Jun 29

I have revised two posts on my blog

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord.

Jun 25

This book changed my life

That book changed my life

About 25 years ago I was having breakfast with a friend. He was an editor with a local publisher and we were talking about books. We began discussing a book that we both strongly disliked.

At that point a waitress leaned into our booth and spoke in a hushed voice. “I heard you talking about that book. I did not hear what you said but I want to tell you that book changed my life. Whenever I read it I feel closer to God. It is the most important book I have ever read.”

I sat there listening to her with my head going up and down like a bobble head doll. My friend looked blankly into space until she finished. After she left, we looked at each other, said nothing, and finished breakfast.

It is not about you

I regularly have coffee with a friend who’s finishing a career as a leader in book publishing. When I told him that story, he smiled and told me that he often spoke to his editors and told them, “You are not the reader. It isn’t all about you.”

We need to move outside of our little world

Unless we are hopelessly self-centered, we soon realize that other people are different. They think differently. They feel differently. They respond differently.

The church at Corinth

About 20 years after Jesus rose from the dead, the Apostle Paul wrote his first letter to the church at Corinth. He had founded the church and they had some problems and questions for him. Their messengers asked the questions and told him about the challenges the church faced. Paul first addressed the divisions in the church and then answered their questions. One of the questions was about spiritual gifts. Part of the differences among Christians is the way God has gifted them. There are speaking gifts and serving gifts. There are gifts used in leadership and those used behind the scenes. Some gifts are used in serving those in need and some used to teach those inside the church or respond to critics outside. (1 Corinthians 12-14; 1 Peter 4: 10-11)

Christians are different. Part of Christian maturity is recognizing and appreciating these differences. In an earlier blog I wrote about how these differences are seen in how Christians live in an unbelieving world.

If some one asked you what your role is in the Body of Christ, what would you say?

How have you matured in the use of your spiritual gifts in recent years?

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Jun 23

I have revised two posts on my blog

How should we live if we think the world is going to end soon?

What happens when we sin?

Jun 19

I have revised two posts on my blog

The Just Shall Live By Faith- Galatians

My Theological Problem From Fifth Grade

Jun 09

I have just revised two posts on my blog

In the school of faith each of us receives a customized curriculum

The Just Shall Live By Faith- Romans 1

Jun 03

How do Christians know when they are ready to die?

It will happen

We’ve all heard the humorous illustration used by many preachers that you never see a hearse towing a U-Haul.

We’ve also heard the story of the rich and famous American industrialist whose one friend asked another at his funeral, “How much do you think he left behind?” The other responded, “All of it.”

It will happen. Unless we are in that final generation that will hear Christ’s call while still alive, we will die. Sometimes I wonder if some of them will look back with a slight longing for some of the stuff they will leave behind.

How do you know? Two possible answers

You are ready to pass the baton and you are looking ahead

The Apostle Paul’s last letter was to Timothy. He was a longstanding partner in ministry who had served with Paul since his youth and was still a young man. He would carry on Paul’s work after he was dead. Paul’s letter is full of advice. Timothy was to find others who would receive the baton from him and he should be sure that they would pass the baton as well.

Paul expected to receive a crown of righteousness from Jesus that was reserved for those who lived as if they looked forward to Christ’s Second Coming. Paul was ready to pass the baton and was looking ahead. (2 Timothy 2:1-7; 4:1-18)

You travel light

As C. S. Lewis became famous in the 1940s people began to write to him for advice. He thought it important to answer every letter as a part of his ministry to the Church. An American, Mrs. Van Deusen, first wrote to Lewis in 1949. They corresponded regularly over the next fourteen years discussing many issues. In the Fall of 1963 she wrote to Lewis about how she was uncomfortable with the impending move that she and her husband were making to a place better suited to them as they aged. On Thursday, November 21, 1963, Lewis wrote that he was also uneasy with change but it was necessary to prepare us for the last great move. He wrote, “We must ‘sit light’ not only to life itself but to all its phases.”

It was one of the last letters he wrote. He died at 5:30 pm the next day after a nap and afternoon tea. (Lyle W. Dorsett. Seeking the Secret Place: the spiritual formation of C. S. Lewis. Brazos Press, 2004. Pages 152-159. William Griffin. Clive Staple Lewis: a dramatic life. Harper and Row, 1986. Pages 447-449)

If you were to die suddenly who would carry on your work?

Are there things that, if you were honest, you would admit you care too much about?

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Jun 02

I have just revised two posts on my blog

 

The Just Shall Live By Faith- The Proud and the Just

Habakkuk 3- The Just Shall Live By Faith- Habakkuk’s Psalm

May 29

I have revised two posts on my blog

Faith and Experience- The Crowd- Experiencing a miracle

The Just Shall Live By Faith- Habakkuk’s prayer

May 28

God does his best work when things are not perfect

God uses imperfect people

God uses imperfect people who have disappointed him greatly to do great things when they decide to turn their lives around.

God told the Jews through Moses that if they did not obey the covenant he would punish them. The final punishment if they continued to rebel would be expulsion from the Promised Land. (Deuteronomy 28:63-68)

After many centuries of neglecting God the Jews were taken into captivity by the Babylonians. The captivity lasted 70 years.

After that time God used Persian rulers to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem. These kings told those who wanted to return to go and rebuild the temple to God. Some returned but for almost twenty years they worked their land, built nice homes and neglected the temple. They said that the time was not right to rebuild. (Haggai 1:2-11)

People can change

The prophet Haggai told them that the time had come and they were to stop focusing only on their own profit and build the temple.

They began to rebuild the temple. Some of the older leaders who had seen the temple build by Solomon knew that this would be a far inferior building and wept. (Ezra 3:8-13; Haggai 1:12-2:3)

God blesses imperfect people when they decide to change

Haggai told them that God would bring greater glory to this newer inferior temple. He also said that God would give peace there.

He did that when Jesus walked and taught on the grounds of this temple.

God worked his greatest miracle there. He sent the Messiah who brought forgiveness and the possibility for true peace between people and God and among people who had hurt each other.

The people who returned to Jerusalem and neglected God had separated themselves from him. When they changed their priorities God blessed them. (Haggai 2:9-19)

How has God used imperfect parts of your life to serve others?

What are imperfect parts of your life that you really don’t think God can use?

Do you ever think that you have disqualified yourself from serving God and others because of past mistakes?

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May 25

Even when God calls you to a dangerous future He will be with you

Even when God calls you to a dangerous future He will be with you

Samuel the Leader

Over three thousand years ago Samuel played an important role in the history of the Jews. He was critical in the transition from local tribal leaders and ad hoc judges to a permanent kingship.

His infertile mother prayer for him and when he was a boy she gave him back to God as a servant to the aged High Priest, Eli. He grew before the people and they respected him. When God judged the lax Eli and his corrupt sons Samuel led the spiritual life of the nation. He united the nation militarily to defeat the Philistines. (1 Samuel 1-4)

As he aged his own sons were corrupt and the Jews asked Samuel to give them a king like the other nations. (1 Samuel 8)

A king would give the Jews central, permanent, secure leadership. Samuel reminded them that God had used the system of judges and temporary leaders to lead them in the Promised Land for over three hundred years. But the people were insistent. God told Samuel to follow their wishes and he anointed the first two kings.

Samuel was called do the hard thing

Samuel anointed Saul as the first king of the Jews. He disobeyed God commands. When God rejected him his moods became darker and he was prone to dangerous violent outbursts.

God told Samuel to anoint David as Saul’s replacement. Saul was still on the throne but his kingship would end and David would succeed him. (1 Samuel 16:1-13)

Samuel told God that he was afraid that Saul would kill him if he did this. God told him to do it and that He would be with him and show him what to do. God guaranteed his presence during Samuel’s risky obedience. (1 Samuel 16:3)

Samuel was part of a great failure

Saul’s reign was a failure and God called Samuel to be part of that failure. It was clear that Saul was responsible. Even so Samuel assured the failed king that he would pray for him.

Samuel would be part of a great but not perfect success

Samuel anointed King David. David’s line will last forever when his descendant Jesus, the Messianic King, will reign in the future. (1 Samuel 16:1-13; 2 Samuel 7)

David restored true worship. God promised David that his son, Solomon, would build a great temple for the true worship of the true God. David gave political stability to the Jews. His armies were successful. The nation was secure.

However, David was not perfect. He stole Uriah’s wife and had him killed when he did not cooperate in David’s plan to cover his adultery. (2 Samuel 11-12)

God would be with Samuel

God’s assurance to Samuel was simple and powerful. When he anointed David to be king instead of Saul God would be with him. (! Samuel 6

In another post, I wrote about Abraham. When God asked him to leave his homeland and family and when he asked him to sacrifice Isaac God promised to be with him. (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:1-19)

The presence of God makes all the difference in the world.

When have you had to commit to a risky obedience?

Have you even encouraged someone else who face this type of choice?

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