Tag: live for Jesus

How Can I Know My Future?

 
I’ve noticed some Facebook posts advertising a way to find out what’s going to happen in 2016. Other posts give you a special word for the coming year. I probably wasn’t supposed to, but I did that one twice. My first word was FUTURE. The second one was JOY. I’m not sure what I’m to do with them, but they’re mine, all the same. 

Feeling a little left out, I decided to give my readers and friends a better way to know their future. No, I won’t use mumbo jumbo, tarot cards, Ouija Boards, crystal balls (though one is pictured above), or even a Bingo card. And while I can’t guarantee 100% accuracy, or that everything will happen within a twelve month time frame, I’m fairly certain with what I’m about to tell you.

The question many people ask is, “How can I know my future?”

“Will I be rich?”

“Will I get married/divorced?”

“Will I get sick and die?”

Sorry to disappoint you before we really get started, but NO ONE can give you that information unless they’re God, or have been given a word from God. But God is not in the business of throwing that sort of information about willy-nilly. 

I don’t care what Sister Susie Smoke and Mirrors sells you for $20 an hour. 

But if you would really like to have an idea what 2016 has in store for you, listen closely and I’ll give you a tip.

Next year will be a year of sowing and reaping. 

How’s that, you ask?

Maybe I should have said, “reaping and sowing.” Because you are going to reap in 2016 what you’ve sown in 2015. 

How have you treated your friends and acquaintances? Nice? Then expect to gain more friends. Nasty and rotten? Then I feel sorry for you.

Have you been cultivating an intimate relationship with Jesus? Praying? Reading His Word? Sharing your faith? Then I’d say 2016 will be a year of even greater opportunities to know Him, and make Him known. 

What have you been doing with your finances? Have you been tight fisted; unmoved by the needs of people around you? You can probably figure on a tough year financially. “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.” (Proverbs 11:24 ESV)

What have you been reading and watching? How have you been investing your time? Think about it, and you’ll come up with your own answer.

I said the year 2016 will be a year of reaping and sowing. If you’re pleased with the crop you’ll be harvesting, great; don’t change a thing. Sow the same thing for the 2017 season.

But if you’re kind of dreading the new year’s crop, begin now, even before this year’s over, sowing a different seed. 

After all, whatever you sow, that’s what you’ll reap. 

You are creating your own future.

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7 ESV)

“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6 ESV)

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22 ESV)

The Unpopular Message

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The craziness of this world has reached an all time high, don’t you agree?

I mean, just try and follow the world and national news: terrorists, refugees, the homeless, stock markets, winter storms, Trump, Clinton, France and Germany, Russia and Syria, Iran and Iraq, and of course, Israel.

Liberal, conservative, high society, dirt poor, black, white, and throw in a few other people groups, and you’ll have an idea of who all is involved in all this craziness.

Wars on many fronts and in many lands are being fought. But probably the greatest battle being waged is in the realm of words; ideas, world views, isms and dogmas.

People fighting people over such battles as patriotism, national security, the second amendment, the fourteenth amendment, and who’s really the best NFL quarterback – Tom Brady or Peyton Manning?

And my dear, sweet, American Christian brothers and sisters have entered the craziness of it all; but are we fighting the right battles?

Jude wrote some things a couple thousand years ago that should set us to thinking, and praying.

Unfortunately, it’s not exactly a popular message. Here’s a portion of it.

“Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people.” (Jude 1:3 NLT)

Using just one little phrase from the unpopular message of Jude, I’d like to ask one simple question.

“Are we defending the faith that God has entrusted to us, or are we trying to defend our opinions and egos?”

In other words, how many wars are we going to fight that have no eternal consequence?

I won’t even attempt to say which battles you should or shouldn’t be waging, other than to remind us all of the warning Jude laid down in his unpopular letter.

“Are we defending the faith?”

Why would Jude write something like that? Was he just trying to stir up the good folks of that day?

He explains the reason for his unpopular prose.

“I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:4 NLT)

While the early Christians busied themselves with all the craziness of their day, ungodly people wormed their way into places of leadership within the church, and not only began diluting the once powerful gospel but also denied the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ.

And that is happening today…

…while we wage our battles; important but petty in comparison to the timeless message of the cross, the tomb, and the resurrection.

Should we ignore all that’s happening in this crazy world. I don’t believe so. But we should filter our actions and reactions to today’s headlines through the faith we’ve embraced and heralded.

If Jesus Christ is Lord, and God is STILL on the Throne, how does that affect what I think, how I vote, and where I spend my time and money?

If Heaven is real and eternal life is more than a fairytale, does it change what I post on Facebook?

If it’s really true that the unrighteous DO NOT inherit eternity in heaven, why do I talk as I do at work?

What battles am I involved in? Any of significance? 

Or am I treating the message of Jesus as if it’s not as important as, say, fantasy football?

The unpopular message of Jude needs to be shared today. 

So why not be the one to share it?

Men, Be Men

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Recently I spoke to a group of men about secrecy and shame. I told them of my long time addiction to pornography, and its effects on my life, marriage, and ministry. 

And I spoke about freedom.

While I was excited to have such an opportunity to speak, I was wishing I was sitting there listening to someone else tell THEIR story.

I later told some people, “If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now.”

My message was clear and to the point. God created us for something greater than hiding in the shadows; hiding in shame. He’s put a lot more into us than we seem to want to utilize. 

The word for that day was, “Don’t hide with the devil.” That’s a good word for men today, don’t you think? I mean, stand up and face God, regardless of what you’ve done or didn’t do. The quickest way to get forgiveness AND victory over sin is to step out of the shadows, get out of the bushes, and humbly approach the Lord in the Name of Jesus.

Yes, it’s a good word for today. 

But an even better word is, “Men, BE MEN!”

God created men to be strong and courageous. To provide and protect. He gave man the ability to love and live in community and communion. 

With others, and with God. 

The devil wants men to think all of that was lost when Adam didn’t stand up for what was right. True, Adam did yield his rights, privileges, AND dignity to the devil. 

But Jesus got it back!

NOW the word of God says, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 ESV)

Yes, His word for us is, “Men, BE MEN!”

Have nothing to do with things that steal, kill, and destroy. Move away from a life of secrecy and shame. God has a life of victory, dominion over darkness, and joy prepared for you. 

And it won’t be found in the shadows, hiding with the devil.

Flee youthful lusts, but pursue righteousness and a life empowered by the Holy Spirit. It’s what God purchased for you, through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Be a man! A man who is submitted to God. A man who can say, “Get behind me, Satan!” A man who can tenderly love his wife and children, leading them by example into a life with God. 

A man who will guard his heart diligently; lest he lose his testimony with his loved ones, or his ear for the Spirit’s voice.

Be a man!

If you are involved in anything that the Lord wouldn’t be pleased with, DROP IT!

If you aren’t sure, talk with your pastor. 

Men, BE MEN! 

There’s no time left to be anything but what Christ Jesus wants you to be. 

So do it. Get out of the shadows. Get in front of God. Ask Him to fill you with the power to be A MAN!

A man of God.

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