What does this season mean to you?


The Christmas season means different things in different cultures and religions. For some this time of year doesn’t mean much at all because they don’t recognize Jesus as a Person Who should be celebrated. For others, their religion doesn’t celebrate any holiday regardless of the time of year. For those who celebrate Christmas with food and consumption of it in all of its celebratory ways, it is a time of throwing out the diet and enjoying food for the tastes of the season.

Then…there are those who just love to buy all kinds of “toys”, from those for children to the ones for children who haven’t grown up. Most of us actually fall into this last group. We see so many problems, financial and otherwise, which come from our consumption of this “stuff”. So what should we do with our lives because of this season? Do you even see this season as one which we should celebrate the birth of One Who came to be a Savior for all?

This celebration has been with the Christian church for nearly two thousand years at this time. Some celebrate it as such and some do not because they do not recognize Him as their Savior. God brought about His works in this time not to glorify Israel or Himself but to show His love for all of mankind and His work was to bring Jesus into the world as its Savior.

The world chose not to recognize Him then and most of the world chooses the same even today which is why we, as His servants, should tell them about Him and stress that the time grows short for making a decision about Him. While it is true that some have many days still, there are some who do not have much time to decide if they want an eternity with Jesus or with Satan.

All of us have an eternity to bear but it is the type of life in eternity that is at stake. An eternity with Satan in Hell is called the second death because you are separated from God, the Author of Life. Why am I bringing this up during this season of joy? Because it is necessary for people to hear it and because some have heard it and many more have not, and yet there are many who have chosen not to receive Him.

These are in need of a Savior and are the reason for which He was sent to us. Not to begin a season of gift-giving, although that is a good thing, or even to bring hope for a fallen world but to bring to each of us the hope of an eternity with Him and the possibility of being redeemed from our sinful lives. That is the message of His coming as a babe in Bethlehem, God dwelling with mankind to redeem us all through His teachings and His death on a cross and His resurrection so that we could be with Him one day too.

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He is our Savior and Redeemer. Amen

Do you believe?


Jesus said that if we believe in Him we will be saved. But what about the rest of God’s Word? Do you believe what it says? You know…you can’t pick and choose which parts or which verses or books to believe although many people seem to do just that these days. Being a Christian means more than believing in Jesus although that is the beginning of your faith. Living as a Christian daily means living by God’s Word. Not just the New Testament or the parts about Jesus and His ministry but by living and believing ALL of God’s Word from Genesis to Revelation.

There are no areas of the Bible which are gray areas when it comes to faith. You either believe all of it or you actually believe only parts of it and when you do that you have invalidated ALL of it. By choosing to believe some parts of it and not others it is you who makes God’s Word of no effect!

Being a Christian, heart, and soul, is not a life of choosing what you will believe and then throwing out the parts you don’t like. Except in our world today, this is exactly how people want to read and believe or not believe in God. They want to choose which parts that they can live with and leave out the parts that they don’t like or those which make them feel guilty of their sins.

Jesus did not soften His sermons because there were people in the crowd who didn’t like what He was saying. He taught what the Father told Him to teach and to bring those in who would believe. If there were some who would not listen or believe that His teaching came from God then so be it because it was their choice to reject His teaching.

God had been trying to reach them ever since He liberated them from slavery to the Egyptians. But as soon as three days into their freedom, they began to grumble and it never really stopped, even when they reached the land which God had promised to them and conquered those who were living there. We are the same way today. We want the blessings of God and the promise of eternity in Heaven but we want to live our lives our way…but that isn’t how it works!

In our world or living by God’s rules, it is either one or the other, you can’t have it both ways!

That is why in the book of Joshua they were given a choice and we are as well: “Choose you this day whom you will serve“. You will either serve your own selfish desires and live like the rest of the world does or you will serve God and follow His ways and live in the footsteps of Jesus.

Gadgets and doodads


Why are we so interested in these things which take up space and don’t get used? Life is not about stuff and gadgets and doodads, it is about relationships and the people in our lives, especially those in our families! We should be thankful for them and let them know how we feel about them and their contributions to our lives. Those who we attend church with should also know how much they mean to us as well. But many times we keep that information to ourselves and never really express our feelings toward them.

Even toward our family, immediate and in-laws too, we seem to keep our feelings to ourselves. Why has our society become so distant toward each other and yet many want to open our borders to people who aren’t Americans and really don’t want to become citizens? Many of them seem to only want the benefits of being considered an American but they don’t want to be an American!

Christmas and being a Christian is not about stuff or presents or doodads and gadgets, it is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Who came to bring humanity the salvation which God wants us to have. Do you believe that God wants us to be saved? I do. Because He wouldn’t have sent Jesus to be our Savior if He didn’t! Remember, if you have ever read about the Garden of Eden, God used to walk with Adam in the cool of the day. That is the type of relationship He desires to have again with us.

Not just a few of us but with every person that will repent of their sins and accept Jesus as their Savior by believing in Him.

Statues and idols don’t have any power to save you. Nothing which is made by mankind, religion or otherwise, can bring salvation to your soul. Only belief in Jesus as your Savior can do that. Praying to Allah can’t do it. Praying to Mary can’t do it. Praying to your ancestors can’t give you eternal life. Only belief in Jesus and in His atonement for your sins on the cross can bring eternal salvation to you.

Walking with Him daily and following His lead in your life can bring such peaceful days to you that I can’t describe them. I have had more days of peace walking with Him for the past twenty years than I could ever imagine having without Him in my life. Granted, I don’t live in a country ripped apart by war or terrorism and I’m not wealthy since I live on disability now, but life is better since He is keeping me here to do His work until that day when He calls me home.

I still have trouble making my bills sometimes. I still wake up with my aches and pains that go with me everywhere. But…I am blessed with His Presence and His promise of eternity when this life is over. The time which we have here is a very small amount of time compared to eternity and that is my goal. To make it to the home which He has prepared for me and for you too if you will believe in Him. No more sorrow or pain or wearing glasses to see or even a watch to tell time by because we don’t need to watch the time.

We will be “like Him” when we are there, not “gods” but our bodies will be immortal and a lot better than the ones we live in now. I pray that everyone who reads this will seek Him out as their Savior so I can welcome you home or even meet you one day in eternity.

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One at a time


How can we advance our faith and our church in our community? One person at a time. That is how Jesus did it, at least at the beginning of His ministry. So, what should we do with our own testimony? Should we tell everyone or should we just talk to one person who needs to hear it and pray that it makes a difference in their lives?

Have you ever considered the impact of your testimony about the impact which Jesus had on your life? Few of us really think about this after we have accepted Him as our Savior. Even fewer think about what His influence has had in our own lives. It sounds a bit odd, doesn’t it? Why would you give your life and your heart to Jesus and then rarely think about Him or even the impact He has had in your life?

Although it seems that many people try to live a solitary life with Jesus as their Savior. That is not what He called us to be. We are supposed to be His witnesses in the world and His representatives in the world so that others might see the difference that He made in our lives! You can’t really live a solitary life with Jesus, can you? Yes, but it isn’t a lonely life as long as you acknowledge His Presence in your life each and every day!

John 5:1-18
After this, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.…

I. THE PATIENT.

1. He was fully aware of his sickness and owned it. He was not like those who are lost by nature, who do not know it or will not confess it.

2. He waited by the pool expecting some sign and wonder. This is how many people wait, persevering in ordinances and unbelief, expecting some great thing, that on a sudden they will experience strange emotions and remarkable impressions, or see a vision or hear a supernatural voice. No one will deny that a few have been thus favored but such interpositions are not to be looked for. Jesus Himself is the greatest of wonders. In regard to this matter of waiting.

(1) That it is not the way which God has told His servants to preach. The gospel of our salvation is “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”(2) This un-gospel-like gospel of waiting is immensely popular. Why? Because it administers laudanum to the conscience. When the minister preaches with power and men’s hearts are touched, the devil says “Wait.”(3) Is not this “waiting” a very hopeless business? Of those who waited how few were healed? What right have you to expect that if you wait another thirty years you will be different?

(4) There lies our poor friend. I do not blame him for waiting, for Jesus had not been there before. He expected some person to have mercy on him and help him to get into the pool when the water was disturbed. Then when Jesus came and He expected Him to help him to get into the pool but Jesus said that your faith has made you whole.

(5) Having been so often disappointed he was growing in deep despair. Moreover, he was getting old; and life is wearing away with you. You have waited all this while in vain, sinfully waited. You have seen others saved, your child, your wife; but you are not. So how can you make a difference in your life? By believing in Jesus for your salvation and living with Him each day expecting Him to give you an eternity like He has promised to do for those who believe.

II. THE PHYSICIAN. (Jesus the Christ)

1. He made an election. This man was possibly selected because he was the worst case and had waited longest of all.

2. Jesus said, “Wilt thou be made whole?” not for information, but to arouse attention.

3. He gave the word of command.

4. There is nothing said in the text about faith, but the whole incident shows that the man must have had faith.

5. The cure which Christ wrought was —

(1)  Perfect. The man could carry his bed.

(2)  Immediate. The man was not carried home by friends and gradually nursed into vital energy.

Did he gradually get better on the way home? No! He was healed right there at the time that Jesus said so according to his expectation (faith).

 

God loves us!


Many times we look around and see all of the things which happen to those who serve God and try to be His servants, some people think that it is not worth it for the trouble. Why does this trouble come upon us when we are trying to do the work of the Lord? Mainly it is because of the prophecies of Jesus, Who said: “you shall have trouble in this world, but take heart I have overcome the world“.

We do have trials and trouble in this world because of the ruler of this world. Satan doesn’t bother those who haven’t given their hearts to Jesus but those who are following Him, he brings trouble to them. Sometimes it is trouble for our hurt and at times it may be for testing us and our faith. See that you follow Jesus in life so that others might see your perseverance in Jesus and become saved through Him because of your witness.

Many Christians don’t desire to “witness” to those around them but I have to ask in this instance, “Are you truly saved?”!! If Jesus has not made a change in your life such that you would shout from the roof that He is your Savior, then you may need to check your heart by God’s Word and make sure of your salvation. I know that many people think that they can’t tell others about their salvation. If you don’t feel that your salvation is a gift worthy of telling others about it then what did you seek salvation for?

Jesus willingly gave His life and His blood for your sins and for everyone’s sins in the world and He was raised on the third day after this to be our Lamb of sacrifice and our payment for our sins. If the blood of the Son of God is not precious to you then you don’t belong to Him. God extends His love to all who believe in Jesus for salvation if we will give our life to Him daily in our service to God’s Kingdom.

John 16:

Persecution Foretold
(Acts 23:12-22)

1 I have told you these things so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. 3 They will do these things because they have not known the Father or Me. 4 But I have told you these things so that when their hour comes, you will remember that I told you about them. I did not tell you these things from the beginning, because I was with you.

The Promise of the Holy Spirit
(Joel 2:28-32; John 14:15-26; Acts 2:1-13; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:1-7)

5 Now, however, I am going to Him who sent Me; yet none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 Instead, your hearts are filled with sorrow because I have told you these things. 7 But I tell you the truth, it is for your benefit that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

8 And when He comes, He will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world has been condemned.

12 I still have much to tell you, but you cannot yet bear to hear it. 13 However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you. 15 Everything that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said that the Spirit will take from what is Mine and disclose it to you.

16 In a little while you will see Me no more, and then after a little while you will see Me.”

Grief to Joy

17 Then some of His disciples asked one another, “Why is He telling us, ‘In a little while you will not see Me, and then after a little while you will see Me’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18 They kept asking, “Why is He saying, ‘a little while’? We do not understand what He is saying.”

19 Aware that they wanted to question Him, Jesus said to them, “Are you asking one another why I said, ‘In a little while you will not see Me, and then after a little while you will see Me’? 20 Truly, truly, I tell you, you will weep and wail while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman has pain in childbirth because her time has come; but when she brings forth her child, she forgets her anguish because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

Ask and You will Receive

23 In that day you will no longer ask Me anything. Truly, truly, I tell you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

25 I have spoken these things to you in figures of speech. A time is coming when I will no longer speak to you this way, but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God.b 28 I came from the Father and entered the world. In turn, I will leave the world and go to the Father.”

29 His disciples said, “See, now You are speaking plainly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we understand that You know all things and that You have no need for anyone to question You. Because of this, we believe that You came from God.”

31 “Do you finally believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “Look, an hour is coming and has already come when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and you will leave Me all alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!”

We have been blessed!


How much has our country been blessed? We are not being persecuted for our faith, regardless of your beliefs or which “god” you believe in. So why do we keep looking for something to satisfy a longing within which we can’t identify?

Because there is only One Person which will fill that space in our soul (heart) and it is Jesus Christ. When we invite Jesus into our lives, He also sends the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, to live within our heart and teach us about Him and to help us learn our position in God’s Kingdom. So by accepting the blessing of God through Jesus, we receive the Holy Spirit to be our teacher and our guide through our life with Him! How cool is that?! We receive blessings and wisdom from the whole Trinity of our Creator!

Adam and Eve had that relationship by default before they rebelled and ate from the tree which God had told them not to eat from. The Spirit of God was present in them so that they could have communion with God and with the animals and all of creation around them. Can you imagine how they felt when they lost that? It would have been devastating.

Living daily with God’s Spirit guiding you and teaching you is what we have access to if we have given our hearts to Jesus so why are Christians so messed up today? I mean, we can’t agree on which doctrine to follow or what to call our “religion” so how can we be a unified body of believers? God loves us with a love which is so deep and wide that we can’t figure it out from our perspective yet we have placed all sorts of additions and doctrines between our beliefs and the real Savior in God’s Word until we don’t know how to serve one of them let alone both!

Why can’t we get back to the teachings which Paul taught and John wrote about instead of making a morning service into an “experience” or a performance and actually teach those who come to learn rather than entertaining them? We can’t be Christians without the Spirit in our hearts so why can’t we worship Him without all of the fluff and additions which we see and hear about in some churches today?

What is most important to you?


There are many, many answers to this question and they are not the same for everyone. Some of these would include our family or our children. Other answers may be more generic like world peace or just to live a good life. But when you get right down to the “brass tacks” of what is actually most important to you…in today’s politically charged world and in our culture, most people really wouldn’t know the true answer to that question.

If you were held at gunpoint and your life was threatened could you come up with an answer which makes sense and is the actual truth of your life? I honestly don’t know if any of us are that certain about what or who is the most important in your life. I have been thinking about it since beginning to write this and I just don’t know for certain. Isn’t that a little weird?

I have been married to my wife for twenty-six years and a few months but is she the most important person in my life? What about my son? Is he the most important person in my life right now? Even if I changed the wording a bit and asked: Who is the most important person in your life? Would that clear the water a bit? For some of us it might help but for others, I’m not so sure.

What is my point with this question? For one thing, it is to get us to think about it because we rarely do in today’s world. We are so busy running around doing things, going places, getting things done or going to the doctor’s office until we seem to be in a continual spin cycle. We never really settle down long enough to think about who or even what is most important to us or to our family while we have the time to think about it.

And really, if you sit down for about ten or fifteen minutes you will realize exactly what I am talking about. We don’t sit and talk much anymore. We are texting each other or liking a post or a picture or something funny which we share with our “friends” on Facebook. What did all of that accomplish? What does our electronic “friends list” actually mean in our lives? Do you really know these people or did you accept their request because you both have a friend in common?

What about taking one day every week and spending it with actual friends while learning more about our Savior at church. No pushing to make a change in your life. No asking for money that you don’t think you have to give for the work of the church. Just friends meeting at church and listening to a study of God’s Word for about an hour or so. God loves you and me and everyone else in this world but He also knows which ones will spend time with Him whether it is daily or weekly or just occasionally.

How would your friends feel if you only spent time with them on special occasions? How about once or twice in a month? How would your family feel if you did this? God loves each of us more deeply than our family members do and yet many of us don’t give Him or His Word much time at all in our lives. Many of us don’t spend as much time reading the Bible as we do liking pictures on Facebook each day or even in a week’s time!

There would be a massive revival in America if we could get off of Twitter or Facebook and pay attention to God’s Word at least as much as we did to those social media pages!

If we read God’s Word as much as we read social media in our country, the world around us would be impacted in ways that we cannot imagine right now.

God should be more important to each of us than our “friends” or even our family because He made it possible for us to have eternal life with Him. Eternity without Him is a pointless existence but it will happen if you leave Him out of your life until you die and then its too late to change that outcome.

Think about it while you can today…right now in fact because you don’t know when your time is up.

How does the love of God compare?


There is no comparison between God’s love for His creation and for us in all of the Earth. No human can understand God’s love because His love is deep and without limits. He loves us because we are made in His Image and we are to be His servants into eternity. We will not be as slaves in this but we will be willing servants as bondservants in ancient days. They loved their masters and did not wish for freedom and would serve him even if they were to be set free.

God’s love for humanity is fierce and limitless and yet the angels have no understanding of His love for us. Why should God love mankind so? Because He is God and if it pleases Him to love us in this way then He will do it! God is our Creator and has made us be His adopted children, we are not forced to be His but we are voluntarily His children because of His love for us!

So, why do we live as if He doesn’t love us or doesn’t care for us? Mostly because of the fact that we can’t see God even though we can see all of His Creation and it shows His majesty and His creativity and His artistry in Creation! It is His Creation after all! We didn’t have any part in it except when He created us. He knows your talents and abilities and all of your problems. He gave you your talents and your sense of humor and your abilities so He knows more about you than you do about Him.

Why not pick up the Bible and learn more about your Creator and your Savior and get to know Him personally. Then when you hear His voice speaking to you, you will recognize Him and then you can respond accordingly! God wants the best for you but only if you know Him and He knows you can both of you benefit from what is best for you. Give your heart to Jesus and let Him come in and clean up every part of your life so that you can represent Him in every area of your life as well.God is good all the time

How do you see Genesis?


The first book of Moses. The beginning of the Bible. The beginning of everything. All of these are true! Historically and physically and as the very beginning of Creation, that is how I view the book of Genesis. There is no discontinuity or falsehood in His Word, from the beginning to the end. Because if any part of it is false then that makes all of it false.

Genesis is the beginning and the story which was written was given to Moses during those forty days which he spent on the mountain with God. How do I know this? Because that is the only way that he could’ve been told of all the things which happened prior to his birth. The Creation story, the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, the Flood and Noah, the Tower of Babel, the call of Abram and then the miraculous birth of Isaac to a man and a woman far beyond the age of childbearing.

The Bible is the history of the world and of the Jewish people but it is also the story of God’s love for mankind and the lengths that He would go to in order to bring salvation to mankind too. His patience and mercy toward us are so great and powerful until we cannot understand His reasons nor His love for us. The rest of the Bible shows us that He is patient and loving toward us in ways which we cannot understand or even fathom with our limited minds compared to His!

We are His creation, made in His Image and given a special place in this universe which nobody else can claim. God loves each of us and He gives us a chance to live our lives for Him because His Son gave His life in order to bring us salvation. What we do with our lives after we accept Him as our Savior and believe in Him for our salvation is largely up to us. God shows us the path to salvation through His Son, it is our choice to follow that path every day and show that path to others so that they can find it too.

That is our job, our purpose on this Earth. Not living to make as much money as we can or to have as much stuff as we can get, but to be as useful to God while we are still here! That is our true calling and purpose as Christians and followers of Jesus.

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The unknown is scary


You know, everyone that I know is looking forward to going to Heaven to be with our Lord but nobody wants to die to get there. We don’t know what death is other than the end of this life. We don’t want to know how it feels or even if we feel anything at that point in time. We hear about some people who see Jesus just prior to closing their eyes for the last time, but we aren’t sure that we are ready for that, at least not yet.

Jesus said that He would take us to a place where we would be with Him, so why aren’t we willing and ready to go? We don’t know and really don’t want to know how death or dying feels like. Some say it’s like going to sleep. Of course, none of us really knows how we are going to die. I mean dying in your sleep would be perfect, to me. Go to sleep in your bed and wake up in Heaven. That doesn’t sound so hard or scary or even painful.

But…we don’t really know how or when God will call us home and that is another unknown. The only advice that I have about dying is that you need to be ready and make sure that when that time comes…dying is all you have to do.

Lord or Judge