Life…..

Some days I think about our lives in this world and I suppose I think a bit too deeply or something. We see and hear about so many tragedies in the world on the Internet and on the TV news programs and it makes it hard to see any good in the world. Life is not easy today, even with all of the technology and gadgets that we have, living for Jesus is not easy.

JesusiscomingsoonOf course, He said that the world would hate us because it hated Him first. Live your life in Him according to your faith, live out your faith in front of people regardless of their reaction or dislike of your religion. Sometimes, your example may be the only view of Christianity that people see. Good or bad that is what will be thought of when they think of being a Christian, so try to make your life a good example of Jesus’ life.

Is it easy to do this? NO! Because we are all human. Even with the Holy Spirit living in us, there are many times which we don’t listen to His prompting and His advice for living. We believe that we can do it our way and in our strength and we can’t. Jesus said, that “apart from Me you can do nothing“.

I pray that anyone reading this will seek out Jesus and ask Him into your life because the days are getting nearer to the time when He will return. It is not a myth and it is not just a book, the Bible is the Word of God and all of the prophecies have come true except for His return. It will happen.

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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!

Are you independent?

IndependantTogetherIn our society, especially American society, we are encouraged by movies and family many times from childhood to be independent. Don’t depend upon anyone. Do it yourself or learn how to do it yourself so you won’t depend on someone else. All of this is good advice up to a point. But what do you do when life throws a wrench into your life, like a death in the family or a disease that isn’t easy to cure or live with? Being independent and on your own doesn’t seem like such a good idea at this point, does it?

Depression is also one of those “monkey-wrenches” which can throw you for a real loop! Man or woman, married or not, military, police, or firefighter or just coming out of your teen years, depression doesn’t discriminate at all! In fact, peer pressure and job stress or stress from a death or dying family member just makes it more intense.

I just performed a graveside service for a good friend and family member recently. It was hard, but God provided the strength to get through it. My point in writing this today is not to recount that experience but to focus on how people, men specifically, handle their independence. We usually have friends while going through elementary and high school and while in college. But, when college is over we usually get down to the business of life. Jobs, maybe marriage and children, although sometimes not in that order, particularly in today’s so-called “modern” age.

The problem facing men today is that many of us grew up without a strong father figure in our lives. Some of us didn’t have a father around at all. Some of us only had a grandfather and he tried to do the best he could, but he was afraid of possibly running us away if he got too strict with our upbringing. Some people say that this isn’t really a problem, but if you look at the population of our prison systems and talk to many of them, I think you would find that most, if not all, had no true father figure in their lives.

Also being independent as we are taught to be tends to cause us to push through life without a close friend. We don’t make friends as men, we make acquaintances. People that we know at work, but not outside of work. I mean, do you know a friend’s phone number that you could call if you needed to talk? Would you actually call them if you do know their number?

This is the problem which men face in our world today. Women tend to make friends very easily by comparison. Scientists say that it is because of evolution. I say it is because women share the job of raising children all the way back to the time of Eve, when she had daughters to help her. Later, as the population grew, the women of the village would gather to keep up with the children and wash clothes and other chores which needed to be done. They got to know each other.

Men only gather when it is time to hunt or to defend the village from marauders, or some other “manly” job such as that. When the hunt is over or the fire is put out, we tend to break up and go our separate ways. Living life alone. If we don’t have a family, that can be deadly. Seek out friendships with other men. Start a Bible study at church or in your home with them men of the church. Have a breakfast or a BBQ with some friends. Get to know some of the men who live around you. Because…you never know when you might need their help or they might need yours.

There will be another post on this topic on thelivingmessage.com later so as they say on TV, stay tuned.

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.

 

Don’t legitimize….

You may wonder why I didn’t put a subject behind that but there is a reason. It is because we are giving legitimacy to many religions and beliefs when we shouldn’t be! There are too many subjects which would fit in that title. What are they? Dowsing, pyramid energy, mediums who claim to be using “angel cards”, ouija, etc.; all of these and more are part of the occult and people shouldn’t be consulting with them, but they are.

Giving these “optional” beliefs legitimate status doesn’t help us to get the message out into the world that Jesus is the way to salvation, not “alternate religions”. There are so many different beliefs in the world until it is hard to understand just why there are so many. Satan has been working very hard to give people an alternate viewpoint which can be molded into a new religion or faith. It seems that today it is so easy to put your faith in almost anything besides God and Jesus!

separatechurchesWe talk about religion and being religious as if that covers all of Christianity but you can be religious about anything. Just because someone seems to be religious doesn’t mean that they are a Christian. They could be religious about any one of the hundreds of different religions out there, you could even be a religious atheist! My point is this: don’t give religions other than Christianity a legitimate foothold!

I know, I am not being inclusive of all people and their beliefs and I will own that. What I am trying to get people to think about here is ETERNITY!! There is only one God and Jesus the Christ Who can grant you access to eternity, or at least one that you would enjoy living in! The Bible states it plainly that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, all other paths, even though they may be morally good, will lead you elsewhere for eternity.

Some faiths don’t believe in eternal punishment like the lake of fire foretold in Revelation. But, if God says that is where you will be and He doesn’t lie, then that is where your choices will take you! Seek out Jesus and His gospel, believe in Him and repent of your sinful ways and then follow Him, reading His Word and praying for strength each day because it is through Him that we are given eternal life and forgiveness.

 

Understanding

I have been told that I don’t have any understanding about addiction. I’ll own that because I don’t want any understanding about it, at least not from the addiction and use of it!

I apologize to those who read my previous post about an accidental overdose that I experienced because I wasn’t careful about what I was doing. Yes, it was an accident. I didn’t do it to try out the addictive nature of opiates like hydrocodone.

While I was “feeling the effects” of it, a voice in my mind was telling me to try it again. I remember that very clearly but I also remember that feeling of not being in control, not being myself and feeling….well I am not sure what I was feeling, but it felt good for a while. The next day I was sick and nauseous all day, my eyes had pinpoint pupils, even the smell of food didn’t smell good to me.

Why am I writing this? Because, I am not judging anyone who is addicted to any kind of drug, but there is God Who can help in all types of addiction. Note, I didn’t say “a” God, but God Himself! Don’t pay attention to those who look down on your trouble, if they can’t get out of their own pew and get to know you and why things are happening or have happened to you, find another church! There are many who will help and can understand because, even though there are few who practice what Jesus taught us they do exist.

Thank you for telling me that I don’t know what I am talking about, at least that makes me feel like someone read my post for a change. I had intended to get rid of this blog, but maybe some part of it may help, if not then visit http://thelivingmessage.com, maybe some of what I put up there will give you some encouragement.

Barriers and walls

Many times in your life, whether you are a Christian or not, you will come up against walls. Some of them are built by pain, some of them are built by envy or jealousy, some of them are built by a disease which causes you pain in a very deep emotional way. We all have to scale these walls and barriers at some point, some of them are hard to climb because they are so big, but they can be torn down.

Oh, we can’t do this by ourselves though, regardless of what counselors and some doctors may tell you. Walls, whether built by emotions, disease, death, jealousy, racism, or hatred, can only be broken down by God’s work in your heart and in your life. Day by day, walking with Him and seeking His wisdom and strength by which we can take the walls down brick by brick is the only way.

It is not a quick process and it isn’t easy either, especially when you have been able to take care of yourself in other situations in your life. What makes this so difficult or any different? It’s because of what the walls and barriers are made from. The ones which are so difficult are made from emotions like fear, anger, resentment, racism, hate, envy and greed. There are others, but you get the point. These walls keep out those who care about you, whether it is God or friends and family!

Each of us feels the effect of these barriers in some way or another, sometimes the effect on us is that which causes a disease or pain. Emotions can do this and the ones which hurt the most usually do the most damage. It may take a little time before you feel the effects of it, but until it is resolved in some way, it will only get worse over time. In particular, anger and hatred which are unresolved or unforgiven will give you ulcers and possibly high blood pressure and they will make other conditions worse. Do the research yourself if you don’t believe me, but I am not pulling your leg.

Barriers and walls made from emotional bricks can cause more hurt and pain than many people realize. It doesn’t have to be anger or hatred which cause these walls, it can be envy, or any of a number of other emotions which I named earlier. All of them get in the way of relationships, especially your relationship with God. Seek His help in resolving these walls, breaking them down to the point where you can still have a relationship with Him daily. He can do it but He wants to do it with you!

I had these problems for a very long time, and at times they still pop up and blur my “spiritual vision” in a way. I usually sit down and talk with God about it as soon as I realize what is happening, and it soon resolves itself or God helps me to resolve it. Give it a try, ask God to help you because He is bigger than any problem or wall that may be in your life and He can help you bring it down.

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!

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.