Our Afflictions

I have refined you, though not as silver;
    I have tested you in the furnace of affliction
. Isaiah 48:10

Raise your hand if you like afflictions

Nobody. Right? Well guess what? Afflictions are good for us. So are trials and tribulations and struggles. Before you click off my blog and tell me I’m crazy. . .

. . . God can use everything that happens to us, and everything we experience, for our good.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

How many things? For whose good?

God doesn’t allow anything in our lives to go for naught. God uses afflictions, however painful, however much we suffer in the midst of them for our good.

Here’s how young David regarded his own afflictions in Psalm 119.

“Before I was afflicted I went astray,
    but now I obey your word.
68 You are good, and what you do is good;
    teach me your decrees.” Again in verses

It was good for me to be afflicted
    so that I might learn your decrees.
72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me
    than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

God used afflictions in David’s life to teach David God’s laws and precepts and His word.

It’s never pleasant to walk through affliction or suffering in our lives. Some trials are so painful we think they’ll never end.

But we know this for sure because the bible tells us so. Whatever we go through, no matter how devastating it might be, God is right there with us every step of the way. He will never let us be consumed, or destroyed and in the storm, or when the storm is passed, God will teach us more about His ways and about himself.

Losing it all

What do you do, where do you go, how do you find solace and comfort when you lose something or someone you really love?

continue reading

What if. . .

. . .the stock market crashed?

. . . your 401k lost ALL its value?

. . .grocery stores ran out of food and closed?

‘ ‘ ‘they cancelled Dancing With The Stars?

. . .the Covid 19 virus didn’t end?

. . .anarchists shut down the government?

. . .every member of your family, except you, died in a tragic accident?

. . .your business collapsed and you had to declare bankruptcy?

. . .the Russians invaded the U.S.?

. . .two/thirds of the U.S. population died in a single day from a nuclear poison gas bomb?

. . .some or all of the things above came true?

What would you do?

Is any of the stuff above so far-fetched?

The main thing

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing!

If you’re anything like me lots of times we get distracted by things we consider real important. For instance every Saturday in the Fall you’ll find me parked in front of the TV from noon till well into the night watching college football ( the SEC and of course Alabama). For several hours I slip into an activity that becomes the main thing in my life.

>Don’t we all have things and people in our lives we consider to be very important. Some people or thing may even hold the place of the main thing? What or whom is the most important thing (the main thing) in your life? What makes that the main thing? What about that person or thing is so important to you that you choose to consider it the main thing in your life? As the main thing how does it benefit you as the main thing in your life?

Well, what is the main thing we are supposed to keep as the main thing in our life?

Jesus has the answer. He taught us what we’re to do to keep the main thing the main thing. In Matthew 22 a Jewish self- expert in the law asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Maybe we should all take some time to review our priorities, especially if our main thing is different than the main thing Jesus teaches us is the real main thing above.

Spiritual Blesstngs

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3

We have a universally accepted funny saying here in the South. It goes like this: “You can say anything you want, good or bad, about anyone and it will be alright as long as you follow it up by saying, “Bless his/her heart.”

Any time we see “bless” or “blessing” in the bible it refers to saying or doing something nice for someone. In Ephesians 1:3 the words “‘blessed be the God and Father” encourage us to say something nice or good about God our Father. Isn’t that what we should be doing as we praise Him and adore Him and pray to Him? When we praise Him and worship Him and sing to Him we are blessing Him and He is honored and glorified by our blessing Him.

And in turn, God blesses us with every spiritual blessing He has to offer in heaven all made available to us through Christ Jesus. Not when we get to heaven but right now today. Every blessing. NOW! Peace, wisdom, life, forgiveness, love, protection, mercy all the time, access to His throne, hope, eternity–We could go on and on and never get to the end of the list.

Stop what you’re doing right now and give Almighty God praise and gratitude for blessing us all with every spiritual blessing we have in Christ.

Spiritual blessings

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3

We have a universally accepted funny saying here in the South. It goes like this: “You can say anything you want, good or bad, about anyone and it will be alright as long as you follow it up by saying, “Bless his/her heart.”

Any time we see “bless” or “blessing” in the bible it refers to saying or doing something nice for someone. In Ephesians 1:3 the words “‘blessed be the God and Father” encourage us to say something nice or good about God our Father. Isn’t that what we should be doing as we praise Him and adore Him and pray to Him? When we praise Him and worship Him and sing to Him we are blessing Him and He is honored and glorified by our blessing Him.

And in turn, God blesses us with every spiritual blessing He has to offer in heaven all made available to us through Christ Jesus. Not when we get to heaven but right now today. Every blessing. NOW! Peace, wisdom, life, forgiveness, love, protection, mercy all the time, access to His throne, hope, eternity–We could go on and on and never get to the end of the list.

Stop what you’re doing right now and give Almighty God praise and gratitude for blessing us all with every spiritual blessing we have in Christ.

#blessings, #christ, #heaven

Idols

My wife had one of her keen observations the other day during one our frequent discussions about the pandemic and the state of our nation. “What if God is working in this pandemic to tear down our idols?”

“What a thought,” I said. I suppose that may be what’s going on,” I said

Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold. Exodus 20:23.

What will happen next? Only God knows. What if God is just getting started? What if the virus continues to spread? What if the pandemic continues into next year? Are you hanging onto any idols? What if God removes them? Are you willing to give it/them up? What if you’ve got an idol you don’t think is one? Are you willing to recognize it as an idol and give it up? Or have God take it from you?

WORDPRESS GURUS RAISE YOUR

I need help embedding videos into a post. For instance if the picture is of a choir singing an anthem I want readers to be able to click on the picture and hear the choir performing the anthem.
Can one of you WP gurus help me out? Please don’t respond herwould really appreciate the help.e. Instead please email me at stevesaw@gmail.com.
I would really appreciate the help.
Steve Sawyer

Without love

The Doobie Brothers recorded a song in 1973 called “Long Train Runnin”. One of the lyrics in the song is “Without Love, where would you be right now?” Think of all the things, places and people in our lives to which we ascribe love.

That lyric begs the question, “Without love where would we be right now?

Imagine for a moment marriages without love. Think of all the people places and things to which we ascribe some form of what we believe is love.

I love my wife with compassionate, unconditional devoted love. I love my children. I love to listen to Gospel music. I love rock and roll. I love fried chicken and corn on the cob.

I love pizza, I love chicken salad. I love to watch college football, I love our church family, I love chocolate. I could go and on about the things in my life to which I attach the emotion of love.

It is a worldly misconception that love means different things to different people.

ALL love of every kind, for any person, place or thing comes from God in the person of Jesus Christ. There is no other source. There is no other definition or meaning.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

#believe, #gift, #jesus, #kinds-of-love, #love, #perfect-gift, #pizza, #source

THE way

Jesus proclaimed in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes t0 the Father except through me.”

He didn’t say, “I am a way.” He didn’t say, “I am the best way.” He didn’t say, Why don’t you try my way and see if you like it”

Heo said, “I am THE way. Period. Do not pass go and collect $two hundred dollars. He is the ONLY way.

I know folks, I have family members and friends who say there’s several ways to get to heaven. They can’t explain what they are, but they are sure there are some.

I have a close relative who asks me,”What about Buddhists and Muslims and harry krishnans” This is a popular secular defense against hearing or believing the Gospel or admitting that Jesus is the only way. When I hear this defense I respond with a question, “What about them?” They change the subject. They don’t offer any defense for their supposition.

The bottom line is: Jesus said it and He is truth. So I’m going to go with Jesus. Some day soon it will all be over. And we’ll find out whether the world was right and there are lots of ways to get to heaven; or Jesus is right and, like He says He is the one and only way to spend eternity with him and the Father in heaven.

I’ll choose Jesus every time. How about you?

#christ, #heaven, #love