How big is your picture? The greater it is...the easier it is to see clearly! Tonight, I am not talking about your Samsung or LG HDTV! I'm talking about your picture of life, and how important it is for believers in Christ to think "big picture!" You see it's necessary that we first "think" big picture before we can live it! Let me explain, living each day experiencing the challenges of life, this world, frustrations, temptations, setbacks, etc. can cause us to get really down and without joy, hope or even faith )which is power!) If we're not careful our tendency will be to focus entirely on the immediate struggle and thereby lose sight of the "bigger work!" It's important to remember that we need to step back and get an eternal perspective so we have proper context! How do we "step back?" We surrender to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, His Holy Spirit empowers us as our great counselor to consider the "bigger implication," the greater good, and impresses these Biblical truths into our heart as we allow Him. His light of revelation sends the dark thoughts of doom and despair running. Friend , as He transports us from our tired, even dire physical or mental predicament we enter to a glorious, wonderful spiritual rest filled with peace, and hope (all without leaving the house!) The power of His Spirit reminds us that our heart belongs to Jesus and not bitterness! He reminds us that our real enemies are not those who insult or hurt us! He reminds us that we are sojourners, not home yet! He reminds us to keep short accounts and keep our hearts pure! Friend, with the working of our Heavenly Father in our lives and the assurance of a future we have the power to think much bigger than our present circumstances! I love how loving, full of genuine mercy, and total compassion Joseph was when his jealous brothers (who had left him for dead, then sold him into slavery) stood desperate before him accused. Joseph had the power of life or death literally given to him by Pharaoh, and rather than inflict personal permanent retribution and retaliation -he ultimately embraced his brothers with tears and forgave them! That is big picture thinking! That is a man that is surrendered to the will of his Heavenly Father! Joseph understood that God had allowed everything to take place for such a time as this! I pray in our life we all will by His power, be able to see these little "stumbling blocks" (trials, struggles) as spiritual "stepping stones" (of maturity in Him) and keep on keeping on with hope and a blessed assurance to a "big picture life!" 1st Peter 1:3 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, amen! Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young
Have you heard the expression “no pain no gain?” As a child I grew up hearing that gentle reminder whenever I needed extra encouragement to keep going and not give up. The gist of the quote is that once you start “feeling” the pain of your exertion and efforts, you are finally making progress…so whatever you do don’t give up. I think the point is that pain is to be expected if you want to go anywhere good in life…it takes hard (painful) work! The bottom line is we shouldn’t be afraid of a little pain! Yet, despite this common truth, it seems that there are many today that will do almost anything they can to avoid the necessary “pain” that is required to grow… This is flawed thinking and it is prevalent even in the church today. Believers want the security of salvation and the liberty from “grace” so long as it doesn’t require personal sacrifice. Let’s get this straight, nobody likes pain…yet, we endure it for a little while with His power and focus on what the “pain” is producing in us! Consider this, physiologically we experienced growing pains as a child that were quite painful…only to experience a growth spurt soon after! Now let me ask you what child would rather stay short to avoid the growing pain? As believers in Christ we also are being stretched, shaped, and molded into Christ’s likeness, as we choose to follow Him down the narrow road. Sometimes it can be downright painful, challenging, and even discouraging! This is a journey and depending where we are the scenery can change! There can be mountaintops and there can be valleys on this narrow road. There will be times we can feel lost or like giving up, and want to stop! This metaphoric illustration of the “road” is also sometimes thought of as seasons of life. There are times we experience the “closeness” of His hand as blessings pour down from Heaven, then there can seem to be a drought! Friend, I don’t much like the drought or the valleys! In fact, I have been known to ask my Lord to please take them away! Thankfully, He knows that although I don’t like the momentary pain (trial) I do want to be more like Him and want to grow! You see, I made Him the Lord of my Life! Lordship means I really want His best will for my life and I sacrifice my own for His! Therefore I shouldn’t be surprised when He stretches me…! Guess what? He also is stretching you as you pray for His will for your life. We would never pray a prayer like, “Dear Father God, please help me to become complacent, help me to stop where I am and stagnate.” That is absurd and ridiculous to even consider right? Yet, we must never forget the pain and trial we are experiencing can have a necessary purpose in growing us. The alternative to growing is stagnation! How can we experience joy in the midst of trials? We know what it is producing in us, we know that we’re growing, and friends if we’re not growing… we’re not going…(down the narrow road)! 1 Peter 1:6-8 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young
"A picture is worth a thousand words." A classic phrase that illustrates the power of a snapshot to define or characterize an opinion or standing on a matter or person. In advertising we see this principle played out constantly in ads in print, TV and other digital media platforms. Ad companies are hired by businesses to build positive pictures and associations with their brands, so you as a consumer hold them in your mind in a good light, etc. In life it also rings true in the way we hold people in our memory. We "see them" when we think of them, i.e.; we recall a past sum of experiences. (What that picture looks like determines their standing with us.) For example, if a person has hurt us, or been vicious in any way we would have a negative picture of them in our mind. Conversely, if a person has been kind, generous, etc. we would have a favorable picture in our mind, right? These pictures are worth a thousand words, so the quote says. These pictures are the summarization of our personal experiences and feelings. Friend, this got me to thinking about how people hold God in their mind and what that picture looks like? Why? Because how we paint that picture determines so much in our relationship to Him. You see some people have a picture of an aloof, distant, punitive creator who isn't tangible or loving painted! They see God as impossible to please, unrealistic or even uncaring. Perhaps these pictures were formed because of disappointments in life, hurt relationships, loss of loved ones, etc? Friend how do you see God in your mind? This picture needs to be accurate! My hope for tonight is to help you see God in the light of His full character and not a distortion painted by lies from the enemy! Perhaps you had a legalistic experience at a church? Maybe you were shunned or shamed by "believers?" Maybe your dad left you or rejected you or was abusive? Don't associate the perfect, pure love of our Heavenly Father with wicked deeds of sinful flesh! When we take the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation and learn about our Holy Father Jehovah God we can definitely paint a picture of Him! Here is my portrait (only some of my thousand words) He is love, He is slow to anger, He is faithful, He is gracious, He cares, He is compassionate, He desires relationship with us, He is present, He is our protector, He understands, He disciplines His children, He restores His children, He loves to bless us, He knows us intimately, He created us and all creation, everything good came from Him! He rewards faith! He is generous, He opposes the haughty, arrogant and proud! He never shames, manipulates, extorts, or leaves us. He forgives and forgets our sins when we confess and repent! He is our rock, our hope! He empowers us to be holy, pure and full of His love, thanks to our personal relationship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior! There you go that's only part of my picture! That beautiful picture is with me always! It is alive in me because He is alive working through me! Tonight how do you see God? It will determine much about your relationship with Him! I love Matthew 7:7-12 it paints a wonderful portrait of how accessible our Heavenly Father is to us! Ask Him to help you have the right picture of Him! He will! 7"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young