30 December 2010
29 December 2010
17 December 2010
Psalm 16:2 …Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;
Psalm 31:19 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee;
15 December 2010
1 Peter 3:10-11 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
Came across this passage recently. Here the Lord reminds us one more time that the way to be genuinely happy and the way to really enjoy life is far different than we’re tempted to think.
It’s not to do whatever you want. It’s not to get whatever you want. It’s not to do your own thing or go your own way. It’s not to set out and achieve your goals and your ambitions. It’s not to stockpile massive quantities of stuff. It’s not shopping trips. It’s not vacations. It’s not going to the latest movie or playing the latest video game. It’s not watching your team win the championship.
It’s to obey God and live for others. That simple, if you really believe God’s word. Brethren, when will we allow our faith to take us to that point?
Leonard Ravenhill said, “One of these days some simple soul will pick up the Book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed.” God help me be that simple soul! Amen.
13 December 2010
1 John 1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
If joy is an inner condition that is not dependent on outward circumstances, I cannot think of a better example of true, full joy than a brother by the name of Milton.
We met Milton several years ago on the streets of downtown Orlando. Most Saturday nights he’s around the corner where we set up for our regular public outreach.
He has cerebral palsy. He’s confined to a wheelchair. He can barely move enough to control the lever. He sits with a cup between his knees. I’ve never actually seen him actually verbally ask for money. Every now and he’ll call one of us over to transfer the money from his cup to his fanny pack.
Last time I was down for public ministry in Orlando, I was able to talk to him for a little while and hear some of his testimony. He was a Jehovah’s Witness. When I asked him what made him leave, he said it was too oppressive. No liberty. Now he’s free in Christ. He quoted 2 Corinthians 3:17. Then broke out in song.
He’s always singing. Always praising God. Always happy. Always smiling. Always talking about how good Jesus is. As I was talking to him, another man who recognized him stopped by to talk. Milton told the man about Jesus. If I had been the one speaking, I doubt the man would have given me the time of day. He couldn’t help but listen politely to Milton.
He has nothing as far as this world is concerned. No health. No money. No comfort.
But he has Jesus Christ. He has eternal life. He has spiritual riches. And to him, that’s enough. He has joy.
I’m not sure what happened. Why he’s in the shape he is. But I was talking to him about his daughter. He wanted me to pray for her. He said she was saved. But he said she’s had it harder than he has. Which is hard to imagine. And I don’t know his daughter, but I would doubt that anybody but Milton would see it that way.
But he does. He has Jesus. He has eternal life. He has joy. He’ll get a new body one day. And he’s praising God in the meantime.
Talking to Milton is always a blessing. And it’s always convicting. I don’t know about you, but I have Jesus Christ. I have eternal life. And I have health. And I have some money in my pocket. And I have a nice house to live in. And I have a wonderful family. And I have a great church. And a lot more.
But I’m not sure I have the joy Milton has. At least not in the way that he has it. The only explanation is that even though I have the same spiritual blessings he has, I don’t focus on them as much as he does.
I guess I could blame that on the physical blessings. But I don’t think that’d be right. God wrote a Bible so my joy could be full. God wrote a Bible so your joy could be full. Lord help us be more like Milton. Amen.
09 December 2010
Want to tell you about a brother that’s been coming to our church for some time now. We’ll call him Brother B. He lives at the local Missionary Alliance retirement community. He was a missionary in South Korea for 35 years.
Age has taken its toll on his body. He can hardly speak due to the effects of a stroke. Pen and pad are needed for most any communication. His breathing seems to be indicative of congestive heart failure. He just had to give up his car (which was a good thing).
But he loves being at church. Every Sunday. Every Thursday. Down on the front row with a smile on his face. Hands raised at different points throughout the sermon. Even came fairly regularly to some Bible school classes this past semester. Up until he gave up his car, he was always on the go.
About a month ago, we took a crew to a football game at the University of Central Florida (largest school in the state) to do some public evangelism. I pulled up to the parking lot about 15 minutes prior to leaving time, Brother B – and his girlfriend (wife passed away several years ago) – were in the parking lot.
Now, Brother B can still get around on his feet at a decent pace for his age – for short distances. Sister D can still walk, but she’d barely beat a snail in a race. So I had the unpleasant task of telling them that the closest point to drop them off was at least a mile from where the crowds file in. They might have been able to make it there by the time that we were leaving. Sister D understands. Brother B still wants to believe his body is 35.
You see, he’s willing. He’s just not able. Not that he’s unable to serve the Lord. Just unable to do some of the things he’d like to do for the Lord. There are others like him in our church, as I’m sure there are in yours.
What’s so sad is that our churches are full of dads and moms and young people much unlike Brother B. They’re perfectly able, they’re just not willing. There’s plenty they could do for the Lord, if only they had the interest.
Right now, by the grace of God, I’m willing, and I’m able. God help me “work – for the night is coming, when man’s work is o’er.” And God grant that when I’m no longer able, someone will have to remind me, because in my heart, I’m still willing. Amen.