Sunday, February 16, 2014


When Coach Mike Ditka was fired by the Chicago Bears in 1992 after a 5-11 season, he said something very profound in his departure speech... "This too shall pass."

This proverb has been attributed to Persian poets of the 12th century and possibly to Solomon, the King of Israel, who lived some 900 plus years before Christ.

I cannot be positive about the exact origin of this statement but I do know that it contains great wisdom and value.

Everything in life will pass. Whatever is going on at any moment will eventually pass away!

Jesus reminded us that even heaven and earth will pass away:

Matthew 24:35

The Apostle John also encouraged us to avoid the love of this present world:

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
1 John 2:15-17

It can be sad to think that good things will pass away!

We may have situations in our lives or moments that we wish we could hold on to forever!

Many parents feel sad when their children grow up because they enjoyed raising them so much. We may have a job we love, but times change and for whatever reason, we must move on. We may become too old to do some of the things that used to bring us joy. Many circumstances can change in this life and force us to move out of a place of great enjoyment and contentment.

I don't believe this is how God intended us to live. It is rather the result of the curse which came from sin. Sin is at the root of all of the chaos and uncertainty in the world. In the beginning God pronounced His creation to be "very good." It was only after sin that creation became so chaotic!

The good news is that bad things will also pass away. One day God will bring restoration to this fallen world and bring beauty out of the ashes!

As Christians, even in our everyday lives, if we will remember that "THIS TOO SHALL PASS," we can remind ourselves that better things can come tomorrow!

On a practical level, we have all seen days which pressure us to look at the bleakness of the future. We look at what's ahead and ask ourselves, "What is the point?" It seems that nothing could ever change to make life good again!

Negative circumstances can intensify these feelings of hopelessness. A loved one passes away; we lose our job or our financial security, or we become ill. If we look only through the eyes of practicality, we can become very discouraged.

But if we look through the eyes of faith, we can once again see hope in our future!

But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
Proverbs 4:18

What have we to look forward to?
  • My bank account is low.
  • I am ill.
  • My children are grown.
  • I have no retirement saved.
  • I am in debt.
  • My company is closing.
  • The economy is bad.
  • My spouse is cheating on me.
  • I am depressed.
  • Fill in the blank!
There are certainly many things in life which can discourage us if we only look at the practical side of life!

But God is not only a practical God - He is a supernatural God!

No matter how old you are, how behind in the race, how ill-equipped you think you may be or how bad your future looks - GOD CAN CHANGE ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING!

God can...
  • Part the Red Sea!
  • Bring water from a rock!
  • Stop the sun!
  • Heal those who have been ill for many years or were born blind!
  • Cause a 99 year old woman to give birth!
  • Cause a virgin to give birth!
  • Bring tax money from a fishes mouth!
  • Change your circumstances in ways you cannot imagine!
  • Bring beauty from ashes!

If all that is not enough, even if our outward circumstances never got better in this life (Don't worry - they will!), we have the incredible eternity that God planned for us to look forward to:

But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
1 Corinthians 2:9

This is not to say we can simply blow off every difficulty or tragedy in life with some kind of positive, cheery attitude. It is unhealthy to pretend nothing is wrong when we are suffering - but we must choose to seek that which is eternal and focus on that!

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

All that happens in this life WILL PASS AWAY but God has promised that some things will remain eternally!



  LOVE. 1 Corinthians 13:13

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014


What happens when we give our lives to Christ or rededicate ourselves to Him?

God allows us to endure trials which will challenge us to grow and make us stronger.

The trials do not make us grow automatically. We grow as we yield to the inward work of the Holy Spirit conforming us into the image of His Son!

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—
10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
2 Corinthians 4:7-11

Merely "toughing it out" is an act of the flesh and will not produce this inner work. It comes only as we allow our newly created inner man to grow in Christ!

If we don't cooperate as fully as we should, we can slow our growth and it will be detrimental to us in this life!

These trials that God allows us to endure are designed to be too great to overcome in our own strength. They are designed to draw us to Christ, forsaking our own efforts to endure, instead sweetly surrendering to the power of His Holy Spirit within us!

What if we choose to be only half-hearted and do not commit fully to God and His plan?

The trials will still come, but because we have chosen not to yield to and partake of His power, we are left with only our own strength to overcome these fierce trials!

Imagine if you are in a war zone. You are wearing the uniform of your country and are in enemy territory. When you observe how intense and harsh war really is, you decide you want no part in it. So you sit down or lie on the ground wishing it would all go away.

What will happen when an enemy combatant sees you? He will say, "It is obvious that soldier does not want to be here; just leave him alone." Right? Wrong! He will not take time to analyze your mental state. He will see one thing - the uniform!

When we confess that we belong to Christ before men, we have put on the "uniform" of the Christian!

We are letting men and devils know that we belong to Christ! We wear the uniform of our country so those on our side will protect us. As Christians, we are marked by God to be protected by Him and His heavenly army!

If you are in a war zone, the best things to do is wear your uniform proudly and cooperate fully with your army. Lying down in the battle and refusing to be a part of the violence will not protect you. In fact, it will make you an easy target!

If you try to run and hide, you may escape the enemy but they will be looking for you. You will also be running from your army where your protection comes from! They are your strength! They have numbers around you to watch your back! They have mighty weapons which will be employed for your protection!

So it is with God! If you lie down, wanting to avoid the battle, you will be an easy target. If you try to run, you may temporarily escape the heat of the battle but you will also be running from your strength - God!

He has hosts of angels that will be assigned to you! He will never leave nor forsake those who wear His uniform!

He has mighty weapons to pull down enemy strongholds:

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4

Do you want to fight on your own, without a plan with a knife as your only weapon? Or would you rather be among your fellow troops, following the plan of the Captain of the Lord's army and having all the power of heaven assigned to you?

The answer is obvious!

A.W. Tozer, a great pastor and writer once said,
"The idea that this world is a playground instead of a battleground has now been accepted in practice by the vast majority of fundamentalist Christians."

If we truly stand for Christ, we are going to be in a battle whether we want to or not! If we wear the uniform of Christ, we are already marked by the enemy! Lying down or running will not protect us! No one is more miserable than the half-hearted soldier or the half-hearted Christian!

Our best strategy is to commit ourselves completely to God, endure training as good soldiers, yield fully to His plan and fight with the strength and weapons He alone can give!

3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
2 Timothy 2:3-4

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Friday, February 7, 2014


It is a fact that we all have needs!

We have absolute needs such as water, food, clothing and shelter. We cannot survive very long without these. The needs for clothing and shelter may vary but can also be classified as necessities at times!

We also have less pressing needs. These are perhaps, not as immediately life threatening, but can still be very important to us over the long haul. For example, it has been said that a baby will die if it is not hugged regularly. I have not tested this personally because I cannot resist hugging babies!

God made us to need a certain amount of companionship in this world. God Himself declared that "it is not good for man to be alone." (Genesis 2:18)

We also have "felt" needs. These are those things we "feel" we need and can range from "needing a cappuccino" to "needing a more stimulating occupation."

Often God allows us to feel these needs so that we will draw close to Him so that He can  meet those needs. Alternatively, God can fill a void within us during this process which makes the "felt need" much less urgent or even nonexistant!

A child "feels" he or she will "die" without the latest toy. Likewise, many teenage boys "feel" that they will perish if they cannot own a Mustang. Teenage girls "feel" death will be imminent if they cannot buy a certain pair of shoes. For the most part, we outgrow these "needs" and yet we do not die as previously expected!

It can be difficult at times to discern between which needs are passing fancies and which are legitimate needs - not necessary for survival - but legitimate nonetheless!

We may cry out in loneliness and God seems to be silent or taking forever to meet that need. We may have financial difficulties and call to God for relief but the problem seems to linger. We may feel threatened by some life situation which is stressing us and feel we absolutely need immediate relief.

Why doesn't God spring from His throne to meet these needs when we feel them so deeply?

Take heart - God knows what He is doing! That may sound trite but it is absolutely true!

1. God knows how to separate the need from the want!
Parents may hear their child from his crib in the other room. The child may be saying, "Mommy (or Daddy) come in here" in a playful voice. The child may begin to cry softly to try to influence the parent to come. He may begin to cry more loudly or even scream - yet the parent does not respond!

Why - because his hard-hearted and uncaring? Of course not! The parent simply knows the child has all of his current needs met. He is fed, changed, warm enough and it is his bedtime!

The parents may feel deep empathy for the child and feel a strong urge to go to him. Those who have never been parents have no idea how strong the urge can be to respond when your child cries, even knowing the child has no reason to cry!

The parent knows that they must resist in these situations or the child will be spoiled. There is nothing wrong with visiting your child or going in to reassure them but if it becomes a habit every time he cries, the child will never grow emotionally. Some parents are still carrying their children around for years when they can walk on their own. Each time they put the child down, the parent picks him back up again to stop him from crying!

God knows that we may need to grow up in some areas. If we cry bitterly and complain about how difficult our lives are, every time the Starbucks runs out of mochaccino, God knows that is the desire of a spoiled child - not a legitimate need!

God knows that we will not die if he doesn't miraculously make a mochaccino appear in front of us. In fact, he knows that to grant our every wish would be detrimental to us in the long run and actually make us more unhappy!

Think about it. Who is happier in life - the one who "must" have everything their way - or the one who is content with less?

God trains us to be content with less for our own happiness!

2. God has a better plan!

A child may cry bitterly on the first day of school, wanting to never leave the comforts of his home but the parent knows there is a much better life for him if he does go to school.

It would probably be very comforting to the child if he were allowed to stay home. If the parent said, "Go back to your room. Put the covers on and snuggle up in your bed." That child might "feel" so loved and comforted that he could always stay in the comforts of his home!

It's making me feel warm, cozy and sleepy just thinking about it! Did you ever notice you never feel quite as comfortable and sleepy as when its time that you have to get up for work? Sleeping would "feel" great but earning a paycheck would feel much better later!

What about the "later" for the child who skips school and never leaves his comfort zone? We can all imagine someone who grows up without any education! There are not many success stories among those who have no education! Not merely not having a college degree or even never finishing high school - but never having any education!,

God also has a better plan for us. He fully relates to our "felt" needs, but like the parent who empathizes fully with his child's anxiety on the first day of school, He feels our anxieties deeply! Yet
God knows that if He were to meet the needs we "feel"right now, we would temporarily feel great comfort but never know the joys which we experience only when we move out of our comfort zone!

God would love to tell you to "snuggle up back in your bed" but you would never experience the full plan he has for your life!

We all felt something was wrong and unfair when we were children. "Why do we have to get up?" "Why do I have to go to church?" "Why do I have to dress that way?" "Why can't I eat candy all day?" But when we are grown, we realize that it was far better for us to face the world than to hide in our rooms!

God knows that too and has a better plan for us! 

God feels your pain but wants you to know the joys of overcoming!

It may have felt wrong at the time when our parents told us we would be better off if we did something that seemed difficult. But later we are thankful they made us go to school, clean up our rooms and disciplined us!

Our parents were imperfect. Perhaps your parents were unloving, uncaring or cruel. That is the case sometimes! But God is a perfect Father and He will never make us do anything that is not for our best!

9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect...
10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
Hebrews 12:9-10

God not only has a better plan - he has the BEST plan!

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. 
Jeremiah 29:11

So don't be discouraged if it seems that God is making you walk a difficult path. Perhaps you "feel" that God is being uncaring instead of comforting you. BUT DISCIPLINE IS A SURE SIGN OF GOD'S LOVE:

5 ...“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”
Hebrews 12:5-6

Just remember, God doesn't always meet our latest "felt" needs. He doesn't always do what will make us "feel" better temporarily. He looks ahead and sees, knows and does what is truly best for us!

Hebrews 12:11

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