Monday, April 26, 2010

True Freedom

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
Freedom is not easy. Just look around the world and you will see that freedom is not easy. Even the recent examples in our own "freedom loving" country we quickly surrender our freedom for security and for comfort.
Yokes of slavery abound:
Image of success. Wealth, Fame, preconceptions of body types, internet traps of pornography, Twitter, email, Facebook, LinkedIn..., Television, the mirage of happiness, perfect homes, perfect kids, perfect spouses, perfect lives....
The list is limitless. You could add a few of your own.
Scripture implores us:
But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? Galatians 4:9
We have become accustomed to the "weak and worthless elemental things" of this world and have lost the hunger for the exotic, liberating, life-giving things of God's kingdom.
Life; true life; real vibrant life is waiting for you to let loose of the trappings.
We have been invited into the greatest adventure of life. Movies pale in comparison to the gift God has prepared for us.
There is an adage that says:
It is impossible to explore distant lands while keeping your feet on solid ground.
Doesn't it seem silly to ignore His invitation. We can easily talk about the glory and the excitement of a life of faith; but freedom is hard!
Take the leap!

Monday, April 19, 2010

New Crops!

Jesus often communicated by telling His listeners a story. One particular story is quite familiar to us; perhaps, familiar to the point where we know the story but neglect its depth of meaning.

The Parable of the Sower (or the Parable of the Soils):
You can read the content of the Parable in Matthew chapter 13. As was often the case, the disciples of Jesus just didn't get it so they secretly asked for an explanation. Here is where we pick up the account:
Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 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. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

For purposes of this discussion we will assume that most have passed the two first descriptions. We still have at least a modicum of faith. The latter two positions are the contrast in this discussion.

Does this description: the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful, sound familiar? Where is your heart?
According to the explanation that Jesus gave the measuring stick for evaluating one's position is: He produces a crop.

Oh, it is so easy to explain this away. "I am not an evangelist", I am not "gifted", I am not "knowledgeable enough".

WRONG! Jesus said that it was none of these things that produces the fruit. It is the seed of faith planted within us at the beginning or our relations with Him that determines our effectiveness of reproducing His work.

There is only one attraction that the world has no counterfeit for. That is the deep abiding joy that faith brings. Circumstances; the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth, have no power over the faith that is planted in good soil.

I am not sure exactly where you are with respect to this message but God wanted me to write this for someone. Perhaps, we can all stand to be reminded about what the passion of God is directed toward: new crops!

Monday, April 12, 2010

God is.....

The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

1 John 4:8

Isn’t it far more than interesting that God chooses to define Himself as “love”?

Perhaps since it is He who chooses to define Himself that way we should allow Him to define the word “love”.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… I Corinthians 13:4-8

Have you ever thought of your God this way? Patient, kind, not seeking His own, rejoicing in truth, bearing all things, and, last but certainly not least, His love never fails.

Do you really know Him?

Allow the truth of who He really is to soak deeply into your spirit.

Allow your spirit to commune with the God who loves.

Finally, please take a few moments to express your feelings toward this God who is love!

Perhaps Psalm 136 might be useful as you being the express your feeling to the One whose "lovingkindness is everlasting".

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sing for Joy

But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, For You have been my stronghold And a refuge in the day of my distress.

Psalm 59:16

Allow me to challenge you to something probably new. This may seem a bit strange at first but please give it a try.

Each morning, before your day gets started very much, sing a song about God’s strength and His lovingkindness. It absolutely makes no difference what tune you sing the words to or if you can even carry any tune at all.

Make a point to do this everyday for the next week and let me know how things appear to you after a couple of days.

This might mean that you will have to put down the Ipod, turn off the TV, the radio or the CD player. There is nothing on any of those that will make a difference equal to the sweet offerings that come out of your lips.

Please let me know of your experiences. I would like for us to encourage one another. Life is hard enough sometimes isn’t it? A quick reminder of the goodness of our God can be so refreshing.