Monday, April 24, 2006

2 Samuel 22:31

I'm sorry about missing last week. I had an eye doctor appointment, and I was tested and tested and tested. Suffice it to say, I felt like I was looking through Vaseline all day. My vision didn't clear up until late that Monday evening, just before I went to bed. And then, as I have told you before, if I don't get this out on Monday, the enemy does everything he can to make sure I don't get it out at all. But it's okay, because my God is still on the throne, and He is still the Alpha and the Omega!
Once again, I had an idea, and God quashed it. Maybe the one I had previously written will be able to come out another day. This one is going along with the current sermon series. Thanks to our pastoral staff for their dedication to teaching us the Word of God and its truth; equipping us to go into battle daily. Please take this series seriously (sorry for the alliteration there!); there is a lot at stake. Take what you learn in big church, and expound on it in your small group. My small group leaders know how I am about time in the Word, so I am giving them fair warning...I'm coming to learn!
We need to uplift each other and keep each other accountable. Besides God, we are all each other has, and the world is working against us. I love you all and pray that you are blessed today.
Bo J.
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Who are you?

It’s not hard. They are just three little words, followed by a punctuation mark.

Okay, after all that we have been going through, most of you know me by now. You know the answer I am searching. But if I had asked you a year ago, or 3 or 5 years ago, your answer would probably have been the same as mine.

“Hi, I’m Bo Jackson, and I’m an Environmental Health and Safety Technician, or RadCon tech, or whatever it is that I do for a job.”

What is it about us that we have to get our identity and worth from the WORLD? We have all kinds of magazines and books and devotionals and written knowledge out there telling us who we are and to Whom we belong.

Why do we need all this? Are we like the Israelites, a stiff-necked and obstinate people? Maybe; it's not exactly out of the realm of possibilities. There is a multi-billion dollar market of material generated by people who want to tell you who you ARE.

I hate reading. Actually, I should narrow that down to specifics. I hate reading books about being and doing and having and becoming and just generally telling me more about how to be a Christ-follower.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am NOT saying that there is anything wrong with those books. I am just saying that I hate reading someone else’s version of who I am and to Who I belong. Some of you are there now, but I am not just yet.

That’s kind of funny, considering how many people read this note I put out each week. I know, I think about that and go, “Hypocrite!”

But here we are, at it again. You are here, and I am passing on something that God has shown me, and you are just along for the ride. But, guess what? You’re getting gypped. You're getting ripped off; robbed blind.

How? Because you ALREADY know who you are and to Whom you belong. But like me, sometimes we need it reinforced in our gray matter.

2 Samuel 22:31- “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” (NKJV)

God’s word tells me several things about Him:

He is perfect. There is NO wrong or unrighteousness in Him.

His Word is true. It too, is perfect. It is inerrant, infallible, and incapable of falsehood.

He is MY protector. I trust in Him, and He is my shield.

Notice it doesn’t say He is a shield to all those who FEEL like trusting in Him. I will be the first to admit that I don’t FEEL like a Christian a lot of days. Some days I don’t feel like I am doing God justice for what He has done for me. But it’s okay, because He still loves me and protects me.

If someone tells me something they attribute to Scripture, I ask them to tell me where they found it, so I can search it out for myself. That’s why I try and base these letters to you on Scripture; so you can go straight to the Word of God itself and see what He says about you.

Don’t believe me; I am human and fallible. Believe on the Word of God and it’s description of you. Believe in who God says you are and what He says about you. Don’t be driven and tossed about by every wind of doctrine that comes on the breeze. Compare it to your love letter from God, and see what He says.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Bo J.

Monday, April 10, 2006

2 Timothy 1:7

Okay, let me preface this by telling you all something, I have really seen God move in this area of my life. Becky normally proofreads my devotional prior to me sending it out. When she read this one, she really gave me a uplift. You see, I was working on Saturday night (shift was scheduled to be from 5pm-3am) and I didn't get to go to church. I also didn't go on Sunday (don't stone me!), I wuz still a little zonked. Anyway, after proofing the devotional, she described for me Pastor Chris' sermon. And I realize that, for two weeks in a row now, God has spoken and used me to go over something we were getting ready to learn CORPORATELY.

What I mean is, I wrote this piece a full week before the sermon was preached. I tell you this, not to brag or boast. God is using me, and it's scary. When you see yourself getting used, you need to realize that God has placed more responsibility on your shoulders. Help me to stay focused on His messages for us all.

God is moving. God is manifesting in our church. God is showing His power, His love, and His glory and we need to stay strong in it and be available for use. Don't be jealous of what I'm doing, and neglect the gift that God has given you to use. Everyone has a place in the kingdom, FIND YOURS and get in the battle. Thanks.
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Hold on a second, I’m making sure that my list is up to date.

Financial problems?

Check.

Family problems?

Check.

Health problems?

Check.

Church under attack?

Check.

Yep, they’re all there. Everything is in order. My life is officially going into chaos mode now. Whew! That’s a relief! I didn’t know what was going on!

It’s kind of funny, isn’t it? But it’s the truth. We have an enemy who loves to create havoc in our lives. You know, we always take it personally when the enemy comes into our lives looking for something to devour in us. However, we usually end up being the ones who open the door and let him in.

So what is going on? What is the big deal? Why all the stuff? I’ll tell you what I think is going on in a word…

Fear.

You create fear in one person, and you disable them. Create enough fear and you immobilize that person, effectively removing that obstacle from your path. Dads do that to prospective boyfriends all the time. You know, it’s the old “sit out on the front stoop cleaning your shotgun when he shows up” syndrome.

But if you create fear in enough people, you cause a panic. They begin running and stampeding. But, worse yet, we sometimes don’t realize we are on the run until it’s too late. By then, irreparable harm could be done.

Do you sense a tide moving? Do you sense a huge upwelling of anger and absolute hate being unloaded against us, the house of God? It’s not your imagination. It’s not something you can just retreat from by hiding your head in the sand.

The church has done that for WAY too long. We have become comfortable with the status quo. We are filled and warmed, and so it’s just a bit more comfortable to stay indoors, instead of going out into the world and bringing in the harvest.

Fear.

It’s so small, yet so powerful. So what do you do? How do you combat fear?

Pray.

“But wait, Bo. You don’t understand what’s going on in my life right now.”

Yes, I do. I most certainly do. What we are going through; what is happening in our lives DOES NOT negate the fact of Who our God is.

2 Tim 1:7- “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Read that again, slowly.

What did God give us?

So, if God gives us power, love, and a sound mind, where does fear come from?

Oh, we do things to allow the fear in, but it’s not a punishment from God. It’s a function of the sowing and reaping concept. You get what you plant.

We have POWER. We can LOVE. And God has given us a SOUND mind, a PEACE about Him and what His purpose is in our lives.

We have a choice about how we approach the coming days. But don’t do it on your knees, groveling to a god who is indifferent to your suffering. Instead, stir yourself up to approach the LORD boldly, respectfully, and reverently.

Come to throne of grace, where we can find mercy, and help in our hour of need. God is still there, and He is still waiting. He has loads of stuff to give us, if we just ask and receive.

The battle is not ours, but the Lord’s. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. If you fall, get up. You’re only a casualty if you stay down.

Let’s get in there, and stay until the end.

Be blessed in the Lord.

Bo J.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Psalm 5:12

That storm last night was pretty intense, wasn’t it? Thunder, lighting, rain, hail, the works came at us. It was neat to listen to the sounds. I would love to have a house with a tin roof with the rain, just to hear the patter.



Our family used to live in Washington State, and that was one of the things we used to love. People asked us why we liked it so much, since it rained there all the time. We told them one of two things:



1. It doesn’t rain there as much as you think. We tell you that to keep you from coming there.

2. It only rains from September to August.


You know what I really liked about that storm last night? It was scary. I mean it was SKEERY for my little ones. Now wait, before you start trying to call me names, or accuse me of being a mean father, gimme a minute.



The rain was lashing against the house, the lighting flashes lit up the sky like it was daytime. The thunder was so powerful, it shook the house. Now my two youngest ones (9 and 7) KNOW that it’s simply a storm, a force of nature. They know all the stuff about what happens and why. We have even told them to envision that it’s God speaking to them.



Nope. No dice. Sometimes, a storm is just scary beyond rational thought.



So my wife and are listening to the storm, and I voice the thought that both of us have, “Do you think the girls are alright?” She tells me that she was going to ask me the same question. So, I go into their room and I check on them.



The youngest is on the top bunk, hunkered down deep under her covers, pillow covering her head. When I reached to move the pillow, she screamed, “Stop it!” I moved the pillow so she could see it was me. The nine year old was lying in her bed, making a good show at being brave.



I asked them if they were okay. They answered that they were, voices trembling. I then looked at each one of them, one at a time, and said, “Are you scared?” They both looked at me, and said yes. I told them to come on down and they could sleep with me and Mom.



There is nothing like a storm to make you realize the blessing of a king-size bed.



So here we all are, bodies, blankies, stuffed animal, pillows, pets (yes, even the cats were scared), the whole kit and caboodle. And all of a sudden, the trembling and the terror were gone. They had wrapped themselves in our blankets, in our arms, and all the terror and everything was gone. The storm still raged, but they were okay, because they knew that we were there, and would protect them.



You see where this is going, don’t you?



What is the weather like in your life right now? Are you having a beautiful spring day? Or maybe it’s partly cloudy? Perhaps you're having a small rain shower to dampen the flowers? Or are you having a full fledged, dyed in the wool, category 8 storm of life right now?



Did you know that God is waiting for you? I like to think that at times in our life that mirror that storm last night, God is waiting. A dream came to me, in the midst of all the people/animals/toys in my bed.



God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are talking. They get a daily weather report. The report shows severe weather headed toward me and my family. They take the report and look at it.



“You think they’ll be alright?” God says.



“I was about to ask You the same thing,” replies Jesus.



“Maybe We should go check on them,” the Holy Spirit offers.



So they come in to check on me and my family. And there we are, crouched beneath the sheets, trembling. We are rebuking, and praying, and bringing every thought captive that we can, but sometimes it just doesn’t seem to be enough. And then, a face peeks under the covers…



“You okay?” He asks. We manage to shake our heads no.



“Why don’t you come out here and sit with Us for a while?” God replies. And we come out, and climb into God’s lap. The Holy Spirit breathes peace into us, and Jesus says, “I’ll be right back, I’m going to go and quiet this storm down for you.”



Psalm 5:12- “For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.”



Sometimes, the storms of life become too much for you to bear. You know that you know that you know that you have power, but it doesn’t really seem to help. Call on your Heavenly Father, tell Him you’re scared, and crawl up in His lap. Let His love overshadow you and surround you.



There now, that storm’s not so bad now, is it? It’s still going on around you, but you know that you know that you know that you’re protected.



Let it rain.



Be blessed in the Lord,



Bo J.