Posts belonging to Category Christian Success



Barnabas and Robin

God Protects

 

Bar and Robin

 

Daniel 3:1-30, 6:1-28

 

All of us as kids were afraid of things like sleeping in a dark room or monsters under our beds but we also had heroes to protect us. Hands down, the biggest fear I had as a kid was being bit by Jonathan Frid. I wasn’t the only kid with this fear, all the kids were afraid of being bit by Jonathan. You see every day at 4pm we would glue ourselves to the television as Jonathan aka Barnabas Collins would bite someone in the neck and then watch as they would slowly turn into a vampire. I thought he was real and it scared me to death.
Living in a world where Barnabas could show up at any time and turn me into a night dweller I had to counteract the threat with a protector, a hero. So I chose someone I could put my trust in; a hero or should I say heroes. In my book there was no one else as capable as the black knight and the boy wonder, the dynamic duo, Batman and Robin! I watched their show too and I knew that they were out there fighting crime and evil men like the Penguin and the Joker so they could handle Barnabas.

Well one day I got some incredible news and my dream came true. The one and only boy wonder, the real deal, Batman’s right hand man Robin himself was coming to our town! My cousin Sandy and I begged my mother to take us to see him. Now I am going to blame it on our youth because for some reason we never second guessed his visit. We just assumed that it was natural for our super hero, our protector and the crime fighting side kick of Batman, to come to a no-name, small southern Oregon town to meet me and Sandy in a…furniture store! I mean why not? Well we figured it out when we got there. Robin the boy wonder wasn’t really interested in meeting the children he was there to pick up women. He actually asked my mom out on a date. He asked a lot of mom’s out on dates. Sandy and I left the furniture store totally discouraged and so did Robin. I guess being hit on by a man in a green and red body suit wearing hose and pointy shoes doesn’t make you much of a chick magnet.

I am so thankful that many years later God showed me mercy and saved me. I learned that the Barnabas’ of this world have no power over me. I also learned that the Robins of this world can’t protect me (or have a successful dating life). I have a God that will protect me whom I can put all my trust in. That is exactly what Daniel’s buddies demonstrated.  In Daniel 3:1-30, 6:1-28 when King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that everyone fall down and worship the statue that he had built, Daniel’s buddies refused.  The bowed down and worshiped the only one who should be worshiped, the ONE TRUE GOD.  Because of their refusal they were thrown into a fiery furnace.  They didn’t know the outcome of this situation but they KNEW HIM!  The one they can put their trust in, the ALMIGHTY GOD!

For another great article on trusting God go to Greg Laurie’s website.

West Virginia Perfection Test

Row House

Matthew 15:1-20

 

Have you ever met someone who seemed to be perfect?

Well my brother Steve seemed to be.  He was clean, neat, organized and he followed all the rules as long as my parents were watching.  I however, knew the real Steve.  I knew the Steve that would behead my Barbies and line them up on my bed, perfectly of course.  I knew the Steve that tied my stuffed animals to ceiling fan blades with perfect square knots.  I knew the Steve that would bark like a dog (in perfect pitch of course) while I was on the phone talking to my best friend Anjie.   He was all about appearing to be perfect and he knew how to play the part until he met his match one summer in a row house in Baltimore.

This particular row house was occupied by no one other than my grandmother, Lois.  Lois was born and raised in West Virginia which in her mind uniquely qualified her in the art of determining perfection.  So she put Steve to the test.

My grandmother had specific criteria for grandchildren and right off my brother failed her perfection test.  His birth was the first test he failed because he had been born with a defect; he was male.  The second test was the sweat test.  I think that pore and sweat gland growth were part of the curriculum in the West Virginia school system during the thirties because Lois was an expert on it.  According to Grandma the original architects of row houses designed the middle room with no windows specifically for male children under the age of eighteen because they don’t sweat.  So when Steve sweated, he failed this test too.  The last test was the commode flushing test.  The toilet could be flushed all night long and not disturb Lois, but somehow she knew when my brother flushed.  She would wait until he stumbled back into his bed and then yell at him to go flush it again but this time the right way.  So Steve failed the flushing test.

Although Steve failed the West Virginia perfection test his true motivation was a desire to appear perfect to my parents.  Most of us do the same thing.  We spend a lot of time appearing to be perfect Christians.  We focus on rules, regulations and even traditions instead of what God’s Word says.  Did you know that religious leaders in Jesus day knew how to play the part of outward perfection too?  They were all about following the rules, following the law and following traditions.  .

In Matthew 15:1–20 Jesus tells Scribes and Pharisees that they are teaching the doctrine of men and that their hearts worship Him in vain.  The Scribes and Pharisees were accusing Jesus’ Disciples of not washing before they ate.  This was a ritual based on a ceremonial tradition not on scripture.  When these religious leaders were declaring people unclean based on tradition they were denying people access to God.  These leaders had strayed so far from the truth of God’s Word that they could not see the Savior before them.

There are many traditions in the church today and they are not necessarily wrong but we need to be careful that these traditions don’t prevent or deter people from having access to hearing God’s Word preached.  Sometimes our traditions are just our preferences and not in scripture.  Let us watch so that we are not worshiping Him in vain and that our doctrine is God’s not mans.

Come to Jesus…

Come to JesusCome near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8a

Jesus saidIt is written in the Prophets: (Isaiah 54:13) ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. John 6:45

All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. John 6:37

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29 

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20 (when you let Jesus into you life, he brings meaning, companionship, strength and love to face each and every day)

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10

AMEN!!!

Hard Pressed

At face value the odds are against us when we are experiencing adverse problems or difficult challenges. Paul sums up how we feel. He wrote we are hard pressed on every sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; (Corinthians 4:8). The good news is that we are not distressed or crushed. You know when God is on your side the odds are in your favour. In Daniel 3 verse 15-30 we read:

15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace. 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” 25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” 26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

The Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego faced a life and death situation. They had no choice. If they bow the knees to the King and worship the idol the King would spare their lives and they would live to see another day according to the king’s perspective. They were determined not to worship the man-made statute whatever the cost. The cost was their lives. But God was in control of their lives and he is in control of yours. The King had no authority over their lives.

We will face life changing situations like separation, bereavement and unemployment etc and they may not be as  life threatening like the three friends but nevertheless they are of significant to us. What we have learned from Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego is their faith in God. They were wiser and brighter than most people of their time. Their abilities weren’t  taken into account when they were thrown into the furnace. Your qualifications are useful but they won’t stop your employer from making you redundant. But, your faith in God that will get you through the period of self doubt, fear and your troubles. Like the friends, you will discover that Christ will never leave you nor will He forsake you. Christ is in the midst of your trouble. Keep the faith. God has the final say.

Hillary and The Alien Baby

 

Hillary

John 6:1-14 and 6:22-66

Have you ever known someone who takes everything literally?

My grandmother Lois did.  In 1991 she became very enamored with Bill Clinton when he first became a national figure running for President.  She fell for his southern drawl, youthful looks and down-right charming personality.  She loved everything about the man and there was no one who would make a better President than Bill Clinton.

Her adoration for all things Clinton continued even though Bill hit a few bumps in the road with his “I didn’t inhale” comments, the draft dodging and even the Gennifer Flowers affair.  These faults were things she could live with.

Then June 15, 1993 the biggest and most scandalous news appeared in the paper.  It seems that Bill’s wife Hillary the First Lady had adopted an alien baby.  Evidently there was a UFO crash in Arkansas their home state and the alien baby survived.  Hillary adopted the baby and the secret service built a nursery in the White House, all on the tax payer’s dime.  Lois should have seen this coming since the Weekly World News (her newspaper) had also revealed in an earlier edition that aliens definitely supported Bill in the election over George Bush the elder.  The rubber met the road for Lois on the money issue.  Hillary had the right to adopt and alien but there was no way she would vote for someone who used tax payer money to build an alien nursery.

Many people are a lot like Lois.  Ok, I take that back, Lois was truly one of a kind but many people take things literally like Lois.  When they read in the Bible that Jesus refers to Himself as “The Bread of Life” they think that Jesus is actually a loaf of bread.  We often say we take the Bible literally but that might not be the right description to use.  We should probably say we read take the Bible straightforwardly.  There are many literary styles and genres as well as a variety of speech used in the Bible.  When you read Shakespeare you know that you are reading words written in poetical form.  When you read Stephen Ambrose you are reading words written in a historical form.  The Bible is truly unique because it has many forms all in one book.  This is important info to remember when others challenge us on the truth of God’s Word.  It truly is the inspired Word of God!

Click here for a great article on the literary styles of the Bible.

 

 

 

Don the John Wayne

JOhn Wayne

What does it mean to a friend of Jesus?

As a child we had a family friend named Don Lanning.  Don was a huge fan and follower of John Wayne.  He acted like him, he dressed like him, he walked liked him and he even talked like him at times.  Conversations with Don were not only annoying but very disarming.  At any time he could turn into John Wayne!  He would be talking about his car and then all of a sudden you found yourself in the middle of a scene from Rio Bravo.   In 1975 Don’s dreams came true when the “Real” John Wayne came to our town to film the movie Rooster Cogburn.  Don just knew that he would be picked to be John’s double.  After all Don actually thought he was John Wayne.  He had John’s voice, he looked like John, and he had the same amazing abilities with a gun and a horse as John.  The problem was that Don was a bit delusional.  First he was almost a full blooded American Indian and ten shades darker than John.  He was roughly eight inches shorter than John and he sounded like John with a severe Sinus Infection.   Don didn’t get the part and was crushed when they sent him, his horse, his gun and his nasal issues packing.

 

You see there is more to being John Wayne then just acting like him.  This is true for being a friend of Jesus.  Walking the part, talking the part and even looking the part doesn’t make you His friend.  It goes way deeper than that.  There are no actions, words or even good deeds that make you His friend.  In John 15:12-17, Jesus tells us that we are His friends if we do what He commanded us to do.  What is it that He commanded?  We are to love one another.  This isn’t the simple, “I love you man” feeling that we so carelessly toss around.  Jesus tells us what this love is.  It is the love that He has shown us; love that we are willing to give our life for.  If we love others like that then we surely are His friends and His followers.

For another great article read Greg Laurie’s How to Be God’s Friend”

The Strength to Handle Everyday…

CThe streght to handle everythigonsider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. 

This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These (trials) have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 

Though you have not seen him (Jesus), you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9

AMEN!!!

Calling Donny Osmond

PhoneThe Book of Esther

 

Have you ever had a situation in your life where you just knew that the hand of fate was upon you?

 

Well, it happened to me and my best friend Anjie when we were ten years old.  You see we had been on a serious quest.  We were attempting to actually communicate with Donny Osmond.  We had tried everything.  Our first effort was in written form.  This consisted of letters and home-made cards in which we expressed our devotion to him.  When that didn’t work we stepped it up to recordings.  Donny would surely hear the sincerity in our voices as we strapped a tape recorder to the handle bars of our bikes and rode around declaring our love for him all the while singing his hit solo “Puppy Love.”   When that didn’t succeed we decided that a gift was in order.  So we put our skills to work on a pillow case.  We crocheted a dynamite stick and words that said “Donny You Are Kid Dynomite” all in purple and pink yarn.  Even this masterpiece didn’t garner a response.

 

This is where fate stepped in.  There was no way that it was a coincidence.  It was right there in the Jackson County Public Library.  I was in awe as I held it in my hands; the city directory to Provo, Utah.  My fingers flew through the pages until I got to the “O’s” and I stared in shock; at least a dozen Osmond names and home phone numbers!  I frantically wrote down all of them in dizzy expectation of what was about to happen.   Anjie was not going to believe this!

 

We sat on our new found information until the time was right.  We waited until we knew no one was home and then we called those numbers one Saturday morning.  We dialed each one with such anticipation because at any time it might actually be “him” on the other end.  One after another we called and asked for Donny.  Finally we got a positive response, “He is in Disneyland.  Can I take a message?”  Then we did it, “Tell him that Anjie and Debbie called and we will call him back”.   We had actually left Donny a message!  Fate had led me to the library, fate had given me Donny’s number and fate would eventually find him at home one day!

 

A few weeks a later, our fate took a turn.  Anjie and I were sitting at her kitchen table when her mom told us she wanted to talk us.  She got up from the table and came back with the phone bill. She was sure it was us because we were the only ones who knew anyone in Utah.  We tried explaining that we had fate on our side.  Well she said we were going to need it to pay for all those long distance calls.   Not only did we have to pay the bill, I think I was the only 5th grader in my school ever grounded from the library.

 

Anjie and I were great at seeing the hand of fate in our lives.  What we didn’t realize is that there is no such thing as fate.  There is no mysterious force out there that enables ten year old girls to converse with Mormon celebrities.  THE ALMIGHTY GOD guides and directs our lives.  In the Book of Esther, HE did just that for a young Jewish girl.  HE put her in just the right place at just the right time.

 

Esther 4:14 is one of my favorite Bible verses.  For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  God put Esther right where He wanted her and exactly where He wanted her to do His will.  He still does this today but we have to view the world and what happens in it through the lenses of the Bible.  Has He put you right where He wants you and just the exact time that He wants you there?  Look at your surroundings and what is going on around you.  Is there something here that God wants you to do?  Pray and put on your Biblical glasses and you will see it!

For another great article on Esther read 11 Bible Stories That Give Us Hope or Esther: For Such a Time as This

 

Does God Answer Prayer?

download

God Answers Prayer

 

I have prayed ever since I was a child.  It started with the “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer.  Then as I got older it advanced to “Dear God please let me be either Marsha or Jan Brady.”  I didn’t want to be Cindy because I didn’t want to speak with a lisp.  I also prayed that I would be stranded on Gilligan’s Island with the agreement that I could share Mary Ann’s hut because she was my favorite.  Then my prayer life took a drastic change which naturally corresponded with the purchase of my first Donny Osmond album.  This led to a concern for my future.  So my prayers sounded a lot like, “Dear God please let me marry Donny Osmond.” God in all His infinite wisdom answered my prayers with a great big “NO”.

Set aside from the fact that my prayers were based on television shows and Mormon singers they were actual desires of my heart.  That was the problem.  This is what I wanted and God had a different plan.   Praying to God is more than just presenting your “wish list” to Him.  In the book of Isaiah, King Hezekiah was in a lot of distress.  Jerusalem’s vicious enemies the Assyrians were right outside the city and they were coming for him and his people.  What did old Hezekiah do? 

And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord:  “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.   Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God.  Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands,  and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed.  So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.” Isaiah 37:15-20

 When faced with this dilemma old Hezekiah made the right decision.  He humbled himself and his people before God and prayed.  So how did God answer Hezekiah’s prayer?

 “Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the Lord For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.” Isaiah 37:33-35

Yes, Hezekiah did have an agenda with his prayer.  He wanted to save his own skin but he also knew that the Assyrian’s had basically spit in the eye of God.  This was about saving Hezekiah and his people but it was also about letting the Assyrian’s know who the One and Only True God is.  Often we turn to God when things are beyond our control or like me pray to God with a huge wish list.  We are all guilty of this.  God does answer prayer and He has three answers.  He answers yes, He answers no, or He answers later.  Success isn’t getting the answer we want from God it is getting the answer He wants for us.

 

When you’re up to your neck in alligators

Swimming with alligators. Art by http://www.fg-a.com/alligators-1.html

Swimming with alligators. Art by http://www.fg-a.com/alligators-1.html

There’s an old saying, “When you’re up to your neck in alligators, it’s hard to remember your job is to drain the swamp.”

One of the differences between those who enjoy success and those who don’t is the ability to keep the important thing as the important thing. Successful people aren’t distracted and derailed by fads, obstacles, cultural shifts, or environmental issues. They focus on the goal and they pursue that goal.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:12-14 NKJV).

Pau focused on the mission of God’s call. Did he have distractions? Absolutely! He listed many of them. “… in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.  From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;  in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;  in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:23b-28 NKJV).

But Paul kept the important thing the important thing through his trials. He writes, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—   always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So then death is working in us, but life in you” (2 Corinthians 4:8-12 NKJV).

He also kept his goal in mind. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NKJV).

Did you get that? He considered being beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned, crushed, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down as a light affliction!

What is hindering you from following Jesus today? What alligators are distracting you?

If Paul could succeed, then I know through the power of the Holy Spirit and the name of Jesus Christ, you can, too.

Jesus, The Creator

Jesus, the creatorIn the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days (now) he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:1-3

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord (Jesus) is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. Isaiah 40:28

For this is what the Lord says—he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited—he says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. Isaiah 45:18

“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:25-26

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 1:24-25

AMEN!!!

When we speak others listen

Let not unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for the building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

When we speak others listen and if we complain others will complain; especially the children in our lives. We are role models for the little ears who hear our coarse language and they look up to us. We are growing up the next generation of Christians. Recently, the Lord convicted me of watching PG-13 movies that really hurt because I was looking forward to the movie Jurassic World. Every time I went past the Campus Theater it hurt and I voice a complaint to the Lord. The last time I did it I realized I grieved the Holy Spirit and that was not my plan. Sometimes we don’t realize that God has a bigger plan for us; then we know.  If we fill our hearts up with movie talk; that is what’s going to come out. Will we build up the church with movie talk? What I am trying to share with you is the evil of the times. Non-Christian movies can teach our children to swear and defile the home. The Lord said ‘no’ to me about PG-13 movies and my mouth grieve the Holy Spirit because I couldn’t get my way. You say ‘movies are innocent’. Today, it’s ok to have sex before marriage and it’s ok to live with someone. TV shows are blatantly showing this on prime time and we are watching it. What messages are we sending to our youth? We are sending them repeatedly that this is ok to do all these things. My favorite movie has been “Leap Year” and its rated PG. It has 3 swear words that blaspheme Jesus Christ and God; she is living with a guy; and meets a guy in Wales and leaves her guy for this guy. I never notice the swearing but the sleeping together; yes that I noticed.

Today’s children spent more time with non-Christian TV, computer, and books; which go down into their hearts and is role-played in their day-to-day interaction with others. The Lord says in His word “but I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. (Matthew 12:36)

We as parents or extended family play a part in this role of raising this next generation to edify the Lord. Are we doing our best to raise these children to love the Lord more than ‘Jurassic World’ or ‘Harry Potter’? Do your children get upset when they can’t watch their shows? Do they throw a tantrum and hit you when they do not get their way? We are to separate ourselves from this world not be a part of it. The word says “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”  (2Corinthians 6:17-18)

What does it look like to be separate from the world? We need to separate from this world’s sin and the desires of our flesh. So live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. (Galatians 5:16-18) What are the acts of the sinful nature? The word says the acts of the sinful nature are obvious: being sexually unfaithful, not being pure, taking part in sexual sins, worshipping gods, doing witchcraft, hating, making trouble, being jealous, being angry, being selfish, making people angry with each other, causing divisions among people, feeling envy, being drunk, having wild and wasteful parties, and doing other things like these. I warn you now as I warned you before: Those who do these things will not inherit God’s kingdom. (Galatians 5:19-21NCV) When you watch unlawful acts shown on TV it is like you are there feeding that desire within you. If you watch this repeatedly you will become desensitized to the acts and not know they are wrong. But, your children will see and they will become what they watch and read. Children will grow up wanting your desires because they love you. Do you not know that Satan is out to rob you of your children? It is Satan’s desires that rule in reign in our children until they desire to walk in another direction and ask Jesus Christ into their hearts. But if you only show them the world they will not choose Christ wholeheartedly. They will walk not in the Spirit but in the flesh all the days of their life.

The Israelites in the Old Testament struggle to live for God; but their flesh won out because they allow the world into their homes. The Jews enter into marriage agreement with non-Jews and follow their customs and gods. The Israelites began to live with each other and have sex with other partners. This displeased God. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah which were evil cities who did evil things before the God. (Genesis 18:17-19:29) Throughout the generations Israelites failed God and only a few followed Him and not always faithfully.

So God devised a plan so that His people would not fail any longer. He sent His One and Only Son to be born of a virgin and be raised among the Jews. Jesus grew up a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away. And who can speak of His descendants? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people He was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it was the LORD’S will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the LORD makes His life a guilt offering, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in His hand. (Isaiah 53:2-10)

God never wanted His people to suffer He wanted them to prosper in the land He sent them. But, the people in themselves couldn’t change; so that is why God sent His Son to die in their place so that they can have this abundant life in His Son Jesus Christ. But, it is not just the Jews that this gift is for but everyone who comes and believes that Jesus Christ was born, died on the cross for their sins, and resurrected from the dead to be seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. We can’t live this life on our own we need help. We need Jesus Christ resurrected power in our life. He sent the Holy Spirit to help us. So, if you hear the voice of Jesus Christ calling you; do not reject Him but believe and repent. Surrender your life and ask Him into your life. He will come and make His home in you. He will give you the power to say ‘no’ to your sinful nature and help you to live that abundant life in Him.

Thank you, Lord that you came to die on that cross so that we could live a victorious life in you and that you sent the Holy Spirit. Thank you, Father for the plan to save your people of Israel and that plan included all people. Help us, clean up our life that we reflect the things of God. Let us not be a stumbling block to our children with our desires to the flesh. Hear, our prayer to you Jesus we desperately need you. Convict our hearts to the things we need to change and create in us a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within us. In Jesus Christ Name, I pray. Amen.

Alone with The Lord…

Alone with the LordYou have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. Psalm 139:1-4

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:7-10

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139:17-18

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5

In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:21-22

AMEN!!!

Have you lost your voice?

 

Why does life have to be so chaotic? Why do we have to struggle? These are the questions silent in my heart? How long do I stay silent with the messiness of this life? The Lord has given me a voice; why do I not use it? In the book of Amos God judges the Israelites for their sins. He sends Amos among them to ask them to repent or perish. God wants them to repent of idol worship, immorality and injustice. But Israel was so imbedded in their sins that they could not hear, or see the predicament they were in. (Psalm 115:4-8) If you were to see Israel then you would see no difference from the pagan nations around them. You would hear the nations around them say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell. They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. (Psalm 115:4-8) The Israelites had grown accustom to the idols in their every day. The law forbids them to marry non-Israelites but they didn’t listen; the law forbids them to worship other gods but they didn’t listen; they conform to the people around and worship and killed their children for their gods; they oppress the poor among them; and because of this great sin judgment followed. Amos shouts in the streets: All you Israelites trust in the LORD—he is your help and shield. House of Aaron, trust in the LORD—he is your help and shield. ¹¹You who fear him, trust in the LORD—he is your help and shield. (Psalm 115:9-11) Amos cried out in the streets to bring back the Israelites to their God. They didn’t listen because their love of things were too great. God send a prophet among them because His love was so vast for the Israelites; He wanted His people to come back to Him. God sent an earthquake so that His people would call out to Him for help, but they did not. The Israelites had lost their voice.

Have I lost my voice?

Have I lost my voice because I got caught in adultery? Was I worshipping someone other than my Lord as Israel did during Amos time? Was I caught loving myself more than Jesus Christ? Was life at a loss because my eyes settle on my pain instead of the victory that Christ fought and died for? My worship of myself robs me of my voice, my sight, my ears to hear, and my feet to run away from evil. My obsessions with my pain not only rob me of my voice but my relationship with loving Father, Jesus Christ. Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. (Exodus 34:14) The Lord will do whatever He can to bring us home; just as He did for His beloved Israelites.

It is alright to grieve a pain but it is not alright when we become consume with feeding that pain. The Israelites became consumed with themselves; they forgot their traditions and their God and loved their new life. Each generation became addictive to the desires of their own heart and no longer the heart of their God. God used Amos to call His people to repentance and Jesus used my no jobs to bring me back. I have my own business and depend on Jesus to bring me my jobs. When they do not come; I have questions but my answers were wrong. I did not call out because I lost my voice because of my sin. Let me make this very clear with you: my sin did not stop me from reading my Bible every day and praying every morning and evening. Still, I was blind to my sin and still didn’t call out to God. My counselor was wrong because my pain cause a blindness that went very deep. The blindness kept me from truly seeing the truth in my situation. Not having enough does funny things to us and I finally found my voice; and cried out to God for more. God heard me in His holy throne and answered my prayer. See God loves me enough to draw me into His arms. We might not see that through our struggle but tough love remembers. Praise the Lord!!! The Lord messes with our life because of His great love for us. Jesus Christ watch His Father care for Israelites and now He does the same for us.

Israel was successful because of God, but their pride in themselves says ‘we did this flourishing’; they were blind to their own faults.  Amos was given two visions of God’s pending judgment on Israel. The judgment would be locust and intense heat but Amos cried out to the LORD to stop and He did. Then the LORD said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer. “The high places of Isaac will be destroyed and the sanctuaries of Israel will be ruined; with my sword I will rise against the house of Jeroboam. (Amos 7:1-9) Israel rejected God’s word. The people did not listen ‘repent or perish’ and they didn’t call to God

Have you lost your voice? Call on Jesus Christ today and make things right. The Lord is calling His people home. Do you hear Him calling you? All you people trust in the LORD—he is your help and shield. House of the Earth trust in the LORD—he is your help and shield. You, who fear him, trust in the LORD—he is your help and shield.

Who is it that overcomes?

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (1John 5:5) Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in their heart. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1John5:10, 12) So, believe, repent or perish in this life. Surrender this life and ask Jesus Christ into your heart so that He can draw you close and clean the messes of this life.

Thank you, Lord for pursuing and catching me. Thank you, Father for your part in this great plan. I pray that we keep in touch with our heart, and we clean the secret rooms that keep us silent. I pray Lord that you will keep pursuing us and changing us into that sparkling gem. I pray that whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. (Colossians 3:23) In Jesus Christ name, I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kingdom of Light…

Thw Kingdom of LightIn the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days (now) he has spoken to us by his Son (Jesus), whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:1-3a

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He (Jesus) was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. John 1:9-10

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:20-21

 

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

Paul writes, For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Jesus)in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-14

AMEN!!!