Happy New Year!

We stand just a few short days away from the threshold of a brand new year. But the question always arises...what will the new year hold for us? Some predict the end of the world, others another year of economic woes and hardships. For others they predict a world record breaking year of Olympics and others groaning over another year of elections and politics. With a brand new year, we often set forth new resolutions. Things that we wish to accomplish in the new year...but what would happen if we realized that we may not have a complete year to live out? Are we even promised tomorrow? The Bible tells us that we truly don't know if we have another day to live or not. The Bible tells a parable (Luke 12) about a wealthy man, who had everything that he absolutely needed, and chose to set up larger barns and live happily off of his hard work and earnings. The day that he had planned to build his large barns he was told by God, that that day his life would be required of him, and that he would not be enjoying the bounty which he had worked so hard to accomplish. The moral of the story is the fact, that truthfully we don't know if we will have a day tomorrow to live or not. What we should say, the parable informs us, is that we should live our life out with the idea of saying, "If the Lord wills..." then we may accomplish our desires. We go through life, often saying we will accomplish tomorrow what cannot be accomplished today, but so often we waste our days away so that what COULD be done today does not get done today, because we are not accurately using the time that God has given to us. Are there times needed for recreation and entertainment? I believe so very much, but when those times take over our lives, and cause us to leave to tomorrow the things that ought to be done today, then our priorities are not in correct order. Let us vow this next year, nay this very day, that we will never again take each heartbeat, or breath for granted, but use every moment that God has given to us as a gift from him, so that we might bring him the glory due to his name. "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11

Who Are You Out To Please?

As human beings we do it all the time. We try to make other people happy.

Have you ever watched a young child? "Look mommy! Look what I can do!"

They do it not so that the mother just looks, but so that they might hear the mother say, "Good job!" or "Look how fast you can run!" For the child, everything is about praise. They love to hear how good they are doing, and let's be honest...we as adults do it as well.

In our places of employment we work hard to get the raise and bonuses. We work hard to get our managers/bosses/CEO's whomever to notice us.

Have you seen the recent United States Postal Service commercial with the flat rate boxes and the man sitting at the desk? The USPS man is trying to convince the man sitting at the receptions desk that if he were to use the flat rate boxes, that the would be saving the company lots of money, and the man says, "This isn't my company! Why would I care?!" As he's saying this his boss steps out of an office next to his desk. The postal service hinting to the receptionist that his boss was right there said, "You mean, Why would I care NOT to save the company some money?"

The man's whole perspective changed when he realized who was there!

So often we forget as we serve the Lord, that He is there, regardless of whether we see him or not. Its so easy often times to try to please man, rather than God.

Today I was reading preparing for Sunday and I came across a verse in Galatians 1:10.
"For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ."

That verse hit me like a ton of bricks. As I look back at my ministry that I have had thus far, I realize sadly that much of it has been man driven. Don't want to sing those songs, because someone might get upset, but we don't want to sing those songs, because that group will get upset. Don't want to do that on that night, because this group won't be able to come, but can't do it that night either, because someone else won't be able to come. If I do this this group will complain about it, but if I don't do it this group will!

I've come to the conclusion (over and over and over again) that I cannot please everyone. Truthfully when it comes to Christ, let's be honest...the pleasing of everyone doesn't even matter unless Christ himself is pleased and magnified!

Recently I've lost sight of that.

My favorite parable in the Bible is the story of the Master with his three servants and their allotments of silver and gold that he gave each of them. No where do we have recorded for us the servants wondering what the other servants might feel like if they were to use the money in a certain way, they were only concerned with what the master would think when he returned!

Whether you are a pastor, a deacon, a husband, a wife, a child, whomever you may be, we are all called to be servants of the living God (Romans 12:1-2) and we are not to worry about what others think, as long as we only worry about what the Master thinks.

We are to work hard, and do our very best, until the day that we hear the words from our Savior, "Well done thou good and faithful servant..."

What If...

Well, its now Saturday, May 21st, 2011, the so call predicted day of Judgement.

Its interesting the talk that has erupted from this prediction, but we also as born again believers who read our Bibles know the fallacy behind this false prediction.

What's interesting to me though is the responses of the masses. To have an actual "predicted" date set has caused some to turn into mockers of the rapture, others to be doomsayers, and others to be terrified of the said event.

As born again believers we don't have to be worried, but it has certainly opened many doors to share the true gospel with individuals who may or may not have ever heard it before.

As many have begun to "knock" the event, it makes me glad in a sense that the true rapture will happen as a thief in the night. At a time when no one is expecting it to happen. Imagine for a moment that suddenly thousands if not millions of believers suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth. I don't think there would be many joking about it, but for now it has turned into a laughing matter, a reason to party.

I was reading an article today about some individuals who work for "family forum radio" the radio program that has solicited this prediction. Most of the employees plan to show up for work on Monday! Some employees have at the last minute gone out and bought very expensive cars, and have taken their families on lavish vacation trips sort of as a last "Hurray!"

My question is, if you knew exactly when Christ was going to return, what would you be doing different? And if we don't know when Christ is going to return, but we believe that he could return any moment...why are we not living that way? Christ says that he would [wishes] that we were either hot or cold, not lukewarm.
How can we begin to live differently today as we await the rapture?

Just some food for thought on a day when many are confused and lost.

A Pick-Me Up

Some people need caffeine, some need coffee, others just need to go for a run. What do you do when you've had "one of those days".

By "one of those days" I mean, those days where you feel that everything that can go possibly wrong has gone wrong, and ultimately will go wrong.

I'm having one of those days, and rather than complain about it, I've chosen to blog about it. I realize its been a while since I've posted, but as I always have said in the past, its one of those things that I'd like to do more often.

Already today (its currently Noon as I write this) several things have gone wrong, and before the day is over, I'm expecting a couple of more unexpected circumstance to have come my way.

As I sit here, thinking and stewing over my situation, its interesting to say the least that the Holy Spirit is doing a work on me. In the last few moments I've been trying to decide how to write this blog, but all that is currently coming to me is scripture.

"Rejoice in the Lord, always, and again I say, Rejoice." Philippians 4:4

Do you know how hard it is to rejoice when your day feels like its been shot through?

Of course you do, we all have experienced this. We would much rather complain and murmur about our situations, but again scripture shouts at us otherwise...
"Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer." I Corinthians 10:10

But my inner spirit desires to complain, it wants to murmur. But I'm then reminded... "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

When I am weak, that is when he allows me to be the most strong. My strength is perfected in the times of my weaknesses. It is during that time that he pours out his grace upon my life, and I am able to be lifted up at the necessary times.

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:" I Peter 5:6

But in order to be exalted I must first humble myself. I must first realize that my needs are not permanent, but temporary. I need to realize that my wants, my desires, my fears are not important, but what is important is that Christ has the ability to live through me.

"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30
"Let your light so shine among men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

My life is not about my life, but its about being a living sacrifice.

Romans 12:1-2 "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."

As I shun my own lifestyle, and put on the life of Christ, I have no need to fear, I have no need to worry, besides, can worry and fear get me anywhere in life? Can I do anything about my worry or fear?

"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?" Matthew 6:25-27

As my day wears on, may I realize that this is the day that the Lord has made! May I rejoice and be glad in it! May I realize that every situation that comes into my life today, has only come into my life, because it has been first sifted through my Father's hand and he has seen fit to increase my faith through this time of trial and tribulation. May I realize that as he allows these situations to come into my life, that he has only allowed them to do so through his infinite grace, mercy and wisdom.

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." I Corinthians 10:13

He has promised to never leave me, nor forsake me, and he has promised to always be with me.

"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1