The hurt will heal


Sometimes we look at our lives and wonder, “Why am I going through all of this?”. Most of the time we can’t truly find an answer to that question, at least not one which makes sense anyway. The pain of a lost loved one or of a child taking a step toward a life of addiction or crime will be ongoing and in most cases may never go away entirely. So what are we supposed to do with this kind of pain?

The solution may sound simple and uncaring but it is this: give the problem to God. There are too many people who will read this and say “Are you serious?”; my answer is “Yes, I am!”.

Just how are we supposed to give our problem to God is the answer which many people have sought for centuries and unfortunately there are few who have found the best way to do this. We will walk down the aisle and place a token which represents our problems on the altar but when we leave the church we pick it up spiritually and take it with us. We never REALLY leave it in God’s hands until we have come to the point where we can truly see that there is nothing which we can do to fix this problem.

We use God as the last best hope for solving our problem when He should be the first Person that we leave the problem with, no matter what the problem may be! Remember, God created the entire cosmos, so since He did that your problems and mine are easy for Him to handle if we will give them to Him. Why do we try to keep our problems until we finally realize that we can’t do anything about them? Because we are prideful and we think that we can handle the problems in our lives regardless of how involved or how big those problems might be.

God never intended for us to do everything in our lives alone or by our own strength. He had intended for our existence to be a cooperative life between Himself and us. But we know that Satan crept into the scene and changed that, but God already had a plan in mind before that happened.

Jesus, the Son of God, was going to be born of a virgin in Bethlehem and He would take the sins of the world on Himself and be sacrificed on the cross to pay our penalty so that we wouldn’t have to. Then, on the third day, Jesus came out of the tomb and taught His disciples for another forty days and then ascended to the right side of the Father. He conquered death and the grave and gave us a way to be saved from hell if we will believe in Him and His sacrifice.

Give your life and your heart to Jesus and give your problems to God so that you can serve Him and be His representative until He comes again. Because He said He was coming again and God can’t lie!

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.”

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.

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 much longer, Lord?


It has been nearly 2,000 years since the crucifixion of Jesus, yet God is still giving the world more time. Time to turn to Jesus and be saved, time to realize Who He was and Who He is and time for more to come to know Him as their Savior. When you look at all of the prophecies in the Bible you will notice that there are no more which are necessary to be fulfilled before the Trumpet calls those who have died in Christ and those who are living for Him now. We are living at the edge of history and its ending and yet more are still to come to know Him, so we wait for God’s timing.

the-great-tribulation-beginsWe don’t know what else needs doing nor do we know how many more haven’t been written down in the Book of Life but are destined to. But God knows who and when and it is very likely that it will be soon. We won’t know it until it happens and when that happens the rest of the world will know it too. For many, it will be too late, if they cared about it at all.  So what are we supposed to do in the meantime?

Why do I ask this question now? Because there are many on the Earth who are asking it as well. God is not short in His time and He knows when the Tribulation will take place. It is our job as Christians to live in obedience to His command and tell others about the gift that we have been given by grace through faith in Him. This cannot be worked for or bought and it cannot be bargained for because it is the gift of God to each of us who will accept it and believe.

Many wonder about this today if or when Jesus is coming back. You can be assured that He is because God doesn’t lie and it is told and foretold in the Bible that there will come a time of retribution and trials and that Jesus will come back to the Earth and reign for a thousand years from the throne of David. I pray that all who read this or who have heard a sermon about the return of Jesus the Christ will seek Him out and give your life and your heart to Him now before these things begin.

Some teachers are saying that the antichrist will come before we are taken up to be in Heaven. I don’t believe this. It seems that the book of Revelation is set up in order for us to discern His coming and the timing of His coming. The end of the age is near and we shouldn’t discount any prophecy in God’s Word. There is no exact date but with all of the upheaval going on in the world and all of the distress which is happening because of wars and drought and fires and natural disasters like hurricanes and volcanic eruptions…I don’t believe that the time is very far off at all.

Tell others about Jesus and His love for them. Seek Him out if you haven’t done so already because when the church leaves, the Holy Spirit will likely be gone from the Earth as well. Then the end will begin and that time is supposed to be so horrendous that all of life would end if this time is not cut short by the return of Jesus. Tell others and make sure that you are teaching from God’s Word during this time because that is the purpose of the church until God calls us home.

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.

A life changed


FB_IMG_1521382243378In the world today there are so many people who are going through many problems. Health problems, money problems, relationship problems and of course spiritual problems too. So, how can we come out of these places where it seems that there is nothing but problems?

By giving our problems to the One Who can fix them or change our circumstances or in some way have a positive effect on those problems in our lives. The main “problem” that many of us have when we try to do this is that we have a string or a chain tied to the problem and when we leave it on the altar for God to take care of…we usually drag it back off and pull it around like a wagon. Why can’t we leave it there? Because we think that we should take care of our problems.

We don’t really think that God has time for all of our problems and everyone else’s problems too. But when we think like this we are making God into our picture, our idea of Him. We change our perception of Him and think of HIm as being almost as limited as we are! How can our Creator be that weak and impotent? Why would we limit Him in this way?

I think it is probably because we can’t imagine in our minds that He is bigger than our minds can imagine or even comprehend. So we try to make Him fit in a human box so we can relate to Him. That is the very reason that Jesus came to us in human form, not only to be the Savior and the Redeemer of the world, but to show us that God can fit in our lives without us putting limits on Him.

This may be the reason that many people have trouble believing that God will or can answer their prayers. It is hard to imagine God as omnipotent when you don’t see it happening or you don’t learn about His power in the world around us. If you think of God in terms of humanity without belief in Jesus, which limits God’s power, then your unbelief in His omnipotence will limit His power in your prayer life.

ourlovingsaviorExpecting His work and His answer to your prayers is part of your faith in Him, as long as you don’t place a limit on Him in your thinking. So why do people do this? Mainly because there are many who think that all of the miracles happened as the church began. But, miracles are happening all around us every day. In people’s lives which are touched by cancer or when children are born completely healthy with no problems, God has a hand in all of our lives, whether we know about it or not.

LIves are changed all around us each day. Sometimes it is because of prayers, sometimes God is working in those people’s lives even when they haven’t asked for it just because He is God and He has a plan for their lives. God’s plans will always make a difference because His will for you and me and anyone that He has a hand on will never backfire!

Seek Him in your life and for your life because He can and will make a difference in your life for your good and for His glory! Amen

God loves us…


John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

Some teachers of the past and preachers today say that we should not be preaching that God loves every person on the planet. Why? If that is true, then these verses should never be quoted nor should they be in the Bible!

God did not pick out a few here or there to know His Son, even though God knows which people will give their hearts and lives to Jesus. He didn’t pick them. We pick and choose what we want to believe or not believe in the Bible, but God’s Word is true from every page of the Bible, regardless of translation or version you like.

There are some Bibles out today which gloss over some parts of Scripture or leave out parts of it entirely which is totally against God’s command of not removing or adding to any part of it. But, those are versions of the Bible which mankind has changed because of some verses which certain groups don’t like. God’s Word is true and powerful today and it will be that way for all time.

Okay, off the soapbox, verse sixteen says “For God so loved the world”, it doesn’t say which parts of the world or certain people groups or religions, it says the world! Which means that God loves all of the world, regardless of creed or religion or region or politics! It is our ideas and our convictions which change because of what is politically correct or accepted in the state or nation in which we live, God’s view of sin or anything else hasn’t changed and won’t change because He says, “I change not”.

God loves His creation and we are a part of that. It saddened Him before the Flood that mankind had strayed so far away from knowing HIm and seeking Him and had turned to evil in all of his ways. God felt this way because He had made mankind to have fellowship with Him throughout our lives, yet after the fall in the garden, man drifted away from knowing Him or even wanting to know Him.

In the world, whether it is at a college campus or a big city or even a small town, people don’t like to hear the absolute truth because today the “truth” is said to be relative. What is true for you doesn’t necessarily mean that it is true for me. That only works with opinions and ideas.

The Truth of God’s Word is true regardless of your ideas and opinions, just as the laws of physics govern how gravity and light work (which God put those laws in motion as well). Gravity and light behave the way they do because God ordained it to be this way. Your opinions or beliefs about them have no effect on their actions or performance. God’s Word is the Truth and it is the Light of the World which guides all men who are seeking Him to come to Him. Your individual belief about it or opinion of it doesn’t change that.

God did send His only Son to change the world one person at a time. Not a radical change for all of mankind, but an individual change which begins at the heart of each person who is seeking God for whatever reason. Jesus came as our Savior and as a Servant to His Father to do the will of the Father and make it possible for each person to move closer to God because of their lives being changed and to show the rest of the world that it is possible to be His through Jesus Christ.

We are not condemned by God if we obey His Word and have given our lives and our hearts to Jesus to do His will for our lives in this world. If you reject this and live your own way without Him, even though you may do many good things in your life, doing so will bring judgment upon you when you die because you “did many good works in your Name”. But if He didn’t abide in your heart then you did those good works on your own without His blessing, even if they were done “in His name”. Seek Him in all of your daily walk and your life will be blessed because His Spirit resides in you and empowers you to accomplish these good works in His Name and in His Spirit as well.

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.

Can you be content with little?


Judas gave up his relationship with Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and by the time he realized what he had done it was too late. In our world, it seems that everyone has an iPhone or some huge phablet that they are carrying around. Granted many of those phones were “free” from their carrier or in some other way a gift, but those are worth hundreds of dollars. Could we be content with less than we have today?

Consider that we have been given a tremendous and fabulous gift by Almighty God, our salvation through Jesus. Is there anything which could compare to that? I’ll answer that question and the answer is NO! There is nothing that we have or could get our hands on which is worth even a fraction of the gift which we are all partakers of if you are a Christian. So, what can we be content with?

Most of us seem to be chasing after things more today, following our friends and those that we work with. If they have a nice home, we want one better. If they have a 3-series BMW then we want one on the next series. I know that not everyone follows this pattern, but in many places in the world and in our country too it does happen. But…why? What difference will it make in your life if you have the best of things?

An Android phone will do everything that an iPhone will do and it does so for less money in most cases. But why do so many people have to have the latest iPhone or Apple watch? Is it because of the image? That must be it because products besides Apple’s products can perform just as well and in some areas, they will perform better.

Making do with less is not looked on as a desirable trait in our culture. So why does our culture look back at the Greatest Generation that went through the Depression and WW2 and idolizes them? They made a little go a long way and they didn’t really complain about their place in life while doing so. They did what they had to do and made it work one way or another.

So…why can’t we do that today? Is it because we are spoiled brats who don’t know how to “make it work” no matter what it takes? Is it because we have been given so much until we don’t really want to work for our satisfaction or our blessings either? God had to deal with His people who became complacent about what they had and would turn away from Him until He used someone to punish them enough to bring them back. They would get “rich” and prideful so that they considered that they didn’t need God and they would worship other gods which were not gods.

Today we have made things into gods and convenience into a god as well. If our money can’t provide it or if we don’t have enough money then we throw a fit and sometimes blame God for it. The god of convenience has killed more babies in abortion clinics than all of the wars which we have fought but nobody seems to care.

One day that bill will come due and it will be God Who will require a payment for all of those innocent lives lost.

Can we get by with little or must we always be consuming more and more? If you follow the advice of God in Proverbs you can but there are so many who don’t even know where the book of Proverbs is. They wouldn’t know where to look. I pray that our world and our country will have a revival and move back to having faith in God and learn from His Word before the time of testing comes. Many don’t believe that the time is coming but it is and the world will regret their actions when it does come but it will be too late by that time.