Restored

One of my wife’s favorite TV programs is HGTV. She loves watching how a team of workers can take a run-down house and restore it to a beautiful home. I admire people that possess that skill because I can’t even drive a nail straight.

Restoration. That word suggests a positive change has taken place. Something has been taken from a place of disrepair and dishonor to a place of beauty and pride.

At creation, Man was created in the image of God. He was perfect in every way but by an act of disobedience (sin) that image was so “damaged” so “marred” that God had to remove him from the Garden of Eden. If you watch the news you will see just how far Man has “disfigured” that original image.  Theologians call it man’s “depraved” nature or “fallen” man. 

When a man ‘restores’ a house or an old car; he often has to remove and discard certain parts that cannot be salvaged. But when God restores a person, no matter how “fallen” they are; He does not discard any part of us. He does not refurbish. He does not remodel. He does not paint over imperfections. He makes us NEW! I cannot explain it but it is true.

  • This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person…. 2 Cor.5:17
  • Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again [made new] John 3:3

Jesus Himself said He came  to find lost people and save them.” [Luke 19:10] Jesus was saying He came to restore all that Mankind lost when he was drive out of the Garden. He restored fellowship with God. Eternal life was restored! [He restores my soul…] Ps.23:3 

Though God has made the restoration process available to all, it can only take place when people confess their sins to Jesus Christ and receive Him as their Savior. 

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.   1John 5:11

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The Fight

Image result for fight winning the battles that matter most

“Most men don’t want to fail…even once. We want to measure up and be successful at anything we try. That’s why we don’t like to play if we don’t think we can win. A man’s greatest fear is failure and his greatest pain is regret.

Have you ever failed? If you answered yes cheer up! You’re in good company. Failure is an event, never a person. Don’t internalize a failure until it starts to ferment into regret….Learn from it. Pain can be a great teacher. 

Just because you’re down doesn’t mean your out. Not by a long shot. Even in our failures, God can still accomplish his purpose. It’s through our weaknesses that he shows himself strong.

What results? Then you’re going to have to do something different…If you are a Christian, you have resurrection power within you. Tap into it…God loves making weak men strong. Don’t just try to “be a better man.” Be God’s man. Stop trying to tell your story. Start telling his. It’s not about you. It’s about him.”

This blog was taken fromFight: Winning the Battles that Matter Most” 

The Red Planet

anger

If someone from another planet were to visit planet earth and observe the behavior of the inhabitants, they would come to the conclusion that we are angry race! Every where we look we see anger or the consequences of someone’s anger.

  •  An Olympic athlete refuses to participate in the opening ceremony. Why? He is angry that HE was not chosen to carry the USA flag!
  •  Politicians refuse to stand during the State of the Union message. They are angry that THEIR candidate was elected and THEIR party is not in control.
  • Road rage is a common occurrence on most highways. (And parking lots!)

For many people, anger is a default emotion. When someone embarrasses us, rarely do we feel embarrassment. Most of the time, that  embarrassment also makes us angry! If you want to read a case study in anger, read the story of Samson in the Book of Judges. I do not have space to elaborate all the ‘incidents’ that caused Samson to be angry but in reality, almost everything that happened was his own fault. At any point, he could have backed off, even just a little. If he had taken a minute to cool off, maybe he could have turned things around. 

If you are angry at those around you, where is your responsibility? I have often heard people say, “They make me so angry!” But the reality is we allow people to make us mad. We choose [sometimes unconsciously] to be angry. It is time to stop making excuses for our behavior and own our part. Ask forgiveness if you need to. And not just from God but from the people you may have hurt. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you. 

Passion Killers – Part Three

Image result for soul rest

Matthew 11:28-30 (RSV) “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

When we read this passage, we tend to relate it mostly to the physical and spiritual. However, Jesus is not only addressing physical and spiritual weariness [burdens]. Take note that the rest Jesus promises is rest for your soul. Soul-rest and emotional rest.

Often we find our physical bodies may be on the bed but our minds are racing through a worry maze. In order to experience full rest, we must recover our minds. Physical rest is not enough. We need relief from anxiety, tension, guilt, and fear. Many people turn to their television, some turn to their refrigerator seeking comfort. But Jesus is saying, “Come to me and I will give you rest for your soul.: True and lasting rest comes from Christ alone!

Fresh leadership

No one can say that this newly elected President is “business-as-usual.” One of the reasons is that he is not a career politician; therefore his approach to problem-solving is totally foreign to those have been entrenched in the government system. His Cabinet nominations have caused a lot of anger and criticism. Our senior statesmen point out that the people he has selected not to have the “experience” necessary to run that office. Really?

If experience equals success, then how can they explain that every government agency has failed, though lead by ‘experts’ in their field?

Department of Energy has had 43 years to free us from dependence on foreign oil. How are we doing?
Social Security has had 77 years to correct all their problems. Failed.
Veterans Administration has had 86 years to provide care for our veterans. Failed.
Our Postal system has had 45 years of a constant bailout from the Federal Government.
Department of Treasury has been in existence since 1789. Over two centuries and today we are 20 Trillion dollars in debt! Failed.

Our experts have not solved our problems. It is time for a new approach and I think that people who have had proven success in their field may bring us a solution.

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

Can You Fix It?

Having served as a Pastor for over thirty years, I have observed people whose lives are “broken.” Sometimes they would come to me and ask me if I could fix “it.” It may be a broken marriage or a parent/child relationship. Sometimes people look at their situation and conclude “This is so broken it cannot be fixed, repaired or restored.” So they get a divorce, give up on that relationship, or worse turn their back on God and quit living for Him.

I can understand their reasoning. From a human standpoint, there seems no way this wrong can be made right. We think that OUR situation is SO BAD that even God cannot untangle the mess. But that is not so. I have been amazed how God can take the “broken” and bring healing, restoration and wholeness.  Consider:

  • He is the one who heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
  • “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27

In Ezekiel 37, we read the story of the Valley of Dry Bones. These were not recently slain corpses but dry bones! God asks Ezekiel a very pointed question, “Son of man, can these bones live?”  Ezekiel answers,“Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”  That is a great answer for only God can “fix” some of life’s greatest challenges!  

Years ago we used to sing a chorus, God Can Do Anything But Fail.” True. Let God begin to work in your life. Turn it over to Him and see God work in your life!