Beginning again

Every new year it seems that everyone makes all sorts of “resolutions” to do this or lose that or make more money or spend more time with their family. Why can’t we just resolve to do these things without the change of year? We usually spend time with family and friends during the year anyway, why not make that time into quality time? The kind of time which creates memories that last a lifetime.

Making more money or losing a few inches or pounds is a temporary thing and they really don’t last anyway. Money doesn’t make your life better, only more complicated. Particularly if you make a good deal more than you have in the past. Like the winners of a lottery, a windfall of cash is great for a while but unless you are disciplined about the use of it and the saving of it, the windfall won’t last very long.

The only windfall that we all have access to, that can never be lost or taken away, is salvation through Jesus Christ. All that you have to do to have this is to believe that He died for you and your sins, ask His forgiveness and ask Him to change you into the person that you should be. The rewards may not come in this life while you are here, but you will have a home in eternity and that is a very long time.

The beginning of eternity starts when this life ends, one way or another.

Time….

We count it and watch it, some days it seems like we don’t have enough of it yet we waste it too. So, what do you intend to do with the time that you have? How much time do you have? How much of it have you thrown away with games and silly things that don’t give you any reward? We look at a new sunrise and think that we have all day to do things when actually we have already lost six hours of that day since midnight. During the spring and fall we get two equinoxes  which give us twelve hours each of daylight and night, but as Jesus said to His disciples: “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” John 9:4

I was curious about the hours and minutes and seconds that we have in a day so I am breaking that down here: In one twenty-four hour period there are 1440 minutes and 86,400 seconds. We tend to use part of those for sleep of course, but the point is that our time is limited. We don’t know for sure how long we will live and yet we fritter it away as if we will have a century or more.

Life begins with our conception but our breathing life begins at birth and from that point on we begin to die physically. Of course for a couple of decades we don’t notice the breakdown of our cells and our bodies, if we are lucky or blessed to be born healthy. Some don’t get that blessing though and are born with built-in limitations, which can be a blessing or a curse depending on how we look at it as we grow. The thing to remember is that GOD DOESN’T MAKE JUNK!

Physical limitations, disabilities or whatever you may call them are just points where we need to learn to lean on God more in our daily lives. The apostle Paul had a thorn that he had to deal with while he was serving the Lord and he asked God to remove it three times, but God told him that “my grace is sufficient for you“. Paul had to learn to live with it, whatever it was and he did some mighty preaching with it until his execution.

Time is given to us in increments of seconds and minutes and hours and days and months and years, but we are never guaranteed a certain amount of time. We get our days just one at a time, and no more. This is why I try to tell people about Jesus and His mercy for your life, provided on the cross and through His resurrection so that our sins are paid for. All that we need to do is to claim this grace and mercy from God.

Once you do, then you can use the remaining days that you have telling others about Jesus in your life. We are given this time to do just that, to tell others about our Lord and Savior. This is God’s will for a Christian’s life. We all don’t have glorious and grand ministries like some on TV do. But, in telling others about Jesus we do have a ministry. Because, God loves all of His creation. He doesn’t like the sins that many seem prone to live in on a daily basis, but He loves the people anyway.

Living a sinful life is not pleasing to God, whether you are a CINO (Christian in name only) or a true, born again Christian. One who truly has had their life and heart changed by the Holy Spirit cannot comfortably commit sin because you are convicted of it when the thought enters your mind even before you do anything with that thought! I don’t mean that Christians are pure and sinless because nobody lived a life on Earth that way except for Jesus.

We can live a life sanctified by Him, washed in His blood, and our records have been wiped clean from that point on, but we will still say things, think things, and do things that are sinful. We can claim His forgiveness for those sins at the point of conviction because we are covered by His righteousness. As long as we don’t choose to go back into a life of sin and ignore the Spirit’s prompting us to stop. We are still His, but like putting a white cloth in the mud we have soiled our life and our soul. If you keep on in your sin, it will get easier to ignore the Spirit’s prompting each time until one day you won’t hear it or feel it at all.

But…God is still with you. He hasn’t left you, you are the one who moved. Come back to Him, seek Him out and He will forgive your sins and take you back. Just because you have gotten off the path, doesn’t mean that you can’t find it again. Give your life and your heart to Jesus and the rest of the journey won’t be easy but He will give you the strength to get through each minute…each second…of each day that is ahead of you.

We truly are…

Vessels of God’s Spirit and we are also where He resides in us and not in a temple.  When  you have given your life to Jesus, you become the home, the dwelling place for the Spirit of God. At this point in time, we are very important to Him because everything that we do or say from that point on reflects on His Kingdom and His Glory. We are His and He is ours because we  have taken His Spirit in to live in us.

So what have you done to let anyone know Who lives inside you? Have you ever even thought about telling someone about your salvation? Many Christians really don’t think about it, but that is exactly what we are told to do by Jesus himself. We are supposed to go and tell the world or as many people as we can. If you are shy, ask God for help in that area.

People should be able to tell if you are a Christian, but in some parts of the world that is a dangerous thing. True, being a Christian is something which takes courage and strength especially today but it has been this way for many years. It is sad that we are walking away from Him and His Wisdom in droves today, many are even running as fast as they can or trying to take as many people with them as possible.

A line has been drawn, from the beginning at Eden, between good and evil, between God and Satan the world that we live in is being pulled and drawn in directions opposing each other. Please, read the Bible. Pray for clarity and understanding so that God can help you to understand His Word and the Truth held within it.

Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we can be forgiven by God. He is the Creator and the One that can see all that is happening today and tomorrow. When we realize this and ask His forgiveness for our sins and then turn to Jesus and allow Him to create in us a pure heart that the Spirit can inhabit, then we can begin to heal our world and our communities.

The only REAL fix and cure for the ills in the world and the problems which are coming in the near future, is Jesus the Messiah. Not Muhammad, nor Buddha or any of the other “man created” saviors of the past few thousand years, but Yeshua is the One and Only Son of God and He is standing at the right hand of God waiting for the order to be given to get the church, the Bride of Christ. When that happens, there won’t be anything holding the real evil in this world back any longer.

God’s Word is True and it is the Truth. Why or how could you get a book written by about forty different men, separated by hundreds or thousands of years and yet their writings all point, in some prophecy contained within, toward Jesus? It isn’t possible today and it wouldn’t have been possible then, but the Hebrew people who kept the records made sure that the Word and the laws that they were writing down were accurate.

Please read Romans 8, the whole chapter, and see that a man who had tried to destroy the church actually built most of it by his writings and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote 13 books out of the New Testament, he had been trained as a Pharisee, he knew the Torah and all of the writings by memory. Yet, it took an encounter with the glorified Jesus on the road to Damascus to bring him to belief and he did!

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.

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.

Love life, not stuff!

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Can God use you for His purposes?

Are you willing to let God use you in your life? Have you given your heart to Him so that He can use you? There are many people who don’t know about the Bible or what is in it these days in America. It really isn’t hard to understand why though. We have pushed the Bible, prayer, reading the Bible and many other activities related to being a Christian completely out of our lives. There are many who don’t know the first book in the Bible and many others who can’t even name the four gospels telling of the life of Jesus and the good news that was His life and ministry. I use “was” to denote that it happened about two thousand years ago, not that He is dead because He isn’t, Jesus sits at the right hand of God awaiting the time that He will come back and get the Church.

I am getting a bit ahead of myself here though. Are you a Christian or do you want to be a Christian? If you do, then ask Jesus to come into your heart and forgive you for the life that you have lived. He will show you how to live a different way with a new purpose and a new attitude. Once you have done this, pick up a Bible and pray that God will teach you through it because He will do that. Just reading it will help, but asking God to show you the things that you need to learn will help more than even going to church.

Although you will want to attend a church which teaches from the Bible soon because meeting with others who believe like you do is necessary. The early church in Jerusalem met in their homes, but they did meet together. The fellowship gained during this time is necessary for your growth in Christ as well as your learning more about Him. It is also necessary to your growth as a Christian because the fellowship that you enjoy with other believers grows sweeter and more like family as you grow in your faith!

Now, to get to the issue of being used for His purpose…first of course you have to be a believer and you should be willing to do the will of God. That being said, it is not an automatic thing that every believer is going to work for God in some way. The easiest way to do this is by studying God’s Word daily, then praying about what you have read and seeking His will for your life. He will answer your prayers in His time, of course, not yours so be patient. The best advice I can give you at this point is DON’T EVER ASK GOD FOR PATIENCE! He will hear that prayer and you will learn patience but you may not like the lessons!

God loves you and all of humanity and He does answer prayers, just realize that some of those answers are His way of testing you and teaching you. So, don’t be surprised with the answers that you get especially those that don’t seem to be what you asked for. God loves each of us and He does take care of our needs every day, but He is not One that you can ask for money and it will just fall into your account. Prosperity comes with sacrifice and work, not from schemes and gambling. Read through Proverbs carefully in either the Living Bible translation or the English Standard Version, then you will understand His view toward work and laziness and debt.

The Bible can teach you more than a college can in four years, but you have to meditate on it, pray about it and ask Him to give you the wisdom to understand His message for your situation when you are reading it. Believe me, I used to think that it was just an old book until I became a Christian and started really studying it and praying about what I read. Then I learned that your education is severely lacking if the Bible is not part of it. Give God’s Word and Jesus a chance in your life and your life will never be the same again…it will be one hundred percent BETTER!!!

Faith, do you have any?

We are supposed to have faith in God and in His Son, if you are a believer. Those who don’t believe in Him, for whatever reason, don’t have faith in God although they know of Him. Knowing about a person, whether it is a celebrity, a sports figure or an entertainer or God Himself, does not amount to truly knowing that person. Do you know someone in a political office or just know about them? How about those players on the national football or basketball teams, do you know them personally? No, you can quote statistics about their ability to play their respective games but you don’t know them.

Faith_in_God

That is the difference between knowing about someone and really knowing them. That is why God created the relationship of marriage between a man and a woman, so we can have an idea of what our relationship with Him is supposed to be. Faith in God and in His provisions.

Living as a Christian gives you freedom and it really doesn’t hinder your life. The problem that many people have with it is that they see all of the things that they can’t do after becoming a Christian. Jesus never told anyone that you can’t do this or that, He just told them to go and sin no more. Although it is true that we can’t successfully do that in our own strength, we can with His Spirit living in our hearts. It is a lie that some believe that they can be righteous and holy after becoming a Christian, you can be but not twenty-four hours a day! You will have sinful thoughts, you will say things or think things about someone that are sinful, we are not perfect. We can strive to be perfect in our ways and follow His example, as long as we are truly His and follow Him by reading and learning the wisdom of God from the Bible. Apply this wisdom to your life, your family and your business practices and you are a few steps down the road toward Jesus.

This is the only way to truly belong to Him. If your salvation experience did not bring you to the cross to lay your sins down and walk away from them then you may need to check to see if you are His. God loves you more than you can realize, but if you keep pushing Him away and putting the leading of the Holy Spirit on your heart off, then He may give you over to your sins and to Satan. If God has a purpose for you to fulfill, then He will get your attention and you will come to Him. If you are being stubborn about it, the consequences could be like Job in the Bible, but then again they might not be.

We are not guaranteed our next breath, let alone tomorrow or next week, so putting off God’s call on your life is not a good or wise choice. Give your heart to Him, follow His steps and His purpose for your life. It doesn’t mean that you will be a missionary in some foreign land or a preacher but be willing to be whatever God calls you to be. The rewards may not be such that the world will take notice, but your impact on your world locally could be tremendous and the seeds that you plant may take root in someone’s heart on the other side of the world. God may use t hem to make an even larger impact, but the seed that started it all can come from something as simple as this page, this message. All you have to do is be receptive to the call, the pull of the Holy Spirit in your life and your heart. Let God do the rest.

Our time is not our own

Life is something that we tend to take for granted. We always feel, it seems, that we will have tomorrow or next week or next month to do the things that we like to do, that we want to do. Our life is a gift to us from God so that we can understand Who He is and what our purpose in this life really is. He has something in mind for each one of us regardless of what may be happening in our lives.

In Jeremiah God says this:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)

This is the promise that all of us have to cling to, especially during times in our lives which are tough. We cannot and should not fall on our own human weaknesses, and yet we tend to do this especially in times of grief and sadness. If you are going to live in Christ‘s strength daily, then you can’t fall on your strength just because things go south one day. We have to depend on Him every day in order to live the life that He has for us and to be a blessing to others.

Pity parties like we tend to have when things are going badly are the one personal  vice that we all seem to have, but we have the strength of Christ if we will bring Him into our life daily. His love for us is more than we can imagine and He will sustain you every day when you depend on Him and allow Him to walk with you and guide you through life. We don’t have the answers to every problems, no one does except Jesus, because He is the answer!

God will provide for each of us the provisions that we need whether it is money, food, shelter or whatever it may be, when we depend on Him. I know that it is hard for many people to actually do this because it has been hard for me as well because the One that you are depending on is the Creator but He is not visible. His provision for you is enough, but it seems to be provided just in time and in the right amounts, not the way we want it…right now! We want our prayers answered today not next month or next year or even ten years from now, but God’s timing is the right time although we may not realize it at the time.

We have grown up in the past thirty years in a culture which has access to everything NOW! We have had microwaves for that length of time so we don’t pop popcorn in air poppers or on the stove, we want it in forty seconds from the microwave. In the past forty or so years, we have had drive-thru fast food places where we could just drive up, order what we want, pay for it and drive away and we didn’t even have to get out of our warm or cool car or truck to do it and usually we got our food, if you can call it that, in a few minutes.

Instant satisfaction and gratification is the norm these days, especially with the coming of the Internet and Amazon.com. We can find any amount of information that we need on a particular subject and buy books or most any other thing online in a few seconds and it will be delivered within a few days usually.

The biggest problem that this has created is that we don’t have much patience anymore. There is no delay in gratification, because we can get it almost instantly from anywhere. God knew that this was going to happen because He told Daniel about it and it is written in Daniel chapter 12:4 which says: ” But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

We need to depend on God every day to get us through, but we don’t like to have someone else in control. You have to give Him control, He doesn’t take it, so unless  you are willing to truly give Him yourself and follow His guidance in your life then you are not surrendered to Him. This is what is required and until you come to that realization, your life will be unbalanced and unfruitful toward the Kingdom of God.

It is true that your life may be going well every day, whether you belong to Christ or not, but it is a lie from Satan if you don’t belong to Jesus. All of these “good things” that you have and have been “given”, you have them because he is trying to keep you “satisfied” with your life, with your stuff, with everything that you have! Things don’t help. Stuff doesn’t do any of us any good…but Jesus can and does! Ask Him into your heart and into your everyday life because He has a plan for you and it will be revealed and accomplished when you give your life to Him and follow Him. Amen.