Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hard Truths in Hard Times

I am a very confident person.  I have confidence to go out and speak a hard truth to people and have no issues backing it up.  I feel just fine telling people what's right and what's wrong... and then stuff gets tough.

Late Saturday afternoon a group of five local kids were driving near New Hartford when they wrecked their car.  In the accident a boy named Paxton Miller died.  He had just turned 15 on July 12th.

What now, is the confidence still there in the hard truths I lean on?  I'm going to ask some questions about some hard truths.  This is not me doubting, but it is me wondering.

1) Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

I can't speak for Paxton, because I didn't really know him, but how is this working together for the good of the young guys I know who love Paxton?  God, why would you use a death for good?  How could you use death for good?

2) 1 John 4:8 "... God is love."

How is this love?  I don't know, but wouldn't love give him more time?  When is the death of a boy love?

3) John 14: 6 "I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."

Why can't everyone come to the Father?  I mean, couldn't you do that?

4) Psalm 115:3 "Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him."

Why didn't it please you to save him?  Did it please you that a boy should die?  

It is easy to believe the hard truths of God in easy times, but to believe hard truths in hard times is not easy at all.  We can't do it.  I'm serious, we can't.  It is only through the strength God gives us to trust Him that believing these hard truths in hard times is possible.

Do I know the answer to the questions posed above?  No.  But read Job 38.  This is where I have to go.  I have to trust that He is bigger than me and can see the whole plan.  I have to trust that He is keeping His promises and doing what's right.  But I never have to understand it.

God give me the strength to believe in hard truths in hard times today.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jesus Lover

I read a post today by a friend and she said she doesn't have a religion, rather she is a Jesus Lover.  Now this isn't the first time I've heard this, more likely the 1,000th time, but what does "Jesus Lover" mean?

First, what does it mean to be religious?  Religion is the ritual observance of faith.  My friend is right, religion is not the answer.  Remember what Paul said to the people of Athens in Acts 17:22 "Men of Athens!  I see that in every way you are very religious."  See, they were religious but they didn't love Jesus.

So, what does it mean to be a Jesus Lover?  If this is the answer we should know what it means.  Far too often I think people love this term because it allows them to throw away doctrine and be sedative in their race toward Christ.  I want to know what it really means to be a Jesus Lover if I am going to hang my salvation on it.

John 14:15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command"

John 15:10 "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in His love."

1 John 5:3 "This is love for God: to obey His commands.  And His commands are not burdensome."

Psalm 119:127 "... I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold."

To be a Jesus Lover is to obey His commands and to actually love His commands.  This seems hard, unless we actually believe that Jesus loves us.

1 John 2:15 "Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

To be a Jesus Lover not only should we love Jesus but we need to hate the world.  This does not mean we don't love the people of the world; rather we don't love the stuff of the world and the ways of the world."

Jesus and Peter talking.  John 21:17 "'Do you love me?' He said, 'Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you'  Jesus said 'Feed my sheep."

If we love Jesus we will feed His sheep.  This means if we are Jesus Lovers we will love His people.  His people are the Christians next door and the homosexual couple down the road and the dictator across the world and the starving child in the cold.

How much does a Jesus Lover love Jesus?

Deuteronomy 6:5 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."

How on earth can we do this?!

1 John 4:15-16 "If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us."

Did you get that?  We can only love like Deuteronomy says by "relying on the love God has for us."  He supplies us with the love to love.  We can't even be Jesus Lovers without relying on Jesus to give us the love to do it.  That's mind-blowing and truth.  We can't love Jesus without the love of Jesus.  He loves us first... always.

Finally, don't be religious.  Be Jesus Lovers.  But know that Jesus Lovers are doers.  Jesus loving is an active pursuit.  In this active pursuit the key is to be one step further today than the day before.  Love Jesus today.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sing a New Song

Psalm 40:1-4
"I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
 and put their trust in the Lord.
Blessed is the man
who makes the Lord his trust."

Psalm 149:1-5
"Praise the Lord.
Sing to the Lord a new song,
His praise in the assembly of the saints.
Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
let the people of Zion be glad in their King.
Let them praise His name with dancing
and make music to Him with tambourine and harp.
For the Lord takes delight in His people;
He crowns the humble with salvation.
Let the saints rejoice in this honor
and sing for joy on their beds."

Psalm 150
"Praise the Lord
Praise God in His sanctuary;
praise Him in His mighty heavens.
Praise Him for His acts of power,
praise Him for His surpassing greatness.
Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet,
Praise Him with the harp and lyre,
praise Him with tambourine and dancing,
praise Him with the strings and flute,
praise Him with the clash of cymbals,
praise Him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord."

Lord, put a new song in our hearts.  Thank you for lifting us out of the mud and mire and slim that was our lives without you.  Thank you for taking delight in losers like us.  You are great and worthy of praise and we will praise you.  Amen.

God has a new song in your heart.  That song is your new life filled with new desires.  Sing your new song today.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Interesting Web Site

My friend Chris showed me this web site that helps you discover your spiritual gifts.  

http://www.kodachrome.org/cgi-bin/spiritgift28.pl visit this site to do it your self.

Below is what mine looked like.

ScoreGraph of ScoreSpiritual GiftStatement / Response
25==========================Music20 = 548 = 576 = 5104 = 5132 = 5
25==========================Pastoring21 = 549 = 577 = 5105 = 5133 = 5
23========================Teaching24 = 552 = 580 = 5108 = 3136 = 5
21======================Hospitality13 = 541 = 369 = 597 = 5125 = 3
21======================Exhortation8 = 536 = 564 = 192 = 5120 = 5
21======================Writing28 = 556 = 584 = 5112 = 5140 = 1
19====================Leadership16 = 544 = 372 = 3100 = 5128 = 3
19====================Administration1 = 329 = 557 = 385 = 3113 = 5
19====================Discernment5 = 333 = 361 = 389 = 5117 = 5
19====================Giving10 = 538 = 366 = 394 = 5122 = 3
17==================Wisdom27 = 555 = 383 = 5111 = 1139 = 3
17==================Faith9 = 337 = 565 = 193 = 3121 = 5
17==================Encouragement6 = 334 = 362 = 390 = 3118 = 5
17==================Knowledge15 = 543 = 571 = 399 = 1127 = 3
17==================Poverty22 = 350 = 378 = 5106 = 5134 = 1
15================Healing11 = 539 = 167 = 395 = 1123 = 5
13==============Apostle2 = 330 = 158 = 386 = 5114 = 1
13==============Evangelism7 = 335 = 363 = 191 = 1119 = 5
11============Mercy17 = 545 = 173 = 1101 = 3129 = 1
11============Helps12 = 340 = 168 = 396 = 1124 = 3
10===========Prophecy23 = 351 = 379 = 3107 = 1135 = 0
8=========Celibacy3 = 131 = 359 = 387 = 1115 = 0
7========Intercession14 = 142 = 170 = 198 = 1126 = 3
7========Miracles18 = 546 = 074 = 0102 = 1130 = 1
7========Missionary19 = 347 = 175 = 1103 = 1131 = 1
6=======Craftsmanship4 = 532 = 060 = 188 = 0116 = 0
3====TonguesSpeaking26 = 354 = 082 = 0110 = 0138 = 0
0=TonguesInterpreting25 = 053 = 081 = 0109 = 0137 = 0

Sunday, August 14, 2011


In the movie Avatar a group of marines are stationed on the moon Pandora. The marines are humans but when they get into this machine they take over the body of a Na 'vi, which is the native alien (oxymoron) to Pandora. Getting into this machine to control the Na 'vi body is why the movie is called Avatar.

Despite Sam Worthington's lack of acting, the movie is really fun.  However, I'm not going to write a review of the movie.  

The dictionary definition, one of them at least, of Avatar is "an embodiment or personification, as of a principle, attitude, or view of life."  This definition is why the marines called the bodies they took over their Avatar.

Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

"I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."

Are you an Avatar for Christ or do you contend that you can do alone?  Jesus wants you.  That not only means that He wants you to love Him.  It means that He wants you... all of you.  You were designed to be His Avatar so that "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."

So, how do we do this?  "I have been crucified with Christ."  We must die to ourselves.  

Galatians 6:14 "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world."

To be crucified with Christ is a one time experience and a daily routine.  Meaning, yes the victory is won for me at the cross and salvation; but to run this race daily, I must die to the world daily.

"I no longer live, but Christ live in me."  Pray this with me: "Jesus, kill my self.  Daily.  I want to be your Avatar.  Live through me so that I can truly glorify you."

Be an Avatar for Jesus today.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Touch my Mouth

Please open up your Bible and read the first chapter of Jeremiah.  A friend of mine shared this chapter with me tonight and it completely convicted me.

Jeremiah 1:4-9  
The word of the Lord came to me saying:
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations"
"Ah, Sovereign Lord," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child."
But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a child.'  You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.  Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you." declares the Lord.
Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "Now, I have put my words in your mouth."

There is so much good in these six verses and I could not touch on all that these six verses speak; however, I want to hit on one thing.

I could speak about the goodness of God knowing us before we were born.  I could write about not being afraid.  I could write about not making excuses when called by God.  I could write about God the rescuer.  But let me share what jumped out at me from these six verses.

God touched Jeremiah's mouth and put His words in his mouth.  Has God done that for me?  Have I asked Him to do that for me?  Would I ask Him to do that for me?

I am challenged, and I want you to be challenged, to pray that God touches our mouths.  I know we will be amazed what God will do when our words get out of the way and God's words are spoken.

I mean, have you ever felt this before?  Have your words ever been completely controlled by the Spirit of God so much that you wish you could take notes on what you just said?  Have you ever gotten out of the way to let the Master work?

So, how do we do this?  Good question.  First, we need to know what God's words sound like by being in God's Word.  Second, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that He can overwhelm our thoughts, hearts and speech.  Lastly, we need to desire it.

God give me your words.  Reach out your hand and touch my mouth today.