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.

Unreasonable expectations


In today’s world every person on Earth looks for something or someone who is unreasonable, impossible even because we are looking for that “perfect specimen”. We not only look for an immortal beauty but we want her to be strong but gentle and one who can fulfill all of our desires and our needs. No woman or man exists which can fulfill these expectations! Sometimes we get these ideas from watching movies or reading books like romance novels or maybe some other form of lesser entertainment.

But…perfection in all areas doesn’t exist in this mortal plane. There isn’t a man or woman on Earth who can be all of these and be in love with us because each of us is also imperfect. If the perfect man or woman exists then anyone or anything less than perfection, such as you and me, just won’t cut it! It is something which we learn as young adults usually to our own peril and disappointment.

Just as Galatea and Pygmalion, we too are bound by expectation and disappointment to some extent. In the story, he prays for her to be made into a woman who is like his ideal and his goddess grants his request. In reality, unless perfection is mated to perfection, the relationship is doomed to fail because an imperfect being, such as you or me, cannot fulfill the expectations of the other.

God can change you into a new creation when He comes to live in your heart, but until you are brought to Heaven there will always be a human who fails and falls in this life. Is it possible to have perfection in this mortal body? No, it is not. It is an unreasonable expectation of our existence to even think that it is possible.

Even God cannot look on us and we cannot look Him in the face without dire consequences. Perfect love and sinless Life cannot stand in our presence without causing our death because we are unable to be perfect in any of those areas. Perfection doesn’t exist in this realm of existence and since God exists outside our reality it only exists where He is. Did God expect too much of mankind? No, because He knew when He created them that they could not be obedient in all of their imperfect ways.

God does give us an image, an ideal to work toward in the person of Jesus Christ, and we can strive toward that goal but in this life we will never attain it. Learning about Jesus, following hard after Him in this life, reading and studying Scripture and prayer asking Him to grant us wisdom enough to understand Scripture’s true meaning, these are the works which guide us toward Him and His image.

As long as we don’t create an imperfect, human inspired image of Him, changing Jesus into a more attainable human ideal then we will do fine. If we do that then we are guilty of creating an idol of our own which resembles Jesus only in our minds, because it is not Him but an imperfect copy. Our copy or idea of Jesus or even God is based upon the only form that we are familiar with and that is ourself.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

Don’t forget Mom


Ephesians 6:1-3

6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”


Exodus 20:12

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.


Deuteronomy 5:16

16 “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.


Consequences For Disobeying Your Mother


Deuteronomy 27:16

16 “‘Cursed be anyone who dishonors his father or his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’


Proverbs 20:20

20 If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.


Proverbs 30:17

17 The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures.

 

God speaks a lot about giving honor and attention to your Mother and Father in His Word, so it seems that He puts a lot of weight on how you behave around them and for them. Truly, your parents are the example for you to live by and the example by which you will raise your children one day. Mother’s day is a day of honoring our Mothers because they are our mothers and because of God’s command to honor both of your parents.

Why did He specify giving honor to your Mother and Father?

God wants us to revere the aged in our family, not because they are a burden to be taken care of but because they have borne the burden of caring for us and they need the same care given to them as well. Consider that in America there are fewer children in most houses than there are pets, so when you reach an age that your children should take care of you, helping you to live gracefully into your later years, you may have to rely on the family pet more than them. That is not a prospect for aging that I would want to live with.

Protestant culture, such as in America and England, tends to favor the young which places the elderly in a difficult place. They are no longer working or maybe their health keeps them from working, their children don’t come around much which just adds to the loneliness and depression.

God places a very high amount of respect and honor on the aged, the crown of the elderly is their grandchildren.
So with a nod to St. Augustine and his mother, I place this sermon in your mind. Consider all of the things which your Mom and your Dad do for you, think about it today and every day because one day, they will need you just as much or more than you needed them when you were young.

Responsibility


nots in your lifeAre we responsible for our actions? It seems that many people don’t want to be. Seeking safe places where their feelings won’t get hurt or disregarding laws and officers of the law seems to be a national pastime, at least according to the news. Being responsible for your moral decisions and actions seems like an old-fashioned idea that many don’t want to subscribe to anymore. Why is that?

Could it be that our society is living with a sense of entitlement today? I think so. The past couple of generations have gone from being brought up in the church to visiting it once or twice a year on certain holidays or on Easter and Mother’s Day. That doesn’t say much at all toward proving that our nation is the Christian nation that some polls say that we are. What happened to being responsible for yourself and your actions? Is that also a quaint idea that needs to be swept under the collective rug?

I was told once that I shouldn’t judge people, especially those who are addicts to drugs or alcohol. I don’t claim to know the depths that those addictions take you to. I was a drunk in high school every Friday night, occasionally on other nights depending on how I felt. I have used drugs although none of the so-called “hard drugs”, until I began having some really bad nerve pains and bone pains in the last couple of years. I don’t like the way hydrocodone makes me feel at all which is why I haven’t had it refilled in almost six months.

Responsibility needs to be taught to young people and some older ones and soon! Why? Because in a decade or so we won’t have anyone who will take responsibility for their actions!

God loves you and you knew that I was getting back to this. There is no substitute for His love and compassion for you. It doesn’t give you a high feeling nor does seeking His wisdom give you a euphoria that you want to come back to until you can’t get enough of it. Giving your heart and life to Jesus by believing in Him will get your sins forgiven IF you will turn away from them, with His strength, and become a follower of His on a daily basis. He gave His Son for you to have access to eternal life and forgiveness, the only thing you have to do is accept it.

It is a gift of God. It can’t be earned, bought or bartered for, but it can be accepted if you will repent and seek Him out in that repentance. He can take away the cravings for alcohol and drugs and give you a desire for His Wisdom and His purpose in your life. God does love you, whether you know it or acknowledge it or not. Whether you will follow Him is already known by Him, yet it is still your choice to do so or not. He will not force you to be a Christian just as nobody can be forced to love someone. Seek Him out today, learn of His ways in the Bible, pray for His wisdom to come to you when you read it and He will answer all of these prayers and more.

Today, tomorrow, forever


Today is the present day that you are living in, moment by moment, so enjoy all of its beauty and goodness that God gives you to enjoy. Tomorrow isn’t here yet and by the time it is, it isn’t tomorrow anymore, so don’t count on it. Live today as if Jesus was coming back tonight! Forever is a time that we will spend after this life is over, whether we spend it with Jesus and other Christians or not is your choice!

God has always intended for us to be with Him forever, but humanity has rebelled every step of the way. Even when we only had one rule to follow, we still thought we knew better than God. After that, it was all downhill. God has always had a plan in place to bring us back to Himself and the reason is simple: He knew that we couldn’t do it on our own, so He gave of Himself in order to pay the price for our disobedience.

He didn’t have to do it that way, but He did! Tomorrow never really comes because when it gets here it is today, so make the most of today, every day. Seek out the One Who holds tomorrow in His hands so that your eternal home will be with Him and all of the joyous people who will be thanking Him for His love and mercy! Why do I say that we will be doing this? Because without His love and mercy, we wouldn’t be worthy and forgiven in order to be in Heaven!

Restraint


I read an article recently on American Family Association’s website about the most amazing thing about Jesus. It wasn’t referring to His power or His glory or the fact that He gave Himself as the one and only sacrifice needed to pay for ALL of humanity’s sins. It was speaking of His restraint. I am not going to quote from the article since I placed a link to it in the fourth word/link above, but I must say that I have never considered this point before.

Featured Image -- 3119The reason for His restraint of course is that He did not and He does not have a human nature even though He was born to a human woman. His nature is God’s nature. Therefore, when we think of what we would do in a particular situation and compare it to Him, it really doesn’t apply. What we would do with that kind of power would be destructive, but we are talking about the Creator! When God spoke, the Son created!

A thought or even a word from Him in any of His situations during the night and day of His scourging and crucifixion could’ve saved Him pain and anguish and death, but He chose to endure it because of His love for us! So, the incarnate Word of God could’ve saved Himself at any time but He didn’t. That is the part of His actions and His life which we just can’t understand. Our human mind and our nature just can’t imagine going through this with the power that He possessed. Thankfully, Jesus was as much God as He was human and He chose to follow God’s directions in everything that He did.

He still is doing this because until God tells Him to come get the Bride of Christ, He will stay in Heaven on the throne. We serve a risen Savior Who used His power as the Father told Him to when He was here the first time, but when He comes back He will be the Lion of the tribe of Judah! The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! His anger and His judgement will be coming with Him at that time and the whole world will know it. Amen!

What happened?


I often wonder this very thing some days. Recently and many years in the past, I have wondered exactly what happened. Sometimes it has something to do with daily life, sometimes I wonder this in the context of reading my Bible. Why did this happen this way or why would God do this or allow this to happen?

There are times when we get up and begin our day, wondering what happened. Some days it seems that this is an all too common theme of our lives. How can we get around it or keep these moments from becoming the norm rather than the exception? Well…that is where the answer gets a little more complicated. I don’t mean that you or I have to change our lives or our addresses to move beyond those moments of being “blindsided” by…well, life itself.

God does care about these areas of your life, whether you think He does or not. He cares about all of the tiny details of your life and mine, but many times that is where we fail to let Him in. Why do we sabotage that relationship? Because we don’t think that the Creator could possibly care about how our house looks or where the car keys happen to be hiding! But…He does care!

It is hard for us to imagine God caring about every detail in our lives, no matter how small or insignificant those details may be. But the truth is that He does care, about all of the details of our lives IF we will allow Him into those areas of our lives. Many people ask Jesus to be their Savior, but when they feel that He wants in on all of the areas of their lives they close the door on some part that they want to keep for themselves.

Those personal areas are not just yours, God gave you those hobbies and abilities and He likes to see you use them…for Him. For His purposes and His Kingdom come before anything else and those purposes, His purposes, don’t have to be things which we don’t like. God can use a fisherman or a tent-maker or a poet and a musician. He can use a shepherd boy or a young man with a coat of many colors to accomplish His purposes.

All of those people, including you and me, have been used by God to do wonderful things for His Kingdom. Some of us have been used in ways that we don’t even know about until much later and some of us may not find out about something which we said or did until we meet a person in Heaven and they tell us about it. Maybe even something which I write here will influence someone to make a change in their life toward God and His purposes.

Even playing pool or basketball or any number of other sports can lead to one of you opening up about your faith or lack of faith, which opens a door for telling them your story, your witness for Jesus. Riding a motorcycle or a horse can also bring Jesus into the conversation. A “what happened?” moment can come out of many things, but the answer to that is: Jesus.

In all things, big or small, Jesus, the Son of God, the Living Word has had an influence whether you realize it or not. Every little decision or discovery that has ever happened, especially if you happen to be a Christian, He has had a part in it. The discovery of the vaccine for small pox or the discovery of the polio vaccine may have been looked at as accidents or just something which just happened. But His Spirit was likely the One that pushed them in the right direction.

What happened in your world today? The same that happened in many other people’s world. You and I woke up, got out of bed and began the day. It may have been a totally different day for me than it was for you, but mostly everyone has a similar day in many respects. Some of us have more money, some of us have less. Some of us have enough food and water, some of us don’t. My point is this: as long as we are working for Jesus and His Kingdom, it doesn’t matter what we have or don’t have!

Acts of kindness


No matter how small they may be or what they may cost, any act of kindness is a blessing. If the world could experience more real acts of kindness, especially in places where even the smallest act of kindness would mean a lot… it could mean living just one more day for a child and we could change the world!

But…what do we see today? Murder, bombings, shootings, suicide bombings killing twenty or more people, wars, famine, diseases…can we do any act of kindnesses to help with these?

Other than prayer, I am not sure what can be done until Jesus comes back.

You hear about these in the news and on social media about “random acts of kindness”, but why do they have to be random? Do we as people, who were created in the image of God, have to be kind on a random basis? I think we could be kind and caring to each other on a regular basis, if we had the Holy Spirit living in our hearts and we were truly living the way that Jesus told us to be!

I know, it is corny and a pathetic way of being in our world today, but why do we have to hate each other so much? Can’t we show the love of God to others like Jesus did? You know, love isn’t deadly and it won’t cause cancer, as a matter of fact love and laughter makes most healing processes move along faster.

Life comes from God through His love for all of His Creation. Every being on this planet was created with a purpose, many of the more disgusting ones we don’t know their purpose but God knows why He created them. He is still creating because every year science finds some new creature which has never been discovered before. Some of these live in places where we thought that there was no way for life to be, yet it is.

It is likely that the moons of Jupiter and Saturn have some form of life. I don’t know if we would recognize it as life if we saw it. But I feel sure that God didn’t put those moons and planets out there just to look pretty and make us wonder about the universe that we live in.

God’s act of kindness toward us is this: we are still here. He shows His grace toward us every day that we are alive and we have another day to live for Him. If we aren’t, then we should be. When your life is over, do you think that you are good enough or righteous enough to merit stepping through the gates of Heaven? God’s grace toward each of us is His kindness and love allowing us enough time to hear His voice and to understand that each of us NEEDS Jesus in our heart and in our life!

It doesn’t matter if you have had ten years, twenty or fifty or even one hundred years on this Earth. If you have lived here and have heard His Word preached or read the Bible, then you know about His love for you. All He is asking for you to do is to return some of your love to Him by following Him and doing His will in your daily walk with Him. It doesn’t cost you anything, but in return you will have eternity with Him to do even more!

The name “Lord” appears how many times?


The word or name “Lord” appears far more in the Bible than many would believe. According to some counts, it is in the Old Testament (KJV) 7234 times. There are other interesting number counts on this page and it depends upon which translation that you use regarding how many times a specific word is mentioned, but it is an interesting page.

Why did I bring this up today? Because, many people seem to wonder about some words in the Bible and how many of them there are. Why does that make a difference? It may not, really, but for some people it may make a bit of a difference. God’s Word does say many things and it is good to know what and why it is said. The only reason that you would need to know this is because you won’t be fooled into believing something which is not in there if you have read it enough to know what is found in it and what is not!

God inspired the writers to write His Word down not because He couldn’t remember, but because we can’t always remember the exact words which He said to us about certain things and why. Which is another reason why each of us needs to read it and study it. Taking a verse or two out of context renders them useless because some of Psalms and Proverbs has no meaning unless you read the whole chapter and verse. Taking any verse on its own renders it unable to be understood in its entirety because the paragraph before and after may lead you to a different understanding of it than just the verse itself.

The shortest verse in the Bible which was written about a sad day in Jesus’ ministry, even though He had told His disciples about what was happening, is: “Jesus wept.” Unless you read the before and after verses, that small verse doesn’t mean much except that it shows how Jesus felt emotions just as deeply as the rest of us. He wept because his friend had died, not because He couldn’t save Him from death but because He had to bring him back from Paradise to live again. It was necessary to do so for the people to see that He had the power to do it even after four days. Not for bragging rights, but to show Who He was and Who He is!

Give your heart to Him, seek Him in the Word and learn more about Him and in that way, one chapter or two every day, you will get to know our Creator and Lord better than you ever have before.

Walking the Way


In the early years of the movement which became the church it was called “the Way”. Many people spoke ill of those who followed it because it was considered a cult following the teachings of a Carpenter or a madman. The Way was and is the path that Jesus walked while He was teaching here on Earth. Teaching His disciples to love those who weren’t lovable to care for those that everyone else shunned.

The Way that Jesus walked and taught was and is the way that the church should be walking and teaching today, but does it? Do we walk the Way that He did? Do we take care of those that Jesus did? I don’t mean that we can heal them because we can’t, the church can’t do that, but God can if we take the water and His Love to those in need of it. The water of His Word, the wisdom contained in it and the Love that God wants us to carry to all of those who need it in every nation.

This is what we are supposed to be doing. The church, the people who follow Jesus’ teachings are supposed to be His hands and feet until He comes again. Are we being and doing that? Some are, but it seems that most of us would rather not. Why? Is it too hard or is it some kind of revulsion that we have toward those in need? Do we really believe that we are that much better than others? I hope not, or we will likely be disappointed when we see Jesus one day.

The parable of the master who went away and left a number of talents with his servants. To one he gave five, to one he gave three and to one he gave one. They were to use these while he was absent, to do something with them. When he returned the one who had five had made five more with his, the one who had two had produced two more with his, but the one who had one had buried it and gave it back just as he had received it. All of them had served him well, except for the servant with one talent. If he had invested it or at least placed it with the bank, the master could’ve gotten it back with interest but he did nothing with it. So it was given to the one with ten talents.

What does this parable prove? Don’t waste your talents or your money because it is a gift from the Master and He expects you to use it, to do something with it. If it is money that you have, then use it for good. If it is talent for other things like writing or teaching, then make sure you are teaching from the Truth of God when you write or teach. At least if you are teaching the Truth from God’s Word, then others are not learning just from the “wisdom of man”.