Saturday, April 30, 2011

No Grey Area

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." John 14:3
There are few verses in Scripture that describe eternal life, but these few verses are rich with promise. This good Word from the Lord, Himself, makes it clear that He is coming again to receive those for whom He has prepared a wonderful place. We can look forward to eternal life because Jesus has promised it to all who believe in Him. Although the details of eternal life are unknown, we need not fear because Jesus is preparing for us and will spend eternity with us. Last year, I had a conversation with my oldest son, who is now 18 years old, regarding eternal life. He said that the concept of eternal life scared him. He couldn't wrap his mind around it. The idea of living forever was mind-boggling. And on the surface, I agree with him. It is mind-boggling, and I don't think anyone short of Albert Einstein can formulate a proper understanding of it. Regardless, the most important thing to understand concerning eternal life is that it actually exists. And according to the Bible, people are either going to spend eternity in Heaven or in hell. And people don't like to hear that. People don't like the idea that they will one day be judged. People can argue and disagree with the Bible all they want, but here is the truth: either the Bible is all true or it isn't. We don't have the luxury of picking and choosing passages that we like or agree with or fit our lifestyles. Either God means what He says, or He doesn't. Either Jesus is who He says He is, or He isn't. There is no middle ground. There is no grey area. Many people around the world will speak of Jesus as a great historical figure and a great moral teacher, but that's it. Hogwash! Look what Jesus says in John 14:6 . . . "I am the way , and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you would know my Father as well." And again in John 15:5 . . . "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned." And again in John 17:24 . . . "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have give me because you loved me before the creation of the world." Do these sound like the teachings of a great, moral teacher? There is no gray area, no wiggle room in any of these passages to pick and choose what works for you individually. Here is the truth: either Jesus is exactly who He says He is, or He was a complete lunatic. And that is exactly who the Pharisees saw Him as and that is why He was crucified on the cross. Jesus was very bold in this teachings and He was killed for it. He left no doubt in the minds of His followers, nor His enemies about who He was. I pray that all doubt is removed in your mind as well, and that you know exactly where you are going. There is no grey area. God Bless you and keep you, J.H.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More On Faith

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. James 1:2-8

That used to be me: "a double-minded man, unstable in everything." When I first became saved, I thought being a Christian meant that everything would work out in my favor from then on. After all, I had God on my side; a God who loved me, who knew me better than I knew myself. But every time I was faced with a trial, my faith would waver. I would try to rely on my own wisdom instead of God's wisdom. By wisdom, James is talking not only about knowledge, but about the ability to make wise decisions in difficult circumstances. Whenever we need wisdom, we should pray to God, and he will generously supply what we need. As Christians, we don't have to grope around in the dark, hoping to stumble upon the answers or simply assuming we are going in the right direction. We can and should ask for God's wisdom to guide our choices. Wisdom also means practical discernment. It begins with respect and love for God, leads to right living, and results in increased ability to tell right choices from wrong ones. God is willing to give us this wisdom, but we will be unable to receive it if our goals are self-centered instead of God-centered. To learn God's will, we need to read his Word daily and ask Him to show us how to obey it. Then we must do what He tells us to do. Sounds easy, no? Yeah, but anyone who is being honest with themselves knows that this is where the greatest struggle lies: in doing what we know to be the right thing, because many times the right thing is not in our own best interest. We have to continually take our eyes off of ourselves. As John the Baptist said, "I must decrease, so that You may increase." As human beings, we are so full of ourselves; so full of worry, doubt, and fear about our circumstances or about our future that we take our eyes off the one person who has it all figured out already. If we would just abide in Him, rest in Him, rely on Him, trust in Him, talk with Him, walk with Him, then the promises of God could begin to be fulfilled in our lives. The life that God has promised you is yours for the taking, but you have to go to Him to get it, to attain it. T.D. Jakes once gave a sermon about a crying newborn baby who was hungry and wanted to be fed. The mother was holding her baby gently, ready to give her child what he so badly desired. But the baby would not take the breast. He would continue to cry, whine and kick about being so hungry and uncomfortable. He would fight and writhe trying to get away. But the mother would talk soothingly into the baby's ear, trying to calm him and encourage him to feed. But the baby would continue to cry instead. That is how so many of us are today. Crying and whimpering about our circumstances, complaining about what we don't have. All the while, God is waiting right there, speaking to us, soothing us, waiting to bless us. All we have to do is stop fighting and take what is rightfully ours; take what God has prepared particularly for us. A mother's milk is prepared for a season particularly for that child, no one else. As it is with God. His blessings are prepared particularly for you, for this season. Take hold of Him and accept what He has for you. It is that easy. God Bless you and Keep you, J.H.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On Faith

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 1:1,3,6

Two words describe faith: sure and certain. These two qualities need a secure beginning and ending point. The beginning point of faith is believing in God's character - He is who He says He is. The end point is believing God's promises - He will do what He says He will do. When we believe that God will fulfill His promises even though we don't see those promises materializing yet, we demonstrate true faith. God will not settle for mere acknowledgement of His existence. He wants a personal, dynamic relationship with you that will transform your life. Those who seek God will find that they are rewarded with His intimate presence, and with that, all the fruit of the Spirit: peace, love, and joy. Where is your joy today? I pray that you claim what is yours by birthright and what has been given you through the Lord Jesus. God Bless you, J.H.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Goat Tell It On The Mountain! The Goat Raffle!

a>2Bpluto%2B220.JPG"> My youngest daughter Barbara will be spending her summer this year on a short term mission to Trinidad. The mission is organized by Teen Missions International, and part of the program is raising your own support. It is a daunting task and a huge undertaking for a thirteen year old. Teen Missions has been a huge help by providing us with mail out resources and suggestions for fundraising. The support we have recieved has been a tremendous encouragement for Barbara and the whole family. One day as I was walking to get the mail I was talking to God. We have had great support and a good response to our mail outs...but I was questioning if there was something more we should be doing, we still had a long way to go to meet the goal. I asked God that if there was something more we should do to raise Barbara's support, to open my eyes to it. When I got home I googled "fund raising ideals" and one of the first things I saw was "Goat Raffle". We liked the ideal! We decided we would sell 3 tickets for $5.00. Most people don't really care to win a they buy tickets for some one they would like to see win a goat! Some folks really REALLY dont want to win a goat, so we sold "Goat Insurance" for $10.00. Buying our goat insurance meant that they were protected against winning the goat. Pictured above with the goat is one of Barbara's friends who helped in the door to door campaign to sell tickets. Barbara, Marianna, Tim, and a few friends of Barbara to whom we are so thankful spent 3 days selling tickets door to door. 2Bpluto On tuesday we took the goat to school, and Barbara's classmates witnessed the draw! Today, friday was Goat Giving Day!

The goat was very pleased, and after Angela got over the shock...she seemed happy too...but in the end she donated the goat back to us. Perhaps donated isn't the right word, Angela made a very generous donation towards Barbaras support and said "Stan, please take this goat back!" And so I did!
We had a few runners up so on the way home I stopped to offer them the prize!

Kelly Peters and Jamie Hubbard of Caronport High School declined the prize. BJ Harvey of CJay trailers declined as well! But in the end I am convinced that there were no losers in this raffle, only winners. I can't begin to tell you how much fun we have had with this, and I can't express the gratitude I feel for the support our little community has shown for Barbara. It has been such an encouragement...and the goat...truth is I really like him and he really likes me...I'm grateful to the farmer I called, when I explained why I wanted a goat, he understood right away and he gave me the goat he thought would be the best! In the end we raised just over $1000!! Thank you Caronport, Thank you McDougall Acres!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In Everything You Do...

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:15-17

God's promises of peace and prosperity are new everyday. That is why it is important for us to refocus on the Word of God everyday. It is so easy for each of us to get caught up in the daily grind, to place our lives on auto-pilot. It takes a consciencious effort to remain in God's word and to remain thankful, especially in times of trial. God's main concern regarding you is your heart. Is your heart directed toward your problem, or is it directed toward Him, the one that can solve your problem. Even if He doesn't solve your problem the way that you would like it solved, He is already seeing you through. Count on it. So, keep your eyes on Him today. He loves you more than you know. God Bless you, J.H

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hope and a Future

"I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13

It is encouraging to know that God does not forget or abandon us. He has plans for us. His plans are positive and even include true prosperity. He promises to take care of us and not abandon us. He gives us hope and a future. But in order to experience God's plans, we must call on Him and seek Him with all of our hearts. He must be the priority of our thoughts and the object of our trust. We need to make the Lord the focal point of our decision-making process. I do not know what decisions you are facing today, but the Lord does. He has not forgotten you. Your future is important to Him; He just wants to be trusted. He desires that you seek Him and His will above all else. He may not wake you up in the middle of the night, but if you really trust him, He will direct your path. Where is your trust today? God Bless you, J.H.