Sunday, December 25, 2011


Not long ago a man stated that the world would end on a certain day, and obviously it didn't.  And so, as it turns out, he's not a prophet.  Regardless of that, it seems good to be aware that there will come a day when things will change greatly - that somehow, in some way, the world, the way we know it, will no longer be.  How will it unfold?  I couldn't answer that and wouldn't want to try except to say that it seems clear to me that when we see physical life ending we know the signs, and it would seem at this time applicable to the world.  We've seen many changes in the world that should tell us these are signs of a dying world - a world that is "passing away."

Jesus spoke of a time when things will change and he described what the attitude of the world will be up to that point.  Many people it seems will be taken up with the cares of the world, going about their daily lives, not having given serious consideration, if any at all, to the fact that a day of God's judgment is on its way.  It will come as a shock - a very abrupt shock.  Now at this point in our world what we say is "People will either believe or they won't," and that seems quite true, for now.  But when the day of the Lord does come, I don't think there will be anyone left in doubt of God's existence.

The words of Jesus were "watch" and  "be ready."  God does know those who are His and it seems that Jesus was describing a separation that will take place at this time of God's choosing.  It will be an immediate change - an immediate translation from this earthly existence, to the presence of the Lord, for those called out, and into His presence.  And that will be a shock of another kind to find oneself standing in the presence of God.  I think we will be overwhelmed by His love.  And so, let's remember, although people may come along and say "This will be the day!" Jesus did state clearly that no one has that knowledge other than God himself, but be ready and be waiting.  Change is coming.   

Friday, December 23, 2011


There are changes in life which come so gradually we don't always recognize them. As the years progress we change emotionally and it takes some time to realize we've moved to a point quite beyond the limitations of early youth.  In youth we often feel we understand things which in truth we have no perspective on.  But we grow from experiences and we gain knowledge as time goes on.
A slow steady change in our ability to interpret our world also is present in our walk with Christ, but with much greater impact.  We do gain knowledge as we learn God's word and when we press ever harder in search of God's direction we find ourselves looking at the world in a much different way.  We change - things change within our spirit and the mind begins to comprehend.  The fact is that God's Holy Spirit is our teacher.  Jesus said that God's spirit will lead us "into all truth." (John 16:13)  And what happens is the world goes continually in one direction while God takes us directly opposite.  The change has come and the blinders are off.  It is new life.

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:  The same came to Jesus by night, and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that you do, except God be with him." Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"  Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again.  The wind blows where it wants, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell from where it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."  John 3:1-8

Have a joyful Christmas

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I was reading today from the Book of Acts the accounting of the story of Saul of Tarsus who was converted to the Christian faith in a dramatic way.  Saul was a Roman citizen and Jewish by birth of the tribe of Benjamin.  Saul was also a Pharisee as was his father before him.  With the influence and rise of Christianity changing the lives of many people came persecution and Saul was burning with zealous self righteous rage against Christians and was encouraging violence and murder.  It was on the road to Damascus that Saul found himself surrounded by a brilliant light and I'm sure a very real presence, because he fell to the ground, probably somewhat terrified, and did hear a voice asking him the question, "Why are you persecuting me?" The speaker identified himself as Jesus, and from that moment forward, Saul's life changed forever.  Saul became known as the Apostle Paul, and what a life of service to God he had!  What passion!  And I think he must have been made of iron, for all the went through, but I know it was God who gave him the strength of endurance.  

Doesn't this help us to understand something of incredible importance here?  That God can change a life completely. We should never give up believing for the salvation of those we pray for.  We should keep absolute faith in what God will do.  The Bible tells us we can speak life or death with our words.  We should think about that because our words can be harmful.  We certainly want to speak faith -speak life, and pray with faith.  The days may come when we may feel "Do I have the faith I need?" "How do I receive that faith?"  God gives to us this marvelous gift of His Holy Spirit.  Faith is a spiritual gift.  And we receive because we ask.  Remember that Saul was just a man, reacting on a human level of emotions and beliefs before Christ changed him forever.  It was God's Spirit working within him that changed his life and brought out the faith and passion for the lives of other.  He became more than just a man.  He became "the vessel" which God poured into.  He received new life through faith in Christ.   He became like the man Jesus once described - the man who found that one treasure in life which nothing else could compare to - and was willing to give up all else he had to have obtain it - "Such is the Kingdom of Heaven." 

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I don't pretend to understand all the politics of what goes on in Israel, nor do I pass myself off as an authority on every recorded word of God's ancient prophets.  But I understand enough to know that God loves Israel and has a covenant with them that will never end.  He will keep the covenant He has made.  Against all odds, Israel exists, and will remain, because God said "it will be."

If those who have doubts about the truth of the Bible would seriously study the history of Israel with the Bible in hand for reference, I don't see how they could walk away with a lack of better understanding.  The facts are astonishing and I believe God would open understanding for those in search of it because He said those who search for Him with all their heart, they will find Him.  The recorded prophecies of God's word to the Israelites make very clear the plan God had, later fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus. And while the focus was on the people of Israel during the few years of Jesus ministry it was certainly the plan that we all inherit, all nations, all who come to that understanding of salvation through Christ.  But it was to Israel first, "God's inheritance" and that blessing also became ours.

God's word is powerful and it is forever.  God will never forget his word.  It is not possible for Him to forget.  Neither will he retract His word, because a covenant is an absolute bond, and I think the world would do well to pay attention to that fact.  We need to be on the side of support of Israel.

 "This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the Lord Almighty is his name: 'Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,' declares the Lord, 'will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.'   Jeremiah 31

Friday, December 9, 2011


There was a lady who had been married a number of years to a man who had done factory work and he'd been at the shop quite a long time.  He had a good retirement program based on his years which allowed him to retire somewhat earlier than he would have been able to otherwise.  The thing about this situation was that the wife was still working and would have to for at least another 6 years and this fact caused her considerable stress and she dwelt on it.  She talked about the unfairness of it.  She blamed him for the fact that his income had not been adequate to support both of them through an early retirement.  She blamed him for her unhappiness and found fault with him endlessly.  And this was despite the fact that he'd always been a hard worker, had been faithful as a husband, had treated her children as his own, and had provided a lovely home.  And yet, when he retired he became her punching bag.  She could not cope with the idea of it; she could not seem to feel anything but bitterness.  Three years following his retirement, to everyone's surprise, he died of cancer.

It would seem that this lady spent years feeling disappointment and anger, over nothing.  Things didn't work out as she had hoped, but it's very sad that she couldn't find a way to cope with her feelings.  And while we don't want to judge her, we certainly don't want to follow her example. 

To be sure, it's an extreme example: Most people, I think, are aware of and do acknowledge that they have things to be thankful for even when circumstances aren't ideal.  But isn't it true that many of us at some point in our lives have spent time basically sorrowing over nothing?  The Bible tells us there is a time in life for happiness and there is a time for mourning.  I believe that once the time for sadness has passed, it is time to move on.  Have you failed at something you had hoped to do well at?  Have you missed an opportunity you had desperately wanted?  Has someone walked out of your life when you had wanted them to stay?  Well, don't forget God's love for you.  If you can truly realize that and keep a relationship with Him you have every reason to be encouraged.  God is not forgetful of our life's concerns and there is nothing just left to chance in the life of a Christian.  We can rest assured that He will handle it.  And remember that we don't see the future in a way which gives us the ability to predict all events, such as with the lady in the story above.  She had no idea that her husband had only three years of life left.  But God knew that, most assuredly.  Let's remember to be thankful for what we have and realize there is a bigger picture we don't see and "a time to every purpose under the heaven."  (Ecclesiastes 3)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Burst of Salt: ANGELS

Burst of Salt: ANGELS:

My pastor related a story to us once of a man he knew (a pastor) who had been working inside of his church - and the church was empty.  He happened to be alone.  The church was on a side of town known for crime - known for the need for heightened security.  He was busy with something when he thought he heard the front door open and shut, which is apparently when he realized he hadn't locked it.  He walked to the entryway and there stood a very large man the pastor didn't recognize.  The pastor felt hesitant initially, but as the man began to explain himself the pastor believed he seemed sincere.  He invited the man in and they sat and discussed the problems, the concerns, talking in depth for a couple of hours.  The pastor was able to minister to the man about God's love.  At the end of the conversation the man said to the pastor that he was really touched by the time the pastor had spent with him and a little surprised even.  The pastor expressed his happiness that he'd been available to offer the time and with that they shook hands and the man left the building.  It had been snowing heavily throughout the day and the pastor decided he too would leave and he shut the lights out and headed for the door and as he stood at the open door, looking around, he noted that there were no footprints, anywhere.  In telling the story my pastor stated that his friend has always felt that he'd been visited by an angel.  He believes that to be true.

Is that possible?  Are there times in our lives when something like that could occur?  I think that I would be caught somewhere in the middle of trying to decide what I believed about that if there weren't scripture to back it up.  It is documented in Old Testament scripture that Abraham spoke with angels and they appeared as men walking down a road, and there are certainly other accounts. It is clear that there is a constant presence of angels in the world.  We may not see them, or we may have seen them and yet were "unaware."  But yes, I believe they are there to encourage us, help guide us, help us fight our battles against Satan's attacks.  I believe they do that by bringing God's word to us, reminding us of the power of God's love and the security we have in knowing that God's Holy Spirit is with us always.  They are God's messengers.

Is it possible?  How could that be?  Because God's love is so rich and so pure that He keeps a constant watch over our souls.  Jesus gave the promise:  "I will never leave you or forsake you."  How wonderful to know that - to have the understanding of that.  What a beautiful experience my pastor's friend had, and what joy it must give him to consider the presence of an angel in his life, who once appeared to him in the recognizable human form.  Perhaps it's quite rare to have that happen, or maybe it happens much more often than we realize.  Either way, don't forget that whether or not our eyes perceive the presence of angels, they are with us.  In constant testament of God's love, they are there.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Pride is not a pretty sight in God's eyes: The Bible speaks about that repeatedly.  In order to get the point across Jesus explained that it's better if one doesn't come too far forward because someone may direct that person back to a less prominent place.  Hasn't that sort of thing happened to most of us at some point?  and it may not have been done with a sense of pride but just the idea of "This is a very good place to be," and this is the kind of experience which should teach us well.  As Jesus pointed out, don't place yourself forward, but wait for someone to invite you forward.

Most of us meet or know people along the way who really don't follow that sort of philosophy.  In fact they may be quite bold in their approach, and just based on that fact, they often get what they want.  That's the kind of world we live in.  The most brash, the most motivated to gain their place are going to more than likely be rewarded.  The thing to realize is they may not always have that elevated position if they don't get their thinking turned around at some point in life.  This world is not forever; our time here is short.  This life being, in my opinion, a learning ground, with the expectation being that we gain knowledge of God's truths.  Every step should take us further in that direction - more understanding, more faith - these have to come from God, but we have to be willing to take God's direction, which may not often place us at the top of the line according to the world's standards.  But no matter where we serve, if it's for the Lord, we are within God's Kingdom.  So, it's a very different situation for us than what the world has, because we all inherit, greatly, regardless of our standing.

We just need to realize that God loves each of us, but He will resist pride - He will want a changed attitude if we harbor ideas that we probably deserve something much better than what the other guy has.  God wants us to show gratitude and a willingness to offer others the step forward, even if it means we take a step back.  I believe with all my heart that God looks with favor on those who understand that.  I kind of imagine his response to be: "Well done, come forward dear child."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I remember once as a child telling my grandmother, "Those kids don't like me, grandma.  They make fun of me."  Her response to that was "Remember that no one can insult you unless you give them your permission."  That was good advice and I lived to recall it at other times in my life.  Still, there were times when it was difficult to not take the hurt if I felt wronged even in some minor way.  It can be difficult to refrain from speaking out in some situations, and perhaps regretful words are said, and then it's just out there - you've said it, and often wish you hadn't.

Jesus gave us the answer to this sort of problem in saying "Turn the other cheek."  If someone insults you, forgive them - whatever they have done, forgive them.  In one of her wonderful hymns Fanny Crosby wrote of the desire to live "above the world."  It is a truth that above the world or outside of the world is where our lives will be when we press into a spiritual existence with God.  It is a wonderful experience to feel you are not to be deflected by the world's point of view, which leaves one with options for handling anger that don't prove helpful, and proof of that is the years of therapy people often endure.  God would never tell us to do something that He did not have a direct hand in.  The ability to love and forgive under even the most difficult circumstances is one of the many gifts of God's Holy Spirit.

And so, we believe - we show faith - which is what we have to have - and God changes our situation.  He takes away anger and hurt.  He replaces it with love, understanding, and forgiveness.  Yes, my grandmother gave me good advice, but still it took me years to learn what I needed to have, and that was a place with Jesus in my heart and God's Spirit to guide me through. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


At a Bible study the other night my pastor made a point which I found interesting: He pointed out that while many people, including the disciples, didn't always pick up on everything Jesus said, the Pharisees did.  They paid attention to everything he said and after his death they were the ones to realize Jesus had spoken of rising again in three days.  That is of course why they posted a guard at his tomb.  The point of this is that while the Pharisees knew scripture, knew Mosaic law, claimed to know doctrine, and were very expressive in public with prayer, still they did not comprehend.

The comprehension of God's word comes directly from God but it has to be that one is in a receptive state of mind which cannot follow unless the heart is with God.  The Pharisees had knowledge of religion, but they were a long way from loving God.  They were tied to the world.  They were highly impressed with their place in the world as religious leaders and they wanted all the pomp that went with that.  And so they stood by and listened to Jesus teach, heard every single word, knew scripture, were quite amazed with his ability to interpret scripture, and saw the miracles he performed, but still did not concede - did not understand.  The fact seems to be that they did not want to understand, and God let it be. 

Thinking about all this proves out to be a good lesson in life for any of us.  God wants us to come to him and we're all invited to do so, but we need to open our hearts.  The world can be a distraction, but the closer we come to the presence of God, honestly, the less the things of the world concern us.  God's love is so complete and the longer we are with Him the more we learn how to live in this world but be separate from it.  How sad for the Pharisees that they did not grasp this, but let's remember that it goes back to a heart that is unwilling to receive God's love and let's give thanks for the understanding within our own hearts and never depart from it. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I remember as a teenager sitting among several ladies probably of the ages of 50 to 60 and hearing them talk of concerns in general.  My memory isn't clear on exact words which were said, but I remember feeling superior in some way because I didn't bother with trifles such as they had.  Oh youth!  How unperceptive we can be at that age.  I grew up - I learned.  I was able to look back, and understand.

Anxiety - it comes with aging.  It comes with living.  In some ways it's good to have because in some way it monitors our actions when we realize there is a reason for cautious concern, but there are people who really struggle with anxiety.  It pervades their lives.  I had a conversation once with a lady who said to me, "I don't know why I'm anxious, or about what..I guess it's just everything."  That is hard to live with: a constant state of worry.  And I think people who go through this often get very good at covering it up.  They probably feel compelled to do that because so often the response they get doesn't show a depth of understanding.

God always has the answer for us.  He always has the way to bring us through these things.  Jesus pointed out that God doesn't miss anything.  He knows about our lives.  Our needs are known to Him.  We can count on that fact, and we are very welcome to come to Him in prayer.  The problem we so often have is when we begin casting off in various directions searching for answers, expecting help from the world - not really grasping the constant of God's love and concern for us.

God doesn't want us to live in fear.  Our adversary is the one who tries to keep us in a state of uncertainty and fear.  Satan tries consistently to bog people down into a state of mind which if he could have his way would be intolerable to live with.  He wants people to give up.  He wants them to feel helpless.  The main thing for us to remember is that through Christ we have every assurance of the fact that we can come to God and receive His help.  We are not alone.  We are not helpless.  The Bible teaches us, and how true it is, that through Christ we have the victory.  Don't ever forget that.  

Sunday, November 20, 2011


There is a lady I've known for some time and the reason I know her is because we have worked together and although we're not acquainted outside of the workplace we have had some pretty in depth conversations.  She is very good to work with and almost always it seems with a smile and kindness to those around her.  I was surprised though when one day she said to me that she struggles with anger and in fact not just anger but a deep sense of hatred toward certain individuals which has become so much a part of her she feels she will never be free of it.  We discussed it as much as time would allow, and I know she understands that God wants her to be free of this anger, but somehow she keeps circling back to the idea that it's too much, too embedded, too deeply rooted within her.  It seems as far as she is concerned this will never change.

I feel certain this sort of situation is why the Bible so clearly teaches that we should let go of anger.  Anger is a natural response of course in some circumstances, but it's the holding of the anger that allows for a situation wherein Satan can bring us to a terrible low point in life.  It's not always something understood by those affected, but it is a sad truth that Satan fuels a situation like this - this is a situation he can use to his advantage.  He is good at keeping people locked in to that state of hostility.  He works so hard at it because he knows the overall effect is that it will stand in our way spiritually.  When we are trying to reach out to God the anger within us blocks our way, unless we lay it down.   

Jesus said we must forgive.  When we come to prayer the first thing we need to do is offer that forgiveness.  I don't doubt for a minute that God understands a sense of hurt and anger.  He has compassion.  He understands how much our lives are affected by our emotions. He not only understands but He provides us with a way to receive healing.  God communicates with us on a spiritual level, and it's the spirit of us, the soul, which belongs to God, which He wants to see cleansed and pure, because this is the part of us through which His own spirit flows.  And when we become that vessel He can fill with his love, then the change comes to the outward part of our being and it becomes very evident what has happened.  Our words, our actions and reactions are different. 

I pray that the time will come when my friend will be able to see that God is certainly able to release her from this hatred and deep sense of despair she feels.  I want her to know the healing power of God's love.  We need to remember that Jesus went to the cross for us, and because of that we are free to come to God, forgiven.  We stand before Him that way, forgiven, when we understand and receive Christ.  And there was no anger in that, no sense of hatred.  He did it in love.  Let's remember that and seek to live within that love.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I realize there are people in this world who deny God's existence and what I think about that is this: I think there are people who will say they have no belief in God and yet they do continue to have thoughts and feelings which conflict with their statements.  The beautiful thing about this is that there is still an open space and God is trying to bring light in through that direction.  He is trying to bring understanding to this person.  Despite their general disregard of Him, God hasn't given up on them.  On the other hand there are those who deny God's existence completely and have walked a very long way in the opposite direction and have become so unreachable that they don't experience those times of conflict regarding what they believe - for them, the possibility doesn't exist - and the roof hasn't fallen in on them and they are satisfied with life.  They may feel life is as good as they had ever wished it to be. The thing to understand is that the fact of their total comfort in the situation does not bode well.  It could be that a definite separation has occurred and God is not going to intervene in any way.  They don't feel drawn because the reality is that the choice they have made has left them standing totally outside of God's presence.   If there were any chance for them to respond to the invitation, that chance is probably almost nonexistent if God's spirit has drawn away. (which is why we should remember to pray for them, that this will change)

There is no way possible for any one of us to comprehend the things of God unless God himself reveals those things to us.  Now, God freely gives that gift of understanding to each of us when we ask.  God is spirit, and therefore the things we understand about God come to our mind through the spirit.  It's a knowledge He imparts.  When we come to Christ we receive God's spirit and the Bible tells us that His spirit works within our own spirit, and therefore we should no longer live our lives guided by the prior which was a life lived outside of this understanding.  The Bible tells us that our flesh "wars against the things of God."  God's answer to that is draw close to Him and He will bring us to that place where we have His direction to such a point that we are taken beyond, far beyond a mere existence in this world wherein we hope for better in a mortal body.  He takes us to the spiritual place of our existence, in this life, when we follow His lead, and that is the leading of His Holy Spirit.  And believe me, this is just a foretaste of the eternal, because the spirit never dies, and God's love never ends.  It goes on and on.

For the atheist, the non-believer, the one caught somewhere in the middle: they can never put a stop to God's love and compassion for them.  Nothing they will ever do will change the fact that they were born with a need within their own spirit for His love.  They've not recognized it; they've not connected with it, but it is there inside of them.  But does God strive with someone forever who has gone the way of total denial of His existence?  Possibly not.  God wants us to have the choice.  It makes me think of the words from Old Testament scripture: "Oh that you would choose life!" 

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I remember that as a child, for some odd reason each time my mother would take me to the store with her I had a tremendous fear of losing sight of her, even for an instant.  I think somehow I heard of children getting lost and being unable to get back to the parent, and it was just a sense of anxiety I had, furthered by the belief that if my mother were to lose sight of me, somehow I believed she would simply check out at the counter and go home.  I had no idea of how to get home without her.  I didn't expect that anyone else would know where our home was, and therefore had no idea where I might end up.  Now, this is no reflection on my mother because she was wonderful to me, but I certainly for some unexplained reason had a definite lack of faith in the protection I would receive if this situation arose.  As I grew older I began to understand that I did have a security in that my mother was devoted to my care.  Unexpected things can still happen of course, but I had an assurance that if it were in her power she would do anything to secure my safety.

This makes me think of the faith God wants us to have in His care of us.  The importance of faith is mentioned many times in the Bible.  The Old Testament tells us that we cannot please God without faith.  Scripture goes so far as to insist that we must have faith, we must believe, that God can, that He will, see us through in life.  We should "seek God with all our heart," and keep the trust that despite what things may look like at any certain time, He knows about the situation - He is aware of it, and He is able to use that situation for our good.

Faith in God is powerful; Jesus explained that many times.  "Your faith has made you well," he said to the woman who touched his clothing with the belief in her heart that in doing so she would receive healing.

Ask, believe, use your faith, and seek God to strengthen your faith.  There are things in life we can know with all assurance that it is God's will, this is God's plan.  For instance, when praying for someone's salvation we can know absolutely that we are praying according to His will because the Bible tells us it isn't God's will that anyone should perish therefore we stand on the word God has given us and exercise our faith that God will find a way to reach this person.  God always has a way.  There is no place on earth which is beyond God's reach.

I am grateful that my childhood fear of separation didn't carry over into my adult life in my walk with God.  That truly is something I would fear, separation from God, and I do consider it the very worst outcome in life for anyone, but it's not a reality for those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Jesus said, "I will not leave you.  I will not forsake you."  Count on God's care of you.  Have faith.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


At our Wednesday night Bible study we've been going over the book of Samuel and looking at the lives of King Saul and King David.  Interesting to note that King Saul seemed to start out well, following God, making good decisions, but came to a point when he went his own way, making some decisions which he would of had to of known were not in keeping with God's plan.  The outcome was that God anointed another man for King, which was David.  It did not go well for Saul.  He was not able to retain his position, though he tried, using every resource he had, but God had already decided.  It was over. 

There are many things to be learned from all this, but the one word which immediately comes to mind is 'obedience.'  God watched King Saul become willing to brush aside the directives of authority and law and in that there could be no compromise.  God's word stands.

I think a lot of people today believe that God's word, as recorded in the Bible, does not hold weight.  If they don't say that outright, the way they live their lives certainly makes a statement.   It would be good to remember that Jesus said he did not come to do away with the law.  He came to take away the separation there was between the human race and God.  Sin was standing between us and God.  God is pure and holy and He knows everything that is inside of us. He wanted a way for us to come to Him.  When we come to God and ask forgiveness for the sin in our lives with the knowledge and faith in our hearts that Jesus was a sacrifice for us, we are washed, we are cleansed.  We stand before God pure. And God's Holy Spirit is there for us to help us, to guide us.  God then doesn't want us to walk back into the world and become immersed in it and become lax about the idea of staying pure.  He wants our love, our 'obedience' our commitment.  He expects it to be that way, because it is what He wants for us.  He knows what is right for us.  God loves a heart that is searching for Him, for His direction, at all times.  People are fond of saying that God doesn't favor one over another.  But in my opinion, though I know God loves us all with a love that is beyond expression in language, He clearly has favorites.  And I believe that is anyone who loves Him first, with all their heart.  It will mean a life of obedience to God's word, and He will bless that. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

For More Understanding

I know it's been a long known fact that teenagers can be moody and unpredictable because they go through so many changes through those years. It is hard to be a teenager and with the world as it is now, there are just massive amounts of things that can get in their way and barricade their view to an understanding of finding God's path which would provide them with finding their way to a peaceful existence.  And yet I think of what most teenagers would feel and say about the world:  "It's a mess."  "It doesn't make sense."  They are highly dissatisfied with the way things are, and rightly so.  What I would point out to them is that their understanding of that fact fits well with what Jesus said.  Come away from the world.  Don't be "of it."  When we walk in the light of God's truth we can actually live in the world and yet be separate from it.  God provides us with the way to do that. 

The world and Satan (it would be a mistake to leave him out of the equation) would have us believe there is some better way than God's way.  Or that you can literally come half way and be okay with that, and that God will be okay with that, accepting some part of Christianity, and yet going the way of the world.  Satan at this time has the freedom to do as he wishes to a point.  The thing he excels at is passing off lies as truth.  He's had success in that both in the world and in religion.  Do we really think that it was Adolph Hitler who came up with "the final solution" for extermination of the Jewish people?  The fact is it was Satan who put that twisted thinking into the mind of a person who had unfortunately allowed himself to be controlled by it.  Look at the situation:  Satan has gone after the Jewish people like no other.  He wants them gone.  He wants them out.  Why?  Because he knows that salvation comes to us through Jesus who was himself Jewish.  The point is that Satan is very good at this.  He caused terrible human suffering for people in this country by twisting the thinking of generations of people believing themselves often to be good Christians doing the work of the Klu Klux Klan. Does this remove the responsibility of those that committed atrocities?  No, not at all, but they did allow themselves to be controlled by Satan, whether they ever understood that or not. 

The thing is, for young people these days, so often they don't have a family that teaches them that God has a path for them to walk.  They perhaps don't understand the salvation message.  They may not understand that God's intention was that everyone would have the opportunity to accept this gift of salvation, Christ having paid the price for us.  They may not at all grasp their need for God's help.  They may not understand that Satan has the ability to bring something before them which looks good on the surface, but the underlying contains the deception.  I think of what Jesus said to Peter, "Satan would like to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you."  I know that Satan desires to destroy any life he can.  And there is no limit with him to how bad it can get.  I think that's quite obvious.

God wants us to have a place with Him.  We can come to Him from wherever we are and ask Him and He will hear us.  Isn't it amazing to think that God, the Creator, The Great I Am, that He thinks about our lives?  He knows us.  He understands what people go through.  The Bible tells us He has great compassion. And when you turn to Him with all your heart, you can feel that compassion.  It pours out on you.  In fact God pours into us His love.  He does that for our sake, but also in order that we can give love to others.  Yes, the world will try and pull us down, Satan will attack, he's not going to give up trying, but we just need to remember that Jesus said "Be of good cheer.  I have overcome the world."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hold On

It is recorded in scripture that Jesus described the road to hell as wide.  He stated that many will go down that road.  He also stated that the road to life is narrow and that "few will find it."  If we really ponder those words we should be alarmed.  What road are we on?  Are we embracing the world or seeking God?  One might answer, "I am doing both, and what could be wrong with that?"  Well, you know, Jesus said many things about the world, and always seemed to come back to the same point:  Don't love this world.  Don't be "of it."  The world would have us accept many things which are contrary to what God wants for us. 

We need to walk away from things in life that spawn ideas which will pull us in the wrong direction.  It begins in a very subtle way, this strange pull.  For instance, you begin to see things on television, depictions perhaps of things clearly immoral and rather than look elsewhere for entertainment you begin to focus.  You get caught up in the plot and the storyline and point out that there is some merit based on some quality of a certain character or the end result outcome of things.  Before long you're tuning in quite often and though you might begin by separating out the things you realize aren't good to see, it isn't long before with enough exposure that line gets blurred and finally a time comes when you're beginning to say to yourself, "Maybe it's just overreaction to things.  The world obviously doesn't think it's wrong.  It's probably okay." 

Jesus explained the heartbreaking thing at work here.  He said someone begins by coming to God with great joy, "receiving the word with joy."  And yet the world can come in and "choke out" the understanding which was received.  I believe that God's spirit continues to try and draw this person back to the place of knowledge they once had but there can come a point at which the world has such a place in their life, the wall is back up, and they're not hearing God.  They're walking in another direction. 

Old testament scripture states that there is a way which seems right to a man, but it's not, and it leads to death.  God wants us to have life.  God wants us to have life much better and much fuller than anything this world can offer.  I'm not talking to people here who do not or have not known the saving power of Christ.  The people of the world will not understand this thinking.  They will not accept it.  To them it's utter nonsense, and that is how they can identify themselves as "of the world," and separate from us.  But listen, I am talking to people who do know, they have known.  God called them and the understanding did not go over their heads. Listen, my brother or my sister, hold on.  Don't allow this world, (which is passing away) to steal anything from you. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

One Way

I have a memory from childhood of being inside a church and I must have been in a separate room with other children and at some point I walked outside of the children's area and wound up in the main sanctuary.  I recall looking toward the front and seeing a man holding a pointer to a blackboard of some kind and indicating two options: Heaven or Hell.  He was loudly proclaiming his message.  Heaven or Hell!  The meaning at that time didn't resonate with me, but the memory has stayed so clear in my mind. 

I understand now that there is a choice to make.  Which path will you take?  Are there many roads to Heaven? or just one.  There are those who say that the Bible was written by men and therefore subject to all kinds of mistakes.  However I would point out the fact that Jesus himself taught from scripture.  Say what you will, but that validates Old Testament scripture for me.  As far as the New Testament scripture, several of these men were people who walked with Christ and I certainly trust their accounts.  Written by men?  Yes.  God's words for us to live by?  Absolutely. Everything Jesus ever said testifies to the truth of that.  Not to mention the fact that he proved his authority by his ability to heal, restore, remove disease, bring life back to a dead body, and cast demons out which were screaming and shaking with fear. Jesus life, his ministry, his death on the cross, followed by his resurrection.  What other possible conclusion could there be?  He is a King of a Kingdom not of this world, just as he stated. 

More than one way?  or just one.  Jesus referred he to himself as "the gate."  He said that no one comes to the Father but by him.  There is no other way:  He stated it clearly.  "I am the way..."  In my mind, in order to accept that there might be some other way, in order to believe that, you would have to say that you are in effect rejecting Christ.  That is not a good place to be in my opinion.

Heaven or Hell?  Life or death?  We can choose.  Am I saying, do I have the nerve to infer that someone might go to Hell?  I don't have to say it.  Jesus himself spoke of hell as a reality. 

If you doubt what you've read here, please do one thing.  Read scripture.  Read it with a prayer that God will open your understanding to what you need.  God's love is beyond what we can with a human mind and heart understand.  He is love.  He knows us.  He understands us, and that's good, because it means He knows how to help us.

I remember myself as that child wandering into a sanctuary and not at all able to comprehend the concept of Heaven or Hell.  I am so grateful that God in his merciful love revealed himself to me as Jesus being my only anchor to Him in this life and beyond.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


There was a time in my life, prior to becoming a Christian, when I couldn't comprehend the idea of giving a portion of income to a church.  I can remember complaining that church leaders seemed to only want to build bigger more elaborate churches.  I now look at the same situation, if it exists, with a different point of view.  If a congregation desires a larger, more beautiful church, there is nothing wrong in that.  A church should be as nice as we can make it because we want to give honor and glory to God.

I believe, as many do, that in everything we should put God first.  This brings me to something I wanted to point out in regards to the question of tithing.  I enjoy hearing the word of God.  I appreciate the fact that I am able to turn on the television or radio and hear ministers speak.  I realize that some don't speak, but rather they project their voices loudly, but perhaps they feel a need.  Anyway, the thing that concerns me is the way certain ministers approach the subject of "giving."  There are some ministers who've become known as "prosperity teachers" and what they often say is "You'll be blessed!  If you give this amount, you will be blessed!"  Now, I believe in God's law of reciprocity without question.  Number one, I believe God wants to be first in our heart.  "Love God with all your strength," Jesus said.  He also said we should love other people.  And I believe without a doubt God knows what is good for us.  He doesn't want us to cling to the things of this world.  We didn't come in with any of it, and we can't take it out.  And when we give of our love, our time, our money, when we let go and generously and joyfully offer what we have, God honors that.  In fact if I could give any advice to a young person trying to find their way in this world it would be "Put God first in your life, and just watch what He'll do.  He'll open doors you didn't even know existed.  God is not limited by any means." 

To then finally get to the point I have wanted to make, what I feel about these "prosperity teachers" one objection I have (among several others I am not going to go into at this time) is that they are leaving out the most important part of the teaching, and it is, in part, just what I have stated above.  The other thing that occurs to me is that Jesus also said we shouldn't worry about what we will have because God already knows our needs.  What I feel he was saying is God doesn't want us to be consumed by these things.  It's not that God doesn't want us to have things.  He knows we need "things" in life.  It's obvious that as long as we are in the flesh we will require food, shelter and such.  Jesus pointed out that God takes care of the birds and we're more important to Him than a bird, therefore we can be confident of receiving help.  The key is always put your trust in God, beyond anything else.  Don't trust in what the world can do for you.  When providing a healing for someone the words recorded that Jesus would say were "Your faith has made you well..."  We have to have the faith, knowing what God can do.  We must remember that God's love is beyond what we can comprehend.  He knows what our lives can be.  He's waiting for us to reach out for his guidance.