Believe…


John 3:16-18 says: 16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Our job, as Christians, is to tell others about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! It is not a glamorous job nor is it one which pays big money. The benefit is eternal because there are so many who need to hear this small message which has eternal benefits! God loves each of you who are reading this and it is a message which has made a difference in millions of lives over the past two thousand years. This message is not about how to get rich, although as heirs with Christ we already are.

God has given us the opportunity to be a part of His family in Heaven, why would you turn that down? Give your heart to Jesus and take your place in God’s home for eternity, because He has plans which go beyond our imagination!

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.

Be mindful


In the movies, particularly in “Star Wars” movies, you hear this phrase in reference to some evil deed being done or something which might happen if you are not mindful. In the writing which I am placing here, being mindful is being careful as well. Not so much in watching what you are doing, although that has a part in it, but also taking care about what you think or say around people.

Your thoughts and your speech betray your true convictions and words cannot be unsaid once they are out. We are always careful with our speech in church settings or in mixed company, sometimes at least, but why don’t we pay attention to our thoughts and words in other places? I have heard many things in public which shouldn’t have been said, especially by someone claiming to be a Christian. Many times I would think that “I wouldn’t have said that”, but in their situation or as the saying goes “in their shoes” I might.

We cannot judge a person based on the words they use or even what they say, although many people do just that. We are judged by our actions and our words in many ways, sometimes rightly and other times not so much. The problem with being judged by what we say, whether it is posted on a social media site or on a blog or said in public, is our responsibility.

So…we should be very mindful of our thoughts and actions but especially our words because they never really go away on the Internet. In public places, the damage that spoken words can cause is much worse than a bullet or a knife and it runs deeper and lasts longer as well. Life is too short to dwell on what has already been said or the damage that was caused in the past by misspoken words. All that you can do about those is to ask forgiveness and give the problem to God and let Him take care of it.

Watch other people and what they do and say, keep your mouth shut and think carefully before proving to someone that you weren’t taught any differently. Seek God’s Wisdom in the Psalms and Proverbs on all sorts of subjects and learn from His teaching so that you can be better prepared for life because His Word is our guidebook and we should pay attention (be mindful) to it in everything that we do.

 

Be strong in your faith


There are so many things going on in our world today and every day. So much hatred and bitterness, some of it toward Christians and those who believe in Jesus even in America. In other countries, our faith is persecuted terribly in much worse ways than here. Life for Christians, even in the twenty-first century, is not easy because our faith and the One that we place our faith in is not very popular in the world today.

Many people cannot handle the Truth contained within our Scriptures or rather they don’t want to hear about its Truth, specifically because of its absoluteness. But…we must be strong in our faith and put your faith in Jesus. We cannot lose our faith, not now. Life is going to become harder and we cannot just give up. We must persevere and stay the course until our Savior comes.

God loves you and your life is in Him and in His Son, Jesus. Make sure your faith is in Jesus and is strong in Him. Follow Him, learn of Him, read His Word and pray for the strength to continue to follow Him until that day when the Trumpet sounds and the dead in Christ come out of their graves and head to the skies to meet Him!

Amen

What’s inside you?


Have you ever seen a sculptor bringing something beautiful out of a piece of wood or granite? God can see what is inside each of us, even if we don’t know what it is or that it is even there. He knows all about our weaknesses and our strengths because He formed us in the womb. So, what’s inside you?

themissingpieceHave you even thought about what’s inside you that could be useful in God’s Kingdom? Most of us who haven’t given our hearts to God or rather to Jesus don’t think about stuff like this until the day when the Holy Spirit gets our attention in one way or another. Then when we really think about it, the implications of our usefulness to God are overwhelming especially when we are just beginning to learn about Him and read His Word. Sometimes that realization can blow our minds to the point of our stepping away from Him for a while, but God’s purpose for you won’t be denied. He will use you in some way in His Kingdom and His purposes.

Sometimes we will be like Jonah and run from Him but also like Jonah we will be brought back to the place where God is going to use us. It may take a while, depending on how hard or how far you run, but He will bring you back. Because your purpose and your gifts and talents aren’t fully formed until you are in the place where He wants you to be. God loves you and He does have a purpose for your life. Just as He did for Pharaoh and for Moses and for Joshua and every other person that He has used and will use in the future.

Sometimes that purpose is one of rebellion and sometimes it is one which God will use to bring someone to the knowledge of Jesus and His grace. He can use both you know. The point I am trying to make is that God is like a potter or a sculptor. Only He can see the person inside you that He can use to do His will, whatever that may be.

The limits which you place on your usefulness are weak compared to what God can see inside you. When He calls you into His service then you need to answer that call because it is the Creator that is calling you. Don’t turn away from Him and don’t run from Him either. Whatever His call on your life and for His Kingdom is important enough that He gave you the ability and the gifts to accomplish it, whether you realize it or not.

John the Baptist was called even before he was born which is why he leaped in the womb when Mary called out Elizabeth’s name. Even then he knew that she was carrying His Savior! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could recognize our Savior’s voice when He calls to us like that? Then maybe there wouldn’t be so many people who have an empty place in their lives which they spend many years trying to fill without success until they meet Jesus.

Think about it.

How do we make a difference?


Making a difference in the lives of those around us and for those who might be searching for what makes Christians different is the real reason which the church is still here. Yes, there are many in the world today who don’t like the message, regardless of which church or denomination it comes from, but if we could just show the love of Jesus in everything we do then hopefully it would make a difference.

God’s love for all of us is deeper and more alive now than it ever has been, not because there is more sin in the world but because the time is growing short. All of the prophecies in God’s Word have come to pass except for those which happen in the book of Revelation. We should be speaking to those that we know about His love for them and His offer of grace and mercy through Jesus and your belief in Him.

You may ask “Why?”; its simple…because God loves you!

Nothing in the Bible happened because of God’s hate because He doesn’t hate people, He hates the sins that they are living in! God loves the whole world, not just a small part of it or a certain country or people group! Yes, He chose the Jewish people as His people but during all of the Old Testament He tried over and over again to bring them to a place of loving Him and of following His laws and they would for a while. But eventually, they would turn away from Him and go in their own direction.1533312427253_image.jpg

The Old Testament is a reflection of all of humanity, not just the Jewish people and not just Israel either. All of us, whether we have given our heart to Him or not, we get disillusioned and we stray from the path. The good news though is this: we are the ones who have moved, not God. He is still patiently waiting for us to realize that we need to come back to HIm and when we do and we ask forgiveness for our stubborn streak…He forgives us and we can start again.

Making a difference in the world begins with one person. You or me telling the story of Jesus’ love and compassion for every person in the world. Giving your life to Him and living it out in front of those who see your witness, not just hear what you say but see how you live it out day by day. That is the greatest sermon and the greatest witness of all. Show people, family, and friends, that Jesus loves them with their warts and their faults and their struggles too. Jesus came to bring salvation to all!

God knew that this was needed and necessary for the whole human race, not just a few here or there. But, it is usually our pride and our stubbornness which gets in the way of every step that we think we are taking for Jesus and those steps turn out to be steps that we are taking alone. Especially if we have been in the church for most of our lives! We have been in church services and heard about all that Jesus did for us and what God tried to do for Israel.

Then sometimes we will begin thinking that we can forge our own path and that God will approve of our efforts. Those efforts which we are attempting will not succeed until we are following Jesus’ path and not our own. The thing which many people don’t understand is that God will let you think you are doing His work, even if it is by your own decision and strength until you fail. Then you will wonder “What happened?”!

The biggest problem in our world today is that if God isn’t in it, Satan may be. He will try to help you be successful just to show God that he can bring someone down by letting them succeed. You may not fail in this life and you may live luxuriously by your “success”, but at the end of your life when you stand before God you will find out that your “religion” was based on a lie.

We have to tell people about Jesus’ love for us so that they can tell the difference between fake religion and faith in Jesus Christ.

Feed My Sheep…


Good shepherdOne of the misunderstood commands of our Lord was when He restored Peter to his place before He ascended to the Father. Jesus said to Peter, “Feed My sheep” and He said it not once or twice but three times. Granted, Jesus didn’t use the same wording for each time that He asked Peter to do this, but the meaning is the same. He asked him to be a shepherd to His flock and to tend to His lambs and feed His sheep.

This is what all pastors and just regular Christians are supposed to do because we have a responsibility to those who are just becoming Christians, like children or lambs in a flock. We are also supposed to help feed those who are still learning about God’s Word and what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Being a Christian is not as easy as some try to make it seem. There are always obstacles, temptations, and darts which are flung at us each and every day from the enemy. But in Jesus Christ, we do have the power to resist them and to conquer them especially if we are grounded in His Word and know it well enough to use it as a weapon against Satan and his followers. We can’t do this on our own!

Even Jesus used Scripture to fend off Satan when He had finished His fast of forty days, so don’t think you won’t need to know it because you will. Feeding His sheep includes feeding our own souls so that our walk with Him is more productive. God loves us and wants the best for us, but His best for us doesn’t mean that we will become rich in money. We will be rich in blessings and in His Kingdom.

Have faith in Jesus and believe in Him for your salvation because He is the only way to have salvation in this life and in eternity as well. Don’t believe the lie that you can accept Him as your Savior and then go back to living your life on your terms and doing whatever you want to do. That is not how salvation works. The change which happens in your heart should translate into a new lifestyle and one which honors Him and glorifies Him! Going back to your old life and your old lifestyle after you have “given” your heart to Him proves only that you didn’t give anything to Jesus.

If you actually did give your heart to Him and then turned away from Him and being a Christian in your daily walk with Him, you are trampling His blood and His sacrifice under your feet like it doesn’t mean anything to you at all! All that you have is insurance against going to hell, but no works which would point anyone else in the direction of Jesus. That is a sad and unfruitful way of saying that you are a Christian when nobody can see it in your life.

Think about it and make sure that your life with Him is true and honest and one which will draw even a child to come to know Him.