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November 27, 2017, 11:24 AM

Fight, Finish, Keep


2 Timothy 4:6-8, are believed to be some of the very last words written by Paul recorded in this second letter to Timothy.  In these verses, he summarizes his life with three illustrations.  Let us look beyond the surface of these words to better understand what Paul meant by them.  The Greek word he used that is translated “fight” is where we get our English word “agony.” Paul describes this life as an agonizing battle.  Every true follower of Jesus understands that this life can, and often is a battle.  Paul description of the manner in which he anguished for the sake of the Gospel is translated “good” from the original Greek.  Another use of this same Greek word was “inspirational.”  Paul anguished in the fight in an inspirational manner that each believer is to be encouraged by.  Regardless of circumstance, Paul fought the good fight.  His words tell us that he finished the race.  The word used here for “finish” is the same word used by Christ when He called out from the cross, “It is finished!”  Christ completely fulfilled the plan and will of the Father when He completed the course set in place for the redemption of man.  Though there were many twists and turns along the course which Paul ran he continued obediently trusting in the will of the Father.  Similar to Christ’s life and death, the magnitude of Paul’s life and understanding of his suffering would not be fully known until after he was gone from this world.  We may not always know why we are on the course God has placed us on, but we can always trust in His will knowing obedience leads to a successful finish in the race.  The word translated “kept” means to guard something of great value.  Paul knew the tremendous value of faith in Jesus Christ.  He knew the crown of Righteousness he would receive on that Day.  So much so that he guarded it as a priceless treasure it did not allow anything of this world to take it from him.  Paul considered the things of this life worthless in comparison to a saving knowledge of  Jesus.  His faith was evidenced by his actions and was the key to his being able to fight an inspiring fight, while obediently running the race God had set before him.  Is this true for you and me? What will be said about me after I am gone?                                       (In Memory of Drew Davis)

Robert




November 14, 2017, 2:14 PM

Everything is Awesome!


Tis the season once again to be inundated with ads about the latest gadgets and toys that will make that special someone in your life overwhelmed with joy.  One of the most popular toys each year for many years running has been Legos.  When I was a kid, when we got Legos it was just a box of random pieces that you had to use your imagination to configure something amazing.  That’s not the case these days.  A person could easily spend $100 on a Lego set and make an amazing creation.  Fortunately, each set also comes with instructions to show how to build that particular set.  The popularity of Legos was heightened a few years ago with the release of the Lego Movie.  One of the catchy songs described how everything was awesome when everyone followed the same rules and was on the same team.  Some said this was a shot at organized religion, aka Christianity, that followed the instruction manual to the point of becoming boring and out of touch with reality.  There is a point to be made from the idea whether it is genuinely inferred or not.  In the same way that a particular Lego set will not turn out the way it’s supposed to unless you go by the instructions, God has given us His instructions to accomplish the best outcome for our lives.  When we deviate from that manual and begin to create things based on our needs, wants, and desires in life it never seems to turn out right.  God has given us instructions not only for this life but for eternal life and anything other than following those instructions is incorrect.  God’s Word tells us that there is one way to the Father and that is through the Son.  If a person doesn’t have the Son then they don’t have eternal life.  As a follower of Christ, I am commanded to lay down my life daily and follow the commands of God given in His manual- The Bible.  It’s only when we follow God’s instructions that everything is awesome.

Robert




November 7, 2017, 1:37 PM

No Fancy Words


I have no fancy words to offer or humorous stories to tell.  I confess that, due to recent events both in Sutherland and in my personal life, I am finding it difficult to wrap my mind around the reality we live in every day.  The most eloquent words fall short of providing comfort to those dealing with the loss of a loved one taken too soon.  I have to take inventory of the things spoken at such times and consider my belief in those words.  It is a tremendous struggle when a broken heart cries out desperately for a miracle while the spirit within prompts remembrance of, “Thy will be done.”  The struggle between flesh and spirit is brought to a crescendo.  This is where I have found myself and so I would offer to you these thoughts.  The wages of sin is death.  A part of that is having to live in a body that is futile and breaks down. One that can, and so often does become consumed by sickness and disease.  Sinfulness and depravity are not far from each other.  When someone who is totally depraved acts out in like manner as he is motivated by sinful nature, the consequences become catastrophic.  Sin entered into the world through a choice made by two people long ago, and the effects continue to ripple throughout our world.  God is holy, just, and righteous. He is the God of love.  Man has chosen to take God from schools, from the government, and shows like Saturday Night Live display how much of America feels about Him.  Our culture has told God to get out and then blames Him for all that goes wrong.  Friends, God is the only hope for our nation and it begins with honoring Him in our marriages, homes, churches, and communities.  I am reminded of Peter’s response when many had turned from following Jesus and Christ asked the disciples if they were going to leave also.  Our answer should be the same, especially in the face of difficult times.  Where else can we go but to God?  He is our only hope. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6fA35Ved-Y

Robert




October 31, 2017, 11:22 AM

The Birds and the Trees


If you’re a people watcher like I am, then the term needs no defining.  However, for those who may not know, a people watcher is someone who can go to the mall or other such place and watch people as they go by and be fascinated by all they see.  I believe I can tell a lot about a person in the short time it takes them to walk the 100 feet or so to pass by me in the mall.  It’s not just the style of clothes or general physical appearance.  How a person carries their self in their gait and stride, the expression of the face, the position of the shoulders and posture, and the way they interact with those around them are all telling characteristics.  One thing that can be easy to determine is those who work out on a regular basis.  Their general physical physique screams, “I can bench press a VW!”  Mine is not that type.  Before everyone emails me about profiling or stereotyping, let me continue my thought.  Outward appearance and actions are, generally speaking, a billboard displaying the inward condition, whether spiritually or emotionally.  The Bible teaches that a tree is known by the fruit it produces, and a bad tree is unable to bear good fruit, while a good tree will not bear bad fruit.  This fruit that Scripture speaks of is spiritual in nature.  If a person is not filled with the Spirit, there will be no Spiritual fruit. (Note: there is a huge difference in simply being a good person and truly being filled with the Spirit of God.  Also, Christians aren’t perfect and do commit sin, but they are forgiven.)  In order for a person to have the Spirit, they must have Salvation through Jesus Christ alone.  If there is no Spiritual fruit being produced, there is a good chance there has been no Salvation.  The Apostle Paul gives a list of the different types of fruit that a person produces in Galatians 5:16-26.  I have not said all of this to sound judgmental, as some will say, but to provide the basis of a question.  What does your fruit say about you?  What about the fruit of those you surround yourself with?  We often spend most of our time with those who are likeminded and act much in the same manner as we do.  As the saying goes, “Birds of a feather…”

Robert




October 19, 2017, 11:19 AM

Activist or Antagonist


Activist- a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change

Antagonist -A person who actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something                                       (Source - Oxford dictionary online)

I know this is a very sensitive subject, and so I tread lightly with my thoughts.  Please know that my words are from a personal conviction and not intended to demean anyone or make light of social injustices.  It is not intended to promote political thought, but spiritual. The recent protest of the National Anthem has struck a chord with many and has become a point of division in our nation.  I have had to resist the urge to gently explain to those around me who choose to sit while the anthem is played, that someone died for them to have the right to display such blatant disregard for a symbol of hope and freedom.  An activist, which those who sit claim to be, uses a particular platform seeking to draw attention to a cause or personal conviction.  According to the definition, they campaign for an issue.  As we all know from politics, what is said in a campaign hardly ever materializes in actions, so simply campaigning is not enough.  In order to see a real, substantial change take place, there needs to be an implementing of resources at the community level bringing about change in lives from personal interaction and mentoring.  There need to be positive antagonists who actively seek to bring about a change rather than simply campaign about it.  In light of this, during my quiet time this week, the Lord put on my heart the question of my walk personally and the role of the church.  Am I being a Christian activist by joining together each Sunday with others who are like minded to draw attention to a cause or conviction? Am I doing what is necessary to exact a change by pouring into others on a personal level through discipleship?  Is the church actively seeking to bring about a change in a lost and dying world or has it become content with merely campaigning for it?  While the complaint of disrespect for the flag and the honor of those who died for our freedom is legitimate, what about the disrespect shown toward the cross of Christ when those who claim to be followers of Jesus and receivers of eternal hope and freedom from sin and death simply go through the motions and don’t actively live out His commands?  To campaign without actively seeking to bring about a positive change is not what James describes.  He says that faith without deeds to support it is a dead faith.  A faith built on bringing an awareness but refusing to be a part of the change. 

Robert 


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