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June 6, 2017, 12:00 PM

A Personal Complaint

Constant griping and complaining is never Biblical, spiritual, or Wise.  In fact it is the opposite of what a believer and follower of Christ should be doing.  

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

More and more in todays world it is seen or heard: Complaining.  

We complain about the weather, we complain about our jobs, we complain about the news, and we complain about politics.  We complain about our family, our friends, and our neighbors.  We complain about what eat, where we eat it at, and those that serve us what we are eating.  We complain in person, in private, and on every form of social media that we can get our hands on.  Sometimes it seems there are some people who don’t seem to have time for anything else but complaining.  

The problem is that constant complaining is a poison that infects, and damages the complainer and anyone else who takes the time to listen to it.  

Think about it:  A person who constantly complains almost always has a negative outlook on life.  Nothing is ever right, good, or at least, good enough.  Someone is always doing you wrong, doing you dirty, or out to get you.  

God does not intend for you to live that way.  God does not want you to view life that way.  The Bible says “Rejoice always!”  Nearly 200 times there is an admonition to rejoice in scripture!  Obviously God knew the importance of rejoicing while living this journey called life.  God knew that there would be times we would be tempted to grumble and complain.  But, He also knows that if you “count your blessings and name them one by one” it would lead to rejoicing to the point where you have no time nor see the need to complain.  

Paul tells us here in Philippians to Rejoice always.  The admonition is to let your life be marked and filled with rejoicing.  Now, before you say, “Paul doesn’t know what I am going through” you should know that Paul was giving this admonition while he was in prison.  

Paul had been beaten, shipwrecked, stoned, mocked, and imprisoned.  He would later give his life as a martyr for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Yet, he encourages us to rejoice always.

Paul knew what we must remember:  We can always rejoice, no matter our circumstances, because of the Love of God, because of Christ’s sacrifice and redemptive work, and because God will never leave us.  When we weigh our slights, and difficulties in the light of His love, it will always lead us to rejoice.  

Rejoicing despite your troubles leads to joy.  Joy changes your perspective on life and leads to happiness.  Happiness and joy are infectious and will impact others for the good instead of impacting them for the bad.  

People want to be around a joyful, happy, positive people.  People want to talk to you when you are pleasant and fun to be around.  People will listen to you and why you are so joyful.  That is when you can make a difference and share why you are that they can rejoice as well. 

Realize the love of Christ, and rejoice today! 

June 2, 2017, 9:45 AM

Tell the True Story!

O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old: 

You with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free;  

For not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them. - Psalm 44:1-3

It seems that there is something lacking in today’s culture.  I suppose there are many things lacking but this morning as I read these verses I realized that there is a lacking of the art of story telling.  I don’t mean making up of stories and spinning fabrications, but rather there has been a loss of the passing down from one generation to the next of how things used to be.  

My grandmother may be the best story teller I have ever met.  She could entertain me for hours as a child (still could as an adult) as she told of how things were when she grew up.  The way she could paint a picture of her time as a child, and even her adult life were fascinating to me.  That ability seems to share the truth of history seems to be missing today. 

But aside from loss of entertainment value of hearing a good story of days past, is the loss of learning the truth of God’s wondrous working in peoples lives.   

The Psalmist here in this passage is writing a song of praise for the Fathers who passed on to the next generation the true stories of what God had done, how he had miraculously acted, and guided, protected, and defended Israel.  Without these facts being shared with the next generation, people may have come to the conclusion that it was man, or men who had done the miraculous.  Or they may have come to the conclusion that God was not active in their lives. Perhaps they might even have not considered God and his power at all!

Oh fellow Christian, how we must never forget to share with others, especially the younger generation, what God has done through the ages.  Our children and grandchildren must be told of God’s wonderful love, power, and grace!  They must learn that it is God that has the power to save, change lives, mend wounds and diseases, and defend against all trouble.  

We must tell them of the past and shed light on the truth of the past and the present.  That it is an almighty God to whom we can look to, call on, and trust.  Because he not only did the redemptive work of the cross, but is alive and working in lives today!

Won’t you tell the true story to someone today?  If not who will tell?

May 31, 2017, 12:13 PM

Prayers for Your Children

Then said I, Ah, LORD God! Behold, I cannot speak: for. I am a child. But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that i shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. - Jeremiah 1:6-7 

Jeremiah was young when God called him as a prophet. 

Daniel, was just a teenager. 

Samuel was a young boy. 

David was still in his youth. 

Mary was probably around 14 or 15 years old. 

God can do amazing things with and through teens. He can do far more than just keep them out of trouble. So pray big for the youth that will lead our tomorrow. 

 Yet when we have a child who wanders from God's love and path, as well as away from family and their upbringing, we tend to begin to pray generalizations for them. We tend to ask God to simply minimize the fallout. That He will help them avoid further trouble, get over their addictions, or stop wrecking their lives. all of these pleas are noble requests, but God wants to do more than just rescue people in need. He wants to do great things in them and through them.

Jonah ran from God, but was used to save a nation. 

David committed adultery, but was called a man after God's own heart. 

 Samson sacrificed so much privilege and ability and ended up in prison as a slave, but in the end he did more in his death than he had in his entire life. 

We must realize that God can do the impossible. We must remember that the Prodigal Son did come home. We must realize that some of the deepest, most committed Christians in your church likely had a period of wasted years in rebellion. Yet, God's love got through to them. 

 No matter who it is in your life that has strayed from God's path, don't give up on them --- God hasn't. 

 Are you struggling with the reality of a child or loved one who has strayed from God? Pray Big! Pray that God overwhelms them with the powerful revelation of His love and grace. Pray that when they turn, God will use them for His glory to touch the lives of countless people with a message of redemption, forgiveness, and a God who specializes in fresh starts. Pray large and audacious prayers, knowing that we serve a large and audacious God! 

No matter how far someone wanders, the hope remains of God working a profound and deep change in them. 

 Keep praying for that.

May 19, 2017, 11:08 AM

A Parent's Desire

Parent, what are your desires for your children?

As a dad of three young children, I know all to well the desires of a parent.  There are many things that I want for my children.  I also recognize my responsibility in preparing them and aiding their development and shaping their lives to be successful in those desires as well as their own dreams.  

If I were to list out my desires for them the list would be include, but not be limited to:  Becoming loving, caring, responsible productive adults.  For them to be successful in whatever career or life path that they choose.  For them to be honest, moral, hard-working, and intelligent.  For them to be generous, compassionate and faithful individuals.  I hope that one day they will find the love of their life, raise their own children and teach them the same values.  I hope they dream big, and reach higher.  I hope they love as they have been loved and live life to the fullest, every day.  

But most importantly, since before they were born, I have hoped they would call on God for salvation.  Since they have all made that choice to give their heart to Christ, I pray that they will continue to grow in grace and faithfulness.  I desire that they will be a faithful servant of God, obeying His commands, will, and let Him have His way in every aspect of their life, for the rest of their lives.  I pray they will faithfully serve God and the church  I desire that they will teach their children to do the same.  

As a parent I desire that I will teach my children to “choose the better things.”

I believe that the most important role of the parent is to help their child come to a saving knowledge of Christ and raise them up in the ways of God.  

King David had a similar prayer:

“…give to my son Solomon a perfect heart to keep your commandments, Your testimonies and Your Statutes, and to do them all…”

 I Chronicles 29:19

Parent, do you see your responsibility in giving your children every stepping stone to the cross and paving the way for them to be a faithful believer and servant of God?  Would you include that in the desires and prayers of your heart for your children?  Will you take on the mantle of responsibility to raise them in “the ways they should go” so that they will choose Christ and follow him all the days of their life, just as you would otherwise raise them to be productive, profitable adults?  Do you see and understand that if no matter how successful you are at raising them to be self sufficient, productive grown-ups, and they miss the mark in learning to be faithful Christians, you have failed them?

Yes, I know that our children must choose Christ for themselves.  Yes I realize that we can do all that we can to show them the way and they ultimately must decide for themselves the direction they will go.  Yes I realize that no matter how faithful of Godly parent you are, they might go the opposite way that they should and it is heart breaking when they do.  

But if that happens do not give up on them or on the faithfulness of God.  Don’t cease to pray for them, or to be there for them and to remind them of a faithful loving God who is waiting for them with arms wide open.  

No matter the risk of heart break at their impending decisions that will have to be made, won’t you take every chance to give them every boost and stepping stool, or stepping stone possible to see the way to successful life, is to follow the way of Christ.

Won’t you make it your desire to see Christ and the faithful obedient life become their desire?

May 18, 2017, 2:47 PM

Cleaning Up Your Messes

“Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.  Respect what is right in the sight of all men.” Romans 12:17

No matter how hard we try, and despite our best intention, we occasionally say and do things that hurt others.  Sometimes (often), it is those we love the most that we hurt the deepest.  Whether or not our hurtful outburst was in retaliation or not, when we do make a hurtful mistake, our pride and fear often keep us from properly making amends.  
Pride tells us that our hurtful words and actions were somehow justified and we have nothing to apologize for.  Fear tells us to protect ourselves and our image or people will not respect us, demean us, or take advantage of us.  Unfortunately this attitude of fear and pride only prolong bad feelings and prevent us from mending relationships that are predicated by trust.  

So what can we do when we are hurt or are guilty of causing hurt to make things right and restore a healthy relationship?

1.  Be the first to apologize.  Making the first move is not a sign of weakness.  On the contrary a sincere apology displays strength of character and true concern for the feelings and dignity of others, especially of those whom we may have caused hurt.  

2.  Don’t make excuses for your actions.  Take ownership of your mistake, and don’t try to justify your actions by the choices of someone else.  

3.  Maintain a humble attitude.  Scripture clearly teaches to be humble and not hold ourselves in higher esteem than others, or higher than we aught to think of ourselves.  

Demonstrating  this strength of character while remaining humble is referred to as meekness and the Bible says that the meek shall inherit the blessings of God. (Matthew 5:5 - The meek shall inherit the earth)  

Bottom line: No matter what your part is in a disagreement where feelings are damaged, surrender your pride and apologize.  It shows obedience, courage, humility, love, and strength.  

After all that sounds like exactly what Christ would do.  He was willing to lay on himself the wrongs of us all.  He made the perfect eternal apology through His blood on the cross.   It was his payment that God accepted for all who will believe and turn to Him.  

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