On A Personal Note

Image result for Bittersweet MomentLife is filled with ups and downs. A loved one passes away while another gives birth. The young college grad launches a new career; while another worker with 20+ years experience is laid off. Ebb and flow.

This weekend is one of those bitter/sweet moments of life. On the “bitter” side, our neighbors and good friends have sold their house and are moving to their retirement home in the North Carolina mountains. My wife and I are going to miss Jack and Celeste greatly. Sad to see them go but we are glad that they are starting a new chapter in their book of life.

On the “sweet” side; the couple who bought our neighbor’s house is my brother and his wife! This is definitely a God “thing! They are retiring from the ministry and are moving to South Carolina. It will be great to have them next door!

This is one of life’s surprises that we never could imagine.

 

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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!

Passion Killers – Part Two

In my last blog, we looked at how vital it is to have passion. Jesus said He came to earth to give His followers an abundant life John 10:10 but He also warns us the devil has a plan to keep us from experiencing that life. The devil uses”passion killers” to steal our passion.

The Good News is God is taking you by the hand on a journey to Full Recovery. To recover your passion you must prevail over “passion killers. The first is An Unclear Purpose. Purpose and passion go together. The clearer your purpose, the greater your passion because purpose creates passion. God created you for a specific purpose so do not just go though life waiting for things to happen. It is your responsibility to locate God’s purpose for your life. Without a purpose, life is motion without meaning. 

The second passion killer is An Unsupported Lifestyle. We were designed to need other people. “Two people are better than one… Ecclesiastes 4:9-10  Without support, it is difficult to run very far as you will most likely burn out. God’s way is iron sharpening iron. And when iron sharpens iron, there will be sparks because of the friction and heat.

Most people do not want to deal with “sparks” so they isolate themselves – spiritual solitary confinement. None of us is as strong as all of us. You need to connect with people. You need community. The word “encourage” in Hebrews 10:25 literally means to put fire, courage, and zest into one another. An unsupported lifestyle burns passion easily.

Passion Killers- Part One

As an amateur history buff; I love reading stories of people who have preserved and became successful or reached their goals. It did not matter if they were rich or poor; educated or uneducated; attractive or homely. The creative force behind any great thing you come across in music, art, or science is passion. No one can live a great life without passion.

Passion energizes life. It is a passion that makes ordinary people do extraordinary things. Passion is what makes ordinary people walk in the supernatural.

God plans to give you a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10) The enemy also has a plan to kill, to steal and to destroy your passion. In order to rob you in any area, the enemy first attacks your passion for that thing! 

Marriage, for example, the reason there are so many broken marriages is people have lost their passion. If your walk with Christ is monotonous and boring, you need to find where you have lost your joy.

“… I hold on to you for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post.” Psalm 63:8 (MSG) 

 

Will Science Replace God?

See the source imageSince the days of “God Is Dead”; man has been doing his best to remove God from every aspect of our culture. Humanity no longer needs God but may with the help of artificial intelligence develop a new form of collective consciousness that fulfills the role of religion, U.S. author Dan Brown said on Thursday…Brown made the provocative remark at the Frankfurt Book Fair where he was promoting his new novel, Origin, … inspired by the question “Will God survive science?”                                                                                         

“… Are we naive today to believe that the gods of the present will survive and be here in a hundred years?” Brown, 53, told a packed news conference. (Reuters)

Brown informs us that technological change and the development of artificial intelligence would transform the concept of the divine. In promoting his new novel, Origin he asks “Will God be able to survive science?”  “We will start to find our spiritual experiences through our interconnections with each other,” he said, forecasting the emergence of “some form of global consciousness that we perceive and that becomes our divine”….Our need for that exterior god, that sits up there and judges us … will diminish and eventually disappear.” 

The Bible is very clear that God is eternal Isaiah 57:15 , He has no beginning and He will never cease to exist Revelation 1:8 It does not matter what Mr. Brown believes; God is who He says He is and Science will not change that. 

 

Christmas Transformation

The Nativity StarJesus is the only human who ever chose to be born, so why did he come? Volumes of books have been written in an attempt to answer that question but I wish to limit my thoughts to one idea.

Jesus came to restore man’s fallen, broken relationship with God. Man willfully chose to disobey  God’s clear command Genesis 3  and in doing so, separated himself from God. Jesus’ ultimate purpose was to restore that relationship. From the first Adam we inherited death or our sin nature, and separation from God, but Christ came to reverse that and restore us to the state where we are no longer overcome by sin.

Jesus did not come to make us a better verison of ourselves. He did not come to make us nice people. He came to make us new. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”  2 Corinthians 5:17 

The Scriptures are filled with examples of a new life in Christ:     

  • Zacchaeus – a crooked tax collector = life changed Luke 19:5-9
  • Saul, a persecutor of the church,  becomes a promoter of the church Acts 9
  • Jacob was a deceiver but God so changed him Genesis 35:10

Where Are You?

Image result for god's gpsI confess; I love electronic gadgets. (Unfortunately, I cannot afford most of them.) But the one device I probably use the most is my GPS. I use it even if I know how to reach my destination because the GPS “might” know a faster route.

When using a GPS, it will ask the user if they want to start at their present location. To most of us, that is a mute question. Of course, I want to start at my current location!  But the GPS cannot give you directions unless it has all the information. 

People who desire a relationship with God, know they are not where they should be, spiritually speaking, but the problem is they do not know where to start. Many people think they need to “get their act together” before they can come to God. They think must give up this, stop doing that, start going to church, etc.  It is sometimes difficult to convince people that they are sinners Romans 3:23. Many believe there has to be something they need to do before they can come before God. Titus 3:5  

God’s GPS tells us where we are; we are separated from God [lost] and we need to confess to Him that we need a Savior. Only by fully trusting Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for our sins; can we be made right with God. Once you trust Christ to forgive your sins; God’s GPS (The Holy Spirit) will guide you to your destination. John 16:13  

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6