DEAD BUT STILL DEADLY

Image result for Facing Your Giants SpiritualThe epic tale of David and Goliath is one of the most well-known stories in the Bible. On one side of the Valley of Elah stands the Philistine army, with their nine-foot-tall champion named Goliath. On the other side of valley stands the Israelite army, cowering in fear under the leadership of their king named Saul. For forty days Goliath has been taunting the Israelites and holding them in the grip of fear. Day after day he has been challenging them to send out one soldier to face him man to man. But so far, nobody has volunteered.

Perhaps you can relate to the plight of the Israelites. Some kind of giant is standing before you keeping you from being less than God wants you to be. The good news is that God has made a way for these giants to fall. Jesus came to set you free from the giants who rise up against you and hold you paralyzed in fear.

Jesus has already overcome the enemy. However, as we read in 1 Peter 5:8, the devil still “prowls around . . . looking for someone to devour.” In many ways, he is like a snake with its head cut off. When you kill a snake, you have to be sure to bury its head, because even after death the serpent holds a lethal dose of venom in its fangs. If you step on a dead snake’s head, you can still get poisoned. In the same way, even though Jesus broke the power of Satan at the cross, he can still inject his deadly poison into our lives. He is dead but still deadly.

If you truly want to see victory over the giants in your life, you need to understand your dependency on the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Victory is all about trusting in Christ and not about trying to succeed.

I’m In

I have always been interested in the study words and phrases and their origin. We often use phrases in our conversations but have no idea when or how it was used originally used. For example. we tell someone to “sleep tight” but what does that mean? http://bit.ly/2lhEerY

There is a new (?) phrase I heard that I like; “Are you in?” This phrase doesn’t refer to an amusement park worker asking someone if they are secure in their roller coaster seat. The phrase basically means you are totally committed to a certain plan of action. It means you have my complete support; you can count on me,

When Jesus Christ called His disciples He said, “Follow me!” If Jesus were here today. He might use the phrase, “Are You In?” Being a Christ-follower means you are sold out, totally committed, fully devoted Passionate about Jesus.

Are You In?

Knocked Down but Not Knocked Out

I am sure that all of us can remember a favorite toy we received at Christmas. To be honest I probably had several “favorites” but the one toy that I remember most was a sock-em-bounce-back clown. No matter how hard or which direction you hit it, it would always bounce back.

I may be stretching the analogy a bit but Christians should be able to “bounce back” when struck by life’s “punches.” “For the righteous falls seven times and rises again…Provergs 24:16 I read recently a definition of success that I rather like. “Success is falling down seven times but getting back up eight times.”

The secret of “bouncing back” for that toy and Christ-followers is the balance. Something at the center that brings us back to where we should be. Jesus Christ is our anchor that brings us back to center.

“We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed. We are confused, but we aren’t depressed. We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned. We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out.” 

The Spring of My Youth

 Displaying IMG_0227.JPGOne of my fondest childhood memories was an underground spring that is located in the woods of western Pennsylvania. We (and everyone from miles around) would go there from time to time and fill containers with the cool, clear water. Even on the hottest day, the water was always cold and I have never known this spring to ever run dry.

I went back this week to revisit “my” spring and it was still flowing, still cold and still refreshing.(See attached picture.)  I feel sorry for those who grew up in the city and never experienced drinking from “God’s Spring!

The only water that tastes better is from the spring that produces eternal life. It is always flowing and always refreshing and gives eternal life. You may never go to Pennsylvania and drink from that spring but make sure you drink from the well of salvation. 

Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

Loving His Appearing

I grew up in a very legalistic church where spirituality was measured on personal performance. My acceptance to God (and my church) was based on how well I kept all the rules: modest clothing; no television, no movie going, very strict Sabbath observence, etc. 

I dreaded when our church had revival services because the evangelist would always use the rapture as a means to get people to come forwardto the altar. He would use Christ’s return to scare Believers into wondering if they would miss the Rapture because they didn’t “cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s” spiritually speaking.

But when the Apostle Paul spoke of Christ’s return he said, “Therefore encourage one anotherwith these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:18 

“The prize that shows I have God’s approval is now waiting for me. The Lord, who is a fair judge, will give me that prize on that day. He will give it not only to me but also to everyone who is eagerly waiting for him to come again.”  2 Timothy 4:8

Amazing

I have never doubted that God knows everything. I have said many times in my sermons, “God is never surprised. He is never caught “off-guard.” In Matthew 12:25 and Luke 11:17 I read that Jesus “knew their thoughts” which I have no problem accepting.

But then I read Matthew 8:10 “When Jesus heard this, he was amazed...” Now that started me thinking; if Jesus is God (And He is) and if He knows what people are going to say before they say it (And He does Psalm 139:4), surely He should not have been “amazed” at this Gentile’s faith! Nothing should “amaze” God, right? 

As I looked at several commentaries, just as I expected, they explained it that it was Jesus’ humanity that caused Him to be amazed. I can understand their interpretation, for you can fully explain the incarnation; the God/Man? That is difficult to get our minds around!

I guess we will have to file this (and some others) passage under the Deut. 29:29 clause ““There are some things that the Lord our God has kept secret. Only he knows these things…”

 

Do I Matter?

This year, I will be 70 years old. I don’t feel it, well, at least, most of the time. But as I get further into the last chapter(s) of my life, a thought keeps popping into my head. Has my life really mattered?  Will anyone remember 100 years from now that I walked this earth for X number of years? Or did I just occupy space?

I probably will not leave this earth insanely rich or write a best-selling novel. It is highly unlikely that I will discover a cure for cancer. Very few will reach the level of being a legendary sports figure. While there has been many  men and women who have achieved greatness, none have impacted humanity and history like Jesus Christ. His life has not only transformed individuals but it has also changed entire nations!

I know that no person can ever reach the level of influence that Jesus did but as a Christ-follower, my goal in life is to pattern my life after Him. I John 2.6 While on earth, He invested His life into the lives of His twelve disciples and they inturn invested their lives into others. The only way for your life to count, is to spiritually reproduce your life into the lives of others!