Forget the Resolutions…Here’s What You Really Need

So it’s a new year. What if instead of promising to stick to some crazy resolutions you had a chance for a new life…an entirely new, leave your baggage behind kind of life? Interested?

If your past years have only left you sad, wondering aimlessly, totally lost, angry, depressed, disappointed, and hurt, it’s time to move on. This is your chance. How do you do it? It’s easy. Here’s how.

1. Admit that you are a sinner: Romans chapter 3 tells us that all of us have sinned. You, me, everyone. Nobody is perfect and we all know that.

2. Believe that Jesus is the Son of God: Romans chapter 5 tells us that Jesus died for us…for all of us. When Jesus was nailed to that cross he took all of our sins with Him. Your sins were nailed to that cross with Christ. You are forgiven through His sacrifice for all of us.

3. Confess your sins to Christ and ask Him to be the leader of your life: You see eternal life is a gift from God. Romans tells us that the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. That is what salvation is all about.

It is really that simple. Admit that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and confess your sins to Christ and ask Him to be the leader of your life.

If you do these three things your future will be much different than your past. You now have the hope found only in Christ Jesus. You will experience joy and peace like never before.

Does this mean your life will only be roses and sunshine from now on? Absolutely not. You will have struggles in life…we all do. That’s part of being alive. The difference is this…you are not walking the path of life alone anymore. You now have a personal relationship with the God of creation.

So…tired of living on your own? Tired of trying to always do things your way and discovering it doesn’t work? Then the start of 2015 is a great time to change your past. Allow Christ to lead you and you’ll never be the same again.

Time To Check Your Thanksgiving Attitude

The Thanksgiving holiday is just around the corner. It seems every year someone tells us to count our blessings…to remember all those things we should be thankful for. While this is great advice, sometimes we only think about things to be grateful about rather than developing an attitude of gratefulness.

This week I was reading about a lady who attended a Garth Brooks concert. During the concert Garth was singing a very popular song he wrote called “The Dance”. As he was singing this song, a lady from the audience held up a sign that read:

Chemo this morning
Garth tonight
Enjoying the dance

Let’s stop for a moment and think about this sign and what it signals about attitude. I have been around many people who I simply call an energy leak. When they talk to you the joy of life seems to just get pulled from your body. You can feel these folks draining the energy right out of you! These energy leaks complain over trivial matters, the complaining goes on and on. Every time you try to get away they take you by the arm and complain some more.

Contrast this with the woman holding the sign. If anyone has something to complain about it’s this woman. Suffering from cancer and chemotherapy she makes a choice to be thankful. She could choose to sit at home and complain but instead she decides to go celebrate life at a Garth Brooks concert.

You see our decision to be thankful for what we have is a choice. We can choose to be an energy leak…a drain on others…or we can choose to be a light to the world…showing the world what it really means to be a follower of Christ.

I am reminded of this verse in Psalm 118:24 that says this:

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

This is a short but powerful verse. In all we do, each and every day choose to rejoice!

So as Thanksgiving approaches, remember to focus on a thankful attitude like the woman with the sign. Your attitude really is a choice and God, through His word, has told us the right choice to make. It’s simple…be thankful and rejoice.

Dancing On The Edge

I am amazed at the number of folks who profess Christianity but chose to flirt with sin.  They don’t actually cross the line but they dance on the edge.  In other words, they see how close they can get to sin without getting burned. This is a very dangerous behavior because the bible tells us this will eventually draw us right into the middle of sin.

Psalm 1 says this, Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord.

There is a very subtle progression in these verses that warn us about playing on the edges of sin.  First, these verses caution us not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly.  In other words, don’t be enticed by sin in the first place.  Stay clear and walk away.  If you don’t walk away while you can, the next portion of this passage says we will find ourselves standing in the path of sinners.  You see, we were enticed by sin as we walked in the counsel of the ungodly and now we find ourselves stopped, standing and engaged in sin. Finally, this passage tells us if we don’t choose to get away, we will find ourselves sitting in the seat of the scornful.  We have now embraced sin.

By flirting with sin, by playing along the edges, we are beginning our walk down a path that will eventually lead us to sitting right in the middle of sin.  We will follow the path described in Psalms.  We will walk into sin. We will find ourselves standing in sin and eventually just sit down right in the middle of it.  We have been enticed by sin, we have become engaged in the sin, and finally we find ourselves embracing the sin.

So what is the answer here?  It’s simple.  Don’t play around the edges of sin.  Get away while you can and simply don’t be enticed in the first place.  Next time you are tempted by something that is not of Christ, remember to stop, turn around and go the other way.  Do not be enticed.  Do not become engaged in the sin. Don’t embrace sin.

God has great plans for your life.  Don’t allow yourself to sit and get comfortable in the middle of sin and miss what God has planned for you.

More Bad News?

I am always amazed at the folks who stop me to talk about the most recent negative news reports.  What will happen to the fiscal cliff?  Will the stock market crash?  What will happen to my retirement? Have I heard about the latest shooting? With twenty-four hour access to the news media we will always have some bad news to worry about. But…as followers of Christ, why do we worry so much?

For my generation there has always been bad news that causes us to worry.  Do you remember these events?

The 1963 assassination of President Kennedy

The 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The 1972 Munich Olympic games massacre

The 1974 oil crisis that caused the rationing of gasoline

The 1979 Iranian hostage crisis

The 1999 Columbine shootings

Hurricane Katrina in 2005

The economic recession starting in 2007

The recent Newtown shootings of 2012

You see…there is always something to worry about if we are looking for it. However, do you really think any of this bad news catches God by surprise?  Do you really think God sits in heaven trying to figure out what He will do with all these situations? Is God just wringing His hands with worry?  The answer is simple.  Of course not!

Matthew chapter 10 tells us this: What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. Even the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid…

What a powerful verse!  God is still in control of this world and this universe and He will take care of you.  So stop worrying about the cares of the world and instead focus on the wonderful life God has given you.  Focus on those things that, with God’s help, you can change to impact this world for the kingdom of God.

I have great news for you.  God is still in control!

You Want Me To Do What???

As we think about the Christmas season, my mind always goes back to the Christmas story…the story of the birth of Jesus. There are so many powerful lessons in the birth of Christ but one that comes to mind is the power of obedience.

In the book of Luke we learn that an angel appeared to Mary announcing that she would give birth to Jesus.  Stop for a moment and don’t miss the significance of this event.  For you ladies, suppose you were to awaken in the middle of the night tonight.  Next to you is an angel announcing you will give birth to the Son of God.  What would you do?  What would you be thinking?  Mary spent some time in discussion with the angel and then simply said, I am the Lord’s servant.  May everything you have said about me come true. What a response! Mary didn’t engage in an argument with the angel. She didn’t say how inconvenient this was going to be.  She didn’t say she was busy with other things.  She didn’t even say the timing just isn’t good right now.  Mary simply obeyed.

Mary wasn’t alone in the desire to obey God.  Joseph also had a significant part in this event.  Now it’s time for the guys to think about what you would do in this situation.  Your girlfriend announces to you that she is pregnant and the baby’s father is actually God.  Do you believe it?  What will you tell your family and friends? Maybe you should simply dissolve this relationship.  This just doesn’t seem to be working out for you.

Yet Joseph clearly supported and cared deeply for Mary.  In fact, after the birth of Jesus, the book of Matthew tells us this:

An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”  That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary. 

I want you to focus on the critical words that night.  Yes…that night Joseph left for Egypt.  Joseph didn’t question God about this direction.  There was no hesitation. Joseph instantly obeyed.

So what is God telling you to do?  Are you obeying?  Often when God directs us to do something it is not a convenient time, it is not an easy situation, and it may not be something we want to do. Still, when God speaks don’t push Him aside.  God is directing you for a reason.  Don’t forget the power in obedience.