Are You Offended?

There is a new phenomenon that has occurred is changing our world. It is the big O word = Offense. Every evening the news reports another lawsuit because of a business, a person, a teacher has offended someone. Just this week the New York Times reported that the terms “fireman” and “policeman” will be changed to “firefighter” and “police officer.” The bill was passed to make the terms ‘gender-neutral’  to demonstrate our respect and appreciation for all of our first responders, regardless of gender.” 

The list goes on and on. We have to walk on eggshells so we do not offend this one or that one. While I grew up, part of life was being offended, either intentional or unintentional but I got over it! Proverbs 19:11 You should not purposely offend or be obnoxious but if you live a consistent, God-honoring life you will offend someone. 2 Timothy 3:12 The Bible speaks of the offense of the Gospel. “…In that case, the offense of the cross has been abolished….” Galatians 5:11

You cannot avoid ‘offending’ people, so the secret to living is to live a life pleasing to God and not people. When you please the Lord, you can make your enemies into friends. Proverbs 16:7 GNT

 

 

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Your Life View

We have all heard the question, “Is the glass half full or half empty?” It sounds like a trick question but it isn’t. Either answer is correct, that is according to your perspective.

Your perspective on life is called your ‘life view.’ It is how YOU see and interpret life. (Half full / Half empty) Most people are not even aware they have a life-view but they do.

Basically, there are only views of life: a worldly view and a Christian view. Your view is critically important because it dictates how you live your life! This is why two totally different people can experience the identical situation and respond in a “Don’t be like the people of this world but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him.” Romans 12:2.

I remember reading a perfect illustration of this. Matthew Henry, a renowned writer, and minister he wrote of a man who once stole his wallet. In reflecting on the incident, Henry said, “1.) I am thankful that he never robbed me before. 2), I am thankful that although he took my wallet, he did not take my life. 3) Although he took all I had, it was not much. And 4), I am glad that it was I who was robbed, not I who did the robbing.” Matthew Henry knew how to make lemonade out of a lemon — how to be grateful despite a bad experience.

God’s Plan

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

I am sure that most parents wonder what the future holds for their new child. As a Christ-follower, I believe God has a wonderful plan for every person born. That plan was established before we are born. “Before I shaped you in the womb, I [God] knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you:…” Jeremiah 1:5

In 1969 my wife and I stood at the church altar to dedicate our infant son to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For those who maybe unfamiliar with this ceremony; allow me to explain. A baby dedication is a ceremony in which believing parents make a commitment before the Lord to submit a child to God’s will and to raise that child according to God’s Word and God’s ways. (See Luke 2:22)

We watched as God took our  son and called him to be a pastor. This past Sunday I had the privilege to stand at the church altar and pray for my son as he prepares to go to Guatemala on a Work and Witness missions trip. We never imagined God giving our son the honor of taking the Gospel message to people in another part of the world!

My wife and I would appreciate you praying for our son and the team as they depart tomorrow. Below is a picture of our son [on the right] with a team member from his church.

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Are You Adopted?

“I have had the privilege of knowing several couples who have adopted children into their family. One couple had adopted several children from Russia. The children were brothers and sisters and the couple did not want them to be separated.

See the source image

When a couple goes through the adoption process, their desire is to become parents, to offer a home and a family to a child that has neither. When the adoption process is complete, that child legally becomes a son or daughter.

Think about the spiritual analogies. In adoption, there is a high cost to the parents and no cost to the child. [The Child Welfare Information Gateway, a U.S. government-funded adoption information service, estimates that the average U.S. adoption costs $8,000 to $40,000. ] As a Christ-follower, we are heirs to Christ’s Kingdom. We become legal, official children of God. Adoption comes at an enormous cost to the parents.

What does it cost the child? Nothing! It required the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. Adoption came at a grace cost to the Father.We are adopted by God for the same reason that any parent adopts – out of seer love. In His great love, He plans adoption, pays the cost,  becomes our Father and unites us to a whole family of brothers and sisters.

The Walking Dead

zombie

I am not sure why some people are fascinated with “zombies” (walking dead). You are probably not aware that the “walking dead” are all around us. You work with many of them. That fellow student maybe among them. You even go to church with them. Now, I am not speaking of the horrible, fleshing-eating creature of the silver screen. 

The walking dead has been with us for thousands of years. The Apostle wrote of them in Ephesians 2:1-2 As for you, you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you used to walk when you conformed to the ways of this world...vs 4 But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in our trespasses…” 

Paul was writing about people’s past before they accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Physically, they were walking around, breathing, and conversing with other ‘walking dead.’ But spiritually, they were totally unaware they were dead in their sins. 

The ‘walking dead’ of the big screen are totally unable to do anything  to change their condition but those who realize they are spiritually dead, can turn to Jesus, repent of their sin and receive forgiveness AND a new life. The promise is Jesus “made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses…” 

Success

what will it profit what man if he gains the whole world? Mark 8:36 

See the source imageLife’s not all about success. Those are fairly heretical words for most of us men—men trying to ascend—men for whom success in careers, success in raising kids, or success in just looking successful have become so important. Planning for success, working for it, worrying about it—they dominate our everyday lives.

When men introduce one another, they usually say something like, “This is Bill, he is the CEO of… I want you to meet Bob, he is the service manager at…” Men have a tendency to identify other men (and themselves) by their occupation or by what they do but it is NOT who they are. And if they are not careful, they will try to find their worth or value by their success.
Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot” Luke 12:15

Life is partially about success—we’ve got to spend our lives for something, and we should do that something as well as we can. We just can’t make it an ultimate thing. When we focus all, or even most, of our lives on achieving success, we fall short of the full life Jesus promises in John 10:10. We miss those parts of life we’re meant to devote to the success of others.                                                                                                    

How many of us sacrifice huge portions of the lives we’re meant to live—loving wives; spending time with kids; eating meals with families; hanging out with friends; helping people in need—spending too much time on our own success? How many of us are unavailable to those who need us most?

My definition of success? Knowing and doing God’s will/purpose in our lives.

Bushels of Seeds

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”        2 Corinthians 9:6-7

I have always enjoyed history, especially American History. One part that captured my attention involved a man named John Chapman, also known as Johnny Appleseed. He traveled through the Midwest planting apple seeds for 45years. It is estimated he spread more than twenty bushels of seeds, each bushel contained an estimated 300,000 seeds!

In the Bible there is the principle of sowing and reaping. You plant corn, you harvest corn. (Not potatoes) One ear of corn planted, will result in a harvest of several ears of corn. The more seeds you plant the more produce you harvest. While this principle  always hold true, today’s “prosperity preachers” have mistakenly taught if you give $20 to their ministry; God will bless with a $100 reaping!

This doesn’t mean we’ll come into lots of money if we give to the Lord’s work. As many people have experienced, wealth can be fleeting, but if we sow into His Kingdom, we will reap blessing in both time and eternity far beyond our original gifts. Choose an investment that is reliable, is guaranteed to never fail and yield great rewards. Invest in the Kingdom of God.