WHAT GOD CAN DO!!

I’ve only been around for about 35 years and quite honestly I don’t remember the first 4-5 years of my existence. But in my short life time I have tried quite a few things the majority of which as I’ve gotten older I have been successful at. The reason I say, as I’ve gotten older, is because I have learned my limitations and won’t attempt something that I know I can’t accomplish. That being said, when I was younger, there were a multitude of things that I didn’t complete and some that were miserable failures. For instance, I once tried to dig a hole to China. There was no particular reason to dig to China, I just felt obliged to try. And while it was a magnificent hole it fell very short of its intended goal. I don’t think I even made it 10 feet from Florida to China. And the punishment I received wasn’t really worth the effort  I put forth.

I once tried to swan dive off of a cliff in Italy. I had the whole thing worked out in my head, the run and leap, the form and agility. And as I neared the edge of the cliff I imagined how glorious I was going to look to all the bystanders on the beach nearby. I could feel the wind in my hair and watched in abject horror as the water approached my face a little faster than originally anticipated….darn you gravity. As I belly flopped into the ocean from a considerable height I realized that this was most likely something that should be left to the professionals or at least some other crazed teenager seeking a thrill.

And while stories like this are funny they are more importantly, LIFE LESSONS. These are the things we do that shape us into the adults of tomorrow. For some, the failures will cause them to seek a different path. For others the failures will challenge them to try harder. I’m typically the sort who is stubborn and will try harder. Sometimes this is a good thing….other times it’s really idiotic and has a tendency to create complications in my life.  

 

That being said as I have gotten older I have also realized there are some things that are impossible for any human to accomplish. In fact there are some things that I don’t think the human mind can even begin to comprehend. There will always be a Creator. Try as it may science will never disprove God’s existence. There will always be the one true God who accomplishes things with His very Word and breath that are amazing, awesome, splendid, fearful and glorious. In all of our fleshly “glory” we could never come close to nor dare compare ourselves to God. And this my friends is the subject of my simple lesson.

 

WHAT GOD CAN DO!!

 

#1 GOD CREATED HUMAN LIFE FROM ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

 

Genesis 1

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

Genesis 2

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

 

Scientist’s have been attempting to recreate life in laboratories for many years. And while they have been successful at some procedures such as invitro fertilization they haven’t been able to create life from nothing. I’m not going to bore you with the details but here is a link that you are welcome to look at.

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/h/human_cloning.htm

 

Science simply takes what God has already ordained and recreating what He has already established. And try as they will….they will NEVER be able to create life much less give something a living soul. You see this is a power that only God possesses. And let me tell you what. He is down right good at it, matter of fact I would say, perfect.

 

Psalms 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

 

With all of your worldly wisdom I would challenge you to try to explain or rationalize exactly how and why the God of the universe would or could create human existence? Science will tell you that matter as we know it can be neither created nor destroyed, only converted. And yet the Creator of the Universe absolutely destroys this law of science. Perhaps that’s why a lot of scientists are atheistic? Or ever greater still, perhaps science does all it can to discredit God and His existence. But that’s another study for another day.

 

 

#2  GOD MADE A PLAN TO RECONCILE HIS CREATION.

 

I don’t reckon I need to go through the entire story of the garden of Eden. This is something that we’ve heard about since we were old enough to understand words. Even those of us who weren’t raised in a church have heard about how Satan tempted Eve with the fruit of the tree in the garden of Eden. What most folks don’t know or perhaps fail to recognize is that God never intended mankind to be separated from Him, and even in our moment of failure God already had a plan for reconciliation.

 

Ephesians 1 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

 

Our human minds have a hard time wrapping themselves around a concept like this, that the Creator of the Universe could love us so much that He orchestrated from the beginning of time that His only begotten Son full of grace and truth would shed His blood and die to pay for our sins. And until I had my own son the reality of what God accomplished was kind of lost on me. I accepted and believed but never really grasped the absolute depth of this sort of love.

 

1 John 3:1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

 

To be called the sons of God? What manner of love indeed! I dare you to go to the hospital, or better yet maximum security prison, and find someone in need of a vital organ which would sustain their life and offer your only son to save theirs. Go and offer a murderer on death row your son in exchange for his life…yea, I wouldn’t either. Shoot, we hold grudges against family members for 20 years and have absolutely no reason why. I’ve heard tale of feuds which have lasted decades among families that can’t even be explained they just know that it was ordained that they should hate each other. This is the mindset of the human being. Not to reconcile, not to forget, not to mediate, not to understand and most certainly not to forgive. I dare you to love in the same manner as our Heavenly Father.

 

#3 GOD CONDEMNS SIN YET STILL PROVIDES A WAY TO ESCAPE.

 

I look at churches like Westboro (I hate using the word Baptist when referring to this church) and I see condemnation in everything they do. And don’t get me wrong I believe that sin is sin and shouldn’t be sugar coated. But God also forgives and I don’t see that message coming from Westboro Church. In their public displays I see plenty of condemnation yet I never once see a sign or placard explaining the message of salvation. God never intended us to be the ones responsible for holding sinners accountable for their actions. Matter of fact I think we have enough on our plates just keeping track of ourselves and our walk with God. When I stand before God on judgment day I will answer for myself and my family. I think 90% of the world can quote John 3:16 from memory but how many of us carry on to verse 17?

 

John 3:17 “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

 

Jesus mission on earth, which by the way is also the Christians, was the salvation of the world. Our sins have already condemned us to an eternity in Hell and we don’t need someone to tell us that. Our conscience bears witness to this fact already. I remember like it was yesterday when my son was old enough to understand what sin was. There is a marked difference when a child moves from right and wrong to understanding sin and its consequence. For me and my wife it was the day when he was embarrassed to be seen without clothes on. There was once a day when my son walked into the middle of the street and pulled his pants down to relieve himself of a bottle of water. Then there came the day when my wife walked into the bathroom while he was showering and he jumped and covered himself with a towel. Say what you want, I believe this was the day that he reached the age of accountability. I guess Romans 2 sums it up for us really well.

 

13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

You see, our mission is to evangelize. That doesn’t mean we should condone sin or allow it into our lives but it does mean that we should be spreading the Gospel every where we go. And what is the Gospel? The Gospel is the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that provides full and free deliverance from the power and penalty of sin according to the grace of God alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone. This is our job, this is what we are called upon to do and this is the only thing that really matters when all is said and done.

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WHAT LIES BENEATH?

image H/T @andyoaklee for sharing this picture with me

My wife has been doing a study in the book of Hebrews lately with a group of ladies on Wednesday mornings and God has really been working in her heart. Well, last week the Lord laid a lesson on her heart to share with our youth group about the modern day Christian. But what really touched my heart as she spoke was this word “honesty”. You see, it seems that our churches are filled with what I refer to as, Sunday morning Christians. And as I pondered this predicament over the next few days God gave me a little something that I would like to share will y’all. So here goes…….my latest poem.

 

 

WHAT LIES BENEATH?

Gentle breeze blows calm, serene.

What lies beneath will soon detain.

Detain is say, what futures hold,

What lies beneath will soon unfold.

Unfold I say, the layers peel,

What lies beneath shall be revealed.

Revealed I say? What comes to light?

What lies beneath? IT’S ALL A LIE!!

You say your true, your faith so strong.

What lies beneath that surface calm?

The calm I say is just a farce.

What lies beneath that’s hidden, dark?

Dark I say, this poor lost soul.

What lies beneath will one day know.

Don’t say, “I’m God’s, my future sure.”

When what lies beneath is sin, impure.

Impure I say, yet not out of reach.

Let God’s love be….what lies beneath.

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WHAT ARE WE PRODUCING?

I heard tale of a man who was driving by a chemical plant with his young children in his vehicle. As they passed by the plant the man glanced at his children and asked a question, “do y’all have any idea what they do inside that facility”? To which the youngest child eagerly exclaimed….”of course we know dad, it’s so obvious”. Well out of curiosity the father asked the young child  back, “well, what do they do there sweetie?”  “WHY!!! THEY MAKE SMOKE DADDY!!!” she eagerly exclaimed. I’m certain that the father smiled as he heard her simple explanation, but this story struck a chord with me because it so totally represents the modern day Christian conservative persona.

 

The reality is that the Bishop Ticona plant actually produces plastics and sells the byproducts to other companies. But to the innocent child all she could see was the tops of the cooling towers silhouetted in the sky, and the massive stacks as they billowed out clouds of smoke and steam. To someone who is unfamiliar with the plant, to the untrained eye, that’s all that is observed…just smoke. It’s not like the plant does any sort of ad campaign or sends folks out into the neighborhoods to let us know what the heck they’re doing behind those massive fences. They don’t spend money to go door to door to educate the public about their functionality. Why would they, it wouldn’t be cost effective and would deviate from the actual goal of their facility. Well, unlike that chemical plant, what they don’t do is exactly what we SHOULD BE DOING.

 

Now I’m going to ask you, my reading audience, a similar question. When the world looks at you what do they see as being produced in both your life as well as the body of Christ? Are we producing qualities that others can benefit from? When your community looks at your church, is it just another building that gets filled on Sunday morning? Are you a good show on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s? Are you an outreach and inspiration to your community? Are we being productive and proactive or are we simply filling pews? I guess to really dumb this question down I could just ask this……ARE WE BEING PRODUCTIVE OR ARE WE JUST BLOWING SMOKE OUT THE STACKS???

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Water to wine

Once again I have been very busy with family, work and church. My life leaves me very little time for social media and blogging but after my morning devotions I figured it was about time to write a little something. This morning my reading led me to the passage of Scripture in John 2:1-11 which talks about Jesus’ first documented miracle of turning the water into wine at the marriage feast. Now I’m certain that thousands of more learned men than me have written about this passage of scripture with clarity and insight, so I’ll refrain from takin up too much of your time here. But as I was reading this story I was thinkin to myself, “how can I fit this into daily application for my life?”. I mean come on, we read sometimes just fer the sake of reading and never take anything away from it that we can actually use in our daily walk with God. But as I was thinkin about it something that one of my youth group members had said to me just flooded back into my brainpan and I wanted to share it with y’all.

 

What I’m gonna say likely has no doctrinal backing it’s simply the views of a Southern raised Hawaiian livin in Texas. I feel like that disclaimer must be given when presenting personal ideas so as not to be construed as solid facts. It’s just what i happened to take away from my devotions. OK, here we go. I still haven’t decided upon what is the most important part of this story. Was it the water, the wine, the miracle, or the vessels which contained the water? My opinion is that while obviously the miracle that Jesus performed was the focal point of the whole story, very little thought is given to the pots which contained the water to begin with. Now if my limited memory serves me correctly the Bible calls us vessels.
(II Tim 2:20-21

20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.

21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.)

See, those pots that contained the water which Jesus used also contained something else. And that something else was a message of the power of God. And much like those pots we also contain a message which we are instructed to carry to the world. The same message of God’s power and eternal greatness. But unlike those stone urns we have a choice, are we willing to be used? Can God take our very ordinary ‘water’ and turn it into something useful like the wine? Can he prove His power through us or will we allow ourselves to be placed on a shelf as little more than decorations? As Christians we have a duty to perform and that is to spread the message of God’s holiness, love, forgiveness and power to a lost and dying world.

WILL YOU BE A VESSEL FIT FOR GOD’S SERVICE?

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H/T wolfiehowls.com for the graphic.

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Lost in the Wrapping, Let’s celebrate Christmas folks.

Well, its that time of the year again…its CHRISTmas. And just between me and you I don’t really like Christmas. Now don’t get your panties all up in a bunch, give me a sec and let me explain myself. I love the idea of Christmas, its a day set aside to celebrate the birthday of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many hours of research have gone into the actuality of whether Dec 25 was the day Jesus was born and I ain’t goin into that discussion here. To me the date doesn’t matter (and if God thought it important it would have been documented), it’s a world wide day set aside to celebrate the birth of The King, and to me that is what is important. I reckon what I hate is the commercialization of Christmas. Corporate America has taken a sacred day and turned it into a day of thriftless spending…a competition you might say to buy the best gift. Christmas has taken “keepin up with the Jones'” to a whole new level of ignorance.
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Families actually in competition to get the children to say that theirs was the best gift given.

But I do enjoy that Christmas brings back childhood memories of pranks and funny gifts. Empty boxes placed under the tree while parents snickered under their hands as the children tried in vain to guess what the heck was inside. Tiny gifts placed in a series of boxes so that it took half an hour to unwrap a pair of socks. Gag gifts at Christmas parties that brought smiles to all but the recipient. Oh man, those are great memories.

 

But have you ever gotten that one gift that was wrapped so eloquently, the paper seemed made of solid gold, edges folded to perfection, the bow a magical work of art. The wrappings so beautiful that it seemed a shame to destroy it just to see what was inside.
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Well, that package represents all that is wrong with modern day Christmas. We’ve gotten lost in the wrappings and forgotten all about the actual, gift which is Jesus. This year I would like to challenge all of us (myself included) to get back to what this special day is all about. Let’s set aside the gifts and paper fer just a minute and get back to the basics.  My family started a tradition 3 years ago that I would like to share with yall. On Christmas eve my wife and son go to the kitchen where they bake and decorate a cake. On Christmas morning before any gifts are opened we gather around and read Luke 2:1-14 then we light some candles on that cake and sing happy birthday to Jesus. It has become a wonderful time of sharing that I look forward to every year. Perhaps this is something yall could do or add your own personal touch to it.

John 1:14 KJV says ” And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” <===NOW THAT IS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT.

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WHAT’S A DOG GOT TO DO WITH IT?

I’ve had this thought bouncing around in my head all day but I’ve been to busy to put it down in writin which may be better cause it’s given me time to really ponder on it. And in case ya don’t know what pondering is……that’s when you jest sit and think on something fer a long time before blabbing the first thing that jumps  out of your mouth.

Anywho…..I woke up this mornin to the most obnoxious noise I’ve ever heard….my bed was kinda jumpin around, I though the poltergeist was coming to get me. wait wait wait….let me backtrack jest a hair. I am the proud owner of a beautiful chocolate lab. He is the offspring of one of our last litters when we were breeding labs. His name is Caleb and he is what my wife’s grandma calls a caballo (that’s Spanish fer, yup you guessed it, HORSE). He has great bloodline and he is about 85 pounds.
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OK, done with the backtrack, time to get back to my jabberjaw. So my bed is dancing all by itself and I’m reaching fer my pistol. I crawl out from under the sheets and jump to the floor, look under the bed and see the nose of a plus sized Labrador retriever sticking out. The ruckus I heard was my knuckle headed dog stuck under my bed like a tick on a hound dog. Now I love having fun even first thing in the morning so I kinda taunted him jest a hair to see what he would do. “come on boy…..come here Caleb…..come on”, this spoken in the most encouraging of tones. I was laughing so hard as his paws were trying to grab traction on the tile floor and his ol tail was banging out a beat like the drummer of Dave Mathews Band. It was by far the best wake up I’ve had in a long time. I didn’t let him stay down there very long, perhaps a minute at most (I’m still wondering how he got down there in the first cotton pickin way???) before I lifted the corner of the bed up and let him out.

Well after I left the house I started thinking about the situation Caleb had gotten hisself into and then I started thinkin about myself and how I have been in that same spot time after time. I’ve been so hard headed and stubborn and forced my self “under the bed”, then once I realized I was stuck I started praying like crazy that God would rescue me. That was me lying on the floor shoving my way to large ego into a situation where my presence was neither required nor necessary. And I knew it was the wrong thing to do cause God kept slamming the door in my face but I kept pushing my furry little nose into even the smallest of gaps until suddenly I realized I was trapped and there was nothing I could do to escape the situation. And after praying I gotta wonder if God didn’t leave me stuck like Chuck jest long enough fer me to realize that I had gotten there all by myself. I think the term I learned from my dad before I left fer the Navy was, “consequences and repercussions”. The Bible says it a little more plainly, “what you sow, you will reap”. Thank God that in His mercy and grace he has lifted that bed up fer me countless amounts of times as well.

SO HERE GOES….THERE’S GOTTA BE A MORAL TO EVERY STORY RIGHT? WELL HERE IT IS, IF THE DOOR IS SHUT STOP TRYING TO FORCE IT OPEN.

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