Dividing lines

Why are the people of America trying to divide our country now? I mean, it happened during the Civil War by politics and by differences of opinion on slaves and who should have them or not. Now, we are dividing it because of the history of that period and the feelings of those living today. My ancestors came from Ireland, some of them were slaves too but I am not going to worry myself about what happened over 200 years ago because it is not part of our present.

Countries and people are divided in many places around the globe because of politics and religion. America was the world’s “great melting pot” where every person from anywhere could come and be an American, not a hyphenated citizen. What happened? Have we rewritten our history so it won’t offend anyone today? What about twenty years from now? Will we just throw away the American flag and the national anthem and any trace of history from more than a century ago?

God brought our land together and the people who made up this great land and the government which governs it too. Now, at least one-third of Americans…maybe more are willing to make it into what exactly? Will it be a country that your grandparents would be proud of? Will God approve of the changes that seem to be happening at a rapid pace?

I don’t know the answers to those questions. I am not sure that many people know the real answers to those questions. I do know that if our country goes down the path which seems to be forming in our politically correct media and those who make the rules in our government, America will not be a place to look up to by anyone anymore. I never thought that our country would ever get to this point, but after the Vietnam War it seems that we, the American people, have lost much of our ideals and our pride in our country.

Did America have some dark days in her past, yes, but so does every country in the world! All of them have had slavery and abuse of power issues. All countries have had racial tension and religious persecution, we are not unique in that arena. Life, no matter where it may be, isn’t easy or guaranteed to last a certain amount of time. Some of the atrocities such as sex slavery (which is going on now) haven’t been dealt with yet.

Pedophiles and sexual battering and other perverted problems which are coming to light are not something that I thought that my child would have to learn about or have to pray about for guidance and protection but we are. We have pushed God out of education and mostly out of our collective conscience and now we are paying the price for it.

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The breath of Life!

Do you consider breathing a chore or just something that you do? It is automatic, like walking or eating or even drinking water when you are thirsty. What if…you couldn’t do any of those things, then where would you be and how would you get by? If you were paralyzed and could not walk or feed yourself what then? Do you just give up and wait to die? It seems that some would do just that!

Why?? It is true that being paralyzed is a very tough life to live, but with determination it can be done.

It is the same with being a Christian in a world that hates Christianity. Nobody wants to listen to your so-called lies and no one tolerates any amount of prayer in public, so watch it when you bless your food! If you are a follower of Allah, then you can break out a prayer rug five times a day and nobody will say a word about it. Why? Because, if they did it is considered discrimination and they are afraid of legal and physical retaliation!

Christians can’t do any kind of public prayer or preaching because it is offensive. It was that way just a few months after Jesus’ death and it is still that way but worse. People get offended by the slightest mention of the name of Jesus or even by seeing a cross hanging on your neck because of Who it represents. Why? Because they know that God’s Word is true! They know it in their bones and in their hearts, yet in our PC world today, offense toward someone in any way can get you arrested!

One day, when Jesus comes back people will hate Him for coming back but He is coming regardless. He is not worrying about those He will offend or those who still hate Him because they are going to get their just rewards whether they like it or not! God loves all people, but He will not spare them from punishment if they refuse His Grace and offer of salvation through Jesus!

Seek Him out while there is time and don’t put it off because you don’t have a guarantee of tomorrow or next year. There is a reason for the hatred of Christians and their religion…it is because it is true! God placed the knowledge of Him into our hearts whether we know Him or not, but until you ask Jesus to come into your life and fix all the broken pieces and clean out the garbage that you placed there, you will not know Him as Lord and Savior! Knowledge about Jesus and knowing about the Bible from a few verses that you have heard now and again only gives you head knowledge, but until He lives in your heart and you have read His Word prayerfully and completely, knowledge is all that you have.

The Breath of Life comes from God through the Holy Spirit by way of His Grace when you believe in Jesus. It doesn’t come from the Koran or any other religious book or any amount of sacrifices or work that you do in this world! God is the only Creator and the Giver of Life, eternal life, and if you refuse that gift you are doomed to an eternity in hell with all of the others who have turned away from Jesus and chosen to follow their own ways. Eternal life in hell and separation from God and all that is good is the worst way to spend eternity. Don’t go there.

Tell me how he lived….

We each know someone who was an inspiration to us while they lived and in the way they lived, yet somehow when they are gone there are times that we can’t remember. Some remember the good times, some remember the not-so-good times, some remember the smile or the laughter or the way they held their cigarette if they smoked. Many things about those who are important to us, while they still live, they don’t seem so important. But, when we can’t call them or go see them…each little bit is precious…at least to those who loved them. Who will remember how you lived or what you said? Think about your life now and the impact that it will have on those around you…while you live, because once you are gone the imprint and influence that you had in this life will live on.

It is important to remember and never forget the things that we loved about a person that we can’t see anymore, so make your memories good while you can.

I choose…

Can we choose to be different? Can we, as a nation, choose to be the people in America who will move forward and not bring the past with us? Yes, we can! It will not be easy, but by choosing to be the America that God intended for us to be, like we were sixty or one hundred years ago, we can. I am not saying that the American government of those days was perfect, but the nation still revered God, collectively.

In polls today, many people still say that they are Christians, but they are basing this on believing in God’s existence not in His Son, Jesus. Satan knows that God is real, he believes in His existence, but he doesn’t serve Him and hasn’t for thousands of years. In truth, that is what is wrong with our country collectively. The fact that there is just a small minority of people who truly are Christians in their hearts, their character and in their lives. Not just one or two days a week, but every day. The rest of the country maybe goes to church on Easter or at Christmas, which are pagan holidays which the “church” adopted in order to draw in more people, but many people leave that service unchanged, why?

Because they choose not to believe what they have heard, that is why they leave a church service without Jesus in their hearts. It is our choices which define our lives…our existence, here and in eternity. It is your choice to believe or not to believe and the fact that the choice is an easy one is what seems to make it hard for people to make that choice. In choosing to be a follower of Jesus and allowing Him to change you into the person that you are supposed to be, you are telling God that I do believe that you are the Creator and that your Word is Truth, that you believe, deeply believe, that what He says in the Bible, regardless of how hard it is to take really did happen and that every word is Truth.

We all have choices to make in life, in listening to people, hearing their opinions, whether we believe those opinions or not, and then choose whether we will listen to what they say about Jesus and our life with Him rather than block them out because their opinions are different from mine or yours. This is the reason for many people who leave a congregation to find someone else to listen to many times. Sometimes it will even split the church itself.

Choose to listen to a message, not because of the political leanings of the preacher but because He is preaching from God’s Word. Opinions are like eyes and ears and belly buttons, everyone has one. Choosing to go to church because your preacher is preaching from the Word of God and not because of his opinions about politics or the weather is the right choice because we all need to hear God’s Word preached. Choose to be the person who will hear God’s Word, not just the messenger that is delivering it.

Living in this culture

We have a much different time to manage and a different culture to live through and in during the early part of the twenty-first century than our parents and grandparents did. Why is this time and the culture so different from that of thirty years ago?

Mainly because of the connected nature of our lives and the technology that has invaded our everyday life. Thirty years ago a computer in someone’s home was unheard of because it hadn’t been done yet. Cell phones were the dream of those who needed them. Other wonderful gadgets like the Kindle, the iPad, Android tablets may have been in the imaginings of a few but for the rest of the world, we had no idea about them nor any reason to need something which hadn’t been invented yet.

Today, we are a connected culture, an Internet culture and one which would have some major meltdowns if the ‘Net weren’t available. It seems that “alternate reality” is not just a catch phrase anymore, many people actually live there all day, every day. It is a scary thought.

Although, it is not just people who live there, whole databases and server’s full of documents and information are there too. Cloud based computing has come to us, though it hasn’t matured just yet. It is still in its childhood so to speak because you can’t always get to your stuff when you want to, access is available only when the ‘net allows it.

Yes, living in this sort of “advanced” culture is much different from the time that I grew up in during the seventies and there are some good points and a lot of bad points to go along with “Internet culture” as it is today. Property theft, both of identities and intellectual, is rampant in this other world. Then there are those who just like to disrupt our lives with computer code which causes more problems or adds to the problems that we already have, such as worms, viruses, Trojans, phishing, the list goes on and on.

The point of this is to say that the ‘net has not made our world safer or more efficient, although in some ways it has, but the mind of mankind in general has come up with ways to inflict all sorts of suffering even through this medium. Our lives could be so much more useful and pleasant if the element of evil had not spread to the Internet, but as soon as there was a way to infiltrate this area of influence this too exploded and there is no way of putting it back into its bottle.

Your life and mine are interconnected, not only by the ‘net but by the fact that we live here on Earth. Some of us live in places where there is little persecution or strife, but some live in constant fear and hunger. All of this is because of evil and evil is here because of pride. We are able to see this, if we will accept the validity of God’s Word. It is not a book of fairy tales and made up stories by men long ago, they were inspired by the Spirit of God to write the words so that we could have an instruction book for Life. The Internet has opened up the world for us and there are many truths on it, but there are also many more lies and half-truths. God’s Word helps us to figure out which ones are real and true and which one’s are not.

Read and pray that you can understand it and the confusion and the lies of this world will, maybe not go away but they will be bearable because you will have access to the Truth of the Living God. For a good starting point try John 3:1-18 and Romans 8:1-23. The reason that I didn’t give just one verse is because there is a context to the story and it is clearer and easier to understand when you read more of the chapter rather than picking out just one verse.

I pray for each person who reads this that God will open your heart and your mind to His Spirit of Truth.

A new month, more problems

In our day-to-day existence we encounter many joyful and wonderful sights and sounds, but we also encounter heartache and pain at times. Not every day to be sure, but enough to make us realize that we are alive and that we can’t escape those parts of life. Is it possible that we are causing our own pain and suffering to be dumped on us or is it our circumstances which do this to us? In some ways it is a little bit of both. Let me explain what I mean.

We wake in the morning, some of us have aches and pains due to arthritis and some are blessed not to have this. Yet, if we have more than three decades of life accumulated, we will be a little stiff and creaky no matter how long we have exercised and sometimes it is a bit worse if we do exercise. Do you thank God for your life and for the grace to be able to get up this morning or do you just grumble about having to go to work again? Then we make our coffee or tea, grab a bite of something for our “breakfast” and then head out the door into the world wherever we go to work. Have you thanked God for your job and the benefits that it provides for you?

You see the main reason, that our joy is not constant and we have pain in our lives or assaulting our minds, is because we are not being thankful for the benefits of this life! I know that there are people in parts of the world where they are punished or threatened with death if they have faith in Jesus, but that usually causes their hope and faith to increase not decrease. Yes, there is suffering in the world but that is not caused by God. It is caused by Satan and his demons because they truly HATE us! We are made in the image of God and we are more privileged than angels and demons in His sight. God loves us because we are special to Him, although He loves all of His creation, for some reason He deemed us worthy of His unconditional love and only He knows the reason why.

Do you pray and ask for God to watch over you as you travel on the highway to and from work? I would, especially with people texting and talking on their phones ALL of the time! They may not be drinking but by doing just a simple thing as talking on the phone, they don’t have their attention on the road ahead or around them. Yes, I do pray when I am in a car, whether I am driving or if I am the passenger! What about when you eat your meals, do you thank God for the provision of food for your body? Even if it is something that is GMO, He had a hand in the process. All of the fruit and vegetables and meat that you may eat was and is provided by God for us each and every day.

Then, there are little things which we dismiss as unimportant most of the time. Like, being able to find a parking spot close to work or the front of the store when it is raining or finding your keys when you lose them. Even the wind and the shade provided by a cloud or two when you cut the grass in your yard is a blessing and a gift from God for you. Many of these small gifts are overlooked by us every day, but to realize that they are part of His plan for you is something which we all should realize. It doesn’t take much of a blessing for us to be a blessing to others, how much more do you think God wants to do for us if we will be thankful for it and recognize that it came from Him?

Think about it, and have a great Labor day holiday!

Mentality and depression

Many times in the past few months, I have thought of suicide. Just thought, mind you, I don’t think I have been low enough to go quite that far. I have felt that bad on some days, but when I see my son or my wife then I realize that life is not so bad. Besides, I love Jesus and He loves me too, so why would I want to do that?

Then, a dark day comes at me again. I try not to pay attention to it, I try to pray it away as best as I know how, I even read the Bible in Psalms and pray that the darkness will go away. But, sometimes…some days it just won’t go away. I home school my son, and I try to hide my depression from him but he has come to know my moody days well enough to be able to pick out when dad is “faking it”.

I am supposed to be better than this because I am the pastor of a church! But, you know, it doesn’t matter what your position in life is, depression can make you feel like…shit. Yep, I said it but the point is that when you are depressed that is the best way to describe it, whether you call it that or just crap, it still means the same thing! The mentality of people in my profession is that we are above those things, those lapses in judgement and that is not true!

Acting that way, having that sort of attitude toward life and things which happen in everyday life is wrong! We are not better than the people anywhere else, or the ones that come to church on Sunday that we bring God’s message to. We are the same with all of the warts and faults and sins that everyone else has! There is nothing different about me or you if you are a Christian except that we have been forgiven and sanctified by the sacrifice of Jesus. That is it!

That is the only difference in my way of life and living everyday. Jesus and His life, allows me to come to God and ask for His grace everyday of my life because I am under the blood of Jesus and His sacrifice for me. Repenting of my sins is a good start, but following Jesus every day is the journey that I am on and the one that you need to be on with me. Living your life to the fullest that you can and be happy doing it is the best revenge on those that bullied you in school or ignored you while you were there.

Are you involved?

By this I mean are you involved in life? Are you living your life because it is something that you have to do? Are you working at your business or your job because you HAVE to?

Being involved in life is more than just living and more than working every day. Involvement in everyday life is something that we all take for granted just because we are alive and we are able to get up and do something, regardless of what it is that we are doing.

It is hard to understand why others in the world don’t like it when we are involved in life because Christians tend to step on people’s toes, whether we intend to or not. Why? Because of what we have and they don’t like it, they want us to be tolerant of everything that they do, but they can’t or won’t be tolerant of our beliefs!

In 1 John chapter three, he wrote: “See what an incredible quality of love the Father has given to us, that we should be permitted to be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! The reason that the world does not know us is that it does not know (recognize, acknowledge) Him.”

This is the reason that others don’t want us around expressing our opinions because our opinions always involve our faith in God, regardless of what we are doing or saying. God is the center of my life and if you are a Christian, He should be in the center of your daily life too!

I am not writing this to brag or to say that I am better than you. I am writing it to tell you that God wants a relationship with you. He has always wanted a relationship with each person on the Earth, but many won’t give Him the time or the opportunity to come inside and be there when and where we live. If you live your life daily with something or someone as the focus of your energy for the day, then you have the wrong focus…the wrong priority in your life.

God does love you because He sent Jesus to die in your place to pay the price for all of your sins so that you can come to Him in repentance and ask Him to come into your life, forgiving you of those sins and work through you so that you can be useful to Him for the rest of your life. It is a simple thing to do, but many of you won’t do it because of pride or selfishness. You won’t give your life to God because you don’t want to admit that without Him in the world, available to the world, there would be no recognition of the evil in the world.

Living the life

Do you dream of living the life? Can I ask, “What kind of life is it that you want to live?”

Is it one of wealth and prosperity, where you can provide for yourself and your family regardless of the price? Or do you want to have enough…to make the bills and pay your utilities and buy food without worrying about whether there is enough?

These are questions which I have pondered my whole life and I cannot truly answer which one I would rather have. Actually, the second option sounds more feasible….more achievable, but the problem now is “How?”

Many people seem to have cornered the way to make money on the Internet. Is it ethical? Is it right? Are you really providing a service…a useful service for people or are you just selling open, empty promises and when they buy into it, then they have to participate in the lie in order to make any money?

I am not accusing anyone of doing this but there can’t be that many ways of making hundreds or thousands of dollars per week or month that is actually legal and ethical! The life that I am challenging you to live is not one that has all of the money that you need to vacation in Tahiti, or to live there during part of the year.

The life that I challenge you to live is one that is such that you wouldn’t be ashamed to bring your mother along with you. One that you would even be able to take Jesus along with you, no matter where you might go. Don’t you realize that God created us, each one of us, for a purpose…His purpose, not yours! He will make you prosperous if that is His will for you, but if you are in His will then your life will bring glory to Him and honor Him as well.

God loves you and intended for you to be a part of His Kingdom! You are a vital part of His plan. How do I know this? Because the Bible says that we are all unique and wonderfully made and because God would not create such a wonderful human being if you, each of you, did not have a place in His Kingdom!

All that you need to do is to ask Him to come into your life and your heart. Change your life and He will, repent of your sins and tell Jesus that you will learn to walk with Him. It is not hard. Read God’s Word, pray that He will show you what you need and how to follow Him and when you have done this you will know Him. He already knows you. Please consider this, the time of grace for the world and for the church is soon coming to a close. Nobody knows when this will be, but almost every prophecy that was supposed to happen before His coming has already happened. This life is the only chance that you get to make things right for eternity, so get it right the first time.

Have you ever had one of those days….

he-went-thataway-funny-catHave you ever felt like you were all twisted up and couldn’t get undone? I have had days like this and they really aren’t that great at all, especially if you can’t figure out which way to go. Should I go left or right or should I just wait until tomorrow and try again? You and I both know that everyone feels this way at times, some days more than others. But, there is a way that you can find your way, even when you get all twisted up into a knot of emotions and problems that just don’t seem to be fixable.

Success in life as well as in business, regardless of the business you might be in, has to start with a foundation. Something that you can know in your heart is right, regardless of how the day or the week may be going. Your foundation starts with Jesus believe it or not, it is up to you. Follow the teachings found in His Word and as I have said before the book of Proverbs, especially in the New Living Translation, is the best business guide out there.

The point of this is to get your attention focused on God and His purpose for you and your life, your business. Keep it focused on Him and He will make sure that it is a success and if it is a success then you will be too. Ask Jesus to come into your life, today. Begin today to be part of His family and let Him be part of yours. Pray about your day, pray to Him to help you find your way back to Him or just come to Him if you have never known Him as Savior and Lord. Your life will never be the same and neither will your business…it will be better than it ever was!

If any of you are fathers, then Happy Father’s Day! Make it a good one and thank your Father for giving you the foundation to start with and to build upon.

Think about it!