What do you believe?

Have you tried many different religions and not yet found the one that you are comfortable with? Have you gone to classes in yoga and felt strange afterward? Today, there are many, many different religions and belief systems which you can try out for a while and many of them actually seem to be saying the same thing, for the most part. Which is why, in my opinion, people seem so confused about religion and its place in our life. Why is it so important? Why is religion or any belief system important to us? Because God created us to need something or Someone in this way.

We tend to feel it as an empty place or feeling like something is missing, but we don’t really know what is missing or why we feel this way. I noticed it when I was a teenager and I had no idea what was missing. I thought at the time it was because my parents were divorced when I was really young but that wasn’t it. It took many years for me to really find out what I needed or rather Who I needed. Even when you find out about God and Jesus and try to put them in that place, you eventually realize that you can’t put them there.

It has to be a mutual call, a knock on your heart’s door so to speak. Then you can ask Jesus to come in and change your life and your heart. Once you do that, you will find that empty place is not empty anymore. If you were sincere in your decision to ask Jesus into your life then you will always have Him there regardless of where you are or what may be happening. God loves you and He wants you to be His representative to the world. All that you have to do is ask Him into your heart and ask His forgiveness for your life before He came into it.

The only rules that He asks you to follow is to follow Jesus in obedience by telling others about Him and what He has done for you and your life. There is no war to be fought, no people to be conquered, and He doesn’t force people to worship Him because forced worship isn’t real worship, because you can force someone to love you and that is what worship is! God does love you deeper and more completely than anyone and all that He asks is for you to return His love willingly.

Any relationship is this way, if it is based on true love, but some people think that God won’t love them unless they love Him first. That is backward because God loved ALL of us before He made this world that we live on, all that He expects is to be loved in return for the grace and mercy that we have been given! When we love Him in return it is because we were loved first!

Seek Him out in the Bible and learn of His ways because He loved the world and all of His creation before any of us were ever created or born into it.

Our country…

This was the land of the free and the home of the brave at one time. It still is the land of the brave because we have brave men and women in our Armed Forces who are doing what they do best to keep us free. The problem is that our freedoms, that they are fighting for even today, are being systematically taken away or changed so that we don’t have as much freedom anymore.

Life is changing bit by bit and it doesn’t seem to be getting better, it is getting more dangerous by the day.

Our only hope for any future lies with Jesus Christ! Putting your faith in Him will give you hope and a future, at least one in eternity and it will give us a chance at one thousand years of peace under the rule of Jesus. Life is precious to God and He cares for all of us, if we are to have a future then we should put our trust..our faith in the One Who created it all and holds it together in His Grace and power.

This is not a lengthy post, I only want to point all of those who read this toward our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is in Him that we have a future and our eternal destiny rests in His Grace and His love for us. Consider this when you look for a reason for tomorrow and a reason to live.

Pickin’ and choosin’

Religion is an easy thing in America. We have the freedom to pursue and
worship whoever or whatever we wish to or even to not worship
anything at all. Being religious is very easy and there are many
people who are very religious about their chosen religion, some even
to the point of being fanatical about it. So what is it about this
trend in America? Mainly it is because for the past fifty or sixty
years, we have been searchers and seekers. Not so much as seeking out
God and His ways, but seeking that which suits us the best in a
church or religion.
That is not such a bad thing because many times in this searching, people
will be called to faith in God and give their hearts to Jesus.
Although, some may not listen intently to the messages that are
presented to them and they want to pick and choose whatever they want
to believe. This is a dangerous way of doing things and for an
illustration of this I propose this:
A man was building a platform from pipes and boards so that he could have some
people singing and just presenting music for those who wanted to hear
it. He went through the hardware store and picked out the most shiny
pipes and bolts and nuts that he could find because they would look
good in the lights. He didn't pay any attention to the sizes that he
chose, just that they looked nice and shiny. When he got home to put
it together he found that he couldn't get anything to work very well
together because even though they were pretty and shiny, their sizes
didn't match well. A few were the same size and would go together,
but the next one in line would not. What went wrong?
Well, he had some that were quarter inch and some that were a half inch in
size, these were mixed and matched and he even had some bolts and
nuts that were in the same shape, being different sizes so that few
would work together. It doesn't work in construction and it works
even less efficiently with religious beliefs. 

Picking and choosing one or two verses from the Bible to believe and then
discarding much of the rest of it doesn't work, just as choosing
parts because they look good rather than because they fit together
doesn't work. Except, that is what many people seem to be doing
today. Why are people trying to “make their own god” as some
claim? Mainly because they don't like the message that they have
heard from the Bible or they don't want to be told that their
lifestyle is wrong or sinful.
God Himself is Holy and He won't allow an unclean sinner into Heaven
unless they have repented (turned away from) of their sins and the
lifestyle that went with them AND they have asked Jesus into their
life and their heart, allowing the Holy Spirit to change them
spiritually so that they can be a true Christian. Christianity is not
based on going to church at certain times or participating in rituals
once every month or every six months. You can go to church for a
century, every time the church has services, and if you haven't
accepted the call of Jesus in your heart and life then you haven't
changed much. You may know the Scriptures and have read the Bible
through and taught a class or two in that time, but if you haven't
given your life to Jesus then you aren't saved!

Miracles

Do you believe in miracles happening today? Some people do because they have seen people healed when there was no chance that medicine could accomplish it. Others look at all of the problems in the world and think “Why bother? God doesn’t care anymore.”

Yes, He does. He has never stopped caring for the world and those in it. His grace for each of us today is for us to have the chance to come to know Him. He waits for us to decide to come into His Presence, and yet many are turning away because of apathy and mistrust and just plain tiredness.

Why do I say this? Because…it is true. Young people especially have turned away from God, even with the fancy churches and the concerts. Small churches which can’t afford those entertaining ways of getting your attention are losing people under forty by the thousands today. Why?

Because of boredom. In today’s world, where technology reigns supreme, people young and old just don’t get the wisdom in the Bible. It’s not flashy enough. It’s not loud enough and it doesn’t keep their attention long enough. Think about this for a moment.

Anyone born since 1980 has had video games, music videos, computers, cell phones (smart or not), and many other techno-gadgets in their lives at all times. None of this generation knows what it is like to be disconnected from family or friends because one way or another they have all had some form of communication available. Look in a crowd at a concert and see if you can count the number of screens lit up, even at a movie. Depending on the size of the crowd there will be hundreds if not thousands, so even in a venue where their attention is supposed to be focused on the stage or screen, they are usually focused on a small screen.

The only reason this doesn’t happen at my church is because it is in an area where there isn’t much cell coverage, so there isn’t any reason to look at the screen…no connection. That is also why the church is losing people in droves…no connection. How can you connect young people to a Savior and their Creator when they can’t touch Him or Google Him?

God cares for you and me. He loves each of us more than we can understand, and yet we latch on to doctrine and dogma made up by men. Just as those in the past did. The Law of Moses was held in high esteem, but it couldn’t save their souls. All that they Law could do was to point out that they couldn’t perform to perfection, that we can’t live or perform to perfection. The doctrine or discipline that some churches and their congregations cling to is no different, even though it is worded differently.

Man-made rules cannot be above God any more than we can be. His Way through Jesus is the only way to salvation, anything other than Jesus leads to death…the kind that never ends. Separation from God for eternity because of your choices, your choice, not because of any act or sin on your part except for the rejection of Jesus as your Savior. This is the unforgivable sin, and usually pride is the culprit which causes you to think that you can do better. That you can get into Heaven without Jesus.

Not possible. The door narrow and small in such a way that only you can get through with Jesus leading you in. Nothing that you have on Earth, whether it is money, power, fame or whatever it may be will help you be sinless and pure in heart enough to get into Heaven. Only through the blood of Jesus and your repentance of your sinful lifestyle whatever that may be will get you there. Some can wait until they are in the electric chair or the table to be killed by an injection in prison because they know the day and hour of their death. Most of us don’t have that luxury. Our death could come any time.

Seek Him in the Bible and pray that you can choose to follow Him for the rest of your days.

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.

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.

True love, what can it do?

It seems that many people think that the word “love” has been used up and no longer means much, if anything, anymore. But, what can actual genuine love do? Many, many things actually.

Love can heal and it will protect, love is kind and patient, love bear burdens that lust cannot; Love doesn’t mean that you don’t apologize for a wrong, but that you can bear up and endure through the trials and heartache that come from it. Love is caring and compassionate, even when the one being cared for may be one that tried to kill you. Love is an emotion, a feeling, but it is also hope for tomorrow and faith in the future as well. Love is all of these things and more.

Love, the kind that you feel from your mother or grandmother, can fix hurts, mend problems between siblings, and it just feels like home as no other place or feeling can. You can’t duplicate it and you can’t fake it, you either love someone truly or you don’t.

Just as being on one side of a fence or the other, you can’t be on both, and with love there is no real middle ground. True, there are different kinds of love, such as the love felt between friends or for family, then there is the erotic type of love/lust that is so rampant today. So what can real love do for you?

It heals and it prolongs your life. It also lowers your blood pressure and eases stress. All of these positive outcomes from one simple emotion. Is it really so simple? I don’t think so. Love is expressed between people of all ages but it is most effective when it is inside a family, between a man and a woman and their children, which is how and why God ordained the family unit to be the model for all of us.

Love, real love, expressed in this way can last through generations not just a few years or decades. God’s love has been available to all of us since we were able to understand it, yet He has loved and cared for us since the beginning. His love is perfect in that it requires nothing from us, it just flows from Him to us. Yes, He desires our love and for our love to flow back to Him, but it is our choice and cannot be forced.

That is the one requirement that cannot change, ever: Love is not forced and cannot be. You can’t make someone love you, even if you love them. They either will or they won’t, anything beyond that is tolerance or hatred. Which is where Satan stands, on the side of hatred. He despises God and His children, and he will do anything to hurt and rip into the church and its members, as well as those that they love. That is what we are here to do, to love those outside the church with the love that God gives to us so that they might want it too.

Truly, we need to depend on God!

You know, there is a reason that we are all here and it has something to do with our dependence on God. If you don’t lean on Him and seek Him every day, then you are only working on your own strength and power and compared to Satan, we are WEAK! But, you and Jesus make a mighty army and if you get a whole church praying for something specific, like a healing or a financial problem, God can do some amazing things in a short amount of time!

The Israelites had to depend on Him while travelling from Egypt to the promised land and it is amazing if you consider the amount of food and water that God provided for them and they still complained! I found this today and I thought you might like to read how much all of these people would require:

“According to the Quartermaster General in the Army, it is reported that Moses would have to have had 1500 tons of food each day. Do you know that to bring that much food each day, two freight trains, each at least a mile long, would be required!

Besides you must remember, they were out in the desert, so they would have to have firewood to use in cooking the food. This would take 4000 tons of wood and a few more freight trains, each a mile long, just for one day.

And just think, they were forty years in transit!

And Oh yes! They would have to have water. If they only had enough to drink and wash a few dishes, it would take 11,000,000 gallons each day and a freight train with tank cars, 1800 miles long, just to bring water!

And then another thing!

They had to get across the Red Sea at night. Now, if they went on a narrow path, double file, the line would be 800 miles long and would require 35 days and nights to get through. So there had to be a space in the Red Sea, 3 miles wide so that they could walk 5000 abreast to get over in one night.

But then, there is another problem……………each time they camped at the end of the day, a camp ground two-thirds the size of the state of Rhode Island was required, or a total of 750 square miles long…….. think of it! This much space for camping.”
(Copied from this website: http://www.tektonics.org/af/exoduslogistics.php)

It is absolutely no wonder that Moses wasn’t too enthusiastic about taking on this ministry! Can you imagine leading a city around in the desert for forty years? That is what it would be like! Without God leading them and guiding them and giving them food and water, they would’ve all died. But their shoes didn’t wear out nor did their clothes during the whole trip.

Depending on God is something which requires a bit of faith and today it seems to be hard to find that “bit”, even if it is only the size of a mustard seed. But, this is what is needed and more and if the children of Israel can do it in their situation, then certainly we can too.

We haven’t been under a slave master’s lash for 430 years, nobody in America has been a slave for that amount of time! Yes, there were some African’s who were brought over here early on in our country’s history but many of those were set free. What I am pointing to is that there isn’t a single family that can trace their heritage back for that amount of time and show that they have been enslaved for that whole period.

Christian’s need to look to God for their provision, whether it is for life, health, jobs, families or any other good blessing. It is something which we don’t do on a regular, daily basis, mainly because we don’t really have to in America. But, in other countries believers have the faith and the need to look to God for daily living, protection, health, and many of the things which we take for granted every day. The way that our culture has been pushing God out of our daily lives and the schools and out of the government, we may not enjoy the blessings from Him much longer, especially those which America has had for many generations past.

If you are a Christian, please get closer to God by truly studying His Word. Pray over its meaning for you and for your life and ask Him to give you the wisdom to understand it and apply it, because the time is coming when we may not be able to worship as openly as we have in the past. I pray that God will richly bless all of you who read this, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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.