Is it pity or praise?

Many people in the church look at their lives and say “woe is me”. They are having a pity party and they want more people to join them. Their actions and how they live show that they don’t believe that God has always taken care of their needs, even though He has. They look at their old car or their drafty old house and think that God doesn’t love them because they don’t have the nice things that other people have.

God doesn’t have to reward you for pitying yourself and your life and He won’t. God doesn’t have to give you wealth and prosperity because He doesn’t have to do anything. There are no magic words or phrases which will grab God by His money-belt and make Him respond to your request…because God doesn’t respond to us in that way at all! Living in a pity party doesn’t help your situation at all, in fact it may make it worse.

Remember this and commit it to your memory: God is NOT a genie! He is God and the Creator of everything in the universe. He has trillions of tons of gold and silver in the cosmos and He doesn’t need your money. Our pitiful trinkets of gold and silver are used for paving streets in Heaven, especially the gold, so our money doesn’t truly mean much to God. Our intentions and our willingness to follow Him touch God far more than any amount of gold or silver. Because God knows the heart and soul of all men and He can discern exactly what your intent is.

He knows if you are giving your tithes with a cheerful heart or if you are putting it in the offering plate wanting change back for your twenty dollar bill. So why would He give us money and riches as His blessing for us when we are going to spend it on “stuff” which doesn’t edify the church or bring glory to Him? Truly, God loves each of us but He will not reward us with wealth unless He can see that your heart is in sync with His. I’m not saying that He will give you wealth if you do have your heart in sync with Him but He is more likely to reward you in some way if you are walking along the same pathway with Him.

Your reward may be a long life to tell others about His goodness and His mercy. It may be a life filled with many blessings which many of us don’t recognize as being given to us by God. The miracles of God and His blessings come our way because of His love for us and our willingness to be useful to His Kingdom. Sometimes they are tangible but sometimes those rewards and blessings are laid up for us in Heaven not here on Earth where people can see them.

Live a life of praise toward God and give Him thanks for your life today. Walk with Him and seek His wisdom in your walk so that you might pass some on to someone else. Be attentive to the Holy Spirit and His voice by reading God’s Word and praying about all of those promises that you have seen fulfilled by Him in its pages. Thank Him for your life and your family and the health that you are enjoying, even if you get up with a pain in your neck or your back. Thank Him for giving you the strength to get out of bed anyway. Thank God for allowing you to be saved by the power and the majesty of Jesus and His atonement for you on the cross. God loves you and He has a purpose for you so seek Him out and ask Him what it is and how can you be closer to Him so you can fulfill His purpose while you are here.

Father, I am sorry.

There are days when I don’t live spiritually close to my Savior. There are days when I don’t feel His closeness and His love for me. Why do these days keep coming at me during this time of year? This attack comes from our adversary. The adversary which stirred up those who were jealous of Jesus and His teachings. Satan is his name and his followers go out and try to tear down our faith and wear us down to the point of not being effective in our witness and our life of being a Christian. Do many of you have days like this? I imagine there are more people who have days of feeling defeated and useless to God than there are those who are serving Him joyfully and with gladness in their spirit. Why?

Because Satan knows if he can cause more Christians to either doubt their salvation or feel useless in their walk with Jesus then their witness will be dimmed to the point of being non-existent. When that happens they can’t reflect God’s love toward others and nobody will see Jesus in anything that they do. So how can we live in our calling and in our spiritual walk with Jesus day by day?

We have to get up that day and determine that we will walk with Jesus today. Then do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next day until it becomes as natural to us as breathing. The problem will return though. Because when Satan sees you walking in the Spirit and with Jesus every day his attacks on you will increase because you are a problem to him. We need to pray every morning that Jesus would put a hedge around us with angels guarding our moves every day so the enemy can’t sabotage what your life and your witness can accomplish.

God loves each person and especially those whom He has called into His service. Sometimes we don’t feel that we are worthy of His call, like Moses, but He is our Creator and He will give each of us the knowledge and ability to accomplish those tasks which He has given each of us to do. God doesn’t call those who have degrees and lots of letters behind their name although He does use them at times. God qualifies those who can do that which He requires them to do after He calls them. Give your life to Him and see what He can qualify you to do in His Kingdom.

It is good news!!

When the angel announced the birth of Jesus this is what he said: “And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring good news to you of great joy, which will be to all the people”. Luke 2:10

Did you catch the last part of that statement? “Good news of great joy which will be to all the people“. This is saying that not only is this good news for you and for Israel and Rome and Palestine but it is good news of great joy to ALL people! Everyone on Earth can benefit from this if they will believe in the One Whom God has sent to be their Savior!

The announcement was given to the shepherds who were raising and caring for the sheep which would be used as the sacrifices for the people of the day. The One that the angel announced His birth was the Lamb which would take away the sins of the entire world! All that we have a responsibility for is accepting God’s grace and mercy through our Lord, Jesus. What better news can you get than being forgiven and welcomed into God’s family?

God told Abraham that the whole world would be blessed through his offspring and it has been. Many in the world don’t want to accept Jesus as their Savior and that’s okay because it is their choice. God loves each of us but He doesn’t try to force us to love Him because real love can’t be forced it has to be given. Just as He gave His Son to die on a cross for our sins to bring atonement for them, we should give our love to Him through our acceptance of Jesus as our Savior and our repentance from the life that we lived before we came to know Him.

When the angels announced the birth of our Savior they said that the whole world would have joy because of Him and we can! If we will accept Him as our Savior and truly try to live a life that is pleasing to God by walking in Jesus’ footsteps and according to His commandments. Joy and peace come through our relationship with Jesus and by our obedience to live a life pleasing Him. The things of this world do not bring joy or peace and if we feel that they do it is only temporary.

“Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” Luke 2:15

We have time….

This is the LIE that Satan wants everyone to believe! Even though Jesus may not come back for a few years, we don’t have time to waste. We are not guaranteed any time at all. Today could be your last day or mine. Tomorrow may be the day that you stand before God’s throne. Death comes to each of us when God determines that it is our time. So…we don’t have time to waste, especially if you haven’t given your heart to Jesus as your Savior and repented of your sins.

Have you arranged your eternal life with Jesus? If you haven’t then you need to be working on it. Read God’s Word, especially the books of John and Romans, then seek Jesus in earnest prayer and humility. Read those two books twice or three times if you have to but make sure that you have come to a point that you know you need Jesus as your Savior and then ask Him to come into your heart and save you from an eternity in Hell. God hears a humble and sincere prayer for salvation and I don’t believe that He would turn you away if you are truly sincere in your search and your request for forgiveness.

What does it take?

I’ve often wondered exactly what it would take for God to get your attention enough to move you toward giving your life and your heart to Him? Would it take a devastating illness or a death in the family? Would rewarding you with a lucrative career and wealth get you to turn to Him? What would it take?

Sometimes the illness “angle” would likely drive some people toward blaming God for their situation rather than thanking Him for giving them the strength to live through it. Wealth definitely wouldn’t work, unless they knew that it was a blessing from God which allowed them to become wealthy in the first place. Why do I say that wealth backfires as a way to bring people to a saving knowledge of God? Because the “rich young ruler” didn’t need Jesus, he just wanted to know what he could do to gain eternity.

Many times, in the Bible and in our lives, we hear of those who have come to the bottom of their situation and they realize that they truly need Jesus. If it weren’t for their circumstances they would’ve went on with their lives as if He had never been born or even acknowledged that they would need salvation from their sins. Wealth tends to be an impediment to salvation because a need is not present. People who are wealthy or those who have no real needs in their life to be filled by a Savior usually don’t seek Him.

Most of those who seek Jesus as their Savior are those who need Him in some way. Either to give them hope for an eternity with Him or just for the hope of salvation from a situation that they cannot fix themselves in any way. This is why the “love of money” is pointed out as the root of evil. Not the money itself but the love or the pursuit of it as the “god” which can take care of all things.

Consider this: your life and mine only last for a tiny amount of time compared to eternity. Prepare your life for the time beyond this Earthly life because eternity is ahead of you, so make sure of your destination and seek Him for your salvation while there is time in this life to do so.

My Hope is in God!

There is nothing more hopeful than a child and having a child is the purest form of faith that God will make a way where there seems to be no way. God gives us children because He wants to bless us with hope and the faith to see their life come to pass. Sometimes they aren’t with us for very long but we learn of God through their innocence and their outlook regardless of the circumstances they may live in.

No matter their living conditions, most children do try to make the best out of good or bad situations. They can teach us adults a thing or two about life and living it because they don’t have the baggage that most of us have. Adults have bills and car payments and house payments and medical bills and more bills, children don’t have any of that. I envy them sometimes.

Yet, God expects each of us to grow as people and as Christians. When you give your heart and your life to Jesus, you are very much like this little child. You are a brand new Christian and a babe in Christ. You don’t know much about the Bible or His Word but you know that your Savior is God’s Son and for now…that is enough. But when trouble comes along, what then? Prayer and getting into the Psalms is the best place for you and we should be telling others about this resource, the Bible. It is truly God’s love letter to humanity because it speaks of Jesus from the very beginning to the end.

Be thankful and grateful today

For every blessing that you have. From the little patter of little toes and feet, to the food on your table…be thankful. Be grateful for all of the blessings which you have in your life every day. Because some may not be here next year and for some of us there may be one more to be thankful for. Life is full of blessings that we should be thankful for. Some of them have two legs and some have four. Some of them crawl or laugh and giggle all day. Some of them bark or meow when it is time for food and some just sit down and wait for the table to be fixed.

Every part of your life is a blessing so be thankful for it regardless of how bad or good your day may have been today. Be grateful for your Savior and to God for your life today and every day that you wake up because it is by their power and blessing that you live and breathe.

What have you given to God lately?

Many of us seem to think it isn’t necessary to give God anything. We don’t want to give Him our time on Sunday and He doesn’t need our money. Many of us don’t even want Him in our life or our hearts. So why do so many people who feel this way claim to be Christians? Is it because they know Who He is but they don’t want to know Him really? Are they afraid of Him? Possibly. In years past, God was pictured and preached as a vengeful God and a jealous God and He is both of those…to an extent. He is vengeful because He loves us not because He is going to punish us for something that we said or didn’t say. His vengeance is toward those who have wronged and persecuted His people, Israel. He will also avenge the church which grew in the past two thousand years because of the disciples preaching and because of the persecution which Christians still endure.

God is jealous, not like a lover or a husband, but because the “other” gods which mankind has created for himself are not gods at all. They are just figments of our imagination and our idea of how “god” should be. Humanity tends to try to squish God down into a more relatable god that we can understand. God cannot be put in a box or be made smaller so that we can relate to Him and feel comfortable with Him.

But we still say things like, “My god wouldn’t send anyone to hell.”. God doesn’t send anyone to hell either, that is your choice. God has made it possible for everyone to be saved but there are those who just won’t accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord. When you reject Him and turn your back on His offer of grace to be saved, then you have condemned yourself to hell and unless you accept Him before you die…that will be your eternity. Our spirit is immortal and we will be given a new body for eternity, one which cannot die unless we refuse God’s offer of grace. That is why hell is called the “second death”. There is no Life outside of God and that is where you will be if that is your choice.

God loves every person but He doesn’t like some of the things that they are doing with their lives. Just like parents, He loves His children but sometimes He isn’t happy with their choices in life but He does allow us those choices even if He doesn’t agree with them. Jesus came and paid the price for your sins regardless of their “size”, even though there aren’t really BIG sins or little sins, although the killing of children or babies would likely rank a little worse than a lie any day.

What does God want from each of us? Our love and our heart. Be thankful for His grace which has given you all of your talents and the blessings in your life. Be useful to His Kingdom and for His Kingdom because each of us who have been called to know Him were called because of our influence in someone’s life that He knows that you can reach better than anyone else.

God’s Word is real in our time

What in the world do you mean by “God’s Word is real….”? According to the apostle John, Jesus was and is the embodiment of God’s Word. He was alive and He is alive today. But…do you believe that He is the Son of God? If you don’t then your faith is too weak or you don’t have any to begin with. God is the One Who gives us faith to believe in Jesus for our salvation. We don’t just decide to become Christians, He has to touch our heart and draw us to Himself. Some people think that they can help God save them but we can’t. Everything that is needed has been done through the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, your Messiah if you will believe in Him when you feel His call in your Spirit.

Some people think that they don’t have a “spirit” but if you are alive and reading this you do! God placed His spirit inside you to remind you of Him and to lead you to Him one day when He touches your life and you realize that you truly do need Him as your Savior. Now some people get really good at ignoring that “small voice” which speaks to them in their time of temptation and need and that is not a good thing. Ignoring the Spirit of God is much worse than ignoring a teacher or your Mom or Dad. Why? Because His call on your life can mean the difference between a living eternity or one which is called “the second death” because you will be separated from God forever. He is the giver and sustainer of Life and when you are sent to Hell because you chose to refuse His call then that is where you will spend eternity.

You don’t get sent to Hell because of a sin that you committed although refusing to listen to God’s voice could be a sinful and disobedient act on your part. You are sent to hell because it was your decision to live your life the way that you wanted and not the way God had planned for you. That is what caused the Fall of man in the Garden and every other sinful act since then. The root of all of these sins is pride. Pride in what you think and how you feel and how you act. Pride has caused many kingdoms to fail and many people to fail until they realize where that “pride” will take them.

I’m not saying that pride is bad though. Being proud of an accomplishment or of your child’s accomplishment in school or work is a good thing as long as the pride doesn’t go too far. When pride is misplaced in a person or their accomplishment and it grows out of proportion to what they have done, it becomes the doorway to many sins. God’s Word says that “pride comes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall“, so listen to His Wisdom and not your own. Remember, He formed you in the womb and He knows what you are capable of doing, even better than you do or even better than your parents.

Tradition doesn’t save you!

It seems that there are so many people who love their church traditions, but they don’t want to give their hearts to Jesus. You either have Jesus in your heart or you don’t, and celebration of Communion without Him is a sin. Communion is not a bad thing but celebrating and taking part in it is only for those who are saved by His sacrifice for them.

God loves each of us but He looks at the traditions of men which are used as substitutions for Him and He is not pleased. No, tradition or the “good” things that you do in His name won’t save you from Hell. Only belief in Jesus and repenting of your sins can save you. So think about this during this holiday season and give thanks to the One Who truly deserves to be thanked for His sacrifice for your soul and mine.