Saturday, December 31, 2011

The End of the Old=The Beginning of the New

For those of you who haven't been enlightened, the world is going to end in 2012. December 21, as a matter of fact. 
Be scared, world! 
     But seriously, this could be the year that the Lord comes back!

     As the end of 2011 speeds up to make it's final lap and on to the finish line, I am so thankful for a God that is faithful. Lamentations 3:22-23 says,

     I'm sure we can all look back over 2011 and see the times when we went through hard trials, and we seemed to have failed. Hard times seem to stick out with us, don't they? They seem to block out the victories we have gained in Christ, and the times He has refreshed us with His Spirit.

     In Lamentations 22-23, you'll see that Jeremiah sounds pretty torn up. He says in  verses 18-20, "And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD: Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me." God called Jeremiah to speak to a people that would not listen to Him. He had been persecuted, and now the bitterness of his soul is poured out.

     December 31, 2011 marks the end of the old year, and the beginning of the new year, 2012. But, like every other year, it won't be perfect. 2012 will come with its own set of trials, temptations, and hard times. You can count on it.

     In verse 21, he says, "This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
    As we step into 2012, remember, God is merciful, and He is faithful! His mercies are new every morning! It's because of His mercy that we are even still here! Boy, with that promise, who's to worry about Doomsday?

   Have a Joyful New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sober Thoughts=Sober Subject

     I went on hospital visitation today with my parents. As I sit here staring at the blank page, my mind is full of sober thoughts.

 Hospitals can be happy place or a sad place. Some draw their first breath in it's walls. For some people, it is a place to heal. For others, it's a place to die. As I walk down their spic-and-span corridors, life hangs in the balance on either side, from the soul that is just drawn its first breath, to the oldest patient with alzheiers, at every room eternity hesitates. Will life go on, or will it cease?

     Eternity waits for no one, not for that one lying in the hospital bed, not that person in front of you at Starbucks, and not for that one that comes to your car asking for a handout. Death is no respecter of persons, it takes whom it pleases. That's real talk right there.

     God is Sovereign. He is Love; He took the morbidity out of death for all that will receive Him. But, He is Holy. He will do right by the earth, He will do right by you, and He will do right by that person that has rejected His Son.

     So, seeing as how eternity waits for no one and death is impatient, there is only one question to ask. What are you waiting for? You have one chance. Deuteronomy 30:19 says, I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."

     Eternal life is inevitable, they place you will spend it is your choice. What will you do, for yourself, and for those around you? Their's and your eternal destiny is at hand. Will life go on, or will it cease?


Monday, December 19, 2011

What I want versus God is good

Enchanting, is it not?
  As I sit in the living room staring at the twinkling, multi-colored lights on the Christmas tree with a crackling fire in the fireplace on this rainy evening in Kansas City, I can't help but thank the Lord that I'm home for Christmas this year. Well, sort of. I still have to work, but I am home for right now. God has truly been so good to me.

     There are times in our lives when we feel like we can't say that God is good. Whether it's just in a brief time of your life where you are feeling blue, (mood swings!), or when tragedy truly strikes, and you are left in the lurch. We all go through both of these times to be certain. Some last longer than others, and some are deeper than  words can express. We find ourselves asking, "How in the world can I truthfully and sincerely say that God is good?" I have had those thoughts myself, even asking myself that same question as joy and enthusiasm spilled from peers that stood up to testify in our student service at Bible school. 

     They say that google can define anything, so typed "define good" into the search box. Two main definition popped up, one being "morally excellent, right, or proper," and "satisfactory in quality, quantity, and degree."

     When we think of good, we tend to think that good means "how we want it," but that is not the true definition. When we say that God is good, we are saying that He is morally right, (He created morals after all), right ("Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Gen 18:25), and proper, (appropriate.) More than that, and more down to where we need it, He is satisfactory. He is everything we need, ("My grace is sufficient for thee..." 2 Cor 12:9)

     What we think is good is not always good, but God is good, so He knows what is good; He knows what is best. So the next time you catch yourself asking "how can God be good," remember that God IS good, even though He doesn't seem to be doing what we think is good. You know what He says in Isaiah 55:8-9, "My ways are not your's!"(Paraphrase) God is good all the times, and all the time, God is good.

     "Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart." Psalm 72:1

Friday, December 16, 2011

Spiritual Growth (or Shrinkage)

     Christmas is here, school is out for two weeks, the semester is over, (and I survived!), and here I am, with a beast of a textbook for next semester sitting in front of me! What a way to end a semester, right?

     This semester has truly brought a lot of things into my life. I have learned a lot of lessons, and I hope I've grown a little bit. In the Lord, I mean. Not like...THE OTHER way! It's difficult at times to measure spiritual growth, and who is to measure it, anyway? That seems like a silly question, because of course God can! But unfortunately, He didn't leave us a actual measuring stick or ruler with which to measure ourselves. Or did He? 

     There is this one Book that He gave us, a Book that people in the past and in the present gave and continue to give their lives for daily. You all know it, you love it, (or you should!), it's the BIBLE! So what did He say about spiritual growth? What does it took like when we grow spiritually?

Ephesians 4:13 and 15 says, "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ."

     We are to measure ourselves against Christ. Not by other people or their standards of living, or by our own either loose or strict standards, but by Him. We are to grow, "...unto the measure of the stature...of Christ." The word stature here guessed it, "maturity." Verse 15 says, "...grow up into him in all things."

     So what does it look like when you grow spiritually? You look like Jesus. It's as simple as that, but a warning here. The less you grow, the less you look like Christ. You don't want that, so endeavor to GROW! It is more rewarding than you can imagine! Peace, contentment, all that stuff that makes your life so much easier to live with! ;)

     So, as I get back to my beast of a textbook, have a Merry Christmas! And grow, 'cause if you don't grow, you'll shrink, shrink, shrink!