Monday, June 26, 2006

Deuteronomy 28:8

Did you ever do something stupid? I don’t mean something that could be considered a “bad choice” or a “lack of foresight” or even a “mistake in judgment”. I mean an out and out, bone-headed, absolutely ignorant choice! I mean something that if you were to read about in the newspaper you would say something like, “My goodness! How could that person have been so clueless?”

Sure you have. And I have as well. We ALL have, at one time or another done something that serves as warning in life for others. What happened during that time? How did you handle your mistake? Better yet, how did God handle your mistake?

You can look through the Word of God, and you can find ALL kinds of examples of people who make BAD choices and then go on and do great things for God anyway. You are reading them and wondering how these people could do this knowing God was right there with them, while your choices are leading you down the same path.

Sometimes we do things and make mistakes. But our God is faithful. How do I know? Because I have done some boneheaded things in my life, things that I look back on and slap my palm to my forehead wondering how I could be that naïve. And that was just 3 days ago!

The point of all this is that God has not left you. He didn’t look down from His heavenly throne and go, “Great googly-moogly! I am so tired of them doing that and then wanting Me to rescue them! I give up! Gabe, strike them out of the Book of Life! We don’t want that kind of idiot up here!”

No, God cares for you. He reaches down with love and tender grace. He picks you up, dusts you off and sets you on your feet. Then He reminds you that there is a law of sowing and reaping, but He will NOT abandon you just because you planted crabgrass.

Why? Why does a holy, righteous God take such interest in our lives and making us into a person we can’t be on our own? Because He loves us no matter what we do. Even if we turn our back on Him, He loves us. And He will bless us, if we give Him the opportunity.

Deuteronomy 28:8- “The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.”

Notice that? There is a wonderful promise wrapped up in there. He WILL bless you and all that you set your hand. However, just like others in the Bible, we see the promise without obeying the conditions. He will bless me in the land which HE gives me. Not the land that I go out and try and conquer on my own. He tells me where to go, and I go and conquer it in His name.

So be patient, and wait on God. Pray for His will and His way, and He will make it known. And when He does, He will bless it and you, and anything you lay your hands on, as well.

Be blessed in the Lord.

Bo J.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Jeremiah 29:11

Good morning, God.

It’s me, Bo. I wanted to write you a letter this morning, to talk to You. Sometimes it’s good to just get things out in the open. I have been reading about Your dealings with the religious people of Your day, and You told it like it was-You didn’t hold back.

You know God, sometimes, being here in the world just bites. I know you left us here to be examples of the Light and to dispel the darkness. Sometimes, however, you just get tired of always trying to do the right thing and seeing other get by with not.

I know I’m not supposed to compare myself with them, but I admit it is hard. It’s hard to continue in Your Word when I see those who just take the attitudes and convictions of the world and ascribe them to You.

You know what I mean, don’t you? They say that the Word of God is just a guideline. They say that as long as I am basically a good person, and do mostly right by others, I’ll make it to Heaven. They think the only people who go to Hell are people who don’t fit their definition of good, which is pretty much, anyone who does them wrong. The Bible tells us to rejoice because our names are written in the Book of Life. We are to be encouraged because we know You and Your salvation.

But I have a hard time with this, on occasion. I have a hard time making 2+2=4 in the world. You see, I live here, day in and day out. I am surrounded and inundated by the world. I get saturated in the worldly ways and deeds around me.

Don’t get me wrong, God. I love You. I mean, You have given me so much that I can’t describe. So why do I look around and feel that I deserve more? What is it that I feel I am being cheated out of because I have chosen to follow You? Why can’t I just be the person You have created me to be?

What is it that I am missing in my life? Absolutely nothing that matters that much. I have everything that I need, and more than I could want. I am blessed beyond anything I had ever hoped or dreamed of in my life.

So what am I looking for? I just want to know that it’s okay. Sometimes, I just want to know that I haven’t fallen through the cracks of life, and You haven’t forgotten about me and my stuff.

Jeremiah 29:11- “’For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,’ says the LORD, ‘thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.’”

Thanks, Lord. It means a lot to me when You speak something personal into my life. It makes it a lot easier to see the light around me. I know this is just me, Lord. I don’t expect anyone else to understand or feel like this. Everyone else seems to have their act together.

They must understand a lot better than I do. Help them to be patient with those of us who are still learning and grasping at the depth of Your love for us. Thanks for giving me hope.


Be blessed in the Lord,

Bo J.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Hebrews 13:17

I am not really happy with the way things are going lately.

Let’s see, I don’t like the situation in Iraq. I don’t like that fellow service members are dying for something I don’t agree with or understand. I think it’s wrong and the President was wrong to involve us in the affairs of a sovereign nation.

Now look, gasoline prices have almost doubled in the last couple of years. Our standing in the world is shot, and we are seen as a bunch of bullies.

Plus, I don’t like the leadership in our state. I think that the Governor should re-evaluate the state income tax as opposed to taxing our foodstuffs to the hilt. And don’t get me started on the Tennessee Waltz scandal or the current situation with the Knox County charter.

What about the church? Don’t our leaders and senior pastors need to think through some things about the direction of the church? I mean, moving to one Wednesday night a month, and Kidstuff being all month long as well. Thank goodness it’s done for the summer.

And another thing……..

Okay.

Wait.

Before you turn me off, keep reading.

God has placed leadership over us. We have authority, and we are under authority. It’s up to us to recognize and submit ourselves to authority, and in turn exercise our authority wisely.

I am NOT; I repeat NOT making a political statement with this message. I wrote the earlier remarks because we all have either voiced them, or heard them voiced around us.

Hebrews 13:17- “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

We have a choice with the current standings in the world around us. We can either: (1) Gripe, moan, and generally complain about the state of the world; or (2) Change the world.

I hear it now. “Okay Bo, how do we change the world?”

Prayer.

It’s that simple.

When is the last time you really PRAYED for our leaders? Not that they would be defeated or removed from office; but that they would have the unction of the Holy Spirit placed on their life? Have you prayed to have them truly filled and connected with God in such a way that they would follow Jesus’ command, and serve others first?

There’s an old saying about pastors-if you want a new pastor, pray for the one you have now.

If we need a change in leadership in this country, we are going to have to lead by example. We are going to have to pave the road to change with prayer, and not with complaining.

Pray. Vote (if you can). Trust in God and the leadership He has placed over us.

Be blessed in the Lord.

Bo J.

Monday, June 05, 2006

1 Chronicles 16:25

Have you ever found yourself to be just a little irreverent when dealing with God? Have you ever found yourself approaching God with an attitude not exactly in line with Who He is?

We have songs that tell us that God is our friend. He tells us in His Word that we are no longer servants but heirs and friends. We learn that when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are no longer enemies of God. God tells us to address Him physically as we would talk to a visible friend.

That is fine. However, we should NEVER forget that, no matter how we slice it up, we are STILL talking to God, the Creator of the Universe. We are still conversing with the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He is God, and we are still a created being. He owes us NOTHING, and we owe him EVERYTHING.

We have a tendency to fall into the trap of talking to God/Jesus/Holy Spirit EXACTLY as we do a friend. Moreover, we try to take advantage of friends and play on their feelings for us. With God, it is different; He knows us better than we know ourselves, and we cannot manipulate Him.

What drives us to act this way? Why do we think we can talk to God as we do a small child sometime? In my opinion, it is because we are in the mindset that God is ours to use like some cosmic ATM.

Please do not get offended by this analogy. Look at it in your own life. During times in your life, you will find yourself coasting along. Things are going pretty well, and you can wake up one day and realize that you have not been spending quite as much time with God as you ought.

You find that you are using more excuses to get out of being with Him, of growing in intimacy. “Oh, You know already that I love you God. I’ll spend time with You later. I really want to watch this special on TV.” “God, you created me, you know how I am. You’ll just have to wait until I get this under control, and then I’ll spend some real quality time with You.”

What about when you don’t get something you thought you needed? That is when I really notice how I feel and respect God and my position with Him. We feel like this is in our best interests, and we will submit to God’s will, as long as it lines up with what we feel we need.

1 Chronicles 16:25- “For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods.”

Do you know what a god is? It is an idol substituted for Almighty God, Jehovah. In addition, it’s ANYTHING that stands in the way of you worshipping and adoring your Lord.

Your God could be money, power, prestige, a new home or car or your family-anything that interferes with your first priority-glorifying God through our lives.

We don’t fear God enough. We have become comfortable. We know that God said He would return for His followers, we just think that we will have some prior notice, so we can “straighten our act out” before He arrives. We know that He is coming, but we don’t have the urgency because we have KNOWN He is coming for so many years.

I need to get back to the center, back to where it all started. I need to remember that the Lord is great, and He is worthy of my praise. He is NOT worthy of my ire, or my insolence, or out and out rebellion. He has saved me from everlasting damnation and I need to remember that when I approach Him.

I would like to remind you that we are to approach Him as a friend, but primarily, as God and Lord. Do not be slipshod in how you treat Him. As the song says, “I’m coming back to the heart of worship; where it’s all about You; all about You, Jesus.” If you have lost your First Love, go back and find Him.

He never left.

Be blessed in the Lord.

Bo J.