In the beginning, God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” (Gen. 1:26) In Romans 3:23 it tells us: “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
We all have default settings. Let me share a few thoughts on this. Default settings on a computer are the hardware or software controls preset by the manufacturer. Incorrect default settings can result in strange looking documents, messed up applications, and bogged down computers. Have you ever unthinkingly hit “yes” when your computer asked you something, and then realized you’d made a mistake? The result can be chaos.
We have personal default settings as well. The default setting, we have about an issue includes the position from which we operate, the mind-set that organizes our thinking, and the context we provide ourselves for dealing with problems and challenges. These are determined by two realities: we’re made in His image, and we’ve been infected by sin. Spiritually, we’ve all benefited from and struggled with some of our default positions. Some are great: Jesus is Lord; He is trustworthy; He works everything together for good. These are healthy default positions that bless us and others.
Some defaults can hurt God, others, and also ourselves. Sinning, being wounded, or living in error can create default settings that make us react unrighteously, hear others incorrectly, and come to inaccurate conclusions. When we act on those conclusions, we can get into a world of hurt.
So, here is the Good News. The good news is that, like computers, our default settings can be changed by our choices and the blood of the Lamb. Today, let's realize that many of our natural reactions are based in wounds that God wants to heal and in wrong thinking that He is working to correct.
In closing, you have heard people say, “I am too old to change,” or “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but I say this: “Lord, thank You for loving us despite our shortcomings in our lives. We are still created in Your image. You can heal us and correct our way of thinking if we will listen and heed your ways. We thank you for this and all other blessings. Amen.”
John 4:35 “Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”
I recently read an article describing the effect of looking down at a 4.7-6.5 inch cell phone screen. The result of constantly looking down at a cell phone screen results in a condition called “text neck” which can be quite painful.
The article states, “Text neck is a modern age term coined by US chiropractor Dr. DL Fishman to describe repeated stress injury and pain in the neck resulting from excessive watching or texting on handheld devices over a sustained period of time. It is also known as Turtle Neck posture or anterior head syndrome.”
Looking down at our phones keep us from looking out and being aware of our surroundings and the people that fill our world. It also affects the psychological development of children, important relationships, and our driving. The message is clear, WE NEED TO LOOK UP because lives could be won or lost as a result!!
Well, Jesus wasn’t talking about cell phone use in our text but make no mistake about it, He was definitely telling His disciples to LOOK UP. They weren’t aware of the people who were all around them that needed salvation. So, the instructions to His disciples were LOOK UP and LOOK OUT because it’s harvest time now and not later.
Jesus would give the same message to us today because it is harvest time. So church, LOOK UP!!! “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.” - Proverbs 11:30
It is important to look at things from God’s point of view. “Of the sons of Issachar who had the understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” (1 Chronicles 12:32) In the words of Paul, “Brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself as examples for you. I did this so that you could learn from us the meaning of the words, ‘Follow what the Scriptures say.’ Then you will not brag about one person and criticize another .” (1Corinthians 4:6) The sons of Issachar are famous for understanding what was going on around them. Ignorance, for them, was not bliss; they wanted wisdom. Ignorance is nor bliss for us either, especially as those called to be faithful citizens of His kingdom.
In this present world of turmoil, trials, and trouble on every hand, we have the opportunity to teach and offer hope through a different lens. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:15, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.“ The Christian life is a different life. It runs completely contrary to the way the world generally thinks and operates. Rather than glorifying God, the world rejects God, and His standards. Furthermore, the world has no hope, no remedy for evil. Society cannot transform a sinner into a saint. And despite all of its feigned optimism and confidence in itself, the world is limited, finite, and spiraling downward.
The world needs hope, and because the world is bewildered by those of us who do have hope we must be prepared to provide explanations for our confidence and joy. Why do we treat Christ so reverently? Why do we have hope in the face of such despair? Christians are confusing to this world! Simply put, this world is not our home and our peace comes from the inside out because of the saving grace of our Lord. We trust in the Lord’s unfailing love (Psalm 52:8(b). We cast our cares on the Lord and he sustains us and never lets the righteous fail. (Psalm 55:22) Oh what joy, peace, and hope that provides!
In closing, are we prepared to live a life that stands out in our fallen world? Are we ready to answer its questions?
We live in a world that often breeds anxiety and fear. When we come face to face with tough times, we may fall prey to discouragement, doubt, or depression. Our Father in Heaven has other plans. Our God has promised that we may lead lives of abundance, not anxiety. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” God's word instructs us to “be anxious for nothing” (Philippians 4:6). So the question is, how can we put our fears to rest? We can put our fears to rest by taking them to God and leaving them there.
As you face the challenges of daily life, you may find yourself becoming anxious, troubled, discouraged, or fearful. If so, you must turn every one of your concerns over to our Heavenly Father. The same God who created the universe will comfort us if we ask Him so let us ask Him, trust Him, and then watch in amazement as your anxieties melt into the warmth of His loving hands.
Worry is a complete waste of energy. It solves nothing and will not resolve the anxieties on your mind.
David states in Psalm 22:19, “But You O Lord, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to Help Me!” Psalm 22 immediately reveals that David was in trouble. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Have you asked our God this question as David did? David boldly complained that God was not hearing his prayers. Have any of you felt this way doing this pandemic? Maybe your circumstance does not look good right now. In times of crisis, however, what others are attempting is not as important as what God is doing. When we focus on God even in the worst of predicaments, we always discover that He is near and that His presence is our deliverance.
Right now, we need to focus on God’s presence right where we are. Due to the pandemic, a lot of us are restricted to home because of health, age, medical condition doubt, fear, loneliness, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, or broken relationships. We must watch His work, His perfect plan in His perfect way in His perfect time. God is in control and let us nor forgot this! Amen!
The apostle Paul communicates in several passages the important truth that Christ only has ONE BODY (4 times in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 2 times in Romans 12:4-5, Ephesians 1:23, 4:4). His message is so radically different than what we see in Christianity today.
It was important for Paul to write this wonderful truth because he received it directly from God. Christ said He would build His church (Matthew 16:18) and that He will be the head of it (Ephesians 1:22-23 according to Paul) because God has given Him all authority (Matthew 28:18-20).
Jesus gave His blood for the church (Acts 20:28)! He willingly sacrificed Himself for His precious body. It is His blood that runs through the Fulshear church of Christ. As blood bought members of His body we must be active in doing His will and live in harmony with His word and people. Reaching out in love with HIs hands and walking courageously with His feet are essential to being the body of Christ. The body considers others first by living selfless and giving much. We must be active participants working and functioning as a healthy body.
There is only ONE BODY and there are many members that form is body. If you are not a part of His body then you can become a part by….BELIEVING IN HIM (John 8:24), REPENTING OF YOUR SINS (Luke 13:3&5), CONFESSING HIM AS LORD (Matthew 10:32-33), and by being BAPTIZED IN CHRIST FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS (Mark 16:16).
Everyone is welcome to be a part of the ONE BODY of Christ which is His church. Every part of His body is encouraged to be an active participant for the overall health and growth of the body. Everyone is also needed to help build a great church in Fulshear ....so let’s get busy working together!!
“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.” “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.“ -- 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 & Ephesians 1:22-23