God Promises To Never Leave Us Nor Forsake Us

Hebrews 13:5 says, “…God will never leave you or forsake you.” That verse is a promise we cling to as Christians. The verse means that God will never lead us anywhere and forget about us. The verse means that regardless of what we are going through… regardless what we are facing… regardless where we are, God will never leave us.
In Genesis 35, God told Jacob to lead his family back to Bethel and there he was to lead them to worship. Jacob told his family, “Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing. We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.”
Notice that Jacob said, “…He has been with me wherever I have gone.” God will be with us wherever we go as well.
I don’t know what you are facing. what you are dealing with but, God will not forsake you. God will not leave you. God walks with us through life.
Maybe you are going through a divorce… maybe the loss of a job… maybe some health problems… maybe money is ultra-tight… maybe some emotional problems…
Whatever it is, God will not leave us.
Our testimony can be the same as Jacob’s… “He has been with me wherever I have gone.” God will be with us as well.

It’s bedtime. You are tired. It’s been a LONG day. You brush your teeth and get ready for bed. You pull the covers back on the bed, you slide in, maybe you read a little. Then, you put the book down, turn out the light and lay your head on your pillow. Oh, you are looking forward to a good night’s rest.
Lots of people are tired. Life is tough and filled with adversity and ups and downs. Because of that, it can drain a person of their strength.
Last night, Holli and I watched the movie, “Selma.” At one point, Dr. King said to someone, “I am so tired.” The weight of leading the Civil Rights movement was wearing on him.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus spoke some words to encourage us when we are tired and lift us when we are down. Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Think about those words… “Come to me… all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens…” Lots of people are carrying heavy burdens. Maybe a marriage is struggling. Maybe a child is causing some heartache. Maybe a job is tough. Maybe expectations are sky-high.
Maybe you are trying to be something that you aren’t. That kind of thing can wear you down. And, maybe you are trying to be something that you aren’t because you are trying to be accepted by someone. Jesus said, He accepts us as we are. He loves us as we are. “Come to me…” Jesus said… “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Today, if you are tired from trying to impress the world… if you are tired from trying to be something that you aren’t, Jesus wants to help you. You can got to Jesus like you are.       Jesus accepts you… He loves you… He wants to give you rest.

“His Eye Is On The Sparrow… And I Know He Watches Me”

When times are tough… our money is short… Satan can jump in our mind and make us believe some crazy stuff. We can feel that God doesn’t love us. I mean, we are struggling.. hurting… so Satan can make us think God doesn’t care.
But regardless how tough things get, we can be assured that God loves us. God cares about us. In Matthew 10, Jesus used two examples to demonstrate that.
The first example was the sparrow. Jesus said, “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.”
Then, Jesus used a second example; he talked about our hair. Jesus said, “…And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.”
So, Jesus tells us God takes care of the sparrow and Jesus knows the number of hairs on our head.
Both of those examples are intended to teach God’s provision for us. God takes care of the sparrow… a bird… and He has numbered the hairs on our heads… Both examples of God’s care.
So, today.. if you feel God doesn’t care… God has forgotten you… you are wrong. God does care. Now the key here is knowing God provides for our NEEDS. We get that confused times.
I WANT a new car. Do I NEED a new car? No.. not yet at least.. 🙂
I WANT a bigger screen tv. Do I NEED a bigger screen tv? No.
You get the idea… God promises to provide for us.
God may want to use someone reading this to be another person’s answer to prayer.         Maybe today someone is praying for God to provide.. and God may be prompting you to help someone. You could be answer to prayer.
B.J. Thomas used to sing;
“His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
I sing because I’m happy! I sing because I’m free!
His eye is on the sparrow. And I know He watches me!”

The Disciples Weren’t Perfect But God Used Them

When we think of people who serve the Lord, we have a tendency to think those people are perfect. But that’s not true. The Bible is filled with people whom God used who were not perfect. One of the best examples is the men Jesus called as His disciples.
“Matthew gives us a list of those men;
Simon (also called Peter),
Andrew (Peter’s brother),
James (son of Zebedee),
John (James’s brother),
Philip,
Bartholomew,
Thomas,
Matthew (the tax collector),
James (son of Alphaeus),
Thaddaeus,
Simon (the zealot[c]),
Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him)” (Matthew 10:1-4)
There is not a lot of information on some of these men but there is on some and there is enough to know that these guys were far from perfect. For example, Matthew, the tax collector. Tax collector’s had a reputation for being crooks. Yet, God would use Matthew, the crooked tax collector, to write the gospel of Matthew.
James and John… both of these boys had problems with their temper.
Simon Peter… DENIED knowing Jesus yet, about fifty days later, Jesus called him to feed his sheep.
Judas Iscariot betrayed the Lord.
That’s just a few but that gives us enough info to know that these guys were not perfect. So, do you feel like God is calling you to serve in some capacity but you think God couldn’t possibly use you because of mistakes you’ve made in the past? You are wrong. God can use anyone. Our past doesn’t matter. If God can use these men He called as His disciples, He can use us.

What God Has Taught Me

If you follow my posts, you know that at times, my posts are confessional…. In the last twenty-three months, the Lord has taught me a lot and I’ve shared some of those in hopes they might help others. This is another confessional post.

Pruning.
It’s when you trim a tree by cutting away dead branches to help the tree grow. God prunes His children as well. In John 15:2, Jesus said, “… He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”
In Proverbs 11:11-12 the Bible says, “My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.”
In the past twenty-three months, the Lord has done some pruning in my life. God has convicted me of things that were more important than they should be and He has convicted me about things that should be more important.
In short, God has and is disciplining me. How do I know that? It’s just a sense I’ve had. God didn’t appear to me in a dream or anything but, in my daily walk with the Lord, I’ve just sensed that God is discipling me.
When a Parent disciplines a child, they do it because they love them. They love them enough to correct them. When God disciplines us, He does it because He loves us. He loves us enough to correct us.
In my experience, my heart just wasn’t right. Now, where is this going? How will I be different?
I will help others more.
I will be more sympathetic with hurting people and there are lots of hurting people out there.
I will not worry about tradition as much. I will honor traditions when it’s appropriate but, I’m not going to do something just because we have always done it.
I will try my very best to keep the focus on Jesus.
I will understand that it’s not about the clothes you wear or the car you drive or the house you live in. Just recently I pulled up to a house in our old blazer that is almost held together by duct-tape. I admit, I was a little embarrassed. But then, I thought, “Its a automobile… doesn’t matter how it looks if it gets you where you need to be.”
I will understand that our salary does not define us.
If I Pastor again, I want the church to be real. Folks are hurting and looking for truth. Everyone does not have their ducks in a row… some can’t even find their ducks. That’s ok… Jesus loves all of us and our little ducks.
Ok… that’s a few things God has correct me about. God has been doing some pruning in my life… taking away unnecessary things…. and leading me to focus on what’s important.

The Church Is Not A Museum For Saints But A Hospital For Sinners

“The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”
That phrase speaks to the purpose of the church. The church should simply be place where Christians assemble each week but it is a place for those who are hurting. It is a place for people who have messed up in life and are looking for love and forgiveness.
In Matthew 9:12-14, Jesus summed up His purpose which is the purpose of the church. Jesus said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Notice that Jesus said, “I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Jesus came for those who are lost..
Jesus came for the alcoholic.
Jesus came for the drug addict.
Jesus came for the prostitute.
Jesus came for the man and woman who are living together but not married.
Jesus came for the gay or lesbian.
Jesus came for the straight person.
Jesus came for the single Mom trying her best to make a living and raise kids.
Jesus didn’t come for the well, but for the sick. He loves us all.

The Cost Of Following Christ

One of the problems of modern Christianity is our lack of commitment. In church after church, worship attendance and giving are down and it’s very difficult to get volunteers. Why is that?
Lots of people today, are supposedly “religious” but, are not involved in a local church. Many choose to worship via live-streaming from the internet or, they watch a service on TV. There are times, if a person is hurting or maybe ill, when an individual may watch a service from home but that doesn’t need to last forever.
In Matthew 8:18-22, Jesus deals with the issue of commitment. One of the teachers of the law told Jesus he would follow Jesus wherever Jesus went. Jesus responded with some tough, challenging words; “But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head. Another of his disciples said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father. But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.”
“Foxes have dens… birds have nests… but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay HIs head. Jesus is saying, “If you want to follow me, understand how difficult it will be. Our modern age needs to understand the commitment involved in following Christ. Being a Christian is not just purchasing a fire insurance policy. It’s living for Christ. It’s making time for worship…It’s giving… It’s volunteering to serve…
What is your commitment level? Are you following Christ? Are you involved in a local church? Are you giving?
Jesus gave His life for us; we can make time for worship and giving.