To believe or not to believe…


Literal, figurative, metaphorically or not at all… which one describes your belief when it comes to the scriptures? This is part and parcel of our belief in God and His Son, so why is it such a big deal in the 21st century?

Does it have to do with the miracles found in God’s Word? Are they truly that unbelievable? Consider Who it is that performed these miracles, our Lord and Creator! God commanded the stars to be and the light to shine and all of the animals to populate the waters on the Earth by His spoken Word. So why is it so difficult to believe that the words in the Bible, though they were written down by men, are true and accurate?

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, was a literal person because He is spoken of in historical writings of the day and time that He was alive. The same can be said of His disciples and others who lived during that time, so why is it easier to call the Bible a figurative book of historical metaphors rather than the inerrant Word of God?

Would you believe so strongly in a metaphorical account or a figurative account which could be true but may not be true? Could you have faith in the God mentioned in a book which is only figurative or mostly made up of metaphors? Would you believe in it and in the Savior spoken of in its pages strongly enough to be burned at the stake for your beliefs? I don’t think that all of the martyrs of the ages would’ve believed in it or in Jesus for their salvation if it was shown to be only a “figurative or metaphorical” book.

Yet there are some study materials out today which claim that this is what we read when we are reading the Bible.

The prophecies which are in the Old Testament pointed to a Savior being born in a certain town to a virgin at a certain time. There are also other prophecies which foretold of empires being brought down or coming into existence hundreds of years before they were. No amount of “wishful thinking”, metaphorically or otherwise can predict something that accurately. Only God can tell the end from the beginning and speak about things which are not as if they were.

What if…


If you only had a week to live, what would you do? Would you travel for that small amount of time or would you enjoy your days with your family and friends?

If I only had a week to live…I would enjoy my family and friends and walk in the woods. I would make sure to tell my neighbors that they meant a lot to me by just being my friends. I would make dinner for each of them if they would allow it or I would try to show some small way that I had appreciated their friendship.

With only a week to live, there really isn’t much you can do that you should’ve been doing before, so why wait until you know that your life is ending? Tell your friends and family how much they mean to you today…NOW! Don’t wait until it is too late because you may not get to tell them at all.

Make sure that your life is a reflection of Jesus even if there aren’t many who see it in you. Those who do see Jesus in your speech or in your life and how you live will notice and God will touch their lives in some small way or maybe even a big way. He can use those seeds which are planted in people’s lives no matter how small they may be or how long they have been planted.

God can water them with His Living Water and His Love and make them sprout in their lives so that they can continue your ministry even after you are gone on to Heaven. All Christians should try to make sure that there are some seeds which are able to be grown by God which are left here by something that you did or something you said. God can use those to make a difference in someone’s life and your eternity will be blessed by it too.

What are you thankful for?


Psalm 107

1Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

2Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,

3those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. a

4Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.

5They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.

6Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.

7He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.

8Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,

9for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

10Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness, prisoners suffering in iron chains,

11because they rebelled against God’s commands and despised the plans of the Most High.

12So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help.

13Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.

14He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.

15Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind,

16for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.

17Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.

18They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death.

19Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.

20He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.

21Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

22Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.

23Some went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters.

24They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep.

25For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves.

26They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril, their courage melted away.

27They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end.

28Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.

29He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea b were hushed.

30They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.

31Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

32Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders.

33He turned rivers into a desert, flowing springs into thirsty ground,

34and fruitful land into a salt waste, because of the wickedness of those who lived there.

35He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs;

36there he brought the hungry to live, and they founded a city where they could settle.

37They sowed fields and planted vineyards that yielded a fruitful harvest;

38he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased, and he did not let their herds diminish.

39Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled by oppression, calamity, and sorrow;

40he who pours contempt on nobles made them wander in a trackless waste.

41But he lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks.

42The upright see and rejoice, but all the wicked shut their mouths.

43Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.

ThankfulLivingThis Psalm is all about being thankful in all circumstances. This is what we should do every day and yet many of us don’t. We grumble and complain and gripe about one little thing or another when we should be thankful to have another day to live and serve our Creator and Redeemer! Seek Him in His Word and get to know your Redeemer and your Savior because it doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive or how big your house is…on the day that you die those possessions will belong to someone else. Make sure of your salvation in Jesus Christ so that your mansion in Heaven is assured and where you will spend eternity with Him!

Lifetime of learning


It is very possible to live even a short time without learning something, unfortunately, it is wholly possible to live a very long time and not learn very much at all. Why is this so? Is it because we don’t like learning or if we do like it we only want it a little at a time.

Each day that we live on Earth we learn something which we didn’t know before. So why do we try so hard to learn as much as we can in our field of study or our vocation? There are days in which we learn a lot and then there are days when we don’t learn much at all. Can you see a pattern forming here?

Our learning during our lifetime is usually controlled in some way by our schooling and by how much we truly want to learn. But is our learning in school and maybe in college actually benefiting the world and our life in it? It depends on our course of study actually. Some college education is geared toward a certain profession and some majors in college are for historians or liberal arts, but what can those fields change in our world? I know that architects and engineers are needed as well as lawyers and doctors, but what other profession helps mankind in life and in the death of a loved one?

Being a Christian and taking the True Gospel into the world or teaching those who will listen is the greatest calling a person can know. Being a pastor of a church and bringing God’s Word to those who attend church services is also an important vocation in God’s Kingdom. So why do pastors get a raw deal unless they are called to a large church? At smaller churches, they are the “staff” except for the person who controls the money in the church.

But in large churches, they are more like a CEO of a company which also adds more stress to their lives.

Image result for images for reading the Bible

The best education that anyone can have is to read the Bible through at least once in a year and then do it again and again. Why? Because God’s Word is alive and it gives you the wisdom that you are looking for or that wisdom that you need even when you don’t know you needed it. You also learn more from God’s Word every time you read it prayerfully because the Holy Spirit will reveal more of Him to you each time.

Will you ever learn everything that God’s Word can teach you? No, not even if you live to be 150 and read it at least once every year! His Word is alive and powerful and filled with His wisdom so that you get much more from it each time you read it. So make it a point to read a few chapters each day, then you will know how much you really don’t know about God and His Son, Jesus.

One blessing at a time


Is this how you approach God or do you really want the flow to pour into your life? Many of us say that we want His blessings to flow into our lives but then we put conditions on the flow. We begin telling God exactly what we want and how we want it and when we want it, but have you ever noticed that God doesn’t answer prayers like that? God knows what you need and when you need it. Notice the difference in those two sentences.

In one sentence we are telling God what WE want and when and how we want it, but God knows what we need and He knows when to bless us with it and how much of a blessing to give because He knows exactly how we will use it and for what!

We multitask in our daily lives and we want Him to do His work in our lives the same way. For example, do you notice that many of us are trying to do many things every day and even though we think we are “multitasking” we actually get very little done? Unless…we concentrate on one thing at a time. Such as wash the towels, get them started in the washer, then move on to the dishes and hopefully finish them by the time the towels are done, then get the towels in the dryer, etc. Each task which we begin as just one task and them move on to the next gets done.

But when you are trying to call someone and get put on hold while you are washing the dishes and needing to wash the towels and the clothes, then very little will get done until at least one of those tasks is complete. Many of us try to do too much in our lives when God has told us exactly how to live and how to complete your tasks in this life easily. Focus on the Kingdom of God and His righteousness every day, learning from His Word and His Wisdom, then those other “things” will fall in place behind the most important One of all, Jesus.

Even when we know this, we tend to impose our ideas or our thoughts about how God is supposed to work in our lives. Don’t we? When we pray about a problem or about something which we want Him to do or accomplish in our lives, we impose our ideas and our wants on God and in the prayer that we are praying. God does not work on your specific ways of thinking because our ideas tend to limit God’s power and His miracle. God does answer prayer in His way and on His time and with His blessing for you even though His answer may not line up with your ideas about how He was supposed to do it!

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you”.  Matthew 6:33

GodGaveusEverythingBegin each day by reading His Word, maybe a chapter or so, then pray about what you have read and ask Him to help you incorporate His Wisdom into your day. Then your day will follow Him instead of the other way around. Always begin a decision or a day with Jesus, no matter what the day may bring and when God comes first in your day and in your life then your other priorities will be in their proper order.

May the Lord bless you…


Numbers 6: 22-27

22 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee and give thee peace. 27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.

This is the blessing which God commanded Moses to give to Aaron which he spoke to Israel as a blessing from God. Since we are adopted into God’s family through the blood of Jesus, we can also claim this blessing as we go about our lives following the Lord and serving Him in our daily living.

God will be with us and bless us as we do those things which are pleasing to Him but if we turn away from Him and go our own way do things in our own strength and our counsel then God will not bless those things which we are doing. He is a loving God but He is also jealous of our service and our devotion to Him. Which is why Christians are put to the test when we think we are doing what is right for Him but it is only right because we are doing it in our strength and not under His direction.

God loves each of us and He will test us and try our faith in Him to prove it and make it stronger. We will not be killed or hurt in this, but we may go through trials and pain because of our walking the path without Him. Being obedient to Jesus and to His teachings, just as His disciples and followers were, is a requirement which has not changed and because He hasn’t changed our obedience to Him should not change either. Although there are times when we think we are hearing His voice when it is a demon or Satan speaking in our mind and convincing us that it is from the Lord. Our enemy is very subtle and crafty and he has had time to perfect his ways to fool even those who know the Lord and His voice.

We must try these words which come to us and make sure that they are from our Lord before we act upon them. A word from the Lord can come to us in a time of meditation on His Word but even then we should test it to make sure of its meaning and where it comes from. Making sure of the words and their meaning and whether they actually come from God’s Word as well. This is the only way to prove them before we act upon them and carry them to others by writing or by proclamation (preaching).

God wants to bless us for our obedience and our loyalty to Him but we must be careful to test any leading that we have and make sure that it is from God and doesn’t contradict His Word or even may be similar to His Word but is changed just enough to make it of none effect.

Truth or Lies


How many times have you looked at a picture of a woman or a girl with lust in your heart or your mind? In our world today with the Internet making pornography so easy to obtain and keep as a “hidden sin” there are many more who fall into this practice than most people would think. The really sad fact is that most of those who do fall “victim” to engaging in watching pornography on the web or looking at pictures from these sites are supposed to be leaders in our churches. Youth ministers and Lead pastors of churches which keep their habits on personal laptops and hopefully not on the church computer.

Why do I bring this up? Because I read an article about it in the AFA Journal that I get each month. It is a very disturbing statistic and it actually funds sex trafficking in a big way as well. This type of sin, which is exactly what it is, is known in the Bible as fornication. This word in the Bible encompasses just a glance, to a touch or anything beyond that but the Bible makes it clear that “fornicators will not inherit eternal life”. The Bible uses the words “sexually immoral” in place of fornicators but it means the same thing.

We are supposed to be better than this! Jesus didn’t call you into any ministry to fall victim to Satan’s temptations to sin! But…in the news, we hear of pastors committing adultery and bishops molesting children. Why aren’t we taking our calling from God more seriously? What has happened to our being a dedicated disciple of Jesus and a servant of God? These are good questions and they deserve answers but I don’t have any answers. God’s Word gives us the answers and it tells us to run from even the idea of these sins, yet there are still people in the church who are being caught in these sins and casting a dark stain on the church as a whole.

Prayer is needed because the statistics are staggering in their implications of how many may be involved in these practices. Much prayer is needed in the church as a whole, not just one denomination but the entire body of the church, the Body of Christ here to serve those who believe. Pastors, ministers, and teachers in the church are supposed to be dedicated to their service to God and to those who look to them for guidance.  We are not supposed to exploit anyone, regardless of their age, sex, or in any way which could be looked at as predatory in its nature. If there is anyone who is doing this in any way, they should be prayed for and confronted about it and at the very least try to get them some professional help!

This type of sin is easy to fall into but, if it continues long enough, it is very hard to get out of. Without therapy and professional help and much prayer, I don’t think that anyone could get out of it. It would take a person to be convicted spiritually and personally to know that their sin had been noticed and it needs to be expunged from their lives. I pray that anyone who reads this might use any of these suggestions to either get help or provide help to someone who really needs this.

Thank you for your attention and may God bless the outcome of any good that might come from this. Amen

Frustration


What frustrates you? It actually sounds like a question of your pet peeves and it could be. Does frustration cause you to get upset or angry, some days my frustration meter is set very low. Then there are other days when I can get a lot done and frustration never even enters the picture at all.

So, why am I concentrating on this emotion of frustration? Well, it could be that there are many more people in our everyday lives who are frustrated and either they don’t recognize it or they just refer to it another way like “I’m pissed off!!!!”.

It manifests itself as many things do in our lives. By hiding or disguising itself as something else. But, why am I bringing this up on this site? Because Jesus was frustrated too. It frustrated Him to find the priests and the scribes who knew the Scriptures intimately and yet they didn’t recognize Him. They didn’t pay attention to the signs which pointed to His birth or that He knew so much about Scripture when He was only 12 years old. They were amazed by His knowledge but they never investigated the particulars of His birth or His family.

They weren’t looking for a Messiah from a family who wasn’t connected or wealthy, so even if they heard and saw the signs they just ignored them. Don’t you think He would’ve been frustrated about this? I do. This is probably why He ran the money changers and those selling animals out of the Temple, not only were they using God’s house as a market but they were doing it without honoring God in reverence.

Frustration can be the spark which lights the fire of anger and then anger turns to rage which can lead to some very nasty consequences today. Even deadly ones if you can’t get control of it. But…what can we do about it? That’s where this gets tricky. Most of us just ignore our frustrations or at least try to, but sometimes the feelings which are brought to the surface with them don’t go away so easily.

That is why we need to keep our minds and our hearts focused on Jesus and His Word. I know this is asking a lot since most of us have a lot on our plates with work and bills and family and school and….the list could go on and on. My point is this: focus on Jesus and your relationship with Him first every day, then much of what comes up during the day both of you can handle it together!

I am not saying that this will end our anger and frustration issues immediately, but having Jesus and His Word present in your daily life every day will give you strength and mostly His strength to get through whatever comes. Whether it is good or bad, it won’t matter because you are walking with Jesus through your day with its trouble and with its triumphs as well.

Do this for a week and see how your week progressed, then do it again and again until walking through life’s ups and downs with Jesus will be second nature and the downs will be fewer than the ups I imagine. Give it a try. I have tried my best to do this ever since I was called to be a preacher, some days I succeed and some I don’t. But it has gotten easier and in the last seven years, it gets easier every day. I don’t mean that I can perfectly do this every day, all the time but I do work at it and I am getting better at it. But…it is a job. As Jesus said: “Then Jesus said His to disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

Where is your treasure?


Matthew 6:19-21
Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
Have you ever wondered exactly what you are doing in this life or why you are doing it? Many people seem to be attempting to buy anything and everything that they can afford as if they truly believe the saying “he who dies with the mostest wins the prize”. How do you figure that? When you die your children will inherit what you had and if there are no children then those “things” which you bought with your money will be sold or given to someone else.

Why do we use up our lives chasing after things which can’t possibly give us any fulfillment or joy in this life, other than bragging rights…maybe? The problem with this kind of living is that when your life is over, what will people say or think about you and who you were? Will they remember you as someone who tried to help those who were in need? Will they remember you as a businessman or woman who chased after as much wealth as you could possibly attain?

RaiseyourstandardofGivingHave you ever considered the eternal consequences of your life? What will your life be worth in eternity? Did your wealth, regardless of the amount, do any spiritual good in this world? Was it used for the spreading of God’s Word and His message to those who didn’t know Him?

All of these questions should be answered while you are still living so that you can try to make good use of the time that you have left until you enter into eternity. The larger question and the one which will make the most difference to you is: Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? God placed each of us here for the sole purpose of truly getting to know Him and being useful to Him in this life. Regardless of the amount of money or influence you may have in your business or in your life and the lives around you.

Everyone seems to wonder, what is my purpose or the meaning in my life, and we think about it almost from the time that they are old enough to know what a purpose is. The reality of the question is this: your life’s meaning and purpose are to be found in Jesus and serving Him and His purpose in your life. Anything which is outside of that is fluff and nonsense. Although I am sure that many will wonder exactly how am I supposed to pay my bills or save up for retirement by doing that? To that I would say lay up treasure in Heaven with what you do with your money here and now. Pay your bills but IF there is anything left put it in God’s Hands and in His Kingdom!

God did not say that we had to be preachers or evangelists. We are to use the gifts and talents which we have been given to serve the Lord in our lives and in our business, whatever it may be. God mentions many different craftsmen in the Old Testament from woodworkers and carvers to engravers and those who can make jewelry out of gold as well as shepherds and kings and priests.

Your life and mine can be useful to God in many ways and it doesn’t matter what your vocation may be. If you are a nurse then be the best one that you can be and use your talents to serve God while you are at it. If you are a police person, do that as if you were working for the Lord. Whatever occupation you are in, do it as if you were working for Jesus and make sure that your tithes go to charities which actually help people. If you can’t find a charity which does this in your town, then start one which will!

Pray about it, seek God’s wisdom for whatever you are considering and if you feel Him leading you in that direction with your money and your time then go for it! Saturate your charity or foundation with prayer and fasting if you have to but make sure that it is doing work which Jesus would be proud of. If your business isn’t one which He would be happy with then invest your profits in something which will honor God and His Kingdom.

We are sinners saved by His Grace!


Not one of us is any more than a sinner who has been saved by Jesus and His Grace from God the Father! Whether you are a bishop or a pastor with a doctorate in theology or you are a pastor who is ordained to preach but has no degree, God has a plan and a purpose for your life. Even if you are a member of the church and have been studying the Bible for many years, God truly has a plan for your life!

When you feel the Spirit speaking to your spirit and telling you that you need to be saved, don’t turn away from Him. There is nothing that you can do in any way to “help” God to bring you to salvation except by believing in Jesus for your salvation! It is God’s gift to you through faith in Jesus for your salvation.

Every Christian is a sinner saved by God’s grace through Jesus our Savior. But there are some who think that because they are blessed with much in the way of worldly blessings, that God has favored them more than others. It is possible that God has given you these blessings but are you using them for His glory or your own? Some of us have managed to be blessed with some wealth and other “blessings” which may have come to you before you were known or touched by God. Then when you become a Christian what are you supposed to do with your wealth? Use it for the increase of God’s kingdom.

In today’s world, giving your wealth away is a sign of charity toward others, but I still wonder exactly who is being exalted when you do this? Are you giving the glory to God or is it being focused on you? We are loved by God and we should try to reflect His love back into the world in whatever we do regardless of how much you might give or what you may do with your life!

When you pray to God and maybe use the model prayer which Jesus gave us, does the first line mean anything to you inside or are they just words?

“Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name”

The word “Father” is Abba in Aramaic. As stated from Dictionary.com, “Abba” is the defining term for father in the Aramaic language, spoken by Jesus and Paul as an intimate term to characterize their personal relationships with God.

So, do you revere or hallow God’s name? Do you think of Him as a close friend or as a stern and cold Father? In many ways, our relationship with our own father will characterize how we view God.

The second line is even more prophetic: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”. This line point toward the Kingdom which Jesus will establish on Earth when He takes the throne of David.

The rest of that prayer asks God to forgive us of our sins and lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil. God never leads us into temptation but will always give us the strength to get out of it IF we will depend upon Him for our strength. The last couple of lines bring a prophetic view to our prayer life; “for Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen”.

All that we do for Him in this life will be rewarded in the next life with Him because we have done these things for His glory and honor and not for our own. Seek Him First while you live in His strength in this life. Be useful to Him in every little thing that you do, no matter how insignificant it may seem.