Is there something missing…


Many times when I was much younger, I felt as if something was missing in my life. Since my parents were divorced I always thought it had to do with my Dad not being in my life much. Which was likely since I didn’t see him much except during summer visits and two weeks doesn’t help much when your Dad is working and out of the house even when you are there. Still…I felt that my relationship with him wasn’t really what was missing but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

After high school, I found that the missing part of my life didn’t mean much, at least not yet. So I partied and played around with weed and sex and I still felt empty and confused because nothing that I tried was fulfilling at all and mostly left me feeling empty inside. Even though I thought I had found and accepted Jesus, and I may have invited Him into my heart, I don’t think that I had fully committed my life and my heart to Him at this point.

I didn’t have anyone to teach me how to become closer to God and to come to know Him in a deeper way, so I still felt like I was stuck in a rut and I didn’t know how to get on the right pathway. I don’t know if I am expressing this the best way but that is how I felt at the time.

Why am I opening my story up to you? Because our testimony is the story about how each of us came to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior and it is a story that each of us can express in our own words because it is personal. Each of us knows our own short-comings and our failures which brought us to the point of knowing that we need Jesus, because until we came to that point…we didn’t want to know Him.

My actual walk with Jesus began after my son was born. I had been given this gift from God to love and cherish and to be an example to, and I knew that if I wasn’t following Jesus from that point on then he wouldn’t learn about Him either. So, I began by reading the Bible at night while I was working in the lab at the hospital. I would read in between running samples or on my lunch (early breakfast) break.

Little by little, God’s Word began to make sense to me. I still didn’t understand it and even today after reading through the Bible many times I don’t claim to understand it yet, but I am walking with Him on a daily path. Do I stumble? Yes! Do I wander off the path or fall? Yes! But…He is there to help me get back up, ask for His forgiveness when I have failed Him in one way or another and then we carry on toward the goal.

What is the goal? The prize of being in His Presence! That is the ultimate goal of life. The life which each of us lives through and complains about here is just temporary but the Life in Him and in eternity is…well eternal! There won’t be anything missing when we are in His Kingdom and His Presence! The only “missing” things will be the problems which we have here, the time which we never seem to have enough of, our aches and pains and our glasses (if you wear them) or contacts. All of these man-made bits of help and diseases will be left on Earth when we leave this place, praise God!

If you need prayer for any reason or just an unspoken request, please leave it in the comments. I will pray for you in my prayers because I pray that this site and these messages have an impact in the world every day. Thank you for reading.

Amen.

What will you do?


The movie, “I can only imagine“, is in theaters now and the song has blessed the world with its inspiration for a while…but what do you think that you will do when you see your Savior? Will you fall to your knees in worship? Will you be so giddy with joy until you dance in His Presence? How will you express your gratitude when you come face to face with your Savior?

FB_IMG_1521382243378Truly, I have no idea what I will do. There are times, even now, that I get tears in my eyes just thinking about the mercy and grace which has been poured into my life. I didn’t deserve any of it and I still don’t understand the depth of the love of our Father. I won’t understand it until I am face to face with Him and even then I don’t think that I will completely know the depth and breadth of His love for me…for all of us!

God is our Creator and our Savior because He made a way for us to get to Him in His Word and to be able to come near to Him through the blood of Jesus. It is a good thing that we will have an eternity to be with Him because the understanding of His Love for us will take about that long to comprehend, even with our immortal bodies and minds.

Meeting Him as a saved and sanctified, born-again Christian will be so awesome until I can scarcely imagine even the beauty and majesty of seeing Heaven and our Savior. Truly, I don’t think my imagination could conjure up the images that John described for Heaven. Many of the paintings which I have seen which some artists have painted of their vision of Heaven just show a landscape which is just more than what we have on Earth. More and deeper blues, more vibrant greens, flowers which are dazzling in their beauty and water which is more like “liquid joy” than anything we could possibly find here in this life! This water flows from the throne of God, so there is no way we could find water like this here.

God loves each of us which is why He sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins. All that we are required to do is to believe in Jesus and His atonement for us…that’s it. You don’t need money and there is no amount of work which any of us can do to deserve to be in Heaven. We can’t save ourselves because salvation is only through the name of Jesus. His name is the only name which will bring each of us to salvation, there is no other!

Bridge2Salvation

It doesn’t matter how many gods you serve or the names of your gods, they will not bring you into Heaven because they aren’t there either.  This picture shows exactly how your salvation is done and paid for. Your only response is whether you will accept Jesus and repent of your sins or not!

If you accept His sacrifice for your sins, regardless of how many they may be, then ask Him to come into your heart and save you from yourself and your sins. He will honor that prayer and come into your life and your heart, cleansing you from your old life and your old ways and make you a new creation in Jesus Christ! If you have done this, please let me know in the comments section, because I would love to know and hear about it.

Racism and hate


Can we overcome these two demons? It is possible, but not under our own power and motivation. Unfortunately our independence and our ability to choose what we believe or not, on an individual basis, is what grew these two into mankind’s conscience. We are not born this way, but over time and exposure to other ideas and teachings at home or school, we do develop our own version, our own opinions toward others. That is where these destructive attitudes or emotions grow from.

Sometimes, they aren’t very potent in certain individuals but with a bit of prodding from someone who can stoke them and get your emotions involved in the matter then, like a small fire with alcohol or gas poured on it, they will explode. We see this everyday and hear about it on the news, if you can stand to watch it. Pride, arrogance, and greed follow along with these two and all of them together can cripple a country.

Why is it so hard for humanity to get past these kinds of problems? INDIVIDUALITY. We seem to be resistant to being in any kind of real, true relationship with each other. Oh, we may do so with our family, maybe our close friends, but anyone outside of that circle is out of luck. Even…God.

Oh, we may say that we “believe” in Him, but we mostly believe in our idea of God. Why is this? It is also because of our freedom which God allows us to have, because love cannot flourish without the freedom to choose. Many times we look at God’s Word during church and see that God allowed His people to choose many times in the Bible. He didn’t stop them from walking away from Him or worshiping Him, because He loves us.

Love is above hate and bitterness and racism and true love does not allow these emotions to flourish at all. It is mankind’s evil and hatred for other opinions which causes so much strife and trouble in our world today. God didn’t create evil, though He allows it to be. We should seek Him, the God of the Bible and there is no other. His Word is Truth and salvation offered to all who will believe in Him and in His atonement which is offered through Jesus the Christ.

Life, what about it?


baby developmentWhen I was much younger, I wondered about the life that we live. Not so much in philosophic terms exactly, but after watching the coverage of the Vietnam war and Dr. Martin Luther King’s murder, even then it seemed that life was cheap. I knew better, but it still made me think a bit. But, I was young and I didn’t think about it long so I went on to school and played with my friends and did my homework.

Now, I am a father and a pastor and I think about life every day. It still seems that to most of the world around us, not just in America, human life isn’t worth much even today. It seems that life today isn’t regarded as being worth more than a thought, if that much! Why have we come to this point in history? Where the life of a baby in the womb is in just as much danger as one on the street! A baby in the womb is even in more danger today because there usually isn’t anyone to speak up for them and defend them.

No, I am not getting on a platform about abortion, I did that a day or so ago. My point here is that we don’t cherish life today, no matter if it is a pet, a baby, or a person. But…life is supposed to be sacred! Human life certainly, but all life in general because it is God’s Creation! It is true that many people claim to be Christian and yet many of them don’t even have a true relationship with God at all! We don’t look at being a human being and being a Christian as anything special, it seems.

Many believe that by belonging to a church and attending services occasionally that they have a relationship with God. How absurd! That is more akin to visiting McDonald’s once in a while and thinking that you know the owner! God does know you and He loves each one of you. But, being known by God and being His child by adoption through Jesus Christ is something totally different.

Jesus died for you in order for you to be God’s child and when you feel that call by faith in Him you can become a part of His family. It isn’t something that you choose on your own, He chooses you first, then you have to answer. If you don’t, then you have pushed Him away. This part won’t be good for you, now or in eternity, because you are telling Him “Not now, I’m busy” and “You’re not important to me”. Hopefully, He will keep trying to bring you into His family but you can push Him away only so many times. There may come a day when He chooses to let you go your way…not good at all.

Why do I say that? Because if you look at how humanity has fared without Him, it usually isn’t very good and depending on how far they move from God it can be very, very bad for all concerned. Even though God said that He would never again bring a flood on the Earth, that is why it came in the first place. Mankind had pushed Him out of their lives and went after their own ways and their own gods. This is why God chose Noah, because he had not gone the way of everyone else. Sometimes, following the crowd has very serious consequences. Think about it.

So much hatred today…


I have seen pictures of animals, dogs and cats, abused worse than anyone would allow a child to be and yet there is very little outrage or even coverage of their suffering. I know that there are slave traders working today, trafficking in children of both sexes and women too, which should be locked ourlovingsaviorup but they won’t be. Why? Because their clientele are rich and powerful which is why the trade is not cracked down on, particularly in countries outside the United States. The worst of those clientele, I imagine, actually live in the United States, we just don’t hear about it because they are wealthy enough to keep people quiet and behind doors and walls which disguise what is happening to whom.

Why is our world becoming this corrupt and sinful? Yet, it seems that it is getting worse as the days and years go by and it seems that fewer people even take notice of these crimes anymore. Whether the media is ignoring these crimes or possibly because we have become numb to the plight facing us, I just don’t know. Has our world become so corrupt that we just don’t see what is going on around us? Do we actually care about those who are abused, whether it is an animal or a human being? Some days it seems that we don’t.

Jesus cares about them all, children and adults, and He never leaves them alone even when they feel that they are. He came that they might have life, abundantly, even if the fulfillment of that promise might be in eternity. Your life and mine are important to God and when you cry out to Him, He hears your screams and your cries. He knows your pain and suffering because He is there!

Trust in Jesus to be your Savior. Ask Him to come in and make you more like Him and to turn your heart and your life around, so that you can be useful to Him and to His Kingdom! He will do these and more, if you will ask Him. God doesn’t force Himself into your life or into your heart, because love can’t be forced on anyone! The wisdom of the Bible which is God’s inspired Word comes from Him. It is not words from the men which wrote it down, because there is no way that men could accurately predict hundreds of years ahead of the crucifixion that Jesus would be crucified.

So many prophecies which point to Jesus are contained in books which were written over five hundred years or more before His birth. David penned the 22nd Psalm which describes the crucifixion and the parting of His garments over 900 years before it took place! Read it yourself if you want proof.

Our world today is nearly at the point of where mankind was before the flood of Noah. Cruel, haters of humanity and all things created, murderers, rapists, pedophiles, honestly the list could go on and on, but my point is this: we are very close to the point where God will say “Enough!”. Then, what will you do?

What Child is this?


To many in the church, regardless of the denomination, this Child is Jesus the Savior and our Messiah! But who is He to everyone else? Yes, Jesus has a name in many languages and in every book of the Bible but Who is He to you? See if I count His name in this list and if not, comment it for me…OK?

He is a Priest of the order of Melchizedek and before him. He is the Seed of the Woman and the Righteous Branch of Jesse. He is our Creator and the I AM. He is the Son of the Most High and the Son of Man. He is the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world. He is the Captain of the Lord’s Army. He is the fourth Man in the furnace. He is the Rock which gives water in the desert. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

He is the Babe wrapped in cloths lying in a manger Who was born to die on a cross. He is the One Who vanquished Satan’s temptations in the wilderness. He is the One that is greater than all, yet He was humble enough to wash His disciple’s feet. He was the Suffering Servant and the Lord’s Christ! He was wounded for our transgressions and it is by His stripes that we are healed! He is God with us, Emmanuel and our Advocate with the Father.

I have tried to remember most of the names which are given to Him in God’s Word but the one name that we should remember Him by is our Savior. Yours and mine and anyone else’s who will believe that He came here to take the sins of the WHOLE world on His shoulders…and paid the price for them by dying on the cross and then rising to life eternal on the third day! We can have hope in Him because He said that He would be coming again and being God, then He cannot lie! He will return and set the world back to the way it was supposed to be.

God loved us so much until a part of Himself came down to take our sins and the punishment for them on Himself in order to be able to forgive each and every person who would receive His grace and mercy by faith. It can’t be done any other way and there is nothing that you can add to it in order to make it better or more complete. He accomplished it all in those few hours on the cross and what we should do is accept it by faith in Him and then tell others about Him!

Unconditional


I will likely hear from some who don’t believe that this is true, but God doesn’t have conditions on His love for us. Just as most parents don’t have conditions regarding their love for their children and grandchildren, we love them because they are our children. They don’t have to perform to a standard to receive this or do a certain number of things to enjoy the benefits of our love, so why do people think that God would place such restrictions on His love for us?

He is the Creator of all, regardless of the “accidental” building of the universe and planets and everything else that is taught in most places of higher learning. Accidents only create pieces of stone, rock, earth, and very little else. God is the Creator and if you don’t believe that, its fine with me. Please don’t get upset about my beliefs because I am not trying to push them on you, if you don’t like them then go to another website.

My website is here for only one thing…to further the message of God and Jesus and hopefully to stir a little bit of wonderment and maybe cause some to seek Him out! I have four of these sites and they are all doing mostly the same thing, different messages in some respects, but I do try to bring the message which God gives me to anyone who may want to read it.

Our cosmos, the entire universe itself, was created to show His Glory to us, His majesty and His mercy in all of its forms. Why did it take the entirety of the universe to do this? Because He knew that one day we would be able to peer deeply into it and He wanted us to see that this part is just as wonderfully made as you and I are, even if it is over one billion light years away. God could create a star or galaxy that far away and still be here for the creation of our sun and our planet and us.

He was and is involved in your life and mine, whether you believe it or not. He is near you, all you need to do is seek Him out. God loves you and He doesn’t want you to suffer for eternity, but if you choose to reject His grace and Love through your own choices then you will get the same punishment which another rebel will get and that is permanent separation from God and all that is Holy and good.

The plans of Satan


I’m reading “The Third Heaven: The Birth of God” by Donovan Neal, Natalie Davis and wanted to share this quote with you.

This quote below is from a speech which Lucifer/Satan was giving to his followers, his fallen angels, regarding how they were to interact with humanity. His plan seems to have worked very well considering how our world is today, don’t you think?

“Follow the pattern that I have set, and make the male dominate the female, set young against old and use their hues and shade of skin to divide them. Raise up among them great ones, and those of low estate plant greed and envy in their ranks. Sow fear and distrust amongst them, that they never see unity of worship to El”

In our world today, there is no “unity of worship” toward God or almost any other religion. We are fractured and broken to a point of disagreement which staggers the imagination. Many divisions in the church such that there are approximately 38,000 denominations worldwide. How is this unity of worship, even though almost all of these are Christian churches? We split on disagreements between friends, deacons and the pastor and many other things it seems, sometimes we split over trivial things.

The church which started on the day of Pentecost, is not the church that we have today. Most congregations are more interested, it seems, in the number of people listed as members and the attendance on Sundays, as well as the amount given in the offering plates, than they are in serving the Lord and becoming more like Jesus!

To give you a bit of accuracy and credentials to back this up, here is a definition which will clear things up a bit:

Denominations. A denomination is defined in this Encyclopedia as an organized aggregate of worship centers or congregations of similar ecclesiastical tradition within a specific country; i.e. as an organized Christian church or tradition or religious group or community of believers, within a specific country, whose component congregations and members are called by the same denominational name in different areas, regarding themselves as one autonomous Christian church distinct from other denominations, churches and traditions. As defined here, world Christianity consists of 6 major ecclesiastico-cultural blocs, divided into 300 major ecclesiastical traditions, composed of over 33,000 distinct denominations in 238 countries, these denominations themselves being composed of over 3,400,000 worship centers, churches or congregations.” (Barrett et al, volume 1, page 16, Table 1-5, emphasis added)   (http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/a106.htm)

The church which began soon after the resurrection of Jesus, has splintered into so many pieces which have many differing views and rules and orders of worship, until it seems that it is no longer a unified body of believers at all. While it is true that most of them worship God and Jesus as His Son, some have a different viewpoint regarding exactly Who they are.

Some don’t believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, some teach that parts of the Bible, God’s Holy Inspired Word, are wrong or that it doesn’t apply to the “modern church”.

God doesn’t change and His Word is true today just as it was at the time that He inspired the writers to write it down. There are no parts of it which are wrong, unless you just don’t want to believe it because it offends you or someone you love. God’s Word is true because God doesn’t change and He gave the words to those who wrote it down, so why is it that people don’t want to believe it? Because, we don’t want to learn the rules or learn about God.

Many don’t want to become a Christian because they believe that the rules will keep them from enjoying their life. Why do you believe this? The rules in the Old Testament about food and the sacrifices needed don’t apply to us today! The Ten Commandments will condemn you because all of us have broken one or two or more of them and they do still carry the same punishment that they did when they were given.

If you won’t give your life to Jesus and ask Him to come into your life and change your heart into His, why not? Have you felt a hollow feeling in your life and have never been able to fill it with the things of this world? The reason is because that empty place is made for Jesus to fill and nothing else. All of us have felt that place inside us which we know is empty and we feel like something should be there, but we don’t know what. Some of us go for many years without finding out what fits in that place…well now you know. The Holy Spirit of God fits in there and He only comes when you ask Jesus to come in and cleanse you, making you whole and a part of God’s family.

Inner strength and beauty


Have you noticed that people who stay together the longest have these two in spades! Inner strength comes from your character and that is truly based upon your beliefs, whatever they might be. Strength on the inside is the kind which comes from outside yourself, it is not physical but spiritual and it is in contrast to your beliefs and your faith in that which gives you strength.

Is your faith in a “man-made” religion or god? If it is then your faith is in something which cannot last. We have many religions which are manufactured by man, although some of them seem to be based on the Word of God. Many people have taken a few phrases or verses from one chapter of the Bible and created an entire doctrine around it. It may not be what Jesus taught or even based on anything which He said, but it sounds good and it can be said to “be based on God’s Word” even if it is only based on one or two verses.

Man-made religions are not the same, even though to the outside world they appear to be the same. If you get enough people to follow your teaching and they like the message enough, then they will back you when it comes time to build a larger church. Sometimes, a sermon or a theology which is based on or around the words and teachings found in the New Testament is not very popular. Because…it is based upon the Truth of God’s Word! There will likely be fewer people who like your message, but those who do are committed to learning about Him.

Inner beauty is found in people whose character is shaped by their belief in God and Jesus Christ. Yes, there are some who are beautiful regardless of the religion which they follow or even if they follow any religion at all, but they are few in number. I am not speaking here of outer beauty, but the kind that is inside a person. Outer beauty comes from your parents but it doesn’t really last because as we grow older, out face will change and our body changes. We don’t look as “beautiful” or as “handsome” as we may have when we were younger. Beauty is fleeting and it is only skin deep as far as your outer beauty is concerned.

Inner strength comes from our faith in something or Someone greater than ourselves, like Jesus. The martyrs from the past, who were killed in horrendous ways like burning or being gored by bulls or ripped apart by lions, faced their deaths with dignity and strength that they drew from knowing that they belonged to Jesus! Nothing could separate them from Him because if they died, regardless of the manner of their death, they would be with Him!

Today, we all need strength from God more than we do anything else. Because of the persecution and the negative things which are said of Christians these days. In the next decade, it will likely get much worse than it is now and it is not something which your children are prepared for. We aren’t prepared for it! But…its coming. Lean on Jesus and learn about Him from the Bible, even if it is outlawed to possess a Bible, keep one hidden somewhere that you can read. Make sure that you have a place to go that is safe, if possible, because we are coming to a time when unrest is going to be everywhere.

Why did Jesus come the first time?


It seems that this is the real question that many are wondering, particularly those who attend church but don’t study their Bibles. This is also a rant, in a way, from a pastor to those who come to church. Please don’t take this personally.

We have heard and seen and sometimes read the story about Jesus’ birth. How it was foretold in the Old Testament, brought to reality in the New Testament. The people involved were told by the angel, Gabriel, that this was going to happen to them. All of these Bible facts are there and available to read at any time. Yet, there are so many “blank stares” in congregations which seems to tell me that much of this information is doing exactly what our parents said: “It goes in one ear and right out the other, with no deposit in between.”

If sermons and revivals and going to Bible school don’t plant any of this so that you take it in and believe it, then what do you come to church for? The food and fellowship?

Jesus came because of the love that God has for ALL OF US! Yes, He came first for Israel but God knew before this that He would be rejected. We are always outside of the intended target audience, but when they refused to believe then we, as gentiles, were offered the “prize” from that point on.

What is that prize? The offer of forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus and our belief in Him, that is the prize! It is a gift to us, one that we can’t afford and can’t pay for ourselves! But it is offered to us if we will believe in Him and ask for forgiveness from our sins. From that point, our only purpose is to tell others of His grace and love for them and that it is available to them too.

The scripture of John 3:17 says it best:

john317

The world. Not just a few people from one country or nationality, but all of mankind are offered this salvation. Free for the asking, for those who seek it, for all of us who need it and that includes everyone everywhere. The Son of God didn’t come to condemn us for not understanding the Word of God and He didn’t come to do anything more than to offer us salvation. He healed some people of disease and ailments which only God could do, such as the man who was born blind. Why did Jesus do this? Because it was foretold that He would and because of their hard hearts, it was necessary to get their attention.

There are miraculous healing’s being done today, but not as radical and unusual as some that He did. Some of them today are radical, like a tumor which goes away completely with no medical intervention. That kind of healing can only come from God and by the faith of those involved. We are loved by God and I can’t give you a reason for it, except to say that He loves us because of Who He is!

Seek Him out, look for Him in the Bible, learn about Him through His Word. Even if you don’t like to come to church, read His Word and ask Him to show Himself to you in it. He is there for all to find and know, all you need to do is seek Him out in it. His majesty is around you in the trees, the stars and the entirety of the universe but all of that is His creation, it is the Creator that you should worship and He is available to those who seek Him out!