Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day

"How foolish to worship the creation, when the Creator is so much greater."
Psalm 148

1 Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens,praise him in the heights above.
2 Praise him, all his angels,praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
3 Praise him, sun and moon,praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.
5 Let them praise the name of the LORD,for he commanded and they were created.
6 He set them in place for ever and ever;he gave a decree that will never pass away.
7 Praise the LORD from the earth,you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,stormy winds that do his bidding,
9 you mountains and all hills,fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all cattle,small creatures and flying birds,
11 kings of the earth and all nations,you princes and all rulers on earth,
12 young men and maidens,old men and children.
13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,for his name alone is exalted;his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
14 He has raised up for his people a horn,the praise of all his saints,of Israel, the people close to his heart.
Praise the LORD.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Living Single in Christ

Here are some more great articles found on Crosswalk.com - Singles

The Lost Girls - Read it here

Is There More to Sex Than Pleasure? - Read about the seven purposes of sex here

Sex and the Single Guy - Lust: Where the Battle Starts

A Special Note For Single Parents - Single parents have all kinds of stories, all kinds of pressures, and all kinds of issues.

A trial may be God's good gift in disguise.

"Even when we receive something that doesn't seem good, we can be grateful because we know there is more to it than we can see. What seems like an imperfect gift may be the means by which God perfects us."

James 1:2-18 - Trials and Temptations

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;

8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

9The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.

10But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.

11For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.

12Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

13When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;

14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

16Don't be deceived, my dear brothers.

17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

Defining Moment

Genesis 50:15-21

One year ago, people around the world were stunned by a shooting rampage that left 32 victims dead on the campus of Virginia Tech University. In the aftermath, the mother of one critically wounded student who survived said she did not want the ordeal to become the defining moment in her son's life. Instead, she hoped it could be "something positive, some great celebration of his life."

When the unthinkable happens, it may seem impossible to believe that anything can overcome the emotional scars. Yet, the life of Joseph offers a powerful illustration of God's transforming power (Gen. 37–50). The brothers who sold him into slavery were sure he would take revenge on them (50:15-17). But Joseph told them, "You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive" (v.20).

When we place our desire for revenge in God's hands, we become participants in the remarkable process described by Paul: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12:21).

The defining moments of our lives are not determined by the evil done to us, but by our response through the grace and power of God. - David C. McCasland

When rough the path from day to day,When sorrows fill our eyes with tears,Our choice to find our hope in ChristCan lift our soul and calm our fears. —D. De Haan

Let danger drive you to Jesus.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Knowing Our Limits

Proverbs 28:19

He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.

Webster's defines entrepreneur: "one who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk in a business venture." [Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth ed. (Springfield, Massachusetts, 1993), "entrepreneur."] Entrepreneurs can smell an opportunity a mile away. However, what is often their greatest asset can become their greatest downfall. The road is littered with entrepreneurs who have been successful in one venture only to fail in countless others. Is this the natural way for an entrepreneur, or is there a better way?

King David was an entrepreneur. He grew up as a shepherd boy and later became Israel's greatest warrior. He responded to opportunities, like the time when no one would fight Goliath. He saw this as an opportunity. He ultimately became king of Israel and faced many opportunities placed before him. David learned an important lesson somewhere along the way that each of us as businesspeople should learn.

As an entrepreneur the greatest danger is engaging ourselves in activities in which God never intended us to be involved. This is poor stewardship of what God has entrusted to us. When the Philistines attacked David, he always inquired of God as to if and when he was to counterattack. When he was attacked a second time on one occasion, David inquired of God as to whether he was to attack yet. This time God said yes, but with a condition, "Wait until you hear the sound of marching in the balsam trees" (see 2 Sam. 5:24). This story tells us that David had learned an important lesson about staying vertical in his relationship with God at all times. David had learned the important principle of staying focused on what God wanted for him, not what seemed logical. He was an opportunist, but only through the filter of the Holy Spirit in his life.

How do you approach opportunities? Do you consider the merits of the opportunity only? Or do you inquire of God as to whether He desires you to pursue? It may be a wonderful opportunity, but it may not be God's will for you to be involved. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you as you seek to use the skills He has given you.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wisdom is Supreme - Proverbs 4:18-27

18 The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.

20 My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words.

21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;

22 for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body.

23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

24 Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.

26 Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.

27 Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

Make the right choice: Obey the Spirit's voice

Holy Spirit, we would hear

Your inner promptings, soft and clear;

And help us know Your still, small voice

So we may make God's will our choice.

—D. De Haan

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Overlooking Offenses

Proverbs 19:11

A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

I have a friend who tells a story of a lesson the Lord taught him through his wife. It seems that every time he and his wife would get in the car to travel somewhere, his wife had a strong need to direct his driving. She would tell him where to turn and when to turn, even in their own subdivision. It was such a horrible habit that it drove my friend crazy and became the source of many an argument. Finally, one day my friend concluded that the Lord was trying to teach him something through this experience. He decided he would let go of his need to be free from this correction. He began to affirm his wife and even thank her for her input. It was excruciatingly painful to do this from where he sat.

A few months passed. He let go of the entire situation and actually got to a place where it just didn't matter to him anymore. An interesting thing happened a few months later. One day his wife looked at him and said, "John, I just realized that I have been directing your driving all these years and now realize why I do that. It goes back to my childhood when I had to direct my younger brothers and sisters. I am so sorry I have been doing that." My friend nearly fell out of his seat!

Whenever we work close to another person, whether in an office or home, small offenses can become the source of great conflict. Resentment and irritability soon follow. God brings these "offenses" into our lives to develop character qualities in us. He uses individuals in our lives to accomplish his goal of making us more Christlike. So the next time you complain or resist a habit or action from someone close to you, ask God if it has been placed there to develop some quality in you.

Pride is the root source of the need to change another person. A man's wisdom gives him patience-to let go of little offenses. This is where spiritual maturity is seen in the day-to-day activity of life. Is there someone close to you who has some habit you really want to change? Give up that desire to the Lord. Who knows, He may even change it after you let go of the need to change it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Independence That Leads to Sin

Luke 15:20

So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

The two young men had worked for many years in their family business. One day one of the sons decided he wanted to venture out on his own. He had been under the employment of his dad's business long enough. He felt he had learned all he needed to know. He wanted his independence. He wanted to take his stock options early, which would allow enough capital to begin on his own. The other son remained behind, working day in and day out, faithfully doing his job.

The first son went out on his own only to find it was more difficult than he had ever imagined. The immediate cash gained from the advance from his dad's business was a temptation that was too great for him. He spent all of the money, fell into sin, and failed to invest it in another business. He failed miserably. Finally, he came crawling back to his dad, seeking to be taken back as a mere laborer. The father took him back with open arms, fully restoring him to his original place. He experienced grace and love in a way he had never known before.

When we desire independence so much that we launch out without God's full blessing, we can expect to fall on our face. When pride enters our lives, it discourages us from dependence on anyone but ourselves; yet God says that we are to depend on Him alone. If we think we can go it alone, we will fail. On the other hand, in spite of the prodigal son's failure, he learned a great lesson of grace that he had not known before. This resulted in a humility of heart that had a lasting impression for the rest of his life. Therefore, God even turns our failures into successes spiritually when we are willing to admit our failure.

Pride always goes before a fall. Check your heart today and ask God if there is any pride that is encouraging independence from total trust in God.

Walking in the Anointing

1 Samuel 16:13

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power....

Has the Spirit of the Lord rested on your life? Can you cite the time when
God's Spirit began demonstrating His power through you?

David knew the day the Spirit of the Lord began a special work in him. That Spirit was different from most leaders. Instead of seeking power and control, he led in response to a need. Instead of being a perfect person, he learned from mistakes and acknowledged them among those he led. Instead of placing confidence in his own abilities, he sought wisdom from the only real Commander in charge. David never lost a battle through his many years of leading Israel. He failed God by sinning with Bathsheba and by numbering the troops, but he learned from those failures, and he had to pay a price for them. However, God's Spirit never left David. He never left because of David's willingness to keep a soft heart toward God, even when he failed.

God wants to do the same in you and me, but He will not allow that Spirit to rest on us if we seek to control outcomes and manipulate out of our need for power. Servant leaders know that they are only a tool in the Master's hand. They do not value themselves more than they ought. David's heart was fully the Lord's. Is your heart fully the Lord's to do with what He wills?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Sex and the Single Person

If the Bible addresses an issue with unrelenting frequency and urgency, and if that issue is one of the strongest natural forces in the world today, then ministers of the Word of God are obligated sooner or later to declare God's will on that issue. The sexual life of the unmarried person is of great concern to God. Even those of you who have not entrusted yourselves to Christ for salvation and do not love God, even you are obligated to obey what God has to say about your sexual desires. Though you rebel against his ownership, you are God's. He made you and has an absolute right to tell you what is good for you. He sent Jesus Christ into the world to overcome your rebellion and to make peace by the blood of his cross. And my prayer at the very outset is that you might turn from your rebellion and unbelief and disobedience, and that you might trust Christ for forgiveness and live for the glory of God.

Then I would be able to say to everyone in this room, do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, within you, which you have from God?You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).

O, what an offensive word to our rebel human nature. The body in which you dwell is not yours to do with simply as you please. God bought your body from the curse of sin by the payment of his own Son, and now your body should serve one all-encompassing purpose: "Glorify, God in your body."

As Paul said in Romans 6:12–14, Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies to make you obey their passions. Do not yield yourselves to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as people who have been brought from death to life, and your bodily parts to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Read the rest of this article here

Living as if You Were Dead

Romans 6:11

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

What are the things that arouse the strongest emotions in you? Perhaps it is a rude motorist who cuts you off in traffic. Perhaps it is the anger you feel when you are wrongfully accused. Perhaps it is frustration that results from not having enough money to meet perceived needs. When do emotions turn into sin?

Whenever our peace is upset over events and circumstances in life, we have moved past emotions into sin. Sin says that circumstances of life now dictate anxiety, worry, fear, or anger. Consider the attributes of a dead man. He does not get angry when slandered. He does not worry about the future. He does not fear what can be done to him. Why? Because he is dead. Nothing can harm a dead man.

Christ said we are to live as if we are dead-dead to the temptation of responding to stimuli in our life that are designed to stir up the sinful nature that resides in each of us. We do not have to respond to that nature; we can consider it dead. Christ said He is enough. When He is our all in all, nothing can move us. If we are moved, then Christ is not our all in all.

The Consequence of Faith

Romans 6:4

We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

If you commit yourself to live for Christ in and through your business life, there will be a consequence of faith. You could avoid much hardship and take a much easier road in life if you do not choose to live an obedient life of faith in Christ. This is a spiritual law. None of us is excluded from identification with the cross.

When we commit ourselves to fully follow Christ, He begins a "circumcision" process in each of us designed to rid all that is of the world system from our lives. This circumcision is required of every believer. Moses had much preparation from God for His calling to free the people of Israel from Egypt. He spent years in training as a young boy in the family of Pharaoh. He tried to free the people through the flesh by killing an Egyptian. That cost him 40 years in the desert of loneliness and toil before God said he was prepared to free the people from their suffering. God invested much in Moses; however, that preparation was not enough. Experience and preparation had to be mixed with obedience. God required his family to be circumcised. Moses failed to circumcise his son before returning to Egypt. This was so important to God that He was going to kill Moses if he did not uphold his commandment. "At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him" (Ex. 4:24).

Are there any areas in your life that have not come under the lordship of Christ? Is there any lack of obedience that will prevent you from being used fully by the Lord? Ask Him to show you this today so that you might be fully used of God.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Radiant Singleness

"If I hear one more married person preach about singleness being a gift, I'm going to gag!" declared Brice, a 28-year-old single[man---*B*] we met at a speaking event in Texas. Brice is more than ready for marriage. "Married people forget what it's like to be alone!"

Maybe married people don't forget-they just block out the memory of singleness because they don't want to relive it! Singleness is a lonely path. But does it have to be a form of hell on earth? [NO WAY!!! It's actually a blessing!-----*B*]

Brice has lived the past eight years of his life in misery. He is obsessed with finding the right girl and finally shedding the "curse" of singleness. In many ways, he has put his life on hold until the issue of getting married is resolved. He hasn't pursued finding out his life's calling or goals because he feels incomplete. He hasn't grown spiritually, and he hasn't prepared practically; he has just angrily cried out to God to send a wife to him ASAP! Brice has grown bitter and resentful. His greatest fear is dying before he finds someone to love.
Brice represents the plight of many singles in today's culture.

As a Christian community, we have not acknowledged God's purpose for the season of singleness, and this is causing singles to feel devalued or "lesser-than."

Proverbs 16:1-9

1 To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue.

2 All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.

3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

4 The LORD works out everything for his own ends—even the wicked for a day of disaster.

5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

6 Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for;through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.

7 When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.

8 Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.

9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Play to Your Strength

1 Corinthians 12:4

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.

Have you ever tried to do anything that you were not gifted to do? I am not a handy man. If there is a household project, like a plumbing leak or anything mechanical - forget it. God has not given me any "natural" gifts for such things. And I'd prefer not buying anything that requires assembly!

I have a friend who can fix or assemble anything. It comes naturally to him, and he loves to help me. This same person looks at some of my abilities and marvels. We appreciate the gifts God has given to each of us. These differences have created a need for one another. God wants each of us to need one another. The Scriptures describe the Body of Christ in the same way. Each person is a member of His Body with gifts and talents designed to make His Body perform as a multi-talented group, all playing to the same tune. It is when one member is "out of tune" or decides he doesn't like his gifts, or decides to do something he is not designed to do that the orchestra begins to sound off key. Imagine if the parts of the human body decided they didn't want to fulfill their parts any longer. That body would no longer function effectively because one or more of its members were not performing the functions they were designed for.

What has He equipped you for? What role has he called you to play in God's Kingdom? When one link in the chain is weakened, the whole chain is susceptible to breaking. God made it that way so that we could help that weak link. He made it that way so we would be forced to depend on one another. Are you being a strong link in the chain of God's Kingdom? Ask Him if you are fulfilling your role as He designed.