Monday, February 23, 2009

Ordinary Days

Yesterday? Today? Tomorrow? Before long we have strung together a couple of weeks, a month or a lifetime of ordinary days.

Ordinary days are not what she had in mind as she blushed when her parents announced her betrothal to the boy that she had known most of her life. Ordinary days were far, very far, from her mind as she considered, with hope and excitement, her future. Ordinary days were somebody else’s problem, some other time; some other place.

That was so long ago; a dream? No reality! Time has a way of changing perspectives. Ordinary days were no longer foreign, but had become close company.

Sure circumstances of her life had turned out differently than she had dreamed. That was true for everyone, isn’t it? Exactly why she ended up in nothing but a series of ordinary days was not exactly clear to her. She had resigned herself into believing that things just seem to work out that way. The circumstances might differ but, if the truth were known, plenty of her neighbors had just as many ordinary days as she did. Maybe that was how life was supposed to be?

Another ordinary day; another ordinary task; another ordinary walk, she mindlessly approached her destination. Familiarity with the path allowed her to walk with her head down lost in her own thoughts so she was surprised at his presence. As a matter of fact, it was so very unusual that anyone would be here at this hour of the day, far more unusual that it would be a man.

Perhaps, if she busied herself in her task, she could get her job done and leave without much notice. She kept her head appropriately down, looking at the ground so as not to attract attention.

"What?" Did he say something? Was he talking to me? No, there must be an unseen person because surely he wouldn’t be talking to me. It just wasn’t done; it wasn’t right, a strange man just didn’t talk to an unknown woman in their culture.

Again? He said something again. As she lifted her wary eyes from her feet toward the man everything about her ordinary day was about to change.

Give Me a drink, he said.

Her head quickly snapping back to her feet, she replied, How is it that you, being a Jew, ask me for a drink for I am a Samaritan woman?

If you knew the gift of God and who it is that says to you "Give me a drink", you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.

Ordinary days, even in the worst of our circumstances we never intended to live our lives in ordinary days. How did we get here? Where did our life get off course?

Perhaps its time for each of us to lift up our eyes to the One who offers us a drink of living water.

Linger at the well of contentment and peace and joy and love and kindness and goodness and faithfulness. Drink deeply of the life giving waters of infinite purity and feel its cool, refreshing presence as it washes over you!

Discover Extraordinary days!

(Taken from John 4:5-30)

Monday, February 16, 2009

"You are the Light of the World"

"You are the light of the world"….Jesus (Matthew 5:14)

Think for a moment about that statement…

What strikes you as you encounter this stark statement of Jesus?

Did you notice that it is a rather certain statement; that He said "we are" not "we might be"?

Light is so very important. Have you noticed that it even jumps out in the darkest night regardless of how far away it might be? The light of one single candle will bring a warm glow and visibility in a dark cold room.

The importance of light was evidenced in the beginning when God selected the time of light creation. The very first act within the account of creation was God’s statement, Let there be light. Genesis 1:3

Fascinating, beyond comprehension is our God. Light was created on the first day of creation but the sun and stars were not created until day four. The power of light is beyond the vehicles that carry it.

1 John 1:5 states, God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.

You, undoubtedly, have taken note of the continual battle between darkness and light. Withdraw the light in any room, or in any society, and the darkness moves in. Contrary, interject light into the dark place and the darkness literally flees; it cannot leave fast enough.

John 1:5 says, the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. There is no compromise between light and darkness. They simply cannot exist in the same place at the same time.

You are the light of the world, Jesus said. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lamp stand; and it gives light to all who are in the house.

How secure is your basket? Perhaps we all should invest some one on one time with Jesus seeking His opinion on the size and security of our baskets.

Monday, February 9, 2009

"Give Me Understanding That I May Live"

Your testimonies are wonderful; Therefore my soul observes them. The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:129-130

Jesus said, …if My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you John 15:7

Much of the reason why our prayers are so timid or our prayer life is so cold is directly related to our time spent abiding in God’s word.

I opened my mouth wide and panted, For I longed for Your commandments. Pslam 119:131

A longing desire doesn’t come from our absence from the Word. As a matter of fact, our longing only comes from our continued exposure of our spirits to the Bread of Life.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, After Your manner with those who love Your name. Psalm 119:132

One can only appeal for a personal touch from someone that he knows intimately.

Establish my footsteps in Your word, And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me. Psalm 119:133

Redeem me from the oppression of man, That I may keep Your precepts. Psalm 119:134

Establishing ones footsteps is a bit more than skipping through, running through, or sitting upon.

Footsteps are only established intentionally. The establishment of footsteps indicates that there is a firm direction.

What does established footsteps bring? Victory over sins dominion; the heavy handed oppression of angry people; the deep hunger to follow His lead.

How does a life like that sound? Is it worth the exploration?

Make Your face shine upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes. My eyes shed streams of water, Because they do not keep Your law. Psalm 31:16

Grace upon grace! Up to this point that prayer is saying that if one abides in God’s word good things come about. Here we take the next step to discover that in God’s pleasure with His tender child, He shines upon him and warms within him the deeper desire to know more fully God’s Word.

Such is the deep, unbridled joy of the one who is praying that a grief arises for what he sees in those who don’t know the blessing of abiding.

( Take a few moments with the remaining thought of this wonderful message. As you drip down the thoughts speak to Jesus as if these words were penned by you just for Him)

Righteous are You, O LORD, And upright are Your judgments. You have commanded Your testimonies in righteousness And exceeding faithfulness. My zeal has consumed me, Because my adversaries have forgotten Your words. Your word is very pure, Therefore Your servant loves it. I am small and despised, Yet I do not forget Your precepts. Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth. Trouble and anguish have come upon me, Yet Your commandments are my delight. Your testimonies are righteous forever; Give me understanding that I may live. Psalm 119:137-144

Monday, February 2, 2009

What has happened to the Chruch

This is the question that has been on my mind for quite a while. No, I don't particularly mean a specific church. Of course none are exempt. This question plagued me after walking around the baseball's Opening Day festivities one Monday.

As I strolled down the street I was taken away with the excitement and the anticipation of the people. Without a doubt, there were many people there who didn't even have tickets to the game and couldn't have cared less.

So I openly asked God, why isn't the church anywhere this close to fun and exciting?

I am learning fast that if I ask a question I had better prepare to be up all night. If this message seems a bit scattered it is because the writer only got 1 hour of sleep last night.

So what has happened to the Church?

Almost without exception, the Church is in decline as far as numbers and participation. Even the few rare exceptions are pretty short lived!

Here is what I have learned:

Jesus used a couple of word pictures in discussing, so we could easily understand, His relationship with His church. The first is Jesus as the Head of the Body, the church. The second is with Jesus as the Vine and the church being the branches.

Either of these would work to display what I have learned however discussing the following thoughts in terms of the former can be a bit gruesome so I will use the vine/branches picture.

Jesus made the point of what happens to a branch that becomes disconnected from the vine. It dries up and is useful for building fires.

This brings me to what I have learned about what is wrong with the church. We have become detached from the power!

Scripture warns us about"(those who are)...Holding to a form of godliness although they deny its power, avoid such people as these" II Timothy 3:5

Where is the power?

The power risides in the name that is above every name in heaven and on earth!

Jesus said: All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Matthew 28:18

Therefore also God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow...and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Phip 2:9-11

Jesus said, And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Me John 12:32

There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12 (See Acts 4:10-12)

The one who confesses the son has the Father also. I John 2:23b

Jesus said, For not even the Father judges anyone but has give all judgment to the Son in order that all may honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. John 5:22&23

By this you know the Spirit of God, every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. I John 4:23

The scriptures go on and on about the power of Jesus's name.

Revelation chapter 5 discusses a dilemma in heaven. There is a book in the strong "right hand" of God which no one can open. Weeping broke out over the problem. Read the chapter and see Who had the power!

As I look back over the last years , I can clearly see that slippage of the church coinciding with the dismissal of the name of Jesus.

Not meant to represent the totality of the issue, nevertheless, the songs we sing are often an indication of what we believe. Consider some to the songs that were once a staple of Christianity and, particularly, their theme.

Jesus, There's Just Something About That Name.

I Must Tell Jesus

Jesus Loves Me This I Know

Jesus Loves the Little Children

I'd Rather Have Jesus

Jesus Jesus, Jesus, Sweetest Name I Know

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Every religion has a "God"

Most religions and several governments have "Lords"

Christ is a title not a name.

Only the true church has Jesus!

Let's hook back into the vine and experience the power!

There is Power in the name and the name is Jesus!