Serving as Jesus did


Have you ever thought of serving the Lord for your lifetime? We are all called in one way or another when we hear or feel the call on our lives and in our hearts. We are also given talents and abilities which may not translate into much for this world, but they mean a lot in God’s Kingdom. Each word that you use in your life as a Christian has an effect on someone, particularly if it is your children or grandchildren. You may not see the end result of your influence in this life, but God will use your words in ways that you may not imagine right now.

God cares for His Creation, all of it! Each person who has been born and those who are yet to be born into this world, God loves them with a love that only He knows the depth of! We experience only a small taste of it when we have a family. Our children experience a taste of His love through us as we raise and love them and teach them about life, to the best of our ability. Can we learn to be His servants, His disciples while we carry on our lives here? Yes, but we must determine to do it and not just “try” to be better or “try” to learn how it is done!

So, how do we learn to know Jesus and how to be His disciple in this life? Actually, it is simple—by reading the Bible and learning from Him directly! Paul’s letter to the Philippians exhorts us to be like Jesus in all that we say and do in our life with Him. Read here:

Philippians 2:1-11

Being One in Christ

1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

The Attitude of Christ
(Isaiah 52:13-15)

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

God approved of and ordains each of us to be His representative while we are in this life, this tabernacle as Peter put it. Yet, we are not supposed to sit in our home and read the Bible and pray and attend church! We are supposed to do something with our life in Jesus Christ! Tell others about His work in your life. Tell them about His love which called to your heart and caused you to realize that our life is not all that there is. Your life in Christ Jesus is just the beginning! Living the rest of your life to be the best reflection of Jesus that you can be with His Spirit inside giving you the strength to resist your old temptations and walk in a newness of His Life and His calling on your life until He comes to take the church to Heaven one day!

Our life without Him or the regeneration of our hearts is a cold and lonely place even if you have family and loving people around you. Because, without His love flowing in your heart and then giving it away to the people around you, the “love” that you have before Jesus is a poor imitation of the love that you have as His child. Our hearts don’t know how to truly love until we accept His Love for us because He is love personified!

Today


Today

Today I woke without much pain.

Today, I thanked God for this blessing and for my friends and family.

Today, I will read God’s Word and learn from the Source of Truth.

Today, I feel His Presence all around me.

Today is the day that I will die to self and live for Him.

This is a poem, not designed to impress anyone or cause anyone to think about themselves. It is only for a daily walk with God. The words speak of a daily acknowledgement of God and His Presence in your life and mine. Some days, the first line may read like this: I woke up hurting all over, and I thanked God that I am alive to serve Him one more day.

Decide what your day will be like and how you will live it with Him and through Him, because you may only have today to do so.

What will you do?


john317Jesus did not ask this question exactly, but He did ask His disciples “Who do you say that I am?”. The answer that Peter gave was one which wasn’t available in the Scriptures of the day, but it was given to him by the Holy Spirit. So…what will you do with your knowledge of Jesus and Who He is to you?

He is our Savior and our Creator and our Lord, but He doesn’t cram Himself into your life. It is your decision to accept Him as your Savior when you feel the Spirit touch your heart about your need of Him. We do need Jesus, each and every one of us. So…what will you do?

God loves all of humanity but we don’t return that love and that is a sad situation which most of the world is living in right now. God made a way for us to be sanctified and cleansed by His Son’s sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection. The only thing that we can do for our salvation is to accept it by faith.

There is nothing which we can add to our salvation because it was taken care of by Jesus. Your money won’t get you a better home in Heaven, your works here on Earth won’t get you any closer to righteousness here on Earth. The only place where your salvation could have any impact is right here where you are and that by telling others about your life and the new life that Jesus gave you!

No evangelist or preacher can earn a better place in eternity and no amount of charity will do it either. We are ALL equal in God’s sight when we accept Jesus as our Savior, no matter our position or place in our country or a business. The pastor’s saying is true: “The playing field is level at the cross”. The rich man has no advantage over the poor and a salesman or janitor has the same opportunities as a President or a Prime minister when coming to salvation and their place in God’s Kingdom. Slaves and statesmen are equal and no one stands any taller than a person on their knees asking for God’s forgiveness.

God loves the saint and the sinner alike, but God doesn’t love the sinful lives which we all have led at one point or another. So….what will you do? What is your decision? Consider that Jesus said for us not to worry about tomorrow because it has enough trouble of its own and we are not guaranteed even our next breath. So…what decision will you make about making Him your Savior and Lord?

How much more?


We are thankful and we were thankful yesterday, so how much more thankful will we be today? I have seen shoppers at stores who are waiting all night to get in when the door opens and some of them are pushing and shoving so they can be first in getting what they want and getting out of the store.

What happened between being thankful for God’s blessings and bounty and getting more stuff? How much more will we choose to get so we can be fashionable or in step with our neighbors? Do we really HAVE to have that new doodad that came out a few weeks ago? What about paying off your credit cards as a gift to yourself or your spouse? What about giving to your church or to the homeless shelter in town instead of spending over five hundred dollars on something that will be gathering dust in a couple of months? Does 4K resolution really matter that much when you are watching the Super Bowl in February? Does the price you pay for that resolution really bring you more satisfaction while watching any TV show?

All of these questions are the kinds of questions we should be asking ourselves long before we wake up at three am in order to be close to the front of the line this morning! What really is more important to you and your family? That is an even better question. Have you considered your relationship to Jesus in all of this too? I am a pastor and these questions do go through my mind about myself and about those who attend my church. I pray for all of the people out there who are traveling today and for those who are working today because they need God’s protection and His blessing, whether they realize it or not.

During the holiday season, which seems to have gotten off to a running start yesterday afternoon. Yes, many stores opened early, around four or five yesterday, just to get people out of the house and into the stores shopping. I don’t think I will ever get out there and into the thick of the lines and the crowds. It’s just too much!

God needs your energy and your presence in His family too and if more people would spend even ten percent of their time and money for His work, out world would be so much better than it is now! How is that possible? Because ten percent of the billions spent on gifts during this weekend could go a LONG way toward helping the homeless, both Veterans and non-veterans alike! It would also go a long way toward helping the hungry in the world too.

God can use your blessings in any number of different ways, but if you spend all of your cash on “stuff” and not on helping others, then what are you really doing? You are showing others that “stuff” is more important to you than serving God. During the holidays it seems that many people do just that and it makes me wonder what is keeping them from helping the church? What is keeping them from coming to church when they can get up before sunrise to get to a store and be one of the first through the doors?

Something to ponder during this Christmas season when we are supposed to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus! He didn’t tell us to go and spend, Jesus said go and TELL others about Him!

The plans of Satan


I’m reading “The Third Heaven: The Birth of God” by Donovan Neal, Natalie Davis and wanted to share this quote with you.

This quote below is from a speech which Lucifer/Satan was giving to his followers, his fallen angels, regarding how they were to interact with humanity. His plan seems to have worked very well considering how our world is today, don’t you think?

“Follow the pattern that I have set, and make the male dominate the female, set young against old and use their hues and shade of skin to divide them. Raise up among them great ones, and those of low estate plant greed and envy in their ranks. Sow fear and distrust amongst them, that they never see unity of worship to El”

In our world today, there is no “unity of worship” toward God or almost any other religion. We are fractured and broken to a point of disagreement which staggers the imagination. Many divisions in the church such that there are approximately 38,000 denominations worldwide. How is this unity of worship, even though almost all of these are Christian churches? We split on disagreements between friends, deacons and the pastor and many other things it seems, sometimes we split over trivial things.

The church which started on the day of Pentecost, is not the church that we have today. Most congregations are more interested, it seems, in the number of people listed as members and the attendance on Sundays, as well as the amount given in the offering plates, than they are in serving the Lord and becoming more like Jesus!

To give you a bit of accuracy and credentials to back this up, here is a definition which will clear things up a bit:

Denominations. A denomination is defined in this Encyclopedia as an organized aggregate of worship centers or congregations of similar ecclesiastical tradition within a specific country; i.e. as an organized Christian church or tradition or religious group or community of believers, within a specific country, whose component congregations and members are called by the same denominational name in different areas, regarding themselves as one autonomous Christian church distinct from other denominations, churches and traditions. As defined here, world Christianity consists of 6 major ecclesiastico-cultural blocs, divided into 300 major ecclesiastical traditions, composed of over 33,000 distinct denominations in 238 countries, these denominations themselves being composed of over 3,400,000 worship centers, churches or congregations.” (Barrett et al, volume 1, page 16, Table 1-5, emphasis added)   (http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/a106.htm)

The church which began soon after the resurrection of Jesus, has splintered into so many pieces which have many differing views and rules and orders of worship, until it seems that it is no longer a unified body of believers at all. While it is true that most of them worship God and Jesus as His Son, some have a different viewpoint regarding exactly Who they are.

Some don’t believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, some teach that parts of the Bible, God’s Holy Inspired Word, are wrong or that it doesn’t apply to the “modern church”.

God doesn’t change and His Word is true today just as it was at the time that He inspired the writers to write it down. There are no parts of it which are wrong, unless you just don’t want to believe it because it offends you or someone you love. God’s Word is true because God doesn’t change and He gave the words to those who wrote it down, so why is it that people don’t want to believe it? Because, we don’t want to learn the rules or learn about God.

Many don’t want to become a Christian because they believe that the rules will keep them from enjoying their life. Why do you believe this? The rules in the Old Testament about food and the sacrifices needed don’t apply to us today! The Ten Commandments will condemn you because all of us have broken one or two or more of them and they do still carry the same punishment that they did when they were given.

If you won’t give your life to Jesus and ask Him to come into your life and change your heart into His, why not? Have you felt a hollow feeling in your life and have never been able to fill it with the things of this world? The reason is because that empty place is made for Jesus to fill and nothing else. All of us have felt that place inside us which we know is empty and we feel like something should be there, but we don’t know what. Some of us go for many years without finding out what fits in that place…well now you know. The Holy Spirit of God fits in there and He only comes when you ask Jesus to come in and cleanse you, making you whole and a part of God’s family.

Ooops!


Do we have times or places or even events in our lives where “Ooops!” would be appropriate? All of us have these at one point or another. The only person that hasn’t had a day or even a minute where this would be part of the vocabulary would’ve been Jesus.

I know, many of you would say “What about the scourging or the cross?”; those were already planned and part of His life before they came to be. Those of us who watched cartoons in the seventies and eighties learned from the master of “Ooops”, Wile E. Coyote. He always got the bad end of gravity or a falling rock or even an explosion which didn’t go off at the point where he wanted it to.

What do you do when this happens in your life? I know that most of us don’t have problems with gravity or with bombs going off unexpectedly, but just walk with me down this memory lane a bit. Do you fret over it or worry about it? Sometimes it is too late when you realize it, so what can you do about it? Most of the time, you can’t really do much about it. If the “ooops” has already happened, then you will just have to deal with it in one way or another.

Sometimes it is caused by something that we say, in my case it is most often done this way. My mouth gets in a gear that is running faster than my common sense and I say something that I should’ve thought about a bit before it came tumbling out in the open! Does it cause pain or anguish, sometimes it does, at other times it just causes someone to giggle or laugh, depending upon what my mouth blurted out at the time.

A moment of “ooops” can cost a lot in the long run, down the road of life but at times it can also put you in a place where things can change. Sometimes…even you change. Sometimes…I change. So many times an “ooops” moment can even make a difference in the long run, if you use it in the right way.

But, you have to follow-up and work with the feeling that this moment caused in you. Don’t think about it and then let it get away and forget about it, use it to spur you on to fix the problem whatever it might be. God uses moments like these to show us what to do or what we should do, it is up to us to realize that He is part of the equation and the answer to it as well.

Why do I bring this up? Because He is always the One in control of the outcome, whether we believe it or not. If you believe in God and have learned that you need Him in your life, then follow through and make sure that He is your answer to your life’s problems. He wants to be that answer and the One that you call on in all things, not just when there is an “ooops” in your life.

There is always a way which seems right…


You hear it many times on the television and radio that what someone in power is doing is the right thing to do. It may be at the time, it may be for that situation, but our leaders don’t seem to look toward the future anymore. Many of them don’t look much farther down the road of time than the next election or the end of their term in office. Then the “problem” becomes someone else’s responsibility and I don’t have to worry about it anymore.

In Proverbs 16:24-26 the Bible says: 24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. 25 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. 26 A worker’s appetite works for him, For his hunger urges him on.…

Many times in the past one hundred years out leaders, not just in America but all over the world, have made decisions which would have a lasting effect on many people for years and even decades to come. Some of those decisions were good, some not so much, and we are still paying the ransom for the bad decisions and our children and grandchildren and in some cases great-great-grandchildren will be paying for what has happened in our governments.

Many of these things can’t be undone by the next administration or even succeeding administrations for the next century…but at the time, “it was the right thing to do”. Is there a way for us to fix some of these deplorable conditions? Actually…NO! We can’t do it because human weakness and greed won’t allow it to be done!Politicians know this, that is how they make their fortunes! Once they have their future secured, their selfishness prompts them to finally “retire” on our tax dollars, for life and many of them could not care less.

Yes, I do rant about our country and its debt problem and I do apologize for that. As the verse above states, “there is a way that seems right” and many times that is what we do instead of consulting with our Creator on the best decision or action for us or our country. We as a people and a nation, as well as many all over the world itself, tend to follow our own wisdom thinking ourselves to be wise enough to do what is right.

For a time, that which we do may be right for a while but years down the road that may change. Wisdom and the idea that we are wise is like a two-sided coin. On one side there is your ideas and your wisdom that you have gained in your lifetime, on the other there is what should be done according to what is right in God’s wisdom and that comes from prayer, seeking His counsel and His wisdom. The world sees a three-sided object in this situation though and the third side would be “what’s in it for me?” What will I get out of the deal? Selfish so-called “wisdom” which does nobody any good except the one who gets the most out of the consequences.

I cannot give you the answer to the world’s problems or the answer to America’s problems. The answer lies with God in all cases and we all need to seek Him in our life and in all of our decisions, those which affect others and those which have an eternal effect on us in particular.

Seek Him first in all things, big or small, buying a house or finding your keys. He is there and with faith in Him comes understanding and wisdom. Don’t fall back on your wisdom or your teacher’s wisdom because we are all human and we fail, sometimes spectacularly and miserably. Seek out Him Who doesn’t fail, but Who works for the good in all things, that which glorifies the Kingdom of God. Amen!

Your time and my time…


We sometimes look at a day or an hour and wonder where the time has gone. It seemed to go by so fast at times and then some days, even some hours go by so slow. As your teachers and your parents have said, it is all in your perception of it. So, why does it seem that our time is so short, especially when there are so many things that we would like to do?

Yes, we have children to take care of and jobs to go to, but those things only make the time seem to go by faster. I agree that being at a job seems to slow time to a crawl sometimes, but doesn’t that make you want some time off to be with your family?

Time is part of our existence from the moment that we are born. It is also part of the natural order of things that God created in our universe. We are subject to the so-called “march of time” as we perceive it, God is not. He can see all of your life and everything else from the beginning to end, any time that He wants to. He knows what you are doing now and tomorrow and even next week, so all you need to do is follow His lead in your life.

What can we do with our time? Many things, but the most important is to allow God to lead you through your life so that others can see Him through you and the things which you do every day. It seems that there are so many people who consider their lives to be important only to them and nobody else. Your life and everything that you do is important to God.

The way that you talk is important to Him. Your actions each day are important to Him. The words that you so to others and how you say them are important to Him. Why? Because, if you are a child of His and you are if you are a Christian, everything that you do is to glorify God and your life is supposed to reflect His so that others can see Him through you!

When you are in such a hurry that you endanger your life and the lives of your children just to get home a minute or so earlier, it says something about you. When you don’t have the patience to listen to someone who needs you to listen, that says something about you too. Patience is a virtue that comes from a relationship with God and if your walk with Him hasn’t produced patience in your life then you need to walk a bit closer to Him every day.

Don’t ask God to give you patience because it isn’t something that is handed out, but something that is learned. You won’t like the lesson, trust me! I made that mistake and I am just coming out of the class after a few years of lessons! Wisdom is also learned through patient study of God’s Word and they go hand in hand. Seek God’s Wisdom and His Kingdom through His Word and all of these will be added to you and your life.

What is going on today?


Many people are asking that question today and every day, so what would you tell them? Would you tell them that global warming was destroying our world? What about radical groups of religious zealots for Islam and Buddhism that are attacking and killing people because they don’t follow their brand of religion? Economies of governments and the budgets of nations are in dire need of help, but from where? The people in those countries don’t have enough money to put food on their table let alone enough money to pay taxes and higher fees for insurance! This world and the people in it need hope and a Savior but from where will he come?

He will come from Heaven and from Scripture into your lives and your hearts if you will choose to allow Him to do so. He is not going to bring pounds of gold to give to you nor is He going to make your problems vanish over night, but He will give you a hope for tomorrow and the strength to get through whatever it may be that is in your path today and tomorrow.

God loves each of us far more than we can know or even understand, yet we don’t seem to want to allow Him into our daily lives, why? Are we so blinded by our own ego and pride that we can’t see that we need Him in our lives? It is possible to let Him into our daily lives without His Presence interrupting our activities. Actually our activities should be in line with His plans for us, but that isn’t possible for many people.

The love that God has for us is far above anything that we can understand, but the closest that we can come to it is the love that most parents have for their children. That is how God views us, as His children. Regardless of our color or our background, He cares about us. No matter where you live or what you may be doing in your life, He is there watching and if you allow Him into your life He will guide your steps and your actions so that others will see Him through you and maybe they will seek Him out too.

In our world every day there is heartache and trouble, from drugs and shootings to violence in the home and religious zealots making statements about which religion we should be following. Some of those zealots may be Christians, but the majority that we hear on the news are from those who don’t believe in any god or those who follow Islam. Most news agencies won’t report anyone who is doing Christian work, unless it gets a headline somehow and usually in a negative way.

Satan is in control of most, if not all, of this negative press so it really shouldn’t be much of a surprise. If you have read some of the prophecies in the Word of God, you know that this is supposed to happen. God knows that it is happening and He is in control. He allows some things that Satan does but thankfully He isn’t allowing Satan free rein on Earth just yet.

Jesus is the only answer to our world’s problems and giving your heart to Him is the only way to come to the Father in Heaven. Seek Him out while you have today. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, only the day that we have and we must use it to the best of our ability. Serve Jesus and allow Him to work through you for the better and greater good of those that you come in contact with. He will grant you peace and security in the Life that you will have after this one.

The End Game, what is it?


There are always end games in movies, in computer games of all kinds, in business deals and in life itself. So, what is the end game from God’s prophetic point of view that is told in the book of Revelation? It is very simple actually, to bring about the end of Satan’s reign on Earth and to restore Earth to its pre-fall condition.

Humanity fell when Adam didn’t obey God, not just one couple, but also the entirety of creation itself. Before the fall, there was no corruption of the Earth, no weeds or thorns or creeping vines which were of no use except to cover everything. All of this came to be afterward. Death and decay began after the perfection of creation was broken by disobedience.

God knew that it was coming and when. He also knew who would be responsible for the fall, not just Adam but Lucifer too. It was he in the form of a snake which tempted Eve and then Adam decided to go along with his wife instead of following the command of God. Then the Seed of the woman was foretold and we waited for about four thousand years for Him to come into the world.

When that happened, it was still a few years before His ministry came to its conclusion but when it did the endgame began. Bruised by the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, Satan has been attacking humanity for the past two thousand years. Bringing war, disease, famine, infanticide in the form of sacrifices to demon gods and abortion, the list of tragedies and heartache goes on and on, all because he knows that his time is coming to a close.

Regardless of his pride and his boasting, Satan has already been defeated but he hasn’t stopped trying to get as many people away from God as possible. If he can keep you or me from asking for Jesus to come into our lives, then he will find a way to do it. He is not above killing your family or taking your job or your home either. Any way that he can get to you, to keep you in the place of blaming God instead of asking for His help, then he and the fallen angels that followed him will do it.

Humanity has always had a special place in God’s eyes and if Satan can hurt God by hurting us or causing us to miss the calling that God has for us, then he will do it. The thing to remember is that he is already defeated! The battle is won because Jesus was triumphant over sin and death on the cross! All that we need to do is to believe in Him and His grace that has been given to us.

God did have a Son and He came to bring salvation to us by His death and resurrection at Calvary. He was foretold at least four hundred years before His birth and all of the prophecies about Him were fulfilled by Him when He came! We are important in God’s Kingdom, each of us, and there is something which each of us can do that God knows only we can do. Pray that you can and will find that point in your life, find that place which will bring you to know Jesus.

Because when you do, nothing else matters except doing something, anything for Him and His Kingdom, no matter what it might be, no matter how insignificant you may think that it is, because for Him it will be significant and you can make a difference. Why would anyone do this? Because, Jesus died for you to be able to do it, that’s why! He paid the price so that you can be the person that God knows you can be with His Spirit guiding and helping you to be that person.