We want joy in our life. We want peace.
Do we long for God? Does our heart yearn to know what God wants us to do today?
Then we will know joy and peace.
“God can not give us joy and peace apart from Himself cause there is no such thing.” -C.S. Lewis
God doesn’t make us do anything. It is all voluntary. It is our choice.
Have you seen Him? How can you do anything other than obey?
“Jesus never insists on obedience, but when we truly see Him we will instantly obey Him.” ~~ Oswald Chambers
As parents, we worry about all kinds of things. We fret. We get angry.
Here is something to think (worry … ) about. Our children are watching us. The examples we set or don’t tell the story.
May our children see loving parents, grounded in God.
“Don’t worry that your children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” ~Robert Fulghum
Jesus is clear. When his earthly family showed up one day and wanted to see him, he looked at everyone around him and let them know how important they were to him.
We are a part of the family of God. We have been adopted in to the family. We have everything that goes with that.
The only condition is that we obey God. That is all. We are a part of the family because of our obedience, not because of our birthright.
“The person who obeys God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” ~~Jesus (Mark 3:35 The Message)
Jesus challenges us to love everyone, all the time.
Jesus challenges us to love God, with a passion that can’t be replicated.
“Because we love something else more than this world, we love even this world more than those who know no other.” ~~C. S. Lewis
I can’t win two games at one time. I am going to focus on the one I am in right now. I will not start another one.
“Love must be as much a light, as it is a flame.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
There are basics in being a disciple of Jesus. Are the following in place in my life?
- Do I trust in God for everything and reject “self-help”?
- Have I been properly baptized?
- Have the leaders of the church layed hands on me and have I received the Holy Spirit?
- Do I believe in the resurrection of the dead?
- Do I live like there is an eternal judgement?
We can’t go on to maturity without having mastered the basics. If we haven’t mastered Jesus 101, we can’t take the advanced courses. God doesn’t work that way.
“The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on “salvation by self-help” and turning in trust toward God; baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment.” (Hebrews 6:2 The Message)
There are many ways to use our time. Does our calendar devote enough attention to the creative?
“We must use time creatively.” ~~Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun: not only because I see it, but by it I see everything else” ~~C.S.Lewis
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill
My job is to be sympathetic. No doubt about it. That leads to me being a blessing. It is way to easy to judge. That doesn’t help people at all. That is the way of the world.
God’s new plan is different. Be a blessing to others. That is my job to reach God’s goal.
May I be sympathetic.
Summing up: …be sympathetic …. bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-12
You have to love Gideon. Israel is in bad shape. They have abandoned God. Not just a little but completely. Absolutely, positively left Him for good. They Midianites have devastated them and humiliate them for sport. It is embarrassing.
Gideon carries out his daily work in a pit so the Midianites won’t harass him. It works but God knows where he is. So … God shows up on the scene one day. Just like God when you think He can’t find you. The angel of God appeared to him and said, “God is with you, O mighty warrior!” Really? Seriously? He is hiding in a pit. You just have a sense this is going to be rich.
So how would you respond to this? How would I? Probably like Gideon. Skeptical is an understatement. Gideon replied, “With me, my master? If God is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the miracle-wonders our parents and grandparents told us about, telling us, ‘Didn’t God deliver us from Egypt?’ The fact is, God has nothing to do with us—he has turned us over to Midian.”
That is a pretty honest and direct way to reply to God. Interesting in that it didn’t bother God. Not in the least. God had a plan. It involved Gideon. God was going to win. So God faced him directly: “Go in this strength that is yours. Save Israel from Midian. Haven’t I just sent you?”
At this point you would think Gideon would get it. I mean really. What is it going to take. This is God. But no. Gideon said to him, “Me, my master? How and with what could I ever save Israel? Look at me. My clan’s the weakest in Manasseh and I’m the runt of the litter.” Ha. The runt of the litter. That is good. But God doesn’t laugh. And … he said it to God. Now I’m thinking lightening is about to strike. But it didn’t bother God. Not in the least. God had a plan. It involved Gideon. God was going to win. He is so patient.
God said to him, “I’ll be with you. Believe me, you’ll defeat Midian as one man.”
And that was that.
The family is the core of values and all teaching. If you spend time together as family, the truth comes through. This is real and it is not to be ignored.
“All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” ~~Ronald Reagan
This is an amazing truth. God wants us to love everyone we know or come in contact with.
How will they come to know God? Through our love of them.
“To love another person is to help them love God.” ~~Soren Kierkegaard
So sad but true.
May God guide is in His path of love.
“We have guided missiles and misguided men.” ~~Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Christ the Lord is risen today, Sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply.” ~~Charles Wesley
“Christ the Lord is risen today, Sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply.” ~~Charles Wesley
“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” ~~Pope John Paul II
He Is RISEN! He is Risen indeed!
Christ the Lord is risen today, Sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply.
- Charles Wesley
God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’
- Billy Graham
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
- John 11:25-26
If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.
- Timothy Keller
Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.
- Clarence W. Hall
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
- C.S. Lewis
The devil, darkness, and death may swagger and boast, the pangs of life will sting for a while longer, but don’t worry; the forces of evil are breathing their last. Not to worry…He’s risen!
- Charles R. Swindoll
The resurrection completes the inauguration of God’s kingdom. . . . It is the decisive event demonstrating thet God’s kingdom really has been launched on earth as it is in heaven. The message of Easter is that God’s new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and that you’re now invited to belong to it.”
- N.T. Wright
A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.
- Mahatma Gandhi
The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.
- Basil Hume
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
- Romans 10:9
Immanuel, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with Him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendor.
- Charles H. Spurgeon
Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone but in every leaf of springtime.
- Martin Luther
Salvation is the root–the resurrection is the fruit.
- T.D. Jakes
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
- 1 Corinthians 15:3-6
We are adopted into God’s family through the resurrection of Christ from the dead in which he paid all our obligations to sin, the law, and the devil, in whose family we once lived. Our old status lies in his tomb. A new status is ours through his resurrection.
- Sinclair B. Ferguson
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
- Romans 6:8-11
Before the Resurrection of Christ, the Holy Spirit came upon individuals only on certain occasions for special tasks. But now, after the Resurrection, Christ through the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of every believer to give us supernatural power in living our daily lives.
- Billy Graham
In short, I didn’t become a Christian because God promised I would have an even happier life than I had as an atheist. He never promised any such thing. Indeed, following him would inevitably bring divine demotions in the eyes of the world. Rather, I became a Christian because the evidence was so compelling that Jesus really is the one-and-only Son of God who proved his divinity by rising from the dead. That meant following him was the most rational and logical step I could possibly take.
- Lee Strobel
Two thousand years ago, in the Middle East, an event occurred that permanently changed the world. Because of that event, history was split. Every time you write a date, you’re using the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as the focal point.
- Rick Warren
Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer; Death is strong, but Life is stronger; Stronger than the dark, the light; Stronger than the wrong, the right; Faith and Hope triumphant say Christ will rise on Easter Day.
- Phillips Brooks
It was inevitable that Jesus Christ should be crucified. It was also inevitable that He should rise again.
- H.R.L. Sheppard
We live and die; Christ died and lived!
- John Stott
We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.
- Romans 6:9
Because of the empty tomb, we have peace. Because of His resurrection, we can have peace during even the most troubling of times because we know He is in control of all that happens in the world.
- Paul Chappell
The truth of the resurrection gives life to every other area of gospel truth. The resurrection is the pivot on which all of Christianity turns and without which none of the other truths would much matter. Without the resurrection, Christianity would be so much wishful thinking, taking its place alongside all other human philosophy and religious speculation.
- John MacArthur
Let us consider this settled, that no one has made progress in the school of Christ who does not joyfully await the day of death and final resurrection.
- John Calvin
The resurrection is not merely important to the historic Christian faith; without it, there would be no Christianity. It is the singular doctrine that elevates Christianity above all other world religions.
- Pastor Adrian Rogers
Whoever reads the New Testament seriously, or gives thought to the impact which the apostles made upon their generation, must acknowledge that one outstanding historic event alone spurred that small band of 11 ordinary men to an amazing task of evangelization in their generation. Defying every obstacle, loss of home, persecution, even death itself, they evidenced the supreme relevance in their ministry of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- Erling C. Olsen:
The atonement, or forgiveness of sin once and for all achieved on the cross, weighs in, and heavily. But the atonement is onfirmed, ratified, sealed, and made enduringly good by virtue of Christ’s rising from death. Our justification hinges on a risen life, present in us now because Christ is present with us now.
- Paul F.M. Zahl
God has many ways to speak to us. This is one of the perfect ways He does every day. We must celebrate life. It is God’s gift.
“A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.” ~~Carl Sandburg
“You’re never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you’re never as bad as they say when you lose.” ~~Lou Holtz
Jesus had a great way to simplify what He was saying. He was very direct and didn’t beat around the bush.
So, He challenges us to grow up. We know we are children of God and live in His World (Kingdom). We know He is in charge of our lives when we let Him be. So what is holding us back? Actually doing what we know to do. Jesus challenges us to live out our God created identity. We are His children. Are we living like it?
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:48
May we grow up and live our God created identity every day.
God lights my path. God saves me. Simple but straightforward truths about our amazing heavenly Father. I am participating in His new plan for my life. I am hearing great news today. God is smiling. He shows me his grin.
Why should I be worried? Why should I be afraid? If nothing is impossible with God, why would anything seem like a big deal?
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1
May I rely on the stronghold of my life. May I have no fear.
Are we focused on Jesus?
When Peter was, walking on the water, all was fine. When Peter took his eyes off Jesus, he started to sink.
Are we focused on Jesus?
“When you are brought face to face with a difficult situation and nothing happens externally, you can still know that freedom and release will be given because of your continued concentration on Jesus Christ.”
“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” ~~Albert Einstein
How do you stop God?
You don’t. When He wants to do something, He will.
“You might as well try and dam Niagara Falls with toothpicks as to stop the reform wave sweeping our land.”
—– Billy Sunday
We think we know it all. We are very confident about what the future holds for us. Can we really out imagine God?
No, we can’t out imagine the creator of the universe. We can’t out imagine the inventor of love. We can’t out imagine the author of faithfulness.
God loves us and we can’t imagine what He has in store for us. So let’s just fasten our seat belts and enjoy the ride.
“That’s why we have this Scripture text: No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love him.” ~~ Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 2:9 The Message)
It is so very true that the things that irritate us the most about others are the very things that challenge us. You would think we would get it but some days, even looking in the mirror, we miss it.
We all love for people to notice how good we are. It makes us feel better. The pat on the back is nice. It is, however, pride if we let getting kudos drive our behavior. Our motivation must be to please God not to get compliments from others. That is all there is to it.
“The more pride we have, the more other people’s pride irritates us” – C. S. Lewis
Others get to decide how we will come to them. It is their actions that determine that. Will we come as disciplinarian? Friend?
It is their choice. May they make the right ones. May we respond in love.
So how should I prepare to come to you? As a severe disciplinarian who makes you toe the mark? Or as a good friend and counselor who wants to share heart-to-heart with you? You decide. 1 Corinthians 4:21
“Life is just a mirror, and what you see out there, you must first see inside of you.” ~~Wally “Famous” Amos
“Computers are magnificent tools for the realization of our dreams, but no machine can replace the human spark of spirit, compassion, love, and understanding.” – Louis Gerstner
We all need more courage. We should pray to be bolder.
What does it take for more courage in our lives? Faith!
We must believe our Father has great things in mind for us.
“A man of courage is also full of faith.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero.
“Do not trust all men, but trust men of worth; the former course is silly, the latter a mark of prudence.” ~~Democritus
Is the opposite of love hate? Anger? Cruelty?
Not hardly. It is not caring. It is ignoring. It is indifference.
“The opposite of love is not hate, its indifference.” ~~Elie Wiesel
We have “to do” lists but when God talks, we need “to stop” lists.
What does God causing a doubt mean? How does He do that? It is the difference between my doing something absent hearing from God versus have heard from God, I am doing something. We must admit that many times we just move ahead without having heard from God. God can and will cause doubt about that at some point. When that happens, the best thing is to stop immediately.
“Whenever God causes a doubt about something, stop it immediately, no matter what it may be. Nothing in our lives is a mere insignificant detail to God.” ~~Oswald Chambers
“A Diplomat is a Man who Always Remembers a Woman’s Birthday but Never Remembers her Age” ~Robert Frost
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen” – Winston Churchill
We sometimes make the mistake that the circumstances we go through, the trials of life so to speak, give us character. That circumstances make us who we are.
“Character, not circumstances, makes the man.” ~~Booker T. Washington
If we look for problems, we will find them. There are problems at every turn. In fact, if we look to see what God isn’t doing, we’ll see all the evidence we need that God has abandoned us.
That is not God’s way. He wants us to see what He is doing right now. And that perspective is an amazing thing.
May I see God right now!!
“All things work in our favor when we serve God, no matter what the circumstances look like. This core value trains us to look for and focus on God’s redemptive purposes more the problems.”
–Kris Vallotton “Developing a Supernatural Lifestyle
One of my favorite stories is told in a book called “Believe in the God who Believes in You.” Robert Schuller tells about spending the week with a guide in Russia. The lady was an atheist. Bob prayed “What can I say to her?” Here’s what he said happened:
“My words came out without a forethought… I said “I have good news for you.” “Well?” She looked at me; she waited.
“God loves you,” I said. “even if you don’t believe it. And God believes in you even if you don’t believe in Him.”
Wow! That’s so powerful. Even when we don’t believe in Him. Even when we don’t know about Him. Even if we are being just plain stubborn… God believes in us.
It’s just a fact. Because our God is Good.
It is so very easy to fall into the trap that someone else will change what we so love to complain about. Surely they will.
Or will they?
What if they don’t?
What if God is depending on me to be the one to start the change?
What if there is no plan B in God’s mind?
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~~ Gandhi
Jesus demands radical obedience from us but also brings good news. No one is shut out from God. All are welcome.
No one is shut out, ever.
“Neither he (the Son) nor the Father shuts anyone out.” ~~Jesus