Life is….

Why in the world would I write this post? Nobody is going to read it!

I hope that little prophecy doesn’t fulfill itself. God has given each of us a part to play in this world and we have to play it. In some way we usually do fulfill God’s will for our lives. We may not realize it at the time but since God is in control of everything in the universe, He can move people and circumstances around so that His purposes are done.

follow ChristWhy do I bring this up at this time? Because, we have pushed God and any mention of Him out of public life and education. We have turned away from religion and from being a Christian nation, not collectively but in general. For some reason our society still tries to identify as a Christian nation, but mostly the population wants nothing to do with God or Christianity.

Life is…funny that way. We like the idea of being Christian but in practice most of America wants very little involvement with it. We attend services when a family member or friend dies or some tragedy happens and we may pray when our life is going downhill fast, hoping that Someone will hear our prayer. If our life levels out a bit, we count ourselves lucky and move on. We don’t even consider that God may have fixed our problem in order to get our attention, but we don’t give it to Him.

God loves humanity in general and each person in particular and He does so at a depth that we can’t understand, yet most of us don’t want anything to do with the God we find in the Bible. We create a god which fits our lives. One which we are comfortable with in our minds and One which only requires us to do what we are comfortable with. When we do this we carry that god with us everywhere because he doesn’t ask much of us and we don’t have to do anything except praise him.

The problem is that our “god” is NOT God. We created him and we pray to him but this god is only a god in our mind. He doesn’t occupy a throne in Heaven and he didn’t create the Universe or anything in it. We fool ourselves into thinking that our god is the God of the Bible and that is why we are deceived in so many ways…until we really do confront Him in a church that preaches from the Bible and we find that our god isn’t God.

Don’t turn away from the True Creator and God! Learn more about Him. Seek Him out and find your place in His Kingdom because your god doesn’t have a kingdom. Your version of god is Satan, even though you don’t think so. God loves you more than you can imagine so don’t give up on your Creator because He has never given up on you!

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No one to talk to

men-and-depression-16-638I have no one to talk to. I am a preacher by calling but that’s not all. I am a father and a husband too.

The words which I preach come from the Bible but it seems to be the least interesting to those in attendance. The Bible just doesn’t hold people’s interest today, unless you can bring flashy performance and video into your sermon too. At least, that is what some churches do

Nobody cares to know how it feels. Some days after a sermon it feels like I have been beaten with a stick. Then there are some days it feels as if everything went right.

The only people who I can talk to about this is Jesus and my family, because nobody else cares, except I don’t want to burden them with my depression, my demons, my feelings.

I am not alone in this of course. Many pastors go through depression, sometimes very deep. C.H. Spurgeon experienced depression so deep that it laid him low for days at a time.

1 Peter 1:6: “Wherein ye greatly rejoice though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.” The heaviness which Peter spoke of was depression and heaviness of heart, during a time when the church was beginning to feel persecuted later in the first century. 

Sometimes people either don’t want to hear any truths from the Bible or they only want to hear good tidings which make them feel good about their lives. When you tell people the truth about their actions or anything that they don’t want to hear, then they turn away from you and your message. Many of God’s prophets in time past went through entire seasons, decades even, in which they were not heard or ignored because the people didn’t want to hear it.

In the world around us today, these same feelings are evident. From the government in Washington, DC to little towns all around the nation and all over the world it seems that much of what the people hear is nonsense. The news which is reported is about nit-picking and something which someone tweeted last week. If there were any true ground-breaking news, it seems to get swept under the heading of “other news” and not as a headline.

Seek out God and His Wisdom while it can be found because in the days and weeks and years to come, the governments may require that all of His Word be burnt and that Christianity be muzzled and fearfully spoken of.

 

What is the difference?

There is so much in the media today about LGBT rights and privileges and their struggle with their identity. Gay or straight what is the actual difference other than sexual? Acting out a role in an identity, no matter which side of the “fence” you may be on, is just that…a role. Whether you feel like a man or a woman today or tomorrow doesn’t mean anything! The gender which was given to you by genetics and by God Himself/Herself, is the one that you were born with and it should be the gender that you live by.

You can’t “think” your way into being a man or male or female. It is your right to pursue happiness in your own way but truly it shouldn’t impair or impact my happiness if I choose not to “think” your way. Life is a challenge regardless of your gender or your preference in the bedroom, but your choices shouldn’t be forced into laws or into schoolrooms for children to learn. Especially since most children don’t find out about their own preferences in sex or identity until they are well into their teens or even into their twenties.

God created us as male and female in order for the human race to populate the Earth. The same way that animals in the jungle pair up as male and female to keep the species viable and alive. God loves all of humanity and His Creation but He isn’t very happy about our stupidity when it comes to the way we blatantly sin against His rules and the natural order of things.

The verses in God’s Word which address this can’t just be tossed out because it offends some people due to their ideas of gender and sexual partners. That is like taking a part out of a recipe to make a cake or brownies, leaving the sugar or the chocolate out just makes it a very dull and bland tasting mess. It may look like a chocolate cake or a pan of brownies but without that critical ingredient, very few people would want to eat it.

Seek God and His righteous ways through prayer and study of His Word, even if some part of it offends you. Why? Because, He gave those Scriptures to us as a guide for life, almost like an instruction manual. He didn’t give us step by step instructions for every situation but if you will turn to Him and depend upon Him in this life, then the other steps will work out in your favor. As Jesus said, “Seek out the Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”follow Christ

Reading and learning…from God

It is something that many of us try to do in our lives at one point or another, but many of us have no idea how to do it? We consider reading the Bible through but just as any “new year’s resolution” we soon push it aside like any other exercise. Then we only pick it up on church days and read with our pastor, and sometimes we don’t even bring it to church with us at all.

How can you cultivate a relationship with the Creator if you don’t get to know Him? Our only outlet, our only way of getting to know Him IS to read His Word! His ways are there for us in black and white on a page or today on an electronic reader of some kind, but He and His Words are available! He is near us and if we are Christians, then He is dwelling inside our hearts and so near that we might as well be living inside His skin! Ewww gross! Don’t laugh, I know that is what many of you thought.

The point of this is that He wants a relationship with us, just as He did with Adam and Eve only they chose to be independent and go their own way. Our world has been damaged terribly by this independence because instead of living inside His Love and His Life, we make up our own version of Him and His attributes. We remake God and His Son in our image…how WE want them to be! Then, when we feel like they aren’t doing it right, we try to take over and we usually mess things up pretty good at that point!

God’s Word and Wisdom is in the Bible and if we will treat it as our Creator Who is actually speaking through the prophets and writers then accepting Him for Who He is will be so much better and easier! Please consider it and think about reading the book, “The Shack“. I am going to see the movie and maybe do a Bible study on it soon. God loves you!

Do you believe?

In the world today, there are many who don’t believe in Jesus or the Bible itself yet it is the inspired Word of God. Although many people don’t believe even that the Bible is God’s Word but just a collection of stories written by a bunch of men. The Bible is so much more than that!

It was written under the direction and influence of the Holy Spirit and the words which are contained in it come from God. Yes, it was written by forty different men over a period of more than 1500 years. That in itself is amazing because if all of those men from different times, even centuries apart, could write a book which told of a Savior Who would come to save the world, then how could they have made the stories up?!

Belief is also bound up in faith because you can’t believe in the miracles or in our Savior without faith even if it is as small as a grain of mustard seed. The tiniest bit of faith can be used by God to accomplish many things, far beyond what you would think. When the will of God is involved in anything, it will be accomplished no matter the size of your faith!

Give your life and your heart to Jesus, as well as all that you have, and He will multiply it back to you and into His Kingdom in ways that can’t be imagined. I pray that this will encourage you to follow Jesus and ask Him into your life. Why? Because, I have to…it is my job to tell others about Him! I can’t keep quiet because He is in control and His power goes into the world to heal from this time forward! God has not stopped healing or mending broken hearts and lives.

Thank you for your time and may God richly bless you in all of the ways that you need, in Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.

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.

Christian apology for what?

You know, the last few days I have seen more words and photos of Caitlyn Jenner than I care to. But, why should any Christian apologize for anything said about “her”? Many people say that we are too bigoted to voice our opinions on matters like trans-gender people and their proclivities.

It is not my way to tell you that she/he is living in sin, although God looks at it that way. Why? Because He made Bruce Jenner as a MAN, and honestly if you can’t handle the way you are when you are born with it then go to a monastery or something! When Bruce/Caitlyn dies one day, guess which one is going to be standing in front of God? Bruce will stand before God,  because that is how he was sent to Earth by God, as a man. This creation or whatever you call it that is on the cover of magazines and TV, is man-made and will not last.

I know that some of you may go along with this and agree with what is happening today. But, God doesn’t. He loves Bruce just as he was and as he is, but the changes that the world can see are just sophisticated make-up and chemicals and maybe some surgical procedures mixed in.

How about if you went to a dealer and bought a Ferrari one day, all customized just the way that you wanted. Before it was delivered to you, they changed it into a Ford (on the outside), with the engine and everything of a Ferrari, how would you feel? Would you want your money back? It is still a Ferrari, but it doesn’t look like one.

The same is true when we think that we are or want to be something different. If I wanted some DNA from a leopard so I could have spots and fur, today technically it is possible to do that. But, what are you after the procedure? Are you human, leopard, hybrid? Taking enough hormones to make a male to female transformation is fine, in theory, but what happens when the medication doesn’t work anymore? If you get cancer because of it, can you reverse it? How would the treatment for cancer affect your transformation?

Much of our genetically modified organisms in the grocery market have been approved for human consumption, but what does that modification do to those who eat it later in their lives? What about all of the GMO corn or wheat or soy beans which have been planted in the world? What kind of damage will they inflict on us? Has anyone even tested this at all? At an independent lab that is not controlled by the chemical or seed company?

All of these changes, chemical, biological, or cosmetic in some ways are OK, but what about the long-term effects? What about the effect that it can have on our society as a whole? These are the questions that should be asked and answered before the procedures and the changes are done not as an afterthought later when the problems arise.

Should Christians apologize for comments made about Bruce Jenner’s transformation? That depends upon the comments. If they were hurtful and mean, then yes they should apologize. If they were pointing out how God would look on this and how it would be viewed from that standpoint then they don’t owe an apology to anyone. God’s viewpoint on things like this, even though it isn’t lined out in Scripture, would be that it shouldn’t be done. How do I know this?

Because God made us male and female for a reason, how you feel about your gender doesn’t and shouldn’t have any bearing on your life. Seek out God’s point of view by reading His Word and prayer and meditation. God doesn’t like sinful decisions whether they are concerning a lifestyle or a feeling that your body should have been another sex entirely. He created you the way that you are, the way that you were born to be.