No Big Deal!
September 21, 2016, 12:12 am
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3) Ingrained in a passage that deals with what we are to do as a result of the Gospel, Paul has urged all believers to surrender our all to become a continual sacrifice, allowing God to use us according to His plan. For some, God will use in the spotlight while others will serve in the shadows. What is the reason that God puts some in the more noticeable positions and others behind the scenes? Does it really matter what the reason? Each position is equally important in the plan of God and the ability to do what God has called each to do comes as God works through yielded lives. So don’t go all “big-headed” but instead realize that it is Christ in you! He alone is to be worshiped! The greatest danger to the work of God is when we think we are so important that God needs us. God doesn’t want something great from us. He wants our surrendered lives. (a play on a quote by C.S. Lewis)


What Do You Call a Chicken that Stops Laying Eggs?
September 10, 2016, 7:32 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , , , ,

Mark 11:12-14 : “And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.”
I grew up in a small community in the southwestern part of Virginia and both my parents and grandparents had chickens. I have memories of going to gather eggs and I can remember the exciting surrounding preparing chickens for a meal. Up the road from me was a man named Kelly who loved to tell jokes and I remember him asking me “what do you call a chicken that stops laying?’ Before I could think of an answer, he yelled “supper!” as he went away laughing.
In a sense the passage in Mark is very similar. Jesus, early in the morning, is walking to Bethany, and sees a fig tree with leaves in the distance. Although it is most likely April and figs didn’t come until June, the tree having leaves was an indication that it also bore fig fruit, since the fruit can at the same time as the leaves. Surely Jesus knowing all things as God knew that the tree had no fruit. But as man, he went to see. But an important thing to remember is that the disciples went with him and heard his comments about the tree. In the only time during His earthly ministry, Jesus performs a miracle that was harmful. The fig tree was cursed to die.
I guess the question arises as to why we need to know this. Why is this passage in the Bible? Is this an example of Jesus losing His temper and doing something out of anger? That is so inconsistent with the character of Jesus as revealed in the Bible that even writing it out seems ridiculous. Jesus never would respond in that manner. So why it is here?
I think this is one of those times when we need to see the big picture of the chapter. In the first verses of the chapter, Jesus makes what we call the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It seems that He is being accepted as the King of the Jews. But notice verse 11. Jesus goes into Jerusalem into the Temple. He looks around and then leaves. Now look after the cursing of the fig tree. When Jesus returns to Jerusalem He goes into the Temple and cleansed the money-changers and those selling animals to be sacrificed at inflated prices.
The remaining details of chapters 11 and 12 highlight the fact that even though there were leaves on the trees (the Triumphal Entry) when Jesus came to inspect (looked around) He found no fruit. The interaction with the Jewish religious leaders demonstrates the “dead-ness” of their religion. Over and over again, combinations of the various types of religious leaders tried to trap Jesus with ridiculous questions and requests. Over and over again, Jesus responded in ways that embarrassed the leaders and revealed their lack of eternal life and wisdom from God. As you look at the end of chapter 12, in much the same way that Jesus condemned the fig tree, Jesus condemns the religious leaders. He talks about their great responsibility to direct them to God and their great failure because of the hardness of hearts that rejected God and His path to eternal life.
So what do we learn? First, we are accountable to God and Him alone. He searches our heart and knows the reality of our relationship with Him.
Second, those who proclaim that we have a relationship with God will have genuine Spirit-produced fruit, summed up by Jesus as loving God with our all and loving others through the Spirit’s work in us.
Third, we are to share our faith with others.
What Do You Call a Person Who Doesn’t Follow God? LOST!

My Hope
September 7, 2016, 2:21 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

“For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth.” (Psalm 71:5)

As I drove past a small church, I noticed their sign.  On it was a short message – hope is trusting things unseen.  I thought, great thought but as I drove it was like the Holy Spirit was causing me to re-think the statement.  As I pondered the words, I realized they were insufficient as a definition and explanation for hope.  My problem wasn’t with trusting or unseen, but with THINGS!  So I thought about improving the definition.  Things was such a generalization.  What about trusting the wind?  The wind is unseen although it’s results aren’t.  Maybe on a hot day, I could trust a gentle breeze to bring relief, but the wind associated with a storm or hurricane produces no hope, only horror at the devastation it produces.  So hope isn’t trusting everything unseen.  I need something or someone who has characteristics that give meaning to my hope.  Biblically, hope seems to be based in something or someone that always comes through for you.  God directed me to Psalm 71.  The writer is an older man, like me, who is reflecting back on his life.  Life, being life, is full of events, circumstances, and incidents which at time are blessings mixed with tragedies.  There are great times of success as well as the times of crushing defeats.  Does that describe your life.  All of these were at one time unseen, but collectively don’t provide the basis for trust.

Look at the verse, the psalmist directs his words and focus to God.  Remember, this is an older person, reviewing his life.  The one thing or person he can always trust in any and all situations is God.  He comes through.  The writer relays this insight; “thou art my trust FROM MY YOUTH.”  Throughout the stages of life the one certainty, and the only certainty was, is, and always will be God.  Can’t you see the assurance the psalmist has in God that is not learned in a classroom or from a sermon.  This assurance comes from a daily relationship with God.  I find Him trustworthy and consistent to His revealed character.  I find Him present in both blessings and storms.  And even when I can’t see the “why” through walking with God, I have learned to trust Him regardless of whether He helps me understand.  As an older person, I can shout AMEN to “You are my hope, LORD GOD”.  My hope is in Christ alone!  You?

Jesus, my strength when I am weak