Friday, July 31, 2009

Come Unto Me

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. -Matthew 11:28-30

Are you tired? Jesus says, "Come unto me." Are you weary? Jesus says, "Come unto me." Are you burdened down? Jesus says, "Come unto me." Are you distressed? Jesus says, "Come unto me." Are you pooped? Played out? Are you fed up? Fatigued? Are you beat? Are you broken? Worn out? Tuckered out? Burned out? Are you done for? Done in? Jesus says, "Come unto me."

"Come unto me...and I will give you rest." There's rest in Jesus. In this world of hustle and bustle, running to and fro, candles burning on both ends, Jesus says, "I will give you rest." In this sin filled world, there's rest in Jesus. Proverbs 13:15 states that the way of a transgressor is hard. Sin brings you down, physically, mentally, and of course spiritually. It's a hard path to trudge along. But, there's rest in Jesus.

Ah, rest, sweet rest! Without proper rest, we become tired and empty. Jesus loves us too much to want us tired and empty. Rest. Peace. There's peace in Jesus. Away from the path of the transgressor, there's peace in Jesus.

But, look at verse 29, Jesus talks about a yoke. A yoke is a wooden beam which is used between a pair of oxen to allow them to pull a load. Jesus was talking about rest, then He switched the statement to work. Wait a minute here...

Consider this: This rest, the Lord Jesus is talking about, is not rest from work, but rest in work. How is this possible, you ask? This is accomplished by eliminating work that isn't eternally significant and replacing it with work that is eternally significant. How do we find eternally significant work? Obey the Word of God. How do we get it? Come to Jesus.

His yoke is easy. His yoke will fit perfect for the task at hand. His yoke will fit perfect if we allow ourselves to be conformed to His will. If we do not allow any change to take place, we will be as hard as the wood beams it takes to control oxen.

His burden is light. Burdens? Remember, Jesus does not promise to free us of burdens, but to replace them with burdens that are light. Now, you say, Preacher, you don't know my burdens! And you're right; however, with Jesus, there is a peace inside and just knowing that He is there with us each and every step makes any burden a little lighter. Knowing that all things work together to the good for them that love the Lord makes any burden bearable. Knowing that we can cast all our cares upon Him because He cares for us, makes any burden light.

Jesus says, "Come unto me." He's inviting you. It's an invitation from this hard world we struggle through to a better way. "I will give you rest."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Here lies...


Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake; Stepped on the gas instead of the brake

Here lies Lester Moore; Four slugs from a .44; No Les No More

The children of Israel wanted bread, And the Lord sent them manna; Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife, And the devil sent him Anna

I told you I was sick!

Here lays Butch, We planted him raw; He was quick on the trigger, but slow on the draw.

Here lies an atheist. All dressed up and nowhere to go.

And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, - Acts 4:36

There were many leaders in the early church, but few were as humble and influential as Barnabas. Actually, his name was Joseph or Joses, but the apostles gave him the name Barnabas, which means Son of Encouragement. What a way to be remembered! He was such an encourager, the apostles changed his name to suit. He did so much to encouraged.

Barnabas owned land in Cyprus, in which he sold and gave the proceeds to the church in Jerusalem. After the Apostle Paul's conversion, Barnabas took him and introduced him to the apostles. He and Paul undertook several missionary journeys and defended Gentile converts against from the Judaizers. Hey, he was an encourager!

Barnabas was a good man, a good Christian that we would all do well by his example.

How about your life? How will you be remembered? We won't leave much behind when we depart this world, but what will last longer than any material things is your memory. How will you be remembered? An encourager? A strong Christian? A Christian? An atheist?


"The best is yet to come." Frank Sinatra

"A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough" Alexander the Great

"She did it the hard way" Bette Davis

"Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I'm Free At Last." Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I had a lover's quarrel with the world" Robert Frost

"Curiosity did not kill this cat." Studs Terkel

"That's all, folks!" Mel Blanc (the epitaph is the trademark line of cartoon character Porky Pig, whose voice was provided by Blanc for many years)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How Great Thou Art

Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. - Isaiah 32:1-2

The prophet is talking about the King, the King of kings. Isaiah is talking about Jesus Christ. There is coming a day when the governments and powers in this world will dissolve and King Jesus will reign in righteousness and rule in judgement. Hey, we are talking about Jesus!

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. - 1 Timothy 3:16

In the fullness of time, God condescended from glory and was born into flesh from a virgin. God in flesh. And His name was Jesus which means 'God saves'. He came to seek and save that which is lost. He was born to die. He who knew no sin, became sin, so that you and I may live forever. He is salvation to the sinner. He is hope for the hopeless. He is the light in a dark world. In grace, love, and mercy, the Lord is abundant and rich.

How great Thou art!

1.) A hiding place from the wind. He is a great stability. In an illustration of a boat upon the water, when the winds are blowing and howling, the boat is tossed to and fro like a rag doll. Much like your life, when unseen forces of this world start raging against you, a great stability can be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is a great stability against the winds of life such as the deception of men, the doctrines of devils, or the discouragement of this world. In an ever changing world, Jesus is unchanging. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever!

2.) A covert from the tempest. He is a great shelter. When the storms come,He is a great shelter. Storms come in many forms and fashions, but one thing is certain - they will come. There are storms of turmoil, storms of trials, storms of tragedy. I like what the apostle Paul says, "We know that all things work together for good to them who love the Lord."(Romans 8:28) All things, even the storms. But Paul goes on to say that we are to be conformed to the image of His Son in verse 29. All things work together to transform us into the image of His Son. But during the tempest, He is a great shelter.

3.) Rivers of water in a dry place. He is a great source. He is pure. He is productive. He is plentiful. He said He would give us life more abundantly. Yes, the abundant life! He is a great source for strength. Strength to carry on. Strength to press on. Strength to keep on. He is a great source that never dries up, that never withers away, that never staggers. He is rivers of water in a dry place, not just a stream, but rivers. He is a great source.

4.) The shadow of a great rock in a weary place. He is a great shadow from persecution, from heartaches and headaches of this world. But, Jesus said, "Come."

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. - Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus is our all in all. He is our protection, providence, and peace. And He still says, "Come unto me." Are you lost, insecure, discouraged? Jesus says, "Come unto me." Do you lack hope, vision, peace? Jesus says, "Come unto me." Are you searching? Jesus says, "Come unto me." Let's go to Him for life and life more abundantly. Jesus is the answer.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hast Thou Considered My Servant?

And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? -Job 1:8

The question was not posed to Job. The question was not asked in the presence of Job. Job had no knowledge of or the reasoning behind the question. Job had no clue the conversation between God Almighty and Satan was even happening. But, this question would forever change the life of Job. Soon thereafter, misery, sorrow, pain, and loss would take Job in hand and try to squeeze every bit of peace, happiness, and joy from his soul. Perhaps, not knowing the reason why was the worst part of it.

Job was the richest man in the east. He had seven sons, three daughters, seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and the Bible also says he had a very great household. He was blessed beyond measure. But one day, messenger after messenger brought disastrous news that everything he had held dear was lost and gone. His family was dead. Servants were dead. Sheep, oxen, donkeys were dead. Even by the time the last messenger had left, Job had broken out into a severe form of leprosy. Friends mocked him. His own wife told him to curse God and die. But Job kept the faith.

"Hast thou considered my servant Job," God asked. What a wonderful question! Imagine God Himself posing the question about you, "Hast thou considered my servant [insert your name here]." Amen!

God said there was none like Job. He was perfect and upright, feared God and hated evil. Blameless. Consider Job. Consider yourself. Although there is none like Job, what kind of servant are you? Are you blameless? Do you fear God? Do you hate evil? Would you have cursed God? Consider yourself.

We should strive to be perfect and upright in the sight of God. We should press on through troubles and trials knowing that all things work to the good of them that love the Lord. We should not grow faint or weary knowing that each step we take is ordained by God. We should consider how we run the race, so when we face the Lord that He might say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." We should want to please the Lord as much as Job did, so God might ask, "Hast thou considered my servant?"

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Bread of Life

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. -John 6:35

Jesus Christ is the bread of life! Just like bread is physical food needed by man, the bread of life is spiritual food needed by man. Just as man needs to eat physically, in order to live, so man needs the bread of life to spiritually live.

As the Israelites journeyed through the wilderness, they began to complain. They wished the Lord had left them in their place of bondage in Egypt. They thought they had plenty to eat in Egypt even though they were enslaved to Pharaoh, but Moses and the Lord brought them into the wilderness to die of hunger. Instead of remembering the great things God had done to free them from slavery, they complained about their hunger.

But God told Moses he would rain bread from heaven. He provided a new food that appeared each morning with the dew as small, white, round pieces. The Israelites called it manna, translated to mean "what is it?"They did not know what else to call it, so they called it "what is it?" or manna. Each morning the Israelites were to gather the amount of food they would need that day, no more, no less. Each day, God would give them their daily bread. They had to trust God to provide them with their food. If they doubted or mistrusted God and tried to stock up on the food, the manna would rot and spoil.

I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. - John 6:48-58

Jesus Christ is the bread of life. He is the spiritual bread that rained from heaven. Is it no wonder, He came into this world to Bethlehem, which translated means 'the house of bread'. He is the manna of the New Testament. Is it no wonder, He came to His own and His own said 'What is it?' and received Him not? Is it any wonder? Jesus Christ is the bread of life. Won't you receive Him each day by praying, reading His word, listening to the Holy Ghost, focus on Him. He is nourishing you spiritually.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

With Wings As Eagles

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. -Isaiah 40:31

Man, I'm tired! Sometimes, I get physically tired after exerting my body to do physical work. Sometimes, I am mentally tired after exerting my brain for whatever that is worth. Regardless, tired is tired. Exhausted is exhausted. And it can be disabling. God gives us a way to cope with physical and mental tiredness and recoup by sleeping and rest, but how do we deal with spiritual exhaustion?

Spiritual exhaustion? Yes, there's even a spiritual tiredness. Pastors trying to deal with members fighting against what God has instructed. Sunday school teachers trying to deal with unruly kids. Door after door being slammed in your face when trying to witness. Trials upon trials, troubles upon troubles, valleys upon valleys, yes, there is spiritual exhaustion. Maybe you've been fighting for so long, believing things will get better eventually, but now you're tired. You've obeyed God and put yourself out there to do the Lord's work, but you're not sure if anybody is receiving it. Spiritual exhaustion.

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that
have no might he increaseth strength. -Isaiah 40:29

There's encouragement, right there. He gives power to you when you are weak. Amen? Amen. And when you feel like you just can't go any further, when you feel you can't take another step, He increases your strength. When you go and go and go, when you do and do and do, you are bound to get tired and worn out. But, I like verse 31, "Wait upon the Lord!" God will renew your strength. Renew means to make new again. When you renew a passport, you add more time to it. When you renew a magazine subscription, you add more time to it. When you renew a partnership, you extend agreement. When you renew your membership, you add more time to it. When we wait upon the Lord, He will renew our strength. I stand on that promise, don't you?

And I really like what it says next, "they shall mount up with wings as eagles." Where you were once walking and trudging along, now you're going to mount up with wings. And not just any wings, but eagle wings! Soaring wings! Majestic and graceful wings! For those times you must run, you will run and not get weary. For those times you have to walk, you will walk and not grow faint. Are you tired? Are you weary? Are you beat up? Beat down? Are you treading water and nobody seems to care. God cares!

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. - 1 Peter 5:7

God cares for you. He cares that you get tired. He cares that you are exhausted. God cares! Wait upon the Lord and He will renew your strength. He cares! He wants you to soar. Press on, it won't be very long.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Small Steps, Giant Leaps

It was 40 years ago today, U.S. astronauts landed on the moon. In a daring and miraculous show of American ingenuity and enthusiasm, a massive three-stage booster rocket launched from a pad in a mixture of fire, fuel, and smoke to speed towards an unknown destination. The Apollo 11 launched from Earth on July 16, 1969 and landed on the moon July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong descended from the lunar module and became the first person to walk on the moon.

"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." -Neil Armstrong

So much pressure, so much anxiety, so much anticipation. Imagine the tension, the nervousness, the angst, the fear, the worry. So many emotions in such a great moment of history. There was much fear and anxiety over venturing into the unknown, where no one had ever gone before. The unknown.

People have a fear of the unknown. It is human nature to fear the unknown. Why? Because, what is there? It is the uncertainty. It is the wonder. It is the uneasiness. It is the unknown.

As the Lord is revealing the Ten Commandments to Moses, the children of Israel are at the foot of the mountain and they can see the lightning, and the fire, and they can hear the thunder, and they can feel the rumbling, they saw, heard, and felt the power of God. The Bible says that they got really afraid. Can you imagine see the lightning, smoke, and fire on top of the mountain? Can you imagine seeing the power of God and not knowing who God is? And that's exactly how the world reacts when they see the power of God. Scared. Afraid. Fear. Why? It goes back to the fear of the unknown. The world does not know God; therefore, they fear the Lord. They fear the unknown.

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the
noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. -Exodus 20:18-21

Moses said, "Fear not." Moses was not afraid. Moses knew God. The people saw the lightnings and the mountain smoking, and heard the lightning and the noise of the trumpet, but the Lord was unknown to them. Talking about fearful. But Moses said, "Fear not." And as the people stood afar off, Moses walked into the darkness. The darkness? Isn't that the unknown? No, that was where God was. One small step for man, one giant leap for all of us.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This Is the Day

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. -Psalm 118:24

This is the day the Lord has made - The Day of Atonement. There has never been a day like it before and there will never be another day like it ever again. It's the day that all of eternity past has looked forward to and it's the day that eternity future will never forget. It's the day of prophecy. It's the day of promise. It's the day that the sovereign God of creation had designed from the get-go. The fall of man, in the garden, did not take God by surprise. The Garrison did not take God by surprise. Golgotha did not take God by surprise. No, God Almighty foreseen this and provisioned a way. It's the day of God's design.

It is the day of Sovereign Design. I can imagine when God formed the world with His own hands, He molded mountains and valleys, He scooped oceans and canyons, He formed glaciers and deserts. I imagine He shed tears when He formed Mount Calvary because He knew that His only begotten would, one day, take on sin, bleed, and die for a multitude of sinners, like you and me. But, it was necessary, it was God's plan.It is a day of hope for the hopeless. It is a day God, the creator, designed out of love for the creature, me and you. God loves you, so He made a way! It is the day of sovereign design.

It is the day of Satan's Defeat. Seeing Jesus beaten, nailed to a cross, bleeding, Satan thought he had the victory in his pocket. When the Roman soldiers were scourging Jesus, Satan was whispering in their ears, "Kill him! Kill him!" When Jesus was hanging on the cross, Satan was saying, "I got him, now!" But, I wonder if Satan realized that prophecy was being fulfilled.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. -Genesis 3:15

Yes, way back in Genesis, Jesus was fulfilling this prophecy. Calvary bruised the head of the old serpent. It is the day of Satan's defeat. Calvary was where the victory was won.

It is the day of the Saints Delight. Rejoice! And be Glad in it! He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves! He made a way when there was not a way. Praise His name for His grace, His love, and His mercy! If we got what we deserved, we would be on our way to that awful place called Hell. Lost, separated from God forever. But, God made a way.

Jesus gives us three parables in Luke 15. The parable of the lost and found sheep, the parable of the lost and found coin, and the parable of the lost and found son (the prodigal son). In each parable, something that was lost was eventually found. Praise God. After each was found, each rejoiced!

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me... I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now, I see.


Are you saved? If so, REJOICE! If not, this day could be your day. The bible says that Now is the time for salvation. Now. This could be your day.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. -Hebrews 11:10

Heaven is a real place. A real city. A real destination. Heaven is waiting for the child of God at the end of this journey. Here are some quotes from a variety of sources, but all are about that home on high called Heaven. Enjoy!

We belong someplace. The day we are given a name we are also given a place which no one but we can fill. - Maya Angelou

Cartoonist Arthur Brisbane once pictured a crowd of grieving caterpillars carrying the corpse of a cocoon to its final resting place. The poor, distressed caterpillars, clad in black raiment, were weeping, and all the while the beautiful butterfly fluttered happily above the muck and the mire of Earth, forever freed from its earthly shell.Needless to say, Brisbane had the average funeral in mind and sought to convey the idea that when our loved ones pass, it is foolish to remember only the cocoon and concentrate our attention on the remains, while forgetting the bright butterfly.

"Surely it is not wrong for us to think and talk about Heaven. I like to find out all I can about it. I expect to live there through all eternity. If I were going to dwell in any place in this country, if I were going to make it my home, I would inquire about its climate, about the neighbors I would have -- about everything, in fact, that I could learn concerning it. If soon you were going to emigrate, that is the way you would feel. Well, we are all going to emigrate in a very little while. We are going to spend eternity in another world. … Is it not natural that we should look and listen and try to find out who is already there and what is the route to take?"--Dwight L. Moody

"If we really understood Heaven, we would be most unhappy and unsatisfied with life on Earth. We would rebel against our earthly limitations. If we saw Heaven, we could not bear this earth. That's why Heaven is forever: we cannot bear to leave it after we get there.----C.L. Allen

"Death is but a passage out of a prison into a palace."--Anonymous

The paradise that God has prepared for us, the marvelous Heavenly City, is clearly and explicitly described in His Holy Book, the Bible, in the last two chapters of Revelation, the prophecies of Saint John. It is so amazing, so breathtakingly beautiful, that it is almost beyond description!It is the largest City ever built, built by God Himself! It is 1,500 miles wide and 1,500 miles high. It glows with golden light from its crystal golden beauty and is full of golden mansions for you and me!The streets are made of scintillating crystal-clear gold. It is surrounded by a very high wall with twelve pearly gates. This is to prevent the entry of any who are not yet ready to enter therein.Within its shimmering gates is the Paradise of God, where the River of Life winds gracefully through lush parks where laughing children and gentle animals play -- and where departed loved ones await our coming!--David Brandt Berg

"Heaven'll be our last move!--No baggage, no luggage, no hard journey, no packing, no long travel! It may be a long way, but it may be closer than you think! --David Brandt Berg

"You live on earth only for a few short years which you call an incarnation, and then you leave your body as an outworn dress and go for refreshment to your true home in the spirit." - White Eagle

"Here, joy begins to enter into us; there, we enter into joy.--Anonymous

God conceals from men the happiness of death that they may endure life.--Anonymous

"Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal."--Thomas Moore

"Because I live, ye shall live also."--Jesus, (John 14:19)

"When I die, do not sound taps over my grave, but reveille -- the morning call, the summons to rise."-- A soldier

The English scientist Michael Faraday (1791-1867) is considered to have been one of the greatest experimental physicists. When Faraday was questioned on his speculations of a life after death, he replied:"Speculations? I know nothing about speculations. I'm resting on certainties. I know that my Redeemer lives, and because He lives, I shall live also."

"We shall not rest from our work but from our labours. There will be no toil, no pain in the work. --Anonymous

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ouch! Thorns

And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. -Matthew 27:28-30

He wore a crown of thorns. Thorns that were twisted together to form a makeshift crown. Thorns came into this world as a byproduct of sin. Thorns are the very essence of burden and struggle. After the fall of man, God cursed the ground so that man, as a result of Adam's sin, would have to eat by the sweat of his brow. Man would have to toil the earth all the days of his life. As a direct consequence of disobeying God, man would now have to reap what was sown. Man would have to learn the burden and struggle of life after sin had made its painful mark.

The thorns Jesus bore represents the cares of this life. Remember the parable of the sower, in which Jesus talks about the one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful (Matthew 13:22). These are those who have heard the truth, and even some who understand that Jesus came to free us from such bondage, but just can't seem to let go of the burdens and struggles of this world.

In nature, thorns twist, choke, and curl around their surroundings. It is fitting that the English word 'worry' comes from the old German word 'wurgen' which means to choke. Because worrying and its constant anxiety and fear chokes the mind, or a better phrase might be mental strangulation. The total obsession of things of the past, present, and future (most which is out our control) is mentally exhausting, physically destructive, and spiritually damaging. A day of worrying is more exhausting than two days of hard work. Thorns choke.

In the Garden of Eden, thorns came from desires that tell us that there is something else needed to live in order to be content, regardless of what God says is needed. For Adam and Eve, it was the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Even in our lives today, we can see the thorns twisting and curling. For us, the forbidden fruit could be anything we feel we need to be happy, content, and secure. The result is a never ending struggle. Just as Adam struggled to bring in his crops from the ground, so we still struggle with the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of riches. The argument is so convincing that we are in the right that we become engulfed in rent, bills, mortgages that the word that God has placed in us is choked becomes unfruitful.

The worries of this life are pressing. Christ set us free from the worries of this life so that we may rejoice! Rejoice in the deliverance from the worries of this world in Christ Jesus.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. - John 16:33

Monday, July 13, 2009

Coming Around

Have you ever heard the saying, "What comes around, goes around?" Are you aware it's a biblical principal?

I remember riding the carousel somewhere in my past. Or, as I recall it, the "merry-go-round." You would mount an old colorful wooden horse of your choice. After the ride had been filled with people, the carousel would start, slowly, and off you would go. First, the horse would move up, as you went along, then, when it reached its peak, it would descend, all the while moving around in a circle. And so forth, and so forth to a dizzying effect. Bells and whistles! Around and around she goes!

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not,
and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. -Luke 6:37-38

If we give to God, it will come back to us, not only what we give, but in surplus. Surplus? Jesus says, "good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over." I like that talk about surplus. However, if that part of the verse is true then the rest of the verse is true. If we judge, we will be judged. If we condemn, we will be condemned. If we forgive, we will be forgiven. The principle is clear and straightforward. What comes around, goes around.

No matter how great our prayer life is, how much we praise God, how spiritual we think we really are, at our best we're still flesh and flesh will falter, flesh will fail, and flesh will not please God. We may have been in the church for a long time and seem to have finally gotten our act together, but years later, we will look back and say, "I remember saying this and saying that and how wrong I was even though at the time I thought it was right." It will happen. Count on it.

This principle teaches us that we should not go around with a pointy finger passing out judgement against others just because we feel we know better. You may be stronger than this brother. You may be further down the path than this brother. But, he is stronger in other areas that you're not. And he has reached points that you haven't reached yet, also. You can't see them, only God can see into the heart of a man. Only God can judge with His righteous judgement. Here's a good point: God doesn't need our help.

Our focus needs to be on God. Keep your eyes upon Him. Set our eyes on things above not on things of this world.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that
shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap
corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life
everlasting. -Galatians 6:7-8

Whatever a man sows, that's what he will reap. A man does not plant watermelon seeds and apple trees sprout up. A man sows watermelon seeds, watermelons come up. A man sows apple seeds, apple trees come up. Common sense, right? A man does not sow corrupt seeds of the flesh to expect good things to sprout. No, if a man sows seeds of the flesh (lust, hatred, discord, jealousy, selfishness, etc.), corruption comes up. If a man sows seeds of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control), life everlasting comes up.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Clean Hearts

A man wrote to the department of agriculture to find out how to cope with the dandelions that had infested his lawn. They gave him a number of suggestions. Nothing seemed to work. They suggested a number of chemical products to purchase. He did and tried them all, but nothing worked. Finally, he was completely frustrated and wrote them again, informing them that every method they had suggested had failed. Every product they had suggested failed. And he wrote that his yard was still filled with these infernal dandelions which seem to have only multiplied. He got back a rather short reply which read, "We suggest you learn to love it."

You can probably relate to that problem if you ever tried to remove habitual sin in your life. You may have tried everything and nothing works. You may, like the man in the story, feel frustrated because when you look over your life, the sin remains and maybe even grows. Nothing has changed. Too often, in our failures at living a sin-free life, we give up and come to live with our sin or maybe even enjoy it.

One of the key struggles of the Christian walk is dealing with the process of change as we struggle to live a life of purity. Lasting change never comes without a change in attitude and a change in heart. When we hate sin as God hates sin, then we will be committed to avoid sin and live a life of purity. But we also have to realize that we can never change our sinful nature in our own strength.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within
me. -Psalm 51:10

We must cry as David cried out to the Lord. We must have the attitude that David had. We must have that change in heart that David desired. When God creates a new heart for us, new actions will follow. Through constant renewal in the Lord will the new actions take hold and take root in your life.

In Colossians 3, Paul says if we are risen with Christ, to seek those things which are above. He says, "Set your affection on things above, not on things of the earth." (Colossians 3:2) Don't learn to love your sin or even learn to live with it, but set your mind on things above, on heavenly things.

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication,
uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in
knowledge after the image of him that created him: -Colossians 3:5-10

Mortify our members which are carnal of the things of the world. Mortify them, kill them, suppress them. Sin must be avoided. The lusts of flesh, the love of the world, etc. If we do not kill them, they will kill us.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord. -Romans 6:23

Sin is death, spiritual and physical. But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus. Let the Holy Ghost renew your mind. Put on the new man. Put off the old conversation. Put on Jesus.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wake up and Smell the Coffee

It's hard to focus your day when you're rushing to get ready, rushing out the door, rushing to the car, rushing to work, rushing to your desk, rushing to sign on (or clock in). Trying to be on time and be prepared, etc.

As a Christian and a child of God, it is important to focus your day by meditating on the Lord. Why should we neglect the greatest person in our lives? Why would we want to? This world is full of sin, temptations, evil. It is hard enough by ourselves, but Satan is out and about, also. In 1 Peter 5:8, Peter instructs us "to be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." Why would we want to rush into our day without talking to God, first and foremost? But, I'll tell you what gets me up and going...prayer and coffee!

I love the smell of coffee. I love walking down the coffee aisle in the grocery store. The aroma tingles something inside of me and I can't help but smile. I hate to rush into my day without a fresh cup of coffee. What a great thing to wake up to the pleasant smell of coffee brewing in the morning. When I smell fresh coffee in the morning, even if I'm dead asleep, it's that smell that draws me like a cartoon with an extended animated arm of eye-opening aroma that tickles my nostrils and brings me to full attention.

The apostle Paul writes about the presence of Jesus Christ in the Christian's life as smelling a wonderful aroma that makes you hunger, makes you thirst for the source of that aroma.

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ,
and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? -2 Corinthians 2:14-16

We aren't the only ones smelling it! Notice that this is a sweet savour that God loves. Through us, He spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself
for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. -Ephesians 5:2

Sweet smelling! When I think of sweet smells, the first thing that pops in my mind are flowers. He said, "I AM the Rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys." (Song of Solomon 2:1) Do people see Jesus in you? Is the evidence of Jesus in you, the changes in your life and attitude, your delight in the Lord, are they like the smell of Jesus to them?

I have heard, "You are the only Bible that some people will ever read." And how true that is. You are a walking, living testimony. Just like all odors, their are good testimonies and then their are bad testimonies. What do people see in you?

You can ruin your testimony, also. You can mask that once sweet smell from the rest of the world. There was a mechanic who was superb in all his mechanic-ery. He worked on car after car, resolving each problem, removing each knock, silencing each ping. But one day, after just a simple tune up, in all his haste he left the oil plug out of a car. And when the driver drove off without any oil in the car, the engine eventually locked down. Do you know what he was known for from that day hence? Not the mechanic who resolved every problem. Not the mechanic who removed each knock and ping. He was known as the mechanic that left the oil plug out of a car. His once sweet smell became a foul odor. You are a living, breathing testimony everyone sees, good or bad.

Be conscious of how you smell. Paul instructs us to put on Christ. As God smells Christ in us we are better than coffee to Him.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rise up!

Two balloons. Identical in size and weight. One green, one blue. The green one is filled with air. The blue one is filled with helium. Both balloons are thrown into the air.

What happens?

The green balloon falls, while the the blue balloon rises. Why? Why do two balloons, which appear to be the same on the outside, react so differently when tossed into the air?

Basic science. The one filled with hot air will fall to the ground, while the one with helium will rise. Helium rises because it is less dense than the air. Science.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it
is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. -Ephesians

Salvation is like these two balloons. If we want to rise to heaven rather than fall into the depths of hell, we need something special on the inside. If we want to rise like the helium-filled balloon and not fall like the hot air-filled balloon, we need something special on the inside. If we try to save ourselves, like the balloon filled with the hot air, we will fall and spend eternity separated from God. But, if we accept the free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, like the blue balloon accepted the helium, we will rise to spend eternity with Christ in heaven.

Salvation is a gift. It is a gift of grace, of love, of mercy. You are not saved because of your financial status. You are not saved because of your good looks. You are not saved on the basis of how nice and fair you've treated others. Salvation is offered because of His grace, love, and mercy.

If I gave you a $100 bill as a gift, you would have to accept it to possess it. Right? If you did not accept it, you would not have it. If you accepted it, you would put it in your pocket and walk away $100 richer; however, if you did not accept it, I would put it in my pocket and neither one of us would change in status. Salvation is a free gift. You don't have to work for it. You don't have to bargain for it. You don't have to pay for it. It has already been paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. All you have to do is accept it.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt
believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. -Romans 10:9

You have no promise of tomorrow. The Bible says it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Are you prepared? Are you saved? If not, confess that Jesus is Lord and God raised Him from the dead and Romans 10:9 says you shall be saved. If you pray and get saved, email me and give me the good news! I pray that you will. I pray that you will rise up like the blue helium-filled balloon.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Old Black Book

The Old Black Book
KJV 1611

This old, black Book and I,
To reach a home on high,
By it I'll live and die,
This old, black Book and I.

This black Book shows to me,
From sin I can be free,
Through Christ once on the tree,
And raised to victory.

This old, black Book of mine,
In glory doth it shine,
The words of God divine,
This old, black Book of mine.

M. E. Van Nattan

One of the most precious things to a preacher is his Bible. He has cried over it, studied it, slept with it, stood on it, and memorized it. He has embraced it, believed it, and loved it. It has carried him through deaths, marriages, births, and rebirths. It shines light on the right way. It shines light on the wrong way. It has told of the first man and it has told of the last man. O, what a precious book. The Word of God.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. -Psalm

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Power in the Blood

For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. - Matthew 26:28

There is power, power, wonder working power in the blood of the Lamb. Power to liberate. Power to redeem. Power to overcome. Power in the face of whatever...illness, persecution, death. Power, wonder working power.

Jesus was the only begotten of the Father and His body was formed in the womb of a virgin named Mary. Jesus was all man, as well as all God. He was not half man and half God. He was 100% man and 100% God. You say that's physically impossible, that would make up 200%. But I say, all things are possible with God. Mary was the chosen biological mother of the Christ child, but it was God Almighty that imparted His own life into the blood of Jesus. The blood that flowed through His veins was pure. The blood that His heart pumped was perfect.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;
and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: -Romans

Before Adam fell it was Spirit then flesh, when sin entered the world, it became flesh and then spirit. That is why we struggle, that is why we cannot connect and hear from God. If Adam had not sinned, he would not have died. But by his sin, he introduced death into the human family. The human body, therefore, became subject to corruption and decay, and death ultimately comes to each one of us. We are born in to sin, we are born with sin, and our nature is sin. The blood we all are born with is inherited from the first man who introduced death and decay into all of our lineage. That's true! We were all born into this world needing a blood transfusion.

For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which
receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) -Romans 5:17

Jesus Christ has no sin in His body. He has no sin in His blood, but He allowed Himself to die for the sins of a sinful humanity. He who knew no sin, became sin for you and for me. He gave the perfect life that was in His perfect blood to redeem poor and hopeless mankind who carried a blood disease in their bodies, in their blood. Diseased blood, imperfect blood, contaminated blood. Scripture and science say that the life is in the blood. So, as death is in our blood, death is also in our lives.

When Jesus died upon the cross, His own blood was shed by Himself as God's High Priest on behalf of the people. He was crucified at the time of the feast of the Passover, the feast the Jews kept to remember the time when God said, "When I see the blood I will pass over you" (Exodus 12:23). At the very time the Jews were feasting to celebrate the first exodus, Jesus was making atonement for the second exodus. He made Himself our Passover, our Savior, our Blood sacrifice. His blood alone covers all of our sins. Our sin-debt is paid! We are redeemed!

And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are
they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. -Revelation 7:14

Are you washed?

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you washed in the blood, In the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb? Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you walking daily by the Savior’s side? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Do you rest each moment in the Crucified? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

When the Bridegroom cometh will your robes be white? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Will your soul be ready for
the mansions bright, And be washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Lay aside the garments that are stained
with sin, And be washed in the blood of the Lamb; There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean, O be washed in the blood of the Lamb!

Monday, July 6, 2009

How's Your Prayer Life?

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. - Matthew 6:9

How's your prayer life?

Prayer is communication with our Lord and Creator. Prayer is communication with God Almighty. And yet far too few understand prayer or have taken any time to study it. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we do not spend enough time in communication with our Lord. Through these valleys, through these storms, through this wilderness, we should be in constant contact with the one who can help, the one who can protect the one who can guide. Just like in any other relationship, the lack of communication makes the relationship difficult. When we don't talk to God, our relationship with Him is strained. Why would we ever want to strain our relationship with the Lord?

So, how's your prayer life??

Let's answer some basic questions on prayer, scripturally.

1.) Who should we pray for?

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them
that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which
despitefully use you, and persecute you;
- Matthew 5:44

What?! Really?! Love your enemies?! Bless them that curse us?! Do good to them that hate us?! Pray for them that use us and persecute us?! That's what Jesus says. Now, I have to admit, that is easier said than done, but the Lord commanded us to love and pray for our enemies. Upon further meditation though, love would melt the hate and turn your enemy into your friend. What a divine miracle! What an act of God!

2.) What should we pray for?

Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he
will send forth labourers into his harvest.
-Matthew 9:38

The task is too great for one. The fields are white unto harvest and the laborers are few, very few. Jesus wants us to pray for more workers in the field. More laborers, more disciples, more followers. more church, more missions.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. - 2
Chronicles 7:14

Self explanatory. Christians, people, humble yourselves, pray, repent, then God will hear your prayers all the way up in heaven and forgive sins and heal the land. I implore you to meditate on this verse, pray on this verse, and act on this verse. Seek God! This day and time, especially, it seems we need land healing and sin forgiving for our nation as well as the nations of the world. Stand on this promise!

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation:
the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
- Matthew

More Jesus. We need constant prayer with God to keep us from temptation. Temptations are around all of us, all day long, all night long. Our carnal side is warring with our spirit side. It is like the old game of tug-of-war, with the flesh on one side, pulling a rope in one direction and the spirit on the other, pulling in the opposite direction. I remember this game from elementary school. I remember crowds around cheering for one side or another, shouting things like "Come on! PULL! PULL!" But, I do not remember anybody ever cheering for the rope. The flesh is on one side and the spirit is on the other, so that makes you the rope. I want to cheer for you! I want to encourage you! I want to pray for you!

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. - 2
Corinthians 5:20

Pray for sinners. We all have lost loved ones. We all know unsaved people. We need to pray for the lost. As a citizen of that heavenly city, as a part of the Kingdom of God, as a representative of Jesus, we pray for you, O sinner, that you may see the light and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and be reconciled with God Almighty.

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray
for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; - Colossians 1:9

Pray for saints. Pray that you all will be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and all understanding. Well put. Pray that we are kept in the center of His perfect will. Pray for the saints.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men
liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. - James 1:5-6

Who doesn't need wisdom? The Bible says that if we ask, it shall be given. So, in the midst of your trials, when all seems hopeless and doesn't make any sense, remember this verse. When there seems no way out, remember to pray for wisdom and it shall be given to you.

Boy, there's a lot to pray for!

3.) When should we pray?

Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he
shall hear my voice. -Psalm 55:17

David says in this psalm, to pray morning, noon, and night. David knew God. He sought God all parts of the day/night. When he arose in the morning, at midday, and before bed, David made a way to communicate with God.

Pray without ceasing. -1 Thessalonians 5:17

Enough said? Continually. Always. Constantly.

But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of
the word. -Acts 6:4

Like the aforementioned, continually. Always. Constantly.

Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. -Acts 12:5

Continually? You think you're too busy for prayer. Peter was in prison, but prayer was made without ceasing. Wow.

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and
watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; -Ephesians 6:18

Again, always.

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; -Colossians 4:2

Continue. Continually. Go to Him in prayer.

4.) Where should we pray?

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast
shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. -Matthew 6:6

Jesus said pray in secret. And why not? Away from distractions, away from worldly distractions, one on one with your heavenly Father. He's a personal savior that saves in a personal way. It's a relationship. Sure, we talk to Him in public, out in the open, but we can get into deep conversation in private. Prayer is not only talking, but also, listening. It's hard to listen in this distracting world, but get away in your closet and it's one on one with the Father. Throughout the gospels, Jesus often departed from the disciples to go away and pray. Great example.

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands,
without wrath and doubting. -1 Timothy 2:8

But, pray continually. Always. Constantly. In the prayer closet for deep conversation (talking and listening) and also everywhere, be in touch with the Father. We must pray in our closets, pray in our families, pray at our meals, pray when we are out and about, public and private.

5.) Why should we pray?

And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every
one that is indebted to us... -Luke 11:4

Confess our sins.

And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his
friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. -Job

So we will be blessed.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall
find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:For every one that asketh
receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this
is the law and the prophets. - Matthew 7:7-12

We are sowing blessing for ourselves.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father
which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. -Matthew 6:9

We are praising God.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. -Phillipians 4:6

We are thanking God.

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I
do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. -John 14:13-14

We can ask for help.

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye
shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. -John

There is power in prayer.

And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not
into temptation.And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, - Luke 22:40-41

In spiritual warfare.

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the
prayer of the upright is his delight. -Proverbs 15:8

It pleases God.

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to
pray, and not to faint; -Luke 18:1

Jesus told us to.

Friday, July 3, 2009


And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. - John 8:32

Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die. ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

What shall set us free? The truth shall set us free! So, the next logical question is "what is the truth?" Is the truth doctrinal truth? Is the truth an intellectual knowledge of the facts recorded in the Bible? What is the truth? What is freedom?

Everybody loves freedom. Everybody wants freedom. But, what is freedom? Freedom is limited as it rightly should be. Consider the freedom for someone to break and enter into your home to steal everything you own. Consider the freedom for someone to shoot heroin into their veins. Consider the freedom for someone to speed recklessly through you neighborhood. Consider the freedom for someone to commit murder under the guise of an aborted choice. Some may think that they are totally free, but they are blinded by Satan and are led around by his will.

Jesus spoke of spiritual liberty. He spoke of their bondage to sin. He spoke of their captivity to Satan. In verse 34, Jesus states who ever commits sin is the servant of sin. We all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Therefore, we all are in bondage to sin and are destined for death, both spiritual and physical. Satan leads us around, deceiving us like he did Eve in the garden of Eden. He constantly shoots fiery darts of doubt, fear, anger, insecurity, guilt, and blasphemous thoughts into our minds and souls. But, Jesus spoke of liberty. Freedom. Truth.

Jesus encouraged them to listen to His teaching, rely on His promises, and obey His commands then they would be disciples where they would learn where their hope and strength lay. You, too, can be encouraged to do the same. Study the Word, pray on it, follow it. Daily, like President Eisenhower said in the quote above. Study the Word daily, pray daily, obey daily. Make it fresh daily. When you find a promise in the Bible, claim it. When you come to a command, obey it. When you read of a truth, believe it.

The truth is Jesus!

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. - John 14:6

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Tea Cup

I received this story from a chain email through my friend Patrick. It blessed my soul and I don't want to ever forget it. I love it so much, I want to share it with you.

It starts:

There was a couple who took a trip to England to shop in a beautiful antique store to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery, and especially teacups. Spotting an exceptional cup, they asked "May we see that? We've never seen a cup quite so beautiful."

As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke, "You don't understand. I have not always been a teacup. There was a time when I was just a lump of red clay. My master took me and rolled me pounded and patted me over and over and I yelled out, "Don't do that. I don't like it! Let me alone," but he only smiled, and gently said; "Not yet!"

Then WHAM! I was placed on a spinning wheel and suddenly I was made to suit himself and then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I yelled and knocked and pounded at the door. "Help! Get me out of here!" I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head from side to side, 'Not yet'.

When I thought I couldn't bear it another minute, the door opened. He carefully took me out and put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. Oh, that felt so good! "Ah, this is much better," I thought. But, after I cooled he picked me up and he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. 'Oh, please, Stop it, Stop, I cried. He only shook his head and said. 'Not yet!'.

Then suddenly he puts me back in to the oven. Only it was not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I just knew I would suffocate. I begged..I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. I was convinced I would never make it. I was ready to give up. Just then the door opened and he took me out and again placed me on the shelf, where I cooled and waited and waited, wondering "What's he going to do to me next?" An hour later he handed me a mirror and said 'Look at yourself.' And I did. I said, That's not me; that couldn't be me. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful!!

Quietly he spoke: "I want you to remember, then," he said, "I know it hurt to be rolled and pounded and patted, but had I just left you alone, you'd have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know it hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened. You would not have had any color in your life. If I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you wouldn't have survived for long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. Now you are what I had in mind when I first began with you."

The moral of this story is this: God knows what He's doing for each of us. He is the potter, and we are His clay. He will mold us and make us and expose us to just enough pressures of just the right kinds that we may be made into a flawless piece of work to fulfill His good, pleasing and perfect will.

So when life seems hard, and you are being pounded and patted and pushed almost beyond endurance; when your world seems to be spinning out of control; when you feel like you are in a fiery furnace of trials; when life seems to "stink", try this: Brew a cup of your favorite tea in your prettiest tea cup, sit down and think on this story and then, have a little talk with the Potter.

See? I told you it was good. Thanks, Patrick! What a true image of Romans 8:28:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.

I, also, heard this story somewhere about a stick that could talk. One day a farm boy happened by and picked up the stick from its resting place. He pulled his knife out of his pocket and looked at the stick The stick said, "Oh no, what are planning on doing with that knife?" The boy began to cut on the stick. The stick cried out in agony. Wood was flying left and right The stick begged and pleaded for the farmer boy to quit. "Ow! You're hurting me! Please, stop!!" But the boy kept on whittling on the stick. "Please, stop!" Finally, after hours and days of cutting on that stick, he stopped. The boy picked up that stick to admire his handy work. After all that work, he raised up the stick to his mouth. The stick said, "What now?!" But the farmer boy began to blow air through that stick and beautiful music began to play. Amazing Grace the boy played. He had carved a flute out of that old stick. The stick with gratitude exclaimed, "Oh thank you. Thank you for cutting on me to make into a fancy flute! Thank you!"

All things work together for good to them that love the Lord! Trust in Him!