Archive for May 2014

“How Deep is God’s Love?”

May 29, 2014

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”– Ephesians 3:17b-18

On my many trips to western North Carolina, I saw some wonderful sights. There was one spot though I saw it many times, I never got to explore or get the story on it. I’m sure there is a local who can tell about it. “What is this mysterious treasure?” you ask. Well, it’s “The Bottomless Pools” in Lake Lure.

I’ve even tried “Googling” it to no avail – at least not to my satisfaction. There are three waterfalls. They are currently closed. They are part of the Chimney Rock State Park master plan. At least one person has drowned there. But, MY questions remain unanswered.

How deep are they? How do they know they are bottomless? Have they tried sonar? Can I help them look for the bottom?

I imagine dropping weighted lines and feeding spool after spool of line into the depths. Maybe don some scuba grab and head down. Deploy a robotic submersible maybe. How serious are we about getting to the bottom of this mystery (literally).

But, there is another mystery which is much easier to resolve. Our friend Paul tells us he wants us to know the answer. That question?

How deep is God’s love?

The answer – just as deep as it needs to be to pull you from your sin. It is as deep as your darkest sorrow. It dives to the depths to rescue us and to set us firmly on the foundation of grace at the Father’s side.

All you must do is call out to Him and He will reach down and grasp firmly onto you.

Do you feel like you’ve gone too far? No way.
Do you think you sin is too bad? Can’t happen.
Do you think He can’t reach you? He can. He will.

 

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“For Our Safety”

May 22, 2014

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”– I John 5:3

Seatbelts. Handcuffs. Safety harnesses.

All of these are restraints. They are all for our safety and the safety of others.

They keep us from getting hurt, hurting ourselves, or hurting other people.

There is another aspect and that is the relief which comes when we know we have those restraints. They don’t give us a freedom to be foolish, but when we ride down the road, we can do so with a little more peace of mind knowing we are wearing our seatbelt.

Society rests a little easier when the bad guy is restrained in cuffs. The guy who changes the light bulb on the cell and TV towers can breathe a little easier while he works knowing his safety harness is hooked up.

This is God’s design for His commandments and His law.

Sometimes they are restrictive. Sometimes they are uncomfortable. But, they are for our own good and in place to keep us from getting hurt, hurting ourselves or hurting others.

They also give us an element of freedom to live freely for Him and to accomplish what He has planned for us.

There are a lot of strong men in the Bible, and Samson has to be the strongest. Yet, he openly ignored God’s restraints, and paid a heavy price for it. He had to learn a valuable lesson the very hard way. When we ignore the restraints voluntarily, there is a cost, and that cost can be very high.

 

Dead or Alive?

May 16, 2014

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.”– Matthew 23:27

I noticed a tree today. Nothing amazing there, right?

But, I thought this tree was dead. It’s not very big, but it’s been dead for a couple of years and today I noticed from a distance it was covered in leaves.

As I got closer, I realized the tree was indeed dead, but there was a vine which had climbed up the tree and it was the vine which gave the appearance of the tree being alive.

Some people are like that tree – they look alive on the outside, but they are actually dead on the inside. The outward appearance may be fine, but…

We find examples in the Bible of people who were just like that. Solomon, David, Saul, and others all at one time or another looked good from the outside – but inside they were slowly rotting away.

Maybe you’ve been there. You keep up outward appearances, but the life inside is slowly dwindling away.  We are warned to guard our hearts for it is the source of life and gives us direction.

Let us commit our lives to God, the only one who can bring life to the dead.

Jesus warned the Pharisees of this. They were very religious on the outside, but on the inside there was no relationship with God – they were just going through the motions.   

 

Focus

May 8, 2014

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things..” – Philippians 4:8

Many of you have heard me talk about my dog Annie. She is rescue and is 23 pounds of spoiled rotten dog flesh. We aren’t sure what breeds make up this lovable mutt, but one of them is certainly beagle. Annie loves to run rabbits. It is amazing to watch her sniff one out and then chase it through a field and/or into the woods giving her happy, “Daddy I found one!” yelp the whole way.

I watched her recently stick her nose into the air and sniff, those little nostrils going 90 miles an hour. It was a fine spring day, so there were all kinds of scents in the air. Some guy down the road grilling out, freshly cut grass, hundreds of flowers of all sorts blooming, birds, squirrels and mice. But, there was only one she was looking for – Mr. Rabbit.

Scientists tell us beagles’ ability to discern scents is as much as 10,000 times that of a human. With that much power, it must be kind of hard to sort out just one scent, but she is so in tune with that scent, she can block out all others.

Being able to pick the rabbit scent out of all the others requires intense focus I’m certain.

We are bombarded with all sorts of input every day for all of our senses, and sometimes it can be overwhelming – especially if we don’t have focus.

God’s word reminds us in the verse above that we are to set our “receptors” to focus on that which is good, profitable and righteous and then go after it with all of heart soul and might.

Like Annie after a rabbit.

The Solomon Seduction by Mark Atteberry

May 6, 2014

“The Solomon Seduction – What You Can Learn From the Wisest Fool in the Bible” by Mark Atteberry was a pleasant surprise of a read. I’m not really sure what I expected, but this book exceeded those expectations in both the content and the delivery.

Atteberry breaks the material down into ten “wake-up calls” for today’s modern man – and it is geared toward men, although I feel there is much content female readers could benefit from as well.

Some of those wake-up calls are when;

  • Sin seems like a good idea
  • Your glory is more important that God’s glory
  • Sin management seems like a better choice than repentance
  • Your faithful friends are troubled by your behavior

All of these are backed up by examples from the life of Solomon as he begins, and continues, his downward spiral away from God.

In each section, Atteberry provides warning signs and signals of the condition as well as ways to remedy and return to closer walk with God.

Also included in the book is a study guide for use in small groups.

“The Solomon Seduction” is a timely work and well worth the read by any man who is concerned about the temptations in the world today. It will guide you back in repentance, or keep you on track. I recommend it.

(I will be posting a few of these book reviews as a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger Program J