Monday, December 26, 2011

If We Can Just See The Shore

"In 1952, Florance Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island, California, determined to swim to the mainland. An experienced swimmer, she had already been the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways.

The weather that day was foggy and chilly; Florance could hardly see the boats accompanying her. Still she swam steadily for fifteen hours. When she begged to be taken out of the water along the way, her mother, in a boat alongside, told her that she was close and that she could make it. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, Florance stopped swimming and was pulled out. It wasn't until she was aboard the boat that she discovered the shore was less than half a mile away. At a news conference the next day, she said, "All I could see was the fog... I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it."

"As you face discouragement, difficulty, or fatigue, or as you are surrounded by the fog of uncertain circumstances, are you thinking- "If only I could see the shore, I could make it?"

So set your sights on Jesus Christ, the Rock of salvation. He is the one who has promised to prepare a place for those who put their hope in him, a place where they will live with him FOREVER! If we can learn to fix our eyes on JESUS, to see through the fog and picture our eternal home in our mind's eye, it will comfort and energize us, giving us a clear look at the finish line."

No matter how tough life becomes, if we can see the shore and draw our strength from Christ, we WILL make it!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Education: From A Christian Point Of View!

An education from the modern dictionary is:

“the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge—developing the powers of reasoning and judgment and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.”

From the modern point of view an education is a means for a better life. When one is “formally” educated they have the opportunity to have a better job which brings in more income, which in turn leads to a more comfortable lifestyle which in the end results in a more prosperous life.

However, from a Christian point of view an education is seen in a very different light. As Christians we were created solely for the purpose of glorifying the Lord and enjoying Him forever. Our duty is to serve the Lord and to honor Him and to bring Him glory through all that we do. We are to let the light of Christ shine through us for the entire world to see.

He is the potter and we are the clay. The Lord is molding us, shaping us, and forming us exactly the way He wants us to be. We are the work of His hands—a masterpiece in the making. Just like there are many different kinds of pots, each to serve a different function. In the same way we He has created us all differently because He has a different function for each person to fulfill. As we discover our gifts and how we might use them and in seeking an education whether it be a “formal education”—a structured, prearranged, “by the book” system, OR an “informal education”—because life itself is a huge vehicle for learning and becoming educated. Wherever we are called to go or whatever we are called to do, the sole purpose of it all is in learning how to serve the Lord to the best of our abilities.

In the Webster’s Dictionary an education is defined as:

“the bringing up, as of a child; instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts, and science is important, to give them a religious education is indispensable.”

This definition focuses fully on developing the child as an individual. It takes into account that God created us in His image each with a purpose and a specific plan for each of our lives. And to give a child a religious education is absolutely necessary. Each one of us needs spiritual understanding and insight into that special knowledge revealed only by God Himself. Without that substantial spiritual foundation, our basic natural understanding will always fall short. As the scriptures say:

“I am the vine, you are the branches, He who abides in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

We can do no good apart from our Lord. Therefore, being educated in such a way that the Word of God is at the base of all subjects I believe is how God truly intended us to be educated. As stated before—our purpose on this earth is to glorify God. The Lord has every step of our lives planned out—He has arranged every single detail for a specific purpose for us individually. Our God is creating a story and each one of us has a special part in His-story. Knowing this helps us persevere and gives us that motivation we all need to keep pushing towards our goals.

NOW imagine not having this knowledge.

Without the spiritual motivation sometimes our only motivation is selfish ambition. Ones education now becomes a means to accomplish selfish goals. We are often driven by the desire for wealth, status, or pleasure. Also our nature wants to be recognized and seen as important. Ways of accomplishing this is by pursuing an education to gain more knowledge than others to maintain a feeling of superiority.

Education is a good thing—but when our reasoning, and our motivation, and our goals become self-centered it is no longer a good thing in God’s eyes. Any good thing can be turned into a bad thing with the wrong motivation. The purest motivation is that of serving God. When your motivation is to serve God—your education now becomes a vehicle by which you can serve Him better!

Friday, December 9, 2011


"There was a couple who took a trip to England to shop in a beautiful antique store to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery, and especially teacups. Spotting an exceptional cup, they asked "May we see that? We've never seen a cup quite so beautiful."

As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke, "You don't understand. I have not always been a teacup. There was a time when I was just a lump of red clay. My master took me and rolled me pounded and patted me over and over and I yelled out, 'Don't do that. I don't like it! Let me alone.' But he only smiled, and gently said; 'Not yet!'" "Then. WHAM! I was placed on a spinning wheel and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. 'Stop it! I'm getting so dizzy! I'm going to be sick,' I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, quietly; 'Not yet.'

"He spun me and poked and prodded and bent me out of shape to suit himself and then… Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I yelled and knocked and pounded at the door. Help! Get me out of here! I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head from side to side, 'Not yet'."

"When I thought I couldn't bear it another minute, the door opened. He carefully took me out and put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. Oh, that felt so good! Ah, this is much better, I thought. But, after I cooled he picked me up and he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. 'Oh, please; Stop it, Stop it!' I cried. He only shook his head and said. 'Not yet!'."

"Then suddenly he put me back in to the oven. Only it was not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I just knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. I was convinced I would never make it. I was ready to give up. Just then the door opened and he took me out and again placed me on the shelf, where I cooled and waited ------- and waited, wondering "What's he going to do to me next? An hour later he handed me a mirror and said 'Look at yourself.'" "And I did. I said, 'That's not me; that couldn't be me. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful!'

Quietly he spoke: 'I want you to remember, then,' he said, 'I know it hurt to be rolled and pounded and patted, but had I just left you alone, you'd have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know it hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened. You would not have had any color in your life. If I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you wouldn't have survived for long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. Now you are what I had in mind when I first began with you."

"The moral of this story is this: God knows what He's doing for each of us. He is the potter, and we are His clay. He will mold us and make us, and expose us to just enough pressures of just the right kinds that we may be made into a flawless piece of work to fulfill His good, pleasing and perfect will.

So when life seems hard, and you are being pounded and patted and pushed almost beyond endurance; when your world seems to be spinning out of control; when you feel like you are in a fiery furnace of trials; when life seems to "stink", try this....

Brew a cup of your favorite tea in your prettiest teacup, sit down and think on this story and then, have a little talk with the Potter."

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Faith means we have a confidence of what we hope for and a certainty of what we do not see. It is to perceive what is behind the curtain. A belief in things unseen. Christian faith is a spiritual decision. A knowing from within that the thing you are hoping for is firmly established, even before you see any material evidence that it is true or has happened. Faith causes you to know in your heart before you see with your eyes. For we walk by faith not by sight,” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith in God is from the heart, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).

On the other hand, our Christian faith is not only a personal or private relationship we establish with God, but also ought to be a public confession and profession. Remember Peter—one of Christ’s disciples who proclaimed to have a great love and faith in Christ, and yet on the night before Jesus’ death he denied even knowing Christ three times. Even Peter, a hero of the faith showed a wavering when it came to openly expressing his faith and friendship with Christ. However, later his faith was displayed greatly even to the point of martyrdom.

What is it that keeps us from expressing our faith? Is it not fear? Yet, we are called to be fearless in our profession of faith. Jesus was very clear that our faith is not just a private matter. We are to be salt and light in this world. Our good works ought to be recognized by everyone as a reflection of Christ, ruler of all--so that they might glorify Him in all of His greatness.

How often do we have the opportunity to share our faith, to share the gospel, or to pray with someone? Don’t be afraid of what others might think—rather consider what God might think.

On a similar note, “What good is it if you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone” (James 2:14)? For a man to have faith and a man to “say” he has faith are two different things. It is one thing to say you believe in God and His word—but a whole different thing to act out and live out your life based on this belief. Faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good fruit, it is dead and useless.

As Christians, we are held to a higher behavioral standard. Christ gave us commands which we are to obey. These commands are not a means of salvation—they are instructions of how we ought to live. We are to obey Christ not out of fear of punishment, but simply because He is our Savior, and because we love Him. The greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul. It is also the greatest motive for obedience. We obey Him because we love Him and we love Him because He first loved us and has graciously adopted us as His children.

You may claim to have faith and believe that God is: omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent—all knowing, all powerful, and everywhere at all times. You may believe that God holds all things together, works all things together for the good of those who love Him, fulfills all of His promises, and puts us through nothing we can’t handle. Knowing that if God is truly for us, than we have no reason to fear—for who could possibly be against us? You may profess to believe all of these biblical truths, but does your state of faith motivate you to action? And what is that action?

Perhaps you’ve come to a fork in the road. Maybe a door has been closed on you and its time to open a new one. Maybe its time to move, or go to a different school, or time to leave a job in order to pursue something else. When we don’t exactly know what’s around the next corner of life, are we really willing to step out of the boat in faith?

Consider Abraham—when God said to him, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2). By faith Abraham obeyed God, “He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned” (Hebrews11:17). God fulfilled His promise to Abraham by providing a substitute sacrifice for his son, Isaac—just as He fulfilled His promise to us, as believers, of sending a substitute sacrifice, in Christ Jesus.

The defining question is this—if we were put into such a position would we be able to respond with such faith? For faith is only as genuine as it is when it is tested.

"It is good to be a Christian and know it, but even better to be a Christian and show it."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What are you thinking about?

What are some of the things you tend to think about?

Are they usually positive thoughts or negative thoughts?

Is it the truth or are they lies?

Rather than thinking only of what you've lost, think about how God may be using your loss to benefit you. Rather than thinking about how miserable you are, ponder how you can make someone else happy. Rather than worrying about what will happen tomorrow, figure out how you can be a blessing to someone today. Instead of grumbling and complaining, PRAISE God for all the things He has done for you!

SO often what we choose to think about is what directs our attitude... our mood... or how we respond to something.

"The way we think determines the way we feel and the way we feel influences the way we act!"

"And now, dear brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or worthy of praise— dwell on these things!" (Philippians 4:8)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tamar and Rahab!

Tamar and Rahab were two very extraordinary women. They both lived very different lives, and they both lived out their faith in two very different ways. They both took risks. And they both ended up in the bloodline of the Messiah.

It had been prophesied that our Lord Jesus Christ would descend from the line of Judah. When Judah was still very young he entered into a marriage with a Canaanite- woman. By her he had three sons by the names of Er, Onan, and Shelah. Judah found a wife for his first born son, Er, by the name of Tamar. However, Er turned out to be wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord killed him before his wife was able to bear a son. Therefore, the next son, Onan went and took her as his wife, in order that she might conceive and bear a child to preserve the name of his brother. But Onan knew the child would not be his heir, so he refused to have a child unto his brother’s name. This displeased the Lord: therefore He killed him also.

Now Shelah was Judahs only son left. Judah feared that he might lose him as well, so he told Tamar to remain a widow until Shelah was old enough to take her as his wife.

After some time, Shelah grew up, but it was obvious to Tamar that her father-in-law had no intentions of giving his son to her. Therefore, when Tamar heard that Judah would be gone to sheer his sheep, she decided to cover herself with a veil, pretending to be a prostitute in order that she might seduce Judah on his way home--- thinking, that if the son would not, the father might raise up a child through her to carry on the name of her first husband. For payment he gave her a signet ring, later to be retrieved with the payment of a goat. However, later when Judah sent someone to send the goat and retrieve his belongings, the woman could not be found.

A while later, Judah found out that Tamar was pregnant. Since she was a widow and unmarried he assumed that she acted immorally. So Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned.” When she came out, she said, “By the man to whom these belong, I am with child. Please determine who’s signet ring this is.” Judah confessed that they were his, and said, “She has been more righteous than I.”

Now when it came time that Tamar would give birth, she discovered that twins were in her womb. Like Jacob and Esau, they both struggled for the birthright, and Perez obtained it, the other was named Zerah, but it was Perez from which Christ descended.

Now Rahab is introduced as a prostitute. She was an immoral women living in Jericho, a pagan culture that was devoted entirely to everything God hates. Jericho was part of the Amorite Kingdom. The Amorite culture had been so completely corrupt for so long, that God himself had condemned them and ordered the Israelites to wipe them from the face of the earth.

Rahab was enslaved and in bondage to her own sin, and held on to a terribly evil society that was already under God’s condemnation. They were marked out for eternal destruction. But divine grace redeemed her, and she repented of her sins. Now the Lord was ready to use her in a mighty way.

During this same time, Joshua sent two spies into Jericho to view the land, in order to plan out his attack on them. As they entered the land, the providence of God directed them to the house of Rahab. It was by faith that Rahab received these men with peace, and she knew both where they came from and what their business was, saying, “I know that the Lord has given you this land. The terror of you has fallen on us, and all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.”

She hid the men upon the roof of her house, so that If the officers would come searching for them, they would not be discovered.

When the king did find out that there were Israelites searching the country they went directly to Rahab’s telling her to bring out the men who have come to her house. But Rahab told them that she never allowed them to enter, and encouraged them to continue searching else where, so they might catch them in time.

Because Rahab had protected the Israelite men, they had agreed to protect her and her family in return. Rahab was later accepted into the Israelite community. She became the wife of Salmon, and then became one of the ancestors of Christ.

Both Tamar and Rahab were originally Canaanites. Tamar had already embraced the true religion, and believed the promise made to Abraham—that the Messiah would descend from the line of Judah. Rahab lived in Jericho, a thoroughly pagan and depraved culture which God had already condemned and marked out for eternal destruction.

Tamar was raised in a Jewish culture and had a full knowledge of God, while Rahab was raised in a pagan culture and had no knowledge of God. Tamar, even through her knowledge of God, lacked faith and took things into her own hands and deceived her father-in-law. The Lord had revealed Himself to Rahab and entered her heart in a society where knowledge of Him was rare, causing her to act purely out of faith.

Both women were deceptive. Tamar’s deception was selfish. Knowing that the Messiah would descend from the line of Judah, she had a great desire to have a child through one of Judah’s sons, but when that was no longer an option, she ended up not having faith and trusting that the Lord would carry out His promise; causing her to commit a very sinful act.

Rahab, though she clearly betrayed her country by protecting the enemies of it, and helping those that were planning the destruction of Jericho. She put her own life in jeopardy by protecting these men. However, her actions were of faith and not based of her own self benefits. And the Lord blessed her greatly for that.

Tamar feared her own position over God, and was willing to deceive her father-in-law in order to secure her position and identity. She probably feared that she would lose her position and importance in her community by not having a child—therefore was willing to sin in order to secure that position. Rahab feared God over her country, and was willing to deceive her country in order to honor God.

These are two examples of Gods grace and mercy on two sinful people to accomplish His purpose of a Savior, rather than raising up noble kings and queens to usher in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ to a fallen world.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

We Love, Because He First Loved Us.

"LOVE your enemies, Do good to those who hate you, Bless those who curse you, and Pray for those who mistreat you!"

If you love those who love you, what good is that? Anyone can do that! If you do good to those who do good to you. So what! Everybody does that! There is nothing self-denying in that. It is in our nature, even our SINful corrupted nature to do that anyways.

Of what reputation do we bring to the name of Christ when returning kindness for kindness?

Even sinners who know nothing of Christ do the VERY same thing.

"If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister." (1 John 4)

Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth!

When I think of how often I fail to trust in the Lord. How often I fail to acknowledge Him and the work He has done in my life. How often I fall short of His glory. And yet He never fails me. I Fail, I fail and then I fail again. Yet He's still there. SO full of forgiveness! SO full of patience! SO full of love!

We are called to show the very same UNconditional love that He shows us.

YES, there are people who make us want to tear our hair out! They drive us crazy! They are often hurtful with their words. They ignore us. They disappoint us. The list goes on...

"People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, People may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, They may be jealous; Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway. "

-Mother Teresa

So, WHY should should we love those, be kind to those, be patient with those who are difficult to love?

Well I think If the Lord can deal with us and love US, when we are constantly Selfish, Un-grateful, Prideful! We constantly forget HIM, who created the world, who saved us from our sins, who's hand is protecting us each and every day. If He would choose to still love us through all of that! If “while we were yet sinners, Christ would choose to die for us,” Then I think we can choose to love those who around us. And if we truly love the Lord, then we WILL love those around us!