Sunday, January 22, 2012


At a Bible study one night someone made a very interesting comment.  One of the men stated that he recalls a pastor once telling him that whenever he hears that someone of the church is loved by absolutely everyone in the community - glowing reports of a wonderful personality and character - he feels a little suspicious of that.  The reason he apparently feels this way is because he reasons that if someone is truly a witness for Christ they are going to be a little controversial because people aren't always receptive to the gospel message.  As a Christian some people aren't going to like what you have to say and henceforth, they may decide they don't like you personally.  He reasons that this is the indication that a Christian is doing what God calls them to do - helping to further the message of salvation through Christ Jesus regardless of the cost.

The reason I believe there is truth in that is because of the fact that it lines up with scripture.  Jesus did state, "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you."   Jesus was right to the point and very outspoken and the religious leaders of the day stood around listening intently, seething over his words.  He told them they were blind to the truth and he pointed out that they had no real love for God.  And yes, they raged over his words, and hated.  And so, it does seem true that anyone coming forward with the intent of speaking the full gospel message will more than likely be received at times with hostility in some form or another.  It may or may not provoke a confrontation, but it will probably be made known in some way.  Many of us, as Christians, don't confront people in a harsh way, but we do speak of our faith in Christ at any opportunity and along with that comes the explanation of a sinful condition and the need for God's forgiveness.  That message may take time to find acceptance in the hearts of people.  With some people it's an almost immediate understanding; with others it is not.   God brings us to it but sometimes it can take time to reach a stubborn heart. 

And so let's speak our faith and speak the gospel message with assurance, and remember to show love.  People will respond to that.  When they see genuine love and understanding - very real concern for others, they will respond to that.  It's long been said that our actions speak louder than our words.  And we should remember that if and when those times do come of facing some form of dislike (despite our best efforts) we should not feel discouraged because God is working even in that situation.  Remember that we've done our part and we are relying on the wonderful Spirit of God to open the understanding needed in order to receive salvation through Christ. Let's be what God created us to be: The vessel He pours into for His glory. 

Friday, January 6, 2012


On my way home one night I saw a man and a woman standing by their car, looking concerned and a little helpless, and a wrecker pulling up, obviously there to help them.  What struck me was the message posted on the front of the wrecker.  It read, in huge letters, "HELP'S HERE."  I thought about what a relief it must be for stranded, distressed individuals to see that and it made me think of other things too.  How much or how often do we consider the depth of our need for God's help?

Before we come to Christ there is that space of time when we're out there in the world, seeing things from the world's viewpoint, coping with life based on the little we understand.  And there are times during that period when attempts are made to reach out for God's help, often at a point in life when there is a time of need. And when the answer sought doesn't arrive, the conclusion is sometimes reached that - well, God isn't listening.  Or maybe the answer does come, and there's a time of joy and gratitude, but perhaps all too soon forgotten.  Rather than a step forward into more understanding, there's a backward motion of "I can take it from here.."

Scripture tells us that God does not "slumber nor sleep."  He watches out for us continually and that means even during the times when we may have periods of real feelings of abandonment.  Abandoned? It's not true.  Please remember that during difficult times of life Satan will do all he can to bring the lie to us that God does not care.  It's not true.  Reject that thought.  Jesus offered the assurance that God's love for us is such that He knows the exact amount of hair on our heads.  And so, whatever is happening, and regardless of what it may seem like, remember that God knows about it.  He is with you.  Stay close to Him.  Go to Him, every time.  Trust Him, all the time.  Look up, and remember, "Help's Here."

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I was in the store one day and heard a screaming child and to hear that you might have thought the child was in danger of some kind.  It was very alarming.  I've heard kids scream before, but this had the sound of pure terror.  Suddenly they came into my view:  a young couple with a little boy in a cart and the parents were pulling a packaged toy out of the boy's hands.  The mother of the boy admonished her son for his behavior.  "You can't have it!  You don't know how to behave!"  And off they went, heading for the grocery section with the child howling and screaming and kicking the cart all the way.  I went about my own way and as things quieted down I assumed the child had accepted the idea that the toy was not to be his, but later I met up with them again in the produce section.  There in the cart sat a smiling child holding the packaged toy. 

That makes me wonder if at times God sees us in that way, pitching a fit because something didn't go our way.  Hopefully if anything it's rare, because we certainly want Him to see us as willing to accept that in life things aren't always going to be what we expect them to be.  We may have one idea, but God has another - maybe a different approach for us to take or that we should wait for a later time.  We're not always good at that - waiting.  But we need to if that's the plan. 

When we get impatient and just can't wait for an answer, sort of like the little boy with the toy, we'll wind up pulling for all we're worth in an effort to get the outcome we want.  And maybe the outcome will turn out favorable and maybe it won't, but if there had been a preceding time of prayer and waiting on God's response there would be no question: This is the road to take.  This is the way you want to go.  Or maybe, this is not the way to go, but here is an entirely different way to look at the situation.  And that's the Lord bringing us around to the understanding He wants us to have.  There are some things in life God wants us to let go of, but He always has a reason.  So, let's be ready to let go for a time and wait for God's help.  And love the Lord.  Love Him first and love Him most, and He'll see us through.

Monday, January 2, 2012


I have heard so many times over the years the idea put forth that man created 'religion' as a way to control 'the masses.'  From a Christian standpoint for many reasons I consider that belief unfounded but one in particular I would like to point out is that when you look at scripture clearly we are offered the choice.  God's word basically says  "make your choice."  As long as this earthly life endures it will remain - our choice.  What happens after that, I couldn't say with certainty, but I believe that the decision we make here will forever affect our existence.  It will mean we are either with God or separated from God. 

Jesus pointed out that there are two roads: One road leads to life and the other to destruction.  I don't know how it could be clearer than that.  God's love "stretches forth" to us and He doesn't remove that love from us but we can make unfortunate choices in life which will lead us in another direction. We can choose another way and place ourselves at a distance from a relationship with God.

If there were two roads within your vision in the distance and you were able to perceive a state of peace and beauty to one side and darkness and fear to the other, what would your do?  What would you choose?  The truth about this is that until we come to Christ we do not make that distinction because what we're talking about here is a spiritual state of light or darkness, and we do not see that unless God opens our eyes to it.  God's will is that everyone - that all will come to Him.  We can be assured of that.  But still, yes, it is and always will be, as long as we walk this earth in the flesh - it is our choice.