Change!!!

old car 1         old car 2

For good while now the “How many ____________ does it take to change a light bulb?” lines have been circulating.  For instance,

  • How many Pentecostals does it take to change a light bulb? Any of them because they all have their hands in the air!
  • How many Methodists does it take to change a light bulb? We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey, you have found that a light bulb works for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship to your light bulb and present it next month at our annual light bulb Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-lived, and tinted; all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.
  • How many independent Baptists does it take to change a light bulb? CHANGE!!  WE AIN’T CHANGIN’ NOTHIN’!!

Now, please take these and others like them all in stride.  It is only a joke.

Truthfully though, for oh so many, change is not a joke.  Most folks don’t like change, and for many, the older we get the harder it is to deal with change. We want our grocery store to stock the same items on the same aisle week-after-week; we tend to want our children to stay young and at home, never to grow up; we are not too fond of anything that is labeled “new and improved” because we know it’s not going to be the same; and we don’t want the stamp machine down at the post office to change either.  Just ask Barney Fife.

You see, change provides a sense of security.  When things supposedly stay the same then we are comfortable.

Truth is, change is all around us every day. Nothing ever stays the same: the universe, your job, your children, the government, the newness of your car, etc.

With that being said, I want to share from my heart two brief, important principles of life in reference to change.  There is much more to be said, but consider these simple truths.

  1. Security in this life can only be found each day in knowing and resting in the Immutable One, Jehovah God.

Malachi 3:6 declares, For I am the Lord, I change not.

Ponder these words found in Psalm 102:12, 25-28, But Thou, O LORD dost abide forever; And Thy name to all generations . . . Of old Thou didst found the earth; And the heavens are the work of Thy hands. Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed. But Thou art the same, And Thy years will not come to an end. The children of Thy servants will continue, And their descendants will be established before Thee.”

Since God is unchanging, therefore, His Word is unchanging, His plans are unchanging, His character is unchanging, and His knowledge is unchanging.

This security in Jehovah can only be found through a personal relationship with Christ (John 14:6; Ephesians 1:3-14; 2:1-9).

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

  1. For the follower of Christ, change is the order of the day in our walk with Him.

The good that comes out of all things working together is the daily transformation of our lives into the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:28-29; Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:3-11).  All of us as believers wear an “Under Construction” sign due to the sanctifying work of God in our lives through the Holy Spirit.

As we spend time in the Word beholding our God and His Son, we are changed by the power of the Word. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17).

So, how do you respond to change? Are you resting today in the Immutable God?  Are you growing and changing into Christlikeness as the Spirit convicts and instructs you?

The most important changes of life are spiritual not material. This isn’t about changing a light bulb which is discarded.  This is about the life of a genuine believer in Christ shining for God’s glory.

All the Questions of Life

Questions

Where do you go when you don’t know what to do?

Who do you call first when you receive devastating news?

When you need wisdom for a major decision, what is your first response?

When your world comes crashing down around your feet, where do you run to hide?

For all of the questions of life, who do you ask or whom do you seek?

Every day of our lives, we are faced with decisions and/or unanswered questions and/or needing a sign post to point us the way and/or a place of shelter from the storm.  For all situations of life, for all the questions of life, and for all the unknowns of life, will you meditate on the following?  I believe you will see the answer in these passages to the questions of life.

Therefore submit to God. . . . Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:7-8, 10)

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28)

97Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies;
For they are ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the ancients,
Because I keep Your precepts.
101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.
102 I have not departed from Your judgments,
For You Yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.
  (Psalm 119:97-104)

And he (Christ) is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)

After meditating on these passages, listen to I Run to Christ

7 Reasons Why Pleasing People is Extremely Detrimental

A few days ago while paying my meal bill at Cracker Barrel, I looked over to my right and saw this sign.  Customer service is number one for any business, and usually Cracker Barrel does a good job of reaching that goal.  Also, I understand why it’s needed in the business world.

As I waited for the cashier to ring up another order, my mind began to whirl about those two words placed in such a prominent place in the restaurant . . . “Pleasing People.”

Can you really?  How many people are there in the world?

Alright, let’s be fair, what’s the average amount of people who walk through the doors of any Cracker Barrel on any given day?  So take that number and consider how many likes and dislikes each person has.  Then add to that the changing nature of every man.  Then consider what each individual desires in reference to food, food & beverage, food, beverage, and dessert, food and store products, and that food orders are changed often.  I’m worn out already thinking about it!

So I ask again, can you really please people?  Does the Word of God command us to please people?

Seeking to please people in a fallen, sinful world is like a gerbil-on-a-wheel!  Think about it:

  1. If pleasing people is your standard for living, then you have made people your god. You shall have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3).
  2. Pleasing people promotes selfish living. We are exhorted to serve others (Matthew 23:11), but when we let our children or other adults be the standard for living, we are encouraging their selfishness . . . and ours.
  3. Pleasing people brings great frustration due to the many perspectives and desires on the part of those you are trying to please. No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24).
  4. Pleasing people can become your personal self-esteem barometer. If people like what you are doing, then you are a success and vice versa.  You forget that you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14) and as a believer, accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6).
  5. Pleasing people leads to an ungodly, disobedient comparison game. For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (2 Corinthians 10:12).
  6. Pleasing people is a stress-producer. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (John 14:27). Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:5-6)
  7. Pleasing people will always leave you with a wrong view of God.

The only thing that will overcome living to please people is to have a correct view of who you are in the sight of God.  At the moment of your salvation, you are accepted by God through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:6).  Your past, present and future sins have been paid for and forgiven by Christ taking your place on the cross (1 Peter 2:18-24).  Therefore, you are justified by His blood (Romans 3:23-25; 5:1-8), and you have peace with God.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding (Ephesians 1:7-8).

Now, you no longer have to live your life thinking you have to please God to get Him to love you, reward you or bless you.  You are already accepted in His sight through Christ (Ephesians 1:6); you are complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10); and you have a Shepherd Who leads you all the way to Glory (Psalm 23).  Therefore, we have joy in pleasing our Heavenly Father because of Who and What He is and because His commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3).

When do we not enjoy pleasing Him? When we want to please ourself or others for wrong motives.

Paul, speaking about the gospel, said, For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ (Galatians 1:10).

Scripture is full of instruction on how to treat others, but it warns us not to be in the people-pleasing business.

Good-luck, Cracker Barrel!

Breaking News!

 

revive-our-hearts

OH NO!  What’s happening???  Grab the kids and run for the shelter!!  Quick, hide your money!  Peek outside! Are they coming to cut off my head????

We live in a fear-mongering world!

I would venture to say that way too much of our lives, our decisions, and our actions are motivated by fear.  Our thoughts are consumed with, “Oh my! What if . . . .!”

Think about it, when is the last time you heard Fox News or any other news outlet use the “Breaking News” announcement for something that was wholesome, encouraging, and completely truthful?  Those two words are a literal catch-phrase, and indeed, when announced, they’ve gotcha!  Your attention is captured and your heart moves to fear . . . “Now what?”

Fear is a money-maker.

Fear is a peace-stealer.

Fear is a heart-stirrer.

Fear is an alarm-ringer.

Fear is a stress-producer.

Fear is a blind-puller.

Fear is a joy-crusher.

Fear is an obedience-excuser.

I must be honest, as I have written in this blog, fear is something that I have had to battle in my life.  And usually what we fear, just like worry which is its second-cousin, never happens.  There are many things in my life that I have missed out on because I was afraid.  The most important of all . . . just living day-by-day under the sunshine of God’s loving, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, sovereign care.

Now, before I am thrown under the bus, I understand being wise, cautious, and having common sense, but fear that does not trust in the promises and character of God is of the flesh and Satan!

Just stop for a moment and think of all the things you fear.  Write them down.  Then go to the Word and see what God says about them.

For starters, what fears do these truths obliterate?

Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

2 Timothy 1:7 – For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Psalm 23:1-4 – The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

Truth is, every time you are fearful, “Breaking News” should be a passage of Scripture brought to the forefront of your mind!  God’s “Breaking News” is fresh, eternal, truthful, calming, encouraging, and fear-removing.  Read Psalm 34:4 again.  Do you want the devil or The Deliverer?

So what will come to your mind the next time you hear, “Breaking News!”?