Friday, September 28, 2007

Isaiah 57:21

You know, we sometimes don’t give young people enough credit for the things they say and do. We hear what they say, but we don’t LISTEN to what they are telling us.

I have been really impressed with the senior guys we deal with on Wednesday nights at church, as well as the guys I’m mentoring on Monday nights. They have some really startling views on life that really voice what goes on in my heart.

One thing we’ve all been wrestling with lately is the seeming fact that, as Christians, we always seem to be behind the eight ball. By that I mean it seems like there is always something going on in our lives that keeps us knocked around and off balance. Just when it seems like things are starting to go well, WHAM! And we’re bouncing off the walls again from a ricochet shot.

The problem lies in what goes on around us. In my life, I work with many people who talk of going to church, but don’t lead the life or the walk that God has for us. And you can always tell them, because they justify their lifestyle by saying that they go to church and they don’t steal/kill/etc. from other people.

Or you have the adults/youth that you are around who don’t even acknowledge the role that Jesus played in giving them salvation. They ignore God’s greatest gift to them, because they just don’t see a reason to follow Christ. They don’t see what they’ll get out of it, or they simply don’t care. Christians, to them, are just hypocritical bigots who are only after one thing-their money.

It’s hard sometimes when you are going through your life and it seems to be the unending roar of one thing after another rolling over you. And you look up to see those who aren’t allowing Jesus into their lives just having the time of their lives; joking, laughing, having everything they need in life. It’s hard as an adult and as a teen.

It’s harder when someone tells you that you need to have a mindset on things above and not things down here; especially since you are LIVING down HERE right now. You know in your heart of hearts that God is in control and that you shouldn’t worry about those who seem to get by, but it hurts nonetheless.

How do you get by? Spending time in God’s word and seeing Him manifest it in your life.

I ran across a verse in Isaiah recently during one of my quiet times. It’s a short verse, but it spoke volumes to me. It’s powerful to me, because of its simplicity.

Isaiah 57:21-“’There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.’”

Don’t worry, Bo, their time is coming. One day they will stand before God, just like I will. If they have accepted His offer of grace (God’s unmerited, undeserved favor-Him doing for me what I couldn’t do on my own) and salvation, then they will be saved.
However, if they have not, it’s the beginning of a completely different life for them; one of pain, heartache, torture, and ultimate loss. See, it’s up to us to remember that we have lost the world, but gained our soul. The finite time we have here on this ball of dirt will not compare to the infinity we will have with the Father and Son and Holy Spirit in Heaven.

We have so much to look forward to, and yet we keep looking back. It’s our nature, and we have to die to it daily. Sometimes, you have to die to it by the hour, minute, or even second. But it’s a process that, as you go through it, gets easier to accomplish.

See, as you die to this world daily, the space in your heart that was filled with those things of the world gets to be filled with those things from above. That’s what is so important about having quiet times with God. Their not so you can mark it off on some heavenly to-do list. It’s so you can get closer and closer to the Savior and allow more and more of Him to shine through your life.

Then, when your friends or co-workers or the person you meet by God’s design comes along and sees all this stuff happening to you, they get to wondering why you have this silly grin on your face.

“Why are you smiling?” they may ask you. “Don’t you see what’s happening in your life?”

And you can reply, “Yep, I sure do. Ain’t God great? He’s the Lord of my life now, so all this stuff that I’m going through is His responsibility now. I don’t have to worry about a thing.”

I didn’t say it would be easy. But one day, when we see through the smoke and fog and deceptions that the enemy has placed in our lives, we’ll realize that it was all a plot to make us better than what we were originally.

Ain’t God great? He’s the Lord of my life now, so I don’t have to worry about anything.

Wanna meet Him? I can show you the way.

Be blessed in the Lord today,

Bo J.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Lamentations 3:22-23

Lamentations 3:22-23-“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

I’m glad His faithfulness is great. I’m also glad His compassions don’t fail….unlike mine. I’m glad that God’s compassion and caring isn’t as fleeting as the wind like mine. I’m glad that God cares about me doesn’t just snap His fingers on my existence.

He’s faithful. He’s compassionate. You’ll notice how short those sentences are compared to what we could write about ourselves. I’m faithful---as long as all is going my way. I’m compassionate---as long as you’re doing what I want you to do.

I care about you as long as it fits in with my plans and desires. Otherwise, you’re just a speedbump on the road of life to me.

Oh, don’t worry. I know that you all are way better than me at this. I wish I was as spiritually grounded as you. I wish that I could scrape some of you off onto me and get it to grow. I wish I knew how to be as close to God as you.

I mean, I don’t see you having any problems or anything in your life. Everything is going swimmingly with you. You’re children are perfect; you have friends and they all look up to you. You have all that God desires you to have, and more. You are the person I look up to and model.

What? What do you mean, “You don’t have it altogether”? But, I mean, look at my life compared to yours. You can do what you want whenever you want. You don’t have a care in the world, just staying in there close to God.

You don’t say the wrong thing to those around you. You don’t hurt anyone close to you. You make everyone around you feel so warm and worthwhile. It’s a great example.

I mean, I just don’t feel like I’m on top of the world today. I don’t FEEL like a Christian today. I just feel like I’m wandering around in a daze trying to make it. I can’t feel anything; I’m just numb.

Wait, you feel that way too? No way; I didn’t think anything affected you. I thought you were a rock. I love the example that you set……

You thought that way about me? I helped you to realize that God loves you and His compassions are always around you. I helped you to realize that sometimes we all go through things and don’t feel or look or act like we have God in our lives.

I did? But when? I don’t remember doing that. Okay, if you say so, but I don’t know. I’m not always a great person. I’ll be honest, sometimes, I don’t know what else to do but curl up in God’s lap and cry. Not all the time, mind you.

I want to shut out the world and everything that happens to me, and just get away from it all. Then, I feel the rain.

Then I realize it’s not rain. They’re tears being shed for me. It’s Someone whose compassion for me never fails. He never leaves me nor forsakes me. And when I’m curled up in His lap, fast asleep, He’s whispering in my ear how much He loves me.

And He’s crying tears of compassion for me in my hurt and pain. He loves me and you and you and you. He loves us all and wants us to know that joy comes anew each day. No matter what happens to you this day, it will still have the same number of seconds, minutes, and hours in it.

And it will end, and a new one will begin. When the new one begins, He’ll be right there, to help you up and get you started.

So don’t worry about what is trying to eat you alive today; God’s mercies are new and they protect you. There is nothing that can get through His hands to you.

Let’s do this together. Let’s try and let Him mold us into what He’d like us to be today. No matter how He wants to use us. Let’s be the hands and feet of God today; even if we don’t feel like it.

It couldn’t hurt.

Be blessed in the Lord today,

Bo J.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Deuteronomy 28:1

Deuteronomy 28:1-“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.”

Ding! Ding! Ding! School’s in session. Let’s turn in our books to our math lesson for the day. I love mathematics. The ability to use numbers and logic to explain concepts just floors me. I use math every day and I love it.

I know there are some of you out there who think I’m nuts, and that’s okay. This will be an easy lesson, I promise. I think this is a great way to put in simple terms what MY revelation has been lately about God.

Now, I know that numbers and mathematical expressions are finite and our God is an infinite being. Bear with me for just a bit while I explain. See, numbers, for all their differences, and size and the way they are represented are still numbers.

2+2=4. That’s a true statement, right? No matter where I am in the world, that statement holds true. It doesn’t matter whether or not I’m in North America, or Europe, or Africa, or anywhere else….the mathematical statement 2+2 always equals 4.

It also doesn’t matter what I believe about God, does it? No matter how I believe or what I believe about God, 2+2 still is equal to 4. It’s an absolute value. Now, man in his wisdom and mathematical prowess has invented imaginary numbers, but look at the name…IMAGINARY. They are NOT real. They are representations of an idea that we can’t quite grasp. So it’s shown as an imaginary value.


God is like that, as well. God is an ABSOLUTE value. No matter what anyone thinks of Him, or how they try and prove or disprove Him, it doesn’t matter. He’s still an absolute value. He’s a standard that we cannot move.

I think that people base their beliefs in God on three different mathematical principles. Now, there are LOADS of math statements out there, but I only want to concentrate on three easy ones.

The first is addition. See, some like to believe that God’s whole purpose is to keep adding into their life. They don’t ever feel like they have to give or do, they just take and take and take some more. They feel like they are entitled to this lifestyle and demand that God continue to add to their total. Nothing is too good for them, and God wants them to have everything, regardless of their walk with Him.

The next is subtraction. There are those who feel that once they give their life to God, they have made it into Heaven. Nevertheless, God wants them to suffer and grovel and generally just subjugate themselves daily. They are never going to get anything because they are not good enough. And if they do get anything, it’s only a matter of time before God takes it away, because that’s just what He does.

The last one is a kind of neat statement that we have been talking about a lot lately in church and in my life. It’s called an if/then statement.

See, an if/then statement uses the inherent facts that numbers are absolute values. It shows that, no matter how convoluted a formula becomes, it still has to follow some basic rules. An if/ then statement tells me that IF I add the numbers 2 and 2, THEN I will get 4. Always, forever, until the end of time.

Now, mathematics and all the other laws derived from it are based on standards that God put in place when He created the Universe. So, the only one who can change the rules is Him. But if He changed the rules, then would He still be absolute? Would He still be an immovable standard that you could measure your life by? Would He still be the Rock?

I believe my God is an if/then kind of God. See, He tells me in Deuteronomy 28 that IF I follow His commandments and do what is right in His sight, THEN He will set me high above the nations of the earth. He will give me blessing upon blessing upon blessing.

I get blessed because I do what God asks me to do. I fulfill the part on the left side of the equation, and the right side of the equation gets fulfilled in my life. I am not blessed because I deserve it. I ‘m blessed because if I do my part, then God, Who is absolute, has to do His part in order to balance out the equation.

And no, I am NOT saying that He owes me. I’m saying that He is truthful and keeps His promises in Scripture. Don’t get the two confused. We are NOT entitled to anything God doesn’t promise us in Scripture. Don’t start naming and claiming everything under the sun just because it’s what YOU want for you life. Line it up with the Word of God!

One more thing; the first half of that chapter tells us the blessings that we will walk in if we follow God’s commandments. The second half details the other part of if/then statements that we don’t like.

See, with addition and subtraction, we don’t have to think about anything outside of that statement. With if/then, there are two sides to the coin. It covers what happens if you conform to the “if” conditions, AND what can happen if you DON’T conform to those conditions. The second half of Deut 28 pretty much reads like a horror novel. I don’t even want to go there.

So, which statement conforms to your life right now? We can all be any statement at any point in our life. That’s why God gave us the Book to take home and study, so we can be ready for the ultimate test. It’s just one question; pass or fail.

Do you have Him, or not? Is He Lord of your life, or just a way to get stuff?

Class is dismissed. Be blessed in the Lord today.

Bo J.