How to begin….

This year is coming to a close and a new one is beginning at midnight, so what can we do to make sure it is a good one? Is there anything that each person can do, big or small, that will make this year better for us and for the world around us? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Have a more positive attitude toward life
  2. See the world as your ministry, whether you are a Christian or an atheist, and not as an enemy
  3. Do something for someone that you don’t know without expecting anything in return, regardless of how small or how big it is
  4. Give your time and energy to your family more than you do to your job

Read God‘s Word at least three times a week, one chapter at a time, before you begin any of the suggestions above. They are not in any particular order, they are just suggestions, but the reading of God’s Word is the key to all of them. It will give you insight and wisdom to follow through the days and weeks to come.

Why do I advise even an atheist to read God’s Word? Because it is far more powerful than my words are and because they need to get to know the One that they claim doesn’t exist. Whether they get to know Him personally or not is not my concern, although I think that they need Him and should get to know Him. God knows whether they will decide to believe in Him and ask Him into their lives or not, regardless of their belief or lack of it.

So, what will your year be like? Will it be filled with money and all  sorts of adventures? Will you get married this year and embark on a new life with someone? Will you give your heart to Jesus and walk with Him in a new life that can be fruitful for His kingdom and glory? All of these things, these possibilities are waiting for you but it is your choice which ones you will go after. Some offer rewards here and now, some offer companionship and love and a life that can be better than it was before. At least one possibility for your life offers rewards which can never be taken away and will last into eternity regardless of what your life on earth turns out to be.

So, which one will you seek?

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Our time is not our own

Life is something that we tend to take for granted. We always feel, it seems, that we will have tomorrow or next week or next month to do the things that we like to do, that we want to do. Our life is a gift to us from God so that we can understand Who He is and what our purpose in this life really is. He has something in mind for each one of us regardless of what may be happening in our lives.

In Jeremiah God says this:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)

This is the promise that all of us have to cling to, especially during times in our lives which are tough. We cannot and should not fall on our own human weaknesses, and yet we tend to do this especially in times of grief and sadness. If you are going to live in Christ‘s strength daily, then you can’t fall on your strength just because things go south one day. We have to depend on Him every day in order to live the life that He has for us and to be a blessing to others.

Pity parties like we tend to have when things are going badly are the one personal  vice that we all seem to have, but we have the strength of Christ if we will bring Him into our life daily. His love for us is more than we can imagine and He will sustain you every day when you depend on Him and allow Him to walk with you and guide you through life. We don’t have the answers to every problems, no one does except Jesus, because He is the answer!

God will provide for each of us the provisions that we need whether it is money, food, shelter or whatever it may be, when we depend on Him. I know that it is hard for many people to actually do this because it has been hard for me as well because the One that you are depending on is the Creator but He is not visible. His provision for you is enough, but it seems to be provided just in time and in the right amounts, not the way we want it…right now! We want our prayers answered today not next month or next year or even ten years from now, but God’s timing is the right time although we may not realize it at the time.

We have grown up in the past thirty years in a culture which has access to everything NOW! We have had microwaves for that length of time so we don’t pop popcorn in air poppers or on the stove, we want it in forty seconds from the microwave. In the past forty or so years, we have had drive-thru fast food places where we could just drive up, order what we want, pay for it and drive away and we didn’t even have to get out of our warm or cool car or truck to do it and usually we got our food, if you can call it that, in a few minutes.

Instant satisfaction and gratification is the norm these days, especially with the coming of the Internet and Amazon.com. We can find any amount of information that we need on a particular subject and buy books or most any other thing online in a few seconds and it will be delivered within a few days usually.

The biggest problem that this has created is that we don’t have much patience anymore. There is no delay in gratification, because we can get it almost instantly from anywhere. God knew that this was going to happen because He told Daniel about it and it is written in Daniel chapter 12:4 which says: ” But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

We need to depend on God every day to get us through, but we don’t like to have someone else in control. You have to give Him control, He doesn’t take it, so unless  you are willing to truly give Him yourself and follow His guidance in your life then you are not surrendered to Him. This is what is required and until you come to that realization, your life will be unbalanced and unfruitful toward the Kingdom of God.

It is true that your life may be going well every day, whether you belong to Christ or not, but it is a lie from Satan if you don’t belong to Jesus. All of these “good things” that you have and have been “given”, you have them because he is trying to keep you “satisfied” with your life, with your stuff, with everything that you have! Things don’t help. Stuff doesn’t do any of us any good…but Jesus can and does! Ask Him into your heart and into your everyday life because He has a plan for you and it will be revealed and accomplished when you give your life to Him and follow Him. Amen.

Hypocrites, who wants ’em?

When I entered Heaven’s door
I was stunned and confused
Not by the beauty of everything
But by the people in the pews.

There were some there that made me
Ashamed to be seen there, and some
That I thought were surely in the
Wrong place.

Because when I looked around,
There were some that I found
Who I knew were alcoholics, thieves,
Liars, and sinners, and trash.

A kid that I knew from sixth grade
Who took my lunch money more than twice.
Then there was a neighbor of mine,
Who never said anything nice.

I walked over the Jesus and asked Him,
“What’s the deal? I would like to know, how did all of
These sinners get here? And why is everyone so quiet and
Somber, please give me a clue?”

‘Hush, child’, He said, ‘they’re all in shock. Not one of them
Thought that they would ever see you.’

So, remember, Judge not lest ye be judged! Just because you go to church, it won’t make you a Christian any more than standing in the garage makes you a car. Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future in Christ! Just because the local church is full of hypocrites doesn’t mean that heaven won’t be too!

What can I do?

In the culture that we live in “I” is an independent person because I can do anything. But what about in the world of finance or in the police department or the fire department or even the military, “I” can’t be independent in any of those arena’s because most of the work is performed as a team, not as an individual. Life, at least the life that we have in Christ, is supposed to be that way too.

We are supposed to be teamed up with Jesus, but in reality He has done all of the work that needs to be done, all that we have to do is accept it and believe it. What is so hard about that? Nothing is hard about it for the most part, but we don’t want to give our lives to Him. We resist it, we fight it, even after we have supposedly given our life to Him, we still give Him some part of our life and then when the answer doesn’t come quickly enough, we take it back. We tell Him that we will do it, since He can’t.

Warning! Warning! We may not have the answer yet because He has something better for us but we have to be patient so that it will come. Patience is not our best ability and very few people really have it as a gift, BUT don’t ask God to increase your patience! He will do so by allowing you to go through some trials that will try your patience to the breaking point, stretching it so that it gets bigger, but you won’t enjoy it!

If you are not a Christian, then I am sorry that you don’t believe in Him. Many people in the world don’t believe in God or in Jesus, but they are religious in their beliefs of whatever religion they practice. Religion is not a bad thing, but many people have done and will do many bad things in the practice of their religion whether it is a twisted version of Christianity or Islam, or any of many religions around the world. People have always looked to their “scriptures” to justify doing something which they know to be wrong, but if they can find one verse or two that can be twisted to fit then they will do it.

People did it in America during the time of slavery and many are doing it now. Different cults or doctrines can be justified by using a portion of scripture out of context and convincing people that God meant it that way. Any portion of this site could be taken out of context and used the same way, just as a sentence in the morning newspaper could be used the same way, if taken out of context.

God loves us all, but He may not like the way we are behaving or treating each other. Just as a parent loves their children, but they may not like the way they are behaving at a particular time. We can’t be compared to God, nor He to us, but the analogy is the same: you can love someone without liking the things that they say or do. That is why He sent His Son to take the sins of the world (past, present and future) on Himself and atone for them on the cross. If we can accept this and believe in Him, then we will be saved from our sins and the punishment for them. If we choose to disregard His atonement for our behavior, then we pay the price.

Many people say that “my god would not send anyone to hell”, well God does not…you do. It is your choice to believe or not in Jesus and His sacrifice, if you do then all is well as long as you are sincere in your belief and change your life accordingly. If you decide that following Jesus is not something that you can do or want to do and you life your life and your sin the way it is, then you have put yourself on the road leading to hell. God didn’t do it, you did.

So, what can you do? Make the right choice and choose life with Jesus in your heart and follow His example in your life. It is the only choice which really means anything for eternity because nothing here and now will matter or even be around in one million years. Your legacy will be lost and nobody will know you at all. On the other hand, if you give your life to Jesus and tell others about what He did for you then there could be many thousands of people who will know you in a million years!

Think about that for a while, but don’t take too long.

 

You don’t have to be broken!

There are so many stories of famous and not so famous people who have been in broken relationships and broken by drugs or alcohol, with a plethora of different problems being healed and put back together by a relationship with Christ. The good news is that we don’t have to be broken at all to enter into a relationship with Jesus!

It is true, He will take you in whatever condition you may be in but you don’t have to have or be the worst person imaginable for Jesus to be your Savior. It is true that in our society today, regardless of the culture you may have grown up in, there are many broken people and they have been broken by different things. We all have a certain point in our lives where something becomes broken in our emotional or our spiritual life or any area of our lives beyond those two.

Nobody’s life is immune from being “cracked like glass” by something, and we all tend to ignore it to a certain degree unless it is something which can’t be ignored. Many times it is that little tear in the fabric that we forget about, the one that isn’t noticeable by anyone but me or you that can become something bigger than we can handle on our own. This is where Jesus comes into your life, or needs to. Because He is the only person who can actually heal the cracks in your life.

He is the only One that can help you in a situation where you cannot help yourself. We all tend to think that we can fix these problems, but the feelings of being broken and un-fixable can cause us to feel even more broken. Your life feels terrible and it causes depression, anger and pain. The only way to deal with this is to call on the Healer, the One who can take care of the pain. The problem is that we usually won’t admit to needing help, especially His help.

We delude ourselves into thinking that we or our doctors can fix it with a pill or some other treatment. Emotional pain doesn’t get fixed that way, because it goes too deep. Far from being “out of touch”, those who call on Jesus can draw strength and healing from Him and He will heal your pain too. Give Him a chance in your problems and in your cracked areas because He can heal them all and use your life in a way that you never considered at all.

As His disciple and representative to others who are hurting.

In the course of time….

We, being the people of the United States, have done great things, both great good and great evil in the course of becoming a nation and a people, populated by people who claim to believe in God and in His laws. Some of us have used those laws and His Word to justify great and good things and very evil and vile treatment of people, especially those of color whether they were of African origin or Native American. Using the Word of God to justify the killing or maiming of anyone is wrong! There is no justifying these sorts of crimes, in the past or today, regardless of which Holy Book you claim to be following!

Killing someone is wrong and has been since the time of Cain and Abel, and using God’s Word or another so-called “holy book” to justify the killing of people because they don’t believe like you do or because of the color of their skin is something that God will hold you accountable for! Our history is replete with examples of this type of behavior, and so is the rest of the world especially in the area around Israel today. There is no True God which requires this and anyone who claims that Allah says to do this and then says that the God of Abraham is the same is a liar!

Our world is going through some tough times right now and will go through more as the time nears for Jesus’ return. Whether you believe in Jesus or not, it will happen. Although it may not be in the next five years or even ten, but it will happen. Nothing that was prophesied in God’s Word has failed to come to pass, although many try to scientifically explain away the things which have happened.

The killing of innocents will not go unpunished, whether they are children or fetuses, all will be avenged by God. Evil, in all of its forms and guises, will not prevail but will be defeated and all of the atrocities which happened or are happening because of people claiming to be doing “God’s will” by doing these things, will be avenged by God Himself, so whether you believe in Him or not, be warned.

Those of you who may have accepted Christ at one time in your life and then walked away from the church are only doing yourself a disservice. No matter what it was that drove you away from the church, or maybe it was a person or a preacher, you need to get back into it. God loves you and He hasn’t moved, you did. The more distance you put between yourself and God, the less influence He has in your life. Your spirit will not be convicted by His Spirit if you have distanced yourself from Him and quenched His power in your life. When this happens, there is less of Him showing through your life which is when people call you a hypocrite. Think about it.

Jehovah, what does this name mean to you?

The Hebrew word Jehovah means He who Causes to Become or God.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11 “Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:36

In the New Testament, this word is used as a reference to the fact that Jesus is the Lord. He is never called Jehovah, but He is equal with God because He has always been part of the triune Godhead. Our Savior, Jesus, did not think it was beneath Him to come as a common baby, born to a virgin from the house and lineage of David and who was betrothed to a man, Joseph, who was also from the line of David.

This was prophesied many years before His birth, and God knew that this was to be the way even from the beginning. The Promise was given when God told the serpent: Gen 3:15  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Jesus’ birth was told about all through Scripture, yet He was never referred to as Jehovah, even though He is part of the Trinity. He can do all things and still does because He is our Creator. God loves all of us and He has given us the opportunity to come to Him through Jesus. All that we have to do is to decide to believe in Him and accept Him as our Savior. We cannot help Him to save us, we can’t add to our salvation because He has done all of the work for us.

We also have trouble believing that the gift of God is free, which may be why many people haven’t made that decision yet. So, what are you waiting for? Do you know for certain that you will be here tomorrow or next week? Can you tell with absolute certainty that you won’t die next month or even next week? If you can’t, then I suggest that you get in touch with God through Jesus and ask Him to forgive you for waiting so long, and make sure to ask Jesus into your life as your Savior.

We have the choice to be servants of ourselves or of God, which would you rather be? Considering that I can’t do anything or make anything from nothing, and you can’t either, I would rather be God’s servant than be my own! The love of God is the best reward that you can possibly hope for and even if your financial situation doesn’t improve in this life, eternity will be much better than all the wealth in the world!

Your life and mine are worth a lot to God because He care for each of us and regardless of your own opinion of your life, God cares deeply for you and what happens in your life. He watches over  you and your family no matter what, so give Him your life and your eternity will be secure regardless of the economic situation in the world.