"Dad I'm growing right now!" That was what my youngest boy Ryan exclaimed from the backseat as we were driving home from a road trip! I said: "you are?" "How can you be sure?" He said: " because my legs are cramping really bad!" Wow! Now if only I could be so excited the next time I am facing some trial or difficulty that is stretching me...by joyfully saying:" father I'm growing!" The Bible reminds us in James 1 : 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young
Have you ever been discouraged by looking at the scoreboard, knowing there isn't much time and the lead is insurmountable? I know I have! Tonight, I am not speaking specifically about any particular sporting event, rather about our life in general! Unfortunately if you are like me you might find yourself fixed on the score a bit too often! I think it's a human tendency to measure and quantify pretty much everything! Friends, can we be honest enough to recognize that we all will face set backs, adversities, trials, misfortune, disappointment, hurt, pain, loss and suffering in our life? And...If you look at the scoreboard during those times... It won't be pretty! In fact, you may feel tempted to just give up, because you feel defeated! The good news is that throughout the Bible we see the power of the "comeback victory!" In fact, the best victories often look like certain defeat! Now let me for a moment assume the role of "head coach" and it's halftime and right now on the scoreboard we are getting blown out! What can I say to my players? Probably something like: " okay, let's not lose heart, no giving up, we're a good bunch of players, we need to play our game and stay true to our values! Now let's get back out there and hold our heads high and finish well!" Sounds about right? What about what to say to a believer who is looking at the scoreboard right now and feels defeated by life's trials, adversities, and injustices? The Apostle Paul writes in 2nd Thessalonians 1:6 " God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels." Now that's a pep talk with POWER! Friends no matter what that scoreboard says right now, if you are in Christ you are victorious! Amen? Psalm 16:8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young
Do you live in fear? What are you afraid of? Sure it is natural to have fears, but it is super important to address those fears head-on in prayer with our Heavenly Father. I believe when "fear" is left undisturbed, and allowed to fester inside, it can slowly turn a loving heart...bitter, ultimately destroying the love, and leaving behind anger and even hate in its place. When we look back in history at the horrible atrocities committed by mankind to other races, religions, and peoples... we must recognize that "fear" fueled that train of terror, and even to this day continues to wreak havoc. What can we do about fear? We must recognize that we all are limited in our scope and perspective as creatures of God! He is the creator and we are the creation! We must embrace the only thing that will drive out fear... that my friends is perfect love! God's son Jesus Christ is the perfect love! When we feel afraid of something new, or someone different, or a fear of the future, or even a fear of dying, we need to take those fears to the cross of Christ! That cross is where He demonstrated perfect love for us! Otherwise those fears inside will slowly start to transform us into angry, bitter, nervous and even hateful people. Think about this, nothing is worse than a dog that is afraid of everything... they are nervous biters! They are so afraid that they viciously attack anybody! God will take your fears away tonight! Let me share a couple verses on fear that most of us know by heart, that are so important to remember. 2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" 1John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?
Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young.
You can have 20-20 perfect vision and still be blind as a bat! How is that possible? By walking in the dark! Think about that for a moment, the best eyes in the world can't see in pitch black darkness! You see God never intended us to walk blindly all alone in the dark, stumbling, tripping, and falling down! Yet, sadly, many of us choose that each day routinely by the decisions we make each day. Then we wonder why we keep tripping up in our Christian walk. Friends, it's critical for us to take the necessary time to refill our lamps i.e.: read God's Holy Word, spend time in prayer with Him , etc. Psalms 119:105 reads "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." Consider this, how can we run the good race and win the prize, if we're stumbling in the dark? I am convinced if we were all a little more like that little kid, who called out to daddy because they were afraid of the dark...we would all be better off! Why? Then we could see and rest assured knowing we are safe and secure next to our Father. Thanks for letting me share! Randy Young
I have found that more often it isn't what I know... It's knowing what I don't know that will illuminate my path in life. Friends, recognizing my limitations, my weakened condition, and short-comings, etc. is the first step in getting wise! Consider this.. If our own "wisdom" leads us to trust more in our own ingenuity and skill, it isn't really "wisdom" at all. That's because true wisdom will reveal deeper questions internally, which inevitably leads us to a greater awareness and realization of how ill-equipped we are of fully understanding such complexities and mysteries of life! When we come to the end of our natural capacity of comprehension...it really is the gateway to grace! That's because we can see fully our limitations, and our great and desperate need for a Savior who does have the answers! Yes, we can build our IQ and intellect through education, etc. but the gateway to God's grace has more to do with "knowing what you don't know, than what you do know!" When we don't know the answer to something...we ask or find the answer! The Bible says in Matthew 7:7 “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. When we come to that place of humility, that's when we can finally bend a knee! That's true wisdom to me! Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young
I was not a very good bicyclist as a young boy. I think mainly because I would get easily distracted, and take my eyes off where I was going. Yes, on more than one occasion I recall looking behind me while riding my bike trying to talk to friends...only to swerve off to the side and slam head first into a parked vehicle! Ouch! Hurt my spleen and got a hernia, etc. (was in hospital for days.) Friends it was bad enough that happened once... I did it again only months later... same scenario, this time it wasn't a parked vehicle I slammed into with my bike...it was a flag pole! (I "face planted" into! ) Ouch! Embarrassing! I still have a bump on my forehead from that to this very day! I remember having a "golf ball sized bump" and literally seeing stars after that little accident! I think the moral of this little story is when you are riding your bike...don't look back! You know the Bible says a little something about looking back when you are moving ahead. Let's take a look at Philippians 3:13-14 "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." I think the first thing for us to notice is that Paul is going somewhere, he has a purpose and direction! He has a goal, not a self-seeking goal, a goal that was hand selected by God for Paul! The end result of this goal is to bring glory to God by making Paul more like Christ! Okay, now that we get that let's find out what is so wrong with looking back? First off, it slows us down, secondly, it takes our eyes off of where we are going so we naturally will get off track, and veer off the straight and narrow! Friends, as believers in Christ God has equipped each of us with unique gifts that He wants to use for His service! He has a plan and direction for each of our lives! Can I just take a second to say no matter where you are tonight, what you've gone through in this life...God loves you and is reaching out to you right now! He wants to bless your life, restore what has been lost or stollen and use you for great and mighty works! How do we get to be used by God? We follow Him! He is our good shepherd and he leads us step by step! Perhaps your like me riding a bike...you start to take a few steps following Him, then you look back, second guessing yourself or believing that because of your past mistakes God doesn't want to use you? Friends, those are lies from the enemy trying to hold you back! Consider for a moment, that a driving horse, wears "blinders" on his headstall to keep him focused on his task at hand, in other words, to keep him from being distracted from outside interferences! We also need to be focused on moving forward, following our father, not being distracted with the temptations, or our past failures, etc. In the Gospel of Luke chapter 9:62 "Jesus replied, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." Thanks for letting me share, God bless! Randy Young
If you were in bed and you saw a rat crawl across your floor you would:
A. Gently whisper.."it's okay, come here little buddy, don't be afraid, and make it a pet.
B. Run to the kitchen and get some cheese and then drop it all around your room, so the rat will bring it's family and have a feast!
C. Jump up, turn lights up and try and find it and immediately figure out how it got in and make sure it's out before going back to bed!
Friends I am sure most of us would answer the above question with "C." There is no doubt that I would search everywhere until I got the rat out and then keep one eye open all night and call exterminator in the morning! Yes, it does sound absurd to think anyone would answer the question with "A" or "B," yet, if you consider that as believers in Christ "sin" is really like a "rat" that has breached our safe place in Christ. It steals our peace, destroys fellowship, and is extremely destructive! The Bible is clear how we are to respond to sin when we see it. Colossians 3:5-6 "put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. " Pretty straightforward! The Apostle Paul is exhorting us not to take a passive attitude toward "sin" in our own lives. Rather, we are to recognize it, reveal it (expose it) and rid ourselves of it! Yet, sadly, many believers in Christ have exchanged their freedom and liberty that comes from obedience to Christ, for a shackled, rat infested dungeon of doom! How? They compartmentalize their lives. They allow "socially acceptable" sins to permeate their souls! It's the equivalent of just giving the rats free reign of your house! Yes, it is true that even the best attempts at keeping rodents away can sometimes fail. Yet, we don't ever stop trying do we? As believers in Christ we also are quite aware of our sinful tendencies, and sin nature, yet we must never just give in and stop waging the war! Romans 8: 37, " in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Paul goes on to say in Colossians 3 "Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming." Friend whatever "sin" that you are struggling with, keep fighting the good fight! How? Read James 4:7-8! God bless us all as we fight the good fight in Christ! Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young
What is God's will for your life? There are literally thousands of books on this subject, millions of people seeking the answer to this question. Tonight, right this very second I am going to be so bold to tell you that the answer to this question isn't complicated, doesn't require a book, a series, etc. I used to read all the books, listen to the sermons, talk to counselors, etc. Then one desperate day I finally decided to just ask God for the answer! Yes, He answered me and it wasn't complicated at all! Here's how it basically went, I prayed :" Dear God, please help me know what I am supposed to do with my life!" He answered, " be faithful right now!" I said, " yeah, but I mean what about the big plan for my life?" He said: " each obedient step, right where you are opens up the next door of opportunity." I said it can't be that simple! I thought about it and prayed...then I checked the Bible to see if this lined up scripturally , before I embraced it as truth. I came upon the Matthew 6:25-34 “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow has enough worries of its own ! Then to Proverbs 3:6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Then Psalm 37:23 The steps of a righteous man are ordered of God. Friends, we may want all the answers now with detailed instructions and a " how to manual," but it doesn't work like that usually! Yes, God may put a desire or vision in your heart, even show you a sneak peak or tell you of things to come like he told poor 99 year old Abraham in Genesis 17...that he was going to be the father of many nations!" Meanwhile, he was 99 years old and Sarah his wife couldn't conceive! Hmmm? This account is a great reminder how even if God shows us a big picture of things to come, we have to follow him patiently and not run ahead! His timing is perfect! So how do you know what God's will is for your life? Look around, what area of your life are you not surrendering to Him? That's the first step of obedience that takes you to the next door of opportunity and down the path to the promise land! (Okay Moses would also be a good segue here...) Friends, we get too consumed with hurrying up to the "destination" that we try and take shortcuts! Take a look at what shortcut Abraham took and how that major mistake affected more than just his life! We need to be reminded that God is concerned about you and me...right here...right now...that we would be faithful followers is His will for our life! Thanks for letting me share, Randy Young