“I Just Don’t Get it…Why Lord?”

“Why do bad things happen to good people?”

“Why did this person have to die?”

There are many questions that we sometimes ask; especially in times when we thought things should have been different.  We just don’t understand why things happen the way that they do in this life…that being said, we must look to the scripture for answers.

One of the best examples that we can find is the story of Job.  Job was a man who served God…he was a man that caught the devil’s attention and one that Satan wanted to cause to fall away.  Let me start by reminding you, if Satan is challenging your faith, you need to stay strong, you wouldn’t be on his radar if you were already living a life for him.

So why do bad things happen to God’s people?  Because Satan wants to try and make anything happen that will cause us to question our faith.  He took away Job’s family, his home, and all his belongings, but Job stayed strong through the testing and fire.  Are you staying strong in your trials today?  Scripture tells us in James 1:2-4:

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

The testing that comes from Satan will produce a sturdy faith that will stand firm no matter what storm we face if we will keep our focus on God.  Job stood firm, chose to continue following God, and when he became weak and questioned God, we see that God answered him, reminding him of who He (God) is and when all was said and done, Job was doubly blessed by the trial he faced.

Remember:

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:26-28

God will help you through, don’t let these trials tear you down, but let them become a blessing; both for you and for someone else.

Be All You Can Be

One of the most well-known advertising slogans that I can think of is the slogan that the US Army used for years, from 1980 to 2001, and I feel is one we can apply to our lives as Christians. Slogans are easy ways to get a message across and make sure that others get your message out.

As Christians, I feel that we can embrace this mentality when it comes to walking with Christ and becoming what He calls us to be. I urge you to take a close look at your life and examine if you are being all you can be when it comes to serving the Lord, sharing the Gospel, and making disciples. If not, let me offer a solution so that we are not AWOL (absent, without leave) when it comes to spiritual matters.

In order for us to embrace this mentality we must realize that our lives are not about us. We have to be aware of our responsibility to deny our own desires, take up the cross, and follow Christ. If we fail to do so we will find ourselves struggling to make sense of it all, we will find out that only through complete sacrifice can we fully embrace who we are called to be in Christ.

Becoming all we can be takes acknowledgement that we are not in control of our lives. It takes sacrifice on our part. It takes our realization that we are children of God, created to serve Him with lives of complete surrender, fully devoted to the plan that God lays out for us in His word.

Romans 12:1-3 gives us insight to this type of lifestyle:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:1-3 KJV)

This life is a life full of blessings and rewards, if only we will embrace it in full assurance of the faith, knowing that God’s promises ring true throughout our lives and generations. The truth is that we serve the same God that created Adam and Eve, saved Noah and his family from the flood, and thought enough of His children to give up all the glory and splendor of heaven to become man, walk this earth, and died on a cross for the sins of each one.

If God thought that highly of you, is it too much to ask that we give up everything for Him? The truth is, it is the only way we will ever get to where we can be everything we were created to be. Part of fully embracing our potential is denying our carnal desires, our worldly tendencies, and devoting our lives to the One that gave us life and desires to live in us.

Examine your heart today and make sure that not only are you making room for God, but that you are allowing Him to work through the Holy Spirit to make you all you can be. Becoming all you can be begins with letting go of all you think you are and taking hold of all God has intended for you. Take hold of His promise today!

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord , thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)

What Makes a Father?

I know that many reading this either knew my dad, Jim Greene, or knew of him.  One of the most amazing and unique things that I can remember about my dad was how well he was known just simply by his voice.  We could not go anywhere it seemed where he didn’t know someone or wasn’t recognized, mostly by his voice.

We could go into a restaurant and someone would hear him talk and come over and introduce themselves.  It is with this in mind that I want to thank everyone for being a part of his life.  He loved Avery County and the residents of the County.  This was his home.  I knew what Avery County meant to dad, and when he went on to his Heavenly home, we found out what Jim Greene meant to Avery County.

One of the most important things that my dad taught me during his time here is that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is key to a happy life.  This is a lesson that I feel needs to be shared, because a good father will make sure that his children know who Jesus is and what He did on that cross for their sins.

I would encourage each of you out there who are fathers to take heart and make a vow to raise your children in a good, Christian home, showing them right from wrong, showing them what a good prayer life looks like, and live what you claim to live.

One of the major factors in my dad’s example to me comes in seeing that not only did he preach the Word on Sunday mornings as the Pastor at Minneapolis Christian Church, he lived the life 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  My dad knew that worship was a lifestyle, and he made sure that we knew it as well.  My dad lived the example at home, behind closed doors, away from the public eye, just as much as he professed it each day on Glory1130.

The greatest legacy that he left with me is the knowledge of Jesus Christ, something I hope to pass on as I grow older.  I will make it a point to pass it along to my children when I have them, if the Lord wills.  I want to continue the legacy of showing Christ to others, just as my dad did.

I would encourage each of you who are fathers to do the same.  Do not let another day go by without coming to know Christ for yourself, and then, pass it along to your children so that they can know the saving grace of God that came through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The best thing that a father can do is give his life to his Heavenly Father, and raise his kids in a home that glorifies God daily.

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

What Would You Do

I think one of the funniest commercials I have seen has to be the older Klondike ice cream commercials that asks the question of: “What would you do for a Klondike bar?”

But that has gotten me thinking this week about that question…only in a different light.

I have started thinking about the question of, “What would you do for Jesus?”

I think that is a question that many of us need to ask ourselves when it comes to our walk as Christians. Too many times we seem to want to ask the question of what would Jesus do for me? That question has already been answered by looking at Scripture and realizing that Jesus died for your sins as he did all who will trust and believe.

Get involved in the church and seize each chance you get to share the Gospel with someone so that they can come to know the hope that you have that can only come through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and getting to know who it is that saved you from the sinful nature that can dominate your life.

Today we have to make sure that we are not to eager to be what this world wants us to be. We have to be on our guard for the ways of the world and allow the Lord to do his work in us.

Open the Word and let the Lord tell you what He wants for you today. He is always speaking to us through His Word but it is up to us to make sure that we are looking for it. Pray today that God will reveal something to you each time you read and put your full trust in Him.

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” (Psalm 37:3-5 ESV)

Letter to the Graduates: Remember Your Chains

As we approach that time of year again, a song that I remember hearing growing up continues to echo in my mind.  The song is “Remember Your Chains” by Steven Curtis Chapman.  This song has absolutely nothing to do with graduation, but as it has played over and over in my head I realize that it can be applied to each of our lives as we look to turn the pages to a new chapter in our lives.

The song deals with remembering the prison of sin prior to our salvation.  Remembering the chains of bondage that held you down and kept you from moving forward, but also remembering that those chains are now gone…you have freedom. The hook of the song says:

“Remember your chains, remember the prison that once held you before the love of God broke through; remember the place you were without grace, when you see where you are now, remember your chains and remember your chains are gone.”

What a great message for us today no matter what we pursue in our lives…remember where you came from and remember that you are no longer that person.  You are no longer held by the chains of your past…you have freedom.  The message goes even deeper in the second verse of the song with the lyrics:

“There’s no one more thankful to sit at the table than the one who best remembers hunger’s pain; and no heart loves greater than the one that is able to recall the time when all it knew was shame. The wings of forgiveness can take us to heights never seen, but the wisest ones, they will never lose sight of where they were set free…love set them free”

This message is the one I want to convey to the graduates, but also to us all as we pursue a life of happiness and contentment…No one is more thankful than one who works to achieve a goal.  Letting go of our past and moving forward in forgiveness for others, but also for ourselves…God forgives, and our past is our past…mistakes we may have made only make us more thankful for the future and the things we now have.  Life may not always go our way, but little experiences will always help us to see the beauty of the moment we are in.

Today, as you look to the future, remember the past.  Remember where you were set free…remember the work that you had to put in to accomplish this moment…the long hours, the long roads, the lessons learned and the love…the love of others, your family and friends.  I urge you today, do not lose sight of all the work that got you to where you are today…and go with God…

Allow God to work in your life today, submit to his ways and allow Him to lead your steps. Seek him for clarity in the path that you feel led to take, and at the end of the day…Remember your chains and remember that your chains are gone.  Nothing is holding you back from becoming who God wants you to be, the chains are broken and the world is awaiting.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge HIM and HE will direct your steps.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Wanted: A Few Good Men (and Women)

I think back to the early 1900s and what is likely the most famous poster to ever be printed in the United States.  The poster depicts “Uncle Sam” stating, “I want You for the U.S. Army”.

Uncle Sam became somewhat of shorthand for the United States in the early 1800s when someone coined the phrase while loading barrels of food that were stamped with “U.S.”  The joke was that it stood for Uncle Sam, and it became a nickname for the Nation’s Government.

In 1917 when the country was getting ready to enter World War I, James Montgomery Flagg depicted ‘Uncle Sam’ as an older, serious looking gentleman, wearing clothing that resembles the American Flag.  Flagg was well known as a propaganda artist, with the Uncle Sam poster being his most famous work.

From 1917-1918 more than four million posters were printed for use to try and entice men into military service.  But the focal point for me comes in the statement, “I want you for the US Army”.

Truth is, the government needed help with the military; and I envision the Church of today being in the same boat as the Government was in the early 1900s; in need of a few good men and women to serve.

God can use each of us to bring others to Him.  That means you and I have a purpose to go out and serve, much like the men and women in the military.  The Armed Services are in place to help protect our country and provide well-being.  The Church is in place to do the same when it comes to the spiritual well-being of those around us, this is where God, “Wants you for His Army!”

Are you willing to give yourself for service?  Are you open to reporting for duty?

It may take some sacrifice on your part, but the sacrifice that was made for you on the Cross of Calvary is more than worth the time that we are asked to put in to furthering the Kingdom of God.

God is speaking to each of us today, asking us to join His army and fight the battle against evil and sin.  He is asking each of us not only to join the Army, but to be recruiters as well.  We are the poster for the Kingdom of God; we are the bearers of the message; and the message: “I Want You for God’s Army!”

Be the example, live the example, and bring others to know the love the God has for them.  Today is your day to shine!  Start recruiting today!

Life…Filtered

Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Instagram…

All of these apps for our smartphones have become a way for folks to put aside the reality of life and almost put on an alternate reality in many cases…

Before you get mad, let me explain. It all has to do with filters.

Each of these has a way to alter reality and make it more appealing to our audience…we can change the lighting of a landscape, we can remove blemishes from our faces and add a dog face if we so desire.

What it comes down to is that we can take what we feel is ugly and turn it into something that we think people will be drawn to…something that they will talk about…but are we being real? Or simply just trying to mask the ugliness of life?

We tend to try and do this with sin as well…we see the ugliness in our lives and we try to cover it up by “filtering” it.  We try to cover it with a story of how it’s ok for us to do this or that because “God wants us to be happy,” or “God didn’t design us to be boring.” But the truth is, he does want us to be happy, but not by covering up the world and hiding who we really are.  In fact, the best filter that we can put on is Christ.

Jesus is like a permanent Snapchat beauty filter. He removes the blemishes from our lives, takes away the dark and the sin and leaves us beautiful before God.  He has smoothed out our wrinkles and made us look brand new because of his sacrifice.  Stop trying to find things to cover your sin and allow the blood of Christ to wash them away.

Live life unfiltered by the world so that the savior can work with the beauty that is the real you…allow him to be your filter….there is nothing more beautiful than when others can see Christ in you.