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April 21, 2015, 9:24 AM

A Penny's Worth of Thought: Go Farther With God

Where God calls you to He will lead you to.  When God calls you, He never leaves you where the same place you are spiritually.  

Some Christians want only a surface relationship with God.  Sometimes even those Christians who want a deeper relationship with God, still wade around in the shallows from time to time. (I know I am guilty at times)  But God wants to take you so much deeper in your relationship with Him.  He does not want you to be satisfied with the status quo.  

When you desire to have the deepest of holy relationships with Christ, always know that you can, and He will lead you.

“Then He went a little farther, fell to the ground, and began to pray…”Mark 14:35

On the night of Jesus arrest and crucifixion, He went to the Garden of Gathsemane to pray and people responded to Him and his actions in varying ways.  

Some were completely indifferent to Jesus altogether and completely unaware that He was even in the Garden.

There was Judas, who was so busy plotting his own schemes and agenda to join Him.  

His disciples joined Him in the garden but despite being told of the urgency of the hour; were distracted by sleep.

Peter, James and John went a little farther with Him and prayed for a short while but they too became overcome with weariness and Jesus found them sleeping.  They too could not grasp the significance of the moment.  

Jesus went farther and prayed.  At the greatest moment in the history of time, Jesus prayed alone.  

God is seeking those that are willing to yield everything to Him and go deeper in their spiritual journey with Him.  Deeper in their desire to carry out the great commission and calling to a world in need of the good news of Salvation through Jesus Christ.  Deeper in their daily walk and growth as Christians.  

Jesus is seeking to take you deeper in your prayer life.  If you are willing He will take you to place of the most sacred moments.  A place that like in the Garden, only angels have witnessed before.

Are you willing?  Am I?  

May this be our prayer…”God make me willing!”




April 17, 2015, 8:59 AM

God of the Many Chances

Are you in need of a second chance?  

Have there been times that you have really blown it?  I know I have.  In fact I am a man in need of 2nd, 3rd and 4th chances.  I could go on but I think you get the point.  

Peter had proclaimed boldly to Jesus that he, Peter was the most reliable disciple.  When Jesus informed the disciples that they would all forsake him, Peter promised that he would never leave Jesus. (Matthew 26:33)

Yet it was the same Peter who publicly denied that he even knew Jesus, 3 times just a short time later! (Matthew 26:69-75)  Peter really messed up.  Following Peter’s denial of Christ he was so heartbroken that he wept bitterly.  Peter didn’t intend to mess up, but it happened.  Jesus knew it would happen, just like Jesus knows we will make mistakes and fall short of the mark we are striving for.  He also knows when you are sorry just like He knew Peter was sorry.  

Despite Peter’s massive blunder, Jesus had compassion on Peter.  Jesus showed his compassion and forgiving spirit in an amazing way.  After Jesus death and burial, some women went to the grave but found the tomb empty!  An Angel was there and this is what He told them Jesus had raised from the dead.  And then He gave this amazing message:

“But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee:  there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.” Mark 16:7

Tell his disciples and Peter…did you catch that?  He wanted Peter specifically and especially to know.  Later Jesus would talk privately with Peter. In John 21 He gives Peter the chance to publicly affirm his love for Jesus 3 times.  What a loving, forgiving and patient Savior we have in Jesus!

But wait..there is more.  At Pentecost Peter was the keynote speaker!  Peter was instrumental in leading thousands to belief in Jesus and Peter became on of the pillars of the early church!  

Jesus desire is to take you from where you are and lead you to the place where He wants you to be.  When you fall along the way, He will pick you up and lead you on again.  When Jesus found the disciples hiding in an upper room, the first words He spoke to them was, “Peace be unto you.”  Jesus will repeat the same words to you when you walk with Him, when you fall and when He picks you back up again.

We all mess up, we all make mistakes in this life.  No one is perfect.  

Good news…God knows that!  There was only one that walked this planet that was perfect and that was Jesus, and he also exhibits perfect forgiveness.  Jesus was asked, “How many times should I forgive my brother, 7 times?”  To which Jesus responded, “Not seven times, but 70 times 7!”

Aren’t you glad that God is the God of many chances?  I know I am.




April 16, 2015, 6:32 PM

Be Reminded, Be Encouraged

You may be able to understand what I am going through.
I may be able to understand what you are going through.
But neither one of us will ever really be able to understand what is going on inside the other as we are going through what we are going through.
There have been many times when I wanted to encourage someone who is going through a storm in their life. Sometimes no matter what words, no matter what we say it does not help. Sometimes no matter what we do, it is no real comfort. Sometimes we just want to be there for them, but it does not help. Sometimes no matter how much we may want to be able to encourage someone, sometimes, no matter how much we try…we just can’t. 
I am glad that even when we can’t, God can. 
No matter what you are going through, have gone through or are about to go through remember this:
Jesus had died a cruel death on a cross. He was dead. All hope was gone. Some of Jesus followers had gone to the grave, but instead of a body of Jesus, they found a young man dressed in white. They were extremely confused and upset, until they heard the words of the man in this verse: 
Mark 16:6 “and he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.
Their hopelessness was shattered, their fears destroyed, and their mourning turned into praising! The tomb was empty. Jesus was victorious over death, hell and sin. 
Whenever you feel hopeless, lost, confused and frustrated, remember. Whenever you are past the point of others encouraging you, remember. Whenever you are in the midst of a storm and it seems no one understands what you are really going through, remember. whenever it seems there is no reason to celebrate anything for you feel completely defeated, remember.
The tomb is empty! Jesus Is alive! Remember this verse, remember the victory we have through faith in Christ and take hope, take joy and be encouraged.




April 10, 2015, 12:42 PM

A Penny's Worth of Thought

Do you want great faith?

Most would certainly answer, “yes” but are we willing to do what it takes to have great faith?
Throughout your life God will seek to grow your faith. He will bring situations into your path that you require you to believe and trust Him. Most of us would say that we want great faith and we want a growing faith. But for our faith to grow great, it must first begin small. 
God will lead you in situations that require a “little” faith and as you prove yourself faithful in the little he will reveal more of himself to you and take your faith to a higher level.

The way to test whether you are ready to be taken to a higher plain is to honestly answer whether or not you have been faithful in the little. If you have been faithful in the small, perceivably insignificant areas of the Christian life than you will be ready for greater leaps of faith. 

The problem is that many of us don’t want to start small, we want great faith and to be great people of faith now. And so we scoff and ignore the small areas that seem “unworthy” to our eyes.

Luke 16:10 says: “Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much.”

It is said that years ago when bridges would be built over deep chasms, a person on one side would fly a kite from one side to the other. A person on the receiving side would tie a cord to the string and the first side would pull the cord over by the string. Then they would tie a rope to the cord and the other side would pull the rope back over. Finally they would tie a chain to the rope and the first side would pull the chain back over enabling them to construct a great bridge. It is the chain that is able to support the weight of the bridge but if there had been no kite string the chain would never have made it across the chasm!
Everyone wants to be the great chain of faith…but are we willing to also be the kite string first?
May we desire to be people of great faith, but may we first and always be people who are faithful in the little.




April 8, 2015, 12:59 PM

A Penny's Worth of Thought: Living For Him Today

The world we live in is filled with evil, wickedness and sin.  Few Christians, if any would try to argue that is not.  But too often we as Christians use the fallen state of society today as an excuse for not being an exception and example that God has called us to be.

But…think about this.

Noah lived in a day and age when He was the only Godly person living on the earth.  It was so bad that God was sorry for making man and was grieved at man’s wickedness.  It was so bad that God sent a flood to destroy everything except for Noah and his family along with the animals that God had Noah put on the ark.  

How easy it would have been for Noah to go with the flow, and blend in with a wicked world.  How easy it would have been for Noah’s children to give in to peer pressure and take the easy road of life.  How easy it would have been during the 100 years that God had them building the ark for Noah and His family to give up and quit.  

Why didn’t Noah quit?  Why didn’t Noah give in? Why didn’t He let his children join the crowd and loosen their morals and standards so they could fit in and bee cool, like the rest of the crowd?  Why was Noah the only one that lived a Godly life and was faithful and obedient in all that God commanded Him?  Why did Noah find favor in the eyes of God?

Because Noah walked with God.  It is as simple and the same time as complex as that.  He walked with God.  Becoming a Christian is only possible because Jesus died on a cross in our place, paying our sin debt and rose again from the dead victorious.  Living a Godly life is only possible if we realize that Christianity is about a relationship with God and we walk with him daily.  

Does walking with God make us perfect, no.  Does it mean we will never sin again, no.  But it does mean that even in day and time when wickedness and evil are so visible and appear overwhelming, we can live a Godly life, be the exception and have a Godly influence today, just like Noah did so long ago.

 

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