Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Need Rest, Fisher?

Are you needing rest? Are those around you needing this? You can see that we live in a very busy country that rushes around a whole lot and doesn't seem to be cutting back any. I see road rage too often, because Americans need real rest inside. 

Of course we've also had many diligent workers and committed Christians here who obey God—we are a blessed nation. I'm grateful for that. But you see that some believers and unbelievers just work too much and others work too little.  

Rush, rush, rush more.. I find it interesting that we're the only Land with a Mount Rushmore. Is that how you live every day?

There is a certain rest to enter into, that people rejecting the God of the Bible simply can't know? It's important that you enter this rest.

The Psalmist said, "My soul finds rest in God alone: my salvation comes from Him" (Ps. 62:1). Jesus said, "Come unto me, ye who are weary and overburdened, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). Is that a command or an invitation? I think it's both, but not from any selfish motives. He is looking out for us.

And this statement is not only extended to every toiling, heavy-laden and weary sinner, but there are indeed way too many toiling, heavy-laden believers, as well. They have become ineffective in the harvest fields of the Lord globally. Yes, many of them are working too much in Christian ministries and are no longer taking time to be alone with Christ, waiting at the feet of Jesus to hear His Word.. which is of course a higher priority.

Check it out, this beautiful promise of Jesus, if you happen to be an over-burdened, and heavy-laden person in your service. It does not say, "Hey you, go out and volunteer more and more until you've sacrificed so much that you can't recover from your work." Some well-meaning pastors might push people too much in this regard like, "Just labor on every day, staying busy for Jesus and then you will be refreshed." One pastor in a very decent Christian movement once told me that if I would just over-commit in working at the church, that this would in the end glorify God, because everyone would see that it was Him through me that pulled it all off and not me alone.

False! And this blind guide chased off so many other workers with his constant browbeating, condemnation, false accusations, and excessive pressure on people. That is what being religious is all about, but not was being a spiritual Christian is all about! 

Now I guess that God could indeed refresh His children supernaturally if they were in some grace-less concentration camp and cruelly forced to labor, sure He could, but there really needs to be a balance between your rest and work. Our God is a God of order and peace. It's so important to stop, to turn back from too much busyness, to come to Christ alone daily and just wait on Him, hearing His lovely voice, yes, to rest until the right timing is there to serve.. instead of running on ahead of Him in presumption. I'm not sayin' that Christians be lazy and use this idea to evade doing their part. But where in the Bible do you find Christ sending a worked-up, troubled, emotional Martha to do more work or her sister Mary away to work more and more, or anyone for that matter ..that is heavy laden, off one to labor in a harvest field first? You'll never, find those verses in the Bible, because Christ ain't like that. He wants you more than what you can produce for Him. And ministry to God comes before ministry to the world!

How could the Lord expect you to obey Him in fishing for people if you were always feelin' worn out, yeah, wiped out from doing, from getting pushed by your inner false guilt or pushed by some other well-meaning Christian leaders or believers? How could God expect all this from an idolatrous workaholic? You know that He wouldn't, for He is a jealous God.. meaning a loving Father Who is very zealous for His children's well being, wanting them all spiritually well. And no one will become spiritually healthy in His Church with misdirected worship! That jive must first be ditched.

It's the well-fed not the beaten sheep that naturally reproduce. Can this be said to believers too much? No. All effective evangelism is the normal outgrowth of a proper relationship with Christ, not from too much busyness in the Kingdom.

"Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee." ~Augustine

Did you know that if you are an average adult today, over the next 24 hours, your heart will beat 103,689 times, your blood will travel 168,000,000 miles, you will breathe 23,040 times inhaling 438 cubic feet of air. You will eat 3.25 pounds of food and you will drink 2.9 quarts of liquids. You will also move 750 muscles, exercise over 7 million brain cells and speak 4800 words. That is a lot of activity already. Why add too much on top of this?

In Hell there is no rest, but in Heaven there is complete rest. The Apostle John said,  "Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, 'Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' 'Yes,' says the Spirit, 'that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them'" (Rev. 14:13).

How wonderful is that? Free acceptance without having to earn it—isn't this what you want? Yes that type of rest in Heaven is totally unbeatable, but even before we arrive at this place called Heaven, there is a rest in Christ that anyone can enjoy today, if they would only turn from their wrong-doin's and simply believe in Him. I'm not talking about a rest that is boring, non-exciting as many young people have in mind. No there is no better existence available anywhere.

Are you open to this? Are you ready to stop being too busy, the lord and master of your own life, and ready to allow the real Lord and Master to start leading you? Are you ready for His kind of rest? You can start a satisfying relationship with Him right now! So what are you waiting for?  

Sunday, March 20, 2011

All believers need healthy fellowship with God and other believers to be healthy and prepared to go with the Gospel!

My pastor from California used to say ..that as far as the Church is involved, Illness begins with "I" and Wellness begins with "WE." And Healing begins with "HE!" And that is so true! Jesus Christ is the source of all health and blessing, and He will lead all believers to a Bible teaching, saint-feeding and loving, soul-winning church. Let's choose to be close to Him and His children today. 


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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Living It Or Telling It..Or Both?

Believer, is there such a thing..if you will..as a 'silent witness?' Isn't that like a contradiction of terms? I'd say there is such a person..but not always silent. Which is more important.. living the life of Christ or explaining the Good News of Christ? I'd say both r rad-important. Living like Jesus did..apart from all truth-communication ain't really enough if u want to be a loving biblical witness! Think 'bout it, even Christ Himself used words of truth and love to be a good Witness of the Good News for His Father. Yes, sinners within reach of Him heard God's Word from Christ's mouth! 

Take the time to look at all the Bible says on this topic? Start here...

"Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you." Jesus, Mk. 5:19

"Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season." 2 Tim. 4:2     

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings Good News, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'" Isa. 52:7

I Wanna Care Like Jesus Cares... For The Poor On The Streets

If I met Jesus Christ homeless on the streets in Dallas, and He hadn't had a shower in a couple weeks.. would I even look at Him? I hope I would. Would I give Him half of my sandwich or Gatorade ..that I no longer wanted and was about to throw away in the trash can on the street corner? Would I even want to get to know Him or talk with Him ..a little bit? I would like to think I would do something. As a Christian (bearing His Name..) and even before I became a believer, I think that I have been so stinkin' selfish. So many times I just walk past without even praying.

Sure, I've been involved with other believers feeding the homeless before, but it's been awhile now. Why haven't I done much to help them on my own? Do I so lack common sense and courage to approach them or to act on my own? There seems to be so many now - more and more - do their large numbers intimidate me? 

Sure there is a crime-factor with some homeless people..yeah, wherever they seem to go..and also with some white-collar people that you often meet. Many of both groups don't get caught right away. I could always use that to excuse myself, but will that hold water on the day of Judgement? Why don't I pray for homeless people more? Sure some are closed-minded rude rip-off artists, but didn't Jesus die for sinners like them and me? Shouldn't I care, as He cares for me. Yes, I should pray more and then do some things even though I can't do all good things. 

There are 1.1 billion people today who don't have access to clean water. There are 12 to 27 million people who are currently enslaved. That's far more than were involved in the transatlantic slave trade of years gone by. 

Read More...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bitter... party of one?

Bitter? Ticked off? Offended by the offensive n spiritually dim? Hurt by the shortsighted 'ignert' folk? Angry at the injustice, at real abusers, at long term weirdness or at those who play favorites? Is there something you can biblically do about it to protect others? Do it. 

Talkin' non-stop about how they did u or ur friends..WRONG..instead of about how good Christ is? Never let bitterness take root in u and hinder your good witness! Believer, sinners sin cuz they're sinners. Please don't think that u can change em. How much have u prayed for them?

News Flash: U don't really have to hang tight with creeps all the time. Be a real good influence on others by Christ's power at work in you, but when some people near you start to tear down the work of Christ in your life, just bail n get away from em. Choose to love God more than all sinners and saints. He rocks cuz He is the Rock! Walk tight with Him and with the wise instead. 

There are enough hard things that happen in our lives that it would be so easy to grow bitter rather than better. Have you been ripped off? Have you suffered loss yet? Have people that you looked up to..majorly let you down? Please forgive em and let it all go. You and I have blown it in big and small ways too - and we have deeply hurt God in this, but God is there to forgive us in Christ Jesus His wonderful Son. And He actually can work things together for good from all that was so SO bad - He can bring good out of the bad that happened. All that you lost might not return to you. Job didn't get his kids back, but check out the end of his personal story (reminds us of Romans 8:28 huh). Choose to set aside your bitterness today so that God can begin to heal you on the inside. He does want to minister to you and bless you more than you want to receive from Him and His timing is right on. The sins of others may have burned you or your loved ones bad ..sorry about all that.. but God has never let you down once. Never forget that. 

My ole pastor, Chuck Smith, in California once said, "We must guard against bitterness. Bitterness is an attitude that I choose because of the circumstances that I face. I don't have to become bitter, I choose to become bitter...Out of suffering, out of sorrow, the roots can go deep into God and the life can become beautiful, and strong, and powerful. Or you can root into bitterness and your life becomes bitter and tight, and tense." 

The Bible commands, "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you" (Paul, Eph. 4:31-32).

Bitter... party of one?

Bitter? Ticked off? Offended by the offensive n spiritually dim? Hurt by the shortsighted 'ignert' folk? Angry at the injustice, at real abusers, at long term weirdness or at those who play favorites? Is there something you can biblically do about it to protect others? Do it. 

Talkin' non-stop about how they did u or ur friends..WRONG..instead of about how good Christ is? Never let bitterness take root in u and hinder your good witness! Believer, sinners sin cuz they're sinners. Please don't think that u can change em. How much have u prayed for them?

News Flash: U don't really have to hang tight with creeps all the time. Be and influence on others, but when some people start to tear down the work of Christ in your life, just bail n get away from em. Walk tight with the wise instead. 

There are enough hard things that happen in our lives that it would be so easy to grow bitter rather than better. Have you been ripped off? Have you suffered loss yet? Have people that you looked up to..majorly let you down? Please forgive em and let it all go. You and I have blown it in big and small ways too - and we have deeply hurt God in this, but God is there to forgive us in Christ Jesus His wonderful Son. And He actually can work things together for good from all that was so SO bad - He can bring good out of the bad that happened. All that you lost might not return to you. Job didn't get his kids back, but check out the end of his personal story (reminds us of Romans 8:28 huh). Choose to set aside your bitterness today so that God can begin to heal you on the inside. He does want to minister to you and bless you more than you want to receive from Him and His timing is right on. The sins of others may have burned you or your loved ones bad ..sorry about all that.. but God has never let you down once. Never forget that. 

My ole pastor, Chuck Smith, in California once said, "We must guard against bitterness. Bitterness is an attitude that I choose because of the circumstances that I face. I don't have to become bitter, I choose to become bitter...Out of suffering, out of sorrow, the roots can go deep into God and the life can become beautiful, and strong, and powerful. Or you can root into bitterness and your life becomes bitter and tight, and tense." 

The Bible commands, "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you" (Paul, Eph. 4:31-32).

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fame or Good Influence?

"If I only was someone with 'a name,' then I could make a difference in this world for God."

Fact: Believer, you are indeed someone who has a name called to serve thee Someone ..unless ur parents basically had a brain-lapse and just forgot.

You know that fame and a big name doesn't always translate into good influence for others. Most of the time it would seem like fame down here on earth is there because the famous person has been a horrible influence on others. You know how the world loves it's own, but God loves His children!

Jesus said to His followers, "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (Jn. 15:19).

There are countless people in Hollywood that have fame and "a name" today, but little or no good influence actually comes from their lives, while in Christ you can choose to let the Holy Spirit rightly influence many people around you ..through your clean conversation, pure Message, personal testimony, good attitude, helpful deeds and godly lifestyle of holiness!

"Do you think you can help me to become extremely influential?"

A question some Christians (and others) like to ask. Ever heard anything like that question?

Answer: "Why do you desire this?"

Response from the one who asked: "I just want lots of people to know who I am."

What about forgetting that desire.. and simply become concerned that people around you know Jesus Christ and what He has done for them ..you know, while you still have some time to witness to them, believer?

"Huh, why?"

Answer: Because them remembering you and feeling good about you.. that doesn't really matter in the long run.

But, but, but... "Well, I'd be so successful and popular if lots of people just knew who I was."

Would you really be successful? After whose definition of success ..the world's definition? Are you really sure you'd be successful?

Question: "What would you do to specifically impact the people in the world if all these folk knew who you were? Think about it."

His answer: "Well, I'm not so sure, but does that even matter?"

Reply: "I don't think you really desire to have good influence upon others at all. You merely lust after raw fame and all that come with it."

Big smile slowly emerges on his face: "Well then, please can you help me become famous just the same?"

Why ask me, I ain't famous nor give a flip about becoming that way. Just look at what happens to so many who have fame without any desire to serve the Lord or others.. in their hearts? 

People simply weren't designed to receive worship from other people and yet so many do and can't handle the results of all that. God alone is to be worshipped on his terms, not ours.  

Good influence – it ain't really about how many folks know you, adore you, or hear and like what you have to say (God's opinion found in His unchanging Word matters most, not our opinions). It's really more about your walk and your witness for Jesus Christ, believer and your capacity in Him to positively impact the decisions, the thoughts, the actions and the opinions of other people. 

We are actually here to help them worship Him not us, to follow Him not us. We seek to use our gifts and the Scriptures to equip other believers and to win the lost people around us to Christ ...not just give out entertainment or more information in this information age, so that we can hear applause from people. Fame is so fleeting if you think about it.

The ungodly famous, yes those outside of Christ, will soon be forgotten, but God's Word will last forever.

The Psalmist declared, "Your name, O Lord, endures forever, Your fame, O Lord, throughout all generations" (Ps. 135:13). 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Do you see it as a gift yet?

Reminder: Mature believers don't seek for or desire suffering—duh, that'd be way weird—they don't even ask for this kinda thing, but on the other hand they never "suffer well" here on earth until they view suffering as a gift that they've been entrusted with for the purpose of glorifying God in. And doesn't the Bible encourage us to praise God in (instead of "for") all things? 

Sure, but who do we redeemed-sinners think that we are in this sin-cursed, fallen world (that wasn't made that way by God's wrong-doing, but by ours)… those who should somehow be exempt from all the pains, troubles, difficulties, far from ideal situations, and sufferings that are common to other people? 

Jesus and His first century followers all suffered, but they also rejoiced in it. They praised God and sang His praises too. They really loved comforting each other with the powerful Word of God ..by the strong grace that His Spirit gave to them, because they each had been to hurting-ville to some degree before. 

What does God's holy say, "'Comfort, yes, comfort My people!' Says your God" (Isa. 40:1).

"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms" (Jam. 5:13).

"Therefore comfort one another with these Words" (1 Thess. 4:18).

What have believers said about this? "One thing we may be sure of, however: for the believer all pain has meaning; all adversity is profitable. There is no question that adversity is difficult. It usually takes us by surprise and seems to strike where we are most vulnerable. To us it often appears completely senseless and irrational, but to God none of it is either senseless or irrational. He has a purpose in every pain He brings or allows in our lives. We can be sure that in some way He intends it for our profit and His glory." ~ Jerry Bridges

"I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God." ~ Elisabeth Elliot

"We must never minimize the suffering of another. Scripture's mandate to us is, 'Weep with them that weep'" (Rom. 12:15, kjv). ~ Billy Graham

"Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering.. The love of God did not protect His own Son.. He will not necessarily protect us—not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process." ~Elisabeth Elliot

"We all know people who have been made much meaner and more irritable and more intolerable to live with by suffering: it is not right to say that all suffering perfects. It only perfects one type of person.. the one who accepts the call of God in Christ Jesus!" ~ Oswald Chambers

The Bible says "Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing" (1 Thess. 5:11).

"..warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all" (1 Thess. 5:14).

Yes, contrary to what many so called high-profile contemporary preachers keep teaching even today, if we obey the Bible Jesus fully ..and thus worship the Father n boldly spread His glorious Gospel the way He intends for us to do, then we indeed will have our share of trials, persecution, fierce opposition, spiritual attacks, and at times, warm tears rolling down our cheeks..that will eventually all get wiped away forever from the One who also had warm tears rolling down His face thinking about others in their messed up plight! 

How could the God who fiercely loves you ever deeply comfort you and me if He never allowed for us to feel some of what He and his loyal followers have felt? Be encouraged today, you've not been left as an orphan out in the cold for even one second.