Friday, August 28, 2015

He Loves You!



I think this is one of the most important prayers in the Bible, that God would give us a Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we can know Him.  God loves you so much and wants a real relationship with you.  It is possible, you can know God and He can know you.  You can be alive in His Spirit, know His love in your life, and be filled with the Hope of eternal life.  God Bless!

"Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe..."
-Ephesians 1:15-19

Friday, August 21, 2015

Has the Message Changed You?

“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”
-Philippians 3:18-21

As we drove through the West Virginia countryside last week, I saw a sign in front of a church that read, “We don’t change the message, the message changes us.”  That prompted me to think of how many people in our culture want to change God’s message by conforming it to their sinful lifestyle.  But Jesus didn’t die so we could remain in our sins.  He died to free us from our sins, to free us from the power of sin.  My question for you today is this:  Has the message changed your life? 

I grew up in church.  As a young boy, I was taught God’s word.  And I had a wonderful example of a praying mother.  I’m grateful for the foundation that was laid in my life.  I believe it has carried me through some hard times.  In many ways, the message formed my character.  Yet, I have still struggled with some things that have not been easy to change.  Sometimes the lack of change can be discouraging. 

It’s great when God changes us instantly.  There was a time in my life, where sometimes I would get so down on myself that I would literally look in the mirror and curse myself.  One night I was walking by my church in Texas, singing quietly.  I wasn’t really focusing on the Lord, just enjoying the peaceful evening.  Suddenly the Holy Spirit came upon me.  I couldn’t get low enough to the ground.  I was on my knees in the gravel, convicted by the Spirit.  In that moment, God made it clear to me that I was not going to curse myself anymore.  I didn’t feel the least bit condemned.  I felt loved by God.  I walked away free, a changed person. 

A week or two after my experience I felt that spirit, what I believe was a spirit of self-hatred, try to come back into my life.  I recognized it immediately and stopped it.  Since that day, I haven’t stood in front of the mirror and cursed myself.  Even though I still get down on myself sometimes, I know God set me free.  In His presence I was changed.    

There are other things in our lives that do not change as quickly or easily.  It is a process.  But we can change.  We are changed “from glory to glory.”  We change by beholding His glory.  II Corinthians 3:17-18 says, 
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 
I have a tendency to focus on my problems.  I get discouraged with my own lack of progress.  Or I feel like a failure because I want to change, but struggle to do so.  However, focusing on our problems is not the answer.  Focusing on Jesus is the answer.  We are changed into His image by looking at Him.  We become more like Him, when we fix our eyes on Him.  By faith in Him, we can speak to the mountains in our lives, and see them move!  Thank God, we can be changed by the power of His Holy Spirit!  Today, the message is still powerful.  It still changes ordinary people.  Has the message changed you?

“I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
-Matthew 17:20

Monday, August 17, 2015

Fountains of Living Water

Here's a short video we recorded during our recent backpacking trip in West Virginia:



Revelation 7:9-17

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
Amen.”
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”

And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”

So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”