Thursday, February 14, 2019

BROKEN PIECES


I was Just Thinking About – BROKEN PIECES.

Dr, Synesio Lyra, Jr, author of Appetizers For The Soul: Positive Thoughts To Begin and End The Day, posted the following on Facebook today  God can use a broken person just as He does those who are whole, as long as one gives Him the pieces that remain!” As one reflects on these words, it brings to mind that we were all “broken pieces” until that moment when Jesus Christ became our Savior and made us new creations in Himself.

It also reminded me of me of the words spoken by the Lord to Jeremiah (18:3-6), “I went down to the potter’s house and saw him working at the wheel.  But the vessel that he was shaping from the clay became flawed in his hand; so he formed it into another vessel, as it seemed best for him to do. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: O house of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay? declares the LORD. Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.” The message is clear. The Lord  can take that which is flawed or broken and form it – make it – into that which will bring glory and honor to Him. This concept was echoed by Paul when he wrote to Timothy (II Timothy 2:20-21), “A large house not only contains vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay…if anyone cleanses himself of what is unfit, he will be a vessel for honor: sanctified, useful to the Master, and prepared for every good work.”

Bill and Gloria put some of the above words into music when they wrote the Worship Chorus:
I will serve Thee because I love Thee
You have given life to me
I was nothing before You found me
You have given life to me
Heartaches, broken pieces
Ruined lives are why You died on Calvary
Your touch was what I longed for
You have given life to me.

You may be at a place in your life where you believe all hope of anything positive or good as a product of your life is lost – gone. It doesn’t have to be that way. I often remember a school teacher in a Christian School who was trying to teach some of the children with difficult learning skills and sense of self-worth. She would begin most of her classroom days with a simple word of encouragement: “Today can be the first day of the rest of your life.” Sometimes she would emphasize: “Today WILL BE the BEST day for the rest of your life.”

God Can – and – will - take your heartaches, the broken pieces of your life, your ruined life – and like the Potter – remold and refashion your entire being into a vessel of honor. Are you willing for Him to do that for you? Are you ready to say to Him, “Make me into what You want me to be – a vessel that will bring glory and honor to Your name?” One way to do it is to utilize as one of your prayers:
Spirit of the Living God, Fall fresh on me;
Break me, Melt me, Mold me, Use me;
Spirit of the Living God, Fall fresh on me.

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

STORMY WEATHER


I Was Just Thinking About – STORMY WEATHER.

As I write this Blog, the National Weather Report indicates there will be Heavy Rain across the South; Icy Conditions in the Northeast; Heavy Snowfall in the Pacific Northwest; and lowest snowfall ever in Hawaii. There was an occasion when the Pharisees and Sadducees, always on the prowl to ensnare or entrap Jesus, challenged Him to show them a sign from heaven (Matthew 16:1). Could Jesus Christ have met that challenge? Yes! Instead, He confronts them with sayings from that day (and ours, as well) in Matthew 16:2-3, “When evening comes, you say: The weather will be fair, for the sky is red,  and in the morning: Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast. You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but not the signs of the times!” What point will Jesus make? What is in His mind that He will convey to His detractors? Verse 3, Jesus’ response to them is: “A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” How will they react to his response?  Verse 3, Jesus ends the discussion: Then He (Jesus) left them and went away.”

An obvious point is that Jesus always had the Scriptures in mind as He responded to different questions and made His declarations. Doubtlessly, one of the passages that the Pharisees and Sadducees should have known is Psalm 148:7-11 where reference regarding all Creation should bow and Praise the Lord. Verse 8 would cut to the heart of the challenge they had posed – “lightning and hail, snow and clouds, powerful wind fulfilling His word.” Whose “word” is being fulfilled? Colossians 1:16-17 affirms, “For by Him (The Son) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through (by) him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Storms are not just referencing weather and nature. The storms of life can assail one physically and temporally. In a devotional for today titles “Storms”, Charles Swindoll included the following:  What about the whirlwinds of disease, disaster, and death? What about the storms of interruptions, irritations, and ill-treatment? What about the heartrending contingencies of daily living. Life is filled with God-appointed storms.” In 1831, Hugh Stowell wrote the words:
From every stormy wind that blows,
From every swelling tide of woes,
There is a calm, a sure retreat;
’Tis found beneath the mercy seat.

I know of some who are facing momentous unknown physical needs in the immediate. While the concern is for all of those who are known, one man who means a great deal to me, Steve Sellers, has an important visit with a ENT tomorrow (Wednesday, February 13) to determine whether or not his cancer (that has been in remission for slightly more than 5 years) has returned. I have been and will be praying confidently in his behalf. Would you also pray for this dear man who is involved with and represents the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home and Ministry?  Thank you for doing so. God remains able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

BEING CONCERNED


I Was Just Thinking About – BEING CONCERNED.

In the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, part of His emphasis with the instructions He gave to His disciples and other followers was their need to Be Concerned. His broad outline in the Sermon on the Mount emphasized - - -
Be Concerned regarding maintenance of the correct focus regarding the godly life – The Beatitudes – (Matthew 5) - are a concise statement in this regard.
Be Concerned about maintenance of the correct focus regarding one’s Prayer Life - (Matthew 6).
Be Concerned about maintenance of the correct focus regarding authenticity in life and ministry – (Matthew 7).

In terms of practical matters that are oftentimes taken for granted and frequently ignored, Jesus stated them in Matthew 25. How sensitive is one regarding the real needs and burdens of others. It is crystallized in his discussion about the separation of the sheep and goats. Both the sheep and the goats had the same opportunity of dealing with the difficulties and hardships of others. The sheep, apart from any “to-do” list of artificial spiritual duties JUST DID IT without any ambition or desire for recognition or reward. It was part of their lifestyle to respond to (Matthew 25:35-36): Jesus stated – “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”

They did not feign innocence or naivety when they asked Jesus, “When did we see You in this state of need?” They doubtlessly could’ve stated, “This is what You instructed we are to be an do.” Jesus responded: “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). 

Those who were set apart as goats pleaded ignorance. Their supposition to Jesus was – IF we had seen YOU with these needs,

we would have responded. Obviously, while they walked along with Jesus, they did so as a religious routine and not as a committed follower of Him and His cause. They failed to observe what was on His heart and will for His followers.

With these things in mind, I am writing with a burden for one whom I have never met (and those of you reading this probably have never met either). All I know is during my darkest moments when I was designated Stage 4, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, he reached out and ministered to me with words of encouragement and hope. I will forever be grateful to the Lord for Steve S. and his concern for one whom he had heard about. He, himself, had been given the dame diagnoses and been treated for it 5 years previously and was in remission.

However, my friend and encourager has had a follow-up PET Scan recently that has given a preliminary possibility that his cancer has returned. He will know for certain  on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. I wrote him that he would be in my prayers and tears for him. I’m asking that Steve S. will be in your prayers and concern as well. Steve has served the Lord faithfully in behalf of a children’s ministry – children who would otherwise have been abandoned or passed by. 

James 5:13-14 enjoins, “Is anyone among you suffering? Is anyone among you sick? Let him pray.” Will you do this in behalf of Steve S.? May God bless you as you do – and – heal this dear brother in Christ.

Prayerfully – consider – be concerned about these things with me.