For the past ten years I’ve been posting my thoughts on this blog Monday through Friday every week except for a few days or a week break. I have a couple of projects that I need to focus on for the next month or so that will take a great deal of my time. So, I need to take a break from posting this blog. Let’s call it a sabbatical. I need to take in so I have more to give out. I will post from time to time, but not routinely. Be blessed.
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A friend gave me a copy of The Action Bible, a super-hero-type colored comics version of the whole Bible. I don’t usually read from it, but I got it out the other day to read the Christmas story to my almost 8- and 6-year old granddaughters, Raegan and Ruby. The pictures captivated these girls and we got all the way through without any distractions. Obviously, to make room for all the action figures, they leave a lot out, but they did do a good job summarizing the story.
I was pleased that they interrupted me several times to fill in the blanks with how the whole story comes together. They knew there were important parts of the story left out. And, the dramatic color picture of the blonde Angel Gabriel got them off chasing a rabbit about fallen angels and how ugly they were. Since this was a bedtime story, I didn’t want them going to bed thinking about ugly fallen angels that killed babies, so we wrapped up the story talking about how Jesus came so that bad, ugly people could become beautiful people. So, I think I salvaged the end of the story.
The Christmas story should be a bit of action in our lives. There is a good and bad spirit in the world. And I want to make sure I influence the good side, not the bad. Merry Christmas!
Donald Trump is now our President and has chosen his cabinet of leaders who will help him run the government. This cabinet of leaders are mostly million- and billionaires who have built successful businesses. How does a person become a successful millionaire, anyway? Most of them are assertive risk-takers who developed a team who knew who the boss was. They are used to finding a way to get their way and don’t have a problem telling uncooperative employees, “You’re fired!”
So what will it be like when the President puts them all in one room and begins telling them what to do? They are all head-strong control-freaks. I don’t think many of them are Yes-Men. This will be interesting to watch. I predict the President will have team-members resigning just like he did during his campaign. Somebody’s got to be the boss.
God taught me early on in my Christian walk that He wants to be the boss. He will not share His glory with anyone. If I want to stay on His team I need to get that straight. If I insist on my way He leaves me high and dry. Submission to His direction in my life is the only way to real success. I foresee we are all in for a wild ride.
Another small group I will be leading in the coming months is a Family History Workshop for those who are interested in finding out about their forefathers and what the history was of previous generations. There is a spiritual reason for finding out about the heroes and scoundrels of our past. It has to do with finding out where we came from and what curses there are that need to be broken so that we can enjoy God’s full blessings.
God made a very clear statement about Himself in the Old Testament when it was recorded: “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation” (Numbers 14:18). This same statement is found two other times in the Mosaic Law. That sounds serious to me.
So, a family historian is not just looking for good things our ancestors did with their lives (things that give us pride), but we’re also looking for the skeletons in the closet that the next generation tried to erase and not talk about (like mental illness, suicide, slave ownership, KKK membership, illegitimate children. greed, etc). We want to uncover things that need to be renounced and confessed so Jesus can forgive that curse in our own lives that passes to the third and fourth generation (us). Jesus paid for it, but these spiritual curses can hold on unless laid at the cross.
Its a ‘workshop’ because I expect you to do the research, but I’ll be the coach on where to look.
When I was a student in Christian Training Center we took a missions trip to the desert of Sonora, Mexico, where we participated in dedicating a church in a small impoverished village. The simple adobe church structure only had electricity to one solitary light bulb hanging from the exposed rafters (powered by a generator), but was artfully decorated with toilet paper streamers also hanging from the rafters. There was only one door and several openings for windows, but all remained wide open because of the intense heat.
We stayed at a motel a few miles away, but it was more like a 1950s motor park. The final day we were preparing to depart and knew we had an all day excursion in the desert before we would have safe drinking water available. We all went to the office to purchase water, pop or juice from the cooler. By the time I got there, the cooler only had three bottles left, all Mexican beer. I told the group leader my dilemma. He said, “You’ve got to drink something”, and walked out the door. So, I bought a bottle of Mexican beer and drank it. It lasted me all day.
When I surrendered my life to Christ two years before, I was an alcoholic and was instantly delivered from my bondage. Since the Lord set me free, I had no intention of stepping back into that lifestyle. That would be offensive to the gift of God. So, this was a struggle for me to compromise on that commitment. I was new to my faith and feared God doing some “judgment” in my life, but that never happened. I learned something about God’s grace and about how valuable pure water can be when you’re thirsty.
“Good news from far away refreshes like cold water when you are thirsty.” (Proverbs 25:25).
Nine years ago my Urologist identified a potential problem with my prostate gland. Seven years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had my prostate removed. Two years later I learned they had not gotten it all and I had to undergo radiation to that area. Its now been five years that I am cancer-free! The same Urologist just gave me the good news earlier this week.
I have to do a routine check-up with this Dr. every year to be sure it doesn’t come back. Its like sin in our lives. If I don’t do a regular spiritual check-up that sin which was dealt with on the cross can creep back in again and I can be worse off than before. I’ve had that happen. I can’t trust myself. Jesus said, “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation” (Matthew 12:43-45). We can’t survive empty, we must be filled with something.
Just as I claim deliverance over cancer, so I also claim deliverance over sin. And I need to do routine check-ups. Here’s my prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
In our church we’re just developing plans for the next Small Group Semester starting in February. We have to plan ahead because we list these group opportunities in a catalog that we print up and distribute. This time around I’m leading three small groups. On Wednesday evening the Wednesday ABF will take a break from our Harmony of the Gospels study to participate in a video teaching by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend on 12 “Christian” Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy.
Each week in the series (beginning March 1, 2017) they will be teaching on a different common Christian belief that can keep you in bondage rather than setting you free. After we watch these famous authors speak about the common misconception Christians believe and teach, we will break into small groups and share our experience with this teaching and how it has impacted us.
Nothing is more exciting to me than to see Christians liberated from a false teaching that keeps us bound up. Jesus said, ‘The truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). But I say a half-truth can be worth nothing. Let’s not be driven crazy, but into wisdom.