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January 6, 2015, 6:00 PM

Give Your Best!

God’s love moved Him to sacrifice His one and only son, that which meant the most to Him.  Our response to God first loving us, if we truly understand His love, is to offer back to Him that which matters most to us; our best.

Duetoronomy 17:1 “You shall not sacrifice to the LORD your God an ox or a sheep which has a blemish or any defect, for that is a detestable thing the LORD your God”

In the Old Testament, God set high standards for the sacrifices He required of His people.  That which they gave to God as a sacrifice aught to cost something.  But as the people began to turn away from God, they began to bring cheap offerings: blind sheep, lame oxen and other sick animals.  They assumed God could not tell the difference or it did not matter to them anyway even if He could.  God rejected their sacrifice.  

Why?  God demanded a perfect sacrifice.  He would one day send the perfect sacrifice in the form of Jesus Christ to pay our sin debt.  

But God also rejected their sub-standard sacrifices because He knew that the sacrifices that are given are also a representation of the condition of the heart.  

When we care and love much, we do and give much.  When we don’t…we don’t.  

A heart that overflows with gratitude for God’s love will respond in selfless devotion to God.  God does not desire us to give or do anything out of sense a sense of duty or obligation.  

He wants us to give and do abundantly of our very best, that which matters to us the most; out of love.

Charles Stanley is known to say: Look your best, do your best, be your best.  And I would like to add to that, Give your best.  

Why?  Because it is What God in His great love did for you?  Yes He did, but no that is not why.  Do it because of your great love, that He has enabled you to love, for Him.




December 31, 2014, 10:48 AM

A Penny' Worth of Thought:

A Penny's Worth of Thought: It is the Last Day

Today, December 31st is the last day of 2014…But, What if it was your last day, period?

If you knew that today was the last day you would have on this earth, what changes would you make?  How would you live your last day?  What would you do?

The Bible says in James 4:14 says:

"Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.  You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away"

So if today is your last day, what changes?  Anything?

Would you tell someone that you loved them?  

Would you make amends with someone who you haven’t been getting along with and acknowledge that life is to short to fight and hold grudges?

Is there someone you need to forgive?  

Is there someone from whom you need to ask forgiveness?  

Would you tell someone about the love and salvation found in Jesus Christ, or tell them one more time?  

Would you ask God to forgive you of something you have been refusing to ask forgiveness for?

Perhaps you have never turned to Jesus yourself in repentance of sin and asked Him to Save you?  He will.

Chances are that although it is the last day of the year, it is not the last day of your life.  But, why wait to do the things and make the changes you need to make until it is to late?  

One day, should God delay His coming, we will all face death in this life.  Before that time comes and before it is too late.  Turn to God and ask Him to help you learn to really live and live for Him.

He came that you might have life, and life abundant.  He came that you might have a right and loving relationship with Him.  Every day we aught to live as though it might be our last.  

Won’t you ask Him to help you live life the way God intended you live, fully alive!




December 30, 2014, 10:46 AM

A Penny's Worth of Thought: Let Each of Us Think This Way

It’s my right!  I have a right to that!  I will fight for my rights!

Sound familiar?  In a day when people are so adamant about THEIR rights and what is FAIR, I think we should find this verse of scripture especially compelling.

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus"  Philippians 2:5

When the world that does not know Jesus Christ seems to fight and argue more than ever for their own way, their own perceived rights or for what they view as fair, it is disappointing but not surprising.  

What is a shame is when the Church, God’s own people and professing believers in Jesus Christ and followers of God’s word fight for the same things it is worse.  And make now mistake, the church is as bad if not worse when it comes to fighting with each other over each person’s perceived “rights.”  Fighting over things that most of the time just aren’t worth it.  Paul in this passage encourages us to change our attitude to be like that of Jesus Christ.  

Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  His place was on the throne at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven and ruling the universe.  No position in all the universe could be more glorious or more honorable than being at God’s right hand.  Jesus relationship to God the Father gave him the RIGHT to this honor.  

Yet Jesus did not chose to hold on to this right.  Nothing, not even His position in the perfection that is Heaven was so precious that He would not GIVE UP HIS RIGHT if the Father asked Him.  His love for His father compelled Him to sacrifice His rights so that He could become the spotless sinless sacrifice that God required to pay sin’s debt owed by you, me and all mankind.  Jesus did not hold tightly to what was rightfully His.  He did not scream or fuss or fight about how it was not fair that He, being sinless should have to pay a debt that was not His own.  Instead, in obedience and out of love, he relinquished His right and humbled Himself to be born as a man.  He did not hesitate even when he was laid in a manger because their was no room for him in the world of men.  He did stubbornly hold on to His right even though he would have to live in a sin filled world, be whipped and crucified in a cruel fashion and pay the ultimate price to pay our debt in full.  

Jesus adjusted His life to obey God the Father willingly despite the putting aside of His rights and the suffering he would have to endure in doing so.  

We are tempted to hold on so tightly to the things that God may have given us.  Our attitudes, our ways, our possessions, our position, our rights.  We say, “I would give up anything that God wants me to give up” but we also say, “I just don’t think He would ask me to give anything up that is rightfully mine.”  

The Father asked His Son to make radical adjustments to His life.  Should we not expect God to ask us to make adjustments to our lives and give up our rights as well?  Jesus put the well being and eternal destiny above that of his own rights, well being and comfort.  Shouldn’t we give be willing to give up our rights for others as well?

When you feel resistant to God asking you to give something up that is rightfully yours, or to put someone else and their “rights” first before yourself, ask God to help you have a Christlike mind and attitude.




December 29, 2014, 1:32 PM

Sunday Sermon Summed Up: How Shall They Hear

 

Romans 10:13-15

1.  There is a great and growing need for God’s people to spread the gospel message to an ever expanding world population; the need is growing but the time we have to share the good news is shrinking.

2.  Not only is the need great but we must realize the cost is also great; we must put aside our own needs and desires and put God’s Word to others first; realizing that there is no greater reward or prize than to one reach others for the cause of Christ and to hear God one day say, “well done good and faithful servant!”

3.  There is a great call to each believer in Christ to be a messenger of the gospel; it is the great commission to which every believer is called and it is our ongoing mission to share before it is to late for them to hear or to late for us to tell.




December 27, 2014, 10:00 AM

Time to Take a Personal Inventory!

As the festivities that surround the Holiday season and the year come to a halt, we often find ourselves with time to take in all that has taken place.  Not just the wonderful time of family, friends and Christmas bills, but it is also a time that we take inventory of the whole year.

Individually as we look back over the past year, we will see the ups and downs; the good times and bad; laughter and tears; joy and pain; successes and failures.  

Certainly as you look back you will find more of one category of memories than the others.  But, no matter what has taken place over the past year I want to encourage you in three things:

1.  All things work together for good.  No matter whether you see or understand it or not.  But we must remember the last part of that verse of scripture, it works together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purposes and will.  If you love the Lord, you know that His ways are ultimately for your betterment and growth spiritually.  Trust Him!

2.  Finish well!  As we finish out the year of 2014 following the Christmas holiday, we tend to coast until the end.  We are tired, the year is almost over and we just want it to be done.  Let me encourage you to finish strong.  Don’t let the devil and temptation slip in while your guard is down.  Finish the race of this year and build momentum going into 2015 trusting for all that is to come.

3.  Count your blessings!  While this old saying and verse from our youth can seem to be cliche, one thing I can speak personally to is that if you are a child of God, your heavenly Father delights in showering you with blessings.  Look around, take inventory and count them and thank Him for them.  It may surprise you that when you do, you find that you have little time to count the things that we don’t consider to be a blessing at the moment.  If you are not yet a child of God, allow Him to open your eyes to the open arms of love that are waiting for you if you accept the gift of His work on the cross through Jesus Christ.  That in itself is the biggest blessing any of us could have.  

As you finish this year, prepare for the next.  Thank God for each day he gives you. Remember you are loved  and love much, laugh often, give generously and follow your leader Jesus Christ.  Take inventory and realize all you have to be thankful for.

Finally, As the Christmas season ends, remember to never stop celebrating the gift of Jesus Christ.  

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