Me, you and Jesus


Paul wrote something very poignant in Galatians 2:20, it says 20. I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

There is so much wisdom contained in this verse and it applies to every person who believes in Jesus as their Savior and lives it every day. Yet many of us don’t really think about how we are supposed to go about this. What does “crucified with Christ” mean exactly? How can I learn to live daily with Christ living inside my heart? Do I really have the faith that it takes to live like this? The process of living a crucified life is not just accepting Him as your Savior but living His life, His way by the faith that He has given us to believe in Him for our salvation. It truly isn’t as simple as it sounds.

In Luke 9:23, Jesus told His disciples this very principle. It says If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Still a bit confusing, right? Following Christ is what we as Christians are supposed to do but what does “deny himself/herself” mean, especially in today’s world?

Being “crucified with Christ” and “denying” yourself are mostly the same thing. So what exactly does Jesus mean by this? When we are saved, genuinely saved, the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts and changes us from the inside. But…our old nature is still present and there will be a struggle from day one over which side will “rule the day” in a manner of speaking. Starting your day with prayer and reading of God’s Word is the best way to start your day, every day. But, then there are days for each of us which has many interruptions in them such as work, school, errands, etc.

You get the idea. Denying your self is referring to the person that you were before your salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which makes a permanent change in your spiritual and your daily life. Some people may find that denying their “old self” is a bit too hard to do but if you just read God’s Word and pray about His work on you, whether it is in the morning or evening, the habit of denial of self will become easier. But doing this has to become a habit and it strengthens your faith and whether you think so or not, it will make your Christian life better. I didn’t say it would make it easier because the devil will keep on bringing up your sins and he knows exactly how to do it.

He will be whispering in your ear (mind) about all of the things that you were doing and enjoying before you gave your heart to Jesus. This will likely happen almost every day, sometimes more than once a day. You will need to be grounded in God’s Word so you will have the faith and the Word to be able to send your temptations and the tempter packing.

How foolish are we?


God’s Word says in Psalms 14:1: The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good.

The wisdom of God is foolish to a man who has not given his heart to the Lord. This is a paraphrase of this scripture which the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: 1 Corinthians 2:14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. There is no man who can understand God’s wisdom from His Word without the Holy Spirit dwelling in his heart. So why do some men in our world today seem to think that they have God and His wisdom all figured out? Mankind cannot understand God’s Word without Him and there are so many who either don’t want to know Him as their Savior or they are following a religion which has blinded them to the actual Truth which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Life is hard enough without living it foolishly and without Jesus Christ as your Savior is a very foolish way to live. Why is this true? Because we do not have a promise of a certain number of years that we will live. We don’t even have a promise of waking up in the morning. So, what will it take to get away from the foolishness of our sinful lives and turn toward God, toward Jesus, and save our eternal soul?

Are we actually foolish enough to believe that we are good enough to get into Heaven without Jesus? I hope not. Because the Bible says that our righteousness is as filthy rags in God’s sight. We are not righteous unless we are forgiven under the blood of Jesus and that is our covering because He purchased our soul with His blood and unless you truly believe in Him and His sacrifice for you, then you have no place in Heaven. Is it hard for us to give our heart to Him? Sometimes it is, but when God convicts you of your sins and you realize that you truly need Jesus as your Savior, it is then that you find that it is simple…believe that He did this for you.

Even if you or I were the only people that Jesus could die for and save…He would’ve done it anyway. God loves us enough that if there were only one person that would been saved because of His sacrifice, He would have come to Earth and gave His life for us even if that “us” was only one person. God’s love is hard for us to comprehend and it is likely that we will never truly understand it, even when we are in His Presence but He did it for all of us.

I pray that we will not be foolish in thinking that we can gain entry into Heaven on our own. The only door to eternity in Heaven is by Jesus Christ and belief in Him alone. Amen

The Word will accomplish it's purpose!


Your life, if you are a Christian, belongs to God. His Word will accomplish those things which He desires. It is His purpose which will be done and which should be your purpose because you have given your heart to Him. Live as a disciple and a witness of God because of the great love that He has shown toward you and in your life. If you aren’t sure about His love for you, consider that it is God Who allowed you to wake up this morning. It is by His purpose that you walk and breathe and do the things which you are able to do. God knew you before the world was formed and He has already made a way for your life to be useful in His hands.

All that you need to do is realize that and seek Him for your salvation. Your life is not your own, it belongs to God and it is His to do with as He will. Some of you who read this will deny that God has a place in your life, but He has the power to stop your heart in the next sixty seconds if He chose to. I’m not trying to scare you by saying that, it is just the simple truth. God wove your DNA together and He knows exactly what you are capable of accomplishing in your life and for Him. If you have felt the call of God on your life at any time in the past or even now…don’t push Him away. Lean into Him and ask for His strength and His forgiveness of your sins. Ask Him to take the old you and mold him or her into the person that He knows you can be.

You might say, “But…that might hurt!”. Change in any form hurts sometimes, but it is needed at times to. When you exercise by running or lifting weights your muscles get sore for a time because you’ve pushed them to do something that they weren’t or hadn’t done before. When you begin serving God, you will have to change and His Spirit will change you gradually or drastically, depending on how much change is needed. It may hurt because some of your family and friends won’t understand where this new person came from. They may not recognize the person that you care becoming, but God knows who you are and He can and will change you into the instrument that He needs you to be.

Jesus brought a message that God loves us and He wants us to be His children every day of our lives. He told those who would listen about this and some received it with gladness. Others thought His message was foolish but Jesus kept telling those who would listen that He was bringing the Kingdom of God to them. Some heard Him and believed but others thought He was crazy. The fruit that we are supposed to produce is peace and love and joy through Jesus Christ our Lord! Not this message you hear about today which says “I can do all things myself and I don’t need God!”.

When you hear someone say that they don’t need God, ask them if they can make a flower bloom? They will probably laugh at your question but if they think that they don’t need God then they are declaring that they are like God. They are delusional in this of course. Ask them if they can change their hair from gray to whatever color they had in their youth? Ask them if they can make themselves taller? If they can’t accomplish these things, then they need God badly in their life. Nobody can do these things except God but some of the “new age” religions are telling people that they can do these things.

God lit the stars and He can put them out. He brought the life to this world in the form of trees and animals and fish and birds just with His Word. Can you do that? Of course not. God loves you and He knows you, even if you don’t know Him yet. One day we will all bow before Him and I hope that you will know Him and that He will know you as well because those that He doesn’t know will be taken to a place of torment because they had the chance to give their life to Him but they chose not to.

You are special in God's eyes


Did you know that? He knew each of us before we were even born. He knows how many hairs are on your head (and how many have fallen out). He knows the color of your eyes and how much sleep you got last night. God knows you better than your own parents do because He formed you in the womb and knit together the molecules of your DNA. He knows everything that you have done and what you will do, even before you do.

To give you a bit of an idea just how much God values the soul which resides in each of us, think about what Jesus said to His disciples: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Matthew 16:26 When Jesus said this, the context of His statement is that if you had all of the wealth in the world but you don’t have salvation through Him to save your soul from hell then you have nothing. Think of it…God values your soul more than ALL of the wealth in the world! Trillions of dollars, I have no idea how much it would be, would not be enough to equal the value of your soul.

God sent His Son to pay the debt for our sins, everybody’s sins, just to make it possible for us to enter into eternity with Him. Isn’t that an awesome and humbling thought? The Creator came to Earth in a human body so He could pay for all of humanity’s sins, past, present and future just because He loves each of us more than His life. Yes, God does value each of us that much. It is hard to understand from our perspective and we may never really understand it, even when we are in heaven.

If you have never given your heart to Jesus and asked Him to come into your life and change it so you can be a follower of His, then I ask you to truly consider it. If you have felt His touch in your life or your heart please don’t turn away from Him. This life is all that we have in which to make an eternal decision so don’t throw away eternity for the few years you have here and the life that you have lived without Him.

How is your PAD today?


I am not speaking of your home or your home away from home (workplace). What I am writing about today has to do with your emotional state: Pride, Apathy, and Depression or Doubt. Why are there two different emotional states for the D in this? Well, we all have each of these at one point or another in our lives but some of us live in them quite naturally. There are times when I have all four states going at the same time which is one of those days when very little gets done or I just go through the motions like a zombie or a robot. It gets done but not with much passion or fire. Sometimes these days coincide with a day that I’m at home with our Dachshund for company but that isn’t really a bad day because I enjoy my time with her.

Apathy and doubt usually go well together but when you mix pride into the pot with them it can be an explosive combination which can bring in anger and rage, that hard to control cousin of anger. Why am I concentrating on emotions and the trouble that they can cause? Because our churches and our immediate family usually get the fallout from these emotional states. It may happen after your PAD has been simmering for a while or if anger and rage are in the mix, it could just blow up like a bomb at the dinner table or at a business meeting at church.

Whenever you have a day like this or if it feels like its going to be “one of those days”, get into the Psalms and pray. Talk to your Father in Heaven about whatever is going on. Regardless of how small you think it is, He wants to help and He can! But you have to open up to Him. He knows what is going on already but just as our father or mother would like to help, God knows exactly how to help and where to point you in His Word. But you need to read it and pray to Him about it and then be willing to listen to the wisdom that you get from His Word or even from Him directly.

God can help you when you are feeling this way but only if you will let Him.

Do you have AADD?


What the heck is that? I call it Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. Why am I bringing this crazy acronym up now? Because it is relevant for the church and for all adults as well.

Those who are in positions of “power” get distracted all of the time, have you noticed this? The news media comes up with some crisis at least on a weekly basis and everybody runs over there to see what all the fuss is about. Then, they will come up with another “crisis” and everyone will be up in arms about whatever that is. They, the media and those who are trying to distract us, will push the story or the “problem” onto social media and it goes viral. Then everyone is all upset and protests break out all over….what? Do we really know for sure what we are upset about?

If you haven’t noticed this trend, if you want to give it a name, just think about it and you will see the pattern. Especially over the last three years or so. The “Me too” movement, all of the allegations of misconduct by our President which were found to be false, the outrage over children who were getting into vaping. The list could go on and on and on. My point is that we run from one crisis to another depending on how loud it seems to be and who it may affect. But we aren’t paying attention to what is really important when we run from one place or problem to another.

Our attention gets tossed to and fro on the whim of media coverage and the news cycle covering some perceptual “problem” at the moment. Thank God that He doesn’t get distracted like we do! The problem of distraction has only grown worse since “smart-phones” have become so embedded in our culture. Look around when you go to a store or a mall. How many people are actually talking to each other? How many of them are looking where they are going? The answer to both of those questions is “Not much”.

We only pay attention to what is on our phones and the media which we are a part of at the time. God should be more important than that slab of plastic and magnesium and circuitry that is called a “smart-phone”. God should be the focus of our daily lives and in a more prominent position than just once or twice at church in a month’s time. Your relationship with Him is more important than you realize because we, as Christians, are called to be His ambassadors to the world around us. So what happened? God did not move and He didn’t rescind the command to “go into all of the world preaching the gospel“.

While it is true that Jesus said this to His disciples it applies to each of us as well. Those of us who have accepted Him as our Lord and Savior are supposed to be taking the message wherever we go, no matter where that might be. Don’t get distracted from your calling because it must be finished or at least be in the process of being finished by the time Jesus returns, which will likely be pretty soon. All of the pieces on the board are or soon will be in place and the countdown has begun. The call of the Lord to all those who belong to Him, who have died and to those who are still living, will sound in our lifetime. (This is my opinion so don’t disregard me as some crazy old man).

Get your attention focused back on the Savior Who paid your price and saved your soul. Seek Him while He may be found and repent of your wandering ways. Get up and follow Him today because He may call on us to come home tomorrow or next week or next year and if you aren’t ready, like the bridesmaids who didn’t have enough oil, He will come while you are getting ready and the door will be closed.

The ones who were ready when He appeared went in to the celebration. The others who had to get ready were locked out of the feast.

Do you imagine God in your image?


There is a quip or a saying which is attributed to Voltaire and it may hold true in our culture today. It goes like this: “God created man in His own image, and man has been trying to repay the favor ever since.” Since we must do this at least some in our lives, I wonder how God feels about the exchange? When we make God in our image or as much like us as possible it tends to degrade Him into a brat and a whiner like we are. Think about all of the complaints which the Israelites lobbied against Moses and God when they were in the wilderness. It is no wonder that God almost wiped them out and wanted to start over with Moses. But Moses pleaded with God on their behalf and they were spared, at least the majority of the group was. Some were killed or buried when the ground swallowed them after the golden calf incident.

For heaven’s sake, they created an idol to be their “god” less than a week after God gained their freedom for them after 430 years with all of the plagues and miracles which He wrought to get Pharaoh to let them leave. He purified the waters to give them to drink, He brought water from a rock in the desert twice to take care of their thirst and their livestock. When they asked for meat instead of manna, He blew in quail in such numbers that they had more than enough to eat.

I am very thankful that God is not like us in any way. Oh, He is kind and compassionate and He has far more patience than any human could possibly have. But, if God were like we imagine Him to be I don’t think the world and the rule of mankind would’ve lasted as long as it has. God loves each of us far more than we can understand or imagine and He has done it since before our ancestors were born, all the way back to the beginning of His Creation and before that even.

Using your imagination to think up a “supreme being” that you can live with and worship is a very dangerous thing to do. For one, you are a practical idol worshiper when you do that. Because “your god” fits your ideas and your way of thinking just so you can feel comfortable when you pray and worship him. Your imaginary god is NOT the God of the Bible nor is he the God of Creation. Your god is someone that you created in your own mind. Your god will not get you into Heaven but he will pave a very slippery slope into hell just fine.

The second of the ten commandments says: “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below”. This is not a suggestion, it is a commandment from Almighty God. I pray that all of you who read this will seek out the God of the Bible and His Son, Jesus for your salvation. There are no second chances after death so you had better make up your mind while you can.

Happy New Year!


This year is one which will see a lot of things happen. Many of those will be ignored or not even reported in the news media but they will be important nonetheless. God is working and will be working behind the scenes while we go about our lives.

You may be wondering why I started this year in this way. The reason is that God has spoken to me and He has given me this mission. Just as all the previous years when I began this endeavor. This is my witness to all who might read this. Not bragging or trying to bring attention to myself but to get your attention focused on the Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the only way to gain entrance into heaven. There is no other way except by believing in Him and giving your heart to Him as your Savior and Lord.

Will we see the works of God this year? Some will see them and some will just reject them as natural phenomena in the world. Do not mock God’s working in this world because one day every knee will bow before Him and declare that He is Lord.

God loves each of us even though He doesn’t agree with the way many of us live. Humble yourself before Him and ask for His forgiveness of your foolish behavior. Seek to know Him as your Savior and follow hard on His steps until the day when He calls us home. For some that may be sooner than they know, but all will come to know Him as Lord and King one day. I pray that this year will be filled with miracles which can’t be explained away except by the power of God. Seek Him while there is time and learn of His goodness and mercy. Give your heart to Him because He loved you before the foundation of the world and He sent Jesus to pay for our sins because of that love.

In Jesus’ name I pray that all of you will come to know Him as your Savior this year.

Before…


Before you complain, think about what you have. Before you look at someone with a critical eye, turn your gaze on your own life first. Before you come to the end of your life, make sure that dying is all that you have left to do. Life is too short to live it without enjoying it first. But the enjoying of life for some people means that there is sin in their lives. They don’t think that you can enjoy being a Christian. Enjoyment doesn’t seem to be part of their thought processes when they think of serving God or even being a Christian.

King David, the author of Psalms, enjoyed the Lord. He praised the Lord and danced and sang while he praised God. That doesn’t sound like a joyless person. That is not a depressed and sad person because God brings joy into your life. Think about the blessings which Jesus brings into your life when you are saved! He forgives ALL of your sins, He gives you a new heart for serving Him and others, He changes your outlook on life because of the blessings that you receive when you become an adopted child of God!

Those blessings in this life are not the only blessings that you get from Jesus and from knowing Him as your Savior. Your eternity and your destination in it has changed as well. When you were a sinner, and every person who has come to Jesus (including myself) is a sinner, your eternity would’ve taken you into an eternity of torment. The only difference between your sinful life and the one you have now is that you have Jesus in it. Some theologies say that we are not put in the lake of fire like Satan will be, but being separated from the love of God and His Presence for eternity would be punishment enough. There will not be anything life-giving in hell. No water, no food, no cool streams of any kind and God’s Presence will not be there either.

Remember the story of Lazarus and the rich man? Lazarus was taken to Paradise with Abraham and the rich man was in hell. He asked for Lazarus to bring him just one drop of water because of the agony that he was in. But Abraham told him that there is a gulf between us that no one can cross over. He even asked if Lazarus could rise from the dead and tell his brothers to repent and not come to this place, but Abraham said no, they have the Prophets and the Law. They wouldn’t repent even if someone were to come back from the grave.

Your life before giving your heart and soul to Jesus is very different from the one you will enjoy after bringing His Presence into your heart. That is the reason for leading a joyful life after Jesus has saved you and made you into a new creation, different and precious to Him and to the Father. Serve Him in joy because with God all things can be joyful regardless of how the world may look at them. He will give you the strength to get through every obstacle and every pain and your life will be a beacon of hope to someone until you go to be with the Lord.

Why are people leaving?


In Luke 2 the angels tell the shepherds that the Person who was born in Bethlehem is the Savior, the Messiah. The first four books in the New Testament are called the Gospels. What is the gospel? Its definition is this: the teaching or revelation of Christ.: “it is the Church’s mission to preach the gospel”. synonyms: Christian teaching, Christ’s teaching, the life of Christ, the word of God, the good news, Christian doctrine, the New Testament

People are leaving the church in droves. Some are young and some are even preachers. Some are older, parents and grandparents even. What has happened? What is happening?

Is it because of how the church has treated people over the centuries? Are people today looking at the history of the “church” and not really seeing the message of Jesus reflected in the people who belong to the church? Actually…I think that both of these are true and it’s unfortunate for the church and for the people who see the church this way. But it’s not because of their view of the church it is because of the way that the church is seen in the world and in the media today. All of the bad parts are showing and they are being highlighted more and more. So much so that people can’t see the good which the church has done.

It’s kind of like a beautiful white shirt or a pair of pants that have been stained with blood and mud and dirt and oil and it seems that it will never really be clean again. The outline of the stains will still be there even if you use bleach on it. People have used the Bible to justify horrible things like slavery and subjugation and that has nothing to do with the message which Jesus taught. Just like the life of a man, it doesn’t matter how many good things he did in this life. If he slipped just once and did something bad, it will be that one mistake that will be remembered.

It is the same with governments or politicians and the church. One slip up or word, even if it was unintentional and not meant in the way it was received, will cloud the perception of those who hear it or have seen it. No amount of apologies or restitution will ever make things right again. This is the reason, in my opinion, that people in the past twenty years or so have turned away from the church and Christianity.

In Philippians 2, Paul begins with this: If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, consider others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.

The church, meaning the people in the church, should exemplify this teaching in the world today. Not showing the hate which has been associated with some in the church but exemplifying the love which Jesus taught about God.