Monday, April 18, 2011

Who Is He?

Good morning!  I hope your week is off to a great start.

Yesterday was the annual observance of Palm Sunday.  In the original account from scripture we find that many people came to see Jesus that day for a variety of reasons.  Some were curious, as they had heard all of the talk about this man named Jesus.   Others were there with an agenda, hoping that Jesus would become the political leader who would remove them from Roman governance.  Others who came had no idea who Jesus was and still others came hoping to find fault with him.

Unfortunately many people in all world today are represented by this crowd.  Seeing Jesus not for who He truly is, but instead trying to make him who they want him to be.   The reality of Jesus is this:

John 1:1 (NASB)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

If Jesus is not who the Bible says He is....then our faith is in vain.   If Jesus was just a good man, a teacher, a martyr the his work on the cross would to atoning and complete.   It is the reality of Jesus that makes our relationship to him, such a powerful thing.   It also means that when we try to shape him to our own way of thinking, we diminish the role in our lives that is rightfully his.

This week take some time to ponder the reality of who Jesus truly is and what his death, burial and resurrection ultimately mean to you.

Until next Monday, may God's richest blessings be yours this week.


Monday, January 24, 2011

He Wasn't Persuasive

Good morning!  I hope you had a great weekend.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (NASB)
1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

This morning I wanted to spend a few moments considering these words written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth.  They give us a wonderful picture of not only what made Paul's ministry so effective, but they also challenge us to consider how we conduct ourselves.   Paul was a highly trained Pharisee, schooled in the law and traditions of his faith.  It would have been easy for Paul to use intellectual arguments and reasoning as he went about his ministry, since he had the training to do so.   Paul instead chose to focus on nothing other than Jesus Christ.   In doing so, the power of the Holy Spirit was able to work freely through him.   It was this demonstration of power that was so life changing to so many.

Today I want to challenge you to examine your own life.  Have you committed yourself to forgetting all that you know for the sake of only knowing Jesus.  When we begin to make this adjustment in our life that we see the power and presence of God begin to work through us and all around us.   In our interactions with others, they may not remember the words that we spoke, but they know that what was said was powerful.   This is the beauty of our relationship with Jesus.  When we let go of the reins, He begins to do things in and through us that we could never imagine otherwise.

Until next Monday, may God's richest blessings be yours this week.


Monday, January 17, 2011

To The Extent It Depends On You

Today in the U.S. we are observing a national holiday commemorating the life and work of the late Dr. Martin Luther King.   This day has been set aside to remember his work towards the goal of racial equality in our country.
This brought the following scripture to my mind today:

Romans 12:18 (NASB)
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

Peace is something we all search after, but sometimes peace seems difficult to find.   In reality, the process of peace begins with us.  To whatever degree we can influence the situation, we ought to be proactive in that direction.  We cannot control the views, opinions and prejudices of others, but we can control those things in our lives.   Often times our willingness to lay down our biases is the very catalyst that brings about resolution to the tension we've been experiencing.

Today I encourage you to examine the places in your life in which there is a lack of peace in your relationship with someone else.  Ask the Lord to show you the ways that you can change those things that are within your control to help foster an atmosphere of peace.

Until next Monday, may God's richest blessings be yours this week.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Surrounded on Every Side

Good morning.  I hope you had a great weekend.

2 Chronicles 32:1, 9-15 (NASB)
1 After these acts of faithfulness Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and besieged the fortified cities, and thought to break into them for himself.

9 After this Sennacherib king of Assyria sent his servants to Jerusalem while he was besieging Lachish with all his forces with him, against Hezekiah king of Judah and against all Judah who were at Jerusalem, saying, 10 "Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, 'On what are you trusting that you are remaining in Jerusalem under siege ? 11 'Is not Hezekiah misleading you to give yourselves over to die by hunger and by thirst, saying, "The LORD our God will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria "? 12 'Has not the same Hezekiah taken away His high places and His altars, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, "You shall worship before one altar, and on it you shall burn incense "? 13 'Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of the lands ? Were the gods of the nations of the lands able at all to deliver their land from my hand ? 14 'Who was there among all the gods of those nations which my fathers utterly destroyed who could deliver his people out of my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you from my hand ? 15 'Now therefore, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you like this, and do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people from my hand or from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you from my hand ?'"

There are times in our lives when we seem to to be surrounded on all side by an enemy that is dead set on our destruction.  This enemy takes on many different forms including:  Financial distress, sickness and interpersonal conflict to name a few.  As these things press in on us they seem to taunt our faith, calling us to doubt and fear.  This was the tactic used by Sennacherib as he and his army pressed in upon King Hezekiah and the people of Judah.  

When we are confronted with these types of challenges, we have two choices.  We can either give in to our fear or we can press hard into the Lord.  In the case of King Hezekiah, he chose the latter and in doing so he witnessed the power of God working on His behalf.

2 Chronicles 32:20-22 (NASB)
20 But King Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed about this and cried out to heaven. 21 And the LORD sent an angel who destroyed every mighty warrior, commander and officer in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned in shame to his own land. And when he had entered the temple of his god, some of his own children killed him there with the sword. 22 So the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria and from the hand of all others, and guided them on every side.

Today you may find yourself up against a challenge that seems insurmountable.   Choose to lean upon the Lord and not give fear foothold in your life.   Let God demonstrate His power in your circumstances for all to see.

Until next Monday, may God's richest blessings be yours this week.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Enjoy Your Rest

Good morning!  I hope you had a great weekend.

Exodus 33:14 (NASB)
And He said, "My presence shall go with you, and I
will give you rest."

In this fast paced world we have learned to milk
maximum work out of every minute of our days.  We
seem to go non-stop from the time we open our eyes
in the morning until the time we lay our heads on
the pillow at night.   In this hectic pace we
often end up neglecting our bodies of much needed
rest.   Thankfully, God gives us opportunities to
be refreshed, but are we willing to take them?

All too often I find that when God gives me an
opportunity to rest, I use that opportunity to try
and accomplish just a few more things and I end up
squandering the blessing the Lord had intended for
me.   When these opportunities are made available
we need to trust that God is looking after the
details of life.  Just as we can trust Him with
eternity, we can also trust Him with those extra
periods of rest that he affords to us.

If you are finding yourself worn down these days,
I encourage you to look for those gifts of rest
that God is offering to you.   Don't be afraid to
take advantage of them, the things that would
normally occupy that time will still be there when
you rest is complete, but you will be more
energized in your undertaking of those tasks. 
This week is Thanksgiving here in the United
States, a time to take some down time to reflect
and be thankful.  I urge you take full advantage
of this time and view as a gift from God to
refresh your body, mind and spirit.

Until next Monday, may God's richest blessings be
yours this week.


Carl Willis
PO Box 61125
Corpus Christi, TX  78466-1125

Monday, November 15, 2010

Staying on Task

Haggai 1:9 (NASB)

9 "You look for much, but behold, it comes to little ; when you bring it home, I blow it away. Why ?" declares the LORD of hosts, "Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house.

I have had Attention Deficit Disorder for most of my life.   As a child, my teachers were always after me to "stay on task."  I get sidetracked with something that caught my attention and would end up neglecting the actual work I should have been doing.  The end result was time outs in the corner, grades that were not stellar and a whole lot of frustration on everyone's part.

Unfortunately, many of us are also guilty of having spiritual Attention Deficit Disorder.   We get so preoccupied with the things of this life that we end up ignoring the things God has put before us.   This was certainly the case with the people in Haggai's time.   They had allowed the Lord's temple to lie in ruins for years as they focused on building up houses and wealth for themselves.  In a similar fashion to my teachers, God had disciplined them for their choices.  Their crops were not as productive, they were working twice as hard for half as much as God sought to bring them back to His purpose for their lives.

Today you may find yourself feeling like a hamster on a hamster wheel.  You are running and running, but not really finding yourself going anywhere.  I would encourage you to step back and evaluate whether you are focused in on the tasks God has put before you.   The stationary place you find yourself in, may simply be His way of getting your attention, so that He can direct you back to His plans and purposes for your life.  

In the end, your decision to focus once again on the things of God will bring about greater blessings in your life.  

Until next Monday, may God's richest blessings be yours this week.


Monday, November 08, 2010

Do You Really Want To Get Well?

Good morning!  I hope you had a great weekend.

John 5:6-8 (NASB)
6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, "Do you wish to get well ?" 7 The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me." 8 Jesus said to him, "Get up, pick up your pallet and walk."

This is one of my favorite accounts of healing recorded in scripture, because it reveals what is so often our condition.  Notice how this dialogue goes.  When Jesus asks the man if he wants to get well, the man answers with all of his reasons why he can't get well.   Even though the man wanted nothing more than to be healed, he had already become convinced of the impossibility of that healing ever taking place.

Jesus response is equally as insightful.  Jesus didn't take time to acknowledge or refute the reasons this man has given; however, Jesus does instruct him to pick up the symbols of the symbol of his helpless condition.  The pallet has no place in the life of a man who has been set free.

Today, Jesus is giving many of us the same line of questioning..."Do you wish to.....?"   He's not interested in our reasons for being in the condition that we are in.  Instead, He is interested in our desire to move beyond those conditions and circumstances.   That desire is the fuel for our faith and it is our faith that allows us to touch the life changing power of God.   Once we reach out to touch that power, the symbols of our helplessness no longer have a place in our life.   They represent a life that once was, but is no more.

If you find yourself in a helpless state today, it may be time to answer the question "do you wish to get well?"   God will give you all you need to rise above any circumstance, if you will only let Him.

Until next Monday, may God's richest blessings be yours this week.