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April 5, 2018, 10:45 AM

If My People...


Some of the most amazing images I have ever seen are those of a hurricane as it approaches landfall.  The satellite pictures from outer space that capture the massive size of a storm that encompasses hundreds of square miles with winds and rain strong enough to decimate an entire island chain.   Those who have chosen to brave the storm and take photos of a hurricane from the perspective of approaching landfall have provided us with a small amount of understanding.  The extraordinary images of ominous looking clouds as they prepare to leave a path of destruction and desolation in their wake have always captivated me.  I don’t mean to make light of the trials and loss endured by those who have been directly affected by a hurricane, I simply want to use the imagery as an illustration.  In a time when our society is in an uproar and it seems like every other week there is a group marching in the streets to defend their cause; when Easter and Good Friday are mocked by national media outlets and being a Christian is compared to having a mental illness; when kids are more interested in taking on the next foolish challenge such as eating tide pods, cinnamon, or snorting condoms up their nose than getting an education, a job, and becoming a productive member of society; when the integrity and value of the Biblical model of family/marriage is labeled as a hateful agenda and websites and apps abound promoting hookups and sex outside of marriage; when the fabric of our culture and nation that was founded in large part on Biblical principles has come to the point where “In God We Trust” is offensive and must be removed from government facilities; when millions of unborn children are being murdered every day.  It would be easy for a person to say, “These things don’t directly impact me so I’m just going to move on with my life,” I say they have a tremendous impact on all of us whether we realize it or not.  The people in the days of Noah ignored the storm clouds that gathered, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah weren’t expecting fire to fall from heaven.  The clouds are gathering and there is a storm preparing to make landfall against a nation that has turned its heart from God.  Just like the clouds of a hurricane gathering, it is obvious to many.  It’s not enough to merely acknowledge the storm and remain unchanged.  If ever there was a time when followers of Christ need to fall on their knees and cry out for mercy and revival, my friends I believe it’s now.  But, as James says, when you ask for wisdom, expect God to answer and be prepared to act accordingly.  What will be your role in seeking God’s face and being an agent of change for the sake of the Gospel?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3Rn9FOOHl8

Robert




April 3, 2018, 10:35 AM

V-I-C-T-O-R-Y, That’s the Christian Battle Cry!


I have never been accused of being very good at sports, or anything else for that matter.  There have only been a couple of things I would say I have been pretty decent at over the course of my 41 years.  However, I have known those people that seem to be good at everything.  I know people that have played professional sports, been in professional wrestling, and are highly successful in the business world.  I have met famous musicians, politicians, and my fair share of millionaires.  One man, in particular, has had an impact on my life.  Not necessarily because of what he’s accomplished in life, but the way he has handled himself through the victories.  He has played in Major League Baseball and even won a gold medal as part of the Olympic baseball team.  He has raised wonderful children that love and respect him and he is now enjoying being a grandparent.  His marriage has been healthy and one to model after for many years and his successful business career is to be noted as well.  The accolades could go on and on but the one thing that this man would want people to know is that his greatest victory in life didn’t come on a baseball field or in a meeting room.  The greatest victory he has experienced is the victory he has in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Paul tells the church at Corinth in 1Corinthians 15:57 that real victory comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Victory over sin, death, and hell are found in Christ alone.  John echoes this in 1John 5 in stating that the victory that has overcome the world is faith.  Not just faith in anything desired, but faith in Christ alone.  It doesn’t matter how many championships, or what level a person ascends to whether business, sports or otherwise, in the scope of eternal things only victory in Jesus matters.  How would things be different if children were trained as intensely to be victorious in Christ as they are sports?  Or if adults pursued victory through faith in Christ as passionately as in other aspects of life.  At the end of the day, the only victory that matters is found in Jesus. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZC5L8tJ9JO0

Robert




March 23, 2018, 12:00 PM

A Diiferent Kind of Pain


When I played football in high school, the coaches used to tell us there is a difference between being hurt and being injured.  I remember being told once that if I was injured to get off the field because I couldn’t play, but if I was only hurt then to suck it up and play because everyone else was hurt too.  If you have ever had a serious injury you can understand the difference and also the hurt that comes with the injury.  Often, these serious injuries require a surgical intervention in order to be made well.  Sometimes surgery is required to repair joints that are just worn out and causing pain.  Either way, there is a difference in the kind of pain that is felt when the injury occurs and the pain that comes after surgery.  The preoperative pain lets you know something is terribly wrong and you can’t continue normal activity no matter how hard you try to suck it up.  It the type of pain that doesn’t go away or get better without an intervention.  The other type of pain is the pain that comes postoperatively. It’s the pain that comes from the surgical instruments and other devices that have been used to heal you.  Somehow the old pain is gone and the new pain is much more encouraging because healing is on the way.  Guilt, shame, and conviction are somewhat similar to the different types of pain.  Conviction comes from the Holy Spirit that indwells believers.  It guides us when we are trying to make decisions and gently nudges us in the right direction when temptation creeps up on us.  It leads us to seek forgiveness and ultimately draws us back to the Savior.  Guilt and shame are from the devil who is also known as the accuser.  He would seek to cause believers to become paralyzed with shame and feelings of worthlessness.  Conviction is good because it is intended to lead us to the healer.  Guilt and shame are used by the enemy to lead us away from healing and restoration.  Don’t misunderstand your feelings of conviction over something you’ve done as a negative type of guilt and cause you to not seek the healer.  Jesus didn’t come so that we could simply be guilty of sin, but that we could be made aware of our guilt and through conviction be led to salvation in Him.  Every person stands guilty in sin, will yours drive you to the Savior or away from Him?  

Robert




March 15, 2018, 1:52 PM

You Feed Them


With the recent passing of Billy Graham, many are left wondering who will be next to follow in his footsteps.  Who will be the next Super-Christian to impact presidents, fill stadiums with thousands to hear the Gospel, and have such an impact on multiple generations around the world regardless of race or language?  I don’t know too many pastors who, if given the opportunity, wouldn’t jump at the chance to be the next to accomplish all that he did.  Honestly, I don’t know if there will ever be another man like Mr. Graham.  He obviously walked in the favor and power of the Lord.  Throughout the Bible, we see example after example of God using individuals, men and women, to accomplish His purposes and bring Him glory.  I know not everyone is called to be an Elijah, Moses, Isaiah, Peter, Paul, Esther, Mary, or Martha.  The one thing all believers have in common is salvation by grace through faith in Jesus.  When we are saved, we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to convict, lead, and empower us.  Not for our glory, but to the glory of the Father.  The same God that empowered all those mentioned in the Hall of Faith in the Book of Hebrews, empowers every believer today.  So, as we stand around anxiously anticipating who the Lord will use to accomplish the amazing tasks done by those in the past, I give you three little words.  You feed them.  If those words sound familiar, they should.  It's what Jesus told the disciples when they were standing around contemplating how they would feed some 5,000 people who had come to hear Jesus.  The disciples rightly responded that they weren’t able to feed so many with their limited resources.  However, when Jesus intervened no one went away hungry and there were leftovers.  The need of the people was met by Jesus through the service of the disciples. The point is this, it’s not just the pastors, teachers, or leaders of the church who have the responsibility to share the Gospel.  If we wait around to see who will be the next great leader, how many people will die without salvation?  How many babies will be murdered in the womb? The message is clear, stop standing around and waiting for someone else and watching hungry people starve to death, be a faithful steward of the Gospel and in the power of God who has provided the resources, “YOU give them something to eat.”

Robert




March 12, 2018, 9:00 AM

Anguish Gives Birth to Joy


I recently read a statement that said something to the extent of, what you are currently going through is God preparing to give you what you’ve been praying for.  I took it kind of personal because I see that very thing happening in our family right now.  I began to think of some other instances in the Bible where that may be true also.  Where people had to endure some hardships in preparation for what God was bringing them.  The Israelites wandered in the desert in preparation for the Promised Land.  Jesus fasted and was tempted in the wilderness prior to beginning His earthly ministry.  Paul was blinded on the road in preparation for God using him.  The list is long and would take much room to name all of the examples.  I was in a type of wilderness for a period about 6 weeks and by wilderness, I mean a place of preparation where I had much to learn prior to moving on to where the Lord was leading.  In the middle of it, I was having one of those “grumble” moments where I was frustrated and complaining wondering why the Lord hadn’t left me to die in Egypt. (reference to Exodus and the wilderness wanderings.)  It was a Wednesday night and I didn’t really want to go to church because I was very discouraged.  The study that night came from John 16 and verse 21 jumped off the page and slapped me across my bald head.  While Jesus is speaking of the sorrow of Him leaving the disciples turning to joy at His resurrection, there is a second implication that can be taken from this verse also.  Notice that the very same act, the process of giving birth, brings both pain and joy and the joy doesn’t come without first enduring the pain.  The circumstances don’t change, just the perspective of the woman.  What begins as anguish (GRK implies suffering, lamenting), is the very same thing that brings overwhelming joy, joy that makes a person forget about the pain.  In that moment and since, I realized that the current “anguish” I was enduring would be the very thing to bring joy into my life.  Not just material or physical, but most importantly, spiritual. As soon as a new mom beholds the beauty of a newborn child, the pain of labor is turned to joy at the realization of the gift brought forth from the suffering.  If you’re enduring a little anguish in your life, ask the Lord to show you a glimpse of the joy that is to come.  Though sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning.  Though we may endure hard times now, eternal joy is our hope and promise from God through Jesus. 

Robert  


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