ARE YOU THERE YET?

Taking Life's Journey At The Level of Blessed-Faith Instead of Baby-Faith

If you have small children, you have or will likely experience it; the family takes a road trip, and once in a while during the drive, the little one asks, “Are we there yet?” With three of my own, I can say that I’ve had my fill of that cute but mildly irritating question. But as it went, just as the older child matured enough to abandon it, the younger picked up the baton.

The obvious difference between the older and the younger child is that the older can process time and distance while the younger is still learning to. But there is another aspect of this example that is important to point out. The older child is beginning to take you at your word. You say you are taking the seven hour drive to grandma’s, and they get it and believe it. Parents, do your best with your kids to keep your word.

If you say what you mean and mean what you say, your maturing child and you will develop a strong relationship of trust. That mutual integrity will make life much more pleasurable for the both of you as a result. And the little one? Well, they will need a bit more than just your word, but as they see with their eyes the benefits the older gets to enjoy by trusting what you say, then they will also want those benefits.

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THE SWEET “OUR” OF PRAYER

Praying from Your Family Position Instead of a World of Care

What are you worried about today, Christian? Yes, I said “Christian”. This word is just a friendly reminder of the distinctly different, peculiar person you are IF you are in Christ Jesus. And He is the Jesus who essentially tells all who believe in Him to worry about nothing and pray about everything. So I ask again, Christian, what on earth are you worried about today?

I challenge you today to see with me that the Lord’s prayer is a great place to start, even if from the heart, you only recite it to God, word for word, for now. Having nothing more to say to Him than the exact words Jesus suggested is infinitely better than not praying at all. But before you do so, let me offer a couple of suggestions.

There are unfathomable riches to be found in the five little verses of Scripture known as the Lord’s prayer (Mt. 6:9-13). In fact, one need not dig much deeper than the first word of the petition to reveal precious gold veins of God’s grace leading to increasingly valuable spiritual treasures.

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Eternal Love For Temporal Life? Hardly!

How Jesus; The Resurrection Gives Us Eternal Security

What are we in Christ saved from, ultimately? Of course, we are saved from sin. But honestly, the thing we are most concerned about is sin’s penalty–DEATH, right? There are many wonderful aspects of salvation, but there are not many that are as important to us as the eternality of salvation.

hourglass

Why? because we know that all must die; but then what?

Death’s Destroyer

Because we trust in Christ, we are guaranteed eternal life. So the thing that we are saved from ultimately is eternal death. It was the first warning God ever gave humanity when He said, “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17).

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HOW DEEP IS YOUR LOVE?

Its GOD You Need To Show...

As we enter that time Christians celebrate as the week of Christ’s Passion where he suffered torture and crucifixion for our sakes, I am reminded of some of the lyrics of the Bee Gees hit song, “How Deep Is Your Love.”

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a music lover, and it amazes me how sometimes the perfect song, whether secular or Christian, pops into my head that perfectly fits the current situation.

One particular lyric in the song says, “you’re my savior when I fall.” Now, of course, the Bee Gees were singing about the love of a woman, but I can think of at least one possible source of inspiration for such words… Need a hint? I didn’t think so.

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DON’T BLOW THE BRIDGE OF BIBLICAL BELIEF!

Believing The Word of GOD Until The End

Attention to detail is very important when it comes to the Christian faith and the rule for the Christian life—God’s word. Imagine two soldiers being tasked with blowing up a bridge to keep enemy forces from crossing it. The soldiers are told to meet on the bridge at a particular time, plant the explosives, and blow it.

1957 Academy Award winning film Bridge On The River Kwai

They each get to either end of the bridge at the appointed time, rig the dynamite, and then meet up in the middle with their detonators in hand. But what might be wrong with this picture? Well, let’s just hope they know where they stand…

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KEEPING UP WITH THE JESUS IN US

5 Steps To Keeping Up With The Christ

From social status to consumerism, from materialism to outright hedonism, people, the world over, are still deeply concerned with “keeping up with the Joneses”. And thanks to the ease of access of social media, it has exploded to the almost impossible level of “keeping up with the Kardashians,” “the Kim and Kanyes,” “the Jay-Z and Beyonce’s”.

We are living in a world that is spiraling downward into a chasm called “enough is never enough.” That is simply a place that God never intended for you and I to be.

A James Bond movie bears the title, “The World Is Not Enough”. And that is precisely the mindset that got the world into all of the trouble it is filled with today. Adam and Eve were given everything, but with one little prohibition. The world was not enough for them, and they sinned, thereby starting the spiral.

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The Labor of Waiting Patiently on The Lord

Taking a Regular Spiritual Pit-Stop

At Mount Sinai, (Exodus 24:15-18), Moses went up alone to meet with the LORD.  It was only after patiently waiting for six whole days in a thick mist that covered the mountain that on the seventh day God called to Moses from the cloud.  Then Moses spent another forty days in solitude with the LORD!

The result was the production of arguably one of the most influential written documents ever known–one that every civilized society since has in some way been effectively governed or somehow positively impacted by. We know it as The Ten Commandments.

We live in a very hurried world today where people find it almost impossible to wait for things. They sacrifice so much of the precious gifts of peace and quiet meditation for the quick response or result. By trying to keep up with everyone else, they miss much of what is most important in life. That is not the pace at which God intends His children to exist.

Taking regular spiritual pit-stops will dramatically increase your effectiveness at running life’s race. There is infinitely inestimable value in getting alone to quietly and intentionally wait to hear what the LORD might want to say to your heart.

So here’s your challenge. Sometime during your day, take fifteen minutes to a half-hour to get somewhere that is as quiet as possible to disconnect from everyone and everything (especially electronic devices). Yes, I realize that swiping the off-button on a smartphone is hard for most people to do. But do it. Try this challenge just a few days a week for the next few weeks, and see won’t it begin to change your world for the better! “Wait, I say, on the LORD.”

You may feel like you are losing ground in the rat-race as you make those precious pit-stops for God’s guidance. But don’t worry about falling behind; life will be right there waiting for you when you’re through. Besides, the Lord said the last shall be first…

YOUR BEYOND VERY GOOD

Sin Wants To Make You Settle for a World Passing Away

In the beginning, God made everything and everything was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). But the significance of God’s word not using the term “very good” until the sixth day—and after He created mankind—should not be overlooked.

Creation was made for humanity by God, and He said that it was “good”. Yet after He made us—the crown of His creation—He used the term “very good” to signify that humanity, which creation was made for, makes God’s work on earth complete.

Yet nowhere does God say that was His best for you! You were designed by God to transcend “very good”. Very good was your beginning. But it was by no means meant to be your end. When God finished creation, He gave us dominion over it, and He allowed us to choose to either settle for very good being the best we would ever know, or to eat of the Tree of Life and experience the incalculable beyond very good. Unfortunately we made the wrong choice, and became destined to rue the day we lost mere paradise. Adam is proof-positive that sin wants to make you settle for less than your inheritance.

But wait! There is a hope! You see, God had a backup plan. He would send another (uncreated) Adam who would offer us the opportunity of not just “good” or mere “very good”, “but God had planned something better for us”. So that was just the beginning! Why? Because through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—the last Adam (I Cor. 15:45)—you have the opportunity to pick up where the first Adam left off. By choosing Christ, you have willfully made the choice to experience not just what God created, but the limitless beyond. And why did God do this? Here is the answer (Ephesians 2:7):

…in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

And even now, there is infinitely more in Christ that we have to enjoy. C.S. Lewis perfectly explains another aspect of our perceived scarcity in God’s kingdom of abundance…

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

3 THINGS YOU MUST DO TO MAKE YOUR NEW YEAR HAPPY AND NEW

Okay, well maybe you have heard it before. But have you truly “heard” it? You see, Jesus even often said, “whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” What did He mean by that? Was He poking fun at someone in the audience who may have been born with an auditory defect? Last I checked, He didn’t make that statement when Peter hacked off Malchus’ ear either. So what did Jesus mean?

He was speaking of the genuine, willful, obedient, “be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” type of hearing. So, If you are of the persuasion that feels they have heard this before, but are still spitefully holding on to yesterday (or yesteryear), then I say to you by the authority of Christ’s words that you’ve never heard this before, but here goes… Leave The Past Behind.

Wait! Isn’t that one thing? Well, yes. It is one statement, but it has three important things in it for us to remember:

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Kissing The Little ChristmaSELF Goodbye For A While

3 Simple Ways To Have Your Best Christmas Ever!

The Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” tells the story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation into a gentler, kindlier man after visitations by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. But did you know that the name Ebenezer comes from the Bible?

It is a perfectly fitting name for the miserly Mr. Scrooge. He not only hated Christmas, but he was also greedy and quite selfish. In the Bible, Ebenezer means “stone of hope”. Scrooge fits the description perfectly as he goes from being a cold-hearted, stone-faced, stingy old grouch, to becoming a hilariously generous giver of money (and holiday hope) to Tiny Tim and the rest of the poor Cratchit family. Scrooge serves as an excellent Christmas object lesson for us all.

Pope John Paul II said, “The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.” Let’s face it folks; we are for the most part very selfish people. I mean look, we are living in the age of the selfie!

And many of us would quickly admit that there is probably no more selfish time of the year than the days that begin on Black Friday and end on December 25th. Yet there is perhaps no better time to say goodbye to a selfish attitude than during the time when people tend to be the most selfish.

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CHRISTmas Lights Are Best At Night

Piercing The Darkness With Christ's Beautiful Light

When do Christmas lights look their best?  When it is darkest outside, right? Like the reason why diamond sellers display their finest stones on a black velvet background, when Christmas lights are burning brightly in the night, the colors pierce the darkness, producing stunning displays that catch the eye and touch the heart.

And you know what? Throughout our lives, there will be times we will experience the darkness of disappointment, relationships gone bad, financial reverse, pain, sickness, and a host of other possible trials. When they come—and they will for everyone, saved or not—what will we do to reflect the glory of God?

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Oh Grow Up! Huh? Which Way Is Up?

Growing Up God's Way In a World of Broken Moral Compasses

Why is it that when Jesus spoke, he so often talked in terms that contradict our ways of thinking? Could it be that his purpose was to overturn our philosophical approach to life? I’d certainly say so. After all, he did say, “I am the life…” Such a definitive statement insinuates that all other ways of life somehow fall short.

In a conversation with a man named Nicodemus, Jesus said that unless we are born-again, we cannot see or enter the kingdom of God. Taken alone, it is reasonable to see how Nicodemus would ask, “Can a person return to their mother’s womb and be born-again?” I mean, how ridiculous, right? Yet, we know that Jesus was speaking of spiritual regeneration as a result of genuine faith in him.

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