Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stay Focused

Here are some fantastic quotes I received in an email from  I think they are great reminders of keeping God and His gift through our savior, Jesus Christ, at the forefront of our minds.

"The Cause of the weakness of your Christian life is that you want
to work it out partly, and then have God help you. That cannot be.
You must come to be utterly helpless, to let God work. He will
work gloriously." ~ Andrew Murray

"To DIE TO SELF, or to come from under its power, IS NOT AND
CAN NOT BE DONE by any active resistance we can make
against it OR by our own power of nature. The one true way of
dying to self is the way of patience, meekness, humility, surrender
and RESIGNATION to God." ~ Andrew Murray

"We Can not please God by what we do for Him in our own human
effort, we can only please Him by surrendering and letting Him work
in and through our lives." ~John Mulinde

“I will die for my God. I will die for my faith. It's the least I can do
for Christ dying for me.” ~ Cassie Bernall, Columbine High Martyr

"We must be careful not to choose, but to let God's Holy Spirit
manage our lives; not to smooth down and explain away, but to
stir up the gift and allow God's Spirit to disturb us and disturb us
and disturb us until we yield and yield and yield and the possibility
in God's mind for us becomes an established fact in our lives,
with the rivers in evidence meeting the need of a dying world."
~Smith Wigglesworth.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Figs and Fertilizer

He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. Luke 13:6-9

This parable struck me hard.  A tree without fruit slated to be cut down.  Cut down because it was a burden to the very ground that sustained it.

3 years.  For three years this tree had not bore any fruit.  I know that feeling.  There are dry spells in my life for certain.  Times where I feel there is no fruit from what I am doing.  Times where I feel I am not working to advance the kingdom of God.  Not moving in the gifts God has given me.  That's why this parable hits me.  How often has Jesus came to check my fruit?  What I am bearing.  Does He always find it?  No.

And that's the rub.  If we are not bearing fruit, we'll be lost.  A transformation of our soul is proof of salvation.  Our growing in the image of Jesus causes us to uncontrollably bring glory to God.  This happens as we change our lives.  Changing our entertainment, language, dress, lifestyle, habits, etc.  Bringing all under the submission of Christ.  All to be more like Him.  Sometimes.  Sometimes because we pull back and live for ourselves.  We want what "we want".  3 years.

I am thankful for 3 years.  Jesus is showing us He is patient.  3 years the fruit was checked.  Not just one time and then burned.  A full season of growing to see if there is any life.  We are to be eyes open on this.  Don't look at the 3 years as a "grace period" for sin.  Instead, see it as mercy.  Every day should be lived as it was the last of the 3 years.  Make today the day you bear fruit for the Lord.

Let's not forget the friend and fertilizer.  He intercedes for 1 more year.  He volunteers to fertilize the tree and till the soil.  Give the roots new nutrients and oxygen.  Invest in it for one last chance.  How beautiful.  So, if we are grateful for our 3 years, who are we fertilizing?  Are we close enough to someone to come and help them bear fruit in troubled times?  Who's doing that for you right now?


If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26 

What a hard verse!  Surely the King of All does not want us to hate.  So, what does He mean? 

A friend and I were just talking about this verse today.  We both are married and have kids, so this si a dear subject to us.  As fathers we are called to protect our family from physical distress, be spiritual leaders of the home, and to love unashamed.  And Jesus tells us we can't follow Him unless we hate them.  The word here is not hate.

The better translation would be "love less".  He who doesn't love His family less than he loves Jesus cannot follow Him.  Jesus is simply telling us that He is to be our everything.  We are to place Him first.  When we do, we are being the best fathers and mothers we can be.  The best sons and daughters we can be.  The best followers we can be.  This may not be so impactful right now, but it will be.

There will be times where the world's view of what we need to do for our family will conflict with God.  Do we sacrifice Him or them?  Do we forsake time with the Lord for activities?  Do we work at our jobs to get money for our stuff at the expense of Him?  Do we really place Him first?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Adventures in Booga Booga Land

Adventures in Booga Booga Land is a children's DVD from Tommy Nelson Publishers.  It's a collection of 3 short stories illustrating Bible stories.  The stories are told through the 2 main characters, Gerard the giraffe and Marty the monkey.  The 3 stories on this volume are the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, the Parable of the House on Rock or Sand, and the Parable of Hiding a Lamp Under a Basket.

I watched this DVD with my 3 year old daughter.  She enjoyed the stories and the characters.  However, my wife and I did not.  The stories were good, but we had difficulty in pulling the Bible message out of them.  Our hope was that we would be able to use this DVD as a teaching time.  It didn't work for us.  Still, my daughter enjoyed it and we had a great family time.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Fear Of The Lord

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1

God is good.  God does love us, all of us.  Let's start there.  If He was not good or loving he would never have sent His son, Jesus.  Without Jesus, we would all be doomed to spend eternity away from our Creator.  Never being able to walk with Him.  Eternally kept away from the original plan of celebration.  The fact that God did send Jesus is testament to His goodness.  As I said, that's not in question.  Still, God is powerful and there is a fear we are called to have of Him.

God is the creator of everything.  He has placed the universe into existence.  He has defined the rules of physics and thermodynamics to create a place suitable for us to live.  He has also established the rules of life.  God gave us a standard that we are to live by, the 10 Commandments.  We cannot live up to them.  In fact, our enemy tricked the first man and woman and brought sin into the world.  That same enemy is constantly working to trip us up.  As Christians, we have a perfect high priest interceding on our behalf.  When we confess our shortcomings, he is sure to forgive us.  But is that all Jesus is to us?  A rag to wipe off with?

God has said we are to have fear so we may grow.  It is a dangerous place to be when you believe that because you are a Christian you can just live life and say "sorry" when you make a mistake.  That's not what we read in the Bible.  We are to be transformed into the image of Jesus.  We are to ask God to work in us and convict us so that we may grow.  Do we do that?  Always?  Or sometimes do we sin knowing we'll say sorry later.  It's not about the sorry, its repentance.  Repentance is to "turn from" so we don't do it again.  If we focus on the character of God, on His judgment of us in the future, would we act the same?