Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
They were meant to give us pause and make us think.
They were meant to make us ask questions.
Here is one of them,
Revelation 20:15 Anyone whose name
was not found written in the book of life
was thrown into the lake of fire.
Our culture will scream in protest at this verse. It's a very serious verse! It is meant to sober us, to make us think, to make us aware of a bigger reality.
I can imagine the protests and questions as I write this, "How could God be so unfair?" "I've lived a good life, why isn't that good enough?" or "I don't even believe in God, what right does he have to judge me?"
The questions flow as I think about a response from the world I live in, but there is only one question that we should be asking, one question that puts this all in perspective-
How do I get my name in that book?
That is the BIG question we each must ask. And it means we must deal with a God who says there is only one way to get your name written in the book of life, only one path that gets you to the goal. In a world full of religions God tells us you must come my way, you can't get here any other way.
As a Christian I'm considered narrow minded, simple, ignorant, politically incorrect and a dozen other adjectives that culture would throw at me, but IF there is a God in heaven doesn't he get to make the rules? And, honestly, there is a God who made everything, rules everything and tells us he has written a book....
so I come back to this key question, this most important question, How do I get my name in that book?
Here are a couple things I've been thinking about this week. I'll add more as they happen. "Everyone believes in absolutes. You can dismiss them if you wish and do as you please, but absolutes have consequences and you can't dismiss those quite so easily." "Most people's lives are like a ship at sea without a rudder. They are moving through life well enough but have no idea where they are going or why and when they find themselves broken on the rocks of a distant shore they blame God instead of the real culprit- themselves."
It's Monday morning, I can't believe how quickly things are moving. I haven't written anything of substance in weeks. It appears my pen is dry as is my mind. I loved the days of rich thoughts flowing, but now I'm trying to simply navigate a day. Strange how the cycles of life go. Up one day, down for the next month. It's part of how life goes. I do look forward to the days of rich content, but I need to celebrate these dry days and really listen as God speaks. Even in the desert God works. Even when you think nothing is happening it is!
“I spent a long time trying to come to grips with my doubts, when suddenly I realized I had better come to grips with what I believe. I have since moved from the agony of questions that I cannot answer to the reality of answers that I cannot escape, and it's a wonderful relief.” ― Tom Skinner
A number of years ago I had the opportunity to go sailing with a good friend of
mine. Ray was an oil man who had literally gone from struggling to pay the
bills to millionaire overnight. In the 80's it happened to a number of guys,
but Ray was a Christian and a friend, so we talked about our faith, God's
provision and his blessings often. After his new fortune Ray bought a boat he
had always wanted, it was a 38' sailboat. He had it delivered to Grand lake in
eastern Oklahoma. It's a large lake and a great place to sail. There was a day
one spring when we both had some time and Ray asked me to go sailing with him.
I was thrilled to join him. I had never sailed before and looked forward to the
experience. We met at the lake and got on the boat to get underway. Slowly we
motored out of the inlet into the lake and then put up the sails. It was a
great experience! I loved the sounds of the wind in the sails, the waves on the
boat and the experience of sailing by wind power alone. We had a great time and
a wonderful visit. ... Then it happened. Suddenly, and really without warning,
a storm came up. It was a big one. 50-60 mile per hour winds and gusts, 3-4
foot waves, black clouds moving overhead. Quickly the lake cleared of other
boats. Within minutes we were in a storm I can imagine the disciples
experienced on the sea of Galilee when they woke Jesus and declared,
"Don't you care that we are drowning?" I think I understood the fear
they experienced. Our boat was leaning with the storm winds at 50 degrees or
more. The waves were washing over the deck. The skies were black. The rain was
intense. I WAS AFRAID! But then I turned around and looked at Ray as he steered
the boat across the lake. HE WAS SMILING! I couldn't believe it. Didn't he see
what I saw? Didn't he know this was bad? In my amazement I yelled through the
storm, "How can you smile in this storm? Don't you see the wind and the
waves?" I heard the disciples in my own voice as I said, "Don't you
care that we might drown?" Ray smiled back and said, "You don't
understand. I know my boat. It has a 9,000 pound keel. This boat was built for
the oceans. This storm is nothing! We are fine! Relax, enjoy the ride."
Suddenly, my fear subsided. I had looked at the captain's face. He knew things
about our boat that I didn't. He knew we were fine. Within a few moments my
fear turned to calm. Because I trusted the captain I began to enjoy the ride.
Nothing had changed....the wind still blew, the rains still came, the waves
still washed over the deck, but something was different....I had seen the
captain's face. ... The Christian life is much like this little adventure of
mine. We are often caught in the storms of life and fear for our lives, our
finances, our health. This life is often overcome by a storm when we least expect
it. Fears overwhelm us. Death feels close. Panic is in our voices.....but then,
with fear growing, we look at Jesus and discover that he is smiling! How can he
smile in this storm? Doesn't he know we are about to go down? And he replies,
"You don't understand. I know this boat. I know what I have planned for
you. We are fine. I'll bring you safely home. Enjoy the ride." It's funny
how a glance at the face of our captain, Jesus, can change a fearful storm into
an exciting adventure. A look at the captain's face makes all the difference!
parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage.
The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.
began when Chippie's owner decided to clean Chippie's cage with a vacuum
cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in
the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She'd barely said
"hello" when "ssssopp!" Chippie got sucked in.
The bird owner
gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There
was Chippie -- still alive, but stunned.
bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom,
turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing
that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird
owner would do . . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with
never knew what hit him.
A few days
after the trauma, the reporter who'd initially written about the event
contacted Chippie's owner to see how the bird was recovering. "Well,"
she replied, "Chippie doesn't sing much anymore -- he just sits and
not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . . That's enough to
steal the song from the stoutest heart. -Max Lucado,In the Eye of the Storm, Word
Publishing, 1991, p. 11.
I saw this sign this morning and loved the simple message. It's a message of focus....what you want determines choices you make. If you want to be happy then all of our choices, all of your focus will be on things that make that possible.
But, if you make another choice your focus is on how to please God and be like him in how you live. That small change will transform you and the decisions you make. It's all a simple matter of focus.
When I think about my life I realize that what I'm focused on having or achieving affects everything! So, now for a choice...what do I want today? Do I want to please me or God? That one decision of focus will determine everything about what I do and why I do it.