August 29, 2008.
Two storms are threatening the US. An emergency condition has been declared in Louisanna and everyone is thinking about the Katrina. Katrina devastated New Orleans, in fact it will NEVER be the same.
Hurricane Gustav. Tropical storm Hannah. And today I heard that if they take certain paths gas prices could soar to $5.00 per gallon in just days!
Threatening weather, threats in our safety, threats to our economy, fears in our relationships. Where do we find hope in all this? I have learned that the truths of the Bible and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can lead to an inner strength that others may not understand.
In a storm, you don’t just survive until tomorrow or wait until another day passes. The critical times may be minute-by-minute or one may need strength NOW! Here’s a passage of scripture that ALWAYS encourages me … perhaps another might draw strength from it right NOW as well.
Mark 4:38-41 — 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?” — ESV
Please pray for those in harms way while these storms rage on. And pray for people’s hearts once again to be stirred to compassion if needed in the aftermath of possible devastation.
We all want to be first. We want to be king of something. And for some people, unfortunately, that’s ALL that MATTERS.
What’s incredible with that is it is never enough no matter the quantity or even the visibility of power that one may become.
We see it if we reference the life of Solomon in the Bible. It becomes very clear what ended up being THE IMPORTANT summary of his life (See Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Question: What are you pouring your life into right now? What is your PASSION — right now? Are you making a difference? Are you leaving a legacy?
How are your kids, wife, other relationships doing?
And where does God fit in?
These questions matter. And please remember that God has a wonderful plan and purpose for your life. He loves you and made you to know Him.
Oh, another scripture? Jeremiah 29:11 … it’s one of my favorites!
It’s the 4th of July weekend here in the USA. It represents FREEDOM.
I love that word, FREEDOM. And I have experienced it first-hand. I have enjoyed this freedom in my work, with my family, on holidays, and in my spiritual walk as well. I have learned a lot about what the term means.
When I think about the founders of this nation, there are many examples where God, faith, and an aspiration live the values of God’s Word was evident. They left us many important lessons that involved listening to each other, but not compromising that moral compass that led them to stop and worship their creator.
The scriptures state that the cornerstone or foundation of the Christian faith is Jesus Christ. Jesus was not a beaten-down-and-defeated-just-a-good-teacher figure in history. Like the buildings all over Washington DC are inscribed with Biblical passages and faith-inspired messages, God wrote His laws on the tablets of our hearts.
I love celebrating. I love FIREWORKS. I love the USA. And most of all, I love JESUS! And there will be that day that I anticipate so often, when He brings a light show that will blast us all into eternity!
For when the Son of Man returns, you will know it beyond all doubt. It will be as evident as the lightning that flashes across the sky. Luke 17:24
We all want to change things from time-to-time.
Here is a list that comes to my mind and what I’m praying about.
- Broken Marriages
- Financial Freedom for Families
- Disconnected Fathers
- Moms who Feel Worthless
- People with Complacency as a Way of Life
- My Prayer Life
- Phone Calls to Friends
- Turning Pessimism to Optimism
Some of these depend on MY choices and are in my direct control. Other items on this list will take a miracle from God Himself.
ALL of them certainly will be easier if I rely on the Holy Spirit to lead, remind, and renew my strength. Thank you, Father, for loving me and using me to make a difference for such a time as THIS!
“LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away. My life is no longer than the width of my hand. An entire lifetime is just a moment to you; human existence is but a breath.” Psalm 39:4-5 NLT
On Sunday, I will be speaking on the “AMAZING!” life of Jesus Christ. You can’t deny it. History reveals it and the Bible unwraps it even more thoroughly.
The principles, morals, stories, and truths of God’s Word have changed my life. It’s more than positive thinking, adopting a philosophy or learning “religious” terms. When you get really practical and build a true relationship with Jesus, it MUST change you. So now, when I help the poor in a Third-World nation or when I pray for a crying girl on public transit, it makes a lot of sense.
Jesus set the example to LIVE out the life He called into. One that is all about knowing God and making Him known. Meditation doesn’t cut it, being “nice” isn’t enough, and as admirable as social work is — it is nothing — unless you introduce the love that was authored God.
So we celebrate Easter this weekend, and actually take the underlying message of Easter with us daily.
Matthew 12:23 “The crowd was AMAZED. ‘Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?’ . . .
So, because we’re brothers in the Lord, do something for me. Give me some comfort because of Christ. Philemon 1:20 (GW)
Here is Paul. He has a great friend, Onesimus. And he misses him greatly.
Have you ever had or needed a friend so close that you could actually be yourself? One that KNOWS YOU. One that CARES much about what you are going through. And you care about them, too, right?
2008. No matter what you are going through right now, no matter what you will find yourself in the future — you should never neglect a close friend. We tend to withdraw and to become this “automatic-garage-door” society. We drive in and shut the door. Then we become an island.
But, we are ripping ourselves off when we do that. God created us to be a blessing to Him AND to others. Just like we need a close friend, they need us.
In the coming year, I plan on facilitating more relationships. I want closer friends. And like Paul, I know they can comfort me, refresh me, and keep me all the more alive.
Proverbs 27:17 tells us that we actually sharpen other by our interaction.
Ps 5:11 But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.
Shifting your focus or point of view can be truly life-altering. What if each time we had a crisis, a challenge, or chaos in our lives we would switch our perspective.
Those with faith in God understand what this can mean. Instead of dread or despair, when you think about shelter and/or defense and safety — instead of betrayal we once again trust God — there is an unbelievable release! Now instead of depression our thoughts are alert and optimistic. And you know what??? I totally like the feeling of looking UP instead becoming bogged down by the cares of each day.
Question: Where has your focus been the past 7 days? I give you permission to turn your eyes upward!