So much discord and hate


Why? Aren’t we supposed to be trying to get along? I mean, how can we possibly come up with solutions to our own problems when it seems we can’t even disagree in a peaceful way? We can’t even seem to accomplish this in Congress with people that supposedly know each other, even if they are on different sides of the political aisle! Why is our society acting like a group of spoiled children who can’t have their way?

We are supposed to be working toward a society which can bring some semblance of peace, if not in the world then surely in our own country! The reason for all of this discord and hatred in our country and all over the world falls on one personal fault which everyone has and that is pride. The obstacle which is the root of nearly all of the sins in the Bible from the beginning to the end is this one!

We are living in the time just prior to the Great Tribulation and that is another contributing factor which is making our world and the people living here act like mortal enemies. Satan is pushing the buttons of every person who has a prideful idea or thought or harbors pride in themselves believing that they are better than those around them.

Each of us is the person that we are supposed to be, unfortunately, some think that they are different and special in a way which makes them better than those around them. They believe in themselves true enough but outside of that, they look down on other people. This is the most serious form of pride which can cause a person to believe that they are “like god” or “like a god”.

We are created beings, just as the angels are, and we are not gods. Though we are created in the image of God, we are not gods and never will be. It is a false teaching which has been spread around the world that this will happen when we if we are Christians, make our home in Heaven. We will have a body like Jesus had when He was resurrected but we will not be gods.

VineandBranchesGod loves each of us and we will enjoy eternity with Him as His adopted children, nothing more. We may fill some useful post in His Kingdom one day or even during the 1,000-year reign on Earth of Jesus but other than that we will be His people and HE will be our King! Seeking to know Him better here and now is the responsibility of every Christian and it is a job which we should take very seriously. To grow to be a mature Christian, living in the strength and power of Jesus every day will allow us to carry His Image with us wherever we go…until He comes for the Church.

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Matt. 6:33

The Kingdom of God is our life in Jesus Christ walking with Him daily, praying and studying His Word and doing those things which He would do if He were here, at least to the best of our ability.

Bondservant of Jesus


For Jude, the family was not everything. He was the brother of James, the leader of the church in Jerusalem and the son of Joseph and Mary. Being the half-brother of our Lord Jesus he had occasions to watch Him as He grew to manhood, but Jude didn’t come to a saving knowledge of our Lord until after the resurrection. His epistle is meant for the early church but much of it pertains to today. There were false teachers appearing in the church, just as they are today, telling people one thing which would bring them salvation. But, those “false teachers” were not bold in their speech, they were very subtle by their false teaching, containing just enough truth so as not to be recognized.

Jude calls himself “a bondservant of Jesus Christ”, and the brother of James. He doesn’t emphasize that he is the Lord’s half-brother since that would play on the early Church’s devotion to Jesus.

Jude 1-8

1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: 2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.

God’s Judgment on the Ungodly (Genesis 4:1-7; Romans 2:1-16)

3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

5 I will, therefore, put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. 6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. 9Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. 10But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. 11Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. 12These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

Jude is exhorting the church to stand firm in their faith which they have believed unto salvation and to stand in that faith even when they hear a doctrine which doesn’t go along with what they have been taught before. Stay true to the faith in Jesus Christ whom you have believed!

Don’t turn away from the teachings which you have heard and read from God’s Word during your life as a Christian.

Is this little book relevant today? By all means, it is! People don’t want to know the Truth of Scripture because they reject much of the Truth contained in it, not because it isn’t true but because it convicts them of their sins and they don’t want to hear it.

The rest of the letter of Jude speaks toward the church standing firm in their faith, just as the first few verses did. It talks of those who were apostates to the faith in Jesus and who were trying to subvert the teachings in the young church at the time. Jude was telling the believers to rebuke those who were bringing false teachings into the church and leading people off the path of Light and into teachings which would contradict those which Jesus and His disciples were teaching.

It matters to the church today because there are many who are rejecting the Bible outright, not only the teachings found in the New Testament but they are ridiculing the Scripture of the Old Testament, claiming that it has no meaning for today’s church. Yet, every book of the Bible teaches about Jesus in some way. He is spoken of as the Seed of the woman, the Rock, the pillar of Fire and Smoke, the Angel of the Lord, the Good Shepherd, the Son of Man and so on. He is mentioned in some form or type in all of Scripture which means that the entire Bible is relevant and useful for instruction and teaching in our modern world today.

Take the message of Jude to heart and make sure that you are ready to defend your faith if it is ever called into question or if you see or hear someone speaking of a doctrine which is not in the Bible or which sounds like it came from God’s Word but it didn’t.

What are you chasing?


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 most 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?

Have 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 of 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 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?

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 businesses, whatever they 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 God leading you in that direction with your money and your time then do 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 move to something else which can honor God.

Seek to know Him


Jesus tells His disciples to “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” but what exactly does that mean? Considering the subject which He was teaching them about at the time was “worry”, this particular passage was in reference to God’s willingness to provide for our needs, and their needs at the time. Worrying about life or food or clothing does nothing except cause more stress in your life which none of us truly needs today!

In the world that we live in, life is stressful enough without worrying about what you will eat or wear or if you can pay the mortgage this month. God knows you have needs along these lines and He will give you the ability to pay for them or acquire them in time for your needs to be met. Notice that I said “needs” not wants! God doesn’t provide luxury until you are rewarded in Heaven for your service to Him in this life. You may be able to acquire luxury items in this life but you would be wise to pay your debts as soon as possible.

All of us have debts of one kind or another. Some have a mortgage which is still being paid or a car/truck loan which is still due. Some of us have credit card debt which means we are spending money that we don’t even have yet. All of these make us slaves to the loans which we have to pay in one way or another. God advises us to pay your debts as soon as possible and this advice can be found in Proverbs.

HumbleGod does give us the ability to get wealth but we should not use it as a way of making others jealous of it. We should use whatever wealth we have as a way to bless others and in turn, we will be blessed by God. As it is said, “God loves a cheerful giver“. As you are blessed, be a blessing to others. Being humble and giving of your blessings to others will bless you in ways that you don’t know about until you are in Heaven.

What are your convictions?


Most of us really don’t think about this word or what it means, at least not on a daily basis. Your convictions come into play when you vote or in how you handle adversity. Sometimes, your convictions have an effect on the way you live your life from the beginning of adulthood throughout your life. One definition of a conviction has to do with being convicted of a crime in a court of law. The definition that I am writing about here is expressed best by part of a sermon which Dr. Charles Stanley taught recently so here is that definition:

A conviction is a solid, immovable belief based on confidence in God’s Word, being so thoroughly convinced of its absolute truth that we are willing to take a stand regardless of the consequences. Convictions shape not only what we believe but also how we live and even how we die. They define who we are and provide direction with solid straight lines that don’t veer off track to accommodate circumstances or temptations.

Many of the disciples and early church members were martyred for their convictions about their faith in Jesus Christ, so that should prove to many people that those beliefs and their faith and their conviction about Him were so strong that they were willing to die for them. You wouldn’t die for some made up fairy tale or a lie. Jesus is coming back as He said He would and I urge you if you don’t believe in Him as your Savior, to give your life to Him today.

None of us are guaranteed tomorrow so as the Bible says, “Today is the day of salvation“. If you truly want an eternity which is not eternal punishment, and honestly who would want that for eternity, then give your heart to Jesus. Seek Him out in any way that you can because He is coming soon and you don’t want to be left behind to live through the seven years which will follow His removal of the church from the Earth. There will be a lot of destruction and death on that day because of the people who were taken to heaven with Him, but the aftermath of that will be easy compared to what comes later.

God does love and care for all of us but He doesn’t like our sins and the lives which we live apart from Him. Lifestyles which go against His laws and His precepts in His Word are not the lifestyles which He approves of. Living outside of His law just because you don’t like what the Bible says is not the Christian way of life. Consider the places that you go on a Friday night or over the weekend. Would you feel comfortable taking Jesus to those places, really? If you attend church but haven’t accepted Jesus as your Savior, would you feel comfortable telling your pastor about where you went the night before church on Sunday morning?

If you can’t answer those questions truthfully and without hesitation then your life needs Jesus in it now.

Broken relationships


In today’s world, there are many of these. You see them on television shows and on the news and in families everywhere. Many of these broken relationships are in our churches and in schools and in the books which children and young adults read. It seems that we are teaching the next generation that a broken relationship is…well, normal.

Even in the Bible, there are many broken relationships. It even begins in the Garden of Eden where Adam and his wife disobeyed God’s command to not eat of the tree in the midst of the garden. But, that isn’t the only time that God and His Creation are estranged. The people that He chose to be His people turned away from Him even after He liberated them from slavery after over four hundred years. Later, when they were in their promised land, they began worshiping other gods and marrying into the other “cultures” around them.

These broken relationships kept becoming more normal in the Bible all through the history of the Jewish people. They would mend their relationship with God, then they would forsake Him again and it became a pattern. Over and over again, all through the Old Testament God would use one king or a nation to punish Israel for a time and then He would rescue them.

Our world today is no different. We seek out relationships with people or a career for a time and then we break that relationship in some way and seek out another. Sometimes we will find one which we can stick with, either by accident or by God’s will and it is usually by the latter. Truly, life has a way of imitating God’s Word in some form, even if we don’t believe in God. But, for many of us who become Christians, God does have a way of working our life around until we have finally “came to his senses” like the prodigal son did.

No matter how broken your life may be or even how broken your relationship may be, God can help you fix it. IF, you will seek His help in fixing the mess you have made. Own your mistakes and realize that it was you who caused the broken and crumbling relationship in your life and between yourself and God. He doesn’t change His mind about how He feels about you because His love for us is eternal. It is usually us who have changed some part of the relationship or even allowed sin to get in the way, between us and our Savior.

Our sin which causes this breach may not be a very grievous sin in our eyes, but any sin is capable of placing a barrier between us and God. The barrier may be small at first, but if left alone it will grow. Especially if you don’t confess it and ask forgiveness for it. If you just ignore it because it was such a “little” sin, the next one will add to the separation and it will get worse. Don’t add to the problem, seek His wisdom and His forgiveness before the separation gets so large that it is hard for you to speak to Him.

Bible-brokenness

Forgiving others


In so many ways, forgiving others is difficult and sometimes impossible without the love of Jesus flowing through our hearts. Forgetting the offense of our friends or family is not nearly so easy as forgiving them. An offense from friends or family is usually a very deep offense anyway and forgetting it takes lots of prayers and wisdom gleaned from the Bible during the time that we spend trying to heal from it.

Of course, Satan doesn’t help either. He keeps bringing up the offense and bringing it up, and bringing it up until it is maddening! I struggled with this after my divorce years ago, but with LOTS of prayers and reading the Bible and more prayers and more reading of God’s Word I have finally forgiven my ex-wife, but there are still times where Satan will dredge a memory or two back up. So, the process is never really over at least in this life.

We are forgiven of our sins through the blood of Jesus and it was shed for every person on the Earth, but it is up to the Spirit drawing you to Jesus and convicting you that you need Him which will convince you to give your heart to Him and ask forgiveness. It truly is your decision to accept it, God doesn’t force salvation on you. Even when you know you need Him it is still your decision and if you decide not to accept Him then if you die without Him, you are responsible for where your eternity is spent.

Forgiving others is part of our walk with Jesus. The Bible says “if you come to the altar and remember a slight against your brother, leave your sacrifice and be reconciled first“; so forgiveness between brothers or sisters in Christ is more important than a sacrifice. Because with unforgiven slights in your heart, you can’t fully serve the Lord in gladness until it is taken care of. We are supposed to allow the Love of Jesus to flow through us toward others even when we feel slighted or hurt in some way. Even if it is something that may be a month or even a year in the past, get it out in the open and ask forgiveness for it even if one party has forgotten the offense, the hurt, and the pain can still be there.

Through the Spirit of Christ and some determination, we can forgive even the most heinous of offenses with time. But that takes a lot of prayer and meditation on the Scriptures and seeking the Lord’s will in your walk with Him. Forgiving is not easy and forgetting an offense can be even harder, mainly because Satan and his cohorts will bring these memories to the front again even when you have managed to forget them for a time.

God loves each of us much deeper and intimately than you can imagine but we won’t truly know the depth of His love for us until we are in Heaven with Him. That is why we must walk with Him on a daily basis during this life so that we can truly enjoy His Presence for eternity!

Father’s Day


Before any of us who are fathers became fathers, God had a plan for us. Being in a relationship with our wives, we were and are supposed to be the religious leader of our household. We are to be the example of being the leader in our own home. Some even go so far as to call us “kings and priests”, although that might get each of us in trouble if we tried to actually live that way at home.

God knows each of us and our strengths and our weaknesses which is why we have our helpers, our wives, to take over in those areas where we may fall short. Which is what God designed marriage for, it is supposed to be a partnership in which each gives one hundred percent to whatever the goal may be. It isn’t a 50/50 agreement.

Fathers in Scripture had a tremendous responsibility. They were the priests of their household, particularly in Job’s case but also in the majority of households in Jewish society. So why don’t Christians live this way and do these same idealistic things which need to be done?

In today’s society even being a Christian, whether you are male or female, is frowned upon. So being a father who is bringing his children up in a Christian home and training them to look to God’s wisdom is also looked down on as well. His children may even be bullied or endure some other form of persecution because of it. Why is this? I think it is because there are too few fathers who actually teach their children about God’s wisdom from the Bible.

In Joshua 24:15 he told the Israelites what they should do and what he and his house would do:

15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

In Proverbs 3:11-12, Solomon wrote these words: 11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

We as fathers have a responsibility to teach our children to be Christian men and women. This can be done as a family or just by the father but it should be a family night study where the father leads the family in this. This is not my idea, it is in God’s Word that men are supposed to do and be the religious leader of their household.

If you are a Christian and you neglect to do this then the consequences of your inaction will fall on your children. If you don’t model and reflect Jesus in their eyes, then you are failing them in many ways. Don’t be the father who has not shown Jesus to his family in whatever life situation you may find yourself in.

God expects each of us, as fathers, to do these things which He outlined in His Word. But, many of us today don’t read the Bible enough to know what God expects of us. I encourage you to get started reading His Word and learn what your responsibility to God and to your family really is. While it is true that our responsibility is to be fathers and husbands it is also true that we are to be the priests of our family, the religious leaders in our homes.

God expects us to do this and yet many don’t know what they are supposed to do because, even as Christians, we only read our Bibles or listen to sermons when we are at a church service. This is not the way to follow and know Jesus. Yes, the Bible was written a long time ago but when you study it…God’s Word reads you and your heart as well. His Word gives each of us different wisdom when we read it prayerfully and earnestly. Not as a book but as The Book, our guide to a Life with Jesus.

It is our duty as men and fathers and parents to lead our family by our example and if that example is one based on God’s Word then our future and that of our children and their children will be assured in Christ. Don’t neglect your calling as a father and a husband because we are called by God when we are granted children to raise and they become what they have seen in our lives. If they don’t, then we have failed them and failed in our calling as well.

Be the leader and the father that God intended for you to be, even if it is hard to do, seek out His Wisdom for your life and the advice which you need in this life so that you can lead your family into the next Life in eternity.

 

Are you a good Samaritan?


Jesus’ parable about the good Samaritan is one which is about being a true neighbor in the likeness of Jesus and His teaching on the subject. So why is it so hard for us, even in the church, to practice and DO this!? Is it because we are too selfish or are we too scared to admit that we can’t do it?! Read this and listen to the wisdom within it:

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27And he answering said Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. 29But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

30And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

As Jesus said, “Go and do thou likewise”. This is a command from our Lord and the church should honor and obey this command but we aren’t doing it wholeheartedly. We do things a little at a time. Why? Are we afraid of doing this because it isn’t politically correct? We shouldn’t be worried about this! We should be getting out there and doing the things which our Lord told us to do!

The family down the road who doesn’t have enough food for their children would be happy to get a couple of sacks of good food. The man in your church, who needs someone to visit him because he has lost his wife and is alone again could use some fellowship. There are many in our immediate family who would appreciate a visit or a meal or even a trip to get out of the house once in a while…these are your neighbors so go and do as the Samaritan did and see to their needs whatever they might be.Good deeds

Jesus is my shield


His Word is a sharp sword and a defense against Satan. As long as I belong to Him, my salvation is sure and my hope for eternity is sure. God loves each of us, whether we believe in Him or not. So, when hard times come and trouble is all around you it is time to trust in the Lord and lean on Him for strength because He will uphold you with His mighty and righteous arm.

God created the entire universe to amaze us about His power and glory and yet we don’t revere Him and give Him the awe and glory that He deserves. God named the stars and placed them in their places so that we can see that He is THE Creator of all things!

Psalm 18:1-6

1 {To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said,} I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. 2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. 3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. 4 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. 5 The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. 6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

God is our shield and our fortress, He is our Commander and our Savior, He is not the “man upstairs” or “a higher power” as some think of Him! In their minds, they may be thinking of God when they say those things, but they are not giving Him the respect and honor that He deserves when those words are spoken. God is the I AM and the Alpha and Omega and He is all-powerful! It is time that we started preaching Him in that way and not as a weak and ineffective deity which will punish you when you do wrong!

themissingpieceGod loves each of us, which is why Jesus came to give His life and His blood as a ransom for ALL of humanity! The price was paid for everyone, even though there are many who will not accept His offer of forgiveness and repent of their sinful lives. Forgiveness is there for everyone, like a bank account full of money but it is only going to do something in your life if you use it for His good and His purposes!

Does God care about you or your children? Of course, He does! He created this entire universe to cause us to look up in awe and wonder and see what a mighty and awesome God He is! We aren’t supposed to worship those stars or check our “horoscopes” just to see if we should go outside today! Read your Bible and pray to the One Who hung those stars in their places, Who calls each star by name and makes sure that they are doing their part in His creation!

THAT IS THE GOD WHOM I SERVE AND WORSHIP! Make sure that He is your God and fortress and Savior too!