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No Corners Cut, No Pacifying, No Round-About Way

“Father Knows Best!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Many of us don’t understand why things happen in our lives. Often we get discourage, we feel like God has let us down – or so it seems… Some of us in the past have had some very negative things and extremely hurtful things happen to us, leaving us wondering why would a God who is so just, loving, and kind allow such a thing to happen to me. I want you to understand that God has a divine plan. Ultimately He knows what it will take to get us into the place that He would have us. Therefore He allows those unpleasant things to come in our lives because He is just trying to perfect and direct us {1Peter 5:10}.Paul said that “everything that we experience in this life; all the struggles, pain, frustration, heartaches, disappointment, and suffering; that all things work together for the good.”  You see, we don’t know our future, we don’t know how the events that happen in our lives will affect us later. But God knows our beginning as well as our ending. Your end was already set before you began. Let me say that again. Your end was already set before you began. I am reminded of Joseph in the Old Testament of how God was using all the events of his life to get him where He wanted him to be. Joseph went from the pit to the palace. Your end was already set before you began. Do you hear what I’m saying? You got to go through to get though. Joseph had to go through to get through. Besides, all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.

Listen, I want you to know that you are not the only one who felt that God had let them down. Jeremiah felt deceived by God. Jeremiah felt that God had lured him into the ministry only to make him a laughingstock. He felt ridiculed and offended. His voice was not making a difference. He was crying out for the people to repent, yet they continued toward destruction and judgment. The people of God in Isaiah’s time felt the same way too. They were worried about the future. Other nations seemed to be dominating and oppressing God’s people in Israel: God’s people began to wonder was God still in control? Can God still be trusted? I want you to know that God spoke to his discouraged and despairing people through the prophet Isaiah. They needed reminding of God’s awesome power. In Isaiah chapter 40, Isaiah said, when you feel weary, remember that God is incomparable as the mighty King over all the creation. He holds the whole world in His hand. You can trust His enthroned, ruling supreme. What a helpful perspective for us when we’re weary knowing that the Lord is still in control. He’s ruling over all with His mighty power. We can look to Him and trust Him.  I tell you Father knows Best! We shouldn’t give in to our doubts that God has left us high and dry. Jeremiah realized that he wasn’t alone {Jeremiah 20:11}. He came to understand that He was not on the losing side. He was going to win because the Lord was with him like a mighty warrior. Often in our discouragement we look inward – to our problems, our frustrations, and our situation – when we need to look upward to a God who has not abandoned us. He is with us.  He is a present-tense God.  Can I tell you that Jeremiah’s despair turned to joy, his defeated attitude turned to triumph, and his dismay to courage.

I tell you, it is  so easy for us to acknowledge that God knows what is best for us when things are going well for us, but as soon as times get tough, it is so tempting to start to question whether God knows what He is doing. I want you to know that a big part of faith is trusting God when you don’t understand it. The God who created you loves you so much that He continuously acts in your life and in your world so that you and I and all persons can have wholeness of life. This is Good News! Everything about our life is calculated; we may not understand it, but it’s because we’re not God. God has a reason; every door that’s closed God had a purpose for it closing. We sing all the time, “Order My Steps in Your Word dear Lord, Lead Me, Guide Me Every Day.” But what I want to know is do we mean what we say?  If we are asking God to order our steps, let’s not try to figure out everything that happens along the way, let’s just trust Him. Right now we can’t see it all clearly, but one day it will come into focus, and we’ll look back and say “Wow, God you are amazing! You had it all figured out, all lined up. You closed the door on purpose so your perfect will would be done.” I tell you don’t’ fight your closed doors. God knows what He’s doing. He can see the big picture for your life. Those closed doors were not an accident that was God directing your steps, just as you asked Him too. Not only that, the reason God closed them is because He has something better in store. If you’ll have this perspective and not only thank God for your open doors but thank Him just as much for your closed doors, you’ll pass the test. You’ll see the exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond future that God has in store. I tell you, God is doing a work in us for His Glory.  Every situation is known by God and is accomplishing something in us all.  Jesus said in John 14:15,If you love me you will obey what I command.” God’s will for you and me is that we come to that place in our lives where we learn to depend on Him and trust in Him for everything. This is a hard lesson to learn, but a lesson we must learn well if we are to have a close and meaningful relationship with God.

For me, the truest satisfaction in life comes from being in the perfect will of God, doing His work, living according to His choosing. God’s best is not something to fear, He not only knows what is best for us, but He wants us to have His best!  And one thing that we need to understand; one fundamental truth that is spoken throughout all Scripture: God never explains himself. He rarely gives reasons. What we need to grasp is what faith believes? Faith believes that God is too wise to make a mistake. The God of the universe has a plan for our lives, and He is busy enacting it. But it is not easy to discern. It is often above and beyond us. But I say to you, trust Him without explanation, logic and reasoning. Trust Him because He is God. When I look back over my life and think about all the events in my life up unto the present time, the good as well as the bad, the bitter, and the sweet, I can see how God was working it out and how sometimes “rejection is God’s protection.” Say with me, Father Knows Best and He is working it out for my good.  Amen!

“Do Not Pass Go… Do Not Collect $200!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Everywhere you go in life there are warning signs. There are signs along the roadway that point to danger that lies ahead. There are warning signs that our bodies give us from time to time. There are warning signs that our minds send out when there is a problem. Then, there are spiritual warning signs. Times when we slack up in our commitment to the Lord… When we forsake the assembly of the saints… When we don’t pray and when we don’t give as we should. Times when we harbor bitterness and un-forgiveness… We hold onto hurts and have hard feelings toward others. Right now, lights are flashing “Approaching Danger” because there is some stuff that you are walking in that ain’t the way that God has told you to walk. There are some things that you are doing that God hasn’t told you to do. Flirting with sin; messing around in areas where you have no business being…  “Do Not Pass Go… Do Not Collect $200”….This is serious… It could be the difference between life and death!  Take heed to God’s warning or you will suffer the consequences.

Listen, warnings are meant to help, not to harm us.  They are meant to protect us from doing something foolish and harmful in our life. Warnings are an act of God’s grace. Unfortunately though, there are many today who are not good listeners, and they only hear what they want to hear, because just like the opposing Jews of the first century, their hearing is dull and their vision is blurry. I tell you we are remarkably oblivious to the obvious. We can see absolute concrete signs that something is so, and yet, we don’t listen, we don’t believe; we don’t pay attention.  How many people have been killed because they went around a railroad barricade? Lights flashing; bells ring; barricade in the way, nah, those don’t mean anything right. Next thing you know, death has swallowed another one up… Do not ignore the warning signs. Read the writing on the wall and heed God’s warning because “Warning Comes before Destruction!” Do not be like Samson who manifested all the signs of a man who was headed for trouble in his life {Judges 14:1-9} yet, he ignored every one of those signs and traveled ever farther down a road that brought him dishonor, defeat and death.  As Samson took his first steps down the road to ruin, he had no idea where his path would ultimately lead him. He had no idea how bad things would be at the end of the way. Had he heeded God’s warning signs, Samson could have avoided many of the problems he faced later in life. Even Israel, God longed for them to repent. But instead of growing closer to God, they were getting farther away. God had sent His Word, but she had refused to obey. He sent correction, but she only hardened. He invited her to trust Him, but she chose to place her trust in man. He desired for her to return, but she drifted farther and farther away. Don’t do it… Don’t ignore God’s warnings. You know Zephaniah chapter 3 verses 1-7, was written to the backslidden nation of Judah, but they offer some valuable information for us today. When we find ourselves headed in the wrong direction, there is only one intelligent thing to do: Turn- around! The Bible calls that repentance; or changing our direction.  Imagine for a moment how Samson’s life would have been different if he had recognized the warning signs and turned his life toward God. Imagine now what God could do with us if we would simply recognize the warning signs that present themselves in our lives.  If you can see evil desires, disobedience to God’s will and deception in your life, the time to change is now. It may not be too late to avoid catastrophe in your life. You know the starting place is what the rich man in Hell acknowledged, that you must repent of your sins, and change the direction of your life.

True- Story. “Many years ago a young man violated some traffic laws, and was involved in a hit and run traffic accident. He was chased by the police, but made a desperate effort to get away. He attempted to get on the Turnpike at the interchange. And when he saw that the entrance was lined with cars, he went off the entrance drive, around the pay stations, and sped onto the Highway. The police followed the speeding car, and telephoned ahead. Roadblocks were quickly set up in an effort to stop the person from his mad rush to a likely accident. But he was able to dodge the roadblocks, one after another. Sometimes he simply ran them down; other times he crossed the median strip and went into the other lane of traffic, and then turned back again. Finally, in a desperate effort to stop the young man, two huge trucks were placed across all four lanes of traffic. Red flares were set up at intervals several miles ahead, to warn the driver of approaching danger. Everyone was sure this blockade would stop the mad driver, but as he approached the roadblock, he looked in his rearview mirror; he saw the police behind; he looked straight ahead and saw the two trucks, but instead of stopping, he kept moving at one hundred miles per hour, and crashed headlong into the trucks, hurling his soul into an endless eternity. His car went under the trucks, and came out on the other side, a smashed, mangled, twisted bundle of steel…” Listen, just as the policemen did everything within their power to stop the speeding boy and even gave him warning signals ahead, so God is doing everything possible to keep us from continuing on the path that leads to Hell. It is God’s desire that every human being should repent, believe the Gospel, and live a new life of obedience to Jesus Christ, walking daily under the control of the Holy Spirit.

I hope that each of us will keep our eyes and ears open to the warning signs that are given to us in the Bible so that we can live a life that will be acceptable before God and so that our souls will be saved in the end. Let us believe God. Let us see His grace in His warnings concerning His wrath against sin. Let us not deny the truth, but warn people to flee from the wrath to come. Let us make sure that we ourselves have repented and hidden ourselves in Christ alone, so availing ourselves of the one and only escape from God’s wrath, faith in Jesus Christ our sin bearer. Let us make sure we respond to God’s trumpet call of warnings and obey His commandments that we might live. Surely, if anyone who reads this message ends up in the place of outer darkness, you will go there over the love of God, the warnings of God, the cross of Calvary, the prayers of God’s people, and the teaching of the Gospel.  Do Not Pass Go… Do Not Collect $200!

“My Sweet Valentine!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

“I found Him whom my soul loveth: I held Him, and would not let Him go” {Song of Solomon 3}…  I want you to know that “My Beloved is mine, and I am His…” A love I never dreamed possible… Oh Lord, my heart belongs to you alone! Take me now and let me be the bride who will bring you great joy. Cause me each day of my life to walk so closely to you that I will experience your intimacy which will begin to change me into your blessed image forever.…. Oh when I contemplate the rich love of Jesus I am drawn to Him like iron to the magnet… I tell you, to be loved by Jesus is literally an indescribable thing.  God demonstrating His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. I don’t know about you but this text ministers powerfully to my heart. If you want a visible definition of love, look at what God did for you in Christ…  If you really want to understand love, don’t listen to love songs, or people who throw the term love around… If you want to get to the depths of what it means to love and be loved, look to the cross of Christ. The cross is the ultimate expression of God’s incomprehensible love to us… For the cross is God’s way of saying, “I love you this much,” with His arms outstretched. His final words etched on a Roman cross. They are blood red. They scream to be heard… I tell you I have been captured by love…  A love that knows no limits, no bounds, and no end… JesusMy Sweet Valentine!

You know there have been many definitions of love. There have been many people who have written books about love. There are songs about love. There are poems about love. There are discussions about love. But when you’ve said it all and you’ve read it all and you’ve sung it all, you just might wonder “What Love Got to Do with It,” because the things they talk about, sing about and write about really aren’t about love at all, but rather about affection, longing, goose-bumps types of emotional thrills. The love they talk about runs hot, it runs cold, and it runs lukewarm. It brings tears of joy, tears of depression, and screams of excitement and hollers of disappointment. The Bible however, addresses aGreater Love” that uses an entirely different term than “philo.” That term is “Agape.” The difference, Agape is a love characterized by commitment.  If you believe in Jesus Christ, don’t think of His love for you merely in terms of the love He has for the world. Think of the love that takes captive and cleaves and unites and cherishes and defends. Think of a marriage covenant between you and God in which He has sworn by His Holiness to love you with a saving, cleansing, and glorifying love. Remember His Words in Psalm 89:34 that says, “I will not violate My covenant, or alter the word that went forth from My lips.” This is what we long for, and this is what we have by faith, an experience of being loved with a love that lasts, that is not fickle, or uncertain, or capricious, but durable, constant, and stable. Not, only, a love that is extensive, but that lasts over time, all time, but also a love that is intensive. We long to be loved radically, deeply, excessively, passionately. I tell you, My Beloved is mine and I am His! Oh may God give us the power to comprehend what is the height and depth and length and breadth, and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge that we might be filled with all the fullness of Him.

If you would allow me to make this very personal, love being the high point of everything, the fulfilling of the whole law and the number one ingredient in life {Romans chapter 13}.  I want you to know that God knew every flaw and weakness I would have and every mistake I would make when He called me into relationship with Himself. Nothing about me surprises Him. God knows and has always known everything about me. He knows what I will think, do and say every day for the rest of my life. He also knows how He will help me, teach me, correct me, encourage me, and give me grace for all my faults and failures. He is always for me and never against me, no matter what I do. God loves unconditionally, and that means He accepts us the way we are and then helps us to be all we can be. When you have someone who loves holding you, it doesn’t matter anymore what everyone else does or what the circumstances are or what the future holds. When you are in the arms of a loving God, when you have been consumed with His love, you share in His benefits. God’s love is beyond comprehension. Amazing, isn’t it? God knows us and still loves us. God knows that we are sinners, yet He forgives; we are diseased, yet He heals; we are in a pit, yet He pulls us out; we are ungrateful for His good gifts, yet He gives them anyway; and we deserve justice, yet He grants mercy. When God says I love you, He is saying that you matter to Him. You are a person of worth. You are valuable to Him. Regardless of what others think, in His eyes you are wonderful! God’s love touches every part of our life. Nothing – no calling or circumstance, no adversity or advancement, no pain or promotion, no status or station – escapes the brush strokes of God’s love. God’s love bleeds into every fabric and fiber of our lives. God has loved us with an everlasting love, and with loving-kindness He has drawn us. Indeed, we belong to Divine Love, and only God’s love is unfailing and always fully satisfying. In these last days, there has never been a time when we so desperately need to spend significant daily time contemplating the life of Jesus. “No greater love than this that a man would lay down his life for his friends” {John 15:13}. Oh, how He loves you and me! My Sweet Valentine! To the only wise God my Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen!