How To Make Decisions

We make decisions every day. And when we make decisions we need a guide. There are two verses in the Bible that mean a lot to me…
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
Think about those verses…
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.. ” When we are making decisions, we normally want to get as much information as possible. We gather information and then we study it until we feel like we have enough information to make an informed decision. But what then? There is nothing wrong with gathering information but, our first step should be to talk to the Lord. “Trust the Lord with all your heart…” the scripture says.
“…do not depend on your own understanding…” This means don’t try to figure things out on your own.
“… Seek his will in all you do and he will show you which path to take..”
Ok, you may ask, “How do I seek His will?” Read God’s word. Study the scriptures. Lots of times when we are trying to make decisions, there are verses in scripture that provide us with direction. We just need to read them.
Determine to trust the Lord… ask the Lord… for His direction.  So, are you trying to make a decision? The best thing you can do is give it to the Lord. Don’t try to figure it out on your own but give it to the Lord and trust Him.

What Kind Of Fruit Are You Producing?

Periodically I will meet someone and if prompted by the Spirit, I will ask if they are a Christian? If they respond, “yes,” I will often follow that up so, if you died today, you are ready to meet the Lord?” Again, they respond “yes.”
Normally I don’t have time to go very in-depth with this so I don’t have time to ask if they attend church, if they give, serve, etc.. But, lots of people today say they are a believer but, when you evaluate their lives, there isn’t much fruit that indicates they are converted.
Yesterday my post as on judging and I don’t want to get into judging here but, Jesus clearly said Christians will be known by the fruit we produce. In Matthew 7:15-19, Jesus said, “…A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”
Notice Jesus said, “A good tree produces good fruit.. a bad tree produces bad fruit…” A tree will yield fruit after it’s kind. So, with that very simple understanding, what kind of fruit are we producing? As others view our lives, does our lives produce fruit that is consistent with the Christian life?
Are we loving? Do we worship? Do we give? Do we serve? What about our mouth? Do we cuss constantly?
If the Holy Spirit lives in us, the Holy Spirit will produce good fruit in our lives. So, evaluate your life. Is there any fruit consistent with living for Jesus? Our lives don’t lie folks. We can talk a good game but we need to walk the walk.
Let’s ask the Lord to evaluate our lives and determine if we are producing fruit that indicates we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Sin Of Judging Others

I have no way of knowing for sure but, I am guessing that one of the sins most frequently committed by Christians is that of judging. We love to judge. We love to point the sin in someone’s life while ignoring our sin.
In the sermon-on-the-mount, Jesus told us not to judge. Jesus taught, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged” (Matthew 7:1). Jesus says that if we judge others by the same measure we will be judged.
Why are we prone to judge? Judging someone is a symptom of pride. We feel we have our act together and we see someone doing something that we don’t approve of and we put ourselves in the place of God and judge them. Paul wrote in Romans 2:1, “No matter who you are, if you judge anyone, you have no excuse. When you judge another person, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things.”
We are all sinners. My sin is just different from your sin. So, when I a prone to judge someone, I need to remember that I am a sinner saved by grace. Or, someone said when they are prone to judge someone they are reminded, “There, but by the grace of God go I..”
Judging also helps us forget our sins.. our mistakes. If we are judging someone else’s sin, we aren’t looking at our own sin.
I encourage you to join me and let’s reduce or even eliminate the amount of times we judge. I have enough problems of my own to spend time judging someone else.

God Sees Us And Loves Us

Do you ever feel like no one cares? No one really gives a rip how you are doing? Many of us have felt that way at times. But, God cares. You may say, “Ok, how so?”
In the book of Genesis, there is the story of God calling Abram. God called Abram to follow Him from the land of Ur of the Chaldeans. God told Abram if he followed Him, He would give Abram a child. So, Abram followed.
Years passed and Abram didn’t have a child so, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took matters into her own hands. She told Abram to sleep with her concubine, Hagar. Abram did. Then, Sarai became jealous. So, Hagar fled and ran out into the desert.
So Hagar is alone… Abram and Sarai have told her to get lost…. she’s hurting… but then, an angel of the Lord finds her by a spring of water in the wilderness. The angel asks her where she is going? Hagar says she’s running away. The angel tells Hagar she’s pregnant and should go back to her mistress.
After the angel leaves, Hagar is so overwhelmed with love that she refers to God as “the God who sees me.”
I love that verse…. “the God who sees me.” God had used an angel to assure Hagar that God saw her and loved her.
We could all refer to God as “the God who sees us…” because God loves us and sees us. I don’t know what you are going through but God sees you.
Now, the flip side of this is God may want to use us to show someone that He loves them and cares for them. Maybe God wants us to open our eyes today and see people who need love and care.
God sees you… and God loves you… and God sees others as well… Rest in God’s love and be sensitive to people who need God’s love.

Living The Christian Life

Why should someone become a Christian? Because you go to heaven, right? Yes, that’s true but, there is more to the Christian life than heaven. Don’t misunderstand me, Heaven is a great reward…spending eternity in heaven or hell? Let’s see, that’s a pretty easy one. But, lots of people have bought “fire insurance” but aren’t living the Christian life.

In Matthew 5-7, the Bible records the Sermon-on-the-mount. In it, Jesus teaches what it means to live for Christ and it is not easy. For example, Jesus says, “You have heard it said ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you ‘love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you!'”

Pray for those who persecute you? Is Jesus serious? Yep, He is. Living The Christian life means going beyond the norm…going the second mile.

In our flesh, we can’t do this…we are too weak. But, when we are filled with the Spirit we are able. Join me today in going the extra mile for Jesus.

If You Are Climbing The Ladder, Make Sure It’s The Right One

Over the last year, I’ve occasionally made a post where I have opened up my heart. Each time I do this, it scares me because we have a tendency to be judgmental and I don’t look forward to some judgmental Christian stepping on my exposed heart. But, I have posted these hoping they help someone and based on Facebook response, they have. So, here is another post in the “confessional” series…

If you are climbing the ladder, be sure you are on the right one.
That though hit me recently. Why? Because I was climbing the ladder as a Pastor. I have been doing it most of my ministry. I came up during the time of the church growth movement. I remember sitting around the table in seminary and everyone talked about when they became Pastor of “First Baptist so & so…” All of us were going straight to the top… or so we thought. The problem is, there aren’t many “First Baptist so & so” churches out there and everyone ain’t going to make it..
But, think about the logic…. you are successful only when you reach this church… this point… That’s the idea I bought into. But it’s not true.
Success, in life and ministry is finding the very center of God’s will and getting in it. That is success. It’s not being the Pastor of large churches. If that were the definition, there would be lots of Pastors would not be successful. The average Southern Baptist Church has about 100 in worship each week.
From the world’s standpoint… success is money. If you make lots of money, you must be happy and successful.
From the world’s standpoint…. success is fame. If you were a well-know person… if you have received some awards, etc. you must be happy and successful.
From the world’s stand point, success is the house you live in. The car you drive, etc..
But, did Jesus promise us a big house? Only in heaven!
Did Jesus promise us a nice car? No.
Did He promise us a cruise every year? No.
But wait a minute… aren’t all those things necessary for success? No, they aren’t. Success is simply doing what God wants you to do. That’s it. It’s not the size of your home or car… It’s being obedient to the Lord.
My income has been reduced significantly. I’m not moaning… just stating a fact. But, God reminds me He never promised to make us wealthy… He promised to provide. We have two cars with high-milage. One of them is almost held together by duck-tape but, it runs. It gets us from “point A” to “point B.”
I admit, I was filled with the success syndrome. I was climbing the ladder. But again, if you are climbing the ladder, be sure you are on the right ladder. Because if you aren’t, you will be disappointed when you reach the top.
Happiness.. true happiness… is found in being in the center of God’s will for your life…. Nothing more…. nothing less.

Are The Poor Really “Blessed?”

“I need help.”
For some people, it’s tough to say those words. Some people have so much pride, they can’t bring themselves to admit they need help. Some think their money can save them.       Others think their education can save them. Others think their networking can save them. But the bottom line is, every one of us, rich and poor, educated and illiterate, need Jesus.
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus said, “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs” (Matt. 5:3). Think about those words, “…God blesses those who are poor and realize they need Christ.”
That is the opposite of what the world thinks and teaches.
“Blessed are the poor….?” Come on! Are you serious? There is nothing “blessed” about being poor… or so the world says. So why does Jesus teach that? Because in order for a person to become a Christian, they have to realize they need Christ. They have to realize they are poor and destitute. They are helpless and need Jesus. But, for lots of people that’s a tough pill to swallow.
What about you? Do you realize you need Jesus or, are you filled with so much pride you can’t bring yourself to admit it?
Maybe your financial status has changed. Your bank account is low and possibly empty. There was a time when you were loaded financially or, you were semi-loaded.     But no longer. Now, you need help.
Jesus wants to help us. First, give your life to Christ and then, Christ will help us with the rest.
The “poor” really are blessed because they have no pretense… no pride… they realize they need help and Jesus is ready to help them.