Too much negativity

Every day we hear negative things being said about people in our society and by the political machine which has been going on for about 1 1/2 years or so. What good does all of this sniping and complaining do? None of it does anything positive for the country nor does it make each candidate look any better in the eyes of the voters.

Can we do anything about it? No, probably not, particularly because we live in such a “politically correct” society, not just in America but the entire world seems bent on not hurting people’s feelings. Yet, they are perfectly fine with killing babies in and out of the womb, and it doesn’t matter if someone kills himself or herself by being blown up by a bomb so that they can kill many people in the process.

Many of those who are being killed are Christians and they are being killed because of their faith in Jesus! This is only going to get worse. Politicians are talking about how they will do away with ISIS because of their terrorism toward us and Israel, but they have no clue how to go about it. I am sure that many of you who will read this will wonder why I am adding to the pile of negative junk in the media. My reason is that there is Hope!

Being PC in this world just shows that our ignorance is showing and that everyone can see it. Why? Because everything that is on the news these days is backwards and out of touch with the majority who believe one way while the ones who are crying or whining about some injustice make up only one to three percent of the population. Just as in a schoolroom full of children, one who is crying will get far more attention than 40 who are not, that is our society today.

One day very soon, Jesus is going to come back and take His church home. It will not matter whether you believe in Him or not, those of us who have given our hearts and our lives to Him will be taken up and away from here. Some say this is going to happen before the “anti-Christ” shows up, but I believe that we will be present during part of the Tribulation.

God will try us all by the fire of Satan’s wrath to be sure of those who believe in Jesus. Many will fall away from the faith, many will abandon their religious background and the church that they grew up in. The things which are happening right now are what Jesus spoke of as being the birth pains before the event which will rock the whole world to its core. Please seek Jesus in your life, in your Bible and your church while there is still time. We have the way to eternal life and it is belief in Jesus but if you refuse, then you only have yourself to blame.

I bring this up because it is my job to do so. I was called by God to be a pastor so I am doing the best that I can while I can to tell as many as possible about Jesus and His offer of salvation. Do I get any points for doing this? No, unless you accept Jesus as your Savior. Then, I will get to meet you in eternity and I will gain a brother or sister in Christ! Don’t turn away from Jesus while there is still time to ask Him to heal your broken heart or your relationships! He made the entire cosmos with His Word, so I believe He can do anything that you ask of Him, especially forgiving you and bringing salvation into your heart.

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Motivation

Have we become satisfied with our life, our church, our life in Christ? Many churches, not just individuals, are in the this very spot. Satisfaction with your salvation and your supposed life in Christ is something that we cannot live with! Why? Because satisfaction causes us to long for something or sometime which has already passed. Just as you cannot touch a part of a stream or river twice, memories and satisfaction with something, someone or sometime in your past cannot be brought into today.

Satisfaction and motivation are exact opposites of each other. When you are satisfied with what you have or where you are, you will never have more than you have right now. Motivation is like the escape from being slaves or having a snake in your house, it inspires you to get up and do something! Why? Because, you don’t want the snake to get comfortable! You don’t want to remain a slave to poverty and want, but until you get motivated enough to do something about it…nothing will change.

There is no huge bag of money which will fall from the sky. None of these “schemes” will make any difference in your life because 99.9% of them only take your money and give it to someone else! God loves you and even though He won’t drop a talent of gold in your yard, your eternal home sits on a street paved with gold which is more pure than any here on Earth!

Although, many people will read this (at least I hope they will), most will look at what I wrote and say that “I need the money or the blessings now, not in eternity!” God knows exactly how much you need and He can provide it but if you keep going around Him and causing more problems by spending money on things that aren’t useful or trying to “get rich quick”, then He will just sit back and wait until you decide that you can’t do it yourself!

Motivation in life is the fire which gets us out of bed in the morning, the problem is that as we get older that fire tends to become a pile of smoldering ash. This is when we lose hope in the future because we didn’t use our time or our money wisely enough in our youth so that it would be available when the fire grows cold. It is a sobering realization when you are older when you don’t have enough money to pay the bills and you can’t get a job to make up the difference.

How can I give you inspiration in this post when my own life is so out of whack? To be honest, I can’t. Yes, God loves us and He wants the best for us but when we squander our lives and our resources on things which are not eternal then there is nothing which will change in your life today, because yesterday or many yesterdays took everything that you had! Your future in Christ is assured if you belong to Him, so eternity is there to reward you. If you haven’t taken care of that part of your life, then eternity will be very different and it lasts a very long, long time.

Get motivated to do something about your life, either here or in eternity, because today is now and what you do with it will affect tomorrow. What you decide about Jesus and your life as a Christian or not will have an eternal effect on your life as well. Don’t neglect one and sacrifice the other.

Why are we separate?

In the centuries since Jesus, our Savior, ascended to His Father, YHWH, and He sent the Holy Spirit to be with the early church so that they could get started. Why? Because there were many thousands of people in Jerusalem that day when Peter spoke and the only way that many would understand him was through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God Himself. Many people think that Peter was speaking in many languages that day and he may have been, but it wasn’t coming directly from his mouth that way. This is just my belief and you are welcome to disagree with me, but the Spirit was giving them utterances to be heard by all of the people and it was Spiritually done.

What I mean by that is that even if Peter was speaking in Aramaic, the Spirit was working through him so that all of those who did not speak Aramaic heard his words in their native tongue. So to be understood, to be heard by many people who needed salvation and so that they would believe in the power of God through the Holy Spirit. Do we, as Christians, still have that spirit with us today? In a sense, yes we do. Wherever it is needed and necessary, the Holy Spirit will make it evident to those around that God is alive and well and working through us to bring the knowledge of Jesus to them.

Are these spiritual gifts necessary for salvation? No, they are not. They are manifestations, proof of salvation and validation of ministry if and when it is necessary to spread the gospel to others. There is an article which shows some of the differences between churches and I am giving the link to it here, and although I believe that we are all serving the same God our ideas about Him are very different which is what has separated us all along.

There are many names given to God by mankind over the years and many of them can be found in this article which is a good reference for exactly Who He is because these names are all in God’s Word so there is no dissension. God loves each of us, not just a few and not just those whom He calls to Himself, but many people in the world today don’t look at Him that way or think of Him that way.

Some people treat God like a genie or a grandfather. He is our CREATOR! He is GOD! There are and always have been three persons in the Trinity of God. There is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and it is the spirit which we have when we open our hearts to become Christians. No amount of speaking in tongues which can’t be understood will make your salvation more real. God still heals people today, maybe not in the most dramatic way but He does it just the same. Is there prophecy today? Yes, in the Word of God and in those who are preachers of that Word and no other!

How can we turn away from God and His nature of being a Triune Godhead? At Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove and lighted on Him, God spoke saying “This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased”. You have the Trinity in that one place at the same time. David said that he needed the Spirit of God to give him strength, the Angel of the Lord has been identified as the pre-incarnate Christ and God the Father, our Creator, was present with Israel in numerous ways throughout their history and He is with us today!

The church shouldn’t be splintered and fractured, but it has been for hundreds of years and in the last one hundred years it has fractured even worse. Why? Because of the influence of Satan, in my opinion. He has infiltrated the church in the congregation and in the pulpit. Inserting his ideas and lies so that men will consider them to be their ideas and they sound just close enough to the truth until it becomes doctrine, yet it is not from God’s Word exactly…it just sounds like it. I pray that we will wake up and open our eyes spiritually before our Lord appears and many are left wondering what happened. Continue reading

Fear, anxiety and depression

These are the “monsters” which young people today have to deal with. But, they aren’t alone. You aren’t alone because many of us older folk also suffer with these same demons, monsters, feelings, whatever you want to call them! We may “deal” with them in different ways from how you handle them, but we do handle them. But, sometimes they are victorious against us too.

I am coming to you as one who has battled with depression and anxiety. I have had feelings which drove me to seek to end my life, but I sought out Jesus and my faith in Him! Even though my “demons” tried to tell me that I wasn’t worthy of His love, I wasn’t good enough to be His child. They would tell me in dreams and in what I call “mind voices” that I should just stop trying to be something that I am not. Give up trying to bring a revival to this community and accept that they don’t want one!

Last summer, I was going through this and I found that by reading the Psalms and praying about my depression every day I was able to find a little more strength every day. Just enough to get me through that day, then do it again tomorrow and the next day until I came out of that “funk” and felt that I was able to raise my head up without feeling that it was just too much to do!

God hasn’t given up on you and you shouldn’t listen to those words which Satan is putting in your mind and your heart! They are lies from Satan and that is all that they are! God LOVES you dearly and compassionately! He hasn’t given up on you and you should not give up on this life that He gave you to live!! Why do I say this? Because it is true and because He does have a purpose for you and your life! I don’t know what your purpose is, but I’d bet that it is something that we haven’t thought of yet!

He made you special for one purpose and that was to be a witness to others who have been or will be in this position tomorrow or maybe a few weeks or months down the road. The fact is that you are the only person who can help someone else in this condition or having these problems! That is your calling!

You may be a singer or a dancer or a basketball player, but to God you are His ambassador to those people who are feeling the same fears and problems that you had until you decided to cling to the only Physician who can help and that is Jesus! Seek Him out in your hurt and your fears and anxiety because He was rejected by all of His countrymen, I think that He could understand your pain. The only ones who didn’t reject Him were His disciples and they numbered only 11 after He was risen.

He can give you the strength that you need to get through the rest of today and tomorrow and the next day…if you will let Him come in and share your life and your heart. You will be a new creation and old ways will pass away because you are changed.

So much, yet so little…

We have much to be thankful for in this life and in America. Those things are not because of who sits in the White House, but because of the One you serve in your house and your life. God gives each of us a measure of faith, some have mustard seed size faith and some have mountain-moving faith. Jesus said to His disciples that even if your faith is as a mustard seed, if you believe and do not doubt, you can say to this mountain or tree “Be thou removed and cast into the sea” and it would be done!

We have a doubt problem though, just as Thomas did when they told him that Jesus had been raised from the grave. Belief is not our problem, seeking God in our daily lives is not our problem, but when it comes to asking Him for something which we need, not want, in our lives. We ask but then Satan throws that doubt dart into our minds and we walk away thinking that God isn’t going to answer our prayer.

God loves us and He will do many things in your life and mine, if it is His will for us and if we can conquer that doubt that creeps in almost every time we pray about something. Seek His will through prayer and study of His Word, learn about His ways and His will for your life. Then the doubt will fade and your prayers will be more effective and powerful, not only in your life but in the lives of those that you pray for too.

Some people seem to think that we are not blessed, but your blessing came with waking up this morning. Nothing that you do is because of just your strength and power. Your grades in school are because of the intellect that God gave you. Your stamina in sports and other areas of your life is due to His power and His design of your body for those things. If God weren’t in control of the universe, down to the smallest particle, we wouldn’t exist!

We have been given much more than we deserve, yet we don’t acknowledge the One Who gave it to us for being the provider of it! We live in a time which is coming to the end of what is called “the church age” and there are many prophetic changes which are happening every day. Keep your eyes open, read the Bible, specifically Matthew 24 and pray for God to protect those that you love. He is coming back and it won’t be much longer, then all of those who have doubts about Him will have their unbelief proven to be false because He will be seen by all!

Amen.

Loss and living

We look at life as a journey many times. It has been compared to a road or a trail or just a long walk. When you have walked that road with someone for a long time and then they detour into eternity, leaving you here, that trail becomes lonely and not very inviting at all. As the song says, “you will never walk alone”, which is referring to having a relationship with Jesus. He will always walk with you, even into eternity.

The problem that we have with our walk through life is that our partner, spouse, friend, lover is here physically with us. We can touch them, talk to them, feel their embrace and just know that they are there. Walking with Jesus takes faith. Walking with Him daily takes more faith because you have to acknowledge Him for waking you today and giving you the ability to go on, even if your spouse or significant other isn’t there. This is something that He will do for you, but you have to depend on Him for it.

Don’t give up on life just because someone who you love isn’t there. Don’t quit because you feel as if your life is over, even if you feel like quitting. Those feelings are trying to make you give up and they come from Satan and his followers! Don’t let them tell you how to live or how to stop living! Your life is full, abundant and free in Jesus! Claim it, follow Him, read the Psalms which are mostly about Jesus anyway, His Word will give you the strength and the purpose to carry on when you don’t feel like it at all!

If your partner was a Christian, you will see them again. Eternity is a long, long time and when we enter into it we will find people that we never even knew in this life. But, they know us because they are part of our family even if we didn’t meet them. God loves us all, so the only thing that we should do is return that love by living our life for Him until we are called home.

For today and eternity

Life is part of living. I know that sounds crazy because we take it for granted most of the time. If you are alive then you are living, right? Well…yes and no.

Sometimes living is more than just breathing and being and walking around. Sometimes, on some days life is more than waking up and seeing the sun and the trees and your family.

Good deedsIt is by taking the love of God and the love that we learn through our relationship with Him that we show our true life. The life that we live through Jesus and the life that His teachings have in us.

Remember, Jesus didn’t tell His disciples to live inside a monastery and hide from the world. He told them to take the gospel out to the whole world, even to the ends of the Earth. We can’t take His love to others unless we have it in our hearts and then walk out of our house and His and go into our community and tell others about Him.

Many of His disciples were killed in countries where they didn’t know the story of Jesus or the Jewish people, just for trying to bring His message to the World. This is what He told them and by extension what we are told to do today. So, why don’t we do it?

Many of us don’t tell others because we are afraid of rejection or hatred toward us because of our religion and beliefs. The problem with this is, it isn’t personal. Those who lash out at us over something that we are trying to tell them are doing it because they don’t want to hear the message! The message itself is being rejected, not us personally.

But, it feels personal doesn’t it? When people reject the message of love and grace that Jesus told us to take to the world, it does feel personal because we have a personal relationship with our Savior! The only advice that I can give is to let go of your hurt feelings and give the situation over to God, He will bring about whatever He desires in that person’s heart and life. It isn’t your responsibility after you have told them about Him.

Fear, anger, frustration, depression, and rejection are all used against us by Satan to make us ineffective at witnessing to others for Jesus. The message is the product that we give to others because we are saved by His Grace. It isn’t a requirement or a job to earn favor with God, it is the product of being given His grace and mercy even when we don’t deserve it and letting others know about the joy that we have because of it!

So, what will you do with your greatest gift? Lock it up behind the doors of your home or your church, or will you allow it to spill over and get into someone else’s life because Jesus got into yours? Even telling one or two people can and will make a difference in a life somewhere or sometime that you don’t even know about. But, you will find out about it when you meet them in Heaven and it is revealed to you.

Healing…

There are many times that we all need healing in one form or another. Healing from grief and pain in the loss of a dear friend or loved one. Healing from a disease or an accident. Healing from hurtful words or actions which, possibly a loved one, was said to you or done to you. Healing comes to each of us in many forms.

Which one do you need today?

Jesus can bring a healing spirit into your heart and change it from one that is mistrustful and alone to one that sees the good in people and comforts others when they feel down. Many times we feel that we are the ones who need the healing, but when we offer prayers and comfort to someone else we are the ones who get the most benefit. The love of God, which we bring to others through our prayers, works in both directions. It touches the one that we are praying for but it also flows through us and into us to heal us in ways that we don’t even know that we need.

Healing…is something that Jesus did when He was here and He is still doing it today. Through medicine and doctors and through our diet and exercise, we are healed and helped in ways that we didn’t understand could be done. A little change here, a walk for ten minutes or so, eating less red meat and more fish…these are little changes that we can do which will bring healing to us along with prayer.

Healing of our hearts and our souls, that is the very thing which Jesus can do even when we don’t think it is possible. Sometimes it will happen when we just don’t believe it or even when we don’t want it. God has His purposes and He works in our lives to fulfill His purposes in ways that we can’t imagine. Not that He forces us to do something, but the circumstances of our lives will work for His glory and our good…if we allow it to.

Unfortunately, we are the controllers of that part of our lives. By that I mean that we choose whether we will do this or that for God today or tomorrow, God doesn’t force us to follow His directions. He will allow us to fall and fail in our own attempts at doing what WE think is right and when we realize that it isn’t, then He will pick us up and begin again. Just as the potter at his wheel. The re-making and re-molding process isn’t pleasant, nor is it what we would want to experience most of the time, but in His process and His time we will do His will in our lives.

It may be just before the end of our lives, but it will accomplish that which He deems is necessary and glorious for His Kingdom. It will not show the type of glory that our world expects, but to God even a small coin is worth much more than gold when given with the right attitude.

So much fear and anger

The world is a place where many things happen “in the name of Allah”, many of them are caused by hate…why? What is the reason for hatred, fear and anger toward those who don’t follow your religion? Just because there are people who believe differently than you do is not a valid reason for this at all!

In some circles and belief systems the emotions of fear, anger and hate are looked upon as destructive emotions and that is exactly what they are. Fear in itself is not because a healthy fear of heights can save your life. A fear of death can keep you alive to live another day, depending upon your situation. Anger and hatred are more like acid and fire, keeping them inside can cause disease and death quicker than normal.

What am I writing this for? Because there is much fear and anger in our world today because of hatred. Those who cannot tolerate other religions besides their own bring this into focus on the daily news because of their actions. Why? I don’t know. I cannot understand the mindset of those who follow this way of life and living in order to kill others in the name of their “god”.

I saw an article earlier today from a woman in the Middle East who asked this same question but in a way that put Christians in the place of “radical Muslims”. How would the world feel about Christianity then? What would every person think about our religion if we did these things on a daily or weekly basis? We wouldn’t be living our lives according to the teachings of Jesus, that is for certain! So, why would the “prophet” encourage his followers of Allah to do this? There is no reason for this and it is the only religion in the world which is this violent and has been for hundreds of years.

Humanity can be better than this. We are not perfect and never will be in this life, but we can’t claim that our religion is the only one that should be followed. While it is true that according to the Bible, “God is a jealous god”, He is that way because He expected His people, the Jewish people, to be His priests and representatives to the world! They failed at their calling and didn’t recognize their Messiah when He did come to them. God doesn’t blame them or anyone else for this or any of the other sinful ways that we live our lives, but when you feel a call or prompting from the Spirit, don’t push it or Him away! You may never get another chance at this.

Move away from the hate and anger and move toward Jesus. Give your life and your heart to Him while you still have breath in your body and the ability to make a difference in someone else’s life.

How do you feel?

The question above is the very question which a character in a popular TV show could not understand at one point in his life. Yet, it wasn’t long before he realized that it is our feelings…our emotions which guide us. They also help us to make sense of our intellect or life in general. If you are a Trekkie, you know that this was part of a test for Mr. Spock. His mother told him that “the computer knows that you are half human, so it is a logical question”. Many of us flawed, emotional humans tend to have problems dealing with this as well. Maybe not everyday, but at times we do run into situations where our feelings, good or bad, get the best of us. How do you respond in those situations? It depends upon your outlook and whether you depend upon yourself and nobody else or if you seek to understand life through the wisdom afforded to us by God.

So, what do you do when you realize that these words really do have meaning in your life?: “I need help. I can’t do this alone.”

Who or what do you turn to in a time that affects you so greatly that you realize that you can’t handle __________? Whatever it may be. The blanks in your life and mine are, at times, difficult to handle. But, we can get through those times, regardless of how long they last with the strength and wisdom that is found in the Bible. Today it seems that mentioning God or the Bible is an incorrect way of looking for a solution. People today say that this is the 21st century, the Bible isn’t relevant to our problems today. That is a wrong assumption because the problems which we face today are the same as the ones that our grandparents faced over fifty years ago. If you read a historical account of the problems faced in Rome or Jerusalem two thousand years ago, you would find that many of the problems that they faced are the same as today’s problems.

True enough, the technology of the day was much simpler than what we have today but the individual problems of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, unemployment, homelessness, were all still present. There were wars going on in other countries, there was malnutrition and disease. There were people who were rich and getting richer because of the problems in their time just as it is in ours. As the Preacher said in Ecclesiastes 1:9 : “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.“.

I have heard that bell-bottomed jeans are coming back into style and hip-hugger jeans too, so the styles of the ’70’s are also coming back around. Even those platform shoes that were popular at one time are making a comeback. Nothing is new, it just gets recycled into something that many may have forgotten about and it may be called something different but it is still the same. God never changes and He is always there to help if you will let Him. Seek Him out in church or in the Bible, learn about His wisdom and pray that He will give you a new heart and a new life to live into eternity. There is always work to be done, even after we die. The best part about eternity is that we won’t grow old and achy and we will be able to do the work that God has for us regardless of how many years we have lived through in His Kingdom.