Rejection, fear, and uncertainty


As human’s we do not like even ONE of these. From our family or our friends and certainly not from God. But why would we worry about feeling these emotions from God? The main reason that we feel these emotions in our relationship with God is actually because of Satan himself. God has never rejected us. Why should we be afraid of God? He isn’t going to strike us dead if we don’t do something, right? Feeling uncertain about your relationship with Him is also a tactic of Satan. Jesus said that all we had to so was to believe in Him and in the Father Who sent Him to save us from our sins…that’s it! Believe in Jesus and God the Father for your salvation. No hoops to jump through. No certain number of people that you have to tell about Jesus. He did all of the work on the cross in order to pay for your sins and nothing that we try to do can add value to our salvation.

Satan is the instigator and has been since before Adam or the Earth was created. He was a consummate liar then and he has gotten better at it over the thousands of years since then. Satan can make us believe a lie about God or Jesus or any part of the salvation which is freely given by God’s grace through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

We don’t have to listen to those suggestions which Satan places in our head and in our mind, but many times we do listen to them. If you look it up and read about God in the Bible, you will see that He may make some people afraid of Him but He only did it because of their hard hearts. They wouldn’t listen to His instructions, His commandments, so He had to get their attention just as He gets our attention at times. He knows that we are hard-headed and stubborn and sometimes it takes more than reading a few scriptures to make us know that He is serious.

For some of us it will take a bit more than reading a scripture to realize what is being said to us. Many times it may take a sickness or a death in the family to really get our attention, but God will use that to His advantage. God loves each of us but He also knows exactly how much it will take to get our attention and to keep it focused on Him. Some people will blame Him and they will move away from Him but that isn’t a surprise to God. He knows exactly who will hear Him and follow Him and who will not. Regardless of our intention to follow Him or not, God still loves us. That is just His nature.

Amen

Lonely in a crowd


There was an article which was asking the question “Why have teenage suicides gone up 76 percent in the past decade?”. One reason is information overload. This is the first generation which has had constant access to the Internet on a device which they can carry in their pocket. Am I blaming the smartphone for this? Yes, actually I am. It is not wholly to blame of course. Parents who use electronic babysitters to calm their children also are part of the problem. So why are teens feeling so left out and lonely? Because they don’t engage and talk to each other anymore.

Have you ever watched a group or even a family in a restaurant lately? Most of the time they aren’t talking to each other. They are all looking at their phones or texting or scrolling through Instagram or Facebook. Technology is to blame for the lack of interaction in our society because it is like a drug. And we start children on this “drug” sometimes before they can even talk! People don’t feel a connection to their family or their friends because of the detached nature of the relationship. You can’t hear uncertainty or fear in a text, there is no way to relate to an emoticon speaking to you.

All of this technology was supposed to help us not enslave us to it to the point of not being able to spell our words and our emotions. Young people use text abbreviations such as BRB rather than spelling the words and they use them in writing papers in English class and wonder why their grade is not higher? English teachers are having to attempt to undo the damage caused by more than a decade of message-speak. Will they ever be able to undo it? Not likely.

God did not intend for us to be slaves to technology but we are in today’s world. In many countries where there isn’t a rampant embrace of technology, Christian faith and Christianity in general is growing. Because of God’s written Word. People are reading it and praising Him because of Who He is and what He has done for them. Technology can help in this of course, but when we depend on technology more than we depend on God, we have become idol worshipers. Even when we make “our god” statements we have made God in our image and reduced Him to a little “g”. Still an idol because He said in the giving of the Ten Commandments, that we should not make a graven image to represent Him or any other created thing to worship.

The Ten Commandments Exodus 20:1-17

(Deuteronomy 5:6-21)

1 And God spake all these words, saying,

2am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (This is the first commandment)

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

When we turn back to reading the Bible and learning from it, in church or in our homes, then our nation and the world will become the people that God intended for us to be. Pray for your children, teach them from God’s Word, learn from it while you teach them and help them to know that God loves them and has loved them since before they were born. Seek Him while there is time in this life because when this life is over, there are no second chances.

A misunderstood Dad


We know the story of Jesus’ birth. An angel named Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and that her Son would be the Son of God. She was betrothed to Joseph, a carpenter, but he didn’t find out about the Son until she was about three months along. There are only a few lines in the gospels which speak of his involvement and after Jesus’ twelfth birthday we never read about him at all. So what happened?

Joseph and Mary were betrothed before the angel told Mary that she would be the mother of the Son of the Most High. Betrothal in those days was a time of preparation for a couple to be married about a year later. There was no intimacy during this period and no seeing each other without supervision, but it was considered a time of matrimony without the ceremony which made them a legal couple.

When Mary heard that her cousin, Elizabeth, was having a child in her old age she had to go and see for herself. She heard this news through the angel which had told her that she would bear a Son by the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth was in her sixth month with her child and Mary went and stayed with her until almost the day the child was born. The Bible says about three months. When she returned to the town where Joseph and her family lived she was three months along in her pregnancy so it couldn’t be hidden at that point.

The scriptures say that Joseph was a righteous man in the sight of God so he knew that something had happened while they were apart, he just didn’t how or by who. Even though the Law required him to have Mary stoned, he couldn’t because he loved her. While he was thinking of quietly ending the betrothal an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him what had happened and that the Son would be given the throne of David one day. Joseph was every bit the man, husband and carpenter that God knew him to be which is why he was given the awesome job and responsibility to raise the Son of God.

Imagine the honor and privilege of being the Dad who was chosen to raise the Son of God? You couldn’t think about it too much because it would overwhelm you. What can you teach Him? Everything about being a man and a child on Earth is what you would have to do. Model the behavior that He would need to have in order to be your Son and God’s Son. How would you do such a thing? Live out the Law in front of Him and teach Him just as you would your own son, that’s how. Granted, you would probably be a little bit more concerned with what you were teaching Him since His Father is God and it would take a lot of soul searching and prayer to get it right, but God chose Joseph because He knew that he could do it.

Honor God daily


Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:2)

Luke 11: 2-4 2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

In Jesus’ model prayer in Luke, we are told to honor our Father in heaven, but do we? Are we really honoring God as Jesus tells us to do or are we just saying words which we have memorized? In Ecclesiastes, Solomon tells us that we should be careful of saying anything from our own mind when we come before God. Why is this? Because God is our Creator and our Provider and it is from His hand of grace and mercy that we live and breathe. While it is true that people haven’t dropped dead because of their words or their lack of respect for God, at least since the time of the apostles. We should honor God and Jesus with our words and our lives.

Think about Who it is that we are speaking of in this instance. We are talking about GOD and His Son, Jesus! The Creator of All that is or ever has been in the entire universe. We aren’t talking about Joe or Bob that we went to school with. Sometimes we give more respect and honor to our grandparents or military veterans than we give to God and that is wrong.

Do you realize that God gives you the air that you breathe and He keeps all of the physical processes going which allows you to think and eat and walk each and every day of your life? With a thought, He could end your life as it is. He could extinguish the Sun if He wished and we would truly see what an ice age would be like because the oceans would freeze solid. Our lives are only ours because God wants us to be here doing the things which we are doing! It isn’t because we are great and wonderful people or some magnificent accomplishments that we have done! He is the reason that we have the ability and the knowledge to be able to do what we do!

God loves us so much that Jesus had to come to Earth and die a horrible death in order to pay for our sins…all of our sins! He did this because He loves each one of us, not because He had to. Jesus could not even pray that “model prayer” because He didn’t have any sins to be forgiven of. It shows us how to pray because we are supposed to give praise to God first and honor Him before we ever say anything about our needs or our sins. Praying that prayer as a “prayer” is like repeating a formula or a recipe. It has all of the elements but it lacks the specifics for us.

I don’t mean that the model prayer is anything less than perfect, but if you pray it exactly the way that Jesus said to, then it is not specific to your needs. He said this is how you should pray, not what you should pray. It is the model of your prayers and mine. Give God His glory and His honor in the beginning of the prayer, repent of your sins and ask for His forgiveness and then seek His wisdom for what you are in need of, then thank God for His mercy and grace that you can bring your prayer to His throne. God already knows what we need, but like an Earthly father, He wants to hear His children come to Him and ask for their needs in humility and faith.

One small step…


Our Creator placed the “lesser light to rule the night” in the sky many years ago and today there have been celebrations and re-broadcasts of Apollo 11 landing on the moon. Fifty years ago. I was seven years old at the time and I remember hearing those words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. I never thought about being alive fifty years later to re-live those moments. I do remember how much we all hoped that mankind would get better at being mankind and better at agreeing about things.

Our problem has persisted for much longer than fifty years though. Most of our so-called “racial” problems and religious problems won’t be solved until Jesus is ruling the world one day. We don’t have the fortitude and wisdom needed to get along. So, regardless of the songs that are written or the poems which are written about peace on Earth and the fictional stories about mankind putting war aside one day, it is not going to happen until Jesus comes back!

He is the only Person capable of bringing lasting peace to our world. No ruler or any man will be able to bring peace to the whole world. He is also very good at bringing peace into your life too, if you will give Him a chance. God loves each of us so much that He gave His only Son for our sins. Jesus took all of the punishment and the separation from God the Father just so we could be forgiven. Isn’t that amazing enough to warrant giving Him your life so you can tell others about Him too?

Please seek Jesus out while you have a chance in this life because there isn’t a second chance after this one is done.

Where are you, Lord?


During the times when we are either being attacked because of our faith or brought low in our health, we often ask this question. If you are wondering about the two instances which I listed in the previous sentence, it’s because those are the times when Satan or one of his flunkies are attacking us because of our faith in Jesus. 

For many people in the world who are having real problems with their health, like those suffering from cancer, faith in God is the best way to have any hope of either a complete healing or an eternal future. Are there agnostics or atheists who have these problems? I would have to say, Yes! But they don’t really have faith in God until He is the only real hope for them. Atheists don’t believe in God period, no matter what name you give Him.

I am not trying to put people down who don’t believe in God or have a very low opinion of God, but He is the only One Who can accomplish anything in your life and He will if you will believe in Him for your salvation. Does that mean that you can never have any more fun after giving your life to Him? No indeed, the fun that you will have will be tempered by your faith and by His Spirit but He doesn’t take away your enjoyment of life. You just have a different outlook toward God’s creation all around you.

He is everywhere but that doesn’t mean that you should worship a tree or an ocean or a person other than Jesus because only He is the Son of God. He paid the price to redeem you, therefore He deserves our praise and our worship every day of your life. As Jesus told His disciples, “Not even a sparrow falls that my Father doesn’t know about it”; so since God watches over the birds and the other parts of creation, He will watch over you as well.

God cares for all of His children and we are His, take comfort in this.


The model prayer and it’s impact


Luke 11:1

1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

The prayer which Jesus gave His disciples was and is the model of prayer for all of us to use in our prayer life. So why do I say “in our prayer life”? Because we are encouraged to pray not just when we need something or want something but to live in a spirit of prayer all of the time. Some people may think this isn’t possible but it really is.

This spirit of prayer is not praying constantly but the act of being receptive to the leading of God to be prayerful in all things and at all times. Being ready to pray at any time and for anything which comes to mind or even on your phone today.

The model prayer begins with “Our Father which art in heaven…” because Jesus was trying to bring God’s love down to a more personal, intimate level. Almost as if He really is our Father and in fact He is. He is our Creator and it is His mind and His hands which knit your DNA and mine together. Remember, He has known us since before the Earth was formed so He knows exactly what your talents are and your characteristics will be long before you are born.

God, our Creator, cares for each life which is sent to be born. It is our responsibility to raise those children to know their Heavenly Father and we need to be much more intense in doing so. Because the world and its education system will teach them all sorts of information which has nothing to do with God or His Son. Your life and mine would be very different if we had not learned about Him and if we aren’t careful, the next generation may be the last generation that knows anything about God, even in what is called the Bible belt.

God’s sacrifice


God first asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son to prove his obedience to Him. Abraham went with his son, Isaac, to the mountain and built an altar and laid the wood on it and bound his son. He even drew the knife and was about to kill his son because God had asked him to. Then God said through an angel, “Abraham, do not harm your son!”. Why did God ask this of Abraham? To test him for sure and see if he would hold nothing back from God if God asked for it and he passed the test. So God gave a ram in place of his son, which was caught in the bushes, so that he and Isaac could worship God and then come home again. Abraham had told his servants when they set out toward the mountain that they would go and worship and then they would come again.

Abraham had faith that since God had promised that through Isaac his descendants would be inumerable, even if he sacrificed Isaac on the altar God would raise him again so that His promise would be fulfilled. In the same way, many thousands of years later, God gave His only Son up as a sacrifice for all of our sins and then raised Him up on the third day to be our Savior and Lord. I know you are probably thinking that since Jesus was God’s Son He couldn’t die anyway. But you’d be wrong. Jesus was born just as much a human being as you or I.

He got tired. He was tempted in every way like we are. He was afraid of the torture and the pain that He would experience during the crucifixion and the scourging which lead up to it. Just as any of us would be. He was so stressed about it until He was sweating drops of blood prior to His arrest. Doctors today have confirmed that it is possible to do this in highly stressful times.

Jesus came into the world for this purpose and yet He gave His life for you and me and many others just so we could be a part of His family! Isn’t that a wonderful gift? I know there are many who think that being a Christian takes all of the fun out of life but it doesn’t. You just have fun telling others about your Savior and what He has done for you. Should we forget all of our old stomping grounds and friends? No, but we should tell them about Jesus and His influence on our life. You can’t beat them over the head with a Bible but you can tell them how your life has changed after He came in and freed you from your slavery to sin.

I know that many of you will say, “I’m not a slave to sin!”. Well, how many times have you read the Bible lately? Can you tell me what all ten commandments are? Are you still drinking and smoking even after you’ve been redeemed by His blood? If you can’t answer any of these questions with the answer of “Yes!” or “No, I don’t drink and smoke anymore.” Then what kind of change really happened when you were “saved”? If you aren’t at least trying to change your life and your lifestyle so that you can walk with Jesus on a daily walk like His disciples did, then you may not be saved at all.

Seek Him out today and learn more about His offer of salvation by reading John’s gospel and then read Romans. Don’t stop searching for your Savior because He came here for you!

Gone astray…


There are many parables which the Lord told to His disciples, but none was as poignant to me as the story of the prodigal son. He sounded a lot like myself, in some ways, except that I never had a father who could give me anything to “go into the far country” with. The church today sees this story as a representation of the forgiveness of God toward sinners and it does reflect that aspect of God since you could see God as the father who accepts his son back into the home after he has gone out partying for a while.

The practical part of this story is that all of us, Gentiles and Jews, have gone astray in some way or another. Whether we have asked God for our inheritance or not we have been blessed with life and with the talents and abilities to gain wealth (a wage by which to live). Are we all wealthy? NO! But if you see that God is generous toward those who love Him and only this, then you are missing His grace and His love for all of mankind.

God has never stopped loving us because we are sinners. He does exactly the same as some of us, as parents, do. He waits for us to “come to our senses”. When we finally figure out that we have gone astray and it is our own doing, realizing that we really need to repent and turn away from our destructive behavior then He is there waiting for us. Just as the father was waiting for his son to return home. Do we actually repent and go to Him in repentance today? Sometimes we do but there are still many in our world who just seek to “fill themselves with the pods” which everyone else is eating.

God gives us so many chances, just as He did with Israel in the wilderness, and yet we still turn away from Him eventually. Many times we will turn to Him and “repent” for a time, at least until things get better, and then we will maybe thank Him for getting us out of that jam and go right back to what we were doing before. Just as during the time of the Judges of Israel, every man did what was right in his eyes. The problem with doing that is that by being our own king or judge we are using our “wisdom” to live by and that is not what God intended for us to do.

We are supposed to walk with God each day of our lives. Begin the day with His Word and in prayerful humility, seek Him in everything that we do. Learn to have a spirit of thankfulness so that every good thing, no matter how small it may be, will move you to thank Him for it even if it might not feel like a good thing at the time. Thank Him anyway, because we can learn from the good and the bad lessons in every day of our lives.

God will NOT fail!


Philippians 1:3-6: 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In every prayer for all of you, I always pray with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

No matter what your circumstance in this life today, God has not and will not fail you. He allows some hard lessons to happen to His people at times but know that He is using this situation for your good and His glory. We don’t understand why He allows disease or health problems or even death in families but God has a reason. He knows the anguish of death and the unknowable victory which comes with a soul entering Heaven. We can’t see that victory from where we are but He can and does see it because He ordained it.

What sort of “good thing” can come from the death of a loved one? It can cause us to draw closer to God because He is the only One Who can comfort us and give us the assurance of our loved one’s place of residence in eternity. Is this a hard lesson for us to learn? Yes it is! Many times the crushing grief of a death in your family or mine will cause us to question God’s motives but don’t blame Him for what has happened. He allowed it for a reason and it is only known to Him until you draw closer to Him in your grief and sorrow. Is it hard to do when your only son or daughter is the one who was taken? Yes! No one but God or another parent who has lost in the same way can know that crushing grief.

There are no words of comfort and no drug or drink can numb the pain because when those temporary things wear off, the pain is still there just as harsh and terrible as it was at the beginning. Praying for those who grieve, whether they are close friends or acquaintances from school many years ago, is the best salve for them at this time.