Life from the Author of it


Jesus came to give sinners an opportunity to be forgiven. It was His sacrifice and His love for us which compelled Him to do this. He didn’t have to do it but because of His love for you and me, He did. Many people look at this in the Bible and they don’t think anyone would do this, even when it is written in God’s Word. So, what will you do when you feel the call from God’s Holy Spirit?

Some people try to ignore it. Some even try to run away from the Spirit of God, like Jonah did. The problem with this is that God is everywhere and none of us can run from Him. God uses all sorts of ways to get our attention and sometimes we pay attention and sometimes we don’t. The problem is that we live in a world where there is so much information around us until the prompting from the Spirit could be ignored.

The Holy Spirit is very subtle in the way that it touches us. It is that small voice that you feel more than you hear, but if God is trying to get your attention because He wants you to be His voice at some point then you will hear it. Sometimes it will feel as if He is trying to hurt you deeply, when the truth is that some of us need a whack on our head in order to truly get our attention. The “crisis” that we are in now could be considered a massive whack up side our collective heads.

Pay attention and seek Him for your healing and your salvation as well because we might not get another chance.

Lonely in a crowd


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

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

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

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

The Ten Commandments Exodus 20:1-17

(Deuteronomy 5:6-21)

1 And God spake all these words, saying,

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

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

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

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

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

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

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

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

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

How many “buts” are in your life?


Before I go too far into this small writing, I want to make sure that you understand that I’m not talking about the part of your anatomy which you sit on!

I am talking in this space about the times when you yourself are the “but” that is getting in the way. Sometimes we believe God can do all things but we don’t have deep, strong faith in Him to the extent that we can see where He wants us to go. We tend to place a “but” in places where it should not be. Just as the Israelites who spied out the Promised land did. They saw all of the fruit of the land while they walked the land for 40 days but they saw giants in the land, sons of Anak. They brought back a cluster of grapes so large that it had to be carried on a pole between two grown men! God had already told them that He was giving them the land. But they saw the children of Anak and the Nephilim, men of great stature, giants!

When God told them that He was giving them the land, why didn’t they believe Him? Which is bigger, God or a giant? How strong is a walled city compared to God? Where was their faith? Most of them had seen the miracles which brought them out of Egypt. They walked through the Red Sea on dry ground and with walls of water on each side of them. He gave them water from a rock and yet they didn’t believe that He was able to take care of the giants and the walled cities to bring them into the inheritance that He had promised them. God doesn’t break His promises.

Even today we place “but” in places where it should not be. “I know He has cured my cancer but will He provide for me and my family?” “I’m disabled now, where was God in my problem?” God can and will provide all these wonderful things even when we doubt Him. But…doubt causes some of our rewards to be delayed or possibly lessened. The reward may turn out to be less than it would’ve been if we had placed our full faith and belief in His ways and in His provision. It is usually our own “buts” that cause a blessing or a provision, which He was sending to us, to be delayed.

We need to wake up every day thanking Him for the day and for the blessings of it, whatever they might be. Good or bad, enough or maybe more than enough, God can supply all of our needs. But when we doubt Him or when we don’t think that He will do or provide for us as we have prayed for, it is our “but” and our lack of trusting faith in Him that is getting in His way. Its like we are saying “Are you really able to do this?” “Do you love me enough to provide for us?”

Doubt and fear tend to make our “but” moments more than they should be. We need to remember that God is the Creator and He has known each of us since before creation began. He lives outside of time so He is not contained in it like we are. He can look back to when the world was fresh and new and He can see what is coming in the next 1000 years because He is there and He is here too. So we should consider this before our problem or our storm hits. God stood at the threshold of creation and spoke all that we see into existence. The stars and galaxies, the planets, the sun and moon and all of life on Earth. While it is true that you can choose to believe the Bible’s version or you can go along with science and their “theories”, I know that God can do the things which are described in His Word and He cannot and will not lie. He gave the history of our world to Moses on the mountain, because Moses could not have made all of that stuff up.

Think about how many times there has been a “but” somewhere in your life. Did it work out the way you wanted or did it fail miserably and you had to pick up and go on anyway? There are many days and have been many times in my own life when there was a “but” moment. Then later I can look back and think to myself, “Self, you should’ve trusted God there more than your own ideas.” Usually it is at this point I sound a lot like Homer Simpson, “D’OH!” Because it is too late to fix a problem or the problem, by the time I realize that I messed up.

If I had prayerfully sought God’s provision and His answer for my problem, it would’ve worked out a bit better. So from this point on I am going to seek Him in the problem and for the solution before I try to fix it myself and find out that my efforts are just not good enough.

What are you worth?


In our economy of excess people are judged to be wealthy when they have lots of land or cattle and/or a thriving business. Many are looked on as well off when they don’t have any bills or their debts are paid on time. But…this is the world’s way of looking at wealth. While these may give you freedom and peace of mind and it certainly would in this life, what kind of treasure (wealth) have you laid up in Heaven for eternity?

Your “net worth” in this life is only important to those in your family, as long as you have your priorities in the right order. But if you are chasing wealth on Earth to the exclusion of your life with your family, what are you really doing? In reality you are throwing away much of your wealth while chasing after stuff which is temporary and only worth something here and now.

While it is true that income or wealth does help us in this life with our bills and our needs, many look at it as if it solves far more than it really does. Truly, it tends to bring more “friends” into our life than we would normally have. But just as the prodigal son found out, when the money is gone so are those “friends”. Life is full of trials and tribulations both good and bad but when your wealth is anchored in Jesus and in His Kingdom this life and its trouble cannot take your joy from you. Many things could be taken from you such as your car or your job but the rewards of your life of service to God cannot be taken from you.

He is your strength and your shield. He is your buckler and your sword. He provides all that you need to serve Him until that day that you are called home to your eternal reward in His house. Seek Him and pray about your own life and the lives of those closest to you so when that day comes which comes to us all at the end, He will welcome you home to a place that cannot be taken from you.

God knows you so get to know Him.

God is able!


If you are wondering whether God will show up during your problem…don’t. He is already there. His strength and ability to take care of the problem is already available to you…just pray. God did not leave Noah, He didn’t leave Moses, and He never left David or Daniel and Jesus was never alone on that cross! Your disease or cancer or whatever it may be is not strong enough to give God any trouble at all. He created ALL things therefore He can cure and fix anything.

If your life has taken a turn toward a place that you don’t want to go, put your trust in the One Who can lead you toward the Light of God’s love because He is Love personified! In the form of Jesus the Son of God He did everything that He can do now and He is able to take your situation and turn it into a winning one for you and for His glory.

God said, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this,” says the LORD of Hosts. “See if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out for you blessing without measure….” Malachi 3:10 Put your faith in Him because He can do this! It is true that God was speaking of bringing a tithe into the storehouse of the Temple, but you could tithe your time or yourself as well and claim this promise of God. He can and will pour out blessings without measure but you have to place your faith in Him and in what He can do.

A prayer without faith to back it up and repentance in your life to show that you are serious will not work. God knows you and your heart and your motives better than you do so trying to “cut a deal” with God doesn’t work. You have to truly mean what you say and say what you mean!

Trust in Him to take care of you and He will because…our God is able!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The I-phone person


In this day and age that we live in everyone has a phone. A connection to the Internet and to anyone that they want to reach out and touch. This is a period in time that many of us thought would never really happen…but it did. I’m not speaking of people who use and own Apple products. I am talking of people who can’t be themselves without their phone!

You’ve seen them or heard them in stores or on the street, at the gym or even at a movie. They can’t seem to stop talking! Sometimes you will be going through the grocery store and you will hear bits of a conversation and if you happen to keep running into that same person you will hear it until you decide to move away from them. It seems that they can’t get away from talking into their ear-buds which are attached to their phone either by a wire or wireless.

Many times I have wondered how they can get any sleep? Or even if they sleep, do they talk in their sleep? Is their phone always as close by them at home the same way it is out in public?

How much would the world change if we used our Bible as much as we do our phones? If we lived our daily lives in contact with God in the same way as we seem to be with our phone and our friends, we could impact the world for His Kingdom and it would make the world a better place. In the beginning, God did have a close relationship with Adam and Eve. He walked with them and taught them things, even though it isn’t written down in the Bible. I mean, how else were they going to learn?

God has always wanted a close relationship with us and at times He has had that with some of His prophets and disciples. But He wants that relationship with us today and we push Him away because we don’t have time or today isn’t a good day or some other excuse that is meaningless in the grand scheme of life. If we read the Bible as religiously as we read posts on Facebook or check it for advice like we check our emails, our world would be radically changed from the impersonal world that we live in to a world where God has more influence over all of our affairs.

Think about that today before you pick up your phone and pick up God’s Word a few times at least. Read some passages in Proverbs or Psalms today before you head out to shop or go to work. Pray about what you have read and think about what He says in those passages that you read. Then ask Him to show you the reason for your life being a little off balance and ask Him how it can be fixed. He will tell you, if you will stop talking long enough to listen.

Does this look familiar? I’m not talking about the brand of phone, just how many people live with them in their hands 24/7.

Do you live like Jonah?


In the book of Jonah, the prophet tries his best to run from God’s calling to take a message to Nineveh. Not because he doesn’t want to take the message, although that was part of it, but because he wants God’s judgment to fall on them rather than a revival coming to their country. He knows that God is merciful and He will forgive them if they turn from their sins and seek Him because of the warning that God told him to bring to the people of Nineveh.

Jonah 1:1-4 says:

1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before Me.”

3 Jonah, however, got up to flee to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship bound for Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went aboard to sail for Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.

The Great Storm (Jeremiah 6:10-21; Jeremiah 25:15-33; Acts 27:13-26; Romans 1:18-32)

4 Then the LORD hurled a great wind upon the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship was in danger of breaking apart.

Wickedness or sin is lawlessness or transgressing the Law of God and it cannot be hidden or covered up, but we try to do this every day.

Proverbs 28: 13 says: 13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

God is willing to forgive our sins regardless of their “size” because all sin is abhorrent to God and Jesus paid the price for our sins to cover them and forgive us of their consequences. We look at our sins and think that that “little white lie” isn’t so bad. Not nearly as bad as the man who has murdered someone at least. But in the eyes of God, even though murder is a more grievous sin, any sin weighs the same because it is a transgression of God’s laws. When you break one of His laws it is the same as breaking them all.

Any sin in your life that has not been confessed and forgiven puts a door or a barrier between you and God until it is confessed and forgiven. God warned Cain before he slew his brother that “sin is crouching at your door and it desires to have you, but you must rule over it. Genesis 4:7

God will judge our unacknowledged sins (Romans 2:16), “God will judge the secrets of man by Jesus Christ”. I know it sounds like a harsh comparison for mankind to be judged according to the sinless Son of God but we, as Christians, are supposed to walk in His ways and seek to live a holy life. In our humanity and by our own strength we can’t do this but by reading God’s Word daily and carefully taking each thought into captivity we can be effective witnesses for Him.

Hiding sins, whether they are “small sins” or “Big sins”, isn’t possible because God knows your heart and your mind. Even if you haven’t given your heart and life to Him, when you stand before Him to be judged, every word and thought will be brought out into the open. That is a scary thing to consider since we rarely have complete control over our thoughts and many times we say things which we should’ve thought about first (but we don’t) and we end up with our foot in our mouth. In God’s economy and under His Laws, every sin weighs the same. We consider some as small and some as big but to Him they are all spots and blemishes on your record and they hinder you from enjoying life as He wants you to.

In this life…


As we trudge through this pain-filled life we can see all sorts of contrasts on TV and in the news and sometimes in books too. Here is a quote from a book that I bought and have been reading and it sums up the ending of our lives or the beginning because it is all a matter of perspective.

“There were two friends who had lived long lives. One was a rich man, by the world’s standards, and the other didn’t have much. The rich man was not a Christian but the other man was a strong believer in Jesus. The rich man told one of his visitors one day: I will soon have to leave all of my riches but when he dies, he will gain his.” (quoted from “Where I am” by Billy Graham)

I did paraphrase it a bit but the meaning is clear. The rich man knew that his reward had been granted to him while he was living but the poor man had stored his riches and wealth in Jesus. So the one that the world considered poor was actually rich into eternity. Why do we live like this? Because we want things in this life and many of us don’t look much further than our bank account. But, if you find someone living on Social Security as their “pension”, you will find someone who usually depends on God for their existence. They know that the money will run out most of the time before the month.

Why are there more Christians in China and Africa than there are in America? Because the vast majority of people in those countries live on a fraction of what Americans have, that’s why! Those Christians depend upon their Savior not only because He has given them eternity but because they know that He will meet their needs every day. Some days they will have just enough to make it and maybe tomorrow they might have a little surplus but they will share that with their friends and family. If the church in every country could teach that principle to all believers what a wonderful world we would have.

Jesus told His disciples that “you will have trials in this world, but I have overcome the world“. God never told us in His Word that we would have it easy if we would give our lives to serving Him. Actually, He said just the opposite. Many who are looking for a better life would jump at the chance of an easy life if being a Christian meant that it would be granted to them but that has never been part of the “blessing” since Jesus returned to the Father. God does give us the strength to endure those trials through faith in Jesus but we must seek Him in our good times as well as when things aren’t going so good.

Living the life of a faithful Christian is like a toddler holding your hand while walking on a trail which has some rough areas to cross. The “toddler” Christian will hold “God’s” hand until the trail gets a bit easier to handle then want to run ahead but that is where we need to hold His hand to keep us on the right path even more. Because sometimes when we find a smooth path we also find other “paths” which are even better and easier to navigate and it is tempting to follow those easier paths rather than staying on the pathway that we were following God on. That’s when we get into trouble and have to be led through some bushes and thorns to get back where we should’ve stayed.

Honor God daily


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friends…


Are you a friend to somebody? Do you have many friends that you actually know? Or are you more like me, you have friends that you have known for a long time but life and distance keep you from seeing each other? Many of us are in the same place that I am. We do have friends and have had some for many years but circumstances and distance tend to make the relationship kinda hard to keep alive. Even my relationship with some of my family is tempered by distance and our ability to bridge that distance is tempered by money and time as well.

In many ways, our relationship with Jesus sometimes falls into this same rut. We get caught up in life and our own problems and we push our time with Jesus and His Word to the back of our priority list. Then, sometimes, it gets pushed a little bit more. Then one day we realize that we truly miss our relationship with our Savior and we come back to Him apologizing for being away for so long. Why? Because it was us who moved, Jesus has always been near us. If we are Christians, His Spirit is still there even if we aren’t paying any attention to Him. This happens more often than we would like to admit…to anyone.

Sometimes we get a bit too open with our words and our “opinions” and we hurt each other’s feelings. Sometimes I feel like we do the same thing to Jesus as well, but He forgives us even when we do it more than we should. The best thing that we can remember about friendships is: don’t treat your regular friends like you treat Jesus. Because we take Him for granted all of the time and we should never take our friends for granted. God gave us friends to be there when we need them because until He comes to rule this Earth He isn’t physically here. So our friends are there to be “stand-ins” for Him.

Make sure which friends you have and always treasure their friendship like you would a brother or a sister because in Christ we are all brothers and sisters.