Billy's Blog
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September 18, 2018, 11:38 AM

You Deserve To Be Happy and Other Lies


Facebook has been a wonderful tool for me personally. I've used it to connect and stay connected with friends that I no longer live close to. It's a great way to keep up with family who are spread around the country. It's a been a great tool for promoting activities and ministries of the church. But...it's also a tool for lies. 

One of the greatest lies that I see in comments is, "you deserve to be happy." It sounds good on the surface. There's certainly no sin in being happy. I think it's what we all want. The problem with this pursuit of happiness is that sometimes it comes at the cost of morality or giving up our values. You can do whatever you want and you will find people who will tell you, "you deserve to be happy." 

Paul was a mentor of Timothy and he writes to him in his second letter about preaching the Word. He reminds Timothy that you need to preach the word, in season and out of season, when the truth is popular and when it's not. Paul gives Timothy this warning. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4

Paul warns Timothy that people will try to surround themselves with people who tell them what they want to hear. Jesus told us that the "truth will set you free", but the truth also sometimes hurts and is NOT what we want to hear. It's simply easier to believe that we deserve to be happy and do whatever we desire to make that happen. 

Here's the problem with this...the happiness doesn't last. 

Years ago I had a friend who was thinking about leaving his wife. He just wasn't happy. I know that there were people in his life who were telling him that he deserved to be happy. I know that the woman he was talking to was telling him this for sure. He sought me out to tell me what was going on. I told him that he was believing a lie. First of all, she was a lie. He saw her at work every day and she was all prettied up for the day. She had her hair done, her clothes were perfect, her teeth were brushed, everything was perfect. He saw his wife every morning before all of this. The bed head, the stinky breath...but this other woman was no different. AND this man was married to a very godly woman. This woman was a not a godly woman and her character was not very good. He was believing a lie that leaving his wife would make him happy. He would soon discover the truth about this woman that she was not nearly as perfect as he thought. Thank the Lord my friend had enough character and desire to do what's right that he stopped all of this nonsense. 

We've believed lies about what brings happiness. A new relationship, a new job, a new house, a new car, a new look...the problem with these is that they are all exterior fixes. Happiness and joy are inside jobs. If you are not content with your current situation you might find yourself quickly discontent in your next situation. 

I had a young man tell me a few days ago that he was never happier than when he was in church. He's not sure why he ever left. He sought out other sources of happiness outside of God and found them to be empty. It's what you'll find too if you search for happiness without God. 

I'll leave you with this today. Solomon was a king...a very wealthy man. He could have anyone or anything he wanted. So he pursued this. Music, wine, land, servants, food, laughter, houses...he got it all. After he obtained all of this he said this, A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?  Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

Without God you won't find happiness no matter what your Facebook friends say you deserve. 




September 11, 2018, 9:54 AM

Make The Most Of It


September 11, 2001 is a day I'll never forget and if you were old enough to be aware of what happened that day you'll never forget it either. As we watched those towers fall it was a sickening feeling in our stomachs. We knew that this was no accident. We knew that our country was under attack. 

I sit here and wonder what those people on those planes were thinking when they realized their planes had been hijacked. Did they have a chance to think about their lives and how they'd spent them? We know that some were able to make calls to their families and tell them goodbye. They had all kinds of plans that day as they thought about landing, but they didn't get to live them out. Did they feel that they'd made the most of their lives? 

I hope that none of us ever has moments like this on a plane, but all of us are living on borrowed time. The Bible says that our lives are like mists and vapors...our lives appear and then, poof, they're gone. I don't want to sound morbid or depressing, but it's just reality. Since we know this we have an opportunity to make the most of our lives. 

In 1 Peter 4:7 Peter writes, "The end of all things is near. Therefore...". Peter is telling the people that life is short. We don't know when our lives will end or when Jesus will come back, but we should live like we believe this. So here are a few things that Peter says we should do. 

"Be alert and sober"

In other words, be ready. Be ready for opportunities, have your life ready, be ready to act, don't just talk about doing life differently, do it. Make the most of your chances because you never know if you'll get another one. Carpe Diem...seize the day! 

"Use whatever gift you have received to serve others" 

Our whole mission on earth is to do two things...love God and love people. You could pretty easily exchange the word love for serve...serve God and serve people. Every day we have opportunities to serve people well. It could be as simple as holding a door open for someone, or stopping to help someone push their vehicle off the road, or just doing your job well. Do the best you can to serve people with the time you have. 

"Love each other deeply" 

Doesn't this kind of bring it all together? I know my life is short so the best thing I can do is love other people deeply. I don't know how much time I'll have with my wife so I should love her deeply. I am very blessed to have three children I need to make the most of my time with them and love them deeply. I don't know how much time I'll get with my friends so I should make the most of it. 

I love the next part of this phrase...love covers a multitude of sins. It really does. When we love people we are living to overlook and get past a lot of things. Life is too short for grudges, petty fights, and just not getting along. When we truly love people we are willing to overlook and get past a lot of things that may annoy us or bother us. We are even willing to quickly forgive wrongs and hurts, because we love that person and want a relationship with them. 

Every day is a gift from God. I pray that all of us use them as wisely as possible. 




September 4, 2018, 7:54 PM

Called To Be Brave


There are a lot of things that people think make them brave but they really don't. When I was in high school bravery was tested by your willingness to drink alcohol. I always found it a bit humorous that bravery was tested by your willingness to consume a beverage that at the time tasted like kerosene to me. I was not sure what kerosene tasted like but I just imagined it tasted a lot like alcohol. How does ingesting this stuff make me brave or how does refusing to do this make me a coward? 

The answer is this is not real bravery. Alcohol can and will give you a false sense of bravery and many a men have made the mistake of feeling ten feet tall and bulletproof. 

Real bravery is about a belief that something is worth living for. 

Take the recently deseased Senator John McCain. He refused to be released from a Vietnamese prison camp, because they would not everyone go. This is bravery. He chose more punishment, because he believed in something great than just himself. 

Corrie Ten Boom was imprisoned by the Nazis for hiding Jews in her closet in her home. She risked all kinds of unspeakable things, because she believed in something. This is bravery. 

Jim Elliot was a missionary who went to the Auca people of Ecuador. Elliot and three other missionaries made friendly contact but were later speared to death. That's bravery but there's more. Jim's widow, Elisabeth, now left alone with a 10 month old daughter was able to win to Christ the same people who killed her husband. That's bravery because you believe in something greater than you. 

The spirit God gave us is not one of fear. 

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power,love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

If you have a spirit of fear or worry it's not coming from God. Satan loves it when the people of God are scared. Satan loved it when the people of Israel were released from slavery only to ask Moses to let them go back to slavery in Egypt when things got tough. 

Satan loved it when Elijah hid in a cave fearful of what those chasing him might do...even after an incredible victory. 

Satan loved it when Judas was too scared to do what's right, and then too scared to make it right and killed himself. 

Satan loves it when we are so blinded by fear of the past, present or future that we cannot see God's hand holding us up. 

There are reasons to be fearful. We've all faced things that tempt us to cower. We all face things that seem overwhelming. We get bad test results back from the doctor. We don't get the job we were praying for. We have a spouse walk out on us. We once again see our savings account drained by difficulties. 

But fear is a choice. We can choose to be fearful which just leads to worry, anxiety and a loss of faith. OR we can choose bravery. We can choose to believe in God. 

When I was a child and my dad was driving I had no fear. It didn't matter if were in the middle of a blizzard or being chased by a tornado if my dad was driving I had no fear. I knew that he could handle whatever came his way. This is why God says we need the faith of a child. We can be brave because of the one in whom we believe. My bravery is not founded in me. I don't have what it takes to be brave on my own. But I know someone who I can find hope and courage in. 

I pray that we can be examples to a lost world of what it means to be brave in the face of the storm. 




August 27, 2018, 9:35 AM

Chosen


I have a good friend who is adopted. You would have never known it, because he looked just like his parents. When I found out he was adopted I was shocked. I once asked him how he felt about being adopted. He told me that my parents were stuck with me, but his parents chose him. Touche! What a great attitude and it's true. 

Did you know that when you became a Christian you also were adopted. You were adopted by God.

 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." Romans 8:15

Your relationship with God is just like an adopted child's. When you are adopted you are legally an heir now. You have every right that a natural child does. This is really amazing when you think about it. God chose me to do this. I have a relationship with him, because he gave me this opportunity through Jesus. So what does this mean for you and me? 

God is not our boss...he is our father. 

Notice what Paul writes..."The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again..." The idea is that God is not a menacing boss looking over your shoulder ready to strike when you've messed up. God is our father...our daddy. When Paul writes the word, Abba, that's what it means. It's the daddy version of father. God wants us to succeed. He wants the best for us. He is our biggest fan. 

You have a unique purpose. 

Since I'm created by God I have a unique purpose for my life. I didn't just crawl out of a swamp and get to this planet totally on accident with no real purpose or meaning. I am created by intelligent design and I have a reason for being here. When I read God's Word I'm reminded of my purpose. When I hear a song that moves me I'm reminded that I'm here for a reason. When I have a victory at work I'm reminded that I'm here for a purpose. 

I have worth. 

Remember lining up to be chosen for dodgeball or some other game on the playground? It's a really fun experience if you're the one that gets picked in the first few, but as the count goes down it gets scary. And if you you're the last person picked you're not even really picked. The team that got you just got you because you were there. It makes you feel pretty worthless. 

When I know that I'm chosen by God I know that I have worth. God considered me worthy of his own Son, and it doesn't stop there. He continually pours blessings into my life. Think about this one thing God did for you...he gave you taste buds. I know people that have lost their sense of taste for a time. They don't die. They continue to eat, but there's no joy in it. God gave me a sense of taste. I can enjoy a juicy, tender steak. I can enjoy a warm piece of chocolate cake. I can know to spit out kale. It's just wonderful! 

You are chosen. You are not an accident. You are not an afterthought. You are not the last kid picked who wasn't even really picked. You have purpose. You have a relationship with God. You have worth. Don't ever forget these truths. This week you will be tempted by Satan to go down a negative road and forget all of this. Refuse it. The Bible tells us that if we resist the devil he will flee. Believe what God says and be obedient to it. 

 




August 21, 2018, 8:46 AM

Paid Forward...Forever


Several years ago there was this Christian radio station in Minneapolis that was doing a promotion encouraging people to pay for someone else in line. It might be the drive thru coffee shop, or McDonalds or whatever. It didn't matter just pay for the person behind you. It's a pretty cool experience when you pull forward to pay for your stuff and the person in front of already took care of it. It feels a little odd, too. You really want to pay it back but you can't. Usually you have no idea who that person was. 

The word, redeemed, means that your price has been paid. It's as if a ranson was out for you and someone paid your ransom, but you cannot pay it back. This is what Jesus did for you on the cross. Under the old law something had to die to pay for sins. They used animals and the blood of animals. You did not want to pay this price. God sent Jesus down here to pay the price for you. He took your place so that you could have eternal life. 

As I sit here and just stop and think about this I am convicted that I take this for granted. I don't realize how great of a gift this is. I know a young lady who has a liver from someone. She had a liver disease as a young girl and she was given a liver from someone who had donated their organs. This has made a huge impact on this young lady's life. The obvious impact is that she is able to keep on living a healthy life and go on and pursue her dreams. But she also has a never ending gratitude to this person and their family. It's something you just don't take for granted. Someone had to die so that you can live. 

The same is true of what Jesus did for us. He died so that you can live. He paid it forward forever. 

So how do we pay it forward? I can't do the same thing for someone, but I can share this good news with other people. I can let people know that this kind of gift is available to them, too. This is what Jesus asks us to do. He wants more people to know that this gift is for them. So go out there and pay it forward. 


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