We should protect ourselves


…35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out without purse or bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. 36“Now, however, He told them, “the one with a purse should take it, and likewise a bag; and the one without a sword should sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about Me is reaching its fulfillment.”…  Luke 22:35-37

In the days which Jesus spoke of, He knew that the disciples would face persecution and danger. This is why He told them to sell their cloak and buy a sword. We are living in times where people look at our faith and see weakness and fear and they use this to attack the church and its people. Turning the other cheek is fine, but not to the point of allowing someone to come into a house of God and kill without being challenged or taken down.

God loves each of us and will provide for all but our protection shouldn’t come only from God, we need to defend ourselves as well. Our news media is crying out for gun control again after this incident, but gun control and background checks don’t work against a legally purchased gun or a stolen gun!

The church and the people in the church don’t need to just bend down and allow people to kill us while we are worshiping. Protect the church just as you would your own home and your family since we are all brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ! God cares for all of us and we should care for and protect those in our care, in the church and at home.

The path of least resistance


heaven-or-hell-eternal-destinyChristianity has never actually followed this path because there has always been resistance to God’s Word and the Truth which is contained within it. In some form or another, that resistance has spurred the message of salvation and following Jesus to expand into the world. Just as people went across the world after the languages were confused at the tower of Babel, Christianity has gone to places where it was the only religion of real hope. In today’s world those places and the people in them violently oppose the Christian view of the world and this has been happening since the first century.

Stoicism was a philosophy and still is today which many people enjoy mainly because it doesn’t require anything of you exactly. One of its practical sayings was essentially this: Change what you can control, let go of that which you cannot. Wisdom doesn’t know doctrine nor creed, it just is. It doesn’t matter what language or country the wisdom comes from or is written in, a wise phrase is what it is regardless.

The only problem with living your days according to wise principles is when you come to the end of your days, if you are fortunate enough to live a long life and die with family around you, you really don’t have much to look forward to into eternity. Wisdom cannot carry you over the threshold of Heaven’s gates and it doesn’t atone for the life which you have lived, even if you lived wisely.

Following Jesus and learning of God’s wisdom in His Word is the best end of life that you can have. Having Him as your Savior and living your life with His Presence by your side is a very wise course because your life doesn’t end when your physical life does. We all have eternal souls but we have to choose the path which we walk on in this life. Will it be the one which everyone else is travelling on? One which is easy and without rocks or bumps or briars and hills to climb or will it be a wide path that all of your friends are on?

The number of years that you travel on this road doesn’t matter except that you never know when your road will come to its end. There are exits along the way and sometimes they lead to the Christian life if we will choose to follow them, but sometimes they don’t. Seeking out the Creator of everything can give you insight enough to know which is the right exit and which is not. The one which carries you on toward life with Jesus narrows quite a bit compared to the wide and easy road which many of us walk on for many years before finding the exit to get on His path.

Yes, the Christian life is a bit harder than not knowing Him because each of us has to deal with the temptation of going back to the easy path rather than continuing on with Jesus. Can you do that? Yes, if your heart has never accepted Jesus and His Spirit which changes you completely you can turn back to your old life. But…you may never find that exit, that pathway leading to eternity with Him again.

Today, it seems that every news story on TV talks about someone or some group which is offended by a truth or some part of a church or a scripture on a statue, something which is pointing the way to Jesus. Many times it doesn’t take but one complaint in a town, one person bringing it to the attention of the media and then there is an outcry for this offensive statue or monument to be taken down.

How many years has that monument been there with that inscription? How many eyes have seen it and read it and never said a word about it, good or bad? We give too much power to that small percentage of people who get offended because someone else is offended today. Being a nation which was founded by Christians fleeing persecution was good for us until the past fifty-eight years or so, then the children of those who came back from the Second World War became the voice of America protesting against injustice.

Many of those injustices included being taught Biblical principles in school, praying in school, having the Ten Commandments posted on the hallways in schools and of course the Vietnam War and Civil Rights movements too. While it is true that the Vietnam War was a tragic one, it was also one which was run by suits in Washington and not by those in uniform. The Civil Rights movement would’ve been much better if segregation had not been the norm in the South, but that was a different generation than mine.

My point in this is this: society always follows those who stir up the most and accomplish the least.

Jesus stirred up people because of His message of love and forgiveness, not because of promises He couldn’t deliver on. He will return one day and those who are against Him today will bow to Him whether they want to or not because He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and He will reign on Earth with a rod of iron. Make sure that you know which side you will be on in that day.

Persecution


PersecutionTodayToday just as in times past, persecution is like gas on a fire or fertilizer for plants in regard to the number of believers. The church grows! No matter where the persecution may be or what form it takes, people notice how believers have faith and joy in Jesus! Then they turn to their faith and realize that they don’t have that. No other faith offers that joyous hope in Jesus because there is no hope of eternity in anyone else!

Hundreds of years ago, persecution caused the church to grow. Even at the end of the first century after Jesus’ burial and resurrection which was why John was exiled to Patmos, there was much persecution but believers didn’t give up their beliefs. No matter what they were threatened with, they still held onto their faith in Jesus. Many were killed, martyred in horrible ways which I won’t describe here, but they still held to their faith!

Nobody would hold onto a lie or a fantasy and die because of something that they knew wasn’t real! All but one disciple of Jesus died a martyr’s death in one way or another. Some were beheaded, some were crucified or run through with a spear or sword, but all but John died this way. They tried to boil John in oil but by a miracle, it didn’t work and he died of old age.

If you truly want to know how many of the believers died, read the Book of Martyrs. It will strengthen your faith and make our sufferings look mild in comparison. Does persecution cause people to turn to Jesus? Yes, it does! Many do, even today, although they don’t want it to be known because they would be killed if it became public knowledge. Are Muslims coming to Jesus? Yes! Are others coming to know Jesus? Yes!

Why? Because they see the joy that people have in Him, even when they are poor or persecuted for their faith. It is a joy which defies human comprehension because to someone without faith in Jesus, this joy makes no sense at all! Just as the Bible says, to the world our faith is foolishness.

To someone who is drowning but may not know it, a rope tossed to them will be flung aside. A float will be ignored until they realize that they truly need it. It is the same with someone who is living without Jesus. Until they realize that they NEED Him, they will go about their life with no worries. Until that point that God touches their heart and they know that they need Jesus, they will refuse to pay attention to any part of the Bible!

The image above shows that it is happening today and even though those in the picture may not look joyous in their time of persecution, their hope is still in Jesus. It is the reason that they are being killed, because of their belief in Him. Could we be brave enough to stand and declare our faith in the face of being burned or shot? I don’t know. God would give each of us a measure of faith and strength in that time of testing but to tell you that I could face it without fear and trembling? I just can’t say. Seek Him today so that your faith will be made complete in Him.

Why so much division?


Beliefs, creeds, denominations…it seems that our world is cracked into thousands of pieces when it comes to deciding about Who we believe in and serve. Why?

DivisionMostly it is because of the work of Satan. He has been at work in the world creating other “gods” for people to worship and also creating division in the church itself. Sometimes these are small cracks but over time and with a little help from willing people they get bigger until the church splits in two or crumbles into the dust.

In the first century, just after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the disciples taught His Truth as The Way. Some called it The Truth. For many years it stayed that way until Catholicism and the Catholic church became the dominant form of worship in the crumbling Roman empire.

Until the Reformation, there were no Scriptures that a worshiper could have in his possession and read for himself or herself. Then, when the Bible was printed in English and German, many people were put to death when they were found to have one of these Bibles. The persecution of Christians by the church and by pagans, is found in the Book of Martyrs if you would like to read it. It is difficult to read, but it will show you what it took to be a true believer in Jesus, all the way up to recent history such as in the communist countries since WWII.

The fracturing of the church into so many denominations has caused many problems between believers. Some believe only parts of Scripture, some follow only a few verses in one book or another, when we are supposed to be people who believe in the entire Word of God! Not bits and pieces of it but ALL of it, the Old Testament and the New Testament should be taught in its entirety. Yet, many churches today seem to pick and choose what they will teach or believe and the parts that they will not.

This is not the way that Jesus wanted His church to be! We are not supposed to be bickering and fighting over parts and phrases, choosing which to teach and which to tell others that it is not God’s Word! If it is included in the Bible, whether it be a Jewish Bible or Orthodox Bible or a Protestant Bible, then it should be taught to everyone in the congregation, young and old!

I ask that anyone who is interested in God or Jesus and the Word in the Bible, please seek out a Bible teaching church and search out the Truth. God’s Word is true and has never been found to be wrong in any manner. Many try to bring parts of it to trial saying that it contradicts itself, but if you would seek the Truth it can be found that all of it is more true and accurate than many historical works. Praying that all of you who read this will seek Him out in the Bible and as your Savior. Amen.

Love, where did it come from?


I know, there are going to be people wondering about my sanity now. Trust me, I know where I am going with this.

The honest answer to that question is very simple: It came from God! He wouldn’t have made our world the way that He did if He didn’t love us, all of us! God made the universe itself so that we could look out and see what an awesome God we serve! Why am I putting so many exclamation marks in these sentences? Because the point that I am making needs to be emphasized so people will notice it.

God put all of the planets together in our solar system in the order that they are because of His love for us. How or rather why do I say this? Because Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus are all out past the asteroid belt and they scoop up or influence any comet or other body so our planet doesn’t get slammed like the moon or Mercury.

I know that our planet has been hit in the past by meteors which have done some serious damage, but not to the extent of wiping humanity off the face of the Earth. Love came to us through the acts and the intent of God because He loved us before He created Earth. In His Word there are many references to His love for us and we should be able to see it in everything around us every day! If you can’t then there is something wrong.

Why do I say this? It is because of the questions and the angry outbursts which will come after this hurricane. So many people killed and put out of their homes by a storm which moved so slow, couldn’t God stop it? Yes, He could have, but what will come out of this storm? People helping people who have been made homeless, people helping those who are injured by the debris or by walls falling, food and shelter will be given and provided by people who didn’t have to do anything but they were moved with compassion to do something.

What is it that makes us be compassionate in times like this? It is because we are made in the image of God, all of us can see the needs of those who need help and if we can help, we should. Satan has a temporary claim on the rulership of this world, but his time is growing shorter by the day. He knows this and he is trying to cause as much pain and suffering in this world as he can. Not so much to punish us, but to make people question whether God cares for us or not!

God loves us, all of us. It is because of His love that many of us are still here, and those who have been killed by these storms or earthquakes or wars are casualties of Satan’s hatred for humanity! Give your life to Jesus and follow Him because when you look at the signs all around us and the prophecies in God’s Word, you can see that there isn’t much time left for this world before He comes! Amen.

One in Essence,Three in Person


This is a question that has been on my mind for a few days, because I was asked about it by a very sweet lady who happens to be a Pentecostal by way of her association. Our Creator is One in essence, yet three in Person. It isn’t a hard thing to understand unless you want to deny God being God! He is God, He is the Holy Spirit of God and He is the Living Word, the Son of God!

I don’t mean that God exists as three gods, He is God in Three Persons, yet all of them…each one is as much God as the other! It is a difficult doctrine to understand unless you have some help from Him!

“And now the Sovereign LORD (the Father) has sent me (the Son), with his Spirit (the Holy Spirit).” Isaiah 48:16

Even at the time that Isaiah was a prophet in Israel, God revealed to Him that He was and is three persons in One. Not three gods, but One God with three persons Who in each are also God. Each person of the Trinity is God, but each has a different function. Just as I am a husband, a father and at one time I was a son before my parents passed into eternity. Three functions in One Person is the most apt description of God as a triune godhead.

Just as all things in the universe have a three-fold nature, so does God. Matter has substance (mass) plus energy and motion; time is made up of past, present and future; space is made up of length, width, and depth or height. Their nature doesn’t make them any less than what they are, but take away even one of their parts and you don’t have matter, space or time anymore.

If you take this to a logical conclusion which many skeptics seem to be willing to overlook, the Son of God is also God the Son! The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the trinity and He is fully God, but His influence in our lives is more of a teacher and leader in spiritual things. It is He that resides in your heart and mine, if we have given our lives to Jesus and asked for Him to come into our lives and our hearts.

The Spirit of God was the Person of the Trinity hovering over the waters before creation. What were the waters? I don’t know, you will have to save that question for God Himself. In either case each part of the Trinity is just as much God as the Other. They perform different functions and do different things in this world and in the spiritual realm, but each of them is still God.

When God told Moses that “No man could see His face and live”, He meant that. Which is why when He hid Moses in the cleft of the rock and allowed him to see His back. Later, when Scripture mentions the Angel of the Lord with a capital “A”, this is the pre-incarnate Christ, not an angel. The Spirit or Holy Spirit is the person of the Trinity which carries out miraculous healings and resurrections and other signs like being understood by someone who doesn’t speak your language. He also prays for us in our time of anguish and doubt when we are so burdened until we can’t say what is necessary.

In reality, it took the intervention of all three to save each person who is a Christian. Think of it this way: God sent His Son to be the atonement for our sins, Jesus died as a human with the nature of God in order to pay the price for humanity’s sins, and the Holy Spirit convicted you of your need for salvation and brought you to the cross to meet Jesus. If it is too hard to understand, ask a little child. The only time that we will know the answers will be when we are standing in His Presence, and even then we may still not understand it.

What is your trigger?


It seems that today, people get “ticked off” at the drop of a pin or anything that has happened to someone who they don’t know at all. Maybe they have something in common with that person and feel that it, whatever “it” was, was directed at them in general. Such as the people who protest against police violence toward “black men”. They are protesting because they perceive that all police are racist and have a chip on their shoulders against all people of color. Which is not true, but for some reason it is coming to the front of news stories more and more today. Why?

Some would say that it is because it is happening more often and that the violence is justified. The “trigger” is very subtle though and it is not happening more often, it is because everyone in the street has a smart phone and it is capable of recording video of anything, anywhere and at any time. There doesn’t have to be a news crew around, but by recording an event, regardless of its significance, and uploading it to the Internet then it may become newsworthy.

I have a trigger which moves me to pray for all of those who come to this site and read or just look around. I don’t know most of you, but God does. Even if you have never attended church or sat through a sermon, God knows who you are. He values you above the riches of the whole world. He loves you enough that if you were the last person on Earth, He would want you as His adopted child. It isn’t fear or anger or frustration which drives us, it is our collective need for this world to be healed and all of the problems which we face every day to be taken care of. Only Jesus can do this.

Other religions boast of having more followers or having larger church buildings or worship centers, it doesn’t matter what they are called. If you aren’t worshiping God and His Son, Jesus, then you are in the wrong building. I know, there are many who would tell me that my way of thinking is too small or non-inclusive of others, but aren’t most religions today? Islam doesn’t allow for other faiths, you have to accept theirs, yet no one ever tells them to be quiet and not pray or not tell others about their faith. It is the same with any other faith in the world, with the exception of Christianity. We, who are Christians, and believe God’s Word can’t read our Holy Scriptures in public. We cannot pray openly, we cannot tell others about our Savior because it offends people.

Jesus said to turn the other cheek when someone strikes you. I think we have done that far too often, yet we are still doing it. Why? Because, Jesus said for us to endure persecution to the end and we will be saved. Is this world going to be better in the future? Yes, it will when Jesus sets up His Kingdom and rules the world from Jerusalem. But, until that time comes we must endure.

Yes, there is anger and bitterness in many cities today but there is also…hope. Hope for tomorrow, hope for a peaceful day today, hope for reconciliation between police and those who protest against them. Where does this spirit of hope come from?

Jesus.

The world can’t give you hope, but He can. The world doesn’t care about you or your circumstances, but He does. The world is ruled by the spirit of Antichrist, Satan and his followers and it shows in the news and in our papers every day. Jesus loves you and wants all of us to share in His love but in order to do that, we need to accept Him and then share Him with others too.

Torture and anguish


IMG_20150417_213008I thought that might get your attention. Yes, I am speaking of what Jesus went through during His Passion week, although I don’t like that term. He was tried unjustly, whipped mercilessly even though only thirty-nine times, and then crowned with a crown of thorns and crucified with six-inch iron nails in His arms and ten inch iron nails through His feet.

The movie which came out a few years ago tried to show the gruesome details of this, but it would’ve had an X rating for bloody violence alone if it had. I have a copy of a three strand flagellum with the lead tips which have glass and bone and a nail embedded in them. It does a terrific job on a cardboard box, I can’t imagine the damage that it would do to a human body. The damage that you see in the picture is just 1 strike on the box that it came in. Consider that cardboard is a bit tougher than human skin and use your imagination a bit and you can imagine a little of the damage that it might do to a body. Jesus was a man and that is the type of tool that was used on His body before He was crucified!

I truly can understand why He was asking the Father about allowing the cup to pass from Him if possible. But, He told the Father “not my will but thine be done”, what an AWESOME Savior we have. I can’t imagine the pain that one full force hit from this would feel like and I don’t want to experience it, but thirty-nine lashes with it? I imagine most of us would pass out well before that point from the pain.

Jesus truly loves us far more than we can ever imagine or know, until we are with Him in Glory! Even then we wouldn’t be able to describe it or how it feels to anyone alive, this was the problem that John had when he was writing the book of Revelation. The sights and the feelings of Heaven and the majesty and glory of God as well as the pure joy of being in His Presence had to be beyond what words can describe to someone who can’t see it or feel it! The difficulty would be like describing a color to someone who has never seen a color or describing a tree to a blind person. If they can’t touch it or feel it, they can’t understand it.

That is how it is with our faith in Jesus and the wisdom and glory of God. You can’t understand it or know of it without faith and if you don’t have faith it is like you are blind. You are spiritually blind because it takes faith to see and to know about these things from God. Consider what Jesus went through for our salvation and that He did it because He loves us, each one of us, far deeper and more real than any emotion that we can know on this side of Heaven.

Read Romans chapter 8 and Psalms 22 which describes in detail the crucifixion of Christ over nine hundred years before crucifixion was even known or used. Please, realize that you are special to God and that He loves you and that you can come to Him now, where you are by prayer and repentance.

What do you hear?


From the television and almost all of the news sources, mostly…JUNK! The world is going down the tubes fast, and all anyone seems to care about is their shows on TV or what is happening on Facebook. What difference does it make? Facebook, Twitter, Survivor, and so on are all just there to distract us from what is happening in the world. Yes, there are some on all of those social media sites which are talking about actual news, but what news?

What about our freedom? Freedom to worship ANY way you want to in America! We have that freedom right now, but it seems that there are so many on one side who can’t stand ANY mention of God or Jesus! I am not trying to force anyone, anywhere to worship the way that I do, but it seems that there are many who just can’t stand to read or hear about Jesus at all. If you want to worship a rock, I don’t care! That is your option, even God gave you the choice to do so even if He doesn’t agree with it.

We have a choice and it was given to us by God Himself. You can choose to believe it or not, it doesn’t matter to me. I pray that you will come to Him before your life is over, but it is your choice regardless of where you live, at least as far as I am concerned. Many of the countries in the world are not nearly free enough to have the choice of Who they worship, as we are in America.

Christians, whether you agree with their faith or not, are being killed not just persecuted and yet the Christians there are not converting to Islam. They would rather die for their faith, just as the martyrs have done for hundreds of years. I pray that we in America don’t see this kind of persecution, but it may happen yet.

What can we do? Pray for those in areas where Christians are being persecuted severely like in Iraq and Iran and Turkey. I don’t know what to tell you about things that we could do other than pray. Since God is in control and He can send Angels to comfort and help those people, prayer is powerful because God is able to deliver them by His power.

The world is tearing itself to pieces and it isn’t over, this is just the beginning. It actually hasn’t gotten to the point that most are fearing will come yet. Read your Bible, study the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, pray about what you are reading. We are at the beginning of those times! Watch and pray that you will have the strength to endure until He comes again to take the church out of this.