I’ve mentioned a couple of times recently about the changes Gail and I are making to our house
The other day I brought you some info about the floor that needed removed
I am happy to report that the floor is out
The jackhammer like machine did the job, with the aid of a well trained operator [not me]
It was great to see that old tile peel right off the floor
But once the tile was gone, the glue created another problem
Because of the stickiness of the glue, some of it remained on the flooring under the tile.
The glue is so sticky that if we stand still too long, our feet become stuck to floor
Trying to walk across it is a workout
Every step we take we hear the suction sound of our feet trying to pull free from the glue
Before we leave the kitchen area, we have to remove our shoes in order to be able to walk on the living room floor
Otherwise we track the glue into the other rooms
Christian growth is a lot like that
A lot of it depends on how much we work at it.
Work that comes from commitment is a key ingredient
Being committed is getting rid of all the glue that holds us back
Look at this example
THEN AGRIPPA SAID UNTO PAUL, ALMOST THOU PERSUADEST ME TO BE A CHRISTIAN.
Agrippa committed to hearing what Paul had to say
He listened closely and pondered the message
But Agrippa was stuck in the glue
He wasn’t able to get free from the grip of the things that held him back
Agrippa passed up an opportunity to grow because he allowed all the traditions and his self-will to hold him in place
In other words, he stood still too long and now was stuck
Paul had the opposite reaction when he was faced with breaking free from the glue.
Ananias came to Paul bearing the message Jesus gave him to carry to Paul
Look at this illustration
16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Paul was ready to break loose from the things that were holding him back.
When given the chance, he was ready to kick off his shoes and leave the glue behind.
We’ll soon be free of this Coronavirus glue
Are we ready to move forward?
Are we ready to break free from the bonds of things that are holding us back?
How about kicking off those shoes and joining Jesus in the next phase of your life?
THE TILE ON THE FLOOR
While we are at home, many of us are tending to some projects we’ve put off because we didn’t have enough time to work and do these larger renovations.
Gail and I are making some changes to our house too.
One of the things we’re doing is replacing all the flooring in the house.
Yep! 1,200 square feet of assorted floor coverings are being removed and new plank floors are being laid.
Taking up the old carpet was relatively easy.
Using a box cutter, cut the carpet into 4’ wide strips width wise across the room, roll the strips into giant jellyrolls and carry them out to the dumpster.
The padding comes out the same way.
The tack strips along the walls can be removed with a short pry bar and a hammer.
But be careful.
Those tacks are very sharp.
And then there is the floor in the kitchen and laundry room.
Now that’s a different story.
16”x16” composite laminate flooring is a wonderful material.
And it is extremely durable.
We put that floor down 16 years ago under the premise that it would be the last floor we’d ever need.
That’s what the salesperson told us anyway.
When the floor was installed, the installer put down a new sub floor that was all smooth and straight.
Then he fastened the tile flooring to the sub floor with a glue that not even Samson could have escaped.
The tiles are so well glued down, the contractors have to use a tool that is a cousin to a jackhammer to remove them.
I’m sure glad these men are young guys with tree trunk size arms and backs as strong as steel
By the time they’re finished it will take about 3 to 4 hours to demo this 14’X20’ area.
That’s what you call well stuck.
Look at the passage in John 10 verses 28 – 30
AND I GIVE UNTO THEM ETERNAL LIFE; AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH, NEITHER SHALL ANY MAN PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY HAND. MY FATHER, WHICH GAVE THEM ME, IS GREATER THAN ALL; AND NO MAN IS ABLE TO PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY FATHER'S HAND. I AND MY FATHER ARE ONE.
As Jesus speaks He says the Father has given Him sheep.
Us in other words.
Jesus is responsible for giving these same sheep life.
Not just any life but eternal life.
The only life they or we will ever need.
With this life, Jesus says, these will never perish.
And He says nothing and no one can remove them from His hand
That’s possible, Jesus says, because God is the greatest glue ever.
Jesus says God is greater than all and that He and the Father are one, making everyone in this group set in place
While some could choose for themselves to leave, no one who wants to stay can be forcibly removed.
As tempting as it may be to want to loosen God’s grip on us, don’t let it happen
I’m a little late getting to the Morning Minutes today.
Gail and I were opening the boxes of our new cabinets.
We were so excited to peel away the cardboard packing and discover the beautiful new cabinets
If you’ve ever opened boxes of new wood furniture, you know what I mean when I talk about “that smell”
That’s the first thing we experienced
New wood, stain and finish have a smell
It’s fresh and clean
But it doesn’t last forever
It will eventually fade away.
The next thing is the color.
New stain and finish have brilliant color and a deep, shiney, mirror like glow.
Then there’s the feel
The texture is smooth and almost soft.
The carving is precise and curvy.
The pattern represents the attitude of the cabinetmaker that is serious about the quality of his work
We oohed and awwed over the treasures we discovered with the removing of every piece of packing
Finding treasures is a great experience.
We find treasures in all kinds of places.
Scripture tells of people finding treasure and what they do about that
AGAIN, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS LIKE UNTO TREASURE HID IN A FIELD; THE WHICH WHEN A MAN HATH FOUND, HE HIDETH, AND FOR JOY THEREOF GOETH AND SELLETH ALL THAT HE HATH, AND BUYETH THAT FIELD.
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that lies unnoticed.
Jesus stresses that the man is not searching for the treasure.
He happens upon it and instantly recognizes its value.
By selling all that he has to purchase the field, he is gaining something far more valuable than any of his possessions, and far more valuable than the field itself.
It ‘s worth far more than any sacrifice one might make to acquire it.
Jesus’ parable reveals its surpassing value to the disciples
No sacrifice is too great to live in God’s will and experience a discipleship relationship with Jesus as Master.
THE STRENGTH OF JESUS
PHILIPPIANS 4: 6 – 7
6 BE CAREFUL FOR NOTHING; BUT IN EVERY THING BY PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION WITH THANKSGIVING LET YOUR REQUESTS BE MADE KNOWN UNTO GOD.
7 AND THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH PASSETH ALL UNDERSTANDING, SHALL KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS THROUGH CHRIST JESUS.
One summer night during a severe thunderstorm a mother was tucking her small son into bed.
She was about to turn the light off when he asked in a trembling voice, "Mommy, will you stay with me all night?"
Smiling the mother gave him a warm, reassuring hug and said tenderly, "I can’t dear, I have to sleep in Daddy’s room."
A LONG SILENCE FOLLOWED.
At last, it was broken by a small, shaky voice saying, "THE BIG SISSY!"
How can we be strong in the midst of circumstances that make us feel so weak?
How can we face the struggles of this life victoriously when we feel so defeated?
I believe with all my heart the answer is “to be content with God no matter what the circumstances are.”
It is impossible not to feel stress or anxiety or fear in these circumstances created by this Coronavirus
God gave us these emotions for a reason.
But He also lets us know in Hebrews 11:6, “without faith it is impossible to please Him.”
Faith isn’t the absence of turmoil
Faith is trusting God in the middle of turmoil!
Satan uses the same tools he’s always used.
From the Garden of Eden until today he whispers, “Look for something better and beyond God’s plan.”
He plants the seeds of discontentment and ungratefulness in our soul.
Every one of us has heard the statement, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence…”
I really believe this is the number one way Satan leads people astray, inside and outside the church.
“I’m gonna show you greener pastures.”
Eventually, we discover the promise was bogus
We have to take a different path.
The path is the secret for victory and strength
PHILIPPIANS 4: 11 – 13
11 NOT THAT I SPEAK IN RESPECT OF WANT: FOR I HAVE LEARNED, IN WHATSOEVER STATE I AM, THEREWITH TO BE CONTENT.
12 I KNOW BOTH HOW TO BE ABASED, AND I KNOW HOW TO ABOUND: EVERY WHERE AND IN ALL THINGS I AM INSTRUCTED BOTH TO BE FULL AND TO BE HUNGRY, BOTH TO ABOUND AND TO SUFFER NEED.
13 I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHICH STRENGTHENETH ME.
If we want to do all things through Him who gives us strength
If we want to be content and trust God no matter what
THEN WE START WITH BEING LIKE HIM.
God’s people, those who live as Kingdom seekers first, are radically different from the world that seeks “ME” first.
The glue that binds us together is “encouragement” from being united with Christ
God’s people are driven by a love for Jesus.
WE ARE CHALLENGED TO TRUST HIS STRENGTH NOT OUR OWN
Paul says, “I’ve experienced the entire spectrum of circumstances.”
“I’ve been in need”
“I’ve had plenty”
“I’ve been full ”
“I’ve gone hungry”
“I’ve lived rich”
“I’ve lived poor. ”
“AND I’ve learned a most important secret”
“One that helps me be content in both places”
“I can do everything through Him who gives me the strength.”
THERE ARE TWO IMPORTANT QUESTIONS
Where do we think the apostle Paul learned contentment?
Where, did he learn he could depend on Jesus’ provisions?
Most people would say, “When he was hungry, when he was in need, or when he was poor.”
AND THEY WOULD BE RIGHT!
Jesus was his champion in the jail cell.
He promised bread when his stomach was rumbling.
Depending on Jesus as our strength when we’re well-fed, rich and have full bank accounts is harder.
Why do we need Jehovah Jireh, God my provider, if we can provide what we need without Him?
It’s the exact reason Jesus said, “It’s harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.”
The Disciples are astonished when Jesus said this
After all, aren’t material blessings proof God loves us?
It makes them ask “who then can be saved?”
We can identify with these disciples.
True Christians are disciples of Jesus.
We love Jesus and follow Him
We meet together to worship Him.
We are believers.
We are disciples.
FACING THE FEARS
We face all kinds of fears today: a fear of cancer, a fear of losing our spouse, a fear of financial insecurity, a fear of having to live in a Nursing Home, etc.
Right now, we are all faced with a storm called Coronavirus.
It is scary, isn’t it?
It is deadly and highly contagious.
It has taken the lives of people all over the world.
It is in every state.
We could not know we have it and give it to others.
It just continues to grow.
We are all taking measures to keep it down
Many Restaurants, Movie Theaters, Amusements Parks, Athletic games, Concerts, Parades, Marathons, Schools, Nursing Homes, churches and other organizations & events that have more than 10 people in attendance are shutting down for the time being.
Many restaurants are only open with Drive Through or Take out Services.
We are practicing Social Distancing
Hospitals are having trouble getting enough equipment to meet the demands to care for people
People are stocking up on supplies at home
We can hardly find Toilet Paper, Hand Sanitizer, Face Masks or bottled water in stores.
The Stock Market has plummeted.
We are afraid to get around people.
It is all we hear on the news.
Yes, we are in a terrible storm and we are terrified!
With all the confusion about the coronavirus, & the political turmoil going on in our nation, how can any of us say, “All is right with the world”?
Well, I have an answer to that question.
Jesus is our savior & our Lord we’re feeling wonderful.
We’re rejoicing every day!
JOHN 6:16 – 19
16 AND WHEN EVEN WAS NOW COME, HIS DISCIPLES WENT DOWN UNTO THE SEA,
17 AND ENTERED INTO A SHIP, AND WENT OVER THE SEA TOWARD CAPERNAUM. AND IT WAS NOW DARK, AND JESUS WAS NOT COME TO THEM.
18 AND THE SEA AROSE BY REASON OF A GREAT WIND THAT BLEW.
19 SO WHEN THEY HAD ROWED ABOUT FIVE AND TWENTY OR THIRTY FURLONGS, THEY SEE JESUS WALKING ON THE SEA, AND DRAWING NIGH UNTO THE SHIP: AND THEY WERE AFRAID.
It was the time between Twilight and Dark.
The sun had already gone down over the horizon, and just a bare glimmer of light was shining, the sky would soon be completely black.
The disciples push off from the shore and start rowing across the Sea of Galilee.
It was very dark!
You could not see the moon, you could not see any stars, for a storm was brewing, thick dark billowing clouds covered the sky.
It must have looked like a Tornado was coming.
You could hear the rumbling of the thunder over and over.
You could hear the shrieks of the wind howling as it blew ferociously!
The sea was rough; the waves continually lifted their boat high into the air
Then it would drop them down in a great splash of water covering the disciples
Waves overlapped over the sides of the boat onto the disciples’ laps.
The water was very deep.
The disciples were in a boat in the middle of the sea, at night, caught up in a terrible storm.
This was scary!
Their lives were in danger!
They could have drowned at sea!
They were panicking!
Then they look up and see Jesus walking on the sea toward them
They never saw Jesus walking on the water before!
It was frightful seeing this figure of a man walking toward them on the water in the darkness in the midst of the storm
And they were terrified!
JOHN 6:20 – 21
20 BUT HE SAITH UNTO THEM, IT IS I; BE NOT AFRAID.
21 THEN THEY WILLINGLY RECEIVED HIM INTO THE SHIP: AND IMMEDIATELY THE SHIP WAS AT THE LAND WHITHER THEY WENT.
Then the Lord Jesus spoke wonderful words of comfort, “It is I; do not be afraid.”
If He were only a man, they might well be afraid.
But He is the mighty Creator and the Sustainer of the universe.
With such a One close at hand, there was no reason to fear.
He who made the Sea of Galilee in the first place could cause its waters to be calm in the second place, and could bring His fearful disciples safely to shore.
At the right moment, they looked up and saw Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing near the boat.
When they realized that it was the Lord Jesus, they welcomed Him into the boat.
Immediately they found themselves at their destination.
They did not have to row any farther.
The Lord Jesus brought them to dry land instantly.
The stress and fear felt by the disciples are the same emotions we are feeling right now.
Stress and fear are really nothing more than the false perception we are in control
The more we try to be in control the more things get out of control.
This is just a battle; the war is not over and when it is Christ will WIN!
Corona does not have a fighting chance against Christ Jesus
Victory over the fear of Corona is trusting in Christ.
Live like the King of Kings and Lord of Lords asks us to so others will see Jesus during this time!