Why do relationships go wrong?

Truly the reason that this happens is because of the foundation. Many marriages begin on the wrong foot and certainly on sand or loose gravel for a foundation. Why do we pursue a relationship that ultimately will fail?

IAM-JesusWe do this because we haven’t found the Relationship which can’t fail. We are born searching for something or Someone but for years we search and look for things and people to fill that void, that empty place which always feels as if it needs…to be filled. It is a scientific principle which states quite accurately that “nature abhors a vacuum”. At some point, something will fill that space whether it is good or bad, God or Satan, it doesn’t matter which, but it will be filled.

If we try to fill it with a career or a family, that can work for a while but it isn’t permanent. If we try to fill it with drugs or alcohol, our life and our relationships are doomed to fail because those things are designed to destroy whatever they come in contact with! But…if we will seek out our Savior, Jesus the Christ, and repent of the attempts which we have tried before, and ask Him to come in and clean our heart up, then our life will be placed on the right path.

Following Him, learning about Him by reading and studying the Bible, praying about your family and your problems, all of these will begin to fix your pathway and your life in such a way that your foundation will become complete and solid. When this happens, your relationship with your spouse and your family will begin to level out and become less bumpy and more smooth. This is the foundation which should guide our lives today but we tend to follow along with the rest of the crowd at school or church, if we go at all.

If everyone at school or at church is just going along to get along for the sake of being thought of as a “pillar of the community”, that is the wrong reason. Trying to earn a place in the eyes of people and “fair weather friends”, no matter how you earn it, doesn’t help you in the long run. Why? Because it isn’t built on God’s foundation which is Jesus.

You can decide to ignore this advice if you wish or just don’t read this at all, it doesn’t hurt my feelings one way or the other. But…what if I am right. When your life is going to hell on a slippery slope, which of your friends could possibly pull you out of it? A rich kid that you went to school with? No, they are likely off enjoying life just as they think they should. What about your dear friend from work? Not likely, they come home feeling even more tired than they did last year.

The only One Who can get your life back on the right path and give you strength enough to make it through all of your trouble is Jesus. No other religion or “holy man” or prophet can do that because all of them are dead! He is alive at the Father’s right hand and He is able to help you in your time of need. Seek Him out and make sure that He is your foundation and your Solid Rock, your Savior. Because without Him, we can do nothing.

The Bread of Life!

There are two definitions for the Bread of Life and sometimes we get them confused. One of them is the Bible, the Word of God, is the Bread of Life because it points us toward the way to be saved. The other is Jesus our Savior, the Bread of Life Himself.

The manna which the Israelites ate in the desert could be termed the bread of life because they lived on its sustenance for forty years. It is true, of course, that they got tired of it and complained about it but it was their food for a long time.

Jesus is our Bread of Life because by believing in Him we can have life, eternal life with Him. That belief is one which doesn’t doubt and one which totally believes in Jesus as the Son of God and our Savior! It is not enough to go to church a few times in your life, nor is it enough to go to church every time the doors are open. Why? Because going to church is like going to work or going to visit a friend, nothing there can save your soul except if you are seeking Jesus as your Savior!

IAM-Jesus

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!

I’ll get back to you…

How would this attitude feel if you had to put up with it every week or so? It is amazing that God’s patience with us has lasted so long. Especially in light of the fact that the world that He created didn’t last as long before the flood as it has since Jesus’ resurrection! People go to church or to synagogue each week and then go home and act as if they never met the Creator!

While it is true that we don’t meet Him face to face in our religious meetings each week, we are supposed to be seeking Him out to find out Who He really is and get to know Him better. But…do you? We leave our worship services with a vague notion of Who He is or Who Jesus is IF our teacher or preacher is teaching from God’s Word. It seems that many of us go out the door and mostly forget what we have heard or what we have read about in our Bibles!

It is as if the “meeting” that we attend each week is just a meeting of other people who are religious about meeting at this place and time. It seems that our reason for going to church is to be seen by others and not to learn about why we come to worship or even Who it is that we are coming to worship! We pray and sing a few songs and listen to our teacher/preacher telling us stories from his perspective or sometimes from the Bible and then we go home thinking that we have been taught what we need to know.

So let me ask you this: What did you learn about Jesus on Sunday? Do you remember what the sermon was about or the scripture that it was taught from? Did you even tell anyone about what you learned at church and invite them to come and hear about the man, Jesus, who is the Savior of us all?

Some of you did, many more who attended church this past weekend did not. Some even sat with an earphone from your iPod or iPhone stuck in your ear or you just tuned the sermon completely out.

“I’ll get back to you” is a phrase that is used in many areas of life but it shouldn’t be used when you are speaking to or learning from God and His Word! Why? Because you might not get back. The sinner’s prayer is easy to say but it has to come from a sincerely broken heart, one that knows that it is a sinner and that it has sinned and that it needs God, it needs Jesus! You can recite it just as many of us learned to do with the “Pledge of Allegiance” when we were young, although they don’t do that anymore because they don’t want to offend anyone.

The sinner’s prayer goes something like this:

Jesus, I know that you are Lord of Heaven and Earth. I know that you came here to die for my sins, and you proved yourself as the Son of God by rising from the dead after being crucified. I am a sinner and I need You for my redemption. Jesus, I accept you into my life and ask for your forgiveness for me.  Amen.

That is all it takes. If you know that you need Him don’t “get back to Him”, ask Him to come into your heart and He will be there forever.

Suffering..

God, unlike some of the sermons that are heard and preached, doesn’t allow you to suffer. Yes, He is in control. Yes, He told Satan to test Job and Peter but His Spirit was there with them even through all that they went through. God gave them the strength to go through what they had to suffer but He did NOT cause their suffering. God’s only reason behind the testing was to prove to Satan the faith that His servant, Job, had in Him.

We are not made to suffer by a loving God. Jesus did not make Peter suffer, though He did tell Peter that Satan had asked to “sift him as wheat“. He also told Peter that He had prayed for his strength to stand against his sifting. Peter failed because he denied Jesus three times, though truthfully Jesus had also told Peter ahead of time that he would do this as well. Our God and our Lord know us better than we know ourselves, we may think our faith is strong only to find that is not the case in the time that we face a trial.

The most positive point that I can give you here is that after Jesus was resurrected, He forgave and restored Peter. Afterward, Peter became one of the most faithful of His disciples.

We can too! IF we will learn to give our hearts and our faith to God completely, unashamedly and without reserve! This kind of commitment is not impossible, couples who are committed to each other in marriage do it. So, why can’t we give this kind of service and commitment to our Lord and Savior when He gave His life for us?

True, He knew that He could take His life up again but His human body still had to endure the suffering and the pain of the scourging and the cross! That part of Him that was God, had to endure something worse…the separation from His Father during the time on the cross! Something which He had never had to experience from eternity past! A suffering that we, as Christians, won’t have to endure. Those who refuse to believe in Him and live their lives for Him will endure that separation forever, tormented by the fact that their belief in Jesus could’ve saved them from it.

That is the punishment of hell. Yes, there may be a lake of fire. It is mentioned in Scripture, weeping and gnashing of teeth are also mentioned. The torment most grievous will be the separation from God and everything that is good and light and cool. Consider this, search the Bible for your answers, seek out Jesus while you still draw breath because when you die…there are no do-overs, no second chances, no re-spawn to life! That’s it!

What will you do with your life? What are you expecting in eternity? Not believing in eternity now will not change the fact that God says there is an eternity after this life. Make sure of yours while you can.

We celebrate the birth…

Nativity-29Though many are more into the commercial aspect of Christmas these days, we truly should be celebrating the birth of our Savior. But, what about the love that He expressed from God toward all of us thirty years or so later. What was it that brought Him to Jerusalem at Passover to be offered up as a perfect lamb for the sins of the world?

He did it because of love. The love for mankind that He had and that He had seen expressed through the Father since Creation. He did it because His Father sent Him to the world to show the love of God to mankind. Everyone seems to look at the Jewish high priests who were scared of Him and blames them for getting Jesus crucified but they were only part of the equation.

God had put all of the parts in motion when He told Eve and Adam that the Seed of the woman would come one day and crush the serpent’s head. Though God had known that it would be necessary for this to happen even before He said “Let there be light!”. Nothing in the universe takes God by surprise because He is in control of it all, whether we agree with Him or like how He does things or not.

God looked into time before it started counting and He saw you and me and He knew that we needed a Savior. The only One that could fill that requirement and the sacrifice that would be needed was the Son and He would have to come as a baby born of a woman by God’s Spirit. No Earthly man could fulfill the requirement for a Savior, only One Who had the nature of God Himself, unstained by the sins of previous generations.

What was it that held Jesus on the cross? Many would say that it was the Roman nails of which there were three. Some would say that He was put there because His people rejected His teachings and His offer of salvation. The truth is that it was love which held Him there. He had more love and compassion for His people, not just the Jewish people but ALL of us, than He could express in His life.

So, with His death He provided a way for all of us to be saved through belief in Him and His life. Also, the message which He brought to us through His teachings and His disciples which the church is supposed to be taking to the rest of the world until He comes again. His birth brought joy into the world because of God’s love for man. His death and resurrection brought salvation to us through our belief in Him and His love for us.

What more could we ask for? A perfect world? We wouldn’t be satisfied with it. All the money we could ever need? It would be nice for a while, but ultimately if everyone on Earth had all that they needed, they would still want more. We are offered eternity through Jesus’ life, burial and resurrection if we will accept it humbly and believe in Him. There is no greater gift that we could be given than that.

You are valuable!

Our Savior, Jesus Christ, said “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” I used to wonder what in the world He was speaking of…and now I know. Think of it this way if you can, picture all of the wealth of the entire world! The oil fields, all of the gold and platinum and silver, all of the diamonds and emeralds and rubies and sapphires that you can imagine, all of the real estate and mansions of every nation on Earth…and God considers your soul worth MORE than all of that. Why?

Because, NONE of that wealth will buy your way into Heaven! It is worthless compared to the worth of your soul…just yours! There are billions of people on Earth and God considers just one worth more than the entire wealth of the world! That is why He sent Jesus to die for us, all of us, but He would’ve sent Him even if there was only one more person who would accept Him. Isn’t that AWESOME!!!

God loves you and me and every person on Earth. He doesn’t love the sins that we commit though like using His name as a cuss word or using drugs or alcohol in an abusive way. There are many more sins than this but you know what I’m talking about. You are loved and valued by the Creator and He extends His grace and His love to you every day. You have a chance to accept Jesus as your Savior, while you live here, the problem is that many people think that they have plenty of time to “get right with God”.

That is a lie from Satan! You may be in a wreck tomorrow. You may have a heart attack tonight or tomorrow. You can’t “get right” after you die! The decision is yours but it has to be made as soon as possible! Then, read the Bible and study it because it has instructions for your life and how to live it! Trust in Jesus and His atonement for you because that is all that is required. Baptism is good, confessing your sins is good, but giving your heart to Jesus and believing in Him is what opens the door. The thief on the cross couldn’t get baptized and he didn’t have a chance to witness to anyone or confess his sins…all he did was believe that Jesus was Who He claimed to be, and Jesus said that he would be with Him in Paradise today!

God doesn’t want you to spend one day in hell, but Satan does because he wants to take you away from God’s presence! Life is only in the Prince of Peace and the King of Kings, Jesus the Son of God! Ask Him into your life today!

Time….

We count it and watch it, some days it seems like we don’t have enough of it yet we waste it too. So, what do you intend to do with the time that you have? How much time do you have? How much of it have you thrown away with games and silly things that don’t give you any reward? We look at a new sunrise and think that we have all day to do things when actually we have already lost six hours of that day since midnight. During the spring and fall we get two equinoxes  which give us twelve hours each of daylight and night, but as Jesus said to His disciples: “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” John 9:4

I was curious about the hours and minutes and seconds that we have in a day so I am breaking that down here: In one twenty-four hour period there are 1440 minutes and 86,400 seconds. We tend to use part of those for sleep of course, but the point is that our time is limited. We don’t know for sure how long we will live and yet we fritter it away as if we will have a century or more.

Life begins with our conception but our breathing life begins at birth and from that point on we begin to die physically. Of course for a couple of decades we don’t notice the breakdown of our cells and our bodies, if we are lucky or blessed to be born healthy. Some don’t get that blessing though and are born with built-in limitations, which can be a blessing or a curse depending on how we look at it as we grow. The thing to remember is that GOD DOESN’T MAKE JUNK!

Physical limitations, disabilities or whatever you may call them are just points where we need to learn to lean on God more in our daily lives. The apostle Paul had a thorn that he had to deal with while he was serving the Lord and he asked God to remove it three times, but God told him that “my grace is sufficient for you“. Paul had to learn to live with it, whatever it was and he did some mighty preaching with it until his execution.

Time is given to us in increments of seconds and minutes and hours and days and months and years, but we are never guaranteed a certain amount of time. We get our days just one at a time, and no more. This is why I try to tell people about Jesus and His mercy for your life, provided on the cross and through His resurrection so that our sins are paid for. All that we need to do is to claim this grace and mercy from God.

Once you do, then you can use the remaining days that you have telling others about Jesus in your life. We are given this time to do just that, to tell others about our Lord and Savior. This is God’s will for a Christian’s life. We all don’t have glorious and grand ministries like some on TV do. But, in telling others about Jesus we do have a ministry. Because, God loves all of His creation. He doesn’t like the sins that many seem prone to live in on a daily basis, but He loves the people anyway.

Living a sinful life is not pleasing to God, whether you are a CINO (Christian in name only) or a true, born again Christian. One who truly has had their life and heart changed by the Holy Spirit cannot comfortably commit sin because you are convicted of it when the thought enters your mind even before you do anything with that thought! I don’t mean that Christians are pure and sinless because nobody lived a life on Earth that way except for Jesus.

We can live a life sanctified by Him, washed in His blood, and our records have been wiped clean from that point on, but we will still say things, think things, and do things that are sinful. We can claim His forgiveness for those sins at the point of conviction because we are covered by His righteousness. As long as we don’t choose to go back into a life of sin and ignore the Spirit’s prompting us to stop. We are still His, but like putting a white cloth in the mud we have soiled our life and our soul. If you keep on in your sin, it will get easier to ignore the Spirit’s prompting each time until one day you won’t hear it or feel it at all.

But…God is still with you. He hasn’t left you, you are the one who moved. Come back to Him, seek Him out and He will forgive your sins and take you back. Just because you have gotten off the path, doesn’t mean that you can’t find it again. Give your life and your heart to Jesus and the rest of the journey won’t be easy but He will give you the strength to get through each minute…each second…of each day that is ahead of you.