Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Make your Deposit—NOW

One more day and 2015 will be history.  That means it's resolution time!  Now, what shall I endeavor to accomplish, change, improve, or remove from my life in 2016?  

My husband, who is a pastor, is forever challenging people to memorize scripture.  When he was a youth pastor (about 100 years ago) he did this activity with the students.  He put them in small groups and told them they were going to outer space. (Yes, that's the kind of stuff youth pastor's did in the 1970's.)  He instructed the teams to choose a leader and each team member was allowed to bring one item on the trip to ensure their survival.  He gave the teams a few minutes to strategize.  Then he went around the room and had each group share what they were bringing.  Usually, at least one group would remember their spiritual wellbeing and include a Bible.   

Following that part of the activity, he then told everyone that their Bibles were confiscated.  Then he give them 15 minutes to work together as a team to write down every scripture they knew from memory.  What each team complied together would be the only Bible they would have.  

Of course, the game was meant to show the importance of memorizing God’s Word.  At the end of this group activity it was obvious how little Christians in general heed Psalm 119:11 (TLB) I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.

When making your resolutions for 2016, consider the challenge to bank God's Word in the vault of your heart.

Funny thing about bank accounts—we can only withdraw what we put in.  If you want to make withdrawals of God’s word you will need to value it enough to make your deposit—NOW.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Peace On Earth

Peace—perfect peace—peace on earth.  It’s what we all long for.  While most of us live at peace with those around us, the current news tells us that our world is far from a peaceful place.  On a daily basis we may see, hear, and feel the condition of this sinful world pressing in--bringing with it a fear that swallows peace.

Good News:  Even when war is raging—peace on earth is available to the Believer.  In John 14:27 Jesus said:  “I leave you peace. It is my own peace I give you. I give you peace in a different way than the world does. So don’t be troubled. Don’t be afraid.”

I love what Jesus says here, “It is my own peace I give you.”  The peace Jesus is talking about is not perfect tranquility or the removal of all heartache from our lives.  The struggle for peace that Mankind faces is a lack of peace with God because of sin.  The peace that Jesus gives—brings us into right harmony with God, and harmony with God brings peace. 

Next time you feel your peace vanishing remember to assess your peace with God.   Remember what Jesus said, “It is my own peace I give you.”

It’s the only thing that will bring Peace on Earth.

Peace on Earth
By Beverly Joy Roberts

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Why the shepherds?

Many years ago, when our youngest son was about seven, he yelled for me to come.  Normally, I would have yelled back something like, “I’ll be there in a minute.”  Or “You come here.”  However, this time, I could hear in the tone of his voice that he had made a  discovery worthy of the Nobel Prize.  When I arrived I found him sitting with a book open on his lap.  His finger was tapping on a picture in the book.  With his face full of wonder he spoke. “Mom, you are never gonna believe this—there’s a picture of a guy in this book and he looks just like Dad.”  He paused for effect.  Then gave me the zinger, “AND HIS NAME IS BOB ROBERTS.” (his dad’s name)   I looked at the book he was holding.  It was my husband’s college yearbook.  My son had made an amazing discovery and this kind of information was meant to be shared!    

With Christmas days away, this story of our sweet boy made me thing of another proclamation that had to be shared. 

Luke 2:8-15 (NIV) And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Why the shepherds?  Why didn’t the angel make this proclamation to the temple priests or the religious leaders or shout it over the whole town of Bethlehem?  Why did God give this "game changing" announcement to poor shepherds? 

A well-known Bible teacher named Alfred Edersheim says this, “We can trust that God had a specific purpose for this shepherd audience, and the work they performed suggests the reason. These men who watched the sheep meant for the slaughter received a divine message about the ultimate Lamb who would take away the sins of the world through His death and resurrection.”  Wow, that sounds amazing…

BUT, here’s another thought.  The birth of Jesus was God’s proclamation to the world that things were changing.  Everything was being turned upside down and inside out.  Jesus wasn’t born in a palace and there were no royal robes for Him.  He was born in a stable, wrapped in torn strips of cloth and laid in a manger. God was telling the Gentile world get ready; tax collectors, sinners, the poor—YOU ARE ALL WELCOME.  The shepherds were of little significance in society, but not to God.   They were the ones God chose to hear the birth announcement of His Son.  The reason this is important to me is because most of us at one time or another have felt like an outcast.  God was telling the world then and now—that the have-nots matter to HIM. 

Maybe that’s—Why the Shepherds!

Why the shepherds?
By Beverly Joy Roberts

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

To Give or Not To Give

In the early 1980’s we accepted our first position as senior pastors at a small church in northern Michigan.  Those four years were rich in relationships and pastoral experiences.  However, our first Christmas there, things were financially tight.  A charitable agency reached out to us with a gift card for $60.  It seemed like a million dollars when we went shopping.  Since then our financial situation has vastly improved, still I am reminded of the kindness of that origination whenever I enter a store during the holiday season. 

You would think, that when kindness is shown to a person—the automatic response would be to pay it forward.  Sad to say, it ain’t so.  In my adult life I have experienced an abundance of kindness and generosity, but I’ve not always responded in kind.  A few years ago, someone I respect told me about a decision he and his wife made to never ask—To Give or Not To Give.  The decision for them would always be—to GIVE. 

There is a story about a man who confronted a missionary at the close of his service.  This man was upset because the missionary’s message had put too much pressure on the congregation to help the poor.  His words to the missionary went something like this, “Why do you even bother trying to help the poor?  It’s like trying to empty the ocean one bucket at a time.”  The missionary replied, “I may not be able to empty the ocean but let it be known I emptied my bucket.”

Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater. Luke 12:48 (TLB) 

In light of this scripture, next time you have an opportunity to help, what will you do?  The challenge we all face is—To Give or Not To Give.  

To Give or Not To Give
Beverly Joy Roberts

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How Powerful is Your Jesus?

There are two things that I love to do; tell stories about my amazing children and tell stories about my amazing grandchildren.  Last week, I read a post on FB from my daughter-in-law about one of my grandsons.  He’s six and quite brilliant.  I have a total of eight crazy-adorable little people that call me Grandma.  This particular grandson lives half way around the world.  Here is what the FB post said, “Jesus is so powerful he made God be his dad.”  It’s a direct quote from grandkid #3.  I love it!  See—amazing right! 

Although his theology isn’t perfect, his reality is awesome.  It does this grandma’s heart good to hear that he is thinking about Jesus.  His concepts of who Jesus is are being built daily.  His Jesus is all-powerful.  It made me wonder—how powerful is my Jesus?  What can HE do? 

Can he heal the brokenhearted and set the captive free?  Yes, he can!

Can he restore what the locusts have eaten? Seen this first hand!

Is he the balm in Gilead?  You bet!

Can he redeem a life from destruction?  Eye witness to this one.

Can he baptize in the Holy Spirit?  Absolutely!

Will he bring your prodigal home?  Yes, He Did!

Does he quench a smoking flax or break a bruised reed?  Never!  He’s gentle!

Does he turn the tables over in the temple and bring justice to the world?  He’s coming back!

Does he wink at sin?  No—He does not!

Does he have time for the least among us? Yes!

Is He—Deliverer, Strong Tower, Hiding Place, Refuge, Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, The Lion of the Tribe of Judah and the Lamb that was slain?  9x’s YES!

How powerful is Your Jesus?

My Jesus is so powerful—He can capture the heart of a child and led him.  Thank you, Jesus!

How Powerful is Your Jesus?
By Beverly Roberts

Book Release

    The Journals of Tori Drake Click on the book cover to order on Amazon. Book Review: I consumed this book in three days. Although it was ...