Seeing Beyond Loss

IMG_0076Old barn on Johnson Road

Author William Zinsser described his last visit to see the house where he grew up, a place he greatly loved as a boy. When he and his wife arrived at the hill overlooking Manhasset Bay and Long Island Sound, they found that the house had been demolished. All that remained was a huge hole. Disheartened, they walked to the nearby seawall. Zinsser looked across the bay, absorbing the sights and sounds. Later, he wrote of this experience, “I was at ease and only slightly sad. The view was intact: the unique configuration of land and sea I remember so well that I still dream about it.”

The psalmist wrote of a difficult time when his soul refused to be comforted and his spirit was overwhelmed (Ps. 77:2-3). But in the midst of his trouble, he shifted his focus from his sadness to his Savior, saying, “I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the works of the Lord . . . Your wonders of old” (vv. 10-11).

In dealing with disappointment, we can either focus on our loss or on God Himself. The Lord invites us to look to Him and see the scope of His goodness, His presence with us, and His eternal love.

Heavenly Father, this life can be both wonderful and disappointing. We know that things are not the way they ought to be. Our disappointments cause us to turn to You, the only true hope for the world.

Faith in God’s goodness keeps hope alive.

View of Life

IMG_0954Bible George Washington used inauguration 1789

When we become Christ followers, our view of life should change. No longer are we the center of our world; instead, Christ is (Gal. 2:20). It’s essential that we switch our thinking to a Christian worldview because what we believe dictates how we behave. Many of us have a “patchwork quilt” type of perspective, where we have taken some truths from Scripture, some from our upbringing, and some from our culture to determine what we believe. We often don’t even realize we have done this.

As believers, we are to search Scripture to find answers for all of life’s questions, such as: Where did I come from? (see Gen. 1.); What happens when I die? (John 14:1-4); How do I explain human behavior? (Rom. 3:9-18); How can I determine right from wrong? (2 Tim. 3:16); and What is the purpose of man? (Isa. 43:7). If we have biblical answers—a Christian worldview—we will think and behave in ways that glorify God.

The most vital question is, What is important to God? From the Bible, we learn that all of nature declares the glory of God (Ps. 19:1), the chief aim of man is to glorify the Lord, and Jesus’ mission on earth revealed God’s glory. So we know that what matters to God is His glory.

Does this surprise you? We often fall into thinking that the world revolves around us and the Lord’s work has to do with our needs, wants, and pleasures. But the truth is that life is all about God and glorifying Him. Let us humbly bow before Him, change our thinking, and join Him in the pursuit of His glory.

Making a Difference

IMG_0997What Does It Mean To Witness? 

In Matthew 4:19, Jesus gave some fisherman a rather strange proposition. “Follow me,” He said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” What could He possibly mean? How can one “catch” men? A simple reading of the book of Acts will give us the answer. Jesus wanted these men to become soul winners!

It is the call and duty of every born again believer to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with lost sinners.

We read in the book of Romans, chapter 10, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? … So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

When Things Don’t Go Well

IMG_0887Tunnel in Central Park, used in a lots of Movies and TV, usually when the bad guy was chasing someone

The first words that many people like to quote when misfortune hits are: “Foe we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). But that’s hard to believe in hard times. I once sat with a man who had lost his third son in a row, and I listened as he lamented, “How can this tragedy work for my good?” I had no answer but to sit silently and mourn with him. Several months later, he was thankful as he said, “My sorrow is drawing me closer to God.”

Tough as Romans 8:28 may be to understand, countless testimonies give credence to the truth of it. The story of hymn writer Fanny Crosby is a classic example. The world is the beneficiary of her memorable hymns, yet what worked together for good was born out of her personal tragedy, for she became blind when she was an infant. At only age 8, she began to write poetry and hymns. Writing over 8,000 sacred songs and hymns, she blessed the world with such popular songs as “Blessed Assurance,” “Safe in the Arms of Jesus,” and “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior.” God used her difficulty to bring good for her and us and glory for Him.

When tragedy befalls us, it’s hard to understand how anything good can come from it, and we won’t always see it in this life. But God has good purposes and always remains with us.

What trial in your life have you found to be for your good? What good things have come from it? What are you now suffering that you pray will bring something good?

Breaking Free From the Comparison Trap

IMG_1072The Immigrants praying and being thankful to God for a new life in the USA

Ephesians 2:6 – “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.”

Have you ever noticed that we buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t even like? We try to keep up with the Jones family, but when we finally catch up with them, they refinance! Let me exhort you to get off that comparison treadmill and onto the pathway of serenity. You are accepted right now in Christ. God does not change you so He can love you. He loves you so He can change you! God loves you as much as He loves Jesus. If you are saved, you are in Christ. And where is He? He is seated in the heavenlies. You are also seated in those heavenly places, even though you still have your address on planet Earth. You are enthroned with Him.

When was the last time you compared yourself with someone else? It’s time to get yourself unharnessed from the comparison yoke and break free as a child of the King!

From the messages of Adrian Rogers

The Weak and the Strong

I was able to visit the 9-11 Memorial, while in New York. My emotions when from sad to mad, from unbelief to thankfulness.

I asked myself the questions  “How small is your god if you have to kill to please him?” My answer was “very small.” If a person beliefs require them to kill innocent men and women boys and girls, then their religion is in vain.

“How big is your God if you can forgive them?” My answer.”Very Big.”

God’s grace is far greater than mine  and His forgiveness far out reaches mine.

Here are a few pictures from that visit:

IMG_0983  Entrance to the 9-11 Memorial

IMG_0975 Where the first plane hit the tower

IMG_0976 The first responders Fire Truck

IMG_0973 The last beam removed from site, signed by Fire Dept. and Police Dept.

IMG_0968 View from inside Memorial “original corner”  still in place. Through the window you can see the new “Freedom Tower” One World Trade Tower.

IMG_0967 The Freedom Tower

IMG_0884 The Memorial Fountain, with all the names of the victims

 

Witness NY

I would like to thank the Church for sending me on this trip. I was able to see a whole BIG world. People from all races and walks of life. The one thing that stood out to me was the apathy toward God. Many were “turned off” from formal religions and seemed to just be going through their life with no hope or peace.

We did “Narrative Mapping”, which is simply going out into a define area and asking questions, do you live in area?, do you work here?, do you go to Church here?, do you have an opinion of who God is?, what would help you choose a Church?. These and others were the type of questions we asked, the reasoning is to determine where would be the most logical place to “plant” a new Church.

It really opened my eyes to how much people need the Lord.

ny mission trip 2016

On board and In Control

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
— Mark 4:37

The disciples’ so often missed “it.” They were busy with what they were doing and often failed to recognize the miracles going on around them. In Mark 6:52, “they considered not the miracle of the loaves.” In our text, we are looking at a storm that was meant to try the faith of the disciples, however, they did not realize they were safe. The disciples were safe because:

1. Jesus was in the craft. He was leading the way for His disciples to follow. Although things that started out well and were getting worse, Jesus was there in the boat. No matter what your “boat” is going through, no matter its location, Jesus is with you through it all!

2. Jesus was in control. Although it seemed Jesus was asleep or inactive, he was fully in control. He does not need to be doing anything to be doing something, for His very presence is enough. Jesus had known ahead of time that the storm was coming, yet, He had no trouble falling asleep, He did not fear it. The disciples felt that they were the target of the storm, however sometime storms come because you have Jesus in your boat. It maybe a test from Satan. The disciples turn to Jesus which was the best thing to do, But their attitude was not right. We need to come in faith believing and expecting that Jesus will make things happen.

3. Jesus was in command. Although the disciples were frantic and fearful, Jesus had none of these emotions. He spoke and the results happened: the storm responded to his command.

Are we doubting His care? Are we forgetting the power Jesus possesses?