05
Feb
16

Distracted By Details

I’m convinced that Twitter and facebook are the enemies of productivity.  The internet, while helpful in many ways, can be a HUGE distraction.  This virtual reality of ‘villes and instantaneous news keep us from living in our actual reality.  We miss so much because we are trying to keep from missing anything.  We need to check our news feed every five minutes to make sure we haven’t missed anything that our 492 friends may have done.  We need to refresh our Twitter feed every 30 seconds because someone famous might have eaten a hot dog and felt compelled to tell the world about it.  We miss what is truly important.

Kind of like Martha in Luke 10.  She was, as Luke put it, distracted by the details of a dinner party that she missed what Mary caught.  She missed being in Jesus’ presence because she was focused on the wrong things.

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.  Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.  But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!  There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

– Luke 10:38-42 (NLT)

How much are you missing today by being distracted by the details of life?

You’re so busy trying to please others that you are distracted from pleasing God.

You’re following everyone on Twitter and facebook and distracted from following Jesus.

You’re way too focused on work and distracted from focusing on your family.

May you take some time today to differentiate between that which is most important and those things that are merely distractions.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me to be so focused on following Jesus that I cannot be distracted by anything else.  I confess that I sometimes miss Your voice because I am listening to the wrong voices.  I thank You for loving me and calling me Your friend.  Amen.

04
Feb
16

What Do I Look Like?

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
— James 1:22-24 (NIV)

There are days when I hear my wife say something and I have no idea what she said.  She may as well have spoken to me in Japanese because I either did not listen or comprehend.  I heard words coming out of her mouth, but I did not listen to them.  I was either too busy to hear her or too distracted to understand.  She said something, possibly something important (“The toaster oven is on fire…again!”), but I failed to grasp its meaning or its importance.

James is tough stuff.  He tells us that we need to not only hear God’s Word, but we need to live it out.  There are several mirrors in our house and they are good for one thing.  That is fixing one’s appearance.  Either the clothes we are wearing or the goop in our hair, we use our mirrors.  I have never forgotten what color my eyes were (blue) or the color of my hair (brown, no gray like my younger brother) or the length of my hair (short to medium short depending on the season and time since my last haircut).  What I have done, though, is to hear God’s Word and forgotten to put it into practice.  How many times have I:

  • forgotten to love my neighbor, let alone my enemy?
  • had impure thoughts?
  • failed to treat others as I wanted to be treated?
  • not loved my wife as Christ loved the church?
  • lied?

I’m pretty sure that Scripture addresses all of these issues (and more!) and I know what it says, but I have failed to live out God’s Word.  I have heard it, but I haven’t lived it.  What about you?  How are you struggling to live out God’s Word today?  How many sermons have you heard but have forgotten by the time you hit the parking lot?  How many morning or evening devotions have you read but failed to apply that very day or the next?  May the Spirit call to mind those sermons, devotions and passages the next time we are tempted.  May God forgive our forgetfulness!

PRAYER:  Father, please forgive my forgetfulness.  I am guilty of not living out Your Word.  I know what Your Word says, but I often fail to apply it to my life.  Thank You for loving me and for forgiving my many sins.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

03
Feb
16

How Many Shoes Does God Have?

You’ve no doubt heard the expression, “I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop”.  It typically means that things are going well, but one is waiting for the inevitable hiccup, bump in the road or piano to drop on one’s head from a very tall building while walking down a busy street in Chicago.  We human beings can be quite pessimistic about our lives.  We’re too pessimistic for our own good.  What happened to hope and anticipation?  What happened to optimism?  Is there any justifiable reason to have hope in our world today?  Why does there always have to be “another shoe”?  Why are we waiting for the other shoe to drop instead of waiting for the next blessing or revelation of God’s presence in our lives?

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” — Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

The Greek word translated as hope literally means a confident expectation.  The author of Hebrews makes a great connection between faith and hope.  The faith that one has in Jesus Christ is directly related to the hope of His return.  Our expectation of Christ’s return is rooted in our faith in what we cannot see.  Faith is hard, but I wonder if hope is harder.  I can see the evidence of God all around me.  I know that He is there and He created all of the beauty around me.  But when it comes to hope for a bright future, I keep wondering how many shoes God has and when the next one will drop.

The book of James says to rejoice in trials because they produce perseverance and endurance.  They strengthen our faith.  They make us more mature.  God knows what He is doing and I have to take comfort in that and believe that there is a plan for my life and hope for my future.  And some days, that’s all I can do.

PRAYER: Lord, I struggle with understanding Your will and plan for my life.  I struggle with the trials and tests I sometimes have to endure.  Give me strength for my journey as I walk through this life with You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

02
Feb
16

Walking In The Light

1 John 1:5-8 (NIV)
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
There is no darkness in God.  There is nothing shady about God.  Rather, God is light.  He is pure, unfiltered light and He shines in the darkness.  His light is radiant and splendorous.  Paul told Timothy that God “lives in unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16, NIV).  
Jesus said in John 8:12 (NIV):
“I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
​Jesus’ light shines into our lives and exposes our darkness.  He is the One who lights our way.  There is no darkness in Jesus and those who follow Him walk in His light.  
We who follow Jesus must be filled with His light.  We must reject the darkness of sin.  Those sins that we try to keep in the darkness must be exposed by His light.  If we want to have fellowship with God and true fellowship with one another, then we have to step out of the darkness and into the light of Jesus.  The light will expose our sinfulness and we will be purified by the light.
 
PRAYER: God of light, help me to avoid the darkness of sin.  Help me to walk in the light as You are in the light.  Please fill me with the light of Jesus.  Amen.
01
Feb
16

The Father Forgives (So Should We)

The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana.

01
Feb
16

Jesus Is Real

1 John 1:1-4 (NIV)
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.
 
The Apostle John was writing his first letter to combat a heretical teaching in the early church that Jesus wasn’t real.  There were some who were teaching that Jesus didn’t come in the flesh and that He was only spirit.  John challenges this heresy by telling his audience that Jesus really came in the flesh.  They heard Him.  They saw Him.  They touched Him.  Jesus was real.
Faith can be really tough.  Believing in something or Someone you’ve never seen or touched can be difficult for many people.  How do we know that Jesus really came?  How do we know that Jesus is the Son of God?  How do we know that God exists at all?  That’s what faith is all about.  We look around at this amazing world and believe that there is Someone greater than us who designed it and put it together.  We believe that this Creator/Designer is good and benevolent because of the way everything in creation is put together for our benefit.  We believe that this Creator/Designer whom we call “God” wants to have a relationship with us and He has revealed Himself in His Word.  His Word tells us of our own badness as it testifies to God’s goodness.  His Word tells us that He would send a Savior to rescue us from our sins and ourselves.  He revealed Himself in this Savior whom we know as “Jesus.”  Through Jesus we find eternal hope, unfathomable peace, inexpressible joy and unconditional love.  Now, whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.  Faith is hard and it requires humility, contemplation and reflection.  When you take the time to humble yourself and really reflect on creation and God, faith comes like a gift from God above.  
 
PRAYER: God, I ask today that You would give me faith.  Overcome my doubts and strengthen my faith.  Help me to believe that what You say is true.  Amen.
29
Jan
16

Plenty

It’s hard to trust God, isn’t it?  We have a head knowledge that He has said He will provide for our needs.  We want to believe it.  We try so hard to trust Him when He says, “I will provide.”  But connecting the head with the heart is difficult.  There is a story in the book of Matthew where Jesus provides for the needs of people.

Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.”  The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?”  Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”  They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.”
So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground.  Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd.  They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food.  There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children.

– Matthew 15:32-38 (NLT)

Jesus had compassion on the people.  He felt sorry for them.  He saw them in their helpless, hungry state and felt for them.  So Jesus did what Jesus does.  He was moved to action.  He did something about their situation and lovingly provided for their needs.

He still does the same thing for us today.  When we are in a helpless situation, He helps.  When we are hopeless, He gives hope.  When we are hungry, He provides.  He loves us and has compassion for us.  He knows that we are weak and frail.  It is in our weakness that He demonstrates His incalculable strength.  He not only provides, but He abundantly provides!  He gives us so much more than we could ever ask or hope for!

Oh that we would learn to trust Him to provide!  Oh that we would know His compassion and love!  Oh that we would sense His strength and power in our lives!  May His loving presence in your life give you peace today.

PRAYER: Father, help me to trust You today.  Amen.

When is it hardest for you to trust God?

How does this story of Jesus’ compassion for people give you hope and comfort today?

What is one area of your life that you need to trust God with today (family, finances, relationships)?




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