Tuesday, July 29, 2014

You don't have to throw your brains in the trash to follow Christ!

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NIV)

I am nearing the conclusion of my summer bible study about why I believe. It's been wonderful. I have to admit that, publicly, with non-believers, I haven't been very confident in my faith. It's not that I didn't trust God, I didn't doubt his existence, and I believe, but my faith has been weak. This summer I realized why? I have been listening to much to the world and their "facts" that God doesn't exist. After this study (Why I believe - Chip Ingram) I am inspired by the amount of overwhelming evidence their is to the truths of the bible, creation, Jesus, and the existence of MY God, the one, true, God. 

I am a mathematician, lover of science, and an amatueur history buff. I always felt a struggle between these three passions and my faith. Now I know, as Chip Ingram states, "You don't have to throw your brains in the trash to be a follower of Christ!" I always felt the quiet need to apologize for my faith in front of my learned colleagues. I am no expert scientist, nor historian, published mathematician, or famous theologian. But, now I know of people who are all of those things that have dug deep and come to the absolute, logical conclusion, that the Bible is accurate, and verifiably true, beyond any reasonable doubt, that evolution and the Big Bang are greater leaps of faith than my beliefs, and that historical records can back up the existence of MY GOD and the faith I subscribe. We all have faith choices to make. We believe in the God of the Bible, or we have faith in some other theory. We can deny the facts before us. But, there has never been a doubt in my life as I look at the impact MY GOD has had on my life.

I can't say it any stronger: I believe God created the Universe, he sent his Son to die for us that we may live with him forever in eternity and he has forgiven all my sins by his death on the cross. He has sent the Holy Spirit to guide and be forever present in my daily life and he has given us his Holy word to help us know of his love for us and plan for our lives. 

I KNOW it to be true!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Beyond the Christmas list prayer!

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NIV)

I am a prayer warrior! I love to pray. I do it on a regular basis. I can't say I don't have times where I'm not consistent. But, for the past 15 years, or so, I have prayed! The power of prayer is unbelievable to those who haven't done it. It's life changing. To approach the throne of God with your life is amazing. Every time I pray, I am filled with the knowledge of mercy and grace. Every night, every morning, I am reminded of the grace and mercy I receive through Jesus. 

I remember the first times I prayed, beyond the emergency prayer of distress. Beyond the Christmas list prayer for "Santa Jesus". I remember getting on my knees in my living room in Elkhart, Indiana after reading a book. The book was how to grow spiritually strong kids. The focus of the book surprised me. It said the key to Jesus centered kids was a Jesus centered Dad. It said you can't bring your kids to know Jesus on a personal basis if YOU don't know him on a personal basis and even then you need the power of the creator of the universe to change your kids. We can't successfully navigate life without approaching the throne of God in confidence that he will be there and respond. Not confidence in ourselves, but confidence in him!

Your life might be in turmoil right now, pray to God. Your life might be perfect right now, pray to God. You might be blessed beyond your wildest imagination, pray to God! You may be in the deepest depression ever, pray to God. There is no reason to wait to pray! Every time is the right time. Pray! Go beyond the lists of wants, approach the throne and just enjoy the presence of God! You are invited by the Creator of the Universe to talk, scream, cry, plead, and listen. Praise a God for this wonderful blessing.
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God (1 John 3:21 NIV)

The truth of this verse is, our hearts do condemn us. 

First I should say, there is truth. There is right and wrong. There is a plan which is perfect. God's plan is perfect AND we know in our hearts the plan. We know clearly right from wrong and we know the things that separate us from our God.

Our problem........My problem, is not listening to my heart. To often I listen to the voice of the world. To often I listen to my sinful nature and shut out the voice that comes from my heart. That voice is the direct voice of the Spirit of God. When I asked God in to my life he set permanent residence in my heart. The Holy Spirit is there speaking to me throughout my entire day. I just need to listen.

I need to learn to listen to the voice of God. I find I am a bt were listener when I focus on daily bible study, fellowship with other Christians, and prayer. If I don't do these things the voice of God is ignored, blown off, ignored. 

Set up a plan.

It takes only about 15 or 20 minutes in the morning to study the bible and pray. There are hundreds of plans set up to help you study the word. Prayer at bedtime and more study, again, takes only another 15 or 20 minutes. You have the power to draw closer to God and gain confidence in his presence. Fill your heart with the things of God and watch the magic of your salvation explode before your very eyes.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I'm back!

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV)

Vacation is not officially over for another 9 days. However, vacation is over. Stephanie and I are home and will be back at school starting Monday to prepare for the arrival of students a week from Tuesday. We have a back to school night  this week and a lot to do! 

I am so thankful for who I am, what I do, and I praise God for his countless blessings. He has made me who I am. His grace has changed me. Although, I'm not who I want to be. I am so much more than I would be without him. I will make a bold statement, 

"You are NOT a follower of Christ if you can not see the change in your life."

God's power is amazing and has a very noticeable change in your life. It gives you a desire to do more. It gives you the desire to serve and draw even closer to the wonderful savior that died for us. It gives you a heart filled with love and forgiveness. If you can't sense those gifts and the many blessings God has granted, if you can't feel his presence in your life right now, you need to get on your knees and pray that he enter your life. Pray that he will become real in you and change you. If you are sincere, those changes will happen and the results will be amazing. Do it now!

 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

This is hard!

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:4 NIV)

I'm on my journey to memorize the book of Romans. I am only on verse 3. I have "memorized" the first three verses. It's a shaky start. If I'm put under pressure, I'm not sure I could do it. This is hard! It just proves how terrible my memory is. But here it is, by memory, 

          Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of   
     God, the gospel promised beforehand by his prophets through the holy scriptures regarding 
     his son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, (Romans 1:1-3)

I'm still doing my normal daily bible study, but my focus is on the book of Romans. SA James 1:4 says, I need to persevere. I believe God wants me to take on this task to write his great words on my heart and in my mind. I am determined. 

Listening to the voice of God through the scriptures does not make me a great person. It doesn't set me apart. It's taking those words and using them to change the lives of others, that's the goal. I have just come to realize, I can not change the lives of others through the scriptures if I don't KNOW THE SCRIPTURES! Knowing the scriptures beyond just studying them is a worthy goal. But using that knowledge to change lives, that is the ultimate goal! I must persevere in this challenge.