The Holiness of God

This morning our Men’s Bible Study looked at Isaiah ch 6 and the holiness of God. Years ago ‘The Holiness of God’ by Dr RC Sproul helped to change my life by deepening my understanding of God’s holiness. Here’s a quote from that book:

“How we understand the person and character of God the Father affects every aspect of our lives. It affects far more than what we normally call the “religious” aspects of our lives. If God is the Creator of the entire universe, then it must follow that He is the Lord of the whole universe. No part of the world is outside of His lordship. That means that no part of my life must be outside of His lordship. His holy character has something to say about economics, politics, athletics, romance—everything with which we are involved.”

Here’s a link to buy the book:

https://www.amazon.com/Holiness-God-R-C-Sproul/dp/0842339655/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1FJOCMG5TB5Y&dchild=1&keywords=the+holiness+of+god+r.c.+sproul&qid=1595335981&sprefix=The+holiness+of+%2Caps%2C181&sr=8-2

God of The Universe

I heard a pastor say that a lady teaching his small group changed his life with a simple illustration.

She said, “Let’s assume the distance between the earth and the sun (92 million miles) was reduced to the thickness of a single sheet of paper. If that is the case, then the distance between the earth and the nearest star would be a stack of papers 70 feet high. And the diameter of the galaxy would be a stack of papers 310 miles high.” The teacher added, “The galaxy is just a speck of dust in the universe, yet Jesus holds the universe together by the word of his power.” Finally, the teacher asked her students, “Is this the kind of person you ask into your life to be your assistant?” Then the teacher said, “I dont want you to say a word just sit and think about what I just said.”

The point is that Jesus is wayyyy more important and powerful than most of us think. He’s not our assistant that we call on when we deem him necessary. He’s the Holy God of the Universe, worthy of every second of our day, all that we have, and every breath we breath.

War Eagle Cavern and Christ-centered Unity

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! – Psalm 133:1

A few times over the last few years my family and I have visited and toured War Eagle Cavern in NW Arkansas. The tour guides are always well informed and love to tell about the cool history of caverns. One thing that really struck me on our most recent visit, is how the cavern has served as a shelter for so many DIFFERENT people over MANY years — the Osage Indians, civil war soldiers, moonshiners, outlaws Frank and Jesse James, a large family lived there during the Great Depression, even Hollywood movie stars and country music singer Randy Travis spent time in War Eagle Cavern when they were making a movie! Many years, many very different people — but they all had one thing in common, they needed shelter and the rocky cavern provided that. On our tour, I caught myself whistling the tune of an old hymn:

🎶Rock of ages cleft for me let me hide myself in Thee🎶

And then I was thinking, how crazy would it be if all those people, from all those different eras, moved into that cave to DWELL there at once? Natives, soldiers, moonshiners, outlaws, the family, and the famous people. There’s no way they would all move in there together! …unless it was the only shelter there was.

There’s picture, I think, of the church and Christ-centered unity, in the cavern. Christians come from all sorts of differing backgrounds and walks of life. We all have our unique, personal story. We wouldn’t otherwise all be unified — but Jesus is the only shelter that there is. So we dwell in the Rock of Ages, together. And the people who are in Christ with us arent an inconvenience. They’re actually a part of the shelter. We need each other and find a measure of God’s grace in Christ through one another. And our unity serves as a witness to others that Christ is real!

Would you dwell in unity with others in the name of Jesus? Would you consider making a permanent reservation in your heart and in your schedule to encourage and share life with other people who treasure and follow Jesus Christ? Even for the ones that are different than you? Is Jesus important enough to you that other differences don’t mean as much? It is a blessed thing to dwell in unity, in the Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ.

🎶Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee or dress,
Helpless, look to Thee for grace:
Foul, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Savior, or I die🎶

Problems…

I once read pastor Adrian Rogers say “Man only has 3 problems… they are sin, sorrow, and death …every other problem in the wold is just a subset sin sorrow and death …the Bible is the only book on earth that has the answers to all those conditions.”
I know it probably seems like you’re looking out over a sea of problems. I’m not trying to minimize that. But maybe just take a step back and see your life through a lens of the Cross of Jesus Christ. God loves you so much! Jesus is the answer to all our problems, because on the Cross and by his resurrection, Jesus Christ has defeated sin, sorrow and death.
Makes me think of an old hymn ‘Victory In Jesus.’
Oh victory in Jesus, my Savior forever
He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood
He loved me ‘ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood

#LookUp

There’s power in forgiveness

There’s power in forgiveness, and bondage in bitterness, friends!

God’s Word says: Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

Forgiving others, especially when they don’t deserve it, is a godly, Christlike thing to do. It’s not easy, but by God’s grace it is possible! Many times forgiveness is a process you have to commit to and nurture for a LONG time. You gotta keep forgiving tho. It’s worth it.

Sadly, there’s not a lot of people in the forgiveness cheering section. Bitter, unforgiving people with a lot of enemies are miserable, and misery loves company. But when you seek to be a forgiver you’ve got the only one who really matters on your side, GOD.

Love y’all.

#LookUp

A prayer for revival and renewal…

Father in Heaven, we need a revival and renewal that only you can bring. We need a spiritual awakening and nothing else will do. Please turn our hearts away from darkness and toward your light.

Lord Jesus, on the Cross you took the worst situation and made it work for your glory and our good. We believe you can put that same resurrection power to work in our lives and in our world right now. We don’t deserve your goodness, God. But by your loving kindness, please help us. Change our hearts and minds. Make us a people of mercy, forgiveness, compassion and truth. Teach us to love you and our neighbors the way you love us. Lord, saying we need you feels like such an understatement right now. We’re desperate for you, Lord. Because of you, we remain thankful and hopeful. We have faith in you.

In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Adversity…

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. – Proverbs 24:10

Doesn’t matter how strong, intelligent, talented, or prepared you are—it’s all negated if you let FEAR take you out and you “faint” when adversity comes. It takes COURAGE to use what we have. Bill Parcells use to yell at his lineman “THIS IS WHY YOU LIFT ALL THOSE WEIGHTS.” 😂

Winston Churchill said “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities… because it is the quality which guarantees all others.”

And most important, God told Joshua “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, friends! (See 2Tim 1:7)

Rightly fear God, but fear nothing else.

#LookUp

We’re more than our differences…

Here’s something. Social media and news media tend to make everything issue based. The result can be ongoing division and deterioration of relationships. It’s like everyone is putting each other in file folders, labeled with issues we disagree on. I’m not saying issues don’t need to be talked about and addressed (Don’t put me in that file folder 😆). I’m saying that each of us are MORE THAN a handful of issues that we agree/disagree on. And it’s actually that “MORE THAN” part that many times makes room for us to grow toward one another on issues that we disagree on. Seems like we’ve settled into just writing people off, left and right! This can’t be good.

Here’s what I need you to know — I’m not looking for a reason to be against you. I’m trying to focus on things we have in common too. Even when I see you post something or say something I think is asinine, I’m not gonna file folder you and use that as the one brush to paint you with. I want to like you. Chances are, if we have spent time around one another, even for a short time, I have GOOD thoughts and memories of you and have even learned things from you.

I’m not all super servant-hearted for taking this approach, because it’s actually very self-serving as well. Ugly anger is exhausting. Labeling people and writing them off wears us down. Keeping a catalog of people you think are against you will either make you ticked off all the time or feeling doomed. Bitterness eats you up on the inside. Admittedly, finding things to love about others (inluding me) can sometimes be difficult 😅, but nurturing hatered is even harder. Giving thought to things you admire and enjoy about people feels good!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not just a spineless jellyfish or a wet sandwich of a person! 😂 I have strong beliefs and convictions, especially what I believe about God. I think that is the most important thing about me. And when I need to, I will defend myself, my family, and my faith. But even if you do “come at me” or even cheap shot me, as soon as I can, I’m gonna need to begin the work of seeking God’s help to overlook the offense, or forgive you, and even forgetting about it whenever possible, asap, even if you dont ask for it. Not just for you and our relationship, but for me and my obligations to God, who has forgiven me of so much, continues to bear with me and calls me to do the same for others.

I don’t always get all this right, for sure. I’m still learning. Probably always will be. But for now I just wanna say, I don’t want to be mad at y’all 😎. I like you, even if we disagree. We can have differences, but still be MORE THAN our differences. Nothing wrong with having strong convictions, but we can’t keep labeling and filing people away and writing them off. We’re hurting ourselves and each other. As we address issues and we find ourselves in opposition, I hope I/we can remember that we still need each other, and we have a lot of things in common that need to be remembered and focused on too.

That’s it. Thanks for letting me share. God bless.

Are you happy?

Are you happy? A recent study showed that Americans are less happy than ever. Only around 15% described themselves as happy, down from around 30% a couple of years ago. So even when the economy was great and we weren’t navigating the throws of 2020, 70% of Americans were unhappy. What’s the deal? When the Bible talks about happiness it doesn’t start with the things we tend to measure happiness by—money, power, possessions, comfort, approval of others. The Bible is much more simple than that.

Psalm 128:1 says: Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord and walks in his ways. That word “blessed” could also be translated happy — a deeper, more full, joyful, abiding happiness. The key to happiness? “Fear the Lord and walk in his ways.” Don’t let that word fear scare you. It’s not a run and hide kind of fear. It’s a reverent dependent fear. To fear the Lord simply means to take him seriously. And to “walk in his ways” is to live according to God, in reflection and response to Him and his Word. The key to happiness, according to what many of us believe to be God’s Word, is to take God seriously and live according to Him.

Psalm 128 was originally a song that was sang by God’s people on their way to worship. Imagine that, singing on the way to a place of worship. You know who generally sings a lot? Happy people. Songs are the poetry of our heart, put to music. I was trying to think of a more modern song that carried the message of Psalm 128. Not exactly modern, but I thought of the song ‘Trust and Obey’ that was penned in the 1800’s. The chorus says:

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way

To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Simple right? That’s essentially the message of Psalm 128. Fear the Lord and walk in his ways = trust and obey. Notice the lyrics “happy in Jesus.” That’s it! That’s what we need!

Here’s a few more lyrics from the song. And if you know the tune to this I hope it gets stuck in your head ALL. DAY. LONG 😎

🎶Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,

But His smile quickly drives it away;

Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,

Can abide while we trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way

To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey🎶

Let me leave you with this thought—What if happiness isn’t something we accomplish or discover but rather something that is revealed to us by God, and God alone? True happiness is found in a deep relationship with God by faith in Jesus Christ. Happiness is more abiding than fleeting. It’s found more in the unseen, than the seen. It’s more eternal than temporal. Happiness is a person—his name is Jesus Christ. We won’t be happy apart from him.

Imagine a life of simple trust and obedience. Think of the glorious implications. How would your life look different, today and in the future if you resolved to trust and obey and live happy in Him?

#LookUp #TrustAndObey #OneDayAtATime

YOU HAVE A GOOD GOOD FATHER

No matter the circumstances, YOU HAVE A GOOD GOOD FATHER

Dads can be great can’t they? My dad taught me so much. He introduced me to fishing early 🎣 I was taking fish off the hook for other people when I was like 7 😎 He gave me my first “real” gun too — a single shot bolt action .22, and he made sure I could hit something with it, before he gave me a bigger one. He showed me how to clean fish, squirrel, rabbit and deer. He taught me throw “step into it.” Taught me how to shoot a basketball “bend your knees, follow through.” He taught me that I shouldn’t back down, which can be misused, but I’m still glad he did it. When I heard Tom Petty sing “I Won’t Back Down” I knew exactly what he was saying, my dad had taught me that.

Dad’s can be great, and there’s a confidence that comes from things passed down to us by our dads and others who serve as father figures in our life. But no matter how good a dad is, he’ll never come close to matching the love and wisdom of having a Heavenly Father. All humans, even dads, let us down at some level. I love being a dad and I try hard, but I’m not enough. I let my kids down. My kids, and all of us, need more than what an earthly father can give.

Maybe your dad showed you all the things my dad did and whole lot more. Or you maybe you don’t even know who your dad is. Maybe he left you when you were young, or there’s just so much hurt between y’all that right now y’all arent even talking. I know for a lot of people your dad has passed on and you are missing him today. Maybe your hurting because this is your first Father’s Day without him. For a number of reasons, you may feel like you dont have a father— But you do. Through faith in Jesus Christ, YOU DO HAVE A FATHER, the GOOD GOOD HEAVENLY FATHER that we sing about. And He loves you SO MUCH! ❤️ 🙏🏼 ✝️

So if you had a great dad–he pointed you toward your need for an even better Father in God. If you had a dad who “no showed” or caused a lot of unnecessary pain–he also pointed you to your need for an even better Father in God.

Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also…See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 1Jn 2:23, 1Jn 3:1

As great as dad’s can be, they cant even compare to the confidence we can have through having God as our father.

Here’s 5 amazing benefits that come with having God as Father:

1. When God is your father your more than forgiven, you’re family. 2Cor 6:18, John 1:12

2. When God is your father he’s going to give you what’s best for you. Matthew 7:9-11

3. When God is your father your future is secure. Roman 8:17

4. When God is your father your identity is set. 1John3:1

Eph 2:10

5. When God is your father there’s no such thing as a fair fight with you. Whoever and whatever you are up against, is also up against God. 2Kings 6:15-17, Romans 8:31-39

Christian, Husband, Dad, Pastor