Jesus said we are wrong when we try to find a cause and effect reason for every person who has a disability or is suffering.
SPIN DOCTOR The first recorded words of the devil are found in Genesis 3:1. He asked Eve a question. “Did God REALLY say you can’t eat from ANY tree in the Garden?” That’s not what God had said. So we see from the first that the devil tries to twist God’s words. And the devil always puts a question mark about the statements of God.
Are you willing to leave your comfort zone to trust God completely? God didn’t save you to make your comfortable, but you make you obedient. You’ll never go on a mission trip is you’re not willing to leave your comfort zone. You’ll never start tithing until you are willing to leave your comfort zone. You’ll never start travailing in prayer until you are willing to leave your comfort zone. You’ll never vocally share your faith with others until you’re willing to leave your comfort zone. You’ll never volunteer to serve the Lord if you aren’t willing to leave your comfort zone.
God has placed us in a wicked and corrupt culture and we are to do what Noah did. We don’t need to build an ark, because we already have one. Jesus is our ark who will carry us safely through the waters of God’s final judgment. So our job is to warn the people around us that there is going to be a final judgment against sin. And don’t be surprised if people mock you the same way they mocked Noah.
Scientists have devoted centuries of studies trying to figure out HOW the universe was created. But the Bible isn’t so concerned with HOW it happened, it’s more about WHY God created the universe. Scientists aren’t even interested in the “why,” they just want to know the “how.” God created the heavens and the earth. Then He created plants and animals. And finally, His ultimate creation was a man and woman. If you can understand why God made them, then you can understand why God made you—it’s the same reason.
Here’s a sad thing about America. It’s okay to be passionate about anything except God. You can be passionate about movies; thousands dressed up in Star Wars costumes to watch the latest movie in the series. You can be passionate about sports; millions of Americans wear the jerseys and caps of their favorite college or professional teams. You can be passionate about politics; and that will be dominating the news for the next eleven months. You can be passionate about cooking, about exercise, about fashion, or about your hobby. But to be passionate about God—that’s a no-no in America. People will call you a fanatic, a nut case.
There was a time when Christianity was part of the accepted mainstream culture of our nation. But our nation has allowed an ill wind to fill our sails and we have sailed into the uncharted waters of moral relativity and wickedness. As our nation sails further away from God and His Word, we may all be forced with the choice to obey God rather than our government, but we must be willing to pay the price of civil disobedience.
Your soul is infinitely more precious and valuable than anything or anybody in this life. It will last when the sun, moon, and stars have all gone cold and dark. Your soul will exist when the entire universe is gone and replaced by a new heaven and a new earth. Your soul is worth more than all the banks and Fortune 500 corporations combined. The worth of all the stocks, bonds, gold, silver, diamonds, oil, and gas in the world can’t compare with the value of your soul, because your soul will go on, endless, timeless, and measureless into the future.
Faith is one step with two consequences. When a person turns to God, they are turning from their sinful past. Take your hand and place it front of your face with the palm facing you. Now, turn your hand around so the palm is facing away from you. The backside of your hand is now facing you, and the palm is facing away. That isn’t two separate actions; it was only one. Even so, you cannot turn to Christ without turning away from your sin. That turning is repentance. Four different ways we should model the Christian life to others.
A Christian once asked me, “Why should I go to church?” I thought for a moment and said, “You don’t go to church; you ARE the church.” Church is not a place; it’s what exists when believers gather together. A fully devoted follower of Jesus consistently gathers together with other believers.
You have to move that “Our God is faithful!” understanding from your head to your heart. You have to TRUST that He is faithful. Sometimes when trouble and tragedy afflict us we wonder what God is doing. But these are the very times when you have to TRUST that God is faithful to keep His promises to us. He has a plan for your life—a plan to prosper you, not to hurt you; a plan to give you hope and a future.
Are you more concerned about your own needs than the needs of others? In the eyes of the world, greatness is determined by how many servants a person has, but in God’s economy greatness is defined by how many people we serve. Too many people have their eyes on the sky looking for the return of Jesus. Let me ask you the same question the angels asked the disciples: Why do you stand gazing into heaven? Jesus is coming back, so get busy serving God by serving others.
Wouldn’t it be nice if every biological family were a “big happy family?” But we know sometimes just the opposite is true. We all know our biological families can cause us heartache and pain. Jesus pointed to His disciples and said, “This is my mother and my brothers and sisters. He was teaching that we are part of a huge family of believers. His family is called the church. This is where you can find love and acceptance. And for many people, they feel a closer bond with their spiritual family than they do with their natural family members.
We pack our suitcases to overflowing because we like having our precious “stuff” with us. But when we are loaded down with our own stuff, we often depend on our possessions rather than on God. Are you trusting God to provide your needs, or are you trusting your job, your bank balance, your securities portfolio, or your 401K to meet your needs?
From the cradle to the grave, each of us is a bundle of needs. What is your need? Do you need truth? It’s found in the word of God. But if you don’t obey it, you will lose the little that you have. Are you feeling lonely and isolated? Here’s a great big family opening our arms to you saying, “Come just as you are” we will love you and accept you the way Jesus loves and accepts you. Or do you need that inner peace and tranquility so that, like Jesus, you can sleep soundly in the midst of the storm? Come to Jesus–He really is all you need!
There is a something going on right now, invisible to the human eye, which makes it even harder to receive the Word of God. Jesus says Satan tries to “steal” the Word from you. Don’t ever be surprised if you have trouble concentrating when you are reading the Bible or when you are hearing the Bible being taught. One the enemy’s most effective strategy is distraction. At this moment, Satan would love nothing better than for you to be distracted by this building, or these screens, or the choir, or the people around you. Why? He is actively attempting to steal the Word away from you.
I have seen it happen hundreds of times. People can be going along fine in life until adversity suddenly strikes–and they find they are knocked off their feet and their foundation crumbles. This just serves to show them “something is missing.” Forget the popular TV show–we are all survivors! You are wise if you will allow that collapse to motivate you to rebuild your life upon the foundation of the rock of Jesus, because there will be more storms. What might have been the worst experience of your life actually becomes the experience leading to a new and better life for you.
There was a time in Israel’s history when they had a whole bunch of kings and they didn’t do very well. In fact, they drifted far away from God. This message is directed toward people who have come out of Egypt. They are Christians and they have come to the place of growing as a Christian for a while but then in the middle of that, something happens and they get out of favor with God. This is a beautiful picture of it in the Old Testament.
The Bible says that the common people heard Jesus gladly. They loved to be around Jesus. Jesus enjoyed being with people, and people enjoyed being with him. The only people Jesus didn’t get along with were those straight-laced religious hypocrites called the Pharisees and nobody can get along with those people. There are some of those obnoxious people around today. When you love God, you will receive His favor and the favor of others.
Let’s say you own a secular bookstore and everything in your bookstore is classified as fiction and nonfiction. Where would you put the Bible? Would you put it in the nonfiction section with historical truth, or would you put it over here in the fictional section with the other fairy tales and mythology? If you were a librarian and your job is to classify all the books in the library, where are you going to put the Bible? That is a fundamental decision everybody must make.
Did you notice Isaac had to be a willing sacrifice? We don’t know exactly how old Abraham was, but we do know he was a hundred years older than Isaac. Imagine Isaac is 16. Don’t you think a 16-year-old boy can overpower a 116-year-old man? Do you think when Isaac was tied up with that rope and laid up on the altar, don’t you think a 16-year-old old could have said, “Wait a minute! What are you doing, old man? Stop it!” No not only did Abraham trust God’s plan, but Isaac also was a willing sacrifice. Always remember that about Jesus. They didn’t murder Jesus. He was not a martyr. He willingly laid down his life! And that was God’s plan all along.
I know it is tough being a teenager and it’s tough to be the PARENT of a teenager. Mark Twain gave some advice on raising teenagers, “Things run along pretty smoothly until your kid reaches age 13. That’s the time you need to stick them in a barrel, hammer the lid down nice and snug and feed them through the knothole. And then about the time he turns 16 you’d better plug up the knothole.” It is part of the sense of humor of God that he has arranged it that parents would be going through middle age at just the time when they have teens in their home.