Prayer..is it necessary?


Some religions require you to pray a certain number of times each day, but is that enough? Are we praying for the right things or are we just reciting prayers that we learned as children? Prayer is a two-way communication not just a request line! Saying the same prayer over and over again doesn’t work, because you aren’t speaking to God if you are just repeating words which have no substance or meaning.

God is our Creator and He is interested in your life every day, not just when you are in trouble or you feel the need to get in touch with Him. Prayer is like talking to your Dad or your Mom, except that God can actually do something about a problem no matter what it may be!

The reason that I am writing about this is that it seems that many people use prayer as an emergency line. When something happens that they can’t handle, they cry out to God for His Presence right then! God hears these prayers, and He will answer them in His time not yours. He is God, not a bell boy or a genie and He doesn’t do your bidding regardless of how much money you gave to the church last year!

God loves each of us and He hears our prayers, what we don’t understand is that He wants a relationship with us. One that is in communication on a regular basis, not just when something in your life is going wrong! As it says in Numbers and Exodus, when you teach your children His statutes at rising, when you are walking along and before bed. God desires to hear a word or prayer from you when you get up, thank Him for your rest and for allowing you to get up, as your day progresses thank Him for your success during the day and when the day is through thank Him for strength to get through another day.

These prayers don’t take long to say and they don’t have to be complicated, they can even be as simple as “Thank you, Lord, for today” or “Thank you for waking me this morning, Lord.” It sounds like a trite, simple prayer but isn’t that the kind of prayer that you hear your children saying when they are young? God likes those prayers too, even if they are coming from you and me.

Daily problems and an eternal cure


Yesterday was my son’s birthday and we were supposed to go out to eat. He and his mother did, I had sinus problems which caused me to get sick enough to puke and had to stay at home. Ruined my day in some ways, but we had pizza and birthday cake (chocolate) with ice cream for dessert so all around, a pretty good save!

Life goes on regardless of your health problems, good or bad, we all have them. God is there to give you peace and comfort and to strengthen you at those times when you truly need it. My day, yesterday, began in a weird way anyhow. Dreams which were so vivid I felt I could touch them, but I didn’t want to because of the nature of them. It was as if Satan was showing me a video of what is going to be in outer darkness and the parts of hell where the fire is not!

I was, at least, able to call out to God and get out of that situation, but the nausea remained and grew worse. Why am I speaking of my day in this way, particularly here? Because, I need for you to know that I have days like this. I may be a pastor of a small church and a blogging pastor too but my days are not always “on top of the mountain” days. I do have fits and sputters of days and days where I fall entirely into the valley where the demons live. Yet…God carries me through all of those unsavory places with His Strength and His peace.

Is life perfect? Of course not…at least not yet. It will come as close as possible when Jesus begins His rule on Earth for one thousand years and then when the new Heaven and Earth come it will be perfectly wonderful beyond anyone’s wildest imagination! I can’t give you much of a description because of a limited imagination and the fact that there are no detailed descriptions of our future home. John tries to do it and some other writers attempt to give you a description of it, but from what some reported visitations have said in movies and books, the colors and textures of Heaven just don’t translate well into ordinary language.

Our minds can’t put into words the views and the texture of it and then you have to think of the clarity and the smell of Heaven, it would be like I have written before “like trying to describe blue or red to someone who was blind from birth”! They don’t have a concept of the color and if they haven’t seen it before then a description falls far short of what it is! It is the same with any description of Heaven, those of us on Earth have never experienced a perfect world, one which has deeper, richer colors and textures and even smells than we can experience here.

Life here is limited to our place…where we live, what we are exposed to and our ability to understand all that God has placed in our life. We can’t understand how a person living in Mongolia or the Congo or India lives because “we haven’t walked in their shoes or their sandals”. Even in America, there are many different cities and problems within those cities where we can’t understand the reason for the violence and other problems because unless you live there, you CAN’T know anything about it!

The best part of being a Christian is that we can live here expecting Jesus to come and we will have a home there too. Why bring this up today? Because, we all have problems and there are bad things happening in this world every day but…God is in control and He knows what is happening and why. Could He stop many of the things which are happening? Yes, but what would we learn from life if an angel came to our rescue every time? What would we learn about life and living if we looked for God to give us everything and we didn’t have to do anything for it?

We would be treating Him like many people look to the government today, waiting for their stamps and their money to be put on the card again. There is no need to try to get a job or go to school because the government will take care of all your needs.

Having faith in God to take care of your needs is not the same as Him providing everything for your daily life. He does want us to depend on Him, but if you aren’t willing to live your life as if you are His child then why should He? God loves you so much that His Son took on human flesh to live among us and then die for our sins so that we can belong to His family! If you can’t be bothered with living the way He wants you to, then He might just let your life be like you are living it rather than the way it could be.

Treasure…


john317Many people don’t realize that they are searching for it. Many will never find what they are searching for, yet it does exist. You and I are given a treasure beyond imagining and it doesn’t cost us anything. How can it be that a treasure which is not measured can possibly cost us nothing? It must be some worthless trinket or talisman.

This treasure is something which many today reject and many more are angered by it or at least by the Person which brings it to us. The treasure of which I speak is salvation. Our salvation, every person’s salvation was paid for by Him on the cross with His blood. Many times we see that people learn of wisdom from some very different places and people.

“Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.”  Captain Jack Sparrow

“Not all treasure is silver and gold”, it is the most profound bit of wisdom that I have heard from anyone let alone someone in a movie made in Hollywood.

Treasure from God is something which many cannot see nor can they make sense of the grace that is poured out upon us. We have been given a gift of salvation that we don’t have to work for. A gift which we cannot buy, but one which by proclamation from Jesus Himself we must give away. It is a gift of immeasurable value, but also one which God intended for all if they will accept it and believe.

Aside from Captain Jack, many people don’t seem to realize what REAL treasure is today. It isn’t money in any form. It is eternity and salvation provided through the grace of God for us even before we were born. The qualifier is that we must realize that when we accept Jesus as our Savior, we have asked one of the Trinity to live in us because the Holy Spirit is part of that Trinity. If you have placed a priceless pearl in a clean vessel, then why would you put the dirt of your old life back in there?

I am not saying that we will never sin after becoming a Christian, but turning away from the church and willfully sinning and never going back or even trying to be a Christian is WRONG!! Asking forgiveness is good at this point, but if you aren’t going to repent of the sin, what good is the forgiveness?

Some scriptures which may help with this are these:

Everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. (1 John 2:29); Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. (1 John 3:4); Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7); Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. (1 John 5:1); Everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning. (1 John 5:18)

These may make you wonder if you are saved at all, particularly if you haven’t been a real believer who turned away from a life that you would be proud to show Jesus.

1.No one who denies the Son has the Father. (1 John 2:23)

2.No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. (1 John 3:6)

3.No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:9)

Even the tolerance of sin is an agreement with it. It is not something which will sit well with your heart, especially if the Spirit abides in your heart. Although we aren’t to judge people, we can bring their sin to their attention and if they don’t want to do anything about it, then leave it to God.

 

So much pain…


There are many people who live with pain in our world today. Some of it is because of disease of one kind or another. Some of it is due to the loss of a loved one, but we all have pain in our lives at some point. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is just not right. Then it is your job to find out where the pain originates and if there is a way to lessen the pain or cure the cause of it.

Spiritually, pain comes into our lives through the loss of someone or by God’s Holy Spirit making us aware that we need Him. Grief is painful, sometimes it is terribly painful to the point of making us feel sick and without hope. When that happens, we need to turn to God’s Word and seek Him and the comfort that He gives to us. HE is the only cure for pain that deep. Other so-called “fixes” do nothing but put a mask over the pain or dull it for a while, and when it returns it may be worse than it was before.

Pain, physical and mental or spiritual, is something that we all experience but God gives us the strength to get through it and come out stronger. Seek out Jesus and His strength so that you can be strong enough to stand in the presence of God and not be ashamed of your life. He is righteous and Holy and we cannot stand in His presence without the Blood of Jesus covering our sins.

God loves each of us because we are His creation, and He doesn’t wish for any of us to be in torment in hell. Which is why He provided the grace and the payment for our sins through Jesus’ sacrifice. All that we have to do is believe in Him and His atonement for us and we will be saved. Not belief like from reading it from a book or just hearing it from someone, but a firm belief like a child knowing that his father will catch him when he jumps. Book knowledge and hearsay don’t work by themselves, it has to be backed up with real faith.

Pain is something which gets our attention, but faith knows that it is only temporary. Put your faith in Jesus and all of your problems will fade with His grace and mercy. Because, He will give you the strength and the ability to make it through all of those problems.

Satan is happy today!


Satan is happy with the church right now.

“….Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:.”  Matthew 28:19

Do you understand why all of the problems are in the world today? It is because of ___________.

Really? The church has had two thousand years to make disciples of ALL nations and what have we done? Not much. Yes, there have been millions of people who have accepted Jesus as their Savior because of Billy Graham and other evangelists over the years. But…look at the population of the world. How many of them are Christians or part of a religion which claims Jesus as their Savior? 2.5 billion give or take a few hundred thousand. The population of the world is around seven billion right now and all we have reached in two thousand years is less than half??

On the day of Pentecost, when the disciples received the Holy Spirit, when Peter preached there were 5000 added to their number! That was just one sermon! The blank above referring to the reason for all of the world’s problems has nothing to do with Christianity, although some are blaming us for them. Satan and his followers, those demons that Jesus cast out and his human followers today, are partly to blame for the problems of the world.

Why is Satan happy with the way the world is today and the church in particular? It is because we aren’t doing what Jesus told us to do. Yes, I know we are sending missionaries all over the world and we have programs and Internet sites which tell people about Jesus and how to know Him. But, we just began that in the last twenty or twenty-five years or so! What happened to the last 1975 years that the church has had to work on this?

I don’t mean that the church could’ve added as many as Peter did in that one day, every day since then but if we had gone, if we had put our feet into the streets and the paths around the world every day since then….? Don’t you think that we would have more people who attend church and follow Jesus if we had done this? I mean, if we had witnessed to one or two people every day since we became a Christian and then invited them to church, doesn’t it begin to add up when you do that?

1+1=2 …then 2+2=4, then 4+1=5, then 5+2=7, then 7+2=9…that is linear progression that is staggered a bit by our own design; but what if those numbers doubled EVERY time? 1, then 2, then 4, then 8, then 16, then 32, then 64, then 128, then 256, then 512, then 1024, then 2048, then 4096……! That is geometric growth or getting into algebra (x squared).

What happened to our numbers? Why isn’t the church growing like this?

Because our enemy and the enemy of God, Satan, is at work in the world today. People give many excuses for not coming to church, for not telling others what they believe and for not being a true disciple of Jesus and all of these are encouraged by Satan and his demons. You can decide to believe this if you wish or don’t believe it, but if Jesus was having to deal with their influence 2000 years ago, then they are certainly at work today.

You can hear about the evil and their influence in the world on the news every day and all of that which is happening is likely caused by or influenced by Satan and his followers. It will get worse because he knows that his time is growing very short. He has had more than twenty centuries to become very good at deception so much so that he can influence the churches and their leaders to not follow the example set by Jesus and His disciples. Many of them think that they are doing God’s work and they are following the ideas placed in their heads by Satan himself, but he uses scripture to make it seem like the idea is from God.

He was there when all of the Bible was written so he knows scripture better than any of us and he can use it against you any time he wishes. So, is he happy with the church today? Yes, he is. There aren’t very many true, Bible-believing and teaching churches today. Sure, there are pastors who preach every week and they read scripture and teach about it. But, are they teaching God’s vision for His church or are they teaching their own version of the words that they read? Do they teach it from its context or do they choose one verse and preach on that without the verses before or after it?

Taken out of context, any verse can say or be taught to mean anything to anyone!

The scripture which I started with could mean anything if taught wrongly. Let us read the entirety of that chapter and see what was written there:

Matthew 28 King James Version (KJV)

28 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

11 Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.

12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,

13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.

14 And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.

15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

We are told to do this because we belong to Him, if we have given our hearts to Jesus. If you haven’t, then you don’t belong to Him nor He to you! God loves you and has provided a way to salvation through Jesus and belief in Him so that you can have eternity after this life! With such a good and wonderful gift to you, why wouldn’t you tell others that they could have the same? He didn’t die for one person but for the whole world and He expected us to go and tell others about His gift. Examine your life and your heart and question whether you really belong to Him. If you believe that you do, then you are saved as far as I can see because only God knows the condition of our hearts. If you are not sure, then you may want to seek Him earnestly and fervently so that you can know…for sure.

Amen.

Days, hours and minutes


I know, there are more divisions of time than just those but those three are the ones which we use every day. Why am I talking about ways to count down a day or a week or even a year? Because time is important to all of us at this point. When will we NOT need to worry or even think about hours and days or even years? In Heaven, in our eternity, that is when. Time is measured from the point of conception until our death because this body, this tabernacle that we live in only lasts a certain amount of time and God knows exactly how many years and seconds that each of us has.

We can’t imagine eternity because there is no time there, so when you cross over into it a minute could be a day or a few hours on Earth. So…what are we going to do with an eternity? I can’t say for sure but God has a plan and part of it will be during the one thousand years of Jesus’ reign after the Tribulation. That will be a time in which many advances in science and all sorts of things will likely happen. But, to those who have been given a glorified body even one thousand years won’t be a long time.

Our time is measured by the rotation of the Earth and its rotation around the Sun, it was set up to reflect perfect harmony and it is. Although, creation has been going down hill since Adam ate the fruit in Eden. When all is restored to perfection one day, we will know how the universe was supposed to be.Your fruit trees will produce fruit which tastes so much better than what we have now. The vegetables will be more flavorful. Even the air that we breathe will be cleaner and more invigorating.

Life won’t be the same anymore it will be more than we could imagine. This is even before most of us get into eternity. Time will be different, our lives will be different, the universe itself will be different but if you have given your heart and your life to Jesus…life will go on without end!

Time as we measure it now will be a thing of the past. Your life before eternity, before Heaven, before all of the wonders that we will share forever. Will it be hard to live this way? NO, because God will provide everything that you need! We won’t be thinking about bills or groceries because at this time, those are not necessary at all. The only people who won’t be enjoying eternity will be those who have doubted God’s grace and have not accepted Jesus as their Savior.

They will live in eternity but it will be one without God, without all of the nice parts of Heaven. No water, no food, no bearable temperatures but since you have an eternal body you won’t die either. It is YOUR choice which will send you to that place, not God. You will be there because you refused to give Jesus a place in your life and you wanted your “stuff” in this life. Think about it.

Faith of a child


Children are special not only to their parents but to God as well. Why is that? Because their faith is unwavering and true and hasn’t been corrupted by adult ideas and teachings from school and living life itself. They look at life around them in absolutes, black and white, there is no gray area when a child sees the world! Children don’t bring their own baggage into their beliefs because they haven’t lived long enough to have “baggage”.

A child can be told that a prayer can heal someone of a sickness or disease and if they are young enough, they will pray with more faith than the most aged saint can muster.Why is that? Because they believe with their whole hearts and minds, and they don’t doubt the Word of God.

So, why do we doubt God’s Word? He cannot lie and His Word is True, so what’s the problem? Mostly it is our own individual ideas about Who He is and what He will or can do in our mind. We limit Him and put limits upon Him with our own ideas about Who He is.  In fact we are creating a “god” which fits our definition and we aren’t truly believing His Word about Himself!

Children don’t have that hangup until they are taught how to do it by us. Whether it is something they hear in school or Bible school or at home, we are the ones responsible for killing that young, powerful faith in their Creator.

I would love to tell you how to get that kind of faith back, but it is hard for me to dredge up the kind of faith that a child can have with no worries at all. Growing up and learning about the world and going through our “education system” seems to put a blanket over that faith which eventually smothers it or at least dims the light of it so that it is almost useless until we are tested and made to exercise it.

Seek Him out in His Word and ask Him to show you how to exercise your faith so that it can be stronger and useful to you and to Him. God loves us and all that we have to do is seek Him out and learn to love Him in return.

You are special!


11226182_931043076949751_7809076474956911366_n God loves you and He created this world and each of us in it to be a blessing to Him and to each other. Do I believe this? Yes, I do. Why do I believe this? Because He says so in every book of the Bible. The entire Bible is God’s letter of love to us and an instruction book so that we know how to live in this life and prepare for the next life!

Some people, even professing Christians, don’t believe that the Bible is a document of infallible words and promises. I do believe it and I will tell you why. Because simply if there is an error or a man-made lie in any part of it, that invalidates all of it. Jesus said that “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35 If the words written by the disciples will not pass away then it is inspired by the Spirit of God and that inspiration proves that God cannot lie! If He did, then He isn’t God! Also, if the New Testament is valid and it validates the Old Testament because when Jesus came that was the only Scripture available. God’s Word is true, Jesus was the Living Word, so there is no part of Scripture from the first line in Genesis to the last line of Revelation which isn’t true, period.

we obey

He loved us, so He obeyed the Father and went to the cross to pay for humanity’s sins. It is just that simple! The Creator became a human so that He could live a sinless life to pay for our sins. Is that enough to make you think that maybe I should be grateful and ask His forgiveness for those things which I have done? Consider that God, the Son and the Holy Spirit all were present and with each other before they created the universe and it was brought into being by the Word of God until they decided to make mankind in their image. Then, God formed man from the mud or clay and breathed the breath of Life into him and he became a living person, with a soul and the Spirit of God in himself!

Each of us has this same privilege and honor because we were known by God before we were born! He knew each person on Earth before they became a person and He knew their personality and how their life would be. We are created in His image uniquely because no other person on Earth is exactly like you or me. Even twins or triplets are different, although they may look similar to each other. Give Jesus a chance to show you how your life is supposed to be and what you can do with His strength and with Him working in your life. It is far more than you could accomplish alone I can promise you that!

Time waits for no one


eternityEvery year you hear someone on television saying that their resolution for the year is to spend more time with their family. It is usually a different person saying this every year but the sentiment and the reality are the same…we feel as if we don’t have enough time. As you get older, the days and weeks seem to go by faster and just mush into one another until, if you are like me, you can barely tell one day from the next.

There are days that I have had to pay attention to the television set or the computer screen just to keep the days separated, so I will know what day it is. I know that those of you who are going to school or work don’t really have this problem because your days revolve around your schedule. But, it is true that time doesn’t wait for anyone. Consider that on New Year’s Day at midnight when the year and the date changed, that specific time period will never happen again.

A few years ago before we got out of the first decade of the 21st century, you could have months where the day, month and year were all the same number. Those won’t recur until another century has passed, and even when they do technology will have changed, our culture and society will not be the same. Nothing repeats itself exactly because once a minute is gone, the things which happened in that minute are in the past.

The best part about our life today is that we, as Christians, serve a God Who can see those seconds and minutes and hours and years even when they have past. Time is not the same for God because He lives outside of time. Just as we will when we are in Heaven. Eternity begins the second that you take your last breath here. One year will be nothing when you are there. Ten thousand years will seem like a day or two, maybe.

Consider where your time will be spent and how much time that you think you have now. Think about your family and friends, where will they be in eternity? Have you considered it for yourself? Don’t put this decision off because you think you have plenty of time, that is a lie from Satan himself and he gets plenty of people to believe it. Those who died the next day thought they had more time. The only time that you have is right now. Make sure that you are absolutely sure and positive about your eternal home. One of them you will enjoy, the other you will not.

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