Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Gift Of Sight

This morning I get the opportunity to speak at a local church in our area, where I was asked to teach on John chapter 3. There is so much in this passage, and as I looked at it and prayed through it I became impressed with the person of Nicodemus who from the world’s perspective had arrived. He had position, power, and respect. He had committed his life to being religious above all else. Yet his religion was a work of his own, and his heart was empty. Jesus, knowing this, responded to Nicodemus with the simple statement that Nicodemus had to be born again, which he proceeded to explain. There is no indication from this passage that Nicodemus believed. Yet “belief” is the word most used to describe his need. Later in John we find Nicodemus mentioned twice more. From these instances we can know that his time with Jesus had an impact on his life, and maybe like Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus also came to a place where he placed his trust in Christ for salvation as we see him being one of two men who prepared Jesus’ body for burial. Having our eyes opened to see is an incredible gift, because apart from that we would never know of God’s great love and His salvation provided through His Son. We would not then be enabled to live a life abundant and free from the slavery of sin and filled with a hope that will never fail.

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (2/24)

Be still in the light of My Presence, while I communicate Love to you. There is no force in the universe as powerful as My Love. You are constantly aware of limitations: your own and others’. But there is no limit to My Love; it fills all space, time, and eternity.

Now you see through a glass, darkly, but someday you will see Me face to Face. Then you will be able to experience fully how wide and long and high and deep is My Love for you. If you were to experience that now, you would be overwhelmed to the point of feeling crushed. But you have an eternity ahead of you, absolutely guaranteed, during which you can enjoy My Presence in unrestricted ecstasy. For now, the knowledge of My loving Presence is sufficient to carry you through each day.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:2 (KJV)

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16 – 19

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Thanking God On The Sidelines

Today Sarah writes about those times when for one reason or another the things you have grown used to are changed and you are sidelined for a while. Our God cares about those sitting on the bench, and even there He is working and enabling to do His work. It is not because we are in the center of the game that God is glorified, it is how His light shines through us regardless of our physical condition or position as we keep our eyes on Him and trust in His unlimited strength and power. It is during those sideline times that we often see His love shown through others.

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (2/16)

Thank Me for the conditions that are requiring you to be still. Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again. Some of the greatest works in My kingdom have been done from sick beds and prison cells. Instead of resenting the limitations of the weakened body, search for My way in the midst of these very circumstances. Limitations can be liberating when your strongest desire is living close to Me.

Quietness and trust enhance your awareness of My Presence with you. Do not despise these simple ways of serving Me. Although you feel cut off from the activity of the world, your quiet trust makes a powerful statement in spiritual realms. My Strength and Power show themselves most effective in weakness.

“Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.” Zechariah 2:13

This is what the sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “in repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust the your strength, but you would have none of it.” Isaiah 30:15

But He said to me, my grace (my favor and loving kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weakness and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! 2 Corinthians 12:9 (AMP) 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Uneasy Journey

Today my focus was on a couple of mountains that I did not know how we would climb them. I was digging in my heels and saying that I wasn't going to move forward until God showed me how. Then this afternoon He showed me how. Think I would be okay seeing His incredible grace shown to us. This evening there was another mole hill in the process and I dug in again. God is so wonderful. He reached out His hand and showed me that the answer was much easier than I had feared. You think we would learn these things after nearly forty years of being a Christian. Well, I guess the truth is that I have learned them. I just had a dependence deficiency. God wants us to depend on Him in all things.

Today in “Jesus Calling” Sarah talks about this journey and the things which rise up to attempt to trip us.

Come to me for rest and refreshment. Their journey has been too much for you, and your own – weary. Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion. Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life.

Remember that I can fit everything into a pattern for good, including the things you wish were different. Start with where you are at this point in time and space, accepting that this is where I intend you to be. You will get through today one step, one moment at a time. Your main responsibility is to remain attentive to Me, letting Me guide you through the many choices along your pathway.

This sounds like an easy assignment, but it is not. Your desire to live in My Presence goes against the grain of "the world, the flesh, and the devil." Much of your weariness results from your constant battle against these opponents. However, you are on the path of My choosing, so do not give up! Hope in Me, for you will again praise Me for the help of My Presence.

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. Romans 8:28 (AMP)

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God. Psalm 42:11 (NKJV)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

No Shortage Of Worries

There are so many things we can worry about. Having sent off a new packet yesterday I can now start to worry about whether or not they want to talk with me any further. Or I can worry about, what if they do want me will I be able to do the task. And of course, what if I don't hear back, I can worry about if they have made a decision and where else I should be looking. I don't think it hard for any of us to find things that can occupy our minds with worry. In fact, I bet we don't even have to go looking for them most of the time.

In advance of the worries, start your day looking to God and reflecting on His hand in your life and how He is the one who encloses us before and behind, He is the one who sets our paths straight, who leads us through those times of fog, and He is the one who makes us adequate for that which He sets before us. And when the heaviness starts in during the day, turn your heart and your mind back to Him. Today Sarah writes about the Peace we receive from God in the midst of these things.

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young

Seek My Face, and you will find not only My Presence but also My Peace. To receive My Peace, you must change your grasping, controlling stance to one of openness and trust. The only thing you can grasp without damaging your soul is My hand. Ask My Spirit within you to order your day and control your thoughts, for the mind controlled by the Spirit is Life and Peace.

You can have as much of Me and My Peace as you want, through thousands of correct choices each day. The most persistent choice you face is to trust Me or to worry. You will never run out of things to worry about, but you can choose to trust Me no matter what. I am an ever-present help in trouble. Trust Me, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. Psalm 46:1-2

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sermon Audio File Links

Following are links to five sermons. If you click/tap on the sermon it will bring up a link box which you can then select for downloading to your computer.

01 You Are Not Alone (John 13)
02 Totally Sufficient (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
03 Totally Comforting (Psalm 139)
04 Totally Supported (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
05 Totally Faithful (1 Corinthians_10:13)

If you don't wish to download files and prefer to listen to them online, they can be accessed at Crossroads Sermons. The files can be sorted by speaker by tapping the arrow in the speaker box. Bob Bonner is the teaching pastor at Calvary Crossroads and has an extensive list of sermons. My sermons follow his alphabetically, though there is a lot of scrolling to get there.

Sermon Text

Following are the pdf text files for the audio sermon files posted previously

01 You Are Not Alone (John 13) pdf text
02 Totally Sufficient.pdf text
03 Totally Comforting pdf text
04 Totally Supported pdf text
05 Totally Faithful pdf text

Following is a statement largely written by Joe Burgess in consultation with the elders of Clavary Crossroads

Marriage Divorce and Remarriage pdf

Following are some counseling helps which I have developed

1_Corinthians 10:13 amplified pdf
Principles of Change pdf
Crisis Paradigm Christ Centered pdf

Saturday, February 2, 2013

When Things Happen

We had a great day at Snowcapades. Jonny really enjoyed the sled runs. The final run for him ended sooner that he might have wanted. He asked that he not be spun, and sure enough he was really spun and pushed off. Needless to say he was caught unprepared and out of control. The result was a sore head and sore feelings as a result of what had just happened.

It’s amazing how when something happens to us that is out of our control or opposed to our desires that we find our energy being drained as we quickly slide into a negative focus. This is what Sarah had to write about today.

By the way, after giving Jon a hug, giving him some children’s Tylenol, and giving him a little bit of time all it really took to refocus him was to remind him of all that went well and the overall good time he had-a little reshaping of his perspective.

Today (2/2) in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young

I am renewing your mind. When your thoughts flow freely, they tend to move toward problems. Your focus gets snagged on a given problem, circling round and round it in attempts to gain mastery. Your energy is drained away from other matters through this negative focus. Worst of all, you lose sight of Me.

A renewed mind is Presence – focused. Train your mind to seek Me in every moment, every situation. Sometimes you can find Me in your surroundings: a lilting birdsong, a loved one's smile, golden sunlight. At other times, you must draw inward to find Me. I am always present in your spirit. Seek My Face, speak to Me, and I will light up your mind.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105:4

Friday, February 1, 2013

Following One Step At A Time

I've been practicing (tuning up) my Dragon NaturallySpeaking program where I talk and the computer types. It is interesting to see what comes up some times, like instead of "by faith" I got "Wi-Fi." Either I pronounce things poorly at times or we have a long way to go. But it is nice being able to talk-type about as fast as I can type without my hands hurting.

Mountains are in our life a bit this week. My last two jobs applications if agreeable would put us up in the mountains of either Washington or California, and tomorrow Jonny and I are going up a more local mountain with a bunch of Cub Scouts for a day in the snow. Robin is also away at a ladies retreat this weekend, and I am hoping she has a mountain top experience.

But the kind of mountains talked about by Sarah are those ones that give you cause to quake a bit in your boots or questions whether or not you should move forward. We need to be always mindful that is God who prepares the way for our steps, and if He sets the stones before us they are definitely sure. And if He sets a sharp turn in that path, it is definitely on purpose. Think about how much easier it is to take switchbacks up or down a mountain than it is to face the entire incline at once. And if it is one of those sections where the only choice is straight up, Sarah is right - He even gives the strength for that, and His safety harness will never fray.

Today (2/1) in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young

Follow me one step at a time. That is all I require of you. In fact, that is the only way to move through this space/time world. You see huge mountains looming, and you start wondering how you're going to scale those heights. Meanwhile, because you're not looking where you're going, you stumble on the easy path where I am meeting you now. As I help you get back on your feet, you tell Me how worried you are about the cliffs up ahead. But you don't know what will happen today, much less tomorrow. Our path may take an abrupt turn, leading you away from those mountains. There may be an easier way up the mountains that is visible from this distance. If I do lead you up the cliffs, I will equip you thoroughly for that strenuous climb. I will even give My angels charge over you, to preserve you in all your ways.

Keep your mind on the present journey, enjoying My Presence. Walk by faith, not by sight, trusting Me to open up the way before you.

With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. Psalm 18:29

For he will give his angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. They shall bear you on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. Psalm 91:11 – 12 (AMP)

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)