Why did you bring me back?


I have read some books from doctors about patients who have asked this question. Patients who had experienced death or as it is called in the media a near death experience. That is not exactly the right name for it, it is death but with a spiritual twist. If God had wanted that person dead then nothing that the doctors or anyone else did for them would matter. God allowed them to return because their story needed to be told, the feelings and experiences which they had in a few minutes or seconds needed to be told.

Many people experience peace and joy and a feeling that everything is fine. Some experience a horrifying and agony-filled few minutes which may change their beliefs after they return for their second chance. The point of this is that the veil which separates this life from the next is very thin spiritually speaking. We can’t see through it, although at times we feel things or see glimpses of someone or some place. We just brush it off as “it’s because I am tired” or “I didn’t really see that, did I?”.

Most of us forget those glimpses through the veil after a day or two, but for those who have crossed through the veil during a heart episode in the hospital or died on the operating room table and are brought back, the experience is too real to forget.

Is there life after death? YES! Jesus said so and He was and is alive now to prove it! He also told His disciples that He would return to take His church to be with Him. The veil which separates our earthly bodies from that eternity is thin and we are surrounded by spiritual beings all of the time. Do I have proof of this? No, I just have faith in God’s Word and it seems that the realm of the spirit was always there, even when Elisha was facing an army in the Old Testament. He asked God to show his disciple that they had more protection than the ones coming against him and he saw them!

The demons were and are everywhere in our world, yet thankfully we can’t see their form and their actions as we go about our daily lives. In Jesus’ day, a whole legion of them had taken over one man and when He told them to get out, they entered into a herd of pigs and the pigs drowned themselves in the lake.

My point is this: don’t discount the words of someone who has come near to death or has been brought back. They have seen something which few people see and live to tell of it. Does life continue after this shell of our bodies dies? Yes, it does. The enjoyment of life with Jesus is there but there is also a place without Him and it is a terrifying place without Jesus.

Our minds can barely imagine a few hundred years forward or back from our point of reference. One thousand years is a long time, but if you begin to think of one million or try to consider it then you can’t take it in. Any amount of time beyond one thousand is just a number to us, our minds can’t process it.

Why would someone who has been brought back to life be angry about having another chance at life? Because, for a believer the other side of the veil is so much more than we can comprehend now! Even a few seconds of life with Jesus away from the pain and mental anguish in this life would make you long to be with Him even more! But, when God sends a person back to this life, it is for a reason…His reason. Others need to know about the spiritual life that waits for them whether it is a life with Jesus or not!

john317Please, read God’s Word prayerfully. Seek Him out and His Son’s Life which is in His Word. Ask Jesus to come into your life and open your eyes so that you can experience His Life for eternity. God doesn’t want you to go to a dark place where He is not, because it is your choice if you refuse to allow Him into your life.

Treasure…


john317Many people don’t realize that they are searching for it. Many will never find what they are searching for, yet it does exist. You and I are given a treasure beyond imagining and it doesn’t cost us anything. How can it be that a treasure which is not measured can possibly cost us nothing? It must be some worthless trinket or talisman.

This treasure is something which many today reject and many more are angered by it or at least by the Person which brings it to us. The treasure of which I speak is salvation. Our salvation, every person’s salvation was paid for by Him on the cross with His blood. Many times we see that people learn of wisdom from some very different places and people.

“Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.”  Captain Jack Sparrow

“Not all treasure is silver and gold”, it is the most profound bit of wisdom that I have heard from anyone let alone someone in a movie made in Hollywood.

Treasure from God is something which many cannot see nor can they make sense of the grace that is poured out upon us. We have been given a gift of salvation that we don’t have to work for. A gift which we cannot buy, but one which by proclamation from Jesus Himself we must give away. It is a gift of immeasurable value, but also one which God intended for all if they will accept it and believe.

Aside from Captain Jack, many people don’t seem to realize what REAL treasure is today. It isn’t money in any form. It is eternity and salvation provided through the grace of God for us even before we were born. The qualifier is that we must realize that when we accept Jesus as our Savior, we have asked one of the Trinity to live in us because the Holy Spirit is part of that Trinity. If you have placed a priceless pearl in a clean vessel, then why would you put the dirt of your old life back in there?

I am not saying that we will never sin after becoming a Christian, but turning away from the church and willfully sinning and never going back or even trying to be a Christian is WRONG!! Asking forgiveness is good at this point, but if you aren’t going to repent of the sin, what good is the forgiveness?

Some scriptures which may help with this are these:

Everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. (1 John 2:29); Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. (1 John 3:4); Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7); Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. (1 John 5:1); Everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning. (1 John 5:18)

These may make you wonder if you are saved at all, particularly if you haven’t been a real believer who turned away from a life that you would be proud to show Jesus.

1.No one who denies the Son has the Father. (1 John 2:23)

2.No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. (1 John 3:6)

3.No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:9)

Even the tolerance of sin is an agreement with it. It is not something which will sit well with your heart, especially if the Spirit abides in your heart. Although we aren’t to judge people, we can bring their sin to their attention and if they don’t want to do anything about it, then leave it to God.

 

Choose Life…


Life as I choose to define it here is a life which is following the Author of Life which is Jesus the Christ. Many people write His name as if Christ is His last name, but it is a title meaning Savior or Messiah which is why I chose to write it this way here.

God loves you enough that He sent His Son to die for you on the cross, giving His life and His blood as the ransom in payment for all of the sins of the world. He didn’t die for just a few people, He died for all and His blood paid that price for you. All you have to do to inherit eternity is to believe that He did this for you and that you need Him, also realize that you are a sinner and that you should turn away from your sins whatever they might be.

I have heard people say that they won’t go to this church or that one because there are hypocrites in there and not real Christians. All churches have hypocrites in them because we all fail at some point either today or tomorrow or maybe last week and you saw it or heard it. Preachers do it too because the only person who was sinless was Jesus. Being a Christian doesn’t make you perfectly sinless, but your sins are forgiven by God’s grace through Jesus sacrifice!

He is the Creator and Author of Life itself because He was and is the Living Word of God and it was by His Word that all of creation came into being. It was because of His love for us that He couldn’t be the liberating and conquering King that the Jewish people wanted when He came the first time. When He comes again, He will be the King of Kings and He will conquer the world’s system and its leaders who have persecuted His people for so long.

Satan and all others will get their reward when their judgement is given and carried out.There will be no appeal and no bargaining. The same judgement will fall on you if you have chosen not to live a Christian life and ask Him into your heart. Even if you have been a faithful member of a church or maybe a deacon or pastor, but have not given your life and your heart to Jesus, then you will be judged as one who knew about Him but He didn’t know you.

Please, don’t make that mistake. Everything that is needed for you to be saved has been done, all you need to do is accept it and change your life to match His. Follow in His footsteps, learn from Him and soon His ways will become your ways.

Dad…Father


Which are you?

So many seem to be willing to be fathers of children, but it seems that few today are interested in being Dads. You might think that they are the same, but they are not. Any man or boy who is past puberty can make a baby and become a father, but it takes a special person to be a Dad.

Dads care about their children and love them. They teach them what they can and they try to do what is best for them, while they can. A father or a “sperm donor” isn’t usually a real Dad at all. Some fathers are Dads, but not all Dads are the father of their children..at least not biologically. Many Dads love their children’s mother enough that they are willing to be a Dad to her children whether they are his biologically or not.

God is our Father in Heaven because He is the Creator of all and He loves us all equally. We should revere Him and listen to His Wisdom just as we do our Earthly fathers. Why? Because God is over us all and has the power to cut us off from His presence if we do not! Except, when God cuts us off from His presence it will be for eternity.

Seek Him out while there is yet time to do so. God loves all of us but He doesn’t like and cannot tolerate the sinful lives that some of us lead. The idol worship that many of us practice today is abhorrent to Him and the problem is that many of us don’t even realize that we have idols in our lives. We may not know it until we stand in front of Him at our judgement and then it will be too late.

Seek Him and everything else falls behind


I realize that by saying this, it seems that I am saying that work doesn’t matter or your life doesn’t matter but that is not what I mean at all. By seeking out the Son of God and putting Him first in your life, everything else will fall into its correct place. It may not happen immediately, but it will happen. Life is hard at times, but when you put the One who created Life in your life and make Him first above all, then He can cause the rest of your life to work like it should!

Think of it like a chain, when you are the one in charge and you begin making the chain you start with one or two links. It isn’t hard to handle and it is easy to control. But, when you add more into or onto the chain, it really becomes a chain of binding then. By the time you reach adulthood, the chain that is your life is getting a bit harder to handle, some people turn to friends or family to give them advice. Others want to drop the chain altogether. Still others will look to drugs or alcohol to help them cope. The chain of life now has debt and responsibility added to it and it is getting very heavy and hard to handle.

Carrying the chain is getting almost impossible, dragging it is hard because of its weight and length, but if you will give your life (the chain) to Jesus and allow His strength to guide you and help you in this journey it becomes easier. He doesn’t get rid of the chain for you but He will help you carry the load and show you how to handle the pressures and problems which come with your life.

Remember, chains cannot be pushed and they are hard to carry and in order to pull them you have to be strong. When He is giving you His strength and helping you in pulling it along, life isn’t such a struggle anymore. It won’t be a breeze either, but it will be easier than it was before. Jesus loves you enough to come to Earth and die in your place, the least that you could do is to seek Him out and learn about His offer of eternal life through Him.

If it isn’t for you, then refuse Him. You haven’t lost anything if you do…except your eternity. Yes, there will be an eternity for you if you refuse Him, but it will be one of torment, regret, and pain because you will be cut off from the love of God and your reward in Heaven had you accepted His offer. What do you have to lose if you do accept Jesus?

The only things that you may lose in this life if you choose to follow Jesus are things which you could live without anyway. Some people lose their family ties because of this choice. Some lose friends, some may even lose their jobs, but look at what you gain! Forgiveness for all of your sins, eternal life and a home in Heaven…is there anything which could be more valuable than those gifts of God’s grace? You will also gain more friends and family through the church and by association with other Christians and the best part of that is that you will be a part of God’s Kingdom!

Today…


paintingFor most of us today began about four hours ago, depending on when you may need to get to work. Some of you may have been working last night until this morning, so your morning was during the night for the rest of us. I worked the night shift in the hospital lab for years after I graduated from Clinical Lab Science with a BS. It was different, not very enjoyable though. Your body was not designed to be awake during the night and try to sleep during the day.

Anyway, today is the day that we all have to work with. What we do with it and what we accomplish in it are up to us and the abilities that God has given us. So…what will you do with yours?

Some of us have to go to work for the day, some, like me, are disabled and get to spend the day doing what we can do. For some we can do almost as much as we could before, but pain or tiredness comes on really easily. Like today for me. I was painting a couple of hours ago, but my shoulders began to hurt pretty bad so I had to quit. Hopefully, I can get back to it before it dries completely. If I can finish it, I may put it up here so you can see it.

The painting above is what I was working on yesterday. I hope you like it. I can do better I think, but that will come with practice.

God gives each of us a talent, some of us get more than one. The problem with having more than one is that you have a hard time figuring out what you are supposed to do with yourself. For me, it usually has to do with how much pain I have and how I feel that day. I am sorry about bringing my situation in here because it really doesn’t belong here, but sometimes that is how I feel.

I hope that you don’t have to go through the pain that I have. God loves us and our life, each and every day, is our service to Him and for Him. Regardless of our job or our talents, your day can be useful to you and to God as well. Seek Him out and do what you can do with what you have, every day.

Nothing is free


There is a lot of truth in that statement because nothing really is free, if that is all that you have. But, have you considered that our lives and all of the blessings which God bestows on us every day are NOT free? It is true that we don’t have to pay for our breath or to open our eyes, nor do we have to pay anything for our salvation, but those things are not free entirely.

Our salvation was paid for by the blood of Jesus. God gives us without cost (free) all of our other blessings simply because He loves us. We owe God our lives and everything that we have now and for the parents that we grew up with as well. God loves us because He is the Creator and because it is His pleasure to do so, not because of anything that we have done or will do in the future.

God was in the past and He is in the future now as well as today, so He knows the problems that you have but He is preparing a way for those things which will come upon us tomorrow, next week or even next year because He is already there. Why doesn’t God work it out so that we don’t have to go through those times? Because it makes us a better person. You didn’t take all of the obstacles away for your child when they were growing up and neither does He. But, He enables you to get through them if you will lean on Him and trust Him.

Life is not free if you look at the cost of living, but God is the owner of it all. He gives us the opportunity to live, not just this life, but in eternity. Eternity is worth more than all of the wealth in ALL of the world! Even though I said that Life, especially eternal life, is not free…it is for us. What do I mean by that? I mean simply that there is no amount of work or money that we can use to purchase eternity! It was paid for by Jesus when He was crucified.

This was done by our Creator because He knew from the foundation of the world that it would be necessary for our salvation and for our entry into eternity. We couldn’t do it on our own, we can’t keep even the ten commandments, Jesus paid for our passage and our forgiveness with His blood and His Life. When He arose from the grave a few days later, He reminded His disciples that He was preparing a place for them and would come back for them. This promise extends to the WHOLE Church which began being built on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem.

We as a world, not just in America, NEED to turn to God and repent of our sins. Not just individual sins but corporate sins which we have allowed to happen over the centuries! Repent and turn back to God so that He can and will heal our world, before the world goes too far into the darkness of anarchy which is exactly where we are heading.

Life…


GodisInterestedinYouDo you know the Author of Life? The Creator of Life? The Way to Life everlasting?

The Person Who is all of those and more is Jesus the Messiah. He came so that we might have Life, so that we could have forgiveness of our sins and enter into eternity with Him. There is no other name under heaven by which we CAN be saved.

Today, we see all sorts of bad things or atrocities in our world. Things which most of us have never seen or heard about. Most of them so horrific that we can’t imagine anyone living in the places where they are. But, it is happening. In some areas in America but mostly overseas in the Middle East and Africa.

Life is not respected or revered in any culture anymore, whether it is the life of a child in the womb or your life and mine on the street. It seems that nobody cares about each person’s life, except their own. They, each of us it seems, only care about what is in it for me. Selfishness is rampant, and this is dangerous. Why? Because when things get really bad, everyone will be only looking out for themselves and no one else but them and possibly their immediate family.

God loves all of us and He hasn’t forgotten anyone, but there are so many who have forgotten Him…just turned away from Him and His wisdom. Whether they actually ever knew Him or not, that is between them and God and no one else knows about their salvation or lack of it besides Him. Nobody is condemned to Hell unless they reject His offer of grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

It is a sad fact that many people do just that and never really think about it much, until they really need Him, and by that time their lives may be nearly over or they die before then. With death, you forfeit your chance at redemption because your chances for that are while you live here and now. Unless you make that decision while you live, there is no second chance once you are standing in front of Him. Your life is your chance, don’t throw it away or ignore the offer.

In spite of the questions in the picture about God’s interest in you, He really is. He cares enough for us that He knows how many hairs are on your head and mine. If He cares enough to even know that detail, then the rest of your days and your life is included in His knowledge of you as well.

Is your life broken?


We hear about people who are broken in spirit and in their lives too. Broken is, sometimes, a state of mind but occasionally it is a state of being. We feel as if life and the things which we are doing just don’t work anymore, so it feels broken and cracked. Sometimes the brokenness is felt spiritually, like our prayer life and our connection to God just doesn’t seem to be working anymore.

Breaking news! It isn’t God Who broke the connection, it is something in your life and mine which does that. Something that we have said or thought about or maybe even something that we did that is a…sin. It puts a wall up around us and our daily living until we confess it, ask forgiveness for it and then get back into our relationship with God. That is when the mending begins. Sometimes the cracks in our life appear as sorrow for something that we can’t put our finger on. Occasionally, those cracks come to us in the form of depression which can make them seem even bigger than they really are.

A state of brokenness is survivable, whether it feels like you can get through it or not is your own perception. God can help you to get through it and you will be stronger in your faith and your connection to Him for going through it. It isn’t fun, but it is necessary sometimes. We get to a point and feel like things aren’t going our way anymore, and we don’t know why. We can’t pinpoint it, particularly the cause of the “not right” point, it is just elusive and out there like a feeling that we have and we just don’t know what it is.

God can give you the peace that you seek in this circumstance, but you have to seek Him first. His position hasn’t moved but ours is all over the place at times. There are days when we aren’t very far from Him and then we have days where we don’t even feel His presence at all in our lives. Those are the days where we feel as if we have fallen through one of those cracks in our lives, and sometimes it feels like it is over a mile deep. We may survive the fall, but when we hit the bottom it seems that there just isn’t a way out. Like we have nothing to hold onto.

We do have God, even in those dark places. He is there and His Word is always available if we will just cling to it and read it, study it, meditate on its wisdom and pray, PRAY, PRAY!!!

Is it broken? Can it be fixed? Your life and all of the parts of it that seem to be broken can be fixed, but not by you. God can fix it. I know the newspapers and magazines say that He hasn’t fixed it yet, but He will and He can. He hasn’t fixed our world because there are so many people who don’t care to know Him and aren’t listening to Him and His messengers. Life is broken to an extent because of the fall in Eden, but also because of our disobedience to God’s laws and His Word. God did not break your life or mine, we have done that.

We go through our days and weeks thinking that everything will be OK, regardless of what we do but God is still in control, especially when we aren’t. If you are not a Christian then your life is your own or it belongs to the worldly lusts and whims that you pursue. Most people don’t want to hear about or know that Satan is alive and well on Earth and he is completely happy with you not knowing God. As a matter of fact, that is his job…to keep you from knowing and giving your life to the service of God and Jesus. Your life goes right along like it should for the most part, but there is always that little bit of tension.

At some point that little bit of tension breaks, and causes an argument or a shooting which will blow your life completely out of the water. This is exactly what the world wants and it’s what Satan wants. To bring your life down around you so that your witness won’t matter, your ministry won’t matter because your life, your family, your health is gone. This is what happens when you get on the list and when Satan targets you and your family…something breaks and becomes broken. The only fix for it is to trust in and turn to God. Amen.

Faith, belief, love…


All of these are great concepts which point toward our savior and the best of humanity but are they being shown in our daily lives? Does every religion have these in common? I am sure that most of them do since they claim to believe in these three doctrines for lack of a better word. Are they universal to all of the world’s religions? I don’t know.

Judaism believes in faith and love and their patriarch “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness” so that is one of the world’s religions. Christians also have these three in common in their religion, that is two of the world’s religions. How many more have all of these in common?

I am not sure and I am not in the habit of speculation or guessing, so I am not going in that direction. I must admit that I don’t know much about the world’s religions outside of my own. I have read the Koran enough to know that their religion does have some admirable traits even though the ones which we see on the television are not the most flattering. I am not going to bash a religion based upon the actions of a few people.

In doing that all that we do is show how small we are and that is wrong. The media takes the actions of a few people who decide to shoot people and characterizes every person who owns a gun as a nutcase. Why? My guns have never been responsible for killing anyone and I don’t have any grudges to take out on anyone with a belief which is different from mine.

In this world, everyone has a different culture or belief in the God that they choose to worship or not. Nearly every person in America has an opinion on one thing or another which is different from what I believe. So, why should I get all bent out of shape because of it? Shooting people for having an opinion or a belief different from my own would just confirm that I am the crazy one. I don’t have enough ammunition to shoot that many people!

Jesus Christ told us to love one another, care for each other and to tell others of the good news of the Kingdom of God. So, why aren’t we doing this more? Why does the church, regardless of denomination, have services on Sunday morning and maybe that evening and again on Wednesday night or whatever night they choose and then everyone just goes home with nothing being done? What good is that doing?

Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my sheep”, and that is what our services do but at some point a child needs to learn to feet itself! Spiritual milk is great for newborn Christians but until you put some action behind the words and some meat in the sermon this child, this babe in Christ will never mature! God loves us all, it is true, but Heaven is not for babies! We are not supposed to be “little children” until we die!

A calf or a kid will not grow on just milk alone. At some point a child, even one that is just a few months old, has to begin to eat solid food. It is the same with churches and the people in them, if they are not fed solid food from God’s Word then sooner or later the church itself will die.