Off of my game

The past few weeks…basically since the election, I’ve not been writing as much here. I have also been a bit distracted because of having to have a colonoscopy done. That’s as much information as I’ve giving here on that.

I have been studying my Bible although not as regularly as I was. Why am I slacking off? Truthfully…I’m not sure. I’ve noticed during the last few years that my holiday writing and studying drops off a bit. Maybe it is a little bit of the so-called “holiday blues”. It feels as if I am having to put out more effort each day to study the Bible and get the Word, the wisdom that God wants me to understand for my life, to make sense to me. Sounds like I have a real problem.

My problem is easy to pinpoint when I look at it that way. Even so I have to consciously bring my mind into subjection to His Holy Spirit so that I can write and understand that what I’m writing may bring someone who is looking for Jesus will find Him and not me. I cannot make the change in their life, in your life that will give you an eternity in heaven. Only Jesus Christ and your belief in His atonement for your sins can do that. God loves each of us so much that He sent Jesus to Earth to live as one of us and then die for all of our sins.

The only veil separating you from eternity is God’s love and He knows when you will come to know Him as your Savior. Some say that we are immortal until that day that God touches our heart and lets us know that He is waiting and all we have to do is accept Him as our Savior. Some people say ” Now wait a minute, you said that I have to believe in Jesus Christ for my salvation and now you are saying that God loves me enough to wait for me to give my life to Him!” Which One of Them is my Savior? They both are.

Jesus is the Son of God but He is also the Second of the Trinity which makes the Godhead. This is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit or Ghost if you prefer. All of them were present on the day that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist if you will read it in Matthew. So what is my problem these days? Satan.

Just because I am a Christian and a pastor doesn’t mean that he leaves me alone. In fact, he attacks me harder when I am about to write here or when I am working on my sermon or just studying the Bible. Why? Because as long as he can keep my mind occupied with bills and surgery and medical tests and my medication then I won’t be thinking about the work that I should be doing while there is still time to do so…to tell you and others about my Savior and what He will do for you. He doesn’t bring us wealth or fame here on this Earth or in this life but consider that no one on Earth can give you eternal life! What is wealth here compared to being in heaven with the Creator and my Redeemer? I mean the streets of New Jerusalem are paved with gold! How fantastic is that?

There isn’t a rich man on Earth that can pave his driveway with gold bricks because they would be stolen during the night. Nobody would spend thousands on a brick of gold and then place it in the dirt or in concrete to pave even a driveway. But God does. God doesn’t care about the gold and diamonds and pearls, each of the gates of the city in heaven are made from one gigantic pearl and there are 12 gates! Each one made from a precious stone like diamonds or sapphires. Can you imagine a door 12 feet tall made from one gemstone or pearl?

No amount of money impresses God…He wants your obedience and your love to be focused on Jesus and His life. We are supposed to be reflections of Him in our lives so that others can see Him in and through our lives because for some people you and I and the lives that we live in front of them are the only example of Jesus’ love that they may ever see. Live your life as close to Him and be as close to His example as you can with the strength that He gives you through the Holy Spirit because that is the only way that you and I can do this.

Why did God ask for Isaac?

In Genesis 22 God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, his firstborn son of his old age. Why? Many people, pastors included, preach that it was a test of Abraham’s faith and it was but there is another reason. The firstborn belongs to God, of animals and men, if the firstborn is not redeemed by another sacrifice then they must die. Now, today the sacrifice could be service to others or service to God. My mother prayed to God that my life would be used by Him when I was a baby. She told me that she dedicated me to God when I was born. When she told me this many years ago, I didn’t want to know what it meant and I didn’t really care because I was angry about the way that my parents were in court fighting over child support.

It took many years for me to realize what she was saying, but since I became a pastor I have learned what the phrase “first fruits” really means. In Abraham’s case, Isaac had not been redeemed by the sacrifice of an animal so when Isaac got old enough, he was around twenty years old at the time, God asked Abraham to sacrifice him on the mountain. I’m sure that didn’t make Abraham very happy. In fact, he likely did not sleep much during the night prior to the trip.

But his faith shows up even before they make it to the mountain. When he and Isaac leave the servants with the donkeys or camels that they were riding, he told them that “I and the boy will go to the mountain yonder and worship and we will come again unto you. Abraham had the faith to believe that if God allowed him to sacrifice his son of promise, then God would raise him to fulfill the promise that He had made about Isaac and his descendants. Because God had made that promise and He would have to raise Isaac from the dead if that promise was real!

The promise was real but God didn’t have to raise Isaac from the ashes of sacrifice, He provided a substitute for Isaac just as God provided a substitute for our sins in His firstborn Son, Jesus. Many of the Old Testament saints and prophets looked forward to His coming and they saw Him and rejoiced. Have you come to know Jesus as your Savior and Sacrifice for all of your sins? All that we have to do is have enough faith in God and in Jesus as our Savior believing that He gave His life as a ransom for each of you. He redeemed you just as the ram in the thicket redeemed Isaac many years ago.

Give your life and your heart to Jesus because your life needs to be redeemed. If you don’t then your life, your eternity will be in hell with Satan and the rest of the people who rejected Jesus as their Savior. That is the only sin that leads to an eternity outside the presence of God.

Jesus is the way to eternity

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? John 11:25‭-‬26 KJV

The tomb where He was laid in is empty because He’s alive!

Make me a blessing

We seem to be at a crossroads moment in our lives whether we are Christians or not. Each of us gets to a place where we look around and wonder if this is all there is. How can we live a blessed life each and every day when we can’t see or touch our blessings? The problem with this kind of thinking is that our life and our breath is a blessing every morning!

Job 33:4

“The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.”

King James Version (KJV)

It seems that many Christians have forgotten about that but God’s Word says so in many places. God has blessed each of us with a planet to live on that is tolerable in its climate, gentle with its gravity, and has a stable orbit that gives us four seasons in a year to plant, harvest, and enjoy the fruit of our labors. These blessings are just a few of the details that God did for us to be able to live and work to praise Him and give Him the glory for our lives. But…do we? Most of the population dismisses all of these details out of hand because of our schools and the curriculum that is taught in them.

Astronomy and physics classes teach that all of these happened to our solar system by chance when the opposite has been proved by the number of exoplanets that they have found. Years ago many scientists believed in God and the order of how our solar system was laid out was considered to be His blessing for humanity. In fact, it truly is a blessing because most of the planetary systems that have been found show planets that are far too close to their star for life. Many of these systems have no rocky planets with water, that we know of. In fact, most have gas giant planets whirling around their star so close that they are nearly touching it. If the study of other systems has shown anything it is that our solar system is completely unique because they have not found others like it within an observational distance of our home planet.

God designed the universe and placed us in the precise place that was perfect for our lives to exist. Many scoff at this and say that out of all of the stars and other star systems that there must be other life-giving planets out there. There could be some but I don’t believe we will find them by using our telescopes and our intellect. God may have placed other people and planets out in the vastness of space but if He did they are too far away for us to hear them or for them to hear us. So the opening line from Star Wars is very likely the truth “…a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”. 

We are blessed by God in that we are isolated from other civilizations. Not because we should be but for the same reason that the Jewish people were told not to mingle with the people of the land that God had given them. Because their ways and their religions were not compatible with the blessed life that He had given them. So we should truly count every breath and every step that we take on a daily basis as His blessings for us on that day. Give thanks for every one of them, even if it hurts to take those steps and those breaths that we are given each day.

Turning away from the Bible?

Many people, it seems, are more than willing to turn their back on the Bible just because someone can make a case against its accuracy. But if you pick up a copy or two you will find that most translations do agree with each other. So why do we turn away from the book that has shaped civilization for at least the last five centuries?

Mostly it is due to our own idea of what Truth really means to us today. Some people who have turned 30 or even younger are turning away from the Bible and the churches that teach from it. Truth is not relative or individual. God’s Word is True and it is the Truth. Like it or not it was given to the Jewish people first but salvation comes through Jesus Christ and belief in Him alone. Each of us has to have faith to believe in Jesus and in the Truth of the Bible and God is the Author and Finisher of our faith but you won’t hear that from a church that doesn’t teach and preach from the Bible.

The refusal of people to believe God’s Word is a far more dangerous tone to take than what is happening in regard to our healthcare and the election too. God is not some fairy tale and His Word has been proven to be true. The prophecies have all come true except for the taking up of the church, those who believe in Jesus for their salvation. When that prophecy finally happens the whole world will know that God is real but whether the news will report the truth about it will be another “spin” which will hurt more people for eternity.

Why do I defend the Bible like this? Because if it isn’t true…then God is a liar and that is something that He cannot do. The life that is in the universe and that which we see every day on Earth could not be here if it weren’t for God and His Son keeping the little things and the big things in balance. There are so many documents which prove that the Torah and the Prophets are true and have been copied accurately down through the years. There are more than five thousand copies of most, if not all of the New Testament.

Please go to a Bible teaching church, pick up a copy of the Bible if you don’t already have one and begin reading it. So much of the Bible backs up the New Testament because Jesus and His disciples only had the Old Testament to read and go by. We benefit from Paul’s letters which were written mostly from prison due to his preaching about Jesus and His sacrifice for our salvation. In fact, Paul wrote almost half of the New Testament himself so if it weren’t for his letters we would have a much smaller New Testament and Bible.

I urge everyone who reads this to tell others about it especially if they don’t go to church or if they don’t know Jesus as their Savior. He came to give us eternity with Him and save us from an eternity in hell. Make sure of your salvation because not one of us is guaranteed to be here tomorrow.

God’s mercy sustains you

Whether you have accepted Jesus as your Savior or not, God’s mercy keeps you until He decides that your time is up. He keeps all of us in this life by His mercy and His grace, giving us a chance to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. God knows each of us better than we know ourselves but it seems that our country is on a road that will carry not only us but the whole world along toward a cliff. We truly need Him and His answers soon, just as Charlie Brown said: