Monday, June 28, 2010

Put Your Confidence In Our Future Ruler!

As Christians our bottom-line in Jesus is not politics—it's following Christ. He is our primary Passion and the One who gives us our primary and secondary purposes in life!

It's kinda hard not to talk about what we sow a lot to huh. Please remember that political answers never address our deepest needs or problems so.. "Don't put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there." Or "Don't put your trust in princes, mortal men who can't save" (Ps. 146:3). Put your trust in the One who can save peopleJesus Christ! Just thinking out loud and rambling a bit over at my raw photo blog.

fish4souls.org

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Most Beautiful View.. Looking At Jesus!

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." ~Heb. 12:1-2, nkjv
 

What are you after in this life?

 

What are your closest friends after?

 

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

 

What are you pursuing to make you happy?
 
Would you like to elaborate on any of that some?

 

"Are you tempted? Look unto Jesus. Are you afflicted? Look unto Jesus. Do all speak evil of you? Look unto Jesus. Do you feel cold, dull, backsliding? Look unto Jesus. Whether you are weak or strong, in the valley or on the mountain, in sickness or in health, in sorrow or in joy, in going out or in coming in, in youth or in age, in richness or in poverty, in life or in death—let this be your motto and your guide, 'LOOKING UNTO JESUS!'" ~J.C. Ryle

 

When you want to break free from a destructive sin habit that is pulling you down to utter ruin, you want to look unto Christ who is the Answer. I'm not kidding here.
 
Not trying to be condescending in some sort of snooty way here, but know anyone who has not sinned? I don't, 'cause there is no one ..and guess what.. this doesn't go away from any of our lives by us being determined or trying harder.

 

Have you been feeling bored with this life?
 
When you are hungry for real purpose, satisfaction, joy, peace, strength, fulfillment, confidence, and meaning in this life.. then you really want to look to Jesus! Do it today!!!

 

Believe me on this! He alone can give you both abundant life and eternal life! I don't mean for that to sound churchy or preachy. Think about this carefully. A whole lot is at stake!   

 

What has your family and friends taught you about adding to your existence in order for you to begin experiencing real life?

 

Building the right social connections in the community?

Working towards multiple degrees?

Increasing your investment portfolio?

Landing the right career?

Buying enough real-estate in the right locations?

Traveling to more exotic destinations?

Possessing the latest car?

Beefing up the latest computer?

Achieving large accomplishments or public recognition?

Reaching your professional goals?

Wearing the trendiest fashion?

Retiring in your 40s?

 

I don't think those things would be bad in and of themselves, but they would be if you or I forgot the Lord in pursuit of them. Jesus said, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (Jn. 10:10).

 

I think He meant that don't you? He also claimed to be the only Way into right relationship with His Father.

 

I know that I sure don't deserve life at all after how I lived in rebellion for so many years. But how merciful of Jesus to give me life anyways.. free of charge! Makes me feel so grateful.. grateful enough to draw closer to Christ.

 

Man, I need more mercy and grace as the weeks pass by.

 

The Bible tells us that in this world there, "..are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life" (Jude 1:19-21). Sounds like that is dealing with you responding and about this beautiful view as well.

 

I think the very best thing that I can do today is look to Jesus for all that I need ...and also talk to my friends about gaining such a great view. I wanna live right in Jesus so I can be a good example for them and earn the right to be heard. He has all they need too... if these people only will come to Him on His terms!   

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Trust in the Fisher of all fishers!

"Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass." ~Psalm 37:5, nkjv

 

What has God called you to do?

 

Have you asked Him to use you today? He will!

 

Is your understanding of His fishing plan for you not yet very clear, even though many things in the Bible are like real lucent regarding God's will?

 

Our grasp of God's purpose for each of us can be limited and that is why we are motivated to earnestly seek the Lord daily. We see through a glass dimly at times because we are still in these human bodies.

 

The Word of God calls each of us to trust our loving heavenly Father and expect Him to show us the details that we need to have as we go fishing for people! He always knows what is best for each person!

 

Even when the Lord is silent and much of His purpose for us seems to remain like a dark mystery, the Bible teaches us to continue walking by faith trusting in our Father to guide us.

 

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go." ~Psalm 32:8

 

"All the way my Savior leads me—what have I to ask beside?

Can I doubt His tender mercy, who through life has been my Guide?" ~Crosby

 

Listen, as we prioritize the Lord and His Kingdom first each day ..ahead of all worldly actives and things.. then we see how faithful God really is to give us the answers and care that we desire of Him.

 

"For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all…" ~Galatians 6:8-10a

 

God is waiting in the silence for a heart that He can fill;

He must find it cleansed and empty, with a spirit calm and still. ~Smith

 

"I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!" ~Psalm 27:13

 

What has been on your heart today?

 

What have you been waiting for?

 

Are you praying for a lost love one to choose Christ? Are you needing to receive a healing on some level? Are you praying for protection as you travel each week, or for finances to come in so you can pay some bills, or for a career so you can just support your family? Are you hoping and trusting for full reconciliation in a fractured relationship? God can do anything when people are willing.   

 

Pray, listen, and wait upon the Lord. Real good idea!

 

Pray, listen, pray some more, put God's Word into practice.. listen, pray, don't get spooky-weird, be balanced in Him, be polite and respectful of all you meet... and PLEASE DON'T run on ahead of Jesus to take matters into your own hands!

 

God doesn't need your help, honest. Remember Hagar and her child? Works of the flesh are wasted works! You don't need all the trouble that they can bring into your life.

 

"As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him." ~Psalm 18:30

 

"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God." ~Psalm 20:7

 

"Keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You." ~Psalm 25:20

 

Every single day gives us believers multiple reasons to stay dependant upon the Holy Spirit. Almost daily ..or sometimes every single day when we get around other people.. do we discover fun opportunities to joyously share our faith in Jesus with others who need Him. Trust and obey that's the very best way.. even if it ain't always so comfortable for us (bad English, but true), or God's answer doesn't arrive on our timetable. Have you ever trusted Jesus before? You can start right now!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Credibility and a Good Name are Gained Slowly but can be Lost so Quickly

Please be real in every place with the Lord. Let Him lead you 24/7/365 by his grace! This is so important. Remain dependent upon Him!

Evangelists and ministers used to be so respected in our society, but not anymore. You know this. There have unfortunately been a whole lot of big blunders from high and low profile fishers of men and women that have given the Body of Christ a black eye so to speak.

A soul-winner who lives a double life while in ministry denies in their private life what they affirm in their public life. They profess to live for the omniscient and omnipresent God, but they actually deny Him when they are hidden away from people who applaud them.

How do we Christians avoid all appearance of evil when a skeptical watching world is keeping a close eye on us? Some of them sadly seem to hope that we will blow it, stumble, or fall.. so that they in their sin, might find a moment of consolation from their own conscience that has been preaching at them. The worldly certainly aren't praying that you succeed spiritually, but Jesus is pullin' for you.

How do we avoid evil and sin when no human can even see what we are doing? We each must appropriate the holy fear of God by faith and stay accountable to those who are on fire for Christ in the Church. Ask, ask, ASK God for this and then choose life! 

Perhaps you remember Mr. Richard Dortch who was the main administrator for the PTL Club which was known internationally as a popular soul-winning TV ministry. Maybe you remember Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker who led this ministry. Perhaps you also remember later seeing Jimmy Bakker in prison. Tragic! We all can still learn from this.

Mr. Dortch told Christianity Today Magazine after their fall something I don't ever want to forget, "At PTL, there was no time taken for prayer or for family because the show had to go on. We were so caught up in God's work that we forgot about God. It took the tragedy, the kick in the teeth, to bring us to our senses."

The Apostle Paul admonished the believers at Corinth with these words, "Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (2 Cor. 4:1-2, nkjv).

Has the tail begun to wag the dog where you serve? When we get too busy for time alone with the Word of God we've simply gotten too busy and the first thing to go is the fruit of the Spirit. Help us Lord be people marked by godly character, holiness, and the fruit of the Spirit which is true Love. Help us to hate sin more and love sinners in your righteousness more. We never want to compromise or be self-confident with pride. Our time to shine down here is short, so live BIG inside us and give us a harvest of souls!

The Psalmist wrote, "How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your Word. With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much a in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your Word. Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live and keep Your Word" (Ps. 119:11-17, nkjv).

Isn't that a wonderful passage? It kind of reminds me of Psalm 1 or Joshua 1:8-9. What are some passages that you can think of where the Word of God in your life is related to your obtaining victory over sin? There are so many all through all the 66 Books! Exciting stuff!

How has your devotional life been going? Are you still taking the time to steal away alone in some corner somewhere to get real honest with the Lord? Do you still memorize and meditate upon His truth as He becomes the Treasure and number one delight of your heart? Was there ever a time in your past where you loved Jesus Christ more than you do right now? If so, you are somewhat backslidden, but the Good News is that you can admit it and quit it and the Holy Spirit will give you a renewed passion to reach your world with His Word. I simply want to encourage you and build you up today! Remember a thrashed worn out Bible due to study and application is a sure sign of a life that's not. This Book (the Bible) will keep you from sin and sin will keep you from this Book! Fish4Souls.org

Sunday, June 13, 2010

World Changing Ain’t about Gaining or Holding a Lofty Position

"Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant." ~Matthew 20:26

 

Do you aspire to becoming a world changer in God's Kingdom.. in big, little or in medium sized ways? Where are you temperature-wise with that? Are you spiritually cold, warm, or red hot excited about the future possibilities in Christ?

 

Got any God-give goals yet? Do you know who you will work with or where you will be sent (God still has room for cross cultural career missionaries)?

 

What's your specific plan or how do you want to execute all this? Will you teach and minister the Word of God? Hope so! How will you grow and bear fruit? Perhaps you've had a plan for quite some time, and have even applied the Scriptures to the best of your knowledge thus far, but still you wonder why you haven't gained any firm traction with this ..so you've started to feel discouraged?

 

Is that you? I so want to hear accurately! I wanna pray and obey my way into the direct will of God each year and day.

 

But has the devil succeeded in getting you to believe that ole lie that God doesn't even love or think about you anymore? Has the enemy got you thinking God is determined to leave you and your family out completely ..and that He is no longer working to build His Church? Man, don't swallow that stuff!

 

Perhaps you've run into some fierce opposition as of late, from this enemy-wimp, or into some shortsighted alleged Christian leaders who misunderstood you, defamed you, or even lied about you. Have well-meaning legalistic individuals caused you problems and subsequently become impediments in your path? Forgive all those roadblock-people. Don't let them get under your skin or inbetween you and Jesus.  

 

Have you somehow blundered and now you don't even feel like trying to fulfill your calling anymore? Fight to get back up!

 

Hey there, it's too early to quit! Adjust your application if needed (not the Message) to be relevant to the times! It's too early to grow discouraged or be hopeless inside, even if things look hopeless circumstantially on the outside. I am here to encourage you to stand up strong and give it another go in the Spirit, 'cause God does indeed care and He has a plan for how this whole "calling thing" can work out for His glory. The Bible says in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."

 

If you've felt down like thowing in the towel.. it's time to streamline, to cut out the unnecessary time eater things, to rejoice in and praise Christ, to adjust a bit, and to tweak a few things for greater spiritual productivity?
 
I went catamaran sailing with some wonderful friends at Lake Texoma two days ago and as I was just laying there on my back on that trampoline looking up at the beautiful sails and clouds above, traveling north at some 15 knots in speed.. I started to think about spiritual progress and the similarities this had with the Christian life in general. and I started praying for my family and you my friends who would read this.

 

Man, if we could all just get our centerboard down (basing our actions on the Word rather than upon feelings).. if we could just get the tiller set with the right aim—tacking the vessel in the right direction (..holding our course in seeking Jesus first, letting the winds of the Spirit literally fill our sails).. if we could tie off the halyard and other ropes properly so the sails would stop luffing (and stay true to our inner convictions of conscience), man think about what could happen, Church! We'd then be able to hear the hum of those rudders behind us as we picked up maximum speed gliding and traversing across the waters of life. We could jet above the tribulation and rough waves underneath us! How thrilling would that be? We'd have a shot at flying the hull, getting BIG AIR, reduced resistance!
 
When was the last time you confessed your sins specifically, forgave yourself and others, recommitted to Christ fully and even asked for a refilling of God's Spirit?

 

"Sometimes, when we have failed in our Christian walk by disobeying God or yielding to fleshly impulses, we become disgusted with ourselves. We often then take those same feelings and project them onto God. He must be angry and disgusted, too. In fact, we reason, 'He probably doesn't even love me anymore.'" ~Chuck Smith

 

Are you a person of persevering prayer and of growing faith? Will you reject selfish ambition—seeking glory or spiritual promotion into some "position" for yourself, but instead give all the glory to our Lord Jesus Christ? It's time to help others advance in Him!

 

Yep, being an evangelistic world-changer isn't really about having a title, a badge, or some lofty position in some church or big "ministry" someplace, it's really about credibility, about letting Christ be Boss and about holding to His course. Those with these things of course can also be effective, but the important thing is that we all live an uncompromising life with the right motives! His way is the way of blessing!

 

"But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive. So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, 'Why have you done this thing, and saved the male children alive?' And the midwives said to Pharaoh, 'Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are lively and give birth before the midwives come to them.' Therefore God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty. And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them." ~Exodus 1:17-21

 

Ask yourself: who really changes the course of history for time and eternity? Has it typically been rebellious haughty people who grasp for high positions or after what they want for themselves? No! Has it typically been the Kings, the Potentates, the army Generals, the uber-wealthy?

 

Sure, they can all have a vital part in this to bring change if they opt to be humble enough in Christ, but often times it's been more lowly men, women and children who have zero social standing… people of prayer, repeatedly asking for awakening, for revival, for renewal, for souls.. that significantly reshape our cities and global situation.

 

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.." ~Philippians 2:3

 

"Lord, let me live from day to day In such a self-forgetful way

That even when I kneel to pray My prayer will be for others." ~Meigs

 

"For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south." ~ Psalm 75:6

 

Read verses 17 through 21 (in context) again. The king of Egypt was fretting about the slaves explosive population growth there so what did he do? He acted according to his own limited understanding, instead of according to God's wisdom. He sent for the two Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, and then foolishly commanded them to literally murder all male infants being born to the Jews.

 

But the cool thing was this; these two God-fearing midwives simply refused to obey this lesser authority figure (the wicked king) and opted to obey a higher Authority (their Lord). Will you do that when push comes to shove in the wrong kinda way?

 

The king's evil threats could have potentially.. but didn't move these righteous ladies into sin. The ladies were much weaker, but they would not cave under the pressure from this person of high position! They held their course and kept assisting in delivering the male Hebrew newborns. And how could they know where all this would go for them personally? There was no way to know, but their bold obedience to the Lord spared even the life of their own future deliver, Moses.

 

You remember how King Saul spared king Agag the Amalekite in disobedience (the Amalekites represented the flesh) which later resulted in Saul's own destruction, but these brave acts of the midwives had the opposite effect 'cause they obeyed God. Never forget that a little bit of obedience can bring in a whole lot of blessing!

 

Wouldn't it be super-cool, in our sex-focused, hyper-sensual, pleasure-seeking society today, if we had more people that would bravely obey the Word of God ..who would stand up against all the worldly pressures, say no to selfish compromise and sex outside marriage, who would resist evil ..and also refuse to abort innocent infants?

 

"Hey, easy for you to say, Kurt, you're a guy!"

 

Sure, I admittedly haven't been taken advantage of or know the pressures ladies face, but compromising spiritually is just as easy for guys to commit as it is for the lady folk today. And consistently submitting to Authority is equally as challenging for us all as well.

 

Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were more godly men with firm convictions who would stand up to the societal pressures and do what's right, right along side of all the women that would also be so brave? Would it be cool to see the boys grow up into real men—holy examples, who would actually encourage the women to love God more than everyone else?

 

"But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." ~James 4:6-8, nkjv

 

"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God.." ~Romans 13:1

 

"And the high priest asked them, saying, 'Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!' But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: 'We ought to obey God rather than men.'" ~Acts 5:27-29

 

Even though they had a heart to obey all those in authority short of sinning, it was in civil disobedience that Shiphrah and Puah risked their own lives to protect the tiny ones under their watch-care. They did what was right regardless of the cost. Perhaps God will also choose to save and bless our lives when we obey Him, as He did theirs. But even if He doesn't it's still much better to do things His way.

 

"Lord, may we have a servant's heart in all we say and do

By placing others' needs above what we want to pursue." ~Sper

 

These ladies glorified the Lord and were rewarded with families of their own. Many people were rescued by the ultimate Rescuer as they, all together walked safely through the parting of the Red Sea! How tremendously gracious is our Lord! What a joy to know Him and make Him known! With or without a position or impressive title, will you ask the Spirit to fill your sails, help you hold your course in Christ, and become a rescuer too?