Problems in our lives

How many problems do we all have today? That question alone could fill up many pages of text. Suffice to say, all of us have problems of one kind or another. Some of them are of our own making, some are caused by the economic conditions in the world today.

So, what can we do about our problems? Not much really. Individually, we have to notice what is going on before it becomes a problem. The same is true for states and nations, but that doesn’t always work. In our lives, as short as they are, problems are going to be a part of them and there is no reason to think otherwise.

Sounds pessimistic doesn’t it? Jesus told His disciples that we would always have trouble (tribulation) in this world but to be of good cheer because He had overcome the world. Will that help in today’s climate with wars happening all over, earthquakes and hurricanes happening in places where they haven’t in a while if ever? For some people, no it won’t because they don’t want to give their hearts to Jesus. They don’t want the peace which comes with knowing Him.

Why don’t they want this? I haven’t got the slightest idea. Jesus and the Holy Spirit give me the strength to get by and get through the problems which come up in my life and they can do this for you too. I don’t have the problems that many people have with their health, but I can’t work because of my disability (at least not at an 8 hour a day job). I preach on Sunday and I give these sermons here when the words come to me, but that is about all that I can accomplish.

It saddens me that I am like this, but I like to think it was because I was making a difference in some people’s lives and Satan tried to stop it. It didn’t work. I am not letting this get me down and you shouldn’t either! I have days where I am depressed, but I do my best to read in the Psalms and give it to God and let Him take care of it. I can’t get rid of the depression on my own, but He can.

Your problems may have to do with money or lack of a job or an illness, but God can take care of them all if you will let Him. God doesn’t move at our pace, He works in His time which is why we sometimes try to help Him get things done. That is the wrong thing to do because it just postpones His answer! He will let you give it a try, and He will give the problem back to you if you think you can do better, then He will sit back and watch. When you figure it out, then He will ask you in a small voice (if you are listening), “Are you ready for my solution yet?”.

God loves each of us more than we can imagine and since He lives outside of time, He can see down the road, so to speak, what is coming and what is best for us. He wants us to wait for His best! We just get impatient. It is important to add here something that I learned a LONG time ago: DON’T ASK GOD TO TEACH YOU PATIENCE! You won’t like His class on that at all!! Learn it at your own pace, teach yourself patience through the reading of His Word and then listen to Him and wait.

I promise, it will be worth it.

Who is in charge?

Have you ever wondered about this today? In the world, in America and other countries, who really is in charge? Do you wonder about this at times? I do.

It seems that many people are against one thing or another, especially when it involves religion and its viewpoints and in particular the Christian religion. An interesting article was on about the American Library Association’s list of books that were challenged due to their content. Here is a small sample of that article:

“The Christian Scriptures are a “regular” among the complaints forwarded by public libraries and schools to the ALA, according to James LaRue, director of the association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. But it’s been seven years since the Bible received enough complaints to make the Top 10 list, LaRue said.

“There’s almost a little retaliatory feel to people speaking up against the Bible because they want to go on record as being opposed to Christian opposition to LGBT (issues) or Christian opposition to Islam,” he said.”

So, who do you think is in charge in this situation? God is still in control whether we see it or not. He knows the reasons and the outcome of these opposition matters which are against the moral laws brought out by the Bible. He knows which parts that every person on each side of this discussion are against and which ones they are for. So, in today’s world as the sides draw lines and begin pounding on desks with gavels, how can we understand the part about who or Who may be in charge?

Truthfully, our understanding is limited by our own viewpoint and on which side we may be standing on. Our understanding is also limited by our knowledge of Scripture and what it tells us that we should do and how to do it. The problem with this lack of knowledge is that it involves each of us and how much we have studied God’s Word. Not just read it, but actually, prayerfully, study it word for word. Asking God to reveal to us what He wants us to know about Him and what we should do with this knowledge in our world today.

Why do I say we need to do this? Because our world, everywhere around us and where we work or go to school, NEEDS Jesus! The more we know from His Word, the better we will be prepared to defend our faith or tell someone about our Savior. Time is growing shorter, and many people are searching for Him. They may not realize that Jesus is the one they are looking for, but He is the One that they NEED!!

Love wins….

Your life and mine have been influenced by love at one time or another. It could be when we were small children and we could tell that our grandma loved us by the way she spoke to us or played with us. Love is expressed in many ways and in many different cultures. Some are very affectionate, some are not. Parents are this way too. Some express their love for their children and their spouse by gifts, some by physical expressions such as a kiss or a hug. The best way to show your love toward someone is by being present. Be there with them during special occasions or just be with them period. Don’t be an absentee Dad or Mom, because that makes your children feel like you don’t care. This is especially true with your spouse. Be there when they come home, physically and mentally. It is too easy to be there in person but “zone out” into your own world when they are talking to you.

Why am I writing this on Easter Sunday? Because, we need to be present physically and spiritually in our relationships with God too! Don’t show up once a week, listen to a sermon, sing a couple of songs and then forget everything that you heard as soon as you leave! Some people even leave their Bibles at church during the week! How can you read and study God’s Word and get to know Him better if you don’t read His Word?!

I used an illustration this morning and I am not sure it sunk into everyone’s mind when I did it, and it went something like this: How would you feel if you only saw your spouse for about an hour one day per week? They never read your letters or poems which tell of all that you have done in times past or what is happening right now. Would this relationship be a good one? I don’t think that you would be in a relationship like that for very long, do you?

But, this is how many people treat God when they go to church. They visit for an hour or so, listen to the sermon and maybe read a few verses in the Bible. The sing and pray along with everyone else and then they go their separate ways until the next time. What kind of relationship is that? It really isn’t a relationship at all, but “Christians” do this to God every week. Why? Pride, selfishness, fear, apathy…these have infected the church and its people and this began a long, long, time ago. This is not something new. It isn’t something that is only happening in the 21st. century. This has been building up for a long time.

True, there are some Christians who are very dedicated to serving God and reading His Word, praying for others and for each other. These are the ones that you read about in the Scripture where it says that God has saved Himself a remnant. There are many who think that they are saved and in good standing with God but they are not. Sometimes, I wonder if I am in that group who thinks they are saved but aren’t. I think that is Satan trying to take my joy away from me, which he does easily if you listen to him much.

Some days, it is hard to only hear what God is saying but if you read His Word and learn how His voice sounds then you can discern His voice from another’s. Love shows through all of the areas in your life and mine, especially where God is involved in it. God is love and Jesus was God’s perfect expression of His Love for us, but many people don’t look at it that way. Many people today try to say that we are bigots and hateful preachers for preaching the Truth from God’s Word, instead of coating it with sugary words and making it say one thing or two that God did not say. This is happening in churches today, and many of those churches have large congregations. People like to be told that they are OK and that God loves them just as they are.

He really does love you just as you are, but He also wants your life to change when you open your heart to Him so that others can see a difference in your life and they want what you have! Telling someone their sins that they are living in are OK with God when they are not is just plain and simply a LIE FROM SATAN. Seek Him out while you can because your sin will show up very plainly when you are standing in front of God at your judgement! Without Jesus and His blood covering your sins and making you as righteous and Holy as Jesus is, you will go into hell because you turned away from Him while you had the chance or you were fooled into thinking that you were saved when you really weren’t.

Think about it while you can.

Good Friday

I used to wonder what was so good about the day that Jesus hung on the cross? I know that it was the fulfillment of prophecy and it was necessary for our salvation, but for Jesus and those two thieves, that particular day was not a good one at all!

Jesus willingly went to the cross, even though His human mind and body didn’t want to do it, He knew that it was necessary in God’s plans for all of mankind. It hurt, and He endured it for three hours or more if you count the scourging and carrying His cross up the hill. The pain that He had to endure from the point that God had to turn away from Him was even more excruciating than the physical pain that He experienced from the nails and the whips. Why do I say this? Because, in all of existence back to the very beginning of everything, He and His Father had never been separated, EVER!

That was the hell that every person in hell goes through forever. Not just the pain from the heat and the fire, but the total separation from God and everything good in the universe is a pain that I can’t describe because I don’t know what that feels like. Jesus suffered through that separation until He realized that His job, His mission was finished and then He gave His Spirit up to God. He was in control, not the Romans nor the Jewish leaders that is why Pilate was surprised when he heard that Jesus was dead already.

He could’ve called many angels to take Him from the cross, but He didn’t because He loves each of us more than He did His own life. Which is why He gave His life as a ransom for each of us, every person on Earth! Isn’t that amazing? Our God loved us enough that He would go to such lengths to redeem us to Himself which is why few people believe it. Why do you think is it that few people believe that each of us don’t have to do anything in order to gain entrance to Heaven?

I think it is because, in our minds we just can’t fathom the kind of love and the amount of love that it would take for God to do this. Of course, if you don’t believe in God or Jesus or even any of the events which happened in the Bible, then it truly won’t make any sense at all to you. The Bible says that the “wisdom of God is foolishness to those in the world”, and it is true. Before I believed or was convicted to believe, much of the Bible didn’t make any sense at all to me. I heard it in Sunday school and in church, but that didn’t mean anything because to me those were just stories. Like “David and Goliath”, that to me was a children’s story and nothing more. Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, I saw Charlton Heston play that role, that was from Hollywood.

The thing that you have to learn by reading the Bible is that these things are and were given to prophets and priests to write down by the Spirit of God and He can’t lie! These stories are true because every part of the Bible is true! Why do I believe this? Because if any part of it isn’t true, then none of it is true, so my faith and my spirit agree that it must be and that is that. If you are curious about Jesus this season, read Matthew 26 and 27. Both of these chapters describe the Passover (Last Supper), the betrayal of Jesus and the mock trials leading up to His crucifixion. The best part of the narrative is that on the third day…Jesus arose from the tomb.

empty_tomb11Our future, our hope lies in the resurrection of Jesus because He said that He would come again and take us to be with Him in Heaven! That is a Christian’s home, not this place. Since He lives, we will also! Amen!

Will it matter that I lived?

I am not asking this question just for me but for  every person who reads this. It is a question which begs to be answered. Will it really matter that I lived? I don’t know the answer to that question. Have I done or said anything that is profound enough or thought-provoking enough that it will be noticed when I am no longer posting? Some may say that they will notice, but there are many more who don’t know that I am here even now!

My family will notice, of course, but will the words and the wisdom (if you can call it that) be noticed enough that the words that I write will be missed? Honestly I can tell you that I really don’t care and that is the truth. If you have noticed and read some of the things that I have posted, great! I pray that some of what I have said here has made a difference in your life.

NO! I am not dying nor have I been diagnosed with some fatal illness. I read something recently which asked this question and I became curious, so I thought why not put it out there and see if someone might notice or care to comment on this question. Just as an experiment if you will.

Before I go and finish this missive I want to make sure that you know this: God LOVES you with a love that is above your emotional feelings for your children or your spouse. This is why He sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins. The only requirement for your salvation is that you believe in Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask Him to change your heart and your life into the one that He knows that you can be. Join a church that teaches from the REAL Bible, not a paraphrase or watered-down version of it! Learn as much as you can learn about Who God really is because He is not the Man upstairs nor is He a genie that grants your wishes! He is the Creator of all the stars, the galaxies, our planet, the Sun and every atom that exists in the entire universe AND He cares about you!Inspiration

There was a celebration today!

A friend of mine died this past Saturday and we celebrated his life today, February 22. He was a devoted Christian and went on mission trips to tell others about Jesus. He also was very opinionated and set in his ways, but we loved him. He was also selfless and would do anything for you if he could. The best part though was that he died exactly the way he wanted to, reading a book and then he went to sleep.

When he woke up, he was in the Presence of God with his family and friends who had gone before him.

Life has a way of throwing you a curve like that sometimes. My wife and I just went to see him in the hospital last week and he seemed to be doing really well, although I knew he was ready to be with Jesus.

I envy him in a way…because he doesn’t have to wear glasses anymore or take pills for his diabetes and for his arthritis. None of the health problems that he had here went with him. He has a new body and it is better in every way than the one he had here. God renews us when we die so that the body that we leave here and all of its problems and corruption stays here.

We don’t really understand death but it is part of life. Yes, doctors see death as a cessation of the body’s systems. Biologically, death fits that description of all body functions shutting down. The problem with our country and the world that we live in is that there are “cancers” growing in all areas of society which are targeting the Life giving Word and trying to silence it in one way or another.Many of these groups of “cells” are in an extreme minority of less than one percent of the population, though some may be as high as three percent.

But, the effect on society that they have is deadly to the well-being of the whole. Like a poison from a certain viper which can kill you with just a drop of its poison or just the touch of a poison-arrow frog’s skin. The point that I am trying to make is that, even in the time that Paul was going on his journeys telling people of the Christ’s saving grace, there were groups which opposed him in every town that he went to. The started riots and stirred up the people so that he was nearly killed more than once.

In our time, the news tells us of many threats to Christians from groups overseas, but there are threats here at home too. Legal threats coming in the form of laws to put buffers on what can be taught in our churches or to our children. The spirit of anti-christian groups and behavior is growing and it is gaining strength. We should be praying and seeking Jesus in church and in the Bible so that we can stand and give a testimony for the defense of our faith. The King is coming back and this time it will be as a judge and a Lion of Judah!

Preoccupied with what exactly?

It seems that in our daily lives, regardless of our religious faith or lack thereof, we are preoccupied with all sorts of things. Some of it is relevant to our lives, some of it is not but most of it seems to be of very little value in the scheme of our lives and those around us. We, and I say this openly, worry more about our twitter feeds and our Facebook friends than we do the homeless man who sleeps under a piece of cardboard to stay warm. We chase after our phones far more than we seem to chase after our spouses or our children. We worry more about our status on social media pages that we “belong to” more than we worry about our relationship with Jesus Christ! Technology has become an addiction for many people. From games and game systems to phones and tablets which many of us didn’t even have fifteen years ago because they weren’t available or were too expensive at the time.

Now, they are so cheap that Amazon is selling a five pack of Kindle Fire tablets for 250 dollars! Everyone in your family can have one so that nobody will pay any attention to each other when we all have our heads buried in our tablets! Most will be used for games, although as the saying went thirty years ago for Playboy “I just read the articles (books).” The problem with all of this preoccupation with games and electronic books and distractions is that we aren’t paying any attention to EACH OTHER!! And we aren’t paying any attention to God or His message because in many churches, they are using tablets and apps to spread the message as well! It is good that the message is getting out to more people this way, but many will just ignore the alerts from the church app just like they do any other alert.

We need to be talking TO each other more, not AT each other which is what happens when technology gets in the way. What can be done about this? Unfortunately, not much. The generation which came along around the turn of the 21st century called the “digital”generation has never lived without technology of some kind and they have always had access to the Internet. If something like an Electromagnetic pulse bomb or a nuclear explosion were to happen and cut off our technology for weeks or months or more, many people would go through such a withdrawal that it would be like a nation of drug addicts all going cold-turkey at once!

I know this sounds like a rant against technology, and I am using technology to write this but I do have a point to make. That point is this: we need to get our collective selves BACK into God’s Word, the Bible! A digital version will be better than no Bible at all, but a written one would be better because it wouldn’t need to be charged up to read and it wouldn’t be affected by a nuclear electromagnetic pulse which might send us back at least one hundred years technologically speaking. Our world and every person in it needs to get to know God, not Allah or any other pretender! The God of the Bible and specifically His Son, Jesus, because without Him you are doomed to an eternity of being out of the presence of God which will be hell.

God loves each person who reads this and He does care about every little thing in your life, but He doesn’t like the lifestyles that some of us live every day. If you have not given your heart and life to Him, then ask Him to help you with the decision…He will. Remember John 3:16,17: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

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!

Racetrack living

There are days which seem to fly by as if we live on or in a car on a racetrack, yet we can’t seem to get past the observation that God sees your life and mine from the starting line to the finish line. We can’t see it because our life looks to us like the view from a car on a track. All that we can see is the view around us, memories behind us and a little of what lies ahead of us, and that last part is blurred to an extent.

Some people think or at least seem to, that God is just sitting up in Heaven looking down on His subjects like a King without a care about us or any part of our lives. Our experience of God is limited by what we find in the Bible and what we see and hear in our lives, which today is very limited by political correctness. Yes, God can see all of our lives from His vantage point but from His point of view He can also see the beginning of time. He can feel all of the betrayal and frustration and pain that you and I and every human has ever felt. He sits outside of time, but He is also part of our lives even if we haven’t asked Him to be. He is present in your past and in your future.

We do live like our lives are on a racetrack, but I am reminded of the race tracks that you get as a child. You are in the position of God because you can see the starting line but you can also see the curves and the straight ways. You can see any debris that is possibly there which will cause an accident. You can fix it by removing it or you can allow it to happen and then help with getting the car(life) back on track again. God is in control of all and since He is God, He can choose to get involved in your life and mine a little bit or He can use your life as an example to someone else.

God can see your life and the life of everyone at any point and He is there at any of those points in your life. It is your job to seek Him out and follow Him though. God has left us a Book which gives us some rules to live by and plenty of wisdom to go with it, but just as you had to do in school…you have to learn from it. Not memorize it so much as to get it into your being, into your heart so that you won’t have to remember it when needed. It will just be there, just as He is.

Yes, God does see the end from the beginning and everything in between but it is our choice to come to Him during our “race” of life for advice and counsel so that our life will be useful and an example to others. He is perfect and good, we are not, but He is able to give us the knowledge and ability in this life to be servants and leaders for His Kingdom and as we practice doing those things we will gain the ability to be more in His Kingdom to come.

We have to learn about the “drive” in life so we can complete the course and the only way to do that is to read God’s Book, learn from His wisdom and apply it to our lives every day. Little by little, we can get through the turmoil and hardships which come our way as we go through the trials and the traffic of life, but it is so much easier to do so with God as your driver and coach rather than leaving Him in the “pit crew” after services.

A new day, a new year!

Sunrise-5 Do you know that God begins each day with a beautiful, glorious sunrise so that we can see His majesty? Oh, these beautiful sunrises may not happen where you are, but somewhere there is a painting that only God can create. We can see them in pictures on the Internet, or maybe on the news if the are breathtaking enough. God is in control of the universe and our world, yet many people don’t recognize this fact. God loves you and me and every person on this planet, whether they know Him or love Him or not.

We are all beginning a new year and the violence and news is already bearing that out. It seems that our world just can’t go one 24 hour period without some form of hatred and violence toward a person or group of people. Every day bears this out and it seems that nobody can figure out the problem or the solution. The Solution is Jesus and the problem is mostly from those who hate Him or those who serve Him. I know, there are crimes committed which don’t have anything to do with religion, but when you look at the news it sure doesn’t seem that way.

Life is imitating history every day because Christians have been hated and anyone who reads or serves God has been targeted in some way in the past two millennia. Even and especially if you are Jewish and Christian it all comes back to the Bible. It seems that few people can understand or even tolerate the absolute Truth found in its pages even when they know it is right! Our country and many of its Presidents in the past have acknowledged that “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”–George Washington “.

The world or our country needs God and the Bible and the wisdom contained in them. We, each of us, need the wisdom of God and the salvation that Jesus offers to us. It is something which we all need to understand and seek out for ourselves to make the rest of our lives more useful. Make this year one that you live for God and it will be the best of your life.