One of the greatest gifts we can give people is the hope that their death is nothing to fear - you know, not that it has no fear in it, but the promise of scripture is that God will lead us through the valley of the shadow of death.
I was raised in the greatest of homes... just a really great dad, and I miss him so much... he was a good man, a real simple man... Very faithful, always loved my mom, always provided for the kids, and just a lot of fun.
About four days a week, I do pretty good at having a morning prayer time. But even at that, it's a rambling sort of thing. What I have learned to do better is to try to keep my mind turned toward God and ear inclined toward God throughout the day, and I think I'm doing better at that, but I've got a long way to go.
The apostle Paul never seemed to exhaust the topic of grace - what makes us think we can? He just kept coming at it and coming at it from another angle. That's the thing about grace. It's like springtime. You can't put it in a single sentence definition, and you can't exhaust it.
Initially, when I first became a Christian and got into ministry, my thought was that God existed to make my life better and to take me to Heaven. Now I realize that it is not about me at all. It is all about God and that He did this to display His plan to restore the Earth to the Garden of Eden state.
The idea of a spiritual heart transplant is a vivid image to me; once you have the heart of somebody else inside you, then that heart is there. Jesus' heart is inside me, and my heart is gone. So if God were to place a stethoscope against my chest, he would hear the heart of Jesus Christ beating.
For years I thought my assignment or the Church's assignment was to articulate the Gospel and nothing more. Now I believe that if we don't support the verbal expression of the Gospel with physical demonstration of compassion, we are not imitating Jesus.
We are Jesus Christ's; we belong to him. But even more, we are increasingly him. He moves in and commandeers our hands and feet, requisitions our minds and tongues. We sense his rearranging: debris into the divine, pig's ear into silk purse. He repurposes bad decisions and squalid choices. Little by little, a new image emerges.
What we realize is number one, people want to know what the Bible says. In their heart, they want to know the Bible but it is just hard to understand the big picture of it. And number two, they want to know where they plug in.
If we think that this life is all there is to life, then there is no interpretation of our problems, our pain, not even of our privileges. But everything changes when we open up to the possibility that God's story is really our story too.
People assume when they come into a church and see a person up there speaking, 'That person must be a good person.' My challenge through the years has been believing that: 'I guess I must be a really good person.' I struggle with it. It just helps me to keep that confessional posture.
My first encounters with faith came about the time I was a Boy Scout, at about 14 or 15. I made the logical deduction that they operate the same way; I treated my faith like earning a merit badge, and everything about Christianity was about earning merit badges.
I choose gentlenessNothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.
We see a hearse; we think sorrow. We see a grave; we think despair. We hear of a death; we think of a loss. Not so in heaven. When heaven sees a breathless body, it sees the vacated cocoon & the liberated butterfly.
Our Savior kneels down and gazes upon the darkest acts of our lives. But rather than recoil in horror, he reaches out in kindness and says, I can clean that if you want. And from the basin of his grace, he scoops a palm full of mercy and washes away our sin.
If anybody understands God's order for his children, it's someone who has rescued an orphan from despair, for that is what God has done for us. God has adopted you. God sought you, found you, signed the papers and took you home.
God loves you simply because He has chosen to do so. He loves you when you don't feel lovely. He loves you when no one else loves you. Others may abandon you, divorce you, and ignore you, but God will love you always. No matter what!
You weren't an accident. You weren't mass produced. You aren't an assembly-line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on the earth by the Master Craftsman.
Tragically, some people believe they are going to heaven when they die just because a few drops of water were sprinkled over their heads a few weeks after their birth. They have no personal faith, have never made a personal decision, and are banking on a hollow ceremony to save them. How absurd.
You have a God who hears you, the power of love behind you, the Holy Spirit within you, and all of heaven ahead of you. If you have the Shepherd, you have grace for every sin, direction for every turn, a candle for every corner and an anchor for every storm. You have everything you need.
The next time you find yourself alone in a dark alley facing the undeniables of life, don't cover them with a blanket, or ignore them with a nervous grin. Don't turn up the TV and pretend they aren't there. Instead, stand still, whisper his name, and listen. He is nearer than you think.
Become a worry-slapper. Treat frets like mosquitoes. Do you procrastinate when a bloodsucking bug lights on your skin? 'I'll take care of it in a moment.' Of course you don't! You give the critter the slap it deserves. Be equally decisive with anxiety.
He came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. God tapped humanity on its collective shoulder, "Pardon me," he said, and eternity interrupted time, divinity interrupted carnality, and heaven interrupted the earth in the form of a baby. Christianity was born in one big heavenly interruption.
Parents, what are your children learning from your worship? Do they see the same excitement as when you go to a basketball game? Do they see you prepare for worship as you do for a vacation? Do they see you hungry to arrive, seeking the face of the Father? Or do they see you content to leave the way you came?.....They are watching. Believe me. They are watching.
When we look at the love of Christ, we make a wonderful discovery. Love is more a decision than an emotion! Christ-like love applauds good behavior. At the same time Christ-like love refuses to endorse misbehavior. Jesus loved His apostles, but He wasn't silent when they were faithless. Jesus loved the people in the temple, but He didn't sit still when they were hypocritical.
I choose faithfulness...Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that they father will not come home.
There is a canyon of difference between doing your best to glorify God and doing whatever it takes to glorify yourself. The quest for excellence is a mark of maturity. The quest for power is childish.
If you're feeling pain, express that to the Lord. If you're feeling worried, express those worries. One passage that gives me comfort is in Psalms, Chapter 11, verse 3, it reads, "When all that is good falls apart, what can good people do?" That's really the question of the day.
Don't you need a fountain of love that won't run dry? You'll find one on a stone-cropped hill outside Jerusalem's walls where Jesus hangs, cross-nailed and thorn-crowned. When you feel unloved, ascend this mount. Meditate long and hard on heaven's love for you.
I choose gentleness... Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.
The most powerful life is the most simple life. The most powerful life is the life that knows where it's going, that knows where the source of strength is; it is the life that stays free of clutter and happenstance and hurriedness.
I think it's noteworthy that the Almighty didn't act high and mighty. The Holy One wasn't holier-than-thou. The One who knew it all wasn't a know-it-all. The One who made the stars didn't keep his head in them. The One who owns all the stuff of earth never strutted it.
Let's be the people who look at the hurting until we hurt with them. No hurrying past, turning away, or shifting of eyes. No pretending or glossing over. Let's look at the face until we see the person.
The wizard [of Oz] says look inside yourself and find self. God says look inside yourself and find [the Holy Spirit]. The first will get you to Kansas. The latter will get you to heaven. Take your pick.
You will be at your best forever, Even now you have good moments. Occasional glimpses of your heavenly self. When you change your baby's diaper, forgive your boss's temper, tolerate your spouse's moodiness, you display traces of saintliness.
About four days a week, I do pretty good at having a morning prayer time. But even at that, it's a rambling sort of thing. What I have learned to do better is to try to keep my mind turned toward God and ear inclined toward God throughout the day, and I think I'm doing better at that ,but I've got a long way to go.
You don't impress the officials at NASA with a paper airplane. You don't boast about your crayon sketches in the presence of Picasso. You don't claim equality with Einstein because you can write 'H20.' And you don't boast about your goodness in the presence of the Perfect.
After a hard day scrambling to find your way around in the world, it's assuring to come home to a place you know. God can be equally familiar to you. With time you can learn where to go for nourishment, where to hide for protection , where to turn for guidance. Just as your earthly house is a place of refuge, so God's house is a place of peace.
The purpose of the Bible? Salvation. God's highest passion is to get His children home. His book, the Bible, describes His plan of salvation. The purpose of the Bible is to proclaim god's plan and passion to save His children.
And we need to share our story. Not with everyone but with someone. There is someone who is like you were. And he or she needs to know what God can do. Your honest portrayal of your past may be the courage for another's future.
I don't get the impression that most sources of media - like television and movies - are trying to get out a positive message, necessarily. My impression is they're trying to get a message out that promotes their personal opinion, position or belief and they're trying to do something that makes money. They want to turn a buck.
Prayer is the window that God has placed in the walls of our world. Leave it shut and the world is a cold, dark house. But throw back the curtains and see His light. Open the window and hear His voice. Open the window of prayer and invoke the presence of God in your world.
There is a rawness and a wonder to life. Pursue it. Hunt for it. Sell out to get it. Don't listen to the whines of those who have settled for a second-rate life and want you to do the same so they won't feel guilty. Your goal is not to live long; it's to live.
Our Savior kneels down and gazes upon the darkest acts of our lives. But rather than recoil in horror, he reaches out in kindness and says, "I can clean that if you want." And from the basin of his grace, he scoops a palm full of mercy and washes away our sin.
If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning... Face it, friend. He is crazy about you!
God never prefabs or mass-produces people. No slapdash shapingI make all things new, he declares (Rev. 21:5 NKJV). He didn't hand you your granddad's bag or your aunt's life; he personally and deliberately packed you. . .
The wizard [of Oz] says look inside yourself and find self. God says look inside yourself and find [the Holy Spirit]. The first will get you to Kansas. The latter will get you to heaven.Take your pick.
If you knew that only a few would care that you came, would you still come? If you knew that those you loved would laugh in your face, would you still care? If you knew that the tongues you made would mock you, the mouths you made would spit at you, the hands you made would crucify you, would you still make them? Christ did.
Nature is God's first missionary. Where there is no Bible there are sparkling stars. Where there are not preachers there are spring times... If a person has nothing but nature, then nature is enough to reveal something about God.
God must've had a blast. painting the stripes on the zebra, hanging the stars in the sky, putting the gold in the sunset. What creativity! Stretching the neck of the giraffe, putting the flutter in the mockingbird's wings, planting the giggle in the hyena. And then, as a finale to a brilliant performance, He made a human who had the unique honour to bear the stamp, In His Image.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek his grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.
My book centers in on the New Testament, the goal being to help a person who wants to understand the Bible to see how what God did as revealed in the New Testament will reveal to them their own personal story.
There's something about compassion that causes society to say, 'We're going to take this person seriously.' Take Mother Teresa. She was confrontational on abortion, but she wasn't rejected by society.
Well, I think the main message is there is more to your story. There is more than what happens between the crib and the grave, and that is what I am really trying to speak to, this idea that all of life is this life and that there is nothing more than what we see and experience right here on this earth.