A long time coming…

Some people see this as a title of redemption or of something which they have been trying for most of their lives to get. Looking for some kind of reward after living a long time with no good thing coming to you. Sounds like my life and maybe even yours, hmm?

We get what we put into life many times, but what about what you really need? Do you really think about what you actually need in this life or do you just crave things because you are trying to keep up or at least look like you can keep up?

I know I am asking lots of questions, but if we don’t ask these questions how will you know what is coming? I know, another question. The days that we are living in now are close to the time described in the book of Revelation.

Why did I bring that up? Because it is necessary for you to know. God didn’t place a prophetic book in the New Testament just for fun. It’s there because we need to know what is coming, and very soon. We are loved by our Creator, but there are many who don’t want to love Him. Some are complaining that He’s not coming back, but since God cannot lie I believe He is! What or rather who do you think can solve our problems? The governments of the world can’t fix them. Any kind of military action will not fix any problem of the world or any of the countries in the world.

Truly, there is nothing which we can do which will bring about any kind of healing or even fix the economic problems of any single country, let alone the world! There are too many cultural differences and religious differences for us to be able to come up with a workable solution.

But…God can fix them all! When Jesus comes to rule the Earth, His rule will be absolute and our problems will get fixed during His one thousand year reign. I ask you to make sure of your place in this world and the next by accepting Him as your Savior and Lord.

 

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!

Why worry?

It seems that the media is worried about all of us who live in “rural” areas of the country. Why? For most of our country’s history, those of us who live in the country, outside of city limits, were the one’s who fed the rest of the country. Now, all we want is to get away from most of the violence and other crime that seems to happen every day on the news.

I am not saying that crimes aren’t committed in the country because they are, but most of them involve stealing something easy to get away with. Very few murders, car jacking, or rape happen outside of city limits. I am sure that some of these do happen in other places, but they aren’t reported because it is a very local crime and limited in how many people were involved.

Am I saying that living in the country is completely safe? Absolutely not. I still lock the cars and the house and any storage area that we have. Thirty-five or so years ago, we didn’t lock our doors, but people have changed and so have the culture around us. Why worry about it?

I don’t really. I pray about our life and our home and ask God to give us protection from those who may do harm to our family and friends, then I hand the problem over to Him and leave it there. It is a learned skill and I have learned it over the past twenty or so years. It is not easy to let go of your anxiety and worries, but Jesus said that “today has enough trouble of its own”. Meaning that we shouldn’t worry about things which we cannot change and specifically about things which we have no control over at all!

God loves each of us, far more than we will ever know until we get to Heaven. We can’t understand His love and mercy toward us because His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts like ours. We can’t be perfect in all of our ways because we are human, but with the Holy Spirit living inside your heart, you can strive toward that calling of becoming more like Jesus. We will not be able to finish the course and be like Him until we stand in His Presence, but the race of life is the one we have to finish and trying to be like Him is the best that we can do.

Just as an old master Jedi once said, “Try not, do or do not there is no try”. Strive still toward the finish of your life when you will attain the goal of being like Jesus. Live as much like Him in this life as you can and let the rest fall to the side. That doesn’t mean that we have to be poor and penniless, it just means that we must walk through this life with our eyes turned toward Him daily. Not weekly or when its convenient, but from the moment you wake until night comes and you need rest for tomorrow. He will guide you on your path.

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

What did you do this week?

That question could be answered many different ways, but for many people this week has been about survival. Hurricanes, earthquakes, wars, terrorism and driving to work and back home just to name a few. Yes, driving a car or truck is just as dangerous to me. Especially with people driving while eating or texting or talking on their phones, they aren’t paying as much attention to the road and the people around them as they should!

Many of us survived this week, but there were some who were in harm’s way who didn’t make it back home. What do you think they said when God asked them, “What did you do with my Son?”? Did they have an answer? Could they look into God’s face and say with pride that they didn’t know His Son? I hope that they did not. Although some may have had to answer that way because you can’t lie to God! He already knows the answer to the question.

Have you considered what you will say when Jesus knocks on your heart’s door? Will you accept His friendship and ask Him into your heart or will you tell Him to come back later? What would you do if you knew that you weren’t going to have another chance to accept Him?

Life today is complicated with all of the notifications that we get on our computers and our phones. But, is that really how you look at your life’s complications? What about the soldier who is fighting overseas? The policeman or woman who is chasing a suspect down an alley at 2 am.? The firefighter who is called along with a few other trucks to a four-alarm fire at 3 am, it is possible that at least one of these people are not going to go home after the shift or this mission. I pray that they have given their lives to Jesus, but many people think that they have all the time in the world.

They do until it’s over, then what? We see miracles in children and in babies and in the lives of every person that we meet in some form or another, yet we don’t acknowledge the Maker for them. We wake up on the days that we work or go to school but we don’t consider how much of a miracle that we are! We are created by God to fulfill a purpose that He has for us and the only way that we find out about that purpose is by giving our life and our heart to Him!

God loves each of us and He wants the best for us. Sometimes the best is our reward in Heaven, not on this Earth or in this life. We want our rewards today..right now in fact, but God doesn’t work that way. Yes, sometimes people do get their rewards in this life but have you ever noticed anyone with riches giving much to the church? A few do, but the majority give maybe a dollar to two, when they could give much more.

When you have been given much, you should give just as much. I don’t mean that you have to give all of your money to the church, but in the Bible Abraham gave ten percent of all that he had. So, if you made 500 dollars this week, give 50. If you made 150, give 15. It is not hard to do, and like David wrote “I have never seen one of God’s people begging for bread“.

God loves all of His children, which we are even if we haven’t given our hearts to Him. But, He wants us to come to Him. When you feel the Spirit at church or watching a Christian service on television, don’t turn away. Seek Him out because He is seeking you. All that you have to do is tell Him you are sorry for your sins and repent (turn away from) of those sins then ask Him to come in and clean your life up. I promise, if you meant what you said, He will do it and your name will be in the Book of Life!

So much suffering…

I am sure that some people are asking “Where is God when this flood began?” or “Where was God when the wildfire burned our town to the ground?”. Yes there is suffering in the world but God didn’t cause it. The flood was caused by a weather system which got stuck in one place and didn’t move. Some of the fires in California were started by a man who knew how to start fires easily. Did either of these events have something in common? Yes, they both caused loss of life and the loss of homes and businesses.

When we see things like this happening we should get on our knees and pray. It is true that God may not send a huge downpour to put the fire out or even stop the rain, but He will be there in your trial to help you get through it. Does this take the edge off of the suffering? No, but if you have put your faith in God, you will have a peace about your situation regardless of how it turns out.

I know that I am making general statements here, but God does care and He loves all of you more than you realize. He will give you the victory and bring more into your life one day than what may be taken away in this world. In some ways that is a really lame way of saying that we should be looking forward to Heaven, but it is true! Our reward for being His today, here on this Earth is that we have His strength and His Spirit in us to give us the peace to get through all of our problems.

It is true that we may be able to get through our day-to-day problems with our own money and our own strength of will and perseverance, but what will happen when one of those is not enough? If you don’t have enough money or you get sick in some way and your strength is not enough to get you through it, what then? Money can’t save you, it may pay the bills but if you die your money is no good anymore. Faith in Jesus and believing in His grace and atonement for your sins will carry you into eternity, where money doesn’t mean anything.

Give your life to Jesus and ask Him to cleanse your heart and your life of all the stuff that shouldn’t be there. Read the Bible and learn about Him, go to a teaching church and walk with others on the same road that you are on. Remember, in a couple of songs there is a “highway to hell” but there is only a “stairway to Heaven”. It kinda shows you the amount of traffic that you will be with if you think about it.

Please, don’t wait to decide something which will have eternal consequences because you may not get another sunrise or even another sunset. Look at your life honestly and like you were making an investment. Will your life as it is now be enough for God to allow you into Heaven? Without Jesus in your heart, your life and your net worth means nothing! God doesn’t take bribes, He can give you a planet made of gold so there is no amount that you could barter with to get in unless you have given your life to Jesus. If you have done that, it won’t matter if you die being the richest man on Earth or the poorest of the beggars, your eternity is rich!

 

Still in denial…

Many times, those of us who feel overwhelmed and depressed are in denial about the reason for the way we feel. It could be something which happened yesterday or last month, but we won’t admit it. It could be something which happened to us last year or even years ago which just comes to the surface when we hear a song or watch a TV show. There are many triggers which bring to mind things that we want to forget, things which we thought that we had dealt with but…we really haven’t.

We just pushed the memory into a corner or a closet and shut the door, hoping that it wouldn’t come out again in the near future. But…something or maybe nothing triggers that memory and all of it rushes out like a flood and we have to deal with it all over again.

I know that many times I usually have some advice about how to avoid these kinds of problems, but in this instance there is no fix or cure. Yes, giving your heart to Jesus does help because you can pray to Him and ask for His strength to get through it but the memory and the depression and pain from it won’t really go away. You will be able to bear it more gracefully and with strength that you didn’t have before but it will still come back.

That being said, Jesus is not the One responsible for bringing old hurts and memories to your recall, especially ones which cause pain and depression. Satan and his cohorts do that and they are very good at it. They have had many years of practice. The good news about this is that you don’t have to live with it alone! Jesus is there with you, if you have asked Him to come into your heart. He will never leave you!

Denial is something that all of us suffer with because we don’t think we need help with certain thing or we don’t consider an old hurt or pain from our past to be significant. But, there are days that cause the memories and feelings to rush back into your life and unless you have a lot of family who understands, you will need Jesus to get you through this.

God loves you and He never intended for us to have the issues which we have to deal with today. The rebellion, which is what happened in the Garden, is what started all of this. One act of doing something that the Father told you not to do, caused the pain and suffering and all of the cruelty in the world. Our human nature wasn’t made that way in the beginning, but by doing it in spite of the command not to, we told God that we will do it our way.

Humanity’s way has not worked out so well in the past few hundred or thousand years. We have made mistakes, big mistakes. We have caused a lot of suffering in places where we shouldn’t have been. In the name of one religion or another, we have killed and murdered people for beliefs which didn’t follow the “church” at the time. We, as in humanity, have done some horrific things in the name of religion, even the Christian religion in the Dark ages following the dictates of men who were in charge has killed and murdered people. All of this has broken the heart of God, because many times the Inquisition, the Crusades, the witch hunts and even the burning of believers who believed differently from accepted doctrine, all of this was done under the guise of serving God.

The church doesn’t want these to come to light because then our religion is no different from the one which is doing the same thing in the Middle East today! There is evidence of course, written and archived, but the thing is many of those saints who were killed for their belief will sit in judgement of those who burned them one day. Unless their killers repented and turned from those things, becoming heretics themselves, they will be judged and sentenced to the lake of fire at the White Throne judgement.

Being in denial doesn’t get rid of the problem. Just as sweeping dust under the rug doesn’t get rid of it either. Giving your life and your heart to Jesus will change your life forever and those problems which creep up on you will be easier to bear with Jesus at your side.

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.

Life matters…

There have been many protests concerning certain lives matter, whether they are Black, African-American, or even White. Come on, God created Life! Your life, my life, and every person who has ever lived on this world, all of our lives matter to Him! The color of your skin or your ethnic origin is irrelevant to God. Slave or freeman, Muslim or Protestant or any religion in the spectrum, God loves you! So, yes, life matters to God…every life!

We, humanity, have put limits and regulations and stipulations on which lives matter and which ones do not matter, at least to us. Why should we compare and claim that my life or your life matters more than any other? A baby being aborted at a clinic could possibly be the person who finds a cure for cancer, but if they aren’t born and allowed to grow toward that potential we will never know. Someone being killed in Turkey or Iran or Syria might also be important to the peace cause in the future, but we will never know for sure.

Lives matter every day, not just today but every day in our country. So many are hurting this morning because of the actions of one person or a few people who are targeting people for the color of their skin. It is heart-wrenching to see this happening in our country when racism should have become a thing of the past. Yet, every time it seems that we have a handle on it, someone from one ethnic group or another will blow a hole in it and begin the process all over again.

I don’t write this in the sense that I am some perfect Christian because there was only One perfect man ever on Earth and He is Jesus. My ideas are that we should get along, but in the society that we have today, in America and around the world, it is not possible. Humanity hasn’t evolved to the point of getting past old hatred and wounds from decades past. We just don’t seem to be able to let it go. Every time healing begins, someone pulls the bandage off and starts it over again. This needs to stop but without prayer and cooperation between those with different tones of skin color, it won’t get a foothold or gain any traction.

God loves us and we were told by our Savior to love one another, but it seems that we haven’t truly figured out what that means yet. We don’t understand the meaning of the word because we have watered it down and changed the meaning of the word “love” so much until it really doesn’t convey the same emotion that Jesus was telling us to express toward each other.

Seek out the Lord in your life and follow Him. Why do I say this? Because if you follow the Author of Life, you will be more alive than you ever have been. You will also learn to be more loving and if you love others as Jesus loves you, then you will not be like those who are causing all of the division and hatred in our world today. Jesus came to bring eternal life to all of us, all we have to do is accept it by faith and ask His forgiveness. Being a Christian is not something which can be forced upon someone, just like you cannot force someone to love you, but if you have felt that you need Him at all, then all you have to do is ask Him to come in and cleanse your heart and to accept you as His child.