Criticism in the church

This is something that the church has had in it from the beginning. Regardless of the people or the denomination, when there’s a revival or a movement of God’s Spirit happening there’s going to be pushback from those who are very rigid in their faith.

There have been low periods in our country and around the world where it has seemed that God has not been present but when He shows up, things begin to change. There’s a reawakening in the church and the community, and sometimes it spills over into the area around the church. God is good at bringing a revival but we need to be seeking it as well. It won’t come if we are trying to keep Him in the “box” we’ve made for Him.

The movement of God’s Spirit that is happening now couldn’t be seen a couple of years ago but it’s here. Pray for those whose lives are being changed. Maybe your life will be drawn closer to Him as well.

The Diligent Worker Shall Be Satisfied

The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing, But the desire of the diligent shall be fully satisfied. (Proverbs 13:4)

As I adjusted to the general education system in 6th grade, my mother taught me the principle of working hard. This is something that still resonates with me today, especially with senior year right around the corner.

Now that I am a senior getting ready to graduate high school, there comes the temptation to slack off and blow everything off to the last minute. This temptation is especially going to come with a 3-10 page research paper that all seniors must complete prior to graduating. However, every grade in the gradebook counts, because now you are looking for colleges and universities that demand such high academic standards. For many, Zoom and remote learning has created the perfect opportunity for us to be lazy and shoot for mediocrity.

However, it is the diligent, hard-working person who reaps profitable results. This attitude of diligence is what landed me on the honor roll for five consecutive school years, and what allowed me to earn the Principal’s Award for Mathematics this past school year.

When God sees our work ethic (whether in our academics, our personal responsibilies, our career, or even the way we worship and serve God), we will inevitaly reap good fruit. To be clear: You sow the seed of diligence, while God Himself produces the results.

Today, let us all use today as a day of productivity, not being idle or lax in what we done, but pour out our hearts and souls into each and every task or assignment God gives us. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us the wisdom and motivation to work for the kingdom of God, and for those around us. Amen!

Have you been blessed today?

Many of us might say that we feel terrible and our health has not improved so no I don’t feel blessed today. God gave you another day to live and pray for your healing and your blessing so why do you feel this way? Because the pain isn’t gone. Because my money, my bank account is still empty. Keep praying, keep believing in God and His promises because He loves you and He will answer. God blesses us with another day to live and work and serve Him with all of our strength and with everything we have because we should do so! He gave His Son for your salvation. He sent Jesus to pay the price for your sins and mine and everyone in the past, present and future of this world. That gift alone should be enough to feel blessed today!

If you are alive and breathing and able to read this then you have been blessed and your forgiveness is available through Jesus and your eternity depends upon your decision to follow Him from this day forward. Pray that He will save you and He will do it! Then follow Him by reading His Word and telling others about His provision and blessing.

If you need something, give yourself

This is not a “prosperity gospel” post. When you give yourself freely and unashamedly to the Lord as His disciple there is no greater gift that you can give beyond that. God sees your worth as being far above any monetary amount that you could come up with and remember…Jesus didn’t go around asking for donations. He went looking for disciples to learn of His ministry and its message and when the time was right to take that message to those who would receive it.

God has never changed His position on being able to use each of us and our talents for His ministry. God doesn’t need your money, He already has wealth beyond our imagining. I mean just think about it. He paved the streets of Heaven with gold, pure gold! The doors are made with one single pearl and the foundation of Heaven is made from twelve different precious stones including amethyst, garnet and diamond. Why would He need a measly fifty or one hundred dollars?

God can bless you beyond your ability to contain it, so get into His work, do His work, and then see what comes into your life after that. Your reward could be far more than you could imagine.

Gifts of the Spirit

In Galatians 5:22 Paul writes this: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.

If each of us who are living as Christians has these fruits which are evident in our speech and in our lives every day then others will see them and know that we belong to Christ. So, how can we show these fruits to others? Notice the very first one is love, without this in your heart which Jesus placed there because He loved you and me first none of the other fruits will grow in your life at all.

The second fruit is joy and it is expressed not by being happy all of the time but by knowing the joy of being loved by God! Knowing this there is nothing in this world which can get to you and get you down. Oh, there will be days and sometimes weeks when something or someone will get you down but if you will start your day with a prayer and thank God for another day to serve Him then He will lift you up!

God will not allow you to have a really bad day if you start it with Him first! Just as the Feast of Firstfruits blesses the rest of the harvest when we bring our “firstfruits” to God, beginning the day with Him does the very same thing. Thank Him for another day to serve when you wake up, or soon after, and the rest of the day will be blessed. Does this mean that nothing will go wrong if you do this daily? No, it is not a guarantee of a perfect day every day, but it is a step in the right direction.

Peace and patience come with the other gifts and fruits but never, ever pray for patience! You will learn the lesson but you will not enjoy it. The peace which we know through Christ is the peace which we have knowing that our future in eternity is sealed! Kindness is a fruit which goes along with love and patience and all of the other fruits which the Spirit gives to each of us when we are made into “new creations in Christ“. Of course, even as believers, we are still at war with our “old nature which has passed away“, even though it (our old nature) is conquered in Christ it still is used by Satan to try to make us stumble and fall and doubt our salvation.

All of the fruits of the spirit are available to us but every believer will not show all of them. Some will have one or two, some will show all of them as they mature in their salvation through prayer and learning from God’s Word. Just as God gives us gifts through His Spirit, He also gives us our fruits of His Spirit so that others can see that we belong to Him and want what we have. So, if you are a child of God, seek out your gifts and your fruit and give some away to others. Amen

A world without Jesus…

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A world where Jesus was not born in Bethlehem? Because the Bible is full of prophecies concerning His birth, He had to be born! There is no possible outcome or future in which He did not come! We would not have a world worth living in if He had not been born. Even the Bible itself would be completely in error if He had not been born. A world without Jesus would be one without hope and without the possibility of knowing God…ever!

God loves us and it is this love which determined before the world was formed, that humanity needed a Savior. Our entire world and any hope of eternity would be shattered or rather it would’ve never been if our Messiah, our Savior, Yeshua, had not been born in this world to a virgin named Mary. Why am I posting this question on the very day which most people celebrate the birth of Jesus? It is just an imaginary, theoretical test for those who may read this to see if you can even imagine a world without His influence in it.

I cannot even imagine it in the least!

I can imagine, at least in a small way, how a world might have been without Adolf Hitler or even the attack on Pearl Harbor. The reason that I say this is because both of these have had worldwide consequences, just as the birth of Jesus still has an impact on the world even today. So can anyone comprehend how our world would be if Jesus had not been born?

I am a preacher and a student of the Bible. As such, I know that the Bible itself would be worthless if He had not been born because His coming was foretold as far back as the Garden of Eden. God said the “seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head and the serpent would bruise His heel”.

Since taking Jesus’ birth out of the history of our world would make the entire Bible worthless, many of the laws which are in the world today would be non-existent. Many, if not all, of the laws and even some countries, would not be if that were the case. The hope of eternity would never be a part of our lives and the entire world would be under Satan’s control which God could not and would not allow!

A world without Jesus the Christ in it would be a chaotic and terrible place to live. The lack of the Promise of His coming would not have given the Patriarchs any hope for Israel or their future. We would have no hope for eternity or salvation. This world would be one in which many of us, if not most, would not want to live in at all! Without the Promise of His coming, there would’ve been no reason to dry up the waters of the Flood from the world and there would be no reason to give mankind hope even in the saving of Noah’s family.

To shorten this narrative, there would be no reason to even begin the story of mankind if Jesus was never to be born. Which is why God did decide to intervene in history Himself and come to be born of a virgin, clothed in humanity and to take the sins of the whole world on Himself in order to give ALL of mankind a True Hope to look for and believe in.

God’s Hand

God’s Hand has moved since the very beginning of His Word and recorded history. It was His hand which flung the stars into the heavens and it was His hands which placed the Moon and all of the planets in their orbits along with the Sun itself. It was by the hands of God that the first man was created and formed from the clay and dirt in Eden and by God’s breath, the man became a living soul. It was God’s hands which took a rib from Adam’s side to form a helper for him, perfectly suited for her task.

In the Word of God, His hands have moved nations and kings, people and circumstances, so that His will for our salvation and for the world’s salvation would come about the way that He knew that it should. Does He move in our lives today in small ways and in big ways to bring about that which He knows we should do for His glory and for our good?

I believe that He does exactly that! We may not perceive it before we feel the need to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, but many times each of us could’ve been killed and we weren’t. I believe that it was at those times when His hand or maybe an angel that He sent intervened in our circumstances and kept us on the path toward His usefulness for us.

God used the circumstances of Joseph to save the nation of Egypt and his family too which grew into the nation of Israel while in captivity. If all of the things which happened to Joseph had not happened the way they did, things would’ve been much different. But God orchestrated all of the things, good and bad as we read of them, in order to place him in the position of authority to save his family from starvation. God still does these…adjustments today in our lives each day. Whether we see them or not. A car veers off before we are in a wreck, or an old tire doesn’t blow out on us even when we are driving too fast. All of these “little miracles” which we don’t see or even know about are happening all around us. We may find out about them when we get to heaven.

Why do I write about this today? Because of all the small miracles which do happen and we don’t know about them, God is using them to bring His will to bear in our lives and in the world around us. Would we call them miracles if we knew about them? Probably not because many of them are just small adjustments in our commute to work or in how we swallow our food one night or some other things which, to us would be insignificant but they affect our lives in ways which we cannot know.

Yes, God’s hand is still moving in our universe today and in our immediate lives too. Not just in Christian lives but in every person’s life on Earth. Some are moved in a way which we might see one day as an act of evil and even though God didn’t cause the evil which they did, He allowed it to happen because something else good would come from it. There are many things in our daily lives which we see and don’t perceive as His hand in our lives and we might not recognize them as such but those small decisions which we think were ours, were actually God’s way of moving us in the direction that He wanted us to go.

I pray that your life will be full of some small decisions or adjustments in your routine of work and life so that God can and will use your life to bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus.

The storms of life

There are days that it seems are filled with anguish and pain and sometimes heartache too, but the storms in life are what Jesus helps us get through. Living in this world in its fallen state causes anxiety and fear yet, at times, wonder at the joys and the fate of those around us. Why do I mix this sentence like this? Because during your lifetime and mine, we do experience joy and sorrow, pain and fear and anxiety too. This is just part of our experience in this life and it won’t get any better until our King comes to rule this world.

Yes, storms cause a lot of damage at times. Tornado’s and hurricanes can devastate whole cities and the surrounding area for miles and they both cause a lot of property damage and loss of life too. Yet, storms should not be part of our daily existence. If you live with what could be described as a storm on a daily or weekly basis, if you are a Christian then you may be doing something RIGHT!

Why do I say this? Because those storms and the trouble which is part of your life could be caused by Satan and his spirits and demons. If you are doing something which is bringing glory to God and His Kingdom, then Satan could be bringing these “storms” into your life to buffet you and interfere with your faithful living! Don’t think that just because you are a Christian that Satan will leave you alone. Being a Christian who is trying to live their life according to the example set by Jesus puts a target on your back as surely as being a medic in the Army with a red cross on your arm made them targets of the enemy.

We live in a world where Satan has free reign for a little while longer and he knows that his time is growing shorter. Therefore, he is stepping up his temptations and his working in our minds and in the world by causing all sorts of evil to be done, some of which is in the news and some are not. As the scripture says, “Satan goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour“. So, we are to be sober-minded and steadfast in our living by the Word of God, picking up our burdens every day and seeking to accomplish the work that Jesus set before us.

Don’t be slack in doing the things which God sent His own Son to do because once we have asked Him to come into our hearts then His charge becomes ours as well. We are to go around doing as much as we can, just as He would if He were here in our shoes. That is why the church, the people who profess to know and be known by Him, is supposed to be His hands and His feet and to bring His message to all who will hear it.

God is bigger than all of the storms that this life can throw at us, whether it is from disease or an actual storm or a disability or whatever it may be. He is up to the task of giving you the victory in all things when we depend upon Him for our daily strength. Give Him the glory for your healing and for your blessings because all good things come from God.

God is good in all ways and always God is good! Amen!

Do you consider your blessings?

There are many who may not think that almost everything in your life is actually a blessing from God but each of them is exactly that. Consider the fact that each of us who live today was blessed with life through God’s grace in order to live through the night. Some of you may look at it like a teenager “I’m young I won’t die just by going to sleep tonight”, are you absolutely sure of that? Many of us look at life like it is guaranteed to us until we are old. Really? I have heard of teenagers who have had a stroke or a heart attack after practice for sports in the past couple of years. These children were sixteen or seventeen years old! The same age as my son at the time!

Gods Promise2We are blessed with having a family who loves us, if you are blessed with this you should truly count your blessings! Because there are so many who are in relationships where they are beaten or sexually abused or any number of bad situations! Do you realize that your days are only numbered by God Himself and only He knows how long you will live on this Earth? God loves you and He watches over you in this world, whether you have given your life to Him or not. He knows if you will become a Christian and when it will happen, but that doesn’t give you the permission to go out and do whatever you wish until God calls you!

Jesus said that we should believe in Him and we will be saved. Some people think it is too simple and that it can’t be that easy to be saved from our sins? Yes, it is that simple! Think of the thief on the cross. He didn’t have money or time or even the opportunity to be baptized, but Jesus didn’t care about that. He believed that Jesus was Who they said He was, the King of the Jews, the Messiah, and all he asked was for Jesus to remember him when He came into His Kingdom. Jesus told him that “today you will be with Me in Paradise”.

We are seeing things happening all over the world today which prove that Satan and his agents are working hard to point people away from God or even cause them to blame God for their suffering and we see it on the news every day. Why is all of this happening? Because he knows that his time is growing very short in this world, that is why! When the church, those who believe in Jesus, is taken up to Heaven he knows that his time will only be seven more years in this world.

We can’t live a Christian life alone because our strength is weak, especially our spiritual strength. Even pastors have trouble living a holy life, one which people might look up to him for and I never thought about why we can’t do it? It is very simple actually. We have to walk with Jesus every day, put our troubles on Him, depend upon Him for our strength in every matter of life. In America, we have always looked up to many “actors” who played the part of an independent cowboy or a strong military person, one who could accomplish almost any task that was before them. The problem with that is this: being a Christian is even harder than being an actor or a cowboy or a strong military person.

Our biggest problem is our “old nature”, that part of us which had all sorts of fun or at least thought we did because when we are saved by Jesus we have to walk in Him and read the Bible, which is something we likely wouldn’t have done prior to knowing Him. So, how can we walk in Christ? First of all LEAN ON HIM! Don’t act like you can do it alone because you can’t! The Holy Spirit gives you the knowledge and the power to live your life in Jesus the Christ. Don’t turn away from His call on your life!