Life, do you participate in it?

Many people think that they do. They get up each morning, eat breakfast and then head out for work or to the doctor’s office or maybe to the grocery store. To many people, this is participation and life itself. But, what is life? What kind of life are we supposed to have? That depends on your perspective toward life itself. Are you a Christian or do you just believe that stuff happens by accident with no real purpose or meaning?

Accidents, other than those in cars and trucks, don’t just happen. There is a reason for them, even and especially when we are involved because humans make mistakes! Nobody is perfect and if anyone ever tells you so, they are lying. Perfection is found in natural processes, but even those are prone to mistakes because even DNA can’t replicate itself without some errors at some point. Visible perfection is what I meant when I said that it is found in nature, although our perception of it is imperfect so I suppose it is up to the beholder to judge the perfection of mountains or sunsets or a vista that you see or experience.

Participating in life is something that we all do on a daily basis if we are physically able to do so. Living beings cannot help but participate in life because we are alive. Plants, animals, people are all living beings and all of us, in general, live our lives until that life is ended whether by accident or disease or just by age. Participation is not really an option for living beings or things, it just is. God designed life to be that way, to be lived in accordance with His laws and it is. Whether you believe in Him or not, you can’t just choose to go to sleep tonight and not wake up in the morning. Your “expiration date” is determined by His timing and design not yours because He is God and you…we are not and will never be “gods”.

We live at His pleasure. We have our purpose and sustenance by His design. As it says in His Word, “you cannot make one hair white or black” Matthew 5: 33-37. Living life is a privilege and we live it by God’s grace and mercy, not by our own will. I know that many people will say, “Yes, I do live by my own will. I bow to nobody”. Right now that may be true, but one day you will stand before Him and kneel down acknowledging that He is Lord and God. Whether you did it in this life or not doesn’t matter.

God doesn’t force you to give your life to Him, you have the choice to do so or not. If you do while you still live then your meeting after this life will be a joyous one. If not, then it won’t be…it is just that simple. You cannot go on thumbing your nose at God during your lifetime and expect a welcome home when you die! Why? Because our own brand of “righteousness” is man-made and shallow and it is not given to us by Him. Read God’s Word, study it and pray about what you have read because only through the reading of it and praying for understanding can you hope to understand it! Give your life to Him each and every day, determine to follow Him each morning when you wake so that the day will be His and not just yours. This is the most important decision that you can ever make in your life, because this life is not the end but the beginning!

Time is….

Time is many things to many people. There is never enough of it. Our time on Earth is too short, or hard or stressful. Time is…what you make of it. It can be rich and full of life and love or it can be full of pain and suffering and heartache. The conditions that we use to describe our time make the measure of it different for everyone regardless of where you might live.

Time is important and it is important for different reasons for everyone. A doctor or lawyer makes their living by “hours billed”. Many of us are paid hourly, so our time is worth a lot to us because every hour is part of our pay check. But, what about your time with your family? What about spending time with God every day? Are these important to you? Your family should be very important and so should your time spent with God. Many people today don’t think that God is important let alone whether spending time with Him would be. Some don’t even believe that He exists at all.

Consider this: time did not begin until it was created and since He is the Creator, then He started it all. God is in control, yet people don’t believe it because they see so much evil and pain in the world. The thing about this is that Satan is the prince of the air on Earth and the one who has many beings, former angels, who can do his bidding and help cause all of the evil and pain in the world. God allows these things, but He is also working in the background to make things work out.

We live our lives according to the clock, in our own bodies as well as that on the wall. The time that it takes to write this is important not only to me but to God, because He is the One who gives me the words to write just as He gives the words to me for my sermons every week. We are important to Him because God enjoys the fellowship that He can have with us, if we will only give Him our time. Even just a little bit of our time is really all that it takes. We don’t have to spend hours chanting and swaying for Him to notice us, He already knows where we are, what we are doing and saying and whether or not we have given our lives to Him.

Time is a gift from God, your day and your night is a gift from Him. Everything that we have from our job to our family and our friends is a gift from Him as well so we need to treat them as such.

Repentance is….

Something which many people seem to be against. I don’t know exactly why, but when people like certain things, they just don’t want to give them up. I understand the feelings about certain things being so strong that you just can’t seem to quit, but what about those things which will cause you pain and suffering? Why is it so impossible for some to be unable or unwilling to change their beliefs or their lifestyles so that there won’t be anymore suffering?

Before I go on with this line of thought, I am not speaking of suffering while you are enjoying your life or whatever you happen to be doing. I am speaking of pain that will come as a result of something that you are doing now. It may not come during your lifetime here on Earth, but when your life is over then you have to explain your actions to God, whether you believe in Him or not, then what will you say? “I was only having fun!”; “I didn’t mean to hurt anybody.”; the only thing that is going to be done is a view of everything that you have said and done during your lifetime which can’t be ignored nor explained to God because He already knows your answer.

Repentance is “changing your life and your mind so that you are doing things which are totally different from what your life was before Jesus.” In other words, a 180 degree turn away from sin, regardless of what that might be, and turning toward Jesus and following Him. Believing in Jesus and asking Him to forgive you and to come into your life and change you into the person that He wants you to be for Him and for His purposes and not your own is just as simple as saying, “Lord Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner and that I need you in my life. Please forgive me of my sinful ways and help me to become the person that You want me to be. I thank you for your sacrifice because it made a way for me to become an adopted child of God through  you and I believe that You did it all for me. Amen.”

It is just as simple as that. You don’t need to do anything else because He did it all for you.

In Him we are…

We are MORE than conquerors through Christ, no matter what this world throws at us! In Ephesians 1:16-21 says this in the Amplified Bible:

“I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. 17. [For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, 18 By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones), 19 And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, 20 Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places], 21 Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.”

God has given to each of us as believers, the victory through His power and through Christ who also conquered this world and the one who is in this world! You might say, “Victory over what?”!

Victory over your circumstances, whether they are involving money, loss of a job or a loved one, depression, alcoholism, drugs, illness, whatever it may be. Paul wrote the scripture above to the Ephesians because that is what he prayed for them to experience in their lives, not just some of the time but every day! I am not saying that God will heal all of your sickness or your addictions overnight, but He will comfort you and be there with you through the process of getting over them and through the healing process.

Sometimes God will heal you or me when we claim that healing through faith in Him and His power in our lives. But, Satan is going to try to derail your faith and stop any victory that you gain over his demonic powers which enslaved you to that illness or addiction. He will tell you that it isn’t possible, that God doesn’t care about you and that God won’t do anything for you that you can’t do on your own. Those are lies from the master of lies!!

God does love you. He does care about you and your problems and He will make a way for you to get through them! If you have given your heart and your life to Jesus and asked Him to come into your life and change your life into what He sees in you, then you can make it through all of the things that are going on, no matter how bad they are! It may require that you are killed by someone who is not a Christian, but you are the conqueror because as a Christian you have a sure victory through Christ and a everlasting home in Heaven with Jesus!

We see and hear every day that more bad things are happening in the world because of hatred and violence in places from America to the Middle East to Africa, but these are ‘birth pains” of a world that is coming to a close. Look up and pray, expecting Jesus to come because He will. Your salvation and redemption draws closer every day!

Contentment…what is it?

In our daily lives, it seems that “being content” is as elusive as the boson particle. If you find it, then it is fleeting and it only lasts for a short while. What are we looking for in order to be content with our lives? Many people are looking for…something, they just don’t have a clue what it might be! You can feel it as you grow up. When you are a teenager, you feel that there is something more and at that point in life it might be a CAR. Then, when you do get one whether it is new or used, it never seems to be “just right”. There is always something that is not quite right, whether it is the paint or the wheels or the engine (not the most eye-catching color or wheels and maybe not enough horsepower or if you are frugal, not enough gas mileage).

Being content with what we have takes time and patience which many people are not willing to wait for in our society today. “We want patience and we want it NOW!!” kind of attitude. So, what can we do? The first thing that I caution you to do is this: DON’T PRAY FOR PATIENCE! You will learn it but it will not be on your terms, it will be on God’s terms and according to His timing, not yours. Just a warning before you ask for something that you won’t enjoy. I asked for it and by the time I found it, well lets just say it took far longer than I expected.

Contentment is really being content, happy and satisfied with whatever situation you find yourself in, regardless of your circumstances. It is not an easy thing to attain and it does take patience. It also takes maturity in yourself and in your spiritual life as well. Contentment is not something which a young Christian will be able to attain, even though they will want to and feel that they need to get to that point.

I am not saying that it is impossible for anyone to be content with their lives, spiritual or otherwise, but it isn’t easy in the culture that we live in today. When you are content, there is nothing that you feel is missing, and that is the part that is hard for most people to find, regardless of the amount of money that you have or your position in life. Although, the contentment that you seek can be found in a relationship with Jesus.

Yes, He is the Savior of mankind and He can bring peace to our world and to your life, if you will seek Him out and ask Him to come into your heart and your life. Every area of your life, not just an occasional visit on a holiday or once a week, but every day too. Read and study the Bible because the wisdom contained in it will also help to bring peace to you and to your life.

Start with Psalm 23 and John 3:15-17, then seek out more about Him through the other gospels. When you have come to know Him you will realize that He is the answer that you have been seeking all along.

God gave us all of this

To be stewards of, not to enslave or to abuse and maim. His creation is what we are supposed to be taking care of is not for our benefit or amusement. We can enjoy it, revel in its beauty and marvel at the wonder of all that is on this Earth as well as in the heavens above, but the animals that we are sharing this planet with should not be used as toys or targets for abuse or neglect. Consider this which was posted on Facebook:

“Woof!” I said as you started the car,
“Hooray!” I said, it’s my first time afar…..
The scents we were passing were all new to me,
For it was my first introduction to this mystery.
As we got out of the car I embraced you with joy,
After all you remembered to bring my favorite toy!
You threw it once or twice, of which I retrieved,
But on the third it seemed you were ready to leave.
You threw it long and hard and I chased it like lightning,
But when I turned to bring it back I saw a sight quite frightening.
I gripped my toy hard as I tried to comprehend
What it was I did wrong to make our relationship end.
You walked back to your car as I sat there still loyal.
Why am I subservient and you so royal?
Your engine started, and you peeled out into the night,
You didn’t even care about my overwhelming fright.
As I sat in my pose determined you would come back,
The sun faded behind me while the surroundings turned black.
Day after day I stayed in that park,
Lying… waiting… too feeble to bark.
As I lay there dying thinking of you master,
I asked myself how I got into this horrifying disaster.
With my last breath of life, I whispered your name
Then I collapsed in a heap overrun by pain.
Why didn’t you love me master? Why didn’t you care?
Had I no significance, was I just a clump of hair?
I stayed there master and I waited for you
I guess taking care of me was just too much to do.
I’m gone now master, no more You-and-I
But what I can’t figure out is why you didn’t even say goodbye…
-Author: Andrew Siegele-

DON’T ABANDON YOUR PETS. You are their lives

— with Matt Beastall-Crossposter and Matt Beastall.

Photo: "Woof!" I said as you started the car,<br /><br />
"Hooray!" I said, it’s my first time afar…..<br /><br />
The scents we were passing were all new to me,<br /><br />
For it was my first introduction to this mystery.<br /><br />
As we got out of the car I embraced you with joy,<br /><br />
After all you remembered to bring my favourite toy!<br /><br />
You threw it once or twice, of which I retrieved,<br /><br />
But on the third it seemed you were ready to leave.<br /><br />
You threw it long and hard and I chased it like lightning,<br /><br />
But when I turned to bring it back I saw a sight quite frightening.<br /><br />
I gripped my toy hard as I tried to comprehend<br /><br />
What it was I did wrong to make our relationship end.<br /><br />
You walked back to your car as I sat there still loyal.<br /><br />
Why am I subservient and you so royal?<br /><br />
Your engine started, and you peeled out into the night,<br /><br />
You didn’t even care about my overwhelming fright.<br /><br />
As I sat in my pose determined you would come back,<br /><br />
The sun faded behind me while the surroundings turned black.<br /><br />
Day after day I stayed in that park,<br /><br />
Lying… waiting… too feeble to bark.<br /><br />
As I lay there dying thinking of you master,<br /><br />
I asked myself how I got into this horrifying disaster.<br /><br />
With my last breath of life, I whispered your name<br /><br />
Then I collapsed in a heap overrun by pain.<br /><br />
Why didn’t you love me master? Why didn’t you care?<br /><br />
Had I no significance, was I just a clump of hair?<br /><br />
I stayed there master and I waited for you<br /><br />
I guess taking care of me was just too much to do.<br /><br />
I’m gone now master, no more You-and-I<br /><br />
But what I can’t figure out is why you didn’t even say goodbye…</p><br />
<p>-Author: Andrew Siegele-</p><br />
<p>DONT ABANDON YOUR PETS. You are their lives” width=”320″ height=”176″ /></div>
<p>Pets, especially dogs, think of us as pack members…family, and when we treat them like this it is unforgivable. Although, they won’t feel that way. It just confuses them as to why you did such a thing.</p>
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Christians in the crosshairs

Some Muslims even expressed their sentiments to Christians in Baghdad at a Sunday service.

“You are the true original people here, and we are sorry for what has been done to you in the name of Islam,” whispered one Muslim woman to a Christian woman fighting away tears, according to The New York Times.

This was from an article on the forced evacuation of Mosul (Nineveh) in Iraq. For a so-called “religion of peace”, Islam is not being very peaceful at all, especially with the Christians who have inhabited this city for over one thousand years. Mosul has been a Christian dominated city for at least that long, according to the information that I have been able to find.

Here is another quote from the UK:

“What are the moderate Muslims saying?” the Lebanese Catholic Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Rai, asked acidly last week. “We do not hear the voices of those who denounce this.”

Indeed not. The Caliphate’s threat to the Christians – convert, be taxed or die – contradict, in the words of the Chaldean Patriarch, Archbishop Louis Sako,  “1,400 years of history and of the life of the Muslim world and of coexistence between different religions and different peoples”. Archbishop Sako spoke, too, this week of how Iraq itself had become a “humanitarian, cultural and historical catastrophe”. But he added that Christians in the region must remember that the Koran demands respect for minorities and that the Christian people must also remain respectful to Muslims and show “patience and endurance”. Which, I would have thought, might be turning the other saintly cheek a bit too far.

We, as Christians, should help those in need if we can. I am not sure if the help that we provide would reach the ones needing it though, so I am not sure what to do. All that I can do right now is to pray for them and I ask all of you who read this to do the same. It seems that the American government is not offering any sort of help for these, yet they are willing to help the oppressors of Israel. Of course in the media, Israel is the oppressor of the Palestinian people not the other way around. Israel has belonged to the Jewish people since at least four thousand years ago according to the covenant made with Abraham and God’s covenant cannot and will not be broken.

When you pray about the trouble in our world today, please include a prayer for those Christians being persecuted in Iraq and those in North Korea and China as well. Pray for Israel and for God’s protection for them too. We need Him and they do too.