The Dark side….

In my last post I spoke about being self-righteous and many people seem to feel this way, although if you told them this they would be offended.

Self-righteousness was and has been a problem in religious circles for many generations but that is not what I have seen in the news or on talk shows lately. What is cropping up is apathy and a lack of respect between parents and children, teachers and their students and those who claim to be Christians and those who don’t.

(Darth Vader breathing)

This is the shadow of the dark side, not so much from a science fiction point of view, but the dark side of Creation. There was always a dividing line between light and dark and there really is not grey area in that spot. It is either one or the other, dark and light don’t blend in nature nor in the spiritual realm.

It seems that many people don’t exactly believe that the Bible nor anything referred to in it are real today. As if a few thousand years has obliterated Satan and his demons as well as God and His angels. That is fine if you want to believe that, I have no problem with your beliefs or lack of belief.

But…just hypothetically speaking, what if all of the things prophesied in the Bible really come true one day in the not too distant future? Would you change your thinking or your beliefs? Or would you cling to blissfully being an unbeliever and just disregard anything that your eyes see as nonsense? When your life is over on this plane of existence, what do you think will happen to you?

Many people seem to think that they just stop existing and that is that. Some say they go to a place of happiness and bliss. I don’t claim to have gone over the threshold to see what is there, but according to what is in the Bible you stand before God to be judged for your life. What you did while you lived, if you came to believe in Jesus or not and the sins that you committed during your life will all be judged either for you or against you.

How do you think your life will look to God, if you chose to go through it without Jesus or believing in Him either? The Bible says this about our life and our righteousness, “Our righteousness is as filthy rags” Isaiah 64:6. The expression there is like unwashed clothes that have been worn for weeks and are so filthy that they are coming apart.

The dark side of the spiritual realm, where Satan and his fallen angels are, is at war with God and all of His angels and those of us who tell of His love and compassion for you. Satan has no love for man, he hates us because we are made in the image of God and that is only one of his reasons. He hates us because God loves us and because we were placed above him in responsibilities in God’s kingdom.

Please, don’t go over to the dark side. Give your heart to Jesus and live for Him. Make Satan uncomfortable and angry because when you work for and with Jesus, that is what you will do.

Self-righteous

Is this America’s problem or just the church’s problem? Is this a Christian problem or an Islamic problem?

It was the problem that Jesus faced, not in His life but from the priests who were the “spiritual leaders and teachers” of Israel and the Jews. They were self-righteous, thinking that their righteousness was good enough without the Messiah. Self-righteousness, thinking better of yourself than you should, will send more people to hell than any amount of sin. Thinking that your life and heart belong to Jesus because of something that you said or did decades ago and yet you don’t live it is a form of self-righteousness. Not because you don’t have Jesus or that you aren’t saved because you may be, but you are being selfish with your gifts from God!

When you are self-righteous you also believe that you don’t need Jesus or fellowship with others. I know there are many who say that they are saved, but they have become satisfied with their lives and they don’t want to give their faith away to anyone. They don’t want to share in fellowship with a group of believers, they want to sit at home and sulk, not praising God and being thankful for His mercy and His graciousness toward them. Yes, you may be saved and you will have access to Heaven and eternal life one day but no one else will have been blessed by your faith and your witness because you didn’t take it with you everywhere!

Why? Because, you have the key to Heaven and you aren’t giving it away to anyone else. You are going to live your life the way you want to and do whatever you want to do, but for a time you knew that your salvation was secure so you don’t feel the need anymore to be a “light unto the world” around you or anywhere else. Oh, you are nice to everyone and courteous to all until they hurt your feelings or someone says something about you and you hear of it, then you hold a grudge for the rest of your days and you don’t have anything to do with them ever.

WHY ARE YOU BEING THIS WAY!!!

The Love of Jesus is not coming out of your heart because you have bricked it up so tight that nothing can come out! You will let some love or lust or other feelings in through the cracks, but you won’t allow anything to go out, at least not any REAL and honest Love that comes from God. Your life is like the rest of the world, just as Satan wants it to be. You don’t belong to him, but nobody can really tell for sure that you don’t.

In many ways this has happened to lots of so-called Christians and the church itself. I say so-called because from the outside, nobody could tell that you are a Christian. The same is happening to many churches, they look more like country clubs or social clubs than they do a place of worship for God Almighty! This description sounds a lot like the church that Jesus said, “I will vomit you out of my mouth” to in the beginning of the book of Revelation, doesn’t it?

When you, as a church or a Christian, get to a point where you don’t look or act any different from those who don’t believe…something has gone terribly wrong. Turn back to Jesus, ask forgiveness for your failures, study the Word again, forget the doctrines and the rules which “churches” are founded upon and get back to God. Those rules in your by-laws and charters are made by men, our life and our churches are supposed to be founded upon the Rock of Jesus Christ and His Word, and none other! As Jesus said, “Come back to your first love!”. Stop chasing after feelings and “prosperity gospels”, and get back to the True Gospel of Salvation, Jesus Christ. He is the Only Way to Heaven, all other roads eventually turn toward hell!

What did Jesus do?

You have seen the bracelets with WWJD on them but have you ever really considered exactly what that would be? What would Jesus do in your situation or mine? What did Jesus do when He was here? Those would be the very same!

He would be consistent with Who He is and the mission that He had been given to do! It wouldn’t matter if the year was 33 AD or 2015 AD, Jesus would still be Jesus and He would still be doing what the Father had sent Him to do. Consistent work and behavior which follows your character that is how people can tell what and Who you follow. It doesn’t matter how much you attend church or how much you give to the poor or to the soup kitchen, what matters is that you follow-up and do what your heart tells you is right!

If you are a follower of Jesus, then that part of your heart, your character will show itself time and time again regardless of what you are doing or where. Right now, the world NEEDS to see the actions of people who are doing exactly that..being the hands and feet and mouth of Jesus in this world. If you claim to be a Christian, then act like it! Be one all the time, not just on certain days of the week or at a church function!

Being a Christian and showing people Who it is that you follow and claim as your Savior means much more than how you are around other Christians. The church needs to be seen as He was seen. Doing the things which God would do or what Jesus would do if He was here. Healing, praying for the comfort of the sick, feeding those who don’t have enough, providing clothes and shelter for those who can’t afford it (not for those who won’t work).

These are the actions that faith in Jesus brings to mind, all that we have to do is act on them. Don’t sit at home thinking that someone else will do it. Get out and get it done to the best of your ability or inspire others to do it as well. We are to be about the Father’s work just as Jesus was until He comes again, not sitting at home or in a church waiting for Him! You will be treated like the servant who buried his master’s money and gave it back to him without interest if you do.

Faith is an action word not a static one and as Christians we have to be or should be about His work until we are called home regardless of when that might be.

I believe

I believe in God and all of His Words and in the Creation which He has placed us in. Why do I believe this? Because, if you don’t believe it, then one day you will find that your unbelief doesn’t change the Truth of His existence and the reality of His promises. Those who do not believe and who do not ask Jesus into their lives, will be condemned by their own choice, not by the God that loves them. It is your choice which will condemn you to the punishment that was reserved for Satan and his fallen angels.

There are so many people who have tried to make God into someone who He is not. They seem to want to humanize God and make Him be as petty and mean as humans can be and He is not. Yes, in the Old Testament He did some things which by our standards would be considered cruel and mean, yet He was doing these things to bring the Israelite nation away from idol worship and to know Him, IF they would obey His commandments and statutes. Although the record of history bears out that they didn’t listen, at least not in the long run. They would change for  a time, and then after a few years go right back to worshipping idols again.

We do the same thing today. We spend more time keeping up with friends on Facebook and Twitter than we should. Our phones, smart or not, get more attention than our children do for many people. Your job and your house occupy much more of your time than your worship of God because in many people’s lives, those things are necessary and God isn’t! How crazy is that?

God gave you your job, your ability, your family, your intellect, and all of the other good things in your life and yet you want to ignore Him because of some trivial nonsense that has no bearing on your eternal future? What could possibly have any effect on your eternal life that you can hold in your hand? Nothing! God is the Creator and the Sustainer of the Universe and of you too. He is in control of your ultimate future, but unless you decide to answer His call on your life, if you have heard it, then you will condemn yourself to hell and no amount of begging will help you.

Life is here because of Him, because He created all of life on Earth. Chance didn’t do it and it wasn’t an accident that just happened to come together. The cause of everything was and is God. He knows what you said yesterday and last year and what you did when you though you were alone. Nothing is hidden from Him because He can see the end of time and the beginning, even now. You can believe that nothing is after death if you wish, but when you die and “nothing” confronts you about your life and everything that happened in it from the time that you were a child until your death, will you just ignore it, will you ignore Him?

I don’t think so.

God is our Creator and He is also the Judge Who will send you to hell if you show up without Jesus in your heart. No amount of money will get you in the gates of Heaven. No amount of work that you do here, without Jesus in your life, will survive to follow you to Heaven. The life that you have here, regardless of how wealthy you are or how penniless you may be, will not mean anything nor have any eternal rewards IF you don’t have Jesus in your life. Period.

The world is coming apart at the seams every day and there is no human on Earth that can fix it. Seek Jesus out, read His Word and learn about Him. Ask Him to forgive you and to come into your heart so that your life will go on after this life is over. There is lots of work to be done and God knows that some of it can only be done by you and me.

Think about it.

Fear and anger being stirred up

In our country this is the only way that people seem to be getting attention, why? What is the reason for it? The more fear that can be stirred into each city, through riots and calling people racist then there will be even more fear and more riots. It never ends, it will never end because once the so-called “ball” gets rolling, there is no stopping it! Why? Is there so much anger against people, white or black, that we are going to begin a war of races? What good will come of this? ABSOLUTELY NONE!

The emotions being stirred up in the nation is what is fuelling this type of activity and they will begin to tear down our society and our nation. What can be done? Not much, other than prayer and seeking God’s wisdom in this because only He has the answer to the problems that are plaguing our nation. Just as our nation was founded on Biblical principles by flawed humans, so is this movement which is beginning in America today. The difference is that today, the movement is not based on Scripture or on anything that God said but on emotions, emotions of anger, jealousy, fear and hate. This movement will rip our lives and our country apart if we don’t get on our knees and pray NOW!

Seeking His guidance and His wisdom is the only answer to the problems that America is facing today, right now because God is the only person who can bring healing to our land and to the world itself. How will He do it? I can’t give you that answer. Just as when the Pharisees were inciting the mob to cry “Crucify him!” and call for the release of Barabbas, the anger that they were stirring up is the same that is being stirred up now and God allowed it to happen then as it is happening now. What will be the outcome? God is the only One that knows that answer and unless someone who is charismatic enough to calm a mob to the point of them really listening, I don’t think the outcome will be good at all.

It will be more like someone dropping a match in a gasoline plant, a fireball that engulfs those around it and those all over the country as well. The things that we, as a people, regardless of race or country, pursue are just stuff whether you are looking for more money, or fame or drugs or sex or alcohol and NONE of it satisfies our true needs. These are just “wants” and what we truly need is to realize that our lives were created to have a true relationship with God and Jesus and that spot, that part of your life, your heart is only satisfied with Jesus and a relationship with Him.

Pray about this, now! This is what our country needs, what all of us need not what you want or I want but what God wants for you! Give your life to Him, seek the answers in His Word because His wisdom is the answer that you need, NOW!

Love life, not stuff!

There is too much stuff in our lives today. Phones, tablets, laptops, smart televisions, web enabled refrigerators of all things, how much electronic stuff do we really need? I don’t think we actually need any of this stuff. Many of us went through school and most of our lives without this stuff, but the generation growing up today doesn’t seem to be able to take a step without tweeting about it or talking on the phone or texting many times every day.

How can we live like this? I have seen commercials with families who are texting each other at the table instead of talking. Why? Is it possible that we have become so dependent upon technology that we can’t communicate with each other anymore? I would hope not, but it does seem that way at times.

In reference to life itself and the enjoyment of it, I wrote a post on my other website about Veterans which a few people read but it seems that nobody liked it much. I realize that I compared the service jobs like police, fire and ambulance workers and their unique problems to those of Veterans, but they all face armed personnel at times and life threatening challenges every day, so even though it is true that local service people like these don’t face the exact same dangers as our armed forces veterans, they still face PTSD and other mental and physical problems, especially when they are injured by gunfire or a job related injury. We can’t leave them completely out of the support loop, even if they have never served in a war scenario, they should still be considered “brothers in arms”, at least in my opinion.

I served as an EMT/Firefighter for about ten years and it took many years of prayer and seeking help from my pastor and from God’s Word in order for me to come to a point where I didn’t wake up at night hearing sirens which weren’t there or feeling the heat from a fire which was just in my mind. I can still recall the images and feelings of those days, but my mind has, sort of created a box in which they stay in and when I choose to remember them I can put them back and shut the door and they don’t bother me anymore. I don’t want anyone to think that I am trivializing our servicemen and women and their service to our country, I am not doing that at all! The all made sacrifices, some made the ultimate sacrifice of giving their life so that others might make it home. I am just trying to point out that there are local people serving us every day who place themselves in harm’s way too and they deserve to be recognized as well, maybe not like our Vets, but at least given some form of recognition that many times they don’t get.

In reference to the stuff in our lives, we see it all of the time. On TV, in schools, on the streets, in stores. Technology and all sorts of stuff is all around us every day! God loves us, but not our stuff nor our sins. We can’t take our stuff with us, regardless of how much we have. None of it will be needed nor necessary in God’s Kingdom. The recognition of our people, who have served in any capacity, is necessary but the salvation of all people who will come to Christ is something to be desired. God is still in the business of miracles, whether it is by granting healing or health or through the change in your heart when you become a born-again Christian! Please, give your heart and life to Jesus. The time that we have is coming to a close, the second coming of Christ is on the horizon, look up for your redemption draws near! Amen!

How is your day?

Do you get up wondering and worried about things which are planned for the day or do you rest in the presence of God? Do you realize that He is interested in your day and all of the happenings in it? It’s true, the Creator of the universe is interested in your life and in everything that happens to you.

I know, there are so many people who have said that “God, if He exists, is not interested in us nor does He care about us at all”.  WHY would you say this? God did not create mankind and the world which He gave to us for our life and our sustenance just to turn away and go to some part of creation and turn away from us! Of course, we don’t know that we are the only intelligent beings in the universe, but God told Moses how things were created and we should accept it as the Truth.

If there are others, we will find out when God is ready for us to find out. In the mean time, we should use each and every day as we were commanded to by Jesus Himself, “Go into all of the world, teaching and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God”. Those may not be His exact words, but that was the commandment that He gave His disciples and since we, who are Christians, are His disciples in this time, then we take up our cross, our mandate to tell others about Jesus.

Your day, like many others in this day and age, begins like the rest of us…by waking up. This act alone deserves our gratitude and thanks to Him! Then, if we are able, we get our coffee or tea and eat something to break the fast from the night before. If we are able, we get ready to go to a job which we should be thankful for as well to have one, and we work at that job until it is time to get off work and come home. All of this happens without you or me having to do much more than put one foot in front of the other. We don’t have to worry about our heart beating or our breathing, it just happens. God designed us this way, just as He did every other animal on Earth that breathes air, the big difference is that He gave us part of His life, our eternal soul.

No other created being has this! God wanted someone who He could have fellowship with, daily, which is why He is interested in you and me and the life that each of us has. There is no difference between a rich man or a person with little more than the clothes on their back. In God’s eyes, we are all equal and we are all guilty of being sinners unless we have accepted Jesus as our Savior. No amount of giving to the poor or volunteering for charity will give you an edge over someone else, if you have not asked Jesus into your heart then you are just as lost as the murderer on death row that has killed someone!

In God’s eyes, because He is Holy, even a sin like telling a lie is just as bad as killing someone in cold blood! But…if you have given your life and your heart to Jesus, your page which has recorded all of your sins is cleansed just as white as purest snow. From that point on, you are His and you are forgiven. Oh, you will stumble and fall just like the rest of us do from time to time, but the Spirit which lives in you will bring it to your attention and when you ask for forgiveness, it is gone because of the work which Jesus did on the cross.

Walking in fellowship with God and having the Spirit living in your heart is just a small taste of the Kingdom of God. Daily learning from Him, by reading and studying His Word, meditating on it during your day, praying about the day that you are having and then thanking Him for your blessings of your health, your family, your job and the salvation which was provided by Jesus..this is just a part of the daily life that we are to have in Christ. It is a way of life that needs to be embraced, especially now in the time that we are living in. Time is growing short for Satan and for the age of grace. I don’t know how long we have, no one knows that except for God, but according to the signs which are happening around us, it is likely that we don’t have very long until the proof that the world has been seeking will be revealed about Who God is and that His Word is true.

Think about it and look up, because He will come quickly when that day dawns and then the time is up.

Life, do you participate in it?

Many people think that they do. They get up each morning, eat breakfast and then head out for work or to the doctor’s office or maybe to the grocery store. To many people, this is participation and life itself. But, what is life? What kind of life are we supposed to have? That depends on your perspective toward life itself. Are you a Christian or do you just believe that stuff happens by accident with no real purpose or meaning?

Accidents, other than those in cars and trucks, don’t just happen. There is a reason for them, even and especially when we are involved because humans make mistakes! Nobody is perfect and if anyone ever tells you so, they are lying. Perfection is found in natural processes, but even those are prone to mistakes because even DNA can’t replicate itself without some errors at some point. Visible perfection is what I meant when I said that it is found in nature, although our perception of it is imperfect so I suppose it is up to the beholder to judge the perfection of mountains or sunsets or a vista that you see or experience.

Participating in life is something that we all do on a daily basis if we are physically able to do so. Living beings cannot help but participate in life because we are alive. Plants, animals, people are all living beings and all of us, in general, live our lives until that life is ended whether by accident or disease or just by age. Participation is not really an option for living beings or things, it just is. God designed life to be that way, to be lived in accordance with His laws and it is. Whether you believe in Him or not, you can’t just choose to go to sleep tonight and not wake up in the morning. Your “expiration date” is determined by His timing and design not yours because He is God and you…we are not and will never be “gods”.

We live at His pleasure. We have our purpose and sustenance by His design. As it says in His Word, “you cannot make one hair white or black” Matthew 5: 33-37. Living life is a privilege and we live it by God’s grace and mercy, not by our own will. I know that many people will say, “Yes, I do live by my own will. I bow to nobody”. Right now that may be true, but one day you will stand before Him and kneel down acknowledging that He is Lord and God. Whether you did it in this life or not doesn’t matter.

God doesn’t force you to give your life to Him, you have the choice to do so or not. If you do while you still live then your meeting after this life will be a joyous one. If not, then it won’t be…it is just that simple. You cannot go on thumbing your nose at God during your lifetime and expect a welcome home when you die! Why? Because our own brand of “righteousness” is man-made and shallow and it is not given to us by Him. Read God’s Word, study it and pray about what you have read because only through the reading of it and praying for understanding can you hope to understand it! Give your life to Him each and every day, determine to follow Him each morning when you wake so that the day will be His and not just yours. This is the most important decision that you can ever make in your life, because this life is not the end but the beginning!

Time is….

Time is many things to many people. There is never enough of it. Our time on Earth is too short, or hard or stressful. Time is…what you make of it. It can be rich and full of life and love or it can be full of pain and suffering and heartache. The conditions that we use to describe our time make the measure of it different for everyone regardless of where you might live.

Time is important and it is important for different reasons for everyone. A doctor or lawyer makes their living by “hours billed”. Many of us are paid hourly, so our time is worth a lot to us because every hour is part of our pay check. But, what about your time with your family? What about spending time with God every day? Are these important to you? Your family should be very important and so should your time spent with God. Many people today don’t think that God is important let alone whether spending time with Him would be. Some don’t even believe that He exists at all.

Consider this: time did not begin until it was created and since He is the Creator, then He started it all. God is in control, yet people don’t believe it because they see so much evil and pain in the world. The thing about this is that Satan is the prince of the air on Earth and the one who has many beings, former angels, who can do his bidding and help cause all of the evil and pain in the world. God allows these things, but He is also working in the background to make things work out.

We live our lives according to the clock, in our own bodies as well as that on the wall. The time that it takes to write this is important not only to me but to God, because He is the One who gives me the words to write just as He gives the words to me for my sermons every week. We are important to Him because God enjoys the fellowship that He can have with us, if we will only give Him our time. Even just a little bit of our time is really all that it takes. We don’t have to spend hours chanting and swaying for Him to notice us, He already knows where we are, what we are doing and saying and whether or not we have given our lives to Him.

Time is a gift from God, your day and your night is a gift from Him. Everything that we have from our job to our family and our friends is a gift from Him as well so we need to treat them as such.

Repentance is….

Something which many people seem to be against. I don’t know exactly why, but when people like certain things, they just don’t want to give them up. I understand the feelings about certain things being so strong that you just can’t seem to quit, but what about those things which will cause you pain and suffering? Why is it so impossible for some to be unable or unwilling to change their beliefs or their lifestyles so that there won’t be anymore suffering?

Before I go on with this line of thought, I am not speaking of suffering while you are enjoying your life or whatever you happen to be doing. I am speaking of pain that will come as a result of something that you are doing now. It may not come during your lifetime here on Earth, but when your life is over then you have to explain your actions to God, whether you believe in Him or not, then what will you say? “I was only having fun!”; “I didn’t mean to hurt anybody.”; the only thing that is going to be done is a view of everything that you have said and done during your lifetime which can’t be ignored nor explained to God because He already knows your answer.

Repentance is “changing your life and your mind so that you are doing things which are totally different from what your life was before Jesus.” In other words, a 180 degree turn away from sin, regardless of what that might be, and turning toward Jesus and following Him. Believing in Jesus and asking Him to forgive you and to come into your life and change you into the person that He wants you to be for Him and for His purposes and not your own is just as simple as saying, “Lord Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner and that I need you in my life. Please forgive me of my sinful ways and help me to become the person that You want me to be. I thank you for your sacrifice because it made a way for me to become an adopted child of God through  you and I believe that You did it all for me. Amen.”

It is just as simple as that. You don’t need to do anything else because He did it all for you.