Saturday, August 29, 2009

1 Peter 4:7-11

7But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 9Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Quote for the day

Today, even amongst Christians, there can be found much of that spirit that wants to give as little as possible to the Lord, and yet to get as much as possible from Him. The prevailing thought today is of being used, as though that were the one thing that mattered. That my little rubber band should be stretched to the very limit seems all important. But this is not the Lord's mind. The Lord wants us to be used, yes; but what He is after is that we pour all we have, ourselves, to Him, and if that be all, that is enough. --Watchman Nee

Friday, August 21, 2009

This Christ thing ain't no joke

Romans 5:10(NLT)
10 For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life.

Tonight at our couples bible study we were breaching the topic of forgiveness. As we were working through our study we came across several verses about the love that God had for us even before we came into relationship with Him. It dawned on me(not that I didn't know before, but sometimes lightbulbs come on) that this Christian thing is no joke. So many people see Christianity as this fluffy, sissified crutch that is for the whimps, the weak, and the losers.

The truth of the matter is that it takes a ridiculous amount of guts to live a Christ-like life. As you study the requirements that scripture gives us, you quickly realize it is difficult, actually more than difficult. It is impossible. It is impossible to have the kind of love that Christ showed us, and the kind of forgiveness that Christ offers us. The Kind of love and forgiveness that is supposed to be our model for relationships with others.

Think about this verse for just a second, our relationship with Christ that was, or maybe is if you don't know Christ, completely severed and destroyed because of our sin and our failures was restored because of His willingness to be mocked, beaten, spit upon, nailed to a cross and speared through the side. I defy anyone to tell me that someone who would go through that willingly, while all the while having the power to stop it at any time is weak. He did this for you. He did this so that the relationship that had been broken because of YOU could be restored. He did this even when you were his ENEMY!

Why would Christ do something like this? It doesn't make sense does it? Why would someone go through all of that in order to restore a relationship with someone who lives every day in rebellion against everything He(Christ) is about? Why?

It's because of His love for you. I'm not talking about the fake and fluffy kind of love so often attributed to Jesus. This sissy white guy with girlish wavy brown hair and a cool white robe and birkenstocks floating from place to place spouting off some kind of 60's love child philosophy. Jesus was not the "make love, not war" hippy so many make Him out to be.

No, quite the contrary, The love of Jesus was a violent love, an unconditional love, a love that had nothing to do with you deserving it. A love that could stand through every test and trial. A love that could stand through every act of rebellion, every sin, every failure that you could possibly conceive. When you fail in the biggest possible way, His love still remains. When you deserve absolutely no forgiveness for your offenses against God, He still stands ready to forgive.
That kind of love is not a joke.

Now here is the mind blower. The same love and forgiveness that Christ offers us, is the same kind of love and forgiveness that He expects us to give to others. WHAT??? Are you kidding me? He wants me to forgive that jerk that cut me off in traffic? He wants me to love that busy body in the church that has been lying and spreading rumors about me? He wants me to forgive that monster that hurt me physically or mentally or spiritually?

The answer, as tough as it may seem is yes. Forgiveness is not an option in Christ's plan. In fact, He says very plainly, forgive others as I have forgiven you. Love others as I have loved you.

Christianity, a religion for the weak? I don't think so. This kind of love and forgiveness is definitely not for the weak.

So what is the key to all of this???


What???? Gratitude! What does that have to do with any thing?

It comes down to this. When we get off our high horse of pride and anger and unforgiveness and understand the kind of love we have been shown, we need to, as one of the young ladies in our group shared tonight, pay it forward. There is NO ONE on this planet that has wronged you to the extent that you have wronged God. If Christ, after everything you have done, could forgive you, then those who really get it, and are grateful for it will give that same kind of forgiveness to others.

Is that easy? No Way. No one ever said it would be. The cool thing about it though, is that once you decide to love and forgive on a level beyond your capacity, The Spirit of God will come in and give you the extra stuff you need to do what is impossible to do on your own.

So how about it Christian, it's time to man up(or woman up :) ) whatever the case may be and embark on the adventure of love and forgiveness. It starts with saying, Jesus I thank you that you loved me and forgave me, when I was your enemy. Please help me to learn this kind of love and forgiveness for others.

If you don't know Christ as your savior yet, then it starts with saying, Jesus I recognize that I have done things that have offended you. I have sinned against you and against your love, and I ask you to forgive me for that. I accept your forgiveness and your love, and I will spend the rest of my life living for you in the light of that love. Help me to live for you and to love like you do.

Is this easy? I don't think so.

Is it worth it? Absolutely

B Blessed, Tom

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Christians killed for.........being Christians

As U.S. Citizens we complain about so many things, even in the church. When you read a story like this though it kind of brings things into perspective about how easy we have it. At least right now. The real problem is this kind of stuff is happening all over every day, it just doesn't get press attention. For more info. you can check out voice of the martyrs at

From 8/12/09

Four Christians working for an NGO that helps orphans in Somalia have been beheaded by al-Shabaab, according to the human rights watchdog International Christian Concern.
The Christian orphanage workers were reportedly kidnapped on July 27 in the coastal Somali town Marka, some 56 miles from Mogadishu.
The reported executions come as residents of Mogadishu say the extremist group has been forcibly removing their gold and silver teeth using rough tools — or even just their hands
The group alleges that such artificial teeth are used for fashion and beauty, and therefore break strict Muslim religious law, residents from Marka told Reuters.
Al Shabaab has been rounding up anyone seen with a silver or gold tooth and taking them to a masked man who then rips the teeth out with basic tools, Reuters reported.
"I never thought al Shabaab would see my denture as a sin. They took me to their station and removed my silver tooth," resident Bashir told Reuters.
"I met several men and women whose dentures were being pulled out by a masked man they called a doctor. The doctor used a pincer or his gloved hand depending on the strength of the tooth," Bashir said.
Related Stories

"As you smile your silver tooth accuses you. I was at a counter with my friend when three armed al Shabaab ordered me to follow them," he added.
"I am afraid they want to make money from taking all this precious metal."
Al Shabaab officials declined to comment.
Al Shabaab, which means "Youth" in Arabic, is an Al Qaeda-inspired militant group that has taken control of large portions of south and central

Monday, August 10, 2009

Psalm 18 New Living Translation

For the choir director: A psalm of David, the servant of the Lord. He sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul.
1 I love you, Lord; you are my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold.
3 I will call on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
for he saves me from my enemies.
4 The ropes of death surrounded me;
the floods of destruction swept over me.
5 The grave wrapped its ropes around me;
death itself stared me in the face.
6 But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
my cry reached his ears.
7 Then the earth quaked and trembled;
the foundations of the mountains shook;
they quaked because of his anger.
8 Smoke poured from his nostrils;
fierce flames leaped from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9 He opened the heavens and came down;
dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.
10 Mounted on a mighty angel, he flew,
soaring on the wings of the wind.
11 He shrouded himself in darkness,
veiling his approach with dense rain clouds.
12 The brilliance of his presence broke through the clouds,
raining down hail and burning coals.
13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
the Most High gave a mighty shout.
14 He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies;
his lightning flashed, and they were greatly confused.
15 Then at your command, O Lord,
at the blast of your breath,
the bottom of the sea could be seen,
and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.
16 He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He delivered me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
18 They attacked me at a moment when I was weakest,
but the Lord upheld me.
19 He led me to a place of safety;
he rescued me because he delights in me.
20 The Lord rewarded me for doing right;
he compensated me because of my innocence.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
I have not turned from my God to follow evil.
22 For all his laws are constantly before me;
I have never abandoned his principles.
23 I am blameless before God;
I have kept myself from sin.
24 The Lord rewarded me for doing right,
because of the innocence of my hands in his sight.
25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful;
to those with integrity you show integrity.
26 To the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the wicked you show yourself hostile.
27 You rescue those who are humble,
but you humiliate the proud.
28 Lord, you have brought light to my life;
my God, you light up my darkness.
29 In your strength I can crush an army;
with my God I can scale any wall.
30 As for God, his way is perfect.
All the Lord’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
31 For who is God except the Lord?
Who but our God is a solid rock?
32 God arms me with strength;
he has made my way safe.
33 He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
leading me safely along the mountain heights.
34 He prepares me for battle;
he strengthens me to draw a bow of bronze.
35 You have given me the shield of your salvation.
Your right hand supports me;
your gentleness has made me great.
36 You have made a wide path for my feet
to keep them from slipping.
37 I chased my enemies and caught them;
I did not stop until they were conquered.
38 I struck them down so they could not get up;
they fell beneath my feet.
39 You have armed me with strength for the battle;
you have subdued my enemies under my feet.
40 You made them turn and run;
I have destroyed all who hated me.
41 They called for help, but no one came to rescue them.
They cried to the Lord, but he refused to answer them.
42 I ground them as fine as dust carried by the wind.
I swept them into the gutter like dirt.
43 You gave me victory over my accusers.
You appointed me as the ruler over nations;
people I don’t even know now serve me.
44 As soon as they hear of me, they submit;
foreigners cringe before me.
45 They all lose their courage
and come trembling from their strongholds.
46 The Lord lives! Blessed be my rock!
May the God of my salvation be exalted!
47 He is the God who pays back those who harm me;
he subdues the nations under me
48 and rescues me from my enemies.
You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies;
you save me from violent opponents.
49 For this, O Lord, I will praise you among the nations;
I will sing joyfully to your name.
50 You give great victories to your king;
you show unfailing love to your anointed,
to David and all his descendants forever.

Thought for the day

How many times do we lose that expectation of the adventure of life. The mundane overtakes the sense of adventure, and we lose sight that today could be the day for miracles, today could be the day for salvation, or deliverance that comes from Christ through us.