Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Power Of Prayer

The Power Of Prayer

     Prayer really is the most powerful tool we posses. The devil knows that God hears the cries of His people and that he will have to turn and run from the situation. The Devil is very careful to try and not get us riled up enough to call for help. Instead he lulls us to sleep with pleasant distractions until we have no voice to cry out to God with. Let us wake up and use our voices to good account! The Devil loves it when we are asleep. Let us give him something to be afraid of! Let us pray for Christ’s light to shine brightly from us. Let out hearts be continually towards everyone around us. Let us not be distracted by physical comforts or caught up in ourselves! Let us move forward in Christ as able members of His body. Let Heaven be in our sight at all times and let us not forget that we are strangers in a land that is not our own, but is passing away.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Carrying The Cross Of Christ And Applying It To Our Daily Life

Mark 15:21
Carrying The Cross Of Christ
And Applying It To Our Daily Life

As Jesus is being lead to His death 21). And they pressed into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene, to bear His cross.
     I would like to focus on Simon’s being pressed or drafted into carrying Jesus’ cross. Jesus repeatedly tells us in the New Testament that if we are going to follow after Him, we must pick up our cross before we can do so. Each one of us has been pressed into service to carry that cross. It is not a choice or request but rather a requirement. The Roman soldier did not ask Simon if he would like to carry Jesus’ cross, Simon was commanded to. Likewise, God has called upon each of us to take a turn in carrying that burden which represents the death of our life here on earth and its resurrection into a new and Heavenly life. It also serves as a reminder to us of the humiliating and painful price that Jesus paid for our sin. We are to carry that cross as a reminder that there is no sacrifice too great or too painful that we cannot bear it for the sake of rescuing our brothers and sisters from an eternal punishment.
     So what is it to carry Jesus’ cross in our daily life?
1. It is to bear the burden of being mocked and scorned for bringing Him into our daily conversations and activities.
2. It is to be accused of things that we didn’t do, and bear it patiently without getting upset with our accuser.
3. It is to sacrifice earthly comforts and pastimes so that we might be fully available at any time to help others.
4. It is to lead by example, showing the way that Jesus lived and how He sacrificed Himself for us.
5. It is to endure every trial, having no affections for earthly things that could tempt us or bribe us from speaking the truth.
     If we bear the cross, then we are looking death in the face and thus are able to see clearly what truly matters here on earth. We will have a keen grasp on the fact that we are taking nothing with us except the lives of others that we help lead to the safety of Jesus’ arms.
     Each person is far more precious than anything else here on earth. What price can you put on the value of one person being able to live for eternity! Jesus used Himself as the payment, both saving us and putting a value on us that far outweighs our selfish little world that we try and build around ourselves everyday, living for this thing or that vacation or a party on the weekend. We need to drop our obsession with this life, gaze hard at the cross that we have been called to carry, and understand that it will make some dramatic changes in our lifestyle. It is time to remember that not all of us have been given the blessed call of carrying the cross. Our neighbors and entertainers and friends who are all around us will not simply start to do the right thing and obey God’s laws. We cannot use them as our gauge of what is acceptable in how we live our lives. God’s standards of right and wrong are much higher than that of those around us! By God’s grace, we must put aside the world’s standards and live by God’s Holy standards and then we must begin calling to others to come and join us. God’s standards are so much higher than our standards that even our Christian friends may think us foolish for how closely we try to adhere to them.
     The cross is the refining fire that has been placed between us and the gates of Heaven. The cross is one of the requirements that Jesus laid before us and it is the ordeal we must bear if we love Him. But let me ask us, is there a military training camp or a muscle building workout where you get results by simply being casual and lazy in it? You won’t be a quick and efficient soldier or achieve wonderful strength without pain and diligence. So also, the road of the refining fires of the cross is painful and requires diligence and persistence, but it will achieve wonderful results and bear good fruit. God’s refinement works on our character.It works on who we are on the inside. He causes our pride to be broken and our envying hearts to be content with what we have. He causes our anger toward others to be replaced by the sorrow at our own guiltiness in hurting others. He allows us to be crushed and devastated until He has taken away everything in our lives that has not been built on His foundation, and when He has gotten to the bottom of each part of our lives, He replaces it with Himself and His own building materials.
     It is a challenging road He has called us to walk but would we want something as valuable as the eternity He has for us to be the easy road? Our bodies need to be trained and transformed, and even though Jesus took upon Himself the hardest part, He has given each of us the task of joyfully following in His footsteps.
     Finally, I will conclude with the wonderful truth that there is a joy that comes from sacrificing our lives for Jesus and for our brothers and sisters in Him that is very powerful and makes enduring the trials to be, as Jesus has told us in Matthew 11:30, “My burden is light and My yoke is easy.”
     May God open our eyes to see past our daily routines and pleasures and into the eternity He has called us to inherit.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

God Is At Work In Your Life

Gen. 45:7
God Is At Work In Your Life

     “And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.” - Joseph
     This is the amazing conclusion of a very difficult trial of faith in the love and goodness of God. If you take some time and read the whole story of Joseph you will gain an important lesson in how God is working in our lives when we are enduring things we don’t understand. Hardships, delays, circumstances that don’t make sense, this story will renew your hope and trust in God’s faithfulness towards you.
     It starts with a son, Joseph, who is the greatest love of his father’s heart. Joseph comes to his father with two amazing dreams about God raising him up to rule over the rest of his family. Then while his father is pondering these things his son is suddenly taken from him and is declared dead! Now Jacob has a tremendous conflict with God. How can God seem to have promised a high position for his son and at the same time have allowed him to die! It is either a cruel joke from God or else why did He tell him one thing and then do something so dramatically different as to allow him to die?
     So I asked the Lord, “Why did you allow Jacob to think his son was dead for over 20 years?” That seems like a hard way to deal with Jacob whom You loved so dearly. Then God opened my understanding. Two things immediately presented themselves to me. The first was that God had to personally train Joseph and take him through tremendous trials in order to prepare him to be capable of his high position. Something that Jacob would have constantly stood in the way of as a parent who never wanted his son out of his sight so that nothing would harm him. The second is that if Jacob had had the slightest idea that Joseph was alive and in captivity he would have spared no pains or expense to get him set free and thus completely thwarting God’s plans for his life as ruler of Egypt.
     So Jacob, as you can probably imagine, goes to God daily with these questions running through his mind. God’s word and the reality as he knows it, contradicting each other so much and yet here is God continually saying, “Trust Me” and filling him with that peace that only God can give to a completely distressed soul.
     Then, suddenly, all that God has done comes to pass in a moment of time and not only does Jacob receive his son back but also all of the blessings God has stored up for him in Egypt! So if you are struggling with hard contradictions in your life right now and asking God why His promises to you and your current circumstances are not lining up and every time you go to God about it He says, “Peace, trust Me.” You can be sure that God is at work laying a foundation in your life that you have no idea about. Take this time to allow God to shape you into His image and with patient endurance and trust in Him, you will not be disappointed!
     God bless you all! Keep pressing forward in Him and He will see you safely through your hardest trials!