Thursday, October 25, 2007

I got someone you need to meet...

As a single man that is a phrase that has not unusual for me to hear when I speak at a new place or visit somewhere. It is usually the older ladies that tell you "I got someone you need to meet." This is in reference to either a family member or a close younger friend from church. However, so far those people I need to meet hasn't worked out for me. I want us to think though of our spiritual aspect of this.

I wonder if we feel the same way about our spiritual relationship. Do we spread the word about our spiritual fiance? Christ is the husband of the church. Ephesians 5:22-33 Paul references husbands treating wives with respect and love as Christ treats the church. It is by this reference and the implications in this passage that show that the church is the bride of Christ. Then in Revelation 19 there is the wedding feast. A reference to the coming time when Christ will take his church, wife, home to that wonderful place of heaven.

As Christians, we should live our life in a way that we are anxious and wanting to show the world our loved one or fiance. As we go through life are we telling people about our husband? If not then why not? We must go out and tell the world about our spouse. So I just wanted to give some words to think about and lets make sure we go out and tell those around us about our great spouse.

P.S. If you know any females that I need to meet be sure to send the my way. :-)

God Bless in All Things

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

God's Providence

This is a lesson I presented a few weeks ago at a youth rally.

Text: Philemon 14-16


Onesimus was a run away slave from Philemon. During his time of fleeing he came across Paul and was converted. Now Paul is sending him back to his master. In the verses in question it appears that Paul alludes to the fact that Onesimus was allowed to escape so that a much better event might occur. This is referred to as God’s providence. Defined as the foreseeing care and guidance of God or nature over the creatures of the earth, or God, esp. when conceived as omnisciently directing the universe and the affairs of humankind with wise benevolence, or a manifestation of divine care or direction.

Paul said he was separated for a season or time for this reason. This was a slave that had run away, but Paul says he was separated. This leads to the idea or thought that this was perhaps not the reason he had left. The length of the separation is noted also. Literally “for an hour” or limited, short time, when compared to the result of gaining him for eternity as a brother. From the aspect of the returning Philemon would be able to receive him for a better way. It was not a forced return. There seems to be a mutual decision of this return, in order to show the new life of Onesimus. He has to correct the problem of still being a servant who is in subjection to his master.

What about for us today. What is God’s Providence? Is it still working? Even today God’s providence still is working. Without it there is no reason for prayer. If God doesn’t act in our lives then prayers do nothing. Rom 8:28. There are some examples of providence in the Scriptures.
1. Gen 45:5 – Joseph says that it was for God’s purpose that they selling him occurred.
2. Esther 4:14 – Mordecai says she came at such a time as for this.
3. Acts 8:1-4 – Persecution of Jerusalem of Church causes it to spread and grow.

But how can we see or know God’s Providence? The answer we don’t. We are never told it is one of God’s mysteries in the world. We sometimes sing a song 'I know the Lord will find a way for me", but the other day I saw an older version of that song that had one word different but it makes a world of difference. The older version says "I know the Lord will MAKE a way for me." This song shows the idea that God will take care of us and lead us where we need to go. However it is one of those ideas and thoughts that show that we cannot really know what God's plan or purpose is but we can take this idea and use it in our own lives.

The easiest way to apply this teaching of providence is to recognize that Providence does exist and is happening and the best way for us to handle it is to look at the good side of things. For example on a farm if a vulture is flying near by it is looking for something dead and rotting, the bad. But a hummingbird on the same farm is looking for flower or vines, the good. Its the same farm and same area but they have different perspectives. By nature we are sometimes negative and looking down. We know or are the person that can go in and suck the joy from a whole room. When we get out of touch with God we buy into the world’s view that all around is negative and all news is bad news. There could be a paper published that would be double the size of the typical papers put out in telling about all the good things that have happened to God’s people.
When we are faced with troubles we have one of two attitudes that occur. One reaction that can occur is that we become synical and bitter. Another reaction we can have is that we become better people. It is after our trials and troubles that we come out the other side as people who have compassion and forgiveness.
Why do we have mountains in our paths? They are there to help us mature and realize the choices we need to make. 1 Cor 10:13 They are also there to humble us. Jer 10:23

In closing how’s your outlook. Are you looking for God’s blessing or do you look at the negative side?

A Burning House

A Burning House

A while back I was over around Jasper with a friend of mine looking at the Indian Creek Youth Camp. As we were leaving my friend spotted smoke coming from up a hill in one of the small towns outside Jasper. Being a fire fighter my friend wanted to drive up and see if it was a house on fire. He had a suspicion that it was because of the thick smoke. We drove up the house and it was on fire. We got out and he called 911 as he was checking to see how bad the fire was. He had to kick open the door and yell to see if there was anyone inside or not. Luckily, to the best of my knowledge, no one was home. After some time past the fire department showed up along with the usual spectators.
Now you may be wondering what this has to do with the church or Christian living. The reason I am writing this because of the people's reactions. There were people who came out and after the fire department was there and said they had seen the smoke but had failed to call 911! Talk about neighbors! My friend and I were the first ones to call.
As I watched this fire destroy the house, which was too far gone by the time the fire department had gotten set up, I thought about our lives as Christians. How many times do we see our friends, or relatives, standing in the path of sin and figuratively burning up because of the sin that leads to hell, yet we stand back and do not tell them about how to put that fire out. It is our jobs as Christians to act like those firefighters and help people combat the flames of sin. Although we cannot put their fire out ourselves we can show them who to go to for help. Jesus tells us that if we confess him before men he will confess us before the father but if we deny him before men he will deny us before the father (Mt 10:33). So as we proceed and go out this coming week instead of being a bystander or sitting on the sides lets get out and tell people how they can avoid the eternal fire. We mustn't get discouraged if they do not hear our job is not the make them believe but to tell and show them the way, then it is their duty to choose whether or not they want to follow that path.
It is only by our help and our example that people are going to want to fight sin or even care about sin. The world teaches sin as the normal and regular, as Christians we know otherwise. Also as a person, I hope that you would want people around you to care enough about you and your family to call 911 if your house catches on fire and begins to burn. Even so much more we as Christians should watch for every one who is burning in the flames of sin!