Saturday, September 29, 2012

Heart, Mind & Soul

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

Have you ever heard anyone say: “What really matters is what is in your heart.”? The phase usually is used when our thoughts or actions fall short, but our intentions & motive was correct. It clearly is a key biblical truth. In 1 Samuel 16:7 the Scripture says, But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” But the heart is only one of the elements that Jesus tells us to use in our love of God. I had read that, sometimes, we can fall into the trap of thinking that a mind which digs deep into the truths of Scripture and Christian theology, seeking to know our Lord God Almighty, our Maker, is not compatible with a heart, will and emotion that is passionate about Christ and His kingdom. We do not want to separate heart love from head knowledge, but utilize both in our Christian walk. 

Luke 12:34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Isn’t it true that we cannot fully love someone that we do not know? We may see what they say and do, but we need to get to know someone, before we really know them personally and truly love them for who they are inside. And we cannot fruitfully love God either if we do not know Him. Not knowledge for knowledge sake, but knowledge that produces the love that builds us up. We can have heads full of knowledge that never penetrates our hearts, but our hearts cannot fully adore the Lord unless we love Him with our minds. Sanctification is the process of maturing in Christ and growing in knowledge of the Lord through life. Worship and Praise at church, Bible Study, Devotional reading, Prayer, Mission work, Evangelism, Stewardship, pursuing Jesus as an outward expression of an inward devotion to learn from and follow the Savior to see how it fits together and informs all of life, out of pure love of God, with heart, mind & soul.

Romans 2:28-29For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.”

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Know God, grow in Christ and make Him known.

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

God's Country

Psalm 29:2 Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”
1 Chronicles 16:29 Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!”

Almost ten years ago, after my mom passed away, my oldest son came up with the idea, and asked if we could take his grandfather (my dad) on a camp out fishing trip to the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, off the famous Tioga Pass of Yosemite in California. A co-worker first invited me and introduced me to this open beauty of God’s country, and I started taking both of my son’s to experience the grandeur of God’s creation for long weekends in the spring or late summer, while they were youngsters growing up. There was a real sense of “closeness to God”, where Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse”, observed and understood.

Psalm 90:1-2Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”

My, now adult, son’s motive was to spend some undistracted and meaningful time with his father and 85 year old grandfather in the simple beauty of nature and nature’s God, creating lasting joyful memories, centered on the love of family. Clear, warm days filled with fishing in the peaceful forest creeks, with fun-filled side-trips down unexplored dirt roads and new landmarks, and rest evenings around the campfire roasting marshmallows and telling old stories. Not to mention our neighbors: the bear, the deer, the squirrels and chipmunks that we shared the campground with. This last long weekend was our third three generation camping trip, and it was a true and pure blessing. I pray that you may find and make the time to enjoy your family and loved ones in God’s country splendor. But, even greater than God’s creation is the new creation of the Believer; redeemed by Jesus Christ, and reconciled to their Creator God.

2 Corinthians 5:17-19Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation."

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Though the Rain Comes

Matthew 7:21-27 Jesus taught, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

Like so many others, I find great truth, meaning, direction and comfort in life from Jesus’ Sermon of the Mount teachings. Matthew 7:13-14, explains clearly that not all roads lead to heaven, and then this passage clarifies that it is not just listening to what the Lord says, but obediently doing what the Lord says; His Way, building our house (our life) on His solid bedrock for our foundation, where true safety, security, and peace of mind resides. And the rewards are heavenly for today and for tomorrow. But there is more to this passage, because Jesus uses the words “When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house.” So many miss that the Lord tells us that in this life there will be storms. In John 16:33, Jesus says, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” In Ephesians 6:13, Paul tells us, “ Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." The Lord never tells us that the storms of life by-pass the Children of God, so that every day is sunny and carefree. Jesus tells us to build our faith, our confidence, and our living upon Him; His holy and perfect Word, Will & Way that we may stand through those storms; not because of us, but because of Who we stand on as our unshakable foundation. Don’t be surprised by the actions of a “fallen” world, but know who holds the world in His hand and not be distracted. A house built upon the perfect law of God, that gives true freedom. Walk in the Spirit and live on the Rock (our Blessed Redeemer, Savior & Lord Jesus Christ) and tell others, who don’t know, where your house is location. Because, though the rain comes, it won’t collapse.

James 1:22-25 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Know God

Psalm 14:1a The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds.
Psalm 53:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity.

I was listening to an old teaching by Indian born, Canadian-American evangelical Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias over the weekend, where he spoke to this Bible verse. On the list of world religions, Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist @ 1.1 billion ranks as the number three faith on earth. You have to have faith to believe that “no God exists”, thus by definition "a religion". Atheism broke down is: “a” = “no”, “theos” = “God”, “ism” = “belief” (belief in no God). The Hebrew word for “fool” is “nabal”, which translates to “stupid”, “wicked”, “vile” and “insane”. Limited & “Finite” man, in darkness of unbelief, attempts to disprove and suppress the “Infinite” Lord, Creator God. Why? Accountability for sin in the eyes of the Lord.

Romans 1:18-23 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man.

Albert Einstein wrote: “I’m not an atheist and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist (belief that God is in all things). We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It dos not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangements of the books, but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being towards God.” 1 Corinthians 13:12-13For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three.

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

C.S. Lewis wrote: “Now faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding onto things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian, I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable; but when I was an atheist, I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why faith is such a necessary virtue. Galatians 5:17For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”

Hebrews 11:1-3Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What the World Cannot Give

Ephesians 3:4b-6 “The mystery of Christ,  which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.”


To Know Christ and make Him known goes infinitely beyond the “meat & bones” of the incarnate God/Man Jesus. An egocentric world system is blind to purposes of the “author of life” (Acts 3:15). What the “Lord of all” would have us know, for here and now, in living in the Will of God and His plan for our lives, in His presence, and making His message of salvation and forgiveness known, to bring glory to the Father, our Lord God Almighty. The gospel truth lived out and shared, with love and care, for both the redeemed in Christ and the lost. To be relevant in society with the message of truth they seek. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that The Lord is not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

 Ephesians 5:25b “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”

Some will say, “Why church? I don’t need church. I have a great relationship with God. I am just fine.”  But they miss something. God gathers His people together, as His flock of (metaphorically speaking) sheep that their Shepherd loves and knows individually by name (John 10). Also, (metaphorically speaking) as a body, made up of many parts working together in the unity of the Spirit for a common purpose, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ  (1 Corinthians 12 & Ephesians 4). As Jesus called: “Follow me.”, and they by faith followed in Matthew 4:17-22, as a community of faith, we follow the Lord. Helen Keller said: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” We need to get “on board” and participate, now and for all eternity, with what God is up to today, banded together as brothers and sisters in Christ, to do something bigger than ourselves than what the world offers. To be a church with a dedicated dedication, a committed commitment, with a desirable desire and a devoted devotion to see God’s glory in the world. Bringing hope and love with the light of Jesus in the darkness.


Eleanor Roosevelt was right when she said: “The past is history, the future is a mystery, but today is a gift, that's why it’s called the present.” Church, there is no time like the present. Let’s make a godly impact on our culture and the world together, today. Give Jesus.

Hebrews 12:2-3 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

In Christ, Brian

Thursday, September 13, 2012

When Jesus is in the Boat

Mark 4:35-41 That day when evening came, he (Jesus) said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Just the other day, I was listening to the Christian Radio station and the Pastor was teaching on this passage of Scripture. Years ago, I heard another lecture on the same passage by Christian Psychologist Gary Smalley. When seasoned fisherman get scared, then it must be a serious situation. Dr. Smalley’s point was that Jesus did not say: “Let’s go half way across the lake and drown.” This is why Jesus asks the disciples: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” I hadn’t seen that before then. When Jesus says something, we can and should believe it, because it is the truth, despite our circumstances and situations.   

The Radio preacher, Alistair Begg, had another great point. Jesus is in the back of the boat sleeping through the chaos. The disciples wake Him and He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” The One who created the elements of nature, has control of the elements of nature. Jesus is the Creator.

Genesis 1:1 & 26 explains that: In the beginning God (“elohiym”, the plural form on God – the Trinity) created the heavens and the earth.  Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness. Also, in John 1:1-4 it tells us: In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
The supernatural is unnatural for us, but we must come to an understanding that the supernatural is natural to God. With great faith and trust in our Creator Lord, what do we have to fear? When Jesus is in the boat with us, we can rest assured that we are getting where He says that we’re going. He is always in control!

Isaiah 45:8 “You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the Lord, have created it.

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Be Strong & Courageous

Joshua 1:6-9 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
An adventure is defined as an unusual incident or exciting experience, a bold feat or daring under-taking, undergoing a venture with risk and open to danger. By nature, life is an adventure because we do not know what tomorrow can bring. My personality prefers structure and order, forethought and planning, but as the old Scottish poem by Robert Burns goes “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.” "C'est la vie", "Such is life", and the adventure. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged; desire to push forward and embrace it, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go!

Philippians 1:12-14Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.”

Our Pastor reminds us that obstacles can and will come across our path, that cause hurt and distrust, but we must interpret life through the filter called “God is on my side.”  Unbelief is essentially not trusting and believing God in a lack of faith, many times because of the obstacles of life. But true satisfaction is not living by what we know or by what is safe because there are always obstructions to hurdle and complications to impede the best of us. It is stepping out in faith that makes us “people of character”, strong and courageous, meditating on and obeying the word of God in the spirit of righteousness.

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

There are parts of the world that suffer religious persecution. Being comfortable will not advance the kingdom of Heaven. This was the goal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, as written in the Mayflower Compact, which reads: "In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, … Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia.It should be the goal of the church still today.  Stand up, reach and boldly give the gospel (in thought, word and action) with courage, to bring glory to God Almighty.  Life can be inconsistent and unpredictable at times, but we always have one constant in life. Our solid foundation built upon the rock (Luke 6:48). Be Strong & courageous.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Minor Sins

Romans 3:22b-24 “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

I was talking to a friend the other day about “degrees of sin.” He felt that had a scale that He used to determine minor sins from major sins. That once “saved”, Christ paid and continues to pay for all of our sins. But also, that God does not expect us to stop willfully practicing the minor sins, like speeding on the highway & little white lies. That God does not expect perfection and allows for those “minor sins” without penalty. Where is the line? It’s an out-of-context Psalm 103:1-14 attitude and argument (leaving out verses 15-22), for a message unconditional forgiveness and freedom to sin, to match his heart and life-style. Like Jesus is a get-out-of-Hell free card in the game of life. I wonder why people make God in their own image and pretend that there is no consequence for their thoughts, words and actions against His will and way? As if Christ is their Savior, but not their Lord; they are. Oh yeah, the flesh, the world and the devil. The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) are straight forward. Proverbs 6:17, 1Corinthians 6:9-12, Galatians 5:19-21 are clear that sin is serious. God hates all sins against Him (and hate is a “strong” word, but the wages of sin is death). Legalism or obedience? We all answer individually to our Maker. Doesn’t the Lord desire righteousness? What so we seek?

Romans 5:19-21 & 6:1-7 says “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.”

2 Corinthians 5:14-21 tells us “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The objective is not to beat ourselves up, but to straighten our selves up to align our will with the will of God and have a “right” relationship with our Lord.1 Peter 1:14-17 explains that As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.
Let us remember, John 3:17-18a declares, “ For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned.” And 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  Sin is a difficult subject, but important enough for Jesus to die for. And that I something to thank and praise God for.

I am interested to hear your thoughts on Minor sins. What do you think?
1 Thessalonians 4:7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”  
In Christ, Brian

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bigger Than a Bread Box

Psalm 62:5-8Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. 

One thing fun about owning a 1914 California Bungalow house is decorating the interior with things from “back in the day” or back in great grandma’s day. We enjoy going to antique stores and garage sales to find memories of the “good old days” to adorn the kitchen shelves. One of the favorite items of the bygone era is our enameled steel bread box. Do you remember when people used to try and guess what something was, they’d ask: “Is it bigger than a Bread Box?” That’s one of the reasons that we bought ours. How many know just how big a Bread Box is or what one looks like?

I’ve also heard the question: “How big is your God?” Not that the Creator of Heaven and the Universe has a physically size, as God is Spirit, but big or little do we make our Lord God in our material world thinking. God is omniscience - God is all-knowing, omnipresence - God is all-present/all-seeing, & omnipotence - God is all-power. Not only that, but in Matthew 10:29-31 Jesus explains to us, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Our Heavenly Father watches over each of us.

Founding Father of America, Benjamin Franklin wrote in his Maxims & Morals: “I never doubted the existence of the Deity, that He made the world, and governed it by His Providence.” We should do likewise and know in our hearts that God is not only bigger than a Bread Box, but bigger than anything and everything that we can imagine against us. Let’s live that truth out in our lives today.

If you get a minute, read Psalm 136. You will be blessed. It ends with: “Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.”

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What I Want, When I Want

Ecclesiastes 2:10-11I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work,
and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

“I get what I want, when I want”, is a new “Buzz” phrase going around these days that you can hear on the streets and on television set. The love of materialism today has created the same “eye” problem that King Solomon of Israel wrote about almost a thousand years before the birth of Christ. But the “eye” problem is truly an “I” problem. A co-worker once explained it to me like this: “I see it, I want it, I get it.” Coveting is a prideful envious desire of the self-centered, vain & conceited heart. This distracts our attention off of God and onto ourself. Jesus said in Luke 8:11&14“Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. "I want it all, and I want it now" is pure greed..

A friend recently told me that “I only live once, so I need to have the finest things in life now.” We deserve it, right? Yikes! Philippians 3:7-9 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” But notice that the Lord was not even mentioned by the co-worker & friend. The mind-consuming things of this world had blinded their spiritual eye and mastered them.  

Matthew 16:24-26 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

In discussing, Philippians 3 with a Bible Study group from church, years ago, one young lady claimed that she wanted both fortune & God. But the Bible tells us in Luke 16:13  that “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Anything that you love and put before God is an idol. The problem is not the material things that God made in this world, but what we make of them in our desires. We have to rule our yearnings or else they shall rule us. And may the Lord reign and rule in our life always.

Ecclesiastes 3:12-14 &12:13I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
In Christ, Brian

Saturday, September 1, 2012

U.S.E. Your Faith

"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17)

I read this devotion this morning and thought that I’d share its thought-stirring message today.

Today's verse contains a portion of Habakkuk 2:4, emphasizing that those who have been "twice born" can live using the same faith that God granted us so that we could believe (Ephesians 2:8). An acronym for "USE" can help focus our thoughts.

U--Use what you have: We should use the talent and equipment already in our possession to accomplish His will. Use the gifts that the Lord gives.

S--Start doing it: Nothing happens unless we become involved. God instructs, we obey, and He performs. Jesus said: “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest (John4:35).  

E--Expect it to happen: Understand our Lord's authority. Live confidently in the Lord. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be Patient in troubles, and keep on praying (Romans 12:12).

Circumstances will vary, but God's "formula" does not. Use your faith.

1 Corinthians 3:6-8I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.

In Christ, Brian