Monday, October 20, 2014

Surrender = Victory

Leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention is calling for prayer for revival and spiritual awakening. I've been convicted about the need for a stirring among God's people and particularly within our church so I am preaching a series of messages based upon the model demonstrated within the convention. Dr. Ronnie Floyd, President of the SBC, leads prayer gatherings around the country. I participated in Little Rock a few months ago and it was a powerful time.

Yesterday was the third Sunday of preaching about praying for revival. The first sermon challenged us to cry out to God to open the heavens and pour out his blessings upon us. Last week we talked about confession and repentance. Then yesterday the topic was surrender.

Jesus is a great example of surrender. He prayed just minutes before he was arrested that God would allow the subsequent events to be different. Jesus would be arrested, beaten, falsely convicted, and crucified. I would have asked for another plan, too! But the crucifixion was necessary because of sin, and Jesus could be the only perfect sacrifice to die for our sins. There could be no other plan.

Despite knowing what would happen over the next few hours, Jesus surrendered his desires for the Father's will. He did this because he trusted the Father's plan for redeeming the lost and he agreed that the lost were worth redeeming.

Do I trust God's plans? Do I agree with God's purpose? If not, I won't surrender to him. I will continue to follow my desires, my will, my plans. I'll continue to cater to me!

In surrender, I am saying that I trust God's plans and I agree with God's purpose. Are you willing to say this? Are you willing to follow Jesus (and Jesus' example)?

The passage in Luke 22 that tells us of Jesus praying in the garden teaches us that surrendering to God's will brings about great victory. After the crucifixion, Jesus arose to live again, he fellowshipped with his friends, he ascended to his rightful place in heaven, and he will return gloriously to establish his eternal kingdom. That's all victory!

Even his death is a victory because in death Jesus secures forgiveness for all who will turn to him.

We don't usually equate surrender and victory. One army surrenders to the victor. But in God's design, surrender equals victory. Will you surrender to God's will? If you do you will gain victory in this life and in eternity.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Love, Dad

My three sons - the Loyd Boys - are 30, 28, and 13. Jim, Caleb, and Riley have sure made this Dad a proud and happy man. I haven't produced clones and wouldn't want to but sometimes I wish they were more like me. And sometimes I wish they were less like me. In his infinite wisdom, God chose to pass along to them from me as he did. I don't understand. I'm not supposed to.

A person who had never met me told me last night that she knew I was Caleb's Dad because he and Jim and I look alike. Maybe she was exaggerating but it made me feel good.

Caleb is getting married today to Keegan. It's a happy and exciting day. Caleb asked me to officiate. Keegan let him ask me. For that, I am very thankful.

So to Caleb and Keegan I say...

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female. 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (Matthew 10:6-9)

I pledge to pray daily for you. I pledge to always give you my love and support. I pledge to be an example of a godly man, father, and husband.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Things That Last

I love taking pictures. My Dad and sister are much better at it than I am. My Dad bought a Minolta 35mm SLR when I was a kid. I never used it much but thought that kind of camera was so cool! My sister was on the Annual Staff and roamed the halls and sidelines recording memories for our high school. That was before digital cameras so she learned to develop the film in the school's darkroom.

I bought my first Canon SLR in the film days then replaced it with the first digital SLR Canon produced. And I still have it. Its 6.3 megapixels don't come close to what cheaper and smaller cameras produce these days. My iPhone's camera has more megapixels than that. But the camera phones and the point-and-shoots don't take pictures like an SLR.

I'd love to upgrade but that will have to wait for another day. I have a philosophy about cameras and golf clubs: Why pay more money for new ones when you don't really know how to use the ones you have? I have a lot to learn about, too.

Some things are obsolete almost as soon as you buy them. Some things wear out over time with use. Some things last forever but get replaced by the latest and greatest.

Computers, running shoes, and cast iron skillets.

But one thing never becomes obsolete, never wears out, and can never be replaced. God's Word - the Bible - is God's expression to us of all we need to know to make sense of this life and make it to eternal life. Times change, people change, and circumstances change but God's Word is the ultimate guide to knowing Jesus. Whether a person lived before my lifetime, lives during my lifetime, or will live after my lifetime, nobody will ever discover God, forgiveness, love, and redemption outside his Word.

Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away" (Luke 21:33).

The psalmist wrote, "Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens" (Psalms 119:89).

Peter quoted Isaiah 40 when he wrote, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever" (1 Peter 1:24-25).

I have bookshelves laden with books. I have electronic devices loaded with digital books. None compare with the Bible. Yes, I have different translations and a favorite translation, but it is what God says to me in his Word that is so precious.

I still have my Letterman's jacket from high school...but it doesn't fit anymore. I have photos from my childhood...but they are faded. I have memories of special events...but some of the details may be missing.

I have God's Word. It will always fit. It will never fade. It will always be complete.

I hope to have enough money someday to buy a new camera. Then I'll put my old one on EBay or give it away to someone. But I'll never outgrow God's Word or get too smart for it.