Can’t I do it without church?

Some people wonder why they have to go to church if they become a Christian and they complain about it. They even ask, “Can’t I become a Christian without being a member of a church?” Let me answer that question with another one–can a honey-bee be a bee without a hive? Can a sailor be a sailor without a ship? Can a person be a parent without a family? Can a father or mother be what they are if they don’t have children? None of these can be what they are supposed to be unless there is a reason for them to be.

Being a Christian is important for your salvation, but it is also important to God. He created man for daily fellowship with Him and they had that for a while. He will be with you whether you are in church or not, but your soul and your walk with Him will be much more blessed by having fellowship with other Christians.

While you can enjoy your fellowship with God whether you are in church or not, the fellowship that being with fellow Christians gives you will deepen relationship with Him. Living as a Christian will enhance your life here and give you a future to look forward to, unlike disregarding God as many people today seem to be doing.

It is unhealthy to ignore or disregard the existence of God as our Creator as many seem to feel the need to do today. You might ask “Why is that?”; well, the reason it is unhealthy is because you were designed by Him so your being, your soul yearns for fellowship with Him. If you continually reject Him, then you grow cold, distant and since you are dissociating yourself with the love of God, then you will reject love too.

By rejecting love, your personal relationships suffer, family relationships suffer, friendship suffers. God is Supreme Love, and by rejecting Him you are putting it (love) out of your life. You will have lust, and affection that can mimic love and make you feel wanted but it is not the same. Your life and mine were created to be more complete with love present in our lives and without it, there is an emptiness, a place which feels hollow that cannot be filled.

God loves each person on Earth and He provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him through the sacrifice of Jesus as the perfect sacrifice, the One that could pay the price for all of mankind’s sins. Jesus did pay that price for all of us and if you are feeling a pull on your heart, a tug at your soul that tells you that God wants you, then accepting Jesus as your Savior is the way to salvation. It is the only way to come to know Him and to have the hope of eternal life in Him.

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Give Thanks in everything

I am going to give you a quote to start this off, so here it is:

God doesn’t expect me to be thankful FOR all circumstance, but IN all circumstances. There’s a huge difference. The first attitude is masochism. The second shows maturity.”   California mega-church pastor Rick Warren, writing in Time magazine about thankfulness during what he called “the worst year of my life” after his youngest son committed suicide.

This is exactly how our Savior wants us to be, thankful in all things because He will make His strength show through your weakness regardless of the circumstances you may be experiencing. So, how is your life going? Have you had some hard things to deal with this year? Did you experience some pain and suffering at some point? Were you thankful for it?

Most people are not thankful for it at all…mainly because it is usually so unpleasant that you can’t be thankful for it. I have wondered in my life, “Why would God want me to be thankful for suffering or pain in my life?” He does not ask us to be thankful for the suffering, as in the quote above, but IN the suffering. While you are in it, you are to be prayerful, staying near to Him so that He can strengthen you and help you through your troubles and your pain.

God loves all of us, but He doesn’t like the pain and suffering that we have to endure in this life. He is not the author of it, Satan is. Mainly because he wants to cause as many problems in our life as possible so that we will blame God for them. Many people do blame God or rather a god for their trouble or their problems. Why do they do this? Because He is thought of as a god who punishes and causes pain and suffering, yet these are descriptions of the kind of being that Satan is and has always been. God is not like this at all.

We, all of us, are special to God because He formed man out of the earth, in His image and placed the breath of Life in him. No other creature in all of Creation has that honor, not even the angels in Heaven. This sets us apart as the part of Creation that God wants to have fellowship with, now and forever. This life on Earth is just preparation for the extended part of your existence, into eternity. You are free to believe what you wish about God and eternity, but when your life here is over and eternity begins…where will you be?

16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. That whosoever believed in Him would not perish, but would have eternal life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18

Pain, why do we suffer from it?

In many lives today…there is pain. Pain from the loss of a loved one, or from the loss of a job. Pain from the result of disease and sickness, like cancer or auto-immune diseases and sometimes from some process that doctors can’t pin down. Pain is in many people’s lives due to something that they have done and sometimes it is there just because of age. We all have experienced pain in one form or another, whether it is emotional or physical and it is something that we can’t escape.

Is pain a necessary part of life? It is to an extent. We experience pain because of the fallen nature of the world that we live in, but the pain that we experience doesn’t have to take over our lives. I say this because many people allow it to do that, but it doesn’t have to do it. The people in our world that are experiencing cancer and other diseases which can cause pain as well as the treatments that are used in treating them experience pain that many of us would not wish on any human being. That is why I think that people that are going through this are some of the bravest, strong people in our world.

Life can truly be hard to live, although people that live in countries which are “developed” may not know it, unless they are sick in some way. But what about those who are sick in their soul? Many of them don’t know that they are sick, or that they are missing something very important to their lives! Some don’t even think that they have a soul that lives for eternity. They are under the impression that when their life here is over, that’s it. There will be no accountability for anything that you have done in life because God doesn’t exist.

What do you think about that? God doesn’t exist? How can that be? Did all that you see just happen? What about everything that is going on in the world today? All of these wars and droughts and tornadoes and earthquakes are just random, natural events that are under no one’s control at all, is that it? I know, the wars are mankind’s way of dealing with or causing problems in the world, depending on which side you happen to be on.

Contrary to these beliefs about randomness and accidents, God is in control of and knows about each aspect of our lives regardless of where we live or who we are. He doesn’t care if you know Him or not, but He knows you and has known you since before the world began, just as He knew me before all of this was put into motion. God loves each of us more than we can imagine and He provided a way for each of us to be forgiven of our sins and be able to come into His presence. Do you know what it is? It is simple, maybe too simple…believe that Jesus died for your sins and ask Him into your heart so that you can become more like Him.

That’s it! Believe that He died for you and your sins and ask Him into your heart to forgive you of all the time that you wasted while you were not His. Once the change in your life is begun, your life will change because you have changed and others will see it and they will want what you have. Tell them! I promise that if you have given your life to Jesus, your life will never be the same…it will be better!

 

What can I do?

Many times we don’t think that there is anything that we can do that would make the world a better place. It is just too much to do, there are too many things that need to be done, one person can’t possibly do so much; these are the excuses that we use in order for us to not feel so bad about what we think we cannot do. The problem with this kind of thinking is that if everyone felt this way, and we probably do many times, and decided not to do anything then nothing at all would get done!

But, if we would choose to do just one thing that would help the person standing next to them such as pay for their cup of coffee and yours or pay their parking meter when it expires. One selfless gesture from each person on Earth for the next person, every day for a year, there would scarcely be any poverty or war or homeless people in the world!

Instead of thinking of yourself, think of your co-workers, your neighbors, people that you don’t know but pass by on the street and do something, even a small thing, for that person. Many times a small gesture can make a very big difference. Even in your everyday life, a choice that you make can make a big difference in your outlook and the outcome of your daily walk. For instance, here is part of a devotional that I read and I thought that it might touch some of you:

Did you know that happiness is a choice? A man said to a beggar one day, “Good day my friend.”The beggar answered, “Well, thank you, but I never have a bad one.” The man responded, “Well, may God give you a happy life, my friend.” And the beggar replied, “I thank God that I am never unhappy.” The man was speechless. And the beggar continued, “When I have plenty to eat, I thank God. When I am hungry, I thank God. If it is God’s will for me to endure this, then whatever is God’s will for me makes me happy.”

We can choose to be happy in our situation, whatever that may be in life. We can choose contentment and a positive outlook regardless of our situation or circumstances. Choice makes a difference in our lives and it can make a difference in someone else’s life when we choose to be a blessing to them, regardless of the cost to us. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, your choice may be just to pay for a cup of coffee or their breakfast at a fast food place, but the gesture and the attitude behind it go a long way in the other person’s eyes.

Kindness goes a long way, especially in today’s world, because it is rare. People don’t seem to be or even try to be kind to each other these days, unless they are Christians. Most Christians are kind to each other, although there is some animosity between doctrines and ideologies. Unfortunately, in today’s society, the differences are what is considered news so that is what is reported. We need to be concentrating on being Christians and not on our doctrines and differences.

Christ is coming back sooner than most people think and it is time we started being the people that we are called to be, reflections of His Will and purpose and not our own.

 

Can you handle the Truth?

My memory brought up this quote from a movie recently and I thought I would use it to see what sort of reaction I might get: “You can’t handle the truth!!” Is this the way that many people see God’s Word, as a Truth that they don’t want to handle or just don’t want to believe?

bibleTruthGod’s Word and His Truth is hard for some people to swallow or it seems to be. It upsets people who are not Christians to see a cross or a Bible. Why is that? A cross is just a couple of pieces of wood and the Bible is considered “just a book”.

The reason that many people have trouble with both of them is because of what and Who is represented by them. The cross is where Jesus gave His life for all of us and paid the price for our sins. If He had not done this, we would not have access to God or to salvation through His forgiveness.

The Bible is not just a book but the Word of God given to His prophets, written down by them and by others who copied the Scriptures meticulously so that Israel would have a written record of their history and their covenant with God. It is verified by history and by archeology and the Promise which was repeated and brought into the world in the person of Jesus. He was foretold to be born in Genesis, spoken of by Isaiah and Ezekiel, and there was prophetic poetry written by David in the book of Psalms and all of these were hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth.

The Truth contained in it will convict you if you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Savior but it also comforts and advises you in many different areas of life. Jesus can be your Savior and He is also your advocate, defending you from the accusations of Satan.

The gospel message contained in it specifically refers to belief in Jesus and in His atoning death which opened the way for each of us to come before the throne of God, clothed in His righteousness. Jesus came to bring this to us, not only to His people but also to all of us gentiles outside of Israel. The Word of God is the most powerful and wonderful book that I have ever read. In some translations, like the newer ones, a child can easily understand it and the message that it contains.

We are graced with the love of God through its pages and through our lives as we live out our lives in service to Him. Have you given your life to Him or maybe thought about it? Pray about it and read His Word. Ask Him to show you His Truth in its pages and passages. It is there and so is He, all that you have to do is look for it and accept the gospel as His message to you for your life.

Today is the day!

How far in the future do you make plans? I really don’t think that there is a way to truly make plans ahead of time. Many times people ask you questions like “What will you be doing five years down the road?” or “What about ten years down the road?” Can you really plan that far down the road in your life?

What can we do about the direction that our lives take or rather, do we have real directions in our lives these days? Living in the moment, today, now is all that we have but we need to treat it as if it may be the last day. Why? Because we are not guaranteed tomorrow, let alone next week or next year. This bit of wisdom is found in God‘s Word and it is from Him, so it is the truth. It cannot be changed and no one can show that they know the future well enough to see exactly what they will be doing tomorrow or next year!

Life is a gift for each of us, what happens to that gift is up to you. You can use it in a positive way and make a difference in other people’s lives or you can use it in a negative way and cause other people’s lives to implode because of something that you did or caused to happen. Each person on this planet has the capability to be or do many things, good or bad, each of us must choose the path that we will take.

Some may say that their path has been chosen for them because of circumstances in their life. I don’t believe that your circumstances and your position or your parent’s position in life really has that much influence over your life. If you choose to make something out of yourself, you can. If you don’t decide to dream or to make a difference, then you won’t. The difference is your decision!

Your decision also can make a difference in your life, not just here but in eternity too. Because it is your decision that will decide the direction that your life takes and the path that you ultimately follow.highway2heavenhell You don’t see your destination in this life, but after you take your last breath here, so which one are you on? Eternity is a long, long time so make the right choice while you can.

I know that someone will have issues with my subject, but that is fine, as long as it gets you to thinking about your salvation and your relationship with Jesus. Today and in the past fifty years or so, people have pushed God out of their lives. Many are trying to forget God entirely. How can you do this? How is it even possible to forget Him?

When a baby is born or you see a newborn puppy or a beautiful sunrise or any number of gloriously beautiful scenes on Earth, how can you possibly believe that God doesn’t exist? I know that some look at these things and say that they are just natural processes, part of nature itself and all of them were brought about by natural processes and that God has nothing to do with them. Really?

I want to challenge you to read a few chapters in a book called Job in the Bible. The chapters begin with chapter 38 and go to 40. It is not much, but it is God speaking to Job, His righteous servant. As righteous as a man can be at least, but he was trying. Many people in our world and our society today don’t want to try. They just want to go to work, come home, drink a beer and watch some shows on the tube and go to bed and do it all over again tomorrow. Men have forgotten God.

Why have they done that? Because they don’t want Him mucking up their lives or getting into their heads. They don’t want God anywhere near their children or in their life. But, God does want to be in your life and in your children’s lives because He loves you and He cares for you. It has nothing to do with power or money or greed, God owns it all and can create anything that He wishes to so why would He want what you have?

Many people wonder why He would want a relationship with them? It is because each one of us is special to God because He designed us that way. Each person can do something for Him that nobody else can do and if they will come to know Him and follow Him, then they will find out what that something is. It may not be something which the world would recognize as great or stupendous, but God knows what you and I can do and that it is specific to each person.

I am the only one that can write this blog, with these words. If someone else wrote it, it would be different. That is what I mean and what God needs from each of us…our individuality and our personality. Each person is specific in their own way, like our fingerprints, we are all different because He designed us that way. Think about it while you read those chapters in the book of Job, you’ll see and maybe He will help you to understand too!

A service with no Savior

Some people, though not a majority, seem to be looking for fulfillment in their lives with meetings that are similar to church services with the exception of one important aspect, God is not there. This is a false “church” meeting. Yes, it is in a building which may resemble a church and they have a service and songs and thoughtful meditation and they fellowship with each other because they have similar beliefs and yet there is nothing in the service that suggests that there is worship, of any kind, going on.

I am not against this at all really. I, in the climate and the culture in which we live, people need to be able to get together in a safe atmosphere with like-minded people and worship however they choose. I am not against religions or even no religion at all. I am a pastor and this blog is another service that I am doing for my Savior, it is something that I enjoy doing. I know that there are those who don’t agree with my religion or my views and opinions, which is fine too. You are entitled to your belief just as I am to mine.

A news article which I read over the weekend referred to these as atheist worship services and that is why I am writing this. In the New Testament, Paul writes of a town that he visited which had many shrines and altars to other gods and it also had one dedicated to “an unknown god”, and that is the God which Paul introduced them to. This article, in a way, reminded me of this because atheists claim to have no belief in anything but themselves. No God, no higher power, just natural man and humanistic thinking and ideas. This is a belief which is fine in our country because it is guaranteed by the law of the land.

Yet, it seems that the minority which follows this belief want to push their belief into the spotlight and shove everyone else to the side, especially Christians. What have we done to you to deserve this? If there is a cross or a billboard which offends you, take another route or just don’t pay attention to it. That is what I do when I see a billboard advertising some adult video or bookstore. Offenses seem to be taken over the least little incident and for what? Because you can see a cross from the road? Big deal.

There is a verse of scripture that I am going to put here so be warned:

Psalm 46:10: He says,Be still, and know that I am God.”

The person speaking is God and He is telling David as well as all of us to know that He is God. We have to stand in awe of a creator that can bring the whole of creation into being with His Words and yet care for us as His children, each one of us. “Be still” brings up an image of needing to slow down and listen, which is what we need, all of us, today.

There are so many things which are clamoring for our attention today, bills, the news, our Facebook friends, instant messages on our cell phones. We are constantly in contact with everyone through communication channels that were unheard of twenty years ago and we wonder why people have nervous breakdowns! Yet, we can be in contact with God, personally, every day and at any time through prayer. No bad signals, no dropped calls to Him because He is always there. Whether you have given your life to Him or not, He still sees you and knows what is going on.

“Know that I am God”— This part of the verse tells us that He is and always has been God, there is no time past, present or future that He is not God. Whether you choose to believe it or not cannot change that. Whether you choose to worship Him in a church or in your car or not at all, will not change the fact that He is there. Choose to believe or at least to really find out about the “God Who Sees me” as Hagar put it, because He is there and He is waiting for you.