Who Moved?

I remember hearing a story about an elderly couple that was out for a Sunday drive. Things were quiet when the wife suddenly broke the silence, “Sam, do you remember years ago when we were dating we would go out for a drive in the country?” Sam smiled and said, “Of course I do.” “And do you remember how we would sit close to each other? (This was before seatbelts were required.) Why don’t we sit close anymore?” Sam’s response was, “I didn’t move.”

The reality of that story is that every relationship requires maintenance. This may be the reason many couples divorce after 30, 40, or even 50 years of marriage. The kids grow up and go off to college; the husband and wife look at each other and realize they are married to a stranger. A relationship will not survive if you do not make the effort to keep it alive.  Often neither husband or wife will admit they “moved” in the relationship; they just drifted apart.

Our relationship with Jesus Christ also needs to be maintained. But we are the ones who need to keep that relationship alive and we do that by staying close to Him.  As with any relationship, you choose how close you want to be with someone. It is a choice only you can make. The wonderful thing about a relationship with Christ is He is always constant.

  • He never changes. Hebrews 13:8.  
  • His love for you never changes. Psalm 136 
  • His commitment to you never changes. “…The Lord has promised that he will not leave us or desert us.” Hebrews 13:5

If your relationship with Jesus Christ has lost its fervor if it seems He is so distant; ask yourself, who moved? If you turn around you will find Him where you left Him!

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Three Pounds Of God, Please

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I came across this poem recently –  and wanted to share it with you.

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk
or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man
or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth.
I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
— Wilbur Rees

My first thought when I read this was, “EXACTLY!” Isn’t that exactly how Christians act? We want all the benefits of the title “Christian” but want nothing to do with any of the sacrifices that would come with more than just a small portion on our plate. Study after study shows that there is little difference between the Christian and the non-believer in the way we act when it comes to divorce, pornography, domestic violence, charity, volunteerism, or basically any other category you want to pick. The reason? For the most part, we’re $3 Christians. The key line in the poem is this: I want ecstasy, not transformation. People want to be happy, not Christ-like.

I am thoroughly convinced that the majority of people who profess to know Jesus Christ as their Savior do not. Allow me to explain. I believe that they (and most ‘Christians’) have conformed to a lifestyle without being transformed by the Holy Spirit! They know that being a believer means you do certain things [read your Bible, attend church, give money to the church, etc] but they have not been transformed; there has been no change internally. 

When you talk to them about a real, dynamic relationship with Christ; they stare at you like you are speaking a foreign language and you are. ” But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” They cannot understand because there has been no change in their spirit. 2 Cor. 5:17 

For many $3 is all they’re willing to pay. But for them I ask this simple question: When you die and stand before Jesus (and you will) what are you going to tell him? When Jesus asks you why you didn’t go all in knowing what he expected of you and instead you chose to be a $3 Christian what are you going to say?

Don’t be a $3 Christian. Stop conforming to the pattern of this world! Make God and His ways your priority! Allow God to transform your life – go all in. 

Blending in? or Standing Out?

There are many things that hinder a Christ-follower was from maturing and growing in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Too often we settle for the status quo and do not make the effort to rise above the ‘norm.’ Worrying about other people’s acceptance of us is one of the greatest strongholds to overcome. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in our teen years. Socialists use the term “peer pressure” to describe this natural emotion. This explains why some good kids do some bad things they would not normally do. They would rather “blend in” than “standout.”

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The Apostle Paul faced this in writing to the Galatian church. “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Paul is saying it is possible to be more people-oriented than God-oriented. Proverbs 29:25 tells us,“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

It’s sad to see people who try to please everyone – one minute they are pleasing one person; the next minute pleasing someone else. They remind me of the chameleon. They change with the environment; trying to fit in with whatever crowd they are around.

Jesus told us there are rewards for whoever you are trying to please. If you are trying to impress and please people; their response is your reward.Mt 6:2, Mt 6:5; Mt 6:16.

If you are seeking to please God, your reward will come later: Mt 5:12 Mt 6:1 James 1:12 Just to name a few.

If we displease God, does it matter whom we please? If we please Him does it matter whom we displease?” ― Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries: A Classic on Revival

 

God’s Amazing Light

As a young boy, I was always fascinated with light. I loved playing with flashlights! I was amazed that I could close myself in the darkest closet and with the flick of a switch, Shazam; there was light! As I grew older, I discovered that not all flashlights were created equal! The small flashlight that mom had attached on her keychain was no match for my dad’s multi-battery Mag Light.

I once stayed with friends for a couple of weeks on their farm. That farm had a lot of things that captured my attention. Their house was an OLD farmhouse with many antiquated things. One of those things I had never seen was push-button light switches that turned the lights off and on.

switch

What amazed me was when you pushed the “off button”, there was a slight pause between pressing the button and when the room was actually dark. Every night I played a game with that switch. I would press the button and then try to get in bed before the room got dark. I never beat it. 

In the Bible, God is referred to as light; “”…God is light; in him, there is no darkness at all.” 1 John1:5. Unlike flashlights, God’s glory (Brightness) cannot be compared.  Revelation 21:23  Isaiah 60:19

But unlike the push-button lights in the farm that paused; God’s light is instantaneous; “God spoke: “Light!” And light appeared.” Genesis 1:3 (MSG)  When we confess our sins and surrender our lives; we are changed instantly.  Darkness now becomes light. 1 John 5:8

The Buck Stops Here

Most all of us have heard the phrase, “The Buck Stops Here.” The meaning of that phrase is Responsibility is not passed on beyond this point. Where that phrase originated is much debated. Many believed [including myself]  it originated with President Harry Truman but history proves it pre-dated Turman.

I am not sure the following is the origin of the phrase but I like it. 

Most men in the early west carried a jackknife made by the Buck knife company. When playing poker it as common to place one of these Buck knives in front of the dealer so that everyone knew who he was.
When it was time for a new dealer the deck of cards and the knife were given to the new dealer. If this person didn’t want to deal he would “pass the buck” to the next player. If that player accepted then “the buck stopped there”.
While the origin of this phrase is up for debate, the meaning is clear and is applicable today.  People [the individual] need to accept responsibility for their actions. Criminals often try to pass the blame for their actions on a variety of ’causes.’ Student passes the blame for not having their homework done. (The dog ate my homework.)  Politicians, when caught in unethical or illegal behavior, will refuse responsibility and claim they were unaware of the deeds. 
 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Romans 14:12
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak...  Matthew 12:36
There is not much “wiggle room” in the matter of accepting responsibility for our actions.

There Is A War Going On

We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 2 Corinthians 10:4 NLT

The Devil knows your name but calls you by your sin. God knows your sin but calls you by your name. [Unknown]

“There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch, every split-second is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan” … C.S.Lewis

Let’s Go For A Walk

Medical experts tell us one the best physical exercise is walking. It has many benefits without damaging your body. Many married couples find walking together is a great way to pray together, talk over situations that need their attention, and a way to take a break from the hectic pace of life.

Marriage is a great metaphor for our walk with Christ. Amos 3:3 asks us, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” When we invite Jesus to walk with us in this life, we become filled with His Holy Spirit and our journey together begins. He’s taking us somewhere and there will always be obstacles to overcome. We experience joy and pain, bondage and freedom, wounds and healing—but we’re on a course to victory. 

 

Image result for young couple walking

In the Bible, God uses the language of walking to describe people in relationship with Him. Moses “walked” with God, Enoch “walked” with God, Adam and Eve “walked” with God in the garden, and Jesus’ disciples literally “walked” with Him throughout His earthly ministry. They walked with Jesus through the ups and downs, knowing eternal paradise awaited them in the end.

Walking with my wife is sometimes a challenge. Either she is a fast walker or I am a slow walker! Either, often she has to turn around to see if I have fallen too far behind. But God is always right there beside us.

Anyone up for a walk?