone likely is not a choice that you would make.

Particularly, feeling alone.

Yet just like Joseph and Hagar.

Moses and Paul.

The Lord God will surely become more real to you in those alone times.

And not less!

So that you will say with the deepest conviction:

"I did not know God was all that I need... 

 Until God was all that I had."

Do you have some "alone" time coming up this week?

Come to the Sanctuary in the morning.

Or open your notebook and record what His Word says.

Maybe turn up the praise songs and lift up your hands.

I promise you that this you will find:

You are not alone.

And if it were even possible....

God will be with you more than ever had before!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right Direction

“I am not what I ought to be,

I am not what I want to be,

I am not what I hope to be in another world;

but still I am not what I once used to be,

and by the grace of God I am what I am"

-John Newton. Former slave trader. Writer of "Amazing Grace".

Indeed.

In another world, I will one day be...

What I am not right now!

In this world, I am not now...

What I once used to be.

My conclusion on the matter?

My Lord and God is so very patient.

I look at the final days of Abraham.

Isaac.

Jacob.

Lot. Samson. David. And Uzziah.

Even though it looks like two steps forward and one step back.

And feels like one step forward and two steps back!

It's still going in the right direction.

 

Celebrate! Wisely!

Happy Reformation Day!

So is October 31st.

It is known as Halloween in our culture.

There seems to always be two sides to every Holiday.

Christmas.

Easter.

Even Thanksgiving.

They have their good sides.

And their sordid sides.

Depending on your point of view.

I would suggest Paul's words to the Corinthians:

"All things are lawful to me.

 Not all things are helpful."

May our God give you wisdom.

Which is the ability to celebrate wisely!

 

Let It Be

If I have to work to make my defense, it's not worth it.

Strive to defend others who are treated wrongly.

But hardly break a sweat defending yourself.

That is what I suggest to you.

First, in light of Jesus.

He never strived to defend Himself.

Second, I refer you to Proverbs 15:1.

"A soft answer turneth away wrath:

 but grievous words stir up anger."

Choosing "grievous" words rather than "soft" ones...

Only makes matters worse.

It's like pouring kerosene on a campfire.

What are "grievous" words?

They are literally "heavy, toilsome, and laborious."

My point is....get to the point.

Yep.

In any disagreement simply get to the point.

Then let it be.

(cue Beatles song).

 

 

I Cannot Give....

I am commanded to love my enemy.

As well as my neighbor.

And my beautiful wife.

Along with my lovely daughters.

Yet, I do know this one thing.

I cannot give what I don't have.

I have no innate love for others.

Not genuine love.

Not selfless love.

So where do I get it?

By loving God.

And being loved by God.

That is why John says:

"We know that we love the children of God,

...When we love God."

1 John 5:2

Did you get that?

It's not the way I'd have written it.

And that is why I am not an author of Scripture!

For I would have said:

"This is how you know that you love God...

When we love the children of God."

Yet it reads just the opposite of what this dork would say! 

I know that I love you...

Because I love God.

That means the way I love you...

Or my enemy.

Is through the love of God.

For I cannot give....

What I don't have.

I need....

I need His love.

 

Being Great

Here are some thoughts Jesus gave to us about being great.

If we want to be great in the Kingdom.

Be the servant.

And if you want to be first.

Become a bond-servant. 

Matthew 10:26.

I notice that Jesus did not put down the desire to be great in the Kingdom of God.

He simply told the disciples how it can be done.

Being great and becoming first means serving other people.

As it has been said before...

"You know that you are a servant when people treat you like one!"

 

My Promised Land

God does not merely lead me into the Promised Land.

He is my Promised Land.

For the New Testament states that land speaks of rest.

Jesus said that if I am weary then I come to Him for rest.

He is my Joshua.

God is my rest.

It's not merely what He gives me.

Nor is it only answers to my prayers.

It is God Himself.

Those things are encapsulated within Him.

When I pray...

When I wait on Him...

When I worship the Lord...

I enter into His rest.

He is my Promised Land.

The longer I am here at ACF...

The more I am beginning to understand this.