Category: Travel


Scripture

Philippians 1:18 (NIV)

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,

Observation

I find Paul’s take on the reasons behind people preaching the gospel while he’s a prisoner interesting because it reveals something that we may forget as Believers. God’s word doesn’t return to Him void. It will accomplish what He set out for it to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11). Too often we credit humans with the power of God. We look to those who preach and teach the word as somehow being special and different from those who do not. Indeed, those who are called by God to preach and teach His word are anointed by Him to do so. However, it isn’t the effectiveness of the preacher or teacher that changes hearts and minds. It is the word of God.

Our motives are important to God but they don’t change the power of His word. Surely, we will all be called to account for everything we do, good or bad when we die (2 Corinthians 5:10). Therefore, we need to examine ourselves and the reasons why we do the things we do (2 Corinthians 13:5). While only God knows our hearts it is still important as Believers to live a life that is holy and pleasing to God. To be above reproach because people do see the things that we do and hear the words that come out of our mouths. A couple of verses come to mind:

As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Romans 2:24 (NIV)

When people see a self-professed Christian behaving in a worldly manner then it can be damaging to how they see God. Remember, you are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14) but light reveals the good as well as the bad.

As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. Ecclesiastes 10:1 (NIV)

You can try and do everything right and good in your life but all it takes to ruin your character is doing one foolish thing that everyone finds out about. Sometimes we may be tempted to do something that is a “little bit” wrong thinking that all of the good we have done outweighs it. It doesn’t, so don’t do it.

Everyone who is a Christian is a servant of God and has been called to preach the good news to those who have not heard it (Matthew 28:19-20).

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 1014:-15 NIV)

My friends, this word is to you and me. There are people all around you, wherever you live, that have heard of “God” but don’t know Him. How can these people, who are lost and dying in their sins, call out to Him if they do not believe? People believe all sorts about God without knowing Him. If you know Him and what He’s done for you then certainly you can tell them your testimony and let God do the saving.

Would you like to be saved from the fear of death? Knowing that when you die you will be in an eternity filled with love, joy, and peace where there is no longer pain and suffering? Would you like to walk free of guilt today? To have your sins forgiven by the grace of God and to know true peace, here and now?

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.

Scripture

Ecclesiastes 7:10,13-14 (NIV)

10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?”
For it is not wise to ask such questions.

13 Consider what God has done:
Who can straighten
what he has made crooked?

14 When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
anything about their future.

Observation

There is only one way to God, in Heaven. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6 NIV). However, there are many paths that people take in their journey to knowing Him. No two people can walk the same path. God made every one of us a unique being with a mission in life that only we can do. You are a new thing. While Ecclesiastes often laments that there are “no new things under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9), I believe that this has more to do with the notion that everything seems to follow the same patterns in life. Everyone is born and everyone dies. In between people do things that are righteous and people do things that are not righteous.

When we look to the “good old days” and long for them again we are thinking that we know, in the present, what is better for us than what God has for us. It’s easy to look back on pleasant times and believe that they were better. Often, we rarely remember events as they were. We are likely to remember very negative events or very positive events while forgetting all of the smaller positive and negative moments of those days. I am reminded of a time when I was skiing in Banff, Canada. I wrote about it here 30 years later. So many years and I still remember the day. It was the first time I ever saw a rainbow touch the ground. I can still see it right now. However, I know that during that same time I was going through a lot in my life that I wouldn’t want to go through again.

When I’m going somewhere I usually want to get there right away, unless I’ve purposely planned to take a long winding trip. Otherwise, please give me a straight path to my destination. When I first became a Christian my life looked like a mess. The first Bible verses that I grabbed onto and chanted like a mantra to myself were Proverbs 3:5-6; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (NIV). Holding onto these verses, God got me through those times. When I stop and consider what God has done in my life. The twists and turns that I have traveled with Jesus by my side. I can only weep with thanksgiving.

If you’ve ever walked or driven up a mountainside then you know that the road on that mountain twists and turns to minimize the effort on the vehicle or body traveling to the top. You can try and drive straight up, if there’s a way, or even try walking straight up the mountain. However, the vehicle will start to slide to the right or the left and you will crash. If you’re on foot then you will tire out far more quickly and you’re more likely to fall. Traveling on mountain roads is dangerous. Just check out all of these tips to help you on a mountainous drive. There are 15 different points for consideration! Every point can be linked and measured with how we are to travel in our lives to the mountain of God. And now, I’m going to do that with each point… Another time, perhaps.

We know that on the righteous path that God has for us that He doesn’t want us to turn away to the left or the right from Him. If God, therefore, has given us the best path for our lives, full of twists and turns, but always going straight to Him, why would we want to try and make it straight?

God gives us good times and He allows us to go through bad times. If we accept the good from Him and rejoice then why do we weep and wail so much over the bad times? If we know that God works out all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28 NIV) then we should rejoice in all times. Right? The key to this and every issue we face is our perspective. I know I’ve said it before but it needs to be said again until we get it. When we have the eternal perspective of God then we can endure all things through Christ Jesus who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13). When we realize that our pain and turmoil today, is momentary in the scheme of everything that God is doing in and through us then we can take joy, and rejoice, in what we know He is doing. This is faith. This is bearing our cross each day. This is walking in Jesus’ footsteps, the One who has walked before us and is carrying us into the wonderful light of God.

Would you like to be saved from the fear of death? Knowing that when you die you will be in an eternity filled with love, joy, and peace where there is no longer pain and suffering? Would you like to walk free of guilt today? To have your sins forgiven by the grace of God and to know true peace, here and now?

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.

Waves whip as drowning souls
simper and die, pulled under-
flailing arms, reaching
reaching-
will you,
in the boat,
lend them
a hand?

Act

River
rushing rapidly.
Engulfed – held,
by living water.
Refreshing, renewing,
restoring – mind,
soul.

Fiery tongues
lick, throughout
Body. Ablaze –
Truth’s Light.

Speaking Life,
brittle, brown
grass, flourishes,
mountains stir,
dead rise.
All, in the Name –
His glory.
Listen – receive
Life, freely given.

Love, be kind –
hold, with holy
hands, needful
neighbors,
perishing.

Reclaim,
the dead.