My Hope Is in God…Not in the World

This Includes Technology 😊

The world around us is amazing. The things we can do with computers and smart phones today was the things of imagination fifty years ago. But these things are limited, like every other worldly thing.

If we put our faith in worldly things, we will be disappointed.

This past week’s church service had some “technical difficulties”. This left some gaps in the message, which I think speaks directly to the message. We so often put our faith in the things rather than God.

This doesn’t mean that we should let the difficulties of the world get us down. This pain we go through is like the pain of childbirth. The reward on the other side of the pain, makes the pain worth it. Romans 8:12-25

We can choose whether our focus will be on despair or hope.

There was a family that had a father and son both working in a coal mine. There was an explosion, the father was killed, and the son maimed. The family choose to focus on hope rather than despair. They were so serious about this that they changed their last name to Sperondeo, which means, “my hope is in God”. The son went on to do amazing things with his life.

Faith in God is more than blind hope. It is trusting in something bigger than yourself. It is the act of believing and trusting God. This kind of hope is like breath is to life. As long as we have hope, life is worth living. We are not alone. Hope in Christ is the secret ingredient to life

Put your hope in God…not in the world!

What Would You Pay to Have Lunch with God?

And What Would That Be Worth?

People have paid over $4,000,000.00 to have lunch with Warren Buffet. This money goes to a charity in San Francisco to help the poor, homeless and people struggling with substance abuse. The winning bidder and seven friends get to eat a meal with Mr. Buffet at what time he will discuss anything with them apart from his next investments.

How much would you pay to have lunch with God?

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. One day a man found the treasure, and then he hid it in the field again. He was so happy that he went and sold everything he owned to buy that field.” Matthew 13:44-46

What would the Kingdom of Heaven be worth to you?

We get so entrenched in the daily routine of living our lives that too often we forget to step back and take stock of what we’re investing in. Life will take over if we let it. We think we can do everything ourselves.

A lady in an accident was trapped in her car precariously hanging over the edge of a bridge. As the rescuers tried to stabilize the vehicle and get her out, she kept yelling, “I’ll do it myself.”

Isn’t this how we approach our lives most of the time?

Where we put the most value is where our hearts are. Luke 12:34

Author Catherine Marshall spent years in bed after contracting tuberculosis in 1940. As she struggled with the illness, she couldn’t understand how God would let something like this happen. She longed for a better relationship with God and decided to give God complete control. She made a promise to God to …“do whatever You tell me.” She got well and lived her life well.

We need to constantly step back and take an inventory of our lives.

What would it be worth to you to have lunch with God every day?

Weeds Have a Big Impact on the Harvest

It’s Best if They’re Pulled Before They Get Too Big

Last week we talked about the importance of the seed and the ground on which it’s planted. This week is another farming analogy. This time it’s about weeds and the damage they do. Jesus tells a story of weeds growing in wheat in Matthew 13:24-30.

In this story a man had a field of wheat planted and his enemy snuck in and planted weeds. By the time the weeds were noticed they were too big to pull without damaging the crop. The farmer told his help to wait until harvest time and then they would separate the weeds from the wheat.

This reminds me of a story when I was young. Dad had a field of soybeans that had some wild cane growing in amongst the crop. The problem was that by the time the cane was discovered both the crop and the weeds were too big to spray. So, we took some corn knives (a big machete) and started chopping. Thankfully the field was only 25 or 30 acres, but it took days and days of Dad, Grandpa, my younger brother and me, walking down each row and cutting weeds out of the beans.

Removing weeds is a painful process.

We all have weeds sprout up in our lives. The important thing to do is pay attention and remove them early. We have an internal weed sensor called a conscience. This allows us to sense the weed when it’s still a seed. It’s much better if we get rid of those weeds before they get big.

When weeds get big enough to recognize it’s too late to pull them.

 Don’t wait too long to clean the weeds from your life.

Life Is in the Seed, Not in You

A Small Amount of Grain Can Produce an Enormous Harvest

Having grown up farming, I love Jesus’ analogy of planting and harvest. Not only is it a great comparison it is important. It’s in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Like anything important God is going to repeat it.

In Matthew 13:1-9 Jesus tells the story of a farmer planting. Some of the seeds fell on the road and the birds ate it. “…some seed fell by the road, and the birds came and ate it all up. Some seed fell on rocky ground, where there wasn’t much dirt. That seed grew very fast, because the ground was not deep. But when the sun rose, the plants dried up, because they did not have deep roots. Some other seed fell among thorny weeds, which grew and choked the good plants. Some other seed fell on good ground where it grew and produced a crop. Some plants made a hundred times more, some made sixty times more, and some made thirty times more.”

If you have ever planted anything you can identify with this.

Jesus goes on to explain the story and what it means in verses 18-23, “What is the seed that fell by the road? That seed is like the person who hears the message about the kingdom but does not understand it. The Evil One comes and takes away what was planted in that person’s heart. And what is the seed that fell on rocky ground? That seed is like the person who hears the teaching and quickly accepts it with joy. But he does not let the teaching go deep into his life, so he keeps it only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching he accepted, he quickly gives up. And what is the seed that fell among the thorny weeds? That seed is like the person who hears the teaching but lets worries about this life and the temptation of wealth stop that teaching from growing. So the teaching does not produce fruit in that person’s life. But what is the seed that fell on the good ground? That seed is like the person who hears the teaching and understands it. That person grows and produces fruit, sometimes a hundred times more, sometimes sixty times more, and sometimes thirty times more.”

This is a message that doesn’t need any explaining it just needs implementing.

Every day we are planting seeds with things we say and do. We never know what the harvest will be from the seeds we plant.

Be sure you are planting the right seeds!

Why Do I Not Do the Things I Want To?

And on Top of That, Do the Things That I Don’t Want to

This is a mystery as old as time. We all find ourselves doing those things that we tell ourselves we won’t do. And then, turn around and don’t do the things we said we would. Paul discusses this very thing, in Romans 7:14-25.

We are often tempted to do things that may not be the smartest or wisest.

Fishing for Bluefin Tuna is one of these things. These fish can reach weights of almost 1500 lbs. and grow to nearly 13 ft. long. There are stories of these huge fish tipping over and sinking boats. In addition to the lure of catching these big trophies is the enticement of money.

While most Bluefin Tuna sell for $20 – $40 per pound in your local grocery store, there are cases of them selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars for one fish. The most expensive one sold for 3.1 million dollars in 2019. It was purchased by Japanese sushi restaurant owner Kiyoshi Kimura.

Temptation is like this. The desire to catch the big one can pull us under.

Temptation is a battle we fight continuously. We know when we’re tempted to do things that we shouldn’t. It comes down to a battle of our desires. It’s up to us to choose to do the right thing or not.

For a man to conquer himself is the greatest of all virtues.

We have the power to control our desires and actions. Let’s look at this using the example of a phone call. We have all experienced two people in an argument yelling at each other when the phone rings. Like the flip of a switch the person answering the phone is as calm and polite as can be. We have the control; we just have to decide if we’ll use it.

It is possible to accomplish what we want if we have a clear plan to achieve it. This includes developing habits and routines that move us toward where we want to go, not way from it. We need to have established habits that become our default response.

Willpower is more important to success than talent.

Habits, routines and willpower all sound great, but can be hard. The best model I’ve found for teaching me these things is my Chief Executive Officer. His name is God. He is the most senior administrative officer in charge of managing my life. I have a Divine Ally in God. You can too if you will just add Him to your team.

Alone we will continue to do the things we don’t want to and not do the things we do. Doing the right things can seem heavy but the alternative weighs more.

Discipline weighs ounces…regret weighs tons.

Offer a Drink of Water to Someone Who Needs it

Share Your Unique Talents with Others

Too often we feel small and insignificant. Like, the thing we do isn’t really that important. Why would anybody need what I have to offer?

When someone’s thirsty and you give them a drink of water…it’s a big deal.

We all have been given unique gifts that we are expected to use. Others need these things that we have.

Imagine your car breaking down in 100-degree heat. After trying to figure out what’s wrong you give up and start walking to the house you pasted a couple of miles back. You have no water and the sun is beating down. You finally reach the house and knock on the door. When the door opens the cool air of the air conditioning wafts out and feels great. The person at the door is holding a glass of ice water. As you stand there, they step out on the porch, closing the door and dumping the water on the ground.

This is what we are doing when we keep our gifts to ourselves and don’t share them.

God has given us these talents. No matter how insignificant we think they are, when we keep them to ourselves, we are wasting them. We are keeping a drink from someone who is thirsty.

In last week’s post I wrote about how important even the smallest things are to God. Too often, we take small things for granted. We see things from a worldly perspective rather than from God’s. In 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 we are given the example of how a human body is made up of many parts and the same is true for the way we all are designed to work together.

Every small kind thing we do for others is God working through us.

We are valued by God. When we accept and experience this value, it causes us to flourish. These abilities should be shared because this is what we’ve been called to do. It’s what we’re here for. In Matthew 10:42 we are told to give a cup of cold water to these little ones.

Share your cold water with anyone who needs some.

Fear Does Not Have to be an Obstacle

You’ve Got to be Careful Who You Give Control To

Our minds are one of the most powerful forces in the world. This power can be used for good or bad. Each of us has control over our own minds and can choose how we will use this superpower.

Use the superpower of your mind wisely.

There are countless examples and studies that show the power the mind has. We’ve all experienced times when we let our imagination take over. If we let it, the unknown fuels fear.

An example of how fear can distort the unknown is the Oregon woman calling the police about the intruder who had barricaded themselves in her bathroom.

“The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said on a Tuesday, officers responded to a woman’s report that someone was locked in her bathroom. The woman could tell something was amiss — there were shadows visible under the door.

Deputies surrounded the house, called in a canine officer and repeatedly instructed the suspect to exit the bathroom.

Police heard “rustling” noises coming from the bathroom and reported that the noises became more frequent as they continued to issue directions.

About 15 minutes after first responding, police entered the bathroom with guns drawn. 

Police witnessed a “very thorough vacuuming job being done by a Roomba Robotic Vacuum cleaner.” 

Fear can make us act irrationally.

By nature, when faced with fear, we respond in a way to defend and protect ourselves and our families. We also have been given the ability to analyze information and make decisions based on that information and our experiences.

The biggest advantage we have over fear is God. We often feel too small and insignificant to bother God with our fears and concerns. It doesn’t matter how little our problem or fear is. In Matthew 10:28-31 it says that not even one sparrow can die without God knowing. He even knows how many hairs you have on your head.

Let’s break this down a little bit. According to Wikipedia there are somewhere around 1.4 billion sparrows in the world. Healthline.com says the average person has 100,000 hairs on their head and the World Atlas reports that the world population is approximately 7.4 billion. Let’s do the math. 100,000 hairs x 7.4 billion people…that’s 760 TRILLION hairs.

Okay, if God is aware of these small insignificant things, we can be sure He is aware of every fear in our lives. We just have to decide if we are going to believe and trust Him. We’re much better off giving Him the control.

God has our back if we’ll just let Him.

God Spoke to Me This Morning

But Did I Hear Him Over the Noise?

We are constantly bombarded by worldly noise. It is so easy to get sucked into the dark hole of TV, internet, social media, etc. We are surrounded by people yelling and wanting to be heard. These things can pull our attention from the things that really matter if we’re not careful.

It’s easy to be pulled into the noise of the world.

“An honest man is being tailgated by a stressed-out woman on a busy boulevard! Suddenly, the light turns yellow just in front of him. He does the honest thing and stops at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman hits the roof, and the horn, screaming in frustration as she misses her chance to get through the intersection with him. As she is still in mid-rant, she hears a tap on her window and looks up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer orders her to exit her car with her hands up. He takes her to the police station where she is searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approaches the cell and opens the door. She is escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting
officer is waiting with her personal effects. He says, “I’m very sorry for this mistake.

You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping the guy off in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the ‘Choose Life’ license plate holder, the ‘What Would Jesus Do’ bumper sticker, the ‘Follow Me to Sunday School’ bumper sticker, and the chrome plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car.” Joke Buddha

The things we do and say represent who we truly are.

We forget how powerful our words and action are. God spoke and the earth was formed. Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 29 God spoke to Abram and a nation was born. God spoke the Word and humanity was redeemed through Jesus. Our words are powerful, after all, we’re made in God’s image.

“In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made by him, and nothing was made without him. In him there was life, and that life was the light of all people. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it.” John 1:1-5 We need to use this Light and stay out of the darkness.

It’s hard to believe that God speaks to us, but He does. God speaks to us in what we read, listen to, watch, and associate with. He speaks through us by what we write, say and how we act.

The question is not if God speaks to us. The question is if we’re listening.


The Power of the Wind is Amazing

You Can Only See It Through Its Results

We can’t see the wind. The only way to know if there is any, is when we see things being moved around. Wind can be a gentle cool refreshing breeze, or it can be a strong storm like fury.

We’ve all heard of the amazing stories of things like wheat straw being driven into highline poles and animals and people being blown several hundred yards from where they started and living through it. I witness things like jewelry and important heirlooms remaining on open surfaces in homes that were destroyed by tornados. The wind can refresh us or move us to where it wants us to go.

If we will work with the wind rather than fighting against it, we can accomplish amazing things.

In 1848 when trying to figure out how to get the first cable across the Niagara River it was determined that a kite contest might be the answer.

“There was a tremendous turn out for the kite contest that was held in January of 1848. The kites began appearing on the Canadian side of the gorge, taking advantage of prevailing winds from West to East. The first to succeed in spanning the gorge with his kite, named the ‘Union’, was fifteen-year-old American, Homan Walsh. Homan crossed to the Canadian side of the gorge by ferry just below Niagara Falls, and walked the two miles along the top of the cliff to the location that the bridge was to be built. Homan had to wait a day for the wind to cooperate; it was a kite contest after all! However, on the second day, the winds were perfect and Homan’s kite went right up and flew high above the gorge.” The Kite that Bridged a River, by M. Robinson.

In last week’s post Give Light to the World by Spreading “The Fire”, I referred to the Holy Spirit as fire. In that same Scripture, Acts 2:2-4, the Holy Spirit is also referred to as wind.

That Holy Spirt can breathe life into dead bones and dead people, Ezekiel 37:4-6, 11-14. We are dry and dead like the bones in Ezekiel. We need His breath breathed into us.

We need the Holy Spirit to blow us to do the right things, to love our neighbors and to be the hands and feet of God.

When the wind of God blows, amazing things happen!


 [ct1]Against it

Give Light to the World by Spreading “The Fire”

You Can Choose What Fire That Will Be

Even if you’re like me and don’t watch the news, you’re most likely aware of the chaos going on. Buildings being burned and businesses being destroyed in protest of the man who died while being detained. Protesting of injustice is one of the foundational building blocks this country is built on.

In 1773 the American Colonists protested being taxed by the British Parliament’s taxation without representation. This protest was directed at the British company that was being allowed to sell tea without being taxed. The protesters didn’t burn the ships or destroy their neighbor’s business…they threw the tea into the harbor.

Even a small fire can light a dark path.

If you’ve ever used a lantern you know how much light a small flame can produce. A match, when lit will give light, but only for a short time. A large candle might burn for 10-12 hours. A fire in a fireplace will continue to burn as long as we keep putting wood on it. We have to be careful, even the small fire of a candle if not controlled, can burn a house down.

This past Sunday Christians celebrated Pentecost. This commemorates the Holy Spirit coming to the followers of Christ. In Acts 2:1-4 it is described as “…a noise like a strong wind, blowing from heaven and filling the whole house…something like flames of fire were separated and stood over each person…” Fire is used throughout the Bible as an example of light in the dark to help us see.

In Shep Jordan’s Monday Morning Moment this week, he shares the importance of Pentecost. That ‘Fire’ that came to Christ’s followers is still available to us today. We can tap into this power and use it to light our path as well as those around us.

For fire to burn it has to have fuel.

We can fuel our fires by reading the Bible, praying, through fellowship and worship. If we don’t fuel our fires they will go out. We need to keep those fires lit so that those around us can witness what light from the Holy Spirt looks like.

The song “This Little Light of Mine”, written in the 1920s by Harry Dixon Loes, explains it well. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Hide it under a bushel, no! I’m gonna let it shine. Don’t let Satan blow it out! I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine till Jesus comes! I’m gonna let it shine.

Fuel your fire with the Holy Spirit and let your light shine.