Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, Thou hast covered all their sin. Selah. Psalm 85:2 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.85.2.KJV
Category: Follow Jesus
God answers your prayers
In the world in which we live today, there are many people inside and outside the church who don’t believe in God’s ability to answer our prayers. Many times God answers our prayers almost before we pray them. Sometimes the answer is “no” or “not yet” but sometimes the answer is “Yes!”. We may not recognize His answer as if it came from God but I believe that many of our answers, if not all of them, do come from Him. Just like any parent or guardian, God says yes to some prayers which will give glory to Him and will help us in our journey. Then there are prayers, usually spoken in haste or anger, that God will answer “No!”.
Sometimes we can understand His reasons when we don’t get a positive answer but many times we act like a spoiled child and pitch a fit when we don’t get our way. It is the negative answers which teach us how to be truly patient and one day we will understand why He didn’t answer our request with a “yes”.
In 1 John 5:14-15 it says:
14 This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask† anything according to his will, he hears us.† 15 And if we know that he hears whatever we ask,† we know that we have what we have asked of him.†
Notice that John writes “If we ask anything according to His will…”, meaning that our request should be prayed about, and in asking Him to do one thing or another we must be in His will for Him to answer us with a “Yes!”. In other words, we should be walking with Him, studying His Word, and in a state of prayerful living so that we will know what is His will for our lives.
Unfortunately, there are many people in the church and in the pulpit, who are not walking with Jesus on a daily basis. We tend to visit Him on Sunday or on a holiday or when something goes wrong in our lives and He is the only recourse for us to turn to at the time. Other than that, we just go through our day without a thought about Him or His Word…until we really NEED Him to show up!
God does answer prayers and He hears the prayers of those who belong to Him in their hearts. The Holy Spirit speaks to Him even before we do especially when it is a request that is painful to ask for and it is during those times when God’s answer shows up before we even know that we need it. Sometimes it shows up in a way that we weren’t expecting but many times it will show up in an unexpected way and it will bring joy into our lives that we never knew we had.
Considering our prayers and our relationship with God, we need to remember that He is not a genie. God doesn’t answer at the same moment that we ask and He is not willing to give us the desires of our heart unless our desires and His are the same. Would He give us the desires of our heart? Yes, if it would bring Him glory and bring more people into His Kingdom.
We have to have a close relationship with Him in order for our requests to truly be in line with His will for our lives. Today there are many people in the church who really aren’t that close to God at all. Even though they may think they are. Some of those who think they are close to God are not and some of those are in the pulpit. Are they saved? Maybe or maybe they think they are, only God can answer that question.
That is the most important question of all. Are you truly saved like the thief on the cross? Believe in Jesus for your salvation because He is the only way. Or…will you leave the church with the idea that you’ll get around to it one day but not today. Are you sure that you will be here the next time we meet? Not one person knows that they have tomorrow as another day to make that decision. I don’t and none of you know without a doubt that you will live another day or another week. The only person who knew when He would die was Jesus and that only because He was God in the flesh.
A love note from God
God loves us so completely and totally without reservation until He sent His Son, One of the Trinity, to pay for ALL of mankind’s sins. Not just those which had been done by Israel or those from centuries in the past, but for ALL of mankind until the end of the age of man. Love is the factor which brought God to Earth in the form of a man, Jesus the Christ.
We receive His grace every day with our life as we wake in the morning when we are bound to Earth by the gravity which God placed into creation or when we breathe the air given to us by God and recycled by the plants and trees and chlorophyll-laden plankton in the ocean. God provides for us in so many ways until we have come to take all of them for granted as if we have a right to them.
We do actually, as long as we are in love with Him too. But when we burn the forests down or pollute the oceans and streams which He gave to us to manage but not destroy, God doesn’t look kindly on us as part of His creation, which was made in His Image, while it destroys other parts of creation.
God tells us in His Word, the Bible, that He loves us. He does this so many times until it should register with you and me without it being pointed out by a preacher or someone who has taken the time to chronicle the number of times it shows up in the Bible. The numbers are not exactly staggering but they do show that God wants us to know that He LOVES us!
It depends upon which version/translation that you use to track the number, but if you use the King James Version there are 310 times in which it appears. Some translations use the word in ways other than what love should be used for but the fact is that God expressed His love for all of us through His grace and mercy and all of the blessings which we have in our lives.
Yes, we do take most of them for granted today and most of the world doesn’t notice any of them as being given to us by God at all. The air we breathe, the water we have to drink, the food which we have are all part of our inventiveness and our own work. Much of the world doesn’t attribute any of our accomplishments to God at all! It has all been done by the ingenuity of our minds and our talents.
Who gave us our talents and our intellect and ingenuity? God did. Yet, we treat our talents and our intellect as ours, as if we had a part in bringing it to bear in our lives. God gave each of us unique talents and abilities which only we, as individuals, have in our possession. While a degree or a talent for music may be shared in the general population, each person has some unique talent or ability which no other person in the world has.
So why do we seem to think that “natural selection” made such a difference in the world? Because of the scientists and legislators who have pushed God and any mention of Creation out of their curriculum. That is the reason most colleges graduate people who have no concept of God because He isn’t allowed in the classroom! So why would God bless our country so much when we have pushed Him out of schools and out of our government or public life? There is really only one reason which explains why He has not taken His blessings away from America.
He blesses the land which has blessed Israel and our country has done that. While it is true that a few others have blessed the land and the people that God holds dear in His heart, America has done it for the longest amount of time.
God is still active in Creation, whether we recognize His hand in it or not. The world is His and everything in it is His to do with as He pleases. So, forget the political processes and the parties, the Ruler of the universe is truly in charge of each facet of life here and we should be following Him as closely as possible every day.
What do you deserve?
Spiritually we don’t deserve any favor or forgiveness from Almighty God. What? Are you kidding me? God doesn’t owe you anything!
Scary, huh? God doesn’t owe you anything except punishment, especially when we have not repented of our sinful lives and given our heart and our life to Him to live for Him during our life here on Earth! I don’t think many people even consider this issue unless they are convicted of their sins by the Holy Spirit at some point.
Think about the definition of grace and mercy, here are the plain definitions of those words:
Grace: (in Christian belief) is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. … There was nothing we could do to earn this salvation for ourselves. Mercy: compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.
So, considering that God is Perfect and Holy, what would He require of you to earn your salvation? Nothing. Why? Because, since we are not perfect and holy we can’t accomplish the requirements which are necessary for our sanctification! God loves every person on Earth and He wants to have a relationship with each one of you. The only Person Who could pay the price for ALL of humanity’s sins was Jesus, God’s Son.
Jesus came to pay that price for every person and it doesn’t cost us one cent to believe in Him and in His sacrifice for each of us. We cannot pay the price for any part of our salvation because the cost is more than we can pay. We are not worthy to be saved but through your grace and mercy, the gift of salvation is offered to us as a gift from you to them. If they will believe that You did this for them and accept it in Jesus’ name, they will be saved.
The concept of being given this tremendous gift, which we really don’t deserve, is hard for some to understand but the manner in which we can have it is easy…simply believe in the One Who provided it for us. Believe that He did it, not out of obligation but because He loved us enough that He wanted to provide a way for us to be with Him throughout eternity!
We, meaning all of humanity, have all been given this wonderful gift by our Creator. A gift which we do not deserve and could never repay Him for because of the pain and the suffering which Jesus went through and which God shared in, yet it is a wonderful gift. The gift of God’s Love through Jesus for all of us! That is the gift we have been given. Along with the grace and mercy which poured from out Savior’s veins and the cuts and the nail prints and the suffering which He endured because of our sins, which had to be paid for so we could have a relationship with God, face to face one day in eternity.
None of this would be possible for us to attain through any effort of our own. God is the Creator and there is nothing in the universe that He doesn’t own already. So, there is no amount of gold or silver or jewels which we could offer for our entrance into Heaven since He owns all of the gold and silver and jewels in the entire universe! According to some theories, it may rain diamonds on Neptune so how many other planets could this be happening on? The treasure of one person or the entire wealth of the Earth doesn’t compare to the worth of our souls in the eyes of God.
The church in our time
We are closer to the end times than you think. If you have ever read the book of Revelation you will know which church is reflected by the church today. The Laodicean church.
In Rev. 3:15-18: 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Many churches today have a service which resembles a performance more than a sermon. Some of the smaller, less liberal churches have regular sermons but the time is spent more with praise music than with preaching from God’s Word. There are other things which are going on in the church today which I don’t have statistics to show you but if you look up the status of the Christian church you can find the same statistics which I did.
Why am I bringing this up today? Because our world is walking and sometimes running away from Biblical preaching as fast as they can go and it is leaving those congregations with a very light dusting of God’s Word rather than a full meal from the Word. Paul wrote to some of the churches that they were still babes in Christ and they hadn’t matured enough to savor the “meat of God’s Word“. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul tells his listeners this: 1 Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual, but as worldly—as infants in Christ. 2, I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for solid food. In fact, you are still not ready, 3for you are still worldly.
God loves us but we cannot remain as “babes in Christ” for our whole lives! At some point, we need to study to show ourselves approved to be His disciples and His workers in Jesus Christ. The church today is lacking in its study of God’s Word and in the building up of the body of Christ, the believers who actually make up the church. Regardless of your denomination, each of us who claims to be a Christian who knows the Lord of Glory, all of us should be able to answer a simple Bible quiz and yet many cannot!
We have fallen behind in our studies of the Word of God because we are not passionate about our love for Jesus and our Life in Him! What happened? Has your heart grown cold against your Savior? He gave His life for each of us so why can’t we live our lives as a true living sacrifice to Him for the rest of our lives until we are called home? It is the least that we could do considering what He did for each of us.
I would rather hear Him say to me, “Welcome home” rather than “What happened after you accepted Me?” If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, do you read and study God’s Word at least once or twice every week or do you just pick it up when you attend church services? What would you do if you had to give the reason for your hope in Christ? Would you be able to quote Scripture for it or do you know enough verses that you could?
Are you or your church only lukewarm in your service to Him? If you are then you need to dedicate your life to becoming more passionate about Jesus and what He has done for you.
Are you in a wilderness?
There are days when we find ourselves lost or at least groping around for the way out of wherever we are. Sometimes it is figurative and sometimes it is a spiritual wilderness without trails or road signs or any other clues about the way out. When you feel like this, what do you turn to for help? Who do you turn to for guidance?
A person who is on a hike in an area where they have never been before will usually take a guide or at least a compass so they can find a bearing or the trail which will lead them from one place to another. When we are spiritually lost, most of us don’t even know that we are until God touches our heart and lets us know. Until that time we won’t look for Him nor will we seek to know Him because we don’t feel the need for a Savior.
So, are you lost in a wilderness of your own creation? Do you feel like something isn’t like it should be in your life? Many of us who were lost and away from Jesus, even if we didn’t know about Him, have always felt an emptiness as if something was missing. Many of us have tried alcohol or drugs or sex or who know what else to fill that empty place, but it is never filled. We may feel better or happy for a time but when we come out of the high…the empty place remains. Many times this is why people become addicted to drugs because they are trying to keep that feeling of fullness of joy and peace.
The problem is that no man-made drug or high of any kind will ever fill that space because it is only filled by the Holy Spirit of God when you accept Jesus as your Savior. Then you will be free of the empty feeling and you will belong to Jesus because He can make you whole again. All of us are born with a place in our soul which feels empty and sometimes we don’t find out what fits in that place until we meet Jesus. Only He can make you whole and give your life a True Purpose through Him.
Your job and your family may fulfill your life in many ways but without Him in your heart working in step with Him to really fulfill His purpose in your life, even those will be only a shadow of what they could be. Being saved by Jesus’ Spirit and believing in Him for your salvation is the greatest decision you will ever make in this life. Everything else falls into place after that.
While giving your life to Jesus will not make your life perfect it will give you the strength and the ability to seek His Wisdom for your decisions for the rest of your life. The Bible is the best “self-help” book ever written and it does have many words of wisdom for business and life too. Don’t believe the lie of Satan or the rest of the world which tells you that it is an old outdated book with nothing in it for today! Its wisdom is useful for today and tomorrow on into eternity.
The Bible, God’s Word, is the best and most useful “compass” for this life and every situation that can be found. No other book has the Wisdom of the Creator inside it because the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, so every word in it is true.
Seek to know Him
Jesus tells His disciples to “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” but what exactly does that mean? Considering the subject which He was teaching them about at the time was “worry”, this particular passage was in reference to God’s willingness to provide for our needs, and their needs at the time. Worrying about life or food or clothing does nothing except cause more stress in your life which none of us truly needs today!
In the world that we live in, life is stressful enough without worrying about what you will eat or wear or if you can pay the mortgage this month. God knows you have needs along these lines and He will give you the ability to pay for them or acquire them in time for your needs to be met. Notice that I said “needs” not wants! God doesn’t provide luxury until you are rewarded in Heaven for your service to Him in this life. You may be able to acquire luxury items in this life but you would be wise to pay your debts as soon as possible.
All of us have debts of one kind or another. Some have a mortgage which is still being paid or a car/truck loan which is still due. Some of us have credit card debt which means we are spending money that we don’t even have yet. All of these make us slaves to the loans which we have to pay in one way or another. God advises us to pay your debts as soon as possible and this advice can be found in Proverbs.
God does give us the ability to get wealth but we should not use it as a way of making others jealous of it. We should use whatever wealth we have as a way to bless others and in turn, we will be blessed by God. As it is said, “God loves a cheerful giver“. As you are blessed, be a blessing to others. Being humble and giving of your blessings to others will bless you in ways that you don’t know about until you are in Heaven.
What is freedom?
Freedom is the ability to enjoy certain liberties without being persecuted for enjoying them.
The dictionary meaning of freedom is this: the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. “We do have some freedom of choice”
the absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government.
We enjoy freedom not only because of the sacrifice of our soldiers in times of war and peace, but because of our law enforcement officers and other emergency response personnel too.
We also enjoy an amount of freedom from the burden of sin in our lives when we have given our hearts and our lives to Jesus and repent of our old way of life. Being a Christian is not just saying some words and getting wet by being baptized, it is a lifestyle and a relationship with Him. When you have given your life to Him you can enjoy the freedom that comes with it knowing that you have walked away from your old life.
Our freedom in Christ also gives us the ability to do and say those things which need to be said and done in the presence of others who may not know Jesus. Turn away from the drinking and smoking and give thanks for your freedom today so that others may want what you have in this life and may move on to an excellent eternity in the next.
Darkness and Light
In our world today we live in places of both darkness and light. Sometimes it can be seen or heard or reported in the news, sometimes it is more spiritual in nature. Particularly when someone you may know seems to go off the deep end unexpectedly when you don’t see it coming and nobody can explain any reason for it. Then there are times when we see an unexpected kindness in places where it doesn’t show up very often and it seems to grow by being passed on to others because of a kindness which a stranger did.
No one seems to understand how either of these can be seen in our world. The darkness which rises on our television screens when people are killed for no apparent reason. The light which shows up when someone either gives their life to save another or when someone does something for people they don’t know and didn’t have to do it but they did.
How can both exist in our world today? Because of the war between good and evil or God and Satan. This is the reason for both being seen in our world today. Sometimes or rather most of the time, we hear about the darkness more than we do the light simply because it gets our attention and it makes a better news story. Oh, there will be a small story at the end of the news where you will hear about a kindly man or woman who does something for others and they try to make it seem as if kindness was truly rare in our world.
Sometimes kindness and love really are rare in our world, but I believe that is because it doesn’t sell well. Kindness doesn’t make good news or copy for a newspaper. Evil or darkness makes really good news stories regardless of the media which picks it up. Also, we tend to pay attention to bad news more than we do when we hear about something which is good but unexpected. Why? For the same reason that the media picks up bad news… we look at it as more interesting, even when it may be a tragedy like the school shootings in the past few years.
If we are trying to follow in Jesus’ footsteps in our life we should be doing as much as possible to spread some kindness, some light into the world. Not for fame or recognition but to bring the world’s attention to Jesus and His teachings. A small kindness may not go very far but sometimes it goes a lot farther than you think it does.
What makes your life different?
In every book in the Bible, the one thing which makes each person important is…obedience. This very same ingredient is necessary for today’s world because God wants us to be obedient. Consider what would’ve happened if Moses had said “No!” to God at the burning bush? What would’ve happened in Israel if the prophets refused to do what God wanted? Jonah tried that, and it still worked out the way God wanted.
God will bring His will to pass and if you decide that you don’t want to help Him, then you can look for some things to come into your life which won’t work until you decide to work for God’s purpose instead of your own! Being obedient to the calling which God has placed in your life is necessary because it is what God expects from us. Remember, Jonah, as I said in the paragraph above, didn’t want to go to Ninevah like God wanted him to. He tried to go against God’s will too.
The problem with going against God’s call and will for your life is that God’s will doesn’t stop. His will is always finished the way that He intended it, like it or not. If you won’t do His will, then God will find someone who will or He will convince you to finish the call that was placed on you! Obedience has always been one of the qualities which God has required of His servants and the ones He has called as prophets or priests or even Kings.
Belief in Him and His purposes is also part of that requirement along with obedience and this is part of the reason that many people don’t serve Him today. Many of them attend church and they may read some verses in the Bible, some may even study the Bible a bit but that is as far as they want to go with their faith and their walk with Jesus.
Because of their own limiting beliefs and their lack of obedience to His calling on their lives, they will not have a fulfilling walk or relationship with Jesus. In contrast with actually obeying God’s call on your life, when you think you know what He wants you to do and you go ahead with that, God will just stand back and let you work on your own until you find that you can’t do what you think He wants! You need to be attentive enough to hear Him and follow His instructions.
Proverbs 3 says this: 5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
Oh, my gosh it’s from King James! How will I ever understand that!
I like the King James Bible because of its simplicity. The truth of God’s Word is present in all translations. If the Bible is translated faithfully from the Greek and Hebrew then His message is there for all to read and understand. Have faith in Him and follow Him, allow Him to lead you in your daily walk and believe in Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross and all of this will lead to a walk with Jesus that will carry you into eternity and hopefully will bring others along with you.