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Archive for August 23-August 28, 2006

08/23/2007: Greetings Good News Partners...

"Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men."
-- 1 Corinthians 1:25 (NKJV)

I have recently been told that Jesus is a "crutch" for the weak in mind, body, and spirit. One way that the dictionary defines crutch is, "to prop up." I don't know about you, but I do not personally believe that being propped up by Jesus is a bad thing. In fact, He is the only crutch that will never bend nor break. And the biggest mistake that many humans make is in believing that they are too strong to need a personal relationship (a crutch) with the Lord. In the end, Jesus will be all that matters and no job you ever had, nor fancy car, nor big house, nor stock portfolio, nor anything material will amount to, as my grandma used to say, a hill of beans!

What I find most interesting about the folks who engage me in conversations about God/Jesus/religion as being a crutch are most often personally consumed with fear, anxiety and worry over their own lives and their own pursuit of "happiness". The truth is that real happiness can only come through quality relationships that start with leaning upon the rock of our salvation. Once we embrace "The Crutch", then mighty things can happen. In fact, all things are truly possible then. Today, should you see someone who is reaching for the Lord in their times of trouble, or trials, or tribulations or when weakened by the circumstances of their life, realize that their source (Christ the Crutch) will renew their strength and it will not be defeated. I don't know about you, but I want some of that! 

"For with God nothing will be impossible." 
-- Luke 1:37 (NKJV)

Be encouraged, be hopeful, have a blessed day!

08/24/2007: Greetings Good News Partners...

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
-- Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

Circumstances! Webster has one definition that is described this way, "The sum of determining factors beyond willful control." And it is easy for us humans to get bound up by the circumstances that are beyond our control; feeling the victim if you will. The truth is that we may not be able to change, nor control our circumstances, but we can choose the way that we deal with "the hand we are dealt". 

Romans 8:28 is profoundly powerful when you understand that, regardless of what comes your way, ALL things work together for good. The caveat is that one must love God and be called according to His purpose. Loving God and answering His call does not guarantee a life free of uncomfortable, unplanned circumstances, but it does provide divine assurance that ALL our circumstances will be for good.

From a purely human perspective I cannot tell you what good has come from the cancer that struck many of my family members, nor the murder of a sheriff's deputy protecting our community, nor the drug addiction and legal problems of a friend's family member, nor the thousands of other awful things that go on each and every day. I may not know what good will come out of these things, but I do believe God when He tells me that good WILL come out of these things. Today, my hope is that, first, you will love the Lord and seek His purpose, and secondly, that you will be encouraged by the ultimate good that is and will come from any circumstance that you may face. 

"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out."
-- John Wooden

Be encouraged, be hopeful, have a blessed day!

08/27/2007: Greetings Good News Partners...

"You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you."
-- Psalm 118:28 (NIV)

Webster's Dictionary says that to exalt is to raise in rank, honor, power, character, or quality. And the Scriptures tell us that this is what we should do regularly with God. The problem with us humans is that we have this tendency to exalt all the wrong things, most notably our own selves. Generally, we have very high opinions of our own value to ourselves and to others. Sadly, I find myself all too often exalting worldly things while giving little, if any, thought to the rank, honor, power, character and qualities of God. And yet, He makes His mercy new everyday to me!

No matter what I face in my life, no matter how much I ignore God, or run from His will, He is my God, and I will give Him thanks. I will exalt you oh, Lord. Funny thing is that most of the people who know me think that I am strong (a rock of Gibraltar type), but the truth is, I could not live my life outside of a relationship with a living, loving God. The Lord is my strength and my salvation. My life is blessed because God has intervened in an otherwise hopeless situation; a situation for anyone who would try this life on their own. Be encouraged by the fact that no matter what comes your way today, that God will never leave you nor forsake you. Exalt Him and He will deliver you from whatever troubles you!

"The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him."
-- Exodus 15:2 (NIV)

Be encouraged, be hopeful, have a blessed day!

08/28/2007: Greetings Good News Partners...

"Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God."
-- Romans 15:7 (NKJV) 

With few exceptions, we will all encounter and engage many people throughout our lives. If we are fortunate, we will count many people as friends (blessings indeed). The thing is, we most often take the people we interact with for granted, even our best of friends. As though we have come to expect them to always be there for us, whenever we need them. Sadly, it is generally when we are going through a crisis that we discover who our good friends truly are. How about you? What are you willing to do for a person, whom you know, who is in need? If you are like most of us, it depends upon who the person is and the nature of the crisis, right? 

Wouldn't it be great if we could adopt God's nature in dealing with all people? He shows no partiality and He IS there for anyone who seeks Him anytime. The Lord runs a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week friendship business. Oh what a world this would be if we could all be sensitive to the needs of others, ALL the time. Alas, we all have our own problems to deal with, right? I solemnly swear to be more available to help others, just as soon as I get myself all together (which will probably never happen). You never know when you might need a close friend, so it might be best to start being a friend to all those whose paths you may cross. It couldn't hurt! 

"For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up."
-- Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NKJV)

Be encouraged, be hopeful, have a blessed day!

08/29/2007: Greetings Good News Partners...

"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those that hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you."
-- Matthew 5:44 (NKJV)

So you're thinking, no not a message about loving those who seek to make my life difficult. Loving your neighbor sure, but not the very people that make my life a challenge or even cause me misery! And please Lord, not those few people in life who would maliciously try to harm me or damage my reputation! There are many adversaries in our lives. They can be friends or family, employers or co-workers, domestic or foreign, believers or non-believers. They can be personal, professional or spiritual enemies. No matter who you are, you will have foes. And, as a former co-worker often use to say (and it is true), "Satan comes in many forms."

The words above were spoken by Jesus as he taught, among other things, "turning the other cheek." You do these things that you might be children of the Father in heaven (Matt 5:45). You see, these are not natural human characteristics, but traits of an unconditionally loving God. Following the above prescription will transform your life and the lives of those who would spite you. The end result being forgiveness, reconciliation and peace. If everyone were to heed Jesus words, we would achieve world peace plus mend many a broken fence in our lives. Today, no matter what has been done to you by another, may you find it in your heart to seek forgiveness over revenge; for you WILL be blessed!

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.
-- Romans 12:19 (NKJV

Be encouraged, be hopeful, have a blessed day!

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