Monday, December 30, 2013

2014, Here We Come!

Who needs a New Year’s resolution when God’s mercies are new every morning? We have the opportunity every day to be better than we were the day before. We can set goals, but these drastic lifestyle changes that we propose tend to fall apart after a few months. Without our minds being renewed, we are setting ourselves up for failure from the start. For 2014, why not be a little more realistic?

For example, there is no way I’m going to go from not exercising at all to spending 4 hours a week at the gym. It just isn’t going to happen consistently because my mind hasn’t been trained to do that. However, if I can spend a couple days a week walking for 20 minutes, maybe I’ll be ready for the gym eventually. Maybe it’s just me, but if I miss a huge goal, I am more likely to be totally discouraged from trying again. The smaller ones are easier to evaluate, adjust, and attack.

Several small changes can lead to a dramatically better life. As you see the progress you are making with the smaller goals, your mind will expand to larger goals with greater expectations of achievement and completion. Pray and ask God to show you where to start and how far to go. The beauty of the whole thing is that He gives us another opportunity every time we wake up. We should have a better prayer life, make healthier life choices, and have better relationships with family and friends. These are not bad things. We should also help ourselves to reach our goals by implementing the changes in phases throughout the year instead of all at once.

The only thing that you absolutely must do right now is surrender your life to Christ. You may not have another opportunity to accept eternal life. You also need to align yourself with a community of believers that will help you to be better in Christ Jesus. Responsibility and accountability are not your enemies – just the opposite. Above all, remember that God’s love for you has nothing to do with you meeting your goals. He loves you anyway and He always will.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Seek Him Still

I always love hearing or reading, “Wise men still seek Him.”  It tends to get me to focus on what this season is truly about. For hundreds of years, the Hebrew people had been waiting for the promised Messiah. Finally, He was born!  The word started to spread, a bright star rose to lead the way, and people set out on their journey to go and worship Him.  This was fulfillment of prophecy, this was God in the flesh come to redeem His people, and this was THE Good News!
Scroll forward about 33 years, and these people are shouting, “Crucify Him!”  You really cannot consider the birth of Christ without understanding the purpose for that birth.  The birth of the Messiah wasn’t the end of the prophecy.  In order to save His people from their sins, He had to die.  He knew when He took on the form of man, He would have to suffer and die.  There was no other way for our sins to be forgiven then, now, and forever.  God’s holiness demanded a sacrifice, and His son came to this earth to be that sacrifice.
The redemptive quality of His work on the cross continues today.  We still have the opportunity to be forgiven of our sins.  We still have the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives.  Not only was He born, did He live as our example, and was He crucified in our stead, HE LIVES!  Christmas means nothing without Easter; the birth means nothing without the subsequent death and resurrection.  Because He lives, those who are wise can still seek Him.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Say So

Psalm 107:1-2 (NASB)
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary

It seems kind of pointless to ask people if God has ever done anything for them, doesn’t it? We do it all the time, especially in church. Simply being alive, awake, and active answers that question. I believe what we are intending to do, however, is to get people to think about the goodness of the Lord at that moment. Just consider all the things that God has done for us over the course of our few days.

Not only can we praise Him for those things we know that He has done, we can likewise rejoice over the things that we knew nothing about. The enemy is slinking around looking for ways to destroy us, BUT GOD! Every time you think about how ‘lucky’ you were that some bad circumstance missed you, thank God for His loving kindness. We attribute so much to coincidence, but God knows how many hairs are on our heads, so why not believe that He has orchestrated events to work out in our favor?

I praise Him even harder when the adversary He redeems me from is ME. Sometimes we sabotage ourselves with our disobedience, but He is always faithful. We need to ascribe to God the glory due His name. If He wasn’t the almighty, the omniscient, the omnipotent, the omnipresent, and the eternal God, we would be lost. As the redeemed of the Lord, we need to SAY SO!  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Jesus, The Light of The World

John 8:12 (KJV) Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Christmas is a little over two weeks away, and almost everywhere you look, you see the signs of the season: evergreen trees, decorations, nativity scenes, garland, ornaments, wreaths, and lights.  (In the retail stores, you started seeing those signs around Halloween.)  People are hustling and bustling around, trying to find perfect gifts for family and friends, making sure the little ones’ faces light up bright as the sun on Christmas morning.
This is the time of year that we celebrate the coming of the Messiah, Immanuel, Jesus.  This is when we remember the anticipation of the coming Christ, fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies concerning Himself.  This is when we take time to thank God for His amazing gift of grace through His only son, Jesus Christ, the Blessed Redeemer who came to take away the sins of the world.
He came, so that we would no longer be slaves to darkness. He is the only reason for the season.  No matter how commercial December 25th becomes, no matter how desensitized some of us become to the merriment and good cheer, Jesus Christ intentionally took on the form of man to become the ultimate and perfect sacrifice for us – ALL of us.  That’s enough, even more than enough, to rejoice this Christmas season.  Jesus Christ, the light of the world, has saved us from our sins.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Unchanging God

Lamentations 3:22-23 (KJV) It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
I place my hope in God because He is always faithful. He does not change. He will forever be my rock solid anchor in this world filled with change and inconsistency. Old hymn lyrics come to mind: ‘Time is filled with swift transitions; naught of earth unmoved can stand; build your hopes on things eternal; hold to God’s unchanging hand.”  He is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore.
If we build on the one true God as our foundation, we will not be shaken as worldly empires crumble. As we face so much uncertainty in our lives and in our world, we can be sure that God is ever-present and unchanging. We have a Savior who loves us, cares for us, and protects us through whatever the years may bring. From our birth to our earthly demise, we (who are His) are in God’s hands, safe and secure.
There are things we will never understand, but we can rest in His mercies that keep us from being consumed DAILY. We can thank God for His unfailing compassions. As long as we are breathing, we have an opportunity to worship God with our lives for all of His goodness toward us. He keeps doing great things, merciful things, gracious things to draw us closer to Him, to comfort our hearts, and to bless our souls. His faithfulness will allow Him to do no less.