The Judge Who Wants Us To Succeed

Close to a year ago I read a story about a judge who spoke to a defendant standing before her after she recognized him as a childhood classmate.

Several days ago there was a follow-up on the story with a very interesting twist. As the defendant was being released from jail, the judge was actually there to meet him with a hug. Talk about a judge who wants someone to succeed!

Now that I mention it, there is actually a judge, who will be everyone’s judge, that wants us to succeed – and his name is Jesus.

Despite the fact that we’re all individuals and law-breakers who deserve to be found guilty (Romans 3:23), the judge of the world (2 Corinthians 5:10) wants to know us, and he wants us to receive a leniency of the highest order in order that we may live eternally in him and with him (John 6:37).

The next time you think no one wants you to make it, think about the judge who stretched out his arms wide for you upon the cross and who wants to greet you with the greatest hug ever given as we pass from this life to the next (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33)

#day-of-judgment, #jesus, #jesus-as-judge, #spiritual-analogies

If we want the shot to count…

I try to look for spiritual/scriptural connections when I watch TV, read news articles and walk around in this world. That’s why when I saw the video below, I immediately thought of, “…if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” (2 Timothy 2:5)

I’m not taking anything away from the shot – it’s amazing! But regardless of how amazing it is to our eyes, the shooter was out-of-bounds in the eyes of the rules…so the shot didn’t count.

We would do well to remember Paul’s spiritual admonition to Timothy; if we want our shots in life to count, we need to make sure we’re on the right side of the out-of-bounds line.

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

(as a side-note, please keep in mind that TFR does not endorse any advertisements that may appear in connection to the video below)

#christian-living, #spiritual-analogies, #sports, #video

A little "self" promotion on a post about "selfies"

I don’t mention my personal blog here in TFR very much, but, if you would humor me in a little “self”-promotion here, I believe several of you may find today’s post useful as a Bible class topic, a teenage devotional (or even for many adults) or a sermon outline that ties two relevant topics together: the world’s obsession with selfies and some important scriptures that deal with self. Here’s a link if you would like to check it out.

#sermon-outline, #spiritual-analogies

Burr under your saddle?

Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,” (Ephesians 4:26)

The burrs under our saddle tend to stay there longer than they have to. They aren’t necessarily hard to remove, but…old fashioned stubbornness, right?

The longer a burr stays put, the more likely our anger is going to get the best of us. Much akin to the little teapot who can’t stand the pressure anymore – it’s going to let us know about it.

But all burr and teapot analogies aside, the apostle Paul ties together anger and sin and putting off until tomorrow what should be done today as a warning for a very good reason; and if you’re human then you know what that reason is.

Anger in and of itself is not wrong, but when that anger gets in and controls us and our plans then the anger has become a danger to our spirit which God desires to contain meekness, gentleness, kindness and holiness. You know, that stuff that anger tends to despise.

So the next time we get a burr under our saddle let us remember that the burr isn’t only effecting us, it’s affecting the way we treat our horse and the other people who are riding with us, and it’ll only get worse if we ride with it through the night. So maybe, just maybe, it’s worth the time it takes to get down off our horse to do a little house…err, make that saddle cleaning.

#anger, #spiritual-analogies

The Wind Won’t Always Be At Your Back!

There’s an “old Irish blessing” that says, “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Several days ago, on a particularly windy day, I saw a butterfly flying from place to place, from flower to flower. Of all the flying creatures that you may think of that should probably “stay home” on a windy day I think it would be a butterfly; nevertheless, there he (or she) was, flying in the face of, even in spite of, the wind.

That butterfly was a living example of Proverbs 24:10 which says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Truth of the matter is, spiritually speaking, the road won’t always be easy to travel! The wind won’t always be at our back! The rain won’t always fall gently! And we must be ready for those days. And we can be ready for those days, for indeed, the Lord has warned us ahead of time, and his word is there to prepare us.

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25)

#adversity, #overcoming, #spiritual-analogies, #words-of-jesus

The only really long-term investment that never fluctuates

Money burns, gold melts, silver corrodes, houses fall down, pensions roll over, art fades, oil wells run dry and stocks go bust!

But eternal salvation is found in the only thing that never loses its value in the sight of God – the blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:18-19).

How’s our really long-term investment plan looking today?

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

#blood-of-christ, #investing, #spiritual-analogies

The way Politics work and how it relates to Sin

In no way can these few words describe all the ways that politics work – not even all the ways the Bible talks about. But I want to share one small example that can be very a good, but bad, representation of the “solutions” of politics and the futility of depending upon such leadership and how it can be analogous to sin.

All across America there has been a big push by governmental leaders to go “green” in an effort to save the world, save the environment, and even save money. Saving money (or making it, depending upon where you sit), which is the root of “going green“, has actually been the aspect talked about the most, because if you want to get someone on board with a new idea let them know how they can profit from it right? So on and on the politicians and the commercials have gone…change your light bulbs, they save money…install new windows, they save money…buy energy efficient appliances, they save money. You get the idea – listen to what they say and you’ll save money by using less electricity.

So the people listened, and guess what!? We won’t save money after all! In the state of Tennessee, electricity consumption was down, wait for it – but it was down too much! Now to compensate for the loss in revenue the electric authority is going to have to raise rates! In all of the number crunching the government only counted up the savings that could be created by the people but they “forgot” to consider the loss that it would cost it electric companies. If usage continues to go down then costs will continue to go up. Income must match outgo. So unless the electric company cuts it budget as much as the consumer cuts its usage then there is no point, and who wants to wait around for a government entity to cut their budget…not me!

myopia

The politics of men and women rarely, rarely work because the ideas used to implement the policies are often one-sided, shortsighted and nearsighted all in one.

So how does of any this relate to this sin? Simple. Sin relies upon the wrong leadership. It promises a lighter burden and a happier life while creating a heavier load and increased vanity. Sin fails to consider the true cost due to the fact that it’s often one-sided, shortsighted and nearsighted all in one. It misses the big picture by focusing on the here and now and by rejecting the view that lets us see the here and after, and it’s not going to cut its budget!

Politics and sin – for the most part they’ll carry us to same place. Oh that wisdom would return to the land. (Ecclesiastes 4:13; 9:13-18; 10:16)

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” (2 Peter 1:5-9)

#politics, #sin, #spiritual-analogies, #wisdom