Be ready, look up!


Look up…

When the trumpet of God sounds, what will you be doing? Are you working for His Kingdom or just working to pay your bills? Well…it depends on what time of day that He blows the trumpet. If it is in the night, most of the world or at least half of it will be asleep. If it is the early morning, like right after sunrise, then many will be getting up and preparing for the day to come. Whether it is getting ready for school or work, that is what they will be doing, regardless of their age.

What about the people who don’t know Jesus yet? Truthfully, they will be doing mostly the same things that we are, except some of us will be reading God’s Word and doing our daily Bible study, if we are in the habit of doing that. It is a shame that many Christians miss out on the freshness of God’s Word in the morning simply by NOT studying His Word before going to school or work. Why do I say this? Because reading and praying for God to reveal His wisdom for you from His Word is just a good way of starting the day off on the right foot.

Are we commanded to do so? Well, no, God doesn’t tell us that it is a commandment but He did say “Meditate on the Scriptures day and night”; so in a way, He did say that we should read His Word daily. Whether we choose to do it in the early morning or in the afternoon or evening is our choice, but it would get the day started better if you would begin your day by being in His Word.

God loves us beyond our measure and yet we don’t usually seek Him out until something is wrong or something is going wrong in our lives. Many people seem to be brought up with that sense of not needing God until ?. It isn’t good for us to try to live our lives daily, let alone throughout the year, without Him as part of our lives. What good does that do you?

Your Father in Heaven is the Creator and if you don’t want anything to do with Him don’t you believe that hurts His feelings? I know there are some who don’t believe in God or Jesus or a Creator and that is fine, but it is foolish. Our universe did not just create itself and it didn’t organize itself without God’s hand guiding it to be what He intended it to be and to do His will.

On that day when the trumpet sounds, will it be audible for all to hear or will it be audible for only those who have given their hearts to Jesus? Honestly, I have no idea! It could be the loudest trumpet blast in history or it may be only audible to the ears of those who have been waiting for it eagerly. Either way, it is going to happen soon and by that, I mean within my lifetime.

So, look up expecting to hear or see something beyond amazing but also terrifying. Why? Because, if you see it happen or hear it and you are not part of it, then you will need to seek out God fast! Because the world is going to go into a tailspin and there will be a delusion, sent to the Earth, which will allow people to believe the lie that they will be told about what happened. This is what the Bible speaks of in 1 Thessalonians 4, about being taken up in a moment: 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

This is the rapture of the Church, of those who believed in Jesus and His message. No matter the denomination, those who have truly believed and have been changed by the Holy Spirit will be taken up into Heaven, changed into our immortal bodies and be with Him forever. Jesus told the thief this while they were on their crosses before Jesus said: “It is finished.” He said, “Today, you will be with Me in Paradise”. No waiting for the end of the age when all will be awakened to their punishment or their reward,  and when you die you will be taken from your body to be judged to receive your reward or your punishment.

Make sure of which one it will be while in this life, because after death there will be no second chances.

Which will you choose?


We have many choices in life. What clothes to wear to school? Which shoes to put on today? What will you or I eat for lunch today? Will I attend college or go to a trade school? All of these choices are part of life in many countries today, but in many others people, especially children, don’t have as many options. In some areas of America, children go hungry at night..sometimes for days at a time. Although most of the world wouldn’t believe that, it is true and it is a very sad fact.

Why do I call it a sad fact? Because for some of those children, maybe more than most people realize, the reason they are without food is because their parents are addicted to drugs. It may be because of an injury or some other problem which gets them addicted, but once they are, they don’t care about much else except staying pain-free and that usually involves getting high.

I don’t intend to sound all high and holy or any of that. I have some severe pain and I have been given some opiates for that pain…I didn’t like the way they made me feel. The point of this post isn’t really to point a finger at anyone, in fact, the situation which many find themselves in, seems to be almost normal today.

We search for a way to feel good about the life that we live. We search for a way to have more stuff and make more money. Some even preach that God owes us and that He should supply us with what we want in this life. That is not how God’s laws work! He is our Creator after all, He isn’t required to give us anything above our actual needs!

heaven-or-hell-eternal-destinyGod loves you beyond any measure that we can understand and the grace that He extends to each of us in the offer of eternity is beyond any monetary amount which can be gained in this life! Our pitiful attempts at being immortal, whether with fame or cryogenic preservation, will likely be futile. Consider that the only reason which our country’s founding fathers are remembered is because of their place in history, nothing more.

Which of us will be remembered beyond our obituary? Our family may remember us for a few days or weeks, but very few others will, even if we considered them our friends. So, which direction on the path will you choose? Will you choose to follow Jesus into Heaven and eternity or will you decide that you know best how to live your life and that your version of being dead with no eternity is the way to go?

The problem with that is this: there is an eternity in which to live! Your choice determines whether you live in Heaven with God or in hell without Him. The Bible describes the eternity without God very well and it isn’t a place which our eternal body was destined for at all! Satan only wants those who choose not to believe in Jesus to make that choice because he knows that it hurts God and he is determined to do that as much as possible. Satan doesn’t care about you or your eternity but he will lie to you about it in order to get you to go there.

Don’t make that choice which leads you into hell. Believe in Jesus as your Savior and follow Him, then your eternity will be with Him.

Summer….


The season of heat and humidity, at least in the deep South, is coming to an end. It hasn’t yet, but hopefully before November the temperature outside will get to a point of being tolerable. Summer is also the warmest or hottest part of the year no matter what hemisphere you live in or the time of year in which it falls. I never really liked summer because of the humidity and the heat but then I tried a little of it in Arizona a few years back. It wasn’t so unbearable as summer in the South, but hot is hot when you get in a car, with or without the humidity!

13419221_838712436261893_9132633303197040096_nYou may be wondering why I am beginning this post about the hottest part of the year? Well….there are many reasons. Life itself being one of them. We go through periods of learning and growth in the spring of our lives, then we get to the summer season where we are busy and doing things so much until we don’t know which direction we are going sometimes. The fall season is sometimes the best, although it is then that many of life’s problems show up in our health and relationships. Winter is when all of the accomplishments of life come together and we remember, hopefully, the best of those before we reach the end.

Why do I bring this up today? Because, a friend of mine has passed on to the next phase of life…eternity. I am not sure about their salvation, although I hope that he did give his life to Jesus before the end. Life is full of changes. Some of them are good, some are not, but we have to live through them regardless. It is in living through them that we learn and grow into the person that we are to be. For some of us it takes a bit longer, and for some the learning begins with an early realization that God is in control of all things.

God is in control and He does His will through us and without us, but His will is done in all things good or bad. and the good and bad are from our viewpoint. Not necessarily from God’s viewpoint because His purposes will be done regardless of our actions or inaction. Spring, summer, fall and winter are only seasons in the year even though we use them to represent our lives as well. Seek Jesus out during your spring so that the rest of your “year” of life will be productive and in accordance with His will.

Romans 8


Romans chapter 8 has been called the most wonderful chapter in the Bible, mainly because it begins with a sentence saying “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus’. Why does this make a difference? Because by belonging to Christ, we are not condemned under the Law, and this applies to Gentiles and Jews.

Romans is a letter of Paul’s to the church in Rome to give them encouragement and to strengthen their faith in the One that they have believed in, Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God and our Savior. A believers freedom from the Law comes from Jesus’ incarnation and His sacrifice for sin and by the Holy Spirit’s operation in providing life. Jesus, being the Second of the Trinity and the Son, took on humanity. He did not cease to be God but took on human form without sin and became the perfect offering in order to fulfill the law’s demands in His life and death which broke sin’s power in the flesh on the cross.

Through the Spirit, a believer’s life can now be lived in a new way of life by loving as Christ did, through Christ, which fulfills the Law. Paul describes our struggle with “the old man”, which is our old nature and the “new man”, which is two different mindsets which we struggle with daily, sometimes with different outcomes. Depending upon which mindset you choose to follow on any given day.

Unregenerate people, those who haven’t accepted Christ, being hostile toward God and unable to submit to His law because they lack God’s Spirit, which makes submission possible. Christians live in a new realm because they have God’s Spirit dwelling within them. His Presence is the mark of Christ’s ownership. Your physical body will die because of the effects of sin, unless the Lord returns before your death. The pledge and promise of the Spirit is that He will raise us as He did Jesus, providing everlasting Life and righteousness.

Our freedom in Christ brings with it an obligation to subdue the sinfulness that is in the flesh because we have been changed by the Holy Spirit, decisively submitting the flesh to God as a living sacrifice to live daily in the spirit.

The leading of the Spirit of God is His providential sanctification. It is common to all adopted sons and it is constant. It will bring a believer to glory.The leading of the Spirit is not some mystical direction or ecstasy. It is the Spirit’s empowerment for mortification of our fleshly desires.

The Holy Spirit does not act as a spirit of bondage, but it is the means of our adoption into God’s family. By the Spirit we have a consciousness that God is our Father. It is a mark of a Christian to cry out to our Father in our prayer. The Spirit also gives us assurance of our salvation and our status in the family of God. We are joined to Christ in suffering by also in future blessing and destiny in Heaven. As He is in glory so will we be glorified with Him.

In verse 18, Paul wrote that our “light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

All of creation groans and has since the fall, but all will be restored in the regeneration. When we receive our freedom, the entire world will be changed. Christians only have a pledge of what is to come. We groan because of our fallen nature which is at war with our regenerate nature in Christ, which we have to conquer daily through Christ. One day our resurrected bodies will conform to the same glorification as Jesus’ glorified body.

In our weakness, we have the strength of the Holy Spirit and His intercession for us when we can’t say the words. Our Spirit agrees with the Holy Spirit and with groanings which are above words agrees with the Father on our behalf, saying things and asking for those things that we need even before we need them. The Spirit is also in agreement with the will of God for us and those prayers are always answered.

Who are those who love God? Those who have been called according to His purpose, the called are all Christians. The promise of this verse is that God orders everything for us so that all of life’s experiences work together for our ultimate good. Whether it may be good in and of itself, but God uses all of our circumstances for our good. Jesus taught that God’s sovereign care for and guidance of creation covers even the death of a sparrow and the hairs on our heads.

If God looks on even those minute details in our lives, don’t you think that He is interested in the things which many of us deny Him access to in our everyday lives because “we don’t think He needs to be part of it”?

Remember, we are more than conquerors through Christ! Once you have given your heart and life to Jesus and asked the Holy Spirit to take up residence in your life and your heart, there is NOTHING which can separate you from His love or from Him. Believe in Him and you shall be saved! Not maybe, not sometimes, but every time and for all time! Amen!

This is my sermon for tomorrow morning, I pray that it touches your heart and draws you closer to Jesus.

Why did you bring me back?


I have read some books from doctors about patients who have asked this question. Patients who had experienced death or as it is called in the media a near death experience. That is not exactly the right name for it, it is death but with a spiritual twist. If God had wanted that person dead then nothing that the doctors or anyone else did for them would matter. God allowed them to return because their story needed to be told, the feelings and experiences which they had in a few minutes or seconds needed to be told.

Many people experience peace and joy and a feeling that everything is fine. Some experience a horrifying and agony-filled few minutes which may change their beliefs after they return for their second chance. The point of this is that the veil which separates this life from the next is very thin spiritually speaking. We can’t see through it, although at times we feel things or see glimpses of someone or some place. We just brush it off as “it’s because I am tired” or “I didn’t really see that, did I?”.

Most of us forget those glimpses through the veil after a day or two, but for those who have crossed through the veil during a heart episode in the hospital or died on the operating room table and are brought back, the experience is too real to forget.

Is there life after death? YES! Jesus said so and He was and is alive now to prove it! He also told His disciples that He would return to take His church to be with Him. The veil which separates our earthly bodies from that eternity is thin and we are surrounded by spiritual beings all of the time. Do I have proof of this? No, I just have faith in God’s Word and it seems that the realm of the spirit was always there, even when Elisha was facing an army in the Old Testament. He asked God to show his disciple that they had more protection than the ones coming against him and he saw them!

The demons were and are everywhere in our world, yet thankfully we can’t see their form and their actions as we go about our daily lives. In Jesus’ day, a whole legion of them had taken over one man and when He told them to get out, they entered into a herd of pigs and the pigs drowned themselves in the lake.

My point is this: don’t discount the words of someone who has come near to death or has been brought back. They have seen something which few people see and live to tell of it. Does life continue after this shell of our bodies dies? Yes, it does. The enjoyment of life with Jesus is there but there is also a place without Him and it is a terrifying place without Jesus.

Our minds can barely imagine a few hundred years forward or back from our point of reference. One thousand years is a long time, but if you begin to think of one million or try to consider it then you can’t take it in. Any amount of time beyond one thousand is just a number to us, our minds can’t process it.

Why would someone who has been brought back to life be angry about having another chance at life? Because, for a believer the other side of the veil is so much more than we can comprehend now! Even a few seconds of life with Jesus away from the pain and mental anguish in this life would make you long to be with Him even more! But, when God sends a person back to this life, it is for a reason…His reason. Others need to know about the spiritual life that waits for them whether it is a life with Jesus or not!

john317Please, read God’s Word prayerfully. Seek Him out and His Son’s Life which is in His Word. Ask Jesus to come into your life and open your eyes so that you can experience His Life for eternity. God doesn’t want you to go to a dark place where He is not, because it is your choice if you refuse to allow Him into your life.

There is no gray area…


DarkorLightOur life is sometimes ruled by black and white, good or bad, choices that we make sometimes on a daily basis. Many of our decisions are based upon what will this do to change my life or the life of someone that I care for. Will it make some part of their life or mine better or worse? This is still a decision based on Darkness or Light, Death or Life, Love or Hate, nearly everything that happens in our world falls on one side or the other. So, which side will you choose?

Holidays and loss


Many times we think of the holidays as the happiest time of the year but for some that is not the case. Twenty-one years ago my mother died on Christmas day which has impacted my holidays for a while. Some of my friends on Facebook have lost beloved pets just this week. Why do I compare the two? Because pets are part of your family and when their lives come to an end, it is just as heartbreaking as a child’s death or someone else that is close to you.

During the holidays many people are more depressed than during the rest of the year. Sometimes it is because of deaths in the family, sometimes it is because of loneliness or other problems, but the effects come down hard during the holidays. It happens to all of us at one point or another and it is natural to be emotionally drained and depressed when the holidays come around. Why? Because we expect or we are taught to expect this time of year to be happy with family and friends visiting and sometimes those visits just don’t happen.

God loves you dearly and He is always near to each of us. His Word gives us comfort and strength to get through this time. When depression comes to my house and involves me, I get into God’s Word, specifically in Psalms. Sometimes I read a number of them and I have spent three weeks in the Psalms to find my way out of depression or in the attempt to keep it at bay. God will give you strength and the ability to do this along with His Wisdom that you can share with others.

The loss of a family member, whether they happen to have fur or not, is a hard loss but with the wisdom and the comfort that is available from God, you can get through these hard times. Seek Him out for your comfort and for your salvation because both can be found in Jesus! Amen.

Almost home


Have you ever wished that you were home? I don’t mean your Earthly home exactly, although that is a wonderful place to be most of the time. I mean your Heavenly home, the one that Jesus went to prepare for each person who claims Him as their Lord and Savior!

The longer that each of us live here on Earth, if we are Christians, the closer we are to getting there. Your journey of this life begins the day that you were conceived and ends on the day you die. God knows both dates and He will bring you into His home, your eternal home right after your soul exits from your body.

Now, I know there are some who don’t believe this and they will disagree with me. That’s OK, because one day they will meet Him too. Whether they know Him as Savior or not, they will meet Him although they may not enjoy the meeting if they didn’t accept Him as their Savior.

Almost home

Through the brambles and the weeds, the long road winds. Twisting, turning, and ever climbing yet upward and forward it goes. Life it is that we live here, sweet and sour though it may be. Sweeter still when ever we find the end of the path and cross over to be…with our Creator and our Lord into Eternity.

pathtoCFSometimes it seems that we take our life for granted, where it starts and where it ends and all of the stuff that happens between those points are just part of it. But, do you ever consider the path that leads to Eternity? If you are a Christian or have any idea about an afterlife, then the thought has likely crossed your mind a few times. Seek our Jesus and a Bible teaching church or study group, learn about Him and His ways because He is the only way into Eternity and He does have a place for you there. He said so.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well. In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so,would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am.”  John 14:2,3

End or beginning?


Humanity tends to look at life as that time which we have here on Earth and that it mostly ends when your life ends. Some believe in reincarnation, some believe that when you die that’s it and there is nothing more…but for a Christian this is just a rehearsal for our eternal life, the life that we will have with Jesus. The one that never ends and that we will be with Him and our Christian brothers and sisters forever. Does life end with your last breath? This physical life on Earth does, but if your heart belongs to Jesus then your spirit goes on to everlasting life in God’s home, Heaven.

I can’t tell you anything about that wonderful place beyond death, except the things which I have read or the descriptions found in the Bible. Even those descriptions pale because human sight and comprehension just aren’t enough to tell others about that which lies beyond this life. It would be like trying to describe a color, any color, to a blind person who has never seen or experienced seeing a color such as a purple sunset or a clear blue sky. Words just don’t describe and can’t describe that which your eye sees! Like the boy who was in the movie “Heaven is for real!”, when he tried to describe someone or something that he saw it was just more…more real, more colors, more than he could describe with words.

Heaven is more than our imaginations can imagine accurately at least because there are colors and textures and gold which is so pure that it is clear like glass. We don’t have a reference for anything like that in our minds. Eternity is more than we can believe or imagine, but we will be there IF we belong to Jesus! For the first weeks or months we will likely be discovering far more than we could’ve thought or imagined that our life in eternity might be like. After we realize that we have been there longer than we thought, time won’t mean anything anymore!

Seek Him out, learn about Him, give your life to Him and ask Him to come into yours because this time on Earth is just a training period for the real thing!image

Celebrations and tears


We all have them at one time or another. We mourn the loss of someone who we love or we celebrate an anniversary or other accomplishment in our lives. Sometimes the tears come during the celebrations, but it is all part of life. How do you live with it or live without the people in your life which have gone on before you? Do you rely on your own strength and that alone or do you lean on friends and family? Many people do exactly that, they lean on others who have gone through the same troubles and heartaches. Is that really how we are supposed to get through our tough times?

The celebrations are easy because they usually involve someone’s accomplishment in some way or another. Maybe you have been married longer than some in your family or friends. Maybe you just graduated from college or even got married recently. Maybe you just had a baby, boy or girl doesn’t matter, it is still a celebratory moment in your life that you won’t forget…EVER!

Time can dim the memories and the pain to an extent, but it never goes away entirely. The loss of a loved one, whether it was your child or your mother or father or one of your grandparents, is a loss to you emotionally, physically and even spiritually. Why spiritually? Because between Christians there is a bond of fellowship, it isn’t one that you can feel emotionally but it is there. When you are absent from this fellowship, your spirit feels it and whether you feel it emotionally or not, God knows how it is affecting you.

The other effects from the loss are more immediate and real because of the pain that is felt and caused by such a loss. Why am I going over this? Because many of you, even though I don’t personally know you, have a loss in your life of some kind. Some are more painful than others, some are like my mother who suffered with pain for years before she died but that did not lessen the pain that I felt at her passing. Even though after so many so-called “mini strokes”, she was still with me for a time she couldn’t enjoy life anymore so her quality of life was far diminished from what it had been. For years I blamed myself because I had asked God to take her and get her out of her pain and suffering, but it wasn’t because of my actions or my prayer that God granted it. It was because He saw that it was time and within a day of my prayer, she was in His arms.

Yes, my pain began at that point and continued for many years especially at Christmas because she died on Christmas day. My point?

First…don’t ever pray that kind of prayer unless you are ready spiritually for the consequences of it.

Second…there will be consequences, good or bad, because of a death in your family whether you prayed that prayer or not.

God loves each of us, no matter what we have done or will do in the future, He just doesn’t like the sinful lives that we lead. Especially when we don’t even recognize that we are sinners or that what we are doing is sinful. Some Christians live this way, thinking that their life is fine with Christ and with God because they claim to be Christians and they go to church once in a while. Many of them think that because they read the Bible a few times a year, not all the way through, that they have their way to Heaven in the bag and they don’t need to worry about it.

Analogy: You go to a college and audit some courses, sitting in class and listening and reading the material maybe even taking notes. You might even audit enough courses to actually have enough credits under your belt to get a degree…will you get one? No, because an audited course doesn’t give you credit for a degree, you are just present listening for your own enjoyment so to speak. What good did that do?

The same amount of good that going to church, reading the Bible, praying and singing will do for you…none!!!

You can go through the motions of this and you might even be “led” to get baptized one day because you think that it is the right thing to do but has your heart changed? Did you give your life to Jesus and allow Him to change you from the inside? If you didn’t do that and your life outside of church doesn’t change so that others can tell that something happened, then it was your decision, your feeling and not the call of the Spirit that you answered. When you die, you will be shown that you did all of these things but if you never actually gave your heart to Jesus, the knowledge that you heard but did not hear spiritually will only convict you.

Think about it.