Monday, May 31, 2010

Tomorrow or Not?

Here is a question to ponder.

How would your life be different if you knew the exact day and time that you were going to die?

Would it be significantly different if you know that you were going to die 30 years from today? What about if you knew that you were done one exactly one week from today?

Thinking about death is quite uncomfortable for most of us. The problem with this, as I see it, is that most of us live like we are going to live forever but we carry around attitudes like we are going to die at any moment.

So let's deal with this issue for just a moment.

Mankind is the only of all of God's creation that lives with an arrogant expectation about "tomorrow". Not only do we expect tomorrow we have plans and programs that extend well past tomorrow.

Some morning when you awaken early, listen to the sounds around you. Before the sun has reached the horizon, the birds are already excitedly chattering about the new day! Each day when the sun sets on the western horizon, much of creation has no idea or expectation that they will ever see it again.

The raw truth is harsh: no where are we ever promised "tomorrow"!

Perhaps the world would begin to notice if God's redeemed began to live like today is the only thing that mattered!

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you,

O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34

It appears that Jesus knew of our predisposition toward "tomorrow". He called us, O you of little faith.

You see, it takes absolutely no faith to worry about tomorrow. It is so natural and so easy that most of the entire world does it!

So let me ask you: now that you know what are you going to do about this?

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Tough? Choice.

$250,000, what is the first thing that you would do if someone walked up to you and handed you $250,000?

What is the first thing that jumped into your mind? I know what mine was and am not real thrilled about what I found.

This question and the answer we give to it, tells us a bit about who we really are.

Jesus dealt with this issue one day: (Luke 18:18-25)

A ruler questioned Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.


And he said, "All these things I have kept from my youth."

When Jesus heard this, He said to him, "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.

And Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!

"For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

It seems that we can either have our stuff or we can have the kingdom of God. We must open our tightly grasped hands in order to accept God's offer. Which will you choose?

Friday, May 21, 2010

True Wealth

From the earliest of ages we all seek and struggle of something called independence. Throughout our lives we continue to receive inducements to achieve independence. These visions of independence generally follow the patterns of financial security, healthful well-being and self-determination brought about by the combination of the two.

Independence is a lie! There simply is no such thing within God's creation.

No one can serve two masters, Jesus said.(Luke 16:13) It was unnecessary to make the case that one had an option to simply not serve any master.

And He (Jesus) told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man was very productive.

And he began reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?'

"Then he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, )you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."'

"But God said to him, '(You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'

"So is the man who)stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.

"For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Luke 12:16-23

Apparently there is no middle ground. We either are rich toward God or we are rich toward our own ideas of success and comfort.

Jesus stated the truth more plainly:

"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:25

Are you looking in the wrong places for real life? The things that seem to be so very attractive are just luring us to the desperate lives that most of our friends and neighbors and, so unfortunately most of our brothers and sisters in Jesus as well, are grasping after.

Who will you serve? Will you continue in the folly of seeking the mirage of independence or will you accept the true life offered; a life of total abandon; of complete surrender, of absolute desperation; the real life of reckless adventure?

The way is narrow that leads to life; the way is broad that leads to destruction.

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. Matthew 7:13

Monday, May 17, 2010

God Chooses the Poor

I ask you, in faith, to thank God for our current economic issues.

Listen, my beloved brothers, did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? James 2:5

Contrary to the truth of scripture, we live like what we earn is ours and the more we have the better is our life. If only we had a better job, if only my 401-k hadn't lost so much, how can we ever have a vacation? Any of these sound familiar?

Jehovah Jireah; God is my provider. Just perhaps He is more interested in providing for you in the area of faith over the area of your physical comfort. Seek His gracious provision!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Perfect Law

Many of our friends and family members, even many of us, are dealing with some pretty difficult situations right now. Last week I was reading in the Book of James and a couple of scriptures jumped out to me:

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

The crown of life comes to those who know the deep, deep rest and security by a tested faith.

But the one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, having not been a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be bless in all that he does. James 2:25

Read this scripture a couple of times!

The "perfect" law is the law of liberty. Scripture says, "It is for freedom that Jesus you free". Galatians 5:1

Our greatest stress and our heaviest burdens come out of false expectations and self delusions. The law of rules brings its ugly results of death and drudgery. The perfect law of liberty brings life that flows from within like streams of living water.

The choice lies before you; enter His rest or logic your way into continued frustration and misery.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cross the River

The story of the nation of Israel’s release from years of captivity in Egypt begins in Exodus 4. The final act that “buys” their release, the blood of the lamb, is in chapter 11.

To assure that this freed people would not lose their way to God's blessings and provision, a pillar of fire in the night and a cloud during the daylight would guide them every step of the way on their journey. (Exodus 13:21-22).

For several generations, God had promised a specific land to Israel. Not only did He promise the land, but He released them from their captors and guided them directly to the place of entrance into the promised land.

Israel balked. They came right up to the point of decision and they chose not to enter the land. ( Numbers 13). God’s reaction to Israel’s balking?: Surely, all the men who have seen My glory and My signs, which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it. Numbers 14:22-23

After the "balking" generation passed away the Nation of Israel is again at the entry point of the promised land.

Deuteronomy 12:8-12 is the key section for us to understand clearly what the new terms of their entrance would be: It explicitly states that “tomorrow” everything changes. “you shall not do all that we are doing here today…” All of the do's and don'ts of the law were being left on the wilderness side to the border.

The promise is that Israel will live in rest and security provided they enter the land of promise as God intended.

Unfortunately, Hebrews 4 states that Israel NEVER entered the promised rest and security and continues on warning us that we also might miss it if we respond to God the way Israel did. The crowning statement is verse 19: ..they were not able to enter because of unbelief’.

The bottom line is that the people of Israel never entered the land of security and rest because every step of the way they “Logic-ed” their way through the enemies and issues. God required that they enter the land knowing the He had given it to them and that it was He who would clear the way and fight their enemies.

The invitation to us is the same. Cross the Jordan that separates the dominion of this world from the kingdom of God; the world from the promised land; drudgery and toil from rest and security. It is only by faith that we can enter the promised land!