Perfect Faith

Posted in Uncategorized by PCraig on February 27, 2010

How many of us want to say we have faith, but when it comes to believing for things that seem near to impossible, we waiver?  In today’s reading of the One Year Bible, Jesus encounters a demon possessed boy and his father.  When the father comes to Jesus and asks Him to help “if he can”, Jesus says, “IF I can.”  In other words, “I’d like to see a little more faith than that!”  The man then asks Jesus to help him with his unbelief.

Perhaps this is where some of you find yourselves today.  You want to believe that Jesus can do anything, that he can restor your marriage, reach your children, or heal your body, but you still deal with doubt.  It’s hard for you to just trust God completely to accomplish what seems impossible in the natural. 

The good news that the passage in Mark 9 brings to us, is that Jesus is not put off by our doubts.  As a matter of fact, Jesus continues the conversation with this father and evidently helps him with his unbelief.  The miracle happens in spite of the man’s doubts and lack of perfect faith. 

I don’t know what you might be wanting God to do in your life or the lives of those around you, but it won’t require a perfect faith to make it happen.  As seen in this story, it’s all about coming to Jesus with a simple faith in a perfect Savior who has more than enough power to do what needs to be done.

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Sing a Good Tune

Posted in Uncategorized by PCraig on February 26, 2010

Did you know what the cure is for discouragement and sadness?  In today’s reading of the One Year Bible, it declares the remedy for sorrow is putting your hope in the Lord and praising Him! 

It’s difficult to be depressed and sad when you’re praising the Lord.  Go ahead, try it.  What happens is that you begin to praise your way right out of feeling sorry for yourself.  You start counting your blessings and thinking about how awesome and wonderful our God truly is.  When you do that, your soul gets lifted up and before long your problems begin to shrink in the light of the vastness of an almighty Heavenly Father who loves you more than you can comprehend.

So, what’s it going to be for you today?  You can either sit around singing, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.”  Or, you can choose to sing, “How great is our God, sing with me, how great is our God!”  Try it, it worked for David, it works for me, and I bet it will work for you!

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Distractions

Posted in Uncategorized by PCraig on February 25, 2010

All of us have known people that got off to a good start, but somewhere along the journey they got off the path and ended up in a place they never wanted to be.  What causes this to happen?  What influence gets us to stop following the best path and go after a dead end street? 

God knows what causes us to get sidetracked, lose focus and trade a life headed for good things for a life filled with regret.  Over and over He warns us of this danger, and in today’s reading of the One Year Bible it’s found in Leviticus 18.  It’s our attention.  Whatever gets our attention gets our life, because that is the direction we move.

In 1982 the direction of my life radically changed when I saw a girl that captured my attention.  I thought I had gone to her church for a job interview for a youth pastor position, but once I saw her, I wasn’t as concerned about that anymore.  That girl became my wife, but my point is that whatever grabs our attention changes our direction.  Oh, and I got the job also! 🙂

God tells His people in Leviticus, “You are going into this new land, with new cultures and you must not do as they do!”  In other words, don’t get distracted by others around you and begin to say, “Maybe I’m missing out on something and should try what they’re doing.”  Later we see the cost of doing this as the people of Israel, like many of us, decide to take a detour on the road to success. 

Already, you can probably think of past exits that you have taken on life’s journey that has led to regret and sorrow.  What or who is trying to grab your attention right now?  Follow God’s advice and don’t do what others do that are on a dead end path.  Instead, make a new resolve to keep more focused on the path of principles that are proven to end in success.

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Inside or Outside

Posted in Uncategorized by PCraig on February 24, 2010

We spend so much time fixing up the outside of our lives when it is the inside that needs the most attention.  Jesus said in Mark 7 that religious people go around worrying over their appearance and what they do in front of people instead of being concerned about their hearts.

How much time do you spend each day on the outside vs. the inside?  Which one has the greater ability for evil or good?  For a list of what can come out of a heart that is unattended, read Mark 7:20-23.

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Why Is That In There?

Posted in Uncategorized by PCraig on February 23, 2010

In reading today’s portion of the One Year Bible from Leviticus 15 – do you ever think, “Why did you put that in there?”  Even though it is far from my favorite portion of Scripture, a couple things strike me from the passage. 

One is that God is really into details.  I mean you can’t read all these little particulars that are in this text without thinking that God is a specific God.  What that lets me know is that nothing gets past Him.  He knows every little thing that is taking place, even when I don’t know if He is.

Another thing I see in this passage is that God is concerned about my health and well-being.  But, He doesn’t say that He is going to take care of all those things without involving me.  In other words, I have to maintain my body and take care of it in order to live a good life.  I can’t just eat what I want, drink what I want, and live how I want and then pray and believe for God to take care of me. 

Sure, reading Leviticus can seem a little boring or strange, but keep in mind that God is writing to an ancient civilization that needed help in regard to proper diet and hygiene.  So, when reading portions like this ask yourself, “What do I need to take away from this passage?”  Is it that God is a God of detail and is fully tuned into my life even more than I realize?  Or, is it that God isn’t going to help me lose weight and get in good health if I’m not willing to push away from the table and do some push ups instead?

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Life’s Too Short

Posted in Uncategorized by PCraig on February 22, 2010

Life is short no matter how long we live.  If there is something the Bible repeats over and over again it is this theme of the brevity of life.  Ask yourself, “If I had only six months to live, what would I do?”  Tell someone you love them?  Deal with an undisciplined area of your life?  Share Jesus with someone? 

David talks about the speed of life in today’s reading of the One Year Bible in Psalm 39.  He offers a prayer for the Lord to show him how to number his days.  David realized that amassing riches and being busy spinning our wheels makes no difference in light of eternity. 

So, think about your life and how it’s going – any changes needed?  If your life was over today, would you have something left undone?  Life’s too short to not live it to the full! 

“Lord, teach us to count our days and make our days count!”

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Who Will You Offend?

Posted in Uncategorized by PCraig on February 22, 2010

Basically, each of us have to decide what audience we are going to cater our lives.  Jesus decided that He was going to set out to please His Heavenly Father and not worry about the critics.  That may sound easy on paper, but how many of us think about what others will say if we start getting real serious about our faith?  Or, what if they label you a fanatic or question how God could use somebody like you?

Jesus did incredible miracles in many places, but the place He had the most difficulty ministering to was His hometown.  The Bible says in Mark 6 (today’s One Year Bible portion) that people in His hometown said, “He’s only a carpenter.  He’s no better than we are – just an average person like us.”  They were offended that others could be impressed by Jesus and desire to follow Him.  They rejected Him because He was one of their peers.

You have to decide who are you going to offend, those around you who are content with mediocrity, or your Heavenly Father who has so much more for your life?  Which have you chosen?

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Stepping Out

Posted in Uncategorized by PCraig on February 20, 2010

Ever feel like God couldn’t use you like He could use someone else?  Moses gave that same excuse to God, and God told him that, “It’s not about you Moses, it’s about ME.”  You see when God uses the smartest, sharpest, most beautiful person, everyone thinks it was them.  But, when God uses those that are below the cream of the crop, everyone says, “Now, that had to be God!”  And that way God gets ALL the glory.

When Jesus picked the 12 disciples, most of them were unlearned, ignorant fisherman.  They weren’t experts in theology or much anything else other than fish.  But Jesus said, “It’s not about you, it’s about me turning you into fishers of men if you come follow me.” 

Are you willing to follow Him to do something you’ve never done before?  Will you step out and get involved in ministry in His church in a way that is beyond yourself?  Do you love Him enough to obey His call to follow Him and feed His sheep?  It may seem like a big commitment at the beginning, but that’s before you allow God to do His thing in your life.

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Staying Faithful

Posted in Uncategorized by PCraig on February 19, 2010

There is so much to be said about staying faithful.  Too many in our culture look for the “quick fix” or the “speedy remedy”, while many of the most important things take time.  For example, character is developed over time.  Also, it takes some bad days as well as good ones to form it. 

Some people want to start tithing on Sunday and get a promotion on Monday, but it just doesn’t work that way.  It’s been almost 90 days since we presented the 90 day challenge of tithing at Crossroads.  I don’t know how many have actually stuck with it for this whole time, but I know for those who have, there has had to be some positive change.  It may not show up in your checkbook as of yet, but it probably shows up in your character, your self esteem and your relationship with God. 

Truth is, if we can do something for 90 days, we ought to be able to do it for longer.  Not for the purpose of getting something back from God (hasn’t He already given you more than you deserve?), but for the purpose of furthering His kingdom on the earth.  Of course He has promised to give back many times over what you give, but He didn’t say when and He didn’t say how.  I just know in my personal life, you can’t out-give God.  How about you?

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Stretch Yourself

Posted in Uncategorized by PCraig on February 18, 2010

I’ve decided to stretch myself and do something I’ve never done before and that is sign up for a coaching experience.  I remember hearing how even Michael Jordan had a personal coach and trainer to help take him to a higher level.  So, I guess if Jordan felt like he needed a personal coach to improve, who am I to think I don’t need one. 

Today begins my year-long journey of conference calls, homework, reading and personal meetings with my new coach and I’m so excited.  He’s a pastor of a rapidly growing church in New York and I’m anxious to see how God is going to us him to spur new growth in my life.  A recent book title said, “What got you here, won’t get you there.”  The premise of the book is that you have to go beyond yourself to get to the next level.

When’s the last time you stretched yourself?  Can you recall a time when you stepped out to take on a new challenge and grew tremendously as a result?  What’s it going to be for you this year, same old – same old?  I dare you to change and stretch yourself to a whole new level.  You have nothing to lose for trying and everything to gain from succeeding.

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