Thursday, September 3, 2015

God Sent Me

Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God... And there will I nourish thee.” Genesis 45:5;7;8;11

Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you...” Genesis 50:19-21

Imagine Joseph's state of mind had he known the hardships beforehand. He was despised, abandoned, enslaved, tempted, imprisoned, and forgotten. Surely this was not the life he envisioned on his 17th birthday. Now at the age of 30 Joseph saw his placement as being sent, not sold. God was with him through every affliction to accomplish His purpose. God accomplishes His will through human flesh –amazing! This fact should be the headline of conversation.
Unlike Joseph, Jesus knew what was set before Him. Jesus being fully human struggled in the knowledge of God's will. “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me,” (Matthew 26:39). God's requirement was more than Jesus' flesh could willfully choose do. Jesus did drink that cup in its entirety to deliver us from the wrath of God. His spilled blood saves and broken body nourishes us still. Jesus went through His earthly life knowing His death sentence, and in great agony requested God to veto it if possible.
What if God laid knowledge of the future on us? Would we be likely to come to a better knowledge of Him? An unknown future compels daily trust, either in God or oneself.
  “God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is,” (Oswald Chambers, 1874-1917). 
In every circumstance God has chosen the outcome that will most teach us of Himself, whether or not it is successful in our own eyes.
See your placement in life as God's advancement, not the world's dungeon. Joseph's jail cell was his prayer stool. Ruth's emptied-handedness was necessary for God to fill them with His own bounty. Esther's recruitment as “replacement wife” positioned her to exterminate national threat and restore freedom of worship. Paul's imprisonment was the post from which he mailed God's love letters to the early churches. Recognize your placement as the gateway for glory! You are in the place of God. The world has 0% power over you. No one can extract you from His hand. He holds you still and precisely until you are squarely aligned to be joined to His perfect design. Be doubtless where you are. God sent you here.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall
d o u b t l e s s
come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:6

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Truth is Life-Changing

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
 that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God,
 which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world,
 but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." 
Romans 12:1;2

Did you know that if you come clean with reality, your life will be transformed? Daily exposure to absolute truth enlightens the mind. It changes the nature in which we process circumstance. We think differently, we feel differently and we act differently. To think, feel and act is to live. When these three aspects are transformed, we can define truth as life-changing. Do you desire to think differently about certain unlovely people in your life? Do you long to feel content with the work of your hands and secure in your future which is in His hands? Do you wrestle within to act as one in whom the Lord delights? Reconcile your life with the truth.
Until death you embody a sinful nature. So you may as well just wait for death; why struggle against something inseparable in this life? (Study Ecclesiastes) Why? Because of love. In the weakness of possessing to two natures (old sinful/new righteous) we can more clearly see God for Who He is-- and others can see Him through our weaknesses too. "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you." II Corinthians 4:10-12 You see, our lives are designed for God's use and we can exemplify this through our interaction with others. Our interaction with others either confirms or denies our love for God. Please note that nothing you ever do will increase or decrease God's love for you. "The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people." Deuteronomy 7:7 "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 ''But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." Titus 3:4;5 Furthermore, nothing others do will ever increase or decrease God's love for them. We as Christlike children of God should never set our affections toward them according to their actions. Why is it then that we should act like Christ? If we cannot increase God's love for us by what we do, why struggle? We do struggle because we simply love God back. Our actions are the ultimate response of what we love. "We love him, because He first loved us." I John 4:19 Like a child that tries to help his parent and in the long run causes more work for the parent, so are we before God. We are incapable of helping God. God did not create us to help Him. He created man with a free will to chose himself whether he would please or displease God. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6 Who would want a robot to worship them? That would practically be mocking. However, if an individual soul wills to trust, obey, love, and worship-- that is something profound! When there is evil to be enjoyed but righteousness is chosen, that is unusual, remarkable. What in the universe and beyond could be so cherished that all sinful forces are refused? God.We can only love Him because He first loved us as a sacrificing Father, an interceding Son, and a sanctifying Spirit.

I opened with the statement that truth is life-changing. All of us have different errors in our minds and because of them we continue thinking, feeling, and acting in error. Sin has our eyes darkened. But God be thanked that in the process of sanctification, we can confirm truths that make our relationship with God (and others) a miracle. For me, one of those truths was the reality that I can glorify God in doing something small, insignificant, and monotonous if I did it in the right motive, the motive that I love Him so much that I love those He has placed around me. My actions are rooted in what I ultimately love. He is not calling me to be Jim Elliot, Corrie Ten Boom, or George Washington. He is calling me to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly wherever He leads me. Believing that truth causes me to think about motives, not a title of fame. That truth causes me to feel satisfied in God, and yet longing more of Him. That truth makes me to act more loving in seemingly unimportant situations. That one truth changes so much in my life.

From tortured to triumph, truth is life-changing. Separation from God is the greatest problem resulting from sin. This is caused by the lie in our hearts. Only through truth can we be reunited with God. Without it we do not know reality. We as fallen mankind do not know God for Who He is. "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." II Thessalonians 2:10-12 Seeking ones can acknowledge His existence. Saved ones can trust His gift. Sanctified ones can break forth in discoveries of Who else He is. There is no conflict so great that the applied truth of God cannot quell it.

Through the ages many people, Christian and non-christian, proclaim,"The truth will set you free!" Few come to the context and perceive that truth is only found while abiding in the Word of God.  "Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.' They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed'." John 8:31-36

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Shoes & Trampled Relationships

Do you have a shoe preference? Some people are serious about name brands. Nike, Columbia Sportswear, Adidas, Reebok, New Balance, THE NORTH FACE, Eddie Bauer, Bata, etc., are well-known brands in stores today. Wearing only UnderArmour apparel to the gym makes quite a statement. Recently I have been researching the history of footwear in the 1920s. Below is an intriguing story of two brothers with one similarity: shoemaking.

Adolf (Adi) and Rudolf Dassler were both born in Herzogenaurach, Germany and grew up working in their father's shoe factory. In the 1920s, at the end of WWI, Adi established his own shoe factory and was shortly accompanied by his brother in the business. They began their work in their mother's small laundry, occasionally using the pedal-power of a stationary bike when the town electric was unreliable. In 1936 Adi traveled to the Summer Olympics with a suitcase full of spikes and convinced U.S. athlete Jesse Owens to wear them. Owens did wear them while sprinting and won four gold medals. Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory) was booming. Over 200,000 shoes were sold annually.

Jesse Owens

As Hitler gained power in the start of WWII, Adi and Rudolf joined the Nazi Party. Rudolf, however, was more involved-- a known National Socialist. He was drafted and then captured. Rudolf believed Adi turned him over the American Troops and despised him for it. Meanwhile Adi manufactured boots for Germany's Armed Forces and then left the Nazi party. The brothers' business split. As did the town of Herzogenaurach. Adi renamed his business Adidas, and Rudolf founded his own company, Puma, across the river on the other side of town. Rivalry was fierce. The controversy led to the football teams endorsing one but not the other. Strangers were judged by the brand they wore. Herzogenaurach was nicknamed "the town of bent necks". Repairmen in Rudolf's house were offered a pair of free Pumas because they would deliberately wear Adidas shoes in his home. Shoes were selected in support of preferred politics. In the first German national football game after WWII, many of the West German national team wore Pumas, including Herbert Burdenski, who scored the first post-war goal. During the Summer Olympics of 1952, Puma's first Olympic gold medal was won by Luxembourg's Josy Barthel in Finland. Just eight years later Rudolf Dassler paid German sprinter Armin Hary to wear Pumas in the Olympics final sprint. Armin, who previously wore Adidas requested payment from Adi, who refused. Armin agreed to Rudolf's proposition. Armin completed the race in first place, but changed into his Adidas to receive his medal. Both brothers were astounded and rumors have it that neither companies paid the "world's fastest champion" of the day.

The Dassler brothers never reconciled. Although in the same cemetery, Adi and Rudolf were buried as far apart as possible. Was their bitterness worth it? Isn't it pathetic how hard work and talent are overridden by money and politics in sports today? The most well-paid athletes are royalty. Purchase quality over popularity.

References: Wikipedia/Google

Sunday, April 13, 2014

What a Righteous Man Really Thinks

“Godly womanhood ... the very phrase sounds strange in our ears. We never hear it now. We hear about every other type of women: beautiful women, smart women, sophisticated women, career women, talented women, divorced women. But so seldom do we hear of a godly woman - or of a godly man either, for that matter.We believe women come nearer to fulfilling their God-given function in the home than anywhere else. It is a much nobler thing to be a good wife, than to be Miss America. It is a greater achievement to establish a Christian home than it is to produce a second-rate novel filled with filth. It is a far, far better thing in the realms of morals to be old-fashioned, than to be ultra-modern. The world has enough women who know how to be smart. It needs women who are willing to be simple. The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant. It needs some who will be brave. The world has enough women who are popular. It needs more who are pure. We need women, and men, too, who would rather be morally right than socially correct.”

― Peter Marshall

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Life Without Luck

St. Patrick Snake 

Holidays are really beginning to bother me.  As each decade passes, people know less and less about the truth of what is being celebrated. Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even Independance Day have become famous events of spending and eating. Honorable people and values are all but forgotten as we Americans please ourselves in the festivities of being off work.  What is the point?

Presently we are in the midst of the 4-leaf clover, go-green, lucky-charm month. What is Saint Patrick's Day? Or rather WHO was Saint Patrick? An Irish mascot or legend? The luckiest man who ever lived? Over the years people have contorted truth and made idolatrous lies about individuals of noble character. Today most people know nothing of this person, Patrick --and the commercialism and superstition of this holiday continues to grow.

St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain. Calpornius, his father, was a deacon, his grandfather Potitus a priest, from Banna Venta Berniae. Patrick, however, was not an active believer. According to The Confession of St. Patrick, at the age of just sixteen Patrick was captured by a group of Irish pirates. The raiders brought Patrick to Ireland where he was enslaved and held captive for six years. Patrick writes in The Confession that the time he spent in captivity was critical to his spiritual development. He explains that the Lord had mercy on his youth and ignorance, and afforded him the opportunity to be forgiven of his sins and converted to Christianity. While in captivity, Saint Patrick worked as a shepherd and strengthened his relationship with God through prayer eventually leading him to convert to Christianity.

After six years of captivity he heard a voice telling him that he would soon go home, and then that his ship was ready. Fleeing his master, he travelled to a port, two hundred miles away, where he found a ship and with difficulty persuaded the captain to take him. After three days sailing they landed, presumably in Britain, and apparently all left the ship, walking for 28 days in a "wilderness", becoming faint from hunger before encountering a herd of wild boar; since this was shortly after Patrick had urged them to put their faith in God, his prestige in the group was greatly increased. After various adventures, he returned home to his family, now in his early twenties.After returning home to Britain, Saint Patrick continued to study Christianity, and eventually returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary. (Wikipedia)

This man was not a red-bearded man with a pot o'gold and luck, but a man of character. The beloved words of the hymn, Be Thou My Vision, were actually written as a tribute to St. Patrick's loyalty in worship despite an Irish king's edict that restricted candle-lighting on Easter.  Although lengthy, the link below is truth worth reading and applying to our own perspective of holidays. This is what Patrick wrote of himself: The Confession of Saint Patrick

If interested in the history of Valentine's Day, Click Here
If interested in the history of Halloween, Click Here

Sunday, March 2, 2014

*Percent Daily Values are Based on a 24.7 Diet

             Oil                               Air                           Pure Water

Which of these bottles is empty? In reality none of them are, for the one without liquid is full of air. Our lives are like bottles that cannot be empty. Either our living is fulfilled in evil or in righteousness. What does your life contain? Does it affect others?
Let us say my life contains evil that I want to be rid of. “Pouring” air into my bottle will not easily remove the oil. That would take a lot of pressure! Rather I should replace the slimy substance with something heavier, like water. For example, let us further say I have a rapidly-evident addiction to food. Sitting at the table, staring at the refrigerator will not change my detestable lifestyle. No, I must replace my time and love with something else. I must renew my mind with the truth and consequence of my actions and respond differently to my desires. Not until I love something more will I be capable of sacrificing my actions.
Earlier I stated that our lives can only be filled with evil or righteousness. Isn't there an in-between? While there are many percentages of pollution, only pure water is 100% pure. Even a few molecules of ink will taint pure water.
How many of us can claim to have drunk pure water? Even if factories could produce it, once the seal is broken the percentage falls. Once we are born our lives are exposed to evil. Is it possible then to live an uncontaminated life? Not by our own doing. We must be cleaned and placed in a clean atmosphere. That is not something we have in this world. Thankfully God is beyond this sin-cursed earth and offers purity to any who would accept and trust it to be what He promises. Once in His hands we are broken and given new vessels to fill. He seals us so that nothing can contaminate us. Our vessels may become dirty on the outside, but our hearts are protected by the unfailing grace of God.

“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the spirits. There is none righteous, no, not one...” Proverbs 16:2; Romans 3:10

“...our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. You... He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” 1 Corinthians 1:8; Colossians 1:22

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in Whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 1:13;14; 4:30

“And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.” Matthew 10:14

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Conquering the Earth: Not Your Job

Have you ever come to the point when you feel like you are not doing enough? Life is busy, you are surrendered to God, but you wonder, "Am I really fulfilling God's will for me?". While the Bible commands us to be faithful stewards and endure hardness, we must see that life is about magnifying what God did/does, not get as much work done as we can.

John chapter 9 accounts the history of a man who was blind from birth. He become an object of judgment: was it his parents' sin that resulted in his blindness or his own? Jesus not only opened this man's eyes, but our own also to understand that guilt was not the cause. God allowed him to be unable to see from birth that God's works might be recognized. "Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him, (John 9:3)." During the years of sitting on the roadside, perhaps that man wondered, "Am I worth living? Do I accomplish enough?". Although the man could do little in his years of blindness, he was accomplishing God's will for him. God's power is demonstrated through weakness. While this is never an excuse for sin or halfheartedness, know that as God's children we are required to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly --not conquer the world. God's will for your life will probably be monotonous at times, or seem unimportant. That's OK. This is why we should walk humbly.
James is a toddler. He does not a have a job, manage a bank account, or drive Daddy's truck. That is Dad's business. Although little James does not control those things, he does benefit from them. He is fed, has health insurance, and is sheltered and cared for. In the same way, we as children of God should not try to manage God's care of us, but trust it. Others should see that we benefit from our relationship with God, not take over God's role. "These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world, (John 16:33)."  God does not expect us to overcome the world-- Jesus already did.

Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For, by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart,
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings,
Thine is love indeed.