Sunday, July 20, 2014
Thursday, July 17, 2014
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "New Glasses."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Mark 1. I'll begin reading at verse 35. Now, Jesus has just come through a full day of teaching, followed by a full night of healing many sick people and even dealing with the Devil in people's lives. So sleep must have felt awfully good that night, and I'll bet morning came quickly.
Well, here's what it says, "Very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where He prayed. Simon and His companions were looking for Him. When they found Him they exclaimed, 'Everyone is looking for You.' Jesus replied, 'Let us go somewhere else to the nearby villages so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.' So He traveled throughout Galilee preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons."
Here is Jesus, surrounded by demands and decisions about priorities - needs all around Him. And in the midst of this relentless schedule there's one thing Jesus will not sacrifice - His Father time. Even if it costs Him sleep. After He's been with His Father, He comes away knowing what He has to do. "I must go preach in those other villages." It's as if He's been able to put on spiritual glasses to see His choices clearly for that day.
Well, in this simple daily meeting with God, Jesus is showing us - modeling for us - how we can sort out everything that's crowding in on us. See, you've got to be alone with God before you hear any other voices to discern what He wants from you that day before all those other people hit you. You need God's glasses to see the needs around you, and then which ones He wants you to say yes to and which ones He wants you to say no to.
Father time is time to get His orders from what you read in His Word; time to off-load all the burdens you're carrying so they don't have to distort your vision. It's time for you to let Him put in proper perspective the relatively little things that have become very big to you, and the really big things that you've allowed to become small. If you don't begin a day talking with and listening to your Heavenly Father, the other voices and the other choices will probably pull you right off course. The other voices frankly are louder than God's voice. That's why you need to be alone with Him to hear Him.
So, open God's Word early in the day and open your heart. Ask Him this: "Lord, help me to see what You see when you look at my family, when you look at my marriage, when you look at my need, when you look at my work. What do you see when you see that relationship, or this decision I have to make?" The question is this: "Is your daily time with your Lord optional or is it non-negotiable?" For Jesus, it was non-negotiable. How about you? Isn't it time to say, "Lord, no one can have my time with You. Beginning now, it will be each day the highest priority of my personal schedule."
Our son-in-law never knew how clear things could be until he looked at them through new glasses. Your life could be a lot less cloudy, a lot clearer, if you will begin each day with your Heavenly Father; looking at your world through His eyes.
Monday, July 14, 2014
Well, my wife was driving, and as we inch along we see that there is a road block ahead that was stopping everything. A man with a hard hat stuck his head in the window and began asking questions. "Where did you begin your journey today? How long have you been driving? Where are you headed?" My wife said, "What's this for?" He replied, "Oh, we're just taking a survey here to see if we need to widen the road."
So, they are stopping the busiest highway in the area to do a survey as the traffic is backing up behind us? My wife then notices this video camera filming the conversation with Mr. Hard Hat, and a woman with a microphone in her hand. And she saw the letters on the microphone. We've got a TV anchor woman here. And suddenly my wife began to think, what any of us would think if we suddenly saw a TV camera filming us, "Oh, what do I look like?" Well, that morning we had hurried to get started on a long drive, so no makeup, no hair grooming, kind of crummy travel clothes. As we pulled away, my wife pulled down the visor mirror and she said, "Is that what they saw?" Well, you never know when folks are going to be seeing you.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Camera Ready."
Here's our word for today from the Word of God from John chapter 3, beginning at verse 19, "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men love darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been through God."
Now, this verse makes me think about people who have one of life's great freedoms-nothing to hide. "I've got nothing to hide. Stop me any time. I'm living in the light. I don't care what's exposed. Roll the film, roll the tape. I don't fear discovery." See, that's a great way to live isn't it? I mean, you never know when someone will be watching, as my wife discovered on that busy Interstate that day.You can be sure that God's tape is rolling on every conversation you have, no matter how secret you think it is. His camera is rolling on every activity, no matter how alone you may think you are, and usually people find out too. The Bible says, "Be sure your sin will find you out." It's often not right away, but at a later time when the disclosure can do the greatest damage to your family, or your ministry, or to your representation of Christ.
It's a good idea to never leave home without making sure you look okay inside. Each new day, why don't we deal with the attitudes that we don't want recorded that day, the compromises, the selfish way we get things done, that runaway mouth that keeps hurting people, the immoral thoughts, the sins that beat you yesterday. Repentance is what makes you a camera-ready person who's got nothing to hide."Hey, I've confessed it to Jesus. I've let Him clean me up today." And repentance honestly should be a regular part of getting dressed spiritually every morning. It just feels so good to know you can welcome the light; you can welcome exposure. You don't need to hide in a dark corner because somebody might find out.
Maybe God is using our visit today to speak to you about some dark secret. Would you listen to His voice? It's not mine; it's His. Come clean with Jesus about it today, and then you'll have no fear of any film or any tape on earth.
By the way, the Bible says that when Jesus comes and when we stand before Him that "all men's secrets will be revealed." And we will be judged based on the things that were in the dark. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have all that erased from God's Book so you would never meet them on Judgment Day? There's one person who can do that; the man who died to make it happen. That would be Jesus. The day you say, "Jesus, I'm Yours" is the day that every sin of your life is forgiven forever.
This could be that day. I'd love to help you know how to make that happen. Would you visit our website? It's ANewStory.com. Let's get this done. The cameras are rolling in heaven and they're rolling on earth, in public or in private. So always provide a picture that you can be proud of.
In Isaiah’s description, the waters symbolize a trial. Some trials can be likened to walking through a valley, while others can feel like facing a flash flood in that valley. The water level rises rapidly. Deep waters assail, currents swirling, and you may fear going under.
Notice it’s when this happens, not if. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” The waters will come, but you won’t be by yourself. Though the waters get deep, it will not overwhelm you. The greatest treasure in this verse is the promise of His presence. He is with you in three places: through the waters, the rivers, and the fire. God leads us into difficult circumstances, but He brings us through them. We emerge on the other side.
Too often we’re searching for ways around deep waters and dangerous fires rather than through them. Have you ever experienced this? Have you tried to avoid a trial, only to have it move directly in front of you again? God is checking you, heading you off at the pass. He wants you to go through it. Some people go into trials but never come out. Not us! God leads us into difficulties and brings us through them.
It’s tempting to think, I can’t take much more of this! I’ve been treading water for so long. I’m tired and afraid I might sink. Hear this: Whatever you’re facing, you will get through it. You will not drown or be swept away. Yes, the water will feel deep, the fire will feel hot, but it won’t be too deep, too hot, or last too long.
Sometimes the Bible offers the best illustrations of its own message. Remember Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, featured in Daniel 3? They stood for God in a very bleak time. They refused to bow and worship the golden image that the cranky, wicked King Nebuchadnezzar set up of himself. While they showed respect toward the king, they were unbending in their ultimate allegiance to God. The consequence? Nebuchadnezzar was furious and commanded that they “be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands” (Daniel 3:15)?
When they responded with calm confidence in God's ability to deliver them, Nebuchadnezzar was enraged all the more. “Filled with fury . . . he ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated” (3:19). Soldiers bound the three friends, cast them into the fiery furnace, and were themselves burned to death. God could have stopped those murderers from going forward with the king’s order, but He didn’t. Instead of making a way around, He made a way through.
“Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, ‘Did we not cast three men bound into the fire? . . . But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods’” (3:24–25). What an awesome scene! Jesus Christ, the pre-incarnate second person of the Trinity, was in the fire with them—just as He had promised.
That promise holds for you too. At this moment, God is watching your life, and at some point in this trial, He will say, “Enough.” You don’t need to falter. God’s hand is on the thermostat of your trial; the fire will not get too hot. He is watching the depth gauge of your flood; the waters will not get too deep. God actively controls the severity of everything you face.
And He is with you through it.
When in your life have you faced deep waters or scorching fires—trials that feel overwhelming to you?
As you meditate on God’s promises in Isaiah 43, what fills your heart with faith?
Lord God, I am Yours. When I pass through the flood waters, You will not let me drown. When the rivers rage, they won’t drag me under. When I walk through the fire, I will not be burned—because You are with me. God, I choose to believe this precious truth, and I preach it to my own weary heart. God, You are with me, so I will keep going. I hold onto You and Your Word. I will not avoid or escape my trial, but by faith and with You, I will go through it and emerge whole on the other side. Please use the trials in my life for my good and for Your glory. To the glory of Your Son alone, King Jesus, I pray, amen.