It Is Getting Late

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Someone once humorously said, “It’s later than we think and most of us aren’t thinking.” How true that statement is for those realizing the days we live in.  Many people and sadly many Christians are living day to day like life will never end.  However, we are living closer today to the end of it all than we have ever been before.  Jesus left us with this promise: “Surely I am coming quickly” (Rev. 22:20 NKJV). Isn’t that an amazing statement by our Lord?  The last recorded message of Jesus to us in the New Testament is that he is coming soon.  At any moment, He is going to step out and call us home.  Oh, what a day that will be!  Yet, why is it that we live day in and day out like He is never going to come? I believe the answer is that we allow ourselves to become distracted.  We are distracted with the worries and cares and trinkets that occupy our attention.  What we need, though, is to fix our hearts to the times we live in.  It is drawing very late and we are running out of time to do the Lord’s service.  Let us each get busy about our Master’s work for tomorrow may be too late!

Know Where The Money Is Going

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    I read a great quote the other day that said the following: “A budget plan is one where you tell the money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”  The Bible speaks a lot about money and personal finances.  We are told that we are to be good stewards or managers of the riches that God provides for us.  After all everything that we own really belongs to God in the first place.  Therefore, if we are going to claim to manage God’s money well, then we must get in the habit of budgeting.  We have a responsibility to know where the money is going.  The Bible says, “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds” – Proverbs 27:23 ESV.  In our current culture, there seems to be more talk about borrowing rather than budgeting, but remember if you are a follower of Christ, then He should be Lord of your pocketbook as well.

Loafing or Plowing?

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Someone once noted, “The height of laziness is a fellow who gets up at five in the morning so he can have more time to loaf.”  Laziness can affect any of us. There are times for leisure and relaxation.  There are appropriate times for rest.  Many of us would be quick to deny a habit of taking “time to loaf,” but how many of us would admit that we have a habit of wasting too much time?  With the luxuries of TV’s and smart phones productivity can and does become highly hindered.  The temptation is to make excuses for the slack in time, but the lack of our results and outcomes prove our guilt.  To be honest this principle applies not only at work, but in any area of life.  If our home life, our social life, or even our spiritual life is lacking, the real problem may be staring at us in the mirror.  The Bible tells us, “If you are too lazy to plow, don’t expect a harvest” – Proverbs 20:4 CEV.  Those are not pleasant words by any means, but they are very practical.  Life takes work.  If we find ourselves wasting certain areas of it, we must repent and get our hands back on the plow.  It is very tempting to loaf, but it is far more profitable to actively be about our own business.

You Don’t Have To Know All The Answers

1491730It’s been said, “You may not know all the answers, but you probably won’t be asked all the questions either.”  How many times have we abstained from speaking for fear we didn’t know all the answers? How many times have we hidden our faith in Jesus, for fear that someone will ask us something we don’t know.  Many times we have abstained from witnessing because we were afraid someone would ask us something to hard. Yet how foolish are we acting when we let fear rule our decisions and hide our true identity in Christ.  It takes faith to speak up, but for the Christian, we have the resource for the answers living in side us.  Jesus warned His disciples that they would face times that would causes them to have hard and life threatening conversations, but the Lord gave them this encouragement: “At that time the Holy Spirit will teach you what you must say.” – Luke 12:12 GW.  I believe that the Holy Spirit still works to help us in our times of need.  Remember, you may not have all the answers, but the One who does lives inside you.  So, let’s speak up in faith and leave the results up to God.

The Wonderful Gift Of Marriage

50-s-wedding-1440503Clint Eastwood once said, “They say marriages are made in Heaven. But so is thunder and lightning.”  I have to admit he makes a good point. Marriage is not perfect and it is not for the faint of heart.  When you pair a man and a woman together, with different likes, desires, and opinions, you are always going to have the recipe for tension. Yet when marriage is done right and it perseveres through the “thunder and lightning,” it truly can be a wonderful gift from God. In my own marriage I have experienced some of the most wonderful times in all my life.  There have been happy and joyful times that I would have missed if I were not married to the love of my life. It had not been easy and honestly there have been many hard and hurtful times, but I can still see the wonderful gift that marriage really is. This is why God inspired King Solomon to say, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” – Prov. 18:22 NIV.  So yes I agree with Clint that marriage is not always very heavenly, but it truly can be a wonderful adventure that carries with it God’s blessing.

Thank You Mothers!

255685_10150625619145282_990781_nIt’s been said, “Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother.”  I honestly say that is a wonderful expression about my own mother and the mother of my children.  Through the faith and values of my mother, my life was shaped and impacted into the man that I am today.  Through my wife’s devotion to God and tinder care for our family, I can see everyday how our children are impacted and developed.  Mothers are truly a wonderful gift and we must never take for granted the unknown hours of work they invested into us.  In many cases they are unsung heroes.  Therefore, I want to say that whether you are a mother or you just have a mother, be sure to recognize the wonder ladies that truly bring us the meaning of Mother’s Day.

Lasting Happiness

laughing-child-1431496It’s been said, “True happiness may be sought, thought, or caught – but never bought.” In other words money can’t buy happiness.  Many in our society believe it can.  They work hard, long hours to buy the next big thing.  The big house, the fancy car, the latest gadget, the luxurious vacation, and the list could go on and on.  But at the end of the day all these frills cannot bring true joy and happiness.  They may lead to a momentary pleasure, but never the happiness we are all longing for.  Happiness is not found in stuff and the truest of happiness is not even found in relationships with people.  Lasting happiness comes from a relationship with God.  The Bible boldly claims, “Whoever listens to what is taught will succeed, and whoever trusts the Lord will be happy.” – Proverbs 16:10 NCV. Happiness in the Lord may not always be easy to have, but when you continue trust Him with all the areas of your life, you will experience a joy that will come even in the midst of calamity.  Thus the greatest form of happiness comes when we truly open ourselves to loving presence of God in our lives.

Raise Your Joys! He Lives!

rejoice-4-1148088The great Charles Wesley composed these words, “Christ the Lord is risen today, Sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; Sing, ye heavens, and earth replay.”  Today we celebrate Easter, because it is a time of great rejoicing for those who put their hope in Jesus. Why? Because today we make an extra special effort to acknowledge a wonderful truth that really should be celebrated 365 days out of the year.  We rejoice today, because Jesus lives!  Because the tomb is empty and our Lord now sits at the right hand of the Father, we who are trusting in Christ live with great hope.  Because He lives all that He promised has now been validated.  Our sins are forgiven, our home is in heaven, and one day we too will be resurrected!  Death does not win, the curse has been broken, and today we can celebrate, because Jesus lives!  Happy Easter everyone!

Freedom In The Un-Forbidden

freedom-1526302Someone jokingly said, “Freedom is being able to do what you please without considering anyone except your wife, the police, boss, life insurance company, State, Federal, and city authorities – and the neighbors.” While that it is a little funny, there is some truth to it when it comes to Christian freedoms or liberties.  We know from the teachings of the New Testament that we are free from sin and free from the curse of the Law of Moses.  However, there is another area in which Christians enjoy freedom and that is in the areas of the “un-forbidden.”  If certain choices, activities, or practices are not forbidden in Scripture, then we are free to do them.  Yet the apostle Paul would argue that we are limitedly free in this area.  You see not everyone agrees or thinks the same way about these “un-forbidden” activities.  Some Christians hold strong convictions against certain practices, while other Christians see no problem with partaking in them.  So who is right and who is wrong? Only those who go to seed in legalism or liberalism.  We must use caution when stepping into the gray areas of life.  Some Christians will condemn others who do the “un-forbidden”, while at the same time other Christians will condemn others who speak out about such activities. Instead we must heed the words of Paul when he says; “So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” – Romans 14:13 NLT.  We must each grow in our faith to a point where we would rather abstain from liberty in order not to hinder someone else’s faith in the Lord.  If you are convicted about a certain “un-forbidden” activity, don’t make it a practice of calling out other Christians who don’t have a problem with it.  At the same time, if you enjoy an activity that is “un-forbidden”, but you are with Christians who have a problem with it, it is your duty in Christ to abstain from it in their presence.  Again heed the words of Paul over the matter; “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.” – Roman 14:21 NLT.  So enjoy your freedom, but be mindful of how you use it.

This War Isn’t Worth Fighting

stop-the-war-1315305A wise man once said, “The tragedy of war is that it uses man’s best to do man’s worst.” While that is defiantly true in today’s world, it is also true in the context of the local church. How tragic it is that men and women of Christ wage war with one another, many times over the foolishness of preference. Yet this is not how it should be.  James puts it to us this way: “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” – Jam. 4:1 NKJV.  The question is “why do we fight?” The answer is “because we give into the desires for pleasure.” I want what pleases me therefore I will go to “war” with anyone who tries to deny me that pleasure…especially at church.  What a sad commentary that is on the people who make up the church.  This should not be our attitude.  If we are true members of the body of Christ, we are born again, changed individuals.  We are new people and we now find our identify in Jesus.  Thus our preferences should fade to nothing in comparison to Christ’s desires.  What does He desire from His people? Love. We are to love one another in the church and outside of the church.  But if we truly are living in love we will not have opportunity to wage war.  Wars come from anger and division, but harmony and faithfulness are birthed out of love. So dear friends lay down the sword of personal preference and take up the binding banner of love.