Archive for March, 2013

Power in Weakness

“So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.”
(1 Corinthians 1:23, 27 NLT)

Most of us have seen action movies in which the hero saves the day but a hero who does not resist his enemies would be considered powerless. A king who is not willing to fight for his kingdom would be called a fool. A Savior beaten to a bloody mess is offensive. A Messiah crucified on a cross seems like nonsense. “But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.”(1 Cor 1:24) and “this foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans.” (1 Cor 1:25) The one thing that makes this plan work is JESUS for HE IS RISEN!


Better Than Expected

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
(John 3:17 NKJV)

It was a very good day. In fact it was a picture perfect day as everything went better then expected. Occasionally we are pleasantly surprised by something that was better then expected. A meal in a restaurant along with the customer service may have been exceptional or perhaps a purchased item exceeded all anticipations. When the Lord Jesus came to earth His disciples originally thought that He would liberate Israel from the oppressive Roman occupation and rule as king but the Lord Jesus came for much more then just a quick solution to their present situation. Jesus came not to condemn an earthy regime but to save the entire world from the consequences of sin. People often think about their own immediate problems from a local perspective in a finite manner but our all knowing God sees global solutions from the end results. God’s plans are always better then expected.


Before the Sunset

“Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him.”
(Luke 8:40-42 NIV)

The sunset ends each day so quickly. Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by a multitude of issues that press in from all directions. We may have an exhaustive list of daily responsibilities that squeeze the energy from us. The Lord Jesus also had many people with expectations surrounding Him every day. Although great crowds pressed in Jesus still had time to meet the needs of one individual named Jairus. There are many people in the world but Jesus is willing to come to your house because He knows your name and what you need. Every person knows someone by name who has a need. Imagine a world where all two billion Christians on earth shared the light of Jesus with one person each day by meeting one need before the sunset.


“Stand firm, and you will win life.” (Luke 21:19 NIV)

Recently an offensive class assignment was given to students an American university. The professor asked each student to stomp on a sheet of paper with the name of Jesus written on it.(1) Most of the class followed the directions but one student objected and was reprimanded by the university for his protest. This distasteful gesture was aimed at disrespecting the name of the Lord but ironically we all need to stand firm on Jesus everyday. The Bible says in Psalm 40:2 that the Lord lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” The Lord Jesus said that “you will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22) Stand firmly on Jesus and win!



Train to Win!

“All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:25, 27 NLT)

No one excels at a sport without training. Imagine competing at the Olympic Games without practicing. Practice makes perfect and sociologists have suggested that it requires at least 10,000 hours of practice to be successful at anything. Our world highly values athletic victories and a great deal of effort is made to win but the prize fades away. God has promised to reward our faith with the prize of eternal life for those who persevere in Christ Jesus. Successful athletes inspire others by example so how much more should Christians discipline themselves in conduct to inspire others to follow Jesus.


The Surf Report

“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.”(Proverbs 10:25 NIV)

It’s fun to walk into the ocean and jump in the waves but when they get too large it’s hard to even stand on the bottom because the crashing waves can easily wipe you off your feet. Storms in life come creating waves of adversity in various forms. Every day these waves pound us as problems from all directions but some people surf waves for fun. If we have a surf board suddenly our perspective changes. The waves are then seen as opportunities as we ride on top of them being quickly transported to new locations. When we stand firm on the promises of God’s holy Word we surf on top of life’s problems. So grab your Bible and let’s ride those waves.


“unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.” -Jesus
(John 12:24 NLT)

Winter wheat sprouts and grows some during autumn but it then goes dormant during the winter. Nothing grows in the harsh winter environment. Life has different seasons. There are some seasons that everything goes well and we just seem to flourish but difficult seasons also come in which nothing grows. The Lord uses life’s winter seasons to put to death our attitudes not consistent with the image of Christ. Some things will only die in the winter. We need to experience the deadness of winter in order to fully appreciate new life bursting forth in spring.


Wilderness Living

But the people grew impatient with the long journey, and they began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained.
(Numbers 21:4, 5 NLT)

It is so easy to complain and we are all guilty of this. When life does not go our way the first words we have usually pollute the atmosphere with negativity. In the Bible the people of Israel were on a long journey towards God’s promised land of Canaan but they became impatient. The Lord had sustained them in the wilderness providing them with all of their needs but they complained against the Lord and questioned their leadership. “The Lord was angry with Israel and made them wander in the wilderness for forty years.” (Numbers 32:13) We must be thankful to the Lord at all times even in this life’s long journey of wilderness struggles. Those who complain in the wilderness stay in the wilderness.


Goodness Greenness

“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”
(Romans 2:4 NKJV)

Mustard greens belong to the cruciferous family of vegetables. They are extremely beneficial to health having anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties. Mustard greens have also been found to reduce cholesterol and they detoxify the body.(1) Although mustard greens are very good for us they taste terrible. They are known for their very strong pungent peppery flavor which is difficult to swallow for a society that has been spoiled to only accept good tasting food. People avoid mustard greens because they cannot immediately perceive the health benefits. Often things that seem to taste bad are actually the best things for us. Many people despise the “taste” of God’s goodness because initially when they read His holy Word it convicts them of their sinful nature which spoils their worldly fun. Spiritual health comes from tasting the goodness of God which turns our souls from sin.



“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope.”
(Psalms 130:5 NKJV)

No one likes to wait for promises to come true. Many have been waiting years on the Lord for an answer to prayers. Just a little longer we reason maybe this is our year. The years turn into decades and it may seem like God has forgotten us. The biological clock ticks our lifetime away as daily stresses wear us down to weakness. But God does not change and His promises remain. The Lord preserves us for His perfect time.

We are just pickles in jar.
That is what we are.
Preserved for such a time as this.
We made it this far.
God puts the lid on and He takes it off too.
Just give Him the glory is all we can do!


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