Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Limburger Cheese

How do you know when it is time to throw out your limburger cheese?

On the rare occasions when I've bought limburger - I usually eat some and enjoy it. But then leave it in the refrigerator for a long time.

It always smells bad...

Some people would always throw it out, but they are just not brave enough to eat it.

If it turned green, I would throw it out.
If it got hard, I would throw it out.
If it began to taste like it smells... maybe that would be a clue - it does smell bad.

Maybe I should just throw out whatever is leftover. Why leave it in the refrigerator at all?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Catch Up Work

The problem with getting behind in your work is that getting caught up is harder than doing the work on time. The work itself is the same, but if you are clearing away a backlog of work - you have more than a normal amount of work to do (you still have your normal work) AND when you get it all done you will not be ahead - you will be even at best.

I've been working on getting the last few weeks of sermons posted to my web page. I hadn't posted anything since last month so I had about six messages to find, edit and upload. It is sheer drudgery - best taken in small doses. It is one thing to do two messages a week. It is another thing to do six messages in one day.

But, praise the Lord - my other work is caught up and I have the time to do this.

The lesson is, don't let yourself get so far behind on something that you know you are going to need to do eventually.

After this I need to go home and clean up the huge mess I've made over the past six months in my room. I should hire an archaeologist... and maybe a dumpster. I don't wanna! But I promised my sweet wife.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Uncertain Riches

(Proverbs 18:10-11)
10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.
11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, And like a high wall in his own esteem.
The truth of this is evidenced in the current panic over the "economic downturn." People thought that if they had enough money saved and invested, they would be safe and secure. But it proved to be a false hope. Big companies were overextended and failed. Stocks lost their value. What was invested turned out to be lost.

People are left frightened and confused... how will they make ends meet?

But the name of the LORD is a strong tower - it will never falter or fail. He is our Righteousness. We are right with God through the finished work of Jesus Christ. These heavenly riches are completely secure.
(2Corinthians 8:9) For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
(Ephesians 1:7) ¶ In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
By God's grace the financial crash will become a blessing. While most people in America never considered themselves rich, they were blessed with prosperity beyond the imagination of the rest of the world. We have had a rich man's perspective - that this world is good and "the good life" is about being prosperous.
(Mark 10:23-24) ¶ Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!
Maybe recent events will shake people's trust in earthly riches and open their hearts to their need for riches in Christ Jesus. Only heavenly riches will matter in the end.
(1Timothy 6:17) ¶ Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Producing Fruit

(John 15:5) ¶ “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
I feel the force of this verse. On my own I am a dried out stick... brittle and unfruitful. Without Christ, I can do nothing.

But Christ can do all things. With God nothing is impossible.

I am a branch - and Jesus is the Vine. He is the source of life for me. It is His life that flows into me and through me to produce fruit.

It is not my fruit, but His. I cannot produce fruit by focusing on fruit production. I cannot produce fruit by trying hard. I need to focus on my connection to the Vine. If I abide in Him and He abides in me... surely He will bring forth fruit.

So Jesus is my proper focus. I must study the word of God - not just in a cursory way, but with energy so that it abides in me. I must apply myself to prayer - not just a routine of recitation, but with the agony of self examination and honest supplication. I must give myself to obedience - not just formalistic rituals, but a conscientious application of God's truth to my relationships and to every circumstance I encounter.

I want fruit. I would like to see fruit. I want new people to be saved and saved people to grow in their walk with Christ. I want the church to do the right things in the right way. I want to see God honored in my life, in my family, and in the church.

But I cannot DO it. I cannot control it. I cannot produce fruit. All I can do is keep on giving myself to Jesus. I need to abide in Jesus and let Him abide in me. He can produce fruit.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mundane Faithfulness

While we dislike crises, they are often the times when our relationship with God is strengthened. In a crisis we are focused and we more easily come to the end of our supposed self sufficiency. In the crisis we either throw ourselves into the arms of God and rely on Him, or we collapse. In the crisis our faith is clarified and made obvious.

But we don't want to pray for crises, do we? We know we are NOT heroes. The crisis doesn't show our ability to cope - but the ability of our God to sustain us.

What about depending on God in the mundane circumstances of everyday life without any big crisis? A crisis is dramatic. A crisis is intense, but doesn't last forever. Sometimes we are deceived into thinking that we can handle everyday life in our own strength. We might think we especially need God in a crisis, but that we need Him less in normal routines.

In fact, we are helpless and hopeless apart from God in every circumstance. Our very existence depends on God. Without Him we can do NOTHING!

Don't dream about being a hero of the faith in some crisis. Rather, be faithful in complete dependence on God through every step and duty of every day. Give God praise for everything you accomplish today - because without Him - you can do nothing.