“A BAD ODOR”

“THIS IS HOW WE KNOW WHO THE CHILDREN OF GOD ARE AND WHO THE CHILDREN OF THE DEVIL ARE: ANYONE WHO DOES NOT WHAT IS RIGHT IS NOT GOD’S CHILD, NOR IS ANYONE WHO DOES NOT LOVE THEIR BROTHER AND SISTER.” 1 JOHN 3:10 NIV READ: 1 JOHN 3:1-10 AS I WALKED INTO THE FAMILY ROOM, I WAS STRUCK BY AN OVERWHELMING ODOR OF DAMP ASHES IN THE FIREPLACE. IT HAD BEEN A COUPLE OF DAYS SINCE THE LAST FIRE AND I DID NOT REMEMBER TO CLOSE THE FLUE. WITH SEVERAL DAYS OF LIGHT RAIN, THE ASHES HAD ABSORBED THE MOISTURE. NOW, THE ODOR COMING FROM THE ASHES WAS MORE THAN UNPLEASANT. OUR LIVES ARE OFTEN MUCH LIKE THE ASHES. WE ABSORB THINGS AROUND US. WE TAKE ON THE GOOD THINGS AND THE NOT SO GOOD THINGS. THE GOOD AND BAD WE TAKE ON FROM OUR ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCES THE GOOD AND BAD WE DISPLAY TO OTHERS. WHEN WE ABSORB THE BAD AND NOT SO GOOD THINGS, WE CAN ALSO GIVE OFF AN ODOR. OUR ODOR MIGHT BE RECEIVED BY OTHERS AS A BAD ATTITUDE, ANGER, UNRIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT, SELF PITY, AGGRESSIVENESS OR EVEN UNCARING ATTITUDES. WE CAN TAKE ON THE ‘BAD ODORS’ OF THE EVILS OF THIS WORLD IF WE ARE NOT STRONG IN GOD’S WORD. HOW DO WE AVOID TAKING ON AND GIVING OFF THESE BAD ODORS? WE CAN AVOID THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM TO START WITH. SIN IS LIKE THAT. AT FIRST, IT DOES NOT SEEM ALL THAT BAD. BUT, THE MORE WE ALLOW THE SIN INTO OUR LIVES, THE MORE WE BECOME LIKE THAT SIN. IT...

“DOUBTING THOMAS”

“THEN JESUS TOLD HIM, ‘BECAUSE YOU HAVE SEEN ME, YOU HAVE BELIEVED; BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN AND YET HAVE BELIEVED.'” JOHN 20:29 NIV READ: JOHN 20: 19-30 JUST DAYS AGO, AN ESTIMATED TWO BILLION CHRISTIANS AROUND THE WORLD GATHERED TOGETHER TO WORSHIP A RISEN LORD. OF THESE BILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS, THERE ARE DIFFERENCES IN THEIR FAITH DOCTRINES. YET, ALL BELIEVE AND KNOW JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD SENT TO TAKE ON THEIR SINS AND OF HIS RISING FROM THE GRAVE. THOMAS WAS NOT WITH THE OTHER DISCIPLES WHEN JESUS APPEARED TO THEM. WHEN THE OTHERS TOLD THOMAS OF THE RISEN LORD’S VISIT, THOMAS WAS NOT CONVINCED. THOMAS STATED HE WOULD BELIEVE ONLY IF SAW THE SPIKE HOLES IN JESUS’ HANDS. HOW MANY OF THE OTHER DISCIPLES WOULD HAVE DOUBTED JESUS’ APPEARANCE IF THEY HAD NOT BEEN PRESENT? WOULD YOU HAVE BELIEVED IN JESUS’ APPEARANCE, RISEN FROM THE GRAVE, IF YOU HAD BEEN A DISCIPLE THAT WAS NOT PRESENT? IT IS EASY TO SAY YOU WOULD HAVE BELIEVED, YET THOMAS PROVED THE LIKELIHOOD OF DOUBT. BECAUSE OF HIS DOUBTS THE PHRASE OF BEING A ‘DOUBTING THOMAS’ IS COMMON IN OUR LANGUAGE. IF YOU HAD BEEN THERE IN THOMAS’ PLACE, WOULD THE PHRASE BE KNOWN TODAY AS A ‘DOUBTING BILL’ OR A ‘DOUBTING KATHY’? THERE ARE STILL FIVE BILLION ON THIS EARTH RESISTING JESUS BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE THE PROOF JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD WHO WAS RAISED FROM THE GRAVE. WHAT THEY LACK IS FAITH. THERE IS A DIFFERENT FAITH. THE FAITH YOU HAVE IN YOURSELF, KNOWING YOU CAN BRING OTHERS TO KNOW JESUS AS...

“HE IS RISEN . . . WHAT ABOUT TOMORROW?”

“HE IS NOT HERE; HE HAS RISEN, JUST AS HE SAID. COME AND SEE THE PLACE WHERE HE LAY.” MATTHEW 28:6 NIV READ: MATTHEW 28: 1-10 EASTER SUNDAY SERVICES IN THE UNITED STATES ARE REPORTED TO BE THE MOST ATTENDED…EVEN MORE THAN CHRISTMAS. ONE LOCAL MEGA CHURCH HAS SO MANY ATTENDING SERVICE THEY START THE SERVICES ON THURSDAY BEFORE EASTER TO ACCOMMODATE THE CROWDS…A TOTAL OF 8 SERVICES OVER 4 DAYS! SMALL CHURCHES WHICH NORMALLY HAVE ONE SERVICE EXPAND THEIR SCHEDULE TO ACCOMMODATE THE CROWDS. TODAY IS THE DAY OF OUR RISEN LORD. WHAT ABOUT TOMORROW? THE STORY OF JESUS’ SHAM TRIAL, HIS BEATINGS, HIS CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION GIVE US A GLIMPSE OF ALL HE DID FOR US. BELIEVERS ACROSS THE WORLD REJOICE IN THE RISEN LORD. WHILE IT IS GREAT TO SEE THE MULTITUDES IN CHURCH, THOSE WHO ARE ATTENDING SERVICES ONLY A FEW TIMES A YEAR ARE ROBBING THEMSELVES. GOD’S MESSAGE IS CONSTANT, NOT JUST A FEW TIMES A YEAR. THE WONDER OF FELLOWSHIP AND WORSHIP WITH OTHERS BENEFITS EACH OF US. WE NEED TO DO WORSHIP HIM OFTEN, NOT JUST ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR. IF YOU ARE NOT A MEMBER OF A LOCAL CHURCH, FIND A CHURCH TODAY TO PRAISE OUR RISEN LORD WITH OTHER BELIEVERS. IT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN SLEEPING IN, HAVING A LATE BREAKFAST, MOWING THE YARD, AN EASTER EGG HUNT, PICNIC OR FAMILY BBQ. OUR RISEN LORD SHOULD BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN OUR LIVES. EASTER IS THE DAY OF OUR SAVIOR’S RISING. ONE OF MY FAVORITE SERMONS IS TITLED ‘STAND UP FOR JESUS’. DURING ALL THE EVILS JESUS...

“LIFE IS A PAIN!”

“BUT THEY KEPT SHOUTING, ‘CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!'” LUKE 23:21 NIV READ: LUKE 23: 1-47 LIFE IS A PAIN. IT IS FULL OF CHALLENGES, DEPRESSIONS AND DISAPPOINTMENTS. WE SUFFER FROM ILLNESSES, BROKEN FAMILIES, DRUG AND ALCOHOL ABUSE, UNEMPLOYMENT, DEATH OF LOVED ONES AND MORE. WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THESE THINGS? GET OVER IT! GET JESUS! INSTEAD OF MOANING AND GROANING, COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS. MAKE A LIST OF ALL THE BAD THINGS IN THIS LIFE AND THEN MAKE A LIST OF ALL THE GOOD THINGS. BE SURE TO START YOUR ‘GOOD THINGS’ LIST WITH JESUS LOVES YOU. BE FAIR WITH YOUR ASSESSMENTS. AS YOU WRITE YOUR LIST, KEEP IN MIND ALL THE LITTLE THINGS AS WELL AS THE MAJOR SITUATIONS. BE MINDFUL OF HOW MUCH BETTER OFF YOU ARE THAN OTHERS MAY BE. LAST YEAR, I SENT A BIBLE TO A MAN IN A REFUGEE CAMP. UPON RECEIVING IT, HE WROTE A NOTE OF THANKS. IN IT, HE TOLD ME OF HAVING A BIBLE BUT HE GAVE IT TO SOMEONE WHO NEEDED IT MORE THAN HE DID. WHAT A CHRISTIAN MODEL TO HUMBLE EACH OF US. A BIBLE BEING ONE OF HIS ONLY PHYSICAL POSSESSIONS AND HE GIVES IT AWAY….GIVES IT TO SOMEONE WHO NEEDED IT MORE THAN HE DID. WOULD YOU GIVE AWAY YOUR BIBLE TO SOMEONE WHO NEEDED IT MORE THAN YOU? JESUS SUFFERED TO GIVE US HIS LIFE….A LIFE HE GAVE UP SO THAT WE MAY LIVE. GOD UNDERSTOOD WE NEEDED A REDEEMED SALVATION AND SENT HIS SON. JESUS ENDURED THE PAIN OF THIS LIFE SO THAT WE CAN LIVE PAIN FREE FOR ETERNITY. JESUS ALLOWED...