Faithful

The dictionary defines the word "faithful" as: ( a.) Strict or thorough in the performance of a duty. (b.) True to one's word. (c.) Steady in allegiance or affection. (d.) Loyal, constant, reliable, trusted, or believed. Sounds to me like faithfulness is a very good virtue. What do you say?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to deduce that the genuine source of faithfulness is God Himself. I mean He is the epitome of faithfulness. The first definition of faithfulness listed says "strict or thorough in the performance of a duty". I'd say that nails God! He's God, right? I'm convinced He is very strict and loyal as God. He's not God today and simply a legend tomorrow. He's always God and He's quite good at it! That's because He's faithful. The second definition is "true to one's word". Bingo! God again. What God says He will do...He will do. What God has said He would do...He's done! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever according to what He said. He's held true to that. The third definition says "steady in allegiance or affection". If there's one human word (among a gazillion others) that describes God it is steady. Isaiah says God loves with an everlasting love. That's pretty steady and affectionate. The Bible says God is "love". How can you get more affectionate than that? Other definitions listed are "loyal, constant, reliable, trusted, or believed". All of these accurately describe God's infinite faithfulness.

If God were not trustworthy, He could not be trusted. Yes, quite a simple statement but with profound implications. In other words, if our trust did not have as its aim the One who is trustworthy, it would not be possible. In the same way faith can only be substantiated by the One who is faithful. If God were not faithful, it would be futile to walk by faith. I am always saying that if you want to experience God's faithfulness...you must take steps of faith. Your faith gives God the opportunity to express His faithfulness. As a matter of fact, the Book says we must walk (live) by faith...not by the way things appear. This is possible because He is truly faithful. Many do not experience God's faithfulness to the level they were created to. Why? Because they're not walking by faith. Many think walking by faith requires them to muster up some invisible force from within that causes them to believe and trust in God for anything. When that doesn't happen they think they are just one of those who doesn't have great faith. God has given us all we need to trust Him. His Word. We must live and walk by it.

If you need to trust Him more (experience His faithfulness), then trust Him to do what He's already said He will do...for you. Become a student of His Word, not just for knowledge, but for faith. The book says "Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God." Live your life according to what His Word says. I promise you...you will experience His faithfulness. He is there for you!

You Win!

When I was growing up I followed one particular college football team. My dad and my sister attended this university so I grew up listening to their games with Dad on the radio. Back then there wasn't nearly as much football on TV, but when they did play on TV it was really something. Several times throughout my childhood and teenage years we went to see them play live. What a treat!  The best thing about it all was that they won their games most of the time! It usually crushed me (for a day or two) when they lost; especially when they weren't supposed to! I grew accustomed to my team winning. Year after year they went to bowl games because they had winning records. I'll have to say...it was exciting!

When we listened to them play on the radio I couldn't wait until the early part of the next week when the replay highlights would be aired on TV. It was a 30 minute program that highlighted the best and most exciting plays of the game. I loved it! Here's the unique thing about all of this. Even though I knew they won I still watched the playback program! I knew the outcome (they won), but I wanted to see how it played out - one play at a time! When they fumbled the ball or a pass was intercepted, I didn't worry a bit, because I knew the outcome!

In a much greater way, Jesus has won the victory for you and me. If you know Him, you also know   He has defeated our opponent. There was actually no contest! Jesus won...hands down. Even though we are challenged by His defeated opponent, we know Jesus has defeated Him, once and for all. Just like those playback shows, we know how it will end. But we must experience every play, one play at a time. Sometimes it doesn't seem like we are winners, but the truth is we are. Why? Because He won the victory for us! As we walk out this life with Him, there will be good days and bad days. But in it all and through it all, we focus on the end of the game (which will come very soon) - we win! More accurately stated...we have already won!

Here's a little secret. When my team lost, I didn't care at all to watch the playback show. Why? Because I hated loosing! Why watch every single play that leads to loosing? So I didn't! But thank Jesus, He won! No question about it. The victory has been won for you and me. You are NOT a loser. You are a winner in Christ Jesus! What you and I must do is walk in the truth of His victory. You may be walking through some "stuff" today, but walk as a winner - because He has won the victory for you!

Why You Should Celebrate The Birth of Jesus

With the Christmas season upon us (yea I know it's not Thanksgiving yet), what a great time for a post about the birth of Jesus Christ. The greatest reason we should all celebrate His birth is because He was born! The fact that He came is the greatest reason we have to celebrate...and it is a BIG reason! 

Jesus was not born on December 25th. He was probably born in late September or sometime in October. No one knows the exact month or day He was born. Some believe that because of this we should not celebrate His birth. But He came! What we do know is angels appeared to announce His coming. "But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11). "And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." (Luke 2:13-14) This was declared to be "...good news of great joy for all" by the angels. In addition, the angels joined together in praising God in celebration of His birth! Not sure about you, but I see this as a heavenly celebration of His earthly birth! If the angels celebrated, I think I will too!

Another reason we should celebrate the birth of Jesus is because of the way He came. Listen to how God engineered His coming. He chose the virgin Mary to be the human vessel through which He would come. "Mary said to the angel, 'How can this be, since I am a virgin?' The angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:34-35) Because Jesus was conceived of by the Holy Spirit, and born of a woman, He was God and He was man. In other words, He was born of the Spirit and born of man.  He was the God-man! No other human has ever been born...that was also born of God! Mohammad and all his followers cannot claim this. Buddha cannot claim this. The prophets of old cannot claim this. But we can claim Him! He is called the "Only begotten" Son of God. This means "unique, the only one of His kind".

A human had to be offered for the sins of humanity. But this human had to be spotless and the blood He shed had to be pure...not tainted with sin. Again, because of His conception, He was man and He was God. The nature of Jesus' conception and His birth determined His nature...sinless. Jesus had NO sin nature. Why? Because He was born of God! This made Him the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. You and I were born of Adam with a sinful nature. Because He was born (and born of God), we can become "born again" by the same Spirit! I'm on it now!

He is referred to as the "Firstborn of all creation"! He had to come first. He had to be God, and He had to be one of us...human. That's why I can celebrate His birth on December 25th, or June 25th, or October 31st! Because He came as one of us, and He came is Emmanuel, "God with us"! You know what? I think I'll celebrate His birth today...and tomorrow...and the next day...and the day after that...to infinity! How about you?

Warning! You Need To Change!

I've been pondering something for a couple of days. Something everyone has to deal with, but most of us don't want to deal with it. No it's not our income tax return or a trip to the dentist for a cleaning or even worse...a root canal. It is change. Yea, change.

As a whole change is necessary to move forward in life. Change involves our position. I know you've heard the old adage "being in the right place at the right time". That's what position is. Sometimes we need to reposition in order to move ahead or to even stand our ground. But in most cases repositioning requires change. For most change is the direct opposite of comfortable!

Change is necessary to be effective in whatever we do. If we do something a certain way without getting the desired results perhaps we need to change the way we're doing what we're doing! My pastor always said, "If we do what we've always done, we will always have what we've always had!" That's speaks volumes to me. The problem is that what we've always had is not what God wants for us today! He is fresh, like a flowing river. He is always moving and wherever He moves life flows. 

The greatest roadblock to change, thus the roadblock to progress, is focusing on the past.  Many of us had wonderful pasts. Some would love to forget some of their past. But the truth is, looking back on "what we had" makes it impossible for you and me to acquire "what we need" to move ahead. Therefore we become stiff and brittle, not being pliable and resilient which is what we need to change. Focusing on "where I used to be" and how wonderful it was is in direct opposition to "where I am going" and how much more wonderful it could be. Notice I said "focusing" not remembering. There is a big difference. Back a few years I knew some people in which whose home a church was born. Over the years as the church grew these folks (as sweet as they were) always referred back to the days when the church was in their home. It's as if God could never top anything as good as that. The sad part is that's where their focus was. It was hard for them to move beyond the days that took place back then. Everything from back then and forward was measured against those particular days and experiences.

I see this so much in people today. Many people simply don't want to change and don't really realize it. To them it seems as if it will never be as good as it was "back then". The truth is...their focus has them blinded to reality. Listen to what Paul says in Philippians 3: 13a - 14, "...forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Please remember this..the goal is always ahead of you. It is never behind! God has so much in store for you, your family, and your church. But we must be willing to change in order move ahead to pursue it. Change may not be comfortable but it is vital!

Prepare For Change

It's a beautiful morning in Mississippi. It's brisk, a tad overcast, and the leaves are proclaiming all the Fall colors.  I love this time of year. To some folks Fall signifies the end or the death of Summer. To me it signifies a season of Change. Fall and Spring are seasons of change. I like that.

Now don't misunderstand, I love the Summer and I even like the Winter.  But there is something about an atmosphere of change that excites me.  In this type of atmosphere it seems anything can happen!

In my walk with Jesus, I prefer to be in seasons of change.  I love it when God tells His people, "Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder the things of the past. Behold, I will do something new..." (Isaiah 43:18-19). We do go through seasons in which nothing seems to change. But it's during those times we must be very careful not to settle into a rut.  We must constantly seek God's face for the freshness of His Spirit in our walk with Him. The writer of Hebrews says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Heb.13:8) Understand that Jesus never changes.  He doesn't need to change...we do! His principles as well as His character are solid and applicable throughout time. In order to be like Him, we must change. So God brings us through seasons of change as His Spirit and His Word work in us.

Because of change, our walk with Jesus should never be boring. It is always an adventure! Change is a quality in our walk that dispels the mediocre. Change indicates that God is up to something...and when He is up to something...its just down-right exciting!

Let me encourage you today. Expect change. Prepare for change. God wants to do exceeding abundantly beyond all you can ask, or even think, according to His power that is available to work in you! (See Ephesians 3:20.)

You ARE Worthy

You are worthy!  I say this to Jesus countless times throughout the day.  But in this post I'm not talking to God...I'm talking to you!  Let me say it again.  You are worthy.  Worthy of what?  Worthy of Him.  Now if you are like me often you don't feel worthy to be in relationship with the Creator of all things.  But you are worthy.  Often when we focus on our own abilities to please God, we can easily see where we fall way short. But thanks to God, my standing with Him is not contingent on my abilities!  My standing with Him is not dependent on my past.  As a matter of fact, nothing of me or mine qualifies me to be accepted by Him! Nothing! Then how can I be worthy of Him?  By His choice.  By His decision. Because of His great love for you and me.

With that said, let me also say we must come to the point in which we accept His grace. Many folks have accepted Him, but have yet fully accepted the fact that it is all done by Him, and not by our own merit. Some cannot even properly yield to Him because they still don't feel worthy of Him.  But you are worthy of Him...thanks to Him and Him alone!  We must come to the point in our walk at which we stop telling Him that we are unworthy of Him and don't deserve Him. You may think or feel you're not worthy.  But He thinks differently.  He made it possible. He became one of us. He walked the earth as you and I do.  He was tempted in every area that you and I are...yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15). He gave Himself for you and me to deliver us out of this present evil age (Galatians 1:4).  If we are delivered from this present evil age, then we have been accepted into His fold.  If you and I are accepted by Him...we are worthy of Him.  There is a difference between arrogance and confidence.  Arrogance gives man/self all the credit (or at least a good chunk of it.)  But confidence gives God all the credit.  Confidence is the assurance that God did all the work and all we have to do is believe it, receive it, and act like it!

I was not worthy.  But now I am.  I was once lost, but now I have received the grace and mercy He extended to whosoever will receive Him!  This gives me my position - in Him. You ARE worthy too.  And the sooner you believe that, the sooner you will impact the lives of others who have yet to meet Him. You are an awesome creature, created in Christ by the Creator Himself.  If HE has decided you are worthy of salvaging, then it is settled.  You are worthy!