Who Wants To Be Perfect!

September 30, 2011

SCRIPTURE: Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” {Matthew 19:21, NLT}

QUOTE: “If we do not thirst here we shall thirst when it is too late; if we do not thirst as David did, ‘My soul thirsteth for God’ (Ps. 42: 2), we shall thirst as Dives did [Luke 16] for a drop of water.” –Thomas Watson

THOUGHT: Do you have a thirst? Do you want to be holy or perfect as was Jesus? We can never be exactly like Christ, He is the unique Son of God but we will be made perfect by His Grace and that should be our desire.

COMMENTARY: I enjoy reading devotions and my habit is to edit them but every now and then I come across one that seems perfect. Read what Max Lucado says about Jesus in GRACE FOR THE MOMENT… The world has never known a heart so pure, a character so flawless. His spiritual hearing was so keen He never missed a heavenly whisper. His mercy was so abundant He never missed a chance to forgive. No lie ever crossed His lips and no distraction ever marred His vision. He touched when others recoiled. He endured when others quit. He blessed when others cursed. Jesus is the ultimate model of every person. Heaven invites you to set the lens of your heart on the heart of Jesus and make Him the focus of your life. [Grand Slam Max…way to go brother]

EXTRA: Senior Adult Fellowship today at 11:30 at the pavilion. Auburn/Alabama Tailgate Party and of course June will be wearing her Georgia Bulldog stuff. I think one year we had a Tennessee fan to show up but there are not that many of them left. Another busy day today. Thanks for your prayers. I think we still have tickets for COURAGEOUS this Sunday. Last time I checked there were about 30 left. Have a great day.

Inner Conflict

September 29, 2011

SCRIPTURE: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on a rock”. [Matthew 7:24, NRSV]

QUOTE: “All men [people] in the modern world exist in a continual and flagrant antagonism between their consciences and their way of life.”– Leo Tolstoy

THOUGHT: Knowledge without practical application leads to greater pride and a weaker conscience.

COMMENTARY: Manly Beasley was a conference speaker back in the 60-80’s of the last century. He was a powerful communicator and I heard him stop on several occasions and say, “I could stop right here because I have already said more than you can live up to.” We live with the constant tension between what we know we should be and what we are and what we could be if we would simply do the right thing. The more we read and study the bible, especially the N.T., the greater the tension. At some point we must act upon our knowledge. As the old hymn says, “Trust and obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

EXTRA: Headed to Columbia TN for Bufford Gladney’s Celebration of Life Service, then back to Hartselle for Mrs. Harvey’s service. Have a great day and enjoy this beautiful Fall weather.

Completeness

September 28, 2011

SCRIPTURE: So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. {Colossians 2:10, NLT}

QUOTE: “He {Christ} waits to be wanted.” – A. W. Tozer

THOUGHT: Man is imperfect. We all have a deficiency within us that should create a spiritual hunger for a relationship with someone who is more than a man, a sort of Superman.

COMMENTARY: The Serpent [Satan] said to Eve–“You won’t die! God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” The devil convinced Eve that something was lacking in her life and that God was withholding. His promise to the woman was–“You will be like God“. Eve desired to be more than a mere human; she wanted to be like God [not godly, but god] but when she ate of the fruit she became less like God and more like the Serpent. I am sure that it was in God’s plan to complete her in time but she refused to wait on God’s timing. She disobeyed His command and as a result, she became much more incomplete, instead of complete. When most people get into Ephesians 5, they think that Paul is talking about Marriage but he is actually using marriage as an illustration. In a sense, Adam was incomplete and so God created Eve and she completed him.  It is true that most men are incomplete without a wife but that is not really Paul’s point, He was talking about Christ and His church{Ephesians 5:32}. We are complete through our UNION with Christ. The problem is that the fall has left us with a bad concussion and we don’t think straight. Whereas a woman may make a man more complete, she can never make him perfectly complete. The same is true of the woman: she may find a man who loves her but he can never love her perfectly–only Christ can! I love my wife and I believe that I would lay down my life for her; yet my love is not pure, not perfect and certainly not transforming. I am sorry to be so honest and you know how I hate being right but the truth is, no man’s love is perfectly pure. Ladies, you may be married to a wonderful man but you still need Jesus. He and only He can complete you, make  [make you perfect].

EXTRA: Another heavy schedule today so all you early birds like Lisa say a prayer for me. I am to attend the Joe Gibbs function in Huntsville which begins with a b’fast at 6:30. We have got to get the DIGEST out this week. Joe David and I have to get our material to Teddy this week [28th]. Mrs. Edith Harvey’s Celebration of Life Service is Thursday at 3:00 at Pecks. My friend Bufford Gladney died of a heart attack on Monday and his Celebration of Life Service is Thursday at 11:00 in Columbia, TN. Bufford is Jimmy and Jerry Newby’s cousin. He was a delightful man. A big hello to all those overseas. Hope you enjoy the blog and I appreciate you reading it! Have a great day.

Come On, Be Real!

September 27, 2011

SCRIPTURE: For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.  You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. [James 1:23-24, NLT]

QUOTE: “Know Thyself”–Socrates

THOUGHT: Perhaps the most difficult task in life is to look at one’s self objectively.

COMMENTARY: Dimitri Vail was an artist who spent most of his life in Dallas, Texas. He became famous for painting portraits of movie stars, athletes, statesmen and famous people in general. Most of his work is displayed in a gallery in Dallas and hanging among the portraits of the rich and famous is a portrait of a very simple looking man, very unimpressive in appearance and with no name. The portrait is a “Self Portrait”: Vail painted himself. Those who knew him said that the portrait looked like a photograph; that is how true to life Vail painted himself. How do you see yourself? Does the image you have in mind reflect your true likeness? Do you really want to know? You could ask your wife or better still your mother-in-law.

ANECDOTE: Many years ago when I played softball, I left a game disgusted in the behavior of one of our team members. When I got into the car with my family and my wife, I made the comment: “I don’t think I want to play on the same team with SO-IN-SO, he embarrassed me tonight. Did you see how he showed out with they threw him out at first?” June said, “I saw him, did you see him?” “Yes, I saw him” I replied. She said, “Good, because you were looking at yourself”. “I don’t act that bad” I said, and she said, “No you don’t, you are worse”. I can’t remember what I said after that.

The Little Foxes

September 26, 2011

SCRIPTURE: The bride is told, “Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards–for our vineyards are in blossom.” [Songs of Solomon 2:15]

QUOTE: “The believer who guards his heart diligently against the little things will keep himself from a great fall…if you take care of the pence, the pound will take care of itself.” –J.C. Ryle

THOUGHT: Little sins are capable of great harm.

COMMENTARY: The fox is known to be cunning and devious and the little ones are just as devious as the big ones. They slip into the vineyards under the cover of darkness, spoil the blossoms before they can produce the fruit and then slip away before the sun rises. We can not underestimate the harm of a small sin. Think about the harm that a tiny microbe or virus can do to the human body. They can cause serious illness and even death. Hugh and I were visiting John Hayes on January 28, 1986. He and Lou had the TV on and were watching the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. We all watched the launch together and 73 seconds into the flight the entire craft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean. We just stood there is shocked silence.  The cause was a little O-ring that cost only a few dollars. It does not take much sometimes: one unkind word, one little white lie, one evasion of responsibility and before it is over a marriage or friendship is destroyed. Beware of the little foxes, they can destroy a vineyard.

EXTRA: Jean Holladay reminded me last Saturday of Mylee’s night time prayer a few years back. I think Mylee was two at the time: she bowed her head and prayed: “God is great, beer is good and people are crazy”. Hope and Corey almost lost it. I think Mylee had been listening to too much country music. I want to alter her prayer somewhat: God is great, Jesus is good and the Holy Spirit is awesome. Pray for our upcoming REVIVAL— November 6-9. We need REVIVAL folks, in our church and in our nation. Without spiritual renewal, we will not survive another century. I know, Gerald and I don’t have to worry about it but what about the grandkids? Pray for REVIVAL.

http://youtu.be/Ul60NlXVwyw

All Things

September 25, 2011

SCRIPTURE:Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good.”  [Romans 8:28, J.B. Phillips]

QUOTE: If God is not working in you, He is not working through you.–Jay Gordon

THOUGHT: Sometimes we are disappointed when things do not work out according to our plans: perhaps God has a different plan.

COMMENTARY: A missionary couple in Africa had planned to show the JESUS FILM to a squatter camp. On their first trip, the generator failed and they did not get to show the film. On their second trip, they got set up and then went through the camp with a bullhorn announcing the showing of the film. A small group responded and gathered in the center of the camp to watch the film, about that time a storm hit with thunder, lighting and rain. They prayed hard for the rain to subside but it got even worse. Finally, they dismissed the small group who had gathered and as they were leaving, one of the ladies told them about a sick baby. They walked through the pouring rain to the shelter where the mother and baby were staying. The baby was critically dehydrated and they realized in an instant that he would not survive the night. They gathered up the Mother and the baby and headed for their truck. The going was slow in the mud but they made it to the hospital in time. The baby’s life was spared. The Missionaries found themselves thanking God for the storm. Had He not allowed the storm, they would not have saved the baby. God has the ability to make all things work for good; for our good and His glory.

EXTRA: Big day today. I have a lot on my plate. Two messages, one Bible Study, three meetings, four counting Small Group which is the least of my worries. How does a 62-year-old handle a schedule like this? One at a time! As soon as today is finished, I have to prepare for the Muscle Shoals Pastor’s Conference tomorrow and then get my outlines to Teddy for the Mission Trip in two weeks. As you can see, I could use a little prayer. Actually, I could use a lot of prayer.

A Loving Father

September 24, 2011

SCRIPTURE: “There was a man who had two sons” [Luke 15:11, NRSV]

QUOTE: You may evade your responsibilities but you cannot evade the consequences of your irresponsibility. —Josiah Stamp

THOUGHT: Life is an obstacle course with your “self” being the main obstacle.

COMMENTARY: Most preachers focus on the two sons but for the last couple of years, I have focused on the Father. Actually it is the Father that is the focus.  Jesus mentions him twelve times.  The Pharisees and Scribes were cold, critical and condemning. They had no love for sinners. Jesus tells this story to illustrate the distance between their attitude and the attitude of the Heavenly Father. Let me list a few things that are characteristic of the Father:

  1. The Father ultimate desire was for his sons to love him and to love each other.
  2. The Father is so confident [secure] in who He is that he allows the boys to live in freedom, the younger lived as though his Father did not exist.
  3. The Father is Extraordinarily Merciful.
  4. The Father is Incredibly Generous: the more he gives, the more He has to give. His resources are infinite.
  5. The Father is Immutable [unchangeable]. He is Stable,constant, and always the same. The only character in the story that does not change. [He does not need to change because He is perfect]

We are like these two sons, we are free to choose but we are never free of the consequences of a bad choice. I can jump from the top of the Empire State Building if I choose. After all, it is a free country but once I jump my freedom ends and the law of gravity takes control. As soon as I leap from the stable confines of that building, my choices have become very narrow and to live to celebrate  another Christmas with my grandkids would not be one of them. I am going to die. I am going to splatter on the asphalt. I can do with my eyes open or my eyes shut but the consequences of my bad choice are irreversible. The good news is: God is merciful and forgiving and He wants us to be likewise.

EXTRA: Eddie, Sue and Josh are home. Touched down yesterday evening just in time to see an exciting football game with Danville pulling out a victory in double overtime over a much improved Priceville team that has a very good QB and a couple of very fleet receivers. We were fortunate to win. It was our first win of the season. No youtube music video…I’ll give you a break. I don’t think anyone commented on my music. I hope you are enjoying this Fall weather and I hope you have a great weekend.

Life Is A Journey

September 23, 2011

SCRIPTURE:  It was faith that kept Abraham journeying like a foreigner through the land of promise…For Abraham’s eyes were looking forward to that city with solid foundations of which God himself is both architect and builder. [Hebrews 11:11-12, J.B. Phillips]

QUOTE: Our heavenly Father has made all things dependant on faith so that whoever has faith will have all things and whoever does not have faith will have nothing. —Martin Luther

THOUGHT: Considering your destination, shouldn’t you enjoy the journey?

COMMENTARY: Andrea gave me a Max Lucado paragraph to read at Maudean’s Celebration Of Life Service. It was good and I read it as they had requested and then I misplaced it. Max Lucado is a wordsmith extraordinaire. When I could not locate his version, I wrote my own and used it at Tracey’s uncles Celebration of Life Service last Spring.

Life is like a journey. Our journey goes back further than we can remember. We do remember being little children waiting impatiently for Christmas, wishing we were older, like our big brothers or sisters, wanting to be sixteen and a little more independant. Well, we are no longer children and life seems to be picking up speed since that ancient sixteenth birthday. Our birthdays are like the mile markers along the highway and when you get my age, they go by like the post on a picket fence. I have reached that point in the journey that I can see the off ramp in the not to distant future. I can only imagine what is beyond that off ramp. Do you reckon heaven has a main street? Imagine such a street lined with Saints and Angels cheering as we make the turn. The music we hear is divine. The glow of the saints erases all memories of sorrow. We have never seen such a jubilant celebration. As we travel down that street leading to a great white throne, several saints join us as if we were finishing a marathon. Everyone is so happy to see us but somehow, we know their excitement is not so much about our arrival as it is about He who awaits us at the end of the street. “You haven’t seen anything yet”  the jubilant saints proclaim. As you continue down main street amidst this festive atmosphere, He begins to come into focus. You see the incredible love in His eyes and then He stands to greet you. He reaches out His nail scared hand and says, “Welcome Home”, and for the very first time ever, you feel perfectly content and you know that you are home.

Understand that it will not be exactly as I have described it above: it will be infinitely better.

EXTRA: Congratulation to Erin and Eric the Great on the birth of their Son Easton West Osborn. He was born late last night. Our congrats to John and Cindy, Lisa and Carolyn and to Olivia Newton Jones who now has a cousin to play with. Lisa is an early riser: she reads the blog before 6:30 am. I posted this one around 5:00. Have a great day!

Another one of my favorites: it is an old one but a good one…Michael W. Smith, Our God is An Awesome God

http://youtu.be/CuAZLzLhlYc

Me, Afraid?

September 22, 2011

SCRIPTURE: When it was evening on the first day of the week, Jesus’ followers were together. The doors were locked, because they were afraid of the elders. Then Jesus came and stood right in the middle of them and said, “Peace be with you.” [John 20:19, NCV]

QUOTE: FEAR is False Emotions Aappearing Real.–Zig Zigler

THOUGHT: Fear immobilized and terrorizes: it creates a moral paralysis’ that renders us inactive.

COMMENTARY: The disciples were afraid. They were so afraid that they had taken refuge behind locked doors. But I cannot be too hard on them; I have a few phobia’s of my own. Plus they were very young, except for Peter and Matthew, they were all teenagers. Also factor in the horror of the crucifixion which was still heavy on their minds.  The real question is not their lack of courage but ours: why are we so afraid? Why do we still hide behind the walls of our sanctuaries? Fear is no respecter of persons. Big men, old men, gentlemen  and intelligent men all get afraid. Fear is something that we all have to deal with and we certainly will not overcome our fear by denying that it exist so lets talk about it: what makes us afraid?  I think we are afraid of persecution in any form. We are even afraid of being ourselves or being different from others.  We are afraid of suffering. We want to live pain-free.  We are also afraid to be honest or transparent. We all work hard to cover our sins.  What would happen if suddenly we all got honest? We would have REVIVAL!  We are even afraid to share our faith or even to mention the name of Jesus in the public arena.  We are afraid of change: especially if it affects us and we have a horror of total commitment to Christ. Our flesh draws at the very thought. The disciples eventually overcame their fear. Let us pray that we over come ours.

EXTRA: I don’t remember when I started blogging but I sure it was more than a year ago. Today we hit a milestone, 20,000 readers. Not in one day but 2o,000 since we began blogging. Ephesians 3:20-21 comes to mind…Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagineto him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ for ever and ever, amen! [J.B. Phillips] Three or four years ago, I didn’t know what a blog was. I have had some good encouragers. It has become a passion but I would have given up in the early days had it not been for my friends overseas. Thanks for reading and I have another song for you. Not many share my taste in music but if you are a Baby boomer, maybe you will  like it. It is called Lord of the Dance by the Mark Lowery trio–check it out.

http://youtu.be/13eBCf1gIgc

SCRIPTURE: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the LORD.” [Romans 12:19, NRSV]

QUOTE: He that keeps revenge, keeps his own wounds which otherwise could be healed. —John Milton

THOUGHT: Revenge does not pay but it does cost!

COMMENTARY: The following excerpt comes from revengesecrets.com…Have you been wronged, cheated on, ripped off, betrayed, mistreated, hurt, ignored, harassed or insulted? Has your offender refused to offer a well-deserved apology or simply failed to acknowledge their own wrongdoings?  If you answered “yes,” it’s time someone pays…  Now, I know exactly how you feel when you’ve been wronged. You find yourself in either a fiery state of anger or in an excruciating state of deepened sadness…you stew over the wrong while thoughts of revenge turn to obsession, burning inside you and demanding vengeance. Believe me, I’ve been there. If you’re anything like me, you probably get so blinded by the wrong done to you that all you can think about is getting even. Your judgment becomes clouded and it forces you into acting without a plan—failing to dish out the perfect dose of humility that your mark deserves.  Those days are over. Forget what you’ve been told about “turning the other cheek” and “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Revenge is good…revenge is right. In fact, revenge has been passed onto us and ingrained into our minds for thousands of years by way of the Old Testament’s philosophy that touts, “an eye for an eye…a tooth for a tooth.” Is the bible wrong? You’re only human and I’m here to tell you—right here and right now—that revenge is a healthy and natural human impulse.

[My rebuttal] A natural impulse, yes; healthy, no! You don’t pull an injured dog off the highway: the dog will bit. No matter how well natured the dog has been, it will bit because is is hurting.  A revenge seeker is a hurting person and yes the impulse is to bit but you and I are not dogs. God will give us the grace to overcome this human impulse to hurt others since others have hurt us. In Romans 12 Paul gives a long list of exhortations but only one is prefixed with the word “never”. In Romans 12:19, Paul says “Never seek revenge”. Revenge is a spiritual acid that has destructive consequences. Never give into this impulse because it will cost you dearly. It will cost you [1] Peace with God and your [2] Peace of mind. [3] It will Distract you from your intended purpose and [4] Destroy your social network because it destroys your personality. [5] Ultimately, it will destroy your physical health.  The rattlesnake carries venom in a little sack located behind its fangs. When the snake bits, the venom goes from that sack through the fangs into the victim. We are created in God’s image. We are not rattlesnakes. We cannot carry venom without poising ourselves. Revenge will ultimately destroy you. Let it go, give it to God: He can handle it and you cannot.

EXTRA: Family Supper tonight at 5:45 [Tex-Mex]. GROW @ 6:15 and Bible Study at 7:00. We are looking into the 40 Days of Community which will focus on “love” and “fellowship”. I like it. I think it is exactly what we need. Right now we are looking at January-February. Keep praying for REVIVAL November 6-9. Top Blog since we started was September 13 “Was Jonah A Jerk?” Thank you for reading. Remember to check out our WEB page. Mandy made some changes yesterday.

Click on the link below if you like good Jewish Music…In English it is Everyone Rejoice. It was recorded in English back in the 60’s by Connie Francis but I have never been able to find a copy. She changed it to Dance, Dance Everybody Dance.

http://youtu.be/BFtv5qe5o3c