What will you do?

We will soon have a new year to start or begin again in, so what will you do with it? Will you just hope for a little less waistline or maybe a better job? Maybe you will decide that you will be a better person this year and be nicer to people who you would’ve ignored in years past? All of these good things…these good intentions are wonderful, but if you haven’t changed, if your heart and your soul hasn’t changed, how will you do this?

I am not writing this to criticize people in general, it’s just that problem of character that all of mankind has. If our character hasn’t changed in the past year or two, how can you just decide to be better, when you aren’t really any better than you were? Making resolutions to lose weight or to be a nicer person is great, but if the person doing this or attempting to do this hasn’t truly changed, then it is impossible. Man cannot change himself just by willing it, just as you can’t grow any taller or change your hair color by wanting to do so.

God is the only One Who can change your heart, which changes your character and allows you to be that better person and live a better more productive life through Him. We can’t do it on our own nor can we seek help from someone else to achieve our goal! Being associated with Jesus every day, praying for strength daily, reading God’s Word daily, is the only path that leads us toward Him and being the person that He knows we can be.

Many people don’t like and won’t like the things which I have written here and I really don’t care. I am tasked with the job of telling people, all people, that the only way to get to Heaven and be a better person here and now is by asking Jesus into your life and your heart. Then living it out daily!! You can’t just say the words to the sinner’s prayer without conviction in your life and your heart, and then just go back to doing what you were doing before! Living a changed, ransomed life through Jesus every day, praying and asking for His strength to get you through every day, reading and learning more about Him every day from the Word, that is the life of someone who is seeking to know God and Jesus! Not just say, “Hi!” one morning in church or in your living room, and then go on as if nothing happened!

How can anyone truly and honestly meet the Creator of the universe and not be changed?! It shouldn’t be possible but many people do it every Sunday or whenever they go to church. They hear the message and seem to agree with it and sometimes they even respond to it physically by walking down and bowing their head and maybe even getting wet in the baptismal pool, yet they go back to their lives without much of a change inside and sooner or later, the lack of change becomes evident. How? Because, there was no conviction from the Spirit that brought them to their knees and made them realize how far away from God they really are, that is how you can go through the motions and still not have Jesus or a change in your life! How do I know this? Because I did it. Three times I went down front and three times I went through with the baptism in water, but nothing changed because God had not made that evident in my life that I needed the change!

Give your problems away

Your problems, no matter how big they might seem to you, are easily fixed from God’s perspective. All that you need to do is to give them to Him. Of course, this is something which we have a hard time doing because after a little while, we want to “do it myself” and take them back, just like children. Why? Because we can’t see what God is doing and we don’t understand His timing in the scheme of things. Which is why many people look at Christians with scorn because we have been waiting for Jesus’ return for two thousand years nearly, and He hasn’t come yet.

Timing, from God’s perspective, is on time regardless but it is His time and not ours. God can see all of time, from the past into eternity and He knows what He is doing and when He will do it. We don’t have to know or understand His timing, just be willing to live by faith and be patient because God is never late with His blessings for us or with His grace.

For instance, David writes in this Psalm:
Psalm 51 King James Version

51 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

14 Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

This was written during a time of God’s punishment of David for his sins with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, because of the adultery and murder which David had committed, yet God forgave him. We are not told why God did this, other than David crying out to Him for forgiveness. This is the very nature and essence of what we should do with our lives and our problems. Give them to God and leave them there, don’t go back and tell God that you will take care of it because He is too busy! God is never too busy and He is able to do all the things that we ask Him to do, but He will do them according to His time and His purpose, not ours!

He loves each one of us and will take care of our needs, not our wants or our luxuries, and He will do it when He sees the need and not before.

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.

Love…what is it?

In our societies and the cultures all over the world today, love is expressed in many different ways. Some of it is expressed in the way that we understand and sometimes it is expressed  far differently. Have you been exposed to real, honest, true love? The kind which would do anything for you without expecting anything in return?

We are not wired that way. Most of us want something in return for our affection, our love, especially when it is given to someone else. Is it possible for us to really know what unselfish love is? For the most part, the love of a parent for their children is that. We love our children, regardless of what they do just because they are our children. We usually love our spouses the same way because that is the way we are commanded to love them by God. We are to love our spouse as Jesus loves the church.

Do you feel this way toward your family…your wife or husband and your children? I pray that you do. I am not trying to bring judgement on you or anyone that you know, I am just stating that Jesus commanded us to love each other as He loved the church and us. Because there is nothing that we could ever give to God in return for His love except by giving our love to Him. Isn’t that what we all desire? To be loved as much or more than we love.

It is impossible for us to understand the depth of God’s love for each one of us because His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. He is the Creator and we are the created. God is love and He expresses His love in ways that we can see and feel by giving us our lives to live, and the warmth of the sun on our faces. Every breath that you take is given to you by Him…allowed by Him, so that you can bring glory to His name by honoring Him in your life.

Do we do this at all today? Many people don’t. Because God has been taken out of every school, prayer has been taken out of school, even reading the Bible seems to be forbidden in school during free time. This cannot be kept up in the long run! Why? Because, when you forget God and take His Word and wisdom away from people as they are learning, then you have people who don’t have a moral center to guide them in life! They don’t know what or Who they are supposed to base their decisions on or around, so they use their own “wisdom” or some philosophy that they learned in school or college. They might be listening to someone who considers themselves to be more than they are, someone leading people down a dangerous path!

“Many false teachers and so-called “prophets” will come during the times before the end of the age”; this is a paraphrase of something that Jesus said to His disciples when He was telling them of this time that we are living in. Look it up in the Bible! Read it with an open mind and a prayer so that God can show you what is truth and what isn’t. No one knows the day or the hour that the end will come, but God Himself, but it will come. Be vigilant and search for God while you can!

Arguing about God’s existence

I was challenged the other day in a way that I, as a pastor, did not understand. It was that I was using “circular reasoning” in my writing. The thing about this is that with circular reasoning you are simply stating a fact twice, once at the beginning of a sentence or paragraph and once at the end and they could both be swapped with no one being able to discern the difference. OK, I concede that writing about God and Jesus and their love for us it circular reasoning. You can interchange God and Jesus in any part of a sermon and you would be saying the same thing. There is nothing wrong with it, regardless of the grammar police and their position on it.

It is a fact, Biblically speaking, that the Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are in effect interchangeable. What one of Them can do, all of them can do, separately or together.

The argument from those who choose not to believe in God is that they “want certified proof, something that can be scientifically proven and tested”. How can you test something that is beyond your comprehension? How can you prove something that you can’t touch or feel or smell or taste? Can you prove that love exists? Can you show me a jar with darkness in it? These are things such that cannot be proven, just as God’s presence in our universe cannot be proven by our natural senses, yet He is there.

My faith says that He is there. I don’t need a paper or a proof to show it. What is lacking in the eyes of those that don’t believe is…faith in God. If you don’t have it and He hasn’t called to your heart, then you can’t just decide to get some. It is not something which is in your control, being a Christian today is just like being a disciple when Jesus was beginning His ministry…you have to be chosen first.

I am not saying this to make it seem that Christians are special, but until you feel the call of the Spirit on your life you won’t know that you truly and desperately need Him.

Just as proving God’s existence is futile, your need for Him is there but until you need Him, you won’t seek Him. But when you do seek Him, you will always find Him.

Despair and depression, where do they come from?

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.” Psalm 42:11

The words above were written for us today. Because they speak to the depression and the solitude which Satan uses to take over our life and make it one which is filled with despair and heartache. Why does he do this? Because he doesn’t want you to tell anyone about Jesus and he knows that if you are “down in the dumps”, you won’t feel like spreading the Good News of Jesus to anyone! If he can stop you from telling one person, he has done his duty. Because, that one that you might miss because of your depression just might be the next great evangelist and he doesn’t want them to be that.

Satan hates us as human beings because God loved us more than He loved the angels, of which Satan was a principle cherub, the guardians of God. Not only does he hate humanity because of God’s love for us but because of the special position that God gave to us, the relationship that we can have with God through His Son. So, you see it isn’t personal, he just hates us with such a deep and abiding hatred that no human could ever understand it. Satan will make people think that he will reward them with power and wealth and he might for a time, but the day will come when your “contract” will be up. No amount of money or power will save you from the eternal punishment that will fall on you because you chose to align yourself with the consummate liar and deceiver that is Satan.

Some religions teach that there is no eternal punishment for us because Jesus paid that price and we are all saved through Him. Well, technically that is true but if you have not repented of your sins and asked Jesus into your heart and your life, you don’t have Him as Lord and Savior to keep you from being thrown into the lake of fire with Satan and his followers. Just as if I told you that I have one hundred dollars that I will give you, if you don’t come to my home and claim it then you still don’t have it. The offer of salvation is there, the price has been paid and once you take hold of it then your salvation cannot be un-done, but if you don’t grasp it and repent of your sinful ways and follow Jesus when you ask Him into your heart, then they were just words and nothing more. You can even get baptised in front of a church or in a stream, but without repentance and a commitment to follow Jesus, you just got wet in front of an audience and nothing more.

The Church which was started on the day of Pentecost was not a specific denomination. It wasn’t called the Church of God or the Church of Christ or the Pentecostal church. At the time, the Jews in Israel called them believers of the Way, a sect that they wanted to crush and destroy. Which is why they sent Saul to imprison and beat the believers in this “Way”. The persecution of believers began then and it has not stopped since. It may be subtle here in America, in other countries it is more pronounced and vigorous. Elsewhere, Christians are imprisoned, beaten, and sometimes killed because of their belief in Jesus.

Satan has used this jealousy and animosity against the Church to destroy and persecute it for centuries simply because he wants to undo the plans of God as much as he can. That is why there is so much suffering in the world and so much pain and death. God allows this because He gives each of us a choice, whether to follow Him or not. Without a choice, there is no real love. Think about this, if someone tried to force you to follow them or love them….would you? I wouldn’t.

What in the world???

So much is going on in the world today. The wars, the world cup for soccer, the financial crisis in many countries, I mean the list just keeps getting longer and longer seemingly every day! Can we fix any of this? Actually, I would like to see someone fix it, but I don’t believe it is possible.

Yes, we are tired of being in debt. Yes, we are tired of hearing of the bombs going off all over the world and the people being imprisoned for nothing more than their religious beliefs, but can we fix all of this? The answer to that can be found in the Bible and the answer is NO! We are not capable of fixing these problems, regardless of the angst that they cause or the heartache that they cause as well.

Humanity is just not able nor willing to fix these problems, mainly because someone is making money from them and it is usually someone in power. When money is made because of suffering and pain, it is wrong but it is usually very hard to remove this “cancer” because of the amount of money that is flowing in one direction or another. Bribes are being paid under the table, deals are being made in boardrooms or in international offices. It is nothing new. This has been going on for a long, long time and it will continue until our Savior comes to put an end to it.

Many people think that this person will be able to force a so-called fix on the population of the world and they may be right. If this “savior” is the one that is foretold in the book of Revelation, then it will be enforced in a way that cannot and will not be allowed to be gotten around like many “laws” are today. There will be electronic or DNA checks and balances put into place which will enable governments to see what you buy, who you are, where you live and if you are loyal to their cause. If you don’t have this “mark”, whatever it might be, you will not be able to buy anything legally.

The technology is available now, this is not some futuristic dream. With a world-wide push it could be implemented easily, though for some it will be forced or there will be consequences and those will likely include imprisonment or death. It is coming and because it is coming, there is no way to avoid it. You just have to try to plan for it in some way, if you can. Help as many people as possible in this because it will be those who come to you for help when that time comes. Some people will try to steal what you have and attack you if they think that you have food or money or even water.

The end of the age is coming. When, I cannot tell you because I do not know. But, if you have ever read the Bible it speaks of this time very vividly and it is not an enjoyable time for anyone. If you are a believer, great. Take the time to tell others about our Savior, the One that is True. Prepare for the time that is coming. Yes, I have heard that we are supposed to be taken away before this happens but there are scriptures which point to this time and say that we will see part of the Tribulation. Paul says that time will not come until the man of sin is revealed”, but most preachers emphasize that we will be raptured before this time. Why would the Spirit allow Paul to write these words if they weren’t true? That is why I believe that this is the time that many will fall away from the teachings of the church.

We have to stick to our beliefs and listen to Jesus. Read His words, trust Him and have faith in Him, persevere until He appears and takes us to Heaven. Be strong and very courageous and don’t let go of your faith in Him because those who are doing what the Master told them to do when He comes will be rewarded. Those rewards are far above any material thing that this world can offer you.

In His Service.

Too much information

Our world, and our everyday lives are drowning under a tidal wave of information. Some, we don’t truly need and some is just too repulsive to look at or read and yet we see it on the news and television, on the Internet and in our homes. Degradation in the world is rampant and meaninglessness is felt by many who should be too young to feel that way, but they do.

There seems to be a fogginess in our way of thinking and living which clouds people’s minds to what is right and what is wrong. Cults of all kinds are rampant, gangs and drugs assault our young people in grammar school with poisonous teachings and ideas. Paganism is deemed to be acceptable yet Jesus is not. Any religion apart from Christianity is fine and will be allowed in all areas, but don’t you dare mention Jesus or try to tell someone about Him.

The information that is needed in our world is being rejected by most, even in countries which were founded upon Christian principles. Yes, many Americans claim to believe in God but so does Satan! Yet, one out of three is the best you can find who truly claim to be Christians that attend a service once a week, and of those, some statistics show that only one in ten actually practice what they claim to believe.

Information has had a powerful impact on our world, especially in the past twenty years or so. Because of the “world-wide web”, information is available to everyone at any time of the day or night on computers, smart phones and tablets. The biggest problem is that most of the information out there is of the variety that you can’t discuss or show to a mixed crowd. That statement may strike some as odd, but I don’t believe that much of the content out there should be discussed between men and women or especially with your kids.

The “dark side” of the web is or seems to be bigger than the “good side”. It is more prominent, more out there so to speak. Just as the few in the media seem to be louder than the majority, from the gay agenda to the lobbyists who are trying to take our right to keep and bear arms to those who don’t want any religion in America at all, the side of the Internet that is more visible is really visible because people are looking for it.

Just as when you find a treasure of yours, whatever it might be, you didn’t just happen to find it…you were looking for it. That is the way that the information on the Internet works too. You didn’t just “accidentally” run upon that site that had pictures that you wouldn’t show your mother. You didn’t just happen to find the recipe for making a bomb by accident, you were looking for it. When we get into trouble, regardless of the kind of trouble it might be, it is not by accident. We were trying to find something or trying something out that we hadn’t tried before, but it was not an accident.

Just as when you come to the knowledge of Jesus, it wasn’t by accident, it was and is because you were called and chosen by God. You can fight it, you can attempt to run from the knowledge if you wish, but by revelation through a dream or by a visit by an angel or by going to a worship service, you will come to Him once you have felt that call. God knows each of us, intimately, and He knows who will answer the call on their lives and who will not answer immediately. The love and patience that He has is far above what we can exercise ourselves.

The information that is in the Bible is enough to keep you searching and looking for a way to tell others for the rest of your life. That one book is not out-dated or just a collection of stories, but it has been inspired by God’s Spirit and as such it is the Truth. That is why the focus of the entire Bible is the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Believe it, as Satan does, or not…that is your choice, but at least give Jesus a chance to show you Who He is and what He can do in your life. You only have the time allotted to you on Earth, so make sure as soon as you can.

Are you happy?

I have been down or depressed the past couple of weeks but I decided that it is time to let God handle that and get on with my life. 🙂

We can be happy or sad, depressed or angry or both but the point is that life is what you decide it can be. If you wake up angry at the world or down in the dumps, the entire day will be a waste no matter what your occupation is or how much money you may have! There have been many people who are distressed and angry as well as frustrated because of their situations and the problems which confront them daily and I am sure that there are more than I know about, especially when you listen to and watch the news. But, there is a singer and a song out there that will help and even though it won’t fix your feelings, it will make you feel better if you let it. Here is a link to a video with the song which may just pick your day up a bit: http://bit.ly/1k6hK3D

Your life and mine mean far more to God than we have ever known, and yet you won’t know it until you get into His Word. Happiness is not an abundant theme in the Bible, until Jesus comes along. Then the abundant life and the happiness that goes with it are there in His message and in the hope that we have in Him. That is what I think about when I listen to the song in the video above. Jesus and His message and the hope that is available to all of us through Him.

If you don’t want that hope or the love that goes along with it, you can choose not to allow Him into your life. Live your life the way that you want to, by your own rules and your own way. But, what if the Bible and the Truth in it is…true? What will you find after you take your final breath here on Earth? Many people don’t think that they will find anything. They just believe that it is like turning the lights off and that is it. But, what if there is something afterward? Do you really think that you have been good enough for God to allow you into Heaven?

I am not saying that God doesn’t love you, but Jesus said that the only way to come to the Father was through Him and the only way that you will have Him in your life is by giving your life to Him and asking Him into yours! That, in itself, may not give you your definition of happiness but the hope for eternity should have some bearing on your life now as well as in the future. We can only influence those around us with our own character and our example and if we don’t make it an example that would be honorable to pass on to someone then what is the reason for being here?

God put each of us here for a purpose and what that purpose is can be found in the Bible. It doesn’t have to be your occupation or your life-long dreams or any of the things that we tend to elevate to a level that doesn’t and shouldn’t belong to them. The Creator is the only One that belongs in that position, nothing that is created by man or even by God should be given a position equal to Him and it is our job to make sure that those around us can see the Creator through our lives and our example and give Him the honor and praise that He alone deserves.

Doing these things with your life for God will give you a happiness and a joy that nothing on Earth can match. So, give your heart to Him and live  your life for Him so that your happiness can flow from your life to others because of what Jesus did for you!

Think about it.  In His Service until He comes or until I go to Him.

Do you know?

The problems around you are being caused by an immortal being, one who has been here from the beginning. He and his followers have been causing trouble from the day that Adam was created, and yet many people today don’t even believe that he or they exist.

Yes, I am talking about Satan and his followers and yes they are all over the world causing problems. More wars, more diseases, everything that seems to be wrong in the world is their doing in some way. They have influenced people, touched lives with diseases fatal and long lasting, fostered ideas in people’s minds which have been carried out in the most horrific ways. Yes, we are able to be sadistic and cruel without his influence but people are even more so when Satan or one of his demons has a controlling influence in your life.

How can they get this much control in your life and your mind? You gave it to them. When you dabbled in the occult as a child or a teen, or when you studied some “harmless” spells with your friends. Maybe you found a ouija board and tried it out a few times because it seemed fun watching the piece move by itself, or by reading “harmless” tarrot cards. All of these open your mind up to the influence of supernatural beings who can influence you in ways that you would never dream of.

Sure, these games seem to be fun at the time but just like trying drugs or alcohol they can lead to something much worse. Even having the games or the cards or some books in your house leaves an open doorway for demons to come in, whether you have actually played with them or not. The power that they possess is beyond our comprehension and yet, when you accept Jesus as your Savior they no longer have power over you! They know Him and they know Who He is! Don’t allow them to have control of your life or your house, when you read books about them they will watch you but they can’t hurt you as long as you claim Him as your Savior.

Our country has become overrun with them and they are in the highest offices in the government, but nobody sees them at all. It is hard to think of people being influenced by demonic beings because we think of this happening in ancient times, not today. I am not speaking of being possessed, just influenced and that only requires a demon or Satan himself to suggest something into your mind. If it is done the right way, you or the person being influenced will think that the “idea” is their own. Sneaky huh?

The idea that we can be susceptible to “suggestions” like this goes against our idea that we are in control, but the thing is that Satan knows how to get to our most vulnerable thoughts and our most intimate vulnerabilities. He is not omnipotent but with all of the demonic help that he has, he sometimes seems to be. The best and most wonderful news that I can give to you is that through Jesus, we have the power to overcome Satan! Asking Jesus into your life and getting into the Bible to learn about Him is the best defence against Satanic forces. Then, walking with Him every day in your prayer life and attending a Bible teaching church will give you the basic foundation that you need to be a follower and not just a fan of Jesus. Consider this, pray about it, ask a friend or a pastor about Him because on your own, you cannot resist Satan’s influence but with Jesus you have the power to tell Satan to get out of your life and never come back!