Mason Jars

Mason Jars

by Kevin (from Campfire Cowboys Ministries)

The young cowboy walked to his bunk and lifted the mattress and grabbed a twenty dollar bill. As he sat the mattress back down, his girlfriend asked if that’s where he kept all his money. He said it was and they walked out the door.

All the way to town, the young lady went over in her mind the hundreds of things that could happen to all his money. Finally, she couldn’t take it anymore and asked him, “What if the bunkhouse catches on fire and all your money burns up?”

“Don’t borrow trouble sweetheart,” the cowboy replied. “If you go through life worried about the fires, you’ll never see the forest.”

“You know what I mean Socrates! Why don’t you put that money in the bank? What if someone breaks in and steals it?”

The cowboy laughed and said, “I ain’t never been robbed by no burglar, but I’ve sure enough been swindled by some fellas in three-piece suits.”

“How much money do you have stashed underneath there?”

“Oh, I don’t reckon I pull it out and count it. But if I was to take an uneducated guess, I’d say a couple of thousand or so.”

“What?! You’ve got to get that in a safe or something to protect it.”

As they pulled up to the little cowboy church he said, “You know, it’s not even my money. Everything I have comes from God. I’ll let him protect it. I know you think I’m being foolish because I keep all my money in such a precarious place, but look at where God entrusted his message.”

“His message is kept in the hearts of humans,” he continued. “How broken and frail are we that he has placed his most precious gift? Yet, he asks us to keep it safe and spread it around for everyone else.”

“So you see, I trust God. Nothing is beyond his sight or his control. I don’t leave the money out for everyone to see, but safes and banks just keep the honest people away and they were never a threat in the first place.”

She sat there, trying to soak it in and understand. She opened the truck door and said, “I guess you’re right. If God can trust us with his message, then we can trust him with our lives.”

But we have this treasure in fragile mason jars, which is you and me, to show that the powerful message of salvation is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 (Simplified Cowboy Version)

He’s Still Working on Me

I was visiting one of the churches in our association recently when the pastor mentioned an old song he identified with. I’m not sure of the name but part of the chorus is “He’s (Jesus is) still working on me” and that could actually be the title, too. Any way, he said that He still was working on him and he was sure glad of that. That is one statement that ought to a hardy “Amen” from us all in my opinion.

In the Epistle to the Philippians we read of the Apostle Paul saying some thing very much the same in chapter three. He writes that though he had yet to achieve perfection he presses onward toward it. What an encouragement to us! To know that a man used so mightily by God for His purposes was still imperfect like we are should give us a boost, so to speak, when we feel the lowest; I know it does me.

As long as we are in this body of flesh we will make mistakes, fall short, sin. But if we will “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14 KJV)” He will keep growing us toward that goal. And someday after while we will hear those sweet words of “welcome in” from our Lord and know it was worth it all.

Our Legacy

The other day I was speaking about just how deplorable the world is today: filled with sin, corruption, and pride of life, to name a very few things. At one point I said “Who thinks that the world we live in today is a great place, great atmosphere to raise our kids?” and a young boy, about 8 years old I guess, raised his little hand. Ah, the innocence of a child, it is truly some thing to inspire us at times. As I pondered upon this over the last day or so a couple of things occurred to me that I’d like to share with you.

First, we are, or should be, conscience of our behavior before the world; we all know that unbelievers pay attention to what Christians do and say. God’s Word tells us that we need to be cautious in this area so ” … the name of God is [not] blasphemed … through you” (Romans 2:24). I think it is also important that we mind our actions around our Brothers and Sisters, too, out of love, respect, and humility. Paul said though all things be lawful, they may not be expedient (1 Corinthians 10:23), or just because I can that doesn’t mean I should.

Secondly, how we act and react in front of our families, especially our (individually and corporately “our”) is of great significance. Who we are “when no one is watching” is often who they see us to be. This impression that we leave with them, and other folks, is out heritage, our legacy, if you will. We need to make sure that we are leaving a godly heritage, memories that shine the Light of Jesus, to all and especially these littles one.

What Am I Able to Do?

I don’t know how many of you have dealt with chronic illnesses but they can surely be trying. I imagine that most reading this have had back pain, either sporadic or constant, at some point and as most of you know I have a lot of issues with my back.

Over time I have learned, mostly through “trial and error”, pretty much what I can do without irritating my back and what I should avoid. Even though I may know not to do some activity or thing I’ll often do it any way, paying the price later for my stubbornness.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].” God knows exactly what I can bare at all times. His Word tells me that He will never allow more than that, that He will be with me the entire time, and that all I need to do is trust and lean on Him to get through what ever storm I find myself in.

I may go ahead and do some thing that I know my back can’t take and I shouldn’t be doing. And in doing so I end up in more pain. But our God is faithful and He won’t do that. He will stretch us a little so we can grow and be more flexible but He will never takes us where we can’t go.

Church Camp Project

Friday I did a mission project at camp with the kids. Let me start with saying they were an incredible bunch who I grew very fond of, very fast. Any way, they made leather book markers to go with some French New Testaments to the Ivory Coast. The time and attention they put into the project really blessed me; they were all unique, creative, and some thing that anyone would love to have and keep forever.

At the end of the project I realized we were short several from the number I’d brought. Some of the kids asked if they could make one to keep and, since I had more than enough, I said yes. Oh, who am I kidding? I couldn’t have said no to them even if there wasn’t enough, being the “hard shell” that I am. So I said I would make an extra 10-12 and put them into the mix and all was fine.

Later in the afternoon I found out why we were short: some of them had made mistakes and thrown them away. If they had asked me we might have been able to save some of them. But in their eyes the project was ruined, worthless.

Often I think we look at the situations that we are in and think “what a mess I’ve made”. If only we would take the mistake, mess, etc to Jesus and let Him have His say we would be so much better off. While we might have made the mistake, He made us (John 1:3) and can take us as we are, broken, sinful and down trodden, and make us into a brand new creature with a new nature and a heart after His.

Are You Beginning Your Day In His Presence?

from the messages of Adrian Rogers


BIBLE MEDITATION:

“My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up.” Psalm 5:3

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Most Christians fail in their Christian life for one simple reason: They fail to have a quiet time. They fail to start the day with Jesus.

It is so simple. They say, “Why am I failing? Why don’t I have the victory? Why don’t I understand?” And I want to respond, “Why don’t you get quiet before God at the beginning of your day and saturate your soul with His presence and bathe your heart with His Word?”

ACTION POINT:
Someone once wrote, “Every morning lean thine arms a while upon the windowsill of heaven and gaze upon thy Lord. And then with the vision in thy heart, turn strong to meet the day.”

Survivor

At church camp today the boys got to participate in a neat activity: a former special forces member taught them some survival skills. One of their activities was to dig a pit to capture animals in. They used water to soften the soil, thus making mud. When they returned to camp they were covered in mud and had to be literally hosed off. I later spoke to the boys a bit about the spiritual lesson they could find in this activity.

If we get out in the world, the dirt and mud, digging around we are bound to be covered in filth. And it will take nothing less than “…the washing of water by the word” to cleanse us (Eph. 5:24).

Panda-mania

Last week our church had VBS. The theme was PandaMania, one that seems to have been a popular one this year. Friday toward the end of the adult lesson I reflected on the weeks lessons and how they, in one way, fit together.

The first day was on the Creation: God made and loves us. Tuesday was about Elijah and the prophets of Baal: Elijah cried out to God obediently and to His glory. Wednesday was about Jonah: Jonah was disobedient but repented from his heart and cried out to God’s mercy. Thursday was about Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection: Christ humbled Himself in obedience and made the restoration of our fellowship with God possible. And Friday was about Hannah: the Bible says in 1 Samuel 1:10 “And she [was] in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.”. Hannah’s cry resulted in the birth of Samuel.

If we follow these examples we too can draw upon the great resources God has for us. The key is still the same today for us as it was then: calling out to Him in His glory, in repentance, upon His great mercy, being humble and doing this all from our heart, not unlike Hannah, in true supplication. God hasn’t changed; His power and ability to deliver us from the “belly of the fish” or give us a “new birth” are just as real today as they ever were.

Rejecting Christ

“For those who disbelieve, ‘the stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,’ and, ‘a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense’; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed” (1 Pet. 2:7- 8).

Israel was a unique nation, chosen by God to be the guardian of His Word and proclaimer of His kingdom. The Old Testament records His miraculous and providential care for her throughout the centuries, and the prophets told of One who would come as her great Deliverer. Israel eagerly awaited the promised Messiah.

But the story has a surprise ending. In the Person of Jesus Christ, the Messiah finally came and presented Himself to Israel. The religious leaders examined Him carefully, measuring Him in every way they could. But He didn’t fit their blueprint. They expected a reigning political Messiah who would instantly deliver them from Roman oppression. They felt no need for a spiritual deliverer, so they rejected Him and tossed Him aside like a worthless rock.

That rejected cornerstone is precious to believers but remains a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to unbelievers. A “stone of stumbling” was a stone on which someone tripped while walking along the road. A “rock of offense” was a rock large enough to crush a person. The point: rejecting Christ brings spiritual devastation of enormous proportions.

All who reject Christ do so because they are disobedient to the Word. Rebellion against the written Word inevitably leads to rejection of the living Word. Of such people Peter said, “To this doom they were also appointed” (v. 8). They weren’t appointed to reject Christ, but to receive the judgment that their rejection demands. That’s a frightening reality that should motivate you to take every opportunity to evangelize the lost.

Suggestions for Prayer:

If you have family or friends who are rejecting Christ, pray for them often, asking God to grant them saving faith.

For Further Study:

Read Romans 9:30-10:17, noting Israel’s false standard of righteousness and Paul’s prayer for her salvation.

(From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,www.crossway.com.)

The Treasure Waiting to Be Opened

The Treasure Waiting to Be Opened
From the messages of Adrian Rogers
BIBLE MEDITATION:

“I rejoice at Thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.” Psalm 119:162

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Have you ever found a dollar bill on the sidewalk? Did you leave it there? You probably picked it up, maybe asked people around you if it was theirs, and if it wasn’t, maybe you rejoiced a little, hmm?

Now, what happens with your Bible? You see it sitting on your desk and say, “Oh, the Bible is a wonderful book filled with good things for my life.” But what good is it going to do to just say nice things about the Bible? A dime and a gold Krugerrand are both of the same value when they are corroding on the ocean floor.

ACTION POINT:
The promises in God’s Word are of no value, unless you dig down deep and appropriate them into your life.