Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Death Bed

I grew up hearing, "This is death bed! You cannot tell anyone!"  I knew that meant that this was information for our family only.  Another is "Death Bed Salvation."  Have you heard of it?  Well, it is similar to the story of the confessing criminal on Jesus' side at the cross (Luke 23:39-43).  He was dying, received Christ, and Jesus promised him that he that very day would be with Jesus in paradise.  Some doubt the sincerity of death bed confessions.  I experienced this for the first time last week.  A man confessed Christ at death's door on Thursday and died on Saturday!  I say Praise the Lord!  The question comes though.  Did he really mean it?  Was he sincere?  Here is what God taught me.  We ask that somewhat out of jealousy, like the workers in the field when Jesus explained their being payed the same amount for diferent hours worked.  We sinfully think "that is not fair."  Here is the deal.  This man did not bear the burden of truth.  He did not bear the burden of daily proving his faith by obedience and seeking to avoid the coming onslaught of hypocrisy.  God took that off of him.  The only thing I know of him is faith.  That is liberating.  Here is a liberator too--you and I have the next breath, maybe even the next day.  What a joy!  What a privilege to bear tomorrow the responsibility of that burden--avoiding rebellion and hypocrisy and seeking obedience and authenticity.  Here is greater joy, Jesus carries that cross for us too!  Be still!  Stop striving! Know that I am God!



Monday, October 22, 2012

Where to Go? How to Know?

Last week I was following a reading plan for the Bible to read it in a year.  I looked up that day's assigned reading in Isaiah 30.  I began by asking God to teach me again from His word.  As I look at this truth today in light of a message preached yesterday from John 8:31-32, I feel really good about sharing with you some insight into making good decisions that will keep you in line with God's purposes for you.  Isaiah 30:1-2 reads, "Woe to the obstinate children, declares the Lord, to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; ... without consulting me."  Isaiah 30:15 reads, "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength."  Isaiah 30:21 reads, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your eyes will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" In John 8:31-32, Jesus says, "If you continue in My word, you really will be My disciples.  You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Where to go?  How to know?
1--seek God's plans
2--form an alliance with His Spirit (Consult God Daily)
3--Repent where you have walked ahead of God
4--Rest securely in your salvation through Christ alone
5--Be quiet and trust
6--So you can hear God's whisper
7--Continue in His word (More often I hear God's directions for me in His word)
I hope this proves helpful to someone!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Marriage Festivals

This past weekend, Tina and I revisited a retreat we attended many years ago.  We joined some friends at Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center in Black Mountain, NC just outside of Asheville.  What a tremendous weekend.  Every speaker encouraged us in our covenants to one another.  On Saturday night, every couple faced one another, held hands, and renewed our vows.  This was special.  Tina and I have been married 25 years, and I am sure there were couples there who have been married longer.  With us was a couple married just the weekend before.  They decided to alter their honeymoon plans and attend the Marriage Festival.  I thought, "Wow!  Their vows are only a week old, and here they are promising their love to one another with 750 other couples.  There is still time!  Call Lifeway today and sign up!  Grab a motel room in Asheville and go experience three days with your spouse that is a life changer!  Travis Cattrel will be the worship leader.  Prices start at $149!  Surprise your spouse and take the weekend!