A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

If a farmer were to hoard grain in a time of famine or when others are in dire straits, people would naturally not only think badly of, but would probably talk about in less than glowing terms.  If that same farmer chose to sell the grain for a fair and reasonable price, those same people would think better and bless he and his family.  We can translate the grain into the gospel of Christ.  Our Lord did not come to earth to save just you or just me.  Of course, if you or I were the only one on the planet, He certainly would have – but what Christ did for the world was…  well – for the world!  We are not to have the attitude that we’ve found the way to salvation, so there’s no need to share the good news.  We should be willing to share at every opportunity God gives us!

Why is it important for God’s children to share the joyful news of salvation with others?  Because it’s part of God’s plan for us to take as many others with us to Heaven as we can.  Friendship evangelism is the most effective way to help others hear the good news of Christ.  His life, His death, and His resurrection.  The Roman Road is a road we should travel several times in our lifetime.  It not only teaches a new child of God, but it reminds His older children of where they are and where they came from.  It’s a humbling exercise to be sure.  We have so much to thank God for, don’t we?

So what’s in it for God’s children?  It’s all a part of not only our growth, but a command we’ve been given from the Lord Himself:

I’m not a soul saver – that’s God’s job through Christ’s sacrifice.  No, I can’t save anyone, but I can share my testimony and show others how they too can be saved.  We sow seeds – sort of like Johnny Appleseed, I guess.

These men enriched themselves by the starvation of their neighbors.  That was back in Solomon’s day.  Today, of course, we have laws to protect from such things, but this can still apply on a spiritual level.  None of us should be just scooping up all the blessings of God and not giving anything back.  That doesn’t please God, does it?  We most certainly should go and teach, preach, baptize, and make disciples.  God’s Word in action is a bread we can break with the spiritually starved lost.  Let’s review the points of Spurgeon’s sermon:

Let’s make God’s Word available to all people everywhere, in a language that they understand.

Let’s keep the Gideon Bibles in hotels and motels, and in all places we possibly can.  I’ve heard countless stories of how people read the Bible just in time before going through with suicide.  It’s important that the Christian Bible be available to all.

Preaching should be understood clearly.  Talking over people’s heads is a waste of everyone’s time.  May we speak and write for the average person.

Let’s give importance to answering God’s call on our lives.  In our day, there are so many distractions.  Never in history have there been so many distractions in our lives – most of them to amuse ourselves in the form of entertainment.

Christ crucified must be the sum total of any sermon or lesson in Sunday School.  His blood sacrifice is the fundamental truth we need to teach and preach (and write blog posts).

May there not be a lack of love in our ministry and in our witness.  Love is the greatest of all.  Preachers, teachers and blog writers will be held accountable if any of their listeners or readers should perish.  Cover all you do with much prayer, and pray for those you want to reach.

Labor passionately for the spread of the gospel to all men.  Support missions at home and abroad.

Watch for an opportunity to express kindness and love to someone else every day.  Don’t be thoughtless or too wrapped up in yourself to pray for others.

Help those who speak up for Christ.  Consecrate your money for those who minister at home and abroad.  As we give to missions, God gives to us.

God rewards those who do His work with an easy conscience.  He gives them peace of mind and heart.  When we place jewels in His crown and palm branches in His path, that is the ultimate reward for doing His bidding.

He who dares to run the risk is not only unwise, but goes against God’s way.  Will you share the gospel with your neighbors, or hoard it?

Jesus went about doing good.  Do we have the right to think we can do less?  Don’t withhold grain from your neighbor.  Let’s all live in peace till God takes us home.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

I doubt that we need to review examples of living according to the flesh.  It’s sad to see people get caught up in fast living, only to crash and burn in the end – sometimes literally.  Why does God want us to kill fleshly desires when they seem so attractive sometimes?  The answer is simple:  HE LOVES US!  He loves you and me so much – and He knows that those temptations are dangerous to our bodies and souls.  God wants to protect us – body, mind and soul.  We can’t overcome these things alone.  It’s only through God’s precious Holy Spirit that we can turn tail and run away from harm’s way.  He’s not trying to keep us from having fun!  He’s trying to show us a better way to live – and if we belong to Christ, we need to run into His arms and ask Him to show us His way of life.  Only with the Spirit’s help can we make wise choices.A relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit means that we have everything we need to avoid sin and win.  Of course, we have a free will to choose either way – right or wrong.  Nobody has always chosen the right – nobody that I know, anyway.  We’re not perfect all the time, but we know that if we choose badly, we can turn from that bad choice and ask our loving Heavenly Father, through Christ, to forgive us and forget our transgression.

One day I was driving home from work in a terrible rain storm.  I took an unfamiliar route because I was sure the regular route was flooded.  As I drove, I prayed aloud in the car, asking the Lord to protect me.  I was frightened, but confident that God would get me home safely.

There were not many cars on the road I took, which I thought was strange, but I forged ahead.  When there is water on the road, it’s difficult to gage how deep it is – or the condition of the street below.

The next intersection was full of water – the flash flooding was catching up with me… I felt led to make a left hand turn and go to the street just south of the one I was on.  I made the turn and ended up on a street that was a bit elevated and the water was running off.  I had a straight shot home.  I sang praise & worship songs and thanked the Lord for helping me get home.

I was curious about the flooded intersection where I made the turn.  I went back to look at it, and found there was a very large pot hole – and had I kept going straight, I would have gone in the hole and would probably have water in the car.

When we live life waiting for the next big thrill with no regard for the God who just wants to protect us, we end up being a slave to the very thing we thought was such fun at first.  I don’t understand why some folks think that Christians don’t have fun.  We have such fun – it’s just a different kind of fun.   God protects us and His Spirit helps us stay away from sin because all sin does is cause harm.  God doesn’t want us to be harmed – He wants us to be free!  And so we are.

Free from the law…  oh happy condition.  Jesus is mine, oh precious redemption.

A LIFE OF FREEDOM IN CHRIST…  it can be yours!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Just as the Bible instructs children to honor their parents and be obedient, it also has an outline for parents – particularly fathers in this case.  Think of the attributes of our Heavenly Father…  He is slow to anger, as earthly fathers should be.  He does not use severities in dealing with us – again, earthly fathers would be wise to take note of that.

Earthly fathers should do their best to work upon their child’s reason.  The old adage “because I said so” is an example of what not to say.  Children need answers to the fundamental question – why?   It’s always best to use reason so they understand where you’re coming from.

While there’s nothing wrong with setting limits and making it clear where the line is, anything less that proper and compassionate correction is wrong.  Make sure they learn about God and His love as well as His ways.  Pray for your children – and pray with them.  Show them that you practice what you preach.  Prayer in the household should be as natural as breathing.  God can change the heart, yet He gives His blessing to the good lessons and examples of parents, and answers their prayers.

Fathers who want their children to be rich and accomplished, whatever becomes of their souls, must not look for the blessing of God.  That’s not to say a child can not be successful in life – but it is to say the main interest in training up a child should be their spiritual condition.  God will lead for all those other things.  Seek Him first…  then all other things will be added.

God entrusts fathers with precious little ones.  When dads introduce their kids to the Heavenly Father, it makes God smile!  Remember – when we get to Heaven, God’s not going to ask you about how much money you made or how much cool stuff you had while on earth.  He does care about how you raise your children.  It’s important to show them Jesus.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”   – Mark 2:27

God is pleased that man works Monday through Friday.  But on the Sabbath – which may be Saturday for you – or Sunday…  He’s pleased if you are in His house, giving Him your undivided attention – your praises – your thanksgiving.  God is a jealous God and will not have any other gods before Him.

Why do we need to be in church?  Why can’t we go out on the fishin’ bank, or climb a mountain, or watch Dr. Stanley on television and call it good?

Being off somewhere alone and keeping your focus on the Lord is not a bad idea – but there’s something about being with others who believe the same way you do… it’s a sense of community and support of sorts, you might say.  If you’re a lone ranger, with whom do you take communion?  Who is around to challenge your spiritual backbone?  With whom do you pray?  Who prays for you and for whom do you pray?

If I didn’t visit the gym and use the machines, I’d soon gain my weight back and be out of shape.  The church family, ideally, plays a similar role with each member.  I was reminded recently however, that we mustn’t focus on the horizontal view – as much as we focus on the vertical view – we have to keep our eyes on Christ – because people are so – well – human and will fail us at one time or the other.  And guess what?  We will fail them too.  We have to remember that Christ is our example and the one with whom we measure our own standard.  When we do that, it makes all the difference in how we relate to others.

The church family is there to encourage when needed.  It’s there to challenge when needed.  We help each other grow because growth and change are signs of maturity in faith.  There’s nothing worse than stunted growth.  It’s a bit like having cut flowers in a vase too long.  If you wait too long to toss those flowers – it can be a very smelly job.

I don’t want to be a stinky child of God.  I want to grow in my faith, in love, in joy, in peace that passes all understanding.  It’s God’s will for my life – and it’s what I want for my life.

Sometimes a church family is not found at a brick and mortar.  Sometimes it is found in the most unusual and creative way – and God is leading toward an exciting adventure in ministry.  If we don’t put Him in a box, He will make everything work for good.  We just have to place our trust completely in His plan.

What do you do on the Sabbath?  It was established for you, you know.  It’s for your own good – from a God who thinks you are pretty special.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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I’ll tell ya, John is MUCH more brave than I am!  If something is hidden, I tend to just let it be…  you know, like the Beatles taught us to do so long ago…  😀

I have so many fears…  too many to list here, actually.  The top of that list, however, would have to be SNAKES!  I don’t care if they are deadly or not – it makes absolutely no difference to me.  They’re slimy and slithery and they’re sneaky and…  well – there’s a reason God turned the devil into one – jus’ sayin’…

My theory is that nothing that is hidden can be very good.  If something has to hide, it must be either illegal, immoral (does morality matter to anyone anymore?), or just plain bad news.  This video got me to thinking about different ways to face the things or places in our lives that are hidden.  We can ignore them or we can face them head on and chances are, they will not be so scary or spooky to us once we’ve encountered them.

Fight or flight???  I’m big on FLIGHT.  I don’t think it’s always been the best choice, and I readily admit, it’s the path of least resistance.  I hate to face opposition.  It’s easier to just agree or ignore – but to actually stand up and say I disagree with someone – then explain clearly and boldly WHY I disagree – well, no I’m not good at it.  In college I opted for Interpersonal Communication because I didn’t want to take Debate.  That was such a weird class.  But I digress…

I want to be better at charging into the hidden forests in my life.  As with everything, it’s a process that begins with a single step.  I’ve found that facebook is an excellent practice field.  It doesn’t take long at all to find people talking about a subject and offering advice and opinions that I completely disagree with.  There was a time I’d just think, “Oh I’m not getting in THIS mess.”  Now, I speak up – well, I don’t actually say anything…  LOL.  It’s facebook – I type my opposing views.

Sadly, while I’m in the thick of the hidden forest, the language tends to get not only offensive, but rude and completely obnoxious and uncalled for.  Once again, with God’s help, I type that I don’t believe just because I disagree with a viewpoint, I should have to read verbal vomit.TRUST FOR STRAIGHT PATHS

As Christians, we like a peaceful life in a little corner where we can sing praise and worship songs all day long.  The fact is, there are times when we have to go into a hidden forest – face something or someone who is offensive to our morality and our value system.  We must be willing to sharpen our debate skills, while also keeping in mind that we’ve all come short of God’s glory – none of us have arrived and none of us ever will.  It’s only by God’s miraculous GRACE that any of us can stand.  Without HIM and HIS sacrifice on Calvary – we’re nothing – and I mean NOTHING.

While the world is twisting and turning with every whim that comes along, we trust God to make our paths straight.  We long for simplicity that is a life lived in Christ.  We know that He will provide for us and that He will hear each prayer we pray.  We are never alone and that gives us such comfort – comfort that the world considers weak.  I once asked a co-worker, “I lean on God to help me.  Who do you lean on?”  Without hesitation, she boasted, “I lean on myself!”  I didn’t say anything else, but as I walked away I muttered under my breath, “Okay…  good luck with that.”

Join me today in praising Jesus Christ for the sacrifice He made for all of mankind on Calvary – for HE IS WORTHY of our praise!  🙂

GENESIS 6:14 ON 6/14

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So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.  – Genesis 6:14

Just as God told Noah to build an ark to prepare for the coming flood, God wants families who belong to Him to stay in His Ark of Salvation and Safety.13346679_1768103460100783_573288816226553365_nThis verse is an outline of how God wanted the ark built.  It was not Noah’s plan or design, it was God’s.  Noah followed His directions to the letter.  Do we follow God’s plan or design to the letter to build our Ark of Salvation and Safety?  Do we add to or subtract from God’s plan of salvation?  God sent His only Son, Jesus, to sacrifice His life on the cross at Calvary.  He is our way to eternal life in Heaven.  He is our Ark of Salvation and Safety.  Those not in the Ark of Salvation and Safety are not safe from God’s wrath.

Notice that before the flood, God had allowed fallen men to go on in evil and sin.  We’re in the last days, and once again, God is allowing fallen men to go on in evil and sin.  It doesn’t mean He doesn’t care – quite the opposite.  God gave every one of us a free will to choose to follow Him or not.  He didn’t create us to be robots.  He wants us to love Him.

Just as Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, there will be a remnant who remain faithful and true to the Lord.

Noah’s ark was built of durable gopher (cypress) wood.  It had rooms in it for the animals and the people.  It was coated with pitch inside and out.

Christ is our Ark of Salvation and Safety.  We are saved from eternal separation from God and safe from the wrath of God.  I’ve always been a pre-tribulation believer and pray that we don’t see all of the last days – the tribulation will be horrific, and while I know God is faithful to see us through anything, I really hope and pray that we get to leave before it gets so awful.  I don’t know.  I’ve heard both sides of the argument, and I plea ignorance – I just don’t know.  I trust that I’ll go to Heaven when God’s ready for me.  How’s that for an answer?

The ark that Noah built was divine provision from God.  The ark that every person builds for themselves and their family is also divine provision from God.  God purposed in His heart to redeem His creation to Himself.  Will you accept Jesus Christ into your heart and life today and begin building an ark for yourself and your family?  Today is the day of salvation.  🙂

 

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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We all make choices in life, and with those choices come consequences – good or bad.  It’s interesting that on this day in 1933, Adolf Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany.  We all saw how that turned out – a very bad consequence – for everyone.

Hitler ruined that mustache for everybody. [I]t’s an interesting mustache, and now nobody can wear it…  – Larry David, Alec Berg, David Mandel, and Jeff Schaffer

Also on this day in 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.  Such a peace-loving individual whose life influenced countless others – definitely a good consequence – for everyone.

Let’s make good choices in life that lead to good positive consequences.  You may think that what you do with your life is nobody’s business.  It’s only true to a certain extent.  A person who is determined to self-destruct almost never keeps their plan to themselves.  What you do with your life will eventually affect others in your family or your circle of friends.CHOOSE YOUR ROAD (2)

It’s interesting that there are almost no references or quotes from Hitler, but I see Gandhi quotes everywhere.  The world needs to be influenced by good, peace-loving people.  We want to hear what they have to say so that we are encouraged on our journey.

An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.  – Mahatma Gandhi 

There are no common traits between Hitler and Gandhi except they both lived as men on this planet.  The compare portion of my essay would almost certainly be the shortest part of the paper.  They were born, they lived, and they died – one by his own hand because he was about to be found out and one much more innocent – at the hand of an assassin.

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.  Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.   – Mahatma Gandhi

Why are the guilty left to injure others and the innocent killed by assassins?  God has the answer – I sure don’t.  :-/