To believe or not to believe…


Literal, figurative, metaphorically or not at all… which one describes your belief when it comes to the scriptures? This is part and parcel of our belief in God and His Son, so why is it such a big deal in the 21st century?

Does it have to do with the miracles found in God’s Word? Are they truly that unbelievable? Consider Who it is that performed these miracles, our Lord and Creator! God commanded the stars to be and the light to shine and all of the animals to populate the waters on the Earth by His spoken Word. So why is it so difficult to believe that the words in the Bible, though they were written down by men, are true and accurate?

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, was a literal person because He is spoken of in historical writings of the day and time that He was alive. The same can be said of His disciples and others who lived during that time, so why is it easier to call the Bible a figurative book of historical metaphors rather than the inerrant Word of God?

Would you believe so strongly in a metaphorical account or a figurative account which could be true but may not be true? Could you have faith in the God mentioned in a book which is only figurative or mostly made up of metaphors? Would you believe in it and in the Savior spoken of in its pages strongly enough to be burned at the stake for your beliefs? I don’t think that all of the martyrs of the ages would’ve believed in it or in Jesus for their salvation if it was shown to be only a “figurative or metaphorical” book.

Yet there are some study materials out today which claim that this is what we read when we are reading the Bible.

The prophecies which are in the Old Testament pointed to a Savior being born in a certain town to a virgin at a certain time. There are also other prophecies which foretold of empires being brought down or coming into existence hundreds of years before they were. No amount of “wishful thinking”, metaphorically or otherwise can predict something that accurately. Only God can tell the end from the beginning and speak about things which are not as if they were.

What kind of love do you have?


God loves each of us with our faults and our imperfections, we can love our children without a reason other than they are our kids. I love my wife because she is a gift from God! Have you ever considered what kind of love do you have in your life?

I do realize that there are people who have not been loved very much in their lives and it is a very sad thing. Because, if they have never felt loved by their parents or grandparents or their spouse then how can they love themselves or others? Love is one emotion which multiplies when it is given to another, most of the time. If you give your love to someone and they don’t return it in kind, then it is like a water hose hitting a rock, it splashes a lot but it will take a long time to penetrate.

Life feels empty and hollow when there is a feeling of being unloved. Here is the only case study that I could find to show the effect of a lack of affection:

CASE STUDY

In the United States, 1944, an experiment was conducted on 40 newborn infants to determine whether individuals could thrive alone on basic physiological needs without affection. Twenty newborn infants were housed in a special facility where they had caregivers who would go in to feed them, bathe them and change their diapers, but they would do nothing else. The caregivers had been instructed not to look at or touch the babies more than what was necessary, never communicating with them. All their physical needs were attended to scrupulously and the environment was kept sterile, none of the babies becoming ill.

The experiment was halted after four months, by which time, at least half of the babies had died at that point. At least two more died even after being rescued and brought into a more natural familial environment. There was no physiological cause for the babies’ deaths; they were all physically very healthy. Before each baby died, there was a period where they would stop verbalizing and trying to engage with their caregivers, generally, stop moving, nor cry or even change expression; death would follow shortly. The babies who had “given up” before being rescued, died in the same manner, even though they had been removed from the experimental conditions.

The conclusion was that nurturing is actually a very vital need in humans. Whilst this was taking place, in a separate facility, the second group of twenty newborn infants were raised with all their basic physiological needs provided and the addition of affection from the caregivers. This time, however, the outcome was as expected, no deaths encountered.

Here is the link to this if you would like to check it for yourself. Truly, we need nurturing development regardless of our age. The same goes for your relationship with your spouse or with Jesus. Your spouse can withhold any or all of the affection that is needed in a relationship, but your relationship will suffer greatly because of it.

Jesus doesn’t keep His love from us because He showed His love to all of us by His death and resurrection! He did that even though most of us were still sinners. Why do I say this? Because the population of the world at the time was much smaller than it is today. Yet, He died for our sins whether we were actually living at the time or not! “But, that doesn’t make sense?” you might ask. It does when you consider that God can see ALL of history since He is outside of time. He can see and know every person that ever lived even though they may not be physically alive at this moment.

That is why He says to one of His prophets: “I knew you before you were“. God loves each of us because of what He knows about us even before we are born. Make sure that your life reflects His love toward anyone that you meet daily. Begin your day with a reading of His Word, maybe just a few verses to begin with. Working up to a chapter each day will wash your mind and heart with His Word before any other stuff happens in your walk with Him.

Seek Him through the Bible, learn His voice by reading His Word, pray and ask Him to give you an understanding of His Word and when the Holy Spirit draws you to Him…please don’t turn away from His call.

He makes me lie down….


Psalm23Today I am speaking from a position not so unlike the title. I had a doctor visit this morning because of some allergies and a possible chest infection, so I am taking meds for it and I am writing to you from a bed. Before anyone asks or thinks about this, I am not in such health that I can’t get around but I am trying to listen to my doctor’s advice.

God does the same thing to us at times and just as the Psalmist wrote in the 23rd Psalm, He does make us lie down at times. Usually it is for our own good but sometimes it is to get our attention or to get us to hear Him like we should. God enjoys hearing our prayers and our needs, although He already knows what they are, but He also enjoys it when we are willing to listen to Him. Why did I put some of those words in bold-face? Because, many times we really DON’T listen to Him or even listen for His voice!

We say our prayers and end it with “in Jesus’ name, Amen” and then go about our business. I am not saying that we shouldn’t expect an answer when we pray sincerely about a need in our life or someone else’s, but ending it like that is like calling your Mom or Dad telling them what is happening, how you feel, and could you send me some money or help, thank you, goodbye!

How would you feel? I don’t know how you would feel but I wouldn’t answer that prayer or request at all, but I am only human. If you don’t ever let God speak to you when you pray, that is what it seems to me would possibly happen. Of course, that is looking at it from our point of view and our way of thinking and that is not how God thinks or feels at all. He knows what we need and when we need it, so He will likely answer that prayer anyway, but it may not be when you want it answered.

He is our Creator, our Redeemer and our Father in Heaven and just like fathers here on Earth, He likes to hear from us but He also likes to speak to us as well. Give Him a chance! You wouldn’t pick up the phone and call your Dad and tell him all the stuff that isn’t working in your life and ask for help in fixing it and then just hang up would you? It is likely that you wouldn’t get a very good call back after that either.

God, thankfully, isn’t like us with our petty hurts and feelings. He loves us so deeply that He sent Jesus to take the punishment for ALL of mankind, so we, meaning everyone, could have a relationship with Him IF we will believe in Jesus and His atoning work on the cross! He did it for us, all of us, and yet we as the human race have rejected Him for a long, long time. Even Christians make up their own “god” and rules which he will follow, thinking that by going to church their “god” will allow them to get into Heaven one day.

Of course the problem with that thinking is: we have made an idol in our own minds to be our god. It is not fashioned with gold or silver or carved from wood, but we have placed god in a box which limits him to a being which is more to our liking and comfortable. But…that is NOT God! He won’t share the throne or any of our worship and praise with that puny idea in our heads!

The Bible is God’s written Word and His way of speaking to each of us and we need to take it as literally the Truth from the Holy Spirit which is part of the Trinity. God did not mince words when He spoke the world and all of the animals into existence nor did He mumble when He gave the Ten Commandments to Moses! If you want to know God, read the Bible and learn from Him about Himself!

The end of the season


Summer-to-FallWe have finished the summer season, although here in the Deep South, the heat will linger on until sometime in late September or possibly through October. We only have two seasons anyway, less heat and more heat. Usually with the “more heat” we also get more rain and more humidity too, so late spring for most everyone is sticky for us and it only gets more sticky as the summer goes on. Life, of course, goes on. We have mildew and mold in places where it should not be. After April or early May, it is not enjoyable to watch the Braves play baseball in Pearl because even sitting in the stands you are wringing wet with sweat (which is why I never buy season tickets).

Yep, seasons in the South are rarely the kind that you can actually enjoy outside. You just trudge through the humidity and the ticks and the mosquitos and hope you don’t come down with West Nile virus or Lyme disease. Living in Mississippi is not exactly a challenge as much as it is an ongoing ordeal in humidity. By now, you have probably noticed that I don’t really like the humidity here. Even though I have lived here since I was five, I would much rather live in the Midwest.

But, economics and all that goes with it demands that I stay put so I do. The Bible says that we are placed in the world to be light and hope for others. We are also to be the voice of Jesus in the places where we live and work, by telling others about Him when the situation comes along. So why aren’t we doing this? As members of the church and the body of Jesus Christ on Earth, we are supposed to be His feet and hands and mouth by doing what He would do and going where He would go and telling others about the grace offered to them through God’s grace.

This is the commission which He gave to His disciples when He went to Heaven and it is still valid for us today. As scripture says, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10:14

We are supposed to be those who tell others about Jesus so that they will have a chance to know Him and come into eternity when He returns. If we don’t do this when we have the chance to do it, then it will fall on each of us as taking away some of our rewards in Heaven. Those who have been near you who don’t know about Jesus, especially if they have asked you about Him, are the field which is white unto harvest.

We are supposed to tell them so that God can have more people brought into His Kingdom. You don’t have to preach or be a missionary, just tell anyone who asks what He has done for you in all things. This medium is a good way to do this but you should be ready when someone is seeking the reason for your joy.

A church reborn!


The church today is nothing like what Jesus intended for it to be. Why is that? Have we not heard from the Bible or have we been sitting in church but not listening?

Let me give you a quote from A.W. Tozer who wrote The Crucified LIfe:

The late Dr. A. W. Tozer, author and pastor, said, “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”

In our churches today, whether they are Baptist, Methodist or Presbyterian, would anyone notice is the Holy Spirit was not present? In some churches, I don’t believe that anyone would notice at all. Is it possible to follow Christ so closely until there is little difference in your actions and deeds? I am not sure that any church would want to be revived enough to live that close to Jesus.

The things of God, which we hear about from our reading the Bible and from the sermon on Sunday, are what make up our faith and our trust in Him. We also delight in the Lord because of His goodness and the value of the treasures that are in our Heavenly home and not the one that we occupy here! When we value those things that God values then we stand with Him, spiritually, in heaven even when we are still here. We walk with Him here and seek His revealing on Earth and we will live for eternity.

Paul wrote about this in 1 Thessalonians chapter 1:

1 Thessalonians 1

King James Version

1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.
7 So that ye were examples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

VineandBranchesIf our church, regardless of the denomination, is to be reborn then we must do it soon. Repent and ask for God’s forgiveness of our arrogance and our prideful ways. We have been prideful for many years in the church, thinking that our doctrines and our bylaws govern us and get us within reach of Jesus. That kind of thinking will send many straight to hell.

Why? Because no amount of works or money or “wisdom” from a preacher or a committee can equal the wisdom of God’s Word! Changing words around or even taking them from Scripture and calling the “new bible” an improved “translation” is also a good way to lead many into hell. That is an eternity which I don’t want to be responsible for, nor do I want to go into eternity without Jesus.

If you are a preacher and you are teaching your congregation that your doctrine or your “new translation” is the way to reach Heaven, please realize that you are taking a whole church into an eternity with Satan. You will be held responsible for leading them down the wrong path and you will suffer for it regardless of your belief in the eternal nature of Hell itself!

The eclipse…


I know that I am not the only person writing about this but it is a big deal. I mean this eclipse can be seen by most of the United States! Maybe not in totality but any portion of our Sun obscured is a big deal. I took a picture with my cell phone and it doesn’t look as good as others but I am going to show it here:

Eclipse by phoneThere will be another eclipse for the Eastern half of the USA in seven years so maybe others will get to see that one too. Our God is Awesome! I hope that you had a chance to get out and see this event today. According to our news media there were more people watching this peacefully than have gathered together in a long time. We need this kind of unity!

Life is all around us every day but sometimes we only see the darkness. Take heart, the darkness only lasts for a little while. In an eclipse or in life, the dark times which do come, only last for a bit and then they are replaced by the Light of God’s love. Sometimes the darkness last for a while longer, but if you lean on Jesus and seek His strength during this time, you will get through it and emerge into the Light.

The darkness of the totality during an eclipse is truly dark as I observed on TV, but it only lasted for a couple of minutes in most places. Then the light began to return. It is the same with our lives today. When the darkness overtakes us, it seems very, very dark for a while but you are not alone. Jesus is always by your side if you believe in Him as your Savior.

God loves each of us so much that He sent His Son to live and die on a cross for us. Paying our sin debt in full so that we don’t have anything to boast of except for Jesus alone! Life is sometimes dark and dreary but the good news is that Jesus is the Light of the World and in Him only are we saved, sanctified and given eternal life! There is no other Savior nor any other way to accomplish this except through Jesus the Christ!

Please be in prayer for all who have not made the decision to give their lives to Jesus because, regardless of your idea of a Savior or whether there even is a God, believe the Bible as God’s Word and it is True! He loves you and there is no one else in this universe that could love you more than He does! Don’t turn away from Him when you feel His call in your life, in your heart because you may not get the chance again.

Are the -ism’s the real problem?


genetic-variationWe have so many of these today. Consider this, we have communism, Islamism, racism, nationalism and many other -ism’s which are part of the names of religions besides Islam. The minority’s which are on television and all of the media outlets today are the loudest and the most virulent and violent which is why they have everyone’s attention.

I am not speaking of a “racial minority”, just the few percent who are loudly proclaiming their rights and that their voice be heard. Their voice is on all of the social media “channels” so to speak which makes their demands and their voice louder than it would’ve been if they were only on news programs.

But…truly, are these the real problem or is this just a symptom of a larger problem which has been building over the decades?

Racism has been swept under the collective rug of our consciousness and if not forgotten then they haven’t been out in the air for a while. At least not until the past decade or so.

I suppose it has been simmering a bit here and there because there have been flare-ups of violence from time to time, but these days those flare-ups are threatening to go widespread. We, as a nation of Christians, need to do something even if it is “only prayer”!! God knows what is happening and it was foretold in scripture that near the time of tribulation this would be happening. The real problem is that it is going to get worse before it gets better. Much worse.

We need desperately to draw near to our Lord…NOW! Stop posting about it and talking about it and DO IT! Because if we don’t and if we don’t tell others that it is needed, our towns and cities will become powder kegs which will explode and become wild fires! God loves each of us and even if we can’t come together to worship Him without looking at the name of the church or the color of our skin, then we desperately need to examine our faith in the One Who died for us.

Make sure of your salvation in Jesus before He comes back. Before the times truly do get bad in the world, because when He comes and those who are taken up are gone, the violence of today will look tame in comparison to what will come afterward. If you truly believe the Bible is the Word of God…then believe that He cannot lie.

How much?


Life itself is full of contradictions. How much or how little? Where and when did evolution begin? When did the first ape/human make the leap in knowledge in order to become more than she/he was before? All of the contradictions in life can be looked at as a different view of the chicken and the egg. A chicken comes from an egg so where did the egg come from?

Genesis1In a scientific view humanity and animals are not so different because at one point far back in the past we were the same. But, the logical viewpoint actually falls to having a Creator or as some circles call it, Intelligent Designer. Whatever label you place on God, He is the determining Factor in all of Creation. Call Him what you will but He is and always will be God!

How much proof do you need? Some people can see the Designer in a blade of grass or in a newborn baby. Some try to argue that evolution is the right way to go and that we all came from a single cell far back when the planet was young. Thermodynamics and chaos theory would disagree with you.

I am not a mathematician, so I am not and will not be drawn into a theoretical discussion in this matter. Generally, when you toss a bunch of sticks or 2 x 4’s into the air, they don’t spontaneously form into a deck or a puzzle. You will only have a pile of wood before and after unless there is a builder or Designer to act upon the pieces to form them into an orderly combination of pieces such as a deck or any other combination.

It is also the same way that natural processes work. No natural system goes from simple to complex. Systems in nature usually go from a complex state to a more simple one. A rusty old car will break down into a pile of iron oxide if given enough time, it will not change into a Bentley if it started out as a Pinto!

God’s design of our universe and the stars and planets which populate it, is impeccable. The cells in your body and in all animals in the world, cold-blooded or warm-blooded, work perfectly in sync in those who are healthy. Cells which do all of the things which they do in our bodies, didn’t evolve to do this, God designed them for each part of your body! Your nerve cells, your brain cells, the cells in your bone marrow which make all of your blood cells, these did not come into being because of mutations and selection!

God is our Creator and Designer and He is the One which placed the stars in their courses and the planets too. Each comet and asteroid in our solar system is where He intended for it to be. Not one grain of sand is out-of-place in God’s sight, no matter where it may be. He knows each of us more intimately than we could ever know ourselves because He knew you and your personality and your intellect long before you or I were born!

How much proof do you need? We and all other life on Earth were created by God and in the beginning life was perfect enough to live a life of thousands of years. Until we thought that we could do better than God. When the decision was made to defy God and go our way, that is when disease and shorter lifespans came into the world. Don’t throw your eternity away by thinking that some man-made religion can save you because it can’t.

Even the religion of “evolution” can’t hold up to entropy: The law of increasing entropy — also known as the second law of thermodynamics — stipulates that all systems in the real world tend to go “downhill,” as it were, toward disorganization and decreased complexity.

Give your heart to Jesus. Seek Him out as your Savior and follow Him. That is the only way into eternity and Heaven, by believing in Him…our Creator!

Faith


FAITH

focused – focused on a goal

attainable – possible, practical goals

individual – personal goals

trackable – trackable goal

heartfelt – heartfelt goal

Faith…it is a gift of God, indeed, but one which must be realized and cultivated as any other gift if it is to realize the purpose for which it is given. (A.W. Tozer)

Consider that faith is something which is given to each of us by God through the action of the Holy Spirit to bring our hearts into alignment with His goals and purposes. It is not a magic formula nor is it something unique to Christians. Many people have faith in their jobs or their religion or even in their government..at least to an extent.

Faith is the belief in something which is hoped for yet is unseen at this point. Just as Abraham had heard God tell him to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. He knew that God has also promised him that through Isaac a people, a nation would arise. So, he followed God’s command to go to the mountain and build an altar to sacrifice his son upon it. He likely felt that if he did take Isaac’s life, God would raise him from the dead in order to fulfill His promise. God provided another sacrifice in the place of Isaac, but it was by the faith of Abraham that God did that too.

Faith is powerful in our lives today because it is by faith that we believe in Jesus and in the atonement granted to us by His death on the cross and His resurrection as our Savior. We couldn’t believe in this or any of the promises from God’s Word without faith. Also, faith in and of itself is not a “magic” word nor is praying in the name of Jesus. Even though you hear it and learn it in church, these words only have meaning in your walk with your Savior. 

If there is no relationship between you and Jesus then your faith and your prayers don’t accomplish much. Walking with Him, reading His Word and using the strength that you find in your relationship with Him to be more like Him is the best relationship that you can have! A marriage with Jesus holding the two of you together is also the best and most rewarding marriage that you can have as well.

God designed each of us to want a relationship with Him but many people try to fill that feeling of emptiness with other people or things and just like a puzzle piece in a jigsaw puzzle, only one fits in that spot. That is where Jesus goes. Don’t let “feel good” preaching tell you otherwise and don’t think of any book, other than God’s Word, as being your guide in this life or as a guide to eternity!

We have God’s Word for a reason. The acronym that best describes it is this: Basic Instructions for Believing and Living Everyday!

Read it, study it, pray about it and through it and live by its wisdom and your life will have a purpose which is given to you and ordained by God our Creator Himself. Living by His Word can only be accomplished by FAITH so make sure that yours is grounded in Jesus and His Word.

Which god do you follow?


In today’s society, we have many gods. Phones, careers, cars, games, family, Facebook, all qualify to some extent as our “gods” at one time or another. Sometimes, we have more than one. We can’t leave the house or even get up in the morning without checking our phones and then we check in on Facebook. If we lose our phones, we will nearly tear the house apart trying to find this pocket computer which demands our attention every day!

Don’t make that face about this, you know that what I have written here is true because you have seen it in church or at home and certainly on the highway, although I hope not while you are driving. So, yes we have many gods which seem to claim so much of our time on a daily basis, sometimes even hourly, because I have seen people in my family at the dinner table or walking outside with the phone in front of them. They can’t seem to see past that four or five-inch screen in front of their faces.

I may be showing my age here but…how can you live like that?? There is so much more beauty and life going on around you without that screen taking all of your attention and you are missing most of it because of status updates or messages!! Whoever came up with that word certainly had the right idea to begin it with “mess”, because that is exactly what they do! Keeping up with those balloon messages and notification tones keeps many people occupied so much until they can’t pay attention to the rest of their life!

CallofDutyHow much better would our society be if we paid that much attention to the Bible? If we had to have it with us every day and read a part of it every hour of our waking day, wouldn’t our world be so much better than it is? I know we would offend many people by having our Bible out when we eat at the restaurant or when we sit to drink some coffee. But, wouldn’t our society really benefit much more in the area of morality and decent behavior if we patterned our life around God’s instructions for life, His Word?

A novel idea which, in my opinion, has come full circle and it is time for it to take its place in our society again. In schools, in the home, in business and in government, God’s Word should be consulted for all of these. Not as a state religion but as a guide to get our country back on the path which it started out on to begin with.