Friday, September 25, 2015

If Tomorrow Never Comes

for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. (1 Thessalonians 5:2 NIV)

If Tomorrow Never Comes
I was walking home from work the other day; ear buds in my ears; Pandora running on my phone; rocking out to Christian rock when the words to the chorus, “If Tomorrow Never Comes” filled my head. It had been a long time since I had given it any thought. Talk of this question usually put me into panic mode, “Are you ready?” “Where are you spending eternity?” “If Jesus were to come right now would He take you with Him?” On this day, however, I experienced something else; a different emotion consumed my heart; joy. There was not any despair, worry, or fear on this day, instead I was filled with the joy of being absolutely, positively, one hundred percent sure of my answer; I will be with my Lord when He returns, Amen. 

Are you filled with the joy of assurance of your eternity? Do you walk, talk, and live like there is no bout a doubt where you are spending eternity? Today is the day to begin because we “know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” We know that the day of our Lord’s return will be soon; as a matter of fact a major factor in experiencing this joy and peace is the anticipation of His return. Like my grandson waits eagerly each afternoon for the return of his parents; so also should we wait excitedly and anxiously for the return of our Lord. Live each and every day as “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” Keith Henry

Friday, September 18, 2015

Renewed Minds

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)

Renewed Minds
Our vacation was coming to an end and we were feeling a little dampened in spirit at the thought of going back to work and living our stressful lives all over again. Nevertheless, my wife and I did our last minute shopping for gifts to bring home to our family members, colleagues and friends before we began packing our luggage. 

The journey home was a long haul and we were not particularly excited about it. We knew, however, a retreat of two weeks in a year was as good as we could get to spend time together—free from stress, the routines and the mundane, the troubles in life and the unforeseeable. What lies ahead in the days and months to come is not something for us to worry about.

Like many of us, Jacob probably had a similar feeling of reluctance to return home, but not because of work. It was because of Esau, his brother, who had sworn to kill him for stealing his birthright. Nevertheless, Jacob obeyed the Lord and brought his family home with him, along with plenty of gifts for Esau. We know the rest of the story, how Esau eventually forgave Jacob. (Gen 27:41; 32:13-15; 33:4; 35:27)

Are we worried, stressed out or afraid of what lies ahead? Have our time away from home drawn us closer to God or further away? Are we refreshed or feeling more tired than before our getaway? Are our minds renewed to stand up to greater challenges? Are our hearts all about ourselves while away or do we spare some thought for the people we know and loved to want to give good gifts to them?

Jacob returned home a changed man after he wrestled and had a close encounter with God. No doubt, a short vacation is not going to change a whole lot how we see things, but surely we must have seen some things we do not get to see this side of earth. Scenery and cultural practices, for example, are areas we can let God open our eyes to see things beyond the mundane and to learn from Him His perspective.

With the renewing of our minds, we can be made new in our attitude how we think about things, know and experience what it means to trust God absolutely. For as long as our lives are in the hands of God and our purpose is to do His will, we need not worry about tomorrow. He who satisfies our desires with good things is able to renew our youth like the eagle that we might be able to work at whatever we do with all our heart for the Lord. (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23; Matthew 6:33-34; Psalm 103:5; Colossians 3:23)

Dear Lord, thank You for granting us a time of retreat to renew our attitude of how we think about things and to draw closer to You. Remind us while we are away from home not to only think of ourselves but to think of others too, especially the people we know and loved. Help us put our complete trust in You, knowing that as long as our lives are in Your hands and our purpose is to do Your will, we need not worry about tomorrow. Renew our youth like the eagle to work with all our heart at whatever we do for You. Open our eyes to see beyond the mundane to learn from You and understand Your perspective so we might not be dampened in spirit but be renewed with joy to rest in You. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

If You Are Willing

A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. (Mark 1:40-42 NLT)

If You Are Willing
This scripture shows a man who has no hope finding the only real hope in the world and asking Him a question that we often take for granted. We very seldom ask God if He is willing to do what we pray for. Instead we demand that He take action in our situation.

I often wonder if we realize that saying no is still an action but the no is His will for our lives. It’s not the answer we want from a God who we have chosen to worship and it is probably why individuals chose to walk away from Him. Many times we take for granted that what we want is what God has in store for us. In the case of the leper; it might not have been in God’s plan and yet He showed compassion and brought healing. That is not something unusual, God has done it before. He allowed King Hezekiah and additional 15 years of life.

The problem is we often forget the blessings He has already given us. Instead of looking at what He has already done we expect Him to do more.

I know that is a hard pill to swallow but God is sovereign His ways are not our ways and everything He allows is with a purpose to bring Him Glory. Jesus is willing to answer your prayers; but what you may desire is not in His will, for your life. Will you still trust Him? The man came begging and was unsure of the answer he would receive have we reached a point where we are truly begging God or are we still demanding God do something. There is a great difference in the two. I pray God gives you an open heart and mind as you walk in the light of His Word. Rev Brian Mathis

Friday, September 4, 2015

Hoodwinked

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; (Ephesians 5:6-7 NAS)

Hoodwinked While visiting Huangshan in China, we were brought to a jewelry shop by the tour manager. A rectangular piece of raw jade interest me, but having no knowledge how to see or check the quality of jade, I sought the help of the tour manager. He assured me all items in the shop were of good quality because the shop had been endorsed by the tourism board. Back at home, I took the piece of jade to a jewelry shop to make into a frame pendant, but the jeweler told me it would not be worth my while because the ‘jade’ is a fake.

As tourists, many of us have been deceived by promoters into purchasing things of little worth. More often than not, by the time we discover the real worth of what had been purchased, it was already too late for us to go back to the place we made the purchase to seek a refund.

The Bible warns us not to let anyone deceive us with empty words or be partakers with those who deceive others for dishonest gain, for because of such things God’s wrath has come upon the disobedient (Ephesians 5:6-7).

As businessmen, entrepreneurs, employers, employees, bread winners or one trying to earn a living, have we been partakers of dishonest dealings? Do we frequently or infrequently oversell our or our employer’s products or services to close a deal and earn our share of the profit? Do we sometimes speak a lie or half-truth just in order to secure a purchase?

Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies last only a moment before getting exposed. If we devise evil, deceit is in our hearts, but joy fills those who plan for peace. If we live amid deception, in deceit we are refusing to acknowledge God. Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware, the smooth words from lips speak deceit from a wicked heart. If our lips disguises the truth, we are not much different from those who hate and lay up deceit within the heart (Proverbs 12:19-20, 26:23; Jeremiah 9:6).

No one who practices deceit will dwell in the house of God and no one who speaks lies will stand in His presence. Hear, therefore, what the Lord Almighty is saying, for behold He will refine and test us (Psalm 101:7, Jeremiah 9:7).

Dear Lord, forgive us for the times we fall short in telling the whole truth, just in order to gain a sale or close a deal. Help us never to be dishonest in our dealings with other people and to forgive those who deal dishonestly with us. Refine and test us whenever we have in mind and at heart to lay up deceit, that we may in Your guidance and love be directed to the right path.


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