Posts Tagged With: grace

More Than Dreams

http://morethandreams.org/

The Video series More than Dreams describes the lives of several people who dreamed dreams that evidently came from the Creator and altered their lives. If you wish to learn how God speaks to people today, visit the sight and watch as 5 people have their lives transformed by Truth.

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Some years ago, I also had a dream that altered my life permanently. I suppose some would attend to my description of seeing Jesus risen from the grave and take this as evidence, but I prefer to boast of how the vision of the Lord who Loves has changed my life.

There have been days when I have been kicked and spat at. Still, I chose to love those who would want to be my enemies.

There have been days when I had no money and needed money for rent. Still, I chose to thank God for His provision.

There have been days when I was sick and alone in the hospital, despised and rejected. Still, I chose to encourage my neighbor because I had hope in the one who raises the dead.

There have been days when I was accused of violating social norms. Still, I chose to share the word of Christ and live in light of eternity, rather than just live for today.

There have been days when I labored all day and did not receive any short term gain. Still, I looked to the Lord of Heaven and He rewarded me and provided for my daily bread.

There have been days I have had to go hungry for long periods and days when I have politely eaten more than enough. Still, I have learned to be content in the Messiah as my meat and my mind's fullness.

There have been days when no one wanted to talk to me. Still, I listened to the hurting and crying and cried out to God on behalf of the nations.

There have been days when I could not get out of bed or have been run through extreme tests in the labs. Still, I remember my brothers and sisters who are persecuted for righteousness sake.

There have been days when I wondered when my hopes and goals would be fulfilled. Still, I labored on and journeyed on towards my goal.
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How are we able to persevere despite much difficulty and opposition and labor?
Only by grace.

Grace is essentially the presence of Jesus in our lives. He never leaves us and never forsakes us and never abandons us. Jesus walks with us to the end; by faith we walk with Him if we keep in step with the Spirit.

Perhaps my favorite verse in all the Bible that sustains me in hard times is that Grace is enough for you for power is perfected in weakness.

Yes, I have had visions. I have seen mighty and powerful answers to prayer that shook the heavens. I have seen provision come in amazing ways. I have talked to many people and traveled to places that are only dots on the map to most people. But it is grace, God's rich grace, that sustains me.

The Lord continually nourishes me with His Word. Do you have this assurance that speaks to you in the watches of the night and in the heat of the day? Do you tune into the Truth 24/7 or do you tune into the world's channels? Do you listen to the voice of the Lord or are you distracted by the world's voices? Does the devil drive you like a goatherd or are you moved by the Spirit of the Living God?

"Jesus, speak to me today, tonight, tomorrow, and to eternity. Let me see Your glorious and gracious face that I might be changed to be more and more like you. You, Lord, are my friend. Since you are the Friend of Sinners, I must confess that I am a sinner. I trust that You not only died for my sins, but that You rose to grant me new life. You have seen my adultery, my hastiness, my wastefulness, my adulteries, my lies, my theft, my pride, and my impatience. I look to You, Lord Jesus to remove all those and grant me a perfect integrity that comes from You alone. Father in Heaven, we praise Your name for Your faithful mercy, which is renewed daily. In the name of the Prince of peace, Who is our Comfort and Who has sent us the Comforting Holy Spirit we pray. Amen."

Categories: Good News, Suffering, Testimony | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Job: Cursed Work or Blessed Service

A job is a source of great travail and trouble;
“J.ust O.ver B.roke,” by some accounts,
yet near enough to feel the pangs of hunger.
Driven on by some invisible quest for significance
or trying to work the wa up the trickster’s ladder to God’s throne room
or slaving to please the closest Eve who insists
that the land east of Eden not be left to thorns and thistles.
So the sod buster, dandelion hunter, tree trimmer
putters around his personal paradise
muttering about the myopic vision of yard maintenance.

Then the sun begins to set, evening fades, and he realizes
he has been in the presence of God.
Not quite walking in the cool of the eve as man once did,
But unashamed, he lays down his tools, washes his hands,
as he pursues some just desserts.
Quietly, he gratefully tastes ice cream
and is glad that his wishes are heard.
He whispers petitions for precipitation, prosperity, and planetary peace.
He wanders calmly home in comfortable weather,
The clouds draped over the starry portals
Yet the veil is torn.
Love is celebrated in a simple meal and evening nap.

Dreams return, age accumulates,
and all the routines must be recycled,
seasons sprinkled with grace,
and love beheld face to face.
The curse is lifted as the cross is embraced
No longer serving self
But blessed as the book of life is dusted off the shelf.
(A revelation praise song erupts that I am not permitted to record here.)

Categories: Poem | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inheritance

(Based on reflections on our inheritance in Christ which is mentioned in Paul’s letters and the gospels and my own yearning for “something more.”)

I long for an infinite treasure
I can’t even start to measure.
Something yet to dawn and come,
More sure than death has ever won
Against our mortal, human flesh.
Eternal life will never mesh
with gaining stuff when others lose.
I want to rest, but cannot snooze
when I worry about lost love.
My hands now shake, though I wear gloves,
And it is warm around about.
My heart’s soul cries, I want to shout:
with many friends, I remain alone.
So inwardly, I start to groan,
and I am burdened with heartfelt pain.
In my global quest, what have I gained?
“Lord, hear me as I sob and cry!
And if You answer, here am I.
Provide fresh joy and hope and grace
that I might know and see your face.”
God’s Comfort comes despite my self,
And thus I’ve found that treasured wealth.
A peace the world never knew
I have God’s Love: the Lord is True.
This Gift is not for only me:
God gives to all who ask, He’s Free!
I hope these words expand your view:
Christ Jesus came for me and you.

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Are They Really in a Better Place?

The death of a loved one is hard. Pondering one’s own demise is hardly any easier from a natural perspective, so I have been a bit hesitant to raise this issue in so public a forum. Yet, I have heard it too many times, and today, my Bible reading raised this issue to the very forefront of my mind:

Often when someone dies, people mourn by saying, “At least, they are in a better place now.”

Are they?

Do all dogs go to heaven?

Or do dogs merely go into the earth, never to be remembered at the end of the age?

On a more significant level: do humans who refuse the glorious good news of Jesus Christ enter into peace on the last day?

OR was Isaiah right when he quoted God as saying, “There is no peace for the wicked.”

It certainly can assuage fears of the terrible termination of life at the least. At worst, such false assurances regarding those who are without Christ lulls the living into a false assurance that everything is gonna be alright … When in fact, it will not be alright for those who are not right with God.

There are some who like to talk about being witnesses but are not honest about the dread of falling into the wrathful hands of the Living God. Yes, the Lord is loving, but for those who refuse to acknowledge their need for him, only wrath is stored up.

Sadly, churches are drifting away from being honest about this aweful truth. People like to talk about the “fear of the Lord” as though it is just an exageration for respect for some large being. Kind of like you would feel in a giant redwood forest.

Friends, the fear of the Lord is real. Those who are not walking in faith with Jesus will face the terrors of eternity if they do not repent!

Have you consoled yourself with a generic, everybody goes to heaven, kind of conversation? Let me warn you: You are deceived.

Have you lied to yourself by saying, “I deserve heaven”? Wake up o sleeper and Christ will shine on you! God alone deserves heaven. For all other creatures it is His loving mercy which alone draws people into His presence.

Prepare your heart to enjoy God’s mercy: Don’t get drunk with wine. Don’t sleep around. Don’t get into agry fits with others. Forgive. Trust. Hope. Love.

Are you wealthy? Share what you have with others.

Are you healthy? Serve the sick.

Are you happy? Listen to the cries of the sorrowing.

Are you busy? Slow down and read the Bible and pray.

Seek God while He may be found. If you are reading this, there may yet be time for you to repent and be restored to the King of the Universe.

Categories: Good News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What are the Costs & Benefits of Humility

Humility is something people praise.

Few will praise a proud person for their pride. They may praise someone for their accomplishments, and then the person may become proud. But pride is an ugly thing. Pride is deadly.

But what does humility cost?

1. Humility costs pride & dignity. Often, the humble have been shamed and insulted. The pain of this cost is such that it is not something that people go looking for it. Rather, God comes looking for the proud soul and humbles them like Nebuchadnezzar … so that they will come back looking to Him. Humility is willing to go unacknowledged.

2. Humility costs money. Humility, when matched with resources, becomes generosity. Not ostentatious giving, but practical, earnest, passionate, loving gifts flow through the hands of those who are poor in spirit. There is something about wealth or the prospect of wealth that puffs up.  The loss of that prompts humility.

3. Humility costs convenience & time. Pride rushes ahead to be first in line, humility lets others go first and is willing to be last … if only grace may last. Life is best enjoyed during detours. Pride may smirk, but is discontent, because those inconveniences come to all. Pride barges on, humility lets others procede first. Humility drives in the slow lane.

4. Humility can require physical suffering. This may be an injury that disables someone and so makes them unable to continue to compete in a sport they were highly recognized for. It may be a beating by persecutors when a saint in an oppressive environment fails to be watchful. It may be a Job-like seemingly meaningless torment that simply makes one more humble and takes away pride in humilty.

Now then, what are the benefits of humility?

1. God’s grace. God gives grace to the humble. Those who are humble can do God’s work with His help. Pride is crippling; humility enables.

2. Quiet respect by others who are humble. A leader who is humble is more likely to be honored with a higher position than an arrogant man who is wicked.  Pride puffs up; humility endears.

3. Strength. When one is not constantly striving to build up oneself, there is strength to serve and strength to endure. The simple strength of humility enables one to last when others cast him out. Pride lasts for a moment; humility endures.

4. Multiplication. Humility sees how others can be enabled to serve alongside of oneself. It is not content to do it all by itself. Pride isolates; humility equips.

If you read through the accounts of the Kings in the Old Testament, those leaders who humbled themselves before God were blessed with better endings. Even evil rulers were blessed to last longer if they humbled themselves. But a good but proud ruler was liable to lose his life.

Are you humble? Are you gentle? Are you kind? Are you patient? Do you love the unloving and unlovely? If not, what do you need to do to change?

When you vote, do you look for leaders who will make you more comfortable or for leaders who are humble? Sadly, the office all too often humbles the noble or the noble humble the nation. Leaders have a poor record of leading with humility consistently.

Categories: Humility, Leadership | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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