Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You Plan? Ha!

For 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 NIV

Tonight at church Pastor Bob talked about God's destiny for us by sharing some of his story.

Growing up in Indiana Pastor's dad owned a service station.  It was on US 20 the old main highway between Chicago and Indianapolis so it was a busy station.  Young Bob learned from his dad how to identify any make and model of car as it drove by just by it's shape.

Pastor Bob had hoped one day to join his father in the business.  One day they went to the diner next door and over pie Mr. Bock asked Pastor to look at his hand.  Dad said "What do you see?" Bob replied "My hand."  His father then told him he was all thumbs - he had no mechanical aptitude. Bob should go to college.

So while in college Bob joined Air Force ROTC with the goal of becoming an officer and a pilot.  He was in senior ROTC and upon graduation would have been commissioned a second lieutenant.  However he was also an English major, and because he spent many nights reading books in a dark library basement, his eyes strained a bit and he failed the final Air Force physical and was booted from the program.

Because Bob had earned two degrees and a teaching credential after graduation he became a middle school teacher.  He loved the children but hated the classroom dynamics so he quit.  Feeling like a bit of a failure he went home and was sitting on his family porch when their local pastor came by for tea.  Having a discussion with the pastor he encouraged Bob to go to seminary.  He said he could do it for a year and if he didn't like it he could quit.

After the first year however Bob enjoyed it and continued on for the full four years.  However upon ordination Bob did not want to become a pastor, his passion was working with children. He had an opportunity to come to California and so he would up working for a church in LA doing street ministry to the youth hanging out on Hollywood during the hippie late 60s.

Following a few years of the street ministry Bob was burned out and he was called by his current church to be their senior pastor.  He had not done sermons, he had not run a church but there he was doing just that.  And 41 years later Pastor Bob Bock is still the senior pastor of First Christian Church of North Hollywood.

God indeed has a plan for us.  We might have a plan for us.  But ours is secondary to God's and most likely your plan will be replaced by God's plan! So we get a grip and get ready for the far greater ride the Lord has prepared for us!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Teach me your way, LORD

Not much commentary today on the scripture below.  It's late, I've been reading Christian books most of the evening and listening to some sermons on the radio. But as I have grown in my faith and been more bold in expressing some of the "haters" are going to town on me.  No matter, God is good and that is ALL that matters!

If you're reading these posts and enjoy them please leave us a comment and let us know.  May God bless you always!

Psalm 86:11-17 (New International Version)
11 Teach me your way, LORD,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths,
from the realm of the dead.
14 Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God;
ruthless people are trying to kill me—
they have no regard for you.
15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and have mercy on me;
show your strength in behalf of your servant;
save me, because I serve you
just as my mother did.
17 Give me a sign of your goodness,
that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
for you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Here I am Lord!

Here I am Lord. As I open myself to your perfect presence I see miracles all around me.

Pastor Jefferson at church makes up little cards on his laser printer that have scripture or inspirational thoughts and they're passed out at our Wednesday night prayer and meditation service.  When I saw the message above it definitely hit me right away that as I asked Jesus to come into my heart, turned my life over to HIM and began to live by the scriptures wonderous things happened AND continue to happen! To you some of them may be minor but for me they are truly awesome and testimony to God working in my life.

( Isaiah 6:8 and 1 Samuel 3.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Riotous Self Will?

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
John 5:30, KJV

At church tonight Pastor Louise said that she and her husband (also a pastor but another church) sit down every morning reading scripture together and the discuss it. I thought that was pretty cool because it reminds me of my mother and my late stepfather would do the same thing every morning spending time reading devotions, praying and meditating together. It's a nice sign of good Christian matehood I think.

Back to our story however, Pastor said the verse they read this morning is John 5:30 which is Jesus telling his apostles that when he judges, or makes a decision or takes some action based on what he has heard, seen, known, etc. it is indeed just or the right decision because it is not based on Jesus applying his own will to the matter but that of God's.

We are here to do just that, to do God's will; the very purpose of our being to glorify God not us. If the Messiah himself, who was perfect, can subjugate his will to God's, why can't we? Our opinions, our feelings, our plans and schemes, while God loves us for having them and has given us free will are meaningless. There is only one plan for us and that is that which God has declared for us. It's not written down anywhere so you have to seek it. That takes some intense work. But I can tell you once you begin to align your will with God's you too will discover that the decisions you make, the judgments you take will be the right ones.

Remember - God's will is the firewall against self-will run riot!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Everything Happens for a Reason

Romans 8:28 (King James Version)

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Everything happens for a reason you have probably heard.  Folks often make this remark to comfort someone that they did not get their way. Indeed God has a plan for us and his purpose for that plan is to glorify his name.  So we need not even need comfort because we can be sure that God's plan for us is clear and has a far higher purpose than anything we can come up.  Happens for a reason? Yes. And the reason is awesome!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Romans 10:13-15 (New International Version)

3 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

We want others to be saved but we're obligated to share the word.  I know this is something I can do much better.  It is one thing to live a Christian life and model Christ-like behavior.  But as scripture says "how can they hear without someone preaching?" 

Time for me to share the good news!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Growing Your Seeds with God!

Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

-1 Corinthians 3:7 (NRSV)

We think we're so smart.  We think if we do exactly this then that will happen.  Well that's not necessarily untrue but no matter what God is in charge.  I come from a long line of sturdy, God fearing Iowa farmers.  Grandpa Elmer's dad Grandpa Soren would plan a crop of corn for the year.  So he'd plow the ground, buy the seed, plant it, etc.  If he didn't start there certainly there would be no corn.  But just because he put the seeds in the ground and tend to them would it guarantee Grandpa Soren a bumper crop let alone enough for one serving of corn on the cob.  Nope, that's up to God.  Maybe one year God would want the crop destroyed by bugs or a tornado or a drought.  Bad news for sure but it's God plan!

If we want to live good Christian lives we have to do the work.  Can't do it just by wishing or planning.  Still it doesn't mean you'll get rich, have the beautiful family with 2.3 kids and a family truckster in the driveway.  Nope.  God may have other plans for you.

But the  beauty is that God does love us and gives us EXACTLY what he knows we need.  We plant and water and God makes US grow!

Thank you Jesus for the opportunity to grow in GOD and to share your word with our brothers and sisters around us!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

This is a good one

Ephesians 4:22-24 (New International Version)

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

I have nothing insightful or even pithy to offer here.  I ran across this scripture this evening and thought I would share it with you. As a newly committed Christian its relevant to me.  And I am sure I will read it again and again.  If you have a thought to share please feel free to put it in the comments section! Thank you!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Onward Christian Soliders!

I get several devotions by email as well as Miss Erin's great daily text message.  As a newly re-committed Christian the following scripture caught my eye:

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
—2 Timothy 2:3

Does this mean that our Lord requires us to constantly suffer in order to follow him? No not at all I think. But what we do know is that Christians have always been persecuted.  And in that persecution we find strength.  

Fortunately for most of us we will never endure stoning nor being thrown to the lions as in olden days.  Even today many Christians in a number of nations find it illegal to practice their faith and can be thrown in jail or worse.  But for many of us here at least in the US we're more likely to face the criticism and derision of those we know who think that we're stupid or wacko and that's why we were Christians.

If walking with Jesus does however mean I'm stupid or wacko then bring it on baby.  If its worth living for God then it's worth dying in order to live this life - as many Christians have given their lives for their beliefs - and it is certainly worth some poor misguided soul calling me names.

Call me names if you must - because I will be soldiering on to glorify His.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Parable of the Lost Son

Luke 15: 11-31

Author's Note: Erin your humble blog owner here at Fish Out of Water was gracious enough to invite me to blog here with her.  I can say that I am more than honored and humbled as Erin, despite her youth, has decades of following our Savior and studying his word.  Myself I am so new in my relationship with Jesus I know I can't even come close to her level of knowledge and expertise.  That being said I hope I can share with you my experience as I begin this journey.  And I trust more than anything God will give me the words to share.

I grew up as a Christian.  Baptized as a baby.  Sunday School every week.  Vacation Bible School.  As a teen I sampled evangelical Christianity (even was baptized again at 14 this time through immersion), studied Seventh Day Adventism.  Went to some Jehovah Witness services.  Became an atheist.  Thought about converting to Judaism to win a girl named Rebecca.  And at 21 came back to God when I was slightly desperate in my life.

For a time I returned to my childhood church until it slid into oblivion for lack of willingness to do God's work.  But I still called out to God.  I prayed. I prayed for others.  I told others there was hope by following and trusting God.  But was I living a Christian life, really turning everything over to God and following the word? Not at all.

It came to me through the inspiration of three angels who had been placed in my life in different ways.  Each of these women however had a deep and inspired relationship with God, going back years and gently shared the word with me and modeled behavior as a Christian that proved to be an inspirational example.  One of them in particular challenged me and challenged hard as to my commitment to Christ.  Sure I believe in God. Sure I pray.  Of course I was saved.  But was I studying the word? Well, uh, I do have some bible verses on my cell phone.  Had I really surrendered everything to God? Sure, well, oh, no.

The only thing I knew to do was to jump into the Bible and go to church.  I signed up for devotional emails and text messages.  I've bought as many Christian books I can.  And Sunday evening, not even a week ago, when the Pastor called me the author I lept out of my seat and walked to the front of the room to give myself once again to Christ, made a public confession of my faith and join the Church.  I found a loving and sweet Christian family and felt home.

Jesus tells the story of the man with two sons, one of whom left the family for many years.  The other son stayed and remained devoted working the family farm.  When the missing son returned he was ashamed he had left and felt that he would not be worthy of his father's love.  His brother was resentful that he was getting any points for being the loyal son.  But the father was joyous and forgiving of the lost son. The father said his son "was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found."  Of course everyone should celebrate.

Many of us were lost and are found once again in Jesus Christ.  God our father forgives us for going away and is overjoyed when we return.  He will love us no matter what.  He will celebrate and be glad! Thank you God, I'm home!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

You're Too Cool for School!

May 6, 2010
GM - 1 Cor. 9:13, 31; Col. 3:14-17 - YOU have every tool you need to conquer the world. What can you say about yer bad self? Shoot - You're a winner, baybee!!!

Run to Win

May 5, 2010
GM - 1 Cor. 9:24-27; Psalms 18:28-37 - This life is a fight. This life is a race - but God is always in control, so Run to WIN.

The Real Deal

May 4, 2010
GM - Hab. 2:18-20, 3:1, 2; 1 John 4:4-6; Psalms 103 (all) - The world will come against you for they have no hope. Their gods are false. You have the only true God on your side so pray for the them - but wholly lean on God. He will deliver you.

Know God

May 3, 2010
GM - Isaiah 26:3, 4; Psalms 40:4; John 14: 25-27 - No God, no peace. Know God, know peace. WE have access to PERFECT peace. Aren't we special? ;)

He Loooves You!

May 1, 2010
GM - Psalms 8 - "When I consider they heavens, the works of thy fingers, the moon and stars which thou hast ordained..." Yet He knows every little thing about YOU.


April 30, 2010
GM - 1 Cor. 4:20; Psalms 68 (all) - The kingdom of God is in power. All of that power is in YOU.


April 29, 2010
GM - 1 Cor. 3:16, 17 YOU are God's temple. Psalms 51 (all); John 16:33 - He is with you and He has conquered the WORLD!


April 28, 2010
GM - 1 Cor. 2:8-10; Psalms 136 (all) - Try to imagine all the things God has given you. There is so much more to come! :)

You, You, You!

April 27, 2010
GM - 1 Cor. 1:20-31; Isaiah 55:8-13; Psalms 33 (all!) - God chose YOU for His purpose, regardless of anyone else's opinion. Do His work, today.

Are You Ready?

April 26, 2010
GM - Hos. 6:1-3; Psalm 85 (all); 2 Cor. 5:16-21 - Revival - Are you ready for it? Ask for it so that God can MOVE in your life.

God's Got Your Back

April 24, 2010
GM - Prov. 24:15, 16; Col. 3:25 - God will deal with those who come against you. Just focus on Him - and don't worry! :)

God Never Fails!

April 23, 2010
GM - Jer. 17:5-10; Psalms 56:10-13; John 12:44-50 - Who do you put your trust in? God NEVER fails.

What, Me? Worry?

April 22, 2010
GM - Gen 46:3 - Don't fear change when GOD is in control. Psalms 146 (all); Col. 1:9-23

Our God!

April 21, 2010
GM - Gen. 45:4-10; Prov. 21:22, 31; James 1:12-17 - Joseph endured much temptation and trial, as did his family (with different actions/different results!) but God was with them always - with a purpose and a plan. Their God? He's OUR GOD.

Darkest Before the Dawn

April 20, 2010
GM - Gen 44 - We know the end of this story but the brothers did NOT. It is always, always darkest before the dawn. Prov. 20:24; Rom. 15:13


April 19, 2010
GM - Gen. 43 - Regardless... As chaotic as it seemed, God was in complete control. How bout that? :) Prov. 19:23; Col. 1:9-13

Going Through It...

April 18, 2010
GM - Gen. 42 - The brothers went through a harrowing experience and are humbled but God will continue to greatly bless this family!

Prov. 18:12 Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, And before honor is humility.

1 Pet. 5:5-7 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “ God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Focus, People - Focus!

April 17, 2010
GM - Gen. 41: - If you focus on God and trust Him, He will use you - no matter where you are in your life. He can change everything for you. Nothing is too hard for Him.
Prov. 17:2,3 A wise servant will rule over a son who causes shame, And will share an inheritance among the brothers.The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests the hearts.
1 Tim. 1:12 12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry..


April 16
GM - Gen. 40:8 And they said to him, “We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.”
So Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please.”
Don't interpretations belong to God? What seems impossibly confusing to us is simple to God Trust Him fully. He never fails.
Prov. 16:3 Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”