Our crazy, mixed up world

It seems that we live in a world which is totally out of touch, not only with religion and the Scriptures, but with reality itself! Even everyday news has become more entertainment than actual news! Yes, there are shootings and stabbings and people die every day, some of them too young to believe that they were even in danger. So, what is happening to our culture and the people in it?

Not only in America but all over the world it seems that more emphasis is placed on what you are tweeting on social media sites than what is being done to help the homeless or to straighten out the enormous debt that, not only America has but also exists in other countries! It seems very strange that everyone, people on the street and in the media, seems to be exaggerating even the smallest bit of drivel which is sent out on social media such as Twitter or Facebook!

The strangest part of all of this is that it was foretold in God’s Word nearly two thousand years ago. In the book of 1 John, the apostle John wrote that:

1 John 2:15-17
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

It is true that the words “social media” or any reference to such is not in the Bible, but it is said that “knowledge would increase in the last days“; and with the Internet available to at least one-third of the world’s population, access to knowledge certainly has increased. All sorts of knowledge, good and bad, is available to all people in free countries at all times of the day.

So, just how crazy is our world? Look around on the ‘Net and see or any social media site, even on the news you can see all sorts of behavior that is or would be in that category. Why is all of this happening now? Because, we are very close to the end of the church age or the age of Grace, whichever you choose to call it. How close, I can’t say. Make sure that your destination is with Jesus because eternity is a very long, long time to be without love or hope or light or compassion or any of the goodness which comes from God! None of those will be available in outer darkness where Satan and his followers will be.

There are only two sides to every conflict, one is good and the other is not. Black and white, yin and yang (except that the sides don’t have parts of the other in them), death or Life, so….choose.lifeordeath

What do you really believe?

It is becoming clear that many people in churches today, regardless of denomination, have no idea what being a committed Christian is. Some think it means going to church when we feel like it. Some seem to think that, just like the rest of the world, if they are good and read the Bible occasionally then God will let them into Heaven. There seems to be quite a few that think that they don’t really have to do anything except to believe that Jesus is the Christ and that will get them into Heaven.

Preachers have told us this for decades, that if you believe in Jesus you will be saved. The apostle, John, says mostly the same thing in his gospel. So, why does it seem that we should desire more of Him than we do? Jesus said that “apart from Me you can do nothing“, truly that phrase has nothing to do with belief. It has to do with our commitment to a daily life with Him.

Reading the Bible, prayer for all of the things that are good and needed in our world, seeking His will for your life in His Word, meditating on His Word after you read it and considering what it means to your life, these are processes which we need to do in our daily walk with Him. This sounds like far too much to do in a day, but it doesn’t need to be. Reading a chapter or two every day and then praying for the meaning of it to be revealed to you doesn’t take long. Thinking about what God reveals to you during the day is your meditation on Him and His Word, but it shouldn’t interfere with your daily life.

Being a dedicated child of God is not as easy as just saying that you believe in Him. It is a daily, sometimes hourly walk with Him through your day, every day. He walked with Adam in the Garden, so why can’t we walk with Him every day? He doesn’t get in the way, and He certainly won’t be a hindrance to anything that we do, unless you intend to do or be in agreement with sinful actions on a daily basis.

Being a Christian is not as easy as it is portrayed because even though becoming one is easy, the process is a daily walk with Him. As Jesus said, “take up your cross and follow Me”, sometimes that means that we have to put something else that we have been holding onto down. For many people today, that is not an easy thing to do. We are addicted to our computers, our tablets, our phones, our games and almost every other distraction imaginable. But, we only come to Jesus when it is necessary or when we have to.

Seeking Him and learning about Him and about our relationship with Him is something which we don’t consider important. We will worry about that tomorrow or next year or when the next revival service is at church. But…what if you don’t live that long? What if you were to die in an hour or two from now? You would be standing at the judgement of your life in front of God without any help at all.

God knows your life and He knows if you will come to Him and when. He is your Creator and He will not turn you away IF you will come to Him with a repentant heart and ask Him to save you from yourself. Ask Him to help you to become the person that you can be in Christ and He will do it IF you are sincere and truthful about your need for Him.

If this is just “lip service”, He won’t even hear you. But, this has to be done in this life. Waiting to take care of this on your death-bed won’t cut it because you may not have that chance. A car wreck, a heart attack or any number of other ways that you can die without any notice, might prevent you from making that last-minute decision. So, what will you decide?

Are you going to keep doing what you have always done, hoping that God will just let you pass? Will you just turn away, like the rich young ruler did because you are having too much fun and you don’t feel that you need Jesus in your life? Maybe you think that being a devoted Christian just doesn’t fit your lifestyle right now. But, if you were to meet Jesus at your judgement and He says that “I never knew you”, how will you feel? Eternity is a long, long time to be outside in outer darkness, away from the Love of God.

Think about it, pray about it if you are serious about your Eternal destiny and then pray some more. Seek Him while there is time, in this life, because when this life is over…your time to be His is up and your eternity begins wherever you are.

Barriers, division and fences

In life today, everywhere, we have these. Sometimes they are based on politics, sometimes it is because of religion and sometimes it is because of the boundaries between people and countries. Is there anything that we can do to fix this? One thing which we can do is to stop blaming other people for our problems, regardless of what those problems are.

If the problems are personal, then the problems are yours to handle. That is harsh isn’t it? Not really because the problems may be your problems alone, but you know Jesus is available to help you in all things. Regardless of the size of the problem, like lost keys or shoes or not enough money to pay bills, God is able to help. All you need to do is give your life to Him and ask Him for help in whatever area it might be.

Racial divisions, religious divisions, political divisions are another matter. Yes, God is available to help in all of these areas and He can, but only when you ask. He doesn’t force His way into your life to fix things, He doesn’t force you to live a certain way or be from a certain area or people or “race”.

God loves you and me and everyone else in the world, but He doesn’t love the lifestyles or the sin that we have all done in our lives at one point or another. It may be drugs or sex or murder (Jesus said if you hate your brother, it is the same as murder 1 John 3:15)

We are all sinners even if you have given your heart to Jesus, we are just forgiven because of His atoning sacrifice for us. He did not do this just for a few people, selected or elected or otherwise, He came and went to the cross for all of us! The only requirement is that we believe that He did it and that we ask Him to cleanse us and make our life…be like His. That doesn’t mean that everyone who belongs to Him must be a minister or a deacon or a missionary.

We just need to strive (work toward) being more like Him from the point of giving our life to Him until we stand before Him at our judgement. Ooops, did I say that? Yes, each of us, forgiven or not, will stand before Him in judgement one day. Those who are His will be judged by our work for His Kingdom, those who have not given their life to Him will be judged for their life and for not accepting God’s gift of salvation through Jesus.

There is just a thin line which each separates those who have accepted His gift and His love and those who have not. Because you either accept Jesus as your Savior or you don’t, there is no middle ground, no gray area where you are a Christian sometimes. There is no part of being a Christian where you turn your back on Christ and never come back. Yes, you may still belong to Him IF it was real to begin with, but if it was and you go back to your old life and back into a sinful life, then your reward in Heaven will be affected.

Is today a really bad day?

Are you under the bus? Is that how it feels today? How bad are you feeling today? Are you in a place where you feel like you are under the bus?

We all have days, sometimes weeks, where we may not feel good about the situation that we are in, whether it is one that we put ourselves in or our health may have put us in this spot. Did you do it to yourself or did God allow it to happen? For some of us, it is something which we actually are responsible for the situation, good or bad but usually bad, that we find ourselves in. Then, depending on how bad it may be we get into a pity party over it and carry it into other people’s lives so we won’t be alone. Is your situation caused by dependency on drugs or alcohol? Then, you got yourself into it and nobody can get you out until you make that decision to do so. God can give you the strength and the courage to get out, but it is still your decision to take the first step away from where you are.

For many people, that first step is the hardest one to take, especially if you are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Why is that? Because, our body reacts with the chemicals which we put into it and depending upon how they make us feel, we get strongly addicted to them. The stronger the so-called “good feeling” is, then the stronger the addiction is which makes it harder for you to break the addiction and get away from it. Why am I bringing this up during the holidays? Because, during the holidays is the time when many people get depressed over money or relationships or ??? Who knows what can cause these feelings, but it seems to happen during Christmas more often than it should.

We see people who seem to be happy in their lives, smiling and laughing and getting stuff to give to each other and if we aren’t able to do the same thing, then it makes us miserable. How do you know that they really are happy? That may just be a “fake happy face” that they use during this time of year! We don’t let people see the real us most of the time, that is reserved for close family or sometimes nobody knows the “real me”, you know how that feels? I do.

I have lived it and been that way for years and didn’t realize how much damage that I caused in my own life and in my own relationships until recently. I went into a real depressive state earlier this year and it took reading and praying my way through the Psalms to get me out of it. Depression can make you feel like you are not just under the bus, but that the bus is parked on top of you and you feel like there is nothing or nobody who cares enough about you to help get you out! Although, sometimes we want to stay in that condition. We don’t really care to get out or maybe we don’t want to get out from under this cloud and feel better.

Well, I am here today to tell you that you can do it! It is possible to come out from under the cloud and the bust and the addiction because there is Someone Who loves you dearly, even if you don’t feel lovable and may not even love yourself! God loves you and has loved you for thousands of years. Jesus came and died on the cross for you, so that you can come to know Him and the Father because of His sacrifice which covered not only your sins, but everyone else’s sins in the world as well! He came down to Earth in human form but with God as His Father and He had no “sinful nature” inside of Him like we do, and yet He still died for our sins, our weaknesses, our problems even though He didn’t have to…He did it because He loves us. Not because we are lovable, but because if He hadn’t, we would be doomed to eternity without knowing Him or God. We wouldn’t have been able to make ourselves right with God because it just isn’t part of our nature.

Jesus came into the manger as a babe in swaddling clothes, clothed in flesh so that He could know our troubles, our weaknesses, our fears, our heartaches and give us comfort through all of them because He has been there. He knows about your trouble and your triumph, your fear and your joy. He knows your pain and the pleasure of love without the sinful nature that we have to deal with. He and the Father love each one of us regardless of our trials and faults. All that we have to do is believe that He conquered our troublemaker and our sickness and then ask Him to come into our lives and give us the strength to make it out from our place of pain…out from under the bus. Then, pray and seek His strength to do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next day. Being free from the pain of addiction is possible, but it takes us and Jesus to move, to take that first step, and then another and another until we are clear of it and we can see the Light and His love for us.