Monday, November 22, 2010

I believe in...

What you believe in directs your actions.  Conversely, how you act expresses what you truly believe.  Today while reading John 4:43-54, I was reminded of the father who requested Jesus to heal his son who was at the point of death.  The man wanted Jesus to come with him to heal his son, but Jesus had other plans. 

Whether it was to test his faith or to grow his faith I'm not sure, but Jesus knew that true faith doesn’t require seeing miraculous signs.  This father didn't argue, as we often to with God, but accepted Christ's word that his son was healed.  His actions expressed his belief.

So what do your actions say about what you believe?  I know that sometimes my actions express a gross denial of God's power in my life.  When sin encroaches and is allowed to have its way, then our testimony is weakened possibly even destroyed.

For this reason, we must always be on our guard against sin.  Every day brings opportunities to test and grow your faith.  As we read the Word, we need to take God at His word.  When He says we are no longer slaves to sin, but rather are free, we need to act on that truth; believe Him. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Testimony of One

How effective is the testimony of an individual?  Find a good restaurant and you'll share your experience with friends, find one with terrible service or food and likewise your testimony tells the tale.

In John 4:39-42, we read of the woman at the well's testimony and how through her "the town believed in Him…".  The fate of the whole town changed due to the testimony of this one woman.  And remember who she was.  She wasn't a wealthy, affluent woman; a wife of some powerful leader; she was an outcast.  She was despised by those in the town; everyone knew her reputation.  Perhaps she had broken up a family or two; maybe she had had an affair with men in the town; who was she to bring such an important message to this town?

She was the one chosen by God to receive the Living Water offered by His Son.  She could have kept it to herself, but instead the witness of this woman led the Samaritans to come to Jesus.  When they came He offered the same gift, Living Water.  Her testimony brought them, but eventually each one had to choose for themselves whether or not to drink of the water. 

Jesus is the One who saves, but He uses us to bring the world closer to Him.  So how effective is your testimony?  Are you telling those around you what Jesus means to you?  You may been the witness God uses to bring the whole town to believe in Him.  Will you be the one?

Are You Hungry?

Have you ever been hungry?  I mean really hungry.  I don't recall ever experiencing real hunger.  Oh, there were times when I was sent to bed without dinner (a consequence I should have received more often).  And there have been times when I have expressed, "I'm starving."  But in all reality, I have never been THAT hungry.

In John 4:31-38, we read an account that brings to mind a different view regarding food and hunger.  Jesus had just met 'the woman at the well', a Samaritan to whom He offered Living Water.  And now His disciples return to offer Christ sustenance.  He responded, "I have food to eat that you do not know about."  Adding, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work."

The difference between the food the disciples offered and the food that sustained Jesus, one is materialistic and the other is spiritual. 

This tends to be the same struggle Christians have today.  We often allow our desire for the material things of this world to distract us from the spiritual food that will sustain us.  We desire to feed our physical bodies while our spirits starve to be fed.

So I return to my initial question, have you ever been hungry?  I have, spiritually speaking.  There are times when I starve my spirit.  Often this is due to sin in my life blinding me to my spiritual need by emphasizing the pleasures that sin offers.  Other times busyness is the cause of spiritual neglect.  I concentrate so much on doing 'church work' that I am blinded to what God really wants me to be doing.

To open the eyes of the disciples, Jesus said, "Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest."  In other words, get your eyes off of yourself and see there are people with spiritual hunger, people dying.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Don't Douse the Flame

There once was young man who came to know Christ and was on fire for God.  Everywhere he went he told people of the change in his life and how Christ could change their lives as well.  He would testify at school, at work, whenever and where ever he could.  Eventually folks at church began to talk.  Someone approached him, advising him to cool it.  Others chimed in saying he should be more like them, living the Christian life quietly.  Like water on a burning ember, they quickly doused the flame of evangelism.

As I read John 4:27-30 the word evangelism came to mind.  See this woman had just met Jesus, and when you meet Jesus you just can't keep it to yourself.

Jesus' disciples were testifying and were rebuked by the Pharisees to which Jesus replied, "I tell you , if these become silent, the stones will cry out!" (Luke 19:40)

Why is it we are so afraid to share the greatest treasure known to man with those in need?  Is it our greed?  Our pride?  Our fear?  Some of each?  Why do we find it necessary to quench the Spirit in those who are willing to speak out?  Maybe you haven't participated actively in harnessing the outspoken, but do you encourage them to be bold?  I haven't always done so.

As I write, I find myself convicted of not bearing witness to a lost and dying world.  I have been to consumed with pride, worrying about what others might think or say if I were to "be on fire for the Lord".  That is hard to admit as a preacher of the Word.  Oh, from the pulpit I can be bold, but in the world fear cripples me.

My prayer is to be able to declare as Paul did, "…I am not ashamed [of the gospel]; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day." (2 Tim. 1:12).

Spirit and Truth

A friend of mine once shared her ideas regarding God, saying, "My God is a loving God.  He doesn't condemn or reject people for the way they live.  He just wants us to get along and accept one another the way we are; the way He made us."  The problem is this is not the God of Creation, the Jehovah, YHWH. 

Worshiping what we do not know, much like the woman at the well, lends us to make God in our image.  This is idolatry.  God desires us to know Him, that is why He revealed Himself to man through Creation, through His Word, through His Son.  Now is the time to know Him and be known by Him.

But how are we to accomplish this task?  Jesus said, "the hour is coming and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers."

God doesn't want us to worship Him with good deeds in order to gain His approval.  There isn't anything we can do to improve our standing with God.  God sees us as we are: depraved and helpless.  For this reason He sent His Son into the world to provide you and I the means of redemption.  When we recognize our need for a Savior and confess our sins 1 John 1:9 says, "He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  In other words, we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and that is what the Father than sees when He looks at us.

Worshipping Him in spirit and truth means we have a relationship with Him.  We undergo a heart change.  Yes, there will come a change in our actions, we will do good works, but out of love and a passion to serve our God.  This is the desire of your Creator.  Will you lay aside your agenda and seek Him today?  I promise you will be glad you did.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

If you ever spend much time around children you likely have heard a case of the Gimmes.  Kids often look out for their own interests, they desire to have what someone else has and if they don't get what they want, well watch out!

As I was reading this passage in John (4:7-15) I was amazed at the similarities the Samaritan woman shares with many Christians.  In this account, Jesus is sitting at the well and here comes this woman and He asks her to draw some for Him to drink.  When she hesitates and questions Him, Jesus responds by offering her 'Living water'.  Her response, "Sir, give me (Gimme, gimme) this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw." (vs. 15)

This is the same response many Christians have when offered salvation.  Gimme, gimme, so I'll be saved from hell.  Gimme, gimme, so I'll live a blessed life.  Gimme, gimme, so I can live like I want but still go to heaven.  Gimme, gimme, gimme.

We tend to miss the whole point.  Verse 10 offers us the key to this passage, "If you knew the gift of God… you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water."  In the previous chapter of John we reviewed what is likely the best known verse in Scripture, John 3:16 "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."  (emphasis mine).

We don't need to have a case of the 'Gimmes', God already gave.  And it is in that gift that we find life.  Our response then should be one of gratitude and love toward the Savior and the source of living water.  Instead of looking for ways to exploit the gift, we should marvel in the fact we don't deserve it at all.  This is God's grace and mercy poured out on fallen men and women.  This is God's love in action.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Conscious Obedience

There are times when I just don't know what I should do.  Then there are other times when God reveals His will clearly.  Moving to Montana was just such an occasion.  Initially I suppose things were somewhat cloudy, but through the process God's will became more and more clear.

Once presented with His desire for my life I had two options: obedience or disobedience.  I knew what I should do, but I also had compelling reasons to disobey and refuse to go.  Sounds kind of like Jonah (Thankfully I wasn't anywhere close to water. :)

Seriously though, we often think that ignoring God's call on our lives is okay and acceptable behavior, but it's not!  Even Jesus was compelled to obey the Father's will even to the point of what road He should take back to Galilee.  As I read John 4:1-6 verse 4 jumped out at me.  "And He had to pass through Samaria." (emphasis mine).

Go to your shelf and pull out your map of Israel  - don't have one, then you'll just have to take my word for it.  There is more than one way to get to Galilee from Judea.  In fact, most Jews would rather cross the Jordan and travel through Gentile land then be caught in Samaria.  So I ask myself, "Why did He have to pass through Samaria?"

I understand why Jesus left Judea, conflict was rising and His ministry was gaining attention from the Pharisees so He needed to leave, but why go though Samaria?  The only reasonable answer is that there was something He needed to do in Samaria.

Jesus' relationship with His Father enabled Him to know the will of God and consciously obey.  Jesus had to fulfill the mission given to Him by the Father.  He was always conscious of doing the Father's will, that is why He came to earth.  "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. [Jn. 6:38]

Christ's life is the example we are to follow.  We are to have the same attitude as Christ, one of conscious obedience.  Not obedience out of compulsion or fear or a need for acceptance, but obedience based on a relationship we have with the Father, one of love.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Believe, Receive, Obey

I have never questioned who Christ is.  I was raised in a Christian home, attended church whenever the doors were open, and was taught from almost infancy that Christ is the Son of God.  That doesn't mean I completely understand God or His Son, but simply I have had the privilege of being introduced to Him at a young age.

There is a massive difference in knowing Christ (having knowledge of Him) and giving Him full access and control over my life.  See that is where I struggled and continue to struggle at times.  Giving Christ supremacy.  As I am reading John 3:31-36, I am confronted once again with God's desire for me to accept Him as 'above all'.  John (either the disciple or the Baptist - commentators disagree on the one testifying) states, "He who comes from above is above all…" He IS above all.  It's not a matter of question, but a matter of fact.  The question is do you believe it?  Do you believe that Christ, "He who comes from heaven is above all."?

There are only two responses possible - Yes or No.  You can't ride the fence, you must make a choice.  Not choosing is choosing no.  There is ample evidence available.  Those who believe receive from God 'the Spirit without measure'.  So what does that mean?  The (Holy) Spirit  is the third member of the Godhead.  [I can't explain fully this relationship in this article.  Simply, God is one yet three.  There is one God who manifests (not the word I want to use, but can't think of another) in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.]  The Spirit teaches, rebukes, convicts, and directs.  It is when the Spirit draws the heart of man to God that we are able to accept Christ as our Savior, believing He is who He said He is.  We receive His testimony and commit our lives to Him.  The Spirit then empowers us to follow Christ and obey Him.

Obedience is not out of compulsion or in order to please God and thus earn our way into heaven.  It's not to gain more love from God, for He loves us with a perfect love.  Obedience rather is the fruit of our love for Him.  If you believe and have received you will obey.  Love then is the passion that drives our obedience.  Love of God means we are repulsed by sin.  Love of God means we desire to be with Him, read His Word, commune with Him in prayer.  My prayer is that I could love God more, may that be your prayer as well.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In the Spotlight

Have you ever been to a wedding where the bride and groom are not the center of attention?  Of course not!!  Every eye is on the happy couple and that's the way it's supposed to be.  How crazy to imagine the best man or maid of honor stealing the show.  Unthinkable!

That's the illustration John the Baptist uses to describe his role in comparison to Christ; John is the best man, Christ is the groom.  He said, "I have been sent ahead of Him."  In other words, "I'm not in the spotlight, point it on Christ." (Personal paraphrase)

Isn't that the way we each should live our lives?  Putting the spotlight on Christ; pointing the world to the Savior.  Think of the joy we could experience by making it our goal in life to spotlight Jesus.  No longer would I have to have my way; no longer would I need to be the center of attention. 

Just as we find joy and excitement when two are made one; so too, when Christ is given the preeminent place we will find joy is His glorification.  John said, "He must increase, but I must decrease."  John understood his role as well as Christ's.  He knew who should be in the spotlight.

Taking a backseat is not always the most pleasant of positions.  In the shadows you lack attention, recognition, credit, or even acknowledgement.  Sometimes it will bring pain and suffering, other times only a passing glance; but when you have the spotlight on the right person (Christ) even in the pain there is joy.

Compete or Compliment

There are defining moments in each person's life when they make choices that either put them in competition with others or allows them to compliment those around them.

This was one of those moments for John the Baptist.  As we read in John 3:22-27 Jesus has begun His ministry, He is beginning to draw a following (some of whom used to follow John) and He is baptizing in the same area as John is.  John's disciples (followers) approach him reporting that this Jesus, whom John had baptized, was now teaching and preaching and baptizing in the area.

John is confronted with a choice.  He can fulfill his calling to 'make straight the way of the Lord' or he could  call attention to himself and try to compete with the Son of God.  Once before John had been confronted with the temptation to call attention to himself (Jn. 1:22-23) and instead pointed to Christ, now he must choose again.

Isn't that how life is?  Constantly we are confronted with making choices that will define who we are.  Sometimes we make the right choice, other times we become selfish and prideful and desire to point at ourselves rather than toward God.  It is at these times when we come into competition with God rather than His messengers.

John didn't fall into that trap.  As we see in this passage, John is consistent in his message - God is sovereign over all things. 

There is little to be gained in competing with the sovereign ruler of the universe.  Oh we may fool ourselves into thinking we are in control of our lives or that God is taking a backseat, but in all honesty God takes a backseat to no one.  He competes with no one for there is no one in His league.  So the only reasonable choice is for us to compliment, work in conjunction with God.

Joining God where He is at work is exactly what God desires of you and me.  So I encourage you to cease trying to compete with God, repent and join Him today.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Salvation Message

Today's reading (John 3:16-21) includes probably the most familiar verse in the world.  It condenses the message of God's Word into one succinct sentence. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (Jn. 3:16).

Max Lucado in his book 3:16 breaks down the salvation message into eight words reflected from this verse: God loves. God gave. We believe. We live.

That is the whole of scripture.  Yes, we often make it more complicated because we want to do something to earn our salvation, but you can't.  It has already been done, we only have to accept the gift of God and believe on His Son, Jesus Christ.

As I was reading this passage it occurred to me, it is a given that men will perish.  All men, all people will perish; many without knowing the love of God toward them.  He doesn't desire that people die in their sins, that's why He sent Jesus.  But for one reason or another, whether due to ignorance or defiance, He is rejected. 

Men love darkness rather than Light.  Light exposes our sin, our need for a Savior.  Will you believe on Him today?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Don't You Understand

As a child, I didn't like school.  It wasn't a happy time for me.  I wasn't popular, athletic, or studious (I know, it's hard to believe).  My favorite subject was recess, which I frequently missed due to my poor academic performance.  I was a slow learner (even now I have to read books two or three times for them to sink in).

I think Nicodemus must have been a slow learner as well, at least that's how it comes across in today's reading: John 3:8-15.  In verse 10 Jesus says, "You are Israel's teacher and you do not understand these things?"  Jesus was explaining to this Pharisee how to get to heaven (something he should have already known).

The Pharisees were teachers of the Law, but instead of recognizing the limits of the law (our inability to completely obey it), they strove to earn their way to heaven based on their works.  Often isn't this the behavior of folks today?  They don't understand that works cannot save you.  There is nothing you or I can do to earn our way into heaven.  Eternal life is a free gift from God to those who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Don't you understand?  Jesus, God in the form of man, left His throne in heaven, became flesh, lived a perfect life, accepted the sins of mankind as His own, became our sacrifice and died so that we could have eternal life.  He then, through His own power, rose again after three days and promises resurrection and life to all who believe in Him.

I hope and pray you do understand.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hope for the future

I'm still mulling over yesterday's scripture in John 2:13-25.  In this reading Jesus gives clear prophecy regarding His crucifixion and resurrection - "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."  Of course, those who heard Him did not understand at the time. 

As I read these words it occurs to me, Jesus new what was coming down the pike for Him.  He, being God, knew every rejection of His love, every dismissal of His power, every back alley conspiracy, and every lie told to destroy His ministry here on earth.  Jesus knew the heart of every man, woman, and child.  And He knows your heart and mine.  And He chose to go to the cross anyway.  Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  And vs. 10 continues, "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."

So here it is in a nutshell...  He died on the cross with full knowledge of what you and I would do with His gift.  Some have accepted it; others reject it. 

In His declaration, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." I find some of the greatest hope available to man.  Christ died for me, and He raised Himself up from the dead!  Praise God!  He is not dead... He's alive.  There is no other religious leader that can make that claim; all of them are dead.  Jesus is NOT.

Because He is alive, I have hope for the future.  You see, I believe in a God who is greater than all my problems and greater than all my fears (to quote a song from my childhood).  He has defeated sin and death, so why do I need to worry?  He is my hope for the future.  Praise God!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Comfortable in our seats

There is something to be said about being comfortable.  Men search endlessly for the right lounger because we wish to be comfortable while vegging in front of the TV watching football or some other mindless drivel.  Women aren't any different.  They look for comfort in the clothes they wear or the books they read. 

But as I read John 2:13-25 a different perspective hit me.  If you have a chance get your Bible out and read it for yourself; my attention was drawn to vs. 14 "And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and money changers seated at their tables."  The picture here is not one you would expect in the typical North American church or any 21st century church for that matter (although I have led a donkey through the sanctuary before, but that's a different story).

The picture that came to mind was these folks sitting in the temple, comfortable with what they were doing because they were serving themselves.  They were doing what they desired, making money, which brought comfort and pleasure to them.  Now the fact that they were merchants isn't a problem, the lack of reverence for the House of God is.  What I noticed is they were comfortable conducting business in a place designed to glorify God and honor Him.

Fast forward to the Church of today---

My concern is that we are comfortable.  We walk into our plush sanctuaries and sit in our regular places and expect to hear a pleasant sermon, then walk out unchanged, comfortable with the staus quo.  Oh, how our complacency must grieve our Savior.  Rather than His Father's house being "a place of business" it has become a place for social gatherings.

This is NOT what our services should be; rather than warming a pew we need to be on our knees.  Yes, we are to find comfort, but not become comfortable.  The purpose of the building is to facilitate worship of our God, not ease of our backsides.  I suppose much of responsibility goes to pastors like myself; we must stir our congregations our of their comfort zones and on to good works that the Father has prepared for us to do.

So don't get comfortable in your seats... get on your knees and ask the Father to change you and show you the things He wants you to do.  Will it be uncomfortable?  I sure hope so.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Just do it!

Today my heart is heavy.  It is bittersweet.  You see, God opened the door for me to visit with an elderly friend who doesn't know the Lord.  I was elated to have the opportunity but saddened that he still chooses to reject God's gift.  I know that it is the Holy Spirit that convicts and draws men to Him, but oh how I wish to participate in the harvest of this man.  Please pray for him, God knows his name.

Some time back Nike used the slogan "Just do it!" as a part of their ad campaign.  Did you know they stole it from the Bible?  Well, not really.  But if you read John 2:1-12 you can almost hear Jesus' mother saying, "Just do it."

Here's the whole story (paraphrased by me) -

Jesus was at this wedding and there were alot of people there also.  It was a big shindig.  Either the party-goers were drinking alot or somebody didn't plan for this big of an event.  Regardless of the reason (I lean toward the latter), they ran out of wine.  Enter Mary, the mother of Jesus.  She observes the situation and knows that Jesus can solve the problem.  So she tells Him what is wrong and then tells the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."

Okay, so here's my thoughts...

Are you aware that Jesus is able to solve your problems today?  Regardless of what your issue is, He is the solution.  But just like the account of His first miracle, Jesus may not solve it the way you might think. 

See when they ran out of wine you couldn't just run down to the corner market and get some more.  When the wine was gone, the celebration was over. ~Problem  So what's a guy gonna do?  Jesus, being the Creator God, told the servants to fill up water jugs and serve the contents to the head of the celebration.  Doesn't sound like a solution you or I might have thought of, does it?  But the servants just did it.  They obeyed and all were blessed.

When we trust the Creator God and just do what He says, our lives will be blessed.  Maybe the solution to our problem comes in the way we would have considered, but I guarantee it is better than anything we could have devised on our own. 

"Whatever He says to you, do it."  Alright, I stole it too.  But this is the key to life.  We are to do what Jesus tells us to do.  In order for us to know what He wants us to do, we must read His Word, the Bible.  Someone once told me the B-I-B-L-E stands for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.  It's true.  Jesus has given us instructions on how to live our lives.  It's not surprising that when we obey His Word we are blessed.  That's were you and I are today.  We may not understand the "Why" of what He tells us to do but when we act in obedience He will change our lives. 

So read His Word and then...


Monday, August 30, 2010

The Call of the Master

Reading John 1:44-51, I am reminded of the call of Christ, "Come and see." from my previous reading.  How quickly Phillip found Nathanael and imitated Christ.  "Come and see." he said to his brother.  Before he even knew Phillip was a disciple, sharing his knowledge of Christ with those he knew.

This poses a question for me though; who have I encouraged to 'Come and see'.  Some say that you need to build a relationship before asking folks about their faith or inviting them to check out yours; but what happens to those who die before we take the time to talk to them about Christ?  They die in their sins!  God forbid, simply so we can be more comfortable when we share our Savior?  No!  No longer will I wait for the 'time to be right.'  This doesn't mean that building relationships isn't important.  What I'm trying to say is our relationship with God should be more important. 

Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." [Rom. 1:16].  Come and see should be shouted from the rooftops and on the lips of every believer.  Come and see what Christ is offering to you.  Come and see how you can be free from sin.  Come and see.

Christ has the power to change lives and yet we as Christians often fail to do our part in sharing this Christ with the world.  Now is the time to muster the Church into proclaiming the power of Christ to the salvation of all who believe.  Now is the time to answer the call of the Master, "Come and see."  I promise you, you will not be disappointed.

Friday, August 27, 2010

What do you seek?

This question begs to be answered and how we answer it reveals much regarding the condition of our hearts.  John 1:34-43 is the basis for my contemplation. 

John writes a narrative describing the beginning of Jesus' ministry.  Jesus was just 'outed' by John the Baptist as the Son of God, and some of John's disciples (followers) approach Jesus to check Him out.  That's when Jesus asked this loaded question.

I think its a question He is asking you and I today; "What do you seek?"  Are you seeking fame and fortune, friends, acceptance, happiness, peace, revenge, solitude; the list could go on forever.  What are you seeking?  Do you even know?  Many times we walk aimlessly through life, content just to make it through another day.  In responding to this question, we must begin by being honest with ourselves. 

With the disciples they started out saying, "Teacher, where are you staying?"  Curiosity, interest, investigation of this man called Jesus.  Maybe you are where they began, curious about who He is.  Maybe you are frustrated with life or people in your life and are looking for a way to cope.  Perhaps life is going your way, but you lack peace, joy, and love.  In either circumstance Jesus responds, "Come."

"Come.  Follow Me."  Following Jesus is not something one should do on a whim.  Jesus accepts us where ever we are, but He will not leave us there.  Following Him requires us to change.  For Simon it began with a change of his name.  For you it might be something small.  The goal is for us to want what Jesus wants; to submit our will to His own.  That is what it means to be a Christian.

So today, as you evaluate where you are, ask yourself, "What am I seeking?"  Jesus said, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things (the things that you need in life) will be added to you." [Matthew 6:33].  What are you seeking?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


In a court of law, witnesses are called to testify as to what they have seen or heard or know to be true.  I have been a witness and required to testify and found that the experience was not as exciting as you might imagine. 

As Christians we are also called to testify as to the active hand of God in our lives.  Unfortunately, we are not excited about what God has, is, and will do in our lives.  As I read John 1:14-34 today, I tried to put myself in his shoes and understand his testimony regarding Jesus Christ.

{My paraphrased version}
John, who do you think you are? ...some prophet like Elijah?  Well, spill it?

I am nobody, but I point the way to the Christ.  He has been right here and you've missed Him.  You know, when He comes I will fade back into the background.  He is more important than me.  Why aren't you asking who He is?  I'll tell you, He is God.  The Eternal One.  I've seen Him, and I tell you the truth, He is God.

Can you imagine the excitement running through John as He told everyone about Jesus.  He was privileged to point the way to Christ. Now, here's the kicker, you and I have the same privilege that John had.  We are to testify to the world and point them to our Savior Jesus Christ.  Of course, this means that we must seek God's involvement in our lives.  We have to open the door, get out of the way, and let Him sit in the driver's seat.

Jesus is our perfect example for how this is to work.  He submitted to the will of the Father.  He left heaven and came to earth as God incarnate (in the flesh).  He lived and died to offer you and I the gift of eternal life.  By the grace of God, we should testify every chance we get.

There's lots of excuses for staying quiet:
* What will people think of me?          * People won't listen to me.
* God has better speakers than me.   * I'm scared.
* I don't know what to say?                 * I'm not the type to share.        

Each of these are lies the devil uses to convince us not to talk to people about God.  You can chose to listen and be deceived or you can be strong in the Lord and step out in faith that God will give you the words to say and His witness to a lost and dying world.  The question is will you?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Getting Into God's Word

One of the hardest questions I had as a believer was, "Out of 66 books in the Bible, where do I start?"  This question is a common one and perhaps one you have asked yourself.  Whether you are new to the faith or a mature Christian take this word of advise that was given to me: "You can never go wrong with John."

The book of John was written by one of the disciples (followers) of Jesus Christ, for the expressed purpose "that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name." [John 20:31]

**  This is my prayer that this blog may point those who read it toward my Savior Jesus Christ. **

This morning I was reading in John, chapter 1, verses 1-13.

As John opens, He immediately points everyone to Christ.  You see, everything (yes, everything) points to Christ.  John clearly states that Christ is the Creator and Sustainer or all things.  vs. 3 - "Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made."  Take a moment and ponder that thought.  Jesus Christ, who created the stars and the planets and then hung them in space, created you and me.  Psalms 139 says, "You knit me together in my mother's womb."

That may shed some light into a life that feels unfulfilling.  You see, we were created for a purpose.  (A friend of mine said, "If you have a pulse, you have a purpose.")  And if you aren't living for Christ, you aren't living up to your full potential.  Even as a Christian, there are times when I chose to live the way I want rather than as God desires me to live.  This selfish behavior has been labeled -- SIN.

It is because of sin that man rejected Christ when He came and why they continue to reject Him today.  Sin is pleasurable for a season, but it will always take you further than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you wanted to pay.  That's the nature of sin.  Sin also causes a breach in our relationship with God. When Jesus, God's Son, came to earth He showed us what perfect harmony there can be for those who choose to obey God.  "If we confess your sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." [1 John 1:9].

There is so much more that could be said about this passage, but here is the main question I will leave you with:  Have you made the choice to follow Jesus?  How you answer this question will determine if you will reach your full potiential or not.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Beginning

John said it best, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." [John 1:1]

I am not the Word nor am I anywhere close; but Lord willing, I am being conformed to His likeness more and more each day.  To accomplish this I have rewritten this verse (and don't be concerned that I am rewriting Scripture...) to focus my eyes on Jesus: 

"In the beginning of each day I will seek Jesus, He is with God and so He brings me into God's presence, He is God and therefore God is with me through the day."

That is my goal: to seek Jesus every day and to walk with Him throughout the day.  This is not a simple task, in fact, it is complex.  It requires that I lay down my wants and desires and choose rather to do as He directs.  I know this is the will of the Father.  The trouble is I have developed the habit of doing what I want, when I want to do it.  Each of us struggle with the same problem; its called sin.  Satan tries to capitalize on my weakness, tempting me to depart from the will of the Father.  But I can't say, "The devil made me do it!" because it is my choice.  That's right, sin is a choice.

Either I choose to follow Christ or I choose not to follow Him.  Left on my own I will fail every time, but thankfully, Christ offers us the strength to follow Him.  "Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might." [Eph. 6:10]  So I am trusting Him to give me the strength.  Will you trust Him?