Doing Little Things Can Mean A Lot

Little things….can mean a lot.

Wednesday night, I was leaving our dealership and I had to stop and get gas and check the air in my tires. I filled up with gas and then pulled over to the air tanks. I put the quarters in and turned around and there was one of the young men from our dealership. He said, “I wanted to help you check your air.”

I replied, “Buddy you don’t have to do that…”. But he insisted.

It was late and I was tired but he was tired as well. But, that one little act meant a ton at that moment.

You may not be around someone today who needs help checking the air in their tires but they may need other help. Maybe they need help with their groceries. Maybe they are carrying a lot and need some help. Maybe you can pay for someone’s coffee.

In Matthew 25 Jesus told a parable where he said that if someone feeds the hungry or visits someone in prison or gives someone a cup of cold water, that person has done unto “…the least of these.”

Today, look for someone who needs a little help and lift their load a little.

Years ago, when our family was living on the Mississsippi Gulf Coast we encountered several Hurricanes. One particular Hurricane changed course in the middle of the night and a tornado was spotted headed to our area. Local TV sent out an alarm and our family got in the center hall of the house. As the kids sat there, Holli had her arms around them as they sought shelter from the storm.

That picture of our kids sitting close to Holli comes to mind when I read Psalm 91:4; “I will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”

You can picture a mother or a father hugging their children providing real assurance and shelter.

We experience the same from the Lord. When we need comfort or peace the Lord covers us with His wings. His faithful promises are our armor and. protection.

I don’t know what you are facing or dealing with, but the Lord covers us with His wings. The storm may rage around us…that night, as we huddled in the hall, the wind was howling outside. We were experiencing the full-force of the winds of Hurricane. But inside, there were three kids sitting under the reassuring arms of their Mother.

There is an old song that goes;

“So let the storms rage high,

The dark clouds rise.

They don’t worry me.

Cause I’m sheltered safe within the arms of God.”

The reassuring wings of Jehovah God cover us.

Making Money Is Not Wrong – LOVING Money Is

You may have heard someone say, “Money is the root of all evil.”  That statement is wrong.  Money is not the root of all evil… the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.  There is nothing wrong with money.  There is nothing wrong with making money.  There have been many people who used their money to fund great causes.  So money is not wrong but the LOVE of money is.

It’s wrong to make money illegally.  It’s wrong to hurt someone to make money.  But there is nothing wrong with someone working hard and making money. 

John D. Rockefeller was a very wealthy man and he used his wealth to fund Baptist work.  

Truett Cathy was a very wealthy man from Chik fil A, his successful restaurant business.  He was also a great philanthropist.  

So, there is nothing wrong with someone working hard and making money.  But, it shouldn’t consume us.  If we begin to love money or allow money to consume us, it’s wrong.  

While there is nothing wrong with making money, money shouldn’t be the source of our happiness. Paul told Timothy, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” So, money should not rule our lives.

Again, money is not the root of all evil; it’s the LOVE of money that is.  

God Doesn’t Make Any Junk

Do you struggle with the expectations placed on you? If so, you aren’t alone. Lots of people do.

Lindsey Vonn does. But you may be asking, “Who is Lindsey Vonn?”

Lindsey was an Olympic skier.

Referring to her time when she was an Olympian she said; “There were more downs than ups, I would say. I dealt with immense pressure to be perfect. A lot of the time, with athletes, we’re expected to be perfect. I even look up to other athletes, and I think, ‘Wow, he has such a perfect life. I can’t imagine it’s not perfect.'”

Lindsey isn’t alone; lots of people struggle with expectations. We may struggle with the expectations parents have for us. Maybe we were or are constantly compared to a sibling.

God made each one of us. We are. All unique. We each have distinct giftedness. None of us are perfect but God loves us. So today, if you struggle with expectations know that God loves you like you are. God accepts you like you are.

So you weren’t or you aren’t a gifted athlete? God loves you.

You weren’t the smartest kid in the class? God loves you.

God loves us and accepts us.

Years ago, when Billy Graham was starting out, he leading a crusade at Madison Square Garden. The great Ethel Walters was a soloist for the crusade. The press asked her if Graham would make it? They asked if he would end up being a flop.

Ethel responded, “No sir, he ain’t no flop cause God don’t make no junk.”

God loves us all and accepts us.

The Opportunity Of Prayer

Albert Einstein was at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Studies when asked by a graduate student: “What is there left in the world for original dissertation research?” Einstein replied: “Find out about prayer. Somebody must find out about prayer.” (Philip Yancey, Prayer)

Prayer is a powerful opportunity available to us. Through prayer, we are able to talk with the God of the universe. Through prayer, we are able to access the power of God.

In Jeremiah 33:3, the Lord speaks to Judah and says, “Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come. “

Think about that verse; “Ask me….” The Lord is inviting the people to ask Him anything. God, who created the heavens and the earth, is inviting us to ask Him anything.

This is a powerful invitation that is available to everyone! So, whatever is on your mind, God is inviting you to ask him.

Now you might be ashamed of something you have done and you think you couldn’t tell that to the Lord. Friend, the Lord already knows. It’s not like the Lord is going to say, “Oh, I didn’t need to know that.” We can talk to God about anything.

Someone said that a day hemmed up on both ends in prayer is less likely to come unraveled in the middle. Today, the Lord invites us to talk to Him in prayer.

Hope That Things Will Get Better

I grew up in the East Fork community just east of the small-town of Kentwood, La. When I was growing up, Kentwood was a thriving little town. There was Brown-Morris grocery & hardware store. There was White’s Auto store. There was Simmons Department store. There was Hoss Lee’s Conoco station. There was James & Keith Allen’s Purina feed store. But all of those, and others are gone today. I mean absolutely no offense by this statement but Kentwood has dried up.

But let’s imagine that someone came to Kentwood and bought property on Main Street. A long-time resident of Kentwood might ask them why they are buying that property; the town is dead. It’s not coming back.

But this person says, “Well, I believe that one day, this town will thrive again so I’m purchasing this property.

That’s exactly what happened in Jeremiah’s prophecy. The people of Israel were about to be taken into Babylonian captivity. Yet God had given a message to purchase some property. That message seemed ridiculous because Judah was about to be taken into captivity. Buying property appeared to be foolish. But the Lord said

“Someday people will again own property here in this land and will buy and sell houses and vineyards and fields.’”

“Someday” the Lord says, “this area will live again.” That was a message of hope for Judah.

Maybe you need hope this morning. Maybe you are questioning the future?

The Lord says, “Buy the field….this area will one day thrive again.”

God gives us hope. That doesn’t always mean that things are going to get better here. It may mean that God is going to give us strength for the present. The Lord told Paul, “My Grace is sufficient for thee.” God may not change our circumstances but He may give us hope in the present.

Jeremiah was told, “I know things look bleak but….buy the property…things will one day get better.” He tells us the same.

Blessings From Barren Land

Hope.  

That’s what Jeremiah was giving Israel.. hope that even though they were about be punished… there was hope in the future.  

They had been warned repeatedly to turn from their pagan idols and serve Jehovah God.  But they had not been obedient.  Now, they were being taken away into captivity.  So, the outlook is bleak for the people. 

But, Jeremiah tells them, “Those who survive the coming destruction will find blessings even in the barren land,  for I will give rest to the people of Israel” (Jeremiah 31:2).  

Jeremiah says, “… they will find blessings in the barren land.”  Barren land is. land that has not born fruit.  Yet, Jeremiah tells the people they will find blessings in barren land in the future.  That is a picture of hope.  

Today, whatever you are dealing with, the Lord wants to give us hope.  Our situation may not change over-night but, the Lord gives us hope that either it will change or, He will helps us deal with it.  

We will receive blessings from barren land.  

The same promise holds true for us… there is hope in the Lord.  There. Is salvation in the Lord.  There is forgiveness in the Lord.  The Lord will give us blessings from barren land.  

Last night while driving home, Billy Joel’s song “Only The Good Die Young” came on. There is a line in the song that goes;
“I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
The sinners are much more fun.” I’ve heard that line numerous times...but last night, it made me think. Now let’s be honest here...that’s the only way to uncover the truth.

Think about the lyrics, “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints…”
Christians are not known for having fun. In fact, we can be known more for what we are against than what we are for and that’s sad. But Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly.”
That means that Christians can enjoy life. We don’t have to be known more for what we are against than for what we are for. We can live life abundant. But what does that mean?
When we give our lives to Christ, our values change. We are now spirit-filled people. But one of the fruits of the spirit is joy. So Christian’s can experience joy. Christians can have fun.
As I conclude….as Christians we want to live in a manner that leads others to Christ. We want to live in a way that others would say, “I want what they have.” What type of life will do that? Is it a sour, “I’m against everything life?” Or a life marked by joy and happiness? I think you know the answer.
Today, allow the Holy Spirit to fill you and give you joy.

Dealing With Satan

This world is filled with darkness and sin and is ruled by Satan.  In II Corinthians 4:4 Paul referred to Satan as “the god of this world.”  

So we live in a world filled with evil. Paul said in Ii Thessalonians 3, “Pray, too, that we will be rescued from wicked and evil people, for not everyone is a believer. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.”  

Paul says that we live in a world filled with evil.  That is kind of a discouraging and depressing thought but, Paul adds, “the Lord is faithful and will strengthen and guard us.”  Satan will tempt us and attack us. Jesus was even tempted. But the Lord protects us against Satan. 

James told us “Submit therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee” (James 4:7).

In. The gospels, we read about the temptation of Jesus.  Each time Jesus was tempted, He quoted Scripture to fight Satan off.  Scripture helps us defeat Satan as well.  

The Bible says that Satan is powerful… but Jesus is more powerful.  I John 4:4 says, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” 

So, Satan is alive and well but Jesus is more powerful.  Satan tempts us and tries to trip us up.  We can’t defeat Satan on our own… we have to have the power of the Holy Spirit.  Today, know that God is faithful and will strengthen and guard us.  

The Lord Turns Dry Times Into Times Of Refreshing Springs

All of us go through challenging, difficult times.  And when we do, they can take our strength and energy away. They can rob us of our joy.  The Psalmist experienced this.  

In Psalm 84 the Psalmist is referring to a time when people were making their way to Jerusalem to worship. Psalm 84:5 says, “What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord… who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”  Then, in verse six he says, “When they walk through the Valley of Balso, it will become a place of refreshing springs… the autumn rains will clothe it with all blessings.”  Evidently the Valley of Baca was a waterless place that would become a place of springs.”  

The Psalmist is speaking symbolically here.  He is saying that when our hope and joy are found in the Lord, He will turn dry places into places of springs for us.  What was a dry place… the Valley of Balso, becomes a place of refreshing springs.  

The same can happen for us.  Maybe your life has become dry.  Maybe you are going through some dry times.. some tough times… The Lord can turn those into a place of refreshing springs.  

How does the happen?  By trusting the Lord.  By focusing on our relationship with the Lord and drawing our strength and joy and purpose from it.  When we do, it provides us hope.  

Today and in the days ahead…may your joy come from the Lord who turns times of dryness into times of refreshing springs.