What do you want?

I think many people are asking this question or they are being asked by those who are going to give them something for Christmas. Have you thought about it yourself? There are so many “deals” out there today because it is Cyber Monday and of course last Friday was Black Friday! I try not to participate in either one if I can help it. Go one step farther than just a gift at Christmas and think about a gift that has been provided for us all…and it doesn’t cost us anything!

Jesus came down from Heaven to be born as the Christ-child in a human body and from the very beginning, before the Earth was formed, He was chosen to be slain on a cross to pay for our sins! Blood from animals paid the price before He came, yet they were an imperfect payment because their sacrifice had to be performed each year, every year. His sacrifice was perfect, since He did not have a sin nature and didn’t sin during His life, yet He gave His life to the Father’s will so that we can come to the Father through belief in Jesus the Christ!

As Hebrews 7:27 says:  27 Unlike the other high priests, He does not need to offer daily sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people; He sacrificed for sin once for all when He offered up Himself.

Jesus gave His life so that we might have eternal life with Him. It is a gift which cannot be bought by us, but it had a high price. The price of the Son of God and His life, death and resurrection to purchase our pardon if we will believe in Him. This is a story which has been told through thousands of sermons over the years since His ascension to be with God, a story which many have believed in and on for their salvation.

Today it seems that we have many who have been in the church all of their lives, hearing this message, sitting in the church week after week, who have not taken the steps to finalize being a Christian! Many believe wrongly that because they have been in the church and heard the message and read the Bible that they are saved. They may even be fine upstanding members of the church, volunteering for all kinds of selfless positions and committees in the church. But…are they saved?

Are you sure?

Why do I bring this up now? Because, you and I need to be absolutely sure of our salvation! Why? Because, there are no second chances! If you left the church one Sunday morning or evening and just before you get home, you had a terrible accident which took your life. How would you feel standing before God and seeing your life and your opportunities shown before you, yet you are not saved. You didn’t act when the Spirit moved you in the revival meeting or when you felt Him touch you during a service because you thought you were OK. What a terrifying feeling it will be to hear, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”

Your eternity lies before you, but it won’t be an eternity in Heaven. It will be one where you feel the burn of loss and the frustration and anger which can only be turned upon yourself because you thought that you already had something and you really didn’t. Nothing can change that now because your decision was made before your death.

Have you decided which direction that you want to go? Most everyone you ask on the street thinks that they have been a good person and they deserve to go to Heaven. How will you feel if your righteousness is not covered by the Blood of Jesus? Is your righteousness better than that of the Pharisees or about the same?

Think about it and consider doing something about it! If you felt the call of the Spirit and didn’t act, make sure that you do…soon!

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What do you believe?

It seems that some people believe that Earth is an entity and that “she” is Gaia, the mother of all life. Others look at nature and the world around them and see gods inhabiting everything, even themselves. Then some don’t believe in any god or gods at all and just believe that when they die, they will just be in the ground and that their life ends when they breathe their last breath on Earth.

There are many other beliefs in this world from one end of the spectrum to another. From no gods exist and neither does the devil, to at least one religion which has millions of gods. We all have our own beliefs but will those beliefs gain us entrance into Heaven or will they send us to hell? The only belief which will get you or me into heaven for eternity is belief in Jesus and in His atonement for your sins.

God has extended His grace toward us in the Person of His Son, Jesus, and the atonement which is through His blood shed for our sins, all of them. God doesn’t require you to believe in Him or His Son, except if you want to have Heaven as your eternal home. You can live your life the way that you wish and be just as happy or miserable as you want, but if you deny the love of God and the atonement given to you through Jesus then your eternity will be without Him.

You can call it hell or Hades or whatever name you wish to give it, but there will be no light, no love, no relief from any punishment that exists there. Since hell was designed as punishment for Satan and his fallen angels, he will make sure that your eternity will be no different from his.

God loves us and Jesus came as the expression of His love toward us so that our sin wouldn’t separate us from Him through eternity. God enjoyed talking and walking with Adam in the garden and He will walk with you if you will ask Him into your heart. He wants a relationship with us and that is another reason why Jesus came to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.

So…what do you believe? Who do you believe in? Do you believe in anyone or anything outside of yourself?

The best news that I have for you is that God knows you better than you know yourself. He is waiting for you to come to Him, knowing that you can’t do it on your own and that you need Him. Why? Because all of us need Him. To give us a purpose and a reason to be, to live, and to work in His Kingdom. There is no higher calling than to be a son or daughter of God. Consider it…then go after Him with all that you have! Why?

What have you got to lose? He owns everything because HE is the Creator! He created you for a reason and He is the only way that your reason can be found! No job can do that, no amount of money or prestige can do that, no other person can give you that fulfilling love and a feeling of being loved by God!

Why?

Are we so blind to suffering and heartache that we don’t see it? Are we that indifferent and uncaring toward those around us? What happened?

It started many years ago and we didn’t notice, or maybe we just were too busy at the time. The Vietnam war was going on, our President had been murdered, unrest was rampant all over and I was about four or five years old. My parents weren’t getting along, things were happening that I didn’t understand, and our country made a law that has had massive repercussions in the years since then.

That law had to do with using the Bible in school and also prayer in schools too. It pushed God out of our education system at a time when He was sorely needed. He is even more needed today than He was then, but the laws have become even more restrictive. Chaplains can’t use the name of Jesus in their prayers for our servicemen and women anymore, the traditional family has been broken apart and now consists of accepted relationships which are against God’s laws.

We have changed our society to the point of being so different from the nation that our forefathers envisioned until they wouldn’t recognize it today. Many of them would be arrested for the words that they used in writing our Constitution. Why?

Political correctness, we don’t want to offend anyone or at least anyone who isn’t a Christian. Most of the laws enacted today are against the values and truths which we hold dear in our churches and it will likely get worse in the future. Why? Because we have pushed God and His Truth out of education and out of most areas of public life. We can’t show nativity scenes during Christmas on the public square. Parades during this time are called holiday parades or winter parades. But, if you want to show your support for any other religion…that is fine! No problem at all.

We are becoming a country which began as a nation founded with ideals drawn from God’s Word but today we have pushed Him out and we are in rebellion against Him. Why?

Read God’s Word, in particular the books of Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Revelation. These are the prophecy books that most people try to avoid, but the time that all of them refer to is now or at least it is beginning to be. We hear about or witness things which defy a real explanation other than “you don’t believe the way I do” or something similar.

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.

He is special

Children are special to their parents and grandparents, but have you ever wondered how God felt about His Son? He was part of the Trinity of course and God knew that, but Jesus was more than that too. He was:

The seed of the woman in Genesis and after the fall; He was the Passover lamb in Exodus; in Leviticus He was the High Priest; in Numbers He was shown as the water from the rock, as the Fire by night and the Cloud by day; in Deuteronomy He was the “prophet like Moses”; He was typified by Joshua and the Captain of the Lord’s Host in Joshua; in Judges He was the Judge and Lawgiver; in Ruth He was the Kinsman Redeemer….

Jesus was all of these and more. To Mary He was her son and the Son of the Most High. To His disciples He was their Rabbi and Teacher and Master, to us He is our Savior and Lord. We have no counterpart which would equal what Jesus was to God the Father so we can’t say how that relationship was or what it typified

Why do I say that? Because God’s ways are so much higher than ours until we can’t understand His love for a world full of sinners, a love that allowed His Son to give His life to pay the debt for all who would believe in Him and for those who would not. We can’t understand it because we wouldn’t allow our child to die for one person’s sins, even our own! Jesus was and is special because of Who He is and because He is still King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

You can say that you don’t believe in Him if you wish but you are placing yourself in a dangerous place when you do. You can say that you don’t believe that a place like Hades or Hell exists and that is fine, but if you should go there because of your unbelief in Jesus, you have been warned! Not believing in them will not save you from them, but believing in Jesus and accepting Him as your Savior will save you from them.

How do you feel about Jesus?

Here is a sample of some well-known and not so well-known people who have pushed any notion or mention of God or Jesus from their lives and the consequences of it. I pray that most of you won’t follow their example:

 

A man of 32 years, was smoking, while smoking his cigarette, he puffed out some smoke into the air and said:’God, that’s for you.’He died at the age of 32 of LUNG CANCER in a horrible manner.

The man who built the Titanic, after the construction of Titanic, a reporter asked him how safe the Titanic would be. With an ironic tone he said: ‘Not even God can sink it’ The result: I think you all know what happened to the Titanic

Marilyn Monroe (Actress)
She was visited by Billy Graham during a presentation of a show.
He said the Spirit of God had sent him to preach to her.
After hearing what the Preacher had to say, she said:
‘I don’t need your Jesus’. A week later, she was found dead in her apartment

Bon Scott (Singer)
The ex-vocalist of the AC/DC. On one of his 1979 songs he sang:
‘Don’t stop me; I’m going down all the way, down the highway to hell’.
On the 19th of February 1980, Bon Scott was found dead, he had been choked by his own vomit.

Campinas (IN 2005)
In Campinas , Brazil a group of friends, drunk, went to pick up a friend…..
The mother accompanied her to the car and was so worried about the drunkenness of her friends and she said to the daughter holding her hand, who was already seated in the car:
‘My Daughter, Go With God And May He Protect You.’ She responded: ‘Only If He (God) Travels In The Trunk, Cause Inside Here…..It’s Already Full ‘ Hours later, news came by that they had been involved in a fatal accident, everyone had died, the car could not be recognized what type of car it had been, but surprisingly, the trunk was intact. The police said there was no way the trunk could have remained intact. To their surprise, inside the trunk was a crate of eggs, none was broken

Christine Hewitt (Jamaican Journalist & entertainer) said the Bible (Word of God) was the worst book ever written.

In June 2006 she was found burnt beyond recognition in her motor vehicle.
Many more important people have forgotten that there is no other name that was given so much authority as the name of Jesus.

Many have died, but only Jesus died and rise again, and he is still alive….
‘Jesus’
I have done my part by sharing this with you, Jesus said ‘If you are embarrassed about me, I will also be embarrassed about you before my father.’

Bishop T..D. Jakes ‘8 Second Prayer.’ Just repeat this prayer and see how God moves!!

‘Lord, I love you and I need you, come into my heart, and bless me, my family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus’ name. Amen.’

If you don’t believe or don’t want to believe in Jesus, that is fine. But, when your life ends and you stand in judgement in His Presence, don’t think that you didn’t know or that nobody told you.

God loves every person on Earth. He doesn’t love the lifestyle that many of them lead or the “gods or god” that they pray to. Seek Him out because He is t he Author of Life and Truth. The Bible is true and salvation is available through Jesus alone. Please, don’t turn away from Him when you feel His call in your life.

What is happening in your world?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living today and tomorrow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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