Friday, May 30, 2008

Hebrews 6:17-18 (NIRV)

Hebrews 6:17-18 (NIRV)-“So God took an oath when he made his promise. He wanted to make it very clear that his purpose does not change. He wanted those who would receive what was promised to know that. God took an oath so we would have good reason not to give up. We have run away from everything else to take hold of the hope offered to us in God's promise. So God gave his promise and his oath. Those two things can't change. He couldn't lie about them. “

Yesterday was my birthday, again. I turned 42 and it was a great day. My family went out of their way to make sure that I didn’t have to do anything and that NOTHING interfered with my birthday.

The world conspired to work against them, but they persevered through to the end. They promised themselves that, no matter what, they were going to the best they could to help me enjoy my birthday.

My wife had a doctor’s appointment yesterday as well. Her multiple sclerosis (MS) is advancing. She is becoming very forgetful, because of all the lesions spreading across her brain. She is, to put it bluntly, not encouraged by all this news. But she made sure that I had a good day.

My 20 year old daughter decided that yesterday, my birthday, was the day she finally desired to move out of the apartment she has had the entire month of May to vacate. Her boyfriend, that she had my grandson by, is not lifting a finger to help her.

We begged her not to align her life with his in that way, but what can be done? She is considered an adult and can make her own decisions. The rest of the family (my wife and 3 daughters still at home) were very upset. Not just because she decided to do this ON MY BIRTHDAY, but because she also refused to even tell me happy birthday.

They chose to run interference for me, and did not allow her to monopolize any of my day. My wife even went so far as to rent her a storage shed for six months so that she would have a place to store her things that she could get to whenever she wanted, as opposed to storing them in our home. But she didn’t let me move a finger of the items still left in her apartment.

My Bible study yesterday was about the fact that God doesn’t change. It referenced the two verses above, and related the fact that God can’t change. He can’t change because to change means a fundamental shift in the way something is to something it is not.

There is nothing that God is not, except evil. He is good, just; righteous, holy, pure, loving, attentive, compassionate, kind….the list goes on and on. God cannot change, because there is nothing about Him that needs to change. He is God. If He were to change, it would mean either that something in Him was incomplete, or something in Him was flawed.

He has neither of those problems.

I’m still not were I want to be spiritually, physically, financially or emotionally. You know what though? I have hope. My situation can change, because my God has sent me His promise (oath) and His word. I can see that God has never left me and has not forsaken me, and His word confirms it. He tells me that I am His child, no matter what happens, as long as I follow and believe on Him.

My body may be falling apart, but He is my rock solid standard. My life may be coming down around my ears, but He is unchanging. Though the world is on fire around me, I am not consumed.

The word the Bible uses for this character of God is IMMUTABLE. Webster’s dictionary defines this as “Not mutable; not capable or susceptible of change; unchangeable; unalterable.” It even goes so far as to cite as an example verse 18 above.

I can be changed or altered depending on my circumstances. I can be affected, if I choose to allow it, by the things that go on around me. Or I can stake my claim in the One who sent His Son to die for me, that through Him I might obtain a better promise; a better life.

God made a promise to me, and He won’t back out on His promise. Then, just to make sure that I understood where He was coming from; He took His promises and spoke them through His Word (Jesus Christ).

What promise has God made to you today? What threads are unraveling from your life that you need to look back to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith? (Heb 12:2-NKJV)

I realize this may not mean anything to you right now, but it might one day. That day may be sooner than you think. Grab hold of God’s word and study it. Get His promises in your life and into your spirit. Grow closer to Him, so that as things around you change and rearrange, you have an anchor. As the storms of life rage, you have a lighthouse beacon shining to you in the darkness.

Grab hold of a promise to change your life, from the One whose life has never changed because it doesn’t have to. Don’t give up, because you don’t have to-ever.

Be blessed in the Lord today,

Bo J.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV)

Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV)-“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

What do you think of when you see the word
narrow? Does it conjure up images of tight, constrictive places with no room to get by? Does it make you feel claustrophobic just thinking about it? I think it’s very significant that Jesus uses this term when He is discussing the way to eternal life.

See, a lot of us are spiritually obese. We are fat in spiritual realm. We don’t do enough holy exercising by walking with God, and so we have become a lot of biblical couch potatoes.

Don’t look around at everyone else, because I’m not. I’m looking straight into the mirror at my big fat self!

If you have a personal doctor, you probably get somewhat regular check-ups and at least a yearly physical. You cringe when he asks you about your exercising, don’t you? You know you just never get around to it. You have good intentions, but somehow, it always seems to slip to the back; out of sight, out of mind.

God, the great physician, gives you check-ups also. He allows you to go through trials and tribulations. He even promised that you would in His word….oh yeah, you don’t know that do you? You haven’t really been IN His word enough to find that out.

God knows that, given the choice, we are going to become spiritually fat and lazy. He knows that we don’t exercise enough. He’s smarter than your primary care physician, so don’t think you’re getting over on either of them. God knows you’re not walking with Him, just like your PCP knows you’re not exercising 4-5 times a week as you told him.

That’s why it’s easier for us to take the broad gate, isn’t it? The broad gate doesn’t require much out of our lives. We can do that easily and just waddle along, going our merry way. Occasionally, there are food stands along the way too. They are the snares and traps of the world. These stands fill the void, but only temporarily.

See, as you get further down the broad path, the food stands become more numerous and start giving bigger portions of the things you want to partake. They have to; as you go further on the broad path, it takes more to satisfy your inner lusts and desires, and so the enemy will gladly expand his offerings to you.

Oh, you know that you’re on the wrong path alright. You know that you need to stop and drop right where you’re at and give God a spiritual 20 push-ups. But you’re kind of winded and out of shape. You’re frustrated that you can’t even give Him one push-up, so you say, “I’ll try again tomorrow morning when I’m fresh” or “Well, I give up. I can’t do this, it’s too hard.”

This path that you’re on, it only leads to one place. You can make excuses and try and fool yourself all you want, but it’s the truth. There is only one place this path leads. A deep, dark well from which there is no escape.

But, you know the wonderful thing about God? He knows this about you. And, just like the Bible says, He has made a way of escape. As a matter of fact, He has given you a personal training staff. Jesus is the head of the gym; and the Holy Spirit is your own personal trainer.

See, if you let Them, They will craft a training regimen specifically tailored to your spiritual body profile. It will push you to your limits, but it won’t be anything you can’t accomplish. And, just like any good gym personnel, They will always be available to answer your questions about any of the exercises you are performing.

They can cure the “Why should I tithe?” gut. They can help tone and define you through “small group therapy”. They can get rid of the flabby arms from “I don’t really want to serve”. They can give you the six-pack of spiritual abs you’ve been looking for in life.

You just have to walk through the doors of the gym. I’m gonna warn you though, the entryway is pretty narrow. You’ll look at it, and then down at your body, and think, “There is NO way I’m gonna fit through those doors!”

Don’t worry, you’ll fit. And, while you’re in there exercising, you’ll find that those food stands on the outside are only selling stinky garbage; not healthy, wholesome stuff. And you know what else? You can give some of your friends a guest card to come visit. When they see how fit and fabulous looking you are becoming, they are surely going to want to exercise at your gym as well.

Don’t be shy, it’s okay. We all had to start somewhere. Put down the tub of ice cream; there’s a treadmill here right next to mine. Once you get on and get started, you won’t want to get off.

Come on, step inside. Don’t worry about paying your membership fees, either. Someone else has already done it for you. He paid your dues. You’ll be current with the owner, God, forever. You just have to grab a copy of the contract and sign it (Romans 10:9-10). The wonderful thing about it is that you can sign it right where you’re at, right now. Then, all you need to go and find a gym to work-out in.

Come on, join in. It’ll be worth it.

Be blessed in the Lord today,

Bo J.