Just a thought…

Maybe more than one…I saw this on another site or maybe in an email and considered that it was worthy of placing here:Listen and silent

So much of the life and the times in which we live is part of the prophesied times told of in the Bible. The books of Revelation, Daniel and Ezekiel all have some points which give us some insight into the times in which we live right now. So what is the point of the words “listen” and “silent”? Simply this: you must be silent in order to listen and you need to listen in order to understand. In order to understand the wisdom of God, you need to learn to listen to Him and what better way to do that than to read His Word so you will know His voice when He speaks? If you don’t know someone’s voice, you can’t pick them out in a crowd of people, and that is what we have to do in order to hear God.

There is so much going on around us today until it is extremely hard to pick out relevant information, let alone the actual Truth of God. It just gets drowned out in the background until you can’t hear it well enough to know what is being said. Daily living with God’s Word, not just once or twice a week, is what is truly necessary for all of us who wish to know Him and be known by Him.

Seek His guidance in all of life’s problems and triumphs, the good and the bad times, and everything in between. Why? Because that is how the relationship between us and God was supposed to work in the beginning! Walking, talking and learning from Him was the normal and the only way for Adam and Eve to learn the things needed to be caretakers of the Garden. It is very sad that we fell from His grace so soon, but it didn’t surprise God. He knew that it was coming and what brought it about as well as who was responsible, just as the rebellion in the ranks of the angels didn’t surprise Him.

Silent and quiet times are few and far between, but we need to try to have those with God. Because, Jesus made sure in His ministry to do just that and He did it often, not just when He needed some advice or inspiration. We should do the same. Seek Him out so that you can learn from the Creator, He really is the best teacher.





Small things, big changes

What can you do in increments that will make a big change in your life? Cut down on calorie heavy drinks like energy drinks and latte’s, walk up a flight or two of stairs instead of taking the elevator, park on the far side of the lot so you have to walk a bit more to get to your car, all of these are good ways for getting in better shape physically and would be applauded by your doctor in America today.

So, what could you do to help yourself spiritually? Just small things, nothing huge. Like…read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation at least once this year. Most people would say, “Hold on! That is NOT a small task!” I said read the Bible in a year, not in a month. Begin by reading two or three chapters every day, starting at the first chapter of Genesis, by the end of a month you will be in the book of Exodus reading about Moses getting the Israelites out of Egypt.

See, it doesn’t take a lot of reading or time. Two or three chapters every day only takes maybe fifteen minutes or so, but you are learning about our Creator and why He does the things that HE does. Pray about what you read, either before or after reading so the Spirit can teach you about what you have read. Why do I know this works? Because, when I became a pastor in 2011, I began reading God’s Word every day, just a few chapters a day. I have read through it at least six times now, and I find something new, something different, each time.

The first time I was rushing it, I wanted to get through the Bible FAST! I read the whole Bible in three months, but that was HARD! Some days I had to read ten or more chapters and it’s hard to find the time to read that much in a morning or evening while you are working too. So, unless you are just reading and not really intent on understanding (which you won’t by going that fast), I don’t recommend that reading plan.

My point here is this: God gave us His Word, the Bible, to read and to learn about Himself and about the Messiah, Jesus. The only real way that you can learn about the voice of God and His intentions for your life and your purpose is to get to know Him better, so what better way to do that than by reading His Words? God loves us and His Love is expressed in His Word and by getting to know His Voice through reading the Bible, you will be able to tell the difference between His small voice and your small voice when you are trying to listen to Him!

We speak to ourselves in our mind or maybe Satan does, trying to throw us off the track of following God’s lead. Many times, people talk themselves out of following Him by listening to the wrong voice, their’s or Satan’s. Reading God’s Word gives you an inside track on knowing what He would say and what He would NOT say. We are in the beginning of the last days, not the Tribulation yet but leading up to it, so make sure that you know Who it is that is speaking to you and what is being said.

Where is God?

Don’t read the title and wonder if I have lost my mind, you have wondered the very same thing from time to time! I have too and it does vex me at times to think of all of the evil and pain in the world and wonder about Him. He is right next to each and every person who is in pain, in duress from a multiplicity of reasons, or who is just lonely. God is as close to you and I as our next breath or even as close as our heartbeat. He is always closer than we can imagine or comprehend and He cares more than we could possibly know or understand!

Jesus said that “not even a sparrow falls to the ground without the Father knowing it“, now that is my paraphrase of the actual scripture so don’t think it will be worded the same. But…if Jesus said, which He did, that a sparrow doesn’t escape God’s attention, don’t you think He pays attention to the rest of us as well? We can’t touch Him or feel His Presence all of the time, but He is there and He feels your pain and your sorrow and your joy.

12804782_1044929828955942_1233315242139204553_nAs a Christian we can feel Him near us, maybe not all of the time but if you are listening to His voice like you should then you can’t miss it. He is always there and as a Christian you and I have part of Him living inside our hearts, so He can’t get much closer than that can He?

For someone who is not as close to God as they should be or even someone who hasn’t given their life to Him, then the Presence of God may not be felt but that doesn’t mean that He isn’t nearby. Especially if you are being called into His Service! He will not let you get too far away from Him and He will bring you back in order to do His Will in your life and for His Kingdom. He doesn’t force you to serve Him, but when you realize what He has done and is doing for you and in your life, you will want to work for Him.

Paul did and he was persecuting the Way as it was called. He was called Saul at the time, but Jesus changed all of what he had been doing to make him into the greatest missionary of the New Testament church! If he can change and become one of the most successful disciples of Jesus, then you and I can do it too. We have to learn from God’s Word what to look for and how to understand His commands and His Voice in our lives and you can only learn that from prayer and reading the Bible.

So, where is God? He is everywhere! My best guess is that He is where you are and I know that He is where I am too! Give your heart to Him, learn about Him and His voice from the Bible, then you will hear Him and know that He is God and He is in your life, regardless of what may be happening, He will never leave you!

Life is worth…Living!

I just finished reading one of the last entries on a blog which was written by an atheist. I didn’t know him personally, but then I read a post from a few days later which his wife wrote and he passed away four days after writing the post that I read. It was…a post which showed the thoughts of someone who was giving up on life. He was depressed and had seemingly decided that it was his time to go. I don’t know for sure if he killed himself, but he knows for sure, where his eternity is. He had asked me before to prove the existence of God and whether the Bible predicted WWII, I told him that I could not prove the existence of God and that the Bible did not predict WWII.

You cannot prove the existence of God because He is. It is a question of faith and if you don’t have faith or you don’t believe anything in the Bible, then there isn’t any proof which would prove that God exists. Even if He came to us today in human form like He did when Jesus walked with His disciples, nobody today would believe in Him except for those of us who already believe. The problem with this is, of course, that He said in the book of Revelation that He would come back as a King of Kings and with the armies of Heaven. Jesus would not come as He did 2,000 years ago.

God loves each of you, and if you can open your mind a little and read the Bible for the history and culture that is there then you will see Him. Although, reading it as a history book is good, that is not all that is in it. There are so many things which God can reveal to you if you will have faith and believe. The problem with this is that there are many people who only read it as a book which has history and poetry and lots of stories in it, reducing it to just words.

The problem with doing this is that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Inspired by His Spirit so that the history and the stories told in it would have a line which winds from the beginning of the Earth to its end. It doesn’t go into detail about every nation or every war which happens, but it does point to your Savior and the only way to salvation and eternal life! Give your heart to Jesus, the Spirit will touch you at some point in  reading His Word, then you have to listen and open your heart to Him.

That place where you have always felt…empty. That is where the Spirit is supposed to live in you! He is the only One Who fits in that space and once you realize this and ask Him into your life, then you will finally feel whole! No more time alone. No more feelings of incompleteness. Satan will come and try to steal your joy at finding this, finding Him, but if you lean on Jesus and seek His strength to get through it then you will!

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem and since life itself is temporary make sure that you ally yourself with the Creator and your Redeemer, Jesus the Christ!!

Life, as it could be….

You have heard of life, the one you and I are living here on Earth. It is nasty sometimes, its dangerous sometimes, it’s just hard to deal with most of the time, and then some days, it turns out pretty good. Those days are few but that is what makes them special! If you had a great day, every day, life would be boring, fun but boring. How has life been treating you recently? It depends on your location and your circumstances mostly. If you work for Google, you have a hectic day but you get paid well for it so it’s not so bad from what I have read. If you work for the government…I am sorry. Yes, there are many different jobs and salaries which go from one extreme to the other, some jobs are hourly which is the pits mostly. Some are pretty decent in their pay and benefits, but those are few and depend on education and experience and location, location, location.

Life…is not really fair for most of us. If there were some way that I could help in this matter, I would. I am not kidding, but right at this time I am not in a position to help many more than my immediate family. People ask, “Where is God in all of this?”, He is here with us and with you, like it or not. Why doesn’t He do something to help us? He does, every day! You got up this morning, like I did. You had something for food and drink, maybe went to a job, come home to have something else to eat and then get ready for another day of the same thing tomorrow, all because God chose not to “punch your card” so to speak.

Much of what we call life, good or bad, is a gift from God and we should accept it as such. If it involves a degenerative disease like arthritis, like I have, then just enjoy the days when it doesn’t hurt really bad. If you have other problems which are chronic or severe, then God is still there with you giving you strength and the ability to get through it. Why am I so upbeat on life right now? Because today has been a decent day. I pray that I have more of these and maybe you will too. There is no reason for looking for a dark cloud coming tomorrow because it isn’t here yet!

God can clear it up before it does get here and that is the important part, give tomorrow to Him. Then do it again tomorrow, and the next day. Let Him take care of the stuff that is coming and you enjoy what He lets you have! Keep your eyes on Him for the rest of the day, and He will take care of your tomorrows, Okay?

What do you depend on?

We all have different ways of making it through our days. Some of us start off the morning with a cup of tea or coffee and the paper. Some people get online with a cup of coffee and try to catch up with what is happening. But, who do you go to and depend upon when things go terribly wrong? I don’t mean when you spill the milk or break a nail, I mean when you get a diagnosis which makes you sit down. When someone in your family comes home with a letter that says you are being sued for something, or maybe they are the one that gets the diagnosis which is like a hammer to your head and your heart, what do you do then?

Many people turn to their best friends or even to their church, if they go to one. So, what or Who do you depend on for assurance or hope or healing? Many people look to their doctor if they get one of those diagnoses, some look to him as well if there is a wreck or accident. The Person that you and I and everyone else should be looking to and praying to FIRST, before going to the doctor or anyone else is God! He is bigger and able to handle all of your problems, to give you strength to get through them all and if it is His will to do so, He will heal you of whatever the diagnosis may be. He may do it through the doctor’s skills or it may happen by His power and your faith before your next doctor visit.

Bad days are going to happen. Accidents and diseases are going to crop up in your life and mine, we are human and that is just the way our fallen world is. Good people and bad get these circumstances added to their lives all the time, it doesn’t matter how good you are or how bad you may be. The reality you have to remember is that God loves you and will not forsake you in any of your problems, you must have faith in him and ask Him for wisdom.

You don’t have to accept a “bad day”, God can make a day which seems bad turn into a good day. Love, especially between two people as husband and wife, can make a shack into a home. Expressing your love for your children is something that many people seem to have forgotten how to do these days. Wake up people, they need to know that they are loved by you just as much as you need to know that God loves you!

If you truly want a successful life and a happy home, even if it is in a two room shack with cracks wide enough to throw a cat through, love works much better to bring this about than alcohol or drugs or anger! Where love is anger cannot stay, when you truly love your children and your wife there is no fire too hot that could keep you from rescuing them! God is the answer that everyone is looking for, they just don’t know it yet. Many people say that they can worship God in a fishing boat or a deer stand just as well as they can in church. NO YOU CANNOT! You are looking for a trophy bass or antlers that will strain the wall to hold them up, you don’t go out there thinking of worshiping God!

I used to think that too and I would pray and talk to God while I was out there. That’s probably why I don’t have any trophies on my walls. I would thank Him for His beautiful creation and the sunrise that many don’t get to see. I would praise Him for the beautiful birds and the chipmunks as they scurry around trying to find all the acorns they have hidden for the winter. Yes, praising God and thanking Him for these things is good, but worshiping Him with other believers is more gratifying and humbling than any deer or turkey. Yes, they are God’s creation and He takes care of them just as He does each one of us, but they don’t worship Him. Their instinct tells them that He will feed them so they don’t know Him like we can.

Your Spirit is lifted up and refreshed every time you hear God’s Word preached. Your soul shouts for joy and it is heard in Heaven especially when you find that the diagnosis that you thought you had is just some cells that are causing trouble and making you feel bad. Satan and his followers know how to make you feel this way and will convince you that you are going to die. They can make it so convincing that you will die, if you allow them to take it that far.

We have power through Jesus’ name to renounce the feelings of deathly diagnoses, and depression that makes you want to crawl under a rock, but it does you and me no good at all if we don’t claim the Word of God and tell Satan to back off because I am a child of God! God’s Word and the promises in it are more powerful than any drug or any situation that you have or that you will ever encounter. Don’t forsake the Word or prayer and call on His name because He can heal you of all the afflictions that Satan has placed on you and in your life.

The message of Jesus

Have you ever HEARD the message of Jesus?

Jesus said for us to believe in Him (and the atonement provided by His death and resurrection), and we will have eternal life. Repent of your former sinful life and allow the Holy Spirit to transform you into a likeness of Him. Are these things possible? Yes, if you have faith like a little child. One who trusts their father completely and without reservation. That is the kind of faith that it takes to live or rather to begin to live this life in Jesus Christ.

Are all Christians like this and do they have this kind of faith? The real and truthful answer is “NO”. All Christians or at least those who claim to be Christians, don’t have faith which would measure up to this standard. Many of them believe that they do and that they are true Christians, but when persecutions come or real trouble comes into their lives, the true person will show through. Hardship, pain, disease, financial loss, or loss of a family member will bring the real person out so that all will see. Sometimes, that is why we are allowed to go through trouble and trials.

In order to bring out the beautiful person that God knows is in there and the one that He needs for you to be for the duration of your life, sometimes He allows those trials. They can come in the form of a disease or the loss of a loved one. Sometimes the trial comes through the loss of a job or something which disables you. However it comes, treat it as Paul did and “count it all joy”. Look at the trial as a test in and of your faith then seek out God and His Wisdom through His Word. Pray deeply and fervently every day if need be so that you can get through this time. He will give you the strength and the wisdom to do so, and He will provide the comfort during your suffering too.

There are many people today, young people, who are turning away from God and religion which is their choice. It is the wrong choice but it is the one that God allows us to make. If He has something for you to do, then He will bring you back eventually if you will listen to His voice in your life. Our God, the One Who created everything and did all of the miracles in the Old Testament and the New, is an AWESOME God! Don’t turn away from Him, if you have given your life and your heart to Him then seek Him out in His Word!

God loves each of us and wants the best for us. Many cannot see this right now, because God doesn’t reward us the way the world wants to see rewards. Everyone sees reward as money, fame, a house, fancy cars, etc. but God doesn’t always reward us this way. Our reward, in many ways, waits for us in Heaven not here on Earth so we can’t use it or touch it until we die in this life and are born into eternity. Many people don’t look at this as a reward so much as a “bait and switch” game. Satan will do that, but God doesn’t.

“Seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things will be added (given) unto you.” Matthew 6:33

Look for it and expect it

There are so many blessings that we seek and need sometimes, yet we tend toward either ignoring what is around us or we just take most of them for granted. Something that I am just as guilty of doing as anyone else is. Yes, there are days…different times where I take the blessings that I have for granted, such as waking up in the morning or breathing during the night. These things are the very blessings that most don’t truly realize or acknowledge that our breath and our very life itself comes from God!

It is a revelation which is hard for many people to understand. God is our Creator! He cares about us, even though many may think that He doesn’t because of the problems in the world today. Those problems, even though He knows about them, are not brought on by Him. Many of them are because of mankind and our intent toward being hateful toward our fellow human beings. Other problems, such as natural disasters, happen because they were just going to happen.

There are many who will not believe this and that’s OK, but God knows the suffering that is going on in the world. He knows about all of the suffering and He is there with you in it and through it. Our world and everyone in it is being targeted by Satan because God loves us and he knows that the best way to hurt God is to hurt us, whether the ones being hurt are Christians or not. Christians are his primary target and will continue to be until he is put in his place at the final judgement. Until then, everyone will either benefit from his influence in the world or be targeted by it, there is no grey area, no middle ground where things are safe.

This is the beginning of a new month and our time on this Earth is, in many people’s eyes, never going to end. That is not true at all. Yes, it has been two millennia since Jesus ascended into the sky. The church in some form has been around for about that length of time too and has caused much suffering and hardship rather than helped with it. All of this is true and there isn’t any denying it. There is also our penchant for taking the long road in terms of getting things done, and taking most everyday things for granted as well.

As long as God is in control, and He will always be, the Sun will rise in the East and we will have four seasons during our year. Children will be born and die, at times, people will die of age related problems and other means too. These things are the very things that we see and hear every day and we become hardened to them, we don’t notice them much until there is some horrific crime or disaster which yanks our attention around so that we can’t ignore it. Those are the events which sometimes cause people to truly wonder “Where is God?” and “Doesn’t He care about us?”.

The answer to both of these questions is that “He is right here” and “He has always cared for us, no matter what is happening.” Can you see Him? No, but if you are a Christian then you can get strength from knowing that He is with you. You can also get hope in situations which people who don’t have a relationship with Him can’t seem to find! Be thankful for the little things and thank Him for all of them, not just the healing or some other big miracle that you attribute to God. Thank Him for help in getting across town for a job interview, for the car starting in the morning, for the wind blowing when you are hot and sweaty outside, even for your home and your family and their good health if you are so blessed.

He is part of all of these and it is His hand that guides us toward the better outcomes in our daily living, not our own selfish ways or abilities.

Are we any good?

Bad things don’t happen to good people because good people don’t exist.

There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10 NIV)

I’m not trying to condemn anyone to hell, you do that all by yourself. I’m just trying to show you that it’s not all about you or me, it’s about Him. When your focus is directed at yourself, you forget to leave room for God.

Even though I was acting like a Christian, I was not a good person. To “sin” is to miss God’s mark. Sin is anything opposite of what God wants us to do. Even though everything I did was technically “pleasing to God” I still used it for my own pursuit for happiness. I am still a sinner, the only difference now is that my sins are covered by the blood of Jesus.

If Jesus is our role model then we should try to be Christ-like…right? I mean, that is what Christian actually means you know? Well try to compare your good deeds with what Jesus did. I’m sorry, but it’s an unfair match. People can’t seem to believe that He was able to be human and God too and many Christians don’t believe it, but He was and He is! Jesus’ mother, Mary, was human which we all know something about. His Father is God, so He didn’t have the “sin seed” if you will, which was passed down from Adam.

People do good things, but good people don’t exist. Yes, there are many people who are “playing church”, doing all the accepted things and trying to be “good Christians”. But, on their own and with their own strength they can’t do it, no one can!

Christ set the example for us, and our goal is to be like Him, but we will never reach the likeness of Christ. I’m sorry…but if we became like Christ, then we would consider ourselves to be a god. The only point in your life that you will be truly Christ-like is after you reach Heaven. You can try to follow the Holy Spirit to the best of your ability during this life, but unless you are depending upon Him every minute of every day…every day, you won’t be able to. You can come close, but the fullness of our holiness won’t be bestowed upon us until we are in His Presence.

So that leaves us where we are now. We are sinners, but if you have Christ in your heart then you are a sinner saved by His grace!

Our goal is to achieve Christ-likeness, but Paul says there’s no such thing as a good person. Until we are changed by Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit from the inside out, we are just us, each of us is a sinner because of the sin-nature that mankind inherited from Adam.

God shows us His ultimate righteousness to create an urgency of dependence towards Him. The Holy Spirit deals with our spirit on the basis of holiness and shows us just how unrighteous we really are. That is where we break down and cry out to God.

God made us all equal. Matthew 20:1-16 shows us that (stop what you’re doing and read this parable). Don’t focus on what you deserve. We all deserve the same wage, the wage of death, because we all have sinned (Romans 3:23 & 6:23). You’re a sinner, so am I. No one’s perfect. That’s why I lean on Jesus every day. The trials of my life have already been conquered by Him. We are no longer bound to our sin through Jesus. We are conquerors by His power and the Holy Spirit and we are able to overcome the temptations through Him.

The truth about us is not based on our deeds, our performance, our past, our present, and our resumes. The truth about us is defined by the gospel and our dependence on Him. It’s time to give up our false selfless ambitions and align our hearts with God’s will in our lives. We all need to work on this, I’m learning just as much as you. Keep seeking out God through His Word. Look for Him in your daily life in small victories and big ones. He will give you that victory over whatever is in your life if you will lean on and trust in Him!

God’s plans…

We tend to make plans from the time we are able to play with other children, we make plans. Plans for forts, and rescues and wars and all sorts of stuff. When we get older, we still make plans, although we are making bigger plans at this point like what we will major in when we go to college or if we decide to go into the military then which branch and what specialty to follow. God’s plans are never wrong or come at the wrong time, He is never calling an emergency session of the Trinity and nothing catches Him by surprise. He knows what He has planned and that it will do exactly what He has purposed for it to accomplish, whether in your life while you are young or later in your life, His plans will always be done on time.

Just as His signs in the heavens happen at the time that He appoints for them to. The eclipses that we have seen of the “blood moons”, the solar eclipse that will happen next year along with the other signs that happen every day that people disregard or don’t recognize as signs from Him. Like the one that happened during the filming of a mini-series that will be released on Easter next spring. It seems that God is giving His approval to it. Of course there are many who will say that it is just a coincidence, but take a look at it and draw your own conclusion. As a verse in the Bible says: “I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.” Joel 2:30cross1

There are very few times that a cross is formed in the sky, especially with no jets crossing paths to aid it along. God is the creator, and He can form anything wherever He wishes to, whenever He wants it to appear. Your life, your plans are part of His plan and if you will align your heart and your life with His, then you will see the difference that you can make in other people’s lives.

Give your heart to God and the rest of your life will fall into place just as it should. I never thought that I would be doing what I do, but He brought my life around to a point where I could be used in His Kingdom and for His Kingdom. My small church is small now, but it is possible that someone from my church may have an impact in the world one day. I don’t know God’s plans, but He does and He knows exactly how this will work out to His glory!