Saturday, February 27, 2010

Season 2 The Summer of our Lives

Those beautiful warm and sunny days when the sun is out longer than any other time of the year! Spring with its planting and growing times and rain has wound down. You can begin to see the tiny promise of fruit coming on the trees just behind those spring flowers. The sunshine tends to make you forget the cloudy times the rains came in spring and if you aren't careful you can be lulled into thinking that the good times of summer will last forever.

And so it is with our 'summertime' of life. Whether you are a young Christian teen facing the reality of the adult world of responsibility, or maybe you've never been given the advantage of growing up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; either way that first step into adulthood can be a real pleasure and a shock!
It’s like the first heat wave of summer. You've been looking forward to it for so long, and then when it finally gets here--the heat feels good, until the sunburn comes.

The excitement of knowing that you can go your own way, that magical age of ‘21’ myth, and then the shock as you find that your way really does hold consequences that you don’t always want to face.
But you are here, there is no going back to spring, or childhood, the summer of adulthood must be faced. Do you jump headlong into it or do you look for and listen to someone wiser to be your guide? Proverbs chapters three and four are devoted to counseling a young person as they step into this new area of life. It is a chapter that needs to be read again and again as you face the decisions that will come.The summer of your life is a time of choices and decisions, both of which will now be up to you.

Do you choose to continue your education, or do you go straight into the workforce? Do you plan to marry that sweetheart and start a family, or do you choose to remain single and go after a career dream? Verses 5 and 6 of proverbs chapter three are wise counsel for any age. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Go to the Lord first and lay the choices in front of Him. Remember that He has made you for a purpose, and He knows you better than you do yourself.

He will never counsel you to attend a college or start a job that is going to put you in the middle of something that will stop you from doing what he made you for.

If you choose a family He will never counsel you to put others ahead of the needs of your family, even if it is ministry related.

If you choose a career He will never counsel you to pursue it to the point that it comes ahead of your time with Him.

Many times as young people reach this age, they break ties to their childhood and go to others, many times those of their own age for advice as to how to do things. When you read the Word of God, you will see that almost every time a person goes to 'friends' for advice, they get into trouble, unless that advice from  the friend starts with asking the Lord first. This is why Solomon asks the question:

“And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?” Proverbs 5:20

Since many of these words are not used today in the sense Solomon is speaking here, I decided to use the dictionary to find the meaning of the verse.

Did you know that the definition of the word ravish in this verse means "to be grabbed hold of and carried off" ?

The word embrace here means to receive gladly or eagerly, to accept willingly,
and finally the word bosom as Solomon uses it here means the center of feelings or emotions.

Since the word woman can mean either a man or woman in this case let’s look at what
Solomon is saying in modern language.He is asking the question:

“Why will you, my son, go to a stranger and willingly allow them to carry you away from truth with their ideas and emotions.”

He is warning you to stick with the Lord and His teachings. They are never out of date, and they will help you through every decision that you will be faced with. Always put your choices before the Lord in prayer and ask Him which his plan is for you, search His word for His thoughts on how He wants you to live your life.

He gives very specific instructions for education, for marriage and families, and for careers. That is why it is so important for you to know what the Bible says.

Remember: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7

There is so much more he wants to teach and give you after you have met and accepted him. And He will teach you step by step if you will submit to listen and study and follow Him.

God Bless,

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Season1 'Spring'

When I think of the word seasons, my mind automatically pulls up memories of spring flowers, or summer picnics, brightly colored leaves from the fall or intricate feathery branches of tall hardwoods left bare of their leaves by the first frosty breath of winter. That is one definition for the word.

In God's Word I find another definition. It is far more personal. It applies not just to my life, but to everyone who has ever lived. Every person's life has season's or specific times that they go through.
The science of how people learn, or 'childhood development' has proved this through research: but it wasn't anything new.

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived understood this many years ago, and through the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes he explained it to us. In these next few post, I want to explore the four seasons the Bible speaks of. The first of these seasons I named 'spring' just as the first of the yearly seasons.
Because the yearly season of spring is when most everything is new and just starting to grow, it is also a vurnerable time. Young plants can be easily stunted or deformed by too hot or too cold temperatures,lack of proper food and water. It is the same with the spring season of a person's life as well. Solomon speaks of this in his book of proverbs.

A proverb is a wise saying that sums up a truth in a sentence or two. The following is a well know proverb that has taken a lot of grief in this century:

"Foolishness is bound (or tied) in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."   Proverbs 22:15   

Solomon is letting parents know that during the "season" of childhood it is normal for a child to  be: a) selfish, b) willful, c) unthinking or in a word- "foolish".  Then in the very next sentence he teaches the parent how to change that behaviour- " the rod of correction shall drive it far from him(her)."

Most of the time when you hear this verse quoted, it is used to justify spanking a child. Spanking has it's place in the correction of a child, but that is when other possibilities to correct have been exausted.
The key word in this verse is "correction." Correction is the companion of teaching. Think about yourself for a moment. In school, learning a new concept, or on the job, learning a new procedure that will be necessary for you to do your work. When you don't understand, when you don't "get it the first time" they don't beat you do they?
No, the teacher or trainer shows you the mistake you made, and goes over the procedure with you again, giving you the opportunity to correct your mistake. Once you understand, once you can do this on your own, then it is required of you. If it isn't done once you learn it, then you will be held accountable for it.
Some children, just as their adult counterparts will know and understand the rules but will choose to rebel against them. This is when stronger measures should be taken.
When he speaks of 'driving' foolishness away from a child, he is letting you know that training  will be a constant job. If you have ever tried to drive any type of foolish animal like ducks or chickens then you know that it can be very hard. They want to go everywhere but where you are trying to put them, even if what you are doing is the best thing for them. They must be taught what is right and acceptable.

It is the same with children. I know I will be going against the popular teaching of the day but  the truth is children are not born knowing to do good. They must be taught. Thus Solomon in another of his proverbs tells parents to:
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
 Proverbs 22:6
At the same time there is also to be balance in training a child just as there is to be balance in nature. Too much of any one thing is not good. Work and study should be balanced with fun and relaxation.

Childhood is a "season of preparation" for becoming an adult.

In my next blog we will explore the next "season of our lives".

God Bless you,

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Walking with the Lord

In our world today everything moves at such a fast pace.There are constantly different tasks presenting themselves to be completed. Many times I find myself wondering how I will be able to handle everything that needs to be done and still find the time to spend time with the Lord and follow his command to put Him first in my life and to learn of Him.

Years ago someone asked a prominent Pastor of a large church how he managed to find the time for daily devotions. His answer was that he had so much to do, there wasn't any way he would be able to accomplish it if he didn't start his day with the Lord in devotions

That gave me sound advice. Putting God first daily, will put everything else where it should be. Getting up a little earlier to make your time with the Lord the first appointment on your daily calendar will be the best investment of time that you can make.

The Lord knows that not only do you need that time to focus on Him and His plan for you and your family, but that because you have focused your day on Him - the other commitments you have will be easier to meet as you draw on the strength recieved during that morning time throughout the rest of the day.

Hands for Him,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Friends with Jesus? Is it possible?

These are just some observations that I have made in my studies of the Word of God. There are several times in the Bible where different people have been called friends with God. Jesus plainly tells you that you can become one of his friends in the New Testament.

Think for a moment about friendships in general. Our pastor once told us that most people can count their true friends on just one hand. He wasn't talking about people you know, or have met. He was talking about someone who cares about you. Someone you know you could call on for help in needed, and they would not hold it over your head in the future.

Jesus chooses you to have the potential to become his friend. The reason I say that you have the potential is because there are stipulations (for lack of a better word) on the friendship just as there are with human friendships. John 15:14 tells you what they are. ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
This he said just after letting them know that his commandment was that they were to love one another just as he had loved them. That was in verse 12.

If we accept his offer of friendship, then we are no longer a servant only, we have access to information that the 'world' or the lost people do not have. verse 15.

What are you doing with that information? This is what counts. Jesus wants us to use the knowledge that he gives us to witness to our families, and our earthly friends. The knowledge that he is holy and we are to be holy, does that make you strive to make your life a cleaner, clearer example of what God wants his friends to be like?

The old saying " you are known by the friends you keep." Are you known by the "friend" you keep? Life is short, this life will soon be over, are you ready to stand in front of your 'Friend' at judgement and say, " I tried to be the best friend that I could."

God Bless you this day,


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Summary of Serving

If you go back and look through the last two articles about serving the Lord, you will be able to pull out some very interesting and useful information from the scriptures given there.
I thought a summary of those articles would help to make it a little clearer.

I'll start off with preparing your heart for service to Him. How can you do that? It must be done the same way that every other servant down through the ages have. It begins at the foot of the cross.
Here is how:
  1. You are to realize and admit that you sin. You have committed wrongful acts against the One who created you.
  2. You must 'repent', which means to turn and go the other direction from those sins, or to stop the sins that you are aware of that you have done. Because no one is perfect - all have sinned.
  3. You must ask Jesus, God's only son, to come live in your heart to become your Lord and Saviour. That means that Jesus is the only one who can save you. He is the one who saves you from eternal separation from your Creator, he saves you from having to be in the awful presence of Satan forever.
There is no other way you can be forgiven of your sin. You must also ask him to become your Lord. This means to ask Jesus to be the Master or 'Boss' of your life.
This is the only way to prepare your heart to serve the God of all Creation.

The second part, once you have willingly become God's servant, is: How does God expect you to serve Him?
After you have become the servant of the God of Creation, you must begin to study your 'job description'.
 It is found within the Masters' employee manual: The Holy Bible.

When you begin to read, you'll find that God does not leave you to guess what he requires of his servants. He is very specific.
You are to serve Him:
  1. With gladness and praise
  2. Serve Him completely and willingly in mind and heart.
  3. You are not to be lazy in your service, but diligent, working hard to serve Him in the way He wants to be served.
  4. Always you are to submit to his leadership. Doing what He knows is best, not what you think will work in your life.
  5. You are to come together regularly with other servants to get a better understanding of His thoughts and commands, and to encourage each other in the work set before you.
  6. Remember to serve  always with reverence, which is holy awe, and godly fear of how He brought you out from under the power Satan had over your life and soul.
  7. God requires you to be faithful to him.
  8. the last part of the job description goes a little further into your faithfulness; saying that you are not to be a servant to any other Master but Him. Doing your job, your daily serving of Him with an eager anticipation of His every command.
Remember always, your attitude is very important to God. He will not make you serve Him, as I said before.

The list above may seem a little harsh to some, hard for you to do. Remember this: Jesus has said that He himself will never leave you or forsake you. He is there for you to call on when you need help with your job. If you run into any problem, or if you just need assurance that you are right. He will come to your side. It is a promise you will find over and over again in your manual, the Bible. "I will never leave you or forsake you."

You are His, bought from Satan with Jesus' own blood and body. And you are more than servants, for when you willingly asked Him to come in and be your Lord and Saviour, He adopted you as His child. You were given all the rights and priviledges that come with being a child of the Creator of the Universe, but also with all the responsibility of being children of the Creator as well. You are an heir to His Kingdom.

It is a wonderful thing to be known as a child of the King of all Kings, the one who is Lord of all lords. To know that he cares about your every need, and is watching over you as a mother does her child.

It is much more than a job description; it is a rite of passage. One that will take you into the eternal kingdom of God. It is my hope that you study it well and accept it as yours.

Monday, February 1, 2010

How Do you Serve the Lord?

Sometimes we are willing, be just not sure where to start. How can you find out what God requires of a servant? Once again, I say go to His Word, the Bible. If yours has a concordance in the back, look up the word serve, or servant and go to the references it gives. His Word is truth and will stand forever. The requirements for a servant of God never changes.

Psalm 100 in the Old Testament tells you to "serve him with gladness", not with a "Why do I have to do this?" attitude. Your attitude when you serve is very important to God, so it should be important to you as well.

Come to him when you pray and when you worship with a song of praise on your heart. I Chronicles 28:9 will give you a little more:

"know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts

Remember what we said about attitudes? You can't hide the attitude with the Lord. He wants you to surrender you heart and mind to him to allow him to teach you his ways. II Chronicles 29:11 gives you another clue.

"My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him"

The Lord wants you to learn of him and carefully follow his instructions. Don't be careless and unthinking. God knows that there are times when you will not want to do things His way. It is the sinful nature that is trying to regain control again. He gives you warning not to be rebellious, but to yield yourselves to him.

"Now be ye not stiffnecked(hardheaded, rebellious), as you fathers were but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD you God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you. IIChronicles 30:8

God wants His servant to submit (yield) to Him. Come to His house to worship him with the rest of his servants.

"Not forsaking the asembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:25

He has promised that we are going to recieve a kingdom (heaven).

"Wherefore we recieving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:Hebrews 12:28

With that promise,God gives us another key as to how we are to serve Him: with reverence and godly fear. Now,turn to Psalm 101:6, to find another requirement of a servant.

"Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me."

In this verse he tells us that he is looking for a faithful servant, one who is perfect or complete. No person is perfect, there is only one perfect and that is God. But through him we can strive to be in his likeness. He can daily try to be the best that we can be for him.

Then the final requirement that we will look at is in Luke 4:8.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

God doesn't want or need a servant that is there to serve one day and off somewhere else the next, serving their own desires. He will not share his servants with anyone. Because of that you can read in this next verse:

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold or hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Revelation 3:15,16

If you look at the way God wants you to serve him and think about it,you will see that you attitude is one of the most important job requirements to God. He doesn't want someone who knows all the right words to say, but whos' heart is cold toward him. Neither does He want a person to serve Him because they have to. If he did, then he could have made you a slave from the beginning, after all he is the Creator. God loves you
and he wants you to love him as well. He wants you to serve Him out of a heart of love and thankfulness for all he does for you.