Sunday, August 28, 2011

Advice From Billy Graham

There is little debate that Billy Graham is the most influential evangelical leader of our lifetime.  His life and ministry is an example for us all.  In October 1959, Rev. Billy Graham visited Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. A report said he spent time with the students and faculty and shared the following:

  • Be sure you maintain a personal encounter with Christ. (The blind can't lead the blind.)
  • Be sure you've had a call from God.
  • Have systematic daily devotions. (You need at least a half hour alone with God daily, said Rev. Graham. At the time of the report, he was reading five psalms a day to learn how to get along with God and one proverb on how to get along with people.)
  • Have a consuming love for others. Show compassion by entering into their emotions.
  • Be sure you have a message to preach. With authority, simplicity, and urgency, preach to a decision.
  • Be an example. Back up your spoken witness with your life.

Timeless principles from a great servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Don't Waste Your Life

Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
Psalm 90:10 NIV

Our children start another school year this week.  Can you believe it?  What happened to this summer?  It seems like life is speeding up to the point that soon the boys will be raised and gone and Leslie and I will ask, “Where did the time go?”

This summer on vacation our family stopped by the small Friends Cemetery in Iowa where my Grandpa and Grandma Merrill are buried.  During our visit we all talked, cried, and prayed.  It was a moving experience for each one of us.  

To be honest, I have rarely visited their grave.  My memories of them are still strong even decades after their passing.  Their memory continues on in many lives and can still be found in that small Iowa town.  But it was good to visit their grave that day because it reminded me of the brevity of life.  As David illustrated, “We are like a puff of wind; our days are like a passing shadow.” (Psalm 144:4)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to waste my life, I want to live a life ablaze for God.  I want a supernatural blessing on all I do!  I believe the only way to get that sacred anointing is to let God be in complete control and do things His way.  

There is no point in striving and stressing through life.  Be smart enough to let God be in control.  Live according to His will.  Live your life His way.  

This week's verse to ponder... Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1,2)

Monday, August 15, 2011

More of God

"If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor." Exodus 33:13 NLT

Think about these words of Moses. Israel's greatest leader who saw the mighty and wondrous deeds of God first hand.  He wasn't satisfied.  He wanted more of God.  

Listen to Moses' words after God promises him "everything will be fine." Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place." (Exodus 33:15 NLT)

Moses wasn't content with a easy peaceful life, he wanted to see God.  

What about you?

An intimate deep relationship with God is what it is all about.  Our salvation is not just about getting out of hell.  It's all about enjoying Christ.  It's all about fellowship with God through the leading and power of the Holy Spirit. 

Jesus tells Martha, "you are worried and upset over all these details!  There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41, 42 NLT). What did Mary do?  All she did was sit at the feet of Jesus.  

I believe a lot of things we don't like or don't need happen in our life because we are not close to God.

It's not just about what He can do for you or what you can do for Him.  This week don't let yourself get too busy to take time to sit and enjoy at the feet of Jesus.  

Reflect on this verse this week... You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3 NLT).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In Christ

So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.  
Romans 5:11

I am enjoying teaching our summer road trip through the Book of Romans at Christian Life.  One of the things I love most is discovering the new person I am through faith in Christ.  Recently I journaled some of the wonderful benefits I receive in my relationship with God.  I encourage you to do the same this week.  Allow me to share a portion of my list with you...

In Christ I am... 
joyful (Nehemiah 8:10; Philippians 4:4), strong (Exodus 15:2; Ephesians 6:10) , new (2 Corinthians 5:17), chosen (John 15:16), forgiven (Romans 5:1, 8:1), blessed (Galatians 4:6-7; Romans 8:17),  whole and healed (Isaiah 53:5), living abundantly (John 10:10), safe (Psalm 28:7), never alone (Hebrews 13:5), loved (Jeremiah 31:3; John 3:16), complete (Colossians 2:10).

Don’t wait enjoy what is already yours in Christ right now!