Will you have an impact?

We are starting a new year, not exactly an Earth-shaking event. But…will you have an impact in our world or your world this year? Sometimes we make resolutions for the year when it is brand new and fresh but after a couple of paychecks and possibly a trip to the doctor’s office…well those resolutions get placed in the closet until next year. So, can we have an impact on those we love or the workplace?

GodisNearActually, we can IF we will let God into our lives and let Him influence our living from day-to-day! I know that there are people who don’t like to hear about religion in general, regardless of whether Jesus is part of it! But, the fact is that everyone needs Him whether we realize it or accept it or not!

Could we have an impact on the world without allowing Jesus into our lives on a daily basis? Yes, but it wouldn’t have an eternal outcome if we did it all on our own. Teachers in high school and college have an impact on their student’s lives during the year, but how much do you remember of tenth-grade algebra class? I would guess that, like me, you don’t really remember much of it (unless you actually work in a field that you USE it every day)!

Being a Christian is very different from learning algebra or geometry because it is a decision which we are called to by God and the Holy Spirit. It is not a decision that you make on your own, although you do have to decide to accept the offer of salvation from Jesus. You can’t just decide that today I am going to become a Christian because it is a calling from God which prompts you to realize that you need Jesus in your life.

Being a Christian and living life as a Christian is not a hard thing to do, but it is a life that you have to learn to do. Studying the Bible and learning about the grace of God and His plan for your life is part of living your life for Jesus! Repenting or walking away from your sins is another part of being a true Christian. Sitting in church or Sunday school once or twice a month and not changing your lifestyle doesn’t make you a Christian. Although many people who go to church once or twice a year think that they are Christians, even though they haven’t been baptized or changed anything about their lives!

You can have an impact in this world and in eternity by living your life for Christ so that others will see its effect on you and want what you have.

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It is not about race

So many comparisons are made between people who have no concept of race, it seems. In fact, the human race is the only real “race” that exists on Earth. There are many differences in skin tone and color, eye shape, hair, etc. but we are all homo sapiens, at least as far as DNA can tell us. Genetics has produced and still produces differences in our “look” but the actual race is the same.

Culture and differences in the practice of lifestyles are the most visible differences and the most vocal. But, a preference for one sexual partner or another doesn’t compare to the injustices suffered by people of color, regardless of how you phrase it. Sexual preference is not a “civil right”, it is just your preference. Period.

The world around you shouldn’t have to cave to your desires and preferences just because you have a different preference for a sexual partner. In all fairness, we shouldn’t be so judgmental about this in our culture anyway but we are. Even on social media, we tend toward having friends which look like us or believe like us. We are not as diverse in our friendships as we would like people to believe we are.

So, truly, is there anything that we can do which would change our view or perception of each other? Historically, the human race has not had a very good track record of tolerance. In the past, wars have been fought over skin color, a line on a map, religious differences even among Christians! We can find a reason to disagree on almost anything and do so to the point of shooting at each other with arrows or guns or even dropping bombs on those that we are at war with!

So, to answer that question of “Is there anything that we can do to get along?”…..not much. Without a common enemy or goal, which our differences in religion and culture tend to change our perception of, we don’t have much of a chance to truly get along all over the world! Even when we were mostly Christian in our beliefs about five hundred years ago, the freedom to practice our religion divided us. In the sixteenth century, it was the publication of an English Bible which caused many to be put to death because of it.

Can our planet survive our differences? Yes, and a good portion of humanity will too when Jesus returns and rules our planet rather than us being divided on so many fronts. Everyone won’t be totally on board with all of His rulings, but the enforcement will be with a “rod of iron“, so humanity will learn to get along.

God has never forced His Ten Commandments on people but we will pay for not following them because they are part of His Law. We are not required now to be Christians, but if you survive until Jesus returns to be the Ruler of David’s throne then you will have to make a choice. God loves us as His Creation but just as we aren’t happy with some of our children’s choices in life, He isn’t either. We are supposed to choose to follow Jesus and if you have the wisdom to know that God is your Creator then it would be a good idea to give your heart to Him.

A friend of mine…

TrueFriendshipCould we be friends?

Sometimes people get so caught up in life and living until they forget about the friends they have. Friends put up with all sorts of behavior that even your family won’t put up with, but that doesn’t mean that you should forget them. True friends are those that even when it has been years since you last spoke to each other, you can just pick up where you left off. How many friends like that do you have?

This is the type of friend that we all have available in Jesus.

When you give your heart to Jesus, He becomes your Savior and friend but HE also introduces you to many other people who can be your friends. Your brothers and sisters in Christ! They know Him and through their spirit and your spirit you can become close friends. I am not saying this is automatic because that is not how friendships work, but it can be.

God created us all to be as close as friends no matter where we live or what our life may be like. Could you be friends with God? Of course you can, if you will just decide to follow Him and His Son, every day not just once or twice per month. Walk with Him in life, daily…even hourly, because HE gives your breath to you and your heart beats because of His grace too!

Friendship is a relationship and being a child of God, saved and sanctified by the atoning blood of Jesus, is also a relationship which needs to be a lifelong one! Your relationship with Jesus should be one which is even closer than just friends and in order for that to be, you need to learn as much as possible about Him! This can be done by reading and studying the Bible and attending a church which teaches from it.

Consider that your relationship with Jesus is a friendship. Mainly because He already knows you far better than you know Him, so pursue Him like you would if He is the only Life that you have…because after this one He truly is your Life or your Judge, it is your choice which one He will be ultimately.

What is coming?

Really, nobody knows. We do have some prophecies from the Bible which tell us some things which are coming in the next few years. How many years from now, nobody knows except for God Himself. The best thing that Christians can do is to pray and ask God to help them to become closer to Him.

Changes are coming in many different areas, and I am not speaking of our government here, around the world in the places where wars are being fought right now. Some new wars will be declared in other places along with weather patterns which may get worse.

We don’t know what or when but God is in charge and all of us need to turn to Him for our lives. I pray that this year will be the year that many people will come to salvation through Jesus.

A new year….a new beginning of sorts, make it eternal in the embrace of God.

What is about to happen…

Many people seem to be wondering about this and searching for the answer. Nobody knows what is about to happen except God. Haven’t you thought about this during this election cycle? We all have to some degree. But, with all of the pundits and players leaning one way and then the other from day-to-day, how can you know which candidate would be the right one?

Truly, you and I can’t know the answer to that until after the election and we find a winner. Many people are saying one thing about this candidate and how the future will turn out if he or she wins, when in the real world..nobody knows for sure except God.

Will America be a great republic like it was sixty years ago or one hundred and sixty years ago? Nobody knows. Will it turn into a socialist state and disintegrate into a chaotic anarchy? Nobody knows. If you don’t vote in the election, you won’t have a say in either outcome, so don’t complain when it doesn’t go the way you wanted it to.

Voting for a third-party candidate who has absolutely NO chance of being elected is as bad as not voting at all, so don’t cry about it when things get really bad if you didn’t have the guts to vote for a candidate which could do something for us. Why is this post so politically loud and not pointing out which person to support? Because I don’t have that answer and nobody else does either.

I do know that God already knows who will be elected and it will be the person that He has chosen to either bless this country once more or it will be the person who will bring America to its knees once and for all. We will either enjoy God’s blessing or we will feel and be subjected to His judgement, there is no middle ground, it is either one or the other.

Seek God’s wisdom in this election, pray about your decision and ask God which person you should vote for. Be in prayer about this every day until the election is over, then you can relax and say that you did all that you could and God has chosen because ultimately it will be God’s choice who will be our next President.

I am getting off of my soap box now. Thank you for listening and please be in prayer about this election, our future and your children’s future depends upon the outcome.

So much suffering…

I am sure that some people are asking “Where is God when this flood began?” or “Where was God when the wildfire burned our town to the ground?”. Yes there is suffering in the world but God didn’t cause it. The flood was caused by a weather system which got stuck in one place and didn’t move. Some of the fires in California were started by a man who knew how to start fires easily. Did either of these events have something in common? Yes, they both caused loss of life and the loss of homes and businesses.

When we see things like this happening we should get on our knees and pray. It is true that God may not send a huge downpour to put the fire out or even stop the rain, but He will be there in your trial to help you get through it. Does this take the edge off of the suffering? No, but if you have put your faith in God, you will have a peace about your situation regardless of how it turns out.

I know that I am making general statements here, but God does care and He loves all of you more than you realize. He will give you the victory and bring more into your life one day than what may be taken away in this world. In some ways that is a really lame way of saying that we should be looking forward to Heaven, but it is true! Our reward for being His today, here on this Earth is that we have His strength and His Spirit in us to give us the peace to get through all of our problems.

It is true that we may be able to get through our day-to-day problems with our own money and our own strength of will and perseverance, but what will happen when one of those is not enough? If you don’t have enough money or you get sick in some way and your strength is not enough to get you through it, what then? Money can’t save you, it may pay the bills but if you die your money is no good anymore. Faith in Jesus and believing in His grace and atonement for your sins will carry you into eternity, where money doesn’t mean anything.

Give your life to Jesus and ask Him to cleanse your heart and your life of all the stuff that shouldn’t be there. Read the Bible and learn about Him, go to a teaching church and walk with others on the same road that you are on. Remember, in a couple of songs there is a “highway to hell” but there is only a “stairway to Heaven”. It kinda shows you the amount of traffic that you will be with if you think about it.

Please, don’t wait to decide something which will have eternal consequences because you may not get another sunrise or even another sunset. Look at your life honestly and like you were making an investment. Will your life as it is now be enough for God to allow you into Heaven? Without Jesus in your heart, your life and your net worth means nothing! God doesn’t take bribes, He can give you a planet made of gold so there is no amount that you could barter with to get in unless you have given your life to Jesus. If you have done that, it won’t matter if you die being the richest man on Earth or the poorest of the beggars, your eternity is rich!

 

Life matters…

There have been many protests concerning certain lives matter, whether they are Black, African-American, or even White. Come on, God created Life! Your life, my life, and every person who has ever lived on this world, all of our lives matter to Him! The color of your skin or your ethnic origin is irrelevant to God. Slave or freeman, Muslim or Protestant or any religion in the spectrum, God loves you! So, yes, life matters to God…every life!

We, humanity, have put limits and regulations and stipulations on which lives matter and which ones do not matter, at least to us. Why should we compare and claim that my life or your life matters more than any other? A baby being aborted at a clinic could possibly be the person who finds a cure for cancer, but if they aren’t born and allowed to grow toward that potential we will never know. Someone being killed in Turkey or Iran or Syria might also be important to the peace cause in the future, but we will never know for sure.

Lives matter every day, not just today but every day in our country. So many are hurting this morning because of the actions of one person or a few people who are targeting people for the color of their skin. It is heart-wrenching to see this happening in our country when racism should have become a thing of the past. Yet, every time it seems that we have a handle on it, someone from one ethnic group or another will blow a hole in it and begin the process all over again.

I don’t write this in the sense that I am some perfect Christian because there was only One perfect man ever on Earth and He is Jesus. My ideas are that we should get along, but in the society that we have today, in America and around the world, it is not possible. Humanity hasn’t evolved to the point of getting past old hatred and wounds from decades past. We just don’t seem to be able to let it go. Every time healing begins, someone pulls the bandage off and starts it over again. This needs to stop but without prayer and cooperation between those with different tones of skin color, it won’t get a foothold or gain any traction.

God loves us and we were told by our Savior to love one another, but it seems that we haven’t truly figured out what that means yet. We don’t understand the meaning of the word because we have watered it down and changed the meaning of the word “love” so much until it really doesn’t convey the same emotion that Jesus was telling us to express toward each other.

Seek out the Lord in your life and follow Him. Why do I say this? Because if you follow the Author of Life, you will be more alive than you ever have been. You will also learn to be more loving and if you love others as Jesus loves you, then you will not be like those who are causing all of the division and hatred in our world today. Jesus came to bring eternal life to all of us, all we have to do is accept it by faith and ask His forgiveness. Being a Christian is not something which can be forced upon someone, just like you cannot force someone to love you, but if you have felt that you need Him at all, then all you have to do is ask Him to come in and cleanse your heart and to accept you as His child.

What is happening in your world?

We all live in different areas of the world and we are influenced by our own culture, regardless of what kind of culture it may be. Some of us have grown up in areas where there is an intolerant attitude toward other cultures or beliefs. If you have grown up in an area like this, it may not seem to be a bad thing. Because to you and your family and friends, it is normal to be that way. But, what about the rest of the world? How do they perceive your culture? Do you even care how it is perceived?

Today, it seems that many people don’t really care about perceptions from outside their culture. Many people don’t even care about what their family and friends think, particularly if they are from a different cultural or religious background.

Why are we so polarized into left and right, right and wrong, do or don’t do, or even “if you don’t believe the way that I do, I will kill you!”

All of this is happening because of Satan and his influence over our world and our cultures. Many in our world today don’t want to admit that he even exists, let alone that he is the influence behind the back-biting and religious intolerance and all sorts of hate that is going on around us. If we could just learn to live by the principles taught in the Bible, there wouldn’t be so much strife in the world, but sadly Jesus predicted that this time would come.

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 10:22

We are to endure with patience and follow His example in these times. We are not to slander and hate others because that is what they are doing and we are called to be like Jesus, not like the world. So, why is it that we have so much trouble between cultures and beliefs? Again, the answer is Satan and his influence on our world. He hates us and it doesn’t matter what religion that you cling to because he wanted to rule the world and make it his. God gave us dominion over the Earth, but Adam handed it over when he disobeyed God so long ago. We have been living under the assumption that we still have dominion over it but we don’t really. It is just an illusion that we have been led to have by him.

God is in control of the outcome, no matter who thinks they are. We are the ones who need God and not the other way around. Trust in Him, learn of Him, ask Jesus into your life and your heart because one day, in this life or the next, you will bow to Him. It needs to be in this life because after this life, you will bow to His judgement if you didn’t ask Him into your life while you yet live.

Living today and tomorrow

So much is happening in the world today. We see it and hear it on the news and on the radio. We read about it in newspapers and on the Internet. Some of it is true, some of it is blown out of proportion, and some of it is just made up to look like news.

Can we believe it? Some of it but not all.

So, what are your goals for life and living today? Are they similar to other people’s goals of losing weight or getting a degree? Do they have anything to do with making lots of money and building a nice (big) house? When I see goals like this or hear about them and then drive into Flowood or some other town and see these big homes that all look like they are duplicates of each other in size and shape I wonder what is the purpose?

It seems that we like to be individuals and we like to have things which others don’t have, but when it comes to our houses and cars we are stuck with copies of everyone else’s likes. There are no real unique homes or cars. Yes, you can paint the outside of a Camaro a different color from others, your home may have a different floor plan than the one next door. But the shape of the car is the same. The shape of the house is mostly the same.

Everything in our lives, for the most part, is the same. Wouldn’t it be great if we could customize our living space the way we want it to be? I know we are at the mercy of cost and that the companies which sell cars sell the cars which their research tells them that we want. Life is different today than it was, say one hundred years ago. They didn’t have phones, many didn’t have cars, most lived in what we call a shack today. But, I never heard my grandmother say that they didn’t have a roof over their head or food on the table.

Life today is very different from what it was then. Life today is very different from that of just forty or fifty years ago. It seems that we have forgotten how to be kind to one another. We don’t seem to try to help each other when there is a need. Mostly we just sit around and wait for someone else to help, when we have the ability to do it ourselves.

We also spend way too much time reading comments and things from social media sites. Yes, it is fun for a while but it is like sitting in a rocking chair, you are doing something but not going anywhere. Reading those comments is funny and sometimes it is educational but if you don’t get up and do something about those causes that you “like”, nothing will get done!

It is like saying “Amen!” with all the gusto that you can muster, then going out the door of the church and not having a clue what the Preacher said!

God put each one of us here for a purpose and a reason and it doesn’t matter where you live or how much money you have. You can do something for God’s Kingdom. It may be nothing more that offering up a prayer for someone in China or India, but God can use a heartfelt and sincere prayer and do something with it. It is true that there are many who don’t believe in Him and may never believe in Him, but prayer can make a difference in someone’s life. It made a difference in mine.

God loves you and He can work with you and through you to make a difference in someone’s life. A hug or a prayer or even just a note or an email letting them know that you are thinking of them and that you are praying for them in whatever situation they may be in. Seek Him out and thank Him for getting you up this morning and use today for something that Jesus would do if He were here. Then, repeat tomorrow and the next day until He calls you home. I promise that the outcome from small things will have an impact when you see its results in Heaven.

Choose…

We seem to be all about choices today. We choose a mate or a lifestyle to live by. We choose which school to attend and which major to take. We, sometimes, choose which religion that we will follow or not. Choices are part and parcel of life, particularly in America, but also in other places around the world.

Some of those choices in other countries are unpopular and bring hardship into the lives of those who make choices that are against the majority. At times our choices are so numerous that we can’t seem to decide what we want. What can we do in these instances?

Choose…

Your life’s religion is a choice, sometimes it is one based on culture or family tradition. But, if you found out that your religion is false or that it will not lead you into an eternity of happiness, what would your choice be? If that choice is going to be an unpopular one with your family and friends, what would you do? Would you choose to follow the crowd and go into an eternity with everyone else just because it was acceptable to them?

These are answers and questions which each of us need to ask of ourselves and our friends and family. Why should we bother with asking these questions? Because that is what Jesus told us to do…go into all of the world and preach (tell) to them the gospel. If you are a Christian, this is your mandate. It is not a question of if we can tell, it is more like when will we tell them?

Your life in Christ is secure in Him, if you believe in His atonement for you and accept Him as your Savior. God, the One God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, loves you far more than you can ever realize. He has a purpose for your life, not only here but in eternity too, but you won’t be able to enjoy it unless you follow Jesus and give your life to Him. This life is a puff of smoke compared to eternity, no matter how long you may live. Consider this and turn to Him while you are here because the chance to give your life and heart to Him is only available while you live. There are no second chances or do-overs later.