In the Gospels we learn that Jesus loved the sinful man and woman. Jesus accepted, embraced and blessed them right where they were. He literally got close enough to really show love to them! Yes, that means Jesus was much bigger and more powerful than whatever the "sin of the day" was! He didn't allow other's sins to stop Him from his mission of mercy. (John 3:16) Why else would he willingly mingle with the "bad crowd" or the "unclean?" Friends when we seek to be more like Christ, may we also remember to take on His big picture thinking! What do I mean? I want to see past the sin, into the broken and dark heart of the sinner, to allow God's love and light to shine through me to illuminate and emancipate the shackled soul! That glimpse of His light, to a darkened soul, is the hope that changes hearts! Yet, I'm afraid many of us live in our safety bubbles of influence. We don't want anything to do with the lowly, unlovely, cast -outs or sinners. We get so angry when we see the blatant disregard of God's Word and standards in this culture, that we actually hope and pray He will just come back in a hurry to rescue us! Yet, it isn't us that needs rescued is it? It's the dying, lost, and depraved we should be trying to rescue through Christ, before it's too late! Friends, when we see a soul surrendered and enslaved to a pattern of sin, what response do we have? Do we generally point a finger, walk the other way, or shake our head in disgust? That has to change in us! Christ's example teaches us that Jesus actually reaches his hand out to the sinner! Think about it, He embraces the Leper, show grace to the adulterer, and even heals the soldiers ear who Peter cut when they arrested Jesus and were taking him away to be crucified. Why? He loves us wholly and completely, and sees our sin as a "cancer" , a disease, an infirmity that is stealing from us! Ready for the the best part? He is the physician that heals the cancer and infirmity! He is there to bring deliverance! Now imagine if you were an Oncologist and you went to a country on a missionary trip, would you look the other way and turn your head in disgust if you came in contact with a person suffering with cancer? Certainly not! You would embrace him and talk with him and try to help heal him, right? Tonight in this fallen world, there are many people who have embraced a wicked lifestyle. They have willingly turned away from the truth for a hedonistic lie, and now are trying to legitimize and even moralize their sinfulness! It is not only blasphemy, it is detestable before God. Yet, we know He is the unequivocal final authority, higher than the highest authority , and His compassion and mercy should never be underestimated! God loves the sinner and grieves over their sinfulness! There should be a compassion that stirs inside us when we see those children of His ensnared in sin. The compassion should compel us to embrace them with the love of Christ, and share with them our own testimony of the new liberty that comes from accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young
Recently I walked through a home I owned a number of years back and was astonished by what I found. Despite selling the home in pristine condition with many updates and extras it was now left in disrepair, abandoned, and on the market for much less than what I had sold it for a few years back. The exterior of the house looked awful and needed to be patched and painted, the carpets needed replaced, fixtures were missing, etc. The once lush English Gardens were overgrown and the beautiful bird fountain was missing. As I toured the property with my realtor (who had helped us sell the house a few years back), she whispered to me.. "it's really sad to see this glorious home left like this!" I nodded almost speechless in agreement! Now you might be wondering why I went back through my old house? Well I had my wife and kids with me on a business trip to my PA offices, and they hadn't been back there for quite a while, so I took them by the old neighborhood. Once we saw the "For Sale" sign in front of our old house... well the next thing you know I am calling my old realtor. Anyway, I was heartbroken over what I had seen... and that was just a dumb old house! Why? Because we had invested so much in it and it was clear that it wasn't loved or cherished the way we intended it to be! Instead it was neglected, robbed, and left abandoned and in total disrepair. Friends, I wanted to rescue my old home and restore it back to glory! However, God didn't give me the peace to do that. Instead, after praying about it I realized He just wanted me to see it in order to teach me an important truth. Friends, God who formed you and me in our Mother's womb, loves us, has created us to do good works, to live a healthy, holy, abundant life! Yet, because he also bestowed on us an amazing gift of "free will" ... many have freely walked away from God's plan, and as a result have exchanged the grand and pristine life in Christ with a dilapidated shack of sin and shame! Yes, the fountain of life is gone, the lush garden are overgrown with weeds and thorns, the harsh storms of life have worn away the joy of life! Now how does that make our Heavenly Father feel when he sees that? Heartbroken! He wants to rescue and restore us back to what he intended and created us to be! Victorious, and glorious! Friends will we let the Master Carpenter restore and repair our broken hearts? Thanks for letting me share, God Bless You! Randy Young
Ever feel like you just don't have the energy to go another step? An important part of running a race is stamina. Meaning, " the ability to sustain prolonged physical effort." There are times when I just don't have enough in the tank to finish my workouts! I think to myself, "Randy what's your deal, you should be able to run these 2 miles no problem!" Yet, despite my mental pep talk, I have to walk the last quarter of a mile, because I am empty! Why is that? Friends, I can usually trace back my problem to poor diet, or lack of sleep the night before. You see my choices to cheat on my diet, or stay up later to work, etc. shows up on the treadmill. My body is only responding to those decisions I made earlier... by screaming: "there isn't enough in the tank to keep this up!" I got to thinking about how this analogy also correlates to our spiritual fitness. When we make poor choices throughout the day like not reading our Bible or praying, or willfully disobeying God's instructions to us, it leaves us ill prepared to face the rigors of this life, and all it throws at us. It is so important that we learn to plan for the day by obeying God each step of the way. I have found that if I will follow Him as he leads me each step of the way he will bring me to a place of total harmony...."a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity." Where we have the stamina to finish strong! 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith! Friends let's finish well! Thanks for letting me share. Randy Young.
The Bible says that just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the return of Jesus Christ. We are being given some valuable insights here to help us better understand more fully the season of Christ's return. Let's take a moment and better understand what the "days of Noah" looked like. Matthew 24 : 37 "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. " Let's review for a moment. In the last days before Christ's return it is reasonable to assume people will be going about their lives: Eating, drinking, planning for the future, buying homes and cars, getting married and getting divorced, etc. Basically sounds pretty normal at first glance... until we pause and consider that it is much worse than that, in fact, so detestable to God it was...that he went through with the flood, destroying it all! I believe to fully understand God's justice system we need to first and foremost know that God is love! He is slow to anger and abounding in love! That he isn't willing that any should perish... God has the ability to look into our hearts and that is what truly concerns him, what's going on inside of us? Not so much what others see on the outside, but rather our inner man! You see he saw wickedness down to the core in mankind before flooding the earth, and that's the way it will be again before He returns. Let's look at King David for a moment, He called David a man after his own heart! Despite David's major mistakes and many sins! Why? David had a heart to please God! Even if he sometimes messed up, he was quick to repent and turn away from his error, when he was confronted. Time and time again we see Jesus showing love and grace to sinners who had a heart to repent and change direction to please God! Yet in the days of Noah those people had a lack of concern for God, an apathetic attitude regarding their sins, his standards and were more interested in a pleasure seeking pursuit of their own hedonism! That's even after being confronted by Noah who was sent by God! Friends they didn't care, and this is the way the people were in the days of Noah! This is also the way it will be before Jesus returns in the last days. Let's take a look at 2 Timothy: 3 this spells out the depravity more clearly: "mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
What's worse than a non-believer? A self professed. "believer in Christ" who is revising God's Word in their life so it conveniently adapts to the sinful lifestyle they choose. Why? So they can just keep living their life of pleasure , without repenting, without standing up and defending truth, virtue, holiness, and purity. Friends, you see what's all around us in this world. We must as believers in Christ stand up and defend our faith and hold true to His Word. We can't let our hearts grow cold through compromise and open rebellion! We must come to the cross with a broken and contrite spirit, confessing our sins. Let's finish well and endure with joy in Christ. Remember as brothers and sisters we need to encourage each other! Let's be the salt and light to this world by being bold in sharing our testimony and the love of Christ to a hurt and broken world.
Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young
"When it rains it pours!" I am sure you have heard that expression? It essentially is an acknowledgment that sometimes trials come one after another in quick succession. It also is a reminder that we have a choice how we respond to those trials. We can choose to hate the rain or dance in it! So how can we dance in the rain? We learn to see the rain differently. We appreciate the reason for the rain, knowing it is watering the land and providing essential hydration to vegetation, etc. Another words we see beyond the "getting wet" and look to the end result. As believers in Christ we know that trials are part of every believer's life and sometimes they seem to all out pour down on us at once. Some trials are consequences of our own misdeeds and mistakes and some come by no fault of our own. Either way, as we seek Christ now and ask Him for guidance right this moment, then respond in faith through obedience,we can have his joy even in the midst of our trials. How? Because we are trusting and hoping for an end result of Christ's perfection in us. His grace and love covers us in the midst of the storm. That very response is a testimony that brings glory to him... A sacrifice of praise. Hebrews 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young
Need a pick me up? Friends, I am convinced we can stay where we are because of our natural limitations and frailties, or we can ask God to carry us to new places! This is our choice.
Let me share a personal story that God used to teach me about His compassion and care. When my youngest son Ryan recently sprained his ankle on the first day of our adventure vacation, he couldn't walk or put any weight on it. So he had to stay in bed with his foot elevated, to get the swelling down. As he was about to be left alone in the hotel room to watch TV and rest while the rest of us were going to dinner, I could see he was unhappy with being left behind... ( he is a teenager and stays home by himself often) I had compassion on him, I could see that he was sad snd looked defeated... Then an idea came to me, I said "son, would you like to go with us out to dinner? He said, "yes "but I can't. ( We had to walk a pretty good distance to where we were going) I said, " how about if I give you a piggy back ride?" His face that had been resigned to defeat looked up at me with a sparkle in his eyes, he said , "really?" Next thing you know he was on my back with a smile cheek to cheek! I carried him the whole distance, and allowed him to get past his limitations. Now, imagine what our Heavenly Father wants to do with us? He sees us in our miserable, beat up condition. He knows we are strained, bruised and worn down. Maybe we also have resigned ourselves to staying put, and He is saying to you and me," want me to carry you?" Yes Lord! I want you to take me and throw me on your back and bring me to new places!" How about you? Luke 11:11 King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Our God is willing to carry us when we can't go on! Call on Him tonight! Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young
What is stuck on you? Ever walked through a field and got cockleburs stuck in your socks and pant leg? There you are on a nice hike or stroll outdoors and then you start to feel a little irritation. As you continue more cockleburs continue to cling on and before long you have to stop and start pulling them off one by one. (Unless you want to continue your journey in pain and agony!) These prickly little burs that hook into your garments have to be dealt with one at a time and can be painful. Friends, as we traverse through our journey of life we each experience attacks, challenges, upsets and disappointments from many areas of our lives. These are like "spiritual cockleburs" on our walk with Christ. They each have to be dealt with individually so they don't slow us down or take us off course. What do I mean? Have you ever been around a person who is so miserable inside, that everything that comes out of their mouth is contaminated with negativity and hostility? What happened to them? I think that they may be covered in cockleburs and in so much pain that they have lost their joy of life and perspective! As believers in Christ our response should be compassion and love to these poor souls. After all they are hurting and need to be delivered! Let me state the obvious so no one gets confused...they are not literally covered with cockleburs, yet each legitimate hurt, disappointment and pain that is left unattended by God, remains hooked with its prickly bur into the person, and is literally keeping them in constant pain. How do we get these prickly burs off of us, so we can continue with joy down the straight and narrow path? We come humbly before our Good Shepherd who will deliver us and heal each area in our life. Let's read some Psalm 116 1- 9. "I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. 4 Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!”
5 The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion 6 The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. 7 Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. 8 For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
Thanks for letting me share tonight, God bless you! Randy Young
Ever told on someone? I am sure as a child you have been accused of being a tattle tale at one time or another? It isn't a compliment, it is usually the insult that flys off the tongue of the person we just told on! Friends, we call adults who speak up and "tattle" ...whistle blowers! We respect them for their courage and actually protect them from retribution, and retaliation for speaking up and exposing corruption, lies, and dishonesty, or not settling for status quo. As believers in Christ I am convinced that we need to take a step back and get the big picture and understand an important truth, all authority is established by God. Romans 13:1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Now I am sure you have read that verse hundreds of times...thinking, " God put them here so I have to deal with it!" Hello!!!! We must understand this principle..,that if all authority has been established by God, that can mean only one thing - he is the even "higher" authority! After all, if he has set up some people in positions of power and some who are not, it means that he is the ultimate and final authority of who stays in power and who doesn't (the boss). Imagine if you worked for a major corporation like Microsoft and you were in middle management and your immediate supervisor just didn't like you for no fault of your own, anyway he convinces his boss and even his bosses boss that you are not a team player... As a result you are overlooked for promotion, and you see the writing on the wall. You have a couple choices, you can stay and just exist in your mediocre position with no real future, or you can quit! Wait a minute now, those are not your only two choices....what if you could walk in to your dad's office who happens to be Bill Gates? Okay, you get my point?! God is the final say! I often times hear doctors, attorneys, clients, friends and even family say something to me as if it is the FINAL word on the matter. I have learned to respectfully nod and thank them and gently say, well I am going to have to take that to my Father! I love it because they say.."what?" That's when I say "He is the final authority" and there have been many times in my own life where he took my petition or prayer request and over ruled the doctors, lawyers, a prognosis, a diagnosis, he has moved people out of the way, and brought people in the way! Remember He cares for you and has an open door policy! That means he doesn't require a formal meeting or appointment! Come as you are! Be encouraged friends! Tonight the person who got served divorce papers... Maybe It looks like it's over because a judge is involved? Have you brought it before The Judge of Judges? For the person who has been diagnosed with cancer by your physician and told there is no cure, have you taken it up with the chief physician? We are God's children, heirs to the throne and yes we should obey and respect authority, we also should never forget who our Abba Father is! He has given you 24/7 access! Philippians 4:6 6 Fret not about anything, but in everything, 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. Thank you for letting me share, Randy Young
The "feel" can lead to the "fall" which leads to the "fail!" Consider that in any number of circumstances! Friends, I am going to shock you with this next statement.... I don't really care how I " feel" about most things. Don't get me wrong, I do have deep feelings about many people, things, ideas, etc. Yet I have learned that my "feelings" cannot be my compass! So when I hear my "feelings" speak up I quiet them down so that I can hear the real guidance from above! You see I care more about doing what is right, than what I "feel!" My "feelings" can be misleading, misguided, selfish and often dead wrong! I used to be guided by those feelings! "I feel like a drink, " I don't feel like going home, etc. Those "feelings" were destructive! Our "feelings"are the inward expression of our flesh... aka our bodies! I feel tired, I feel hungry, I feel angry, or I don't feel like praying, or don't feel like reading my Bible, etc. I don't feel like being polite, or feel like sharing, etc... Starting to see a pattern here? When we allow our feelings to be our guide rather than the Spirit of God we are apt to fall into the trap and ultimately fail ourselves from God's best! Jesus says in. Mathew 26:41 ""Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." The Apostle Paul says in Romans 6 to "reckon yourselves dead to sin and alive in Christ!" Our bodies have to be put in their place! Galatians 2:20
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." When we quit living to serve ourselves and make Jesus Christ The Lord of our life, he will help lead us out of our selfishness and give us love for others! The flesh has to be dealt with and know who is the boss! Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young
What's wrong with loving the world?
1st John 2:15 "Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. To know "why" we are not to love the world we just need to read on through the next couple verses. Verse 16 of the same passage goes on to say: "for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world." In my own life I have had the obvious seasons of living out of harmony with God and knew I wasn't living right. What about now though? Friends, even after we confess our sins and make Jesus the Lord of our life we still need to tend to the garden of our soul. What does that look like? For me it means coming before my Lord in prayer and asking him to search my heart. Asking Him to purify my heart and to cleanse me from unrighteousness. The sins that entangle me need to be untangled so they don't choke out the miracle working power of God in my life. Friends, we must never grow complacent or too tolerant of our own sins. Even if they seem to be harmless little thoughts, attitudes, etc. We must confess them with a broken and contrite heart, and turn away from them with the power of God. I don't know about you, but I have lived for far too long quenching the spirit! I can tell when "Randy" is on the throne and when God is! If I'm on the throne...it isn't pretty and that's when I need to do a quick "Stop Drop and Pray" drill where ever I am and make it right real quick before I leave the house, or go to my next meeting, etc. You see I rely so heavily on the Holy Spirit to be my counselor and prince of peace, that I can sense real quickly if He has left the scene! In the epistles of John we are being exhorted not to fall away into false teachings and to remember that God is light, that we must walk in His radiance and truth...confessing our sins, avoiding the lawless ways of this world. There is a false teaching today that is being taught that we don't need to confess our sins once we are saved. Of course the Devil would love that if a bunch of believers in Christ allowed sins to overtake them and they became so entangled in them that they were choked off from any miracle working power. It can also go the other way... Imagine even the pharisees who wanted so badly to obey all the "letter of the law" ended up not understanding that they were still allowing sin to permeate the garden of their soul. Their sin was "pride of life!" They became so boastful and arrogant for their good deeds and behaviors! Friends, we can be lawless...or follow the law to the letter, and still be completely lost! The only hope in this life is to follow God with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ...as he leads us down the straight and narrow road...heaven bound! Each day as we sit and spend Quiet Moments with Him we choose to put Him first and to follow Him because...He is the Way...
Thanks for letting me share. Randy Young