Archive for Knowing God

Let’s Play Trouble Swap!

by Rev. Rick Robinson

Everyone has some kind of trouble to deal with. What if there was a reality show called “Trouble Swap!” I bet you can think of a few people you would not like to swap your trouble with. There are even more people suffering in silence that you know nothing about. There are people right now that may wish they could have you as the other contestant on “Trouble Swap!”

Is that hard to believe? Do you feel like nobody cares what trouble you’re in, and everyone ignores the trouble you are having as though it were trivial? When you call the counseling center, does your call get put on hold with the 1965 song by The Fortunes “You’ve Got Your Troubles (I’ve Got Mine)” playing.

Each trial we go through brings with it the opportunity to testify to the reality of God’s presence in our lives, or the opportunity for us to blow the testimony of His gospel. Our real problems come when we refuse to trust in the reality of God’s presence and power.

Are we intellectually dictating to God what we intend for Him to make of us, searching through the Bible to back up our demands? No–we must learn the discipline of submitting our intelligence (whatever we have) and our reasoning to Jesus Christ. The reality of God’s presence is not dependent on the evidence of a situation, but on His word. The unseen solution is much greater than the seen situation.

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 

You can see the unseen is greater than the seen by looking at this passage using the original Greek words. Faith is pistis–meaning conviction of the truth, assurance is hupostasis—meaning firm foundation, conviction is elegchos—meaning proof and things is pragma—meaning an accomplished fact. If you read Hebrews 11:1 in that light, this is what it says.

Now conviction of the truth is the firm foundation of things hoped for, the proof of accomplished facts not seen.

How beautiful and simple that is. We must have God’s word alive in us and walk in His light to deal effectively with our problems. Otherwise, you may as well hope for the best on a show called Problem Swap. The choice is yours. Are you spending time in God’s word to increase your conviction of the truth (faith) or just hoping for the best?

Romans 10:17

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

This is from the New American Standard Bible, some versions read “by the word of God.” The word of Christ is a phrase that means hearing and learning about Jesus–which is the purpose of the word of God. In other words, conviction of the truth comes by learning about Jesus. Jesus Christ is everything to me. My eternal hope and my strength for the problems I cannot swap away. The Apostle Paul knew he could not swap away, or even pray away some of his problems.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

I am not saying we should not pray about our problems–we should. Many of them are self inflicted, and many may not be as bad as they seem, especially in light of the wide array of trouble swap contestant wannabes. One thing that all problems have in common is that God has allowed them. When things do turn around for us we must not then have an “I’ll take it from here!” attitude with God. Complete reliance on Jesus Christ is the standard of living for the Christian. We must strive not to walk in the light of our experience, (or someone else’s) but in the light of God’s word.

Do you have this almighty Christ, or just the attributes and experiences of a believer? There must be total abandonment to Christ for us to obtain true peace through our problems. Jesus loves you and gave his life for you that you can have an eternal relationship with him. Don’t let your problems cut you off from the solution God has provided. Religion by itself, will display attributes only as deep as experience can take you–but a relationship with Christ will show you the unseen is much greater than the seen.

Romans 8:35-39

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

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Enjoy the Day

by Rev. Rick Robinson

I remember when I was an inventory manager at the Chevrolet store; a gentleman came in and introduced himself as Elvis Presley. The self proclaimed Elvis claimed he wanted to purchase 50 new pink Chevrolet Corvettes for his newest movie. I knew he wasn’t Elvis. I knew that there was no new Elvis movie scheduled for production. I also knew he was not going to buy 50 pink Corvettes. He had a woman he introduced as Pricilla with him. Mormons usually come in pairs, but it is unusual to have nutty people in pairs.

He wouldn’t take my word that Chevy doesn’t paint production Corvettes pink, and even if they did–I couldn’t get him 50 of them. He wanted to talk with someone that could get him the cars, so I introduced him to the sales manager. He was nice to the man too, but refereed him to another Chevrolet store to get him to leave.

Almost every time I go to a store to purchase something, the clerk greets me with “How are you today?“ and when I leave they tell me to “Have a nice day!” Do they care how I feel? Do they care if I have a good day? When you are having a bad day, do you explain that to the clerk? Do they even know your name? (Your real name.) There is someone who knows your name, cares how you feel and is sincere when he tells you to have a nice day. When you are walking through problems, it is an act of your will to have a nice day.

Psalm 118:24
This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it

God made this day and we should actively be thankful to Him. The word used for glad in this passage is samach–which means to be joyful and merry. Can you be joyful today? God really does want you to have a nice day. It is not all the things you can get that will make you happy. It is not all the things you do not have that will make you sad; it is your attitude.

1 Timothy 6:17
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.

I know there are things that happen that will make you sad, like the death of a loved one. Two of my friends died this week. There are times we become overwhelmed with circumstances. Jesus was moved to tears over the death of Lazarus.

John 11:32-35
Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.

I cannot pretend there will not be trials that are overwhelming. I can only say there comes a time when being glad must be an act of the will. Knowing that God is in control. Knowing that God has the final say over our life and death. Those who are in Christ will be together again in a new place where things not imagined in this world will be enjoyed together.

How is your life ever going to become normal and happy again? Are you waiting to figure it out for yourself, or are you willing to accept that this is the day, which the Lord has made? If you focus on God’s word you will find strength–but if you focus on the world you will find no lasting hope, only uncertainty.

copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

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Want To Lose The Wait?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Many people would like to lose weight, but many more may want to lose “wait”, although they may not think about it in those terms. Waiting on God can be a frustrating thing. Imagine with me for a moment of a world without waiting. No smells of the fine cooking coming from the kitchen as you wait in anticipation of the flavors dancing in your mouth. No waiting in anticipation as a child waiting to open the Christmas gifts. Perhaps no one wants to wait in line to buy the anticipated gifts anyway. Don’t bother enjoying that movie night, the ending is now instant. No waiting seems like such a loss of treasured memories. You have accepted the fact that next Tuesday cannot arrive until then. All of history would need be condensed into the now without this thing called waiting.

Would all the prophecies of the Bible be erased (since there was no waiting) and be updated by telling a historic perspective? The vision came immediately and you most certainly have heard about it by this time. The promise came without delay, and if there was such a thing as waiting–but there is not, I would then look forward to the anticipation of the next thing in line for me.

When it comes to waiting on God, we think we know best about the timing of it all. If we never had to wait on something from God, would it void this thing we know as faith? Faith is not a lonely thing you use to get what you want; it is an interactive thing that is rewarded by waiting on God’s perfect time to deliver His promise.

Habakkuk 2:3
For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.

We should be able to be at peace with the wait, since it is God himself that is delivering us through the situation. The battles you face are won or lost in the wait time first, long before they become part of our physical world.

Isaiah 40:31
Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

When our expectations and desires are counted all lost, it is most often because we failed to manage the wait. Inspiration to wait on God is the spiritual truth that has not yet been experienced in the natural–nevertheless it is just as real. Do you really want to lose wait? Can you see what an impossible thing that is and how interactive waiting on God is meant to be? Enjoy the anticipation of what God will do next as you wait—knowing it will be in His time–the way you wait on the natural events in your life.

James 5:7
Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.

copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

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Getting the “I’M” out of Impossible

By Rev. Rick Robinson

I don’t discount the value in hard work and strategic planning but there comes a time when no matter how hard you try, some things still seem impossible. You wonder if a thing will ever be complete to your satisfaction. Will God ever help me to accomplish this or that, or is it impossible for me? The “im” in impossible stands for I’m—or “I am” in the way of what God can do. We must learn to be partners with God instead of working against Him.

Matthew 19:26
And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Luke 1:37
“For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Satan wants to steal from you and keep the “im” on the front of possible. It is only through Jesus Christ that you will be able to get the im out of impossible.

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

I am going to show you four ways that are effective in Satan’s mission to steal from you. The methods used to steal kill and destroy are usually subtle enough to go un-noticed or even seem attractive to us.

1. Ignorance

The lie is the first method ever used to steal from man. It was effective then, and it is equally dangerous today. The lie is used to keep you ignorant of God’s will and direction for your life. Even when you get a clear directive from God, it is the lie that is used to steal it from you and keep you in ignorance.

Genesis 3:1-6
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

2. Impatience

You may be thinking God needs a little help delivering his promise or expects you to figure it out on your own. Satan wants to keep the im in front of possible by making you impatient with God. (Get the im out of impatient too!) We can see a great example of this when Abram was promised a son and then he and Sarai decided God could use some help.

Genesis 16:1-2
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.

The weapon of suffering is also used to keep you impatient with God. Your suffering may be real, like pain in your body, or it may not be as bad as all that, but you are convinced how bad you must suffer while others live carefree.

1 Peter 5:10
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

3. Independence

Pride is a tool Satan will use to keep the im in impossible. When you are filled with pride you become independent of God. You don’t care if He says you must forgive, or anything else for that matter, because your circumstances justify your actions. You are independent of His will and pride has shown you a way to elevate yourself from victim to judge. You have come up with a brilliant strategy to hold the door open for Satan while he steals from you.

Proverbs 16:18-19
Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling. It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly Than to divide the spoil with the proud.

4. Indictment

The last weapon I will remind you about is the indictment Satan brings against you. Satan will accuse you and tell how much trouble you are in. This directly opposes faith, by causing you to focus on yourself. Why would God give you a miracle when you are so not worth it? The Holy Spirit will convict you of sin and compel you to get things right. He does not want you to live in guilt. You need to focus on God and the power He gives you to walk in freedom from the sin that binds. This story is a great example of Satan bringing accusations while God brings hope.

Zechariah 3:1-4
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.”

If you have accepted the work of Jesus to forgive you of your sin, then you too have festal robes as opposed to filthy garments.

If you are living in ignorance because you believed a lie, then study God’s word.

If you are impatient with God while you’re waiting on answers or results then accept God’s grace and peace.

If you are living independent of God, trusting in yourself (or anyone else) for anything, then turn your life and emotions over to God for restoration.

If you feel accused about your sin and failures in the past, Make certain you are trusting in Christ alone for your salvation. If Jesus Christ is your Lord then remember there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

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Do I Really Need An Education?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

We have become discontent with so many things in life. Preparing dinner took too long, so frozen TV dinners were introduced. When I was a kid in the 1960’s it was exciting news to hear the traditional family meal at the table would be replaced with a TV dinner for the evening. Yes, we ate them on TV trays, in the living room in front of the TV set. If we were lucky, we had something called a fizzy to drink with it. If you don’t know what a fizzy was, it can perhaps be best described as sweet flavored alka seltzer that fizzed when you dropped it into a glass of water, dispensing the purest of artificial flavors science could deliver.

The discontent we experience today can lead to such a troubled heart. The pressure sometimes seems like it is just too much. We are not only discontent with our situation; we are discontent with the time required to change our circumstances. When a person decides to place their trust in Jesus Christ for salvation, that re-birth takes place in an instant. Learning to trust in Christ for the future is moment by moment with a little here and a little more there. Don’t expect to become mature instantly, you must study.

Philippians 2:12-13
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Working out your salvation should not be confused with working for your salvation. The word used for work as in “work out your salvation” is katergazomai, which means to perform. The word used for work as in “God who is at work” is energeo, which means put forth power. All your work can have the power of the Holy Spirit working according to His good pleasure. You are not alone; the power to help you through any situation is available to all that trust Christ.

Galatians 3:24-26
Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

The Greek word for tutor here, is paidagogos (pahee-dag-o-gos’). Among the Greeks and the Romans, a tutor was a guardian and guide of boys. They were trustworthy slaves with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys belonging to the better class. The tutor would take the boys to school everyday. (School did not become mandatory for all boys until A.D.65) In this illustration, Paul is saying the law was the slave (tutor), and Christ is the teacher. God is able to teach us how to have a better life, but He will educate us only as much as we will allow. Bring all your cares to Him, and work out your salvation with His power.

2 Timothy 2:15
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

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Fear in the Garden

The world today is not so much different from all the days past. People are afraid of what the future holds, but this is not a new worry. Fear was not present until after the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Eve had a conversation with a snake without fear. When I was a kid, I watched Mr. Ed, the television show about a talking horse, but I can not imagine a talking serpent. Snakes don’t talk, but I don’t know many women who are not afraid of them. Fear came to mankind after sin took root in the garden. Adam and Eve expressed fear for the first time when they tried to hide from God. Sin separates man from the peace and security only found in God. Jesus died to give that peace and security back to us.

Galatians 1:3-5
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  

In the history of the United States, over 30 of the American Presidents have addressed the fear of the American people in their inaugural address. On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln said in his first inauguration address;

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that—I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

Just two weeks earlier Jefferson Davis had been inaugurated as the President of the Confederacy. The country was in much more trouble than it is today. Each generation has problems that seem like no other, the question remains what can be done about it. Today, many Americans are looking for a hero to turn things around. President Ronald Reagan said, “We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we are in a time when there are no heroes just don’t know where to look.” Do you know where to look?

A young American soldier killed during the war in Europe was found with a diary in his pocket. Written in this diary under the heading, “‍My Pledge,‍” were these words: “‍America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.‍”

If we had this attitude for the cause of Christ, the economy may not turn around, but the peace the world is hungry for would spread rapidly. In troubled times, where is your peace found? Jesus Christ is our only hope for the peace we are looking for.

Psalm 22:8
“He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”

The world should be looking to Christians now for answers but many of us are to far ahead of them in the “complaint department” line to help. If you have discovered that Jesus Christ is the hero people are looking for, will you endure until you are called to the other side of eternity? Since the fall of man, the world has always, and will always be imperfect. Place your trust in Christ alone, and share your faith with someone looking for a hero.

Psalm 25:20-21
Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.  

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

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Who Do You Trust?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Everybody lives by some form of faith. Many people have more faith in themselves, their job, or the government (other people) for example, than they do in God. The difference between the Christian and the unconverted individual is not if they have faith, but where is their faith. The subject of faith can be a difficult thing to understand. What hinders God from working in our life is not his lack of power or desire, but our lack of faith.

Matthew 13:58
And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

When people place their trust in anything other than God, that thing (or person) becomes an idol. The people of Israel did just that when they turned their back to God instead of their face.

Jeremiah 2:5
Thus says the Lord: “What injustice have your fathers found in Me, That they have gone far from Me, Have followed idols, And have become idolaters?

If you place your trust in other things, God may leave you alone to allow those things to meet your needs. That is a choice we all make for ourselves.

Jeremiah 2:28
But where are your gods that you have made for yourselves? Let them arise, If they can save you in the time of your trouble; For according to the number of your cities Are your gods, O Judah.

The state of America concerns me when our President states “America is not a Christian nation”. He may change his god, but he does not get an endorsement to change mine. Only I have the power to change where my trust is.

Jeremiah 2:11
Has a nation changed its gods, Which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory For what does not profit.

What about you? Have you decided to change gods? How can you know you are living by faith? Let me give you a few basic guidelines to check your faith by.

First ask yourself if you are making the decision to glorify God or to please yourself. Those two answers may or may not match. If you are asking the Lord to do the impossible, it will bring much more glory to Him when it happens.

Matthew 19:26
But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

The next thing has to do with God’s timing. Am I rushing ahead  or am I willing to wait? If you can be honest with yourself and say you haven’t got the patients to wait, be cautious. This comes from the fear of being overcome by disappointment, and you make an emotional decision instead of a spiritual one.

Romans 10:11
The Scriptures say that no one who has faith will be disappointed,

Always ask yourself if you can defend what you are doing from the Word of God?
I see people make comments on social network places like Facebook that do not line up with God’s word, yet they claim He is involved. That is not possible since God will not violate His own word. (Don’t cut me off your social networks now!) Remember that true faith is always found in line with scripture.

Romans 10:17
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

After you come this far towards making a decision, consider if there is joy and peace within? Don’t skip to this one too fast, or you may be emotionally deceived, the other guidelines must line up first. When you have the heart of God on something, you will have peace available to you.

Romans 15:13
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is hope for you in your situation because He is the God of hope. The peace and joy comes through faith by the power of the Holy Spirit and is not depending on anything else. You will also find giving praise and thanks to God is an important part of God’s peace. This is one of my favorite scriptures and has sustained me through many trials.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I pray this will help you to see if you are living by faith or if you have changed your gods, and how you can obtain true peace while you wait on the Lord.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

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Open Your Eyes

By Rev. Rick Robinson

When you are looking for God’s direction, do you prefer to see open doors? How certain is an open door when it comes to discerning God’s direction? While open doors can be a sign from God, they can also be a distraction from God’s best. I was recently thinking back in time about things God has done in my life and how God provided needs as well as direction for me.

Years ago I had a 1929 Pontiac, a 1941 Oldsmobile and a 1965 Chevy truck that I drove every day. We were struggling financially and we decided to sell my truck since we needed money more than I needed three antique vehicles. I took one of my wife Victoria’s lipsticks, wrote a price on the windshield and parked the truck on the street. Shortly, a man came by and offered to pay the price on the windshield for the truck. What seemed like an open door, I turned down because I did not have peace about the sale. You might ask if I was thinking straight or did I perhaps love the truck too much to part with it? Only a few days later another man came by and offered to purchase the truck. His offer had a condition I must agree to before he would buy the truck. He wanted to only use the truck on weekends, but did not want to leave the truck all week without being used. If I would drive the truck Monday through Friday, he would pick up the pick up on Friday night and bring it back on Sunday. It looked like I would be able to sell my truck, and drive it too. The first weekend, everything went fine except the man said he was too busy to transfer the title and we would do it later. The second week he called and said he was too busy to use the truck that weekend. The third weekend, he called to say he didn’t know what he was thinking buying an old truck. He told me to keep the truck and keep the money too. Open doors are not as useful as open eyes, to see things the way God does.

I am reminded of the story of Elisha, when his servant was frightened about the soldiers that had them surrounded. He was afraid, thinking he and Elisha were going to die. Elisha told him not to fear, and asked God to open his eyes that he may see what God sees. The servant saw angels that out numbered the soldiers encamped all around them.

2 Kings 6:15-17
And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Are you going through a situation right now that seems hopeless? Are you frightened by what you see? Maybe it is time to relax and meditate on all the things God has done for you in the past. Perhaps it is time to ask God to open your eyes that you may see what He sees, because when it comes to faith, seeing is not believing–believing is seeing.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

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Acquainted or acquitted?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Once when Jesus went to the region of Caesarea Philippi, the question was raised in conversation with the disciples about whom the people were saying that he is. Simon Peter spoke up and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” If you were asked that question, how would you answer? Would it be an intellectually learned answer, or would it be a life-changed testimony to the fact? There are many people today who are confused about the question of who is Jesus. Some say he was created, just like Lucifer. That would make the two of them brothers. Some have a form of Godliness in their life, but yet all the testimonies of what they claim God has done for them is used to point to a particular “true church”. Some believe he is the Son of the living God–but then so does the devil.

James 2:19
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

If we have met the real Jesus Christ on a personal basis, then Jesus is the infinite God-man and there is no other that he could be.

John 1:1,14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Does your life express a life changed meeting with Jesus Christ or just an intellectual understanding of who Jesus is? There is a real difference between the two. What is your testimony when you answer the question about who is Jesus? Are you acquainted or acquitted?

Now let me pose another thought for you here. Suppose people were asked that same question about you? Who would the people say that you are? I am not talking about being famous or popular here, but about your character. Is the joy of being acquitted from your sin bringing genuine change to your life? If there is no difference in your you life, is it because you are simply acquainted with who Jesus is? Your circumstances will give you a difficult path to walk at times. When that happens who would the people say that you are? When you are walking through difficult times, you may feel all alone–deserted by the one who saved you as though you are only acquainted. I am guilty of that many times over. Jesus will not always make your difficult times to go away, but you will not have to walk that difficult path alone, if you are acquitted.

Matthew 16:13-16
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”


Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

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Are You Secure?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

I grew up in the sixties in a rural community outside of Ocala, Florida. We didn’t have any alarms on our family cars and the only alarm system in the house was my dog Stubby. My dog took up hobbies like chasing the VW the mailman drove. He was a good dog and nothing came up missing on his watch.

Now days you can subscribe to services that protect your identity. My computer has more passwords that mostly keep me out. People have those annoying alarms on their cars and you see home security signs in neighborhoods everywhere. I hear gun sales are up, but I don’t own one of those either. I don’t expect to shoot anyone, and I don’t get into hunting. If an intruder is not demon possessed, I guess I’m in big trouble. The theft problem is not really a contemporary problem.

Matthew 6:19-21

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Let me say here, if you have services, alarms, and weapons to protect you I am not being critical of those things. Now that you have your security measures in place, are you really secure? To answer this question, we need to know who is it that wants to steal from us, and what is it they want to take? Jesus answers those questions, and gives solutions that will bring true peace.

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

It is the devil himself that comes to steal from you, but what does he want? He doesn’t want your stuff. Sometimes our stuff works against us when it comes to growing spiritually in our relationship to Christ. He comes to steal the word of God from you. Stuff can be fun, but it is the word of God that is the key to a fruitful life, not our stuff.

Matthew 13:18-23

“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.  But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

In this second telling of this parable to His disciples, Jesus identifies who the thief is, and what he wants to steal. The parable goes on to explain the methods used to steal from us. A lack of understanding, trouble, persecution, the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth (not wealth itself) are all tools used against us to steal the word. Did you notice the scripture says making “it” unfruitful? It is not you that are unfruitful; it is you minus the word that will not be able to stand. You can see why it is the word the thief wants to steal, since that is where our hope is found.

Are you yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times (or less) of the word that has been sown? Are you taking the right precautions in your life to stop the real thief? Don’t hold the door open for the thief. Alarms, services, and guns will not keep him from stealing. You must stay faithful to God’s word, read it daily and meditate on it. Stay faithful to the fellowship of believers, praying for and encouraging one another. Be faithful in your obedience to Christ. Remember He is the one that gives life to the fullest, not the manufacturers of our stuff.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

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