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Sep. 20, 2022

THE CO-SIGNER

 

“I (Jesus) am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me

and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5

 

 There once was a family who came from a meager background who had a son that earned a scholarship to go to college. He worked hard and graduated with a  Masters Degree and was proud of this accomplishment. He was the first in his family to obtain a college degree, and  let alone the first to even finish high school.

 He got home and waved his degree at everyone.  He sat at the kitchen table and as he showed it to his  mom and dad he said that tomorrow he was going to go right down to the bank and take out loan to buy a new car.

 The next morning he got up and met his dad at the breakfast table. His dad said, "Well son, what time are we going?" The son replied, "I'm goin' alone. I got my degree and I don't need anyone’s help anymore." And off he went. When he arrived at the bank he went to the information desk and the receptionist asked how she could help him.  

 "I'm here to take out a  loan to buy a new car", he  said. She looked at him funny and referred him to a loan officer, who greeted the  young man, "What can we do for you?" “I’m here  to take out  loan to buy a new car," said the boy proudly . “Well, what do you have as collateral?” The boy replied “What is collateral?”

  The loan officer replied,    "In order to get a loan, a person must have valuables equal  to the  amount of the loan." So the boy showed him his diploma.  The loan officer chuckled and told the  boy that his diploma was of no value to the bank. The boy was embarrassed, dejected and shocked as he thanked the loan officer and got up to leave.

 As he  turned for the exit,  he heard  a familiar shuffle and a familiar  voice asking  about his son. As the boy looked  up he saw his dad  coming toward him.  "Dad, what are you doing  here?"  the boy  demanded  in his moment of shame! I came to co-sign your  loan," replied his dad.

 The  boy then exploded,  "Dad you can't even read or write  and  I  have a college  diploma--how can  you possibly help? All you can do is make an  "X"  by your name! " 

 "Now, wait just  a  minute”  said  the loan officer. You listen young man, it was your dad  who can't read or write who worked  hard to give you  the  opportunity  to go to school. It  was his "X" that fed you and clothed  you through school; it was the sacrifice of his "X" that got you through school  and  it will be his "X" that gets you a loan from this bank!"

 Dear ones, the good news is that we are a blessed people. There are no self-made people is God’s kingdom. We all need Christ’s blessings and mercy in order to live. Jesus Christ co-signed our loan of life with His blood on Calvary’s cross. He paid our sin debt to our Creator Father. So, whatever trouble we are in, need we have, or fear we face Jesus is always present to help.

  As always, see you next time and have a great day!

 

 

 

 

Aug. 15, 2022

GOTCHA

 

“I can never be lost to your Spirit!

I can never get away from my God!”

Psalm 139:7

 

 Humankind’s break because of sin back in Eden must have been hard on God. That early time in the day God came walking into the garden to have His usual talk with His friends, his children. God was never late for this appointment. When Adam and Eve didn’t show up, God was disappointed. It was God’s first disappointment. The first one to be disappointed on this earth was God. Adam and Eve had always met Him before, but they were not there this time. They broke their appointment, they stayed away. God didn’t fail them; they failed God. A broken appointment, a disappointed God, and unspoken fellowship. The cry of God found the man and woman hiding; skulking behind trees. Trees now served a new purpose and not a good one. Trees were never meant to hide behind; sin perverts all things. And all these weary years from Adam’s time unto this present day, God has been standing, waiting, and calling men and women and children back to His sacred appointment. The voice of God’s sorrow and seeking love is still echoing from a hill called Calvary through Jesus calling hiding humans back to Himself

 The truth is that you cannot hide from God. In Psalm 139, David expresses it this way: “This is too glorious, too wonderful to believe! I can never be lost to your Spirit! I can never get away from my God!

  If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there. If I ride the morning winds to the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, your strength will support me. If I try to hide in the darkness, the night becomes light around me. For even darkness cannot hide from God; to you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are both alike to you.”

 The Bible also teaches that since we are human and live with a fallen nature in a fallen world, we all stumble or make mistakes in many ways. So we hide from God, because we don’t realize who we are; that we are all mercy cases. But because of the love and mercy of Christ we are forgiven, cleansed and made right in Him. If we just look at our carnal nature and at our sin, we will try to our hide our guilt from the One who sees and knows all. But if we look to Christ and confess our faults to Him, we have no need to hide, and will eagerly and thankfully embrace Him.

 Aren’t you glad that Jesus did not come to judge us, but to restore us to a righteous relationship with God. Hiding from God is a living hell. When we walk with God heaven comes down and glory fills our soul.

 When my boys were young, we would often playfully wrestle on the living room floor together.  I would close my eyes and count to three and then from various hiding places – behind the couch, under a chair,  or under a table , my three sons would scramble around and it would be my task to find them, catch them, and then enjoy a fun tussle with them. When caught,  I would tickle them and happily shout out “Gotcha!”

 The good news is that is what our Heavenly Father does to us. He knows where we are hiding, and seeks us out and when we surrender to His loving embrace He shouts, “Gotcha!” and never lets us go.

 As always, see you next time and have a great day...

Jul. 17, 2022

SOUL MAN

 

“For He (Jesus) has said,

I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5

 

  Have you ever been so busy and in such a press of activity, that you forgot to take care of some important detail? This happens to me more often than I would like to admit. Even though I am a well organized person; there are those pre-occupied moments when I just plain forget things. Maybe it has something to do with my getting older.

 I remember one of those times, a many years ago in another city. I had two days to complete three weeks worth of work, along with preparing to leave for a conference speaking engagement. You can say that I was busier that a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs!

 At the last minute, I remembered that I was wearing my most comfortable pair of shoes which needed repair. In the bottom of each worn leather sole was a hole the size of a quarter. In desperation, I flew into my friendly shoe repair shop.

 “Joe”, I desperately cried, “P-L-E-A-S-E…I need a big favor…”  I took off my shoes, showed them to him, and asked if he could repair them within a few hours. He gladly stopped his work, gave me his attention, and realizing my dilemma cordially spoke those two wonderful words, “No problem!” With sense of relief, I left him my shoes and walked out of his shop in my stocking feet.

 Two hours later, I returned to find the shoes resoled, polished and looking brand spanking new! I was ecstatic! Joe’s expert craftsmanship really shined on those shoes! He had come through when I needed him; with no questions asked. What a friend!

 As I thanked God for the blessing, I remembered that Jesus is always there for us just like Joe was for me. Our Lord will take the time to meet the needs of our “sole/soul” with no questions asked. He promises that He will never be too busy to receive our worn out soul. In return, He gives us a brand new beginning.

 Friend, why not call on Him today in prayer. He is the original "soul man"!  If you do, He will put a spring in your step.

 As always, see you next time and have a great day...

Jun. 17, 2022

FRET NOT

 “Fret (fear) not, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by your name; you are Mine.”

Isaiah 43:1

   Did you ever feel weary? Did you ever stumble? Did you ever fail? Did you ever give of your love, only to have it abused, used and rejected by others? Did you ever feel the deep hurt of a broken relationship? Did you ever feel the loss of a close friend?  Take heart, for if you will listen closely you will hear the voice of your Master calling your name ... and soon it will be well again with your soul.

 The word "fret" comes from the old English word whose primary meaning is "to eat away, to gnaw, to chafe, to gall, to vex, to worry, to agitate, to wear away." The grace of God in the human heart works to calm the agitation that normally accompanies life in our complex world. People get discouraged for a number of reasons.

 Some get frustrated over an inability to accomplish a task or change a situation. At other times, discouragement comes as a result of the behavior of others. Separation from people we love and respect may add to our discouragement. Another reason may be a lack of purpose or destiny in life.

 A first step in overcoming discouragement is to realize and accept our limitations. We are human, not superhuman. As such, it is normal to get discouraged, for limitations are part of life. Yet, as Christians we are no to live there. We can take positive action to change our situation.

 The first of which is to accept a renewed dependence upon God. We can let the transforming power of His love invade the deadness of our soul; so that our sorrow is turned to gladness; our fear into faith; and our discouragement into hope.

 When God says He knows our name and that we are His, it means that He is well aware of your concerns and is ready, willing, and able to help. For example, He never has to say to me, “Hey, you.”  He always calls my name as does a friend, “Hey Carl.” Knowing a person’s name is like crossing an ocean into his world. Knowing a name opens us to the miracle of fellowship and relationship. Nameless greetings may be cordial, but they are not the stuff families or friendships are made of. When thinking of you while sitting on His heavenly throne, God never has to nudge the angel Michael asking, “Tell me again – what’s his or her name?” That would be depersonalizing.  God is there for you. You are family. He knows your name. There is a difference between, “I love you,” and “I love you, Carl.”

 When trouble comes ... fret not …God loves you.

 When disappointment comes ... fret not ... God is faithful.

 When you are pressured …  fret not … God never has to say “Oops”.

 When you are confused  …  fret not  … God is not.

 When you are persecuted … fret not … God is with you.

 When you are cast down ... fret not  ... God is not defeated.

 When darkness of soul comes ... fret not ... for morning is coming.     

 The good news is that no one is a friend like Jesus! God is on your side. Take heart. Don't give up yet! Christ is standing before you right now. He has been listening to your story and cares about every detail of your life.

 

May. 16, 2022

GARAGE SALES

 

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things

have passed away;  behold, all things have become new.”

2 Corinthians 5:17

 

 Springtime is here in full splendid display complete with sun, clouds, drenching rain, warm weather, yard cleanup, flower planting and the great American enterprise – having garage sales!

 Garage sales are a great motivation to sort, clean, and pass on stuff that we no longer need or have a place for in our house. Many of the articles for sale are used, abused, broken, or simple forgotten – being put away on hidden some shelf for years.  

 When I think of garage sales I remember that nothing is wasted in God’s economy. He doesn’t throw anybody away.  

 Much of the garage sale items might need a good cleaning, some minor repair, or even a redo. But in someone’s eyes they are valuable. It may take a sacrifice of time and energy. But when they’re done, they were worth it.

 What may be junk to us may be a treasure to someone else.

 A mother may come looking for child’s clothes for her daughter. She can take that used piece of apparel, clean it, repair any tears, and transform it into a new garment. A handyman can stop by and see an old electric tool, or some other “thing-a-ma-jig”. He doesn’t see junk; he sees an opportunity to give it a new home and a new life of usefulness. A kid looks at an old used toy and in his imagination sees a brand new plaything.

 There’s a story about an old violin that comes up for auction. It looks beat-up and worthless. It’s a reject; no one wants to waste their money on it.

 But then an old fellow walks up to it and touches the instrument reverently. He puts it to his chin, draws the bow expertly across the strings. His hands coax from it the most glorious music the people have ever heard. The touch of the master’s hand is what did it. And it took a master’s eye to spot the potential the instrument had.

 Because of sin we all end up in the garage sale of life. Then Jesus stops by and with the keen eye of the Redeemer sees value in our brokenness - our uselessness - our forgottenness. 

 The amazingly wonderful part is that when He considers us, He doesn’t see junk. He doesn't see us as what we are, but as what we can become in His hands. He sees a treasure of grace awaiting transformation and resurrection.

 The good news is that He doesn’t choose people who are gems — He makes gems out of the ones He chooses – and you are such a gem!