Friday, October 28, 2016

Mission from God

Mission From God                                        10-28-16

John 9:4 (ESV) 4  We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.

The phrase immortalized by Jake and Elwood,the Blues Brothers. Remember? "We're on a mission from God!" Have you ever felt like God has placed you on a mission? He won't let it rest. It's on the inside of you and it won't go away.The Apostle Paul felt much the same way about the "mission" that God had placed in his heart. Look at this.

1 Corinthians 9:16 (NASB) 16  For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.

The NASB is better here. You see Paul was what?......what did he say?....he was.........COMPELLED.....he was under COMPULSION to preach. The key here is not WHAT he was doing, but WHY he was doing it. You see, you and I, unlike Paul may not be compelled by God to stand behind a pulpit. We may not be compelled to enter into full time ministry and whatnot. But, rest assured,if you name the name of Jesus,then you will be COMPELLED by God to do something for His Glory.What you ask? I don't know. Get alone with God and find out. That is the only way. There is something or somethings that God has designed uniquely for you. It is your post. Your mission if you will. And why we may ask? Because we must work the works of Him while it is still day,night is coming when NO ONE can work. And herein lieth the lesson. 

Look at this again.

John 9:4 (NASB) 4  "We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.

I have a friend,Mr. Shields as Chloe and Maddie Grace call him.Mr. Shields and I have been meeting  every Tuesday night to pray for about two years;and we have had some powerful answers to prayer over that time. Mr Shields however,is beginning to show signs of physical decline as he is 77 years old. It has been most noticeable these last few Tuesdays and now he just wants to sit and visit for a while when I come over. He told me this last Tuesday night that his days were in decline because he just could not physically do what he used to. He informed me of the various physical difficulties he was having along with some problems with his memory. It was simply a realization should Jesus tarry, that we ALL will face at sometime in the future. 

As Shields was talking to me, I was reminded of my mother in her last months and days telling me the same thing that Mr. Shields was saying. It dawned on me while talking  with my friend,that indeed that was where I was headed. Nighttime descends upon us all doesn't it? That's not a morbid or dark thing. It's just a fact of life;and that is precisely my point today. Jesus instructed us that the night was approaching. It was approaching for the Apostles in Jesus'day. It is approaching for our world and nation today.And most importantly,it is approaching for us as individuals. A time when no one can work.

It is coming Brothers and Sisters as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow.

 Has God given us a mission? If we,like the Apostle Paul,are under compulsion to begin or continue a work that God has placed in our hearts; then we must be about it don't you think? Time is short and the day is far spent.Let us take Jesus words to heart. Work while it is still day. I assure you, God will not let our efforts and obedience go unrewarded will He?

Hebrews 6:10 (NASB) 10  For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.

I'll leave you with the thoughts of a man of God.

Psalm 90:10-12 (NASB) 10  As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away.
11  Who understands the power of Your anger And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?
12  So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.

God Bless


Friday, October 21, 2016

Surly Bonds

Surly Bonds                                                 10-21-16

Ephesians 1:18-19 (ESV) 18  having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
19  and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might

"Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth............................Put out my hand,and touched the face of God........."

This phrase flashed in my mind this week. Don't know why. For all you old timers out there, it's from a poem entitled High Flight and in the days before twenty four hour news and television,it was often used in a sign off late at night when television stations would end their programming day.

That being said, I was speaking with someone this week and this was the comment raised in my direction. "It's not only that I can't talk about better days ahead, I can't even think or imagine them in my mind." He wasn't despondent or distraught, just making a statement of fact. When I heard that I thought about it the rest of the night. That's what this world does to us isn't it? And herein lieth the lesson.

Some years ago this person's comment would probably have labeled him as "clinically depressed." I looked up the definition of clinical depression. Depressed mood,reduced interest or feeling no pleasure in all or most activities, feelings of worthlessness,trouble making decisions or concentrating,you are getting my drift here right? 

And that is what seems crazy about it. He was so matter of fact. So accepting of the apparent  reality that he deemed normal. Can't talk about better days,can't even think or imagine the POSSIBILITY of better days! No hope is the norm!!

It can happen, can't it? We get so caught up in the circumstances of this life. The daily struggle to meet the ever increasing demands of employers. The incessant fighting and bickering  with the wife,husband,kids,in laws outlaws etc.,etc., A nagging illness,a wayward child, the horrors happening on our streets and in our neighborhoods, the rapid decline of our once proud nation into the category of Banana Republic or worse unprintable descriptions. On and on. It's no wonder this guy felt like he did so matter of factly. This is our world......PERIOD.



John 18:36 (ESV) 36  Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

Listen to this. Sometimes you have to escape from where you're living. No, I don't mean you run away to some faraway place.You have to do a little dreaming. You have to break those surly bonds that tie up your mind and spirit. You have to get with God and let Him show you the possibilities. Look at that verse again

Ephesians 1:18-19 (ESV) 18  having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
19  and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might

"...the riches of his glorious inheritance............the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe........

But,first you have to have the eyes of your heart enlightened.

Brothers and sisters, this world will strip you of all hope and you won't even recognize it. It will become the new norm. But, I got a news flash for you(and me) no matter what the media spins, no matter what your friends say,no matter what some blog writer might say, there ARE better days ahead. God has your back on this earth. Not a hair of your head is forgotten. And His reward is coming. Get alone with Him and let Him get you excited again about living in HIS WORLD.

Isaiah 40:31 (ESV) 31  but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Get alone,close your eyes and let God work in you. Don't worry about what anybody thinks or says. Just enjoy the ride and bust loose from those surly bonds.

Psalm 125:1 (ESV) 1
 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

God Bless





Friday, October 14, 2016

Freedom Fighter

Freedom Fighter                                                  10-14-16

Hebrews 12:1 (ESV) 1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Couple of thoughts today.Freedom fighter.....a term with STRONG negative and positive connotations depending on one's experience and perspective.My boss called me on the spur of the moment this week and asked me if I wanted to go to Memphis.We drove down to get a couple of trucks for our operation and drove them back the next day. One other guy went with us and he was familiar with Memphis,having grown up there. So while waiting for the trucks we went to get supper.On the ride to Gus's(great fried chicken and they just opened up a place in Knoxville,check it out) o.k. On the ride to dinner our friend asked us if we wanted to see The Lorraine Hotel. I could not figure out why and then it hit me. The Lorraine Hotel was where Martin Luther King was gunned down.

It took on extra interest for me as I lived through that and well remember it.As a matter of fact as a high school senior I had been in Memphis shortly before MLK's murder. Within a couple of weeks as I remember it. When we pulled up there was the obligatory protest on the opposing street corner. Some folks had set up a display decrying the waste of 27 million dollars spent on the museum that has been built adjoining the hotel itself.

At any rate we got out and walked around the parking lot,watching the various information kiosks,reliving the history and atmosphere that led up to the events of that day. We then walked up to the room and looked at the wreath placed on the second floor balcony.It was all very surreal......and very sobering. At this time,a staid thought entered my thinking.The man died fighting for freedom. He had laid aside all for this one purpose.And herein lieth the lesson.

While I stood gazing at the door to room 306 I was reminded of a conversation I had previously that week. My thoughts centered on a comment made during that conversation, it went like this"we are on the last leg of this journey."When this thought crossed my mind,as I scoped out the boarding house where the fateful shot was fired,I wondered if Dr. King knew that he was on the last leg of his journey. We'll never know. I personally think that he did but that is a question for God only.

As I mused today,unsure on what to write,the verse in Hebrews came to mind.You see this verse not only speaks to sin in our lives,but the various weights and baggage that saddle us. The concerns and worries that hinder our efforts at running and FINISHING the race that the Lord Jesus has set before us. 

You see brothers and sisters,this verse presents us with an uncomfortable dilemma doesn't it? Just this. We ALL are on the last leg of the journey or approaching the homestretch at breakneck speed.Our lives are like a vapor the Bible says.It is not a probability, not a,no it is an absolute REALITY. Here it comes ready or not.

Whether we are world renowned personalities or paper truck drivers, we have a race that is set before us. Sometimes the cost of running that race is very expensive. But, the prize for finishing is precious above all. If we keep looking to the author and finisher of our faith,if we will allow him to remove all the unnecessary baggage out of our backpacks,(a lifelong exercise isn't it) then He promises us a crown at the finish line. Not only that,walking with a lighter load is much more enjoyable than dragging around a ball and chain don't you think?

Matthew 11:28 (ESV) 28  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Get alone with God. Let Him take a look inside that backpack you're toting around.Let the Holy Spirit lighten that load. It's going to make a huge difference when you and I round the third turn and enter he homestretch.The last leg.

Psalm 73:25 (ESV) 25  Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

God Bless



Friday, October 7, 2016


Leftovers                                                            10-07-16

Ruth 2:18 (ESV) 18  And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied.

For some reason this week I felt like reading the Book Of Ruth. I had not read this book in a very long time. It is a short book and so I read it a few times over during the week and didn't really get too much out of it until today. I decided to consult a commentary(Moody's) just to get some details on some passages and whatnot.It was not any particular interpretation that struck my fancy today but a point of grammar that sparked this message. Let me see if I can make some sense of this.

In the commentary while expositing on the second chapter there was a footnote about grammar on verse 14.

Ruth 2:14 (ESV) 14  And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over.

The expression "and she had some left over" is a grammatically active expression. That being the case,the above translation,while correct,does not capture the true nuance of the Scripture. The better translation is "and she sat some aside" The KJV captures verse 18 more accurately.

Ruth 2:18 (KJV) 18 And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.

Ruth"had reserved" (past tense) or "set some aside" for her Mother in law Naomi.When I read this footnote the Holy Spirit quickened me on the inside. The word leftovers started floating around. And herein lieth the lesson.

This seemingly unimportant detail takes on some significance when viewed in this light doesn't it? You see it appears that Ruth was conscious of Naomi's welfare wasn't she?She took up to Naomi after she had eaten her full, that which she had RESERVED BEFOREHAND for Naomi.

You see Ruth did not offer to Naomi LEFTOVERS. It was not an afterthought to provide for her mother in law.Neither did she make sure that she had enough before she considered her mother in law's plight. (They were very poor) It seems to me that she actually PREFERRED Naomi's welfare to her own in that she RESERVED/SET ASIDE Naomi's portion beforehand. Whether it was beforehand or not is moot. Ruth had reserved in her heart Naomi's portion before her own. You gettin my drift here?  

Brothers and sisters,the demands made on you and me by this ever more corrupt world are increasing in intensity and frequency. It is very and I do mean VERY easy to become inundated and even overwhelmed by the daily grind to just survive. The system is DESIGNED to wear us down. It's only concern for us is that we continue to feed the beast. More and more and more. Just like the horse leach. Give and Give.

Proverbs 30:15 (ESV) 15  The leech has two daughters: Give and Give. Three things are never satisfied; four never say, “Enough”:

If we are not careful the enemy will steal all that we have so that all that is left for God are the leftovers. That is the design or purpose isn't it? It matters not what area of our lives this affects. Money,time,service,...the plan is to steal the best that we have to offer,and give to God the leftovers,...if any are left.The pressure to feed the beast is intense and real. The temptation to put God on the "back burner"is sly and subtle.

In order to prevent us from falling into this snare of the devil, we must CONSCIOUSLY decide to RESERVE AND SET ASIDE THAT WHICH IS GOD'S. Whether it be money,time,service to others etc., we must BEFOREHAND make up our minds to take God off the back burner and get Him before our hearts and minds. Ya feelin'me here?

You see brothers and sisters the Bible says that in spite of Naomi's considerable efforts to persuade her daughters in law to return to their people and their gods. One fell for it. Ruth,on the other hand,would not be dissuaded. She clung to Naomi. 

Ruth 1:14 (ESV) 14  Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

That is the key in this upside down world of ours. We must cling to God.We must make every effort to reserve and set aside our time, our possessions and most of all our hearts.Folks,it's tough enough in this world, we don't need to make it any tougher by leaving God out of the equation. Amen? Amen!   

Psalm 25:12 (ESV) 12  Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.

God Bless