Fake News


            Today we are bombarded by what seems to be “fake news.”  Even our President complains about it.  Fake news may be very damaging causing one to truly believe statements that are not true.  We may even relate these stories to others as fact.

            Fake news is not a new device but used to be called “propaganda”; lies spread to hurt and deceive.  (Think of WW II.)  Fake news has its roots in the Old Testament as Satan lied to Adam and Eve, telling them they could become as “gods”(Gen. 3:1-5).

            John 8:44 states the devil “… is a liar and the father of it [lies].”  The lie of humanism that man may become as God has been drawing men away from the true God ever since the lie, fake news, was used in the Garden.

            In John 14:6, we read that Jesus said, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  He also instructed believers “… if ye continue in my word, then ye are my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).

            So don’t worry and fret about the “Fake News,” give out the “good news” that Jesus saves!  “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).

 

Perfectly Incomplete!


            God made us for Himself.  God made us incomplete – perfectly incomplete – that we might find our completeness in Him.

To live for God is a far greater objective than to live for self because we are being called to step out of our own little lives and live for what is greatest and highest and deepest, that is, for the glory of God.  This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise (Is. 43:21).  Indeed, to live for Someone who is much greater than myself is a much higher quest than to live for merely my own mean, miserable, mortal self.

Man’s quest for God quenches pride and quickens hope and quells fear and qualifies for service.

 

The Fact! More Importantly the Factor of God!


Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shall have good success.

I am amazed at the extent to which Americans will go to operate, define, seek solutions, offer help, and expect results without acknowledging the slightest possibility that there is a God in heaven who is anything more than a cold hard fact. I define fact, as something known to have happened or to exist. In 1944, 96% of all Americans believed there was a God. In 2016, the number who believes there is a God in heaven has dropped to 79%. Both the Gallup and Pew Researchers have basically consistent percentages.

I am and will always be with the crowd that believes there is a God and that he is not only a fact, but He is the ultimate factor in each life. He is my life and my all as a Christian.  God must be more than a fact.  He must be allowed to rule and rein in our lives. We should join the Psalmist in Psalm 42:1-2a,  As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul for thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God.

My hope and prayer is that you would allow God to be more than a fact in your daily life. God can become the dominant  factor by your choice. Good godly choices are the result of a surrendered heart based on a love for God and the knowledge that God can be a real factor. He will, in fact, influence every outcome of your life if allowed to do so.  Joshua 24:15,  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; . . . But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

If your life is only at the fact stage, let me offer you the wonderful blessing of allowing God to become the major factor in your life. This means you are choosing to allow the great God of heaven, the Creator, to influence, control, and direct your life.  Oh, what blessings you will have! What victories you will experience! What joy will abound in your life! How often you will see mountains become molehills! You will see the impossible become possible. The pathway for your life will become clear. Allow God to become a factor in your life today. Seek to have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5).

Should you be one of the 10%-11% who do not believe there is a God, read the Gospel of John.  It is often called the Gospel of belief.  John 20:31, But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. Let’s have biblical answers and lives for this non-biblical culture in 2017.

Against Such There is No Law



Law vs. no law – in Galatians 5 we see the contrast between law and no law. In verses 19-23, there are two lists. One concerning the law – verses 19-21 list the works of the flesh which would keep one from inheriting the kingdom of God. One concerning no law – verses 22-23 list the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance – against such there is no law. That is such a convicting phrase.  We are so often more concerned with legalism and what we cannot do that we miss the most important point. We have no law that keeps us from exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit in our life. We can love all we want, have all the joy we want, have all the peace we want . . . but are more often consumed in what we cannot do. Galatians 5:18 offers an answer – But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. The fruit of the Spirit — live it, show it, do it – there’s no law against it!

My Weakness = His Strength


II Corinthians 13:4

For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God.  For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God towards you.

There are many times in the Christian life that it seems like I am so weak.  I know what I am supposed to do and how I am supposed to think, but it just doesn’t always work.  Living in a brand new culture and learning how to adapt in a completely different environment and still minister all the while has really brought out the reality of my own weakness.  There are days that are just filled with my weakness, but in reading this passage in II Corinthians, I was reminded that being weak is exactly what I need in order to recognize the great strength of my heavenly Father.  My weakness drives to me my knees and to the Word to find passages like this one.  This passage encouraged my heart that I don’t have to live in defeat due to my weakness.  The truth is this – My weakness only serves to magnify God’s strength in my life!  I get to live in the reality of my weakness so that I can have the power of God to sustain me.  So the next time you are struggling in your weakness, thank the Lord for that weakness and claim His strength to live by the power of God.

The words to “In My Weakness” by Mike Harland and Cary Schmidt summarize how we need to face our weakness and allow His strength to shine through us.

When living life for Jesus Christ becomes too hard a task,
When obedience means sacrifice that seems too much to ask;
That’s when I learn that my own strength isn’t really strength at all,
And I find rest in humbleness when I surrender all.

In my weakness He is strong;
In my need He leads me on.
When I come to the end of all I am,
And I place my trust in Him;
That’s when His strength begins –
In my weakness.

When failures in my human strength have weakened all my pride,
And ruined hopes in fallen dreams have crumbled me inside;
It’s then by grace I fin’lly see the strength of Jesus Christ,
His victory is real in me when weakness fills my life.

In my weakness He is strong;
In my need He leads me on.
When I come to the end of all I am,
And I place my trust in Him;
That’s when His strength begins –
In my weakness.

 

Bloom Where You are Planted


 

What do I mean by that?  I mean, let’s not make excuses as to why we’re not flourishing in our service to God, or why we’re not obeying what He asks us to do.  But let’s give 100% of us to be a witness, through our lives, wherever God puts us and in whatever situation.  God allows each of us to have challenges, but they are not to be an excuse for us.

In Philippians 1:12-18, Paul is in prison, and instead of being angry or sulking, he sees the purpose that God had for it.  You could say, he bloomed!  In verse 12, he says that his imprisonment furthered the gospel.  In verse 13, he said that it even got him into the palace.  And in verses 14-18, other people were now more boldly preaching Christ without fear.

We have to avoid the mindsets of our culture—that it’s all about me, or how I feel, or that’s not fair.  Instead, when situations occur, ask, “What is God up to?”  No matter what we’re facing, whatever the injustice seems to us, we need to train ourselves (through humility) to pray, “Lord, to me this doesn’t make sense.  But I know you see the bigger picture, and I choose to trust YOU.”  Also, we need to watch our attitudes because others are watching us.  You see, we are seeing the physical side, but God has a heavenly side to all these events in our lives. 

There is another great example in Esther.  She had lost both of her parents, was taken away from her homeland, and then was married to an angry, arrogant, unsaved man.  This is a situation that none of us would choose of our own accord, but she bloomed where she was planted too!

In Esther 4:16, she laid her life on the line to obey God.  She did not choose to live in self-pity.  Because of her submission, many people were saved in that time. 

“You, too, are a tool in the hand of God, being applied to situations that may just feel like ‘everyday life’ to you but are actually backlit stages where the purposes of God are being put on display from your street address.  And he knows the audience that He’s playing to, whether it be members of your family, church friends, random acquaintances—whoever needs to see His power at work in a surrendered heart…like yours.”

God has a purpose for where you are right now.  He has a role for you in His plan, if you accept it and obey Him.  He does not depend on us though, because He’ll use another if we decide not to obey, but who wouldn’t want to be used by God? (I know I do!)

Keep in mind, things are not the way they’ll always be.  God will right all injustices—but we don’t need to worry about them.  And if we do our best to bloom for God, in whatever situation we’re in, at the end we can say like Paul did (and Esther could’ve) that “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).  All that He allows in our lives is part of His plan, to further His message.  Lord, help us to bloom for you!

Finishing with Joy


Acts 20:24  “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

June is graduation month.  We watch as family and friends receive their degree or diploma. I saw an article this year where a 103-year-old lady graduated from college. I also saw an article about a 12-year-old boy who is graduating from high school. Each individual had completed the course and has earned his diploma/degree.

In Acts 20:24, the apostle Paul is talking about completing his life’s ministry in spite of the trying times and hardships. By the grace of God, Paul was determined to finish the course.  Each of us must face the trials and hardships of the Christian life.  Perhaps it’s time to ask yourself, “Will I continue on by the grace of God, or will I be sidetracked from my ministry? I think it is fair to say that none of us possess the stamina and determination of the Apostle Paul. We do have the same God. Let me share three things that might be a help in crossing the finish line.

Each of these is from the verse quoted above.

   1. Paul knew how to prioritize. He put completing the task over personal pleasure.

   2. Paul knew what he had.  He had a serious responsibility.

   3. Paul knew what he had personally received. He received his ministry from God.

I cannot stress enough that each of us has a ministry. It is something that God wants us to do, and he has equipped us to do it. Maybe it is time for serious look at your life and your ministry. What are you counting as dear to you? Do your personal priorities match the priorities that God has for you? Are you sidetracked by the cares of the world? Has discouragement come your way causing you to want to quit? Completing God’s task for your life is a wonderful thing. I challenge you today to finish your course with joy.

If you have never received Christ as your Savior, your number one priority is to receive him today.  John 14:6, “Jesus saith onto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh onto the father, but by me.”  (For help, call 424-4673.)

Resist Temptation!


     The story is told that Queen Victoria of England was in need of a new and experienced coachman to drive her carriage.

     Word was spread, and on the appointed day several men met to apply for the position.

     The Queen’s secretary met with the men to seek their qualifications.  He asked each man in turn, just how close to the edge of a cliff he could lead the Queen’s team and carriage.  Each man in turn made his reply.  One boasted he could come within a foot of the ledge, another six inches and so forth.  Finally the last driver, who had remained silent, was asked.  He replied, “With such a precious passenger in my carriage, it would be my duty to see how far away I could keep my Queen from danger, not how close I may come.”  Needless to say he became the Queen’s coachman!

     How like ourselves!  We play with sin, seeing just how close we may come instead of working to remain far from sin, even its very appearance.

     The Lord delights in those who keep His commandments ….. not those who see how close they can come to the edge!

     Pray the Lord will give us the strength to overcome temptation!

     I Corinthians 10:13 tells us not only will He not allow us to be tempted above that which we are able, but will also provide and escape for us!  What a wonderful, loving God!

 

                                                                                      

God’s Plan in Our Trials


Believers are not immune to the challenges of life.  Our loving God allows us to go through many hard tests and trials.  Disease, injury, loss of loved ones, financial reversals, and fear are among the many common events in many individuals lives.  We know that God works all these things together for good for the believer as he is a part of God’s family (Romans 8:28). God has His purposes for each event that comes our way.

God wants us to grow more and more into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). This is part of God’s process of sanctification.  James 1:1-13 shows us how God works through our trials.  We need to focus on the good that He can do.  We also can rest in the comfort He brings through them.

When challenging times come into our lives and we find that we are unable to comprehend fully, the enemy is quick to have us question what is happening.  We may be tempted to question God’s goodness and wisdom.  Sometimes we will get angry and bitter and wonder if God really understands.  God’s Word confidently reminds us that He does understand.  Events do not just happen to the believer without any purpose from God.

God is in control, and even the most difficult of circumstances cannot separate us from His love. We are reminded in the book of James that God wants us to trust Him through the trial and let Him use it to mature us into His image which was marred starting with the rebellion of Adam and Eve.

When our thinking does not line up with His, we are the ones who need to change.  God’s will for us is to trust Him, keep our eyes on Him, and see how He will use these trials for His glory.  God can give us wisdom, understanding, and help us to focus on Him to learn the most as we go through these trials for His glory.

 

Seeking the Preservation Shelter


But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD:

he is their strength in the time of trouble.

And the LORD shall help them,

and deliver them:

he shall deliver them from the wicked,

and save them,

because they trust in him.

~Psalm 37:39-40

In these two verses, the Psalmist reminds us that the LORD is in the preservation business.  He desires to save.  He desires to deliver.  He desires to be the stronghold.  For the righteous, He is that refuge from the wicked.  He is that fortress in troubled times.  The simple question comes almost naturally: Why

Why does the LORD save the righteous?  Why is He the stronghold in times of trouble?  Why does He help and deliver them from the wicked?  Why?  Why?  Why?

The answer: they, the righteous, seek refuge or shelter in Him.  They trust in Him.  They don’t just sit back and ask questions or complain about their circumstances; they actively seek Him for their protection, their refuge, and their shelter in troubled times.  And, in Him, they find that stronghold that preserves them from the wicked.

Do you seek the Preservation Shelter?