Warts, weakness and all

When you are reading through the Bible you notice something about the people who God uses the most. Abraham was a shepherd, Joseph was a slave who was in prison, Moses was a murderer, and later on, David was an adulterer and a murderer. The disciples were fishermen with a couple of shepherds and tax collectors in the mix as well. Do you see where this is going?

God doesn’t pick out the king or the high priest in most instances when He wants to get something done. He usually picks out the least in the house or tribe, the smallest person, the weakest at times. Have you ever wondered about that? I did for many years until He picked me to be a pastor of a small church. I was never comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, but most Sunday’s I do it anyway.

There is also a story in the Bible about an army coming against the Israelites and God picked Gideon to be the Judge over Israel. When Midian came against them, he called up an army to fight, yet the Lord told him that he had too many with him. He got up and said any of you who are afraid can go home now, and out of the 32,000 who were with him 22000 left and went home. God still said that Gideon had too many. The rest of the story is here:

“Then the LORD said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you; but every one of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, “You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink.” 6 Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water. 7 The LORD said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home.” 8 So the 300 men took the people’s provisions and their trumpets into their hands. And Gideon sent all the other men of Israel, each to his tent, but retained the 300 men; and the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.”

God uses the weak to confound the strong of this world and in the story above, Gideon’s army of 300 went down with lamps in jars and surrounded the camp. When Gideon gave a shout, they all shouted and broke their jars and the entire camp of the Midians was set in such a confused state until they turned on each other. Then the whole of the Midianites and the Amalekites fled and Israel had a victory that day, but it was God Who had done this, not the 300 with Gideon.

In the world today, many who are weak and unable to get through their daily lives need God’s help and His strength.

Christians have been called by God to be as Gideon in this world. Telling others about His love, showing mercy and grace under pressure in school or work when others are going along to get along. This is what we are to be for others to see, because if we don’t…if we won’t do it, then who will? Each Christian has been given a purpose and gifts to accomplish that purpose for God’s Kingdom, but we must determine to live in that purpose every day.

4-ways-to-turn-weaknesses-into-strengthIf you allow the world or your other problems to get between you and your calling, how will others see Jesus at work in your life? Why would they want to have anything to do with a Savior that isn’t there for them in their time of need? He is there and He is available to each person who will call on Him in faith believing that He will answer their prayers and petition. Only God can do things which cannot be done by any other way but you must believe that He will and ask Him for those things which you need! God doesn’t give luxuriously, but He does provide even the birds with food every day and if He provides for them, won’t He also provide for you?

When God took care of the Israelites in the wilderness during those forty years, it seems that today many people don’t realize what a monumental task that was. When they left Egypt, they left with over one million people and their sheep and donkeys and cattle! I heard a preacher talking about this recently and he had checked the math on this. It would’ve taken over 11,000,000 gallons of water EVERY DAY for the people and their livestock! Then you factor in the thousands of pounds of manna and quail which God provided EVERY DAY for forty years! Doesn’t that sound like a God Who loves His people? He will do the same for us even today!

Your needs will be met and your life will be taken care of in His way. Don’t limit God by saying that He can’t do it because He surely can do it, after all, He is the Creator of Everything! Surely feeding your family and taking care of your health is not hard at all for Him. He takes care of all of the people which are praying around the world each and every day, so what is one more family or one more person in the hospital? It is easy for God to do if we will let Him. If we will ask Him for those things which we truly need.

“Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.” Jeremiah 32:17

Light and Dark

Most of the time when you hear someone talk about the light and the dark, today people think of Star Wars and the Force. Well, in the spiritual world here on Earth, there are forces of Light and Dark too. In the movies, you hear of a “balance in the Force”, but there is no balance in the spiritual world and if you have followed the Star Wars history you know that balance is not easy!

There is no gray area in either reality! In the Star Wars universe, the good side usually helps people and the Jedi represent that side of the Force. As they tell people “Jedi use the Force for good and defense, never for attack”. Life on Earth is a little like this. It is good or bad, evil or love, there is very little gray areas in our world as well. So, why do I bring this up?

Cosmic-consciousness-alien-human-encounterBecause this last movie in the Star Wars group of films has the same message in it. “The Jedi must end” is one of the lines in the trailer that Luke says to Rey. But…why must they end? Because the Force is not all good? Of course, it isn’t, since the Sith have used the Dark side for their purposes selfishly ever since the Force was discovered. But even the Sith usually find that they are drawn to the Light at some point. Of course, not all of them are because they have embraced evil so tightly until they won’t allow the light in.

In our world, evil is represented by Satan and his demons and the evil things which they cause many in our world to do. Humanity isn’t forced to do these things, but if your heart hasn’t embraced belief in Jesus and allowed the Holy Spirit to change you, then you are open to suggestion and persuasion of another type of force. Our nature has always had this type of conflict because it was corrupted at the beginning, so until we learn that God has a plan for our lives we are like a blank slate.

Our lives can be influenced and manipulated in many different ways if we aren’t taught to follow God and His ways. Unlike some people who believe that humanity would naturally move toward the “good side”, most of humanity has proven that idea wrong many times over the centuries. Being taught about God and Jesus in church and at home is essential but it doesn’t guarantee that a person will choose to give their lives to Jesus.

Just as in the books and movies about the Force, you can be drawn or coaxed toward one side or the other and the same is true for the decision which we all should make to follow Jesus. If we feel drawn to Jesus and to a life of walking in His footsteps, then it is likely that we will do so. Maybe not immediately, but eventually we will give our heart to Him. Some people hear the message of grace and forgiveness and even feel drawn to Him, but they like their life and their friends more and they decide not to follow Him.

Remember…it is your decision which side you follow. God doesn’t force you to follow Jesus because forced obedience isn’t the same as loving and willing obedience. Satan can tempt you with money and power but if you don’t do as he wants you to do then those are taken from you. Yes, light and dark, good and evil are completely separate sides and there is no gray area at all. Because in the real world, mixing the two produces confusion and heartache just as the dark side or the evil side does.

Before the end of your life, and that could be any time since we don’t know when that is coming, make sure…absolutely sure which one you are going to live and work within this life.

Anger or compassion

thereasonforourproblemsWe live every day with the consequences of one or the other, the outcome depends upon which one is more prevalent in our lives. Is it anger and our temper or do we live a life of service to others and showing compassion toward their problems? Do you worry more about your own problems and troubles? Most of us do exactly that. We worry about our lives and our finances and many other problems, most of which we can do nothing constructive about.

Life is given to each of us to bring glory to God, not to our own life or for our own selfish needs or wants. God gives us the necessary abilities to accomplish everything that He has intended for us to do. We should depend upon Him and His provisions for us, whether it is in the form of money or talent, to be able to accomplish the task He has given to us. Finding out that task is our job, to work toward being close enough to God so that we can discern His will for us.

How do we do this? By reading the Bible with an attitude of prayer and seeking His will for our life. Read a chapter then ask God to reveal His wisdom in what you just read. Ask Him to show you what His wisdom means in this chapter and how it applies to your life and ministry. It doesn’t matter which book you are reading or what chapter it may be. It could be in Genesis or Psalms or Matthew or even in Revelation.

The point is that whatever you read, ask God to show you what His wisdom is in the scripture. I have found that it doesn’t matter how many times you read a book or chapter in God’s Word, you will get a different meaning almost every time you read it. Why is that? Because God’s Word is a living document which reads you and your Spirit as you read it. Actually, it is God’s Spirit which inspired the Word of God in the Bible which is reading you and your soul.

I know that many will read this and call it crazy or something like that, but if you ask a preacher or an evangelist about what they get out of reading and studying the Bible, you will get many different answers. By that, I mean that each time you read the same passage, if you are reading it to learn from God’s wisdom, you will get a little different message than you did the last time. I have only read the Bible through about seven or eight times and each time I will get a slightly different message from the last time I read it.

God knows you so much better than you do and His Word speaks to those differences however slight they are or what those emotional or life experiences might be. His Word speaks in His voice to your soul, your spirit and it is that part of you which hears the different messages or teachings which come from the study of His Word.

Job’s trials

Jobs trialsThis book has always fascinated me because according to some scholars it is the oldest book in the Bible. It is an account of a man who worships God and acts as a priest for his family, offering sacrifices for their transgressions regardless of whether they have asked him to do so or not. In the beginning of the book, God is meeting with “the sons of God”, those angels who are tasked with watching over humanity at the time, I suppose. Then Satan shows up at the meeting and God brags about how righteous His servant, Job, is.

Job’s trials did not come upon him as punishment for something done wrong, but because of his exemplary life! His trials came to him because God wanted to prove a point to Satan about his servant Job. To make a long story short, everything was taken from Job, even including his health, but he never cursed God even though his wife told him to. He never truly blamed God for his situation either. At the end of the book, God speaks to Job and his “friends” who have not really helped the situation, and He straightens their conception of Him out in a hurry.

Why is this story so important to us today? Because, it is indicative of our lives in some ways. Every person on the planet can identify with Job in one way or another. From being stricken with disease like cancer to losing much or all of your belongings, there is a bit of Job in all of our lives at some point in time. The best part of the story is this: God loves you regardless. Particularly if you don’t give up your faith in Him! He is faithful to bring about all your blessings and to protect you from Satan and his demons.

So….why do people look for another god or religion to make them feel complete or whole? Mostly, it’s because of Satan and his influence on the minds of people who haven’t given their heart to Jesus. He can manipulate and coerce people into believing in doctrines and practices which have nothing to do with God, but he can make them sound as if they did. That is the reason why people have broken the church into so many pieces and invented their own religions and their own idea of who god is and what he asks of us.

The biggest problem with this god which they follow is that he lives in their mind only and he isn’t real. They believe that he is, sometimes with their whole heart, but they have been deceived by demons, giving them the idea for this to replace the real God and Savior, Jesus our Savior. Some of these people even preach this kind of “religion” from a pulpit and make it seem to be the real Truth! They pick and choose scriptures which support their beliefs and they don’t dig deep into what the context of the Scripture actually says.

God loves each of us and He wants us to come to Him to be saved through belief in Jesus who paid our price on the cross. If we can and will read His Word and pray about finding His Truth in it, then we can see the difference between man-made religions and God’s Son and the church which began almost 2000 years ago. Learn more about Him through reading His Word, pray about what He says in His Word, and ask Him to reveal the Truth which is there for all to find if we will look for it diligently!!

Life is too short to waste it looking for meaning in a life which hasn’t found the path to walk on which leads to Life eternal! There is only one Savior and He isn’t in the Koran or in any other book except God’s Word. His name is Jesus the Son of God, any other name or person is not a savior nor are they able to save your soul to get into eternity! Please, read God’s Word with a prayerful heart and ask Him to show you the Truth which is in it because at the end of your life, you will have to give an account for the reason why you didn’t follow Jesus. Especially if you have ever heard the gospel preached or read the Bible!

Decisions, decisions….

Almost from the time we are born we are making decisions, whether we know it or not. Sometimes, getting up in the morning is a decision and depending upon your health it could be a big decision! Making decisions about choices in life or most any other thing which is happening in your life takes time, prayer, and seeking guidance from someone whether it is your pastor or a family member.

Reading the Bible can sometimes help, but more often than not it seems to either cloud the issue or the passages don’t address your particular situation. Many times I have been frustrated with seeking God’s counsel in making a decision but He stays silent. Then, there are times when you seek out a friend or someone who you trust and they can’t or don’t give you good advice either.

So at this point, most people give up or make a decision on their own and sometimes it is the wrong decision but they may not find that out until months or years down the road of life. I have made some decisions in my life which didn’t work out very well and I have paid for them. In the end, I learned from them but you might say it was a hard lesson.

Decisions can be good or bad depending upon the circumstances and your state of mind at the time. Many times we need time, which is in short supply. Other times we need space between us and the object of the decision, at least for a while. In many areas of life, our decisions can make our lives better but sometimes, if we rush those decisions too much due to anxiety or circumstances, they could make things worse.

Seek out the counsel of God through prayer and reading His Word to give you some insight into the decision which will be in His will for your life. It is hard to wait on His timing and I am not going to tell you that it is easy, but it is the best idea. Rushing into a decision without God in the process is always a bad idea.


In our society, we draw conclusions about everything and most of the time we do it immediately. Especially when it comes to violence in a public place. Writers for many publications are disavowing any responsibility when it comes to owning the reason for any crime which has a violent outcome. In spite of our collective ideas of terrorism, whether it is done by a person of color or of a certain religion, we still tend toward segregation of blame.

If you are Muslim, then you were radicalized. If you are African-American then you are angry; about what doesn’t seem to matter, but that is what the pundits on “news” programs label people as. But when the person is white, they are labeled as insane and a gun nut or even disturbed because of PTSD. Yet, many of them bought their weapons legally with background checks and apparently passed those checks multiple times.

bible-verses-about-the-downheartedThe shooter in the most recent event bought quite a number of guns, some modified to fire more quickly like an automatic. According to what we have heard so far, he actually bought these legally with background checks. So, why didn’t the number of purchases by one individual not raise a flag or at least suspicion? Even if he passed the background checks, the amount of ammunition bought and the number of guns purchased should have gotten someone’s attention.

Why do we or at least some in America make snap judgments about each other and about people who buy firearms and use them. It is true that we only think these things when some person uses a firearm to take lives in a way that is inconsistent with society or its norms. But honestly, any life taken is one which was taken too soon! Murder is against the law of man and God as well! It doesn’t matter if you kill someone with a knife or a gun or a bomb, murder is still against God’s law!

What can make someone snap to the point of shooting at people just because they are convenient targets? I will never understand the kind of crazy that sounds like!

Was God there? Yes, in the first responders who came to the aid of those in danger. He was there with the police who stormed the hotel and found the killer who was taking lives like targets on a range. Yes, God was there and He is still there giving comfort and strength to families and friends and to those who are recovering! We all need to pray for the victims and for our country because there could be another person who may snap and begin to do this somewhere else.

Seek Him out in all things and look for God in every place where you are because He is there, sad though He may be because of our intent and because of the apathy that is in our society today. God still cares and loves all of us, whether we return that love or not is our choice.


Our bad side and our good side

During disasters, which seems to be the only time, much of the goodness comes out in people. You see people helping others, regardless of color of skin, without regard to nationality or political party. Nobody asks if you are a Democrat or a Republican, how much money do you have or where do you work, but when people are in need of help, people do show up to help.

There are some exceptions of course. During a hurricane or tornado or rather afterwards, there will also be some who show up to see if they can find something for free. The come to steal from people and from businesses who have left their home or business because of the flood waters or the damage caused by the tornado. While the law enforcement can’t be everywhere, that is when these people take advantage of the situation and steal electronics and anything else they can carry away.

Two sides of society which are present in almost every place where there has been some disaster to happen. The only time I have never seen anyone doing these things is in areas where fire has destroyed homes and woodlands and grasslands. Why? Mostly because there is nothing to steal and what may be found in cars and homes after a fire isn’t worth stealing.

we-are-not-born-racist-people-learn-to-be-racist-6800532.pngWe need more helpers in America and around the world too. More people willing to help, regardless of the cost or any expectation of reward. It does seem that there are more of the helpers than there are of the looters and those who were shooting at rescuers. But honestly, there shouldn’t be anyone stealing during a time like the people in and around Houston are having!

God loves all of us and the times that we have to live through tragedies and disasters are just proof that Satan is in control of much of our world. The storm and the damage it caused may be used by God to bring out the best of us, regardless of the damage that it caused. Does God use disasters like this? Of course He does! There were far more good stories which have come out of this than bad ones, so far.

Seek to do good for people, like Jesus did, no matter the cost. Your reward for this will be in Heaven and in the smiles and the joy that you feel in helping others who truly need your help.