Friday, October 28, 2016

Through Here To Eternity

For years I've heard that old saying, "He's so heavenly minded that he's no earthly good". It's very similar to the old saying, "He's got his head in the clouds". These words usually describe a person who is so focused on spiritual things, they make no applicable connection to natural, practical things. I'm sure you've known someone like that. Perhaps it is you!

Let me use another old-time, popular phrase: "Let's don't throw out the baby with the bath water"! It is true, with some folks, the ideals swimming around in their heads don't quite connect with the ground they are standing on. But there is a side to that "heavenly minded" thing above we must see, understand, and apply in our lives...every single day.

Titus Chapter 2 tells us that the very grace we are saved by instructs us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires. It instructs us to live sensibly, righteously, and Godly in the present age. This is the "earthly good" part. But there is also a "heavenly minded" part too! According to Titus 2, we must also be constantly looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.

Understand my believer friend, you are on this planet to impact people, and to leave a Godly legacy. But you are also here to make an impact on eternity. So how are you doing that? According to Jesus, we are not of this world, just as He was not of this world when He came 2000 year ago. Yes, we're here for now. And our mission here is to touch all we can with the life-changing love of Jesus. But earth is NOT our home! The life you live must be lived with a view to eternity. Everything you do, everything you are involved in must be done with eternity in mind. To be truthful, this is how you make an earthly impact and leave a godly legacy.

1 Corinthians Chapter 7 says we should not make full use of this world. John tells us we should not love the world, because all that is in the world is passing away. (1 John 2:15-17) I pray more believers would understand this. To become heavily involved with worldly things is to sow nothing toward eternity. A believer bound to this world is a believer who has no vision of eternity. Eternity is our destination. Earth is simply part of the journey.

The only way to live Godly and sensibly here is to understand where we're headed, and what we're laying up for eternity. Our hope is not in the latest worldly trends, fads, and past-times. Our hope is not in our professions or vocations. Our hope is in the appearing of Jesus Christ. That's what we live for, and who we will live with for eternity.

558032: Driven by Eternity: Make Your Life Count Today and Forever Driven by Eternity: Make Your Life Count Today and Forever
By John Bevere / Messenger International

How would you live if you discovered that the next 24 hours would determine your future? Would you intentionally direct your actions or let the chips fall where they may? In this 6-session study, Bevere blends allegory with Scripture to show how the choices we make today have an eternal impact. Includes discussion questions.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Don't Forget To Set Your SPIRITUAL Alarm Clock!

This morning I am up early. It's Saturday, so why I am not sleeping in? Could it be that "body clock" thing? No, not really; even though I've been an early riser for years. At one time (earlier in my life) I was a radio announcer. You know, a Disc Jockey. Most of my shifts were very, very early shifts. In order to start my shift at 5:00 am my feet would have to hit the floor at 3:45 am!

Even though I'm up very early this morning; and even though my "body clock" is set to wake me early every single day of my life, it's not the body clock thing. It is something much greater than that.

The truth is, it's my "spiritual clock" thing! Yes, I have a spiritual alarm clock Holy Spirit chimes for me...every single morning of my life. With Him it's always a very early chime. That's just the way it has been for me. No matter what time I retire at night, my spiritual Holy Spirit alarm clock chimes at the same time each morning.....early! But I wouldn't have it any other way! What a joy and a blessing it is to rise early every morning to meet the King of the universe. It seems He has personally dedicated this time to just Himself and me.

What I've discovered through the years is that He is more excited about our time together than I am. He is always waiting for me when I awaken...every single morning! On the mornings I struggle a bit with my physical senses, He patiently loves me into complete consciousness. Wow!

I made it a priority years ago to rise early and seek my King. As a result, my spiritual Holy Spirit alarm clock has been set for "early". Like God longed to walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day in the Garden of Eden, I have no doubt He looks forward each morning to our communion together. One of my favorite verses of the Bible is Psalm 5:3, "In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch."

I am so grateful for my Holy Spirit alarm clock! You have one too. Even though He chimes through it, you must set the time. For me, it is early. It may be different for you. The key however, is that we set the alarm by consistently meeting with Him daily. I promise He will be waiting for you when the alarm goes off!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Word Christian Is Extremely Abused

Do you call yourself a Christian? You may be using this word/label incorrectly. A Christian, according to the Bible, is a "follower" or "disciple" of Christ Jesus. A disciple is one who dedicates their life to following Jesus, and His Word. So a Christian is a follower/disciple of Jesus Christ.

We get the English word "Christian" from the Greek word "Christianos". "...and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch." (Acts 11:26b) Notice - the disciples were followers of Jesus before they were called Christians. Here's another very interesting fact: The word Christian does not occur in the New Testament as a name commonly used by Christians themselves. In other words, those who were called Christians didn't refer to themselves as Christians.

In the above verse the words "were called" means "to be directed by God" as if by divine oracle. This same verb "chrematizo" was used involving the magi from the East, who were divinely informed not to return to tell Herod where the baby Jesus was. (See Matthew 2:12,22) As the writer of Hebrews names Noah to the great "Hall of Faith", he uses the same word. God divinely instructed Noah to build the ark. (See Hebrews 11:7) The point is, the folks who first called the disciples "Christians" were divinely directed to do so by God Himself. This blows away the idea that the disciples were first called Christians as an appellation of ridicule, as commonly taught.

To be clear, the folks who were not yet followers of Jesus were the ones who (by divine direction) first began to call the early followers of Jesus Christians. And I'll add that the "divine direction" was the obvious hand of God on the early believers. Who could deny that they were followers of Christ? Thus they were Christians!

This little study has challenged me! So let me challenge you. If you never said you were a Christian, would your coworkers know you were a Christian? Do others who observe your life at home, at school, at work, or in public observe that you're a Christian? By God's hand upon your life, does He speak to others to divinely inform them that you are a Christian (follower of Jesus)? My prayer is that He does. And having been challenged, I am more eager than ever to live for Jesus in such a way that others will not only notice that I'm an Christian, but that they will call me a Christian, without me ever having to give them a hint!

The Magnolia Story
By Chip & Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino

Stars of HGTV's Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna Gaines have garnered fans across the country with their creativity, humor and their wholesome example of marriage and family. In The Magnolia Story, they share their journey of how they met, their first renovation project, business ups and downs, and the fateful day when Joanna's design work caught the eye of a television producer. Since then, they've not only flipped houses and made people's dreams come true, they've become America's favorite real-life couple. Reading their story, you'll feel like you're sitting at the table with friends you've always known.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Are You Preparing The Next Generation?

The answer for our nation's future, and really...for that of the entire world is quite clear. The answer is of God, and lies distinctly in His Word. It is our future generations. The answer for a better tomorrow lies in the hands of our own children and grandchildren. Yes, we must seek the face of God for our nation, and for ourselves today! We need divine intervention now! And God will do it if we His people will humble ourselves and pray, and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways. But what about tomorrow? What about after you and I are gone? What about the next generation? How will they impact our world? Will things get better or worse? Instead of fearing for the future of our children and grandchildren, our generation can do something now about the future!

Listen to Proverbs 22:6. "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it." This verse not only applies to teaching your children right from wrong, according to the Bible. But it deals with the future. This is God's way. We are facing way too much trouble today, because Christian parents failed to accomplish the above verse of Scripture in the past. I want to look more closely at the Scripture above.

The words "train up", from the original language have meaning that perhaps most Christian parents don't realize. Very early training for the child is indicated by this word. Some meanings: to initiate, to teach; to dedicate, to consecrate, to inaugurate. This Hebrew verb "Chanak" occurs 5 times in the Bible. Let's look at a couple of examples. (I Kings 8:63), "Solomon offered for the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered to the LORD, 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the sons of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD." Another example: (2 Chronicles 7:5), "King Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. Thus the king and all the people dedicated the house of God." This Hebrew verb describes something very similar to our ground-breaking ceremony.

It's very common for Christian parents to "dedicate" their children to the Lord very early. But this Hebrew word "Chanak" goes much deeper than a simple ceremony. Along with the dedication, it is a commitment to properly train the child to live in our world according to Jesus, and His Word. Not only is this "dedication" and "consecration" a commitment by the parents, but by the community as well.

Let me share a very important reason we need to prepare the next generation. You see, there is a hole in our society representing over 50 million babies aborted since 1973. Think about the world-changer that never made it out of the womb. Think about the possible cancer-curers snuffed out before they were born. Think about the Preachers, Pastors, Teachers, Apostles, Prophets, and Evangelists whose voices and ministries were never heard. How could that not affect our land? But there is still hope. It is the upcoming generations. Those whose parents get it. Those who are not being trained by the latest trends and fads of our culture. But those who are being trained up in the way they should go....the way of God! God's way is counter-cultural, but most powerful. God's way is the way that changes lives of billions for eternity!

The above verse Proverbs 22:6 is not just another verse to encourage parents to train their children to be good Christians in the midst of a lot of bad folk. No, it is a challenge to change the future of cities and nations. Parents please get this. As long as your children are young, you can train them up way they should go. Again, this verse deals with their future, and the future of the world. Make a commitment NOW to be very particular about what they watch, see, hear, listen to, where they go in person, and on the internet. Provide them with materials. Talk to them. Teach them about Jesus. Pray with them. Teach them that to be a world-changer, they eventually will be faced with going against the flow of this world. And never forget, either you will train them up in the way they should go (God's individual destiny for them), or the world will train them up in a way that opposes God.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

My Presidential Vote Goes To......

The 2016 Presidential election is almost upon us. And I can honestly say, this has to be the worst election season yet! When I say this, I'm not referring to the choices of candidates to vote for. I'm referring to the atrocious conduct of the candidates involved toward one another. But....this post is not about who is running, how they are acting, or what they have done to each other. This post is about my vote.

Before I discuss my vote I want to say that no matter "who" is elected the next President of the United States, Jesus is still Lord. God is still in control! Yes, for believers it is very easy to become frustrated and discouraged over the events of the past several years, and the drifting away from God by our nation. But that doesn't change who God is. Don't ever forget...the future and destiny of our nation does NOT lie in the hands of mere humans. God controls the universe. Our responsibility as followers of Jesus is to seek God...not man. When we do, we draw closer to Him. When we draw closer to Him, we experience His love and His heart for mankind. It is His love and heart that changes human hearts and destinies.

So, how will I vote? Here we go. I will vote for the innocent. I am voting for the helpless. My vote goes to the aborted unborn. I will be voting for God's design for marriage; the holy union between a man and a woman. (God designed it, not me.) "And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, 'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'?" (Matthew 19:4-5)

I will be voting for the persecuted Christian here at home, and all around planet earth. I will be voting for the destitute throughout the world whom God in His infinite grace has allowed our nation to impact throughout our history. I will be voting for the church, through which God's Word has been proclaimed from the very inception of America. (We became a great nation...because of God's church!) I will be voting for the missionary stationed, standing, and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus in the deepest, darkest of cultures, way far from the comforts of America. I will be voting for the freedom for anyone to proclaim the Gospel, anywhere in our nation; the Gospel (good news) that presents eternal freedom to those who are trapped in sin.

I'm voting for equality of souls. In heaven no color distinguishes between souls in any way. In heaven, we're all dressed in white, stained with the crimson blood of the Lamb of God. Even today in our midst, the Holy Spirit sees NO distinction between souls. We are all ONE in Jesus through the same Spirit.

In summary, I am voting for all the "life" principles for humanity, outlined in God's Word, the Holy Bible. The very same principles America is founded upon; and that she has stood firmly upon until recent decades.
Now comes the $64 question. Is there any candidate who represents all of the principles outlined above? The answer is no. But remember what I said. The future of our nation doesn't lie in the hands of mere humans. So what do Christians do...not vote at all? Do we write in our favorite person, or better still, our favorite cartoon character? No! Here's what we do...we VOTE! For whom? Vote for the candidate on the ballot who best fits the principles outlined in the Word of God.

It is our privilege to vote. It is our duty to vote. Love me as I say this, but to not vote is to concede to the notion that God is not strong enough, or big enough to be in control of our country. On the other hand, to vote (as a believer) is to understand the imperfection of our humanity, and have faith that our leaders are in the hands of the One who created and now rules the entire universe.

Many believe our nations is where she is because we've distanced ourselves (as a nation) from God. This is true. But there is more to it. America is in the shape she is in, so that we can clearly see what we must do...turn back to God! My prayer is that believers will see and act accordingly (Biblically).

Well, now you know my vote goes to...

The Cost Of Following Jesus (Part 2)