Archive for September, 2007

Short-Circuiting the Soul

Friday, September 14th, 2007

For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow. –Ecclesiastes 1:18

J. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who directed the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, where the United States’ first nuclear weapon was developed, said this about his life shortly before he died: “I am a complete failure.” In looking back on his achievements, he said they were meaningless. When asked about them, he replied, “They leave on the tongue only the taste of ashes.”

That sounds a lot like Solomon, who said, “For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1:18).

We celebrate our dramatic advances in science and technology, which have been breathtaking to say the least. I am interested in technology. I love keeping up with the things that are happening and hearing about the latest gadgets, the latest things that make our lives a little bit easier. It is fascinating to me.

But as Tom Brokaw said in a 1999 graduation speech at the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico, “It is not enough to wire the world if you short-circuit the soul. Technology without heart is not enough.”

We live in a technologically advanced age. Our telecommunications are global now. We truly have become a global village. Yet there is a sense of isolation and detachment, and all this technology almost seems to numb the soul a little bit more. It is the pursuit of knowledge without God.

If intellectualism alone were the major key to purpose and fulfillment, then our university and college campuses would be bastions of peace and purpose. The pursuit of knowledge and a good education is a noble and valuable thing. But if in that pursuit God is left out, then you will come to the same conclusion as Solomon.

Hearing God Speak

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

By Lauren Blight, Age 14

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 a hope and a future. –Jeremiah 29:11–

Dani could feel the tears filling her eyes when she ran her finger down the list one more time. Her name wasn’t there, she didn’t make cheerleading. She stomped back to her car and drove home. She walked in the house and told her mom the bad news. Mrs. Johnson put her hand on Dani’s shoulder, “It’s okay, Dani, this means that God has something bigger planned for you.” Dani shrugged her mom’s hand off her shoulder and rolled her eyes. Dani ran up the stairs into her room, and plopped on her bed. “God, why didn’t I make cheerleading? I tried so hard and it’s my senior year,” Dani prayed. “I really wanted this”. The next Monday at school, Dani watched as the girls who made the cheerleading squad laughed and talked about what a great cheerleading year this would be. She turned her chair away from the giggling group and then she noticed a flyer. The school had a program for girls who had problems at home. They were looking for someone to lead their Bible study. Dani felt something inside her telling her to check it out after school. She tried to shake the feeling and get back to being angry about cheerleading, but she could not get the thought out of her head.After school, Dani went to the room listed on the flyer that she had seen during lunch and peeked in the door. “I’m sorry girls, but if we can’t find a leader, we can’t do the Bible study,” said the principal. Dani felt a tug at her heart as she watched the girls sink sadly into their seats. “Okay Lord – I get it,” and she pushed open the door and went inside. Dani lead the girls Bible study three days a week. She cared about these girls and the problems they were having at home. She was able to help heal their broken hearts and bring them closer to God. If Dani had made the cheerleading squad, she would have missed out on the life-changing experience that God had planned for her all along.Do you ever find yourself saying, “I really want this?” I say it all the time but I don’t always get what I want. Sometimes God has something bigger planned for us – something to work for His glory. We should put our wants aside and listen to what He has in store for us. You never know whose life it could change.  

Dear Lord, thank You for the gifts you have given me. I pray that you would help me find the right way to use them. Please give me ears to hear exactly what you have planned for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

One Bite at a Time

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. –Ephesians 5:15–

If you find a person who has fallen into gross sin, I would say that in every situation that you can think of, it began with compromise. Very rarely do people fall away from God overnight. Sometimes it appears they do, but in reality, it doesn’t happen that way.

For instance, you may have seen someone at church last week, only to discover the next week they have gotten into some immoral lifestyle or are doing something they shouldn’t be doing. You think, I don’t get it. I just saw them in church last week. They were doing fine. I propose that compromise has been taking place over a long period of time in that person’s life, and he or she finally just caved in.

It is like a massive tree that had stood for some 400 years in Colorado, only to come crashing to the ground one day. No one could understand why a tree of that size would crash to the ground. After all, this tree had been struck by lightning on 14 different occasions. It had weathered countless storms and had never fallen. But one day, without warning, it just crashed. It turned out that the tree had been killed by beetles. Little insects had, over a prolonged period of time, chewed their way through its mighty fibers until it came crashing down.

That is how compromise works. The devil may be wicked, but he is not an idiot. He knows how to rip people off. He doesn’t tell you what he is up to in the beginning. Instead, he comes to you with a little enticement. He will infiltrate through compromise and then take you down, one bite at a time.

Can The World See Jesus In You?

Saturday, September 8th, 2007

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.

So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”(John 20:24-29)

In other words, Jesus was saying, “Blessed are those who know I’m real, even though they never personally touch my side.”

If this is your attitude, then no matter what anyone says or does to you, they’ll never convince you that Jesus isn’t real because you know Him.

There’s a story of two men who were in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. One was a Christian minister and the other was a very smart intellectual atheist. The atheist kept mocking the Christian for his faith, “How can you believe in the Son of God? How do you know He’s real? Have you ever seen Him?”

The minister responded one day, “Yes, I have seen Him.”

“Oh really? I suppose you talk to Him too.”

“Oh yes, I talk to Him.”

Finally the atheist asked, “What does He actually look like?”

“Well,” the minister said, “sometimes He smiles at me.”

The atheist replied, “Oh really? He smiles at you? And what does He look like when He smiles?”

The minister, with a beaten, tattered old face from being in the prison camp for a number of years, looked up at this unbelieving atheist and began to smile with a glow from heaven.

This caused the atheist to totally change his heart and he responded by saying “Sir, I believe you have seen Jesus.”

What is the world saying about you? Do your friends know you are a Christian because you tell them, or because you live it?

If Jesus really has changed you on the inside, let it show on the outside. What changed this atheist’s heart was not something he heard, it was something he saw. Let your words and your actions be the evidence of a Jesus-filled heart and a Jesus-changed life.

Why Did God Create Marriage?

Friday, September 7th, 2007

More than seeing marriage as a mutual comfort, we must see it as a word picture of the most important news humans have ever received—that there is a divine relationship between God and His people.

There’s an old rabbinical story about how the spot was chosen for God’s holy temple. Two brothers worked a common field and a common mill. Each night they divided whatever grain they had produced and each took his portion home.

One brother was single and one was married with a large family. The single brother decided that his married brother, with all those kids, certainly needed more grain than he did, so at night he secretly crept over to his brother’s granary and gave him an extra portion. The married brother realized that his single brother didn’t have any children to care for him in his old age. Concerned about his brother’s future, he got up each night and secretly deposited some grain in his single brother’s granary.

One night they met halfway between the two granaries, and each brother realized what the other was doing. They embraced, and as the story goes. God witnessed what happened and said, “This is a holy place—a place of love—and it is here that my temple shall be built.” The holy place is that spot where God is made known to His people, “the place where human beings discover each other in love.”

Marriage can be that holy place, the site of a relationship that proclaims God’s love to this world.

The Reasons for Marriage

The early church fathers recognized that the analogy of reconciliation is the highest aim of marriage, pointing as a sign to the union of Christ with His church. Paul explores this theme in his letter to the Ephesians (5:22-33). (more…)