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April 3, 2018, 10:35 AM

V-I-C-T-O-R-Y, That’s the Christian Battle Cry!


I have never been accused of being very good at sports, or anything else for that matter.  There have only been a couple of things I would say I have been pretty decent at over the course of my 41 years.  However, I have known those people that seem to be good at everything.  I know people that have played professional sports, been in professional wrestling, and are highly successful in the business world.  I have met famous musicians, politicians, and my fair share of millionaires.  One man, in particular, has had an impact on my life.  Not necessarily because of what he’s accomplished in life, but the way he has handled himself through the victories.  He has played in Major League Baseball and even won a gold medal as part of the Olympic baseball team.  He has raised wonderful children that love and respect him and he is now enjoying being a grandparent.  His marriage has been healthy and one to model after for many years and his successful business career is to be noted as well.  The accolades could go on and on but the one thing that this man would want people to know is that his greatest victory in life didn’t come on a baseball field or in a meeting room.  The greatest victory he has experienced is the victory he has in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Paul tells the church at Corinth in 1Corinthians 15:57 that real victory comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Victory over sin, death, and hell are found in Christ alone.  John echoes this in 1John 5 in stating that the victory that has overcome the world is faith.  Not just faith in anything desired, but faith in Christ alone.  It doesn’t matter how many championships, or what level a person ascends to whether business, sports or otherwise, in the scope of eternal things only victory in Jesus matters.  How would things be different if children were trained as intensely to be victorious in Christ as they are sports?  Or if adults pursued victory through faith in Christ as passionately as in other aspects of life.  At the end of the day, the only victory that matters is found in Jesus. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZC5L8tJ9JO0

Robert




March 23, 2018, 12:00 PM

A Diiferent Kind of Pain


When I played football in high school, the coaches used to tell us there is a difference between being hurt and being injured.  I remember being told once that if I was injured to get off the field because I couldn’t play, but if I was only hurt then to suck it up and play because everyone else was hurt too.  If you have ever had a serious injury you can understand the difference and also the hurt that comes with the injury.  Often, these serious injuries require a surgical intervention in order to be made well.  Sometimes surgery is required to repair joints that are just worn out and causing pain.  Either way, there is a difference in the kind of pain that is felt when the injury occurs and the pain that comes after surgery.  The preoperative pain lets you know something is terribly wrong and you can’t continue normal activity no matter how hard you try to suck it up.  It the type of pain that doesn’t go away or get better without an intervention.  The other type of pain is the pain that comes postoperatively. It’s the pain that comes from the surgical instruments and other devices that have been used to heal you.  Somehow the old pain is gone and the new pain is much more encouraging because healing is on the way.  Guilt, shame, and conviction are somewhat similar to the different types of pain.  Conviction comes from the Holy Spirit that indwells believers.  It guides us when we are trying to make decisions and gently nudges us in the right direction when temptation creeps up on us.  It leads us to seek forgiveness and ultimately draws us back to the Savior.  Guilt and shame are from the devil who is also known as the accuser.  He would seek to cause believers to become paralyzed with shame and feelings of worthlessness.  Conviction is good because it is intended to lead us to the healer.  Guilt and shame are used by the enemy to lead us away from healing and restoration.  Don’t misunderstand your feelings of conviction over something you’ve done as a negative type of guilt and cause you to not seek the healer.  Jesus didn’t come so that we could simply be guilty of sin, but that we could be made aware of our guilt and through conviction be led to salvation in Him.  Every person stands guilty in sin, will yours drive you to the Savior or away from Him?  

Robert




March 15, 2018, 1:52 PM

You Feed Them


With the recent passing of Billy Graham, many are left wondering who will be next to follow in his footsteps.  Who will be the next Super-Christian to impact presidents, fill stadiums with thousands to hear the Gospel, and have such an impact on multiple generations around the world regardless of race or language?  I don’t know too many pastors who, if given the opportunity, wouldn’t jump at the chance to be the next to accomplish all that he did.  Honestly, I don’t know if there will ever be another man like Mr. Graham.  He obviously walked in the favor and power of the Lord.  Throughout the Bible, we see example after example of God using individuals, men and women, to accomplish His purposes and bring Him glory.  I know not everyone is called to be an Elijah, Moses, Isaiah, Peter, Paul, Esther, Mary, or Martha.  The one thing all believers have in common is salvation by grace through faith in Jesus.  When we are saved, we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to convict, lead, and empower us.  Not for our glory, but to the glory of the Father.  The same God that empowered all those mentioned in the Hall of Faith in the Book of Hebrews, empowers every believer today.  So, as we stand around anxiously anticipating who the Lord will use to accomplish the amazing tasks done by those in the past, I give you three little words.  You feed them.  If those words sound familiar, they should.  It's what Jesus told the disciples when they were standing around contemplating how they would feed some 5,000 people who had come to hear Jesus.  The disciples rightly responded that they weren’t able to feed so many with their limited resources.  However, when Jesus intervened no one went away hungry and there were leftovers.  The need of the people was met by Jesus through the service of the disciples. The point is this, it’s not just the pastors, teachers, or leaders of the church who have the responsibility to share the Gospel.  If we wait around to see who will be the next great leader, how many people will die without salvation?  How many babies will be murdered in the womb? The message is clear, stop standing around and waiting for someone else and watching hungry people starve to death, be a faithful steward of the Gospel and in the power of God who has provided the resources, “YOU give them something to eat.”

Robert




March 12, 2018, 9:00 AM

Anguish Gives Birth to Joy


I recently read a statement that said something to the extent of, what you are currently going through is God preparing to give you what you’ve been praying for.  I took it kind of personal because I see that very thing happening in our family right now.  I began to think of some other instances in the Bible where that may be true also.  Where people had to endure some hardships in preparation for what God was bringing them.  The Israelites wandered in the desert in preparation for the Promised Land.  Jesus fasted and was tempted in the wilderness prior to beginning His earthly ministry.  Paul was blinded on the road in preparation for God using him.  The list is long and would take much room to name all of the examples.  I was in a type of wilderness for a period about 6 weeks and by wilderness, I mean a place of preparation where I had much to learn prior to moving on to where the Lord was leading.  In the middle of it, I was having one of those “grumble” moments where I was frustrated and complaining wondering why the Lord hadn’t left me to die in Egypt. (reference to Exodus and the wilderness wanderings.)  It was a Wednesday night and I didn’t really want to go to church because I was very discouraged.  The study that night came from John 16 and verse 21 jumped off the page and slapped me across my bald head.  While Jesus is speaking of the sorrow of Him leaving the disciples turning to joy at His resurrection, there is a second implication that can be taken from this verse also.  Notice that the very same act, the process of giving birth, brings both pain and joy and the joy doesn’t come without first enduring the pain.  The circumstances don’t change, just the perspective of the woman.  What begins as anguish (GRK implies suffering, lamenting), is the very same thing that brings overwhelming joy, joy that makes a person forget about the pain.  In that moment and since, I realized that the current “anguish” I was enduring would be the very thing to bring joy into my life.  Not just material or physical, but most importantly, spiritual. As soon as a new mom beholds the beauty of a newborn child, the pain of labor is turned to joy at the realization of the gift brought forth from the suffering.  If you’re enduring a little anguish in your life, ask the Lord to show you a glimpse of the joy that is to come.  Though sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning.  Though we may endure hard times now, eternal joy is our hope and promise from God through Jesus. 

Robert  




February 28, 2018, 1:31 PM

Hot as Jalapeno


I will never forget the day it happened.  I had cooked a skillet full of veggies sautéed with spices and different types of peppers.  I enjoy searching for that perfect combination that makes you feel like your taste buds are having a party.  Maybe one day I will figure it out, but it wasn’t that day.  After I finished putting all of the ingredients in the skillet, I rinsed my hands, cooked the veggies and sat down to eat with my family.  When dinner was over we cleared the table and I went to the bathroom to take my contacts out.  It took a whole 0.12 seconds for my brain to register that my eyeball was on fire and I began screaming as loud as I could for Emily to come help me.  Tears began pouring from my eye and my vision was blurry to the point I couldn’t see anything from that eye.  By the time Emily got to me, I had tears rolling down my face and my eye was blood red and swollen.  However, my screams of pain and panic had now turned to hysterical laughter.  You see, I realized that I had only rinsed my hands with water after cutting up the jalapeno peppers and didn’t use soap to thoroughly clean them.  Needless to say, we got a good laugh that day and my kids still bring it up.  Some people try to deal with their sin the same way I dealt with the jalapeno juice on my hands.  They try whatever means necessary to rinse it away or cover it up, but even if they can’t see it, it’s still there.  Relationships, drugs, alcohol, work, money, success, popularity, or anything else found in this world can’t cleanse a person from their sin.  All it does is serve as a cover up until that day it will come back to burn them.  Sin is a problem we all have in common, and there is only one way to have it cleansed.  The blood of Jesus that was shed for our atonement is the only way to be completely cleansed of sin.  Anything else, though it may cause you to think your sin is no longer an issue, is only a simple rinsing and not a soul cleansing washing.  And the worse thing about only rinsing away sin and not having it cleansed by the blood of Jesus is  the burning that will be experienced is in the lake of fire and will never cease.  Hell will burn much hotter than jalapeno juice in the eye.  The Good News is that there is cleansing, the forgiveness of our sins, in the blood of Jesus, freely available to all who will place their faith in Him.  Have you trusted in Jesus as your Lord and Savior?  Don’t get burned by only rinsing and not being fully cleansed. 

Robert


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