Work your plan…what does that mean?

When you hear this from a financial consultant or a business coach, it means one thing: plan your day or your week and work it that way or something like that anyway. Can we work our plan in the Christian life? No, we can’t unless our plan is to follow Jesus every day. Working your plan means that you are doing it your way every day. How can you serve God and work your plan?

Unless your plan is an image of and a reflection of God’s plan for your life, working your plan, your way, doesn’t show that you are following God in your daily walk. You are walking and hoping that God is “in the details”, accompanying you as you walk toward a goal that you have. In a manner of speaking, God is doing that, but that doesn’t mean that He agrees with your plan if it wasn’t His plan first.

Many people in the business world or at least the world outside the church, think that God is not interested in their life, especially their business life and that is a false assumption. God is interested in all areas of your life because you will be able to interact with many people and your character, which reflects what or who you are inside, will be a much more positive witness in your daily life than anything that you say.

So, yes, in more ways than you can imagine, God is very interested in your life and in your work. Whatever that work might be that you do, it can be used to bring more people to know Jesus and God the Father too. Why would you want to know them? Because they are the Team, if you will, that made all of life possible and especially you! We are all special in our own ways, because there is no other person on Earth exactly like you, not even an identical twin is exactly like his brother or sister. Yes, they look similar and some are very close to being true twins in facial make up, but inside their character can be quite different.

That is what makes humanity so unique. We are created in His image but we are all different, even those of us that look very much alike. God knows our differences and He knows our similarities too, because He is the Creator. He is responsible for how many hairs are on your head, the color of your eyes and skin, and your voice. You are special in God’s eyes and there is always something which each of us can do that nobody else in the world can do. I may be able to write here on these blogs, but I can’t put a novel together. Someone else can be a journalist, but they can’t imagine being an actor or a politician.

Those people who are saying that God is not the One that the Bible says He is are wrong. The get angry because they don’t want to believe in a God Who can tell what they are doing at any time and will hold them accountable for it later. The fact is that their un-belief in God doesn’t do away with Him and one day they will meet Him, and bow down before Him. They will not be so arrogant as to accuse Him of being responsible for their pain or suffering, but they will meet the one who is, and that is Satan.

Then they will find the true meaning of suffering and pain.

Consider the birds…

I recently read an interesting testimony from a Christian man who owned a construction company. He was losing sleep worrying about some financial problems he faced in his company. One morning, after a night filled with worry, he opened his Bible and devotional guide. That morning he was reading from Matthew 6 where Jesus commanded his followers not to worry. Jesus said, “Consider the sparrows, they don’t plant or harvest, or store in barns, but your heavenly Father takes care of them–and you are much more valuable to him than the sparrows!” His devotional guide spoke about how God cares for the birds so much when a single sparrow falls dead to the earth, God is aware and God cares. The verse at the end was I Peter 5:7 which says, “Cast your cares upon him, for He cares for you.”

A few days earlier on the job site, they had been removing trees and the owner had noticed one of the trees had a bird nest with baby birds in it. He marked the tree and left word not to cut it down. But on this day, he realized the tree would have to come down because they couldn’t delay the project any longer.

The owner used a bucket truck to lift him up to the bird’s nest. When he looked in, the birds were gone–they had learned to fly. Since he was up there anyway, he removed the nest. Birds use all kinds of scraps to make a nest. As he examined the nest, he discovered the birds had used straw, twigs, and even little strips of paper to make the nest. He removed one sliver of paper and what he read almost caused him to fall out to the bucket. Written on the fragment were these words, “God cares for you.” He realized God was using that bird nest to reinforce his message. Today, the man’s business is doing well, and he is praying more and worries less–and he keeps that bird’s nest in his office!

God cares even more for each of us than He does for a bird, and yet the lesson here is that He notices even when a sparrow falls to the ground! If God takes note of that, don’t you think that He notices when we are having trouble in our lives? Regardless of the kind of trouble we may be having, He knows what is going on in your life and mine, so regardless of how unimportant you may feel in the scheme of things in your city or job, God cares about what is going on in your life! He knows you more intimately than you know yourself, so give Him a chance to fix whatever may be wrong no matter how small or insignificant you feel that you are or your problem is. God is bigger than all of our problems and He is able to take care of whatever may be going on in your life, if you let Him.

Do we all go to Heaven?

There is a song that is sung in our churches called “When we all get to Heaven” and today there are many who believe that this is the way it is. God would not allow someone to suffer for eternity in hell if they were a good person, whether they had given their life to Christ or not, right? After all, He is the epitome of Love and it says so in God’s Word, that He is Love, right?

Well, yes, God is Love and He is a loving Creator but He is also Holy and without sin so think about that for a second…could He allow people who are sinners into Heaven? Unfortunately, the answer is no, He couldn’t. If He did that, then what was the reason for Jesus’ death on the Cross?

He came into our world as a human baby, grew up in our world into a man, taught about God during His ministry, healed many people of sicknesses and diseases as well as brought a few back to life, then was rejected, beaten, hung on a cross until He died, buried and three days later rose to life again. Yet, in all of this, He relied on the Father‘s strength and wisdom to guide Him to do these things without sin. I know the argument that many say about that, “Well, He was the Son of God. Of course He could do this without sin!”

True, we are not capable of being sinless, if we were then He came for nothing! There was no reason for His death and resurrection. So, how can you think that someone who is good, and kind and who hasn’t committed any big sin can get into Heaven without Jesus? If they are without Jesus in their heart and their life, then they are still sinners because at some level they have sinned and according to God’s law, one broken commandment breaks them all.

The answer then must be no. We can’t all get to Heaven, unless we have accepted Jesus as our Savior. When we have done that, then we are covered with His righteousness and it is His righteousness that grants us access to the Father and to our place in Heaven, nothing more. We can’t add anything to it because until we have accepted Jesus into our hearts and asked forgiveness for our sinful ways, nothing that we have done prior to that has any real meaning for the Kingdom of God.

You are important to God! He did not create all of this and each of us and then sit down to wait and see what would happen! He is near to us every day since His Word says that “not even a sparrow falls without the Father knowing it” (Matthew 10:29). We are all precious in His sight and when you feel something tugging at your heart or a small voice whispering to you to give your life to Jesus, it is like Jesus calling His disciples. Will you answer or will you turn away? Turning away doesn’t cause you any pain now, but you will know it later. Think about giving your life to Him, because the stuff and fluff of this world don’t matter at all in eternity, so make sure that your eternity is one worth something!

Consider the birds

In one of Jesus’ parables, he told His disciples about how God cares even when one sparrow falls to the ground. I found an interesting story about a Christian business owner and I thought I would share it with you. It is many years old, but the message is one that we need today.

I recently read an interesting testimony from a Christian man who owned a construction company. He was losing sleep worrying about some financial problems he faced in his company. One morning, after another night filled with worry, he opened his Bible and devotional guide. That morning he was reading from Matthew 6 where Jesus commanded his followers not to worry. Jesus said, “Consider the sparrows, they don’t plant or harvest, or store in barns, but your heavenly Father takes care of them–and you are much more valuable to him than the sparrows!” In his devotional guide, the message spoke about how God cares for the birds so much when a single sparrow falls dead to the earth, God is aware and God cares. The verse at the end was I Peter 5:7 which says, “Cast your cares upon him, for He cares for you.”

A few days earlier on the job site, they had been removing trees and the owner had noticed one of the trees had a bird nest with baby birds in it. He marked the tree and left word not to cut it down. But on this day, he realized the tree would have to come down because they couldn’t delay the project any longer.

The owner used a bucket truck to lift him up to the bird’s nest. When he looked in, the birds were gone–they had learned to fly. Since he was up there anyway, he removed the nest. You know birds use all kinds of scraps to make a nest. As he examined the nest, he discovered the birds had used straw, twigs, and even little strips of paper to make the nest. He removed one sliver of paper and what he read almost caused him to fall out to the bucket. Written on the fragment were these words, “God cares for you.” He realized God was using that bird nest to reinforce his message. Today, the man’s business is doing well, and he prays more and worries less–and he kept that bird’s nest in his office!

See, God can use a bird to bring a message of hope when you are under stress and worried. Now, He may not use  a bird in your circumstances, but if you notice something that may be out of place a message from God just might be in it. God can use us in many ways too, if we will listen and obey Him when we are told what to do.

Many people are suffering today because of cancer, and because of grief due to the loss of a loved one. They may not be suffering in the way that those which have no hope of Heaven do though, because if you know God and have accepted His love for you through His Son, then your future, your eternity is sealed in Jesus’ blood. You are a child of God by adoption because of the sacrifice that Jesus made to pay for all of our sins.

The debts are paid and have been paid for a long time, but many people reject the One who paid their debt for them. They reject the sacrifice and all that is available to them because of it, Just because of the identity of the One Who made the sacrifice and because they have a different idea about salvation.

Friends, the message contained in the Bible is one of hope and peace, whether mankind has used it in the past to do many wrong things, horrible things is not the issue. Mankind can and does use many holy words and scriptures to twist them into whatever he desires to do with them, just as Satan uses scripture that was written for our benefit and he twists it so that it means something totally different.

We, as a species, are sinful and we are that way from the beginning. Children tell lies even when they don’t know what a lie is. If they can do this, what makes you think that we, as adults, are any better? Your life and the people that are or will be affected by you, for good or bad, are important to God. No other person on the planet is like you or me, we are each unique and different. God made us that way so that He can use us each in ways that nobody else can accomplish. He wants us to accomplish things for us and for Him that only we can do. It is imperative that we realize this and decide to give our hearts and our lives to Him, because the alternative is horrible.

As man thinketh

The book that was written in the early part of the twentieth century that has a similar name tries to get us to believe that we can cause our problems to go away simply by thinking rightly. Does this sound like it would work? Not really, at least not in my experience nor in any of my friends either.

Think and grow Rich” was another of the books that wanted people to believe that the way that you think about life and your situation in it can be changed by your thoughts. I want to ask a question in that regard and if you wish you can comment on this: “Since we are not gods, how can our thoughts have any effect on our lives?”

I know that how we perceive the world is governed by our thoughts and by our beliefs, but perception of something doesn’t affect what you perceive. Whether it is life, money, relationships, jobs (careers) or the amount of wealth that you accumulate. I know that there are many “self-help” books out there that have championed thinking about wealth and the “stuff” that you want, the life that you want, etc. so that you could “program” yourself to move toward these things. In some aspects of your life, this might work, but what kind of life would you have while achieving those lofty goals? Do you really want to live life as a greedy, self-centered person?

It might be fun for a while, but what happens when, like the prodigal son, the life that you have been living comes crashing down around you? You might have enough cash saved up for a cushion to get you through for a while, but what happens when that runs out and all of those credit cards and other bills come due? Thinking about it won’t help then!

I am not going to tell you that your life will be all roses and wine if you are a Christian, but it couldn’t hurt! Being self-reliant and not depending on others or on Jesus for your self-esteem, is a real American way of thinking but does it get the job done when you are given some really bad news? Relying on yourself does you very little good in situations that you have no control over and cannot exercise control over.

What would you be thinking about if you or your spouse went to the doctor’s office and came back with a diagnosis of stage two or three cancer? I really don’t think that positive thinking will help much during chemotherapy. I must apologize here because I know that there are many people out there who are going through this same situation right now, young and old, cancer doesn’t care what age you are.

The point that I am trying to make here is that the only way to truly have peace in your soul and calm in your life, regardless of the situation, is to have Jesus as your anchor and your Rock! He is also the Greatest Physician because He didn’t stop performing miracles when He went back to the Father. He is still in the healing business, if it is part of His will to heal you. But, it will be done His way and in His time, not yours!

Many people get frustrated when they turn to Jesus during an emergency or crisis and He doesn’t come through for them in the way that they think He should. He is not a Creator that is on call to do your bidding, He does whatever it is that is in line with God‘s will for your life. So, if you have to die in order for God’s will to be done, it will happen, if He sees fit for you to be healed then that will happen but it will still happen on God’s time-table and not yours!

It is God Who can see your life from beginning to end and not ourselves. We can’t change the length of our lives or the color of our hair (without chemicals), but many people act like they are in charge of their lives and nobody else. This is why Jesus said that we are not to worry about tomorrow because by worrying we can’t change anything about tomorrow. Whatever is going to happen then, will happen, whether we worry about it or not. All that worrying will do is give you an ulcer or make your health worse in some way. It will not make any difference in your situation, regardless of what it is.

Belief in Jesus and His atonement for your sins on the cross is the only way to get into Heaven, and that is where most of us desire to go when we die. So, if that is your ultimate destination, why not prepare for it now while you can? After all, the only chance that you get to make that eternal decision is while you are alive. Once you have passed through the door of life into the life that comes after this one, you can’t fix a bad decision or no decision at all.

 

Do we REALLY need motivation to Pray?

prayer-motivationIn the situation depicted here in this picture, prayer and running faster would be helpful! But what about our everyday lives? Do we really need motivation to pray? It seems that many people do need a crisis of some kind to motivate them to truly pray to their Father in Heaven. But, why is that? Shouldn’t we be praying to Him anyway?

He is the Author of life and the Creator of everything so why not pray to Him? Don’t you believe that He could take care of whatever situation you might be in? Granted, He may do so in His own time and not as immediately as we would like, but don’t give up on God! He has never given up on anyone and He doesn’t until it is too late for them to give their lives to Him.

It is our individual choices which take us places that we enjoy or not. Our choices, not someone else’s, are the ones that we will have to account for when we face God one day. Have you considered that today? Have you thought of what you have done or said that you haven’t asked Him for forgiveness for?

You can’t hide any part of your life from God, no matter how much you may want to. He knows all about each of us, regardless of which continent you live on or how far you may be from the nearest cell tower! God doesn’t need cell coverage to find you because He never lost you! He has always been near you, patiently waiting for you to ask for Him to come into your life and help you get things straitened out.

I know that there are many of you who read this that think “My life doesn’t need to be straitened out!”; if that is true, what is working so perfectly in your life that nothing needs to be fixed? Please let the world know how you got everything figured out so we can all enjoy this freedom!

There are many who think that they have it figured out, but they are really fooling themselves. Everyone has problems of one kind or another, some are worse than others but I don’t believe that there is a person on this planet that doesn’t have some problems or at the least one problem. Life just isn’t that easy or pleasant.

Even if you have enough money that you can buy anything that you could want, without asking “How much?”; there are still taxes to pay, rent, maintenance fees for cars, houses, apartments, etc. Life just doesn’t let you have it that easy without some problems. Unless, you are one of those who is off the grid, no cell, no internet, no TV, paid cash for a small house and all that you have to worry about is utilities and food. So even with that, you still have “bills” of a sort; of course you could grow your own veggies, and unless your home is a solar powered one you still have to pay for electricity.

Living on earth is just not that forgiving as far as problems are concerned, although living off the grid entirely doesn’t sound too bad come to think of it!

Giving your heart to Jesus doesn’t fix any of these problems either. As a matter of fact, some problems may get worse especially if you tell others about your Savior and can’t keep it to yourself! We were commanded to do this, so why should you! That is why this blog exists, so that people who are searching for some of life’s answers can find them. I don’t have those answers, but God’s Word does and all you have to do is read it.

Live your life according to Scripture and in awe of our God and Creator, because if He had not made our home we wouldn’t have such a perfect place to live. I know that many of you don’t have a perfect place, but in comparison to the other planets in our solar system, earth is as perfect for us as it gets. God loves you, each and every one of you because He created you and placed you exactly where He wanted you to be!

Give your life to Jesus, pursue Him as you would a lover, learn about Him from the Word of God. When you have done these things, He will give you the peace that you cannot understand and that you have longed for all of your life. You will also be assured of a place in heaven forever and not punishment in hell.

The Lord and Our God

In the times that we live in, can we as Christians claim Jesus as our Lord and Our God? If we are Christian followers of Him, serving Him and not our own selves, then yes, we can. Are there people who want to claim Him but don’t for various reasons? Yes, it is possible that there are those who claim to speak to Him daily and who say that they are praying to Him, but they still don’t claim their place as children of God.

I suppose it is because they aren’t ready or they believe that they have plenty of time to do that later. The fact is that you are not guaranteed tomorrow and when it is your time to appear before God after your death, what will you say to Him? “I didn’t have enough time”; “I wasn’t ready yet”; “I had too much to do to bother with my soul”.

The problem with the excuses above is that they are heard many times when someone is asked about giving their life to Christ. But, they are not valid excuses! The argument that “a loving God wouldn’t send someone to hell” doesn’t hold much validity either because it is not God who condemns you, it is your own decision that sends you to hell.

When Jesus was teaching His disciples before His death on the cross, He told them that “no one comes to the Father except through me”. If you don’t decide to accept Him as your Savior, you have condemned yourself to hell. That is the unpardonable sin. When you stand before God to review your life, all of the things that you said that were sinful and the things that you did will be brought before you and God, unless you have accepted Jesus as your Savior.

That is the sin which is the one that will condemn you to eternal punishment and the reason for the eternal punishment is that there are no gray areas, if you haven’t joined God’s family, then you are on Satan‘s side of the fence. You cannot balance between the two, either you serve God or yourself and by serving yourself, you are in Satan’s “camp” in a manner of speaking.

If you look at it like a war, it would be like not joining the fight against an enemy. Even though you may not be fighting with the enemy, you aren’t fighting for the other side either, so by not choosing sides, you have chosen. In God’s “war” with Satan, you are either in one camp or the other. There is no neutral ground.

God loves each of us far above what we are able to do or comprehend. What we do and have done in our lives is important to Him, but until we give our life to Him, we are part of the world and not part of His family. Once we have come to Jesus and begin to learn our role in His Kingdom, we are more at ease with ourselves and with others. The change that comes to us when we accept Him is one that nothing on earth can accomplish. Money, power, fame, drugs, alcohol all are used by each of us in one way or another to try to fill that area in our lives that only Jesus fills and until we put Him there we will always feel that something is missing.