Thursday, December 20, 2007

Build UP: Live Today

Live Today “Through Him”

Philippians 4:11-13
…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

It is customary at the close of the year to look back and remember the events that made up the concluding year. We can sometimes see from this vantage point how God has moved in our life in the previous 12 months. However, our look backwards should be more of a glance than a full-on stare. If we concentrate on the past, then we will miss what is happening today.

It is also common practice at the start of a new year to look ahead with expectation. We stand on the brink of the coming year and, with hope in the Lord, dream of the wonderful blessings that may come. However, our look ahead should be more of a glance than a full-on stare. If we concentrate on the future, then we will miss what is happening today.

So here we are at the crossroads of two years. We glance over our shoulder and praise God for His past work in our life. We glance forward and praise God for the hope we have in Him for the future. However, now it is time to get busy in living today. Take each and every moment of the present day to seek the Lord. Grow each day in relationship with Jesus. In this way we move through each day with praise on our lips for the past, hope in our hearts for the future, and the joy of living today in relationship with Jesus the Christ.

May 2008 be a year of growing in the Lord and finding His peace and contentment in all circumstances.

To God be the glory!

PP. (post post) I am going to be out of blogging range for a week or so.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Build UP: What We Deserve

What We Deserve

Romans 3:23-25
...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.

Most advertising these days promotes the message: "Buy this product because you deserve it!" The world shouts that life ought to be like the glamor portrayed in advertising, because "we deserve it". Do we? Do we deserve luxury and opulence?

Genesis 3:17-19
To Adam [God] said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'
"Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,

and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow

you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return."

That's what we deserve, and it doesn't sound very luxurious! Our sin separates us from God and that is a bad place to be. What we deserve is hell! But that's not what God gives us. Instead, God gave us His Son to save us! He gave us His precious Jesus to die for our sins! God gave us what we don't deserve.

Praise God!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Build UP: Peace


John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Jesus gives us peace. When we know Him, we can find peace no matter what the world hands us. And peace is an awesome thing to have when the world we live in provides us a daily dose of chaos, disappointment, attacks, and frustrations.

Yet that same world tells us to seek our comfort in a new car, retirement, a new wardrobe, a cruise, or a new love interest. We're led to believe that when we attain them we will be happy, peaceful, and content.

The truth is, I haven't found anyone yet that found any lasting peace in any of these lures. Granted, they have some fun and enjoy the moment, but morning comes and the peace is gone. The sad truth is most people pick themselves up, brush themselves off, and take off after the next thing that they're told will make them happy.

There is only one source of lasting peace and that is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. His peace lasts forever! His peace is available no matter what the world throws at us, and believe me the world hurls at us constantly. I can't remember where I first heard this, but I'm passing it on anyway because I think it presents tremendous wisdom:

Frustration is losing sight of God.

The parallel positive statement could be: Find God and find peace.

Find God.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Build Up: Faith and Success

Faith and Success

1Corinthians 10:31
...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Ask 10 people to define success and you will get 10 different responses. People say success is wealth, impact, reputation, comfort, luxury, the latest "toys", or leisure. In church work we tend to measure success by the numbers. You know, the bigger the church the bigger the success. Frankly, I'm starting to fall off of the numbers band wagon. I love this piece from Oswald Chambers:

It’s one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us. If we are not looking for halos, we at least want something that will make people say, "What a wonderful man of prayer he is!" or, "What a great woman of devotion she is!" If you are properly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the lofty height where no one would ever notice you personally. All that is noticed is the power of God coming through you all the time.

We want to be able to say, "Oh, I have had a wonderful call from God!" But to do even the most humbling tasks to the glory of God takes the Almighty God Incarnate working in us. To be utterly unnoticeable requires God’s Spirit in us making us absolutely humanly His. The true test of a saint’s life is not successfulness but faithfulness on the human level of life. We tend to set up success in Christian work as our purpose, but our purpose should be to display the glory of God in human life, to live a life "hidden with Christ in God" in our everyday human conditions (Colossians 3:3). Our human relationships are the very conditions in which the ideal life of God should be exhibited.

Read the entire devotion by Oswald Chambers "Still Human"

Display the glory of God, be faithful.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Daily Build Up: More on Success

For those of you who subscribe to this blog you may miss out on comments that other readers post on this site. My friend Pheaney (pronounced Fee-nee) sent these thoughts that I'd like to pass on to you:

Pheaney has left a new comment on your post "Acorn Build Up: Success": For some more thoughts on Biblical success, I would recommend "Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome" by Kent Hughes.

Thanks, Pheaney for chiming in! This is the second time in as many weeks that someone has suggested this book. It must be time for me to pick up a copy.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Acorn Build Up: Success


Philippians 3:8-9
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

So what is success? This becomes an important question when we begin to realize the impact it has on the way we live life. We invest our life in the pursuit of success. The end (the way we define success) establishes the means (the way we live our life).

Paul chose to consider a relationship with Jesus Christ as the only success. He considered EVERYTHING else "rubbish". Paul lived his life in a solitary attempt to know Christ.

If our definition of success is financial stability, personal health, physical safety, professional renown, fame, or social popularity, then we will live our life accordingly. I'm not trying to suggest that we should quit our jobs and throw away social responsibility. However, the way that we choose to define a successful life has a tremendous impact on the way we live our life.

Choose well.