Wisdom from an old Master…


We use his wisdom more than we do the wisdom of God. What does that say about our society?

I realize that he is an imaginary and fictional being but many people say that God is too. So why do we listen more to Yoda’s advice and try to live by it rather than the wisdom which is found in God’s Word?

I believe that it has to do with belief and the truth. We know that the movie which Yoda is in is just fictional therefore it was a figment of someone’s imagination before it became a movie and a part of our society and our vocabulary. So why can’t we give God’s Word the same weight of truth that we tend to give to the creations which come from Hollywood? Because we are afraid of the absolute Truth found in God’s Word, even if we don’t really believe in Him. We are afraid of finding the real Person of Jesus and finding out about God Himself and His love for us.

Fear and pride keep us from seeking Him and learning from His Word. We are afraid that when we find the real Savior, Jesus, we will be convicted of our sins and the fact that we need Him as our Savior. Pride gets in our way because we think that we are good enough to walk the pathway which brings us to the gate of Heaven, yet no person is able to walk that pathway without repenting of your sins and asking Jesus into your heart. Then follow His example during your life and learn about the life that God has for His own. Will you be able to live this life perfectly? No, but with the Holy Spirit guiding you and teaching you, it will be a bit easier to walk it. It won’t be without problems but with Him teaching you and strengthening you, you will make it through anything.

We are not controlled by the media


That is a good statement but if you’ve been shopping lately you know it isn’t true. Our country is in panic mode because of a virus which is less deadly than the flu! Some doctors have said as much in the media but no one seems to be listening. God is still in control and this virus and the mania, which has been brought on by a media which is out of control, will pass and we will forget about it in a few months. The problem is that since this is a world-wide hysteria it is causing the economy of the entire world to grind to a screeching halt. Everyone is afraid of everyone else. Pray for each other, go to church (regardless of the ban on crowds), seek His guidance in this situation because He is in control. God can take care of all of this if we will seek Him for our comfort and our healing.

The media, even on the Internet, has too much power these days. I pray for everyone who has a cold or the flu to just stay at home and take care of yourself. Pray and read God’s Word because He can and will heal in His time and in His way. Pray for those around you and for our nation and it’s leaders. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.

Be useful in the world around you


Many of us seem to be stuck in a rut of some kind. We live our lives from one week to the next, day by day doing things which seem to be useful, but would God see your life that way? The letters to the Middle East churches which are found in the first chapters of the book of Revelation tell a story much different from what we see in our world today. But, if you read these letters carefully, those churches mirror our churches too. Some of the letters even remind you and me of people we’ve known as well. They were saved at a revival and baptized and for a while they were on fire for the Lord. But now their zeal has tempered and cooled. The worship may still be there but they don’t volunteer for projects in the church. They rarely come to church now. Some have become “holiday Christians” by only showing up during the holidays.

The letters to the churches in the book of Revelation reflect this “loss of the spark” and even sliding into a prideful type of worship as if God should be thankful to have us! So what does that say about the church in our time, in the 21st century? To me and to a lot of other people who have moved away from worship in the church it says that religion has taken the place of the message of Jesus the Christ. People who have been in the church for many years have lost their “first love” of Christ. Not because He has lost His love for us, because He hasn’t, but because of how much the world around us has crept into the church and with it the “outward show” has been diminished.

The church that the world sees today is very different from the church of sixty years ago. Things which would’ve caused our grandparents to blush because of the nature of the sin, are commonplace today and these behaviors are not taught in church as being sinful anymore. The original message of Jesus about believing in Him for salvation and laying aside our old way of living to follow Him daily has been watered down to something far less demanding and socially acceptable. Jesus and His disciples did not water down the good news and they didn’t change the message so that others were not offended.

The message which Jesus taught did stir up controversy, and He made it a point to tell the priests exactly what they were doing wrong. He also pointed out to them that He was the Messiah which Isaiah has prophesied about over seven hundred years before. The Holy Spirit even revealed to David, when he was writing the Psalms, the way by which the Messiah would be crucified in details which you can readily see. At the time that David wrote Psalm 22, crucifixion had not been used as a form of punishment for crimes deserving death.

Your life, as a follower of Jesus, is given to God through the grace of God and by the power of God because of the sacrifice which Jesus made on the cross to pay the penalty for ALL of our sins. If He had not been obedient to the point of death, we would have no hope of eternity in Heaven. It is because of Jesus’ obedience through the arrest, conviction, scourging and His death on the cross and His burial in the tomb and His resurrection three days later that we have the Hope of seeing Him one day in our resurrected bodies! Was He afraid of the agony that He was about to go through? Yes, He was! The human part of Jesus knew the torture that He would have to endure along with the pain and suffering. His nature of being God in human form knew that it was necessary so that many would come to know Him as Savior and Lord.

We wrestle with our own natures every day after we give our lives to Christ and repent of our old ways. This is what makes the life of a Christian so difficult. Your life and mine are at odds with our “old nature” and Satan slings darts of temptation at us constantly, because he knows which sins you enjoyed so much. Walk with Jesus, read the Bible and pray for the Wisdom of God through the word that you read every day, even if it is only a verse or two. Ask Him for strength and wisdom so that you can withstand the temptations of the world around you.

Walking in His Presence


I had a dream or a vision one day but don’t ask me to elaborate on the sights and textures of it. I was reading and meditating on part of the book of Matthew, I think, and I could see myself walking on streets of gold. Matthew doesn’t speak of this but heaven is described this way in the book of Revelation. Why would I see gold under my feet? I don’t know. Maybe God was giving me a glimpse of His home? Just a small “blink and you miss it” types of glimpses? I don’t know for sure.

Don’t you think that is what Jesus meant by living a life more abundantly here? It’s possible I suppose. But if you are so spiritually-minded you are no Earthly good then what is the point of being a child of God? If we aren’t going to take our faith and the message that we should be living by out into the world at large, then what good are we doing for God? Jesus told His disciples to take the gospel out into the whole Earth and that means to our workplace and to the dog park or the market and to the mall as well. But if we don’t meditate on His Word and learn from it enough to tell others about it, what are we telling people?

Do you feel as if something is missing in your life? Do you want more than you have or do you want to be useful to God and His Kingdom? We should realize that we don’t have to be missionaries or preachers or even teachers in order to be useful to God’s Kingdom. God does give each of us a gift or a talent. Sometimes it takes us years to find out what our talent or our gift is. Many times it is because we are not searching in the right place. The only place that we can find the truth about us and what He has given us is in God’s Word and by prayerfully reading it and asking God to show you what He has for you.

God can and will show you. It won’t jump out of the Bible and it won’t be plainly on a page or in a certain book but by learning about God’s requirements for our lives. Obedience to His commandments is part of it, even though we can’t perfectly follow them. Obedience to God and the surrendering of our life and everything in it to Him is the truth of our lives in Jesus Christ. Not giving Him some of your life or some of your money but giving Him all of it. Does that mean that we are to live in poverty? Absolutely not. You were given so many blessings such as your life and your money and your job or business by God. None of it is yours. Your home, your family, your career, your very life belongs to God but until you realize this and truly give it all to Him…your life will never be as satisfying as it could be.

Your life in Christ is in heavenly places. Your soul inhabits your dwelling place in heaven even if your physical body does not. God’s Word says that we are seated with Him in heavenly places if we truly belong to Him. We are there, in Christ, in Heaven with Him and we must dwell in Him and live our lives as if we are in Him until that day when we are translated from this world to the next. We are saved by His Grace not through any vain thing that we may do but by our belief in Jesus Christ for our salvation, it is this which brings our soul into His presence at the day in which we move from this place to His home.

When you are in a storm…


Remember that you, as a Christian, are related to the One Who created rain and wind and the seas. He commands the elements and the universe itself has to obey. There are some storms which come upon us unexpectedly and there are some which we helped to create, but God is with us in all of them. He is still in control regardless of the news or the numbers which you hear on TV or radio. Whether the storm is natural or caused by mankind, God is still in control and those who doubt this will one day find out for sure. Though one day it will be apparent that He is in control, they will still cry and complain about it until they find that it is too late to change.

The storm that you are in could be financial or just a problem with your health. It could be that you are worrying about your child or how you are going to pay some bills this month. A storm in your life can happen at any time and in an instant your life will change forever. What do you do then? If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior you can call on friends or family to help you but they could be going through their own storm. Jesus is the only Person Who can take care of spiritual problems and health problems and financial problems too. When you give your heart to Him and sincerely repent of your sinful life to follow Him, He will be with you through all of the storms.

Your family and friends won’t be so close during those times of joblessness and cancer diagnosis. They will be with you every day if you win the lottery but when the money is gone, they will be too. God loves you so much that He sent Jesus to take our sins and our burdens and our problems to the cross and nail them to it forever. All that you need to do is believe in Him as your Savior and Lord and your life will be forever changed. I’m not promising that all of your troubles will go away, sometimes they get worse because of your faith in Jesus, but He will provide for you in His time and in His way.

What is in your heart will prevail


There are many things that mankind can do but we do tend to speak first before we think. Many times that fault gets us in very much hot water.

We live our lives in a constant state of searching. When we are very young we are searching for others who will keep us entertained and also the people that we belong to who will feed us, our parents. This really doesn’t change much as we get older and move out of our parent’s house although our seeking does eventually change somewhat. Life and our place in it also changes with the years that we live on this Earth where we were placed. Because, God has always had a plan for your life and mine. Sometimes we listen to His voice and sometimes we drown out His voice because we are enjoying our perceived “freedom” a bit too much.

The only change which comes into our lives usually comes in the form of an event of some importance, usually a change in our status to some degree. We get married or we have a child with someone or both and we sometimes realize at that point that we are responsible for bringing this new person into the world and teaching them how they are supposed to live. Hopefully we will teach them values and precepts from God’s Word. Many times in today’s world and in the 21st century as well, either we will teach them from the Bible or we won’t. Even if we do use God’s Word to teach them, they will have their own ideas once they reach adulthood.

Sometimes their “ideas” will have been influenced by their education once they go off to college and they reject what we taught them. Then sometimes we choose not to teach them from the Bible because we don’t really believe it ourselves, even if we were brought up to believe in Jesus and in His Word. We tend toward unbelief because that is our way, even when we feel that something in our lives is missing. We will search for and try to internalize almost anything except God and His Word…until we get a “wake-up call” one day that reorients our thinking.

It is this reorientation which brings us back into a relationship with God. Sometimes it happens because we have been touched by God during a service in church or maybe at a funeral. Other times it may happen because of something which God allows to happen to us which He uses to get our attention and put our spiritual compass aligned with His purpose for our life.

Does any of this sound familiar?

It should because it happens to all of us at some point in our lives. All of us who feel that spiritual touch or realignment don’t respond in the same way. Some will seek God’s place in our lives and put Him on the throne of our heart. Some will turn completely away from His influence and never darken the door of a church again. Which way you turn is never a surprise to God because He knows which way you will go already, but He was likely holding out a small sliver of hope because He loves you.

You would likely say, “Well, if He knows what I’m going to do anyway then why does He offer salvation to me?”. Because He loves you.Does God really know and see everything even before we do it or act upon it? Yes, He does but the offer is still there just the same. God doesn’t have to wait to see the outcome of your decision because HE already knows the outcome but the offer of salvation is still there. Why? Because we are fickle creatures. Our decision could change almost in the blink of an eye for a reason which isn’t even a thought at this moment.

“But if God knows what we think or imagine in our hearts and minds, why does He offer us salvation when He knows the outcome already?” I can’t answer this question because God does what He does because He is God and we can’t fathom the how or why of His decisions. Only He knows about those reasons and we cannot discern His thoughts. Even if we could we would not understand it still. I pray that there will be more on the Lord’s right hand when He judges the Earth than there are on His left. Make sure of your place while there is time to do so.

Do you know God?


A strange question for sure but do you know Him? Many of us who attend church and claim to be Christians claim to know about God but knowing about Him is not enough. Even when you read it on a fairly regular schedule you will miss a lot if you aren’t praying your way through it. The Bible is a book and sometimes we tend to read it like a normal book and it is NOT a normal book. God’s Word, which is what our Bible is, is His love letter and a guidebook for a person to find out Who our Messiah really is!

Jesus is the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament and He is known by some other names too. Usually with the name capitalized such as the Commander of the Lord’s armies, or “a fourth man who looks like a Son of God” when He visited the three Hebrews when they were thrown into the fire. God makes His entrance into humanity’s life in many ways but when you read the Bible without prayer and an attitude of seeking Him, you miss out on the message contained within.

God is the true Author of the entire Bible because it was through His Spirit that all of the writers, from Moses to John, were inspired to write and were given the words to write down so others would be able to learn about Him. From the first mention of “the Seed of the woman” until we read about the birth of Jesus there are pictures in words of Who Jesus would be and what His mission would be as well. Every prophecy about Him was fulfilled during His ministry and His death, burial and resurrection. The only one which hasn’t come to pass is His return which will happen, likely in our lifetimes.

I pray that anyone who reads this will seek Him in the Bible not only to get to know God and His Son but also to be transformed by Him and then take His message of hope and salvation to those that you come into contact with. The time is growing short for us to get His message out, so don’t put it off. Seek Him while there is time to do so.

and three iron nails.

Broken…


Are you broken?

Do you feel broken sometimes? 

We are very much like the pottery which God’s Word tells us about.

Isaiah 30: 14-15

14 It will break in pieces like a potter’s jar, shattered so that no fragment can be found. Not a shard will be found in the dust large enough to scoop the coals from a hearth or to skim the water from a cistern.”
15 For the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel has said: “By repentance and rest
you would be saved; your strength would lie in quiet confidence — but you were not willing.”

In Jeremiah 18

The Potter and the Clay
1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Go down at once to the potter’s house, and there I will reveal My message to you.”
3 So I went down to the potter’s house and saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the vessel that he was shaping from the clay became flawed in his hand; so he formed it into another vessel, as it seemed best for him to do.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 6“O house of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay? declares the LORD. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.

God can do, with us, as He pleases. He can do all things without our consent in our lives but the most useful we are to Him is when we are submitted to Him and are obeying Him. Can He break us in order for us to be more submitted to Him? Yes, He can. Will He do this? If He has to He will but I don’t think it is His preferred way of working with us.

God is not a tyrant in that He has to be mean to us in order to get us to do something. He would rather work with us in conjunction rather than having to allow things to happen in our lives which will force us to fall to our knees in submission to Him. So, does God break us sometimes in order to get our attention? I believe He does this sometimes, but it isn’t because He is mean, it is more likely because we are being stubborn and not listening to Him.

God loves His creation and He cares for each of us and He wants the best for us but during the time which we are feeling broken, we may not feel like He cares for us. Sometimes it is during those broken times when we feel down or depressed that we feel that the only way to go from there is up. We should be looking up and keeping our spiritual eyes on Jesus so that the time spent in those low places doesn’t last very long.

Make sure that you are centered in Jesus with Him as your Savior because the times in which we are living are unpredictable and we are not guaranteed tomorrow. So make sure of your eternity while you are here in the present because it is during this time is when we can respond when we are prompted by His Spirit.

The problem with worrying about those problems, whatever they might be, is that it makes us seem to be a practical atheist. We worry about things because we don’t think God will take care of it. The problem with that is this: He will take care of it only when we give the problem to Him completely! Not a portion of it for Him and then we will take care of the rest. Give the pain and sorrow to Him totally so that He can take it and do what He does with problems! He turns them into opportunities to show His glory for your good!

Many times in our lives, when we are going through heartache from the loss of a loved one or our job or anything which causes us to question God’s intentions, we should not question Him with a disrespectful spirit. We should, however, question Him as in “What is going on, Lord?” or “Why is this happening?”. God will allow us to ask a question of Him but not with an attitude of rebellion toward Him. We want to know why we are being broken and the answer could be that He wants to make us a little bit better than we were. Just as a potter may see something different after he begins work on a pot or a plate and he reforms it into something more useful or more appropriate. God is our potter and He can do exactly that as well.

Sometimes these changes come about from periods of hardship and personal pain and depending upon the amount of change that He wants to see in our life it could be considerable or it could be just a little discomfort. Worrying our way through these times can cause them to last longer because we are wanting to help God get us through them. But…He doesn’t need your help in changing you. Truth be told if you try to help Him change you the problem may last a lot longer than it would have if you had stayed out of it.

Knowing this, why do we worry? Because God doesn’t fix our problems when we want them fixed, He fixes them in His time and in His way. This is when the Scripture comes into play in our situation, “Be still and know that I am God”.

What would you give up?


To follow Jesus, the disciples all gave up something. Their livelihood, their reputation in some way, virtually all of them let something go in order to follow Jesus and they did so willingly.

A man from about 140 years ago once said this: “Beware of no one more than yourself, we carry our worst enemies within us.” Charles H. Spurgeon

Sometimes when we think we have given up a lot in order to follow Jesus and be useful to Him, we really haven’t given up much at all. On top of that, we are our own enemies because we can convince ourselves of things which we haven’t done or shouldn’t do even when God has called us to do these things.

So…what would you give up?

Would you go on a fast for a few days or maybe a couple of weeks, drinking only juice and water? I have done it myself but it was nine years ago, right before I was called to preach a few months later. I had to pray a lot but I was also working full time at a computer shop, so being away from home and food and cooking made it a little easier. Just work, drink water and go to the restroom a lot. Then after a week, it got easier and so on. I am not bragging about this because it truly was hard to do without all day and then come home and smell supper being cooked. I actually made it through about thirty days with juice and water and some protein drinks made with water (I know that last was kinda cheating). But after three weeks without solid food it is hard for your mind and your will to push back hard enough. The good thing about it, I lost thirty pounds!

Would you give up watching TV? I think this is even harder than fasting from food. I have heard of people who don’t even have a TV in their home and that’s great! I’m sure they don’t have computers or smartphones either. Although I could save a couple of hundred dollars a month cutting off the Internet and satellite TV. I don’t want to be without my phone though, just for emergencies.

What else could you and I give up? Snacks? Candy? Coffee…no, scratch that. Chocolate…can’t do it because it is in the same field as coffee.

Truthfully, we are our own enemies because we will listen to those voices which pop up in our mind. We think that they are our own ideas when they could be suggestions from Satan. The more we listen to them, the more influence they have over our lives. We can also talk ourselves out of doing things which we know God has called us to do. We become our own worst enemy because of this and sometimes we will even talk ourselves into doing something, thinking that it is the Holy Spirit talking to us.

If you don’t believe me just think back over your life and find those schemes or whatever you want to call them which didn’t work out so good. You heard about an “opportunity” or a “hot tip” and you thought “What will it hurt to give it a shot?”, “Who am I hurting but my own bank account?” I’ve done it, you know someone who has done it or you have done it and tried to forget about it. You mind and your thoughts are easy for Satan to manipulate because he’s been doing it for thousands of years. He knows where your buttons are and he know exactly how hard to push them so that it is tempting the first time and then it becomes a bit more and pretty soon…well you get the picture. It’s just like any of the temptations which he messes up other people’s lives and yours too, if you’re honest.

It is hard to push those ideas and temptations away when you are tired or hungry like Jesus was when He was tempted, but He used the Word of God against Satan and we have know it well enough to do the same thing. We will never know it though, unless we read it and study it every day, year after year. God’s Word is full of encouragement and heartache and wisdom and promises, but we need to know them so we can use them in our every day lives. Here is the challenge that I am putting here:

So…can you give up about fifteen minutes each day to read and pray about one chapter in God’s Word? Then do it again tomorrow and the next day until you’ve finished the New Testament. Then start on the Old Testament and do the same thing because after 21 days, reading God’s Word will have become a habit and it will be a habit that your heart and soul will truly miss when you miss one or two times.

Why did God send Jesus to die?


This is a good question and it is one which many people want to know the answer to. When you look back to the very beginning of the Bible, all three persons of the Trinity are there. The Spirit of God is hovering over the waters of the unformed Earth. What those waters are made of is not told but the Spirit is there. Then God said, “Let there be light!”. Many people, including myself, have wondered where that light came from. Was it the light from the Big bang? Was it the initial spark which started our Sun to shine? Considering that the Sun and the moon were not created yet, I think that the initial light was Jesus and His Shekinah glory, the light which comes from God just as He is. The light which lit up creation before there were stars and galaxies and the Sun and the moon. The glory which made Moses’ face glow after he had been in God’s presence. That was the first Light of the universe.

So, why did God send Jesus to die and pay the penalty for all of mankind’s sins? You need to remember that God doesn’t live in the same “time zone” as we do. He lives outside of time itself because He created time. He can see the beginning from the ending and everything in between. God knew that mankind would try to do things on his own rather than following God’s instruction. He knew that those who came after Adam would be so sinful that He would have to save the most God-fearing family later and destroy all of life on Earth. There is nothing on Earth or in hell which is a surprise to God. He can see and know every person and place and even the thoughts of each of us, so there is nothing which surprises God.

In explaining my title, God sent Jesus to Earth to give us a way to become His righteousness since we could not attain it on our own. Jesus paid the price for ALL OF OUR SINS, but not everyone will accept this because they can’t understand the kind of love and compassion which it would require. If you have ever heard these words in church, “My ways are not your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts“. God is not like us at all. He loves us as His creation and as His children because without Him we would not be. It is God Who knit our DNA together in the womb so He knows exactly what our skin color is and how we will react to certain things because it is due to His influence in our creation that we have the personality that we have.

What I’m pointing out here is this: God is intimately involved in our lives and in creation itself. Every day and in every circumstance, whether it is a sparrow which dies or your child gets sick, God knows it and He is there, waiting for us to humble ourselves and turn to Him for strength and healing and wisdom in every area of our lives. Do we do this? Some of us do humble ourselves and turn to Him for strength and prayer in our time of need. Many of us don’t.

So…back to my first question: Why did God send Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins? Because He values each one of us far more than we value ourselves. God has always had a hand in forming every life, every person on this planet and He wants them to have the chance of knowing Him as their Savior and the chance to be in Heaven with Him forever. Without Jesus’ sacrifice for all of us, that opportunity would not be possible.

This is where many people draw the line though. They want to have something that they have to do to have salvation and the only thing that each of us has to do is be receptive to the call of the Holy Spirit. When you feel convicted that you truly NEED to be saved and the only way for that to happen is through repentance and accepting Jesus as your Savior. Don’t push the Spirit away. Don’t “white knuckle” the pew so that you won’t go down when you know that you need to. One day, likely sooner than many people think, there is going to be a day when a trumpet blast will be heard all over the world and graves are going to explode with people coming out of them and then those who are alive and have given their lives to Jesus will follow those to be with the Lord forever. Make sure that you are included in that day’s festivities and not left here wondering what just happened!