God

What is the sovereignty of God?

What does it mean for God to be sovereign?

You can look up the dictionary definition of sovereignt are no accidenteign. You can look it up in your Funk & Wagnalls. You can listen to a TED talk on sovereignty. You can get a college degree on sovereignty. You could do all that and probably still not have a clear understanding of the sovereignty of God.

Here’s how Chip Ingram, teaching pastor and CEO of the Living on the Edge Christian website describes God’s sovereignty: “God is the lone, Sovereign, King, Authority, completely separate from all religions, truth claims and philosophies, in complete control of time and eternity. There are no accidents, and nothing is ever random. Watch this video as Chip explores God’s sovereignty.

Reprinted here with permission of the author.

God

Make believe or reality

When I was in the seventh grade, I received a board game for baseball. I made up a complete league of 8 teams of 15 players each. As I played the board game, I kept up with the batting average and win/loss record for every player. It was a fascinating experience, but it wasn’t the real world.

When I look around today, I see a lot of people still playing make-believe games. Recently, things have gone to a new level utilizing Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) which enable the virtual world to allow competition. If you register your purchases on block-chain platforms, you have nothing to show except the original code of historical video moments and other creations. Some of the NFTs sell for thousands of dollars.

I read recently where a small statue sold for five thousand dollars. It didn’t really exist, but somebody bought it. It would be interesting to see how that person picked up what doesn’t exist in order to take it home!

One interesting craze today is digital horse-racing. You don’t have real horses. There is a platform called Zed Run where you can buy, sell, race, and breed digital horses. The horses are merely lines of code that are made to look like horses on the screen. They are easier to handle than real horses because you don’t have to give them food or water, they never get tired, and there is no limit to the number of times that they can run.

The folks that create these digital horses claim that each horse has its own bloodline and pre-programmed qualities and defects. The “stud farm,” run by Zed Run, allows you to “breed” the digital horses. Each digital horse is unique by use of its algorithms. You can pay from $125 to $45,000 for a horse. One recently sold for $125,000, and it is projected that in the future, a horse could sell for $1 million.

These races cost $100 to enter. Each 12-horse race gives cash prizes for the horses that place in the top three positions. But this isn’t the real world. It’s a way to spend your money and your time, but what difference does it make in life?

I tell you what is real – life. Life will end with my last breath, but because of God’s grace and the fact that His son Jesus conquered death, I have an opportunity to live forever in heaven. And heaven is real. I have a lot of friends with whom I am looking forward to spending eternity with!

The Christian faith is not an NFT – it is a FSR – For Sure Reality. It has made the difference in my life here on earth. Before I became a Christian, I had a lot of things in life that were make-believe. When I surrendered to Jesus, my life changed completely. The real world is the place to live, and I look forward to eternity where there will be even “more real.” Jesus offers the abundant life now and for eternity (John 10:11) to you and everybody who will receive it!

The way to win in life is to win the real and most important race. Paul shares how to win in I Corinthians 9:24-27. Do what he says, and you can be the real winner!!

God

Two Sparrows and my hair number #539

I have no clue how many hairs I have on my head. I never think about it. I know I don’t have nearly as many as I did 20 years ago. But I don’t care about my hair. But apparently God does. He counted them all.

And are you in the market for some cheap birds? God will sell you a couple of do-nothing insignificant sparrows for one penny. What a bargain.

God favors the insignificant

take the hairs on my head. I could care less about them. They’re about the most insignificant thing about me. Of the few I have left I never give them a second thought’. On the other hand God must have thought my hairs were pretty important because He counted very last one of them.

And what about sparrows? They’re about the most insignificant bird in the sky/ In Jesus day you could buy 2 sparrows for a penny/ Yet not one sparrow fell to the ground outside the care of God.

God favors the insignificant

God

Who is God?

Who is God?

We don’t usually talk about God in casual 

conversation. We know he’s there. We pray to him on occasion. We may call on him. We may talk about him in a bible study or Sunday School class.

Sometimes we may be prompted to call his name. When we are, don’t we usually pick a safe, common name for God like “King of Kings” or “Lord of Lords”?

But isn’t God more than that to us? Here are some other names we can use to call His name and glorify His presence in our lives.

Jehovahweh,   All Powerful One   Yahweh    Almighty One    Creator     Uncreated One     Divine    King of Kings     Lord of Lords   Savior   Father     Master    All Knowing   Holy Spirit   Omnipotent One    I AM    El Shaddai   Elohim     Alpha and Omega

God’s names represent what God does and describes his character. For instance  El roi God who sees;   El Elyon  God Most High; El Shaddai    God Almighty;   Elohim  The Creator;    Yahweh–I AM;    Abba–Father;

There are many more names you could use to call and identify God and invite him to help you with whatever you need.  Follow the link below to find more names of God.

God

50/20 Principle

Remember when Joseph’s brothers learned that their Father Jacob was dead? Joseph had recently been  made second-in-command in all of Egypt and all his brothers had sold him in to slavery years ago. They lied to their father and said Joseph had been killed when they sold him intHe told his brothers o slavery.

WeJoseph every reason to hold his brothers responsible for all the misery Joseph experienced}erienced  as a result of his brothers’ treatment. Joseph spent years languishing in prison as part of his misery.

Now he had the power and authority to even the score with his brothers in any way he chose.

What did he choose to do?

He chose to forgive them

He chose to employ the 50/20 principle–a little wrinkle he came up Ywith himself. 

The brothers were all afraid. 

Now since Joseph was the number two man  in all of Egypt the brothers all feared  their powerful brother would throw them in prison or worse.

But Joseph surprised them.He said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now taking place.”

The 50/20 principle comes from Genesis chapter 50, verse 20, which Joseph told them, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.”

God

From the sideline to the front line

As Jesus started His public ministry, He began recruiting people who would be on His team. The people He selected were not influential community leaders or wealthy movers and shakers. A human resources person in our day would shudder in disbelief at the people He called. His priority was not picking five-star recruits, but making every recruit a five-star!

Four of the first people He selected were fishermen. Jesus saw something in them that nobody else saw. He saw immense potential. If you find excuses today for not following after Jesus, remember that He sees you quite differently from how you or others see you.

It’s easier to sit on the sidelines of life than follow Jesus to the frontlines. The sidelines are not the place for Jesus-followers. Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will teach you how to fish for men.” (Matthew 4:19) Their response was to get up immediately, leave their nets and livelihood, and begin to follow Him. They had been sitting on the sidelines all of their lives – now they were following Him to the frontlines.

Matthew 4:19 is the verse that contains His three recruitment strategies. Submitting to the strategies is essential for us today to move from the sidelines to the frontlines:

  1. Invitational – “Come, follow me.” That means that we never question if He made a mistake. Jesus never picked the wrong person. He didn’t tell them where they were going or when they would return. His invitation wasn’t because of their resumes or past accomplishments. His invitation was based on potential He saw in them that nobody else saw. What does Jesus see in you?

    Jesus didn’t invite the fishermen, nor us, for a Sunday afternoon stroll. He said, “If you follow me, you have to take up your cross.” (Matthew 10:38) There are no crosses on the sidelines. It is a “safe place” to be. But the frontline is where the action occurs. It’s dangerous and uncomfortable, but totally satisfying. It’s where we experience the fact that Jesus came that “we might have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
  2. Instructional – “I will teach you…” Now, that’s the best kind of teaching that you can ever receive. He said that He was going to be your instructor, your teacher, your coach.

    When God calls us, we sometimes wonder how we are going to do a certain thing. Our responsibility is not to rely on what we know, but to receive what He wants to teach us. He never leads us to a place that He doesn’t teach and equip us for. And He teaches us by example.
  3. Intentional – “…how to fish for men.” Peter, Andrew, James, and John had been fishing for fish all of their lives. He called them to a new kind of fishing – fishing for people.

    The purpose of following Jesus is to win people to His team – to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. The church can do a lot of good things, but the main thing is bringing people into God’s kingdom. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing!!

He’s calling – are you going to stay on the sidelines or will you follow Him to the frontlines? The choice is yours!

God

God’s sovereignty–for our good and His glory

God’s Sovereignty controls all things.

There is nothing that is outside of God’s wise control, even the exact time and place for each person to live. No one tells God what to do. What God plans, happens. No event, no natural disaster, no person, not even Satan, can stop God’s plans. When God permits evil, we can trust He has planned to use it for His people’s good and His glory. God planned the time for His Son to come to earth the first time, and He has a time for His Son to return. God will accomplish His plan because He alone has power to do it.

.His sovereignty is the underpinning of Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of all things for those that love Him and are called according to his purpose.” I have committed to some intimate brothers in Christ that I am going to dwell on God’s sovereignty and Romans 8:28 and watch what God is going to do in my life as a result of my commitment.

Chip Ingram writes and teaches a lot about God’s sovereignty. In a recent YouTube audio message on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWPmfU7oFjcon God’s sovereignty. Chip says “Nothing will come into your life today, tomorrow or next year that is not allowed or ascribed by our Awesome sovereign God. No person. No circumstance. No job. No job loss. No cancer. No relationship. No betrayal. No injustice. No terror attack. No hate. No evil. Nothing will come into your life that is not allowed or ascribed by the Almighty Sovereignty God.

God

God makes no sense sometimes

Sometimes God just doesn’t make any sense. What could He possibly be thinking?

Think about this for a minute: In your opinion, what’s the best news you’ve ever heard? The most exciting, joyous wonderful news we could ever imagine? The advent of The Messiah of course. If you said something else I encourage to go back and read Genesis 1 and 2.

God could have tapped the High Priest for the job of announcing the Messiah. God could have called out Abram or Elijah or Ward Clever (Father always knows best.) Or Billy Sunday or Billy Graham.

But God didn’t. He chose an angel to make the announcement of the most glorious news ever to . . .

Shepherds? Shepherds out in the fields. Keeping watch over their flocks by night.. . . Shepherds.

Shepherds? God, what on earth were you thinking?

These guys were the dregs of society. They were always filthy and smelly. They were peasants, usually sons of farmers. They hung out with sheep all day who smelled worse than the shepherds. Shepherds spent more time outside than inside. But as undesirably as shepherds were in their culture and society. It is interesting to note that Messiah ultimately became the Good Shepherd

God

Overnight Success

Russel Wilson

From the day Russell Wilson was drafted 9 seasons ago by the Seattle Seahawk they called him an overnight success. (Someone or something that becomes very successful very quickly.) From the moment he walked onto the field for his first practice as a quarterback in the National Football League his talent and promise were glaringly apparent earning him the title of an overnight success.

But he wasn’t an overnight success. Do you know why? Because there’s no such thing as an overnight success. If you ask Wilson about his success he’ll tell you about the months and years of preparation he spent playing football and conditioning and exercising working out to prepare for his pro football success. Wilson will tell you, “The separation is in the preparation!” It took years to make him ready. Not overnight. Anything of any value or consequence takes tons of planning and preparation

On one particular day in Matthew 3 Jesus came to be baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. God spoke from heaven “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. This is the day Jesus began his earthly ministry. Affirmed by God and the Holy Spirit.

This all didn’t happen in one day.

It had been 4000 years since Adam and Eve. 1700 years since God made his promise to Abraham.

1100 years since God promised David his successor would be on the throne forever.

400 years since Malachi’s prophesy and 32 years since Gabriel announced the Savior’s birth to the shepherds.

And it wasn’t the end of anything. It was, in fact, the beginning of the rest of God’s wonderful plan for mankind.

God

God in a box

Have you ever put God in a box? Of course you have. We all have at some time or another.

Why do we do that? We do it for several foolish reasons.

First and most commonly we put God in a box because we think we can do as good a job as good or better than God can. On a stupid scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being the most stupid, this is a 12. No one on the planet can do a better job at anything as Almighty God.

Another reason we put God in a box at times is we don’t think God wants to be bothered with our measly little life issues because he’s too busy helping other folks with much more important issues. We think He doesn’ have time or can’t be bothered with our piddley little trivial unimportant stuff. This reasoning on a scale of 1 to 10 is also a 12.

You’ll likely find their God in a box in the corner of the garage under a box of old clothes you’ve been needed to take to Goodwill for months.

All these folks know nothing about the sovereignty of Almighty God. If they knew one iota of it they would acknowledge that “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Colossians 3:16 and admit that “our help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2

God made everything, even the air we breathe. He controls everything. He will not live in a box. His sovereignty means God is every place at once. And he is in charge of anything and everything that happens at any give moment on this planet No boxes for God.

God

Two side of the same sign

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At the bottom tip of England, there is a place called Land’s End. It is west of the English Channel and east of the Celtic Sea. There, you’ll see a sign which has two words on each side. On one side, it says, “The Beginning.” On the other side, it says, “The End.”

It depends on whether you are arriving in England as to whether it’s the beginning or whether you are about to go into the English Channel, where it then reads (referring to the end of England) “The End.” What the sign says depends on which way you are going.

Every day, we read one side of the sign or the other. I talk with people who are on the verge of retiring. They are asking questions about what to do in retirement. I am convinced that retirement can be, for some people, the end, and, for others, the beginning. It depends on what you do with it.

Some people who do not engage productively in life die pretty quickly after they retire because they see it as the end. Conversely, many people discover that retirement can be the beginning of the best days of life. God has immense plans for every person. In retirement, you have more time, resources, and experience than ever before. It ought to be the beginning.

I remember graduating from high school and attending commencement exercises. I always thought that commencement was the end of high school – the accomplishment that you have finished. I quickly learned that commencement really means the beginning, not the end. Finishing high school requirements means that we start on a whole new phase of life. We commence a new beginning.

I see people who get a bad health report and think of it as being the end of their life. They usually don’t live long. Others see it as a beginning of a new phase of witness for Christ. They begin to spend their time more productively. They start doing things they didn’t have time to do when they thought they were healthy. The bad health report is really the beginning.

I have observed people who have had a change in their employment. They have lost their job. Many people see it as the end and just give in and give up. Others see it as the beginning of a new possibility of how God wants to use them. They discover that life is better than ever.

The biggest issue is death. Death is not the end – it’s the beginning. On the cross, Satan put up the sign, “The End”, while Jesus was lifting the sign, “The Beginning.” For a non-believer, death is the end of life. To the believer, it is the beginning of a far more glorious life in eternity!

It is interesting to me that Land’s End is often used to determine distance. Land’s End to John O’Groats in Scotland is 838 miles by road. This is often used to define end-to-end walks and races in the UK. How you read the sign – the beginning or the end – will determine your distance in life!

Which side of the sign are you reading today? The word “beginning” is close to the baseball term “big inning.” I pray the next “inning” of your life will be a “big Inning” – a “beginning.” Read Genesis 1:1.Back to my blog

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God

Have a “Mary” Christmas

She was a teenager. A virgin. Engaged to be married. She lived a life of quiet faithfulness to God. We don’t read that she was extraordinarily beautiful, nor wise. Nor rich. Nor from royalty. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was, by all accounts, extraordinarily ordinary, yet humble. She lived in Nazareth. an out-of-the way village, probably just a few hundred folks. Nathanael once remarked to Phillip, “Can anything good ever come out of Nazareth?”. It was a place you’d want to drive through, not stop to visit.

After Gabriel announced to Mary that she had found favor with God, after he told her she would soon give birth to the Savior of the World, after Gabriel told Mary her Son would be extraordinary, her response was simply, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

I sometimes wonder why God didn’t choose the mother of the Savior of the world from higher up the social ladder.

I think it was Mary’s quiet faithfulness. Her total surrender to God’s news. Her servant’s attitude. Her humility. All found favor with God.

Have a “Mary” Christmas this year. Never ever feel ordinary. Never feel that you don’t matter or that you couldn’t glorify God with your life, regardless of your circumstances.

God can do extraordinary things through ordinary people who, like Mary, live in quiet faithfulness, humility and submission to God.

God

Spiritual Warfare

When I started playing basketball, you didn’t have many choices for shoes. There was one brand. You could either get high tops or low tops. Later, you could get either black or white. Today, it’s hard to count the number of choices.

Another choice was introduced on July 27, 2021. The new version of the classic Chuck Taylor All Star shoes was introduced with features of a satanic pentagram symbol on the tongue of the shoe. I am sad to say that they sold out the first day at $170 a pair. The designer, Rick Owens, said that he wanted to develop a shoe with a message that offers an alternative to life. Advocating a satanic approach to life is certainly an alternative – but it is a false alternative.

Make no bones about it, friends – we are in spiritual warfare. Even the shoes that kids are buying could have a satanic message. Obviously, they think that the Christian faith is not sufficient, so there needs to be an alternative.

A musician and art collective tried this earlier in 2021 when they sold 666 pairs of modified Nike’s Air Max 97s called “Satan Shoes.” Supposedly, the shoe contained a drop of human blood in the sole.

Jesus was very clear when he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6) Peter said, “There is no other name under Heaven whereby a person may be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Those statements leave no room for “an alternative system.”

We are in spiritual warfare. The Bible is clear that we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against world forces of darkness and spiritual forces of wickedness and schemes of the devil. Therefore, put on the full armor of God! (Ephesians 5:10-19)

One Christian author has spoken out and said, “Satan knows his time is short and is intensifying his activity to deceive and destroy souls. I pray that Christians understand how real the war is and they do the same, but in order to save souls that would otherwise be lost.”

An observer said, “A company has sold its soul to partner with darkness. It’s more than just a marketing gimmick. So many companies of commerce are under the sway of the wicked one.” Another response was, “This is definitely not a fashion statement. This is just another way the devil promotes himself whether you realize it or not.”

We are in spiritual warfare. Good news!! Paul said, “I am an ordinary weak human being, but I don’t use human plans and weapons to win my battles. I use God’s mighty weapons that can break down the devil’s strongholds. . .and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding Him. With these weapons I can capture rebels…and change them into men who desire obedience to Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:3-5) Hallelujah!!

Are you ready for battle? All it takes for the devil to win is for God’s people to be spectators safely and silently positioned away from the lines of battle. Get off the sidelines and move to the frontlines!

God

Archive week

This week I want to share some of my follower’s favorite and most viewed For His Glory‘s posts. I’ve got some site maintenance to do and some personal business our family must attend to this week

I hope you enjoy all the posts

(Editor’s note) I wrote Sweet Tea and Jesus several years ago. It remains one of my readers’ most liked posts.

Sweet Tea and Jesus

Folks who live outside the Deep South don’t understand Sweet Tea. If you go to most restaurants or truck stops north of the Tennessee line and ask if they have Sweet Tea, they’ll say, “Sure, sugar’s on the table.” (That means, “No.  We don’t have sweet tea. Sugar’s on the table.”)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is tea-2.jpg

When you make real Sweet Tea, first dump two cups of sugar into a pitcher. Bring a half gallon of water to a boil. When it boils put in three family-sized tea bags. Leave it alone for five or six minutes. Remove the tea bags and bring the tea to a boil. Pour the tea into the pitcher and stir it until the sugar melts. Fill the pitcher half way with ice and stir until the ice melts. Then fill the pitcher with cold water. Stir until blended.

Something real scientific happens when you make Sweet Tea. When the sugar dissolves in the tea, you no longer have sugar and tea, you have Sweet Tea. It is a different mixture. Two separate ingredients mix together to form a new substance. It’s no longer sugar, and no longer tea. It’s Sweet Tea. The sugar won’t settle on the bottom of the pitcher, because it’s not sugar any more. The liquid will always be Sweet Tea to the last sweet drop in the pitcher.

The Bible teaches us that’s the same thing that happens when we accept Jesus Christ as Savior and invite Him into our hearts. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man (water) be in Christ, (sugar) he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (Sweet Tea).

As born again believers we are now spiritually in Christ, and will be forever. God has already guaranteed our position in Christ for eternity.  Ephesians 2:5-6 proclaims, “even when we were dead in our transgressions (God) made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

As a new creation in Christ, He wants to live His life in us, through us and as us to bring glory to God. As part of our true identity we are in Christ and Christ is in us. We’re new creations.

The next time you drink a big glass of Sweet Tea, think about being a new creation with Christ living in you and you in Christ. And for all you Yankees, I hope y’all get to visit us down here one day and savor a tall cool glass of this delicious nectar us Southern folks call Sweet Tea. Y’all will just love it.

God

Please pass the mustard seed

seed

Mustard seeds fascinate me.  They start as one of the smallest seeds in the world. Then they can grow into herbs larger than an adult with sturdy branches large enough to carry birds. Jesus taught the parable of the mustard seed in Matthew, Mark and Luke..

In Matthew Jesus said, “. . . if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

When growers plant the mustard seed, the germination process begins. Only after it dies does it start to grow. All the growth and fruit from one tiny seed would not be possible unless the seed dies.

We would not be proclaiming the Gospel if Jesus had not died.

We have to die too if we are going to bear fruit for God. We can do all sorts of “good” things. We can pray, read the Bible, meditate on Scripture, go to church, serve on committees, usher and more. None of it glorifies God, however, if we’re not willing to be crucified with Him. We have to die first if we’re going to live for Him.

That’s why Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life I live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Need to move any mountains?

God

LOOKING AT LIFE THRU GOD’S GLASSES: SUCCESS OR SIGNIFICANCE – Part 15

LOOKING AT LIFE THRU GOD’S GLASSES: SUCCESS OR SIGNIFICANCE – Part 15

What you see depends on the glasses through which you are looking. Looking through human glasses, we tend to see success. Looking through God’s glasses, we are able to see significance.

Achieving success is usually connected to personal ambition that benefits the individual. Success can be dangerous. It can give us a false image of how important we really are. It can create a mindset where we get distracted and don’t see clearly what God’s purpose is for our lives.

A few years ago, the news reported a celebration at the New Orleans municipal pool to honor the first summer in memory without a drowning there. In honor of this very successful occasion, two hundred people gathered, including one hundred certified lifeguards. After a festive time, the party was breaking up, and the four lifeguards on duty began to clear the pool. They were shocked to find a fully dressed body in the deep end. They tried to revive Jerome Moody, 31, but it was too late.

Jerome had drowned, surrounded by lifeguards celebrating their successful season. There is nothing wrong with having a party to celebrate success – except that success can distract us from what is really most important.

Keith Richards said, “Success has killed more very talented guys than drugs. Jimi Hendrix didn’t die of an overdose – he died of success.” Abraham Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” 

Success has a way of turning a man’s head – and when it turns his head, he is facing failure. Proverbs 27:1 reads, “Purity of silver and gold can be tested in a crucible, but a man is tested by his reaction to his success praised by men.”

Uzziah became king of Judah and was “a good king in the Lord’s sight.” (2 Chronicles 26:4) He followed God’s leadership and was successful, and God blessed him. (v. 4-15) But he could not handle success. At that point, he became proud and corrupt. (v.16) He disobeyed God (v.16-18). His inability to handle success led to disaster, and he became a leper until his death. (v.19-21)

Human glasses can be good if they show us a vision of a kind of success that helps us fulfill God’s purpose. There is nothing wrong with success, but it often brings more liabilities than assets.

Looking through God’s glasses, you can see significance. And significance trumps success every time. It’s easy to make money and be successful – it’s hard to make a difference and be significant.

The difference in success and significance is that success is usually for the benefit of the one achieving it, while significance tends to benefit the others the most.

Seeking success will usually create anxiety and worry – seeking significance creates peace and genuine happiness because it is bringing about the Kingdom of God on earth. A life of significance is often not recognized by the one who is living it, but it is a foretaste of what heaven will be like!

Are you living for success or significance?

Back to my blog

God

Confrontation

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If Jesus had  a middle name it could likely have been confrontation.   Every time he turned around he was in a confrontation with somebody. Usually it was  the Jewish bigshots  arguing with Jesus about the law. The Jewish leaders followed Jesus around all the time trying to catch him breaking a Jewish law, like working on the Sabbath, or healing a Leper when the law said not even to touch one.

Well here’s a good example:  One Sabbath Jesus was teaching in the synagogue.  Of course the scribes and Sadducees we’re all watching him to see what he would do. They wanted him to break a Jewish law so they could arrest him or shame him in front of all the Jewish people.

But he knew their thoughts.  Jesus knows everything about everybody all the time. Nothing was is hidden from Jesus. He called the man over to him. The man stood with Jesus. Jesus looked at all of the Jewish bigshots who were watching intently. He asked them a pointed question that pitted Jewish law against the ministry of healing love He was advocating. “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm to save life or to destroy it?”  Then he looked around at all of them. (I wonder what he must have been thinking about them then?) Jesus told the man to hold out his arm. When he held out his arm it was immediately healed.  The Jewish big shots were furious. They started talking among themselves wondering what they could do to Jesus.

God

The bottom line

All the prayers have been lifted up. Your wife is already in heaven waiting to see if you’ll join her. You got your very last social security check. Your house sold. Both your kids and their families are living their lives out in Utah. Your three grandkids visited for the last time in August. All three of your best friends you played gin rummy with in the park every Saturday have all died.

The Holy Spirit whispered in your ear this morning at breakfast.,” Tonight your soul will be required of you. Jesus will come for you tonight.”

Okay, life as you know it is over. There is only one decision left to make. Just a few hours from now you’re going to go to hell or heaven. You won’t be making that decision. Jesus will. And where you go depends entirely on how Jesus knows you will answer this question–Did you have a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s His bottom line. There is no other criteria. If you did have a personal intimate relationship with Jesus you’ll be in heaven tonight and probably spend some quality time with your wife and maybe play a little gin rummy with your buddies.

If not…well I don’t even want to think what its going to be like where you’re going.

If you’ve still got some life left to live you might want to consider how you’ll answer Jesus’ bottom line one day.

God

Spiritual Warfare

When I started playing basketball, you didn’t have many choices for shoes. There was one brand. You could either get high tops or low tops. Later, you could get either black or white. Today, it’s hard to count the number of choices.

Another choice was introduced on July 27, 2021. The new version of the classic Chuck Taylor All Star shoes was introduced with features of a satanic pentagram symbol on the tongue of the shoe. I am sad to say that they sold out the first day at $170 a pair. The designer, Rick Owens, said that he wanted to develop a shoe with a message that offers an alternative to life. Advocating a satanic approach to life is certainly an alternative – but it is a false alternative.

Make no bones about it, friends – we are in spiritual warfare. Even the shoes that kids are buying could have a satanic message. Obviously, they think that the Christian faith is not sufficient, so there needs to be an alternative.

A musician and art collective tried this earlier in 2021 when they sold 666 pairs of modified Nike’s Air Max 97s called “Satan Shoes.” Supposedly, the shoe contained a drop of human blood in the sole.

Jesus was very clear when he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6) Peter said, “There is no other name under Heaven whereby a person may be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Those statements leave no room for “an alternative system.”

We are in spiritual warfare. The Bible is clear that we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against world forces of darkness and spiritual forces of wickedness and schemes of the devil. Therefore, put on the full armor of God! (Ephesians 5:10-19)

One Christian author has spoken out and said, “Satan knows his time is short and is intensifying his activity to deceive and destroy souls. I pray that Christians understand how real the war is and they do the same, but in order to save souls that would otherwise be lost.”

An observer said, “A company has sold its soul to partner with darkness. It’s more than just a marketing gimmick. So many companies of commerce are under the sway of the wicked one.” Another response was, “This is definitely not a fashion statement. This is just another way the devil promotes himself whether you realize it or not.”

We are in spiritual warfare. Good news!! Paul said, “I am an ordinary weak human being, but I don’t use human plans and weapons to win my battles. I use God’s mighty weapons that can break down the devil’s strongholds. . .and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding Him. With these weapons I can capture rebels…and change them into men who desire obedience to Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:3-5) Hallelujah!!

Are you ready for battle? All it takes for the devil to win is for God’s people to be spectators safely and silently positioned away from the lines of battle. Get off the sidelines and move to the frontlines!

One person said, “It is spiritual warfare. Dark versus light. Spoiler: God wins!”

I say, “Amen.”

God

If Jesus came back tonight

Only God knows the day and time Jesus is coming back to gather all God’s children to be with God forever in heaven.

But what if he was coming back tonight in just a few hours? What would you do? Are you completely sure, positively assured in your heart that you’d have a seat on the bus? Or do you have some lingering questions? A doubt or two? Unconfessed sins? Some pride left?

I think there’s a bunch of folks who call themselves “Christians” and think they’ve got their ticket punched. But their thinking misses the mark.

These folks will tell you they’re good people. They do good deeds for others. They go to church. They read the Bible. They pray.

They don’t sin . . .very much or often. They try real hard to be a good person and be real kind to everybody. They really like to do good things and help people who need help.

I’m really a good person. Isn’t that enough? NO!

Nothing these folks say they do will punch their ticket when Jesus comes back. They can never do enough to be accepted by God to make it into heaven.

John 3:16 is the key to get our ticket punched to go with Jesus back with him to heaven and enjoy eternal life in Paradise with God forever.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever (that means anybody) believes in him shall never perish but have eternal life.

God

What are “the things above”?

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. Janes 1:17

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ , set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

So lets drill down to some basic truths about things above.

1. Christ is in God at his right hand.

2. Christ has blessed US with every (every) spiritual blessing.

3.We have died and spiritually we live in Christ above.

4. We have a new life down here on Earth and above.

Let’s look at another critically important word “above” in these passages. “SET” it means –“put, lay, or stand (something) in a specified place or position. Paul uses set in two different places, to set. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things and Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated- at the right hand of God. 

As followers of Christ our gaze should be fixed in a a special place–on Christ and God above as we live out our new lives as Christ’s disciples.

Blessings

There are more blessings than we can count. And who has every one? We do. Where are they? In Christ and God above. They are the things above.

compassion love patience kindness humility gentleness forgiveness salvation self control the indwelling of the Holy Spirit giving hope peace sanctification justice knowledge joy

And these blessings don’t even qualify as the tip of the iceberg

If we have them, how can we take advantage of them? We must appropriate each one of them from Christ as we need them or choose to minister or witness by using them. We set our hearts and minds on Christ in God above.

God

Looking at life through God’s glasses–two different olympics

The Olympics are famous for a lot of pageantry. Millions of people watch the opening ceremony as athletes of each nation walk together behind their nation’s flag.

The closing ceremony is different. The athletes don’t walk behind their own flag but enter at random with people from other nations. The idea was to represent that the Olympic Games end with bringing people from different nations together.

This tradition started in 1956 at the Melbourne Games. You might remember that high political tensions had caused several countries not to participate. Those games became famous when the water polo match between Hungary and the Soviet Union ended in a bloody fight. The contest had to be cancelled when the violence broke out.

A 17-year-old Australian of Chinese descent suggested in an anonymous letter that those games should end with people walking together as “only one nation.” The letter was sent to Kent Hughes, the chairman of the Melbourne Organizers’ Committee. He liked the idea, so the closing ceremony took place with people coming in together.

It wasn’t until 1986 that the writer of that letter was revealed as John Wing. When questioned about it, he said that he wanted history to show that the Olympics could go from “bloody” to the “friendly games.”

Our world today needs to go from competition that is producing bloodshed to community that can produce peace and harmony. We need less walking behind the flags of our own thoughts and positions and more reaching out to other people. We must learn to live together.

The word community is composed of two words – common and unity. Common refers to the fact that everybody is included. Unity refers to togetherness, teamwork, and solidarity, and that leads people to live in peace, civility, and love.

We have enough competition in the world – we need community. The One who can give community is God’s son, Jesus Christ. He died to bring all people into a new relationship with God so that all people could live together meaningfully. Jesus said, “God so loved the world. . . “ (John 3:16) The word “world” includes everybody. Only God can create a community in which people can live in peace.

Religious denominations need to quit competing and start cooperating in creating God’s community. Cities need to quit competing and focus on how we can improve all human relationships. Nations and races need to quit competing and discover the power of genuine Christian relationships. We need less opening ceremonies and more closing ceremonies!

An Australian of Chinese descent, John Wing, had a great idea for the Olympics. A Jewish carpenter had a greater idea for changing the understanding of relationships. Our world needs community. Our world needs to experience peace, respect, and love.

Let’s learn a lesson from watching the Olympics. Looking through human glasses, we see opening ceremonies focusing on competition for “our team.” Looking through God’s glasses, we see closing ceremonies, focusing on community for “all teams.”

Are you marching in the opening ceremony or the closing ceremony?

Back to my blog

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God

Two spikes

Folks were adventurous

On May 10, 1869 Leland Stanford drove a spike (a 17 karat solid gold spike) into railroad track at Promontory Point Utah. The spike connected the Central Pacific Railroad from Sacramento, California to the Union Pacific Railroad from Omaha, Nebraska completing the first Transcontinental Railroad. And the United States would never be the sA whole world of business and commerce exploded. The New York Stock Exchange was born. Shipping all kinds of goods by rail mushroomed. The passenger train business took off and just kept growing. Thousands of people headed West to seek their fortunes and capitalize on new land grabbing opportunities (much to the dismay of Native Americans. The throngs who migrated west forced Native Americans onto reservations and slowly depleted their food and hunting livelihood. But most folks didn’t care. The new transcontinental railroad was their savior. It gave folks new life. They feasted on opportunities they never dreamed were possible. Folks were adventurous and self-sufficient. They became willing to take risks. There was no limit to the amount of earthly treasures folks could accumulate. Our new life set us free. We could do whatever we wanted and live any way we wanted..

All of it thanks in part to a golden spike driven into a railroad track at Promintorry Point Utah over 150 years ago.

There was another spike that promised true freedom far beyond any worldly freedom or transcontinental railroad could bring. That spike was driven by mankind into the hands and feet of the Son of God at the cross of Calvary. The spike that pierced Jesus didn’t only bring the promise of TRUE freedom to man. The spike also brought the promise of eternal life to ANYONE who believed in Jesus as the Savior of the world.

For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall never perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

God

Labor Day and work

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Many Americans go to the beach on Labor Day weekend, or another favorite vacation spot in the woods or mountains, or perhaps taking a “stay-cation” in their own backyard. This holiday marks the end of summer, the last chance to relax together as a family before school and fall activities start.

It’s a good time to think about labor—work. Work is regarded, even by some Christians, as part of the curse that came as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin (Genesis 3:1-24).

But if you look more closely, you will see that work came before the curse. When God created Adam in his image, He gave him work to do—just as He Himself had worked in creation (Genesis 2:15,19-20).

The word labor or toil comes from a root word meaning “representative, messenger, one sent.” God placed Adam and Eve on earth to care for it as his representatives (Genesis 1:26-28). After they disobeyed, their sin did have an effect on work. God cursed the ground with thorns and thistles and said, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food” (Genesis 3:17-19).

We all find thorns and thistles in our gardens. Fellow workers do not always cooperate. Someone else gets the attention or raise we wanted. Our ideal job turns out to be much more effort than we expected. We sweat, maybe psychologically more than physically.

We need to recognize that God has given us work—“good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” as Paul says in Ephesians 2:10. We need to seek his guidance in finding our jobs and then dedicate them unto Him, especially when difficulties appear. If we allow God to work through the thorns, thistles and sweat, we will grow and be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-30).

Can you see that God has given you your work? Instead of “TGIF,” can you say, “Thank you God, for the work you’ve given me”?

Devotional today courtesy of: Dig Deeper Devotionals

God

hole in the roof

Let’s say for discussion’s sake you have been paralyzed with a debilitating disease and are confined to your bed. And you knew Jesus could heal you. And he was in town teaching at a house across town but you had no way to get to Jesus.

But then four friends from your small group came by one day. They said, “We’ve been praying for you and we’ve decided we’re going to carry you to see Jesus. You are awe struck by your friends’ faith and compassion.

My friends picked me up on my bed and carted me all the way across town. When we got to the house where Jesus was staying, healing and teaching we were amazed. People were jammed into every inch of space around the home. When they couldn’t sit they were standing on shoulders. They were even huddled on the porch. There were so many people crowded inside and outside the house we couldn’t move, let alone have a chance to see Jesus.

Do you know what my friends did for me? They lugged me up to the roof, ripped the tiles off the roof and tore this huge hole in the roof and then lowered my bed and me through the hole and laid me down through the crowd and set me down right smack dab at Jesus’ feet. We talked for a minute. Then he reached out and just touched me and I was healed. Immediately. Just like that. Then Jesus said to me, “Son. your sins are forgiven”

Do you have any friends like that? When I read this story again this week I stopped to consider my friends. I could name 4 or 5 true friends I could call on in any situation I was in. Any of them would find a way to help me thy could. Do you know they would–because they’ve done it before and would do it again. All I would have to do is ask. That is called true friendship and it’s one of my most treasured possessions. I hope you have true friends as well. Do you know the difference between true friends and friends? True friends know that actions speak louder than words.