Proverbs 3.4,5 - In the Center of God’s Will

Proverbs 3.4,5 - In the Center of God’s Will?

Bert was a dear saint in our church in Hawaii. Once he tearfully shared how he ‘missed’ God’s will by going into business and not ‘full time’ ministry. Yet many of us appreciated his ‘ministry’ in his business and the church. But he carried the pain of being ‘outside the center’ of God’s will. This false guilt came from unbiblical teaching! God’s will is not just a ‘tiny dot’ but a ‘wide circle’ of many opportunities and choices in life which can be faithful to Scripture, pleasing to God, and happy for us. God is pleased for us to choose from the abundance of options He gives. Once we make our choice – job, school, spouse, career, friends, etc. – we must honor the Lord by obeying His Word as Paul does in Acts. I recommend the excellent book; ‘Decision Making and the Will of God’ by Garry Friesen (Multnomah) – it’s in our ZGC library.

Proverbs 24.16 - Not Saved by Reading or Praying

Proverbs 24.16 - Not Saved by Reading…or Praying

I am way behind! I always get frustrated with pre-packaged daily reading/praying plans. It took me several years to read the One-Year Bible! I am not suggesting you follow my bad example. I trust many in ZGC are on the “right page” of our BICF 40-day plans. But if you’re a slacker like me – keep plodding. If the heading on your reading portion does not sync with the calendar, big deal! At least you are with your Heavenly Father, loving and learning from Him through His Word. If you get anything out of Galatians, know we don’t make points with God by rituals. In my forty years of stumbling after Jesus I have read through the Bible several dozen times – so should you – even if you’re not always on the “right page.” “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again” (Proverbs 24.16)

Proverbs 25.25 - Good News from a Far Country

Proverbs 25.25 - Good News from a Far Country

“Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country” (Proverbs 25.25) This proverb is easy to visualize, especially as temperatures soar in Beijing this weekend. Cold water…with apologies to my friends who drink hot water only!...is what this American craves to slake my thirst. Apparently at least one biblical writer agrees with me! The point here, no matter what revives your parched spirit, is we have good news that is even more refreshing. News - perhaps brought by a running courier: a prince has been born! a battle is won! a king has been enthroned! – that would change the destiny of men and nations. No King has traveled farther than from Heaven. No victory has wider or more lasting implications than His cross. No other throne will endure forever. News from Heaven all the way to your heart; wonderful news!

Ecclesiastes 2.10,11 - Shop till you Drop

Ecclesiastes 2.10,11 - Shop till you Drop!...

If you need it, you can probably find it in this city filled with stuff – even if you don’t really need it! And what fun we can have in searching. Meet your friends at the mall. Surf the web. Delivered right to your door. Oh, the joy of kicking it in those new shoes!  Our imagination is only limited by our income. People all over the world have enjoyed obtaining stuff since before the days of Solomon. Retail therapy is an ever-popular palliative. As humans we will need stuff until we drop. Today Qohelet reminds us that joy leaks out of stuff like air from a faulty raft. Meaningless wind. Tragic sinking. Thank God for stuff. In His gracious kindness our Heavenly Father provides our needs and many of our wants. But don’t forget He alone is that pearl of great price who is worth all.

Isaiah 9.6 - Jesus our Peace

Isaiah 9.6 - Jesus our Peace

Tonight men and women from many nations will testify to their peace with God through Jesus Christ. They still must pay their bills and face life’s fears and uncertainties. One day they will take their final breath like all of us. But peace through Jesus has brought them radical change – with God and man. People lost their peace because they chose to rebel against God. We want to enjoy His world and ignore Him. This rebellion evokes God’s judgment and ended our peace. The Good News of the Christian faith is that God has restored peace. Jesus Christ came to be our Prince of Peace. He earned peace by suffering. He died our death, as a Savior for all who turn from sin and follow Him. He rose from death, so now we may enter into a relationship with Him. Now, God can be our Father and Friend. Even now we begin our forever relationship with Him. True peace starts with God and flows from our reconciled hearts to others. You can meet Jesus, God’s Prince of Peace, tonight!

Isaiah 11.9 - Reformation: Revival that Sticks

Isaiah 11.9 - Reformation: Revival that Sticks

The man to disciple ‘new born’ Nineveh eagerly waited for them to burn. So, as we read from what Nahum wrote AFTER Jonah, Nineveh returned to their evil ways. Nineveh’s revival fizzled. Thank God for great experiences!  But only a complete and lasting re-orientation to God and His truth will change our world. Revival is like a flash flood. Reformation is when God, through His people, channels that life-giving water to make a lasting difference. Reformation Christian’s apply the Word of God to their society for Kingdom advance.  “…for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11.9). Christ transforms our homes, schools, media, government, business, and the arts. Biblical love, mercy, justice, truth, and forgiveness become the currency of society. “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” (Psalm 85.6)

Isaiah 40.31 - The Long Walk

Isaiah 40.31 - The Long Walk

Following Jesus is not a sprint; it is a marathon.“Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40.31). Notice the order – first soaring, then running, and finally walking – walking is the climax! Sometimes in our Christian life we soar on “eagle’s wings” of faith. Perhaps this soaring joy accompanied your decision to become a believer. Sometimes we need a burst of God’s energy to run and not get tired, especially during trials. But as we see from these chapters narrating Paul’s imprisonment, much of our life in Jesus is not that exciting. Not much changes in a prison cell! Yet even for us ‘on the outside’ walking is the highest point of our faith - a steady, dependable, reliable, and faithful walk is most pleasing to God.