Thursday, December 15, 2011

'Tis The Season!

God is Love

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7

Christmas is a time to celebrate as we reflect on the blessings in our life, no matter how small or how great, and on the people who are most special to us. As a tradition, we take time to send special gifts and personal notes as an expression of our gratitude.

At Christmas, we are reminded that God too sent a very special gift to us through the birth of a precious baby, born of a virgin, to show the immensity of his love for us. As foretold by the prophet Isaiah, Jesus would not only be our counselor and source of peace for all times, he would be our Lord and Savior. His Son is a promise God made to mankind for a Messiah to redeem us ever since Adam and Eve rebelled in the Garden of Eden. The extent that God goes through to prove his love for us and draw us close is unfathomable. This Christmas, may you see the depth of God’s love and the gifts He bestows through Jesus Christ, the Savior born to us on Christmas Day!

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12

Because God is Love, Jesus, the promised Messiah was born unto us!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Order in the Court

God is Sovereign

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:1-3

If you have ever seen a judge tap his gavel in a courtroom, you know firsthand its effectiveness. In just a matter of seconds, where there was chaos, there is peace. Wouldn’t we all love to have a so-called “magic wand” to use in our personal lives? But we all know it doesn’t exist. When we are faced with turmoil at work, in our families, with our finances or our health, we often struggle with a solution when things get out of control.

But the truth is, we have been given access to such a tool – it is found in the sovereignty of God through his Son Jesus. From the beginning of time and through the ages, Jesus has been there bringing order to chaos. He was with God at the beginning of creation when the earth was formless and void. He illuminated the darkness, ordered the chaos, and filled the emptiness and He continues to bring order to the disorder of our world. He calms the seas and halts the winds and He can do the same in your life if you allow Him to be your Lord.

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4: 37-41

Because God is sovereign, Christ can bring order to all of our circumstances.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Overcoming Obstacles

God is Gracious|

After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” Genesis 15:1

We all face tough situations and are called to make difficult decisions each day. Often we will ask advice from family or co-workers on how to best approach the challenge. Many times we are able to find a solution and move on. But what about those times when the challenge seems impossible…when physically, emotionally, or financially there just is no way?

God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations, but he was faced with a major obstacle. At age 99 and his wife Sarah just a few years younger, the couple was childless. Yet God had told Abraham on several occasions that his offspring would be “as numerous as the stars in the sky”. Without a human solution, they had to place all of their trust in God. At first they tried to establish a family on their own account, but God reminded Abraham that the nation would arise through his very own son and that Sarah would be the mother of nations. As Abraham recognized he was powerless, it was in this place of utter impossibility that a dependence on God was established. God has made you a promise too – to never leave you and never to forsake you. He will grant you grace and peace in whatever your circumstance. Are you ready to trust God and let Him lead you thorough the challenges of your life?

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

Because God is gracious, with Christ, resolving even the toughest of situations is possible.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Identity Theft

God is Holy

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

If you have ever had your identity stolen, you know first hand the inconvenience caused and inherent cost. Unfortunately however, many of us operate with mistaken identities and aren’t even aware of it. We look in the mirror and see our significance from things we own, who we associate with, and what we do. We fail to see the ultimate purpose for our existence and in doing so, we don’t appreciate the great cost of rejecting our true identity.

The Bible tells us that God created man in his image; that His original intention was for us to be a reflection of who He is. But because of Adam and Eve’s original sin, no one can stand holy and pure before God. Unfortunately pride, anger, jealousy, greed, and lust are rampant in our society and in our personal lives. Through Christ, however, our sins are forgiven allowing us to be restored in our relationship and transformed into God’s likeness once again. With Christ in our hearts, we are clothed in God’s righteousness – righteousness of a King! That is who we are, if we choose to embrace our God given identity.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Because God is holy, by choosing Jesus Christ we are redeemed and made righteous.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Man In Red

God is Sovereign

The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.” Job 1:7

Hollywood’s version of the devil has him dressed up in a red suit carrying a pitchfork. At Halloween, his character is always a favorite. But really, who is the devil and what is he up to?

Searching the scriptures, we learn that Satan is a fallen angel. He is the most powerful spirit that God created but his pride caused him to sin against God and be cast into darkness. Roaming the earth looking for opportunity, his purpose is to tempt us with the goal of destroying us – and often we do not recognize the path he has led us on until it is too late. He is very attractive and very clever. His deceitful ways cause many to stumble. But it is never too late because we know the ending of the story -- God defeats Satan and he is cast into the lake of fire for eternity. When we battle Satan and all his folly, we fight from a position of strength because we know God has already won the battle. If we choose to stand with God through Jesus, we will defeat Satan and his schemes in our personal lives as we fight from victory and not just for victory.

But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Revelation 12:8-9

Because God is sovereign, with Christ we are victorious over Satan’s schemes.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Justice For All

God is Just

You are always righteous, O LORD, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? Jeremiah 12:1

Why is it that we all know someone who seems to prosper and yet doesn't deserve to? It doesn't seem fair to watch someone who is dishonest, disloyal, unkind or doesn't try hard succeed....While our society is set up to insure justice; we often wonder how our system can fail us and why God doesn't intervene? After all, God is sovereign isn't He?

The Bible tells us that no one is removed from judgement and that justice will ultimately prevail and yet inequity surrounds us. In 722 BC, God used the evil Assyrian nation to take over the Northern Kingdom of Israel and later God allowed the wicked Babylonians to capture the Southern Kingdom and destroy the beloved temple and city of Jerusalem. While the fall of Israel was considered a great injustice by God's "chosen people", we know that God has a just purpose and He continues with His plan until its completion.

Although it appears some prosper without reason and others experience difficulty undeservedly, God in His sovereignty will ultimately judge the earth and all who have lived. Nothing catches God by surprise or escapes Him and nothing can thwart His plans.

Say among the nations, "The Lord reigns." The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the people with equity. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth. Psalm 96:10-13

Then men will say, "Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth." Psalm 58:11

Because God is just, we find peace knowing through Christ all evil will ultimately be judged.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Forecast For Tomorrow

God is Wisdom

“This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it—the LORD is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:2-3

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could know the future? It seems like we’d all have much better lives if that was the case. Maybe that is why consulting horoscopes, fortune tellers and crystal balls have their lure, but how often is the feedback provided correct? And do we really trust in it anyhow?

The Old Testament tells us of how God spoke directly to the prophets. That He would give directions for His people to obey which would provide all that they needed to live safely and abundantly. But often the people did not listen and chose to go about things their own way. They dismissed wisdom and ended up suffering for it.

Reading these stories, we think how foolish they were not to listen, but are we not just as foolish? Do we study our bible to gain knowledge? Do we listen to the advice of our pastor and wise counsel? We read a lot of material searching for answers, but why do we turn our backs on the best advice; on truth that comes straight from God - the source of all knowledge and understanding?

“Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” Proverbs 1:28-33

A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. Proverbs 22:3

Because God is wisdom, through Christ truth is revealed

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Trust Fund

God is Love

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. Psalm 36:5-6

If you are on the receiving end of a trust fund, you are often envied by many. After all, who wouldn’t want to be handed down a financial future that is secure? But history tells us that even the safest of investments are risky and can be lost overnight. The same is true if we place our faith in our job, our abilities, our good looks, or social status – as none of these are guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Never fear, however, because God in His ultimate wisdom and love set up a system to ensure our livelihood for eternity. This so-called “trust fund” became available to us through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. Yes, our future is secure when we accept God’s gift of salvation by placing our trust in Christ; a provision that is irrevocable and that pays infinite dividends.

“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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4

Because God is love, through Christ our future is secure.

Monday, August 15, 2011

In God We Trust

God is Sovereign

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. Colossians 1:15-16

We elect our government officials, we chose a church, for the most part we chose our boss or place of employment, we chose our spouse, our friends, our home, our wardrobes, our meals – with seemingly so much control in our lives, it is no wonder we have problems with accepting authority over our lives.

Despite all these choices we are free to make, the Bible is very clear that God is our supreme authority. As our Creator and perfect in everyway, God is our source of infinite wisdom and power. So why do we think we know better or can do better on our own? Why is it so hard to give Christ jurisdiction over our lives? Many of us have tried and realized our failure while the rest of us continue to outrun Him. What He demands of us is our attention; what He gives is beyond compare. God is completely trustworthy in a world of uncertainty. While it is easy to find fault in those we have chosen to follow, there is no failure in following Jesus, the Lord of lords and King of all kings.

He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure. Isaiah 33:6

Because God is sovereign, we can fully trust in Christ.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Set Free

God is Faithful

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

If we are born free and live in a free society, why is it that sometimes we can’t break free from bad decisions, anger that comes from being treated unfairly, burdens caused by excessive debt, insecurities and the anxiety of meeting an unending list of promises made to ourselves and others? Does this life we live truly consist of freedom? Or, do we long to be set free from our commitments and obligations?

The Bible speaks of a freedom found in Jesus Christ. This is a freedom that goes beyond human entitlements. Jesus refers to a freedom that penetrates our hearts and leads us into action. A freedom to forgive when we’ve been wronged; a freedom to love our neighbors and our enemies; a freedom to rejoice even during difficult times; and a freedom to have confidence no matter what we face. Jesus allows us to break free of all personal struggles if we are willing to trust Him and allow Him to be our source of strength. With our focus on Christ, not only are we free from the penalty of our sin, we are set free from the burden in our hearts that drag us down and attempt to defeat us.

In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. Psalm 118:5

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Romans 8:20-21

Because God is faithful, with Jesus Christ, we are set free from our burdens.

Friday, July 15, 2011

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.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fear Not

God is Faithful

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6:27

Many of us are worried. Worried about the economy, our jobs, our bills, our children, our parents, our health…the list goes on. God never intended for us to worry. Genuine concern for a matter moves you to action, but worry has ill effects. Do not let your heart and mind be consumed by fear. Learn to focus on what God has called important and trust him to provide.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:33-34

Because God is Faithful, we need not worry.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

From Sorrow to Joy

God is All Powerful

The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.  About Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  Acts 16: 22-25

When having a bad day, it’s unlikely we’d describe our mood as joyous. To the contrary, we are likely to be tense, short tempered, angry or distraught.  In fact, from simple problems like being stuck in traffic to the most difficult of trials, being joyful is the last emotion we would expect to experience.

The Bible tells us that Paul and Silas, two of Jesus’ disciples, sang songs of praise after being whipped, beaten and then chained in a cold and dark prison cell.  Yes, bloody, cold and imprisoned without cause, they praised God!  Doesn’t seem possible, does it?  But Paul and Silas knew Jesus personally; they trusted He was in control of all things and that there wasn’t anything that God could not handle.  Their confidence in God gave them peace, and this peace gave them joy knowing they were with God and God was with them.  A joy that was so deep and profound they were able to sing praises despite their unfair and brutal treatment, their dire circumstances.  Not long after they praised God, an earthquake shook the ground violently and they were set free.  This same sincere joy that Paul and Silas experienced is available to us all at all times – and because of it, we too are set free.

I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you— I, whom you have redeemed.    Psalm 71:22-23

Because God is all powerful, with Christ, we find joy in all our circumstances.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Trust Me

God is Sovereign

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.  Job 37:5

Have you ever had a boss or a mentor that you followed without question? Someone you completely trusted?  If so, it is likely you did not understand every action taken or how some things would come together, but you followed along because of your fundamental belief in this person.  And while you may not have enjoyed each task handed out to you to complete, you did what was asked, believing your efforts would be worth it in the end.
Our relationship with God is much the same.  With faith, we don’t need to understand all things or see God’s complete story to follow Him.  With just a small amount of faith, God begins to reveal His character and His plan to us. But God intentionally leaves out some of the details – filling them in at His discretion.  And while we can struggle to find patience to endure trials on God’s appointed terms and timing, we persevere when we remember who He is -- the Creator of the Universe, the all knowing, and all powerful God, who has our best interests at heart.  For some, it may appear risky to place one’s faith blindly, but that is what makes faith, faith. Will you choose to follow Him? 

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”  Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.  He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:44-47


Because God is Sovereign, through Christ we can trust Him, even if we don’t understand Him completely.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Worthless - Says Who?

God is Holy

There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.  Ecclesiastes 7:20

Most of us have someone in our life, perhaps a boss, a spouse, a parent, or relative that regardless of how hard we try, leaves us feeling unworthy or like a failure.  Sometimes this rejection can be overwhelming and we struggle to find our place because we know no matter how hard we try, it’s never enough.

God knows we aren’t perfect either, but he loves and accepts us anyway!  He created us to be exactly as we are, with unique talents and gifts, but by no means perfect.  Jesus, as God-made man, was the only being to walk the earth that was perfect.  His death and resurrection paid the price for our completion.  We aren’t perfect but that is okay, because Jesus is there to erase the wrongs and fill in all the gaps
as we put our faith in Him.

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  Romans 3:22-24

Because God is holy, we can face man’s rejection with our confidence in Christ.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Gardner

God is Faithful

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.  Deuteronomy 32:4
Just about everyone loves spring.  It is an incredibly uplifting and joyous time.  The flowers are in bloom, the weather is warm, the days are getting longer --a welcomed change from the dark and cold days of winter.  But without the toil of winter, would such a glorious spring be possible?
So too is it with life…No one enjoys walking through a difficult season, but they serve a purpose despite not always understanding what that may be.  During such hardships, we long for the day when our circumstances will change, when life will get back to normal.  But perseverance during trials can bring forth splendor in ways that we can’t even imagine.  Trusting God as he prunes the dead branches in our lives provides an opportunity for God centered traits to flourish within us.  God’s desire is to see our character and life blossom like the most beautiful garden ever imagined when we draw closer to Him.  Getting through difficult seasons is challenging and can require more patience and effort than we planned, but when we trust God to rescue us, the results will be glorious.
There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under heaven:
  a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
  a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
   a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
  a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
  a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
  a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
  a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Because God is faithful, we trust that even during the most challenging of times, through Jesus, all our needs will be met.

Friday, April 15, 2011


God is Gracious

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.  Matthew 18: 21-22
We all seek to be forgiven, but what happens when forgiveness is asked of us?  It takes courage, patience and a generous heart to forgive others when we have been wronged. At times we hold grudges, seek revenge, suppress anger and struggle with releasing hurts that can be very deep and profound.  Consequently, we end up suffering more and becoming bitter by not letting go. 
So, how does one accomplish this daunting task of forgiveness?  Jesus’ death on the cross reminds us of the extreme suffering Jesus endured to provide payment for our sins.  So if God’s grace allows us to be forgiven without any cost, we too should be able to extend the same grace and forgive others without receiving payment.  When we embrace God’s miraculous gift of grace that has been extended to us through faith and not by any works we do, we will then be able to forgive others, and in doing so experience freedom and true joy. 
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:6-8

Because God is gracious, through Christ we are able to forgive others and live joyfully.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  Colossians 3:13

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April Fools

God is Just

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.      Proverbs 12:15

We all love a good joke or prank once in a while to break up the stress of the day … maybe this is why April Fool’s Day can be so much fun.  But that one day of the year can also serve as a reminder that foolish thinking, pranks and schemes should be the exception and not the rule in our life; that while life should be enjoyed, foolishness and folly have consequences.

The Bible speaks at great length on the topic of foolishness.  Solomon, the wisest man to ever live writes in the Book of Proverbs that fools do not seek God’s wisdom and understanding.  That they do not follow God, but rather live by their own set of rules.  But, it is written that one day God will judge us all and His justice will prevail.  And, while our pride may lead us to believe we will have the last laugh, are we truly prepared for Judgment Day?  No matter the recklessness or how foolish your past, God’s mercy and grace are still available to you today -- it’s not too late. 
Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.               Proverbs 19:20

Because God is just, with Christ we will face the final judgment in confidence.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Major Renovation

God is Gracious

"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth . . ." Isaiah 65:17
A great deal of effort goes into any kind of renovation – it starts with a vision and requires hours of planning, hard work, and great expense. The restoration all done to make something more useful and hopefully of more value. 

God, the master architect is also in the process of a major renovation. He is working on rebuilding the world around us and you are part of His plan.  Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, God has been working at restoring His vision. His love for us is too great, His vision too magnificent to allow His creation to decay in the grips of sin.  But God’s plan requires a major overhaul in our thinking, our hearts, and our actions… When we replace the focus of our life from worldly possessions to Godly desires with Jesus at the center, we become a new creation.  The grand plan is in place and Jesus has already paid the price.  Now it’s your move.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  2 Corinthians 5:17-18

Because God is gracious, through Christ we have become new.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Swimming Upstream

God is Ever-Present

 I called on your name, LORD, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.”  You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.” You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life.             Lamentations 3:55-58

Just like a salmon with the daunting task of swimming upstream to spawn, we too can find ourselves fighting battles that take every ounce of energy we have.  While in the midst of such challenging times, we realize we are powerless. Weakened and exposed, we may find ourselves calling out to God to save us for the very first time or restore us once again. 

It is comforting to know, however, that even in the darkest of times, God will never leave us, and never will he forsake us. His mercy and grace abound. While we may question God “why me, why now?” we can trust that God is at work in the details of our life. When we are drawn to God’s redeeming promise, we begin to understand how deeply our Heavenly Father cares for us and we find the strength to carry on.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.  Romans 5:1-5

Because God is ever-present, through Jesus, we find our ultimate strength.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

God Is Our Rock

God is Unchanging

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  Matthew 7:24-26

Perhaps at some point in the not to distant past you have felt like something you looked to in this life --  your finances, your health, your accolades, your relationships -- was eroding away; just like sand washing away around your feet in the tide.

The Bible tells us when we place our trust in God, after the last grain of sand is gone, we find a rock that we can stand on. This is our hope and encouragement to get through difficult times. God is always there – around us, before us, above us, in front of us.  God is more than a feeling or a vague idea, He is the foundation – solid and everlasting, dependable, faithful, and unchanging.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.   Psalm 23:4

Because God is unchanging, through Christ we can trust Him with everything.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Change Agent

God is All-Powerful

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,      Acts -18

A change agent is defined as an event, organization, material thing or, more usually, a person that acts as a catalyst for change.  In the corporate world and even at home, a lot of time, money and resources are deployed to assist with change…But do people, places, or organizations ever really change?  We all hope the answer is true and especially when it comes to us personally….but why is it that some are more successful at change than others?

The story in the bible about Paul, formerly know as Saul from Tarsus, is a wonderful story of change.  Paul was ruthless in persecuting Christians during the first century AD.  But after a supernatural experience with the resurrected Jesus, he was changed forever in a very powerful way.  His actions were immediately effected – his heart and mind permanently altered.  It was the interaction with Jesus, a personal encounter with Heaven’s own change agent, which made the difference.  Jesus is also available to us in the very same way.  Are you ready and willing to be changed forever?

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.  1 Timothy 1: 15-16

Because God is all-powerful, through Christ, we are able to experience permanent change.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Change of Plans

God is All-Knowing

I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.  Jeremiah 10:23

This week’s Deep Freeze that hit the southeastern United States is an effective reminder of how even the best laid plans don’t always happen.  With a week’s worth of appointments and meetings postponed or cancelled, we are reminded that there is a power greater than ourselves and that we are not in control. 

We can make all the plans in the world, but we can never know what the future holds.  Only God knows the future.  Sometimes His plans are at odds with ours. God promises however, that good and perfect gifts come from Him if we trust in His plan for our life. Are you willing to accept that your heavenly “Father Knows Best” and embrace all that God has planned for your life? 
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

Because God is all-knowing, through Christ we can trust His plan for our life.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Second Chances

God is Gracious

Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”  Genesis 9:15-17

The New Year can signify a time to start over, to make changes, to do things differently.  For that reason, many of us look forward to a new year – sometimes wishing they came sooner than every twelve months because as fallible humans, we welcome an opportunity to “do it over”.

Since creation, God has provided new beginnings. Noah built an ark so mankind could start over, but it did not last.  Then God made a promise to Abraham to make him the father of a great nation if he trusted God.  Abraham was faithful, but as time wore on, God’s people became more and more wicked.  They turned from God and took matters into their own hands – a strategy that ultimately leads to destruction.  Then, for 400 years God was silent.  But God is a God of second chances. He extended grace once again by sending his Son Jesus.  Jesus’ sacrifice illustrates the extent of God’s love for us and through Jesus we are able to know God personally.  With the 2011 New Year upon us, will you turn over the controls; once and for all and find your second chance in Jesus?

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

Because God is gracious, through Jesus we have been given a second chance.