Religion and technology

These two terms seem to contradict each other in a way. Yes, there are many churches which use technology for entertainment and for their music productions but in general, they don’t seem to really go together. The two don’t mesh well together. Smartphones and the apps which people use allow for reading the Bible or listening to it on a daily basis if we wish to.

But other than reading God’s Word, our technology tends to separate us from Him and from each other. We live in augmented reality because of our dependence or our addiction to technology. Not that we are living in a virtual world all of the time but when you combine the Internet and television and the games which we play online or on our phones, then we are not living in the real world.

Life is not in the virtual world. This “world” is made up of photons and data and programs which change our brains in subtle ways so that sometimes the “virtual world” seems more real than the real world itself. This is why the words spoken on social media which hurt our feelings can have such a dramatic effect on young people, causing some to take their lives because of “cyberbullying”.

Your life is more than that which is on social media sites, yet many people seem to base their whole life on the snippets of news and stories from their “friends” on these sites. God never intended for your life to be centered around the Internet and certainly not around virtual friends that most have never even met face to face.

Prior to the last thirty years, the Internet was only a part of research labs and the military and it was only used for those purposes. Now, there are all sorts of people using it for stealing money and blackmail and all sorts of criminal behavior which mostly can’t be traced back to the people doing these things. God loves all of humanity which is why He sent Jesus to pay the debt for all of our sins. Although many don’t accept Him as their Savior and many more don’t even believe that He existed at all, other than as a good teacher.

I pray that whoever reads this blog will seek Him out and pray to become a Christian because one day you won’t have that chance and you will be judged for your life outside of Jesus. Without Him, your eternity will be a true nightmare indeed.HomelessbutRich

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Mom

My mother is no longer with us and she didn’t get to see her grandson, at least she didn’t see him in person. I feel that any of our family in heaven do have a way of seeing into our lives from there so it is possible that she knows about him. Why am I starting this post with the telling of my mom being in heaven? Because I know she is there.

myMomI know she was a Bible reading woman and she took me to church each Sunday. She also had a beautiful voice and she was singing hymns much of the time while I was growing up. Does this prove that she was a Christian? No, but in my heart, I feel that she is there. I suppose I will find out when I get there in….well, whenever God calls me home.

My mother was a good Mom and I never thought of her as anything other than my mom. I am thankful for her and the effort that it took to raise me on her own, even though my grandparents were there. They didn’t discipline me in any meaningful way because they were afraid of driving me away. I had way too much freedom during my teen years, but those were the ’70’s before we even knew what a terrorist was. The only time I even heard about a Muslim religion was during the hostage crisis during my senior year in high school.

Life has changed a lot in the last forty years and not really for the better. Society has changed in ways that my graduating class of 1979 never thought would be a part of our lives. But…it is now and it will likely be this way until the end of days when Jesus comes back. Humanity will survive but there are going to be some hard times coming soon and for those who do not know Jesus the world will be so different from today. It will be more dangerous and much more like the movie “1984”.

 

Confidence

You hear and read about how to be more confident in yourself and your abilities. Exactly what does that mean? I understand that many of us lack the confidence to step out in faith at times. Some of us are not confident in our own ability to do this or that, specifically if it has to do with speaking or something that involves public anything.

There are many books out there telling you how to be more confident in your ability or in your calling. But, how do we do these things confidently and boldly..particularly in our ministry? You didn’t know that you had one of those, did you? Well, every believer has a ministry of some kind because when you were saved it was planted in your new life. You may not be fully aware of it yet or you might have felt God drawing you toward it, but it is there.

We are given a portion of talents and abilities by God when we are born yet some of them don’t manifest themselves until we are born into God’s family. So, what are these abilities? Only God knows what He has given you, but He will reveal them to you when you need them.

God uses each of us in ways that we can’t understand just as He did in the Bible with His disciples and His prophets in the Old Testament. Some of us feel weak and unworthy to be His servants yet He can use each of us in ways which we cannot see prior to His intervention in our lives. Sometimes, He will even break you in a way that He has to heal you or put you back together and He will do it so that you will be more useful to Him in the end.

When God does this, it may hurt for a while but as long as you stay the course and follow His lead, giving Him the glory for healing you and making you a better person, then you will come out on top every time. He used sorrow and pain to bring many people to their knees and seek Him in order for them to be even more useful in His Kingdom. Life drags all of us down at times and occasionally it is God allowing this in order for us to look to Him for strength and guidance through it.

I know it sounds as if I am blaming God for all of our troubles but I am not. Yes, He does use those troubles in our lives for His purposes, but it is not His hand which is dealing each of us the hurts and the ailments which we live with daily. Is life and living hard today? At times it is. Consider that there are numerous diseases which are around which didn’t exist thirty years ago. Many of them have been caused by genetically modified organisms like the sugar beets, corn, soy, wheat and canola which produce much of our food products today or they are fed to the animals which become our food.

Why did I mention these products? Because, forty years ago most of them didn’t exist and many of the “new” diseases that you see on the TV didn’t exist either, including many of the cancers that are killing so many today. How do I know that this is happening? I have suspected it for a long time and during my research, I found a study which speaks of some doctors which put many of their patients on organic food as a prescription for health. Many of those patients had problems which are consistent with cancers, arthritis of differing kinds, bowel disorders and even dementia. With the organic food and diet, many of these were lessened or even reversed entirely.

So truthfully we have caused our own health crisis. Not individually, but the pesticide and seed companies which have modified strains of certain vegetables to be resistant to their pesticides and herbicides. Then the animals eat these and are given hormones and antibiotics to protect them, but what are the effects of us eating these? The so-called “research” is paid for by these companies and makes it seem legitimately harmless.

So, we have caused much of our own suffering, yet God can use this to bring us closer to Him. Follow God and trust Him in all your ways.

In His service.

Freedom of religion

Freedom of religion which is guaranteed in our Constitution concerns the freedom to practice the religion of your choice or none at all. So why do many in our country want to get rid of any shred of Christianity that they can and yet any other form of religion beyond that is Ok?

I suppose it is because of the truth which we claim to follow in our churches and preach from the pulpits was given to the Jewish people as the Word of God through His prophets. Therefore it is True and indisputable which makes many people very nervous and jittery about a book with absolute Truth in its pages. They question its Truth and they question the validity of those who wrote the words down.

In many parts of the world there is no freedom of religion at all, you either believe and practice the religion of the state or, in some cases, you are killed for being a heretic. If you aren’t killed, then you are put in jail so you can’t spread your “lies” to other people.

All of this division has been orchestrated by Satan from eons past or since Adam and Eve were in the Garden at least. Our world, not just America, has many religions which worship things and ideas which have been written down in recent memory and some which were taught many hundreds of years ago. The religions or people and their ideas that are worshiped are not gods and they are not God, but it seems that many are deceived by their leaders to believe that they are.

Don’t give your heart or your mind to these ideas or people because that path leads away from God and away from eternity in Heaven. It doesn’t lead “to the dark side” but it does go to a dark place from which there is no escape. God loves you regardless of what you may have heard or read because He is your Creator. Seek Him out while there is time and try to have an open mind doing so. Learn about Him from the Bible and a Bible teaching church, not some of this “prosperity new age” junk!

 

Dividing lines

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

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

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

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

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

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

follow Christ

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.

Instant conclusions

In our society, we draw conclusions about everything and most of the time we do it immediately. Especially when it comes to violence in a public place. Writers for many publications are disavowing any responsibility when it comes to owning the reason for any crime which has a violent outcome. In spite of our collective ideas of terrorism, whether it is done by a person of color or not, we still tend toward segregation of blame.

If you are of a certain religion then you are radicalized. If you are African-American then you are angry, about what doesn’t seem to matter, but that is what the pundits on “news” programs label people as. But when the person is white, they are labeled as insane and a gun nut or even disturbed because of PTSD. Yet, many of them bought their weapons legally with background checks and apparently passed those checks multiple times.

Why do we or at least some in America make these snap judgments about each other and about people who buy firearms and use them. It is true that we only think these things when some person uses a firearm to take lives in a way that is inconsistent with society or its norms. But honestly, any life taken is one which was taken too soon! Murder is against the law of man and God as well! It doesn’t matter if you kill someone with a knife or a gun or a bomb, murder is still against God’s law!

What can make someone snap to the point of shooting at people just because they are convenient targets? I will never understand the kind of crazy that sounds like!

Was God there? Yes, in the first responders who came to the aid of those in danger. He was there with the police who stormed the hotel and found the killer who was taking lives like targets on a range. Yes, God was there and He is still there giving comfort and strength to families and friends and to those who are recovering! We all need to pray for the victims and for our country because there could be another person who may snap and begin to do this somewhere else.

Seek Him out in all things and look for God in every place where you are because He is there, sad though He may be because of our intent and because of the apathy that is in our society today.

 

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.