Archive for the ‘Treasuing God’ Category

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BRUNO’S EXCHANGE FOR A LIE – May 3

May 3, 2014

“Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God, for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” Romans 1:24-25

 Occasionally, the audacity of pop culture directly confronts and confounds me.

I normally travel within a sanitized cocoon of musical lyrics emanating from a radio of pre-set Christian stations. Long ago, I ceased to care about those who were occupying the top of the music charts, attending the awards shows, or  destined to define the current decade.

English: Bruno Mars performing in Las Vegas, N...

Since I only occasionally dip my toe into the pool of pop culture’s current offerings, I am usually astounded by the contrast of worship between these two worlds. This recently happened when I took a company car to a meeting. The radio was set to a local pop station and the melodies of Bruno Mars immediately grabbed my attention and got me bobbing to the rhythm. As I began to listen more closely to the lyrics, I found them ridiculous. I shook my head as he sang the following:

“Never had much faith in love or miracles
Never wanna put my heart on the line
But swimming in your water is something spiritual
I’m born again every time you spend the night
‘Cause your sex takes me to paradise
Yeah, your sex takes me to paradise
And it shows, yeah, yeah, yeah
‘Cause you make me feel like I’ve been locked out of heaven”
Bruno Mars, Locked Out of Heaven

Consider for a moment what these lyrics are communicating to the millions who have listened to this song (there are over 254 million views of this video on YouTude as of this date). He is willing to be barred from heaven because sex provides a suitable alternative. He does not need to be born again in Christ because he is born again in sex. I can only conclude that Bruno Mars has a stunningly low view of paradise if he truly thinks that sex is comparable.

The Christian’s understanding of paradise would be a poor hope for anyone if sex were an equitable exchange.

This song represents a culture with a shockingly low view of God. Bruno Mars is advocating a belief that the physical release of a sex caused neurological soup is equivalent to experiencing the majesty of the Divine Presence; an ordained voice in the choir of heavenly hosts is akin to the worship of created flesh; the momentary invigoration of sexual intimacy is equivalent to eternal rebirth into the family of the Creator.

Buddy Christ

This simple song represents the exchange by countless generations of Truth for the worship of the created. It is a capitulation to the inherent lie resulting from a low view of God. The sad reality is that this exchange of a low view of God is not limited to the world that does not know Him.

In today’s Christian culture, lofty exultations of God are often substituted for low, personal interpretations of a shallow god, unworthy of deep contemplation and worship.

How long is our silent adoration upon all the Biblical attributes of God?
How often are we awed by God’s absolute power and sovereignty?
How balances are devotions of “Jesus as friend” and “Jesus as Master”?

Our friendship with Christ is most amazing when viewed in the reality of Jesus as Lord. We will be tempted to make an inequitable exchange of knowing Christ Jesus for the worthless trinkets of this created world, when we lose our appreciation of the majesty of God. Paul said:

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Romans 3:8a)

Paul’s high view of God enabled him to recognize the disparaging worth between the created and the Creator. It is only through the worship of Jesus as Lord that losing everything in exchange for knowing Christ Jesus becomes an equitable exchange.

Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
(Psalms 46:10)

  • We need to learn the practice of silent and humble worship before throne of the King of kings.
  • We need to regularly experience the awe that inspires the laying down of crowns and scepters at the feet of our Redeemer.
  • We need to contemplate upon our Savior, high and lifted up, at the right hand of His Father, sovereign over all the earth as often as we are comforted by His loving friendship.
  • We need to strain through the fog of misplaced values and keep our eyes on the truth of God and the Paradise that awaits those who belong to Christ.

It is by keeping our eyes on the lofty personage of Jesus Christ that we will be kept from the horrid exchange of a lie for truth and consider it a bargain to lose everything for knowing Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever.

PRAYER: Father, I pray for Bruno Mars – open his eyes to your surpassing worth; show him the lie that he has exchanged for the truth about you.  Forgive me for all the times that I have made a similar exchange.  Forgive me for all the things of this  world that I have refused to count as lost.  Forgive me for taking such a low view of your majesty and surpassing worth.  Open my eyes, O’ Lord.  Change the loves of my heart.  Give me new passions and desires and to treasure the truth about you.  Help me to live in the reality of your Truth.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 RELATED POST:  GOD IS (NOT) MY BUDDY

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“SEPARATION OF THE STARS” – Nov 23

November 23, 2013

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.  He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.  The Lord preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.  Psalm 145:18-20

English: Campfire flames

I have a fire pit a good distance from my house, tucked in among some willows.  My kids and I enjoy evenings sitting and poking at the fire while we stare up at the night sky.  We behold a sky filled with stars hung in their designated place above our heads.  We marvel at the immensity of this nightly presentation of creation.  Occasionally, there will be an unnatural light that crosses our sky.  A blinking light of an airplane will go streaking through the darkness toward some unknown destination.

AirplaneI wonder about those on-board those planes.  Seats full of passengers all with destinations.  They are either traveling away from families or returning.  They all have stories with intrigue, conflicts, loves, hopes and dreams.  They all have beliefs, ethnicities, and philosophies by which they govern their lives in a complicated world.  They are engaged in conversations, reading books, listening to music, day-dreaming, sleeping or an assortment of other activities intended to occupy their time as the pass through my night sky.

They race through my sky merely as a blinking light to indicate their passage.  They are oblivious to me as I sit far below by my little fire.  They cannot know that I have spied them.  They cannot know that I wonder about them.  They cannot know the lives that are going on below them.  They cannot know me.

Night Flight

We slip pass each other without knowledge and only scant awareness.  Neither those in the airplane nor me at my fire can close the distance between us.  Neither of us have the power to make ourselves known.  Neither of us can affect each other’s desire.  Neither of us can preserve the other’s lives.  We are strangers destined to remain.

My eye is drawn beyond the tiny blinking light to the expanse of the universe.  I know that He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night is out there.  I know that the Lord is his name.  (Amos 5:8)  I spin around on a tiny planet, as a microscopic blip of a light spot in an immense universe, before the eye of the God of hosts.  I go past him just as that airplane passes above me.

The Night Sky

Fortunately, all the parties of this spiritual separation are not as powerless as those in the temporal.  I am as incapable of knowing Him, whose face I can glimpse in the stars, as those in that airplane are capable of knowing the man sitting beside this little campfire.  He who forms the mountains and creates the wind has the power to declare to me His thoughts. (Amos 4:13)

He has the power to close the gap that separates the created from the Creator.  He has the power to know my desires and to fulfill them.  He has the power to hear my anguish and to heal me.  He has the power to preserve me – a microscopic blip of a life, spinning on a minuscule planet, in an insignificant galaxy.

I know Him because He has made Himself known to me.
I call upon Him from His gift of faith to know the Truth.
I fear Him through eyes He has opened to His greatness.

I cry out to Him because He draws near to me.
I love Him from a heart that knows Him and all He does.
I praise Him through a transformed life in glory to him.

Prepare to meet your God!
Seek Him and He will draw near to you.
Seek Him and He will open your eyes.
Seek Him and live!

The Lord, the God of hosts is his name!

PRAYER: O Lord, your name is great and greatly to be praised.  Thank you for making yourself known.  Thank you for closing a gap that I could never span.  Thank you for speaking Truth into my life and calling me to your Son.  Hear my voice of praise – you fill all of the earth; you fill all the heavens.  Nothing can contain You.  Nothing is beyond your reach.  You are the most high – you are the Lord, the God of hosts.  I behold your name and cherish you my Lord.   You are High and Lifted Up!  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“GET TO OR HAVE TO – THAT IS THE QUESTION” – May 16

May 16, 2013

“Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.”  Romans 4:4

My attitude is often betrayed in the verbs that I select.

“I have to…”  or  “I get to …”

There are very distinct attitudes behind these two sentences.  I have to do the activities for which I am obligated.  Most everything that I have to do is a result of some transaction that I have entered into with the expectation that I will receive some sort of reciprocation. It may be money, a favor, acknowledgment, praise, the appreciation of my wife, or to keep up appearances.  There are many ways by which we are compensated for doing those activities that we feel obligated to do.

Consider what you have to do; would you do it if you did not receive your just due?

I would not.  For me, the use of the verb, have, speaks of an obligation that I feel; an obligation infers that a transaction has occurred where work has earned a payment.  As an adult, there are a lot of activities that I have to do.  There are also a lot of activities that I get to do.  These are activities where I am under no obligation to do them.  I want to do them.  I use vacation time to do them.  I don’t need compensation to do them.  I often pay to get the opportunity to do them.

What verb do you use in describing your service to God?

I have to go to Church.
I have to read my Bible.
I have to love my neighbor.
I have to pray.
I have to be obedient.
I have to love God.

Why do I have to do any of those things?  What am I working for?  Am I doing those things so that God will continue to love and bless me?  Am I trying to compel God to give me the wages of my work?

It is so easy for an attitude of obligation to creep into our mindset.  We are justified by faith.  Righteousness is counted to us by faith.  We did not work to earn it.  Righteousness is not due us based on anything that we have done.  It is a gift that “will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (Romans 4:24-25)

We get to respond to this free gift. 

If we have to respond to that gift then we are trying to earn something. Our justification cannot be earned.  Therefore, we get to live in grace and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:2)  Our attitude about serving God should be one of love and appreciation; I get to serve God.

I get to go to Church.
I get to read my Bible.
I get to love my neighbor.

I get to pray.

I get to suffer.

I get to walk in obedience.
I get to love God

I don’t have to earn eternal life – Praise God!

Therefore, I get to walk in the Spirit;

I get to glorify God with my life;

I get to produce the fruit of the Spirit;

I get to be poured out for His purposes;

I get to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind;

May we be watchful of the attitudes in our service and obedience to the Lord.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for not requiring me to earn my salvation.  Thank you for showing your love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Father, help me to remember that You did all the work.  I have done nothing for there was nothing that I could do to be justified before You.  Lord, thank you for allowing me to live for You.  Thank you for the opportunity to get to serve You and sing your praises.  Keep me from viewing the joy of my salvation as an obligation.  I praise you Lord and pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“THE DUESENBERG – PART 2” – Mar. 8

March 8, 2013

“And the king (Josiah) stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book.  And all the people joined in the covenant.”  2 Kings 23:3

“Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all that Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.” 2 Kings 23:25

PART 2 – THE DUESENBERG

Read Part 1 here at “THE DUESENBERG – PART 1

Traveling SalesmanHis son, the fortunate man’s grandson, discovered that he was owner of the Duesenberg when the family attorney handed him an unfamiliar key during the reading of his father’s will.  “A Duesenberg” he snorted under his breath. “A car from a by-gone era, just like this empire my father has left me,” was all he thought.  The grandson was consumed with the worries of transforming a business in a vastly different economy than that of his father or grandfather. The years of prosperity were gone and he was fighting to retain the family’s wealth.  He had no time for an old Duesenberg.  The beautiful car was tucked into the back of the old carriage barn and covered.  The grandson forgot about the elegant car as the wealth of his grandfather slipped from his fingers.

The grandson died sooner than others his age.  The stress of being the patriarch of a declining house had stripped years from his life.  He had compromised all of his ethics in search of the deal that would turn everything around.  He had built a reputation throughout the business world as that of a swindler due to his relentless desperation to hit it big.

His son, the fortunate man’s great grandson, inherited assets consumed by creditors. His first action was to prepare for the bankruptcy of the family businesses. He knew his family was bankrupt of wealth and hope.

On a sunny day, after a gray meeting with yet another bankruptcy attorney, the great-grandson took a walk through the family’s country estate; the home that his great-grandfather had built.  He poked through the various out-buildings in an attempt to ease his mind.  That is when his eyes were drawn down a shaft of sun streaking through some dilapidated boards of the barn.  The sunlight was illuminating a familiar form.  It was the forgotten Duesenberg.  He had remembered his father haphazardly showing it to him years ago when he was a boy.  Just the glimpse of the stately car as his father jerked the tarp back had been enough for him to fall in love with the automobile.  The Duesenberg had been the center piece in many of his day-dream adventures of his youth.

It immediately dawned upon him that he owned this Duesenberg.  This elegant masterpiece of craftsmanship was now his.  With an excitement he had not felt in a long time, he immediately set to the work of removing years of discarded debris to free the Duesenberg from its confinement of neglect.  He cleared a path through the collapsing barn, attached a chain to his prize and pulled the Duesenberg into sunlight for the first time in decades.  Time had not been kind to the old car.  It was broken down.  The finishes had faded and dulled.  The leather and fabric had cracked and fragmented.  The gears had bound and refused to turn.Olddues

The great-grandson was not detoured.  He knew what he had.  He had a treasure.  He could feel the rightness of this automobile and he could not wait to get behind the wheel.  He carefully opened the door and gingerly slipped behind the large steering wheel being careful not to cause any more damage.

He knew he had a treasure but he was unsure of what to do with it.  He inspection every inch of the car and become more enamored with it as he become familiar with its subtleties.

Dues OwnersHe cleaned the years of grime away.  When he was looking under the passenger’s seat, he saw an object that appeared to be a book tangled in the springs of the seat.  He reached the length of his arm and carefully removed the book.  He swiped the dust and spider webs from its cover and read, “Owner’s Instruction Book – Duesenberg – Model J.”  With delicate fingers, he opened the cover to the table of contents.  At the top of the page, in elegant cursive writing from a by-gone time, were the words,

“This is a treasure that you have been given.  I have chosen you for this gift.  You have not chosen me.  I have chosen you not because of who you are or who you will become.  I have chosen you because you are the least of all men.  I have chosen you for my own reasons.  You are blessed to receive this gift as will all the generations that follow you.  Only be careful to follow this owner’s manual.  This manual is a gift intended to help you and all subsequent owners to know how to care for this special blessing.  You are very blessed; never forget where you were.”

Duesenberg

Duesenberg (Photo credit: Venom82)

The great-grandson wept as he sat on the Duesenberg’s fragile running board.  He knew that the blessings of his family were somehow tied to this automobile.  He knew that his father and grandfather had not followed the owner’s manual.  They had not valued this incredible gift.  He resolved, as he wiped the final tear from his eye, that he turn away from the ways of his father and would walk in the example of his great-grandfather.  He called his son to him and opened the instruction manual and began to read, “Instruments and Controls…”The days rolled into each other as the father and son worked to restore the old Duesenberg.  They read the owner’s manual day after day and their gray pessimism of the future turned into golden rays of hope.

____________________________________________________

Our Father in heaven has given all who are His, the gift of faith.  It is a treasure of indescribable worth.  The Bible, God’s Word, is our instruction manual.  His words are our guidance in how to follow Christ as we have been called to do.  Let’s not be like the Israelites who so neglected God’s instruction that they misplaced and lost God’s law.  Let us not neglect to follow the instruction that God has given us.  He has given it to us for our good.

May we be like Josiah and turn back to the Lord with all of our heart and with all of our soul and with all of our might.

May the value that we place in the gift of our faith be demonstrated in the diligence of our adherence to the instruction of the Bible, our owner’s manual.

PRAYER: Lord, I find it hard to comprehend how a people could lose your law but it did happen.  I know that it can happen again.  Father, write your words upon my heart and the hearts of my family.  Lord, give us such an appreciation for your gift of faith that we will love your word.  Create in us an affection for your word that we desire to keep it near to us at all times.  You have give us your instruction for our good and enjoyment.  Spirit, guide us in the word.  Lead us back to you and your word with all of our hearts and all of our souls and with all of our might.    Amen

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“THE DUESENBERG – PART 1” – Mar. 8

March 8, 2013

“And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it…Then Shaphan the secretary told the king (Josiah), “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king.” 2 King 22:8, 10

“For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” 2 Kings 22:13b

PART 1 – THE DUESENBERG

English: 53227(293) Works Progress Administrat...

English: 53227(293) Works Progress Administration: unemployed shown at volunteers of America Soup Kitchen in Washington, D.C., 1936. (27-0637a.gif) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There once was a man of poverty who struggled to find his daily meals.  The gray of the days of a prolonged depression matched his pessimism of the future.  Tomorrow was bleak for this man of poverty.  Hope was indeed dim for a man without means.  That all changed for him in a soup kitchen at the lonely end of a long table.A strange figure silently approached this man of poverty as he hunched over his charity soup.  This well-dressed man, who quietly sat dawn opposite him, inexplicably stretched out his arm.  At the end of his hand, there dangled a key.  “It is yours my fortunate friend; only be careful to follow the owner’s manual,” was all that he said as he dropped the key into the palm of this bewildered beneficiary.  The man of “means” lead the man “without” to the edge of the street.   With a sweep of his arm, he said, “She is yours; only be careful to follow the owner’s manual.”  The desperate man’s eyes followed the long sweep of his arm; from shoulder, to elbow, to the tip of his fingers.  What lay beyond was a dream.  A Duesenberg; it was the quintessential car of luxury and speed.

Duesenberg Convertible SJ La Grande Dual-Cowl ...

Duesenberg Convertible SJ La Grande Dual-Cowl Phaeton 1935 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He stood in amazement. He slowly turned to his companion, hoping a coherent question might form by the time he faced him, only to discover that he was gone.  He stood on the sidewalk in stunned astonishment as the crowds pushed around him.  “This must be a prank; how can this be real?”, he thought as he rolled the key in his now perspiring palm. Finally, he reasoned that he would play along even if this were a mischievous joke.  At the least, he would get to drive a Duesenberg.  Therefore, he slipped into the driver’s seat, across the custom-made interior of the most elegant automobile he had ever seen.  He started the car and pulled away from the soup kitchen with acceleration and power that he had not known were possible.This fortunate man discovered that he wasn’t the punch line in a cruel joke.  No one ever came for his Duesenberg.  It was his and he cared for it with a passion.  He followed the owner’s manual with precision for he knew the treasure that he had.

He found that owning a Duesenberg changed everything in his life.  It was generally assumed that he was a man of means due to his ownership of such a car but he knew it was something more.  Other men of ability and wealth befriended this fortunate man and opportunities were soon laid at his feet.  Prosperity changed his gray pessimism into a golden hope of the future.  As years slipped by and his wealth accumulated, he never forgot his poverty and who he was under all the fine clothes.  He was appreciative of all that he had been given and he cared for his Duesenberg with a devotion that none in his family could understand.  He followed the owner’s manual in such detail that he had it memorized.  His efforts were evident.  When he lay grayed, wrinkled and dying, the Duesenberg looked the same as that fateful day when a key was dropped into his youthful hand.

English: Duesenberg J Murphy Convertible Coupe...Just before he died, this fortunate man dropped the key of his beloved Duesenberg into the youthful hand of his eldest son. He whispered to his son in a voice stolen by age and illness, “She is yours; only be careful to follow the owner’s manual.”

This young man loved his father.  He grieved long and hard at his passing.  It took many years before he could even look at the Duesenberg because all he saw was a father, whom he missed dearly.  However, that become the reason the son grew to love the Duesenberg.  It reminded him of the man he loved.He would go into the expansive garage and just sit in the Duesenberg, which was now relegated to the last stall since it was rarely driven.  He maintained the car to keep it functional.  He would run it regularly to keep the myriad of mechanical parts well lubricated.  However, he perused the owner’s manual mostly to see the clear and decisive handwriting of his father in the margins.  He remembered the times with his father of caring for this car.  The time when his father stopped him while he was cleaning the upholstery and said, “No my son, that is not how the manual tells us to clean the leather.”  He then quoted from memory exactly how the process was to be completed and he concluded with, “we must be careful to follow the manual. It was given to us to help us keep this wonderful automobile.  If we are careful to follow the manual, this automobile will be a blessing to countless generations of our family.”

The son faithfully followed his father’s instruction but without his father’s earnestness, which he never fully understood.  The years passed and the son died after owning the Duesenberg for half a century. 

Continue reading “THE DUESENBERG – PART 2

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DEAL BREAKERS – Jan. 11

January 11, 2013

“Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.” John 6:26-27

I have been asked the same question in various forms.  Why would you do a race? Why do you go swimming? Why do you go biking or running?  Why do you exercise so hard?  I think that the folks who ask me this question in its different manifestations are generally perplexed.  I have a lifestyle of my choice that they would never have selected.

When asked this question, the implication is that there is one answer.  I “hem and haw” over my answer because I find it difficult to come up with one answer.  There are many reasons that I exercise.  It is very hard to narrow it down to one.

If I have to stick to one reason, it probably is that I don’t like how I feel when I am over-weight.  It is highly likely that I would dump my whole exercise lifestyle if it was not effective in keeping the weight off.  What would be the point?  Why give up cheesecake if my gut is going to remain unchanged whether I eat it or not?  Why do all those painful and uncomfortable abdominal exercises if they will never help me see my long-lost abs?  Why not sleep in if making time in my schedule for exercise doesn’t work at keeping the weight off?

We discover our motivations by contemplating whether we will come to the same conclusion if a desired result doesn’t happen. We will have discovered our primary motivation when our decision changes.

Why do I follow Christ?  Why do you follow Christ?

Please try to answer this question before you read further.  I have found it to be a very important question.  It is important because it reveals our primary motivation.  I have listened to many testimonies over the years about what God has done in people’s lives.  I love these testimonies to the miraculous and faithfulness of our God

God has restored relationships     

God has given words at the right time

God has rebuilt marriages  

God has kept people safe in dangerous situations 

God has given peace in loss

God has given jobs  

God has given patience in frustration

God has given children        

God has given strength in disaster

God has given food and money    

God has given friends

God has cured disease and addiction             God gives joy when it is not merited

Will you follow Christ if any or all of these are removed?  I have listened to gospel appeals that were centered on how accepting Christ will make your life better; “your marriage is in shambles, accept Christ and He will restore it”; “you have hit rock bottom, accept Christ and he will give you a better life.”  What if he doesn’t?  What if God doesn’t respond to the deal that we strike with him when we give our lives to him?

What will you give up and still follow Christ?

What is a deal breaker?  Please don’t deceive yourself in saying there is not a deal breaker.  There is always a deal breaker.  Those who were following Christ when he was here on earth had a deal breaker.  Those who were following Jesus wanted Jesus to continue to take care of them.  They had gotten their fill of loaves.  It was great.  They would never have to worry about where the next meal was coming from.  Jesus could make food out of nothing.  I think that Jesus knew that for many of those on that day the deal break was that which made their lives better.  Remove that and they would fall away.  They were not following Jesus because he was the food that endured to the end – that is what the signs attested to.  That he was the Son of God.

What if following Christ resulted in the loss of your friends and reputation?

What if following Christ resulted in the loss of your house and cars?

What if following Christ resulted in hunger and disease?

What if following Christ resulted in the loss of your children?

What if following Christ resulted in prison?

What if following Christ resulted in your life getting worse?

I have a deal break.  There is something that if you remove it than I will no longer follow Christ.

“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” (1 Cor. 15:14)

My motivation for following Christ is that He was raised from the dead and removed the condemnation of my sin.

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor. 15:17)

My motivation for following Christ is that He is the Son of God.  If you were to remove that fact, then Christ is either a liar or a lunatic.  I am not following either of those.  That is my deal breaker.

Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God.  Remove everything else and my decision remains unchanged.  Where else would I go?

What is your deal breaker?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for this clarity.  Forgive me for allowing all of your other blessings that you have shown me to cloud my motivations.  Forgive me for getting discouraged when secondary things are removed.  You are still the Son of God and I will follow you.  Father, give me the strength to endure to the end.  I know that I will face the removal of many blessings that I hold dear.  I don’t want the loss of anything to result in my falling away from you.  Lord, may you always set my mind on who you are and what you have done for me so that my primary motivation for following you with all of my heart, soul and mind is ever before me.  Amen

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December 27, 2012

I absolutely love this sermon…”That’s my King! I wonder, do you know him?”

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IT IS COLD OUTSIDE; COME ON IN – Nov. 29th

November 29, 2012

“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.” Psalm 61:2b-4

We had a strong storm blow through not that long ago. It was a cold driving wind that turned rain drops into stinging projectiles. In a pasture along the road home, I saw several horses out in the storm because they had no shelter. They had pointed their backsides into the wind, hunched their backs, and dropped their heads. Since there was no escape, they were miserably enduring the storm. I was thinking about those poor beasts as our garage door automatically opened and we silently slipped into the refuge of our home; fully protected from the ravages of the storm. I was very appreciative of my house.

It would have been silly of me to park outside our garage. It would have been even sillier to seek refuge under one of our leave-less shade trees. I would have quickly been as miserable as those horses.  I would have been a fool since I had an escape to refuge only feet away.

You can have a refuge but you have to go in. A strong tower is only of value if you are inside of it. However, we are told in Luke 14:28-29 that there is a cost to strong towers. There is an issue with entering the strong tower of the Bible.  It is like getting through security at the airport. You are not going to get through with prohibited items.

We cannot enter the strong tower of our Lord with the prohibited passions of this world. “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33 We have to lay aside all of those things that we value more than the Rock of our salvation. Sadly, many are miserably bewildered as they are caught in a raging storm of our enemy, just outside the refuge of our Lord, clutching their trinkets.

Come inside, where the enemy cannot reach you.  It is so much better than miserably enduring. There is no trinket of this world that can match the treasures that await you inside the strong tower of our Lord.

PRAYER: Lord, Forgive me for clucthing onto valueless trinkets, thinking they are great treasures. You are the greatest treasure in all the universe.  It it through You that I can find value in all that you have created.  Thank you for being my strong tower. Thank you for protecting me from the stinging storms of this world. I will praise your name as the storms of this world pelt the outside of my faithful refuge. Amen

Image from http://www.panoramio.com/photo/72280416

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