Holidays hurt sometimes…


I have had loved ones in my family who passed away on different holidays in the past, one even passed from this life on my birthday 33 years ago. Today, there are many who suffer from feelings of loneliness and depression during the holidays, even when families are together. It is hard to understand how you can feel lonely with family around you, but you can.

Sometimes the world thinks that Christians aren’t supposed to get sick or feel lonely because they belong to God. But, in this life…right now, we are human and we get sick, we feel depression and loneliness and every other illness which is out there as well. The only time which we will be able to claim no sickness or bad feelings like depression will be when we are in Heaven or we have crossed over into eternity.

Could God give us this great show of His power today? Yes, He could if He wanted to but that isn’t part of His plan. Every person who is a Christian could live forever and never be sick if God planned it that way but He didn’t. It isn’t because He doesn’t love us because He does, but we aren’t given this privilege above others. Humanity is God’s image in this world because we are made in His image, but we don’t act like it very much.

As humans, we act as we were raised and sometimes we just haven’t been raised in a good environment. Some of us come from broken homes, some live in poverty and want in some of the worst areas of the world. Conditions which most of us in America can’t imagine. Even in America, there is hunger and homelessness and poverty and many people think that we should be sharing the wealth so that this doesn’t happen.

If we tried communism, who would decide how much is given to who? Because that is the system which tries to “spread the wealth around”. But in most communist countries, those in power get more than anyone else, so those in power tend to bring their friends and family into that group and they have more than everyone else.

The Pilgrims tried this when they started out in the first few years of their colony but it didn’t work out well. People were fighting over who got what and how much, and that is what would happen today if we tried it again.

Holidays do hurt because it shows just how materialistic we have become. Some get really nice toys and stuff and some don’t. So what determines the amount of spread when you decide how much and to whom? Communism is that way, but those who are corrupt in a Democratic Republic like ours will be just as corrupt, if not more, in a communistic society.

Yes, holidays cause hurt and pain and sometimes cause a lot of resentment among those who have a little more than the next person. Usually, this is due to credit and not real wealth which is another reason why our country is so divided.

Holidays cause division, sometimes more than we realize. It happens in families and in communities and in cities, so what should we do? Outlaw celebrations of significance such as Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years? What real good would that do? Not very much I would think. Taking holidays away won’t stop the division between people and it won’t take away the depression or other problems which we see. Just as gun control won’t get rid of crime or shootings, getting rid of religion and holidays will have no effect on our social divisions.

God loves us and He has given each of us gifts which allow us to serve Him in some ways but also to serve each other too. The only way to find your gift from Him is to ask Him to show it to you and the only way to do that is to know Him and be known by Him. Be as much like Jesus the Christ, our Savior and Messiah, as you can and if you haven’t asked Him into your life please do so soon. God’s timetable is running down and sometime soon, He will call the church home. Don’t be one of those still here afterward.

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 day of His birth…


Most of us celebrate our birthdays, although many seem to worry about them as the numbers get bigger. Why worry about a number? It just means that God has given you another year, another day to live and enjoy your life here with friends and family! Yes, there are some who feel as if their life would be better if they didn’t have so many birthdays piled one on top of another, but let me ask this question: Without killing yourself, what can you do about the march of time and another birthday?

Blunt answer: nothing

God gives us the air that we breathe and the food that we eat throughout our lives, so what will you do with another day, another week or month or even another year? Will you glorify Him in your days, telling others about His grace and His mercy?

This is one of the jobs that we are all supposed to be engaged in, particularly if you are a follower of Christ. Why do we walk as though we don’t know Jesus? Are there some who do this? Yes, there are some who only come to church on holidays or weddings or funerals, what good does it do for you to come at these times? Do you truly listen to the message or did you come to be seen and be in the community?

If you are doing this for your personal gain, it is no good at all for your spiritual well-being. Like the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in the Temple:

Luke 18:9-14 King James Version 

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Jesus’ day of birth is celebrated in December not because that is when He was born but because it was easy to get pagans to celebrate a day that they already celebrated. Jesus was likely born sometime between the middle of September and October, in any case we do celebrate Him by giving gifts to each other, just as He was the ultimate gift to us. He came not to bring a kingdom down or to begin His reign as Lord and King, but to shed His blood as a perfect sacrifice for ALL of our sins! He died for the whole WORLD, not just for the Jewish nation but for all of the people on Earth and His sacrifice was necessary for us to be able to atone for our sins.

God loves us because that is what His Word says! He is not a liar nor a cheat, yet some people seem to feel cheated by Him because He doesn’t magically provide all of their needs or their desires. He provides for exactly what you need, WHEN you need it. Not more than you need or less, yet that is why many people don’t like Christianity. They seem to expect God to provide for them because He owes them something. God doesn’t owe you anything at all! If you are blessed by Him with riches and wisdom be thankful for it and help those who don’t have what you have been blessed with, as much as you can without offending them.

Why do I say this? Because many people don’t like charity. They don’t want you to give them something and to some it is insulting that you would even think of helping them. But, if they truly needed it I don’t believe the offer would be turned away. It is the same with salvation. It doesn’t cost us anything and we don’t have to do anything to get it. Sometimes it is because of this that people don’t see the value of coming to church and accepting Jesus as their Savior.

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!

So much strife, remember…


In our world, in our everyday lives, we experience problems of all sorts. Pain, heartaches, anxiety, fears, the list could go on and on. Remember, God loves you, and remember these promises as well:

PromisesfromGodsWord

I know, during this time of year many people aren’t really concerned with their eternal destiny but you should be! Why? Because it is going to last a LOT longer than this life will! God does have a plan for you and me, and it doesn’t stop when your life on this Earth stops. Consider this, God said that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Present tense, not past tense! Meaning, they live on into eternity and you will too…if you have given your life and your heart to Jesus. Ask Him to come into your heart and save you, because HE came to seek and save those who are lost which includes you and me! I accepted Him a few years ago, and I pray that you will too.

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.

Amen

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.

Living your life


Yes, we can live joyfully, but what about living for Jesus? Living with Him, waking up with Him, praying to Him about everything, no matter what it is. We can do it, if we choose to do it. It is our choice, we are never forced into a relationship with God. Can we live this way?

Yes, we can! But, we have to do it by choice! Wake up in the morning and thank God for giving you another day to serve Him and live on this Earth, enjoying our family and our blessings. Where do those things come from? God, of course. He provided you with the ability to do the things that you do, whatever your vocation.

You can’t tell God what to do, but many people are so proud and prideful in their way of doing things until they try to do just that. He loves you, but He is going to answer your prayer in His time and when you are ready for the blessings that He will provide for you. How do I know this? Because He has done it for me and for many others, that is how I know His provisions and His love.

Can you know Him like this? Yes, you can. All that you need to do is to decide to listen to His Word and ask Him to come into your heart, when you feel the calling, the prompting of the Holy Spirit which calls to us. Answer that call on your life and your heart and you can be saved. Many people will think that they don’t need saving, they are doing fine on their own without Jesus. Are you really?

Have you had a time recently which caused you to question your life or your place in life? Many people today question whether God cares about us, but if you look at all of the blessings which we see every day in the light of His love, why would you question Him? You woke up this morning with a new day to serve Him or yourself, which will it be? You were able to get up from your bed and go about your day, isn’t that a blessing from God? Many of you had food to eat and a warm place to live, those are blessings from God. Your job and income comes from the One who owns it all, so that is a blessing.

Can we be His in our daily lives? Yes, it is not something that you can do on your own, but you can do it with His help! God loves you and is concerned about everything that happens to you, from losing your keys to forgetting to pick up the milk. Yes, I pray when I go to the store or when I am driving to the store (especially when I am on the road with all the others out there). I need Him every day, all day, how else would I be able to come up with the content found here? My mind is not filled with words enough to fill these pages like I have these past few years.

God has given me a small church to pastor every week and I enjoy it, but I have a larger audience here. Why? I think it is because there are many more people outside my local area who are looking for God or evidence of His love or even just an encouraging word in the times that we live in. I can’t be in all the places that you live, but the words that God gives me to put here can, so I do this a few times a week, sometimes more if I am given the words for it.

I don’t want you to think that I am anyone special, because I am not. I am a servant of Jesus, gladly, until He comes again. Whether He wishes me to serve here or in a church doesn’t matter to me, I will do one or the other or even both as long as I can. I will only be able to do it with His wisdom and His strength, and I pray that all of you who read this will pray for me to be able to do this as well. We all need prayers, and I pray for my fellow bloggers as well. Have a wonderful, Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Christmas, Hallelujah!


This season that we have so commercialized, up to the point of pushing Jesus and His birth completely out and not even calling it “Christmas” but “Holiday season” or “Holiday break” or Holiday tree. It is ridiculous really. Yes, I know that Jesus’ birth was not likely during this period but possibly back in September or early October. I have heard all of the stories about the pagan celebration which the ancient church took over to bring them into the church.

Here is a video which was brought to my attention recently that I would like to share with you. It is about this baby boy born in Bethlehem so just listen and see if you don’t get chills while listening. Consider the reason that Jesus came, you and me. Then really LISTEN to the words.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GSTH3G1YIs

Time, do you have enough?


It seems that when we wake up in the morning, the day just seems to be on meth (or so I’m told). When your feet hit the floor, the minutes just seem to fly by you without stopping. There never seems to be enough time to finish all of the tasks and errands for one day before another starts! I have also noticed that once the number of your birthdays gets past that all-important “21” marker, it seems that someone puts grease on the “line” and time and dates just slip by faster and faster from that point on.

Is it possible for us to take a step back and look at things without getting run over in the process? Actually, no you can’t. When you are born, your life has a certain number of days and years allotted to it by God and just like a pot when it is tipped to a certain point, that time just spills over and pours out faster and faster. As the numbers get larger, your time seems to go faster, at times, than at others.

When you were small, waiting for your birthday to come around took a whole year, but it seemed to take two or three. The same thing happened at Christmas, the time between did not change but it seemed to get longer and longer, until you got older and realized that Santa wasn’t real, he was just the “spirit” of Christmas.

So, do we have enough time? As Christians, yes we have eternity awaiting so we have time. We may not have enough time to tell all of our friends about Jesus though. Many friends don’t want to hear or they have already heard and really don’t want to hear it again. Some think that a decision that they made many years ago, even though it didn’t make a real change in their lives, is enough. The only person that knows for sure is God. But, I still want to tell them and I don’t know if I have enough time!

God will make the time, in His time. He will bring them about to Him, in His time and in His way. The only thing that I can do is present the good news of Jesus here and then hand it over to God and let Him take it from there.

God loves each one of us enough that He sent Jesus to die on the cross as a substitute for us, all of us. That sacrifice of His Son’s blood opened the way for each of us to come to the Father through the covering of His righteousness and ask forgiveness for our sins and our decisions, good or bad. Once we have come to the place where we know that we need Jesus, the rest is simple…ask Him to come into our heart and forgive us for waiting so long so that we can be made whole through Him. That’s it! We can’t add one drop to it at all and what we do add to it, can only be done through Jesus and by Him and His glory.

Give Jesus a chance in your everyday life from your rising up in the morning to going to sleep at night. Your day won’t slow down any, but you will be able to get more done and it will be done for Him and through Him as well which will make it much more worthwhile too.