Writing for the Lord

At some point in the past seven or eight years, I have been told to abandon this blogging thing. I was told this by some well-meaning people but I cannot stop doing this because it is as much my job as being a preacher is. God called me to do this and until He stops me, I will continue. Last night, I wrote an article about my early life and it caused me to think about why I do this and who I am doing this for. It is not for myself, it is for anyone who will read and be searching for their Savior specifically. I do this for the same reason that I preach.

God gives each of us a talent or an ability and if we belong to Him, we should use it for His Kingdom and glory. There are many in the world who are using their talents for making money or to push a cause forward that they believe in. My cause is the cause of Jesus and why He came to Bethlehem so long ago. Why am I trying to push this cause out into the world?

Because the world matters to God and each of you who read this matters to God which is why Jesus was sent to die on the cross and rise again! God could look through the ages and see that mankind would need a Savior and the only Person Who could fill that job was One of the Godhead.

Mankind, then and now, is predisposed to sin in some form in this world. We are hard-wired this way because of the sins past down through the lineage of Adam. Whether you believe that we are created in God’s image or not makes little difference. The point is this: our ancestors rebelled against the way that God had set things up. Even though they had everything at first, they were tempted to seek a way that put them in charge rather than God. We have been doing this ever since then.

Why? Because we are stubborn and like little children, we want to do it our way.

God knew this and He saw it coming. Although He could’ve put a stop to it He didn’t. People have been asking why for thousands of years. The only reason that I have been able to grasp from my Bible study is that God has always allowed a choice to His creation. Even the angels had a choice of serving Him. But why did God do this? Because of His love for His creation, that is why.

Taking “choice” away from angels or humanity would make us and the angels more like animals living by instinct than created beings with a soul. God has always wanted fellowship with His creation and that is something that only comes by voluntarily worshipping Him. Make sure of your relationship by seeking Him today because He is waiting for you…patiently.

Living with….

We all have different things which we have to live with on a daily basis. Whether it is arthritis or Parkinson’s or cancer, at some point all of us have to go through life with pain or a condition which makes daily life harder or more difficult. So, what do you do to get through life on a day by day basis?

Some people take pills, some use other drugs such as alcohol or opiates, some use harder drugs than these. Some of us just suffer through with the pain and discomfort or with OTC medication. These coping mechanisms, legal or not, are ways to handle the discomfort and pain on your own. Sometimes they work pretty well, sometimes they cause more problems than they help.

Trusting in God and His Word will help with all of these problems and more. It is true that God will not always take the problem or condition away by healing it, but He can supply you with the strength to get through it a day at a time…if you will listen to Him and follow Him. Don’t try to do things on your own all of the time! We are taught to be independent, but when it comes to your life, God wants to share it with you through all of your good and bad days!

He doesn’t just want to hear from you when things go completely off script and throw you under the bus! When you wake in the morning, thank Him for it. When you get to the kitchen and get a cup of coffee, thank Him for your ability to do so even if you are in pain getting there. Live  life, everyday, with Him by your side and even if the pain is still there, God is with you too.

We have the privilege of having an awesome and mighty God and Creator Who can bless us in mighty ways. Sometimes by giving us the strength to get through a tough time and sometimes by healing us of the problem. It is up to God to decide which. Sometimes, His timing seems off to us, but in His time He will answer your prayer one way or another. Because, He is a good and loving God, Father, Savior and Creator and He says in His Word that “I will never leave you or forsake you“.

So many claim Him, yet so few follow…

You have seen and heard about the number of “Christians” in America. Our country, in most polls, claims to be over 80 percent Christian. If that were true, there would be no abortions, there would be no city which has over 250 murders in a year’s time. If that were true and all of them were true, devout believers there would be fewer homeless people, Veterans or otherwise.

If that were true we would be building more churches than prisons and every one would be full on Sunday morning. So, what happens to everyone when any sort of test of faith comes into your life? We give in to what the rest of the world wants to hear or not hear. We become PC Christians. So many claim to be Christian, but when the least bit of resistance pops up in your life or mine, we fall into our “politically correct” mode of coping.

If the apostles had done that, there would be no church today! If other brothers and sisters had done that, we wouldn’t have the stories of the martyrs that stood proudly, boldly declaring Jesus as Lord while they were burned at the stake or beheaded! Some in countries around the world today are being killed or imprisoned for their faith, but they have not given their Savior up or backed away from their faith.

So many claim to know Him, yet there are few who will boldly say it. Our problem isn’t knowledge of or about Jesus it is possession of Him in our hearts and our lives. Just as an engagement ring isn’t much without a diamond in its setting, we aren’t much without Jesus in our hearts! Knowledge of Him and doing works to please Him are all good, but without Him in your heart and the change that comes with it through the Holy Spirit, you will walk right into hell with your “holy bible” in your hand.

Knowledge of Jesus and God is great, reading the Bible from cover to cover is wonderful, but if that Book hasn’t changed you in any way that others can see…it means NOTHING!! God inspired the writers of His Word so that we can learn about Him and His Creation, but He also gave us His Word so that we could come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ!

Is it possible to read the Bible and not come to a saving and believing knowledge of Jesus? Yes, I have heard that many people read it as a book of history and nothing more. Without faith, hearing the Word and believing it whether you are reading it or not, it will do you no good at all. If you are not open-minded enough to give God’s Word and prayerful read, then why bother? Yes it is a history book in some ways, particularly of the Jewish people, but it is also His story!

Your life will have far less impact on those around you unless you read this book with an open mind and with a prayerful attitude of “Show me Who you are, God!”. If you will do that, honestly and prayerfully, then He will show you Himself in all of its pages. If you don’t want to know about God and His provision of grace and salvation for your life, then just read a Bible like any other book. Don’t ask questions and don’t expect any answers, if you can.

God has a purpose for all of us, no matter whether we have believed in Jesus from a young age or if we are fifty or more before He touches our life with a moment of clarity bringing Jesus into focus for us! Be willing to give Him a chance in your life, because if you don’t one day you will regret that choice and after your death that choice can’t be undone.

Make a difference…

I watiamnotashamedched the movie “I am not ashamed” yesterday and it made me think of our impact on the world and the people around us. Rachel Joy Scott struggled with her new faith in Jesus in high school before the shooting that took her life. Most of us can relate, if we were a Christian in school, which I wasn’t. I knew about Jesus and the Bible because I had been on the drug plan for learning it. I was drug to church every time my Mom went, so I had heard all of the preaching and stuff. But, hearing and knowing about Jesus is not the same as having faith in Him, real honest faith.

I provided the link above just in case anyone wanted to know about the movie, I get nothing from your following or purchasing it. The point of this post is this: will you make a difference?

Her story and the fact that she didn’t back down in the face of losing her life, as many Christians over the centuries have done, has made a real impact on many people. At the end of the movie there was some statistics which said that her life had impacted over 20 million people since April 20, 1999. One life, just one-act of selfless faith and forgiveness can make a difference. It doesn’t take a Master’s degree or a PhD to tell people about Him and to show your faith by your life and your deeds to those around you.

God loves us even when we aren’t sure how we feel about Him. He loved each of us whether we even knew Him and before we were all born and He did so in a way that we can’t understand or comprehend! God is and should be your strength and your source of living water which never dries up and never gives up on you and your purpose in Him!

During high school, I was a very angry boy. I kept it bottled up most of the time, but I allowed it to hurt me by smoking and drinking to the point of being so drunk I barely remember the drive home, if I made it at all. At least one time, I had a wreck on the way home, although the only one that really sticks in my memory is the one where I totaled my mother’s car. I was angry at God and at my parents for getting divorced and I really didn’t care much about what happened to me. I could identify with Rachel in being a child of a broken home.

My point, as I said earlier, is that we can all make a difference in the world. Even if it is only in our immediate area. Heaven rejoices when one sinner comes to Jesus and if you or I have any part to play in that, then be grateful and willing to be useful in His Kingdom for that one person. Make sure that your life means something because we are not guaranteed tomorrow, so make today a day that God uses in your life and your witness  for His Glory!

The Blessed Life

Psalm 1

1.Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2.But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3.And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

4.The ungodly are not so; but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5.Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6.For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Blessed is a state of satisfaction, joy and happiness in the circumstances of your life. It is usually the state of a man who lives in obedience and faith in God.

The Hebrew word for law is torah, which encompasses more than just “law”, it is more closely related to teaching or instruction. So, it is a revelation of God’s will for His people rather than a list of legislative material or judicial decisions.

The image of the righteous as flourishing trees is a common metaphor in the Old Testament. Bearing fruit is an extension of the metaphor and refers to the product of faith in God and the spiritual life of the individual.

In the fourth verse, the life of the godly and the ungodly are contrasted by the reference to the chaff. Chaff which is a useless byproduct of threshing wheat is in contrast to the fruit of the previous verse.

The ungodly are carried away by the wind, being separated from that which is useful and valuable, even separated from God.

In verse five, stand gives the idea of being able to survive or remain after the judgment.

In verse six, the summary shows what is anticipated for those who follow the two ways; God’s protection for the righteous and disaster for the ungodly.

In this sermon/study of Psalm 1, it is easy to see what is important for those of us who decide to follow God and His laws and His wisdom. The blessings of God are the expectation or the reward which will be given to those who delight themselves in Him. In today’s society, many people think that these “blessings” will be in the form of money or other tangible things such as cars, homes, etc.

In God’s economy, obedience to Him can reward us with things such as these if He desires to give them to us and if we are willing to use them for His glory and His Kingdom. The big part that many people miss is that they look for these things NOW!! We tend toward being very impatient when looking for a blessing or reward from God.

God may reward you during your lifetime, or your actual reward may be your eternal life in Heaven and your dwelling place there. Your reward is completely up to God because He is in control ultimately. He is the rewarder and your Creator, so your rewards are entirely in His hands and under His decisions.

This psalm was written to show us and anyone else who reads it, that wisdom comes from God and true wisdom comes from seeking Him out in your life. I am not speaking of your so-called “life” here, paying bills, going to work, having a relationship with your spouse and your children.

I am speaking of your Life in Christ, the Life that you receive from Him when you give your heart to Him and accept Him as your Savior. Seeking Him out in the Word of God and learning about Him through reading it and studying it. Yes, it takes a few minutes every day, but so does reading a newspaper. If you need to learn something about Jesus and His Father, the Bible is the only place to find truthful information. Reading a magazine about flower arrangements or gardening takes a few minutes, sometimes more, but if you want to know how to do those things it is necessary to learn from the source.

If you want to be successful in being a Christian and a follower of Jesus, then you need to read and study His teachings in the New Testament and learn about His Father’s ways by reading and studying the Old Testament. That is a lot of study and reading isn’t it? If you have a college education you had to read and study those subjects while in college didn’t you?

If you didn’t learn from those books, then you couldn’t pass the tests to get your degree. If you really want to know Jesus and His Father, then you need to study the Word of God. Not only to learn some passages or to remember some of the Psalms or a few passages from Matthew, but to understand the requirements of being a child of God. The only real requirement of God which can’t be negotiated or bargained away is obedience.

God required it of Solomon, David, Saul, Moses, Abraham, Noah, Enoch and Adam too. All of them failed at some point in their obedience, but they came before God, admitted it and asked forgiveness for it at some point. We all fail, but Jesus paid the price for each of us because the price of sin (failure) is death or being far from God Himself.

Why would that be a punishment? Because, when you are exposed to the perfect, Holy and whole Love that God is, then you realize that you don’t measure up without Jesus. If you stand before Him without Jesus, you will know how unworthy you really are. How bad would that look to us today? Think of a wedding chapel. Decorated all in white from top to bottom. Everyone is required to wear a white robe or clothes to be admitted to the celebration. Someone arrives, who is a friend of the groom, but they look as if they rolled around in the mud of a pig pen before coming. Can they come in? Will they be admitted dressed as they are? No! Because they may have had white on, but now it is filthy and they can’t change in time right? Wrong! If they repent and the Groom forgives them, then a fresh garment will be provided, after a short bath of course, and they can attend.

That robe is the covering blood of Christ which cleanses all sin (the bath), making us acceptable and holy before a Holy God. When we stand at our judgement and our life’s decisions, wrong or right, sinful or not, are brought forth. If you are covered by the blood of Christ, the consequences are taken care of by Him and He is your advocate before God. Your debt has been paid in full by Jesus and you are part of the family of God.

Please, make sure that your heart is right with Him before that day comes because afterward is not the time to make a decision which should’ve been made during your life here. When this life is over, you will stand before God. Pray that you don’t stand there alone.