Archive for: November, 2012

What happens after Thanksgiving? Let’s recharge

Nov 26 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

By Roberto Ponce

 

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we need to recharge. Few things can move forward without power. I got up this morning, sipped my coffee, got my little girls ready and got to work in my car powered by an engine. Then I got to the office and checked my email on a computer powered by electricity. You get the point … but I am referring to power as the source that allows us to be able to carry on with life.

 We all need to get our batteries recharged at one point or another. We need to stop for a moment and get reenergized, especially if others depend on us for anything. We have to take care of ourselves first so we can go on with the ministries or responsibilities God has entrusted us to do.

The power of health (take care of our bodies)

We have to take care of our bodies. The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), and it is the personal means God gave us to live this life. We only have one body at the moment. We can’t trade it in and get a new one just yet. The new model comes out after the resurrection when God gives us a glorified body.

 It is hard to be productive and effective if we are not well. Of course we need to pray for health. That’s God’s part. Yet what about our part? We all need to eat healthfully, rest and exercise regularly. Not an easy thing to do. I struggle too. But we need to make sure we do everything we can to be healthy so we can be effective and be around for those who need us the most.

The power of knowledge (renew our minds)

According to the Webster-Merriam dictionary, knowledge is defined, among other things, as “the fact or condition of having information or being learned.” Acquiring information is important to obtaining knowledge. The Bible tells us about the value of having knowledge and how it is intertwined with wisdom (Proverbs 2:10-11). It also instructs us to choose knowledge rather than gold (Proverbs 8:10). According to the Bible, knowledge becomes more valuable than material things. This is a nice reminder for this day and age.

As I drove to work one morning, I saw the latest model of a German car pass right next to my car. This was a nice looking machine, a pretty great car. Soon after, another car with the same color and model as the previous one passed right by me. The only difference was that the second car was at least 20 years old. This car looked outdated and unattractive. The lesson I learned that morning was that material things are very temporal. So yes, let’s go after knowledge rather than after gold.

But how do we go about acquiring the power of knowledge? I’ve heard many times that knowledge is a lifelong process. You never stop learning until you take your last breath. We cannot sit down, relax and say, “I know it all … I’ve learned it all.” We must equip ourselves in whatever trade, job or ministry God has called us to do. A pastor in Indiana once told me this bad economy provides an opportunity to retool oneself.

Take advantage of educational programs and opportunities that may be available to you. As Christians, we are called to study and learn the Bible for every good work we are tasked to do. (2 Timothy 3:14-17).

 We all know that God’s Word is an invaluable resource available to us for our everyday living. We have an uphill battle against a liberal society when it comes to morals and values, especially when raising our children. So knowing God’s Word is critical. Paul left us with a clear directive in Romans 12:2, about not conforming or agreeing to the pattern of this world, but renewing our minds every day in order to know God’s good and perfect will. What better way to renew our minds than through studying the Scriptures and through prayer

The power of the Spirit (empowers our souls)

God is a Spirit (Matthew 4:24) and we must worship Him in Spirit and truth. He has sent us His Holy Spirit to empower our lives on this earth. The basic definition of the word soul is “life.” We have to exercise our spiritual lives through prayer to connect with God through Jesus. There is something supernatural about connecting with God and receiving His peace and confidence. If we believe in a resurrected Christ, then it is easy to believe all He said in the Bible. He promised to send us His Spirit and He did (Acts: 2).

 Receiving professional counseling can also be good. But what better counselor can one have than the Holy Spirit? Life is demanding at so many different levels. It is refreshing to know we can rely on the power of the Holy Spirit for strength, encouragement and guidance every day. We must depend on Him as the source of power—a renewable power that has been given to us to live life on this earth. We have been empowered by Jesus. Let’s go to work with confidence knowing God has already prepared the way.

 Roberto Ponce is director of communications and Media at Global University. For more information about Global University go to http://think.globaluniversity.edu

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The Perfect Gift.

Nov 20 2012 Published by under Evangelism, Uncategorized

 by Carolyn Hittenberger

 Are you looking for the perfect Christmas gift for a friend or family member?  That present has to fit perfectly, please the recipient and fit your budget.  Do you need something for someone who already has everything?  Maybe you’ve one on your list who is particularly hard to please. 

For Peter, a Global University student living in California, English is a second language. With the goal of improving his ability to communicate the message of salvation, he diligently studied the course, Introductory English. To fulfill the course requirement for practical application, Peter wrote a tract, entitling it The Perfect Gift. This became a tool to share God’s love through his personal testimony.

At a gas station, a food pantry, a Bible Study group, wherever God opened opportunities, Peter detailed what God had done for him. He told them that he had received many gifts as he grew up but most ended broken, neglected, or lost. “They had no lasting value.” Then one day a lady told him this story of the Perfect Gift.

God had made this world beautiful and perfect. Genesis 1:31 states, “God saw all that he had made and it was very good.” Satan wanted to steal, kill, and destroy all that God had made.  When Adam and Eve listened to Satan, disobeying God, they lost their freedom, joy, and life as they had known it. The sentence of death came to every human being. Even in man’s disobedience, God never stopped loving us. Romans 5:8 tells us, “While we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

Romans 6:23 further explains this by stating, “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God’s love sent His only Son to take on Himself our sin penalty.

She invited Peter to receive this gift of eternal life.  When he answered, “YES,” he knew that he had received the Perfect Gift.

In his tract Peter writes, “Today you can receive the same gift…there is no other gift like it. Nothing will change your life more than this.” He explains that all one needs to do is ask Jesus for forgiveness and invite him in. Peter gives this counsel to those who do so:

  • Treasure this gift of eternal life
  • Give it to others
  • Fellowship with other followers of Jesus

Peter reports that three people have come to the Lord through his witness. He writes, “The Lord is my helper. He loves me even if my English is not 100%.”

Are there friends on your Christmas list who don’t know Jesus?  Consider sharing with them The Perfect Gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. It is a gift that is free, yet priceless.

Carolyn Hittenberger is Assistant for the Caribbean Regional Office at Global University and also works with University Communications. For more information about Global University, visit http://think.globaluniversity.edu.

 

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Thanks God

Nov 12 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

by Michael Goldsmith

Psalms 28:7, “The LORD is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”

When I served as senior pastor, I had an associate pastor who began most prayers with, “Thanks God” and would proceed from there.  It caught my attention because gratitude has long been a personal core value.  It is a quality that keeps me anchored.  I am fully cognizant that my life is the composite of the fingerprints of all who have affected my life as well as the fingerprint, or touch, of God on me. Maya Angelou said, “Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayers.”

Have you ever noticed it’s not the misfortunes of life which destroys men?  For every person destroyed by the crucible of life’s challenges, there are those, who suffering the same and worse, have been propelled to succeed and achieve. For one, it’s a spiral downward; yet another, it’s upward and onward.  Dark emotional acids of bitterness, resentment, hatred, fear, and an array of sour emotions threaten to corrode the soul until hope is abandoned and raw, irreconcilable pain remains.

Gratitude is the “Ph balance” against the acid of hardship and adversity. A neutralizer is required to stop the corrosive forces of acid and a grateful heart is a good neutralizer. There is positively no way to insulate yourself from the difficulties of life. There is; however, a countermeasure found in the positive nature of gratitude. Etymologically the word traces its roots back to “grace” which, in turn, is rooted in God Himself.  Gratitude, then, makes us Christlike.

So Thanks God….for being my God.  Phil 4:19, “My God shall supply all your needs…” The phrase, “my God” appears 151 throughout His word. God must become personal to you.  The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is not an historical God.  He is the God from generation to generation.  At the age of 19, Christ became my God and what a journey it’s been.  The wonder of Christianity is that God desires a relationship with us.

 Thanks God…for caring.  What a mystery that the God of the universe cares for humanity and not in mass but as individuals.  With extraordinary attention to detail, if He cares about the minutiae of how many hairs populate your head how much more the condition of your soul, the affairs of your life, the destiny of your future.  Revelation says He will wipe every tear from our eye.  That’s caring.

Thanks God…for coming to me.  Metaphorically, our prayers go up to God; and He comes down to us.  That is the centrality of the gospel – He reached down His hand for me. Thus, our hope – God comes down, way down, as far as it takes.  The Father, when he saw the beaten down Prodigal, RAN to meet him, embrace him, kiss him, love him, accept him. Your smallest move towards God will be met by a greater move by Him.

Thanks God…for changing my life. Our God is a transforming God. The exchange He offers is not a transaction of equal value.  For our rags, a robe of righteousness.  For our ashes, beauty.  For weeping in the night, joy in the morning.  The spirit of heaviness?, a garment of praise! For brokenness, restoration. For sin, forgiveness.  In every instance, what we give up is valueless in exchange for what is infinitely valuable.

Thanks God…for making life better.  The promise to the Israelites was to leave behind a land of suffering, abuse, and hardship in search for a land of “milk and honey”.  Milk symbolizes the things that sustain us; honey, the things that make life sweeter.  Our wonderful God sustains and sweetens life. 

The thanksgiving holiday is upon us.  It shouldn’t be a holiday. It should be a lifestyle.  Real gratitude brings takes us from thanksgiving to thanksliving!

So how do you complete the phrase, “Thanks God….”?

Michael Goldsmith has pastored congregations in North Little Rock, Conway, Pine Bluff and Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.   He now serves with Global University as Director of Advancement for a project in a sensitive country.  You can reach him at mgoldsmith@globaluniversity.edu

 

 

 

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The Road to Stability Part II

Nov 05 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

 by Roberto Ponce

 

Have you seen the new TV spot of an American luxury car on the mountain roads of Morocco? It’s a pretty awesome spot on road stability control. But it’s not about the stability technologies. It’s about the fact that we long for safety and security. It’s about the promise of something you can depend on. So today, I want to blog once again about the stability on the road of life.

World affairs

Just like they were a year ago, first world economies are still weak and unstable. The geopolitical world seems to be a mess.  Not much has changed in a year’s time since I first blogged about this topic. A year ago, violence erupted overnight in Egypt and so it did again some weeks ago. Today, violence continues throughout the entire Middle East and beyond. Consider Libya for instance. You know all about it by now. So many areas of the world are in conflict.

Two roads lead to Washington.

 Yep, that’s right. Donkey Expressway or Elephant Boulevard will get our next Commander –in- Chief to the White House in 2013. Those roads will be paved with votes from the American people. If you are an American, you get to decide tomorrow November 6.  What a blessing! I became an American Citizen in 2007. One of the main reasons I became an American Citizen was to have the right to vote.  So if you are an American, count your blessings to live in a country where you still have the freedom to choose your leaders. Go vote tomorrow.

I mentioned a year ago about the promises that we would hear from presidential candidates to get our country back on track this year. By now, we’ve heard every promise.  You already heard “their plan” to fix the U.S. economy, create more jobs in America, stabilize the Middle East, lead the world and provide you with a better future.

 Although as Christians we need to get involved in our civic process through voting, let us remember who has “the best plan” for our lives. God has promised that He has a plan for us.

He said He wants to prosper us and not to harm us. He wants to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

One road leads to heaven.  

There is only road that leads to heaven. Here is a promise that we need to cling unto:

 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14: 6

 Although we may not have the best “road stability” controls that TV spots showcase, we can expect everlasting stability with Jesus Christ. I leave you with this thought:  pray for our country and our next president regardless of what road gets him to Washington.

 Roberto Ponce is Director of Communications at Global University. For more information about Global University, visit http://think.globaluniversity.edu.

 

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