Billy's Blog
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September 17, 2015, 8:57 AM

You Gotta Keep Livin

"Mortals, born of woman, are few of days and full of trouble." These are the words of Job. Of course, most people know of the life of Job. He suffered greatly. But is this really the essence of life...full of trouble?

Well, there is trouble, no doubt about that. Recently in our community and church we've seen trouble. We have seen heartache and loss. I know that as you read this you could share some trouble in your life. Being a Christian certainly does not shield you from the trouble that life on this planet shares with us. In 1 Corinthians chapter four Paul shares some perspective. We all certainly need this. I visited with someone this morning at a local convenience store and I asked them how they were doing. They said they could share some troubles with me, but so many have it worse that it felt pretty lame to even share their troubles. It's called, perspective. Read these three verses from 1 Corinthians chapter four:

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

1. We do not lose heart.

I had to do a funeral for a young man who had passed away in a vehicle accident. I was visiting with his grandpa about two weeks later. He asked, "What do I do now?" I really had no good answer but to say, "You just keep living." We can't give up. It's just not an option. So we push on. We don't lose heart, because we know we have much more to live for. 

2. Our troubles are light and momentary.

I know some of your troubles may not seem very light and momentary,but when it's compared to eternity it's just a blip on the radar. I heard someone say that they could get through anything as long as they knew it was temporary. Another famous little line is, "This too shall pass." This ongoing struggle that seems never ending will at one time be far behind you in your rearview mirror. Hang in there. 

3. We fix our eyes on the unseen.

The definition of faith found in Hebrews 11:1 is basically is, I will believe in the unseen as much as I believe in the seen. Just as much as you believe in the things around you that you can touch, hear, smell and taste, you believe in the unseen. This is what sustains is. We know there is something greater to live for. We know that there is hope in this life and beyond this life. 

Paul says what we see is temporary, but what we don't see is eternal. Everything that you can see will go away, even people. Our bodies are called tents in Scripture, referring to the temporary status of our physical bodies. All that we can see with the natural eye will go away, so don't put your faith in those things. Even when life around you is chaotic and crazy and can have peace because you believe in something greater than this life. 

The Bible says that our hope in God is our anchor...our rock. Hang on to it. Do not lose heart, you gotta keep livin!

September 8, 2015, 11:51 AM

What do you really believe?

This morning I was working on a couple of sermons for a youth event I'm preaching at this weekend. I was at McDonald's enjoying their free wifi and a Diet Coke. Where I was sitting there was a TV playing. The show that was on was The View, a commentary show hosted by four ladies...I think. I'm not a fan of the show but it was on and every few minutes my brain would listen to what they were saying. I was either disgusted by their comments or totally disagreed with most of them. But this was not what really bothered me. People that TV shows are paid to talk and be controversial. If they didn't cause any controversy then we wouldn't pay any attention to them. What bothered me was the crowd. There some opposing ideas and they applauded for both of them. Ok, I know, it's a TV show, right? There is probably an applause sign that tells them when to clap. But isn't this a sad commentary on our culture? 

I wonder if sometimes that people live as if there is an applause sign on all the time telling them when to like something. Do we have any idea what we believe? Are we able to seek truth, make informed decisions and like or dislike something based upon our own findings with our own sense of logic, morality and decency? 

The apostles were inspired by God to teach the things they taught as they went out starting churches and establishing them and encouraging them. The apostle Paul was speaking to the Berean people and something is said of them that shows the kind of people they were. In Acts 17:11 it says about them that they were of "more noble character", because "they received the message with great eagerness and examine the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

Did you notice that? It wasn't good enough for them to just hear Paul speak to them, they searched the written Scriptures to see if his message lined up with what was true. Because of this they were called, noble. 

We have so many talking heads in our lives today. Our lives are bombarded by information. We have Facebook, Youtube, several TV news channels, blogs, newspaper, Twitter...the list goes on. As we hear all of this information we must use truth to sort it out. We must be able to distinguish what is truth and what is not. Don't just believe what you hear. Dig into it. Does this match your experience in life? Does this sound logical? Does it stay consistent with the Bible? Does it match up with other information? 

Don't settle for just allowing others to tell you what they believe is right. Seek truth. Seek to know more. Seek to understand the will of God. The Bible tells us that if we seek we shall find, if we ask we'll get the answer, if we knock the door will open. Don't give up on seeking answers...the truth will come out. 

August 31, 2015, 5:39 PM

Something to hold on to

Weather is something that fascinates a lot of people. I remember when I was a kid the only weather report was the five minute report you got on the nightly news. They might do two segments of a teaser and one was a full report...but that was it. You might hear the forecoast on the radio, but that was it. Now we have two, count that, TWO, channels on TV that are 100% committed to just weather. Two channels that all they do is weather. Wow! We have weather radios, weather apps, and all kinds of places you can get weather information. 

You may think this is total overkill unless you are about to be in a major storm. If you have a tornado that could be coming your way you will be glad to have some weather information. If you a hurricane could possibly flatten your house in the next 2-3 days you'll be glad that Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel is willing to hang onto a light pole to give the lastest tracking of the hurricane. All of us want to be ready when the storm comes through. 

But what about life? Are you prepared for the storms of life? 

As a minister I've watched many people endure some pretty serious storms. I've watched families go through things that have broken my heart. The difference between people that make it through the storms and people that break down is whether or not they have God to hold onto. 

Hebrews 6:19 says that our hope in God is our anchor. What does an anchor do? An achor holds you in place when everything around is moving. You might be out fishing in some rough waters, but with your anchor firmly in place you aren't going anywhere. The same is true of God. God never changes. He never moves. God cannot be shaken or broken down. It doesn't matter what happens around God, God remains the same...unchanged, unmoved, unwavering. 

Life is constantly changing. Storms are constantly coming. We face cancer, job loss, loss of loved ones, relationships are broken, we go bankrupt, and we get hurt. What happens to us when things around us are falling apart? It all depends on if have something solid to hold onto. Do you? I really hope so. If you need help determining this answer, please contact me. You can find me on Facebook, you can email me, there are several ways to contact me. I'd be glad to help you. 

August 24, 2015, 9:12 PM

In View Of God's Mercy

When I was growing up I had a spectacular view, but never realized it. On a clear day I could see four mountain peaks...Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier and Mount Jefferson. This was something that I grew up seeing, it was no big deal. When I was nineteen I moved to southeast Iowa to go to Bible college. The tallest "peak in Iowa is Hawkeye a whopping 1,670 feet. The tallest peak I could see was Mount Rainier, with a peak of 14,411 feet. Wow! If you have ever flown into Seattle you've flown right over it, and if you've ever flown into Portland, Oregon you've got a birds-eye view of Mount Hood. They are quite amazing. I didn't realize what I had right outside my window. 

Romans 12:1 says that in "view of God's mercy" we should offer our lives to God. What does this mean?

It means that when we think of the mercy and grace of God it should move us to give our lives to him...ALL our life. There's a lot of reasons why people want to become Christians. Maybe they are scared of Hell and don't want to go there. Maybe they've heard how awesome Heaven will be and they don't want to miss it. Maybe they've heard of the good life you have on earth as a Christian and they want to experience it. But the greatest motivation for serving God is a simple expression of gratitude for his grace. 

In other words, when we get a full view of his mercy we want to give back. 

When I was a kid my family was going through some difficult times. I was too young to remember what exactly was going on, but we were struggling. All I remember was coming home and seeing a whole bunch of groceries by our front door. I rememeber my mom started crying, and as a young boy I thought, "Mom, why are you crying. We've got a whole front step full of FREE FOOD!" My mom was so overcome by someone's act of kindness that she just started crying. I remember thinking, and still think this, that I wanted to do this for someone someday. God has given me opportunities and I've gladly taken them. You know why? 

I was a recepient of kindness and I wanted to give it back when I could. I had a view of mercy up close and personal and I want to extend that to others. I knew how good it felt and I wanted to pass it on.

As you live your life think about the kindness and mercy God has extended to you. Does he deserve some gratitude? Does he deserve some praise? Does he deserve an attitude from you of thankfulness? I think the answer is pretty easy. 

August 12, 2015, 12:21 PM

The Complexity of Life

I think most of us wish our life could be a bit more simple. We go from one thing to another with so much to do in between. We struggle to keep up with our schedules. We struggle to keep everything running smoothly. We think we have a good amount of money saved and then the transmission in our vehicle goes out. We think we can finally start being more active and we have more health issues. We think that we are about to get that promotion and we get a new boss. 

Nothing just seems to go as planned. 

As humans we want life to be simpler and easier, but as Christians we can see that there's a larger plan. 

I know that Abraham never had plans of starting over at age 75. 

I know that Job never planned to lose everything and have to start over with nothing. 

I'm sure that Paul never planned on being a preacher of the Gospel when he was persecuting Christians. 

We can think we have stuff figured out and planned out and have simplified our lives...but here comes a new challenge, a new crisis, a new complication to our simple plan. How do we handle this?

I could write for hours on this subject, but it comes down to one main solution...we learn to trust God more than we do ourselves. Life will continue to throw us curveballs. Life will continue to mess up our plans which seemed so perfect. Life will continue to rain on our parade. But if we have total trust in God we can make it through. If we simply trust in ourselves we will continually struggled with fear and doubt and anxiety. 

These kinds of blogs or posts come from what I'm going through. I want my life to just be simpler. I want fewer complications, fewer snags, and more easy sailing. I want to make a plan, I want it to come together smoothly, and I want to be in control of everything. I want to feel like I've got this. 

But I don't. I don't have this. There's very little I can control. If I continue to trust in myself I will spiral down into a big mushy ball of anxiety, sucking my thumb in the corner in the fetal position. I continue need to learn to trust God. He's got a bigger picture. He's trying to teach me something. It all seems very complicated to me, but He's got this. 

The complexity of life will always puzzle us, but having faith and trust in God sure simplifies it a bit. 

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