So much discord and hate


Why? Aren’t we supposed to be trying to get along? I mean, how can we possibly come up with solutions to our own problems when it seems we can’t even disagree in a peaceful way? We can’t even seem to accomplish this in Congress with people that supposedly know each other, even if they are on different sides of the political aisle! Why is our society acting like a group of spoiled children who can’t have their way?

We are supposed to be working toward a society which can bring some semblance of peace, if not in the world then surely in our own country! The reason for all of this discord and hatred in our country and all over the world falls on one personal fault which everyone has and that is pride. The obstacle which is the root of nearly all of the sins in the Bible from the beginning to the end is this one!

We are living in the time just prior to the Great Tribulation and that is another contributing factor which is making our world and the people living here act like mortal enemies. Satan is pushing the buttons of every person who has a prideful idea or thought or harbors pride in themselves believing that they are better than those around them.

Each of us is the person that we are supposed to be, unfortunately, some think that they are different and special in a way which makes them better than those around them. They believe in themselves true enough but outside of that, they look down on other people. This is the most serious form of pride which can cause a person to believe that they are “like god” or “like a god”.

We are created beings, just as the angels are, and we are not gods. Though we are created in the image of God, we are not gods and never will be. It is a false teaching which has been spread around the world that this will happen when we if we are Christians, make our home in Heaven. We will have a body like Jesus had when He was resurrected but we will not be gods.

VineandBranchesGod loves each of us and we will enjoy eternity with Him as His adopted children, nothing more. We may fill some useful post in His Kingdom one day or even during the 1,000-year reign on Earth of Jesus but other than that we will be His people and HE will be our King! Seeking to know Him better here and now is the responsibility of every Christian and it is a job which we should take very seriously. To grow to be a mature Christian, living in the strength and power of Jesus every day will allow us to carry His Image with us wherever we go…until He comes for the Church.

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Matt. 6:33

The Kingdom of God is our life in Jesus Christ walking with Him daily, praying and studying His Word and doing those things which He would do if He were here, at least to the best of our ability.

Father’s Day


Before any of us who are fathers became fathers, God had a plan for us. Being in a relationship with our wives, we were and are supposed to be the religious leader of our household. We are to be the example of being the leader in our own home. Some even go so far as to call us “kings and priests”, although that might get each of us in trouble if we tried to actually live that way at home.

God knows each of us and our strengths and our weaknesses which is why we have our helpers, our wives, to take over in those areas where we may fall short. Which is what God designed marriage for, it is supposed to be a partnership in which each gives one hundred percent to whatever the goal may be. It isn’t a 50/50 agreement.

Fathers in Scripture had a tremendous responsibility. They were the priests of their household, particularly in Job’s case but also in the majority of households in Jewish society. So why don’t Christians live this way and do these same idealistic things which need to be done?

In today’s society even being a Christian, whether you are male or female, is frowned upon. So being a father who is bringing his children up in a Christian home and training them to look to God’s wisdom is also looked down on as well. His children may even be bullied or endure some other form of persecution because of it. Why is this? I think it is because there are too few fathers who actually teach their children about God’s wisdom from the Bible.

In Joshua 24:15 he told the Israelites what they should do and what he and his house would do:

15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

In Proverbs 3:11-12, Solomon wrote these words: 11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

We as fathers have a responsibility to teach our children to be Christian men and women. This can be done as a family or just by the father but it should be a family night study where the father leads the family in this. This is not my idea, it is in God’s Word that men are supposed to do and be the religious leader of their household.

If you are a Christian and you neglect to do this then the consequences of your inaction will fall on your children. If you don’t model and reflect Jesus in their eyes, then you are failing them in many ways. Don’t be the father who has not shown Jesus to his family in whatever life situation you may find yourself in.

God expects each of us, as fathers, to do these things which He outlined in His Word. But, many of us today don’t read the Bible enough to know what God expects of us. I encourage you to get started reading His Word and learn what your responsibility to God and to your family really is. While it is true that our responsibility is to be fathers and husbands it is also true that we are to be the priests of our family, the religious leaders in our homes.

God expects us to do this and yet many don’t know what they are supposed to do because, even as Christians, we only read our Bibles or listen to sermons when we are at a church service. This is not the way to follow and know Jesus. Yes, the Bible was written a long time ago but when you study it…God’s Word reads you and your heart as well. His Word gives each of us different wisdom when we read it prayerfully and earnestly. Not as a book but as The Book, our guide to a Life with Jesus.

It is our duty as men and fathers and parents to lead our family by our example and if that example is one based on God’s Word then our future and that of our children and their children will be assured in Christ. Don’t neglect your calling as a father and a husband because we are called by God when we are granted children to raise and they become what they have seen in our lives. If they don’t, then we have failed them and failed in our calling as well.

Be the leader and the father that God intended for you to be, even if it is hard to do, seek out His Wisdom for your life and the advice which you need in this life so that you can lead your family into the next Life in eternity.

 

The End times prophecy


OurGodisAbleIf you are a student of the Bible, you can see these things happening all around us. Their fulfillment may not be earthshaking right now but keep your eyes on Jesus and pray that you will be counted worthy to be saved from the trouble which is coming. God doesn’t want us to perish but those who have ignored the signs and the preaching that they have heard will do so to their peril.

These prophecies are specific, if you believe that the Bible is true, don’t discount their accuracy out of hand. Keep watching and praying that you will be able to bear the trials which are coming soon. It is very likely that we will see some sort of persecution in America prior to our Lord’s call for the dead in Christ to rise, so we all should be watching and praying that our walk with Him is true and our faith is strong toward Him.

Jesus described many of the things which we are seeing in the news to His disciples, although many have claimed that those were fulfilled during their lifetimes. Many other parts of His discourse actually had two prophetic meanings. One for the near future and one part which was for our time.

8 Jesus answered, “See to it that you are not deceived. For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and rebellions, do not be alarmed. These things must happen first, but the end is not imminent.”

Witnessing to All Nations
(Matthew 24:9-14; Mark 13:10-13)

10 Then He told them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines, and pestilences in various places, along with fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

12 But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. On account of My name, they will deliver you to the synagogues and prisons, and they will bring you before kings and governors. 13 This will be your opportunity to serve as witnesses. 14 So make up your mind not to worry beforehand how to defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you speech and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.

16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you will be put to death. 17 And you will be hated by everyone because of My name. 18 Yet not even a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your patient endurance, you will gain your souls.

Many of these things did happen to the disciples before their lives ended but there are some prophecies which have a dual meaning, one for the immediate future and one for a later time and this is what is happening here. Many of these prophecies are happening right now, small though they may be so the media doesn’t notice many of them. We are living in the immediate future prior to the “time of testing” or the Tribulation. I pray that all who read this will seek Jesus as their Savior before it is too late to do so.

Is your church part of the problem?


In many churches today, especially within a fifty-mile radius of my home, many visitors feel unwanted and unwelcome. Why is this? Mostly because our churches have become social meeting places rather than places to meet and worship God and Jesus. My church and yours should be places to fall in love with our Savior, but more often than not we talk more about politics and government issues and who should be added to our prayer list this week. Granted, many who are truly in need of prayer for healing and comfort NEED our prayers each and every day.

But the political issues in our government and how it is being run should be part of our prayer ministry, not a part of the commentary and debate in church or Bible study time.

Is the church part of the problem in America today? In some cases…yes it is. We are more concerned about the color of the carpet in the sanctuary and how it looks than we are about drawing more people into the church to hear about salvation through Jesus! So, what can we do about our relationship with Him? I mean, it is our relationship with Jesus which we are supposed to be giving away or at least showing people a Savior that they need to get to know!

Why are churches turning away from their “first love” and trying to be everything to everyone these days? It seems that some churches are trying to attract more people to church just for the numbers in attendance. Having a large number of people attending church is good, but if the message is more fluff than it is substance pertaining to salvation through Jesus, then the message is wrong!

Having 300 or more people attending church every Sunday is great but if you aren’t preaching the love of Jesus and the salvation which He died to provide for those who will believe, then you just have a full church. IF you aren’t following up with those who have attended your services to find out where their beliefs are or if they need prayer for specific problems in life, then you aren’t doing your job as a church. When I say this, I don’t mean that the preacher has to be the one following up with the people. It is the responsibility of those who are Christians in the church who should be doing this as well as the preacher!

Even a full-time preacher can’t reach out and touch every person who has visited your church or has asked for prayer. The only way that we, as a church, can take care of those in the congregation and those who have visited but haven’t decided to be a part of your church is for the deacons and the elders in the church to go to them and invite them back. If they are searching for Jesus, they will feel His presence in those who are inviting them back IF you are doing it in the power of Christ and with His love shining through.

Numbers and the amount which is given during the offering are not the way which measures a church and its commitment to following Jesus. Telling others about Him, mentoring those who are new to the faith, Bible study and helping others to grow in their walk with Jesus are the ways which the church continues to be the true church in the world today! Praying for each other’s burdens, listening to their concerns about being a Christian and living your walk with Him every day is the way to walk the walk so others might want to know Him too.

Many of these things are what our churches need to be doing but few actually are doing them and doing them effectively.

Is your faith no better than Satan’s?


heaven-or-hell-eternal-destinyKinda sounds a bit weird, doesn’t it? Does Satan have faith at all? Well, yes and no. He believes that Jesus is the Son of God, but not through faith. The demons which Jesus told to come out of the man in the tombs called Him the Holy One of God, so they knew Who He was. What is interesting is that many people in the church know Who Jesus is and they believe intellectually that He is the Son of God, but that is not a saving faith in Jesus. Consider someone who has read the Bible from cover to cover, but they did not read it with an attitude of faith or belief and they didn’t believe in the God Who inspired the writing of it. How do you think that they would see the information that they took into their brains?

Mostly the information which they may have learned will be just knowledge, head knowledge not saving or believing knowledge. Satan knows the Scriptures because he was around when it was written but knowledge and faith are two different sides of a coin and they never meet! If you didn’t feel a compulsion to repent or a call of the Holy Spirit, it wouldn’t matter if you memorized all of the gospels! The knowledge in them would be just words from a rabbi or teacher and nothing more.

Faith and belief are part of being a Christian but if you can’t joyfully proclaim that He is your Savior and be truly happy about that news, then you may not be any closer to Jesus than Satan is. Our Creator and our Savior is Jesus the Christ and being glad that He is your Savior is part of the proof that the Holy Spirit gives you! If your knowledge of Him only goes to the point of being in church and hearing the sermons, then you truly need to get to know Him better!

God loves each of us and doesn’t want us to be punished in hell because we didn’t give our hearts to Him. The message of salvation and the love that God expressed through Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross is the most excellent way of showing that love to all of us. Life is more than just living here day by day because your life doesn’t end when you die! Jesus spoke of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob because they are alive in eternity and we will be too…if we believe in Him and accept Him as our Savior. We can enjoy meeting and get to know the people that we have only read about in the Bible in eternity!

Those in the world who only know Jesus as a prophet or a teacher and don’t want to know Him as their Savior will not enjoy eternity. They will be in hell with Satan and the demons because of rejecting the Savior in this life. There is no party and no kingdom to rule with Satan, so eternity will be punishment and absolutely no fun at all.

….it’s too late for me.


These are the worst words that a pastor can hear when someone requests prayer for a family member but they end the request with this. It is never too late to come to believe in Jesus, even on your last day here you can decide to follow Him! There is no sin that He will turn away because His accomplishment on the cross and during His life took care of the punishment for all of us. If we will just accept Him and believe in Him we can be saved, even if it is with your last breath!

God provided the atonement through Jesus’ death on the cross for all of mankind, all that we have to do to receive it is to believe in it and ask Him to come into your life and save you from an eternity in hell. Mercy is provided for us through God’s love for us through Jesus our Savior. You can’t purchase it and you can’t add to it by doing more in this life through works of any kind. Grace is our unmerited favor and blessing through Jesus Christ, to which we cannot add anything to or be deserving of more than we are.

Our Savior, Jesus Christ, came for this purpose only…to atone for the sins of the world and all of humanity. It is a free gift and all we have to do is accept it and believe it, confessing our sins and we are each saved. It is just that simple! God knew before the world was created that mankind would go their way and not follow Him as He intended but He also had a plan in place to redeem us from our mistakes.

It is never too late to accept Jesus as your Savior, regardless of the sins that you have committed or how evil you may think of yourself. Those are lies from the Accuser and we don’t need to believe them! Choose to follow Jesus, read the Bible and believe in Him and God’s inerrant Word, then walk with Him on a daily basis toward eternity. Your life here is only a puff of smoke compared to eternal life with Jesus. So, walk in it like you have it already if you have truly given your life and heart to Him!

Why am I bringing up eternity and salvation in Jesus at a time when our world seems to be more wicked and lost? Because of those very things! Our world is that way because we have chosen to follow our own goals and our own paths instead of seeking out the One Who can save us! There is nothing which we can do that can add one second to our lives and nothing that we bring to the altar is truly acceptable to God except the blood of Jesus!

He was our Spotless Lamb and our Prince of Peace and He has paid the price for every sin, whether you think of them as big sins or small ones, they are all sins in the eyes of God! How can you be saved? Here are a few scriptures which will point you in that direction.

Bridge2Salvation

Can you be useful to God?


UsefulVesselThere are questions about whether we can be used by God in this life, particularly when many of us are kinda broken in our lives. Some of us due to broken homes or broken marriages or families, then others are broken due to their jobs being stressful enough that they can’t leave the stress at work. Then there are some who experience trauma in the form of physical trauma from being in a war zone and sometimes the trauma is mental from many different sources.

So, in many ways, almost all of us are broken in one way or another. Some of us are more broken than others, but with God all things are possible. I mean, even a small piece of a crayon will still color a picture if you can hold onto it. God has a way of using your brokenness in ways that we can’t imagine and He can use it to His Glory! We may not think that we are useful, but I can guarantee you that God can use your gifts and your talent in ways that you haven’t thought of yet!

Each of us has many gifts and talents which God gave to us. Sometimes we don’t find out what those talents and gifts are until we are forced to by our circumstances. Occasionally, those circumstances take us to a point where we can only look up to God and ask Him to show us what we can do because we don’t feel like we can do anything. Then, there are those times which we have all had when we are down and depressed and feeling as if the whole world is crushing us and all we want to do is…let it.

Sometimes we are so broken in spirit and in our lives until we look for a way out, any way out and God is the only One who can actually help us become better, not only for us but for Him too. Can we be useful in God’s Kingdom even when we feel broken and useless? Yes, but it takes prayer and dedication to Jesus, as well as the study of God’s Word to bring you into a real working relationship with Him.

We are His Creation and He knows each of us far better than we know ourselves. He knows what we can do and the gifts which each of us has even if we haven’t found those gifts yet. So, don’t move away from God and service to Him and for Him. Seek Him out in your daily life with Him, learn from His Word, pray about your role in His Kingdom and then you can take your place in whatever He has laid out for you.

The shed blood of Jesus Christ


1 Peter 1:13-21
13 Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

17 And if you address as Father, the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

john_3_16_17_scripture_memory_card-raf7013e639264b87b918bea9971565b3_vgbaq_8byvr_540Sin deceives you because its roots are from the deceiver, Satan. Sinful actions can and will destroy your life in many ways and in the end of this life, it will bring eternal death which is eternal banishment from the presence of God.

The only way to save yourself from sin and the consequences of it is to believe in Jesus and the blood which He shed for us, each of us, on the cross. The Son of God gave His life for you and for me…He didn’t have to but He wanted to do it. Because He loved each of us far more and deeper than we can know or comprehend.

He redeemed us from sin through His blood shed on the cross for you! The only action needed on your part is belief in Him and the atonement bought by His blood.

Colossians 1:19-22 King James Version (KJV)

19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Do you understand what God has done for us? For you and for me? Each person who has ever lived in this world, before the Flood and up until now, is born with a natural bent toward sin! I mean you don’t have to teach anyone to lie and you know it as well as I do.

Tell a toddler not to do something or eat something and you can see their wheels turning trying to figure out how they can get away with doing exactly that! If you are able to catch them right after doing it, whatever it may be, ask them if they did what you told them not to do. Even with crumbs from those cookies on their clothes they will tell you no, they didn’t do that.

In life you see many people behaving exactly the same way, even if they are supposed to be grown-ups. Why is that? It is because until you have a changed heart through the Spirit of God living within you, you are a sinner from the day you are able to decide to do something which you were told not to do! God’s will for your life is to glorify Him in all that you do and the only way for us to do that is to believe in Jesus and the atonement that He bought for us and ask God’s forgiveness based upon that belief.

Now, many religions teach that you can work out your salvation by yourself but that is not true. If that were possible, Jesus died for nothing! No amount of gold or silver or any amount of good works that you or I do in this world can bring salvation to your soul, only belief in Jesus can do that and accepting His atonement for your sins. If you can’t or won’t do that, then you have condemned yourself to hell.

Please, don’t go there, because hell was not made for humanity at all. It was made to punish angels who rebelled against God’s rule and authority including Satan or Lucifer if you know him by that name. Because of deception and our own stubbornness, many people are going to hell and it won’t be a party or a friendly place to be for eternity at all.

Make sure of your salvation in Jesus soon before the church is taken from this Earth, because it is going to happen soon. Plan on being part of that company.

 

Why worry?


Good deedsJesus told His disciples not to worry about tomorrow or about things which you have no control over, so why do we do it? During my life I have noticed that we tend to worry about things which are just out of our reach and our control and it seems to be just part of the human condition to do so. Worry serves no real purpose except to spur us on toward attempting to fix different problems.

Occasionally, fretting about something will help us to seek the solution, maybe even give us a bit of insight into an eternal solution for our real problem. What about when your anxiety turns into something which almost feels like you could be a killer? What do you do then? At this point I think we should step back and read in the Psalms for a while, clear your head and your soul of the negative emotion which anxiety can bring on and just meditate on God’s Word.

Why is that important? Because, God’s Word can heal your mind and open your heart to His grace and mercy. That’s why it is important to keep His Word close to you and read it when you are having problems, no matter what the size of the problem! Anxiety and worry are two sides of the same coin and they are both concerned with things which you can’t control. Some of those worrisome thoughts are of a kind which can derail almost any plan.

But, God is faithful to heal your mind and shield you from the enemy if you will keep your part of the equation going. By that I mean reading His Word and meditating on it every day, particularly when things aren’t going the way they should.

God loves each of us and for those who have given their hearts to Jesus, we have access to His strength and His comfort through whatever life may put in our paths. Will it make life easier? No, it will make some things harder to do because Satan and his demons will try to stop you or place things in your pathway to slow you down. When you are a Christian, the world does not like you. Satan hates you because you belong to Jesus now and you may cause other people to become Christians too.

Each of us has a part to play, just as each part of your body does its part to work and run together effectively. Each one of us is capable of doing that in the body of Christ while we are doing His will in our lives. The only way that we can do these things for God’s Kingdom is to allow Him to work through us, every day. No matter where you may work or what you do, do it as if you were doing it for Jesus.

Don’t get discouraged because of bills or your health, just pray about them and give them to Jesus. Let Him work in your life, in your bills and in your health and in His time to bring about His solution for you. Don’t get ahead of Him and don’t try to do it for Him either because, even though that is hard to do, if you do try to do it for Him, your solution will fail because you didn’t let Him do the work.

What is your comfort zone?


Many of us have one and sometimes it extends to the point of making someone else uncomfortable. Is that your comfort zone? Would you extend your own story into someone’s life if they asked you about your life? What if they just wanted to start a conversation? Would you listen to them or would you walk away or make an excuse to get away from them?

VineandBranchesWe are tasked with getting out of our comfort zones each day. Some of us more than others, but at some point we do step out of our “zone” during the day either at work or at the grocery store on an airplane or a bus. We will come into contact with a person who needs to hear something from us and that is where the voice of God speaks up and tells us to talk to that person or this one!

Are you comfortable enough to say something to them? Will you say what God wants to say to them? Regardless of your feelings about talking to people, God has given you a voice to use for Him, so do that. While it is true that many of us are introverts and like to spend the day away from people, some of us don’t have that luxury. God loves you and the person sitting next to you on the plane or the bus. He also loves the drunk who is passed out on the corner and the lady who is pushing an old buggy around with all of her possessions in it.

Will you talk to them? Pray about it and if the chance comes up, don’t hesitate, tell them what Jesus did for you and for them too. It doesn’t take a long, King James prayer, just one like, “Lord, give me the words to say. Amen”, will be sufficient. That is the same prayer that I pray when I begin writing here! Surely you don’t think I have come up with all of this on my own? I am not that good!!

I don’t claim to be a prophet or some Old Testament-type writer, but I do ask that God give the words which He knows are needed and necessary for our world and those who might read them here. Are you comfortable with telling others about your Savior? You should be. Why do I say that? Because I was very shy when I was much younger, and when I began preaching about seven years ago I was still shy. But, for the most part, God has helped me to get over that.

I don’t mean that I would be comfortable preaching before a huge crowd, but I am a lot more comfortable than I used to be.

We are capable of doing more for God’s Kingdom than we realize, if we will let Him use us in this ministry. Sometimes we just have to step outside our own comfort zone in order to be useful in the ministry which He knows that we can do.