Thursday, July 31, 2008

Enough

Luke 12:15

15Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

Part of following Christ is learning to be content. Yes, I do talk about how God will provide in all areas of your life, and make no mistake about it, he will do just that, but for that to happen you have to put God first in your life. To do that you will have to put things that might be at the top of your list in second or third place. For us to fully experience the Lord, we have to be open to him, that will not happen if we jam pack our lives with chasing after the ever elusive next big shiny thing. Do you find that you are working so hard to advance your career that you have pushed God off to the side? Here is a thought, bring him up to the front of the line, put your trust and faith in him.

Contentment does not mean that you do not want or expect better things in life; it simply means that you are not expending your energy and all of your focus on trying to make something happen. It is expecting more, but happily accepting enough. I do not know if you have seen this or not, but it is a wonderful poem written by Bob Perks.


I WISH YOU ENOUGH...
By: Bob Perks

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough 'Hello's' to get you through the final 'Good-bye


We will always have enough, “never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” that is God’s promise, and he is a promise keeper. It is when we learn to be happy with enough that we will find the time to put God first in our lives. When you do that, you will see that your life will improve, not because you are forcing things in to action, but because you have taken the time to follow the path the Lord has already prepared for you.

So to each of you I wish you enough, the Lord will take care of the rest.

Peace,
Rev. T

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

to thine own self be true

Genesis 3:12-13

12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

Adam blames Eve, and Eve blames the serpent. Some things never seem to change. Today is no different. The rule of the day is not just to cover your backside, but pass the buck. Never admit to anything, but take credit weather it’s your to take or not.

It is far easier to place blame on anyone other than us. It seems that when it comes to self-examination, most people are more than ready to write themselves a pass. They will rationalize almost any circumstance in an effort to clear their conscience. That is where a true Christian must step up to the plate and shoulder the responsibility. AS Proverbs 19:3 reads: A man's own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the LORD. Where we are, and what we achieve in life is largely due to how we hold ourselves accountable. So often people will run their lives in to the ground, destroy relationships, and alienate themselves from others, then look to the heavens and ask God why he has let this happen.

Free will is a funny thing; it will set us free or enslave us for eternity. The only person that makes that choice is you. There is no doubt that the Lord as a plan for each of us; it is up to each of us to choose to follow that path. Along the way there will be opportunities that will arise. There will be times that we can pass the buck. It is those defining moments that decide which path we will go down.

Is it hard to step up and admit your mistakes? I will tell you from personal experience it is, especially when the person you have let down, or hurt is someone that is close to you. What we all must realize is that for us to call our selves Christians yet refuse to accept our own mistakes and shortcomings, we become the same hypocrite that we despise. When Christ was talking about judging others in Matthew 7, the point that he is driving home is not just one of judging others, but the point of personal responsibility. I say it often, but we must fix ourselves before we start trying to fix everyone else.

Sure it is a work in progress, and we will never reach perfection, however the first step on that journey is to acknowledge that even though we hate to admit it, we also stumble, we also make mistakes, and have bad judgment. We should recognize that and try to make amends as we go along; but most importantly we should remember that when we stop and take the time to try and help someone else.

Peace,
Rev. T

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Award





I received my first award today. Chozen was kind enough to bless me with it. I have to admit I am quite excited about it. I do not put a lot of thought in to how many people read my blog. I put the message out there, and hope that some that do read it find it a blessing. It is nice to have that hope validated.

It is the Arte y Pico award and it is given to those who inspire others with their creative energy and talents in writing, artwork, design or contributions to the blogging community. It originated here


The best part about getting the award is that I get to pick 5 blogs that I would like to give an award to. The following 5 are the blogs that I find myself on the most.


The Big Ruski


Verseode



In His Glorious Name



Guitar Jockey



For the Lord of lords


Your “official instructions” follow:

To the recipients of the award...
1. Pick five blogs you consider deserving of this award, whether for creativity, design, interesting material, or contributions to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2. Name each nominee and link to his/her blog.
3. Show the award and include the name (and link to his/her blog) of whoever presented you with this award.
4. Be sure to link to the Arte y Pico blog,so everyone knows the origin of this award.
5. Post these rules.

Congratulations to you all !!! Now go and spread the Love!!

Peace,
Rev.T

Monday, July 28, 2008

Super-sized

Matthew 6: 33

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

As I was driving in to work this morning, I could not help but notice all the things that start with super nowadays, Super Wal - Mart, Super Target, Super H.E.B (regional grocery store). It seems that the retailers in general are making a push for an all in one stop. Everything you could ever want, just pull on in. The fast food giants are super sizing everything, super size, biggy size, Texas size….do they have a Mississippi size?? Sorry I digress… more than you could want, more than you could imagine, just step right up, and oh yeah, don’t forget your wallet.

In a world where more is better and the most wins, why then do so many starve themselves when it comes to their spiritual lives? In 1Timithoy 6:6 we are told that: “Godliness is contentment with great gain” Well hold the phone…. contentment with great gain? What is the feeling that you get when you leave out of one of those one-stop super giants? You went in to pick up some toothpaste and somehow you find yourself back at the house with everything from toothpaste to a new pool for the back yard, yes, they termed it buyer’s remorse! So why not go with godliness? Great gain, and no buyer’s remorse!

In Proverbs 21 we read, “all day long the sluggard craves for more, but the righteous gives without sparing”. If we are ready to give freely does that not mean that we must have something to give first? Better yet Deuteronomy 31: 6 reads: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." If the Lord will never forsake us, and we are expected to give willingly and without sparing, then doe it not stand to reason that we must have stores to pull from? The Lord will provide, the more we expend the more he will replenish. The point here is contentment with great gain….no buyer’s remorse.

We are constantly being hit with all types of mass marketing that compel us to strive for more things. Must buy more, must eat more, must spend more. If we follow that plan, then where do we fit the Lord in? Once again as all too often happens, we have it backwards. We know that we will not be forsaken, we know that the Lord will provide not just for us in reference to our bank accounts, but in terms of our spiritual health, our relationships will blossom, we will find our lives better in every aspect. We just need to remember to put him first. Make the time for him, and he will take you higher than you ever imagined.

There is no way to Super size God. He is the original, the Alpha and the Omega. He has more to offer than anything that can be bought, and he will continue to provide for us long after our worldly bodies have worn out and returned to dust……..how is that for a Super-God?

Peace,
Rev. T

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Redemption

Genisis 4: 10-15
10 The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."
13 Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me."
15 But the LORD said to him, "Not so ; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over." Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the LORD's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.


Redemption comes at a very high price. Taking your life, or being killed is the easy way out, and of course God knows this. No……redemption does not come from death. Redemption comes from sacrifice. It comes form atonement, and the realization that you are not as important as you think you are. Jesus himself told us in Mark 10:43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. It is by becoming selfless, and magnifying God that we start to redeem ourselves. The Lord is a forgiving God, he wants us to walk with him, however once we walk away from him, it is a long road back. We are all sinners, and we have all fallen short. That is why it is up to each of us to help our fellow brethren when they fall, not beat them. We are all searching for redemption on some level, let not one of us forget that and start to puff with pride! It is in the name of the Lord, and for the Lord that we toil away, there is no room for jealousy, there is no need; if you want to be first, you must be a slave to all.



Peace,
Rev. T

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

No one talks about the day they die

The next several days will be shorter posts, as I am traveling.

Matthew 24:36
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Luke 12:7
7Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

I watched a movie last night, and it was told by the perspective of a dead man. At the end of the movie, the person telling the story makes two comments that really struck home, first “no one talks of the day they die, yet it comes any way.” And “things look a lot clearer after you are dead.”

No it did not get me to thinking about my death, It got me to thinking about my life and the life of those around me. We do not know when we will be called home, yet we all know that the day will come when we will in fact die a earthly death. We never talk like today could be the day, but it could. I am not wanting to sound like a fatalist here, but it reminds me of a saying that a Rev. that I know had. HE would always ask, “is your house in order?” you know what? Mine’s not, oh I like to think it is but when I really look at it, there are things that I have been putting off, things that I might not want to deal with……sound familiar? So as Red in the Shawshank Redemption once said, you better get bust living, or get busy dying.

Well as for me, I am getting back to living, not surviving. Don’t get me wrong it has been a while since I have lived day to day, just trying to get by, but upon reflection, I see there is still more to be done, and a lot further to go. So I am going to get busy living, I pray that you each do the same. Say what needs to be said, do what needs to be done, in the Lord, for the Lord. The day I do die, I want it to be a day of joy at all of the completed things I did, not a trail of loose ends, and words left unspoken.

Peace,
Rev. T

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Standing with no Shame

Genesis 2:25
25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

I wrote a little about this verse today for a bible group, and thought I would expand on it here. The question posed was: Why were they not ashamed of being naked?

They had not yet eaten the apple of the tree of knowledge. No knowledge of good and evil, no need to be ashamed. Which always starts a good debate over whose fault is it that they ate the apple in the first place!? That very answer can be found in this chapter, and it is one that is often overlooked today. “24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Or in the previous verse : 23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…….. There is no He or She, there is only THEY. They did not become a couple, they did not become partners…..they became one flesh, each accountable for, and to the other. What one does, the other is liable, for they are two acting as one. Notice how it says Holds fast to his wife? We don’t do enough of that in this day and age. Today with all of the self-serving, and self-appreciation that is promoted by the media, and “friends” it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we are number one in our lives. ……. Of course the right answer is that first and foremost God is first, all honor and Glory is his, but second, has to be our spouse, for us to put ourselves over our spouses is like taking better care of your arms than your legs. We are not two. We are one flesh, one unit.

When we exchange vows during the wedding ceremony, there is no mention of: I promise to disregard, be jealous of, demean, and demoralize. Quite the opposite, it does not matter if they are the old stand by vows of to have and to hold in sickness and in health, or if it happens to be vows that were written by the elect. The vows are always vows of giving wholly, and un-restrained to the other person. When you think of marriage you think of Love, yet so often that concept is replaced by self-importance. Of course we are all familiar with 1 Corinthians where Paul gives all of the virtues of Love, patience, kind, not self-seeking. All of those qualities should be easy to give, because really if you put some thought into it you would see that you are just giving all of that to yourself. Hence the term your better half. Even in this human world of sin, God has given us a physical partner, someone that will hold us accountable, someone that we can trust.


I know for me there are two people that I can stand naked before (spiritually, emotionally, and physically) and not be ashamed, God and my spouse. I do not think that is a small coincidence!


Peace,
Rev. T

Monday, July 21, 2008

In it for the long haul

Revelations 12
12"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. 13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.


This serves as another reminder, that while it has now been reveled in the last couple of chapters of revelations, just what we can expect in the new world, now is no time to sit on our laurels! The reward is in the hands of the Lord, and he is coming………but it will be given to you by what you have done.

I compare this to the scenario of promising a teen a new car if he graduates high school at the top of his class. Freshman year they will come out of the gate on fire, just as we all do as new Christians. It is not the first semester, or even the first year that is hard, and as expected the first quarter of high school over and the Teen is well at the top of the class! It is the following three years that will take its toll. It is over the next three-year period that all the trials and tribulations start. Temptation creeps in, and often the slacking off starts! When all is said and done all too often it is graduation day, and instead of ending up at the top of the class, they end up somewhere in the middle…..maybe the top of the middle. Close……but not good enough.

Now stretch that time out form the time Christ died his mortal death all the way to today…….That is a lot of final exams to ace! We all must take steps to make sure our Spiritual lives do not end up like the story above. If we look into our own souls we know that good is not good enough, and close does not count when it comes to salvation. It is a daily…..no sometimes an hourly struggle, and each choice we make will have a direct effect on our life story and how it is written. It is truly my prayer that each of us keeps that feeling of being on fire, and when that day comes and people are filing through the gates into the new world, perhaps we can nod and smile at each other as we enter into that world!

Peace,
Rev. T

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hectic times

I apologize for the infrequent posts this week, and I have to ask that people bear with me. I am currently going through quiet a few things in my personal life, and as a result, I find that the day is over and I have not posted to the blog. Once this week is over I will be back on track. For the remainder of the week I will post when I can, and get back on track Monday.


Peace, Rev. T

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What a Loving God

Revelations 18: 4

4Then I heard another voice from heaven say: "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;


So many people when talking about Revelations all seem to talk about God’s great wrath, how is will destroy the world, punish the wicked…..good hell fire and brimstone stuff! This is why I chose this particular passage. What often gets overlooked it that throughout Revelations God is crying out for people to turn to him! Turn to him, repent and be saved! What love, and compassion! His wrath is at it’s highest point; he cannot stand it any longer, the day of the Lord has come…….BUT just like a loving father he is crying out for people to redeem themselves.


It makes me think of how often we tend to overlook what is truly happening in our lives. We fail to see the blessings that God is presenting to us, because we are so focused on our hardships . We get lost and wrapped up in the moment, all of the surface noise that drowns out what is actually happening. God is reaching out for us daily. If you look for his blessings you will see them, even in your time of strife!

I never understood what my Father meant when he said it hurt him, as much if not more than it hurt me when he punished me……until I had children. I only have two, and sometime it feels as if they will rip my heart right out of my chest! Imagine how God must feel! Yet in the midst of it all, all of his anger and all of his wrath, he is still sending the message Turn to me, respect, and love me, and all will be forgiven…….What a true and Loving Father we do all have!


Peace,
Rev. T

Friday, July 11, 2008

Spectacular not Mediocre

Ephesians 3:20-21

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”


When did good enough become OK? It seems that is the rule of the day. More and more people are more worried with getting by, than excelling. They just want to keep the status quo, not break all the barriers. The Lord can work miracles in our life, he will make us prosperous beyond anything we could imagine. As the passage says “immeasurably more than we ask or imagine……and of course that is according to his power that is at work in us. Of course that comes with submission to the Lord, but that big brass ring is right there, and really if you think about it, you do not even have to jump for it. If you ask for it, the ring will fall right into your hand! The more we magnify the Lord, the more we can allow him to work within us. The more he can work within us, the more he can accomplish in our lives.

In Ezekiel 36:11 we are told that the Lord will make us prosperous.
I will increase the number of men and animals upon you, and they will be fruitful and become numerous. I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more than before. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

God wants to pour out his favor on us, and have us lead lives that are Ephesians 3:20-21

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”


When did good enough become OK? It seems that is the rule of the day. More and more people are more worried with getting by, than excelling. They just want to keep the status quo, not break all the barriers. The Lord can work miracles in our life, he will make us prosperous beyond anything we could imagine. As the passage says “immeasurably more than we ask or imagine……and of course that is according to his power that is at work in us. As we all know that comes with submission to the Lord, but that big brass ring is right there, and really if you think about it, you do not even have to jump for it. If you ask for it, the ring will fall right into your hand! The more we magnify the Lord, the more we can allow him to work within us. The more he can work within us, the more he can accomplish in our lives.

In Ezekiel 36:11 we are told that the Lord will make us prosperous.I will increase the number of men and animals upon you, and they will be fruitful and become numerous. I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more than before. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

God wants to pour out his favor on us, and have us lead lives that are spectacular, not mediocre! Yet day in and day out, if we were to listen to the talking heads, the government, even some of the people in our lives, they all have the same chant…….Let us provide for you, let us tell you what is important, don’t worry about getting ahead, just worry about getting by! Why would anyone accept that? The Lord God most high, can give us everything we need in our lives, not just here in this world, but in the world to come.

I pray that we can all shake off the chains of mediocrity, and strive to live our life for the Lord. He is who we should place our trust in, he is the one that deserves the glory. Through him, with him, and in him, he will be the reason that we can exceed any expectation that we might have for ourselves!

Peace,
Rev. T

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Don't make your brother stumble

1 Corinthians 8: 7-12


7 However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. 9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? 11 And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.

I think that there are many situations where this would come up in our lives. You would not walk in to a Jewish house and eat un kosher food, because you would not want a Jew that was weak in fait to fall. You would not eat pork where a Muslim could see, even though Jesus told us that nothing God has created is unclean. I think that this passage very clearly shows the tolerance that Jesus expects from us. We Christians know what we believe, and we should always speak openly about that, however our beliefs might make some things ok to us, but not to all. Jesus told the his disciples that they should go in to towns and preach the word, however if the word is not accepted there, they should leave and shake the dust from their sandals as they leave town. HE did not tell them to Judge the town, he did not tell them to condemn the town, nor did he tell them to openly go against the towns teachings, as a way to show that Jesus’ way was the right way, and any other teaching has no value. No! to sum it up, he said go save those that can be saved, and leave the others be. Basically, be tolerant. So to live our lives as Jesus, we should not through pride, and self righteousness blatantly break a rule that someone else holds as impure. Conversely, we should show tolerance to everyone, and follow the example that Jesus set for us. TO love our neighbor as we love ourselves, to Love our God with all our hearts and all our might, Judge not, least ye be judged. Jesus died for all of us, for the entire world. I think that is a point that is lost on some people. HE did not just die for the Christians. God gave his only son as a blood sacrifice for the world. It is up to each individual to Choose to follow Christ, it is not for us to judge. We will all stand before God and Jesus will judge each of us. Until that time comes we must remain tolerant, and help pull as many from the fire that we can. Not by thrashing their religion, but by showing an example in our actions, in our words, and in our lives, that a life in the way of the Lord, through the salvation of Jesus Christ, and the holy spirit, that life is full of happiness, love, and hope. By doing so, we will bring more people in to the fold, not by force, or fear, but by showing that Jesus is the one true salvation, and the everlasting life that is freely given to all who will answer the call.

Peace,
Rev. T

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Yeast of the Lord

Luke 12: 1-3

1Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

Christ had much to say on the topic of hypocrisy, and it is no surprise, that message is just as important today. As verse 2 and 3 sums up, all will be reveled in time. We all will be seen for what we really are not just the fa├žade that so many put up on a daily basis.
In Matthew 23:5 reads: "Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; The Pharisees talked a great game, but the rules did not apply to them……sound familiar?

This brings about the question of what type of yeast are you using in your life? Christ used the symbolism of yeast for a very good reason….a little goes a long way. It does not take much doubt to work in and destroy confidence; it only takes a little repeated discouragement to destroy motivation. It is important to remember that it works both ways, in Luke 13: 20-21 we are told: Again he asked, "What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough." Yeast good or bad spreads quickly and affects the entire batch.

I know we can all think of modern day Pharisees that practice hypocrisy, more than Christianity, we might even have some in our church community. It is important to recognize them and the action for what it is. Worthless. We will all stand before the Lord, and we will each have to answer for our actions, I will go a step further when I say I think we will all be surprised at some of those that get the blessing of the Lord, and some of those that receive God’s rebuke.

So this is our challenge, we have to be aware of the yeast we select to work in to our daily lives; and it is a very conscious choice. Everyday we choose the negative, or the positive, the path the Lord has provided, or the wide path that is easier. Do we listen to all of the discouragement, and doubt that is rained down on us, or do we trust in the Lord, and his plan for us? It is who we hang out with, it is what we choose to focus on; and I will say this time and time again, don’t be fooled just because it has the label “Christian” on it. As Paul tells us in Colossians 2:8: See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

It is in Christ that we place our faith; it is through him that we are saved. There are many out there that will try to twist his words and use them for their own gain, or to attain stature for themselves, to that all that can be said is: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees” Make sure your yeast is good yeast steeped in Christ, and his righteousness.
Peace,
Rev. T

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fishing for men

Matthew 4: 18-20
18As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 20At once they left their nets and followed him.


I went fishing this weekend with my family, and as I sat there line in the water, watching, and waiting, I started thinking. You know, there is a reason that Christ chose fishermen as his first disciples. They were well suited for the task at hand. They already had one thing that so many lack….patience.

As I sat there, line in the water, nothing happing, I noticed the people around me. I realized there are a lot of “pole owners” but not a lot of fishermen. People would come set up, and immediately start getting restless when they did not get a bite right off the bat. They would cast and reel, cast and reel. Change out bait, then cast and reel. You could tell that they were ready to throw in the towel, and after about an hour that’s what they did. Then you had the fishermen, not in a hurry at all, they came for the long haul. They are deliberate in their cast, and had patience on the line. They will wait as long as it takes. Now even they don’t always catch a fish, but they “get it”. They put forth the effort and understand that they will not be sucsessful every time.

I got to talking to one guy, and he made a great point, he said, “you know, that’s why they call it fishing instead of catching!” I could not help but think, Christ did not “catch” all that he wanted when he was here fishing for men, but he did not throw in the towel! He knew that even though he put forth the effort, not all would listen. Just like a fisherman though he is patience, he waits and is deliberate in his actions. HE knows that very few come to Christ on the first encounter, and it is a process that starts with acceptance and grows into faith.

When Christ gave us this great commission it was with the understanding that we should be like the first disciples, fishermen. We should take our time, and understand that Coming to Christ is not a weekend event. It is a lifelong process. Once we understand that, then maybe we can start to understand the patience needed to bring others along for the journey with us. SO often I see, and hear people talking about saving everyone, they want to save everyone they meet. Don’t misunderstand me that would be a wonderful thing, but realistically it lacks follow through.

When we think back to how much we had to change ourselves to “get right” (and remember that no matter how right you are, you are still short) then we should be able to understand the care needed when dealing with others. So my point is a simple as this, don’t show up for the short trip. Stay for the long haul, it takes patience, it takes determination, but most of all it takes heart. You have to understand that you will not catch something everyday, but the ones that you do catch……”make them keepers”


Peace,
Rev. T

Thursday, July 3, 2008

feeling hateful?

Romans 5: 6-8

6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Do you ever wake up, and just feel hateful? Maybe you did not sleep well, or the first thing that springs to mind stirs up feelings that are far removed from being a Christian. I ask this, because I spend a lot of time talking about how scripture shows a good Christian should act. Yet, I hardly ever mention the days when it is hard to see the path we should take.

What do we do when you have “one of those days”, and we all have them, when the devil comes around and tries his hardest to get you to fall? When doing the right thing is the hardest thing to do and taking the easy way out is looking pretty appealing? We all feel like that from time to time, it is part of the journey, and a true test of our faith. Of course I am going to say that prayer, and turning to the Lord for guidance is the answer, but just as important I say is that on days like that you have to withdraw into yourself. Do some soul searching. Daily we should reflect on the fact that God loves us. He loves us so much that even at our worst, he sent his son to die for us.

I know your thinking, you have no idea, when I get down, and there is no light in sight. I say to that; go make some light. AS we are told in John 1: 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. We are in Christ and Christ is in us. Draw into yourself and find that light. It is there, and when you catch a glimpse of it, go out and share it with someone.

I have yet to find anything that will pull you out of a funk quicker that doing something for someone else to help them out. Nothing spectacular, something small, something easy, something……random. The problem is not getting down in the dumps, or feeling hateful; it happens to everyone form time to time. The problem lies in fostering that feeling! Don’t let the devil win the day, take steps to send him on his way.

When I was growing up my Mother would always tell me when I was feeling mean, or acting up, “just knock that little devil off your shoulder, tell him you don’t have time for him today.” You know what? She was right! The emotion is human; the nurturing of that feeling is the loss.

So recognize it for what it is, an emotion, it is the devil trying to chip away at you, let it go at that. Yes it is hard, yes it takes real effort, but at the end of the day, you will not only feel better for it, you will be better for it.


Peace,
Rev. T

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The best from the land

A little short today

Isaiah 1:19
If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land"

The key in this passage is WILLING. I do not know if everyone in familiar with Pascal’s wager. In a nut shell it is a argument that says even if you do not believe in God you should go through the motions, because it is the safe bet. If you live your life as God instructs and God is real then you go on to eternal life, however if God is not real, then you have still lived a good life.

This passage is a good example of why that wager will not work. You have to willingly obey. You have to give your heart to the Lord, not as a bet, but in faith that God will keep his promise. If God wanted robots that just went through the motions for the pay off, he would reveal himself to the world and all would follow him because they would no longer need faith. That is not the case, We are told that we will have the best from the land, but we must be willing and obedient.

This is another reason why I always say that works is not enough, and faith in it’s simplest form is not enough. Anyone can go through the motions, and accomplish great works. They might be known as great people, but in truth their works are empty because they were done for self, and not for glorification of the Lord. The same can be said for faith, a man that has great faith, yet takes no action to execute that faith, has accomplished little in the name of the Lord. It takes some type of action to put that faith in motion. For example if a man has great faith, and professes the word of the Lord, then by preaching, he has put that faith in to action. To keep it simple I will put it like this, pray to God, but row away from the rocks!

Peace,
Rev.T

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

how do you think of yourself?

Romans 12:3
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

This is something I talk quite a bit about, we need to remember to check ourselves, and take a good look at the image that we portray to the world. What does it say about us? What does it say about our faith? How often do you hear good “Christian” people talk about someone else, and finish by saying well they really are not my type of people? My type of people???? Just what does that imply? That there are people within the Christian faith that are not worthy to spend time with others? Often it seems that we are back in high school, and the cool kids are making the rules! We are missing the point!!

It is clear in James 2: 2-5 2Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 3If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," 4have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Jeremiah 9:23 reads: This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches,

To sum it up, if you think you are righteous enough, then you are wrong, if you think for one second that you are better than the next you are wrong. We are all sinners, and if you find yourself closer to the Lord than the guy next to you then you might want to think about helping them, instead of pointing out their shortcomings! we should encourage, and be an insparation. As I have said many times, this life is a journey, and we are all at different points on the path at different times. We all struggle, and we all need help. We have got to break this cycle of self-adulation, and remember why we are here. Our goal is to advance the word of the Lord, to preach the good news. I will tell you from personal experience, people do not listen, nor do they want to be involved, when all you do is point out faults.

Christ encouraged people, he lit a spark in them that made people want to change their lives. HE preached the good news, without looking down his nose. HE made room in his heart for all who would listen. That is the model we should emulate. Be a lifter folks, not a leaner!

Peace,
Rev. T