Billy's Blog
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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. 




August 15, 2018, 3:33 PM

Your Identify Revealed


We reveal identity a lot of ways. We tell someone our name. We show our driver's license. We wear a name tag. God reveals your identity a little differently. He reveals your identity in his Word. Many of you might not know your God given identity, because you've bought into the world's identity of you. 

I would guess that as a child you were given lots of identities that you never liked. Four eyes, chunky, dumb, slow, stupid, too skinny, too short, too tall...there's almost no escaping it. But this is not who you are. 

The media and adveritising tells us all kinds of things about ourselves. We are not pretty or handsome enough. We don't make enough money. Our clothes are not stylish enough. Our vehicle is too old. Our kids aren't involved in the right stuff. We don't have the right job, etc, etc. 

Here is what God says about you all through the book 1 Peter. You are REDEEMED. Your ransom has been paid. You are set free from the penalty of your sin by Jesus Christ. This is amazing news. 

You are CHOSEN. You are not an accident, you are not an oops, you are chosen by God. You are chosen to do amazing things for God. God did not get stuck with you. 

You are BRAVE. You have endured some scary stuff...cancer, car wrecks, deaths in your family, financial trouble, divorce. You have stood face to face with some tough stuff and you have battled and won. 

You are GIFTED. I have a friend who was reading a book and it was talking about understanding your strengths. It listed about 34 different strengths and and it said that with your top five strengths in a row that only about 200 people in the world had that same order of strengths. In other words...you are uniquely gifted by God. 

You are HUMBLE. You are willing to serve. You are willing to get your hands dirty and humble yourself to serve other people. You are humble enough to admit when you are wrong and try to make it right. 

Your identity is revealed in God's Word. Stop looking at magazines that spew out worldly advice or the media that tells you who you should be. Trying to fit into the world's box is like trying to hit a moving target. You'll keep missing and you'll get so frustrated you'll just give up. Find your identity with God. He made you. He knows you. Listen to Him. 


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