Thursday, July 30, 2020

Imagine Change That Works



Imagine if everyone walked rightly with God and with people, in peace, and in joy. 

Imagine if this happened because they believed that God empowered them to through his Spirit living inside of them. 

Imagine if people were honored that they get to serve their Creator-King knowing how it pleases him. 

All these things are possible through Christ. It’s why God works the way he works. 

Want to change the world? Start by humbling yourself and asking God to change you. 

This is why so little changes. So few are willing to do that—humble themselves and admit that they need someone bigger than themselves to change (REALLY change). Change at a level that says I’m not just going to change my behavior. I’m going to change my motives behind my behaviors. 

I know that I cannot do this without God’s help. That’s why I pray and seek God in the Bible early and often. 

I have no hope to make a real difference in this hurting world apart from God in me. Thankfully, that is possible in Christ. Lord help us!


Monday, July 20, 2020

Be A Butterfly

My daughter Samantha shared this online the other day:




“ Last week, on my way into one of my patient’s homes, I passed this little guy on their gravel driveway. I couldn’t help but stop for a few moments and take in its beauty. Reminded me that despite all the evil and darkness in this world, there is still beauty in God’s creation. Let’s be that beauty for other people. Let’s shine God’s light to everyone we come in contact with. Love them no matter what they look like or what they have done. Only then will the darkness start to fade away.”

Be a blessing, not a bully


“Be a blessing, not a bully.” -Chris Karpus


Sunday, July 19, 2020

Exclamation Point!

 

The power of a line, an edit and a life well-lived. Thank you Packer of a life well-lived. Thank you Jared for sharing this story


Knowing Your Creator



One of the most profound books I’ve ever read was “Knowing God” by J. I. Packer. That’s probably because there’s nothing more profound than knowing (and being known) by your Creator. Personally. To know your Creator is to know what he is like. It’s to know what kind of character he has; what kind of traits. Packer did the world a great service when he wrote this book.

Of course, the reason I so respect J.I. Packer is because he was wise enough to recognize that any wisdom he shared was a dim reflection of the amazing words written in the Holy Bible. His works simply pointed back to the eternal truths found therein.

I thank God for men and women like J.I. Packer. They are a gift to the Church and to our world.

Peace

This link contains several articles, videos and a free book (among other things) for your enjoyment.



Saturday, July 18, 2020

“But they will not find it”

““The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.”
‭‭Amos‬ ‭8:11-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬


This is a scary thought. 

That you could not find someone who could share with you about the word of God. 

No preachers, no teachers, no Bibles...a terrifying thought. That would mean few believers (if any) around you if you were the only one. 

If this were you in the future, would you have enough of God’s word in your head and in your heart to be able to feed yourself spiritually? Could you teach your own children or grandchildren how to follow Jesus Christ?

This is not as far-fetched as it sounds the way things are going in our land.

Friday, July 17, 2020

What Gospel Fluency Looks Like

Thanks for sharing this with me on Facebook, Amy Karpus. This is a great example of how we imperfect Christians are called to live when we live poorly, proudly and selfishly. It is also a great example of what it looks like to be fluent in the gospel in a world ignorant of the gospel. (Gospel literally means “Good news”)

In this story, Levi not only humbled himself to make things right, he explained how and why he did it. He taught his children how to speak and display Jesus in everyday life. He admitted his sinful, selfish, hurtful part in the experience and then how he let God redeem that situation for good despite his screw-up. I can so relate to this because I’ve been Levi more times than I can count. It’s painful to recall. Yet, every time God has blessed me and the one I hurt when I go back. 

This is why we who say we follow Jesus need to become fluent in the gospel. If we don’t know what we believe well enough to be able to live it and explain how and why we do to our kids, we’re in a world of hurt. Maybe that’s why we’re in a world of hurt today.


By Levi Smith on Facebook
July 15, 2020

I was rude to someone today.

We are on vacation out of state this week in North Carolina. I walked into our usual donut joint with my mask on. The owner walked up to me and started taking our order. In retrospect, I should have given more attention to her weary countenance. 

I took one side of my mask off so I could continue my order without being muffled. Without hesitation, she said, “Sir, please put your mask on.”

My flesh convinced me that this was the time for me to be a patriot. I put the mask loop over my ear and told her that we wouldn’t be needing any donuts after all. She seemed to shrug my response off, so I continued. I didn’t yell. I didn’t make a scene. But I looked at her straight in the face and told her she was rude. We exchanged pleasantries, and I left.

2 miles down the road, the Holy Spirit smote my heart. I stood for my personal belief while ignoring humility and grace.

I turned the van around and drove back to the donut shop. I entered the shop, and the same woman was standing there. I walked right up to her, with my mask on, looked her in the eye and said,...

“I. Am. Sorry.”

With workers and other customers looking on, I asked for her forgiveness and told her I should have been more gracious and humble. She opened up to me for a few minutes about how tough the current situation was on her as a former nurse and current small business owner. She was tired. She was weary. She was worried.

She didn’t need a seasonal patriot. She needed a gracious Christian.

I purchased my donuts, we laughed, and I left. When I got back to the van, I explained to my children that it was important we set ourselves aside for the wellbeing of others. I made sure my kids knew that I was willing to eat crow so a tired stranger could have an emotionally healthy day. I explained to my children what I had done and how I needed to make it better. I explained to my children that God allows us to make mistakes so His grace can be on greater display.

We will back for more donuts this week. I’ll be wearing my mask the whole time, making sure I am a blessing and not a bully. And I didn’t have to give up a shred of freedom or dignity to do so.

This world needs humility, grace and forgiveness. It doesn’t need more casual Christians dying on their temporal hills. It needs more Jesus-followers living out the Gospel.

Yes, be a patriot. But don’t let your personal beliefs drown out your faith and witness. 

All we are enduring will one day fade away, but the Word of the Lord will endure forever.


More on Gospel Fluency here: 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Take God at His Word


“What does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬. https://www.bible.com/111/rom.4.3.niv

We are saved by grace through faith alone! (Eph 2:8-9) 

We are not saved by rituals, nor the sacrifices we give, nor by anything that we think is good enough to earn God’s forgiveness. 

The salvation we receive is a gift. We can’t earn it. Nobody can.

The reason the Old Testament saints are saved is because they believed God. That is, they believed all that God said to them in their past and present. 

So when God talked about a future Savior, they took God at his word and believed him. I’m not saying that it was easy for them. But that is what ultimately saved them. 

And it’s what ultimately saves us too. Taking God at his word and believing him.

Thank you God for saving me!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Change America?



How do we change our nation for the better?


Seeing the World in Black and White article


My friend Lance shared this terrific article with me. I highly recommend it!

Darien

From Lance:

"I've been blessed by many Greg Morse articles at Desiring God over the years. This one is just fantastic. So honest. Touches on the heart issues and bitterness that can develop between all tribes. He really highlights the call upon Christ-followers to respond differently, and it's quite refreshing."

Seeing the World in Black and White: How Much Do Assumptions Divide Us?

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Dream Big



My thoughts after listening to Don Miller interview Bob Goff on his new book Dream Big.

Courage



In today's culture, it's easy to be cowered into silence or paralyzed by fear. We must be strong and courageous as God leads us to speak and act justly (with grace and truth. So let's do this! Deuteronomy 31:6 Joshua 1:7-9 Acts 23:11

Imagine Change That Works

Imagine if everyone walked rightly with God and with people, in peace, and in joy.  Imagine if this happened because they believed that God ...