What is the difference?


There are many layers of truth in the word “difference”. A difference between one person and another can be shown to be based on their culture or their skin color or their race as some relate to it. The human race is only one race but the shades of color that all of us share on the surface of our skin have been causing divisions between people for thousands of years. Some of us have very light skin color, some have different shades of brown or tan or even skin with a yellowish tint to our skin and there are others that have very dark skin even almost black. God caused this to be this way to protect us from the intensity of the Sun’s light in the area that we live in. At least that is what science has told us. The culture that we grow up in can cause many problems between people who don’t share the same culture.

Yes, we have many differences and at times it is those differences that cause much of our problems in every country not just our country.

The differences between religions meaning what or Who they worship or what they believe has caused so many divisions between churches even in the same denomination. Sometimes a church has even split over the color of the carpet on the floor! We have so many options and different ideas that can get in the way of our living the way that God has called us to live. All that we have to do to be His children is to believe in Jesus and follow Him for the rest of our lives. It sounds easy doesn’t it? But following Jesus every day during your life is not easy. Remember what Jesus said, “take up your cross and follow Me”. Your cross is where you nail your old way of living to it every day!

You have to choose to put your old problems, your sins, your addictions, your fears, your family or your career on that cross and give it to Jesus. Leave them on the cross and don’t take them back. Walk with Him, learn from Him because He doesn’t care about your skin color or the culture that you come from but He does care about your eternal soul and where your eternity will be spent! God doesn’t care how famous you are or how much money you have. He doesn’t care about your politics or your previous life but He does care about you. Give your heart to Jesus, ask Him to come in and change you into the person that He knows you can be. The Bible says that when He comes into your life and changes you, then you are a new creation. Your old life and ways are in the past and everything from this point on is new!

The change that comes into your life when the Holy Spirit comes and changes you makes your whole outlook different from what you had before. You are not the same person. You look the same from the outside but your heart is more like Jesus’ heart and it will become more like Him if you feed your mind on the Word of God every day. It sounds boring, I know. But when you have been changed like this, your mind is changed as well. The Bible won’t seem like an old boring book. It will be full of wisdom and stories about God and His power and creativity and His love. Ask Him to show Himself to you while you read His Word and He will do it!

There will be a difference in your life that people can see and it won’t have anything to do with the color of your skin or your culture or the church that you attend. It will be a reflection of Jesus that is shining through you and it will get brighter every day as you learn more and study more about Him in His Word.

You can’t do that!


Have you ever been told that before? Whether it is referring to achievement in school or something that your parents think you can’t do, it is humiliating and degrading. I once read a “fortune cookie” statement that said, “A great pleasure in life is doing what others say you can’t.” It is true of our Christian walk with Jesus too. Many people think that they have to clean themselves up or get “better” before they can come to Jesus and ask for His forgiveness and for Him to be their Savior. That is not the way Jesus worked when He called His disciples and He doesn’t work that way today.

Truly, we can’t be saved without the Holy Spirit convicting us of our sins. But we cannot save ourselves except by the Holy Spirit and belief in Jesus Christ for our salvation. Also…belief is not the only way to salvation. Your belief is not the only part of your requirement for maturity in Christ. We have to follow His example during the rest of our lives. Learn about Him through studying the Bible. Not just the New Testament but the Old Testament too because Jesus was foretold in the Old Testament.

The early church for the first two or three centuries after Jesus’ crucifixion only had the Old Testament to read. They did have the letters that Paul wrote to the churches that he started but they had to be copied to be sent to others who wanted to read them. There were letters that John and Peter wrote and a few others but until the New Testament was canonized in the fourth century but for many years the Old Testament scrolls were the only written Word of God.

Following Jesus is not easy because today much of what is taught from the Bible is considered “hate speech” because it has passages that go against the sins that most of the world enjoys today. We need a moral compass that is undeniable. The Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit so it is the written, inspired Word of God written down by men who were listening to God’s Holy Spirit. Many people think that it was written by a bunch of “old men”. Well, it likely was written by some old men who had given their hearts and lives to serving God but consider this: the forty-odd men who were involved in writing it all told some part of Jesus’ story!

He is pointed to from every book of the Bible. The Old Testament has 39 books in the English translation and every one of them has a prophecy or a “type” of Jesus Christ in their words. He is the Seed of the Woman in the early part of the book of Genesis. Later He is referred to as the Angel of the Lord. In Exodus, He is the Pillar of Fire by night and the Pillar of Cloud by day and the Rock which gave them water in the wilderness. Jesus is referred to in every book of the Bible, of course, He is in every part of the New Testament but that is to affirm and testify to the prophecy from the Old Testament.

God has done so much in our lives and in the world for all to see yet many still refuse to believe in Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. Is it because they don’t want to see or understand? Partially. The other reason is that Satan is blinding them to the Truth that is found in Jesus Christ. He causes many people to believe that they have plenty of time to make that decision or even that they can get to Heaven on their own merit. I can tell you that you can’t do it! If we could there would’ve been no reason for Jesus to die on the cross and be raised to life on the third day!

You can’t save yourself and I can’t either but salvation from the eternity of hell only comes through following Jesus and giving your heart to Him. Some of you might say that the thief on the cross had no time to follow Him yet Jesus told him that he would be with Him in paradise today because of his belief that Jesus was the Christ. That is all that was needed. Believe in Jesus for your salvation so that you can follow Him from this point on in your life.

Have you been blessed today?


Many of us might say that we feel terrible and our health has not improved so no I don’t feel blessed today. God gave you another day to live and pray for your healing and your blessing so why do you feel this way? Because the pain isn’t gone. Because my money, my bank account is still empty. Keep praying, keep believing in God and His promises because He loves you and He will answer. God blesses us with another day to live and work and serve Him with all of our strength and with everything we have because we should do so! He gave His Son for your salvation. He sent Jesus to pay the price for your sins and mine and everyone in the past, present and future of this world. That gift alone should be enough to feel blessed today!

If you are alive and breathing and able to read this then you have been blessed and your forgiveness is available through Jesus and your eternity depends upon your decision to follow Him from this day forward. Pray that He will save you and He will do it! Then follow Him by reading His Word and telling others about His provision and blessing.

Who is God to you?


Who is God to you? Is He your Savior, your Creator, and a friend that you can turn to when things go wrong? Do you realize how awesome God really is or do you just think of Him as a genie or some “Santa Clause”? God can come to your aid when you need Him and He will but realize that He is with you all of the time.

We tend to put God in a box that is the size of a small book so we can handle being around Him. We don’t like to think about Who He is because our brains can’t comprehend Him! What do I mean by that? If you have ever read an article about astronomy, do you remember how truly huge our universe is? Astronomers tell us that it is approximately 14 billion light-years to the edge of the universe. Each light-year is approximately six trillion miles! I’m not going to multiply that number to find the distance in miles to the edge of the universe but God’s Word says that God stretched out the fabric of space like a sheet or a scroll!

Think about that…God stretched out space like a sheet! He is bigger than those trillions of miles and yet a part of Him resides inside your heart if you truly belong to Him. He is everywhere and yet we still try to squeeze Him down to a manageable size so that our mind can handle Him. Why would you do that? Because we can’t truly comprehend God, but we don’t have to. Just live your life as a Christian and follow Jesus. He said for us to follow Him and we should. Read the Bible every day, think about what you have read, and pray to the Writer (Who is God) of it so you can understand it and His message for you.

Each person has a purpose that is ordained by God and we are supposed to look for that purpose in His Word. Your purpose is in there but it takes time and study to find it. Your purpose won’t jump out of the page or the chapter and hit you in the face, but with study and prayer, you will feel it in your Spirit. His Spirit is present in every true believer because it was His Spirit that got your attention when you gave your life to Him. God loves you and He has a purpose and a plan for your life and He will equip you to accomplish it.

Will God make your life easy? No! Will He give you everything that you want? No! Jesus said that we would have trials and troubles in this world during our life as a Christian and a follower of His! Some people think that being a Christian is easy but it isn’t. If you depend on God for your provision it may seem to be an easy life to someone outside your home because the “drama” doesn’t happen the way it does for everyone else. Seek Him first when you wake up in the morning…begin your day talking to Him first, thank Him for another day that you have to be used by Him for His Kingdom.

God is close to you if you are a Christian. He is even closer than your own skin because He is in your heart so you are never alone. Prayer is your lifeline and your connection to your Savior and your Creator and that connection never fades. It grows stronger as you study His Word and get closer to Him each day. Don’t neglect your relationship with Him. Treat your Bible like your phone, take it with you everywhere. Even if you can’t read, get a copy of it on CD or USB and play it in your car or on your computer or TV. After a while, you will have His Word in your mind well enough to bring it to mind whenever you need it.

Does God’s love mean much to you?


Many times I have been asked to pray in church, even when I was a pastor and the facts about our Savior just overwhelmed me and I would choke up. Some people may have thought I was weak or just a “cry-baby” by doing this although none of them would admit it. But when you consider the pain and suffering that Jesus had to go through on the day He was crucified to pay for all of our sins…it is overwhelming. God loves each of us who will give our hearts to Him and repent of our old ways and His love is so overpowering until we can’t understand it. 

Why would God send His Son to go through all of the suffering and pain as a man in order to pay our penalty for our sins? It’s because of His love for us and nothing else. Every time He disciplined the Jewish people in the Old Testament He was trying to get them to turn to Him for their provision and for His love to be poured out on them as blessings. Sometimes they recognized this and sometimes they didn’t so for a while they would follow Him or the person that He sent to bring them back into a relationship with Him. But as soon as that person died, they would turn back to the idols that they had rather than continue to follow God’s leading.

God has always been close to our little world and He has protected us from many dangers that we never know about. Can I prove this? Not really…unless you look at the surface of our moon and see how many hundreds of asteroid impacts have ended on its surface rather than hitting Earth. I would guess that there have been a few extinction-level impacts that were intercepted by the moon instead of impacting and setting our world back a few thousand years or more.

The love that God has for us, each of us, is so magnificent and deep until we cannot possibly understand or even comprehend it and it was because of that love that He came in the guise of Jesus to pay our debt so we wouldn’t have to. Just consider His love for each of us because He even knows how many hairs are on your head and mine! He knows when a bird falls from the sky because in the Bible Jesus said that “not even a sparrow falls without the Father knowing it”. If He cares enough to watch a small bird and know when they die, don’t you think that each of us is worth a little more than a little bird?

When you or I consider the deep and abiding love that God has for each of us, how can you not shed a tear or get choked up a bit? Not one of us deserves His love but He thinks that we do and He does care for us more than we could imagine or hope for. Give your life to Jesus and ask Him to come into your life and help you clean out your heart because your future depends on this decision. He has already paid for your past mistakes (sins) and for any future ones too, all you have to do is repent of them and ask Him to come into your life and make it useful for His Kingdom.

Disguises


When you call something one thing and it turns out to be something else entirely. Like “playing” with a puppy or a small dog, aggravating it and laughing at it. That is cruelty disguised as “play”.

If you would do that, you would do the same to a child. Turning them into abusive children, bullies without friends except others like themselves.

Jesus never taught anything except tolerance and patience with others. Being a bully for any reason is unacceptable. If you were ever the object of a bully and you didn’t like it then why would you want your child to be one? Being a bully and racism are learned at home from parents who think they are doing their children a favor or teaching them “just how it is”.

You think you are making them tough but they are just learning a behavior which could get them killed in the future. God doesn’t like bullies whether it is in the form of slavery or oppression He will make them pay for whatever they have done. Life is too short to be cruel and if you don’t know Jesus then you need to turn to Him for your salvation soon because He is coming back. If you are left here after He takes His Bride to heaven, you may find out what kind of bully Satan and his group can be. The seven years of the Tribulation will not be a good time, so make sure that you are on the winning team. Give your heart to Jesus and turn away from your “friends” that encourage your behavior now whether they are family or just friends.

Hurting people physically or emotionally is another form of being a bully. It doesn’t prove that you are tough or strong, it actually shows that you are weak and afraid because you are imposing your will on others in a way that they have to take it or leave. In the case of a child or a dog they really have no choice. Seek healing for your soul from Jesus soon because we will all answer for our words or the wrongs that we have committed one day.

Do you believe?


Some people accept the truth of God’s Word. Some people only believe parts of it. Even today people who have heard God’s Word preached in churches for years and yet some people won’t believe that the Bible is true from beginning to end. Why? Because of the lies of Satan and even those in the church today who tell or preach partial truth with just enough Scripture mixed in until it sounds good. It sounds like it came from God’s Word. Some of it did and some was just the wisdom (foolishness) of the person bringing the message.

Many of the “sayings” that we hear today are attributed to a verse in the Bible but they didn’t come from the Bible at all. One, in particular, is this: God helps those who help themselves. This sounds like it’s giving the OK to stealing and being a thief. First, this “saying” is not in the Bible at all. Second, God would not condone breaking one of the Ten Commandments.

Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, not just of Israel but those who are lost in the whole world. He died to pay the penalty for our sins and He did but many people still don’t believe in Him for their salvation. Many of them can’t believe that it is that easy. “All I have to do is believe in Jesus’ sacrifice for me?” There has to be a catch.

No catch. That is why Jesus said that even children understand Him and His plan for salvation. It doesn’t take a degree in theology to get the message. When the Holy Spirit touches your heart and opens your eyes to the fact that you are lost and a sinner and that you NEED Jesus as your Savior, there is no question of “I can do it myself”. The thief on the cross couldn’t do anything except believe in Jesus and he went to heaven with Jesus that very day!

God has never made salvation or righteousness in His sight very hard. You either believe in Him and it is counted as righteousness or you believe in Jesus and you are saved from your sins. Belief and obedience go hand in hand in God’s economy and when you do both you are rewarded. God’s love is free to all if we will accept it and salvation is too when we feel the call of the Holy Spirit on our lives and in our hearts. He is always as close as a prayer, whether it is a prayer of repentance to become a believer or a prayer of need, He answers both.

Our God is in control!


Daniel wrote in chapter 3:16-18: I will begin in verse fourteen: . 14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?…but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament. Because it shows just how much our Lord loves each of us who serves Him and boldly proclaims it to those who deny Him. Even Nebuchadnezzar admitted that the “fourth man looked like a Son of the gods”, which it was the pre-incarnate Jesus Who had come to rescue them from his furnace. They came out with no evidence of smoke or hurt or burning on them or their clothes.

The world around us is in turmoil and we have to flow right along with it but God is in control and our faith in Him can carry us through the problems and the turmoil that is ahead of us regardless of how bad it may get. Keep your faith strong by reading God’s Word and praying to Him so that you may be counted worthy to be taken in the first coming back of Jesus in the clouds to take His Bride away!