A child’s story


There was a young child many years ago who was in kindergarten. He didn’t know much about the world around him except that Mom and Dad loved him. He went to school and played with his friends and went to stay with one of his mom’s friends until she got out of her classes in the afternoon. Life went on like this for a while and not much changed until one fall when his Dad came over before his Mom did and he saw Daddy kiss the woman who was keeping him.

Still too young to understand or even comprehend what was happening, he just shrugged it off. For years it never entered his mind until the memory surfaced when he was old enough to put the pieces of the puzzle in his mind together. From that point on he carried anger along with him. Not the kind you see in movies which causes a lot of pain but the kind that you bury inside. Where it festers like a splinter that you can’t remove. At some point in his later teens, he wanted to die but he couldn’t bring himself to the point of suicide, although through drunkenness, he did come close at least once.

Even though he managed to drive home many nights after attending a football game, most of those nights he was drunk or at least buzzed to the point of not walking very good. Thankfully, his grandmother was praying for him and that very prayer was the reason that he didn’t kill himself on a road somewhere.

That child was me.

In many ways, we are all like children even as we get older. We add years to our life but the child is still inside us. We leave home, go to school, get a job, maybe get married one day, but we are still seeking a mother or a father in some way. Someone who can show us how to be the person that we never learned how to be. Some of you can relate, if you were a part of a home which was broken or in some way detached from being “normal” with both parents in a loving home.

I am not telling you this to show how broken my life was, just that my early life and my teenage years weren’t what they should’ve been. This is not who I am today because I do have a father in Heaven and He is my Savior. I never had a chance to know my biological father so I really don’t know if he is in Heaven or not.

To get to the point of this side trip into my life I will tell you this: God LOVES you with the deepest, most profound love that you can imagine.

Remember these verses in John: “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

The love of God for all of humanity is such that He made our world perfect for our life and for everything that is needed for us to live. The right temperature and the right mixture of gases in our atmosphere as well as the fertile ground where our food can grow and the animals and fish and all of the other life on our planet. God did this not because He had to but because He wanted to. Life is not an accident or an evolution of chemicals and other adaptations to be more complex.

The universe doesn’t work that way. Entropy doesn’t go from simple to complex, it goes the other way. That is easy to see when you find an old implement in the field. A saw blade will continue to rust away into a red powder, iron oxide until the entire thing is gone. Now, what does this have to do with the child who started this story? LOVE

Without the love of God and the effect that it had on him and his life, he (I) wouldn’t be speaking to you today. I would never have gone down the pathways which God guided me toward to get to this place. I did take a few detours and ran off on my own path a few times but when God has a plan for your life, He will bring it to be…to fit His purpose for His Kingdom. It may take some time, but eventually, your path will intersect with His intended path for you and when that happens, hopefully,ourlovingsavior your Spiritual eyes will recognize where you are and where you should be.

Vanity and pride


The two most destructive and seductive sins in the world are vanity and pride. Why? Because they are tied together and they form the foundation for almost all sins in our world today. These two are also responsible for Lucifer’s sin and his rebellion against God’s authority above all. You would think that writing about these might be easy, but it really isn’t. Because I don’t wish to offend my followers nor anyone else who might come upon this site.

These two emotions cause sinful feelings toward oneself and toward others because they tend to make us feel more important than we really are. The problem with that is when we consider those feelings of superiority to others, Satan comes to us and we begin to believe that we truly are better or more important. This is not a phenomenon which affects us before we become Christians it also affects our church leadership sometimes.

Can these be overcome? Yes, with much Bible study and prayer hopefully before these feelings get out of hand in your life or in the life of someone you know or love. God has a plan for each of us and if we don’t seek out that plan through the study of His Word and prayer, then we won’t know what that plan may be. The sins of vanity and pride are such that they have brought down rulers of many kingdoms in the past and they bring the careers of many today to a halt.

Learning about God’s love for us through His Word and by studying it is the only real way to know what His Will for your life is. Prayer along with that study keeps us in contact with God, not only at the time of our study, but all during our daily life walking with Him.

While it is true that there is a good type of pride there is also a pride which leads to destruction which is where vanity comes in. Essentially, vanity and pride are two different sides of the same coin. They aren’t separate just different. Like light and dark, one is the presence of light and the other is the absence of it. You can’t make a dark lamp because light drives away the darkness. Pride in your accomplishments or your children’s accomplishments is fine but when you think of yourself or of your child as being better than others then you are straying into the vain area of pride.

Humble

Pride goes before a fall. God has given us a glimpse of His Wisdom in our Bibles, His Word which we have access to in our world today, don’t ignore it or turn away from it. Because God loves you more dearly than you can imagine and it is in your best interest that He has placed the knowledge needed for your life and mine in His Word. All you should do in this life is covered there so learn from it and seek Him while you read it. Amen.

Pathways to eternity


I know that most of you have heard the songs about the respective pathways to eternity. There is a “highway to hell” and a “stairway to heaven”, but have you ever wondered why such a difference? Well, it likely has something to do with this…
Pathways2Eternity It kinda makes sense when you read it in the Bible because it says that the road which leads to hell is a broad road and many will find it. The pathway (stairway) to heaven is narrow and there will be few who find it.

God and Jesus never said that the way to Heaven would be an easy path to find or to travel on but the gateway to Heaven is a narrow gate or road and few will find it.

Many people in the world will find themselves on a road with many other so-called “believers” yet they are on the road to hell. Why do I say it this way? Because there are many people who think they are Christians just by attending church services, whether they do so regularly or just occasionally.

Becoming a Christian is not so easy as just attending church, it requires that you turn to Him when you feel His calling on your heart. If you sit there with white knuckles and decide not to give your life to Him, then you have refused His calling. If you do this each time that you feel His call, the call on your heart will get weaker and weaker. That is how we quench the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives, even before it has a chance to change our hearts.

Please, seek Jesus and His Spirit to change your heart because eternity is a very long time to pay for a decision against accepting Jesus as your Savior.

 

 

Depart from Me!


That is a terrifying pronouncement that I pray that no one will hear, but there will be many of them because Jesus said that there would be.

“21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’  Matt. 7:21-23

Have you done anything in Jesus’ name or for His Kingdom? Have you given your life and heart to Him for your salvation? Today is the very day of salvation, do not wait because you do not know whether you will have tomorrow or the next day in which to do this. God loves each of us yet He knows which of us will give our hearts to Him and which of us will not. Make sure when you feel the calling of the Holy Spirit, don’t turn away and ignore it because you may not get another chance to repent and learn to walk with Him.

My life has been given to me to preach the gospel and if I don’t, then I will be responsible for those who could’ve heard it and did not. Jesus is enough for each of us because He is our Savior and King. We have all that we need in Him because of His riches in glory, no matter our position in life on this Earth. God knows our needs and He will provide those for us as we need them. Luxuries and “wants” do not fall into the need category.

Does it take a highly religious person to serve God? What about a person who doesn’t know Jesus, can they serve Him? Both of them can serve a purpose in His plans and His dealings with others but unless they are saved by their knowledge and their acceptance of Him as Lord and Savior, they will not actually benefit from their service in eternity. Even the king of Egypt was useful to God while He was liberating the Israelites from slavery because He used him to turn down Moses’ requests so that He could bring down the gods of Egypt in the process.

Yes, God can use many people and even animals in His purposes, such as the donkey in the story of Balim and for Jonah to be swallowed by a great fish. The donkey carried our Lord’s mother to Bethlehem and carried Him into Jerusalem on the day of His triumphant entry prior to His crucifixion. Anyone can be used by God for His purposes but it is our job to accept His call and follow His lead in life so others will see Him through us.

Monday

Why is racism a thing?


 

 

NoRacism

There is no racism or bigotry here unless it is taught by their parents. God did not design us to be racist. He didn’t endorse racism, even though some passages seem to say this. God only told the Israelites to get rid of those in Canaan who were not of their “race” because of their worship practices, not because of their skin color or their hair or any other distinguishing feature about them except that they worshiped false gods.

So, why do we continue to see so much bigotry and hate between people who are the same race…the human race? Remember, in the book of Genesis, all of humanity came from one set of parents. Adam and Eve, who were likely dark skinned but were also light enough that all of the skin tones in the world came from their genetics. God did not make a mistake in any of His creation, so why do we consider one race, one skin tone, better or more desirable than another?

That is learned from our parents and grandparents, nowhere else does this bigotry come from in each culture of the world. Yet many people hold that their “race” is the one who discovered ______________. Who cares? Any person in the world can be smart enough to find the cure for cancer or diabetes or any number of ailments if God gives them the talent and the knowledge. Many herbal remedies could be the cure for many diseases IF the pharmaceutical companies weren’t so greedy.

Our world was made by God and declared to be good in His sight, it is mankind who has caused things to go downhill since then. I don’t believe in global warming, but our world is changing in ways that are leading up to the end of the age. That is why things are changing so much. When I said that we have caused things to go downhill I don’t mean in our climate, but I do consider all of the wars and drugs and pornography and other things which are causing many more troubles in the world today.

Our news programs don’t concentrate on any good news and the bad news is just heard in snippets of a couple of minutes or so and then they move on to the next one in line. All of this is because of our attention spans getting shorter and that is a direct result of the Internet and its effect on us. We should be reading the Bible and asking God to show us exactly what He wants us to learn from it because it is His Word and the absolute Truth! Many people today don’t want to hear about an absolute Truth but the Word, which has been given to us by God, is the Truth which we all need.

Don’t turn away from His Word and seek Him out in all things, especially in the times that we are living in. God cares for us and He gives each of us the grace that we need for today and the strength to go with it. If He decides that we have another day then we will get the grace and the strength for that day when it comes. He doesn’t give us a promise of a certain number of years, but we do get a day to day existence when we are following Him so don’t miss it.

Encouragement


Son of encouragement. That is what Barnabas was called in the book of Acts, in fact, that is what the name means. His actual name was Joseph and he was from Cyprus. He was very prominent in the early church. Why do I mention him here? Because each of us needs an Encourager. Yes, the Lord is also an Encourager and gives us the encouragement we need through the reading of His Word. So, why do we need another to give us more?

Because we have all encountered setbacks and problems along the way. Sometimes it is because of depression or other things which are “bringing us down” and we need someone to cheer us up. We are so bombarded by updates and news today in this world of 24/7 connected devices until it is hard to make sense of it all. Decompression and relaxation doesn’t happen when we take a vacation anymore. Because we are never disconnected from our phones or our tablets or laptops!

God did not intend for us to live our lives like this every day! Years ago the prediction was that computers would make our lives easier and our work would be less. That didn’t happen at all! Now that we have smartphones, which amount to pocket-sized computers, we are never away from news and work-related content! Even when we are in places where there is limited service we feel as if we are in danger because we can’t contact someone or be contacted.

So a bit of encouragement is needed especially today and particularly now. It keeps us going when the times get a bit choppy with troubles and all of the stress which we have in this world. Just listen to someone who is hurting or in need of a friend, don’t offer advice unless they ask for it. Why do I say this? Because it is very likely that you haven’t been in their shoes before. I know that many of us have had loved ones to die or we have gotten divorced or even lost a job, but some people are going through more than one stressor at a time. So..be gentle.

God is there for all of us and He does comfort us in all of our troubles and situations, but sometimes it just takes a sympathetic ear or a shoulder to lean on or even cry on. Nobody can handle all of life’s troubles without God or someone to support them and just be there when things aren’t going the way they should. Yes, Jesus is nearer than any person could be, but until He is here in the flesh we need a friend at times. Try to be that friend because there will come a time when you need one and if you were never there for someone then who will be there for you?

Good Friday


Why do we call it “good”? When you see the movie or read the Bible, it doesn’t seem to be good at all. I suppose the reason is that Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy about His crucifixion, which paid for our sins. It just doesn’t sound right, though.

Bridge2SalvationI know, it had to happen because it was part of God’s plan all along. It just doesn’t seem right calling it “Good Friday”, except for the blessings that we all have been the recipients of through His mercy and grace because of the crucifixion and the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus the Christ! If you are wondering why I put His name that way it is because I have heard it spoken and written as if that were His family name. It’s not.

Khristos is the Greek word for “anointed” or Messiah, Christ is the Anglican version of it. All of the prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus (Yeshua) on the cross and by His resurrection, and there is nothing which we can add to it to make our salvation any better or more pleasing to God. So, why do people try to add works or anything else to their lives after their acceptance of Jesus as their Savior? We are not asked to do anything to earn our salvation. The only command which Jesus gave to His disciples was to go and tell every person about the salvation available to them. Tell the gospel, the good news which Jesus brought to us by His ministry and His death and resurrection!

Salvation is not earned by anyone or by any amount of witnessing or going on a mission trip to a place you’ve never been to before. It cannot be earned because it has already been paid for by Christ! Its price was paid by His blood and His death and resurrection on the first day of the week! Nothing that we have can add to it! Performing the ritual of the “Lord’s Supper” is nice but even today many people take part in it which are not saved through the blood of Jesus! That is forbidden in the Bible, but nobody seems to enforce it.

God knows your heart, the preacher does not, so if you do take part in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper and you aren’t saved by His blood and belief in Him then you will be required to account for this when standing before God. Why do I bring this up? Because there are so many people in America who claim to be Christians but their lives outside of the Sunday or Wednesday night service don’t reflect that there has been an actual change in their life!

We celebrate His resurrection this Sunday and it isn’t a joke because it happened. Just because it is falling on April 1st, which is Fools Day, doesn’t mean anything although some will try make it into something. Your eternal life is in the balance whether you believe in your heart and have confessed Jesus as your Lord and Savior or if you haven’t actually given your heart to Him, just lip service. Why do I put it this way? Because there are far more people who claim to be Christians than there are in church on Sundays.

If all of the people who claim to be Christians were in church every Sunday, church construction would be a booming business…but it isn’t. There are at least a thousand churches closing their doors each month in America, and yet according to some polls taken our country is very much Christian. Some of those polls show at least seventy percent claim to be Christians. Look these statistics up, I feel confident that what I’ve heard on the news in the past few years will bear this up to scrutiny.

Claiming to know Jesus in this life is nice and cozy, but when you stand before Him at your judgment will He know you?

Sufficient grace


2 Corinthians 12:7-10

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh…”

We are plainly taught how mistaken we are when we set eminent saints upon a platform by themselves, as though they were some kind of superhuman beings or even angels.

Paul enjoyed more revelations than we do or at least more than we should let others know about,  but then he also had a thorn in the flesh. He was a good man, but he was only a man. And, as men sometimes do, he was subject to the lure of the sin of pride itself. Pride in your children is not a bad thing, nor is being proud of your heritage, but the things which Paul had seen in the Spirit and in his walk with the Lord, he might have elevated himself higher than he should if he were to think much about the revelations that were given to him.

In his prayers, Paul asked the Lord to remove this thorn from his flesh. He did this at least three times as recorded here, yet the Lord said, No. My grace is sufficient for you. So, you see sometimes our infirmities may be brought on by Satan but allowed to stay by God. Why? Because when your joints hurt and it is hard to get up and walk or maybe you can’t balance yourself very well, then you need to depend upon God and His grace toward you so that He will get the glory in your weakness by giving you the strength to endure this trial.

In verse 9, Paul says that he would rather boast in his weakness and infirmities that the power of Christ may be manifest in him.

Leaning on God or on Jesus daily is what God was always speaking of when He told the Jewish people time and time again that He was their portion or that He would sustain them. Even in the wilderness, they got tired of the manna yet they ate it because they needed something to eat. He provided water for all of the people and their animals in the desert, even where there was no river or spring to draw from. God has always provided, yet people tend to rely on themselves more than they do on Him. Even when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, God provided the substitute for him in the form of a goat.

We are meant to walk with Him every day. That doesn’t mean that you have to be reading your Bible all of the time or even be in prayer all of the time. But, to walk in the spirit of worship regardless of where you may find yourself or in what situation, this is what Jesus meant when He told the disciples to take up your cross and follow Me. Your cross is your spiritual worship of Him everywhere you are, not just in church or Bible study.

Even when we do walk with Him daily, don’t fall prey to the sin of pride like the Pharisee did while praying. He was proud in his prayer: The Pharisee was standing alone by himself and he was praying these things: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men: extortioners, oppressors, adulterers, and not like this Tax Collector.”  We must be careful not to allow pride to raise us to a place above others because we don’t deserve it, especially concerning our faith in Jesus.

Paul’s thorn was a blessing as well as a messenger of Satan because it drove him to his knees in prayer. Anytime that we are on our knees in prayer before God we can stand before anyone or anything! God honors our prayers and He hears them, whether He answers them right away or not is His prerogative because He is God!

Do we look to Him for our strength today and every day or do we just say so because it makes us look more like a Christian in the eyes of others? Remember, there are many people who claim to be a Christian but there are fewer people who actually worship God and live their lives in accordance with His Word. Even when they do this, they don’t brag about it, they just walk through their day and their lives the way that they always have since Christ entered their life. Sometimes you can spot them and other times you may not be able to pick them out. Striving to be more like Jesus is a life of living one foot in front of the other. Every second of each day is expectant of His return for us because it could be at any time.

Is it possible to live with the grace of God giving us our daily bread and following Him like He will be appearing just any day? Yes, it is! Because whether we are ready for it or not, He will appear and call us home one day. Then the world will mourn and rejoice in the same day! Rejoice because all of those “intolerant Christians are gone” and those who are mourning will be the ones who attended services and knew about His return one day but like the virgins who needed more oil…they weren’t ready when He did show up.

Changing times


We are living during a time which is changing at a rapid pace. Almost on a daily basis something or someone does something which is totally out of the ordinary. A bridge collapses or some bombs are set off in a city which hasn’t had any terror attacks and its on American soil too! Of course, the media isn’t calling the bombings “terror” attacks, just random acts of violent behavior which are unrelated.

Maybe, but I’ve never heard of anyone doing this in the last thirty years or so just as a “random” act and not just one but three! Yes, life is changing here and it isn’t exactly better than it was before. We do have a President who is trying to help our country instead of running it into the toilet, but it seems that there are so many people in America who would rather rip it apart at the seams…at least there are more of them than we used to hear about!

Why is all of this happening? I believe that it is because of how close the world is to the time foretold in the book of Revelation in the Bible. Of course, there are some people who don’t believe that the Bible is God’s Word. Most of them don’t think it is true either. So, what is the church, the people who DO believe in God and His Son, supposed to do while the world ignores God?

We are supposed to be the bringers of the word, the Truth of God’s Word to all of the people who haven’t heard it or those who didn’t believe it in the first place. Tell the people about your Savior and what He has done and what He will do for them too! Because of God’s love for them,  and for the entire world! He is our Creator and we are His creation! It doesn’t matter where you live or what you do with your life if you know Jesus as your Savior then you are a messenger and you need to take it seriously!

Believers are supposed to be messengers for Jesus in our world today, just like His apostles were at the beginning of the church age. Will there be some who refuse to hear or maybe get angry with you for telling them about Jesus? Yes, most likely. But, if you can get them to listen to your story, what Jesus saved you from becoming, then even they might listen..even if only for a few minutes. God’s Holy Spirit will do the rest. If their heart is touched by something that you said or maybe what you were saved from, then He can get them to think about it. “If God cares for the little guy, the one that wasn’t popular in school or the most handsome, then maybe He could care about me too!”.

God has used many unlikely ways of getting people’s attention in the past and He will continue to do so until the very last person is saved. It isn’t a hard thing to believe but if your heart has been hardened by school or science then that may make it difficult, but anything is possible with God. I mean, look around you at the universe! God did all of that with His Words, and it was made from nothing more than the thoughts of God! Just think what He could do with you or me?

 

What is necessary today?


As Christians, we are told all kinds of laws and petitions and such that we should follow and adhere to in our walk with Jesus..but are they necessary? In the church, as it was beginning in the first century, the people were selling much or almost all of what they had and used it to support the church and its people. Those who were members of that early church who had much sold it and gave to those who had little so that all were blessed.

Concerning tithes, they were giving far above the ten percent which Abraham gave in the Old Testament. The reason for their generosity was based not on numbers but upon the grace which they, and us, have received from God through Jesus. There is no way that any of us could possibly pay back what the grace from God is worth and frankly, we shouldn’t try to. Not even the richest person in the world has enough to cover that debt.

Yet, Jesus paid for all of our sins in His death on the cross and His resurrection after three days. There is no accounting which could possibly figure the amount which all of humanity owes Him. The only way to even begin to pay it forward in a way is to give your life to Jesus and follow Him. Doing His work while you have the time and the ability in this life. Your lifetime of service won’t be enough to pay Him back but it is the least that you…no, it is the least that all of us who are Christians can do and should!

ARealDaddyIn America today, we have a man problem. There aren’t many of them around. Being born a male is something that you cannot choose or change, regardless of what the doctors tell you. Being a man…a father…or a daddy is something that you become, but you have to choose to BE one of them. Being a man is the same as being a Daddy to your kids, any male means that you can father many children if that is what you feel is the thing to do. But…being a man and a Daddy takes special care and preparation in your childhood and your teenage years. There is no manual for us to read, it is an on the job learning or apprenticeship which makes you a man and a Daddy.

The Bible is our instruction manual which gives us all of the wisdom and knowledge about being men and being a Daddy. You can’t get that knowledge from your mom or your grandmother, you can only learn it from your Dad or maybe your grandfather. I had a wonderful grandfather. His dad died when he was a young boy, so he did the best he could in raising my mother and he helped to raise me as well. I didn’t agree with his “old-fashioned” ideas when I was growing up, but I suppose I wouldn’t have agreed with my Dad either if he had been around.

So…what is necessary today in America and around the world? Men who will teach their children the right way to live, by God’s Word and by the wisdom contained in it. There are no self-help books out there that are better or more useful than the Bible and that’s a fact. If you have trouble understanding it, ask God to show you what the meaning of His Word. Be a Christian and give your heart and your life to Jesus so that you can be an example which bears even a slight resemblance to Jesus so that your children, boys or girls, can have something to aspire toward in their life.

Don’t give up on life just because you aren’t a millionaire if you are a child of God through the grace of Jesus Christ our Savior you are rich. It may not be the riches which the world recognizes, but it will give your life and the lives of your family a much stronger foundation on which to live your life until Jesus returns.