A child’s story


There was a young child many years ago who was in kindergarten. He didn’t know much about the world around him except that Mom and Dad loved him. He went to school and played with his friends and went to stay with one of his mom’s friends until she got out of her classes in the afternoon. Life went on like this for a while and not much changed until one fall when his Dad came over before his Mom did and he saw Daddy kiss the woman who was keeping him.

Still too young to understand or even comprehend what was happening, he just shrugged it off. For years it never entered his mind until the memory surfaced when he was old enough to put the pieces of the puzzle in his mind together. From that point on he carried anger along with him. Not the kind you see in movies which causes a lot of pain but the kind that you bury inside. Where it festers like a splinter that you can’t remove. At some point in his later teens, he wanted to die but he couldn’t bring himself to the point of suicide, although through drunkenness, he did come close at least once.

Even though he managed to drive home many nights after attending a football game, most of those nights he was drunk or at least buzzed to the point of not walking very good. Thankfully, his grandmother was praying for him and that very prayer was the reason that he didn’t kill himself on a road somewhere.

That child was me.

In many ways, we are all like children even as we get older. We add years to our life but the child is still inside us. We leave home, go to school, get a job, maybe get married one day, but we are still seeking a mother or a father in some way. Someone who can show us how to be the person that we never learned how to be. Some of you can relate, if you were a part of a home which was broken or in some way detached from being “normal” with both parents in a loving home.

I am not telling you this to show how broken my life was, just that my early life and my teenage years weren’t what they should’ve been. This is not who I am today because I do have a father in Heaven and He is my Savior. I never had a chance to know my biological father so I really don’t know if he is in Heaven or not.

To get to the point of this side trip into my life I will tell you this: God LOVES you with the deepest, most profound love that you can imagine.

Remember these verses in John: “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

The love of God for all of humanity is such that He made our world perfect for our life and for everything that is needed for us to live. The right temperature and the right mixture of gases in our atmosphere as well as the fertile ground where our food can grow and the animals and fish and all of the other life on our planet. God did this not because He had to but because He wanted to. Life is not an accident or an evolution of chemicals and other adaptations to be more complex.

The universe doesn’t work that way. Entropy doesn’t go from simple to complex, it goes the other way. That is easy to see when you find an old implement in the field. A saw blade will continue to rust away into a red powder, iron oxide until the entire thing is gone. Now, what does this have to do with the child who started this story? LOVE

Without the love of God and the effect that it had on him and his life, he (I) wouldn’t be speaking to you today. I would never have gone down the pathways which God guided me toward to get to this place. I did take a few detours and ran off on my own path a few times but when God has a plan for your life, He will bring it to be…to fit His purpose for His Kingdom. It may take some time, but eventually, your path will intersect with His intended path for you and when that happens, hopefully,ourlovingsavior your Spiritual eyes will recognize where you are and where you should be.

God’s Love


God’s love is more than we can believe or understand and that is why we have so much trouble believing. Even when you read the “Love chapter”, 1 Corinthians 13, most of us think this is referring to love that we have toward each other. In reality, it is a human description of God’s Love for us. Why do I call it a human description? Because the Bible was written with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, just as the words here are, but our vocabulary is limited by the words that we use.

God’s love for us is so…deep and unknowable until we can’t begin to describe it in terms which we can understand. We can compare it to our love for our children, whether we are a father or a mother but even that falls terribly short. Yes, we love our children but God loves each of us in a deeper way that we just can’t comprehend. Does He really love those who hate Him? Yes, and He loved the world enough that He sent Jesus to die in our place to provide each of us a way to come to Him through His Son. Whether we accept that invitation or not is still our choice though.

God doesn’t want slaves or instinctual service from us, He wants a relationship with us! It doesn’t matter what we have done or who we are, He wants to know you and He wants you and me to get to know Him!

1 Corinthians 13 New International Version
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

This is the description of how we should be to our wives and our children as well as toward each other in the church. It is a description which falls short of the love which God has for us, but it is how we are to be toward each other in Christ. Can you do this without Him? Partially, but not completely. Living and loving in this manner is not something which we are able to do on our own. God designed us to be this way but when sin entered the Garden our Spirit was cut off from God until we realized that we truly need Him in every way, every single day!

Don’t turn away from God and His love for you. He longs to show it to you in ways which you may not be able to see right now, but He will if you just give Him a chance in your life to change your heart and draw closer to Him each and every day.

What is necessary today?


As Christians, we are told all kinds of laws and petitions and such that we should follow and adhere to in our walk with Jesus..but are they necessary? In the church, as it was beginning in the first century, the people were selling much or almost all of what they had and used it to support the church and its people. Those who were members of that early church who had much sold it and gave to those who had little so that all were blessed.

Concerning tithes, they were giving far above the ten percent which Abraham gave in the Old Testament. The reason for their generosity was based not on numbers but upon the grace which they, and us, have received from God through Jesus. There is no way that any of us could possibly pay back what the grace from God is worth and frankly, we shouldn’t try to. Not even the richest person in the world has enough to cover that debt.

Yet, Jesus paid for all of our sins in His death on the cross and His resurrection after three days. There is no accounting which could possibly figure the amount which all of humanity owes Him. The only way to even begin to pay it forward in a way is to give your life to Jesus and follow Him. Doing His work while you have the time and the ability in this life. Your lifetime of service won’t be enough to pay Him back but it is the least that you…no, it is the least that all of us who are Christians can do and should!

ARealDaddyIn America today, we have a man problem. There aren’t many of them around. Being born a male is something that you cannot choose or change, regardless of what the doctors tell you. Being a man…a father…or a daddy is something that you become, but you have to choose to BE one of them. Being a man is the same as being a Daddy to your kids, any male means that you can father many children if that is what you feel is the thing to do. But…being a man and a Daddy takes special care and preparation in your childhood and your teenage years. There is no manual for us to read, it is an on the job learning or apprenticeship which makes you a man and a Daddy.

The Bible is our instruction manual which gives us all of the wisdom and knowledge about being men and being a Daddy. You can’t get that knowledge from your mom or your grandmother, you can only learn it from your Dad or maybe your grandfather. I had a wonderful grandfather. His dad died when he was a young boy, so he did the best he could in raising my mother and he helped to raise me as well. I didn’t agree with his “old-fashioned” ideas when I was growing up, but I suppose I wouldn’t have agreed with my Dad either if he had been around.

So…what is necessary today in America and around the world? Men who will teach their children the right way to live, by God’s Word and by the wisdom contained in it. There are no self-help books out there that are better or more useful than the Bible and that’s a fact. If you have trouble understanding it, ask God to show you what the meaning of His Word. Be a Christian and give your heart and your life to Jesus so that you can be an example which bears even a slight resemblance to Jesus so that your children, boys or girls, can have something to aspire toward in their life.

Don’t give up on life just because you aren’t a millionaire if you are a child of God through the grace of Jesus Christ our Savior you are rich. It may not be the riches which the world recognizes, but it will give your life and the lives of your family a much stronger foundation on which to live your life until Jesus returns.

 

Are you comfortable?


Does God call us to do things outside our comfort zone? Of course, He does! How would the gospel have gone to the four corners of the world during the first century if the followers of Jesus had stayed in their comfort zones? We wouldn’t have much of the New Testament if Paul had not written the letters to the churches that he did from prison. He was very much outside his comfort zone don’t you think?

LifeisGoodBeing comfortable in life is nice but most things that are worth having don’t come to us in a comfortable, easy manner. We have to work for them, bit by bit, saving a little at a time if necessary and stashing it away so that we can have those things. But, in our instant world today, everyone wants their satisfaction and their stuff right now! Nobody wants to wait patiently which is why following God’s plans for us is very hard to do. Why do I say that? It’s because God’s timetable doesn’t fit our plans.

His timing works according to His vision and purpose in our life. You see, He can see months, even years down the road so when you ask Him for something that He doesn’t allow you to have right now it isn’t because He doesn’t want you to have it. It could be that He has something better than what you think you want but it will come to you in His time, not yours. Could God give you what you ask for when you ask Him for it? Of course, He could, but it might now be the best that He had waiting for you…if you would wait.

We squash our own rewards when we try to get ahead of God’s plans and His purpose for your life. We move ahead like a child running ahead of their parent trying to cross the street, but when the parent catches their hand and stops them they look hurt because they couldn’t go the way they wanted. A child doesn’t see or notice the traffic or the truck that would’ve hit them but the parent does. That is what God is trying to tell us but many times we just run away from Him, as if we know better than God. Many people don’t realize that God loves us enough to let us fail, He lets us fall down and realize on our own that we should’ve waited like God wanted us to.

When we do learn that lesson, sometimes many years have passed. Why? Because we are all stubborn and hard-headed and it doesn’t matter what background you have or the culture that you come from! God has watched over your mistakes and allowed you to fail but not to the point of letting you get killed. Particularly if He has something in your future that He knows will bring much more glory to His Kingdom and maybe more of what you have asked for too.

Do you know anyone who has squashed an opportunity to do something great for God because they were scared or didn’t think they could do whatever it was? I do because it is me. I felt God’s call on my life over thirty years ago but like Jonah, I didn’t want to do that right then. I was too stiff-necked to realize that God didn’t give up that easily. When He has something planned for you to do and you feel His call in your life, don’t turn away from Him. He will make sure that the opportunity comes around again.

So don’t get too comfortable in the place where you are because God might have somewhere else He needs you to be!

He makes me lie down….


Psalm23Today I am speaking from a position not so unlike the title. I had a doctor visit this morning because of some allergies and a possible chest infection, so I am taking meds for it and I am writing to you from a bed. Before anyone asks or thinks about this, I am not in such health that I can’t get around but I am trying to listen to my doctor’s advice.

God does the same thing to us at times and just as the Psalmist wrote in the 23rd Psalm, He does make us lie down at times. Usually it is for our own good but sometimes it is to get our attention or to get us to hear Him like we should. God enjoys hearing our prayers and our needs, although He already knows what they are, but He also enjoys it when we are willing to listen to Him. Why did I put some of those words in bold-face? Because, many times we really DON’T listen to Him or even listen for His voice!

We say our prayers and end it with “in Jesus’ name, Amen” and then go about our business. I am not saying that we shouldn’t expect an answer when we pray sincerely about a need in our life or someone else’s, but ending it like that is like calling your Mom or Dad telling them what is happening, how you feel, and could you send me some money or help, thank you, goodbye!

How would you feel? I don’t know how you would feel but I wouldn’t answer that prayer or request at all, but I am only human. If you don’t ever let God speak to you when you pray, that is what it seems to me would possibly happen. Of course, that is looking at it from our point of view and our way of thinking and that is not how God thinks or feels at all. He knows what we need and when we need it, so He will likely answer that prayer anyway, but it may not be when you want it answered.

He is our Creator, our Redeemer and our Father in Heaven and just like fathers here on Earth, He likes to hear from us but He also likes to speak to us as well. Give Him a chance! You wouldn’t pick up the phone and call your Dad and tell him all the stuff that isn’t working in your life and ask for help in fixing it and then just hang up would you? It is likely that you wouldn’t get a very good call back after that either.

God, thankfully, isn’t like us with our petty hurts and feelings. He loves us so deeply that He sent Jesus to take the punishment for ALL of mankind, so we, meaning everyone, could have a relationship with Him IF we will believe in Jesus and His atoning work on the cross! He did it for us, all of us, and yet we as the human race have rejected Him for a long, long time. Even Christians make up their own “god” and rules which he will follow, thinking that by going to church their “god” will allow them to get into Heaven one day.

Of course the problem with that thinking is: we have made an idol in our own minds to be our god. It is not fashioned with gold or silver or carved from wood, but we have placed god in a box which limits him to a being which is more to our liking and comfortable. But…that is NOT God! He won’t share the throne or any of our worship and praise with that puny idea in our heads!

The Bible is God’s written Word and His way of speaking to each of us and we need to take it as literally the Truth from the Holy Spirit which is part of the Trinity. God did not mince words when He spoke the world and all of the animals into existence nor did He mumble when He gave the Ten Commandments to Moses! If you want to know God, read the Bible and learn from Him about Himself!

Independence…


In an earlier post on another of my sites this morning, I was talking about this idea of independence. Those of us who live in America have embraced this idea for most of our lives. We have watched movies and read about how our country fought for its independence many years ago. We have also been taught to be independent in one way or another in our lives, whether it is being this way from our parents or just able to do things “on our own”.

The biggest problem with independence, especially with men, is that we take it seriously. We act as if we don’t need anyone and sometimes we take that to the extreme. So much so that we even push our parents, our siblings, even our spouses away at times. Sometimes we will push so hard that we end up being truly alone and isolated. That is not how God created us to be.

ARealManwhoLeadsWe need each other. We need a woman as our spouse in order to have a son or a daughter to fulfill God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply”. We need friends, male friends. To keep us on track in our lives and in our relationships, with each other and with our families.

It is great that some men can go out into the wilderness and live, alone, with no other person to help them. But, after a while being alone is not good. Even “God said that it is not good for the man to be alone“. He did not create us to be alone, whether we are married or single. If you are Christian, seek out someone who is a Christian too. Men, start a Bible study group for men. Meet in each other’s homes or meet at church and bring pizza and some Coke or Dr. Pepper or something. Discuss what is going on your lives in context with your study, then pray about it. Make sure that each man in the group has the other’s phone numbers just in case you need to talk.

Because, you know men do talk to each other. We don’t grunt like apes or fight like dogs, we actually do have conversations which don’t center around which team is going to the playoffs. Men, whether you admit it to yourself or not you know that you need this and your son needs it too. Include him in your group, because sitting at home talking to mom is not the same as talking to Dad, even if it is during a Bible study session. It needs to be done during a Bible study session because you are the high priest in your home or at least you are supposed to fill that function according to the Bible.

Don’t neglect your duty as a father, a husband, a friend or as a spiritual leader in your house because who else can fill those roles if it isn’t you?

What about the rest of the family?


You know, in church and mostly in scriptures such as the New Testament, we only hear about Jesus but Mary and Joseph had other children too. Two of them in particular are highlighted in the New Testament and they are James and Jude. Both are half-brothers to Jesus and they became believers in Him as well as leaders in the church.

It is hard for us to realize that even though He was the firstborn son of Mary, that she actually had some other children too. James was the leader of the church in Jerusalem before his death and he wrote the book of James too. I a preaching this Sunday, tomorrow, from the first chapter of James and he has some interesting advice for us as Christians. Particularly about how we exercise our faith in Jesus and learn to be more like Him.

Even though he is referred to as the half-brother of our Lord, they were raised together just like any other children. To the community, they were brothers since few people knew about the Parentage of Jesus being the Son of God. Only his parents who raised him and Elizabeth and Zachariah and John knew Who He was prior to His resurrection. In spite of some of the “books” which were written about His life as a boy, which were false by the way, Jesus did not create small animals and bring them to life to play with. These books are nonsense and fantasy, nothing more.

James teaches us today that we must bear up under persecution and testing in our life to prove our faith in Him. Just as gold is purified when it is in the fire, we are brought to our best when we use our faith to strengthen our walk with Him, especially when we are under stress because of the world we live in. We are expected to exercise our faith just as we exercise our muscles, making it stronger and more durable in times of trial. Therefore, when trials do come we will be able to bear up in faith and lean on Jesus and His strength for our support.

Jesus did not say that we wouldn’t have trials in this life, He said when trials come and when you fast, be of good cheer because He has overcome the world and its troubles. We are to have faith in Him and lean on His strength and the wisdom from God’s Word, not on our own strength and wisdom. Jesus will give us the strength and the ability to get through our trials, whatever they may be, as long as we have faith in Him.

Dad, do you know God?


This is a question that some children likely ask at some point, many others probably wonder about it but don’t ask. My question is this: if your child asks this of you, what will your answer be?

The miracle of birth, whether it is a boy or a girl, is amazing. God takes a little from both of you and makes a new person who is not you or your wife but is entirely a person with a real personality, some more than others! This fact alone should push you in the direction of getting to know God more personally than any other.

I mean, before your first child is born there was just you and your spouse. You loved each other and lived your life, but when that first child comes along, boy does everything change! There are diapers, and formula, and worry about what is in this food, reading labels, making sure of their sleeping environment, the list could go on and on.

My point is this: if you didn’t know God before, then you NEED Him in every situation now! Not that raising children is bad but you do need His strength and guidance in any and all situations while raising them. They need to see God reflected in you every day, not the frustrated dad or mom coming home from work.

God created each of us for a purpose, sometimes it is being an example to our children. Actually, if God has gifted you with children, then being an example for them IS your purpose, everything else fades into the background. Your example to them and to the world is important because even if you don’t make an impact in the world, your child or children may have more of an impact than you could. So, make your example a good one.realsalvation

About Dad and Father’s Day


My father died in 2001 from a heart attack. My grandfather died in 1995 due to untreated COPD, although he never smoked as far as I know. I think it was due to his hobby of woodworking and breathing sawdust for many years. These were the two father figures in my life. One who was with me while growing up and one that wasn’t.

fathers-day-002I spent many hours, days even, being angry and hurt while I was growing up. Especially during my teen years. I felt betrayed and tossed aside by my dad, and my grandfather as good as he was didn’t know how to help me. I now realize that I wasn’t tossed aside by my dad, and my grandfather was at a loss about how to handle my feelings.

My real problem was that I got conflicting stories about our relationships. Sometimes it went one way and everything was OK. Then, later it would change and there would be frustration and bitterness mixed in with other feelings and being a teenager didn’t help. We would go to church and I would hear about the love of God and how we are supposed to emulate Him in our lives.

Then we would get home and things were…different. Nothing like what I had heard in church. There was no abuse or anything like that, but God’s Word wasn’t spoken of or read in our house until my grandfather was over 80. I would find him reading and studying the Bible then, but that didn’t happen while I was younger.

In many ways I would like to thank my father and grandfather for showing me what NOT to do in this life. So that when I became a father myself I would tell my son that I love him and I began reading the Bible when he was small. When he was 12 I became the pastor of a small church, so he got to see me preparing for sermons, praying and studying God’s Word.

Fathers have a lot on their shoulders, sometimes grandfathers do too. The only One Who can help the ENTIRE family to muddle through the teen years and come out still smiling and being a family is Jesus. Having that foundation in my life and my family’s life has helped me so much while raising my son. Since my family was broken before I even knew what a family was, I had no idea how to be a dad.

Thankfully, my wife and I had given our lives to Jesus before our son was born, although we were busy with work and I had gone back to school before I knew we were even having a child. Our life with Jesus suffered because of our work during this time because while I was in school, I worked in the lab at the hospital on the weekends. Sunday was my wife’s only day off, so many weekends during that time neither of us went to church. I do regret that, but it can’t be changed now.

God loves all of us and He doesn’t want us to live our lives without Him, but there are so many who choose to do this. Why? Because, love can’t be forced upon someone. God knows us better than we know ourselves because He has known us since before we were born, even from the beginning of creation. Just as any father on Earth, God wants a relationship with us. Seek to learn more about Him by reading His Word and praying for Him to reveal its wisdom to you for your life.

Have a wonderful Father’s Day!

Education and indoctrination


These two words should not go together but in our time and the system that our children are taught in, from high school on through college, they are almost synonymous. Which is truly sad. One of the most famous philosophers of the last century, Bertrand Russell, said this: “Education should aim at destroying free will, so that, after pupils have left school, they shall be incapable, throughout the rest of their lives, of thinking or acting otherwise than as their schoolmasters would have wished” (The Impact of Science on Society)

Today, there are many in government who think this way as well. That we don’t know how to raise our children and it is the community or the government’s responsibility to teach them what they should know. Poppycock!! God gave parents the responsibility to teach our children from His Word, the Bible, so that they will know Who He is and what He expects of them! The government, city, federal or state, has no right to tell your child how to think or what to think!!

Even the teachers and supposed “educators” in secondary schools are not supposed to indoctrinate your child to the point of making an automaton out of them. God loves each person, boy or girl, and He knows exactly what they can accomplish and what they will accomplish with His strength and His Word in their hearts. Why do I say this? Because it needs to be said!! It seems that few people are willing to say anything against education or the institutions which we pay for by sending our children to them.

God’s Word should be the primary Book of knowledge and wisdom in education and if the atheists don’t like it, then they can send their children somewhere else! I am tired of the political correct police knocking down parents and teachers for trying to teach children about their Creator. If they were teaching from the Koran or any other religious book, nobody would bat an eye or even care at all. But, if you try to bring Christianity into education and there is one child whose parents aren’t believers, then the whole school is taken to court and this is WRONG!!

Until the latter part of the nineteenth century, the Bible was the beginning book, the one that was used to teach reading and history and morality. For proof see this link. Until 1948, time set aside for prayer in schools was OK. Then the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to do so. From that point on prayer and Bible reading in public schools was doomed, until 1963 when this decision was made in the Supreme Court:

Supreme Court bans individual school prayer (Murry v. Curlett) and Bible reading in public schools (Abington Township School District v. Schempp). 

Just a few years after that, the number of pregnancies in school began to increase and the SAT scores of our youth began to decrease. If you look at the history of America from 1963 on to present day it seems that much of our problems in society could be traced back to that moment in time.