Time and pain

Pain brings to mind the time and the strength needed to handle it, no matter how hard it is. Time is something that we all seem to think we have plenty of, especially when we are teens. The problem with that kind of thinking is that it isn’t true. There never is plenty of time or too much time. There never is enough time for people to say ‘I love you’. Yes, it sounds sappy, but if that someone you love, is lost in a drive-by shooting or a wreck…where is your time now? It is gone and you can’t get it back.

Just as words said in anger can’t be taken back or un-said, bullets and wrecks and other sudden ways of dying can’t be undone. So what will you do? Have you considered your time on Earth? Have you lived say twenty years? Forty years? Sixty years? Eighty years? Have you been blessed with good health enough to live for an entire century? Yes, adding twenty years at a time brings time into perspective a bit. Now, what about your life? Has it been enjoyable and fun? Did you really enjoy it and not have much in the way of sadness and sorrow?

Most of us can’t answer that last question with anything except “no, not really”. Why is that? One reason is that we live in a world that is paying the price for the sins of the past. Yes, the sins of our world and the consequences of that sin have been around ever since the Garden. In truth, our world and every person on the Earth is paying that price and the consequences of past disobedience. As the Bible says, “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:22-23

The world groans because of the damage that has been done by Satan and his demons, his fallen ones, who are confined to the Earth and we are subject to them. They hate us because of their position and they know the consequences of their actions both in Heaven and for the destruction and death that they have caused here. All of the religions made by mankind, the evil committed by men in the past and now have been influenced by them in some way.

Mankind tends toward sinful behavior even without demonic influence, because it is our nature and we are born with it. That is not to say that we can’t do good things or be charitable, but for the most part we are doing those things for recognition, for pride’s sake, to make us feel good. Our time is short and we only have the life that we are given today to make a difference. Tomorrow is not given until you wake up in it and God is in charge of your time here, not you or your job or your family. It is up to His grace and His purpose whether you wake in the morning or not. If you have a part to play in tomorrow’s dealings for His purpose then you will live another day, if not then your time may be up tonight.

Pain, whether it is physical or emotional, is just a part of our lives. We have to live with it one way or another, but through God’s power and seeking Him in our lives we can have the strength to get past the painful times and enjoy the happy times. Seek Him, learn about Him through reading His Word and prayer because when you get to know the Creator better, then your life becomes easier and more useful to Him.

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God is real and Jesus is the Way

In life and in death, Jesus is the Way to a life more abundant. I did not say a life of riches and wealth or fame, an abundant life is one that has hope, abundantly and steadfastly in Jesus! You might say to me, “Why can’t I be good enough to get to Heaven on my own initiative?” Because the Bible says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. God had to kill animals in Eden to cover the sinful situation that Adam and Eve had gotten themselves into. Jesus died and shed His blood, as the Son of God, in order to cover the sins of the whole world. Everyone in the whole world is covered by His blood, all of your sins are covered by it, all of my sins are covered by His blood and it is offered to all to claim in belief and repentance with no other requirement than believing in Jesus’ sacrifice for them.

Simple faith and belief, like a child, is all that is necessary. When you feel the Spirit telling you that you need Him, that you need Jesus, don’t turn away. Don’t walk out on Him and the salvation that is being offered. God does love you, more deeply than you can know and He wants to call you, if you are willing to answer. The gods that are in temples all over the world will not help you. Belief in yourself and your ability to be a good, moral person is nice but it won’t take you into the gates of Heaven.

Doing all of these things, other than believing in Jesus, is like building a bridge over a huge river out of cardboard and paving it with paper. As long as the river is dried up and there isn’t any water (troubles) to cross, it may hold up pretty well for foot traffic. But, if there is a flash flood or lightning strikes it, your bridge is gone. Another analogy would be like standing on sand, it is fine and it feels good until the waves start raking it from under your feet. Then, you either go with it or you back away from it but it is no longer stable.

The only solid foundation for faith which can save your soul from hell, is Jesus Christ. Believe in Him and repent of your old ways, following Him by seeking Him in God’s Word every day. Pray about the things which are wrong in the world, ask Him to help you to understand the Bible and its wisdom. Look to Him for your strength in sickness and in health, on good days and bad because He is always near if you have asked Him into your life and into your heart. God and Jesus both know what you have done, when it was done and where. There is nothing hidden from them.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

Still preaching

“Many of us might die in this crash,” he called out, “so there’s something you need to know.” Andy then began explaining the Gospel simply and urgently, moving to each part of the cabin so that everyone would hear. He invited people to place their trust in Jesus Christ in repentance and faith. A flight attendant heard Andy’s words, bowed her head, and asked Jesus to forgive her sins and come into her heart. She watched many more respond and, along with another survivor, later told the story. Of the 175 people on board, 125 died, including Andy, who was still on his feet preaching the Gospel as the plane hit the water.

Read more: http://www.crossmap.com/news/franklin-graham-still-preaching-the-gospel-as-the-plane-went-down-17644#ixzz3Ws1qfeu2

Would many of us done this in this situation? Knowing that in a few minutes we would be dead along with most of the people in the plane with us, could you have preached to them and tried to save their souls?

It is a testimony to this man and it shows us the kind of Christian that he was and the kind that we are supposed to be, especially in times of need.

“Lord, please give us the courage and the words in good times and in troubled times so that we can be bold enough to proclaim You and Your grace and mercy to others in their times of grief and pain and fear. Give us the grace to be the kind of disciples that we need to be in the situations that we find ourselves in in the future. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”

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 forĀ  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.