Don’t Go Through Life Looking For A Fight

Tomorrow is Father’s Day. I hope that you will take the time to see your Dad, if you can. At the very least, give them a call.
But maybe you and your Dad don’t get along. Or, maybe you or your family don’t get along. If so, I encourage you to resolve it if you can.
In I Samuel, there was a time when David’s son Absalom had been estranged from his Dad. Then, Absalom returned to Jerusalem, where his Father was. Yet, the Bible says “Absalom lived two years in Jerusalem without seeing the king’s face.” For two years, David and Absalom lived in the same city but didn’t see one another. Why? Because there was bitterness between them.
What about you? Is there bitterness between you and your family? If there is, you need to do your part to resolve it.
You may say, “Nope… I’m not going first… they need to come to me…” Ok, take that approach but, it’s very possible that nothing will ever get done and one day, you will regret that you didn’t make the move.
Years later, in II Samuel 19, Absalom dies. The word is given to King David and he cries out, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” David was sorry that he and his son had lived in the same city for two years but had never seen one another.
If you are holding a grudge with someone… if you are bitter with someone, put it to rest. If you need to, admit your mistake…go to the person you are bitter with, y’all talk it out and move on.
Now, someone may say, “Ok, I’ve gone to my family but they wouldn’t talk. Or, I’ve tried to resolve some differences but the individual won’t forgive me.” If you have done that, you have done your part. There is nothing else you can do.
Years ago, there was a Minister that I knew who was constantly fighting something. He had always had something in his craw. Well, I was talking one day with another Minister who knew this man and he said regarding our friend who was always fighting; “He gets up every day looking for a fight.”
That’s a terrible way to live. Don’t go through life looking for a fight. And if that’s been the case with your family, get that straight and enjoy time together.

The Need For Encouragement

Encouragement is something all of us need at times. Life is filled with adversity and challenges and we all need someone who will speak a positive word of encouragement. Barnabas was an encourager.
In Acts 9, the apostle Paul had gone to Jerusalem. The other Christians were apprehensive about him because of his past. They had heard that he had been converted but they weren’t sure if it was true. So, no one would step out and greet Saul and make him welcome… until Barnabas did.
The Bible says that Barnabas stepped forward and “took hold of him and brought him to the apostles.” Barnabas “took hold of him.”
In the midst of a crowd of people who weren’t sure about Saul, Barnabas stepped forward. All of us need a Barnabas in our lives. We all need someone who will “take hold of us” at times.
We need someone who will “take a hold of us” when we are down. There is someone you know who is discouraged. Maybe the Lord is prompting you to “take hold of them” and encourage them.
Maybe someone is struggling financially. Maybe God wants you to help them…
Maybe . someone has taken a new job and they are nervous. Maybe the Lord wants you to “take hold of them” and encourage them.
Last year, one day I received a package. I opened it and there was a Master’s shirt in it and a note from a man in our Sunday School class. The note was a letter of encouragement to me. I kept that note and every now and then, I pull it out and read it.     Each time I read it, it encourages me.
Today, be a Barnabas to someone… encourage someone.
Bob Goff has said, “Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.”

Doing Something For The Lord That We Are Anxious About

Has the Lord asked you to do something and you are anxious about it? Well, you are in the same position as Ananias. Let me give you the background.

In Acts 7-8 a young Jewish man named Saul was persecuting Jews. He was on way on his way to Damascus to persecute and kill more. But a great light suddenly appeared. It startled Saul and he fell off his mount. Saul is converted and God tells him to go ahead to Damascus.

Now, here is where Ananias comes in. God speaks to Ananias and tells him to go to a certain place and there he will find Saul. Well Ananias had heard of Saul. And what he had heard wasn’t good. So he asked the Lord to let him take a pass. But God told him that he had chosen Saul to be a missionary of the Gentiles and Ananias should go.

God May be speaking to your heart to do something that isn’t going to be easy.

Maybe there is someone you need to talk to but you have put it off.

Maybe you have been asked to teach and you are nervous.

Maybe there is an employee you need to talk to.

God’s work is not easy and sometimes God calls us to do things that aren’t easy but, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.

If God is calling you to do something, do it. There is an old saying, “Where God guides He provides.” If God is calling you He will guide and provide.

Or you may be thinking, “But I don’t feel qualified.” God isn’t going to call you to do something if you aren’t gifted to do it.

So, listen to the Lord. Be obedient and God will take care of the rest.

God Does Not Keep A Record Of Our Suns

A man and his wife went to see a counselor about their marital problems. The counselor asked, what seems to be the problem? The man said, “whenever I make a mistake she gets historical.”
The counselor smiled and said “you mean hysterical right?”
The man replied, “no, she gets historical. . When I make a mistake she reminds me of every mistake I’ve ever made.”
Well, the Lord does not get historical with us. The Bible says He doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. In Psalms 130 the Psalmist said he was in despair. He said, “From the depths of despair, O Lord, I call for your help.”
Then the Psalmist said, “Hear my cry, O Lord. Pay attention to my prayer.”
Then the Psalmist says, “ Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness,
that we might learn to fear you.”
Notice he says “If you kept a record of wrongs..who could ever survive””
The answer is, none of us could survive because we have all sinned.
And we shouldn’t keep a record of wrongs with others. Paul said in I Corinthians 13, “Lord does not keep a record of wrongs.”
Today, know that, God not keep a record of your sins. God tosses them into the ocean and forgets them. There isn’t a ledger with your list of sins on it. God forgives and forgets. Praise God for His forgiveness today.

The Privilege Of Prayer

One of the great blessings of the Christian life is prayer. Through prayer, human beings can talk to God. Through prayer we can share our burdens and concerns with God. Through prayer we can ask God for direction.

In I Kings 8, Solomon is dedicating the temple to God. Throughout the prayer he talks about things that could happen in the future. Each time he prays that if those things happen, “then hear from heaven and judge between your Servants…” Solomon repeats the phrase, “…then hear from heaven “ several times in the text.

That is our prayer as well…that God will hear from heaven when we pray and, we can be assured that God does hear from heaven.

Today, whatever is on your heart…when you pray, God heats from heaven.

Are you burdened-down? God hears from heaven.

Do you need direction? God hears from heaven.

Have you sinned and you need forgiveness? God hears from heaven.

Is your money tight and you are struggling to pay the bills? God hears from heaven.

As Christians, there is only three things that may block our prayers; If there is unconfessed sin in our hearts….if our motives are wrong or there is bitterness between us and a fellow man.

So today, if your heart is clear and you are truly seeking God’s will and there is no bitterness between you and someone else, God will “hear from heaven” and answer our prayers.

Gray Hair Is Our Reward For Godliness

Proverbs 16:31 says “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.”

This verse should make all of us with gray hair feel better…”gray hair is a crown of glory.”

But the verse continues, “it is Gained by living a godly life.”

What does it mean to live a Godly life? It means to live for Christ. It means to worship the Lord and study His word and apply His word in our lives.

It means to live lives of integrity. The world is filled with people who lie or can’t be counted on. Christians should be people who are trustworthy…not gossips or slanderers…

It means to be a person who is filled with grace. We have a tendency at times, to think living a Godly life means being judgmental. Living for Christ is opposite of that. Jesus was filled with grace. We should be as well.

Living a Godly life means being a giver. It means tithing and giving to help others as the Lord leads.

It means watching our mouths. Simply put; Christians should be different. We are to live Holy lives. The word “Holy” means “separate.” Our lives are to be marked by godliness and grace.

Today, I encourage you to join me in living a Godly life.

Children Are A Blessing From The Lord

Years ago, when our kids were small, I was complaining about how much something costs for the kids. My Dad said, “Gregg, don’t ever begrudge one penny you spend on those little fella’s.”
Daddy was right. Now, he wasn’t talking about a new playstation or big-screen tv or something like that. He was talking about necessities and maybe a little beyond.
“Don’t ever begrudge one penny you spend on those little fella’s.”
Good advice… and still good advice today.
Psalms 127:3 says, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” Children are indeed a blessing but, people don’t always see it that way.
When I was in seminary, I had a class under a particular professor. This man had been a Pastor most of his life and then he became a professor at NOBTS. In his lectures, he would often tell stories from his days as a Pastor.
One day, he told a story about how the church being reaching young families. When he went to the church as Pastor, they weren’t reaching young families but he led the church to begin doing so. One Wednesday night, during a meal time the children were making some noise and evidently, it was pretty loud. He could tell some of the older members didn’t care for the noise. So, he got up, he got everyone’s attention and said, “Listen! Listen! That sound is the future of this church!” He was talking about the noise the children were making and putting up with the noise was necessary because they represented the future of the church.
Children are special. They are blessings. But some don’t see it that way. Some, see children as a burden.
Jesus said, “Permit the children to come unto me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14).
Two ladies were sitting in a Physician’s office and one lady was complaining about how expensive it was to raise a child. She was going on and on about the money she spent on her kids.
Another lady was listening then she said, “Be thankful you have to spend that money on your child. I would love to have a child to spend on. My child died.”
Children are a blessing from the Lord.