Sing praises to the Lord!

O come, let us sing unto the LORD: Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, And make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, And a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: The strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: And his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: Let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; And we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, As in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, Proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, And said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath That they should not enter into my rest. Psalm 95:1‭-‬11 KJV


…if you want to see the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. Dolly Parton

This bit of wisdom can be applied to many things. In life, in business, in your marriage, or in any other relationship if you want to see the beauty of it then you have to live through the tough times as well. This is something that seems to be missing in our culture and in the way that we, as a country, have learned to handle trouble. If you watch the news at all, you can see that we don’t handle trouble very well today. When there is an argument about anything, someone gets shot and sometimes killed because of the argument. Which was probably over nothing.

We have not learned, nor have most of us been taught, the power of faith and prayer and being submitted to God. In the last forty years or so church attendance has dropped quite a bit and with this “pandemic” many people have used it as the reason to just stop altogether. Why? I would think that during a time of trials we would need God even more. Some are choosing to stay home and “watch church”. Have you ever noticed how the entire family acts when this is done, especially today? Everyone has their phone out playing games or watching videos or texting. Nobody is actually paying any attention to the sermon on TV. They couldn’t answer one question about the sermon.

We, as a nation, have lost our most valuable resource and that is the time that we spend worshiping our Creator. Reading Bible verses is okay, but do you ask God to show you what they mean to your life? The beauty of a relationship with God is that He loves you more than anyone else and He wants to know you by what you talk to Him about and how you pattern your life after His Son. He already knows you in minute detail but He wants to hear you ask Him for the things that are dear to your heart. Not games or cars or a new phone every other year or so, but a real relationship with Him. Why? Because you are special to Him.

God created each of us to be like Jesus but He also gave each of us a mission that nobody else can do. Every father has a mission to raise their children to know Jesus by being an example of Him to them. They are to read the Bible and tell their children about what they find so interesting in God’s Word. We, as parents, have this responsibility given to us by God when we are called to be part of His family. We have a responsibility outside the home too. The people that we work with and the people that we meet should know that we are Christians without us telling them.

Jesus should shine out of our life in such a way that there is no mistaking that we belong to Him. Is this hard to do? For some it is, particularly at first. When you are a new Christian, you want to go around telling everyone about this wonderful Savior. But…your old friends just want you to come back and be like you were before. When you felt convicted of your sinful ways and you asked Jesus to come in and cleanse your life so you could follow Him, your heart was changed. You aren’t the same person that your friends knew. You are different. But you have to work as keeping this change fresh and alive. That is what Jesus meant when He said to “take up your cross and follow Me“.

We have to push the old thoughts and feelings away every day. Study God’s Word and wash your mind with the Living water of His Word so that your thoughts will become more like His. A chapter every day can do this, you don’t have to read a whole book in the Bible every day. But most new Christians are not even told that they should be doing this. They go down and accept Jesus, then get baptized and while they are standing there dripping wet and new in their faith…the church fails them. Most aren’t mentored into the Word, they are like a newborn child but everyone expects them to figure it out on their own. Would you do that to your baby? Think about what Dolly Parton said, “to see the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain”. Teach them, show them, help them to be more like Jesus one step at a time.

Love is never out of date

This came to me in an email from Guideposts. It is true. When you give away love, in whatever form that you give it, it always comes back to us in proportion to the amount given and with interest. God gave us more love than we can imagine through His Son so if we give away even a fraction of our love to those around us today then we are living a reflection of Him.

Who is this Baby?

The Angels of God announced His birth to the mother and the man who will raise Him and on the night of His birth a host of them announced to the shepherds that Christ had been born in Bethlehem. Yet, the priests of God did not recognize the signs of His birth. Why? Were they even looking for Him to come?

They were looking for their Messiah but they didn’t expect Him to come as a baby and they didn’t pay attention to the Scripture saying that “he shall be called a Nazarene”. No prophet says this directly but that the Messiah would be counted as someone of low estate and despised by men. He was looked down on because of His hometown of Nazareth in the district of Gallilee although He was born in Bethlehem, the city of David.

God the Son came as a baby because He needed to live as one of us. He had to be tempted as one of us and feel pain and sorrow and grief as one of us so He could completely identify with our weaknesses. He did all of these and much more during the time that He was here to fulfill the prophecies about Him and to bring a message to those who would listen. He healed many diseases and raised some from the dead and He restored the sight to some, hearing to others, and the ability to speak to others.

Jesus also multiplied a boy’s lunch to feed over five thousand people and He calmed a storm on the sea just by saying “Peace, be still”. He even walked on the water to come to His disciples while they were in that storm. No ordinary man could do these things! He was much more than a prophet, He was the Son of God and the Savior of the world!

My personal testimony

My story (I apologize for the length of this but I felt that I needed to put it out here so others would see my life before and after Jesus came into it)

Over fifty years ago my world was turned upside down. The lady who was keeping me while my mom went to school was having an affair with my Dad. I didn’t know it at the time and wouldn’t recognize it for what it was if I did, I was only four years old. But…I can distinctly remember my Dad coming over while I was there and I saw them kissing on the couch. My child’s mind didn’t think much of it at the time and I promptly forgot about it for a while but the memory of it came back crystal clear later.

After my parent’s divorce, my Dad had our trailer brought to Mississippi and parked it near my grandparent’s home in Coxburg.

Life from that point on would never feel quite right. I went to school for a while without a care in the world, like you do when you are in elementary school. But by the time I had reached my teens, I suppose the idea that we weren’t wanted by my father had begun to fester inside me and I didn’t know what to do about it. I didn’t know who to turn to. We went to church on some Sunday’s but sometimes we just watched it on the TV. There wasn’t much talk about religion or Jesus in our house for some reason and I never asked why.

Although, every time a Billy Graham crusade came on TV we watched it, and we even went to the stadium in Jackson in 1975 (I think) when their was a crusade in Jackson, MS. Ethel Waters sang “His eye is on the sparrow” that day. I went down with lots of other people and got the literature that was given our, but I didn’t know what to do with it. I got a Bible at home and tried to read it but it was hard to understand, I was thirteen at the time. I prayed that Jesus would save me but I didn’t know from what and I didn’t understand why.

From that point on, I was confused about life, about my father and mother being divorced and the more confused I felt the angrier I became. I kept it inside mostly but I began drinking with some friends at school. I had at least one wreck between that time and my graduation from high school and it was a good one. I suppose I passed out on the way home from a football game on a Friday night. I hadn’t gone there to watch the game, I went there to get drunk and I did. I only remember bits and pieces of it but I do know that I went into a ditch, jumped my mother’s car over a driveway and the car flipped over when it came down on the other side, breaking every window in the car. This was in the fall of 1977, just over 1.5 years from my graduation from Central Holmes Academy.

Suffice to say my teenage years were mostly going through the motions, doing what some of my “friends” did and not caring about the future or whether I would survive to have one. I wasn’t in a very good place emotionally or spiritually. I was depressed and angry, at what I’m not sure that I knew exactly. Sometimes I would lash out at someone for no reason, usually at my Mom or my grandparents. Life during this period of time was not a memory that I want to experience again. Especially the feelings and the anger and frustration which I found out many years later was directly tied to my parent’s divorce when I was five.

So much of my life from over forty years ago was really “messed up” and I didn’t know at the time, nor did I care, if there was a way to fix it because I didn’t think that anyone, including God, cared enough to work with me through it.

Fast-forward a couple of decades and I was beginning to understand who I was and why I was here. But, I’m not going to go into all the “gory details” of my later life. God used the deaths of my grandparents and my mother to bring me to the point of knowing that I truly needed Him in my heart and on the throne of my life. After I graduated from college and became a Dad to a wonderful red-headed boy, I knew that I needed to get my life turned toward God in a big way. Especially if I was supposed to be a real Dad to my son. I knew that I couldn’t be a real Dad if I didn’t know how to be one, so I began reading the Bible during the down times while I worked in the lab at a couple of hospitals. I would listen to the Bible on CD on the way to work and on the way home. God’s Word is amazing because even when you aren’t sure about what you are reading or even what it means, God’s Holy Spirit can reveal it to you in more ways than you can imagine.

Is it hard to be a Christian? Yes and no. Yes, because Satan doesn’t quit hitting you when you accept Jesus, he just turns the heat up. No it isn’t hard to become a Christian because it is as easy as saying, “Lord, come into my heart and change me into the person that you want me to be for You. I’ve messed it up for a long time but I know that you can fix all of my broken pieces. So, in Jesus’ mighty name please make me like You. Amen” The problem that most people have is that after they say this prayer and even after they get baptized many times they aren’t taught how to go through each day with Jesus. It is a process. I mean you are saved if you meant what you said in your prayer and repented of your “old life”, but now you have to learn more about your Savior. If you don’t you won’t know how to try to live your life walking in His footsteps.

The only way to learn more about Him and His Father is to read and study the Bible…daily. Today, that is fairly easy because you have the Bible on CD and on an app for your phone. You can listen to it read chapters of the Bible while you drive or while you are at home or wherever you can listen to it with your headphones. God loves each of us and cares for us and He has cared for us since before creation. I pray that everyone who reads this blog will seek Him out as your Savior…soon. Time is running shorter each day.

God’s plans

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says: 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11 - Best Bible Verse - Bible Verse Images

God can have plans for us because He can see the future, we can’t. Tomorrow is not guaranteed so we truly can’t make plans for next week or next month let alone next year. The best thing that we have, as Christians, is our Father in Heaven holds tomorrow and next week and next year and eternity itself. He knows what He has plans for and for us it will be awesome. God has made you and me for His glory and a purpose that only He knows. The most amazing thing about this purpose is that it is specific to each of us. We are the only ones capable of doing a specific task and God knows that we are perfectly made for that task, whatever it may be.

Seek Him and His purpose for you and your life. Whatever it may be it will be something that only you can do.

Dear Friend,

How are you today? I know that some of my friends are feeling sick. Some are overwhelmed by their circumstances. Some don’t know what to do with all of the blessings that they have and feel guilty about them as well. Some don’t feel that they have anything to give but in God’s Kingdom all of you matter! All of you have something that can make a difference in someone’s life.

Do you know what your gift is? I’m not speaking of money, although some are blessed with that too. I’m speaking of life lessons for the most part. Sometimes it is hard to get those lessons across to others. Sometimes they don’t want to hear them and many times they may not take those lessons of advice to heart and put them to use. Why? Because they have a better education than you or I do or they see our advice as being from someone who doesn’t know the struggle that they are going through.

The thing is simply that God does know everything that you have been through. You might not know God as your Savior yet but sometimes those trials are what will bring you to the point of knowing God and knowing that you need Him. Each of us is blessed in the specific way that we have been working toward. Some of us have abilities and even wisdom that has come from Him that we don’t use or may not even know that we have.

We can’t see our abilities because of our distance from God and His Wisdom and His Word. Sometimes we read and study God’s Word but we are thinking of our business or something else in our life. Reading and studying God’s Word is something that takes dedicated study. Not just opening your Bible while you attend church services, but actually studying it like you did in school to pass a test. That is how you get to know God and His Wisdom that will take you through life so you can help others. What do you mean that I have to help others? Because Jesus did it. We are supposed to be and do what He did and more.

Now how am I supposed to do that? He was and is the Son of God, I can’t walk on water or heal people or feed thousands from a sack lunch! There was some bit of wisdom that my grandfather gave me and my grandmother too: Can’t never could. You are living with doubt about who you are in Christ and what He has given you to be. If you doubt anything, Biblical truth or any other truth, it will not happen! If a football team goes into the game thinking “We can’t win”, they won’t win regardless of how hard they try. We defeat our own dreams and abilities even before we begin if we start with a defeated mind!

I’m not advocating “positive thinking” but study of the Bible, quitting smoking, having a successful career in business, or even passing a test have to begin with a mind that is set on DOING and not failing! If you want God to save you, pursue Him…especially when you feel His hand of conviction on you. If you want to graduate with honors go after that goal with everything you have. Living the Christian life cannot be done by us alone but with the Holy Spirit in our heart and our determination to learn more about Him every day we can do it and live it so that others will see our life and will want the life with Christ that we have.

He is with you!

In John 14:16 the apostle affirms this promise: 16 And I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.

The Comforter which Jesus was speaking of is the Holy Spirit which all believers have living within them to teach them and guide them in their service to God. It is only by His strength that we can fulfill the position of a believer in His Kingdom. We can’t do it in our own strength but with the Spirit of Truth living within our hearts we can!

The Holy Spirit is the third part of the Trinity which makes up God Himself so we have a small portion of God living within us when we become believers. Some of us don’t live as if we have Him living within us and it is to those who think they have something that they don’t have that this is being written. I am not trying to judge your heart because only God can do that but I am trying to spare you from a fate which will come upon many on the day of judgment.

Those of us who live in America have been blessed immeasurably by God just to be where we are. But our place of birth has also lead many to think that they are saved from hell just because of a family tradition or a prayer whispered when they were young and never considered again. We live in a culture that claims to believe in God and many do but so does the Devil himself! That is what is so damning for many of us. Culturally we believe that we are Christians because we have been brought up in the church. We have attended Sunday school and Bible school and may have attended church services on a regular basis.

But attendance doesn’t make you a Christian. Belief in God doesn’t make you a Christian. Knowing some scriptures and even attending revivals doesn’t make you a Christian. It is your heartbroken conviction that brings you to the cross and to the place where you know that you NEED Jesus as your Savior and you ask Him to come into your life and change your heart so that you can be a Christian.

Satan knows that Jesus is the Son of God and so do all of the demons in hell but they won’t serve Him. Knowledge of Him and attendance in church doesn’t make you a Christian. In the past one hundred years, our country has heard and seen many evangelists who brought the message of salvation to radio and television many times but superficial knowledge of God or Jesus doesn’t change your life. Even owning and occasionally reading a Bible at home doesn’t make you a Christian. It is the conviction of your heart that brings you to Jesus, asking to be made into a new creation, forever changed into a Christian

I pray that all who will read this will give their hearts to Jesus and ask Him to make them into His true disciples so that others may hear from your point of view how Jesus changed your life.

Disciples should teach others

The word disciple conjures up ideas and ideals which most of us today really don’t think we can pull off. But today our country and the families in it has taken up the profession of teaching and teaching is part and parcel discipleship. What about looking at it in this way: apprenticeship. This concept has been a part of many shops and businesses ever since a father or an uncle in the past wanted someone to carry on the family business. Sometimes it may not be a family member, it could be a man who asks to become your apprentice. The teaching which we are having to practice now is a type of discipleship which parents are having to get into without any training at all.

If we practice discipleship in church and in our homes with our family, teaching is not so hard to do. Pray about how you can do it and what needs to be taught. The Word of God needs to be at the center of home-based schooling now and from this point on. God’s Wisdom and teaching should be the beginning of all of our schooling at home from this point on because when we are teaching our children at home, the home is the school not a government funded school. This is how God had intended for us, as parents, to do with our children and it is in the Old Testament. This is not some new idea, nor is it a “new age” type of teaching.

If the next generation is going to grow up to know anything about God it is up to the parents to teach them. They will learn some interesting facts from going to church and maybe Bible school in the summer but the most useful learning is actually done at home. Children young and old need to see that their parents are invested in their faith in God and most importantly in Jesus as their Savior. If children don’t see this at home then church or Bible school will not have much influence on them. They will know about God and Jesus Christ but they won’t have a solid foundation in their faith because the foundation has to start at home.

Disciple your family. Teach them about Jesus so that both you and they can learn that Jesus was part of the plan from the very beginning. He didn’t just show up in the New Testament, He has been part of the Trinity since before the universe was created. Read the Bible with your family and discuss what you have read because this “social distance” thing is keeping some churches from meeting. The church began in homes so make sure to do so now in order to make Jesus a part of your family and you will be part of His family too. Stay as safe as possible but don’t push Bible study and Jesus out just because you aren’t meeting in a church building…the people are the church.