Are we too busy?

I think that most people would say, YES! Our lives always seem to be in high gear, or at least many people’s lives seem that way. Why? I know the main reasons, my job requires that I go, go, go. Then you get home and there is soccer practice, recitals, piano lessons…the list goes on and on and on.

Many people seem to have more on their “to-do lists” than can be done in a twenty-four hour period, even if we didn’t need sleep! You know, even God took one day off in the week of Creation, so why can’t we? Look at your schedule, if it is not absolutely necessary that something be done today, move it to another day. If you need some me-time, don’t fret about it, just take twenty minutes and talk to God about your day. You can do that while driving or being stuck in traffic, you are likely alone in your car anyway, right? Not really, God is always near.

Take a deep breath, experience the grace that God has given to each of us. We are not guaranteed our time here, so today is a gift, be thankful for it, don’t just run through it and not notice the flowers and the beauty that has been put here for our enjoyment! Our Creator loves each of us, whether we love Him or not. Nobody can prove or disprove that except you. What do I mean by that?

It is simple…are you reading this? Did you get up this morning and drink your cup of tea or coffee? Did you get a good nights rest? All of these are proof that God loves you because He gave you today to enjoy, to do something in! It doesn’t matter what that something is, as long as we are doing it for Him, it glorifies Him and brings Him pleasure to see us doing something that He intended for us to do!

You can make today a miserable day if you want to but it started out with nothing frustrating or angry or hurtful in it, so take advantage of that and use it! If you don’t use today to be the best day that you have had in a long time, Satan will fling something into your day to ruin it and to ruin your use of it. He doesn’t want us to be productive for God, no matter what being productive means. Even if we only think of something that would make someone smile and do it, it shows that you care. That one small act may be the best part of someone’s day, it might not mean much to another, but it will light a spark. A small light that means, “Someone cares”, because God does!

An act of kindness, a note, opening the door for someone, getting a cup of water for a person on the street who looks like they could use it, any one of these things shows the love of Christ in your life to someone in need of it! It is not much, but it can mean a lot, it can affect someone’s life in ways that we can’t imagine. We may never see the effect that it has on them or on someone that they touch, but we will find out one day if it had the fingerprint of God in that touch.

Our life and the people that experience it with us, regardless of how busy we all are, is important and we are important to God. Isn’t that a sobering thought? The Creator of everything cares about me and you and every other person on this planet! It is a humbling thought to think that He doesn’t just leave us to our own fates, He really loves and cares about each of us!

Jesus said that He would never leave us and He hasn’t. He is constantly with us through the Holy Spirit and because they are constantly in contact with each other, we are never truly alone. If you haven’t accepted Jesus’ sacrifice as payment for your sinful nature then in truth, you should. God is still aware of what is happening in your life daily whether you have accepted Jesus or not, but until you believe in Jesus’ sacrifice for you and accept Him into your life you are considered lost.

Many people wonder just what does that mean “lost”? According to Scripture it simply means that you have rejected Christ‘s sacrifice and the grace that is available to you through Him. Some people may say that “I haven’t rejected anything, I just don’t believe in the Bible or in Jesus”; if that is your opinion then I need to ask you a question. What do you believe in exactly? If you don’t believe in God, then you are an atheist by definition. There is nothing wrong with that, but….what if God is real and Heaven and hell are real? All of the begging in the world won’t help when you are standing before the Judge that you didn’t believe in during your lifetime!

Search the Scriptures, read them and ask the Being that you don’t believe in to reveal Himself to you. Once you find that He is real and that He is calling you to Him, give your life to Jesus. It won’t make all of your troubles go away, but it will make them easier to bear when you have His strength to get through the troubles that we all have.

 

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Memories

Everything in life revolves around remembering things in one way or another. We remember birthdays and anniversaries and holidays and what to pick up at the grocery, most of the time. What about the people who have lost so much already this year, will we remember them and their sacrifice? Those who have gone to war, not for the first deployment or the second but the third or fourth. What about those who have gone for their last deployment, the ones who won’t be coming home? Will we remember them and pray for their families?

There are so many in the military of our country who have given so much of themselves and their families have given a lot as well. Some have even given their lives for their country and the job that they held as military men and women. Does our country, our “President” consider their honor and dignity enough? Does he honor them and help their families without asking for anything in return because they have already given enough?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. I do know that many of our men and women in service have given more than their fair share and our government should be proud to take care of them no matter what it costs. Many from earlier wars are still scarred in ways that we will never understand. Many have taken their lives and left their families to pick up the pieces because they couldn’t make sense of it all because of PTSD.

I have had and may still have symptoms of this illness even though I have never been to war. You see, firefighters, policemen, paramedics and many others suffer from it too. But no one ever hears about us because we are not on the “front lines”, we are not coming home with our legs blown off or our arms missing. Our injuries are mental in nature because we see horrific scenes at shootings, at wrecks, at house fires. We see what happens when a friend or family member decides to murder the rest of the family. We see the children of people who drive drunk with their kids in the car and have to pick up their children to take them to the funeral home, while mom or dad is recuperating from a cut on the head that they don’t remember getting.

The only real cure for this illness is time and the love of God. He is the only one who is capable to repairing and healing a damaged mind which was torn by these images. Many in public service like I was never admit to having this. People just ignore it and go on with their lives not knowing what will happen, but living with the consequences just the same.

Our society doesn’t understand that some of the most horrifying crimes are committed by close family members. Sometimes the reason behind that may be a mental problem that wasn’t addressed or even admitted to anyone. So nobody knew that it was there until it was too late.

God can heal all of the wounds that we have, but we have to be willing to admit that we have a problem and come to Him for help. We have to give our lives to Jesus and let His healing power come over us and through us so that the healing can begin. If we don’t do that, we will always have problems that we can’t identify, or won’t.

Many times, some of these same mental problems are caused by our own families. In broken homes, children of divorced parents witness what happens when their parents go separate ways. There is resentment, anger, frustration, fear, guilt, doubt, blame and all of this is sometimes piled on a child who is not even old enough to know what they are. Later on the child feels and understands a little but will blame themselves for the break-up of the family, until they are much older.

Sometimes we never get past the hurt and all of the emotional baggage that comes from a divorce and will carry it with them the rest of their lives. Still, God is the only One who can really help. Turning to Jesus and giving the frustration and all of the problems that you have grown up with will help and He will make a difference in your life and in your family’s life too.

The memories that we have to live with and grow with sometimes cause problems but those memories can also bring us hope and peace. Memories of Christmas and family. Memories of good times that our family has had and memories of the tragedies that we have had to endure as well. Give your life to Christ and let Him heal the hurt and all of the baggage that has come with it. He will make a huge difference in your life and in the lives of others.

 

Do you know your Redeemer?

We live our lives in a world full of technology. People are connected today in ways that only thirty years ago was not possible. What about being connected to your Redeemer? The signal clarity never goes away and it is always a clear signal because He hears our every prayer. So why do we not hear Him when He calls? Maybe because we are not listening? Or it might be possible that we just can’t hear that small voice for all of the electronic stuff that we have ringing in our ears and Him.

When we have come to know Jesus, do we decide or does our heart feel the pull of the Holy Spirit? Your only decision is whether or not to answer His call on your life, we don’t decide to get saved just on our decision alone. Unless your heart feels the pull of the Holy Spirit, you won’t feel the conviction to ask Jesus into your heart, that is why we can’t just decide to be saved on our own.

Jesus said that the only way to come to the Father is through Him and the only way that you will know that you need Him is by the conviction of your soul and your heart. Just as Peter was broken after he denied the Lord, we have to be convicted and broken to know that we need Him. We cannot save ourselves and through no action on our part can we be justified before God. Our justification comes through Jesus and faith in Him alone.

“Is it possible that you can lose your salvation?” is a question which gets asked many times. The answer is no, you can’t lose your salvation if you truly have it. If you were “saved” during an emotional event and your life didn’t change afterward, then you may not have been saved. If your character, the person that you truly are, didn’t change and your habits didn’t change then you likely didn’t truly ask Jesus into your heart. Yet, many people think that they are saved because of these things and in many instances they will not listen to anyone from that point on regarding their salvation.

This is a deception that Satan has used for many thousands of years. People think that they have their salvation, their so-called “fire insurance” and no amount of preaching or prayer will get their attention unless God does. They remind me of the Pharisees of Jesus’ time. So wrapped up in their religiousness until they didn’t recognize the Messiah when He came.

Why do we do this? We make up our own worldview, our own comfortable spot that makes us feel all fuzzy and safe, and yet we are deceiving ourselves. Still being taken in by Satan’s schemes, we walk in our comfortable religious “feeling”, and fool ourselves right into hell itself.

Now, I don’t want anyone to think that I am judging anyone, all I am doing is pointing out what some people do. The only One who judges is Jesus and He knows the condition of your heart, regardless of how well you may hide it from others.

God’s Word is the only text that we need in order to know how to be saved and then how to follow Jesus afterwards. It is our instruction book for life everlasting and for life here while we can make a difference in other people’s lives.

We have pushed God’s Word from our lives and from the education system that our children are indoctrinated in and yet we want them to grown up into moral, law abiding citizens. How can they when we have removed the teaching and the influence of God in their lives? Many people don’t go to church regularly anymore so their children are not brought up hearing God’s Word! We are creating a culture that has no fear of God because they don’t know Him or even know about Him.

This fact alone is shown in our culture today because of a small group of people who want freedom from religion, of any type. They don’t want to be told that anything that they may say or do is morally wrong, and yet they will have to account for every word and deed when they face God one day.

The answer to all of life’s questions is found in God’s Word and yet there are many who don’t even have a copy of it in their home. I have read through its pages many times and each time I get a sense of peace and security that I can get nowhere else, because it is a living Word and each of us gets a different message each time we read it or hear it.

Pick up a copy of it at the library or at a book store. Ask God to show you His wisdom for your life through His Word. You won’t be disappointed with the answers to many questions that you have had and you may be surprised about the answers that you never thought would be there. May God richly bless each of you!

The Day of Pentecost (Festival of Weeks)

Repentance is not a single event but rather a point of crisis along with a continuing relationship choice. Repentance is part of a Christian’s regular spiritual life and routine. When you repent of something, regardless of what it may be, you turn away from it and choose another, better path.

Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?
11 b, we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Our lives in Christ are important to God, which is why He sent His Son to take the punishment for our sins and die on the cross so that we might be able to receive forgiveness through Jesus. The only requirement on our part..that we have to do is to repent and ask for the forgiveness that has been provided. Now, some might say that they don’t feel compelled to repent of anything in their life so why should they? In that instance, either you are not ready or it isn’t the time yet for your spirit to be called. Which doesn’t mean that you are not wanted by God, He is just waiting until the time, His time, is right. He alone knows when that may be, although you can still pray and ask Him into your life. You will not be refused.

God never will turn away a sinner who asks from their heart and truly repents of things that they know that they have done. It is not a one-time event in your life, just as changing the oil filter on your car isn’t a onetime maintenance item either. We are all sinners and we do it on a daily basis. Nobody is exempt from this fact, even Jesus was tempted but He didn’t sin. What can we do about those temptations? Are we able to control them and ourselves? In many instances, no we are not able to do this with our own strength. But God provided us with the same Spirit that was given to Peter and the disciples that day, which will enable us to resist temptation.

Many people think that He didn’t sin because He was God in the flesh, but it was because He yielded His will to God each and every day..every minute. This is what we are supposed to do, but many think that once they have given their life to Christ, they don’t have to do anything else. If you don’t do anything else, your life won’t really change at all from what it was before you accepted Christ.

Then you will be counted among the hypocrites because you didn’t allow the Holy Spirit which you received to really change your life. This is why there are so many who are not in church, they know the Truth, they may have accepted Christ but they have not followed through with Bible study, daily prayer asking for strength to get through the day, etc. The spiritual fire that some have and many do not and the reasons for the difference is found in that, follow through. The gospel could be preached simply by saying “Believe in Jesus who was sent to die for your sins and ask Him to come into your heart and cleanse you from your unrighteousness”. One sentence, but without prayer and study of scripture allowing you to get to know God, what will change in your life?

William Blake wrote a poem about Pentecost and a few lines from that poem read:

Unless the eye catch fire, God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire, God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire, God will not be named.
Unless the Heart catch fire, God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire, God will not be known.

We are to be on fire for our Lord because He came down to us. We are to be on fire for God because a part of Him resides within each person who has accepted Jesus as Savior. If we are not on fire for God, why not? Do you not realize that the Creator of the universe came to earth specifically for each person here? Not only here in this church building, but all people are the ones that He came for, whether they know Him or not at this moment or even whether they care that He loves them, he still came.

I have seen a book called “gods at war” and it is written by a pastor who teaches a study based on it. The problem is that there are no gods at war, there is only one God, all these others are inventions of men. These man-made gods cannot fight with the One True God. They have no power because they are man’s imaginings of the “god” that he wishes to be the true god.

Even many people who are in church do this. You may hear people say that “My god would never condemn someone to hell”; in fact, it is not God that condemns people to that place but we ourselves.

Getting back to the day of Pentecost, those who heard the sermon in their own language wondered what they must do when confronted with the truth of Jesus. Peter answered them and said that they must repent of their ways and be baptized. We can do no less than this.

Are you content in your life? Are you satisfied that you are in a right relationship with our Father in heaven? Many people are and the truth of it will condemn them. They are like the Pharisees, they see no need to repent because their religion and their practice of it feels just fine. As time and our lives will show that one day every person will bow before the King of Kings and we will all be shown the truth of our life. What kind of truth will your life show you?

 

MOM

Its hard to describe the job that she does best.

She makes your bed, and fluffs the pillow

so you can get a good rest.

She makes the menu and serves the food,

whether you like it or not, but most of all

she does what she does from the very same spot.

Every day your Mom gets you ready for the days

to come.

But what would we do in our lives,

if we didn’t have a loving Mom?

God shows His love for each of us through our mother and through all the things that she does for each of us. She is His representative in each family, so that we can see Him through the care that she gives to each of us. Honor your mother every day for the things that she has done in your life and thank God that He prepared her to do the things in your life that make you into the person you need to be.

Grins and giggles

We always think of any spiritual encounter, whether it is in the Bible or a Bible study or at church, as being serious and not funny but don’t you think that God laughs at some of our antics? What about some of the things that we ask Him for or the way that we ask? I believe that God has a great sense of humor and enjoys humor and laughter.

You can’t sit around for an eternity and be serious all of the time! That is why we have humor in our lives because God gave it to us to ease the day or a particular time in your life, and make you laugh and just enjoy life while we can.

Here is a picture that I think is funny and I hope that you do too:

cat-in-the-mailWe don’t have to be so serious about our lives, even though our daily life is serious. Enjoy the little things, make fun of your own mix-ups, laugh at yourself once in a while, I am sure that God does. He doesn’t laugh at us in a mean or demeaning way, but I am sure that He finds many things that we do on a daily basis to be funny.

We are people who tend to take much of our existence too seriously and we need to live life like Jesus did. Consult your Father in prayer about things that concern us in everyday life. Little things, big decisions and everything in between, He doesn’t mind because that is what He wants..to be involved with you in your life, daily!

God is not unconcerned about each of us because He cares about His creation, all of it. When Jesus told His disciples that God knows even when a sparrow falls to the ground, don’t you think He cares about what is happening in your life too? He knows what is happening in our lives but He would like to be invited to participate in your life and not just be an observer.

Humor is found in the Bible, some of it is wry humor and some of it would be considered very funny when taken in the context of the time that it happened. Take the time that the children of Jacob asked for meat after being liberated from slavery, God told them that they would have so much that it would be coming out of their noses. To those that it happened to, it might not be funny, but can you imagine all of the thousands of people in the camp eating so much that the meat was coming out of their noses (gross but funny).

God’s sense of humor and His love for us go hand in hand. We are made in His image and yet we have free will and the choice to either follow Jesus or to do our own thing. We can choose that path, but in following your own way and not giving your life to Christ you are doing the work of Satan. Especially if you encourage other people to live the way you do and not to follow Christ! God doesn’t have a sense of humor regarding your choices if that choice was to not follow Jesus. It grieves Him because He provided a way for you to live a life abundantly in Christ, forever. All that you have to do is ask for it and it is yours. I don’t mean to give anyone the idea that I promote a lifestyle other than Christianity, I don’t. I also don’t agree with these “abundant lifestyle” preachers who say that you will be rich and have everything that you could want or need by being one of their “partners”. That is false teaching.

I only tell the gospel from the Bible and from my life experience. I encourage people to check the references that I refer to, even though I may paraphrase some of the wisdom from God’s Word, it can still be found there. Give God and chance in your life, He can make it much better than it is now and you will have forever to be with those who have done the same.