Archive for April, 2019

Facts and Effects

April 23rd, 2019


“Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits
of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Corinthians 15:19-20 NIV.
My thoughts and comments on Easter are about, “Facts and Effects.”

Not all things are absolute truth, but the deity, birth, life, sacrificial death, resurrection, ascension of Jesus, and His certain return and rapture of the redeemed are absolutely true. You were created to enjoy life now and a timeless eternity with your Creator, along with all others who place their faith in Christ for salvation purchased by His death on the cross and assured by His resurrection from the tomb. Sadly, too many lives are lived confined and much smaller than God intended.

You were made in the image of a great God to enjoy an eternity with Him. Each Spring, our celebration of Calvary and the Resurrection reminds us that life extends beyond this brevity of years. As you celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus and His promise of your own resurrection, remember one powerful, consequential truth.

During my college years (and that is quite a while ago), the Holy Spirit inspired a life-long passion in my heart to know God intimately, as I read Paul’s words, ”That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Read Philippians 3:10-12 NKJV. Do you hear the insatiable passion in Paul’s words? Why then are we content to settle for such shallow, inconsequential lives?

Paul desired and anticipated a depth of interaction and spiritual intimacy with Jesus that produce supernatural life. Paul described an intimate depth of knowledge that is personally experiential rather than merely intellectual. Too often we know much more intellectually than we are committed to experience spiritually.

AThe Hebrew and Greek form of the words, “to know Christ,” describe, “an intimate experience with the capacity and power to create and conceive, resulting in an expanded dimension of spiritual life.” Jesus said, ”It is the spirit that quickens (gives life); the flesh profits nothing. The Words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they [birth] life.” John 6:63 KJV. The fact of the Resurrection is a powerful and persuasive truth when an  unbelieving world witnesses the incontrovertible effects of the Resurrection in the lives of those who claim Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

After his conversion, the Apostle Paul wrote, ”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.” Read 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 NIV. Paul considered this foundational truth to be, “of first importance.” The Holy Spirit prioritized the death and resurrection of Jesus as the foundational truth for your faith, life, and future destiny.  

Opinions change; feelings falter; truth always remains. God’s Word abides forever. Jesus assures us that, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35 NIV. At the house of Cornelius, Peter declared that the literal Resurrection of Jesus, and the assurance of our own, is the cornerstone of our faith.

For those who witnessed the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, there was no doubt whatsoever. They were eye witnesses. Their testimony was simple and clear, “God raised Jesus from the dead on the third day and caused Him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen.” Acts 10:40-41 NIV. Today, you and I are the witnesses God has chosen. The central event of all history, as well as your eternal destiny, is the enduring cornerstone of the literal resurrection of Jesus and His triumphant return. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to know the resurrection power of Jesus in daily life.

Christian Communications 2019
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Invest in Matters Eternal not Temporal

April 10th, 2019

Invest In Matters Eternal Not Temporal

“All who are tired from carrying heavy loads.” Matthew 11:28 NLT.

My thoughts and  comments
today are about, “A Life That Matters.”

Doing life God’s way works best. Doing life your way will never satisfy your heart. Jesus promises people the deepest kind of rest. And just how does Jesus accomplish that? He invites the weary to work alongside Him, and with Him. How does labor result in rest?

Jesus’ words seemed to contradict what people had previously experienced. Predominantly, work was manual and often exhausting. Maybe today, or at some other point in your life, you have felt physically exhausted, or emotionally depleted, or spiritually weary. Weariness takes varying forms. When Jesus spoke of effort, labor, and weariness, His listeners knew that He was talking about work.

Their daily lives were agricultural, and their livelihood depended upon the soil and the sea. They ate and bartered with what they could raise or catch. Neither was an easy task; both involved long and tedious hard work. A farmer’s yoke for his oxen or the  fisherman’s net were identifiable symbols of strenuous effort and physical weariness. And sometimes after all their best efforts, there still were disappointing results.

Exactly, to whom was Jesus talking?  The Bible is clear. Jesus invited, “All who are tired from carrying heavy loads.” Matthew 11:28 NLT. Are you one of those? Heavy loads are not always external. Sometimes they are more internal – unseen by others but not unknown by you. That heavy load could be confusion, emotions, worries, weariness, regrets, disappointment, mistakes, or uncertainties that can all weigh on your mind, weaken your hope, and weary your body and soul.

Do you identify with any of those? You work harder and longer but seem to have less evidence of success and satisfaction. Jesus’ invitation to the weary and to you and me is this: “Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls . . My yoke is easy, and my burden is  light.” Read Matthew 11:28 30 NLT. You may have thought you knew how to make life work on your own terms. But the labor, with its accumulating concern and tiredness, finally catches up with you. That’s when Jesus says, “Let Me teach you.”

Here are three simple things Jesus will teach you.

(1) Do what pleases God. Anything else is extraneous and less important. Jesus lived without anxiety, uncertainty, frustration, or failure. Learn from His example:Jesus prioritized obedience above all else. “I always do what pleases the Father.” John 8:29 NIV. That is bedrock upon which to build an abounding life.

Serving God without learning what pleases Him is needlessly exhausting and fruitlessly ineffective. The Bible is clear. “Live a life worthy of the Lord, please Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing in the knowledge of God.” Read Colossians 1:9-12 NIV.

(2) Do what God is doing. “Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and tells Him everything He is doing . . the very work that the Father has given Me to finish . . I am doing.”John 5:19-20/36 NLT/NIV. Life is best when you invest yourself in things eternal, rather than wasted on what is only temporal.

(3) Do everything at God’s direction and with His anointing. “The Son can do nothing by Himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing.” John 5:19 NLT. Why live your life without including a great God? Nothing could be worse than coming to the end of your life and stand before a loving God with regret that so many years were wasted that could have been better invested in matters eternal.

Why squander a precious life too busy about things temporal but not eternal? Jesus gives His invitation to life, abundant now and eternal forever. Now, He awaits your initiative to obey.

Today, I pray for you to find assurance and contentment in life.

Christian Communications 2019
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The Eyes of Your Heart

April 3rd, 2019

Looking and seeing are not the same.
My thoughts and comments today are about,
“the eyes of your heart.”
”I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.” Ephesians 1:18 NIV.

Poetically, Shakespeare described the eyes as, “the window of the soul.” Your eyes and countenance mirror health and happiness as well as worry or weariness. There is much about a person that is mirrored in their eyes. I suggest that is also true of your spiritual life. Jesus explained, “When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light . . Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light.” Read Luke 11:33-36 NIV.

But let’s dig a little deeper and consider insight. Insight is seeing beneath and beyond what is obvious. That is more important still. Paul contrasted natural sight with spiritual insight, ”I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which God has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people.” Ephesians 1:18 NIV. Before reading further, take a few moments to consider Paul’s wonder of, “the hope and  the riches of His glorious inheritance!”

Too much of life is spent looking without really seeing. There is goodness and beauty all around you, when you have eyes to see from the heart. Often, we can see only the reflection of our own heart. When you see with love you achieve understanding. I think that would describe me in a museum or art gallery. I have wandered through world famous art museums in London, Berlin, Turkey, the world-famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Musee du Louvre and Musee d’Orsay in Paris.

Now an embarrassing confession. My wife, Gayle, was the one who saw more than I was capable to appreciate. In every instance, I was more tourist than art-lover. On one of those occasions, I recall watching a young student enthralled before a masterpiece, studying every brush stroke and vivid color while sketching a painting that I had glanced at for only a few moments, admired briefly, and then moved on. I looked. That student studied every exquisite detail with awe. Through the eyes of her heart, she saw beauty my eyes could not. I looked at the same priceless masterpiece but lacked the capacity to appreciate the priceless beauty before me.

I believe that is true in life and love. Until life is seen through the eyes of your heart, you will not see God’s masterful artistry in yourself or others.Some look at the Bible and the heart of the loving God it reveals yet see only His commandments without seeing His selfless compassion, sacrificial gifts, and sufficient grace. When you look with your heart, you will see what is plainly there to see. God loves you.

I have found this to be true. If you’re not looking through the eyes of your heart, you won’t see what you need to see. Look for God in your everyday life; look around you for His goodness in yourself and from others. He is there; open your heart. The truly spiritual life is no casual walk in the park. A spiritual life requires discipline, commitment, and sacrifice. In those, you meet and know God.

An indescribable day awaits you. ”For now, we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV. You will see what you most need to see when you are where God wants you to be.

God welcomes you to meet Him in a place where you can know Him more fully, love Him sincerely, and enjoy Him completely. ”So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to have a heart to see God in every day and moment.

Christian Communications 2019
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“The eyes of your heart.”