Before…


Before you complain, think about what you have. Before you look at someone with a critical eye, turn your gaze on your own life first. Before you come to the end of your life, make sure that dying is all that you have left to do. Life is too short to live it without enjoying it first. But the enjoying of life for some people means that there is sin in their lives. They don’t think that you can enjoy being a Christian. Enjoyment doesn’t seem to be part of their thought processes when they think of serving God or even being a Christian.

King David, the author of Psalms, enjoyed the Lord. He praised the Lord and danced and sang while he praised God. That doesn’t sound like a joyless person. That is not a depressed and sad person because God brings joy into your life. Think about the blessings which Jesus brings into your life when you are saved! He forgives ALL of your sins, He gives you a new heart for serving Him and others, He changes your outlook on life because of the blessings that you receive when you become an adopted child of God!

Those blessings in this life are not the only blessings that you get from Jesus and from knowing Him as your Savior. Your eternity and your destination in it has changed as well. When you were a sinner, and every person who has come to Jesus (including myself) is a sinner, your eternity would’ve taken you into an eternity of torment. The only difference between your sinful life and the one you have now is that you have Jesus in it. Some theologies say that we are not put in the lake of fire like Satan will be, but being separated from the love of God and His Presence for eternity would be punishment enough. There will not be anything life-giving in hell. No water, no food, no cool streams of any kind and God’s Presence will not be there either.

Remember the story of Lazarus and the rich man? Lazarus was taken to Paradise with Abraham and the rich man was in hell. He asked for Lazarus to bring him just one drop of water because of the agony that he was in. But Abraham told him that there is a gulf between us that no one can cross over. He even asked if Lazarus could rise from the dead and tell his brothers to repent and not come to this place, but Abraham said no, they have the Prophets and the Law. They wouldn’t repent even if someone were to come back from the grave.

Your life before giving your heart and soul to Jesus is very different from the one you will enjoy after bringing His Presence into your heart. That is the reason for leading a joyful life after Jesus has saved you and made you into a new creation, different and precious to Him and to the Father. Serve Him in joy because with God all things can be joyful regardless of how the world may look at them. He will give you the strength to get through every obstacle and every pain and your life will be a beacon of hope to someone until you go to be with the Lord.

Our Good Shepherd


In Psalm 23 David begins with “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”. There are many ideas and interpretations of that phrase but mostly it has to do with your Spiritual life not your physical one. The Lord provides physical food and the ability to do your job and get the things which you need, but the last four words do not mean that you will be wealthy. It means that you won’t be in need of anything beyond His will to provide it for you. God’s will overcomes all obstacles from disease and famine to relationships between Himself and you or your family.

That doesn’t mean that He overrules your choice or your right to choose because God doesn’t force His will on us. But He does provide for us in every way and in every situation. There are times when we don’t see His hand in our lives and we feel as if He has left us to fend for ourselves but God is still close to you and me. We are never truly alone if we are Christians. If you have rejected Jesus as your Savior, God is still close by but He isn’t as close as He could be in your life. Particularly if He knows that you can do something in His Kingdom that nobody else can do. God will keep touching your life until you finally realize that you need Him as your Savior.

God has loved mankind since the dawn of Creation and before. We will never know the depth of His love for us until we are in His Presence and even then it may be too much to take in, even with our glorified bodies. Jesus came to bring His message of love to everyone, Israel first and then the rest of humanity, but many people rejected His message and still do. Is it too simple or is it just simple enough? I don’t know. I do know that some don’t place much faith in salvation in which we don’t have a part in bringing it about. They don’t like “free” gifts from God. They would rather work for their salvation to help God save their soul but our works are not necessary because Jesus did everything that needed to be done, all we have to do is accept it and believe that He did it for us!

Salvation is a gift from God to us through our belief in Jesus for our eternal soul. We can’t save ourselves and our idea of working for our eternal soul is flawed because of our fallen state. Any righteous act on our part and apart from Jesus is nothing more than rags. Because when we do anything in our own strength to “help” God save us, we are stepping out of His will and into our own. God doesn’t need or want our help in redeeming us because Jesus already accomplished it. All we have to do is believe that He did and repent of our sinful lives so we can follow His footsteps to becoming more like Jesus every day.

Do you live like Jonah?


In the book of Jonah, the prophet tries his best to run from God’s calling to take a message to Nineveh. Not because he doesn’t want to take the message, although that was part of it, but because he wants God’s judgment to fall on them rather than a revival coming to their country. He knows that God is merciful and He will forgive them if they turn from their sins and seek Him because of the warning that God told him to bring to the people of Nineveh.

Jonah 1:1-4 says:

1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before Me.”

3 Jonah, however, got up to flee to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship bound for Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went aboard to sail for Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.

The Great Storm (Jeremiah 6:10-21; Jeremiah 25:15-33; Acts 27:13-26; Romans 1:18-32)

4 Then the LORD hurled a great wind upon the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship was in danger of breaking apart.

Wickedness or sin is lawlessness or transgressing the Law of God and it cannot be hidden or covered up, but we try to do this every day.

Proverbs 28: 13 says: 13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

God is willing to forgive our sins regardless of their “size” because all sin is abhorrent to God and Jesus paid the price for our sins to cover them and forgive us of their consequences. We look at our sins and think that that “little white lie” isn’t so bad. Not nearly as bad as the man who has murdered someone at least. But in the eyes of God, even though murder is a more grievous sin, any sin weighs the same because it is a transgression of God’s laws. When you break one of His laws it is the same as breaking them all.

Any sin in your life that has not been confessed and forgiven puts a door or a barrier between you and God until it is confessed and forgiven. God warned Cain before he slew his brother that “sin is crouching at your door and it desires to have you, but you must rule over it. Genesis 4:7

God will judge our unacknowledged sins (Romans 2:16), “God will judge the secrets of man by Jesus Christ”. I know it sounds like a harsh comparison for mankind to be judged according to the sinless Son of God but we, as Christians, are supposed to walk in His ways and seek to live a holy life. In our humanity and by our own strength we can’t do this but by reading God’s Word daily and carefully taking each thought into captivity we can be effective witnesses for Him.

Hiding sins, whether they are “small sins” or “Big sins”, isn’t possible because God knows your heart and your mind. Even if you haven’t given your heart and life to Him, when you stand before Him to be judged, every word and thought will be brought out into the open. That is a scary thing to consider since we rarely have complete control over our thoughts and many times we say things which we should’ve thought about first (but we don’t) and we end up with our foot in our mouth. In God’s economy and under His Laws, every sin weighs the same. We consider some as small and some as big but to Him they are all spots and blemishes on your record and they hinder you from enjoying life as He wants you to.

How far have you taken your faith?


In every place that you go, if you are a Christian, you take your faith and your beliefs with you. So make sure that you take Jesus with you every day and everywhere you go.

God loves each of us so much that He gave us this world to live in. Even though sometimes it is hard to live in, He loves you and He gives you the strength to make a difference. Take your faith with you no matter what someone says about your faith because Jesus knows your heart and He will give you the words that you need at the time.

He said that there is excitement and joy in Heaven when even one sinner comes to know Jesus as their Savior!

Everything that we have has been given to us by God. The air we breathe, the clothes we wear, our job, our family and our health are all gifts that we have because God deemed us worthy to have those gifts. We should go out into the world with our faith in Jesus and let others know about His love for them and to tell them that Jesus died for their sins so that they could have eternal life through belief in His sacrifice for them.

Have you been foolish?


Actually most of us have been at one time in our life. Just as it says in Corinthians: ‘a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him.’ (1 Corinthians 2:14). People who don’t know the grace of God or the mercy of God through the sacrifice and acceptance of Jesus as their Savior are foolish until that time when God, by the Holy Spirit, touches their heart and breaks it so that they realize their sinfulness. Every Christian has gone through some foolish times before they realized that Jesus was their Salvation.

God can and does get His message out into the world even without our help, but He calls us to be His voice in places where we can make a difference. Even if it is only to touch one person or maybe two. Some of us can reach more people by doing things like this. Some of us can do evangelism on a scale above what we can reach here but not in the league of some ministers. Sometimes we may only reach one person but you don’t know how many people that person will reach before their time is finished.

All of us are useful to God in telling others about our Savior…so why don’t we do more? Being foolish and following the world around us rather than following Jesus is spiritual suicide, maybe not in this life but in eternity. Unless you change and learn that your only eternal Savior is Jesus you will end up in the same place that Satan and his demons will be. Think about that and consider Who has given you the opportunity to make an eternal choice which will benefit you and give God the glory!

Thank you, Lord


How much do we owe the Lord in gratitude? Everything. If it weren’t for Him we wouldn’t be alive at all. If He had not seen us in the fullness of time from the very beginning, knowing that we would need His strength and His mercy in our lives…we would be lost and without hope. But God did see us and He chose each of us to come to know Him through Jesus Christ, His Son. There are so many things which we owe our thanks to God for until I couldn’t begin to list even the things which He does for me on one day, regardless of considering my life or the world around us!

God provides us with the air that we breathe and the world in which we live, yet there are many who either choose not to believe in Him or just don’t want to believe in Him and His Son. We have been given a wonderful gift through the knowledge of Jesus and His sacrifice for our sins. We should be thankful for that gift and live our lives accordingly because one day soon, He is coming back and He will be coming as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Amen

Your purpose and your place


Many of us have often wondered what our purpose in this life really is. We have also considered what our place might be in the “great scheme of things”. Neither of these ideas or wonderings have given us much comfort though. Why is that? Is it because we aren’t looking in the right place or maybe we aren’t asking the right questions? Actually, I think it has more in common with the Person that we are searching for rather than the question or even the place.

Your purpose and your place in this world are found in Jesus alone. There is no other name by which we can be saved from eternal wrath because of our poor choices in life. Your salvation comes through Jesus, period. This also places you squarely in God’s hands for eternity so your place is secure because nobody can take you away from God. Your purpose truly is found in Jesus but what is it? Truly, it is being His disciple and going into the world as a reflection of Jesus so that others will see Him in your life and if they don’t know Him then they will want to know Him!!

By some of the early apostles examples and their writings, at least those who lived after the first century, we should model our Lord and Savior in such a way that people will see Him and come to you so they can know Him better. Almost like your life is your sermon every day that you live and breathe as a Christian! Isn’t that the kind of witness that we should all strive for?

I know that we can’t live perfectly walking like Jesus walked and living out our witness without stumbling and thinking or doing something that would make people question our walk with Him. We are human and we can’t be perfect in our attempts to live as reflections of Jesus but it is the striving to be more like Him that is the real witness! Living the rest of your life as a Christian is not the easy walk that some people think it is. Before we become Christians, Satan doesn’t care what we are doing because by default we live according to our own rules and ideas. But…when we truly give our life to Jesus a target appears spiritually on our head and our heart.

Why does this happen? Because we are working for Satan’s enemy when we become Christians. Our life and every word which we say should reflect Jesus in our lives from this point on. Do we fall and fail at this from time to time? Of course we do, but God still gives us the strength to overcome these stumbles and failures. Recognize that we are weak and we need to ask God to give us the strength today to get through today and then tomorrow and every day after that. Does Satan target us after we give our lives to Jesus? Yes, he does. We might touch someone’s life and bring them into God’s family. The more effective our witness is, the more numerous his attacks on our life and ministry become.

Sometimes your ministry may be world-wide as it is by blogging like this. Sometimes your ministry and witness may be limited by your geography or your ability. But if your witness is effective and draws one or two people to God, then you will be targeted by Satan and his demons. I pray that every person who reads this blog will seek out Jesus as their Savior, if they don’t know Him yet. If you do and you find something here that you could use in your ministry, feel free to use it in witnessing to others. God will bless it.

What do you hear?


When you go to church or any worship service in worshiping Jesus, what do you go to hear? A show with flashing lights and singing with a band and maybe a little five or ten minute sermon? Do you go to church to learn about your Savior and what He really did for you? Are you a member of a mega-church with so many people that you have to have a huge screen to see who is preaching?

Jesus warned us of the time that we are living in and it is found in the letters to the churches in the book of Revelation. The church at Laodicea was a church which reminds us of the dangers of being comfortable with our worship service.

Here is the quote from the book of Revelation:

To the Church in Laodicea
(Colossians 2:1-5)

14 To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of God’s creation.

15 I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other! 16 So because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to vomit you out of My mouth!

17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have grown wealthy and need nothing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, white garments so that you may be clothed and your shameful nakedness not exposed, and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 Those I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore be earnest and repent.

20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will grant the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

We live in a time when pastors and churches water down the Word of God and they don’t teach His Truth from Scripture, just as this church was. They weren’t cold toward the message of salvation but they weren’t hot toward spreading the gospel either. They were trying but not too hard, lukewarm. Many churches and pastors today do the same thing. They compromise the Word of God by accepting sinful behavior as being normal in order to get more members on their roles. They don’t call sin what it is and teach that it is acceptable even when they know that God opinion of sin has not changed!

We cannot compromise the message of God’s Word and we shouldn’t be trying to make it more acceptable to those who are practicing sinful lifestyles which God does not approve of! Just because every other media outlet does this doesn’t mean that the church should be going along with sin even when we know that God and His Word don’t accept it nor condone it in any way. If we do this then we are no different from the world around us and we shouldn’t even be preaching from God’s Word at all. Pick out a self-help book and use it as a “bible” if you are going to be like the rest of the world.

I will preach and teach from God’s Word until He calls me home one day and if you don’t like that message then you don’t have to come to my church or read this blog anymore.

Feast or famine


This saying has almost become cliche’ today and they use it for so many things until the meaning is almost lost to the younger generation. In the world both of these are easy to recognize and their meanings are very clear. Feast is when things are going really well and you have money and enough food to eat. Even your career is going well when you are feasting.

Famine, on the other hand is when things are not going well at all. Your home is being foreclosed and taken from you, you’ve lost your job and there is no money for food. You may even be living in a place where there has been a famine in more ways than one and people are starving to death.

But what if you applied these terms to your spiritual life? How would you read them and assign meaning to them then? Does feast refer to the days that you attend church with other believers? Does that mean that you don’t seek God counsel during the week, so you are going through a famine in your spiritual life between Sabbath’s? Christians are not supposed to live their spiritual lives this way.

Yes, you do go to a worship service to be fed the Word and taught about it but when you leave then you are supposed to fellowship with God until the next time. The disciples didn’t just meet up with Jesus on those days when He was teaching in the synagogue. They were with Him every day regardless of which direction He was going or who they might meet. They were near Him day and night so they heard His teachings every day not just weekly or once a month.

John even wrote in his gospel, “if all of the things were written about Him that He did, the world could not contain the books“. I paraphrased John’s words but you get the idea. Jesus did many miracles that we will never know about until we are with Him. But living a Christian life in “feast or famine” mode is not the way to live in Christ and Christ in you! The Holy Spirit, the third of the Trinity, is with you from the time you are saved. You have a member of the Trinity living with you, inside you and He is every bit as much God as the Father and the Son are. I don’t think that we consider that we have a part of the Creator Who teaches you about Jesus and helps you to understand His Word.

Living the sanctified life of a Christian, saved by His Grace, would not be possible if the Holy Spirit wasn’t there to show us and teach us when we are reading and learning from God’s Word. We wouldn’t act as a Christian in the slightest degree if it weren’t for the Spirit touching us and teaching us when we are tempted to do something we shouldn’t! God gives us the strength and His Spirit to be able to make it one day at a time in our walk with Him and that is what we should do. Get through today, then study God’s Word a bit tonight, then get through tomorrow and so on until we are called home.

PS: If there are any prayer requests or something that you would like for me to pray about, anything at all, leave a comment. I will add your request to the others that I get from the community.