Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Being Intentional

Do you ever get those moments in life when something becomes abundantly clear, when before things always seemed cloudy and uncertain? That happens to me quite a bit. What causes the sudden certainty in our lives? Why, and how, do things suddenly become clear?

Perhaps it's some random thought that has been bouncing around in our head for a while and then, one day, we just finally figure out what to do with it. It could be God directing us to do something I guess, where He puts thoughts in our heads? Or maybe it's Satan doing the same thing. How do we know for sure if we should take a leap of faith

I was talking with a friend over the weekend (I think I mentioned this in my last blog post) about being intentional in our lives. What does "being intentional" look like in the world we live in? We can be intentional about taking our the garbage just like we can be intentional about prayer or going to church.

I think that if we are desiring to be intentional about doing something, that desire comes from us NOT doing something. Like eating healthy for example. Nothing makes me want to be intentional about dieting like stepping on the bathroom scale and weighing myself!

What about intentionality in our spiritual lives? Why do we read our Bibles some days and then others we let it slide? Are we too busy? Or are we just unintentional in our reading? And what about our diet? What makes us "tip the scales" in our minds about changing the way we eat or exercise?

I think we want to become intentional when things get bad enough or drift to an extreme to the point we wake up and say, "I have GOT to change something!"

What is the one thing you need to be intentional about? Is it your prayer life? Is it serving others in your community? Or maybe its time to start eating healthy or exercising more than you do. Everybody's got something they could change.

So what's holding us back?

Ourselves.

Our selfish desires.

"That chocolate cake looks SOOO good!"

No!! Be intentional about eating healthy!

I really don't feel like reading my Bible tonight."

Hey, this is God's Word. Perhaps He will reveal something in the scriptures that will change your thoughts . . . like being intentional! LOL!

Can I ask you a question? What made you choose Christ? And, if you haven't yet, why not? What suddenly makes it abundantly clear that we need Jesus in our lives? Are we intentional about seeking Him? Are we intentional in our faith today?

And finally, was there anyone more intentional that Christ? And if we are to become more and more like Him in the things we say and do, shouldn't we also become more intentional in our faith? In our actions? In our love? May we be more intentional today than we were yesterday. And may we be more intentional about sharing God's love and His message today than we have ever been.

Did you ever see the movie Facing The Giants? Remember the scene with the "death crawl"? Brock was intentional about only going a few yards, but his coach was intent on Brock going farther than that. Do you think God is happy with where we are with our faith right now? Or does He want us to be more intentional in the way we do things? DOes He want us to make it to the goal line? Perhaps we should ask Him.

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." - James 1:12

"I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 3:14

"Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall." - 2 Peter 1:10

The Intentionality of Christ's Love and The Intentionality of His Death - John Piper

Death Crawl - Facing The Giants

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bob? The Builder?

Bob the Builder is a British children's animated television show. In each episode, Bob and his group help with renovations, construction, and repairs and with other projects as needed. The show emphasizes conflict resolution, co-operation, socialization and various learning skills. Bob's catchphrase is "Can we fix it?", to which the other characters respond with "Yes we can!" (Wikipedia).

"Can we fix it?" Fix what? Hmm. Interesting question, especially after my Sunday morning reading:

"9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. - 1 Corinthians 3:9-11

I am getting ready to embark on a building project. I don't have any supplies yet. I don't have enough money in the bank to complete the project. On paper, this project is doomed to failure before it even begins. It doesn't make very good business sense. Naturally, I am going to do it anyway. Why?
The last verse above (v11) says it all for me lately. The only foundation upon which a successful building project can be laid is on Jesus.

I am getting ready to build a Tiny Home. I'm building it, not so much for my wife and me to live in, but as an emergency shelter for OTHERS to live in. Sounds noble I guess but I found myself stalled in the process. There were several factors contributing to my lack of motion. How am I going to pay for it? Who am I going to find who can help me? Is anybody really going to need this thing? Basically, doubt and fear were blocking my path. That is until . . . today.

This past Saturday I was speaking with a friend at a local food pantry. She told me how she had decided to "be intentional" in her work in Jesus' name. Maybe that should have been the title of this blog post? And then this morning I was listening to a message by Chuck Swindoll on my way to work. It was VERY convicting, delivering the same "be intentional" message found in Jesus Sermon on The Mount.

"24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” - Matthew 7:24-27

I am reminded of a commercial I saw for a local health clinic. The ad featured local football star Aaron Rodgers. At the end of the commercial Aaron offers four words of encouragement. He simply says, "Let's get after it."

As I look at this project I have ahead of me I have to stop thinking that this is ME doing this. Yes, I can draw plans. Yes, I can build things. But this is not MY project. This is God's project. Bob is not the builder. God is. HE has already laid the foundation. HE has put people in place to help. Now HE is the one encouraging me through a friend to "be intentional" and through a commercial to "get after it" and through His Word Jesus reminds me that to be "hearers" of the Word is not enough. We must be "doers."

Are you procrastinating about something? Why? Procrastination is one of Satan's biggest tools to keep us from honoring God. I need to pray my way out of procrastination. I need to ne intentional about prayer and about honoring God's plan and be faithful, expecting God's provision. And I need to get after it. Today.

Let's Get After It - Prevea Health (Aaron Rodgers)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Somebody's Knocking

Have you ever noticed the behavior of a child when they really want something? They can be relentless!! And they can be super-annoying too!! LOL! But their behavior can sometimes offer us a good lesson when WE are the ones who want something . . . from God.

After this year's family reunion my grand niece Haley really wanted to play Star Wars. She had been given a toy light saber at the reunion and was getting the most out of it to be sure. She enlisted my wife and me to play along with her little Star Wars game and she would NOT take no for an answer.

She gave my wife and me each a remote - one for the television and the other for the satellite dish. Apparently they had suddenly become light sabers. She would raise her toy light saber and we would raise ours. Then she would hide her light saber and we would hide ours. That was it. That was the extent of her game. We played that game for half an hour! Then she got bored and went to find her mother. Only her mother was nowhere to be seen.

She cried out "Mom. Mom! Mom!!" in her best Stewie voice. No answer, so off she went in search of her mother. She called and searched the entire first floor of the house. No mom. Then her grandma said, "Your mom is feeding baby Luke in the bedroom. So my niece went to the closed bedroom door and pounded on it with her open hand, still calling out, "Mom!!!"

Eventually the door opened and in went Hayley. Persistent little kid. In that short little story acted out by my grand niece, my wife and I witnessed several Bible lessons all rolled into one. Here's a few verses to show you what I mean.

"4 . . ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” - Luke 10:4-5

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened." - Matthew 7:7-8

"20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." - Revelation 3:20

Are you beginning to see what I mean? Jesus is telling us in Matthew that there is a door between us and Him. He tell us in Luke that we must be persistent about knocking on that door until it is opened. Then again in Matthew 7 we encouraged to learn that the door WILL be opened for us, IF we knock.

But later on in The Book of Revelation, Jesus is the one doing the knocking. And we are the ones opening the door. What does THAT mean? Well, in Revelation, Jesus is talking to the churches . . . Christians. Why would Jesus be knocking at our door? Because some Christians have allowed the door to their hearts to close. Jesus wants to get back in but the door's locked.

Don't let that happen to you. Keep the door to your heart open to Jesus. Don't make Him knock. Allow Him back in. Open that door and take a look around. I bet He's still there, waiting.

Jesus Stands At The Door And Knocks - One Verse 
Mom Mum Mommy - Stewie, Family Guy
Somebody's Knocking - Eric Clapton

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Milwaukee's Finest

When I was growing up in a Milwaukee suburb back in the 60's, the phrase Milwaukee's Finest" meant one thing - beer. That was the slogan for Blatz beer. Milwaukee had lots of beers besides Blatz - Hamms, Pabst, Miller, Old Milwaukee. It's hard to believe that Blatz was Milwaukee's finest because the company closed its doors in 1959, selling out to Pabst.

Nowadays, when I hear the phrase Milwaukee's Finest I tend to think of its police officers. Men and women who risk their lives  to keep us safe 24/7/365.

I remember the riots back in the late 60's. They took place mostly in the inner city but we had a curfew out in the suburbs too. The National Guard was called out. It was pretty bad. Thankfully, we have come along way since then. Or at least that's what I thought.

This past weekend in Milwaukee there was a shooting - a Milwaukee police officer shot an armed suspect. Both the shooter and the shootee were black. Not that that matters. I'm just stating the facts.

In the days that came after that shooting there was rioting. A business was burned, a cop car destroyed. More people were shot. Some of them died. There was looting and an overall sense of unease fell over the city.

So, why am I telling you this? It's been in the news. I'm writing this just as background for the story I am about to tell you . . . about God's sovereignty and the fact that God is control of ALL things. Track these events with me and see if you can figure out who's in control.

Several years ago we had a pastor at our church named Paul. Everybody loved him. A real man of God - not the pretend kind. Involved in the community, a member of the school board, a loving husband and father. One day Pastor Paul got a call from a friend who asked him to pastor a church in greater Milwaukee that didn't even exist yet . . . and to take a pay cut . . . and to leave a beautiful Central Wisconsin vacation community and move his family to . . . West Allis. Doesn't seem to make sense, does it? That's what my friend said, but he also said that he has never felt more led to do something in his life. Remember, this is a story about God, not about a pastor.

It wasn't long before this new church began to grow. Soon the old, refurbished theater they were in was busting out at the seams. That's where this story takes an important turn. Pastor Paul decided to become a chaplain for the West Allis Police Department. You can read his story here.

This pastor became an official chaplain of the West Allis Police Department mere months before the shootings in Milwaukee.

People have told me right to my face that God does not exist. That Jesus is a myth. I just laugh and shake my head.

"You have GOT to be kidding me! You can't make this stuff up. My pastor friend gets repositioned, his whole life turned upside down. Why? Because God has a greater purpose in mind and my friend is obedient.

It's too amazingly supernatural and so incredibly perfect to be explained away as mere random chance. There's a God alright. I've seen Him work. Pfft. He worked a miracle in me and saved my life numerous times! He has GOT to be real! He moves people, changes people, shapes people and positions them right where He wants them.

God is real alright, but don't take MY word for it. Just look in the face of a cop. He/She serves without complaint even though all those around him or her disrespect the very thought of them. He sacrifices much in terms of pay and time with family, all to help someone who doesn't really want it. Yet the police officer is the first one we call upon when we get into trouble; hoping they will save us.

Does that sound like someone we all know, who sacrificed everything on a cross? Being a cop sounds like something Jesus would do. Sounds like something Jesus already did.

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” - Psalm 82:3-4

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” - Matthew 5:9

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” - John 15:13

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” - Romans 13:1

“For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” - Romans 13:4

Policeman - Paul Harvey
What It Means To Be A Police Officer - Joe Friday

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Journey

It's early Monday morning and in a few hours my wife and I and our daughter and her husband will be setting out on the long journey home from Michigan and our family reunion. It takes a long time to travel the 468 miles but it is always worth it.

You and I are travelers through life as well. What has your journey been like?Has it been smooth sailing along life's highway? Or have you encountered some road construction, detours or pot holes along the way?

And what about your traveling companions. Do you have some good ones riding in the car with you through this life? I have been blessed with some amazing ones. I have a best friend at work, for example, who makes that part of my journey so much easier. It's always a good thing when the people in your life make the journey seem shorter than it really is.

I have been blessed with an amazing family. We always make each other laugh with our stories, lame jokes and in-car games. It is a good thing having traveling companions.

As YOU travel through this life, who are YOUR travel companions? Maybe it's a best friend. Maybe it's a group of friends. Sometimes though, we have to travel by ourselves. Whatever the situation is, I have found it is always a good idea to have someone in the car with you.

This is the point in my story where I am going to write about Jesus. He is MY favorite travel companion. There is no storm we can't get through together. No road block, no detour, no traffic jam. He is always with me.

Jesus is an amazing travel companion and He's more than just a "spare tire" that sits in my trunk until I need Him. Jesus is my co-pilot. And even though He is also my navigator as I drive, I have found it's better when I let Him take over for a while behind the wheel.

Is Jesus in YOUR car? He should be. He make life's journey so much better. The pot holes and detours might still be there but He knows the best way around them and the best roads to travel on. PLUS, He's a great mechanic and your "car" will run forever! So this morning I find myself thanking Him and the rest of my travel companions for riding with me these past 10 1/2 years. Always by my side.

Whether I am driving somewhere with my family or walking with my best friend at work, I am grateful for the company God has given me. No matter how difficult life's journey becomes, it's always easier with someone by your side.

If you don't have someone to share life's journey with, give me a call. I'll walk with you for a while. But the smartest thing you could do would be to ask Jesus to travel with you. Walk with him the rest of your life and you will enjoy an amazing journey.

Jesus Take The Wheel - Carrie Underwood

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Family Reunion

Each year around this time members of my family (on my mother's side) gather outside of a small, central-Michigan farm community and renew family ties. We tell old stories from long ago. We eat WAY too much food and laugh enough to make our faces hurt. There is nothing quite like family. There is nothing like being loved. :)

This week at work the father of one of my friends died. Death is never a FUN thing. Someone we loved gets taken from us. It is always a sad time - losing family. Losing friends. Emotions can range from psychological breakdowns in some to those who exhibit no feelings whatsoever. Do you know what my friend did when she lost her dad? Even though she had just lost her father, my friend praised God for the time that she DID have with him. That's exceptional.

Here's a trick question for you. When is your brother or sister NOT your brother or sister? Or better yet, when does someone, who is not a brother or sister BECOME your brother or sister? Confused yet? The answer can be found in the Bible.

"25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise." - Galatians 3:25-29

My friend, the one who lost her father . . . I consider her my sister. In fact, all those who believe have millions of "relatives" they haven't even met yet. My dearest friend is my sister in Christ. Think about that for a moment. Think about who is your brother or your sister. Do you love people that way? As family?

Who are you looking forward to seeing again when you get to heaven? My friend will enjoy seeing her father again. I will enjoy seeing mine. What will they look like? What will WE look like?

I have a sister or a brother out there somewhere who I have never met. A grandchild too. How amazing will that be?!? I will get to see my friend Victoria again. Doreen, Jeanie, my buddy Juergen. and . . oh, my . . 

I will see . . . Kameron . . . and Austin. Two young people whose lives ended WAY to soon.

People spend so much time and money these days trying to stay young . . trying to find the fountain of youth. Are you kidding me? I can't wait until this life is over. I don't have a death wish and, no, I am not suicidal. I am simply looking forward to, and have complete faith in, the promises of God. And to be able to see Jesus . . . face-to-face!

Here's another trick genealogical question for you. How can someone be both your brother AND your Father at the same time? The answer is . . when He is your Lord and Savior, Jesus.

"14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." - Romans 8:14-17

No one knows exactly what heaven will be like. We can only imagine. But I can tell you this. We will be totally and completely surrounded by the love of God and the love of family - all of our brothers and sisters in Christ! And our King!! Halleluiah!!


I Can Only Imagine - MercyMe

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Passion

There are few things that embody the word "passion" like an Olympic athlete. The drive they have! That focus of purpose. A sense of direction and the strength of desire to reach a goal and a desired outcome. Can the same be said of us?

Look at this picture of Michael Phelps. Would you say he has a passion? I would. Look at that face! Look at his focus. He's not looking to the right or to the left. He is focused on his goal and nothing is going to get in his way or keep him from accomplishing his mission.

Have you ever seen the movie Passion of The Christ? Why is the word "passion" used when talking about Jesus? Surely, He could not have had a desire to die on the cross and endure a savage beating. Surely His passion was not to suffer, to be humiliated and spat upon, mocked and ridiculed!

Wrong.

As much as it was Michael Phelps passion to be the best swimmer in the world, the passion of Jesus was far deeper and meaningful. The passion of Christ was to the death. Jesus' passion was to obey the will of His Father. He sacrificed everything for Him.

Do we have that kind of passion in our worship? In our serving others? Do we have that kind of passion in our jobs or in our relationships. No. But what if we did?

Look at both pictures of these men. See any similarities? Both are men. Both have an intense expression on their faces. Michael is in a pool of water. Jesus is in a pool of His own blood. Each of them has their arms outstretched to accomplish their mission. Both inspire others by their accomplishments. But that is where the similarities end.

While Michael Phelps earned a few gold medals and got his name printed in a record book some place, his passion is about something he accomplished of a personal nature. Jesus accomplished WAY more than any mere human could ever even think about.

Jesus has a passion for two things. He had a passion for His Father in heaven. The other thing He had a passion for, and STILL has a passion for, is for you and for me. He sacrificed Himself so that we might have life. He sacrificed Himself because He had a passion to do His Father's will. Even though it cost Him His life.

Jesus accomplished for us what we could NEVER do for ourselves. He took OUR place on that cross, dying for OUR sins.

The question that eats at me, that should eat away at EVERY Christian, is How have we repaid Him for His passion? What have we done to honor our King, whose passion was not for Himself but for God and for others. May each of us wrestle with that question. And may we answer it with passion.

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” - John 13:34-35

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” - John 6:35-40

Passion - An Olympic Rugby Player

Monday, August 8, 2016

What Are You, Blind!?!

Have you ever heard the saying, "You'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?" I think that's true. It's like your boss at work ASKING you to do something rather than TELLING you to do it. There's a little respect mixed with a little love and niceness.

"There is a right way to do things and a wrong way." That makes sense. Either it's right or it's wrong. So, when we see someone doing something wrong, sinful or dangerous, what is the correct way to tell them so?

Have you ever heard of the Westboro Baptists? They tend to use vinegar when they encounter sinners (or anyone else who doesn't believe like THEY do). "Turn or burn, baby!" and "God hates fags." are not examples of typical Sunday morning sermon-speak. There is definite hate in their words.

I have heard the following analogy in regards to Christians and our evangelism towards non-believers:

If you saw someone who was blind walking towards a cliff, wouldn't you try to save them?

I have used that saying myself, when thinking about people in my life who are sinning against a Holy God. But I think it's use is wrong. At least for me it is. And here's why.

Before we yell, "Look out for that cliff!" love must exist for that person. If we don't love them, why should we care. And Jesus told us that we should love ALL people.

If I saw someone I loved walking towards a cliff, blind-folded, I would run, not walk, to them and restrain them with my arms and plead with them to turn from the course they are on. I wouldn't simply yell at them, "What are you, blind?! There's a cliff in front of you."

Some people are born with physical blindness. Others live with spiritual blindness in their lives. We should treat them no differently.

If you saw a blind person about ready to cross a busy four-lane highway, what would you do. Yelling, "Watch out for the cars!" is not going to cut it. No. We would come alongside them and help them across the road. And so it should be in life. We need to be the ones who come alongside the man struggling with the pain of divorce, the mother who just lost her son, or the young woman experimenting with a lifestyle change.

We simply need to love before we act, and act because we love. But we must ACT or we are nothing more than spectators at someone's death.

27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.  29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.  30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.  31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.  35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.  36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful." - Luke 6:27-36

Compassion and Evangelism - John MacArthur

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Give Me Some Kind of Sign

Have you ever been unsure about whether or not to do something when all of a sudden something happens to help you answer that question? Is it some kind of sign? Has that ever happened to you? Because it happens quite frequently in MY life.

I'll be thinking about someone and reach for my phone to send them a text, but before I can pick it up, it lights up with an incoming text from that very same friend. Weird. But that happens often enough where In have noticed it.

Whenever I have made very important decisions in my life, after I have thought long and hard about something and finally acted on that decision, I have often seen a bald eagle flying overhead. Was that some kind of sign that I made the right decision? And if I made the wrong decision, would I see a vulture circling instead? LOL!

Recently I have been hesitating about acting on a project of mine - the building of some shelters for the homeless. All along through the planning stages I have thought, "God will provide" but now that it's time to spend some actual cash, I was getting cold feet. I was hesitating.

One morning as I was praying with my friend at work an idea popped into my head. It was a really strange idea about using a tow truck to move my tiny shelters from one place to the other. Could that actually work? Based on all of the previous "signs" I have encountered in my life, I gave it extra notice. I thought about it all through the day. looking at pictures of tow truck, trying to figure out how tall my shelter could be to legally go down the highway. My thoughts were consumed by the idea.

That night as we left work I was still thinking about it and talking about it with my friend. We got in our separate cars and left work. I pulled up to the stop sign and was surprised to see a tow truck slow and turn in front of me . . . so I could get a good look I guess. Was it a sign?

Does stuff like that happen to you? It happens often enough to me that I almost come to expect it. Are signs Biblical? Did they happen back in Jesus' day? The Bible is filled with them!

"Ask a sign for yourself from the LORD your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven." - Isaiah 7:11

"So Gideon said to Him, "If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me." - Judges 6:17

"As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, "This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah." - Luke 11:29

There are so many instances of signs in the Bible, it HAS to be some kind of sign!! LOL!

The biggest questions I have about signs are, "Are they really signs?" and, if they are, "Who am I, that God would send ME a sign?" And while I'm asking questions, "What will happen to me if I ignore a sign?"

So many questions about signs, so little faith on my part. If we were sure these "signs" in our lives were real and true, and we acted on them all, what would the world look like? The angels spoke about the future of the world with a sign . . .

"10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." - Luke 2:10-12

Give me the kind of faith that acts and does not hesitate. Give me the strength to see things through. Lord, our very births are a sign that we are here to do something. Maybe it is to follow God's leading through His many and wondrous signs.

Keep your eyes open, my friends! It seems as if the world is filled with signs.

Give Me Some Kind Of Sign - Brenton Wood

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Parable of The Dirty Pup

It was hard to distinguish Brownie from the mud puddle he was laying in. Brownie loved mud. He loved to play in it and roll in it. He even loved to sleep in it. If he could, Brownie would spend all day long in the mud!

There was one problem with Brownie's love for mud. His master loved white carpeting. Yeah, that was a problem. Mud-encrusted dogs don't go together with white carpeting. But the things was that Brownie's master loved Brownie too.

When Brownie came home at night after a long day of playing in the mud, his master would scold him and tell him what a bad dog Brownie was. Brownie always hung his head in shame. But the very next day Brownie was right back in the mud where he loved to be.

One day some fancy people can to town. They were from the big city. They wore big city clothes and drove big city cars. They were looking for dogs. Dogs they could use to sell their big city dog food. So they had a contest to see who was the best dog in town. The prize was being in a dog food commercial on television and a lifetime supply of dog food!

Everyone in town began cleaning up their dogs. They gave them shampoos, haircuts, they even had their toenails trimmed and painted. That is, everyone except Brownie's master.

The day of the big dog show came and all the dogs were there with their owners. But not Brownie. Brownie was across the river having fun in the dirt. Soon it began to rain however and before you know it, everything, especially Brownie, was a muddy mess.

Suddenly Brownie raised his head high and looked back into town. Something didn't feel right. His master wasn't calling but Brownie felt like his master wanted him to come home.

Brownie jumped into the river and began to swim across it. He got out on the other side, shook himself off, and began to run. He ran through a corn field and then a wheat field, finally arriving at home. But no one was there. So Brownie ran into town looking for his master.

Everyone seemed to be at the school and that's exactly where Brownie knew he'd find his master. He ran in through the open doors and looked at the crowd of people gathered there. Then Brownie saw his master, hunched over, across the floor with some people standing around him, so Brownie took off towards him.

The people were helping his master into an ambulance now and Brownie arrived just as they were shutting the door.

Later, at the hospital, as Brownie slept at the foot of his master's bed, the fancy, big town people came in to visit. They told Brownie's master they had seen his dog run across the gym floor and they knew that Brownie was the dog they wanted in their commercial.

"His hair is just glowing and his energy level is exceptional. We have never seen a dog so filled with joy and with such a determined sense of purpose about him."

You see, Brownie is usually a muddy mess. He loves the mud. But when he ran to his master . . . when he ran through the river, he was washed clean. The mud had actually given Brownie's hair a healthy glow. And when Brownie ran through the fields his hair was dried and groomed without any help from the big city people.

Brownie's master decided that the big city wasn't for them. They had always managed to have all the dog food they needed anyway. So the big city people left town. And Brownie? He gave up rolling in the mud.

Why? Why would Brownie give up something he loved to do? Because there was something more important that Brownie WANTED to do now. And as Brownie's master drifted off to sleep, so did Brownie, at the foot of his master's bed. But he kept one eye focused on his master, whom he loved dearly, just in case his master needed him.

We are a lot like Brownie. We are natural-born sinners, loving he mud we tend to play in. The world is filled with people trying to make more and more money, often at the expense of others. But those who follow Christ shun the world and it's ways. We shake off the sin and cleanse ourselves with Living Water. We seek OUR Master and we listen to and follow His ways, not our own. Our Master loves us. Let us be content in serving Him, right where He wants us. Right by His side.

"37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” - John 7:37-38

"13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,  14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” - John 4:13-14

Dogs Playing In Mud

Washed By The Water - Needtobreathe