When I was a kid, my Dad, who was born in 1919, would tell us tales of life going to school in a one-room schoolhouse and walking there 5 miles in a driving snowstorm, uphill both ways, and having to make a fire in the boiler to heat the classroom! Amazing stuff! Dad had great stories!Continue reading “Being Christian in the Age of Social Distancing”
Broken, undeserved, headed in the wrong direction- are all terms that shout out our desperate need for help. They describe our situation to a “T”.
We are born incomplete but full of potential. We have a built-in sense of incompleteness that rears its ugly head in times of failure and conflict. We know something isn’t right deep down in our soul.
Humanistic philosophies of life will tell us that the answer is deep inside of us. But the harder we try, the more frustrated we become. We end up trying to medicate our souls with drugs, alcohol or experimenting with all the pleasure that the world has to offer. But at the end of the day that aching feeling just won’t leave.
This is not new, not in the least bit. The most devoted people who ever walked the planet battled with their own personal set of idiosyncrasies and challenges. The difference between us and them, is that we are reading about them two thousand years later! How would you feel if your life was written about so the whole world could read about your failure?
The night before Jesus Christ was to be sentenced by the Roman Emperor Pilate to be crucified, the group of his closest followers met together in what is known as the Upper Room. Jesus has now revealed to them God’s plan to redeem the lost human race through his death on the cross. He shares with them that all of them will flee and deny that they even knew him. They thought that was beyond the realm possibility, especially Peter. It was unimaginable to them that they could do such a thing. But they did.
Here is a question to think about: What would have happened if this was the end of the story? What if the disciples would have been left with the guilt of betraying the Lord with their words and with their actions? Let me get up close and personal with you, dear reader, what happens when you betray the Lord by your actions and attitudes? It occurs more than we care to admit. I’m convinced this is why we are sometimes paralyzed because we don’t realize the extent to which our actions and attitudes are revealed by the guilt we carry around.
The good news is, I should re-phrase that the unbelievably good news is that this wasn’t the end of the story for the disciples and it isn’t the end of the story for you and me. After the resurrection, the disciples are hiding out just in case the Romans start coming for them. Into a locked room, Jesus appears to them, rebukes them for their unbelief and restores them to fellowship with him. It is only after this that he issues what we know as the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel…”
What you and I need to understand is that yes, it is quite possible and probable that we have done something, said something, and even denied Christ himself in search of a better life. BUT (here is the greatest news you will hear today!) Christ stands ready to restore you back as a son or daughter of faith. We have a hard time with that because we don’t think that we now deserve it, but the fact of the matter is we can never deserve it. Our walk with God is marked by his sweet aroma of grace.
Here is my challenge to you today. Knowing that we can’t do enough to earn his grace, it’s time for you and me to accept it for what it is: the free gift of God. Allow Jesus to be the Lord of every defeat you have ever had, every battle with temptation that you may have lost, and every hope that you carry. Pray and ask the Lord to change your heart and desires that they may be centered around him.
God is so good to us! Yes, there are struggles that we deal with sometimes on a daily basis but when we walk consistently with Jesus, he shows us the next step to take!
If I can help you with your walk with God or even prayer for you, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, I would love to be an encouragement to you today.
Time always reveals the truth! I recently celebrated my 59th here on the planet. The reality of the quick passing and brevity have hit me like a ton of bricks. More than ever I am aware that the majority of my life is behind me. If I was to counsel my younger self what would I say to him? Good question, isn’t it?
By the grace of God, he has given me the awesome privilege to serve some very incredible people in some awesome places on planet earth. But…it could have been much better than it was. I often wish that what I know now I could have learned much earlier. It is not as if there were not people who tried to tell me but I was too stubborn to listen!
First, I would say, “Be patient with people and circumstances.” I often wanted people, and ministries, to change their point of view. Instead of working through situations I decided to move on. They may never have changed into what I wanted them to be but grace teaches me to give room for God to work in you and in them.
Second, I would not have listened to the opinions of others who were negative against administration and people in authority. My older self would now say that God knows what he is doing, there could be a greater purpose for why that policy was brought forward that you know nothing about. Furthermore, they could be right!! The horror of horrors! I could be wrong!
Third, allow God to mature you where he has placed you. I have often thought about people who are “lifers” in those places I left. There is such a maturity when they speak of their ministry. They speak with the wisdom that can only be grasped after years spent investing in a place and people.
Finally, I am thankful that I am still learning. God is still teaching me that there is much yet to be done. I don’t look backward with bitterness or depression but I optimistically use the lessons from the past to move forward. Philippians 1:6 continues to give me hope, ““And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
I am not 60 yet, I have 360 plus days to go! But I am excited to build on the foundation that God has established in my life. I’m still in process, still learning and still want to learn! How about you?
Pastor Bill Finch
What does it mean to be a ‘spiritual giant’? I have been thinking about that term that we often use in regards to those who have tremendous significant input and influence in our lives. They could have been a close friend, an influential author, a faithful pastor or someone whose life speaks to us today having served faithfully.
I think spiritual giants seldom, if ever, realize the total effect of their lives at the moment. I don’t think, either, that this is ever the goal a person has. It is the by-product of faithfulness over time that has produced ripples of influence to you and I today. I believe that there are common characteristics of people who leave positive marks on our lives. Let’s talk about those. Continue reading “Not So With You”
It would cause shivers to go through every member of the class.! Yes, it was that day again called “Oral Defense”. That fateful day when the professor would ask you to stand and begin to fire questions at you about the material that had recently been covered in class. No notes were allowed, one just had to count on his/her ability to recall the information in a second! We would not know when that day was going to come, we needed to be ready.
I find myself these days between expectation and contentment. I am growing in my understanding that God’s plan is perfect and His timing is impeccable. I expect that who He is and what He will do in my life will always be the right thing.
Life is full of lessons. How about that for an understatement! “What are you talking about?” You may correctly ask. When we least expect to learn something, we pass through an experience or a situation that leaves us wondering, “What in the world was that about?” Been there? Recently, I was there, all the way!
We often say that God is in control, and we often say it to others as they are facing some adversity and difficulty. But when the shoe is on our feet, we tend to ignore that same advice that we are so quick to hand out to others. We read of the biblical character, Job, and sympathize with him in the midst of his trial. Job’s three “friends” attempted to solve his dilemma and figure out what exactly God was up to in his life. Continue reading “When Life Hurts”
One of the hardest places to live is “in between.” The term suggests uncertainty and I have yet to meet anyone who likes to live at that address! We like to know when the next pay cheque is coming and who is writing it! Most of us build our lives around routines that includes when we get up in the morning, it seems that we could drive to work with our eyes closed (not recommending that at all!) because we know the route so well and our jobs have pretty well-defined expectations and demands.
You often here that there is a secret formula for a restaurant item, or a secret to becoming rich and famous! Unfortunately, some who claim to be Christians have reduced success in the Christian life to the same foolishness.
It would seem that some believers may have a special inside track to spiritual success when we look at them from the outside. Here is a news item for you today, a secret formula for walking with God and being successful in your profession does not exist!
The Apostle Paul told the Christians at Corinth that to live a life that honoured God five attitudes they needed to develop. The longer I live for Christ, the more I observe that Paul’s pastoral counsel is right on!
Everyday you and I must be on guard because there are enemies that want to destroy our walk with God. We must stand firm in the truth of God’s Word! We must be courageous to live out our faith in the midst of people who love sin. We must maintain our strength in the Lord. Finally, we do all of this marked by and marking others with the same love God has for us!
If we repeat these attitudes everyday, we will be successful in God’s eyes. No secret here, only obedience and trust is required!