December 2006 - Posts
"...for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Matthew 16:23b
As a child there were several fruits and vegetables that I seriously disliked. At the time Broccoli, Greens, and Tomatoes could have been outlawed for all I cared. If you really wanted to punish me you could have used those foods to wash my mouth out instead of soap. The effect was similar on my mouth. Now I am older and I can tolerate Tomatoes, Broccoli and other fruits and veggies I couldn't stand before. These foods haven't changed...I have. You see I forced myself and was "encouraged" to eat what was put in front of me. In the sixteenth chapter of Matthew, Peter rebukes our Lord.(vs. 22) Peter wantd his will and not God's will. Peter had his own plans and ideas of ruling and reigning with Jesus. They weren't bad thougts; however, they weren't God's thoughts nor His plan. As 21st century Christians we have a wide variety of entertainment to feed on. We have enormous amounts of knowledge to draw from and as we discover new things, we cannot neglect God's true Word. It is important that the activities and pleasures we involve ourselves in do not keep us out of God's house, or we will develop an appetite for unsavory activities, ideas and pleasures. Our opinions and beliefs will become shaped and molded not God's word, but by man.
The woodshed is no longer a basic requirement of the American home. Now, if fuel prices don't stop soon and make a u-turn to common sense, the woodshed may enjoy a comeback tour. Old fashion woodsheds were used in a practical sense to keep a families wood dry and ignitable. Wood was used to heat homes, and also wood cook stoves were the norm in America homes until after World War II. My wife's grandfather and grandmother still to this day use one to heat their home...a warm 95 degrees all winter long. There was also another use for the woodshed back in the day, it was a place where corporal punishment was carried out. Thus, my thought for the day, God takes everyone to the woodshed. Somehow we have it in our minds that if we do wrong as a Christian, God has a big stick and is going to puhish us. I don't see God with a rod punitively dealing with wayward people. I see Him lovingly chastening and scourging "every son." Whether you get out of line or not the Lord deals with us as sons. He only chastens His own. If He loves you(and He does) and if He has received you as a son, you will receive discipline. Chastening keeps us in line. Chastening humbles us at His feet. Chastening feels the love of the Father midst the trials of life. The next time you go to God's woodshed read Hebrews 12:8. It says this- "If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons."
In the spring of 1519 a spanish fleet set sail, Cortez, the great leader of this fleet had told his crew over and over that this mission could not be a failure. After many months of long travel, they landed on the eastern shores of Mexico. With great hope they set out for a new life in their new world, but the hardships made them restless and weak. Whispers of backbiting began as many began to say let's sail back to the life we knew, one that wasn't so hard. But the one who led them said no, burn the ships! In a spring of new beginnings, a searching heart set sail, looking for a new life and a love that would not fail. On our shores of grace and mercy we land with great joy, but there is an enemy waiting to steal, kill, and destroy your new life. He quietly whispers, go back to the life you once knew, one easier and more fun, but the one who led is here is saying I never told you it would be easy. I also said that I would never leave you. So when the christian life gets tough and you want to back out do your own thing and have fun. Burn the ships, we're here to stay, there's no way you can turn back now that you've come this far by faith. You've past the point of no return, you're life is here, so let your ships burn!
Luke 9:62- "Jesus replied, No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
Have you ever noticed that there are some serious, but suttle spiritual undertones in movies now a days. Take Superman for instance, some of the opening lines and throughout the movie could very much be of the spiritual matter. Is it on purpose? Or is it just for effect, for the movie's sake? Check it out........
"Live as one of them, Kal-El, to discover where your strength and your power are needed. Always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage. They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you... my only son."- Jor-El(Superman's Father)
"You will travel far, my little Kal-El, but we will never leave you-even in the face of our deaths. You will make my strength your own. You will see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father. And the father, the son."- Jor-El
"You will be different, sometimes you'll feel like an outcast, but you'll never be alone. You will make my strength your own. You will see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father and the father becomes the son."- Superman(Talking to his son)
It's funny how the world rejects Christ but always desires to find their "spiritual side", it shows in our entertainment. Finding your own way, not knowing that true peace comes only through Jesus Christ. It just goes to show that people out there, including movie producers(Brian Singer) are looking for more. Today, be aware that someone around you may be looking for more...show them how!
What does joy mean to you? "Happiness is a feeling, joyfulness is a lifestyle" How true this statement really is. Happiness can come and go, maybe with a gift from a friend, or a death of a loved one. But to be joyful - you really have to work at it. It takes practice and determination. I pose this question, how can you be joyful in a situation where there is nothing to be thankful for, no good side, you've looked and you can't find anything; how can you be joyful?
The answer lies in this verse, "In Your presence there is fullness of joy" Psalms 16:11. We've got to get into the presence of God, worshiping Him, praising Him, loving Him, and in that we will find true joy.
Ever heard the saying "they will know we are Christians by our love"? Maybe a few thousand times. But more then love I believe the world will know we are Christians by our joy. Because if full joy is attained in God's presence, how many unbelievers do you think have experienced it? Ever met a so called christian who looks like they were whened on pickle juice and baptized in lemon juice and all they do is sit in church with their arms crossed with a look on their face that says "bless me if you can brother!?" Oh that they may have joy, but FULLNESS OF JOY?!!
But how many Christians have actually taken the time to get in God's presence and experience it? Taken the time to practice it in every aspect of their life? I find myself so guilty of that. All that potential is there, just waiting for me to take it - so what stops me? A few words come to mind like laziness and stupidity; I could name a few more.
I challenge you today to stop whatever you're doing, go somewhere quiet and just sit before God. Ask Him to fill you with HIS joy, and see what He does.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
by Marianne Williamson
Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Psalm 37:3 I knew this girl in high school who was the worryiest person I had ever met. I won't mention her name, but here's how bad she was. This girl had a little composition book that she carried around with her all the time. Everything that was a problem or didn't work out like she thought it should have; she would make a note of it in this compositon book. She would literally write everything down she would want to remember to worry about. Good grief! I never had to write it down, it would always just overtake me like a flock of birds. God tells us He doesn't want us to live that way. One of the secrets of victory over worry is, to "Trust in the Lord..." There is a sign at a place of business I've been in before that reads like this... "WHAT YOU CAN CHANGE, CHANGE IT. WHAT YOU CAN'T CHANGE, DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT." Hmmm, this was probably put up by people who aren't even christians. Could it be that simple? In the past few weeks I have decided to quit over-analyzing everything, try to worry less, and do what I can to change what I can change and give the rest to God. Think of it this way, when you worry, you are basically calling God a liar. So, "Trust in the LORD." Lay it upon God and say, "God, here it is; take care of it." "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own uderstanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I know that I am probably the only professional basketball fan left on earth, but I can't help it. It is my personal opinion that NBA players, while some are overpayed thugs, are still without a doubt the most gifted atheletes in the wide world. Which brings me to todays topic: Where will the second greatest player of our time find a home. Allen Iverson has requested a trade and it looks like he's going to get it.
But....he's an ungrateful punk you say. Well, ask yourself one question: How could a coach-killer who allegedly monopolizes the ball, hates to practice and can't share the ball double as one of the most revered, respected players in the league? Why are Philly fans overwhelmingly heartbroken that he's leaving town? How can anyone blame Iverson for anything when he's been saddled with an incompetent front office and decidedly mediocre supporting cast for the past decade? Can you blame A.I. for wanting out? No. That's why we're knee-deep into one of the weirdest times in NBA history -- Philly effectively putting a future Hall of Famer on eBay for a three-day auction, with a trade expected to be consummated any second -- and I'm not sure anyone fully understands the ramifications here. This isn't just any All-Star player. This could be the basketball bargain of the decade. You know what else is going to happen, trades always rejuvenate great players, especially if they left their old team under bad terms. Just in the past few years, we saw this happen with Shaq in Miami, Nash in Phoenix and Kidd in Jersey. Give an elite player something to prove and he usually ends up proving it. Barkley remains the most famous example because he celebrated the trade by becoming the dominant non-MJ player on the first Dream Team, then ripping through the league in Phoenix, winning an MVP and nearly winning a title. Could this happen with Iverson? Absolutely. He's that good. Just like there will never be another Jordan, there will never, ever, ever, ever, EVER be another Iverson. In fact, here's the short list of players from the modern era of basketball who will never be seen again for genetic or physical reasons, all of whom can be identified with some great names:
Bird + Magic: For obvious reasons.
Barkley: A 6-foot-4 power forward with a weight problem who somehow doubled as a dominant rebounder and low-post player, as well as the greatest runaway train on fast breaks there ever was. Nobody took a charge from Barkley from 1985 through 1996. It never happened. Nobody ever caused more players to cower for their lives than Barkley on a fast break.
Gervin: I just can't see anyone else scoring 30-40 a night on bank shots, runners and finger rolls when he's 6-foot-8 and about 110 pounds. He was skinnier than a supermodel.
McHale: A genetic freak. When will we see another 6-foot-11 forward with his low-post moves, shot-blocking skills and arms that are six inches too long for his body who was able to dominate games while wearing Richard Simmons' shorts?
Maravich: For reasons that can't be adequately described in a single paragraph. He's in my list for "Athletes who most desperately need a Sports documentary about them."
Kareem: I just don't see anyone replicating the skyhook in my lifetime. Or his general ninnyness.
Iverson: Other than Bo Jackson, the most incredible athlete ever.
Oswald Chambers said, "Jesus was manifested as God Incarnate for one purpose-to be identified with the sin of the world and to bear it away." The Babe in a manger was Almighty God. Seeing these words on paper fail to describe the majesty of the One in the stable. He is no mere child; He is the Sovereign of the universe. He is not a helpless, cooing baby, He is holiness personified. He is no frail weakling; He is the wonder of wonders, the express image of the Godhead body. He is God-Emmanuel, God with us! This sinless, spotless, blameless Lamb of God came into the world to die physically, thus paying the price for man's sin. God made Him to be what we are...sin. So that we might be made what He is...righteousness! God treated us like He was us and our punishment was laid on Him. This allows God to treat us like we were Jesus! We get to have His righteousness, His nature, His spirit and eventually we get to live in His Home...Heaven! I trust the wondrous truth of the incarnation of Christ will be uppermost in your thinking this upcoming Christmas day.
"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2 Corinthians 5:21
The day is ending, the sun is setting a lot earlier now. There is a common response to the days events for my wife when I get home..."You wouldn't believe the day I had!" One thing after another. Hardly time for a breather, let alone the rest and quiet time with God that I long for. Sound familiar? These hectic, presure-filled days are forming what seems to be a pattern in my life. I wonder if Jesus was this hectic? Looking in the Bible, we see that He was. In the book of Mark Jesus recieves news that His best friend, John the Baptist has lost his head, literally! He immediatly felt need to depart into a desert place with His disciples to rest; however, that was not possible, for a huge crowd had followed Him into the wilderness. Despite His weariness, he performed a miracle feeding five thousand or more people. After that, just as He reached that coveted place in the mountain to pray, He discovered His disciples tossed by the wind and the sea. His grief and exhaustion did not effect His quick action to calm the sea and save His disciples from catastrophe. Every one of us has an adventure to relate. The details may differ, but the experience is the same. People around us are constantly hurting, and it is our response, not our reaction that is expected.
The 2006 Living Christmas Tree(LCT) was not dissapointing this year. In fact, it has been one of the best ever. Why you ask? 228 lost people that were dying and going to hell are now going to heaven. Amen! What an awesome opportunity it has been to be able to be a part of this incredible depiction of the gift of Christ and his sacrifice for ALL mankind. The drama this year is different. It is definetly NOT kid friendly, however, kids get it. A seven year old girl told me and another lady Altar counseor that she saw the connection. The true story is about a polish Christian man who gave his life for another Polish Jewish man that he barely knew. All this drama set in a WWII Nazi concentration camp. The officers speak some German, the outfits, guns, and accents are hollywood authentic. What a powerful depiction that mirrors the sacrifice that Christ gave to us. What an incredible story about two men who gave their lives in the place of others. One for a friend, the other for the world! If you missed this year, make sure you remember to come check it out next year. You can find more information about the LCT at www.knoxtree.org
. Check it out!
I am learning everyday that there are two kinds of people in this world, those who love Wal-Mart and those who don't. Sam Walton, a genius, a one stop shop, why wasn't it thought of sooner. The thing about Wal-Mart is that those who despise it have valid reasons. You have to park out in Poe dunk holler, it's crowded, and out of 49 possible registers, they only have 5 going at one time, rediculous. I love Wal-Mart and have many wonderful childhood memories of this great place. I remember the day when I could ride the buggy up and down the aisles, without a care in the world, waiting for mom to get done with the shopping. The days of the huge metal wired ben with the balls as big as you are, bouncing them around listening to the echo made over the whole store that sounded like a sonic BOOM! Days when the bikes where on the ground and not suspended in the air, ya know, so you could try it out. Days of the Wal-Mart snack bar with ICEE's! The days of $.25 Sam's choice colas. Ahh, many great memories in that store. I've always said that Uncle Sam get's half my money and Sam Walton gets the other half, and it's true. I still have the receipt for the least amount of money I ever spent in Wal-Mart...$3.64 for Deoderant and something to drink, which I got while waiting in line staring at all the junk they put in your direct view, it's a trap you see. Like the Value aisle they put right as you come in on the left. All needed things at an even better price than the Always low price you get at Wal-Mart. Some aren't needed. Some things I can't figure out what they are, but you know what? It doesn't matter, it's a great price! Let's buy two, maybe someone else can figure it out. I've said the only thing Wal-Mart is missing is a live D.J. If they had that, it would be an all out block party, all the time! Wal-Mart could charge admission and people would still pay to get in and spend even more money. I can see it now, people gettin there groove on while the music is playin, grabbin some toiletries and some groceries, leaning back on that buggy, chillin, talking on their cell phones saying, where you at dawg? I'm in housewares, where you at? Oh, I'm heading to automotive, but I'll swing by and holla at cha. Wal-Mart, a great american tradition. Love it or hate it, it's taking over.