Friday, June 15, 2018

The Competition

God is Faithful

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:5

Life is a constant competition. We are always trying to win at something – whether it is in sports, a work opportunity, a relationship, or our own acceptance. Our desire to compete makes total sense because that is how we were raised – how the world is wired.

But from God’s perspective, the game is over. We have already won. With Jesus in our hearts, no longer is there a need to compete because we have all we need to be accepted, to be confident that our needs will be met, and to be guaranteed a place with the King for eternity. We can spend the rest of our lives trying to win and never be satisfied, or we can approach life by faith – faith that accepts that through Christ we have already been declared victorious in all things forever. So, more than how you play the game, it’s who you play the game with that really counts!

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Because God is faithful, by faith in Jesus Christ we have been given victory over all things.

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Master Plan

God is Sovereign

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. Genesis 45:4-5

Most of us have a plan – whether it is simply for today or a long term strategy to take us through the next five to ten years. But what happens when something unexpected pops up? How do you react? Do you see it as an opportunity or as an inconvenience? Do you take the time to help and become engaged when it does not fit in with your original plan?

Jacob’s youngest and favorite son Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers when he was 17 years old – a far cry from Joseph’s plan to rule and reign over his family. But, after 17 years of captivity in Egypt, Joseph finally saw the wisdom in God’s plan. Israel would have perished and never have become a great nation if it was not for Joseph’s diversion. God’s plans for our lives are often quite different than our plans, but His desire is that we surrender to His will and trust that His ways are best.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Because God is sovereign, with Christ, we can trust His plan for our lives.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Location, Location, Location

God Is Self-sufficient

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:12

In real estate, we’ve all heard the old adage “location, location, location”. It’s a fact, the best locations yield the greatest financial gains. But what about in life? Where does our focus have to be to achieve “success”?

The Bible tells us it is our relationship with God that is most important. That the closer we are with God, the more peace and joy we experience, regardless of our circumstances. Jesus tells us the greatest command is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30

So it isn’t our accomplishments or the things of this world that matter to God, but our relationship. Our location in life is most dependent on our proximity to God. And with Christ in our hearts, we have all we need to achieve our goals – for we are seated at the right hand of God. Now that’s location!

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Col 3:1, 15

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3

Because God is self-sufficient, we have all that we need in Christ

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

In Money We Trust?

God is Unchanging

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7

If you were to look at a coin, you would notice our national motto “In God We Trust” is stamped on it. In fact, since 1938 the motto has been placed on all coins minted as a reminder of the true source of our mighty nation’s power. But somewhere along the way, it seems our trust has shifted away from God. We’ve become a people who rely on what our money can do for us. Have we been re-branded to a country whose motto is“In Money We Trust”?

Let’s face it, the time and effort we make for God pales in comparison to money. But we are not alone. Jesus warned us to avoid the love of money and yet the temple courts, a holy place for worship, had been turned to a place of trade; the Roman tax collectors abused their positions by overcharging the people; and even one of the twelve apostles betrayed Jesus, our Savior, for 30 pieces of silver…. Isn’t it time we regain perspective on where our strength really comes from? Isn’t it time we stop relying on things that do not last, but rather trust in our Lord who satisfies completely? For He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10

Because God is unchanging, we can trust Jesus in all things

Sunday, April 15, 2018

History Repeats Itself?

God is All Powerful

Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Psalm 51:5

No one likes to make the same mistake twice, let alone over and over again, but isn’t there something you stumble over time and time again? A behavior or way of thinking you’d like to change, but when given the opportunity, you fall back to old habits and familiar patterns…

The Bible tells us we are born into sin, incapable of always doing good without the help of God’s divine power. Because we are human, even the most admirable will fail at times, but when the Holy Spirit lives through us then, and only then, do we have the power to live in obedience and joy. If you embrace this truth and believe it in your heart, you can be transformed -- replacing evil desires with those good and pleasing to God!

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, Titus 2:11-12

Because God is all powerful, through Christ, we can live in self-control

Sunday, April 1, 2018

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

God is Gracious

The LORD said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them? Numbers 14:11

Whether it’s your boss, a business associate or a friend that makes you feel inadequate and under appreciated, no one likes it when our past achievements are so easily forgotten. Like many, you wonder “is it possible to be acknowledged and trusted -- will I ever earn lasting approval?”

Imagine how God feels when we fail to remember the miracles He has performed on our behalf – the extent to which He goes to save us? Throughout the Old Testament, the Israelites were notorious for losing faith and yet God relentlessly pursued them despite the constant rejection. After 400 years of silence, God kept His promise to send a Savior to be the final sacrifice for all of our sins. God desires us to believe Jesus is Lord and to trust and follow His commands. The choice is yours –will you dismiss the extent of God’s forgiveness and cost to redeem you or will you accept Jesus as the final payment?

Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their forefathers— a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him. Psalm 78: 7-8

Because God is gracious, through Christ we are forever redeemed.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Make the Investment

God is Goodness

So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ Luke 19:13

Most of us invest money with the expectation of reaping a reward. And while a few may hide their life savings in a mattress, for the most part we expect our wealth to work for us. But what about other resources and talents – our time, our relationships, our abilities and strengths -- do we invest them with the hope of multiplying them as well, or do we sit back lazy or in fear, limiting our full potential?

In the parable of the Ten Minas, Jesus implies that God has given each of us unique gifts and talents. His wish is that we would use them for His purposes. When we follow Jesus, we give up our fears and selfish desires and serve God. Are you focused on what He desires from you or on what you desire from Him? When we use our talents in ways He calls us to, we will multiply the investment God has made in us. And God will reward a servant whose heart is aligned with Him.

The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ Luke 19:16-17

Because God is goodness, when we follow Christ, our actions will one day be rewarded.