Too much


Have you ever thought that God asks too much of us? I haven’t. God gave His only Son up to be killed on the cross so that all of us have the chance to be saved from our sins. Sometimes we do too much like I did today because it was cool outside, but God always does exactly what is necessary. He knows what is needed in every situation and for every need in our lives. So why don’t we trust Him for our salvation and for those needs in our lives more than we do?

Is it because we have too many needs? Is it because we don’t trust God enough to depend on Him for those needs?

Why do we think that our needs are too much for God? He is the Creator after all. He can create a star that is large enough that it would swallow almost all of our solar system, so what makes you think that a car payment or a disease in your family is too much for Him?Sun;_VY_Canis_Majoris_and_UY_Scuti_size

Our problems are easy for God to take care of IF we will give them to Him so He can. Many of us give our problems to Him and take them back as soon as we say “Amen”. Why? Because we don’t think He will do what we are asking of Him. So we take them back and essentially tell God, “I can do it myself”.

Have you ever thought that the reason for your prayer for Him to take care of whatever it is was because you couldn’t take care of it? Most of the time with disease or accidents we can’t take care of it on our own so why do we choose not to give it to God?

In most cases, it is because we are either not totally committed to Him or we really don’t have a relationship with Him (Jesus) in the first place. We have been to church or Bible school and we have heard the messages and even read the Bible a little so we think we are Christians…but we aren’t. Those are motions which we have gone through in our past but we have not given our heart to Jesus and we aren’t following Him in our daily lives.

Yet, we think that our prayers are being heard because we have had His blessings in our lives at some point. Those blessings may be because of someone else’s prayers for our blessing. They have a relationship with Jesus and it is their prayers which are being answered, not ours.

Prayers work when there is faith involved in them and in the person praying. God listens to the request and the faith of the one who is praying as well as the focus of the prayer. A child in a hospital or their parent’s treatment for cancer or some other disease may be the focus of the prayer but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes it is a prayer to give traveling mercies to someone on a plane or driving somewhere. Occasionally it is a prayer for a passing grade on a test for someone.

Does God care about these things? Yes, He does. If He cares for the food provided to birds don’t you think that grades or healing or your car keys mean just as much to Him?

Give your heart to Jesus and keep Him in your life every day, no matter what you may be doing because He does care for you.

What are you doing for God’s kingdom?


Do you just live your life day to day and never think about it? Why would you do that?

God has given you so much in this life, why not give something back? Our lives could be so much more fulfilled and fulfilling if we would take His message with us every day! So, what is holding you back?

There are some reasons why many of us don’t live our lives as we could. Some of those reasons have a lot to do with feeling rejected or being looked at as a freak or a Christian.

So what’s wrong with that?

God can use us as His representatives just as He did with the disciples. Granted, nearly all of them were martyred while taking His message to the world, but they went to be with the Lord! Wouldn’t a trip to heaven be better than a trip to Mexico? No crime, no death and no disease for eternity! No place on Earth can beat that!

We are here to be His people and to do His will until our lives are finished. If your ideas or your “job” is better than that and has better benefits I’d like to know what you do for a living? While it is true that we have to be taken to Heaven to enjoy eternal retirement from the problems of this life, I don’t really see a problem with that.

Seek Him in your life and give your heart to HIm because He is the ultimate Boss that you could ever have.

Do you seek God’s counsel?


Many of us pray and ask for God’s help in our lives, but are you listening for His counsel? Or are you just giving Him a list of things that you want, and then ending the prayer with “in Jesus’ name, Amen”?

Prayer is needed in our world today and it is necessary for us to communicate with God about our lives and our needs (although He knows what you need). But our prayers shouldn’t be like a child’s list to Santa in Jesus’ name!

Seeking the counsel and the wisdom of God can and should be done through prayer but in order to hear God’s counsel you have to be willing to do something…listen! You don’t just spout off a prayer and “thank you, Lord, in Jesus’ name, Amen” and then go about your business as if you haven’t engaged God in your day!!

When God called Gideon he gave him a command but He also gave him the ability to perform that which He was calling him to do. Read it here:

The Call of Gideon

11 Then the Angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon and said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”

13 “Pardon me, Sir,” Gideon replied, “but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all His wonders about which our fathers told us, saying, ‘Has, not the LORD brought us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hand of Midian.”

14 The LORDa turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Am I not sending you?”  Judges 6: 11-14

Gideon tested the Lord after this to be sure he was hearing Him right, but the point of this passage is that Gideon listened and obeyed God. It is likely that many in Israel had been praying for deliverance from the Midianites, but God chose someone who would do what He told him and how He told him to do it. God knew that Gideon would listen and obey and that is what is needed in the church today!

Our churches do some great things by shepherding the people who have been called by God to be the church. Teaching them from God’s Word and teaching the next generation about God and what His Word says. But…how many of the churches in the world today are stepping out in faith and walking with God in these things? Are the churches today more interested in how many people show up for services on Sundays or do they go out at all into the community and take the love of Jesus with them to those who need to hear it?

Those in the church may say, “Well, that’s the preacher’s job.”, today most preachers are busy trying to take care of their own families. Paying bills, working a second job just to make the ends come close during the month, that is what most pastors are doing. Some have the time but aren’t able to get out and make house calls on those in the community.

What would Jesus do?

If I asked that question today, most would say that He is God so He can do anything for anyone. Well, didn’t He tell us through His disciples to go and tell others about the gospel and take it to all generations and to all the world? Are we doing that or do we eat lunch and go home (or go home and eat lunch) and think that’s for someone else to do? Do you leave church feeling inspired to do something for Jesus and then the fire goes out on the way home?

Seek Him in His Word today, pray about what you read and listen for His voice in what you read and when you pray. Actively reading God’s Word with prayer is the best way to hear from Him that I know. Then, if He tells your heart to do something…go out and do it! God told Gideon to save Israel and he did, if He tells you to go and tell someone in your family about Him then do it!

Life is painful sometimes


We live and work in a world of hurts and pain. Some of it is from painful memories and some of it comes from family members who never talk to each other. Many times the pain comes from the realization that our world is getting worse instead of better. Why is this happening? That is easy, God said that it would get this way before He comes back.

Everything that is happening in the world, good and bad, is happening because of God’s sovereign rule over everything. It isn’t something that is surprising or unexpected, at least it isn’t in God’s sight. He knew that the earthquake which happened was going to happen. He knew about the hurricanes and the mudslides and all of the fires which have ravaged the western U.S. I know that many people are going to say “If God is so loving and good, then why did all those people die in those disasters?”.

I don’t know. God allows some bad things to happen, but why they happen is not given to mankind to know or understand. He knows that some good will come from the bad things, but only He can see that. We aren’t gifted with the understanding of those things which we see as bad or terrible from our perspective. I am sure that God has prevented many bad things from happening in your life and mine and we likely didn’t even know about it.

God looks at us even before we accept Jesus as our Savior, even before we were ever born, and He can see the person that we can be as a saved and sanctified child of His. He knows exactly what we can do and what we will accomplish for Him long before we belong to Jesus! He doesn’t discount us as a “lost cause” nor does He look at us as someone who isn’t useful to Him. Every person on Earth is useful to Him IF they give their hearts to Jesus and continue to mature in their faith.

What does that mean? It means that becoming a Christian is a process. One which takes some time. Yes, you accept Jesus in a moment but that is not the end of it. It takes a walk…a daily walk with Him in faith and prayer and learning more from His Word than you ever thought was contained in the Bible!

Consider it this way, a potter throws a lump of clay on a wheel and takes his fingers and puts a dent in the top. But it isn’t a bowl or a cup yet. It takes more molding and more pressure and more molding until it finally begins to take the shape which the potter knew that it could be. That is the same process which God takes us through after we have accepted Jesus as our Savior.

Some hardship and some pain draw us closer to Him, learning more about Him, cultivating our prayer life and our daily time with Him until we finally begin to take the shape which God knew we could be. The process is never really over until we die and are brought into Heaven. That is our graduation in a way because this life is just the preparation for our eternal life of service with Him and for Him.

We get dirty every day


JesusSandalsHave you ever thought about the Middle Eastern practice of washing someone’s feet as they come into your house? It is a respectful and refreshing idea although many people would not like it in a worship setting today. But really why would you feel this way toward a practice which is meant to show humility and the attitude of servanthood?

People are embarrassed to show their feet in public especially during religious services, but we wear sandals and other shoes during the summer which shows our feet to the public. But, that’s different, isn’t it? With those shoes or sandals on, you are not placing your feet in someone’s hands to be washed and dried in public. Our feet today don’t get dirty like the feet of Jesus and His disciples did because we wear shoes or boots and socks and all they had to wear was sandals. On the dusty roads which they walked on their feet would get dirty every day, all day long.

The shepherds who came to see the baby which the angels had told them about had dirty feet. We get dirty in our world by being a part of it. Maybe we don’t get dirt on our hands or feet but we are still part of this world. The anger and fear and frustration and many other emotions build up and cause us to think and feel things, sometimes, which are not the thoughts or the feelings which followers of Jesus should have. But…we do have them.

The only way to be clean in this world of 24/7 news, and most of it is bad news, is to read God’s Word and pray over it while we read it. Why? So that the Living Water of God’s Word can cleanse us! Will it make us holy or sinless? No, but it will give us the wisdom and a word of hope from God to carry us through the problems of the day, each day so that we can carry His message to those who need it.

God gave us this magnificent and wonderful resource and many people who claim to be Christians only read it once or twice a week and even then only during a Bible study or church service. We should be drinking from this Living Water every day, washing our minds and our hearts with it so that we can take it to a world that is hurting. Because they need to hear it as well and if we don’t take it to them…who will?

Life is hard enough without the Hope which comes from knowing Jesus but with that Hope, each one of us can make a difference. Even if we only make a difference in one person’s life, then maybe they will make a difference in someone else’s life or maybe in two people’s lives and if it keeps multiplying like that eventually everyone will at least hear the gospel of Jesus, whether they act on it or not.

Differences


In the church, there are many differences. Differences of doctrine and belief and differences of procedure in the order of service and other things related to our worship of God and His Son, Jesus the Messiah. But…why are there such drastic differences? We are all worshiping the same risen Lord, we mostly share the same Bible, so why are there so many things which are different between churches? This is something which I have wondered about for most of my life and now that I have been a pastor for most of the last decade, I still can’t see a reason for them.

Yes, there are doctrinal differences between Baptists and Methodists and all of the variations of those two denominations. There are differences between Lutheran and Episcopal and Catholic churches as well as differences between Presbyterian and Church of God and ……, the list could go on for a long, long while. My point is this: Why exactly are we so different?

In my opinion, it is because of Satan. He has gotten into church administration business meetings and sown seeds of dissent and anger and strife to the point of splitting churches because of small things which could be resolved but usually aren’t. These little splinters grow into huge logs which split the church into another doctrine or discipline and the church is weakened because of it.

Remember, at first the church had all things in common. Their belief and their doctrine were that which was taught to the disciples and then to the churches and this carried on for a couple of centuries and then the church began splitting off because of disagreements and ideas about how the church should be run. Of course, it is too late to reorganize the Body of Christ into a cohesive whole today but it was never supposed to be split up like it is now.

That is why there are so many “non-denominational” churches today. These people just want to worship God and learn from His Word and put away all of the bickering and petty squabbles which split the unity of the church. We are supposed to be sharing our life with Christ and with each other and our congregations who are unified as believers in Jesus our Savior. Why are we still divided in our worship practices today?

I don’t think an answer that will be satisfactory for the church will be found until Jesus comes back and begins His reign on Earth. This is a sad reflection on our unity as a church but it is likely that we cannot put our differences aside until Jesus is King.

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.

What are you chasing?


Have you ever wondered exactly what you are doing in this life or why you are doing it? Many people seem to be attempting to buy anything and everything that they can afford as if they truly believe the saying “he who dies with the most wins the prize”. How do you figure that? When you die your children will inherit what you had and if there are no children then those “things” which you bought with your money will be sold or given to someone else.

Why do we use up our lives chasing after things which can’t possibly give us any fulfillment or joy in this life, other than bragging rights…maybe? The problem with this kind of living is that when your life is over, what will people say or think about you and who you were? Will they remember you as someone who tried to help those who were in need? Will they remember you as a businessman or woman who chased after as much wealth as you could possibly attain?

Have you ever considered the eternal consequences of your life? What will your life be worth in eternity? Did your wealth, regardless of the amount, do any spiritual good in this world? Was it used for the spreading of God’s Word and His message to those who didn’t know Him?

All of these questions should be answered while you are still living so that you can try to make good use of the time that you have left until you enter into eternity. The larger question and the one which will make the most difference to you is: Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? God placed each of us here for the sole purpose of truly getting to know Him and being useful to Him in this life. Regardless of the amount of money or influence you may have in your business or in your life and the lives around you.

Everyone seems to wonder, what is my purpose or the meaning of my life, and we think about it almost from the time that they are old enough to know what a purpose is. The reality of the question is this: your life’s meaning and purpose are found in Jesus and serving Him and His purpose in your life. Anything which is outside of that is fluff and nonsense. Although I am sure that many will wonder exactly how am I supposed to pay my bills or save up for retirement by doing that?

God did not say that we had to be preachers or evangelists. We are to use the gifts and talents which we have been given to serve the Lord in our lives and in our businesses, whatever they may be. God mentions many different craftsmen in the Old Testament from woodworkers and carvers to engravers and those who can make jewelry out of gold as well as shepherds and kings and priests.

Your life and mine can be useful to God in many ways and it doesn’t matter what your vocation may be. If you are a nurse then be the best one that you can be and use your talents to serve God while you are at it. If you are a police person, do that as if you were working for the Lord. Whatever occupation you are in, do it as if you were working for Jesus and make sure that your tithes go to charities which actually help people. If you can’t find a charity which does this in your town, then start one which will!

Pray about it, seek God’s wisdom for whatever you are considering and if you feel God leading you in that direction with your money and your time then do it! Saturate your charity or foundation with prayer and fasting if you have to but make sure that it is doing work which Jesus would be proud of. If your business isn’t one which He would be happy with then move to something else which can honor God.

False prophets and heresy!


2 Peter 2:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom, the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

If you listen carefully to the news and the commentary that goes with it, you will notice that we are hearing this type of speech today! Oh, they don’t call themselves prophets but their words are listened to as if they were. Every “false teaching” which is told in the news, from “free medical care” to “free college” and all of the rhetoric about “saving the children” at the border when there are thousands of babies aborted (murdered) each and every day! What about their rights? What about their life that is cut short because of convenience?

God will not look the other way because each of these children was sent here by Him for a purpose. They weren’t accidental and they certainly aren’t just “blobs of cells”! Of course, that is not the way that the media reports it. They try to report it as if a “fetus” is not a human being but if a woman is killed when she is pregnant the person who killed her is responsible for two homicides. Even if she is only a few months pregnant. What changed the “cells” into a person?

Our media wants us to believe that there is a difference and there isn’t. A baby is a baby from conception until birth and even further until they are a toddler. The law is clear about a child in the womb when you read God’s Word and He doesn’t change His view of your child whether you believe in Him or not. From conception onward, that is your child and a separate human being from yourself. Even if it is growing inside of your body.

The heretical teaching and media concentration in our world is brainwashing people into thinking that your body is yours to do with as you please, in all instances. God didn’t tell us this at all in His Word and if more people read it and studied it they would know this. God is our creator and it is He Who placed that child in your care, so unless you repent of this sin and become a Christian and ask Him to forgive you for it, how would you expect Him to treat you when you stand at your judgment one day?

Jesus told His disciples, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

We are known by God even before we are born, as the Psalmist said, “we are fearfully and wonderfully made”!

Every teaching, because that is what the “news” is today, is telling people to be your own god, do what pleases you and helps you with your career. Don’t worry about anyone else. No man or woman is alone in this world, at least not entirely alone, regardless of where they live unless they choose to be. God loves each person on the face of the Earth, but He doesn’t like the sins which we all commit each and every day. No person on the Earth is sinless, not even the Pope.