Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What's your soul worth?

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (Mark 8:36, 37 NIV)

I posed a question to my students yesterday. If a 6 inch beam was stretched between two skyscrapers what would it cost to get you to cross? $1 million? $100,000? The safety of your family? The question was to get the students to think about what's important to them. What do they value in life? 

As Christians we might turn the question around. If God asked you to give up "something" for him, what would you be willing to part with? If you were called into the ministry would you give up your job? If you were called into the mission field would you sacrifice time with your family, your job, your house? If you were asked to renounce Christ or lose your life would you give up your life?

What priorities do we place in front of God's will? I ask you the questions, but I'm not sure about my own answers. We all need to search our hearts. God wants all of us. He wants every part of our lives devoted to him. He calls us to use every gift, every blessing, every talent, for his kingdom. If we choose to ignore that call, those blessings may be taken away. Is your soul more important than the stuff of your life? 

Monday, April 21, 2014

You will know it when you see it

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35 NIV)

This is the most important character trait we can publicly demonstrate as a Christian -- Love. The further we get from loving one another, the further we get from God. 

We can come up with an unlimited list of reasons not to love someone. We can point to there politics, age, sexual orientation, morals, denomination, education, race, ethnic background,  culture, or their looks. We are great at naming the unloveable. It's sad. God's word describes, in depth, and on numerous occasions, we must love one another. Often if we are hated, we hate back. It's the "Eye for an Eye" Syndrome on steroids. We have to get passed that. True love needs to be the center of our day. It has to be our lives from sun up to sun down, when our feet hit the floor to our head sinking into our pillow, God's love must be on our hearts, in our minds, on our lips, and extending from our hands and feet. When we see God's amazing love in action it is easy to recognize. It goes beyond labels and stereotypes. 

Lord, help us love more and hate less. I pray for my fellow Christians that we might look through a person straight to there heart. May we plant the seed of Christs love and nourish it until it blooms full in their lives. I love you Lord and praise you that you love me with perfect mercy and grace!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

In God We trust!

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8 NIV)

I had such a wonderful, busy, Easter weekend. It was great reading all the Facebook posts celebrating our Risen Savior. When I see such an outpouring of faith, it fills me with a great sense of hope. Yet, this morning the news was filled with people hating on Christians and the Easter Celbration. A group wielding "In Reason We Trust" signs tried to steal the headlines of this wonderful celebration. This Aetheist group is bent on taking God out of all things. Why? Why are they so threatened by our faith? If they believe in no God , how could we be a threat... To them our rhetoric has no power. Are they intimidated by the love we share? Are they afraid the pressure we place on society, irreparably harms us? Just how are we such a threat?

I am an imperfect person, flawed, and sinful. My fellow Christians and I have made our mistakes. But I am here to profess, nothing will deter me from sharing the powerful change the Easter message has made in my life. I have given all to God. I am nothing so that I can serve the people who hate me the most. I will consider it gain to be rejected by these people of reason. So many great Aetheists have come to know my savior and I do not give up on these misguided people. I plan on loving them and YES praying for their salvation. The working of the Holy Spirit will soften their hearts. I pray God will reveal himself to them! 

You can not steal the joy of Easter just because you reject the message or the people who share it! Praise God for the blessings of knowing my savior personally. Praise God I can worship him even through rejection and personal attack. God has overcome the world. Jesus was crucified and risen to set us free of our haters! 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

He is not here; He is risen!

They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” (Luke 24:2-7 NIV)

What a glorious day! It is at this moment in history we first started to really understand our relationship with God. Life on this planet has changed eternally with the discovery of an empty tomb. The reality that God loved us so much that he sent his one and only son to sacrifice for our lost lives started right here. The women were the first and the news has spread for 2000 years. 

Praise God for Easter and the risen Savior! My savior is alive. He is not locked in some tomb of death and darkness. My savior is with me every day through impossible events or glorious joy! 

Have a joyous Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Darkness is temporary. Hope is Eternal!

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. (Luke 23:50-56 NIV)

The time after Jesus took his last breath to the morning on the third day has to be a dark and terrible time. Joseph handled the gruesome task of burial and the followers of Jesus were scattered. After Jesus was laid to rest, was a time of severe mourning and loss. I can only imagine the hopelessness of the moment. While we love the story because we know the result, it had to be the worst hopelessness felt by these people.

While you are in the midst of turmoil and darkness you just need to move forward. It's impossible to do anything more than what is absolutely necessary. Even the most mundane tasks take all your energy to complete. It's difficult to see any hope for the future and you just live in the moment. 

There is hope. I have 53+ year of life to verify this is true. I have had some dark times in my life and the Risen Savior has brought me through to brighter days. I am getting better at turning life's trials over to Jesus. It is amazing how hope returns when you let the crisis go! The message of Easter is hope. We are not alone. We are not at the end. We are at the beginning if we turn the darkness of our lives over to the Son of God. When we have left everything, then we can begin to live again. There is hope through Jesus.