(This is a reprint of the article I wrote Nov. 17, 2013. The thoughts I expressed are as relevant today as then, although I must admit I don’t make it to the gym quite as often as I did when I wrote this.)
There are lots of songs that inspire and motivate me around 5-6 weekday mornings when I hit the gym for a workout, my Skullcandy, “Smokin Buds 2” ear buds in place and my iPhone open to my music app. Some of the songs you would expect (e.g. “Eye of the Tiger”). However, two of the most inspiring and motivating songs for me aren’t even of that genre. A young singer, Josh Turner (the other Josh, with just as powerful, but much deeper, voice) sings two of my favorite songs; songs that start my day out right and keep me going. One, “Long Black Train” has these words: “There’s a long black train coming down the line, feeding off the souls that are lost and crying, rails of sin only evil remains, watch out brother for that long black train. Look to the heavens you can look to the sky…find redemption staring back into your eyes. There is protection and there’s peace the same…Cause there’s victory in the Lord…Cling to the Father and His holy name, and don’t go riding on that long black train.” These scriptures come to mind as I listen: (1st Peter 5:8) “…be vigilant; your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Whether it’s a lion or a huge train engine, you can see it coming, so don’t jump on board or stay around the sin! “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). God gives us victory (over sin) “…through the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1st Corin. 15:57)
The other is “Me and God” (okay, now, all you teachers, remember song writers’ lyrical license): “There ain’t nothing that can’t be done by me and God. Ain’t nobody come in between me and God, one day we’ll live together where the angels trod…early in the morning…late at night talking it over Me and God…I am weak and He is strong…He forgives me when I’m wrong…He’s the One I lean on when life gets hard…He’s my Father, He’s my friend…we’re a team, Me and God…” I think of:(Mark 10:27) "…With men it is impossible, but…with God…all things are possible.” “Pray without ceasing.” (1st Thess. 4:17) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive…and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” (1st John 1:7-9) (2nd Sam. 22:33) “God is my strength…He makes my way perfect.” (John 14:1-4, Jesus says) “Let not your heart be troubled…in My Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you…I will come again and receive you…that where I am, there you may be also.” May God continue to bless us all.
We continue to be confronted, time-and-time again, with obstacles and roadblocks as we work toward getting our new facility built so that we will have a place to call our own "home" and our own for assembling together. All of this, of course, is only the first step in fulfilling our primary mission and our goal of reaching the community that God has entrusted to us. Furthermore, we also continue to be hit with other distractions and diversions which are unsettling as we look toward the future.
We have not - we cannot - let these hinder us from the goal! Especially, now that the means by which we will accomplish this first big step is within our grasp! We must look forward to what God will do for, and with, us and move on with a positive outlook. We must continue to believe that we can do this and allow God to work through us!
Here are just a few scriptures to think about as we press on:
Genesis 18:14 – “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?...”
Jeremiah 32:27 – “…is anything too difficult for Me?”
Zechariah 8:6 – “…will it also be too difficult in My sight?...”
Jeremiah 32:17 – “…Nothing is too difficult for You…”
Mark 9:23 – “…All things are possible to him who believes.”
So, stay positive and remain vigilant in prayer! We BELIEVE this all will be done and continue to remain positive as we do all of this because of what Jesus said in
“With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
and the Apostle Paul's encouragement recorded in
“…to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that
we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,” (NKJV)
Remember, WE ARE BLESSED beyond measure!
Have you ever had the terrible feeling of being falsely accused of something? It's a tough thing to face when people think something of you that is not true. I have had that feeling before, but the worst I personally faced was with my son CJ. When he was in first grade he was accused of improper touching by a little neighbor girl in his class. We got a call from the school and Kerri went down only to find they had already put my first grade son in a room and questioned him in front of his accuser. His teacher was so upset about what the counselor had done before my wife had arrived. So, the counselor did this in the absence of the principal or anyone and was soon fired. But what of the accusations against my son? It sadly turned out that it was an avenue for this little girl to reach out to get help for something that was happening at home and her father was the abuser. I can only imagine what was going through my son’s head with these questions they were asking, not knowing what they were talking about.
What about our Lord Jesus, standing before His false accusers? Knowing what was going to happen and just quietly taking it all upon Himself. In Mark 14:55-61; Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, and they were not finding any. For many were giving false testimony against Him, but their testimony was not consistent. Some stood up and began to give false testimony against Him, saying, "We heard Him say, 'I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.'" Not even in this respect was their testimony consistent. The high priest stood up and came forward and questioned Jesus saying, "Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?" But He kept silent and did not answer.
I can't imagine standing there and being accused of something and remaining silent and allowing your accusers to put you to death when you have the power to stop it. But my finite mind only knows this world so far. Praise the Lord Jesus for loving us so much that He would come to earth to allow man to do this to Him. A stronger love we will never know than that which comes from heaven. Let us be worthy of such a love.
In Him, Chuck
Don't miss the boat, has for years, been a way of saying don't be late. You don't want to miss the last ship out or ferry boat off the island or across the river. You don't want to be too late when deciding on things like an investment or a move for job opportunities. Or maybe asking your favorite girl out on a first date. Deciding to make an offer on that first house before it sales. So many things we have to decide on in time to not miss the boat.
Some things we decide we are not sure about the timing of the end result. Like when your first date becomes courtship and someday marriage? When an investment, hopefully, matures and you can build up a retirement someday? Will the job you start take you where you hope to be someday? Will the life you live here get you to heaven? Now suddenly it's getting more serious, isn't it? Our decisions we make today can impact the rest of our life. Or they can even impact the rest of our eternity.
Thankfully, God gave us not only His Son, but a guide full of instructions to get us to our hopeful goal of heaven. If it's not your goal you don't need a guide but if it is, the answers you seek are all there for you. There will come a time when we all have to decide where we want to spend our eternity. Some will, unfortunately, not ever believe in heaven and hell, but if you even think that there is the possibility of a God that created all things then you owe it to yourself to read the guide book. God’s own words put upon men's hearts are written down in the Bible for us to follow. Eternity in heaven with God or decide too late and miss the boat?
Revelation 21:5-8, And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true." Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirst from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
Don't decide too late and miss the boat to your eternity of your choosing. The choice is ours but the day no one knows. Decide today for tomorrow may be too late.
In Him, Chuck
A couple weeks ago while at work I had to cut a bearing off of a shaft with a torch. When doing so, I had to be very careful not to cut into the shaft doing more damage. If you take your time and cut slowly you can actually watch the bearing melt away from the shaft and cause no damage. It’s kind of cool to see when it's happening at that perfect moment. It's not a good thing to see if you cut into the shaft, you will have a sad feeling.
So, for some reason, this made me think of when people used to approach me about Christ. I guess it is the precision and timing that we must sometimes have with our words to reach people. One strong word and they may never listen, but also the time in their life when they are open to hear. I did not grow up in the church but always believed that God existed just from what I had learned as a child. I had people invite me to church functions for many years as a young adult and would go on occasion but never seriously searched out any more about God’s word. A time came in our lives when our children were little we felt a need for more knowledge about God for our children. We wanted them to at least know the Bible stories that we had heard. Meanwhile, it caused us to find our own need for God in our lives and we began our own search. We went to many places but we were in search of the truth in which we could follow in God’s word and that search brought us here. It is sad to see someone that you talked to decide to turn away from God’s words because they don't like what they find and how it may affect them or someone they know. It just breaks your heart but you can't change the truth.
The message that I wish to send in all this, is that the careful choice of the precise word is very important to anyone's search and our helping them find it. But also, the timing of it is important. When we talk to people about Jesus we need to be careful with our words. Plant seeds without being pushy or making people think that we believe Christians are better than them. You may talk to a lot of people that may not be looking at the time of your conversation. We must be careful not to push them away but to be patient and loving and someday God will supply the increase not us. Just be careful with your words and lovingly spread the seeds and people will ask questions when they are ready to seek God out. Just be ready with the answers they seek. It can be rewarding to watch someone grow in faith and follow Christ and serve Him in truth. It will lift your own heart and spirits. If you plant seeds, and hopefully someone else will too, then when they are ready and in God’s time as the song says, “I have decided to follow Jesus” will be their words.
600 West Milgeo - Ripon California 95366