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Archive for the tag “Jesus”

“I will be like a guard…”

i will be your guardNothing gives me more comfort than knowing that God is guarding me – looking after me.

I think that from that perspective I can see how upset He gets when we trust our inanimate objects like other man-made idols and our money.  Even when it comes to putting ourselves, our jobs or whatever else we feel makes us successful in front of our affections for Him.

It takes the heart of God and we tell Him that He does not matter and that pain must crush Him incredibly.

I see God watching us closely, watching our every move and keeping harm away from us, keeping others who curse us from being successful in doing so and making sure that no one overruns us.

That is why we can rejoice in song on Sunday morning with other followers of Christ!  That is why we can shout for joy! Our King is here, the Righteous One, the Victor!  He came at first lowly, riding on a donkey’s colt and He did that to disarm us and bring us peace.  He did that to deliver us from death in a waterless pit so that He could create a new covenant with us, sealed with blood.

Can you here Him calling?  Come to a place of safety, all you prisoners, for there is yet hope!  For every one of your woes, I will give you two mercies!

Even when I need to take up arms, the Lord leads me as I fight.  It is His arrows that fly straight, it is His trumpet that makes the call.  You will defend me, You will subdue those who are against me and because they are under your feet, I shout with triumph!

It’s like a shepherd caring for their sheep – how wonderful and beautiful is that.  Such peace and such protection ensures an abundance of wealth and young people grow strong and everyone is radiant with health and happiness.

Gifts

red-christmas-gifts

Gift giving has been a tradition that stems back to the beginning of time.

It used to be in forms of blessings, then moved to both blessings and material goods.

When material goods take on the form of blessing, then the gifts really come alive.  I remember when my wife and I were expecting our first child.  We really had nothing.  I served as a youth pastor and my wife just left her job to become a full-time mom and we really had nothing – no crib, no dresser, not a single piece of baby furniture in the house.  My brother-in-law and his wife were self-employed and they had nothing, but decided to give anyway – unbeknownst to us.  It was for them the right thing to do.  He shared the story with us sometime around the middle of July.  He had to tell us because they were not Christians but felt God blessed them for giving.  He felt that way because his business tripled in the early spring from what he had made the entire year before.

He learned how giving can be such a blessing.

Gifts are significant messages from God.  We miss them sometimes because gifts usual come with a giver and every giver has some sort of history.  That history can mess things up or can create a sense of honour and awe.

I find it amazing that the past few days we are rediscovering prophecies of Jesus coming, hundreds of years before His arrival, and they came true.  He could not have fabricated the fulfilment of these on His own.  Zechariah mentioned that people would come from afar to bring Him gifts.  Gifts befitting a King, a High Priest.  He was told that the significance was not just in the gifts, but in the fulfillment of the prophecy.  Since God’s Word is true and He has never lied, it is our kind reminder to carefully obey the Word of God in our lives.

Not by might, nor by power…

seed

Now there is a statement most of us are familiar with!

In a natural frame of mind we tend to think that in order to survive in this world, a person must be tough, strong, unbending, and harsh.  Then we get this little poke from God who says, no leave it to me and succeed because you let my Spirit reign as though you are few and weak and of course, we are.

You see, to the Spirit, He is interested in lasting value and really that is all He is interested in.  So when we are harassed, tired, discouraged and poor, we need to rethink – God is on our side.  As I live for God, I determine each day NOT to trust my own strength or abilities.  Instead, I depend on God and the work of the power of the Holy Spirit.

My success depends on this!

Looking for mountains to be flattened and ready to give God thanks for His mercy and grace.

How long must I call for help before you will listen?

Photosensitivity

For anyone who has a vision for changing the world, this seems to be a common theme in prayer.  It just seems that it takes forever for God to intervene.

This impatience of mine only gets into dangerous territory when I interpret God’s seeming snail pace movements as indifference in the face of evil.

We all can see what is going on around us and who isn’t saddened by the news we read in our headlines each day.  Worse still are the injustices that we never read about or the corruption that is hidden from our immediate view.  What about our Christian friends around the world that suffer for the very fact that they are Christians?

As rampant as injustice may seem to be, I am not called to allow my concern to cause me to doubt God or rebel against Him.  I am called to consider the message of God and to recognize God’s long-range plans and purposes.  God is doing it right, even if I do not understand why He works as He does.

Another danger sign for me is as the circumstances around me become almost unbearable, I begin to wonder if God has forgotten me.  That causes me to remind myself that He is in control.  He has a plan, He will judge, I am to stay humble and be willing to accept God’s answers and await His timing.

 

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Bethlehem

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Just thinking how little and low Bethlehem is at yet she has produced the mightest of kings.  We are obsessed with our wealth and postion and yet this tiny town, poor as it was, would be the birthplace of the only King who could save His people.  Our deliver, the Messiah, would be born, as a baby, in Bethlehem and at the time of His death would reign as the eternal King.

 Here is a click from someone who went to visit Bethlehem

 

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Let us return

VolantonePasquaFigliolProdigo_R375

At the end of the day, when we realize that God is in ultimate control, we have two choices.  The one choice is to be separated from Him forever or to return to the Lord.

Today we struggle because we feel that we have been actually torn in two and how can a loving God allow that to happen to us.  We can arrive at two conclusions – on the one hand there is no God so it does matter anyway.  The other hand, He may have allowed the tearing to happen, then again He is the only one who can heal the tear.

If He has actually wounded or allowed the wound to take place in our life, then it makes sense that He can bind us up together again too.

We return to Him because it is better to live in His kindness than to be separated from Him.  It is better to trust Him, even though we may not know Him.  It is better to press on getting to know Him than to live without Him.  Without a shadow of a doubt, He will respond to us as surely as the sun rises each morning.

So let’s not wait too long to come back to Him.  The longer we wait, the longer the pain and the further from Him we travel.  Let’s put aside our desire for only the external benefits that come from worshipping Him, lets simply just return, seriously.

Matt Redman – Come Let Us Return to the Lord

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Illustration

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There are many sermons that challenge us to understand that our lives are the illustration of God to those who have never opened a Bible or entered into a church or have ever had a conversation with a follower of Christ.

I believe that this is true.

If I do believe this is true, then my experience through job loss, marriage difficulties, pain and suffering, financial difficulties, raising children, success, loss of a loved one and life in general are God’s illustration of Himself through me to others.

Wonder what that painting looks like?

Does it show resentment, anger, disappointment, confusion, hate or does it show love, compassion, yielding obedience, a servant, submission, honour, respect or awe?

I believe that I am caught sometimes thinking I have the right to be….whatever…and God catches me and quietly shares with me that the world is watching – what do I want them to see.  Do I want them to see God or do I want them to see me?

Marriage difficulties I have had – with divorce among Christians at the 50% mark we have no better track record than the rest of the world.  My wife and I entered in marriage with the idea that we would never divorce, and if we did, we would follow the Biblical practice of not remarrying until one of us dies.

That was a good standard to follow because it helped me work through marriage issues until they were resolved.  However, the real issue for me was this — I tell everyone about the awesomeness and power of God and if I was to bail on my marriage, where would that awesomeness and power be?  That is correct – non-existent.  If God is not powerful enough to work in my marriage, then what can He really do?  Those are what drove me to my knees demanding God’s presence and hand and love to fill my marriage.

My marriage has also illustrated my own relationship with God.  How many times have I taken my marriage for granted illustrating the point of how many times I have taken God for granted?  How many times have I left my wife at home alone while I went on my adventure illustrating how many times I have left Jesus on the living room couch of my heart alone while I did my thing?

As I connect the dots between my life being an illustration and life events illustrating my relationship with God, especially with my relationship to my children, God opens the door of communication because I understand what I see sometimes more than what I read or hear.

We may not want to experience the pains or successes that we will experience in this life, but one thing is for sure, God is going to use them as an illustration of His love, gentleness, kindness, mercy and grace.  Also His saving power and the might of His right arm, but also the protection and refuge, a strong tower in times of trouble.

For those of us who God has asked for extraordinary obedience, we pray for trust – God has a special purpose for this particular illustration and has called us to provide it.  May we be satisfied with the knowledge that the pain involved in obedience may benefit those we serve, whether or not it involves us personally.

http://youtu.be/YWk7RUg3ZV4

 

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God knows everything

The word we use officially is that God is omniscient.

What does that mean to you and I?

First of all, but not most important, I think we all see the evil leaders in our world who exist and create pain for a lot of people.  They usually live long and good leaders die young.  Hence the number one opposition to following God is because it looks like God is not in control of world events.  Yet with their seemingly unlimited powers, we know that God controls everything.  The world is moving to God’s purposes and toward His specified ends.

Secondly, and most importantly, are you and I prepared to ask God the right questions and then to be able to listen to the answer when He provides it?

As a follower of the one and only God, an omniscient God, I take joy in knowing things that I should not know, knowing things that others have no concept of, knowing things that only God could have shown or told me.

It is here, in the moment when God shares a little something with me, that takes away the opinions of ungodly people, people who think they are so self-sufficient, and shows them that there is an all-sufficient Creator.

I follow a God who can do just that – make known to me what is unknown, which no one else on earth can know.

The journey begins by laying aside all of our own opinions and worthiness, for one purpose only, that God may be praised for who He is.

Let me share just one such example.

My boss and I were interviewing someone for an important position within the company.  Important to me because I would be spending a lot of time training someone and needed to make sure that time would not be wasted on a wrong choice.  Important to my boss because he wanted to make a lot of money as quickly as possible by hiring the right person.

As we were interviewing, I was praying and asking God for wisdom, to understand this gentleman the way God saw him.  The resume was incredible and my boss was getting quite excited about the prospect of hiring this gentleman.

I kept praying and asking God to tell me things about this person that I would need to know in order to make the right decision.  God responded at just the right time.  The gentleman excused himself from the table for a moment, and just as he did so, God shared that this was not the right person.  This person was only looking to fill in two years of service at the most and would demand more than out of us than we could afford.  He would not be loyal to us, but to himself.

My boss took advantage of the alone time to confirm with me that this was the guy that we should hire.  I responded with what God told me (without saying that God told me) and my boss laughed at me and called me a rookie in the interview process.  He basically told me to shut up during the rest of the interview and he would bring it to close.

The gentleman returned, and interrupted my boss and said that he needed to tell us something before we went any further in the interview.  Word for word he declared what I had just told my boss – you should have seen my boss’ mouth drop.

Of course, that ended with us not hiring him and I had the complete authority from that day forward to do all the interviews, by myself, for any job openings.  That came about because he asked me how I knew so much about the person and I shared my conversation with God.

If we want to be leaders we need to know that God knows everything and ask Him to reveal the secrets of the universe to us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og5liFCL1Bk&feature=colike

 

 

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Leadership Training

Are you of royal blood or some sort of nobility?  Are you strong, healthy and good-looking?  Have you read widely in many fields of interest, well-informed, alert and sensible?  Do you have enough poise to look good as you meander amongst other leaders?

But what makes you a good leader?

Are you a critical thinker, willing to go against the flow if it makes sense to do so?  Can you ask the right questions tha allow those over you to come to their own conclusions without you telling them what to do?  Can you create the right test environment to prove your theories and thoughts are going in the right direction?

When I look back in my life I see the hand of God in everything.  I am not good-looking, and I have no formal education – yet the favour of God upon me is incredible and humbling.  I read ferociously, pray always, seek to follow Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, listen intently, ask questions and look much older than my actual age.

This is what I see as I look back over my years of training to be in the leadership position I am in today.  It is a long road.  It would have been shorter if I went and applied myself in some sort of formal education.  I think we all need it.  The apostle Paul himself, with all of his religious training, took off three years before applying himself into ministry – those three years were in learning, growing, disciplining himself.

May we never lose sight of the fact that we are in leadership training at all times.  Let’s learn today what we will need to lead with tomorrow.

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God of Mathematics

Even though our public school system have a faulty philosophy of education, this does not mean that everything that they teach is counter-factual. Because of God’s general grace, and in spite of their faulty world-view, many non-Christians are able to teach effectively and correctly many subjects from skating to mathematics and engineering to cooking.

Why are there principles of mathematics and logic?  Why are the laws of mathematics universal and necessarily true?  Why is there a correspondence between mathematics and the natural world?  [Gen 1.14-19; Is 40.22; Ps 19.1-4]

What is matter composed of? James Hughes, a professor of mine in university, shares these thoughts…

Jesus literally holds the universe together. If you decompose an atom, what do you find? Smaller sub-atomic particles such as electrons, protons, and neutrons. If you decompose sub-atomic particles, what do you find? Even smaller constituents of matter like quarks. Of what are quarks composed? Those conducting elementary particle physics don’t know. Some postulate the existence of preons, ‘point-like’ (i.e., with zero dimensions) particles. Others have postulated ‘string theory’ (onedimensional components). At the bottom where will this decomposition end? Possibly the analysis of gluons, which hold quarks together, points to the conclusion. Apparently, gluons themselves “need something to interact by. That turns out to be ‘instantons’ [which are] solutions to mathematical equations but … have no materiality. Instantons are mathematical,  but have a physical effect: in their presence the gluons feel forces. So nothing can affect something. [Instatnons are] mathematical beings that teeter on the edge of reality and affect the behavior of objects.

At root, the entire universe exists and is held together by thought. The mathematical thoughts of Jesus hold the universe in existence. [Col 1.16, 17]

In the beginning (if there was such a thing), God created Newton’s laws of motion together with the necessary masses and forces. This is all; everything beyond this follows from the development of appropriate mathematical methods by means of deduction.
Now this supreme wisdom, united to goodness that is no less infinite, cannot but have chosen the best. For as a lesser evil is a kind of good, even so a lesser good is a kind of evil if it stands in the way of a greater good; and the would be something to correct in the actions of God if it were possible to the better. As in mathematics, when there is no maximum nor minimum, in short nothing distinguished, everything is done equally, or when that is not nothing at all is done: so it may be said likewise in respect of perfect wisdom, which is no less orderly than mathematics, that if there were not the best (optimum) among all possible worlds, God would not have produced any.
Science is complex and chilling. The mathematical language of science is understood by very few. The vistas it presents are scary—an enormous universe ruled by chance and impersonal rules, empty and uncaring, ungraspable and vertiginous. How comfortable to turn instead to a small world, only a few thousand years old, and under God’s personal; and immediate care; a world in which you are His peculiar concern.

 

 

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