Friday, November 1, 2019

First Things First

God is Holy

and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.” Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before him. Deuteronomy 26:10

In today’s hectic world, deciding what to do first can be difficult. We all know prioritizing is the key to success. But figuring out what to prioritize is the key to life.

The Bible tells us that all things including our very breathe come from God, but how we express our gratitude is often with the very little we have left over after a busy day or busy week. God does not want our seconds -- surely, the Creator of all things deserves better. Imagine if we tried to put God first for just one day, all day. Just maybe we would experience a peace and joy that would cause us to see things differently. Maybe we would be able to see God’s big plan and realize that a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus is the very foundation to experiencing life to the full.

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. Deuteronomy 30:15-16

Because God is Holy, through Jesus, I will honor Him above all else.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Olive Branch

God is Love

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

We all get into disagreements, but what happens when a grievance gets out of hand and forgiveness is required before the relationship can be restored? Who goes first? And will any gesture extended be accepted and reciprocated? Those are really tough questions – and part of the answer depends on how much the relationship is valued.

God created us to be in relationship with Him, but we often do not have the time or a desire to know God intimately. We think we can handle things on our own until something happens outside of our control. But, because of God’s unconditional love for us, He stands with arms open wide; ready to receive us at any time, in any way. By simply placing our trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, our relationship with our Heavenly Father is restored in an instant. And through that same gift of grace, we too can forgive one another.

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:19-20

Because God is love, through Jesus our broken relationships are restored.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Satisfaction Guaranteed

God is Eternal

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 1:2

Are you still searching for that something that will finally bring you permanent happiness? You may find a temporary contentment or satisfaction based on your current circumstance; however it does not last -- it wasn’t designed to. There is no peace without Jesus. “Stop chasing the wind” as Solomon said, “for it is all meaningless”. Free yourself from the pursuit of approval, money, and power. True joy comes from the Holy Spirit. St. Augustine said, “The heart will not rest until it rests in Christ.” Ask Christ into your life and he will give you a perfect, everlasting peace.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5: 22-23

Because God is eternal, we can be complete.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Easy Button

God is Merciful

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

What a brilliant idea -- the “Easy Button” -- a way to solve life’s complicated situations with ease. But in reality, we know nothing is that simple. So where can we turn in light of our demanding schedules and never ending list of challenges and priorities?

God in His great wisdom and mercy sent a solution to take our burdens if we choose to believe and turn over control. His Son Jesus not only paid for our sins to secure our future for eternity, but today and everyday, it is through Jesus that we find strength, wisdom, and peace to bear trials and difficult circumstances. While God never promised that life would be easy, He did promise to be with us always.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Because God is merciful, in Christ, we can manage through life’s difficult situations.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Sales Pitch

God Is Faithful

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. John 14:1-2

Sometimes the promises made to us sound too good to be true! But when you have developed a strong relationship with the person making the promise, it is far easier to believe that they are telling the truth, no matter what is at stake.

God has made the most amazing promises to us, all found within the pages of His story, the Bible. And throughout the ages, God has proven He is dependable. As part of His grand plan, God sent His Son Jesus as a way for us to know Him more intimately, to trust so we could yield to His instructions more easily. Maybe your life isn’t working out the way you intended. Maybe it’s time to follow the One who knows the future and always has our best interests at heart; the One who is faithful until the very end.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." John 10:14, 27

Because God is faithful, through Christ we can believe all of His promises

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Biggest Loser

God is Eternal

Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. Luke 17:33

It is rare that we celebrate losing, unless of course it’s unwanted weight. After all, our world is about winning and winning big!

No wonder it’s difficult to grasp God’s logic – that when we let go of the things in this life, we actually gain much more. God instructs that the rewards we strive for -- riches, power, and fame do not last, but our real treasure, found only through Christ, is eternal life with our Creator. Jesus surrendered his life to redeem all mankind. The question is will you surrender your earthly desires and trust God to direct your life for His greater good? Will you allow Jesus to be your Lord and follow Him wholeheartedly?

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Luke 9:25

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:19-20

Because God is eternal, I can surrender my will and follow Jesus

Monday, July 1, 2019

The 7th Inning Stretch

God is Ever Present

The LORD replied, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
Exodus 33:14

Just about everybody loves baseball - it's one of America's favorite pastimes...In addition to the hotdogs and peanuts, one of the highlights of the game is the seventh inning stretch -- a time to stand up and stretch your legs, to grab another refreshment, to regain focus on the game and to be re-energized.

Looking at our own lives, we also see the need for a break after a long day, week or series of difficult events. Whether it's the weekend or an extended vacation, rest from daily chores and burdens is necessary. Sometimes our circumstances don't allow for us to get the rest we need. We grow weary and tired. We long for something to renew ourselves.

The bible tells us that Jesus gives us rest. He is always there to lean on, to carry our burdens. And His rest gives more than just sound sleep or relaxation, it gives us complete peace and security. Just as you can count on the 7th inning stretch to be part of a baseball game, so too can you count on God to give you the rest you need.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11: 28-30

Because God is ever present, we find complete rest in Christ.