“BORN AND BORN AGAIN!”

“JESUS ANSWERED AND SAID TO HIM, ‘TRULY, TRULY, I SAY TO YOU, UNLESS ONE IS BORN AGAIN HE CANNOT SEE THE KINGDOM OF GOD.'” JOHN 3:3 NIV READ: JOHN 3:1-36 IF YOU FISH, YOU HAVE PROBABLY HEARD OF CRAPPIE (PRONOUNCED KROP-E’). MANY YEARS AGO, WHEN MY YOUNGEST SON WAS ABOUT 10, I TOOK HIM AND A NEIGHBOR BOY CRAPPIE FISHING IN SOUTH TEXAS. WE FOUND THE PERFECT SPOT AND STARTED LOADING OUR BOAT WITH CRAPPIE. I SPENT MOST OF MY TIME RIGGING THE BOYS’ LINES AND PUTTING FISH IN THE ICE CHEST. ALL AT ONCE, MY ROD DOUBLED OVER. I WAS ABLE TO REEL IN A CRAPPIE THAT WEIGHED JUST UNDER FOUR POUNDS. THIS WAS AN AMAZING FISH, SINCE MOST CRAPPIE CAUGHT RANGE FROM ONE TO TWO POUNDS. FROM A BASS BOAT ABOUT 100 FEET AWAY, A MAN YELLED IN A SOUTHERN DRAWL; “THAT’S A MOUNTIN’ CRAPPIE!”. I TOLD HIM I HAD HEARD OF BLACK CRAPPIE AND WHITE CRAPPIE, BUT NEVER OF ‘MOUNTAIN CRAPPIE’. AFTER SPITTING OUT A HUGE WAD OF CHEWING TOBACCO, HE YELLED BACK: “MOUNTIN’ CRAPPIE….YOU PUT IT ON A BOARD AND YOU MOUNT IT ON THE WALL!”. WHAT WE SAY IS NOT ALWAYS HEARD AS WHAT WE MEAN. WHAT WE HEAR IS NOT ALWAYS WHAT ANOTHER SAID. THERE WAS A CONVERSATION BETWEEN JESUS AND NICODEMUS OF BEING BORN AGAIN. NICODEMUS HAD A PROBLEM UNDERSTANDING WHAT JESUS WAS TELLING HIM. NICODEMUS WAS NOT ALONE. THESE VERSES ARE SOME OF THE MOST UNDERSTOOD VERSES BY THOSE WHO ARE NON-BELIEVERS. AS CONFUSING AS SOME WOULD BELIEVE, THESES VERSES ARE SOME OF THE EASIEST WORDS OF GOD’S WORDS TO UNDERSTAND....

“GOD SAID WHAT?”

“GOD SAID TO MOSES, ‘I AM WHO I AM. THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE TO SAY TO THE ISRAELITES: ‘I AM HAS SENT ME TO YOU.'” EXODUS 3:14 NIV READ: EXODUS 17: 1-6 AND NUMBERS 20:1-12 HAVE YOU EVER PRAYED FOR SOMETHING AND FELT YOU HEARD GOD, BUT STILL UNSURE OF WHAT GOD CLEARLY TOLD YOU? YOU ARE NOT ALONE. SOMETIMES, IT IS DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND GOD’S SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS. MANY TIMES GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS ARE SO SPECIFIC; THERE IS NO WAY WE COULD MESS IT UP. OTHER TIMES, WE CAN BE UNSURE OF GOD’S SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS AND NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME IN PRAYER FOR CLARITY. THEN, THERE ARE THE TIMES WE HEAR HIS ANSWERS AND HALFWAY THROUGH WE DECIDE WE KNOW IT ALL. THIS IS THE TIME WE NEED TO STOP. THIS IS THE TIME WE ARE PUTTING OURSELVES AND OUR OPINIONS EQUAL TO OR ABOVE GOD. MOSES WAS A SPECIAL MAN. GOD USED HIM TO FREE HIS PEOPLE AND THEN TO BIND THEM TOGETHER FOR FORTY YEARS IN THE DESERT. SOME SAY THEY WANDERED. GOD WAS USING THIS TIME TO BRING THEM CLOSER TO HIM. MOSES WAS THEIR LEADER AND TEACHER. MOSES WAS ALSO DISCIPLINED BY GOD. IN EXODUS 17, THE PEOPLE WENT TO MOSES COMPLAINING AND TELLING HIM THEIR MASSES NEEDED WATER. MOSES PRAYED TO GOD. FOLLOWING GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS, MOSES STRUCK THE ROCK AND WATER FLOWED FOR THE PEOPLE. MOSES FOLLOWED GOD’S SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS. DECADES LATER, THE PEOPLE ONCE AGAIN WENT TO MOSES WHEN THEY LACKED ENOUGH WATER. IN NUMBERS 20, MOSES AND AARON PRAYED. GOD TOLD MOSES TO ‘SPEAK’ TO THE ROCK IN FRONT OF THE...

“FIXER”

“COME TO ME, ALL WHO ARE WEARY AND HEAVY-LADEN, AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST. TAKE MY YOKE UPON UPON YOU AND LEARN FROM ME, FOR I AM GENTLE AND HUMBLE IN HEART, AND YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. FOR MY YOKE IS EASY AND MY BURDEN IS LIGHT.” MATTHEW 11: 28-30 NIV READ: MATTHEW 23: 11-24 ARE YOU A FIXER? DO OTHER PEOPLE’S PROBLEMS SEEM EASIER TO FIX THAN YOUR OWN? WHEN WE SEE THE PROBLEMS OF OTHERS, WE MUST BE OBEDIENT TO GOD. SOMETIMES OUR EFFORTS TO FIX ANOTHER’S PROBLEM IS A HELPING HAND, WHILE AT OTHER TIMES WE CAN BE INTERFERING. I AM REMINDED OF A LADY MANY YEARS AGO WHO WOULD RUN TO THE AID OF ANYONE WITH A PROBLEM. IN HINDSIGHT, HER EFFORTS WERE SELFISH. SHE ACTUALLY OFFERED LITTLE HELP, BUT ONLY GATHERED INFORMATION SHE USED TO ENFORCE HER GOSSIP. IN ORDER TO HELP SOMEONE ELSE, WE MUST START WITH PRAYER. BEFORE GOING TO THE PERSON IN TROUBLE, ASK GOD WHAT YOU ARE TO DO. THEN, TELL THE PERSON OF YOUR TIME IN PRAYER AND ‘ASK’ HOW YOU CAN BE OF HELP. IT MAY BE BEST FOR THEM AND YOU TO BE A COMFORTING EAR TO LISTEN. WHAT OTHERS NEED MOST ARE PRAYERS. THEY MAY ALSO NEED PHYSICAL HELP OR FINANCIAL HELP. OFFER TO HELP, BUT DON’T BECOME A BURDEN. LET THEM KNOW YOU ARE THERE BECAUSE YOU CARE. TAKE THE TIME TO PRAY WITH THEM. KEEP IN MIND; IT IS VERY DIFFICULT FOR MOST TO ASK FOR HELP AND STILL DIFFICULT FOR MANY TO ACCEPT HELP. IN THESE SITUATIONS, IT MAY...

“HOME ALONE”

“I CRY TO YOU LORD; I SAY, ‘YOU ARE MY REFUGE, MY PORTION IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING.'” PSALM 142: 5 NIV READ: PSALM 142: 1-7 SEVERAL YEARS AGO, WHAT WAS TO BECOME ONE OF THE MOST WATCHED MOVIES OF ALL TIMES DEBUTED. ‘HOME ALONE’ HAS BECOME A CLASSIC. WITH THE PREMISE OF A YOUNG BOY LEFT UNINTENTIONALLY AT HOME, THE LARGE FAMILY AND THEIR EXTENDED FAMILY MEMBERS WERE ON THEIR WAY TO EUROPE. THE COMEDY ENSUED WITH THE YOUNG BOY FENDING FOR HIMSELF AND FOILING THE EFFORTS OF TWO BUNGLING HOUSE BURGLARS. DAVID IN HIS EXILE WHILE ESCAPING SAUL FOUND HIMSELF ALL ALONE. WHILE HIDING IN CAVES, HIS THOUGHTS AT TIMES WERE OF HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS THAT SEEMINGLY HAD ABANDONED HIM. STILL, DAVID CALLED UPON THE LORD. AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER, WE HAVE ALL FELT ‘HOME ALONE’. LIFE CAN PUT US IN SITUATIONS WHERE IT SEEMS THERE IS NO ONE THERE FOR US AT THE MOMENT. WE MAY FEEL AS IF WE HAVE BEEN ABANDONED IN A CAVE. OF COURSE, THESE ARE FALSE FEARS. SATAN CAN PLANT THESE DOUBTS. SATAN WILL USE OUR FEARS TO TEAR US DOWN. GOD WILL TAKE AWAY OUR FEARS AND LIFT US UP. IT IS UP TO US TO TAKE OUR FEARS TO GOD AND TO DEPEND UPON HIS STRENGTH. YOU ARE NEVER ALONE. IF YOU HAVE ACCEPTED JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR, THE HOLY SPIRIT INDWELLS WITHIN YOU….GOD’S PROOF HE IS ALWAYS WITH YOU…EVEN WHEN YOU FEEL ABANDONED AND ‘HOME ALONE’. TODAY’S PRAYER: “LORD GOD, TAKE AWAY MY DOUBTS, FEARS AND INSECURITIES. HELP ME TO UNDERSTAND IN MY FEARS...

“MISSED THE BOAT!”

“JESUS ANSWERED, ‘I AM THE WAY AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.'” JOHN 14:6 NIV READ: JOHN 3: 1-18 OVER 50 YEARS AGO, BILL ANDERSON RECORDED A FUN SONG ABOUT WHY THERE ARE NO UNICORNS. THE SONG WAS A FICTIONAL ACCOUNT OF COURSE WITH LYRICS TAKING US BACK TO THE DAYS OF NOAH AND THE ARC. THE MELODY TELLS US HOW THE UNICORNS ‘MISSED THE BOAT’. THE SONG TELLS US OF NOAH FINISHING THE ARC AND HIS CHECKING TO BE SURE ALL THE ANIMALS WERE ACCOUNTED FOR…EXCEPT FOR THE UNICORNS. AS THE RAINS SET IN, NOAH SAW THE UNICORNS PLAYING IN THE WOODS. THEY WERE SO CAUGHT UP IN THE REFRESHING RAIN, THEY PAID NO ATTENTION TO NOAH’S PLEAS. THE UNICORNS ‘MISSED THE BOAT!”. SO, NOW YOU KNOW WHY WE DON’T HAVE UNICORNS ACCORDING TO MR. ANDERSON. THE UNICORNS SIMPLY ‘MISSED THE BOAT’. HOW ABOUT YOU? IF YOU HAD BEEN AT THE CLOSING OF THE DOORS OF THE RAMP, WOULD YOU HAVE MISSED THE BOAT? OF ALL THE INHABITANTS, GOD ALLOWED ONLY NOAH AND HIS FAMILY ON THE ARC. SCRIPTURES TELL US ONLY A PORTION OF US WILL FIND THE FAITH TO TRUST, BELIEVE AND ACCEPT JESUS AS OUR SAVIOR. ARE YOU ARRANGING YOUR LIFE TO MAKE PASSAGE ON GOD’S BOAT? AT ANY TIME, YOUR BOAT MAY BE LEAVING. WILL YOU ‘MISS THE BOAT”? JESUS GAVE YOU A PERSONAL INVITATION TO NOT ‘MISS THE BOAT’. JOHN 14:6 TELLS US IN JESUS’ OWN WORDS HE IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN. WE HAVE ONLY ONE CHANCE TO GET TO HEAVEN. WE...