Have you experienced deep emotional hurt? I mean the kind of hurt that will tear you up inside? The pain is so unbearable it literally knocks you over, while you grasp for air! It is worse than physical pain. It's the pain of rejection, abandonment, abuse, betrayal, and more. It comes in waves and feels overwhelming! It seems like no relief is possible and defeat is certain! We can feel despair and hopelessness! I know... I have been there. How did I get there? I don't want to spend too much time here on my own past hurts and sorrows, yet I feel it is important for you to know you have a friend and brother in Christ who understands what deep pain feels like, I have plenty of scars to show. I also know what it is like to cause hurt, as for years in my life I allowed the unresolved issues of my childhood to manifest itself through destructive behaviors and patterns as an adult. I hurt many people with my words, intimidation, poor choices, and bombastic ways! These people were the people I said I "cared"for most. I completely made a mess out of my life right out of high school and despite my best intentions, blazed a trail of destruction. Friends, I was a mess of a husband, didn't know how to love, selfish, inconsiderate and masked my many insecurities and deep hurts with arrogance and phony bravado. The pain inside that I covered up actually had the better of me for years! That is until I finally had enough and realized I was the only common denominator in all my "messes!" Yes the expression "better late than never" is true, yet I have many regrets and deep remorse for my many mistakes along the way. It took me a failed first marriage, a failed first business, a DUI, and almost a second failed marriage, before I finally cried out to Jesus Christ for help and healing. Here's how it went down for me! I called a meeting, just me and God! I remember sitting in my conference room in my offices in CA on a Saturday with pen and paper wanting to hear from God! I had my Bible, and I went through my own agenda items confessing out loud all my many frustrations! I told God how miserable I was, and asked him why I kept doing destructive things that I didn't want to do! I told him that despite having all the external "blessings" like my own business, luxury cars, homes, etc. I was flat out sick and tired of who I had become, ( drinking too much, hedonistic, unhealthy in every way and without love) Now after a period of time had gone by I literally turned over the floor to him... to speak to me and give me answers ( or just put me out of my misery)! I waited and waited ( really hoping to hear from him) and after 15 minutes of silence, I decided it time to get up and leave, That's when it happened... I heard a still small voice speak ever so softly into my heart which said" Randy, you accepted me as your Savior when you were a small boy, yet you have never made me The Lord of your life! What does that mean? I thought to myself. The next day I took my wife and kids back to church and at the end of the sermon the pastor said," there are some here this morning who have accepted Jesus as their Savior almost like a fire insurance policy, to avoid hell. But have never made him the Lord of their life! " He then said there is a difference! If Jesus is your Lord, you serve him! You make his will your greatest desire! That was all the confirmation for me that I needed! I had heard from The Lord the day before! That morning I made Jesus Lord of my life, not just my Savior... now he is on the throne, not me! He is my Lord! Let me just tell you he has healed me, mended me, restored my family and blessed me beyond measure! I say all this because I want you to be encouraged right where you are tonight! Jesus is alive and well and will do the same for you! Call on him right now! Don't allow shame, failure, or pride stand in the way! Let's look at Romans 10:9-10 --- That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
To "confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus" means that you must agree with God that 1) you are a sinner, that you deserve to die for your sins; 2) you cannot save yourself, nor can you invite yourself into God's "house"; 3) Jesus must be Lord of your life because you, in your own power can never live up to God's Holy standard of perfection, but through the power He gives you as you surrender to Him, you can live a Holy, blessed, and healed life! Thanks for letting me share so much of me tonight, Randy Young
Are you making the "Rest Stop" home? Friends, if we are not careful we can become overly consumed with the affairs of this temporal life! Imagine if you had asked a loved one if you could move in with them because you realized you were lost and desperate, then they sent you the provisions, road map and everything you need to travel out to be with them. Now as you began your journey down the long and narrow road to your new home, you see a sign on the side of the road that says "Rest Stop" so you pull off and decide to rest for awhile. Now how crazy would it be if you loved the Rest Stop so much that you forgot why you were there in the first place and where you were supposed to be going...and rather decided to just live at the Rest Stop? Crazy! That isn't nearly as crazy as exchanging our eternal life with Christ for a blip of hedonistic pleasure in this world! Let's face it, because of the temptations in our present condition, we can be apt to forget that we are sojourners traveling with a specific mission, to a specific destination! Perhaps the temptations of this world have clouded your mission? Let's remember that you and I are commissioned by the God of the Universe and made Ambassadors of Christ! We shouldn't become so overly consumed with the affairs of this world that we become taken away from our high calling! Jesus wasn't sidetracked by the affairs of this world, even when the pharisees tried to ensnare him in matters of taxes, etc. Jesus stayed focused Mark 12:17 Then Jesus said to them, "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at him. What temptation, trial or distraction has you living at the Rest Stop"? The sins in our own lives that we rationalize, justify and accept as satisfactory or "not too bad" prevent us from moving ahead down the road! Friends, we can stay in that Rest Stop and forfeit the prize that awaits us all at the finish line. How do we move on down the long and narrow road to life? We must come before our Heavenly Father and confess our sins with a broken and contrite heart! He will disciple us on how to overcome, strengthen us and empower us to live victoriously in Him! You see we have to submit to his discipline and guidance. God's discipline is a good thing not a punishment! He disciplines his children, to purify us! Tonight what area of your life are you struggling with? Have you just given up? It's time to get on our knees and take it to our father and confess, he is faithful to forgive and cleanse us, in doing so he strengthens that area in our life and gives us the wherewithal to make a new path so we don't find ourselves right back at the same place. Let's review Hebrews 12:4-13
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young
Who sits on the throne? Who is Lord of all? As believers in Jesus Christ we are apt to quickly answer those questions with the name "Jesus!" That of course is the correct answer. Yet that answer goes far deeper than a verbal reply... It requires a whole response. What I mean friends is that if we truly do believe Jesus is on the throne and is Lord of all, we should live our life as if it is so! I was recently speaking with a loved one and they were inquiring how we "know for sure that it is God speaking and not our self or even the devil..." My response to that question points back to the question I began with tonight. Who sits on the throne? Who is Lord? Now let's personalize it even more to really bring it home! Who sits on the throne in your life? Who or what is The Lord of your life? We must be willing to honestly look at our lives through this prism of "Lordship" to answer these questions. For example, where do we spend our time, money, talents? What do we ingest, digest, and possess? Should someone inspect our life would they see evidence that Christ is Lord of our life and He is on the throne of our life? Getting back to the question asked by a loved one how to "know for sure that it is God speaking and not our self or even the devil..." Imagine if you were the host of a special royal visit in which the Queen of England was visiting your home. Now if she arrived at your house I am sure you would clear off the best seat in the house for her, would be ready and eager to attend to any request she might have? Now, imagine if she rubbed her arms while looking at you, as if to signal that she was cold... Wouldn't you jump up and get her a blanket, or turn up the heat? Of course! She wouldn't have to raise her voice or yell... Why? Because you are attuned to her and ready and eager to please! Friends... How much more should we have Jesus sitting on the throne of our life! Our attention and desire aimed to serve and please him! For years I sat on the throne of my own life! I was focussed on Randy! What I want, what I need, my life... me, me me! That life leads to emptiness! You see, I accepted Jesus as my Savior, yet I remained The Lord of my own life! Not anymore friends! When Jesus talks to me, now I listen! If he says "go", I go! Why? Because I am attuned to him, because he is The Lord of my life and on the throne of my life! What about you?
Hebrews 12:1-3 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young
Speak up or stand down? Have you ever had an occasion when you found yourself at the crossroads of either speaking up and defending your faith or standing down, and letting "things" slide by, In order to accomplish a greater work? What to do? It's a difficult decision that requires a discerning ear from you and I. There are times when in the course of everyday, free-flowing conversation we will hear partial truths, revised history, exaggeration, perversion, profanity, and even outright untruths! These conversations can take place everywhere: church, school, work, club, etc. and by anyone in our sphere of contacts! Make no mistake about it though, there is no mystery why you are exposed to this! As believers in Christ we are his workmanship! Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Let's consider that there are many who have wandered off the straight and narrow road who are living in open rebellion to God and yet are still in our life and seeking our validation, support and acceptance. When we don't speak up when we know better...we are complicit! Recently I found myself listening to a person that I have known and respected for many years sharing some very dangerous, and pervasive distortions of the Bible to others, including myself over a dinner meeting. Now when I started to hear these untruths and partial truths being spoken, my heart became troubled. It was like I had an immediate alarm go off that warned me that what I was hearing was heresy . I found myself feeling really uncomfortable and tempted to just let it go since no one else was speaking up. After all, I respected this person and didn't feel like "correcting" them. Yet..,God had a different plan... he told me to speak up in love, defend the faith and share the truth! I didn't want to... but I didn't hesitate! When God gives me a directive -I am on it! I don't wait, procrastinate, or ask anyone else if I should obey. I do it! Remember, delayed obedience is the same as disobedience! Now while the person was finishing their talk I was praying quietly to myself that God would direct my steps (through what I feared was a "mine field! ")I began speaking up ever so gently, and agreed where I could and clarified where I should, I saw some resistance at first, and prayed even more! God answered my prayer and when I was finished defending the Gospel, this person had a complete transformation (as if the blinders were removed) and now actually agreed with me and had come to see the error in their doctrine. Friends, I had my doubts at first and even began to question my ability to adequately "teach or correct" anyone! I just obeyed and followed and God delivered! Amen! Perhaps there are some in your circles who make a habit degrading your faith, who curse and use the Lord's name, etc. around you? Or maybe they have wandered off by their own free will away from the truth and are living a life of compromise! They accept everything, don't believe in absolute truth any longer, and expect you to validate that lifestyle? I understand that the social and political pressure is for everyone to accept and tolerate everything and yet we owe it to our brother and sister ensnared to share our hope and first love, Jesus Christ. I want to love the sinner and reject the yoke of slavery to sin! That means I stand for Jesus and won't fall for a life of compromise! Do you speak up or stand down? Speak up with the truth in love! John 8: 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young.
Ever feel like just giving in? You know... the strain, the temptations, the pressure feels unbearable and you just don't think you can make it? Perhaps it is a relationship that continues to challenge you? You want it to honor God, yet you are being pressured to bow a knee to compromise? Or maybe it is something at work, like your boss asking you to do something you know is wrong? You feel pressured to give in or you know you will be retaliated against? Whatever it is that you are facing... be encouraged to know that you are not alone. You may be in the midst of a serious trial, or terrible predicament, yet know this...if you stand up for your God, by holding true to your faith...you are not alone! We may still suffer some retaliation or even have a bit of a set back, yet we know we are not alone! In the third chapter of Daniel we see three men of God that despite being pressured, threatened and intimidated refused to compromise and bow a knee to a false idol. Friends, they knew who they were, and more importantly they knew who their God was ( his devotion, love, faithfulness). Despite the King giving them a final choice to either bow to a false (statue of gold) or perish in a furnace, they stood strong and refused to compromise! The king turned the furnace up 7 times hotter than normal as he was so enraged by their defiance! And thats where we pick up the account in Daniel 3: 23 "And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. You see I am sure Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, would of much preferred if God would have changed the kings heart and not been thrown in the furnace! Yet God in his infinite wisdom tested their faith and wanted there to be no doubt about his power and faithfulness! So God not only spared them, he showed up in the midst of fire to comfort them! He shielded them so they didn't get burned, not even a hair was singed, and they didn't even smell like smoke! Friends, they came out of the fire better than before! And so will you and I when we stand firm and call on The Lord our God in the midst of our struggles! Our God is faithful! Thanks for letting me share. Randy Young
Noblesse oblige- a French saying that literally means - an honorable obligation that is the responsibility of those in high rank. Unfortunately this valor, act of duty and responsibility has seen better days. Today I personally believe in this "me centered " society, many of the selfless acts of nobility from years past are not being passed down to today's generation. Instead of neighbor helping fellow neighbor (or generation helping generation)because it was our pleasure and high honor to serve...we seem to be living more for ourselves, apathetic to the suffering of others. Jesus was very aware of the needs of others around him; physical needs, spiritual needs, and even financial needs. He addressed all the needs of those around him completely. "Noblesse oblige," to me meant those who had an excess or abundance of resources, wealth, power, or title...were obligated out of honor and duty to give back. They didn't do it because they were forced to by an overreaching, social engineering government... they were compelled to by a moral code, an ethical compunction from a higher standard. I believe this is the way God intended it and the way a society, community, and family best survives. If our families will turn back to God and get back to a place where we honor and respect our elders and in turn they impart their knowledge and wisdom to our youth, we can stop the moral erosion that is taking place. When we impart Biblical principles, moral honor and responsibility from our own lives.,,lived out loud ,serving God first, others second and ourselves third... we won't need to reach toward government solutions for what are what I believe to be spiritual issue. Friends, this transcends any government program or forced "transfer of wealth" this is a brother or sister in a higher position lowering a ladder to a fellowman with an outstretched arm in order to give a helping hand... not a hand out. )there is a big difference. ) The giver wasn't being forced or resentful, and the receiver was respectful and appreciative. You see the divide between the "haves and the have nots" was bridged over by noble service, respect, and apprenticeship. The "haves" had compassion and generosity for the "have nots" and the "have nots" had less resentment and actually more admiration for "the haves" and aimed to better themselves by learning and aspiring to one day become one of "the haves" In the gospel of Luke 12:48 Jesus says "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. " To help your fellow neighbor, to serve your community, to give back to those who are less fortunate should be a noble obligation that comes from a heart that is overflowing with gratefulness that has been transformed by Jesus Christ. To be all you can be, to ask God to help you, and to give all you have is a high honor. Thanks for letting me share. Randy Young
Has the "accuser" visited you lately?In Revelations 12:10 Satan is referred to as "the accuser of the brethren." The term "brethren" in this context can be substituted with "saints. " Yes we have an enemy who not only lies and tempts, he also accuses the saints of God. This is Satan's trifecta of torment if you will. Now if you've been walking with Lord for any period of time then you know how important it is to stand guard and be vigilant and wise to his attacks. Frankly I don't generally even like to speak of such things or even acknowledge them... Maybe because I am wise enough to respect his power and know my own limitations. Yet tonight The Lord has laid it on my heart to address this head on. There are some men and women of God who continue to get pummeled day after day and night after night by the enemy. These saints are shackled, in a horrible isolation cell of sorts, completely defeated and in total despair. Why?They have been force-fed a steady dose of lies, destruction and defeat. The result, they're left in a state of pain, living a life out of harmony with God. Perhaps tonight I am speaking to you? Friend, right now if you are willing...Jesus is ready to break open the prison door, snap your shackles, and carry you out in his arms to a safe and secure place. What do I mean? Jesus came to set us free from being shackled in a life of sin and shame. Yet for some, you have quit following Jesus because you are so ashamed of your life and your behaviors. I get it, you want to keep Jesus out of your life until you come clean and get things right? Do you hear that? Friends can i just say, this is a big LIE! Recognize it! Who told it? The same enemy who tempted you away with a subtle counterfeit lie..the same enemy who now keeps you away from reaching out by shackling you with guilt and shame! You don't have to succumb to Satan and his attacks. Friends, we have authority in Jesus name to be victorious. How? There is power in the word of God! When Jesus was confronted by Satan's temptations he quoted scripture. We need to know and memorize the Bible! It's the weapon of our spiritual warfare! Bible verses like: James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Or how about 1John. 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. Isaiah 54:17 "No weapon formed against you shall prosper.." Romans 8:31 "If God is for us who can be against us!" Romans 8:37
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. In closing let me just say that In my own life after I would blow it big time I remember hearing the enemy start to accuse me saying things like: your a disgrace Randy, you should stop even trying to be a Christian, your a failure, you would be better off dead." Or " nobody understands you, you're all alone" These lies were designed to keep me in darkness, in shackles and mostly in despair. Thanks to Jesus for freeing me and delivering me out of that life! For many months after I made Jesus my lord the enemy would still come around and accuse me- trying to reshackle me and discourage- he would tell me that I wouldn't make it, that I was a failure, that I should give up, etc. I was so discouraged by this that I prayed long and hard about it, and I really believe the Lord told me what to do when the enemy comes to accuse me. Okay, here is what He said, "just agree with him!" What? I know you think I am CRAZY now? Hear me out on this first. I said, "agree with him?" " That I am a failure?" Hmm. Now my pride started to get prodded there for a moment/ anyway...So the next time I was getting attacked with accusations by the enemy I responded..." Yes, I am a failure, yes, I should give up, Nope, I can't make it... and that's why I am absolutely lost without Jesus Christ! Then I quoted John 3:16! Oh wow! Did you catch that? The enemy's accusations which were designed to discourage me were rethwarted by God to actually remind and reinforce to me how grateful I am of what my Savior Jesus did for me! Suffice it to say the enemy wont want to accuse anyone if it will compel them to start thanking Jesus for the amazing grace and mercy he has bestowed on their life! Friends, each day, each step may we continue to fight the good fight and resist the enemy and finish well! May God bless you tonight and keep you close in his loving arms. Thanks for letting me share. Randy Young