Middle Age Ramblings

Where I Share My Thoughts On This Journey Called Life

Archive for the tag “Christ”

I Have An Announcement

The phrase “I have an announcement” is often used in our culture when someone wants to announce an event that is about to happen. Everyone from major corporations to people with a social media account make announcements every day. Some of these announcements affect large groups of people. Many times, however, the announcements only affect a small group.

There was 1 announcement made a long time ago to the most unlikely group of people to receive such message. This announcement began a series of events that would forever change the world.

The announcement took place in  a very small town in a small country to a group of people who were the outcasts of society. Nobody wanted to have anything to do with them. The smelled different from everyone else, they didn’t dress like everyone else either.

You see, this announcement was made to a group of shepherds, outside if Bethlehem, in Israel. The announcement was so big that it was sent from God. He didn’t just send 1 angel to make the announcement. He had a whole sky full of angels making this announcement!

This announcement was amazing! There was a baby born in Bethlehem. Not just any baby though, this baby was the Son of God! God became human, lived a perfect life, and gave his life that we could be free from the penalty of sin, which is death! What an amazing announcement! What an amazing God!

The greatest announcement ever made was made to a group of outcast shepherds. the announcement was made to the entire world. Just like the shepherds, we need to spread the announcement to all we come in contact with.

Learning To Trust

One of the hardest lessons for me to learn in my Christian walk is learning to trust God in all situations. Not a blind trust, but a trust developed through experience. Yet, I need to be reminded constantly of the Father’s consistent working in my life.

I remember many years ago when my children were younger, we went through a tough time with my job. I was working for a major furniture manufacturer when business took a downturn. It got so bad that we were only working 3 days a week. I was out looking around our small town for  a second job and wasn’t finding one. I finally realized that God was trying to tell me to trust Him. To be patient and rest in Him. It was amazing to watch God work through other Christians and sometimes in ways that I couldn’t understand to meet our needs.

Proverbs 3:5-6 became very important in my life because of this season in my life.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do  not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths. ESV

There are times in our lives though that we don’t think about past victories and we fail to remember how God has helped us in the past. Maybe we should follow more closely the commands that God gave the children of Israel when he told them to teach the children in their household the truths of God’s law and the way God helped them get to the promised land.

It’s difficult to learn to trust God completely. In our culture, individualism is encouraged. There is pressure to look out for number 1, ourselves, and not think about others. We as followers of Christ, must learn in these difficult days to trust in God for all of our needs. We must realize that God, not the government is the source of all we have. It’s difficult to learn. I’m still working on it, but god is faithful to remind me daily of all He’s done for me. I just have to listen.

Please share some of your experiences in learning to trust God in the comments below.

 

It’s Been A Crazy Week

Well it has been a crazy week. It all started last Friday afternoon when I got a call from my wife about three in the afternoon, which is odd for her. She told me she had just been laid-off from her job. That could have bummed me out, but all of a sudden a peace came over me and I knew in my heart that everything was going to be okay.

Things were pretty normal over the weekend. I still was not in crisis mode over this change that had come to our lives. My wife had a job interview on Monday, and we were very hopeful.

Then the bottom fell out as far as my work. Deadlines were looming and I couldn’t get anything accomplished. Then the computer system went down! This went on for two days! I was stressed out!

I have read all of this stuff about turning your problems over to the Lord. Let Him handle your problems, your stress and , your crisis. Let me tell you, that’s easier said than done.

The tough part was trying to not allow my wife to worry. In the meantime, she got a call offering her the job she had interviewed for earlier in the week. That was great! it took some of the load off my mind, but I still had not been really worried about her work situation. I knew it was under control. Nothing else was working right.

This has been an exhausting week. I’m glad it’s over. I’m also glad I made it through and didn’t hurt anybody. You see life happens and when life happens to a follower of Christ, we are automatically under the microscope. Everybody wants to see how we’ll handle the situation.

I didn’t do so good this week. Don’t be so surprised. If more of us who follow Christ were honest and open about our sins, maybe, just maybe the world could see less of us and more of the Jesus who saved us, and who continually picks us up and cleans the mud off of us when we fall.

Please share your experiences below.

 

Made To Crave

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual , so that you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:2-3 NIV

I’m a grandpop now, by the way, there is nothing like it. I remember well what it was like when my daughters were small. When they got hungry, they would let you know it. If we were a little slow getting that bottle ready they would tune up and let us know to hurry up.

Just like a baby craves milk, followers of Christ should crave the reading of the Bible, God’s inspired word. I believe that just like a little child starts with milk and then moves on to soft food and then, after they get teeth, to more solid food, I believe that we as followers of Christ should be progressing in the reading and studying of our Bibles.

Let me give you some suggestions that have helped me over the years as I have developed a habit of regular Bible study.

1. Set aside a specific time. Some of us are extremely busy. It’s easy to let life crowd out our reading time. If you have to, schedule Bible reading and study time into your calendar each day, and set a reminder to insure that you don’t forget.

2. Set aside a specific place.

3. Make certain you have good conditions for reading. This means eliminating anything that might distract you from that task. Also make certain that the lighting is good, the temperature is comfortable, and that you have a good chair to sit in while reading.

4. Get a good translation of the Bible that you can understand. My favorites , in no certain order are:

a. New King James Version

b. English Standard Version

c. King James Version

d. Holman Christian Standard Version

I’m sure there are other suggestions to help you to do a better job of reading the Bible. Remember, we are made to crave the Word of God.

What are some ideas that have helped you with your Bible reading time? Share some of them in the comments below.

The Day After

Yesterday, Nov 6, 2012, was election day in our country. I know some church folks who thought that the world would end if President Obama won the election. Well I was on the way to work this morning and the sun was coming up over the horizon just like any other day.

One thing we as followers of Christ have to learn is that we are no longer in the majority. The culture war that we have waged with our Christian talk radio stations and our mainstream conservative media persons for the last several years has been lost. We are in the minority.

So what do we do? The best example from scripture is in the book of Acts. We need to do as the apostles and other Christians did in the early church. We need to realize that we are probably not going to change the culture in our country. We must learn to be the hands and feet of Jesus and love each person we come in contact with to Christ.

We have been labeled by the radical left as extremists. We are being shouted down by those who don’t agree with us. The only way we are going to change that perception is through love.

Of course this doesn’t mean that our pastors and evangelists are to sugar coat the gospel. On the contrary, those men like the prophets of the Old testament times are to take the stand against the sins and ills of our nation just like they have been because that’s what they’ve been called to do. However, they to will have to learn to call sin by its true colors and learn to do so with a tear in their eyes.

To borrow an analogy from sports, we now have to play the game from behind. Just like in sports, some teams have the ability to come from behind, while some do not. We shall see if the church has what it takes to come from behind and if the church can handle a little adversity.

One last thought, I have heard more calls for prayer for our nation in the days leading up to the election. We should continue to pray for the President, the Congress, and the rest of our federal, state and local government leaders daily. That, my friends, is the best way to influence the culture. We need a revival in America, and prayer is the only way that revival will come.

 

As always  your comments and responses to my thoughts here are welcome. I try to read every response even if I’m not able to respond to each one.

 

 

A Life Of Enthusiasm

 

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, Colossians 3:23 HCSB.

 

I see too many Christians, including myself sometime, with no enthusiasm at all for life. I know life is hard especially for Christians, but it is possible to live life with enthusiasm!

First of all, I want to be clear about what I’m not talking about. I am not talking about having a wish so, hope so religion. I also am not talking about having a religion of name it and claim it, or anything like that.

When I talk about living a life of enthusiasm, I am talking about living a victorious life in Christ! A life of faith,  believing that He is in control of all things and that He has what’s best for me at heart. God placed none of us on this earth haphazardly or without thought. Each one of us has a purpose. It’s up to us to prayerfully seek to follow God’s will with our lives. When we do that we live life with an enthusiasm that comes from serving God!

I know this verse from Colossians comes from a passage on servant master relationships, but I think it also applies to what I’m saying here. Even when life throws us a curve ball, God gives us the ability to handle whatever life throws at you. I remember when I started playing baseball I enjoyed hitting. That is until the pitchers I played against got old enough to start throwing curveballs. I was in trouble because I never could figure out how to hit a curveball, but God will help you hit life’s curveballs.

I try to pray several times a week and ask God to help me live life enthusiastically. Believe me I’m not there yet, but each day is a new adventure of learning how God intends for us to live down here in this sin cursed world. When we live this way, people take notice and will soon want to know what makes you tick. That will give you the perfect opportunity to tell them about Christ! Allow Jesus to live enthusiastically through you and watch the difference it makes in your life!

 

A Soldier Without A Weapon

There are several things I’ve observed in the modern church that concerns me. I’m not going to get into a long list of things in this post, I’m only going to talk about one thing here. Before I begin rambling, let me give you a scripture reference or two.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge….”Hosea 4:6a ESV.

“Behold the days are coming, declares the LORD GOD, when I will send a famine in the land-not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.” Amos 8:11 ESV

We are fast approaching a day when there will be fewer opportunities to hear the Word of God. I know that’s hard to believe because in this country its on several channels on TV every day. Radio stations devote their entire program format to proclaiming God’s Word. I promise you those days won’t last long.

What bothers me the most is to go into a church service, either in my home church, or somewhere that I am visiting, and see Christians without a Bible coming in to a worship service to hear the Word of God taught. It’s just like a soldier without a weapon.

When  a person goes into the military they are issued a weapon, which is not only a means of defense, but also a means of carrying out a mission. We as Christ’s followers have been given a mission. That mission is two-fold. First we are to evangelize: carry the gospel to every person we come in contact with. Secondly, we are to teach and disciple those who accept Christ.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says:”All Scripture is given by inspiration of GOD, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of GOD may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” NKJV

How can we be equipped for every good work if we don’t have a Bible with us at church? I know Christians who have been in church longer than I have that struggle to find passages in the Bible. That comes from not using their Bible.

In this culture we live in today, with so many people fighting to have their pet sin recognized as being okay, or being accepted by society, we cannot afford to go out into the world into battle without our only weapon which is the word of God!

Ephesian 6:17″ and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of GOD.”ESV

Hebrews 4:12a ” For the word of GOD is living and active sharper than any two-edged sword……”  ESV

We have to be ready to fight! We cannot fight without instruction and a weapon of defense! The Bible is our instruction manual and our only weapon of defense against satan and his allies!

Our Bibles should be the most worn out book we own. We should have to go get another one regularly because the one we have is falling apart from use. We instead would rather go into battle untrained except for what we pick up through osmosis on Sunday morning, and unarmed. No wonder the other side is winning!

My Gift To You

I’ve written a couple of posts recently that were hard to write. So I wanted to take a minute and share something with you that is vitally important.

You see all of us are sinners by birth and by nature. We have no choice in the matter. Back in the beginning of history there was a man named Adam and his wife Eve. They sinned by disobeying a command, a law  of God that He had given to them. Because they disobeyed God, and because they were the first 2 humans on earth, the consequences  of their sin passed on to each one of us.

The consequences of that sin and all sin is death. Death here means eternal separation from God and His blessings. God did not want to see any of His creation perish, so He sent His only Son Jesus to do what we could not. Pay the penalty for our sin.

By placing our faith and trust in Jesus, we can have forgiveness of our sins now, and go to heaven one day to live with Jesus forever.

The Bible says:

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV.

John 3:16 tells us that God loved each one of us so much that He sent His only Son to die in our place. If any of us will believe in Him, we can have eternal life.

Romans 10:9-10 says that if anybody will confess with their mouth that they are a lost sinner in need os salvation and ask Jesus to come into their heart and save them Jesus will do just that.

Not only that, but 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that Jesus will change us from the inside out and make us into new creatures. This change doesn’t happen overnight, but is a process that continues until we go home to live with Him.

I know that many of the people who read this blog are followers of Christ already. Just in case there are some of you who have never made that decision, I hope that God’s Spirit touches your heart as you read this and leads you to make the greatest decision you could ever make. Won’t you accept God’s gift of Grace today?

The Narrow Road

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
(2Ti 3:1-5) ESV

Paul wrote these words to Timothy just before his death. When one reads these words, they read just like todays news. Think about it for a minute. Lovers of self, lovers of money, without self-control, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. I could go on with this , but I won’t.

The last two items in the passage from 2 Timothy are the ones that really bother me. There are people all over america who have an appearance or form of godliness, but deny its real power. That Power is the power to transform lives.

Paul again wrote:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
(2 Co 5:17) KJV

From this verse, I believe that upon receiving God’s gift of grace, that a change begins to take place in a person’s life. For example, when I came to Christ I didn’t immediately stop sinning, in fact I still sin each day. My desires changed. I know longer wanted to live the same way I had before. The Holy Spirit had begun the process of changing me into a new creature from the inside out. That process is still ongoing today and will continue until I reach Heaven.

Some “Christians” seem to believe that they can hold to their old sinful lifestyle and yet still be called a christian. These people may go to church every Sunday, but they don’t live for Christ on Monday through Saturday. They deny the real power of God, which is the power to change lives.

Jesus spoke about the difficulty of following Him:

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
(Mat 7:13-14) ESV

It’s not easy to follow Christ. Jesus requires us to lay aside our old ways of living and follow the path that He has laid out for us. Then and only then can we experience not only the power of God in our lives, but also the joy of following and serving our risen Lord!

 

 

Side Note: Some of you are going to disagree with me on this. That’s okay. I’m getting used to it. As always your comments are welcome. I try to read all of them, but due to my daily responsibilities, I am not always able to reply or respond.

 

 

Keep A Hand Over Your Mouth!

Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD;

 keep watch over the doors of my lips.    Psalm 141:3 NIV

I was reading and meditating on this passage the other morning when God called to my mind another passage from the New Testament.

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19-20 NIV.

It is very hard to follow these 2 verses. At least it is for me. When I was a boy, I was very hot-tempered and high-strung. That God, I have gotten better by his grace, but I still have trouble sometimes speaking when I really shouldn’t.

The point is this. Like the Psalmist, we need to learn to “set a guard over our mouths.” I played some football when I was in high school, and I can tell you that there was many times I was thankful for  the face mask on my helmet that protected me from bodily harm.

I think that is what this verse is saying to us today. Keep a hand over your mouth. Be slow to speak even when we are right. We live in a society where many different people are shouting at the top of their lungs. We as followers of Christ need to slow down, think about what we have to say, then speak. Only then can we show the world a difference that only Christ can bring in our lives.

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