Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117, it is just two verses. Yet these two verses are immensely profound in their simplicity. You want to boil things down to the minimum and just look at the core of human existence? Then here you go:

“Praise the Lord, all you nations! Worship Him, all you peoples! Because God’s faithful love towards us is strong, the Lord’s faithfulness lasts forever! Praise the Lord!”

It doesn’t get much simpler than this, Praise the Lord. Worship Him. Because, He is faithful. His love is strong towards us and He is forever faithful. Thus, we should, Praise the Lord! No matter what you are facing, no matter what difficulties or trials befall you, Praise the Lord! In the good and in the bad, Praise the Lord! In the sun and in the rain, Praise the Lord! In life and in death, Praise the Lord! In sickness and in health, Praise the Lord! In the hardest of times and in the best of times, Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord,

you are loved,

cj

A life of dependance . . .

A life of dependance . . .

We all depend on someone or something for life. Some will say they don’t depend on anyone, well that simply says, “I depend on myself.” So the reality is everyone depends on something for their existence. It may be work, that job you hate going to every Monday, or it may be a spouse, or a relative of some sort. It could be the Government, a retirement investment or an inheritance. Some who are very ill depend on machines or medicine for life, without them they die. So whether we like to think in these terms or not we are all dependent upon something or someone for life.

Being dependent upon riches or popularity or even other people, yourself included leads to disappoint, despair, even tragedy. Oh there might be momentary pleasure, riches, even glimpses of happiness. However, we can name person after person of influence who has struggled with fame, fortune, popularity and riches. A quick google search will show us these facts to be true. And whether we like to admit it or not we are dependent by nature. So, lets talk about for a second, the idea of being dependent. For if we are by nature dependent then we should find the true source of our dependence.

i offer up to you this passage from Jeremiah 17:5-8;

Wisdom from the Lord

This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
    who rely on human strength
    and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
    with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
    in an uninhabited salty land.

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
    and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
    with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
    or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
    and they never stop producing fruit.

 

John D. Rockefeller, (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937)  said, “If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it.” Now this coming from a man who arguably was the richest man in modern history. Yet, although rich as could be his dependence was not on his wealth, as this quote here will show, “This Sunday School has been of help to me, greater perhaps than any other force in my Christian life, and I can ask no better things for you than that you, and all that shall come after you in this great band of workers for Christ, shall receive the same measure of blessedness which I have been permitted to have.”

You might argue that it was easy for him to have his dependence on Jesus because he was so wealthy. Well, to that i say what about Horatio G. Spafford. Here is a man who lost everything, with the exception of his wife, “saved alone” from a shipwreck. He went on to pen one of, if not the greatest hymn of all time, “It is well with my soul”. Read his full story here. Today, where do you find your dependence, i submit to you that if your answer is anything but Christ alone, you need to stop what you are doing and reevaluate life and put your hope, trust, confidence . . . dependence on the only one who can and will see you through, Jesus the Messiah.

You are loved,

cj

13 Years and Counting

13 Years and Counting

i have been writing a book for 13 years, that’s right you heard me, 13 years. i guess you can say that i am persistent or lazy. i would say, i am self-conscience of ability. However, one day that book will be completed, and it will be read by at least two people, my mom, and my dad. Now imagine this, the Bible which many refer to as the “Good Book” is actually a collection of works, both books, and letters. There are 66 of them written by 40 different authors over a period of…well…thousands of years.

The influence that the Bible has had over the years is unfathomable. It has had both good and bad impacts on the world depending on who was doing the interpreting. It is an adventure story, love story, comedy, history, and wisdom. It is if read correctly, the answer to all of life’s questions…and by life’s questions i mean any and every question you might have ever in your life.

In 2 Timothy 3 we read in verses 16 and 17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” And again in 2 Peter 1:20-21 we read, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” There are a few other places that talk about this idea of the impactfulness and importance of Scripture, google it some time.

The book that i have been writing will not take thousands of years…at best i only have about 50ish years left to live. It will not even come close to impacting the world as the Bible has either. There have been countless books written, but none have claimed so much, promised so much, explained so much and been right so much ever! There is no book that has outsold or been stolen more than the Bible either…how’s that for distribution?

The Adventure of a Lifetime!

The Adventure of a Lifetime!

Once when i was eight years old, i went exploring a construction site. A soon to be apartment building made for a great playground in the eyes of my friends and i. Framed in staircases, partially framed walls, and planks across open spaces in the floor made for a grand adventure. Albeit, a dangerous and illegal one. Our mission, to avoid the one lone security guard patrolling the site which included several separate buildings.

Many spend most of their lives doing what my friends and i did at eight. They feel as if they are living a life of adventure because the adrenaline is pumping through their veins. What they don’t realize, often until it’s too late, is they are in constant peril. The danger of a wrong step could lead to severe injury or even death and of course, there is the constant looking over your shoulder in fear of getting caught.

The world would have you think that being a Christian is boring. That life in Christ is the opposite of adventure. However, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. There are countries where being a Christian is illegal, and you could be thrown in prison or killed. Although we live in a relatively safe environment to be a Christian, there is still some great adventure to be had! Just take a look at some of these stories…

  • Rachel from the Axiom has a great story of when she was just starting to get back into the church when she had a confrontation with a girl she had fought in the past. This girl wanted a “rematch” however, Rachel in her now living for Jesus refused to fight. Several years later the girl saw her in church and gave her a big hug, “That day changed my life!” she said.
  • Some local Missionaries the LaGatta’s, were in El Salvador when they were kidnapped at gunpoint, driven to the desert and left. They survived with not only a great story of faith but a memory of great adventure.
  • Then there is this: 9 Year Old Willie Myrick <<< Click the link it’s awesome!
These remind me of some stories found in the greatest adventure story ever written…
  • Acts 9:23-25 tells the part of the story (read below) of Saul/Paul’s escape after many were seeking to kill him.  “After this had gone on quite a long time, some Jews conspired to kill him, but Saul got wind of it. They were watching the city gates around the clock so they could kill him. Then one night the disciples engineered his escape by lowering him over the wall in a basket.”
  • Acts 16:25-26 a story about an earthquake and a none prison break that lead to the jailer coming to know Jesus with his whole family. “Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears. Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose.”
  • John 11:1-44 shares the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. It’s insane! Here is part of it:”Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face.

    Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him loose.”

If you have accepted Jesus and consider yourself a follower of His, a disciple, rest assured…you are on the adventure of a lifetime!

You are LOVED,
cj

You must be stupid or something!

You must be stupid or something!

“It seems as if we have come to a point of disagreement.” “It doesn’t appear as though we will ever see eye to eye on this issue.” “Can we just agree to disagree?” “It may seem arbitrary to you but to me it is a huge concern!” “Why can’t you see what I see? Why are you so ignorant!?” “You must be stupid or something!” “You have no clue how the world works do you?”

Through life, both cultural life and individual life, we have and continue to evolve, learn, grow; some would say the opposite is true however, that we are actually unraveling socially and culturally. One thing is certain, our ability to have differing opinions and our further ability to discuss those differences considerately and compassionately have eroded to epic lows. Where at one time one might say, “It seems as if we have come to a point of disagreement.” We now say, “You must be stupid or something!”

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you thought to yourself, “Talking to you is like talking to a brick wall.” i know i have thought, maybe even said that often. Here’s the problem, by me thinking or saying that i have put the assumption on the other person that i am superior to them or more intelligent than they…i have devalued their opinion and along with it any knowledge they may have on the subject. i have now limited my ability to learn from them or even for them to learn from me.

We live in a culture gone made with a lack of humility. Everyone has become a know-it-all in every subject. Regardless of the facts. As since everyone knows everything or we know someone who knows everything we don’t research, we don’t ask questions, we don’t seek for truth because we don’t know what we don’t know unless we first seek.

This is why i love the interaction between Jesus and the woman at the well. (READ FULL PASSAGE HERE) Here is Jesus, who surely did know everything, have a conversation with a woman in a manner that inspired and did not condemn. In the end the woman heads back into town to tell others about Jesus. We are called to be like that. To live and love as Jesus. To inspire others with the truth of the Gospel in hopes that they too will react as this woman did, going and telling others.

But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it?” (Romans 10)

you are LOVED,
cj

Act Like It

Act Like It

Colossians 3:1 in the Message paraphrase says, roughly, if you are serious about this new life in Christ, act like it! In Ephesians 4:1 in the NLT is says, “I, (Paul) beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.” Paul the author of both of these letters has a central theme, Jesus is to be taken seriously and our lives should reflect our desire to please Him.

We are called to lead with a “quiet strength”. As defined it is perseverance, tenacity, get up, dust yourself off and keep going, kind of attitude. Its a leading by example. Colossians 3:12-17 gives legs to this idea and breaks down putting on Christ, with these as bench marks; Compassion, Kindness, Humility, quiet strength and discipline. It goes on to mention forgiveness, quick and complete forgiveness, as quickly and completely as you have been forgiven.

These areas are not suggestions, if we are serious about living out our faith, living for Jesus, we need to act like it. We need to begin to allow Jesus to work in and through us to develop these characteristics within us. If we as the church are unable to live these out how can we expect a fallen world to do it? We are the Mantle bearers, the standard bearers, of Christ. We are the ambassador’s of Christ, the building of the church should be the consulate, the “safe place” the lost and the hurting, the broken and confused, come to in their hour of need…but if they see us out in the world and we are no different why would they seek refuge from us?

…lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called BY God. And if you are to be serious about this new life in Christ, ACT LIKE IT.

You are Loved,
cj

Only a Man

Only a Man

There is a part in the telling of Jesus ministry that catches my eye every time i read it. This account is found in Matthew 9:35-38 and reads thusly:
35 Jesus traveled among all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, announcing the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. 36 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them because they were troubled and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The size of the harvest is bigger than you can imagine, but there are few workers. 38  Therefore, plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out workers for his harvest.”

Jesus saw the people and had compassion. His heart was broken for their helpless, and troubled spirits. His desire for them was that they would become part of the harvest. That they would give their hearts to Him completely. His heart is for us too. His desire is for us to be more than a part of the harvest but to be workers in the field. Taking the good news to the world that is wandering, troubled and helpless. To shepherd them to the Great Shepherd.

This song by Jonny Lang is one of my favorites (listen to it here). It is the song of a man who finds himself helpless but returning to Jesus. That is our story too…let us have compassion on those around us…let our heart break for what breaks the heart of the Lord and be workers in a vast field where the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.

You are loved,

cj