Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Decisions, decisions... right or wrong?

How do you make important decisions, such as where to go to college?  What job should I take?  relationships?  Do you ask other people their opinions?  Do you do diligent research?  Proverbs 16:25 says, "There is a path before each person that seems right but it ends in...(not so good).  Know what  Proverbs 14:12 says??  ..same thing.  Just because a decision "seems right" does not guarantee that it is the right decision.  The truth is that our "personal opinion" is probably not the best place to determine right and wrong paths.  Our own intelligence, logic and experiences are not usually the best place to go for important decisions.  The problem with trusting our own opinion is it is often founded in an emotional moment, temporary understanding... and it can quickly change.  If you really do care that you choose the "best" path, and not settle for anything less... (which would be the wrong path according to what God's desire is for you), then your desire for the right decision should be a serious pursuit.

So where can you go for those tough choice insights?...is it possible to really know that there are good choices and better choices?  John 8:32 and 14:6 point out that Jesus IS the truth, and knowing Him will put you in direct relationship with the right path.  Knowing the truth means accepting Him, obeying His direction and regarding His instructions above all earthly opinions... even your own.  Living in a constant relationship with Him and daily engaging with His true teachings give you true freedom from the wrong path... that ultimately frees you from sin and death.  How does knowing, trusting and following Jesus (the Truth) give freedom?  If you are a believer and you genuinely listen, obey and relate to him daily you will truly become free to do God's will, and thus fulfill God's ultimate purpose in your life.  The path he will lead you on will be the right one.... always.

Think about this:
  • What areas of your life are you living by your own ideas of right and wrong?
  • Pray.  Ask God how you can know if something we believe comes from Him or your own personal opinion.
  • You can gain greater freedom and understanding of the true path by studying God's Word regularly... start today.  Make sure you are never deceived and led away from the truth of Christ... even if it is of your own making.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tough Times

“But you, Bethlehem, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old..." Micah 5:2

Right now, at this time of year, many graduating Seniors are finding out that the college of their choice is just not ready for them yet.    Tough times like this are often a discouragement to many.  However, I want to point out, that some of the greatest things God does for those who love Him are through difficult disappointment and struggle. Let me elaborate.  

The mighty angel Gabriel had appeared to both Mary and Joseph. His appearance to Mary assured her that the child she would carry and bare would, in fact, be the only begotten Son of God. He would be the fulfillment of all the Old Testament’s prophecies concerning the advent of God in flesh - Immanuel, God with us.

Joseph, too, had been informed of the miraculous conception. Had he not been blessed with a supernatural encounter from this same angel, he would have done the right thing by the Law and have Mary put away. Because of his tenderness, this would be done in secret so that Mary would suffer no more public disdain than was absolutely necessary. He must have loved her - else, he would have had her stoned. However, the angel spoke to Joseph and he believed.

The Scriptures record that Joseph was a just man (Matthew 1.19) - a man who adhered to the Law - a man who was devout in his religion. It also records Mary’s song, the Magnificat, (Luke 1.46-55) showing us how deeply religious and learned was Mary.

They were an ideal couple making a home suitable for the birth of our Savior. We can safely assume that they began preparations for the arrival of Mary’s firstborn son. There in Nazareth, they began arrangements for the baby’s “space.” It seems, no matter what era, a newborn baby needs space - among other things.

Time for the baby’s arrival grew near, but something was wrong - terribly wrong. Micah had prophesied that the baby would be born in Bethlehem - they were still living in Nazareth. Since Micah was the only prophet to predict that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, could We be overreacting - after all, this is just a single, minor detail spoken by one “minor” prophet.

In order for God’s Word to be true and accurate, God used the entire Roman government - from Caesar Augustus to the census bureau to the local Governor. God controlled an entire nation - the world power - to accomplish a minor glitch in location. When you think of something so nearly impossible that it would take an act of Congress to get it done, well, here you have it.

From Joseph and Mary’s perspective, it would have taken more than a mere suggestion. Mary was “great with child” (Luke 2.5, at least in her last trimester) - Bethlehem was 80 miles away (through rough terrain) - and, the ambulance was a donkey. Awaiting them in Bethlehem was the unknown.

All of this that the Word of God would not be broken even in the least of matters.

Throughout history, God has done some remarkable things in order to accomplish His plan. He allowed the entire nation of Israel to fall so that Daniel could personally meet the king of Babylon and deliver to him and the world a message of the end times. He prepared a great fish to encourage a wayward prophet, Jonah, to preach to a city with more than 200,000 children. He sent some hornets ahead of His people into Canaan to inspire at least three nations to move out allowing Israel safe passage. (Exodus 23.28) He ordered His servant, Ezekiel, to preach in a graveyard (Ezekiel 37.4) to teach him of the blessed future prepared for God’s chosen people. He sent His Son into a world of sinners to die as a substitute for our sins so that we would never need to taste His wrath.

So, what difficulty clouds your path? What troubles are you experiencing? Have you considered that God may be using incredible circumstances to move you into a position where He can bless you beyond your wildest imagination?  Trust Him even in the disappointment. Remember, it is through difficult pathways that He does His greatest work.   So hang on, crack a smile.   The best is coming your way.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I like movies... better when they move me.

One thing I do enjoy is a good movie... particularly when it gives me something to think about.

Consider the recent movie, Noah.  The director's comment that it would be "the least biblical biblical movie ever made.."  well, that is probably very true.  It likely IS the least biblical biblical movie every made.  In addition... well, it just was not a good movie.  Now, there were a few things that I remember that were scriptural... the six "days" of creation, Adam and Eve are created by God, the Fall was Adam and Eve eating forbidden fruit, humanity is exceptionally evil, the flood is global, two of each kind of animal, a raven and dove are released to search for dry land, after the flood Noah gets drunk/naked.... but can I say here that, "everything else is not scriptural."     Noah's three son's were all married and their wives are on the ark, Noah's father lived 590 years after Noah was born, a group of fallen angels helping out...(what is that all about?), and most of all, Noah being unsure about what God wanted him to do... could not be further from the truth.  God was crystal clear and very detailed in His instructions to Noah.  Interesting that God was very clear on these things and Noah would not have been conflicted about God's plan, including the truth that God intends for man to be fruitful and have dominion over the earth (Gen 1:26-28).

The Bible does not present Noah as having an emotional struggle, but it is conceivable, likely even, that Noah and his family would have some emotional turmoil.  In that, I can relate.  This world is not heaven and Satan enjoys bringing confusion into our daily lives here.

This one thing was clear for me, the Noah movie was a powerful reminder of God's wrath against sin and God's mercy in saving us. The one scene of the movie that I found to be powerful was Noah and his family huddling inside the ark hearing the screams of the dying people outside the ark. I had never really thought about what it must have been like to be the only survivors of a global catastrophe.

In contrast, the film I enjoyed was, "God's Not Dead." The idea that "God is dead" is primarily a challenge to God's authority over our lives. The notion that we can safely create our own rules was the lie that the serpent told Eve: "you shall be as gods." Peter warns us that,  "..there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, . . ."    

The "Noah" movie moved me to be mindful of the false teachings that invade us every day, the "God's Not Dead" movie moved me to personally be more active in sharing truth every day.

I like movies.. better when they move me.