Whats First On Your To-Do List

Simply saying your to busy is not an answer to why you don’t spend time with God.

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“My dear Martha you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about.  Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41,42)

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This is an amazing verse to me because we worry so much about the small stuff in life that we tend to forget what is really important.  The peace that surpasses all understanding will not be taken away from you as long as your main concern is God and not this world.  We never have enough time in life and we always seem to run out of day before we do projects but we need to get our priorities straight.  We are all called to be ministers whether that is in your job or in front of a congregation but we can’t do that unless we make our main concern God.  We can all do our parts to have a closer relationship with God by spending just a few minutes a day in your Bible, praying or just being in God’s presents with no other distractions.

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Our lives are full of distraction from the priorities we have set to meet each day.  Stress affects even our youngest members of modern society.  We all have places to be, things to do, and expectations to meet.  One day, Martha and her sister Mary were busy with their daily duties when Jesus and a dozen or more of his closest friends decided to drop in unexpectedly!  For Martha, chaos ensued, but for her sister Mary, it marked a special day in her life. Sometimes our busy day can be faced with a “Divine Appointment.”  Martha was too busy and worried to see the blessing that walked through her door on this day.  Mary recognized the opportunity before her and took full advantage of the Lord’s presence.  When we are faced with a divine appointment, we have a choice to make.  You can treat it as an inconvenience or embrace it as a blessing.  After Martha complained about her sister to Jesus, he explained that Mary had chosen that good portion.  Divine appointments should never be avoided because they yield blessings that will never be taken away.

Keeping up with the Kardashian’s

Mathew 19:16-22, 16 Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” the man asked.  And Jesus replied: “You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. 19 Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?” 21 Heinrich_Hofmann_Christ_and_the_Rich_Young_Ruler_525Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.”

It is so easy to fall into the trap of wanting to have stuff, the whole “Keeping up the Jones” has never been more real than today. Although it would be more realistic to call it

“Keeping up with the Kardashian’s”

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We see that money and objects as rewards for doing well in life.  You can find yourself getting lost in the idea that being successful means that you have expensive things, things that you place more value on than you do God.  Jesus said, “”Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Luke 9:58).  So, just because you have an expensive home and with 1000 sheet tread count does not mean that you have made it… We are called to be like Christ and that is the only thing that will fill that void in our lives that we are trying to fill with useless goods (that will be out of date next week).  Now I do not believe we are called to live in poverty (unless God tells you that directly) but I believe it is a matter of your heart.  The rich young rules had a heart issue that Jesus was trying to help him with.  Jesus did not tell everyone to sell all their stuff and follow Him but He did say you will have to sacrifice… “If anyone desires to follow me let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

To many think that money will raise them high on the pyramid of life…

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Many people are constantly seeking success, wealth, possessions, or perfection.  Sometimes people assume that if they could achieve one of these then the others will follow. Desiring to be better, have better, or do better can drive many to extremes in their life.  One day, while traveling along the coast of Judea, Jesus was approached by a young man seeking to know how eternal life could be achieved.  The Lord spoke to him about how he should follow the commandments of God.  The young man quickly replied, “I have done all this from my youth up!”  Sensing the young man was looking for more, Jesus told him that if he wanted to be perfect, he should go and sell all his possessions, giving the proceeds to the poor, and then return to follow him.  We all know how this story ends!  Having achievements in life can be wonderful and fulfilling.  But they do not perfect us and can many times create difficulty in our life.  Allowing achievement to overshadow our relationships with our family and the Lord can become very costly.  Perfection is found in the Lord, and success is found in balancing our desire for achievement with those things in life that are more important, such as our family.  How do you find this balance in your life?  Is there a time or season when achievement may be more important in an effort to provide more for your family?

FAMILY

Feelings…

By: Paul Grywalski

Feelings

Feeling destroyed from all my mistakes,
Feeling like life has no room for me,
Falling deeper into a trench I’ve dug,
Feeling lost, broken, and worthless,
I fall to my knees crawling to your feet,
I look up to your face tears flooding my eyes,
All my hope is diminished and my will to continue, gone,
I beg you to forgive me,
I beg you to restore me,
I beg you to fulfill me,begging
You lift me up high above the mountain that I’ve been tumbling down,
You wrap me in your warm embrace,
Drying my tears with the sun you created,
Washing away all my doubt and fear,
Flooding me with confidence,
Whispering “you are my son”,
“You are forgiven and I will never abandon you”,
Even though I don’t feel worthy of your love,
You show me the truth,
“My love for you is endless and unrelenting”,
My Lord, does not forsake me,
He will never forsake you either,
Faith and love is all you need,
I have lived in darkness,
I have lived in fear and depression,
I have done things that he hates and that have condemned me in the eyes of man,
God has still loved me,
He has never left me even when I ran far from him,
You can never run to far,
All that is required is to turn your head,
He is always right behind you,
You say you don’t know love,
He is,
You say you don’t know your father,
He is,
You say you don’t know happiness,
He is,
You say you don’t know your worth,
He is,
No matter what you fear, need, or want,
God is all of those,i amm
He will wash all of your sin away like a mighty flood,
He has done it before, he will do it again,
Truth is, he does it daily in all of us,
Every day after this one is a gift,
We need to recognize it for what it is,
We need to be thankful for all he does,
Unfortunately we aren’t,
He will not leave us though,
He is always here and very evident in our lives,
I pray for all of you, whether you know him or not,
He will redeem you, he will forgive you,
He is the one true father,
He made the ultimate sacrifice for us,
We could all be so fortunate to appreciate that more,
In the name of his son I pray that you will all recognize this,
Thank you Lord for the life you have created for me,
Amen!

Do not talk about it Be about it!

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Philippians 4:6-7, “ Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

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 We are called to have a mind like Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16, “… But we have the mind of Christ.”  Imagine the experiences that Jesus had to go through in life being mocked and spit on and having people make fun of Him as He hung on a cross and died for them.  Bringing someone in to your inner circle only to have them betray you, while the whole time knowing that they were going to do it.  “Don’t worry about ANYTHING; instead pray about everything.  Tell God your needs, and thank him for all he has done” (Phil. 4:6).  This is just what Christ did, throughout the Gospels it tells us that Jesus retreated and prayed for hours at a time even up to the point that He was betrayed.  So if we are to have the mind of Christ and scripture says that we do we need to take this to heart.  There is nothing in life that is too BIG for God.  Life will try to get in the way of your relationship with God if you let it but if you let God take over your life nothing will be to HUGE for you to overcome.

chessIt has been said that what we experience in life is not as determinate upon our future as how we handle those experiences.  Our attitude toward faith, family, work, and education has a huge impact upon our life.  As Christians, we are encouraged to approach all facets of our life with the mind of Christ.  With this Christ-like worldview, we are able to react to experiences in our life in ways that will build us up rather than tear us down.

Philippians chapter four has incredible advice for us concerning attitude. Our busy lives can create a great deal of stress and anxiety.  Pursuing an education in addition to all the other daily activities we are involved with is no less stressful.

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However, within the Scripture we read that the peace of God, which passes all understanding, can be found.  How?  It is acquired through an attitude of prayer that is presented to God upon a foundation of thanksgiving.  The Scripture goes on to teach us that it is this peace which will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

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Your busy schedule will create frantic days at times.  But through an attitude of prayer, you will be able to approach these experiences with the mind of Christ.  As your Christ-like attitude steers the course of your life, you will find that attitude does indeed determine your altitude in all facets of life.  With this mindset the words of Philippians 4:13 come to life within our hearts and we can truly say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Holy Spirit vs. Angels

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 Let me start by telling you the end of the story first,

THE HOLY SPIRIT WINS EVERY TIME!

So If an angel from God himself came down and told you to do something you would probably listen right?  There are plenty of places in the Bible we can find this…

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                  The Bible gives several examples of angels coming down to earth and speaking to human being that were as average as you and I.  It was not until after the angel spoke to most of them and they listen to God that they did great things, earth changing things for the glory of God.  At the beginning of the Gospels there are many great example of this.  Before the Messiah could come there had to be a voice, “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3).  Well Zechariah was visited by an angel in his old age, “the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.” (Luke 1:13).  So Zacharias’ son John would be that voice.  He would prepare the way as the angel told Zacharias.

Following that example in the Gospels Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel.  In Luke 1:30, “The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.”  Mary had to believe what the angel was telling her, that she had favor from God and that she was going to bear The Son of God… That is a heavy pill to swallow yet after she stepped out in faith and believed that she would have the Messiah Jesus it took her to a places that she never thought possible.  Even to the point that we still speak about her thousands of years later.

Then you have Joseph, Mary’s future husband, imagine that you are about to be married and your soon to be wife tells you that she is pregnant and you know that it is not yours.  Not only is it not yours but she tells you that she has not slept with anyone and it was conceived by God.  I can only imagine the thoughts that would be going through the head of that young man at that very moment she told him that… but later an angel came to Joseph and spoke to him, “an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20).

So throughout the Bible there are many times when angels come and visit average people and have them do extraordinary things… Are you next!  WOULD YOU LISTEN TO AN ANGEL IF YOU WERE TOLD TO DO SOMETHING…

We would probably all say that we would listen to an angel if it came and spoke to us face to face just like those examples in the Bible… I mean how could we deny that it must be God telling us to do something.

Yet we have the Holy Spirit who is part of the trinity, who dwells inside of us.  In 1 Cor. 3:16 it tells us this,

Paul asks this is a question because he wants you to think about that fact that you are the temple of God…  So why is it that we all would say that if an angel came down and talked to us that we would listen yet when the Holy Spirit (who is God) tells us to do something we ignore it. or say “it couldn’t have been God telling me to do that!”

While sometimes it is hard to tell if it is God that is speaking to us through the Holy Spirit other times it is as plain as day.

So the Holy Spirit vs. Angels

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The Holy Spirit is our Great Counselor who is with us everyday and angels are not…

You tell me who wins!

Star Light, Star Bright

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Light unto this world

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

This little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine, This little light of mine I am gonna let it shine.  Let it shine, let it shine, let it shiiiii-iiiiii-innnneeee…

This past week Pastor Jeff Schultz of Living Hope Worship Center preached on 1 Peter 3:8-16, he challenged us to look at what kind of light we are in response to that passage Peter wrote.  In conclusion Pastor Jeff said there are many lights that we could be like for example a nightlight or a flash light… but those lights are for special occasions not for us to use all the time.  He suggested that we should be like a Pilot Light.  A Pilot Light by definition is a small gas burner kept continuously burning to light a larger burner when needed…  And I agree we need to be continuously burning because we never know when we are going to need to be used by God for something greater than ourselves.

So this being said it really got me thinking about what kind of light that I think the Bible says we should be and what kind of light that I want to be.  I like the idea of being a pilot light continuously burning…

So as I was thinking about it this week I believe (my opinion) we are called to be like a “STAR”…

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I know right off the bat some will say that we are called to be humble and being a “STAR” sounds a little arrogant.  When we think of stars we think of people that are all about themselves… I get that and that is not what I am talking about.  I believe we are all “STARS” in God’s eyes and yes the Bible tells us to be humble… “

“Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God that He may EXALT you at do time…”

 (1 Peter 5:6).

I think we can be “STARS” when God exalts us to be.  It is a heart issue and we can never forget that what we have in life is because God’s grace and love.

Now here is the real reason I think we are called to be “STARS”

Stars burn so bright that we can see them from over 4.3 light years away… When we look up at the Stars at night we see the twinkling lights in the deep dark night sky but if we could look closer at a Star, we would notice that it is something so much greater… it burns with a fire that exceeds 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  Like a Star we have something so much greater to offer than what you first see… We have the Holy Spirit burning inside of us!  Which burns deeper and brighter than any star in the sky!

Another thing is enough Stars brighten the darkest night, we are called to be a light in this dark world just like the stars brighten then midnight darkness.

And the MAIN reason I think we are to be a light like a STAR is because Stars also never turn off…

(like the pilot light).

We may only think of the Stars in the evening but during the days it is not as if the Star is like a light switch and shuts off and on.  The Star is still shining even during the day,

THE ONLY REASON THE YOU DO NOT SEE THE STAR DURING THE DAY IS BECAUSE THE SUN (SON) IS BRIGHTER THAN THE STARS…

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So we to as “STARS” are to be out shined by the SON (SUN)!

So whatever light that you want to compare yourself to make sure it burns bright and is continuous.  Always being ready to glorify God!

SO,WHAT KIND OF LIGHT ARE YOU?

Hulk Smash’s, John Wycliffe Tears Down Walls! (What’s So Special About the Bible)

hulk“Hulk Smash!”  The Incredible Hulk may smash but John Wycliffe broke down the walls of the Bible for everyone to see what God really wants in our lives…

            John Wycliffe was a man who believed that everyone should be able to read the Word of God.  We take for granted today that we can open up a Bible or more likely a Bible App like You Version YouVersion_Banner__Official_2_ and read the Bible whenever we feel like it.  This was not always the case however, 150 years before the reformation this man John Wycliffe believed that everyone should be able to go to God themselves without a priest.  During this time period no one besides the priest had Bibles and it was also written in a language that was not common for john wycliffepeople to read.  Bibles were very expensive for people to buy and believe it or not they were sometimes chained to the pulpit so no one could take them.  That sounds strange I know because at my church they encourage you to take a Bible if you do not own one. His power over the 14th century was that of a conscience captured by the Word of God. Unlike his peers, he denied that men must go through a priest to get to God.  Before the time of Jesus we had high priests who would go before God and speak for the people to Him (God) but after Jesus came the story changes you see…

            Hebrews 4:14-16 says, 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

We no longer need a high priest like the Pope because we have a Great High Priest in Jesus who gives us access to the throne room of God.  It says it right there in verse 16… “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence…”

Like I said above Wycliffe also believed that everyone should be able to read God’s Holy Word themselves. After all scripture says that

breath-of-god 16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for correcting, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)

So if God’s Word is useful for teaching, correcting and training we must first be able to learn from it and not just what the priest wants to teach you.  You need to know God’s Word.  This however was nearly impossible when you cannot read the language the Bible is written in or could not have a Bible yourself.  So Wycliffe a man of industry and academic ability, admired by friend and foe alike who also worked at Oxford and was acknowledge by them to be their leading theologian decided to translate the Bible into English. With the help of Oxford friends, Wycliffe translated the Bible, all 750,000 words, from Latin into English—an immense undertaking. His revolutionary conviction that the average Englishman should be able to read the Bible in the common language threatened the power of the English state-church. It meant that the Bible, rather than the counsel of a state-controlled priest, would mediate Christ to the believer’s conscience. Therefore, his translation threatened the glue that held medieval civilization together, the church’s power to bind men’s consciences.  He was consider a heretic, but before he could be arrested, tried, and burnt at the stake, he died of a stroke while sayibibleng Mass in 1384.

So before you think to yourself oh great I am supposed to read the Bible everyday?!  Remember that one man’s struggle and conviction from God made it possible for you to be able to read it.

All things are possible through God and just think you could do something greater than you could think or imagine for God’s glory all because you were able to grow closer through His living Word!

Wait for It!

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“You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” Luke 1:45. Because you heard from God and waited for it to manifest and believed you are blessed…
The book of Daniel gives us glimpses into the future.  This prophecy would take place throughout Daniels life and many things he spoke of happened hundreds of year after they were spoken by Daniel.  Daniel never got to see them manifest…In the ninth chapter of Daniel says, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” “Daniel 9:24.  What we should know as a beginning to the correctly understanding this prophecy, that in Daniel’s view, those weeks represented years, so the 70 weeks of Daniel represent 490 years -70 times 7 years- that ended with the death of Jesus the Christ. jesus Daniel spoke these things around 457 B.C.  If we extract this number to 490 (490-457=33) so, here we see that the 70 weeks of Daniel were completed with the death by crucifixion of Jesus around the year 33 A.D.  Continuing on in that chapter, “Yet shall he confirm the covenant with many for one week.” Daniel 9.27.  Did Jesus confirm His covenant of love and mercy with Daniel’s people for 7 years? There was a 7 year period between the death of Christ and the time the Gospel was sent out to the Gentiles at the calling of Cornelius. This is the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy.

Later in DANIEL 11:3 it says, “Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.”  After the military defeat of Xerxes by the Greeks, a number of additional Persian kings ruled the empire. But Xerxes had set the stage for a strong Greek ruler to arise. This ruler was the Macedonian Alexander the Great, who defeated Persian King Darius III Codomannus in 333 BCE at the battle of Issus (located on the Mediterranean coast in what is now southeast Turkey). This defeat signaled the beginning of the end of the Persian Empire.

At the height of his power, Alexander conquered and ruled an empire that stretched from southern Europe to North Africa to central Asia.great But the Greek empire of Alexander was not destined to endure. He fell ill and died on June 10, 323 BCE in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon.

So throughout the life of Daniel there are some compelling things that God spoke to Daniel that Daniel himself did not even have a chance to see fulfilled… The question that pops into my head then is what is God telling you that you think is never going to be fulfilled?  Do you think that it is impossible for it to happen?  Well when God speaks something into your life sometimes you have to give it time to manifest into reality and not give up so easily because you do not see anything happening right now!

After all when you plant a seed you do not see it pop out of the ground the moment you cover it with dirt, it takes time for the seed to sprout and mature then it bears fruit!