Archive | January, 2013

Happy 10th birthday Daniel !!

29 Jan

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On January 29, 2003 the Lord blessed Becky and I with another healthy baby boy and Daniel Corbin entered our lives.  In case you are reading this blog and do not know our family, we have an older son, David, who will be the subject of a post like this on his birthday in July. Anyway, words cannot express the joy that Daniel has brought to our home.  Little did we know that Daniel would turn out to be a very fitting name for the little boy who was born at Brookwood hospital.

Daniel is tough as nails and a fierce competitor (something about having an older brother I’m told).  He is extremely independent and a hard worker.  As a matter of fact, it offends him if you ask about his homework.  He just does it and does it extremely well!  He will work for hours at a time to improve in whatever sport he is playing.  Speaking of sports, I do not believe I have ever seen a child that loves sports more than Daniel does.  If he has an idle minute, he will be out the door and bouncing a ball in a matter of seconds!  The picture above is Daniel just before his first football game this season. He also plays basketball and baseball.

Daniel is an absolutely huge football fan. In his short life, he has already cheered the Alabama Crimson Tide on to three national championships.  In fact, on the first day of school this year, his teacher had each student fill out a paper that listed their favorite foods, TV shows, etc.  On the question that asked for Daniel’s favorite place to go on vacation, he replied, “Tuscaloosa.”  As the father who has financed family trips to Disney World, Washington D.C., the beach, and a host of other places, I asked Daniel why he put that in light of all of the wonderful places he has visited.  Without missing a beat, Daniel said, “Dad, Tuscaloosa just feels like home!”

Most of all, I had the privilege of praying with Daniel as he gave his life to Christ one night in his bedroom.  The next Sunday, I had the privilege of baptizing Daniel at Whitesburg with most of our family there.  Even though he is only ten years old, I am continually amazed at how much scripture Daniel knows and how many of the Bible stories he can recall in great detail.  I really do believe that Daniel knows more of the Bible than I did when I started college! He is showing signs of growing into a young man who loves the Lord and it is that for which I am most proud of Daniel.

Happy birthday, Daniel!  Your dad loves you, and your dad is proud of you!  Oh yes, one more thing in honor of Daniel….Roll Tide!

Don’t be a grumbler

28 Jan

This morning in my devotional time, I read Exodus 13-18 – the famous story of the exodus of the people of God from Egypt and its immediate aftermath.  It is an exciting story filled with miracles and the power of God – the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea that allowed God’s people to cross on dry land. In fact, the Bible says that this awesome demonstration of God’s power made quite an impression on the people…

“When Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and believed in Him and in His servant Moses.” (Exodus 14:31, HCSB)

However, a mere three days later look at what happened…

“Then Moses led Israel on from the Red Sea, and they went out to the Wilderness of Shur. They journeyed for three days in the wilderness without finding water. They came to Marah, but they could not drink the water at Marah because it was bitter—that is why it was named Marah. The people grumbled to Moses, “What are we going to drink?”” (Exodus 15:22–24, HCSB)

Almost immediately the people of God fell into grumbling and complaining. Think about it. They have just been miraculously delivered from years of slavery in Egypt. They have seen the power of God very real and tangible ways.  Yet, they begin to grumble and complain at the first sign of adversity. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get better; it develops into a pattern of life for the Israelites…

“The entire Israelite community departed from Elim and came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left the land of Egypt. The entire Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. Instead, you brought us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of hunger!”” (Exodus 16:1–3, HCSB)

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of episode after episode of grumbling by the people of God.  The more things change the more things stay the same. I believe that one of the greatest barriers that many Christians have in their walk with God today is the barrier of constant grumbling.  Some churches can’t move forward because of constant grumbling among the people. Some pastors cannot lead their churches because they themselves constantly grumble and complain. The truth is that it is easy for Christians to fall into the trap of grumbling and complaining.  It can become such a way of life that we really don’t think about it.  Monday mornings are prime time for many of us to be grumblers!

Why is grumbling among the people of God a serious matter?  Please allow me to list several reasons…

  1. Grumbling really means that we are questioning God’s provision and goodness toward us.
  2. Grumbling makes us unthankful and ungrateful people.
  3. When we are grumbling, we aren’t praying!
  4. Grumbling takes our focus off of the Lord and onto ourselves.
  5. Grumbling leads us to unfairly question and blame the leaders that God has placed in our lives.
  6. Grumbling leads us to focus on the past rather than what God has for us in the future.

If you read through the book of Exodus, you will see these issues play out among the people of God. While this list is far from comprehensive, it’s easy to see that grumbling is serious business that can have a devastating effect on our spiritual lives.  Don’t be a grumbler. Exchange grumbling with praise and prayer.  Build people up and minister grace rather than tearing down.  You’ll be glad that you did!

What to do when you are in a pit

27 Jan

Tonight, I began a series of four messages on the life of Joseph from the Old Testament.  One of the great things about God’s Word is that it continually speaks to us in fresh ways, even if we have read the same passage a hundred times!   You can read the life story of Joseph beginning in Genesis 37 and following.  His jealous and bitter brothers throw him in a pit and plot how they will explain his absence to their father.  The Bible identifies this “pit” as an empty cistern – that’s a big hole in the ground that was used to store water.  You can still see empty cisterns in Israel today.  In fact, some of them were as much as twenty or thirty feet deep.

Can you imagine being young Joseph?  For the first seventeen years of his life, he has known nothing but privilege.  He was born into a prosperous family. He was the favored son.  Now, in the course of one morning, his entire life is wrecked, the life that he knows is taken away, and he is thrown into a pit not knowing what the future holds. I am sure those twenty feet high walls of the cistern looked huge to a frightened teenager.  Joseph was in a pit – a big one!  Nevertheless, there was a simple lesson for Joseph in that pit:  when you are in a pit – look up!  The one positive thing about a pit is that the only place you can look is up. Look up to the Lord who is sovereign over all and in control of your situation.

Maybe you are reading this blog right now and you are in a pit.  Maybe it’s a financial pit, or a relational pit.  Perhaps it’s the pit of family conflict, or the pit of discouragement. Remember, there is one good thing about a pit – the only place you can look is up!  Look up to Jesus right now and find renewed hope!

 

 

Life verses # 1 – Galatians 6:9

23 Jan

From time to time on this blog, I plan to share some of my life verses and why they are important to me.  I will share them in no particular order.  Over twenty years ago now, when I was going through a time of discouragement and uncertainty, a good friend of mine quoted Galatians 6:9 as a word of encouragement. It has remained a fixture in my life since that day…

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9, ESV)

Discouragement and disappointment come the way of every Christian.  However, “growing weary” is when pain and disappointment (or maybe fatigue and stress) build up in our lives until we reach the point where we say, “I’ve had it. I can’t do this anymore….”   This is why the same Greek word is translated “lose heart” in 2 Corinthians 4:1.  We all know the difference between feeling down or having a case of the blues and losing heart.  One is a bad day or week – the other is a dark time of the soul that lingers.  Galatians 6:9 is for those who are about to lose heart and give up.

Notice that this verse speaks of being weary of “doing good.”  We expect that a Christian who is living in disobedience will grow weary, but what about a Christian who is doing their best to live for the Lord?   The truth is that Christians can grow weary of even the best and most important things they are doing. It is possible to grow weary of doing the good things because those good things are not always easy and almost always draining.  Marriage, children, ministry, and careers are examples of good and important things that a Christian can grow weary of.  The truth is that almost every Christian, at some point in their lives, has felt like giving up on their marriage, their children, their church, or their career.  Perhaps a few have felt like giving up on all of them along the way.  Most readers of this blog know exactly what the Bible says when it speaks of “growing weary of doing good” because we’ve been there.  We know the pain of losing heart. Maybe someone reading this blog is going through one of those times right now.

The most powerful part of this verse is the end. It’s a promise…”we will reap, if we do not give up.”   Keep going. Don’t quit.  Live confidently that God will bless.  Believe that God will honor faithfulness, even if it appears to be hopeless.  What a promise!  It doesn’t say to keep going because we are so faithful and wise and hard working. Oh no!  It says to keep going because He is faithful and true!  We can keep going through the darkest times of life because we know that He is faithful.

One of my great heroes from history is man named William Carey.  He is known as the father of modern missions and accomplished great things for the Lord. His gospel work in India is bearing fruit for the Lord to this day. However, William Carey was a man who certainly went through times that he grew weary of doing good. He experienced extreme poverty, the death of a child,  crippling emotional problems of his wife, betrayal by a friend, and years with absolutely no “success” in his work for the Lord.  Yet, William Carey was a living embodiment of Galatians 6:9.  Here is how he described his ability to keep going through horrendous obstacles…

“When I left England, my hope of India’s conversion was very strong; but amongst so many obstacles, it would die, unless upheld by God.  Well, I have God, and His Word is true… though I were deserted by all and persecuted by all, yet my faith, fixed on the sure Word, would rise above all obstructions and overcome every trial.  God’s cause will triumph.”

No matter what you are going through as you read these words, God will uphold your hope too!  His cause will triumph. Stay faithful because of the faithful One!

 

Why January 22nd is a day you should mark on your calendar

20 Jan

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 will mark the 40th anniversary of one of the saddest days in the great history of the United States. It was on January 22, 1973 that the United States Supreme Court handed down the famous “Roe vs. Wade” decision that paved the way for legalized abortion in our country.  Since then, tens of millions of abortions have been performed.  A number of years ago, this led many churches (including the church I serve) to observe Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on the third Sunday in January.   This issue is one that I care deeply about.

In thinking about any issue, it is most important to look to the Word of God and make sure we build our perspective on it from the foundation of scripture.  On the issue of life, scripture is crystal clear on two points.  First, from the beginning of creation, God makes a distinction between human life and animal or plant life…

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26–27, ESV)

Much has been written about what the Bible means when it says that human beings are made in the image of God.  You might consult five different Bible commentaries on the issue and find five different perspectives.  However, it is clear that God intends to make a distinction – while God created all life, only human beings are made in the image of God.  Certainly, there is nothing wrong with having a beloved pet or enjoying the beauty of nature, but human life is a special type of life created by God and valued by God above all others.

The second crystal clear perspective of scripture is that life begins at conception and that God is involved in our lives even while we are in the womb….

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:13–16, ESV)

We can stand firmly on scripture and declare to anyone that they are not an accident and the God of the universe fashioned their existence.  Consequently, every single human life is precious in the sight of God and should be precious in our sight as well.  So, why is January 22nd a day that you should mark on your calendar?  Mark your calendar and be reminded to pray especially on this day that our nation might once again return to the value of life and end abortion. It is also a great reminder that if we really believe every human life is precious, that will also greatly affect how we treat others.  Think about it.

Finally, I could not conclude this post without mentioning some unsung heroes of mine who are on the front lines of ministry right here in our own state. The folks at Choose Life of North Alabama are there for women to offer free services like pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and counseling.  They share the gospel of Jesus Christ with every single one who comes their way.  They exist to help women choose eternal life in Christ Jesus and to choose life by having the child that is growing in their womb.  After you support your local church with your tithes, I do not know of an organization that is more worthy of your support than Choose Life.  I personally know many of the leaders in this front line ministry and encourage you to pray for them and support them financially as the Lord leads you.  For more information, go to http://www.chooselifehuntsville.org

Interestingly enough, “Jane Roe,” the lead plaintiff in the Roe v. Wade class action lawsuit, was actually a 21 year old pregnant young woman named Norma McCorvey.  Two Texas attorneys recruited her in order to bring the case.  However, Norma McCorvey never had an abortion. Instead, she gave birth to a little girl that she subsequently gave up for adoption.  You see, “Jane Roe” actually chose life forty years ago. Join me in praying on January 22nd.

Yet another blog? Why and what I am trying to accomplish

20 Jan

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. Perhaps you are wondering, “Why is Greg doing this and what does he hope to accomplish?”  First the short answer: several months ago, I felt led of the Lord to do it.  Certainly, I had every excuse in the book – time, the plethora of blogs already out there, etc.  To be very honest, the last thing I needed was another thing to do.  However, it became a matter of obedience for me.  I feel the Lord has led me to do this, and I want to do what He tells me to do.

Now, for a somewhat longer answer.  I had blogged a couple of times per week when I served at a church in Pell City,  and briefly when we moved to Huntsville. Time and the busyness of life and ministry resulted in my withdrawal from the blog world.  In recent years, I have connected with hundreds of people through the platforms of Facebook and Twitter, and I have enjoyed those greatly.  Having been in full-time ministry now for over twenty years and having friends from multiple churches we have served, friends from high school and our home area of Sand Mountain, and friends we have made from our journeys over the years, I feel that having a place to connect with everyone in a more in depth way than Facebook or Twitter can provide will be helpful on many levels.  Also, I have enjoyed writing since I was in high school and this site allows me to begin once again using that gift in a greater way.

Finally, my plan is that gregcorbin.com serve primarily as a place where the majority of my posts will flow from my weekly study of scripture and serve to build up the church through knowledge and application of God’s Word. From time to time, I also plan to post about important church and cultural issues.  Occasionally, I will also post something about my family or friends to change things up and to provide another window for further connection.  If you are looking for political rants,  theological debates, and commentary on everything that is “wrong”, then this site will not be for you. There are a great number of websites that already fill those roles.  Gregcorbin.com will be positive, edifying, informative, and (hopefully) thought provoking.  Right now, my plan is to post two or three times per week.

Most of all, it is my prayer that this site will bring honor and glory to my Lord and savior Jesus Christ, to whom I owe all things. Thanks for reading and check back soon!

Greg