Monday, January 7, 2019

We have a Ray of Brightness

7 Jan

Amos 5:20; NIV
Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light—pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness? 

A father whose son was wayward asked a friend, a Christian lawyer, to try to talk sense into him.  At an opportune moment, the lawyer witnessed to the boy who laughingly put him off.

One day, the young man, thoroughly intoxicated, was trying to cross a busy intersection, when a speeding car threatened to run him down.  In a flash, someone pushed him to safety, probably saving his life.  It was the Christian lawyer, who saw who the young man was, and again begged him to give his life to Christ.  Again he was rebuffed.

Years went by.  The young man had gone from bad to worse.  Now a middle-aged man, he was on trial for a serious crime.  The judge happened to be the Christian lawyer who had been promoted to the judgeship.  At the end of the trial, when the young man was asked if he had anything to say, he replied, "Yes, I know this judge.  He's a friend of my father.  And once saved my life, and I believe he's going to do it again."

After a brief pause, the judge looked at the man, then said, "It's true I'm a friend of your father.  And, indeed, I did once save your life.  But now I'm your judge, and I am going to have to pass sentence on you."  If we reject Christ as our Savior here, we'll face him as our judge in the hereafter.

There is a dark day coming, the day of the Lord when Jesus will return to judge all humankind, but it will be only dark for those who have not accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Like in the story, Jesus is continually calling to us, reaching out to all people, asking them to change.  But many refuse and keep going in their sins.  Most people believe they can continue as they are because they will have plenty of time to call upon Jesus later.  They don't realize time is running out.  The next time they see Jesus, he may be looking at them, not as their Savior but as their Judge.  When that happens, what Amos said will come true; the day of the Lord will be darkness, not light, pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness.  Don't give up, continue spreading the Good News, keep praying for those who don't know our Lord.  Let them know life does not have to end in darkness, they could be in the presence of the Son!



Sunday, January 6, 2019

Walking

6 Jan

Micah 4:5; NIV
All the nations may walk in the name of their gods, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever. 

Walking in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever!  What a thought.  Spending time with my BFF (Best Friend Forever).  Those who do not know God walk in the shadows of earthly, man-made gods.  Those who walk with the Lord our God, walk in the Light and into his heart.  There is a big difference between walking in shadows and walking in the light.  When we are in shadows, we are in a cool place, in darkness, and if the shadow is really dark, it can even cause us to trip, fall, and lose our way.  So it is with those who follow and walk in the shadows of man-made gods.  But for those of us who walk with the One True God, we walk in his Light.  We are in his warmth, and all things are visible to us so we won't trip, fall,  and lose our way.  Walking with the Lord our God, and into his heart; what better place can we be?


Saturday, January 5, 2019

As You Have Done, It Will Be Done

5 Jan

Obadiah 15; NIV
“The day of the LORD is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head. 

There is a day coming, and it may be soon when our Lord is going to judge all people.  Of course, some people profess to be Christian and even show it by their actions and deeds.  They will gladly stand before the Lord on that day.  Others have never known Him, but when that day comes, they will wish they had because they will not like the punishment received for the bad they have done.  Others will have it even worse than these.  They are the ones who called themselves Christians but never did what the Lord had called them to do.  They never really became one of his, they just went through the motions, and when others saw them they did not notice any change, so they saw no reason to become a child of God either.  It's heartbreaking to know there are people out there who profess to be children of God, but you cannot see it in their actions and deeds.  Where are you at today?  Are you walking the walk and talking the talk?  Do people see the reflection of Christ when they look at you?  When the day of judgment comes, what kind of punishment are you going to receive?  Think about this, if others cannot look at you and say, "there goes a Christian," I do not think God will be able to do that during the day of judgment either.


Friday, January 4, 2019

He Relents From Sending Calamity

4 Jan

Joel 2:12-13; NIV
“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”  Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. 

Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel awoke one morning toward the end of the nineteenth century only to find his obituary in the local newspaper.  The obituary said, "Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, who died yesterday, devised a way for more people to be killed in a war than ever before, and he died a very rich man."  Actually, it was Alfred's older brother who had died.

The account had a profound effect on Nobel.  He decided he wanted to be known for something other than developing the means to kill people efficiently and for amassing a fortune in the process.  So he initiated the Nobel Prize, the award for scientists and writers who foster peace.

Nobel said, "Every man ought to have the chance to correct his epitaph in mindstream and write a new one."

We do have just such a chance.  We are able to become something better, to change our lives, to become more useful than we ever thought we could.  And how do we accomplish such a feat?  By calling upon the name of the Lord.  We are all headed 100 miles an hour down a one-way street and the only thing at the other end of that street is a brick wall, and guess what, we have no way to stop ourselves.  But God can change all that.  Joel tells us that we have to "rend" our hearts, to tear it apart, destroy the old one and make way for a new one.  When an old building is so run down that it's of no good for anything, it is torn down so a new one can be put up in its place, one that is useful.

By "rending" our hearts, we tear it apart so that God can come in and make something better; a new heart, one that is useful.  And when he creates a new heart he also destroys that brick wall that we were about to run into and he gives us the means to stop, to slow down, to truly enjoy life.  You see, God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. 


Thursday, January 3, 2019

To Many To Count


3 Jan

 Rev.7:9; NIV
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

"I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count."  Wow!  I'm a college football fan and more specifically a University of Michigan fan.  I read some years back that they set an attendance record for a home game with that number being over 111,000 people (since I wrote that statement years ago, U of M has busted that number with 113, 085 for the Penn State game in 2014).  That number boggles my mind, its many times larger than the county I currently live in, here in Idaho.  I know there are other events which have larger numbers and they too boggle my mind.  John says the multitude in heaven was so great that no one could count!  Wow!  What a time we are going to have.  Elbow to elbow with the likes of Peter, Abraham, Noah, Paul, Moses, all the saints that have gone on before, those that paved the way for the rest of us.  I can hardly wait!  But, I also know the work here on earth is not done yet and I want to do all I can to make sure each and every person is coming.  Hey, if we were going to a party and the person hosting it said, "invite anyone you want", who would be on your list?  Well, I'm here to tell you there will not be another party like the one Jesus is going to throw and he said to go into all the world and invite everyone we come in contact with (my translation).  So, let's get started on that party list because this is going to be AWESOME!!


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Sing His Praises




2 Jan

Ps 57:9-11; NIV
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. 
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. 
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. 

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of all the great things God has done for us.  We seem to take Him for granted and expect him to take care of us for we just like children.  In the course of kidding around my boys would sometimes tell me that I have to do such and such because I am their parent and that shows I love them.  But after a while even though they considered it a "parental have to" situation, they would come back and thank me.  For me it wasn't a "parental have to" it was a "parental get to", I get to do these things because I love my boys.

As our heavenly father, God does provide all our needs and it is not a case of "have to" but a case of "want to."  God loves us and even when he tell us "no" he still loves us.  His love for us is so strong that it reaches to the heavens and his faithfulness to the skies.  We are to tell all the nations; all the people of the earth; friends,  relatives, neighbors, all mankind that our God is great.  Let's start singing his praises loud and strong!


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

What's in a Name

1 Jan

Rev 3:5
The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.

When children are asked what they want to be when they grow up, we might get answers like; policeman, fireman, soldier, mom, teacher, play football, and the list goes on and on.  There are endless possibilities for children and yet I don't think I have ever heard someone say they want to be a Christian when they are grown.

There is a song called "A New Name in Glory", where one of the verses goes like this, "In the Book 'tis written: "Saved by grace."  O the joy that came to my soul!  Now I am forgiven, and I know by the blood I am made whole. --- There's a new name written down in glory, And it's mine.  O yes, it's mine!  And the white robed angels sing the story: "A sinner has come home."  There's a new name written down in glory, And it's mine.  O yes, it's mine!  With my sins forgiven I am bound for heaven, Never more to roam." 

Now that I have you singing to yourselves I want you to think about what this song says, "We have a new name written down in glory."  What is your name?  Many of us go through life with number of different names; mother, father, sister, brother, preacher . . . we tend to think of some of these names as being job titles or professions, but we are also stamped with the names of those professions.  For many years I was known as "Sergeant Head."  By my actions and dress, people knew I was in the military.  Now I am called "Pastor Jim," and again, my actions should tell others who I work for.  Just by hearing the name, "Pastor" different visions are brought to mind of what a pastor should or should not be.  But the name I like to be called more than any other is "Christian."

You see, it is a name given to those who recognize what Jesus has done for us.  It is a special name, a name everyone could have, but few do.  It is a name written down in the "Lamb's Book of Life."  Jesus says for those who truly call upon him and live life the way God intended, their names will never be blotted out of that book and he will acknowledge us before our heavenly father and his angels. 

Do your actions tell others about the name you are proudest of?  Do your actions tell others you are a "Christian"?  I hope mine actions and your actions will let others know about Jesus and saving grace.

I have a new written down in glory -- and it's mine!  How about you?