So much trouble…

On many days during life, we think we are having a lot of troubles when we really aren’t. When you look at the actual news in the world, not what is reported by our media outlets, you will find that there are many places and people who are having a much worse day than you are. Some have lost homes or family members, some are living with terrible diseases like cancer or in some cases, diabetes or MS. There are others in countries where civil war is going on or other conflicts which are devastating lives and economies.

Trouble seems to be the default condition in our world regardless of the country where you may live. So, why are we having all of this happening in our lives? Mainly it is because of the time in which we are living. We have been told in God’s Word that the world around us would resemble the world in Noah’s day, just before the flood happened, and it would be this way before Jesus’ return. I am not speaking of His physical return to the Earth, not yet. I am speaking of the time just before He comes to take His people home.

I know that many don’t think about the trouble in life. Some people seem to have it made, but that condition is not the default condition even in America. Of course, much of the world thinks that every person here is rich and when compared to the poverty in some countries we may be well off, but not rich by any definition. God does bless us by our service to His Kingdom, although not in the way that many in the prosperity movement try to convince people about.

Faith is better expressed by those who feel the need for God’s provision in their life and when you have an abundance of money you don’t feel that need much at all. This is why Jesus told His disciples that it “is hard for a rich man to enter Heaven“.  It is not impossible but those who don’t have daily needs met put more faith and have more dependence on God than someone who can get what they want or need easily.

God love all of us, but He doesn’t like the sinful lives which many of us insist on living in. I implore those who read this to consider giving their heart to Jesus because when this life is over, your choice has been made.

Division

A word which I used to hate to hear in school! Yet, it seems very much in the news today as well as in the church. Our government or rather the politicians in it can’t seem to agree on anything today! Many churches and preachers can’t seem to agree on the message that we are all supposed to be preaching either!

DivisionWhy so much division? Between political parties and churches, between people of different cultures in the same country. I try not to speak of “races” because God did not create us that way. We are all descended from the same parents spoken about in Genesis, regardless of which religion that you claim. Judaism, Christian or Islam, all of these claim the same beginning for the most part, with very little difference until the birth of Jesus.

Division causes much strife in our world. We can’t agree on how to work out our problems because of it. We can’t seem to get past our political differences because of division between political beliefs, which seem to be ingrained in some people just as deeply as religious differences. Why is there so much difference of opinion and religion in our world?

Because we all have differing opinions on how religion and politics are supposed to be done. 

Life itself is a differing of opinion. Between heartbeats your body could die, but God chooses for each of us to live our lives until He brings us to the end of our days. Even when we think that our life should be ending or that the world would be better off without us, God may have a different idea about that. Which is why some of us live through accidents and diseases that should have taken our life, but God had a different idea or purpose for us.

My purpose is to be a pastor or preacher, and whether it is online or at a physical church that is what I will do until God says otherwise. Division in life between spouses or family members can cause terrible rifts between family and good friends. Sometimes those rifts are permanent and sometimes they aren’t unless you allow them to be. Of course, God also has some input in those relationships too.

Make sure that your life doesn’t have too many divisions in it because one there is a divide, sometimes you can’t put it back together if it is split too far apart. Mend as many of those as you can so that when your time comes, your family can celebrate your life together even when your life has ended here.

Which way will you go?

highway2heavenhellHave you considered this question? Many of us do when we are faced with a choice, whether it is a fork in the road or even a religious decision. So…which one do you take? Will you follow the Living Word, Jesus the Christ, and live forever in Heaven with Him? Will you decide to fool yourself into believing that you know the way to Heaven and salvation? Or maybe you will follow another religion or cult and see if their path might take you to eternity?

Consider that eternity is a very long, long time. Don’t you want to base your decision on more than a “might” or a “maybe”? Think about walking across a frozen lake. If there is a nice dusting of snow on it, you have no idea how thick the ice is. Would you take the chance of walking out onto a frozen lake like this? This is the same chance that you are taking when you haven’t given your heart to Jesus. Jonathan Edwards said that your life hangs by a thread of grace from God, above a lake of fire which is hell itself until you have given your heart to Jesus.

Life is short and regardless of how long you live, our lives are incredibly short compared to eternity! So consider how much Jesus spoke about those who fall short of Heaven, those who haven’t accepted Him as their Savior! The punishment would last forever in hades or hell whatever you want to call it. The problem is that many people think that God sends you to hell and that could not be further from the truth.

Each of us has a decision to make about our eternity and it is that decision which determines your eternal home. I don’t mean to say that you choose to be saved or not, but we do choose whether we will respond to the Spirit’s call when we feel it compelling us to ask Jesus into our lives! Some people will gladly jump at the chance and almost run down the aisle to accept Jesus, and some will put their fingerprints in the back of the pew trying NOT to accept Him.

This is the decision that is so important in life. Little children can understand it but adults try to rationalize it and figure everything out before accepting Jesus. We make this decision far more complicated than it should be when we are adults and we feel Jesus calling to us! So how are we to get past all of this so-called “logical” thinking? The easiest way that I know is to seek Him out.

What do you mean by that?

I mean when you have felt the Spirit prompting you to accept Jesus and you’re not sure, get into the Bible and learn about Him. Seek His voice and all of the information that you can find about Him in the gospels, pray about it and ask Him to help you learn more about this salvation thing! At this point, Satan will try to get your attention away from Jesus and point you toward something fun and exciting, something to distract you from seeking Him.

Unfortunately, this is the point where many people will follow those exciting activities and leave the Word of God on the shelf. Sometimes they don’t ever come back to it, and sometimes they come back to it much later than they should’ve. God can still use your life no matter what stage of life you may be in, but He could have been there to help you through many of life’s problems if you had given your heart to Him earlier.

Don’t put off living your life with Christ as your friend and your Savior. You don’t know if you will have tomorrow because nobody does. We have today and even our minutes and hours are governed by God and He knows how many that you have left….you don’t!

Do you know Him?

Our Savior, Jesus, the Son of God is the Him of which I speak. He shed His divinity to come to Earth, be born of a woman, live the life of a man of Jewish descent, perfectly fulfilling the Law (which no normal human could do), teach a group of disciples so that they could carry His teachings to all parts of the world, died on a cross on the day of Passover and then rose again on the third day!

john_3_16_17_scripture_memory_card-raf7013e639264b87b918bea9971565b3_vgbaq_8byvr_540Yes, a long sentence to tell of the life of Jesus the Christ. A short version of His life, death and resurrection, but a story which has significance for so many around the world! Some of whom believe that He is our Savior and Lord, some  do not believe He was anything other than a prophet.

Do you know Him? You can get to know Him if you will believe in Him and follow Him. Learn about Him through reading of the New Testament and do the things which His disciples did…tell others what He has done for you!

 

Understanding your role

I did a sermon on the first chapter of James last week which I will break up into 2 sections. One will be here, which will be about half of the sermon, since it is a bit long. The second part will be at my other site, thelivingmessage.com. I pray that those of you who read this will take the lessons of it in stride because it has much to say about how we are supposed to live as Christians.

Faith responds with practical godliness under testing (1:1-27).

James uses the description of himself as a servant or in some other translations “a bond servant” of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ to show that he willingly and lovingly served. He could’ve claimed status since he was the Lord’s half-brother, according to history. But, he didn’t. A bond servant serves out of love not because of being bound. This is the service that we should be giving unto Jesus and to our faith!

Your faith and your Christian life is no good if the people that you are around can’t tell that anything has changed in your life. Testing is like polishing a car or a piece of jewelry, it needs to be done from time to time so that your life reflects Jesus more than it does yourself. Sometimes the testing or pruning in your life may not be very enjoyable, I mean look at Job! In the first chapter of Job, God actually brags to Satan about him. Yet, when Satan challenges God on this he is given permission to do anything he wishes EXCEPT take his life.

Will we be tested quite that hard? It is possible, I mean when you are given a diagnosis of cancer or some other disease which can kill you, that is pretty hard testing. Sometimes the test is just getting through one day at a time, getting past the treatments and the medicine and the side effects of that. Lean on God’s strength when yours fails you and He won’t let you down. Because, James used the word “when” to say that we will go through testing because we are His servants in this world and this world hates Him.

A. Faith responds with joy when it faces testing (1:2-4).

This one is tough, especially when you may not be in the midst of testing right now. But, if you ever have been I am sure it didn’t seem like a joyful time. Our joy comes from knowing that Jesus is also God and He won’t let you down, no matter what. “Joy comes in the morning” is something which I turn to almost every day when my legs and hips hurt and when my spine feels like it won’t flex at all. (Psalm 30:5)

God is there with you in your pain and in the joyful times. He is near when tragedy strikes and when a child is born. In all things give thanks that He loves you and is working the best out in your life so that others will see Him in your life! Trials will cause you to develop patience and endurance in Him, if you will stay close to Jesus during your trials. Don’t think or even consider that your strength is enough to get you through any trial, regardless of the hardness of the trial, because if you do Satan can make the trial hard enough to make you look to Him even though he isn’t trying to turn you toward Jesus our Lord.

B. Faith seeks God for wisdom in times of testing (1:5-8).

In our trials, whatever they may be, we truly should seek God’s wisdom during these times. Trying to lean on your own understanding and your own wisdom will bring more problems and even harder testing because you think that you can get through without God! God’s Word contains all of the wisdom that you need to get through trials. Prayer and fasting can increase your faith to bring you even closer to God and His Wisdom. Even Jesus said that “when ye fast”, it was not a command but He knew that even in our time, there will be days and problems which require fasting to bring the solution to our knowledge from God!

Life’s little obstacles

When you are walking barefoot, you feel every pebble no matter how small. That is what life is like when you are walking without Jesus as your guide. Every problem, every discomfort, everything gets in the way of your enjoyment. Of course, if you have never accepted Jesus, this actually feels like a normal day so it doesn’t really bother you much. You go around them, you ignore them and just move on…until you come up against one that is bigger than you can go around, then what?

It is true that many of our problems could be described as rocks and bumps in a path through this life, but then at times the pathway is almost blocked to the point of falling off on one side or another or maybe you will have to climb over this one. But…how? There aren’t any places to climb over or to put your hands and feet in order to climb over this problem, and it seems that it is on an incline and getting bigger. It may roll over you if you can’t get around or over it so now what do you do?

This is where you learn to depend upon Jesus and His atoning grace for you and your life. The obstacles which were in your way are nothing to our Creator and they can be overcome with His strength. The path becomes a bit smaller, narrower than it was before, but as long as you are following Jesus and depending upon Him, you can navigate it without difficulty. It won’t be easy because once you have given your life and heart to Him, Satan will begin to put more problems in your path.

I don’t say this to scare you away from being a Christian, just a heads-up so you won’t be blindsided by anything that may come your way. The problems that I speak of are not the kind that will kill you, because you belong to Jesus. They are temptations trying to bring you back to the life you led before. Sometimes, they are obstacles to your life with Christ or something that may keep you from fulfilling your ministry.

There are a number of little problems which Satan can magnify into larger problems, the point is that you have the power of Jesus the Christ on your side. He is the Living Word after all and the second person of the Trinity. He has already defeated Satan and the Holy Spirit is inside you, if you are a Christian. Being a Christian you are an adopted child of God, you have nothing to fear from Satan or any of the obstacles that he may place in your path.

God will give you the strength to get through these problems when they arise and He will be with you regardless of what they might be. Give Jesus a chance in your life, so you will have an eternity to praise Him and thank Him for all that He has done.

Peace on Earth….

Today, we don’t think it is possible but God is going to bring it to us soon. He is the only One Who can bring peace to us. We cannot do it ourselves. Peace is not possible by our strength or negotiations or our weapons. Peace comes from the Prince of Peace and only from Him.

Seek Him out, the Babe from Bethlehem, because He is your Savior and your Messiah! He is also our Shepherd toward eternity and the only way to have it. God loves us far more than we realize, because He sent His Son to pay our sin debts! Not just that of the disciples and the early church but the sins of those from Adam’s time forward until the end of days.

Jesus was the only One Who could pay that size of debt and He did it, and then rose to life again on the third day so that we could also rise to eternal life as long as we belong to Him and He belongs to each of us. How can we know that we are His?

By believing in His sacrifice for us and in what He accomplished for us, like a child. Take the Word of God as the Truth because it is! Don’t dispute it because He inspired those who wrote it down to write the words which He gave them. His Word is True, therefore His Son’s sacrifice and its atonement for you and me is true. Repent of your sinful ways, and believe!

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

God is everywhere!

I read an email from a friend a few years ago and it had a story in it that many of you have likely seen before but here is the gist of it:

A man walked up to a boy on his way to school many years ago and said to him, “I will give you a nickel if you can tell me where God is.” (Had to be many years ago because a nickel wouldn’t interest too many kids today). The boy asked him, “How long do I have to find God for you mister?” The man said, “Until this afternoon when you get out of school, I will be close by.”

So the boy went to school and looked and read some books and asked a teacher or two about where God could be found. By that afternoon, the little boy found the man on his way home and he told him, “Mister, you can keep your nickel, because I found that God is all around us! I would be willing to give you a dollar if you could tell me where God isn’t!”

The boy is right, God is everywhere! But, that doesn’t mean that we are “gods” or that the planet that we live on is a “god”, like many so-called “new age religions” try to make you see in yourself. God created all that is in our universe. All of the planets, the stars, the comets, every tree and blade of grass and each of us! HE had a part, a very BIG part, in creating you and me and every other person on Earth as well as all of the things which we see and feel around us every day!

Don’t count Jesus out of your life because He is God’s Son, the Living Word, and He was instrumental in creation! The Holy Spirit also played a big part in creation, because He is part of the Trinity and also the Spirit of God which brought to life Adam and which hovered over the waters before the light was brought into existence.

Yes, there are many who will tell me that this is not true or that the Bible is a book full of errors and lies…but it isn’t. Many of the prophecies in its pages have already come true and there are some which are going to come true soon, then the whole world will see that He is real and that His Word is Truth!

Seek Him while there is time to do so, because we are not guaranteed tomorrow morning. Today is all that you have and even the moments which have not passed aren’t sure for anyone because they are still in the future. Time is moving and it is moving faster, it seems, but in a few minutes it will be one minute after 8, this is Central Time, but what I am pointing to is that by the time I finish this, it will be later than that!

Jesus, in all of the books of the Bible

In Genesis he’s the Seed of the Woman.
In Exodus he’s the Passover Lamb.
In Leviticus he’s the Scapegoat.
In Numbers he’s the Serpent lifted up in the Wilderness.
In Deuteronomy he’s the Cities of Refuge.
In Joshua he’s the Scarlet thread on Rahab’s house.
In Judges he’s the Perfect Judge.
In Ruth he’s the Kinsman Redeemer.
In I Samuel he’s the Trusted Prophet.
In 2 Samuel he’s the True Son of David.
In 1 Kings he’s the Promise Keeper.
In 2 Kings he’s the Jealous God.
In 1 Chronicles he’s our Reigning King.
In 2 Chronicles he’s our Deliverer.
In Ezra he’s the Faithful Scribe.
In Nehemiah he’s the Rebuilder of Broken Walls.
In Esther he’s Mordecai at the Gate.
In Job he’s My Redeemer Who Lives Today.
In Psalms he’s the Lord who is my Shepherd.
In Proverbs he’s our Wisdom.
In Ecclesiastes he’s our True Satisfaction.
In Song of Solomon he’s the Beautiful Bridegroom.
In Isaiah he’s the Suffering Servant.
In Jeremiah he’s the Righteous Branch.
In Lamentations he’s the Weeping Prophet.
In Ezekiel he’s the Son of Man.
In Daniel he’s the Fourth Man in the Furnace.
In Hosea he’s the Faithful Husband.
In Joel he’s the One Who Restores.
In Amos he’s the Burden Bearer.
In Obadiah he’s the Mighty Judge.
In Jonah he’s the Foreign Missionary.
In Micah he’s our Peace.
In Nahum he’s the Avenger.
In Habakkuk he’s the Lord in His Holy Temple.
In Zephaniah he’s the Lord Mighty to Save.
In Haggai he’s the Lord of Hosts.
In Zechariah he’s the Fountain of Cleansing.
In Malachi he’s the Sun of Righteousness.
In Matthew he’s the Promised Messiah.
In Mark he’s the Faithful Servant.
In Luke he’s Friend of Sinners.
In John he’s the Son of God.
In Acts he’s the Ascended Lord.
In Romans he’s the Justifier.
In 1 Corinthians he’s our Righteousness.
In 2 Corinthians he’s the God of All Comfort.
In Galatians he’s the Redeemer from the Curse of the Law.
In Ephesians he’s the Head of the Church.
In Philippians he’s the All-Sufficient Christ.
In Colossians he’s the Fullness of God.
In 1 Thessalonians he’s the Lord Coming Down from Heaven.
In 2 Thessalonians he’s the Judge coming with Blazing Fire.
In 1 Timothy he’s our Mediator.
In 2 Timothy he’s our Master.
In Titus he’s the Blessed Hope.
In Philemon he’s the One Who Paid Our Debt.
In Hebrews he’s Our Great High Priest.
In James he’s the Judge Standing at the Door.
In 1 Peter he’s the Chief Shepherd.
In 2 Peter he’s the Morning Star.
In 1 John he’s the Word of Life.
In 2 John he’s the Son of the Father.
In 3 John he’s the Truth.
In Jude he’s the Lord Coming with countless thousands of his saints.
In Revelation he’s the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

God loves you!

YoushallbesavedBelieve it or not, He really does! Otherwise, He wouldn’t have sent Jesus to pay for our sins in the first place. We are all sinners, backsliders, liars, thieves, adulterers, and murderers to some extent but the sins have been paid for, the penalty for each of them has been paid for by Jesus! All you have to do is realize that you need Him and that your lifestyle is sinful in some way then turn away from your sins and ask Him to come into your life and give you the victory over sin!

Is it a quick fix? Sometimes but sometimes it takes a little time, but with Jesus in your corner what do you have to fear? He is the Alpha and the Omega, our Creator and the King of Kings! He is over ALL of creation because He created it all! The good, bad, the ugly and the indifferent but He created all of it!

The children’s song, “Jesus loves me”, is so true because He does and He wouldn’t have come to pay for our sin debt if He did not love each of us. So, why do people seem to so against Him and His love? To me, it doesn’t make much sense at all. Pick between two different people to be your parent–One Who loves you beyond your ability to measure, and the other who tells you that he loves you but can’t help you in any situation requiring the power of God. Why? Because Satan doesn’t know how to heal and he can’t. He doesn’t care about your soul except to keep you from giving your heart to Jesus! He will laugh at you when you are in hell with him because you believed his lies!

How did you hear his lies if you went to church all of your life? By not studying the Word of God, by making God fit into your idea of Who He is (making your own god), by thinking that you are righteous because of your length of time in the church. All of these and more will send many people to hell, even though they will think that they are going to Heaven.

God loves you but He cannot be put in a “box of your own making”. You have heard people say something like “My God wouldn’t do that!” “He wouldn’t send you to Hell for …..”; no, your “god” wouldn’t, but if your version doesn’t line up with the One in Scripture then we aren’t talking about the same God!

Jesus came to do the Father’s will while He was with the disciples during His ministry, and He was just as much a part of the Trinity while here as He was in Heaven! Yes, Jesus was born of a woman but His nature was of His Father not that of sinful man. So, He was just as much Creator and God as He was man!

In John 3:16,17,18 it says:  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting 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”

Believing in Jesus isn’t very hard to do. Read John and the book of Romans completely, then if you don’t want to believe or you don’t find anyone to believe in through those verses of Scripture…then all I can do is pray for you. God does love you and He has shown it through His Son…all that you have to do to have eternal life is to repent of your sins and believe in Jesus. That’s it! A child can understand it.