You are with me

youarestillwithmeIn the 23rd Psalm it goes like this:

Psalm 23 King James Version

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

This Psalm of David is an ever-present help, just as the Lord is, it is also a poem of comfort and of thanksgiving. In our world today, we need this because of all the things which are happening around the world. Why? Because of all the strife and the anger and frustration that flows from the news every single day. It seems that we can’t get away from it, even if we turn the TV off and don’t watch it. If we log on to our Facebook account, the news is there; if we log onto Google and look at the news, all of it is there in front of our eyes. We can’t escape it even if we are in the car and turn the radio on…the news, no matter how bad it is, is there too. We need God’s comforting presence in our lives today!

Why do I say this? Because we are not “supermen” and we never will be. It doesn’t matter if you made it through boot camp or SEAL training or any other type of military training, you are not bullet-proof regardless of what they tried to tell you over and over again!

We are normal people with problems, hang-ups and hang-overs. We have all of the problems that they try to recommend medication for on TV, yet most of us don’t want the side-effects of that medication. Most of us don’t want to be told that we are sinners or back-sliders or adulterers or in some cases, perverts. Nobody wants to hear about our personal dirty laundry, but we love to hear about and read about celebrities and sports figures who have problems!

Every church is filled with people who are exactly like those in the paragraph above, no church is immune because we are all sinners! The only difference between those who claim to belong to Jesus is that we….they are forgiven! We claim our forgiveness from Christ when we admit that we need it, just as a person addicted to alcohol or drugs had to admit it before being able to fight it! The big difference is that Jesus already conquered our sin nature, all we have to do is believe in Him and ask for it to be applied to us!

There isn’t anything really special about Christians except for the faith in Jesus that most of us have. The reason I said “most” is that some think because they have been raised in church from their childhood, that makes them a Christian. Many have this belief that because they go to church occasionally like on Easter and Christmas, that this makes them a Christian. Not any more than sitting in a garage will make you into a car!

God created each of us to be in a relationship with Him and the only way we can do that is through His Son, Jesus. There is no other door, and no other “prophet” who can get you into Heaven. No amount of work you can do will help you. No amount of money given to the poor will buy you a brick to build a heavenly mansion. Nothing that WE can do will have any bearing on our eternity EXCEPT belief in and submission to Jesus in faith believing that He did everything necessary for your salvation!

Trust in Him, learn about Him, and come to Him with a heart that knows that He is your Savior and at that point ALL of Heaven will celebrate a new saint that will be coming home!

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!

Prayer and faith

Praisethelord Yes, both are necessary for a Christian and for our world too. Why do I say this? Because there are so many people who don’t want to admit this or hear it. Prayer and praise go together with faith and all of it is needed today. Because life and living today is hard enough without having faith in a future with Jesus. Prayer and faith go hand in hand, but it seems that many people don’t believe in having faith in a God which they can’t see. You can’t touch or see any of the “gods” which are worshiped in the world today, many of them are actually dead and in their graves yet people still think that they are “gods”. If they were then they wouldn’t be dead!

Satan is a fallen archangel, a guardian seraphim and one that once lived on the “mount of God” but pride brought him down because he thought that he could be like God and take God’s place. No one can do that but he convinced enough of the angels to follow him until there were a third of the angels thrown down from Heaven. We don’t know how many this was, but considering how much our world is in such a mess today it was a LOT!

Today it seems that nobody wants to acknowledge God as the Creator, but He is and He is NOT dead! Seek Him out while there is still time to do so. Read John 3:16,17; Romans 8 too, because they tell you what and Who you should know and why.

Mary, did you know?

When the angel came to tell of the baby you were going to have, did you know that your heart would change completely? All parent’s hearts change in some way when their child is born, but your Child is special. He was and is not a child born of human procreation, but One Who was prophesied since the beginning, to be the Savior of mankind.

The story is told in Luke 1 beginning here:

26…the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Jesus came to a humble family, but one that was descended from the lineage of David of the tribe of Judah. The babe was sent into the world to announce to it that God had come down to mankind to offer salvation to all who would believe.

The story continues here:

Luke 2 (King James Version)

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

The shepherds went out telling all of the things which they had seen, just as we are supposed to do. Amen.

Love unlimited

This is the kind of love which God has for all of us. Why do I say this? Because, He wouldn’t have sent His only Son to Earth to offer salvation to us through belief in Him and the sacrifice that He made if He didn’t love us this way. God did not love just one nation or people this way, but He loved all of us in this way. He told Abraham that the whole world would be blessed through his descendants and He was speaking of the blessing of salvation brought to us through Jesus and His sacrifice.

Unlimited love and compassion brought the “seed of the woman”, the Messiah, into a manger in Bethlehem to be the Savior of the world! That is the blessing to all of the world through the seed of Abraham and David that we have today. The world has had this blessing since the time of Jesus because of God’s love for us.

The Messiah, the Creator, the Living Word of God brought down to mankind in the form of a baby. He was not born as a King, but as a commoner, a carpenter’s Earthly son but He was and is the Son of God. Your life can be changed and will be if you will come to Him and ask Him to come into your life. Your eternal life begins when you are born into the family of God through giving your heart to Him and asking Him to come into your heart!

You are loved by God far more than you can imagine. He would’ve sent His Son even if you or I were the only person yet to be born or saved, that’s how much God loves you and me. Heaven is going to be full of millions of people who have given their hearts to Jesus in the past and today. Give your heart to Jesus this week, today, because He loves you more than you know.

People tell me that a mother’s love is t he greatest love that we can experience on Earth. Yes, our parent’s love is a reflection of God’s love toward us, but it is a dim reflection. We cannot imagine or comprehend the love of God, but it is there and available for each of us. All that we have to do is ask Him to come into our lives. That is the gift that you can get from God, eternity and forgiveness. You will give Him another child to bring into His house one day and all of Heaven rejoices when one more comes to know their Savior. I know that I am looking forward to that reunion and many others are too.

Won’t you join us in our Father’s house? He loves you more than you can imagine and He will be near you regardless of your circumstances or what life throws at you from this point on. If you need confirmation of this, read Luke 2. It is a description of the birth of our Savior and the birth of God’s Son, the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world.

Merry Christmas!

Regarding Christmas…

Nativity-29Some people say that we shouldn’t celebrate at this time of year because this time of year is from a pagan celebration which the church used to bring the pagans into it. While that may be true, the birth of Jesus should be celebrated, even if He wasn’t born during this time of year. Why do I say that? Because, during this month it is too cold for shepherds to be sleeping in the field at night and traveling wouldn’t have been easy at this time of year either. Many scholars think that His birth was likely during September, who knows.

The point is that a person on the Trinity came to us as a baby, grew up in his time and played like all children do, learned His earthly father’s trade and learned from His Heavenly Father. He fulfilled prophecy and became the Messiah that He was sent to be and He sits on the right hand of God in Heaven until it is time for Him to come again.

Celebrate His first coming because without it, you and I would be lost in this world and the next. Celebrate His life and His mission because He followed His Father’s instructions and did everything that was necessary for our salvation, not just a few people but for all people. The story of His birth is joyous not because we give each other gifts, but because God gave us the most important and priceless gift that we don’t deserve just because He loves us!

We can’t give it back and we don’t truly deserve it, but it was given to all of mankind, so be thankful and glad that we are loved by our Creator enough for Him to give us a chance and the choice to be His children.


Are you in charge of your life?

We all like to think that we are in charge of our lives, that we direct our own paths and destinies but the truth is that God has had a plan for your life from the beginning. Whether you have given your heart to Him and begun the walk with Him or not is irrelevant, before you have ventured too far you will turn to Him. It may be at the end of your life if you are really stubborn about it or you may give your heart to Him early in your life. We don’t know what tomorrow holds for us, but He does. He has all of it planned and perfected but it is up to you whether you follow His leading and His script for your life or not. Have you ever considered it? Have you thought of what it will take to do this?

Some think that being a Christian is a life of compromise and giving up on the fun stuff. This is very far from the truth, although there are many who would like for you to believe it. Giving your heart and life to Jesus frees you from the sin and worry of this world because you can lean on Him for strength and give Him your worries so that you don’t have to handle them alone.
God is in charge

It is because He is in charge of the universe and everything in it, that everything works as well as it does. Your heart, your kidneys, your liver, all of these things did not evolve. God created you and me for a reason and He is the one Who put all of those things inside you to keep you alive and healthy. Just as our solar system is the only stable one which is friendly to life, our planet and all of the environment around it were created so that we could live and be His people, His creation.

Yes, you are in charge up to a point. You can choose to follow Jesus and give your heart and soul to Him or not. Life isn’t much different for those who don’t follow Jesus except that they don’t have His grace and mercy working in their lives to His glory. The biggest difference in their life isn’t in life, it is after they die. They will stand before God and they will have to answer for all of the sins that they have done in this life, no matter how insignificant they might be. The only sin which will send them to Hell is the one where they didn’t give their heart to Jesus and ask Him to come into their lives. If they made it through life without Him, then that is going to be their eternity, their punishment for not allowing Jesus to save them from their sins, even if that decision was made at the last moment He will still forgive you and save you. Please don’t push Him away, you may regret it for a very LONG time.

Are you for real?!

Many times when we are honest about our faith with someone, this may be the response. But, Jesus told us that if we deny that we know Him here then He will deny us in Heaven. I don’t want that on my conscience and I would rather be true to my faith in Him than not. Am I a Jesus freak? Well, I am a pastor of a small church and I have a ministry on facebook and here too, so I would say that yes, I am a bit of a “Jesus freak”. That is just fine with me actually. Why? Because it is my job and my calling. Why do Christians think that we are not supposed to tell others when Jesus Himself told the disciples to go and tell everyone about the Gospel? We are part of that company if we have given our life and our hearts to Him!
Is Christianity real? The religion is but the commitment of the believers is questionable. Why? If you were told that you had a gift waiting for you, if you would claim it and tell others how to get the same gift, would you?

In today’s world, if that gift were a million dollars, some would claim it and then tell others how they could get it. Some would hoard the information and not tell anyone else, why? If you knew that there was a cure for cancer would you give it to just someone in your family or would you spread the news about this cure, particularly if it was a simple cure that anyone could have? Some would and some would keep this information to themselves. Why?

If you knew about the end of life result for someone that would result in their eternity being an endless torment and you knew that they needed Jesus in their heart…wouldn’t you tell them about Him? Wouldn’t you read the Bible to them and try to explain the salvation message to them? Some people would tell them, others would say that is someone else’s job, not mine. Everyone needs to know about the way to salvation whether they choose to act on that knowledge or not is their decision.

God is Great!

How can I say this? Because He is! God loves us, each one of us, even when we don’t show Him that we even believe in Him! Yet, He is the Creator and the only God of the Universe. So, why do people seem to hate many of those who believe in Him? Is it because of His exclusive nature? Because He doesn’t allow for any other so-called “gods” except Himself maybe? Or is the real reason because of the new covenant relationship that Christians have with God’s Son, Jesus?

There are many unknown reasons for the hatred that is being shown and expressed toward the Jewish people and Christians and I don’t know what many of them are. I don’t understand the reasons for such hate toward a religion and a culture which, for the most part, has been peaceful throughout most of history. True, in the Middle Ages in Europe there was much persecution of the followers of Islam, but the church which was behind this also persecuted the Jewish people and their faith as well. This is a matter of history, hundreds of years in the past. It should not be affecting our lives today, but it does.

God is great and He is good and thankfully patient with us, but His patience will not endure our disregard for Him and tolerate our hate and violence for long. There will be a day when He will make Himself known by His actions and it will be a day that no person on Earth is ready for. Even few in the church are ready for it, and yet we put up “false fronts” at our gatherings and our services. We make a great show of our piety but to outsiders it is hollow and shallow.

I don’t mean that this is happening at all churches, but the “christian” face which is shown to the world at large in America is one that doesn’t live up to or live out our claims about our faith. It is truly sad that Christmas is celebrated in Asian nations without shame and here people want to take you to court if you place a cross or nativity scene in a town square!

God is Great and He is the Creator and one day the whole world, including America, will see this and know it to be true. But, for many it will be too late. Seek Him out while there is still time. Learn about Him and the love that He expressed through the giving of His Son, Jesus, for our sins and the payment of the debt that all of us…each of us owes because of it. God loves you, can’t you express that love toward Him by giving your heart and life to Him too?

Is your life yours?

This is what we think of our lives mostly…that we own it, that it belongs to us and we can do whatever we want with it. If you are not a Christian and you don’t believe in God nor have you given your life to Jesus and asked Him into your heart, then maybe you do own your life. Unless your parents do or your wife or your boss at work does. They do have a certain amount of “ownership” of your time and your life, up to a point. Our life, as we live it, is ours to do with as we please…until we realize that we need Jesus in our life and in our heart. Then we are His.

Why do I say it this way? Because He purchased us with His blood, His death and His resurrection! He paid all of our debts in regards to sin and we are His creation because He knew us before we were ever born into this world! Our purpose in this life, our REAL purpose is to serve Him in whatever way we can. Whether it is as a missionary or a teacher or a preacher or an evangelist. Our work for His Kingdom is to tell others about the gospel, the Good News of His gift of salvation! You cannot earn this gift nor buy it with any amount of work that you claim to do for Him, particularly if the work is done without Him in your life and heart.

Everything that is done prior to repentance from your sinful life and asking Him to cleanse you and make you a new creature if Him has the same value as garbage. In other words…it is worth NOTHING in relation to eternity! Life in eternity is only granted by belief in, and living your days with, Jesus. Remember the story about the thief on the cross? He didn’t have a chance to be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit nor did he have a chance to witness to many people, he only asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His Kingdom. Jesus said to him, “Today, you will be with Me in Paradise.” Because of his belief in Who Jesus was and is, his faith and belief in Jesus saved him from an eternity of punishment. He recognized the Messiah when very few did at that point.

Truly, because of God’s grace toward us, we belong to Him whether we have accepted His grace and mercy through Jesus or not. The unpardonable sin is that we go through life, having heard sermons or read the Bible and know the way of salvation and yet refuse it, sometimes you or someone you know has felt the pull or the voice of the Holy Spirit and just walked away. That is the unpardonable sin which will not be forgiven, especially if you die without ever repenting and turning to Jesus! Think about this, seek Him in His Word, listen for the Spirit speaking to your heart, pray about it and ask Jesus to come into your life and change you. Then live your life as a testimony to Him and about Him until you are called to Heaven by death or by the Angels. Just don’t wait like Satan wants you to, because his lie is that you have plenty of time yet your time may be up tonight or tomorrow!