Sunday, October 31, 2010

Knowing the Difference - October 31, 2010

1 John 4:1-6 (New Century Version)
1 My dear friends, many false prophets have gone out into the world. So do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God.2 This is how you can know God's Spirit:

Every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ came to earth as a human is from God.3 And every spirit who refuses to say this about Jesus is not from God. It is the spirit of the enemy of Christ, which you have heard is coming, and now he is already in the world.

4 My dear children, you belong to God and have defeated them; because God's Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world.5 And they belong to the world, so what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them.6 But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. But those who are not from God do not listen to us. That is how we know the Spirit that is true and the spirit that is false.

We see much said about spirituality these days. There are many people claiming that they are the right way and the right god. Just because someone says they believe in God doesn't necessarily mean they really do believe in God, or the same God that you do. The same things goes with someone saying they believe in Jesus. Say so doesn't mean that they believe in the true Jesus of Christianity. Many cults and religions claim they know Jesus, but He is far different than what you might believe.

So how can you know for sure what you should believe? First and foremost, you need to become very familiar with the Bible. Not just any Bible, but one that has been translated directly from the Hebrew and Greek texts that are closest to the original inspired texts. The ones I quote in this blog are all such texts. Next, if someone is trying to tell you about a Jesus that sounds a little different than the one you believe in, ask them who they believe Jesus is.

Some will say that Jesus is a Messenger of God who was sent to guide the People of Israel with a new scripture, the Gospel. He was a prophet a long with a long line of prophets sent from God, and he never died on the cross or intended to die on the cross. Others say that he is the literal son of god and his goddess wife. He was born through physical sexual relations with Mary. There is a religion that believes that Jesus was a perfect man, and that He is a person distinct from God the Father. They also teach that before His earthly life, Jesus was a spirit creature, Michael the archangel, who was created by God and became the Messiah at His baptism.

These are but a few examples that teach a Jesus contrary from true Christianity, that professes that Jesus Christ is the Messiah spoken of in the Old Testament Scriptures. He was God in the flesh, fully human and yet fully God. He sacrificed himself on the cross as payment for our sins. He died, and three days later rose from the dead to prove that he is God. All we need to do is to accept the gift of salvation, given by God. Yes, it can be a little confusing, but knowing what you believe about Jesus is the most important question you will ever have to answer for yourself.

Many will come and twist the Scriptures and dispute the true nature of Jesus Christ, and if you are not familiar with the Bible, you might be fooled into believing them. Many have come since Jesus walked the earth and have made claims that he is not who he said he was. Don't be misled; seek Him while He is near to you. Ask God to help you understand; the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth to you. As Paul writes in his letter to Timothy:

8So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. 2 Timothy 1:8-12 (New International Version)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

No Fear - October 30, 2010

2 Timothy 1:7-10 (New King James Version)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

Are you bold about what you believe? Do you have any problem letting people know that you are a follower of Jesus Chirst? We in the United States are certainly spoiled. We have it relatively easy when it comes to expressing our faith. In many countries around the globe, many who boldly profess their faith do so, knowing that the consequences could mean death. I read a news story last week about Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani, who has been sentenced to death in Iran for what is called a “thought crime.” Several others in his church have been imprisoned as well.

As a Christian, I am sure that they knew the consequences of telling people about Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, yet they chose to do so anyway. If the situation where the same in this country, would you be so bold as to have "no fear" in preaching the gospel, the "good news" of Christ? Would you gladly face death with the goal to teach as many as you could about Jesus? How can people in other countries do this, while many of us are afraid to talk to our un-saved next door neighbor?

The answer is that they have received the Holy Spirit. They know without a doubt that Jesus Chirst is who he said he was, and that he has translated them from death to life. No matter what is done to them in their present body, they have the assurance in their minds and hearts that God's love has transceded this world, and it has guaranteed them a place with the Savior in heaven.

Can you say the same? Are you as sure about our faith? Do you know that if faced with certain death that you would boldy, unashamedly give everyone the testimony of our Lord? Would you gladly be convicted of a "thought crime"? If you are not sure, it is time you settle the question before it is too late.

Friday, October 29, 2010

All Grown Up? - October 29, 2010

1 Corinthians 13:9-12 (New International Reader's Version)
9 What we know now is not complete. What we prophesy now is not perfect. 10 But when what is perfect comes, the things that are not perfect will pass away.

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child. I had the understanding of a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

12 Now we see only a dim likeness of things. It is as if we were seeing them in a mirror. But someday we will see clearly. We will see face to face. What I know now is not complete. But someday I will know completely, just as God knows me completely.

There was a time in my life when I had very little understanding of what I was hearing and occasionally reading. I had no clue of what real Christianity was all about. When I finally understood the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, I began a journey trying to know what God wanted to tell me.

First and foremost, God's Spirit is the One who brings us to the knowledge of what we are before God, and He is the One who helps us to finally surrender our will and accept God's. He "illuminates",reveals, the word of God, and helps us in applying it to our daily lives. He guides us and is the One who "moves in our hearts", convicting us of our shortcomings and prompting us to live a righteous life.

He then becomes the One who helps us manitain our witness and directs us to share what has happened to us. In turn, He then reveals the gospel to the person who sees our example and seeks after God. God's word is living and breathing through believers and assists us in helping others find Jesus.

As far as I have come in understanding God, the more I realize that I have only scratched the surface. I truly only see a "dim likeness of things, as if I were seeing them in a mirror". Although I am no longer a child in the faith, I have to admit that as long as I look into God's word with a child-like faith and I don't try to over analyze it, the more I fully understand what God is trying to show me.

My encouragement to you is to get into the word of God. Take the time to seek God in prayer as you study and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in understanding the will of God. Someday God will make everything perfectly clear to us and answer every question we may have. In the meantime, accept Him at His word and believe His simple offering to us. Accept the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and look forward to someday seeing Him face to face.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

100 Years from Now - October 28, 2010

Genesis 6:3 (New International Version)
3 Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."

Psalm 39:4-5 (New International Reader's Version)
4 I said, "Lord, show me when my life will end.
Show me how many days I have left.
Tell me how short my life will be.

5 You have given me only a few days to live.
My whole life doesn't seem like anything to you.
No man's life lasts any longer than a breath.

Hebrews 9:27 (New International Reader's Version)
27 People have to die once. After that, God will judge them.

James 4:14 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
14You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. What is life? You are a mist that is seen for a moment and then disappears.

Do you ever stop and think about your future? Are you consummed about trying to live as long as you can? Our whole society is built around the young and staying young. How many commercials have you seen lately that have older people in them, except for the ones selling "little blue pills"?

It has almost become an obessession with our society these days. We try to diet and excercise, workout and lift weights; we have our bodies pulled and tucked and prodded, all for the sake of holding on to a few more years of youth. Is trying to hold on to youth and look young the issue, or are we afraid of what awaits us 100 years from now?

I have always thought that it is a good approach to discuss the Gospel by asking someone where they will be 100 years from now. It causes people to stop and think about where they might end up when they die. Bottom line is that God has limited our lifespan, and everyday we live is one day closer to when we will die. Not that I want to be morbid here, but it is something we really need to think about.

The Bible speaks alot about how brief our lives are. Not only has God limited our lives as it is written in Genesis 6(What happened to all those guys like Methuselah and Noah, that lived for hundreds of years? How did we miss out?), but He compares our lives to the flowers and grass, that are here today and fade away tomorrow, and he likens our lives to a mist, a breath, or a vapor. I think what He is trying to tell us is that "life is short"! Our focus needs to be on the answer to the question of where we will be in 100 years from now. Our prayer to Him should be this:

12Teach us to number each of our days so that we may grow in wisdom. Psalm 90:12 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Forgiveness - October 27, 2010

Matthew 6:14-15 (New International Version)
14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 18:21-35 (New Living Translation)
21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.

26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.

29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. 32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

I have been hearing lately about people who have been alienated from adult children, old friends, past co-workers, relatives, etc., people that have strained relationships with others, because of some hurt that may have occurred in the past. Many people carry a past or current burden that weighs them down and keeps them from fully moving forward in their lives. In some situations this is even the case with someone who has died many years before. The hurt remains as real as it was when it first occurred. If you are faced with such a situation, what are you to do?

Yesterday I spoke about a Christians responsibility of seeking reconciliation in all relationships, and that doing so is living out our faith they way God desires. True reconciliation first requires forgiveness. Without it, we feel uncomfortable when we are around or speak about the person who has wronged us. We tend to avoid any situation where we might run into them, and if they are no longer living, the hurt and the emotions well up inside as if the incident just happened when we recall that person.

God offers us forgiveness of our sins through the shed blood of His Son Jesus on the cross. When we accept this fact in faith, we restore a close relationship with God and He brings us near through the power of the Holy Spirit. What does this mean? Once we surrender ourselves to God, we know in our hearts and in our being that we are forgiven, because we "feel" a peace that we cannot understand. In the same way, once we fully forgive the person that has wronged us, we will feel a peace that we cannot understand as well. No longer will we avoid that person, but through true forgiveness we will seek to restore, reconcile, our relationship with them.

The solution to strained relationships is simple. As freely as God has offered us His forgiveness of our wrongdoing, without pre-condition, we need to freely forgive all who have done us harm. It isn't easy, but the peace of God awaits those who follow His example of forgiveness.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ambassadors of Reconciliation - October 26, 2010

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (New International Version)
18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (New Living Translation)
18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

Colossians 1:19-20 (New King James Version)
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

Not too long ago I wrote about Christ's work of reconciliation between us and God. I had mentioned that through the sacrificial death of Jesus, through his shedding of blood as payment for sins on our behalf, our relationship with God was re-established. When we believed and accepted this, we were restored to friendship with God. As Jesus Christ said, "I do not call you servants anymore. Servants do not know their master's business. Instead, I have called you friends. I have told you everything I learned from my Father." John 15:15(NIRV)

Since we have been given this gift of reconciliation through Jesus Christ, it is our responsibility to seek reconciliation in all things. It is our mission to be God's ambassadors, sharing Christ and helping to bring into harmony all of those who are separated from God. As Christians we do nothing in our own power, but the Holy Spirit brings about the reconciliation as a new believer surrenders to Jesus Christ. Our job is to represent what has already been done for us; we are to reflect God's work of reconciliation.

We are to seek reconcialition in all things, always striving for restoring Christ-like relationships with everyone we encounter. There is nothing more important than for us as Christians to reflect Jesus Christ, as we reach out in the present and to those damaged relationships in our past. This might mean stepping aside accepting correction that we felt was misplaced, or subordinating ourselves to a co-worker that has taken our positions. It might mean re-engaging with alienated family members, extending forgiveness to those who have betrayed us, or humbling ourselves to those who have taken advantage of us. In all of these acts, we become God's ambassadors of reconciliation, and help to promote the healing and restoration that God desires.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Yes and No - October 25, 2010

Matthew 5:33-37 (New International Reader's Version)
33 "Again, you have heard what was said to your people long ago. They were told, 'Do not break the promises you make to the Lord. Keep the oaths you have made to him.'

34 But here is what I tell you. Do not make any promises like that at all. Do not make them in the name of heaven. That is God's throne. 35 Do not make them in the name of the earth. That is the stool for God's feet. Do not make them in the name of Jerusalem. That is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not take an oath in the name of your head. You can't make even one hair white or black.

37 "Just let your 'Yes' mean 'Yes.' Let your 'No' mean 'No.' Anything more than this comes from the evil one.

James 5:12 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

12Above all things, my brothers and sisters, do not take an oath on anything in heaven or on earth. Do not take any oath. If you mean yes, say yes. If you mean no, say no. Do this so that you won’t be condemned.

Well we are in the final week before a very important election; by the ads on television, the internet, on the radio, in the papers and in our mailbox, and by what we are hearing in the news these days, there are many people out there playing very loose with the truth, trying to get us to believe in one or the other agenda. It has been non-stop, but regretfully from many politicians and newscasters the truth has been difficult to discern. To add to this problem, many of the things you are hearing today by these same politicians, will be found to be lies tomorrow. And many of the promises they make today, will be broken tomorrow. We need only look to the highest political official in our land to know that my statement is true!

Telling the truth and keeping promises have been in very short supply, in our political system, and in our world in general, but God has placed a very high value on being truthful and making promises. Jesus even brought up the topic during his Sermon on the Mount. As noted above, he cautioned all to not make oaths or promises. Later in the Book of James we learned that breaking them could lead to our being condemned by God, but it sure seems that many people in our world are very unfamiliar with these passages in the Bible. If they were, they would be far more careful in what they say and what they promise.

God has made it simple for us to be truthful at all times and in all things, and it would be wise if we would pass this on to our children and all those we have influence over. It is simply this, "Let your YES be YES, and your NO be NO". In other words, if you say something, mean it. If you say you will do something, do it. Make it a habit, a character trait or yours, to always be truthful in anything you do. Be men and women of honesty and integrity by building your foundation on the truth. God is truth, and our world would be far better if we all followed His lead.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blessings for A New Week - October 24, 2010

Psalm 127 (New International Version)
A song of ascents. Of Solomon.

1 Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.

2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.

3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.

4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth.

5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

As you start the new week, it is good to seek Godly wisdom concerning home and family. We read that unless the center of your family is belief and guidance from God, and unless faith in God is most important for your family, your efforts are in vain. Unless you ask God to help you with your efforts as you work, it will be difficult to find peace and contentment.

Reliance in God is central whether it is in your home, your job, your city, or your nation. We need to be reminded that if we forsake God as a nation, we will abandon all that makes us secure. Security in the things of man will never assure our protection. In all things, put God first and He will bless everything else.

A final word is given about the blessing of children. Our children are our hope and future inheritance from God. At one time, having many children were considered a rich blessing from Him. We have become arrogant in our modern society to think that we should stifle God's blessings and manipulate the heritage He provides. But He is merciful and He will grant us fulfillment and peace no matter what we have done.

He has fulfilled His richest blessing to us by giving us His Son Jesus, who provides us the path to reconciliation to our Heavenly Father.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Have Time to Praise the Lord? - October 23, 2010

Psalm 134 (New International Version)
A song of ascents.

1 Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD
who minister by night in the house of the LORD.

2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the LORD.

3 May the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth,
bless you from Zion.

This is one of the shortest psalms in the Bible. It is a liturgy of praise, a brief exchange between worshippers and the ministers in the temple after evening service. The departing worshippers call on the ministers to continue their worship and praise to God throughout the night. The last verse in turn is one of the ministers blessing the worshippers as they leave.

We are called to do the same as we prepare for a day that should be set aside to worship and praise the Lord. Too often our every day lives and activities places God last on our list of priorities, and for some He is absent all together. One thing can be said for the ancient Jewish people. They lived lives totally focused on God. We can learn a thing or two from them.

It is time that we put God first in everything, and make every effort to immitate the life of Jesus Christ as we go about our lives. Not only will we be blessed by the experience, but it will make every other task much easier. If you make all things of God first, He will keep His promises to work through our lives as well.

Friday, October 22, 2010

True Christianity (Cont.) - October 22, 2010

John 3:16-17 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
16God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. 17God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but to save the world.

Colossians 2:14-15 (New Century Version)
14 He canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross.15 God stripped the spiritual rulers and powers of their authority. With the cross, he won the victory and showed the world that they were powerless.

Over the last few days we have looked into what true Christianity is all about. We have discussed the fact that there has been alot of misinformation about the "do's and don'ts", the rules, regulations and traditions or other so-called requirements that some churches say are necessary to be saved. We see how this misinformation has confused the non-believing world around us and even confused those who have embraced the Christian faith, and how it has created a burden that keeps people away from Jesus Christ.

God has freely given us the way back to Him, by giving us His Son to act as substituting sacrifice as payment for our sins. He has lifted the barrier between mankind and God through His gracious gift on our behalf. Nothing defines True Christianity better than John 3:16 - 16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

So where does that leave us? What should we do so that those who are perishing around us can hear and learn about this wonderful gift? How can people really get to know about our Savior Jesus? Our responsibility is best spelled out below:

9-10But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. 1 Peter 2:9-10(The Message)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

True Christianity (Cont.) - October 21, 2010

Isaiah 53:5 (New Century Version)
5 But he was wounded for the wrong we did; he was crushed for the evil we did. The punishment, which made us well, was given to Him, and we are healed because of his wounds.

Ephesians 2:1-9 (New International Reader's Version)
1 You were living in your sins and lawless ways. But in fact you were dead. 2 You used to live as sinners when you followed the ways of this world. You served the one who rules over the spiritual forces of evil. He is the spirit who is now at work in those who don't obey God.
3 At one time we all lived among them. We tried to satisfy what our sinful nature wanted to do. We followed its longings and thoughts. God was angry with us and everyone else because of the kind of people we were.

4 But God loves us deeply. He is full of mercy. 5 So he gave us new life because of what Christ has done. He gave us life even when we were dead in sin. God's grace has saved you.

6 God raised us up with Christ. He has seated us with him in his heavenly kingdom because we belong to Christ Jesus. 7 He has done it to show the riches of his grace for all time to come. His grace can't be compared with anything else. He has shown it by being kind to us because of what Christ Jesus has done.

8 God's grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn't come from anything you do. It is God's gift. 9 It is not based on anything you have done. No one can brag about earning it.

Colossians 2:13-14 (New Living Translation)
13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.

What is true Christianity? Here it is: True Christianity is acknowledging that we have sinned against God who created us, believing that He provided us with a way to be reconciled (re-establish a close relationship) with Him. He sent His Son Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, to live a perfect life in "our shoes", and teach us what God expected from us.

He then surrendered himself to evil men to be sacrificed, by his death on the cross, as payment for all the sins that we, and everyone committed and would commit forever. He went even further by coming back to life after three days, to prove that he was God as he said he was, and he is waiting for us to be re-united with him for eternity in heaven. All anyone has to do to be saved from eternal separation from God, spiritual death is believe this.

What is so offensive about that message? Is it the fact that to be a true Christian that you would have to acknowledge that your are a sinner, that you have alienated yourself from God by being disobedient to Him, and that you have chosen to go your own way? Is it because that if you admit that there is a God, and that there is a Jesus, and that you would have to face up to the fact that someday you will stand before Him to be judged? Is it because you would rather say "no thanks" to Jesus and say, "I will make it to heaven on my own efforts"? Is there any other faith, any other religion that has a better way to be welcomed by God?

This is how I see it: Nothing else, no other faith, nothing I can do on my own can save me. Nothing else gives me the assurance that "I will be saved when I die." All I need to do is accept God's FREE gift. In turn I try to live a life obedient and pleasing to Him, as a way to thank Him for making it so simple, so easy, to be with Him when I die.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

True Christianity (Cont.) - October 20, 2010

1 Corinthians 1:18 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
18The message about the cross is nonsense to those who are being destroyed, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved.

1 Corinthians 1:18 (New International Version)
18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

In our society and the world we live in today, fundamental Christianity is seen as foolishness. We are told that it is for people with weak minds and old-fashion ideas. It is something that those who are hostile to Christian thought find repulsive. In our public institutions Chritianity has become a "dirty" word, and it has been labled as a religion of bigotry and intolerance.

Over the last several decades, because the Christian message has been so distorted and undefended by liberal theologins, it has been turned into something to fear and avoid. If you embrace the faith and try to live your life as a faithful witness, you are seen as a "crackpot" or as someone to be marginalized.

In our country today every other religion is tolerated and overtly protected, but there is little room for anything that might be identified with being Christian. Even our President chooses to cover up any symbols of Christ if they are found in certain venues is which he is speaking(On multiple occassions he purposely edits any references to "the Creator" when he invokes the Declaration of Independence; but I digress).

Is the message of Jesus Christ so powerful that it causes men to want to get rid of it however they can? Are they so threatened by the "mirror" of the Bible and the gospel that they choose to elliminate it from everything?
What is it about true Christianity that makes it so misunderstood?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

True Christianity (Cont.) - October 19, 2010

Romans 7:18-20 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
18I know that nothing good lives in me; that is, nothing good lives in my corrupt nature. Although I have the desire to do what is right, I don’t do it. 19I don’t do the good I want to do. Instead, I do the evil that I don’t want to do. 20Now, when I do what I don’t want to do, I am no longer the one who is doing it. Sin that lives in me is doing it.

Romans 7:24 (New Living Translation)
24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?

How did we get so far off track? How did the false notion get started that you had to be good, go to church, and follow certain rules, regulations and traditions to be made right with God? No wonder so many people are turned off by Christianity! Even though I was raised in a denominational, mainline church, I had no clue what being a Christian was all about.

I did learn all the stories in Sunday School and I knew about what happened at Christmas and Easter. I even was Confirmed into the church, that marked my membership in right standing and firmly establishing me as a Christian. Sad thing is though that it didn't really make me a Christian. I had no clue what I it really meant. It made no real change in my lifestyle, and over the years I found myself caught up in the world and all it had to offer.

That has probably been the story for most of us; going through some rite of passage as children or teenagers, but mostly going through the motions of being a Christians rather than understanding the Spirit of being a Christian. Because of this, the world gets caught up into thinking that Christians have to do certain rituals and procedures to become followers. They find it very unappealing and boring, or they see that it makes no real change in the lives of the people. They see Christians as being just as miserable and lost as they are.

Monday, October 18, 2010

True Christianity - October 18, 2010

Colossians 2:6-10,16-19 (New International Version)
6So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
16Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

18Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

People today have a false sense of what it means to be a Christain. Because it has been vastly distorted by our culture, media, education system, etc., most people alive have no real understanding of what it means to be a Christain.

Sad thing is that even many of our mainline churches do not correctly teach what it takes to be a Christain, and yes, even the largest church in the world is misguided in what it teaches its parishoners about what it really means to be a Christain.

That is primarily why, although we were founded as a nation based of principles from the God of the Bible, we have been taken over by political and spiritual forces that are trying to eliminate Christain thought from our nation today. We are being forced into a secular humanist society that is embracing the ways of man rather than following the guidance of God.

The root of the problem is this: many alive today have been taught error in their individual denominations about our faith. I know that most of us grew up thinking that being a Christain required us to follow a bunch of rules and regulations, "do's and dont's". Nothing can be further from the truth. You will read what I mean if you take a few minutes and study these verses from Paul's letter to the Colossians.

Tomorrow, we will study further on this very important subject.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Praise! - October 17, 2010

Psalm 95 (New International Version)

1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.

3 For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.

4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.

5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;

7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
Today, if you hear his voice,

8 do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the desert,

9 where your fathers tested and tried me,
though they had seen what I did.

10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;
I said, "They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known my ways."

11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
"They shall never enter my rest."

It is good to remember our God in praise and thanksgiving, especially on this day that is set aside for worship every week. If you do take out a regular time of worship, you begin to lose intimacy that can you gain with your Heavenly Father in the company of other Christians.

I have heard many people say, " I worship God my own way. I don't need to go to church", but I have felt the Holy Spirit move more intensely when I have worshipped with others. Much is gained in the presence of other like-minded believers, sharing in a time of instruction from God's word, corporate praise, communal worship, and corporate prayer.

When we leave this life and go into the next, I believe we will be joined with countless others that are joined together in praise and worship of our God. Make a decision to weekly and consistenly take a day and give your time to God. He will bless the rest of your time and the rest of your week for doing so.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

God Our Helper - October 16, 2010

Psalm 121 (New International Version)

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Over the last week, we saw a very touching drama and miracle occur in the rescuing of the 33 miners in Chile. What struck me as most significant, was the overt faith of the people, who's President was shown openly kneeling and praying before God and a television audience of millions. It was encouraging to see the demonstration of unity, faithfulness and determination that the Chileans showed to us all.

I imagined that our forefathers exhibited these same character qualities, when they fought to gain our independence and establish our country. I also imagined the same unity was shown by our parents and grandparents as they fought in wars to free oppressed peoples. I remembered that this was how many of us behaved shortly after 9/11, as we came together in faith and belief in an Almighty God, and sought His guidance and help in a time of grief and trouble.

How far we have fallen away as a Nation in such a very short time! We have forgotten God our helper in times of trouble and forgotten that He needs to be welcomed in the good times as well. My challenge for us all is to embody the faith and unity shown by the people of Chile, who for a brief time became an example of a Godly, Christian nation for all nations to follow.

We need to be mindful that no matter the circumstances, our help comes from the Lord. We cannot be a Nation without God, going it alone in our own efforts. We need to always remember that God appointed us to be His beacon of hope for the oppressed, because we trusted Him and founded a country that lifted up His laws and virtues. He expects us who believe in the work of His son Jesus, to be the light of the world, kneeling in humble prayer, and being an example of a Godly, Christian nation for all other nations to follow.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Prayer - October 15, 2010

James 5:13-18 (New International Reader's Version)

13 Are any of you in trouble? Then you should pray. Are any of you happy? Then sing songs of praise.

14 Are any of you sick? Then send for the elders of the church to pray over you. Ask them to anoint you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer offered by those who have faith will make you well. The Lord will heal you. If you have sinned, you will be forgiven.

16 So admit to one another that you have sinned. Pray for one another so that you might be healed. The prayer of a godly person is powerful. It makes things happen.

17 Elijah was just like us. He prayed hard that it wouldn't rain. And it didn't rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Then he prayed again. That time it rained. And the earth produced its crops.

Romans 8:26 (New Century Version)
26 Also, the Spirit helps us with our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us with deep feelings that words cannot explain.

One of the most important and powerful tools we have in our relationship with God is prayer. It is our direct line to our Father in heaven, and even when we can't find the words on our own, the Holy Spirit helps us communicate with Him on our behalf. Much of Jesus' time was spent in communication with his Father through frequent and intense prayer.

It is the way to get answers and effective results to anything that might trouble us. It is effective and powerful in healing our physical and spiritual ills. If you have not started a frequent and consistant prayer life, you are really missing out. God is waiting to hear from you!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why Us? - October 14, 2010

Psalm 8 (New International Version)
For the director of music. According to gittith.
A psalm of David.

1 O LORD, our Lord,how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

2 From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet:

7 all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

When you consider our place in God's creation, you might wonder, "Why us?" Of all the creatures in this universe that He created, why did God chose us to do such a great work through? I laugh when I hear those who would try to liken us to every other animal on the planet. Even the fact that we might have the heart to be a steward of the rest of creation, and the creatures within it is a "God thing". Tending to His creation was the assignment given the first man.

Why does God love us so? Why did He give us the capacity to return that love, in our actions to others, the praise of our lips, and the thoughts in our prayers? Why did He allow us to return to Him and spend eternity with Him? Why, even when we can be the most vile and evil of creatures can He still forgive us? How can He love us so much that He sacrificed His own Son for us? How could He redeem a sinners like us? Why us?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Backsliding - October 13, 2010

Deuteronomy 8:11-14 (New Living Translation)
11 “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. 12 For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, 13 and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! 14 Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 8:17-18 (New Living Translation)
17 He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.

1 Corinthians 10:12 (Amplified Bible)
12Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin].

Do you find yourself falling back into the very things you gave up when you first accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Have you taken your faith for granted or lived so casually that you find yourself trapped in the same old habits you once had? It is easy if you are not careful to find yourself "backsliding" as a Christian.

This is especially true if you hang out with the same group of friends or surround yourself with the same "junk" you gave up. It can also be true if you get disappointed with God after a particularly tough challenge, difficult event or tragedy in your life. You might choose to turn you back on God for awhile, thinking that He really doesn't care. It is also true if you become overconfident, thinking that your faith is so strong that you will never fall back into your old sins. Your pride becomes a stumbling block over which you can easily trip.

In all these situations you make yourself vulnerable to attacks by the evil one. He takes pleasure in tripping up Christians and causing them to "backslide". Whenever you fall back into the same old sins you left behind, or you find yourself trapped into new ones, you find yourself in a backslidden condition. You find yourself wandering far away from God, so far that you have trouble feeling His presence, hearing His voice, or seeing Him work around you.

If you find yourself in this condition, you should not lose hope. God is a forgiving God, and He will draw you back to Himself. Jesus paid for all of your sins, past, present and future, and his grace is big enough to overcome the present condition you have put yourself in. Confess your sins to Him and admit your need for His forgiveness. Accept again His sacrifice on your behalf and return to Him. As the prodigal son was restored to his father, our heavenly Father will restore you to Himself.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Godly Fear - October 12, 2010

Psalm 119:73-80 (New International Version)

y Yodh
73 Your hands made me and formed me;
give me understanding to learn your commands.

74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
for I have put my hope in your word.

75 I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous,
and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.

76 May your unfailing love be my comfort,
according to your promise to your servant.

77 Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
for your law is my delight.

78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;
but I will meditate on your precepts.

79 May those who fear you turn to me,
those who understand your statutes.

80 May my heart be blameless toward your decrees,
that I may not be put to shame.

Healthy fear of God is a good thing for you. Realizing that their is a Supreme Being that could end it all for you in any moment, gives you a healthy appreciation for Him. The best earthly pattern for this is a loving Father. As children you know your Dad loves you and you love and respect your Dad, but you also know, usually from experience, that if you disobey him, you will suffer the consequences. That doesn't mean that the love is no longer there, it just means that you know that not matter what he will love you, but you will get "correction" if you deserve it.

Our priest appeals to those who "fear" God to look to him and his example of how to follow God. He points out that the word of God is the guidance that is needed to have a healthy understanding and respect for God. God loves us, and He has given us His word for us to learn about Hid nature. We are fortunate that God is not a vengeful God, seeking justice for wrongdoing, no matter what. If so, we would all have perished long ago.

Our God has compassion and mercy for those who love, respect, and "fear" Him. He not only wants us to know that we need to be obedient to Him and follow His ways, but He also hopes that we will see examples of His love in those who follow Him and call on Him. We can be assured that our fear of Him will translate into our salvation, because in His love He has provided everything for our good.

Psalm 119 is a devotional poem from a very pious priest. This is the only psalm in The Psalms written by this author. This psalm is an acrostic poem; the verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This Israelite priest sought to pass on godly instruction in his devotional study of the word of God.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rock Solid - October 11, 2010

Psalm 62 (New International Version)

1 My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

3 How long will you assault a man?
Would all of you throw him down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?

4 They fully intend to topple him
from his lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.


5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.

6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.


9 Lowborn men are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie;
if weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.

10 Do not trust in extortion
or take pride in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
do not set your heart on them.

11 One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong,

12 and that you, O Lord, are loving.
Surely you will reward each person
according to what he has done.

Nothing is better than a firm foundation. As a faithful believer, where would you be without your reliance on God? I have had many conversations about how God rescued this person or that person from lives that were on a path of destruction. By the grace and mercy of God, He rescued them in their distress, and now they have a "rock solid" relationship with the Creator of the universe. He is someone that you will always be able to depend on. Turn your life over to Him; as David says in his psalm above, "He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rejoice! - October 10, 2010

Philippians 4:4 (New International Version)
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Here we are at another Sunday, and I hope all of you were able to make it to a church to thank, praise and worship God. I hope all of you were able to ask for the Holy Spirit to guide you as you praised your Savior Jesus who has given himself for your failures and sins. I pray that He touched you and moved you to pour out your heart in song. I trust that He saw you and heard you as you lifted your voice to Him.

Let's start out the new week and rejoice that we serve a good and gracious God!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Not Just Another Tonto - October 9, 2010

Proverbs 27:17 (New International Version)
17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (New International Reader's Version)
24 Let us consider how we can stir up one another to love. Let us help one another to do good works. 25 Let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us cheer each other up with words of hope. Let us do it all the more as you see the day coming when Christ will return.

Many of you reading this remember the Lone Ranger. Although he was a hero of the old west, he didn't go very far with out his sidekick Tonto. Tonto was there to support him when he got into a jamb, and he was always good for a little Indian sage advice when the Lone Ranger was trying to figure things out. Where would our hero have been without his trusty friend?

The same goes for Christians. We really have a tough time if we try to be a "lone ranger" when it comes to our faith. We are at our most vulnerable when we are alone; that's when Satan really tries to mess with us. Nothing brings him more delight than to pick off lonely Christians one at a time.

What's even more problematic is when we don't have other like minded people around when we are in need of advice and guidance. Christian men need other Christian men, and the same is true for Christian women. If we are married, no one is more important in our relationship with God than our spouse, but there are times when we just need the company of someone of the same gender.

So I would encourage you to seek out other believers of the same sex, and make sure you get together often. There is nothing better than to have a strong Christian friend behind you that you can trust, It will help you become the hero of the faith that God means for you to be.

Friday, October 8, 2010

No Fear - October 8, 2010

Psalm 27 (New King James Version)
A Psalm of David.
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
3 Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

4 One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.
5 For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.

7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
8 When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
9 Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the LORD will take care of me.

11 Teach me Your way, O LORD,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.

14 Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!

As long as the God of the universe is on your side, you can fear nothing; no man, no circumstance, or anything that can ever come against you. Stand and have no fear. Wait and see how the Lord with help you overcome anything. He will give you the courage and strength for the journey and anything you will ever face. Praise God for His grace and mercy, and that He favors you!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Firmer Foundation - October 7, 2010

Genesis 1:1 (New International Version)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Psalm 90:2 (New International Version)
2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Psalm 102:25 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
25Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth. Even the heavens are the works of your hands.

Isaiah 40:26 (New International Version)
26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:

Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

Acts 17:24 (New International Reader's Version)
24 "He is the God who made the world. He also made everything in it. He is the Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn't live in temples built by hands.

It is all about God. What we believe in terms of medicine, science, social issues, evolution, climate change, religion, terrorism, all has to do with how we define God. How we practice a religion, and how it affects our worldview, all has to do with God. Even whether or not you are an atheist depends on God.

All major decisions that we make concerning how we treat each other has to do with what we think about God. What we think and believe, how we approach life and relationships, how we live our lives, and how we approach death all has to do with God.

Before you can ever make a determination of what you believe, before you can have faith, before you can hope for eternal existance, you have to make a decision of who God is. You cannot defend any of the most important issues in life that you will be faced with unless you have a firm foundation concerning God.

Do you know and can you defend what you believe about God? Nothing else is more important to determine in your life than who God is, what He has done, and how He has settled the issue of your life after death. Who is God for you? If you can't answer that question, it is time you did.

Romans 1:20 (New International Version)
20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pit Stops - October 6, 2010

Psalm 119:65-72 (New International Version)
T Teth
65 Do good to your servant
according to your word, O LORD.

66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
for I believe in your commands.

67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey your word.

68 You are good, and what you do is good;
teach me your decrees.

69 Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies,
I keep your precepts with all my heart.

70 Their hearts are callous and unfeeling,
but I delight in your law.

71 It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I might learn your decrees.

72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me
than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

Psalm 40:2 (New International Reader's Version)
2 I was sliding down into the pit of death, and he pulled me out. He brought me up out of the mud and dirt. He set my feet on a rock. He gave me a firm place to stand on.

As I read a bit more of this Psalm, written by this pious priest long ago, his humanity really shows itself as he lifts his prayer to God. He reminds me that I too was "afflicted" and "I went astray". I was on a path to destruction and death. It reminded me of my "pit stops" in life.

Those were times that I was really a long way from God, and because of it I went through a lot of trouble and turmoil in my life. These days I look upon those difficulties, those times in the "pit" as time well spent. It was in these "pit stops" in my life that I realized my condition and I looked for something better. It was in these times that I cried out to God for help, and He rescued me from my terrible situation. It was there that I discovered the amazing grace found only in Jesus.

It is interesting to me that I now look at those terrible experiences as blessings, because they pointed me to Jesus Christ. Without him I would have never found forgiveness and restoration; I would have never discovered the life that God has made available by sending me a Savior. Without the bad things in my life, I would never have realized the good and wonderful things of life; I would never have had the blessings of a lovely wife, children, family, and a secure future knowing that God has much more in store for me.

If you are reading this and you feel like your life has left you in the "pit" of hurt and dispair; if you feel like there is no way out of your terrible situation, that you are trapped and do not know what to do; call on the name of Jesus. Ask God to forgive you and admit that you can't do it on your own. Give your hurt and pain, the "mud and dirt" that is your life, and surrender it all to Him. He will pull you out, clean you up, plant His Word in your heart, and set your feet on a "firm place to stand", the Rock that is Jesus Christ.

Psalm 119 is a devotional poem from a very pious priest. This is the only psalm in The Psalms written by this author. This psalm is an acrostic poem; the verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This Israelite priest sought to pass on godly instruction in his devotional study of the word of God.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

On the Fence? - October 5, 2010

Revelation 3:14-19 (The Message)
14Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God's Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God's creation, says:

15-17"I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You're not cold, you're not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You're stale. You're stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, 'I'm rich, I've got it made, I need nothing from anyone,' oblivious that in fact you're a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.

18"Here's what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that's been through the refiner's fire. Then you'll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You've gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see.

19"The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they'll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!

The time has come that all of us have to make a decision. We need to decide whether or not we will be "sold out" for Jesus Christ. Whether or not we will follow the path of obedience that God has called us to, and if we will be true Christians. Too often many are Christians in name only; it has become "fashionable" in some circles to go through the motions. We go to a church and smile at others across the pew, but our hearts are not focused on giving it all up for God.

We hang in Christain circles and do things that Christains do, but as soon as we are faced with a little opposition, we quickly find ourselves conforming to the world. Our language and actions away from church and our Christian friends is different, and when it comes to work or when we are with our non-Christain friends, it is all too easy to forget what we how we have been called to live. We find ourselves looking more like one serving the world than God.

Jesus calls us to make a statement; he wants us to stand up for him. Not that we can't enjoy life and what it has to offer, but we have to be easily recognized as one who has been called to follow the Savior. Do you stand out in the crowd as being different? Do other around you know what you believe? Do you try to be an example for others to follow that will bring glory to the Father? Are people guarded around you because you do not "conform to the pattern of this world"(Romans 12:2)? Do others respect you and seek to ask you questions about your faith in Jesus?

It is time for us all to make an assessment of where we are with Christ. It is time to "get off of the fence" and declare ourselves one way or another. Either we live a life pleasing to God and try to share that life with those around us, or we go back to what we were before. We need to "clothe" ourselves in the Holy Spirit, and show the world around us that Jesus has all the answers. The time is coming for us to take a stand. What will you do?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Falling Star (cont) - October 3, 2010

Isaiah 14:12 (New King James Version)
12 “ How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!"

Ezekiel 28:11-19 (New Living Translation)
11 Then this further message came to me from the Lord: 12 “Son of man, sing this funeral song for the king of Tyre. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord:

“You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and exquisite in beauty.

13 You were in Eden, the garden of God. Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone — red carnelian, pale-green peridot, white moonstone, bblue-green beryl, onyx, green jasper, blue lapis lazuli, turquoise, and emerald— all beautifully crafted for you and set in the finest gold. They were given to you on the day you were created.

14 I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire.

15 “You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you. 16 Your rich commerce led you to violence, and you sinned. So I banished you in disgrace from the mountain of God. I expelled you, O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire.

17 Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. So I threw you to the ground and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings. 18 You defiled your sanctuaries with your many sins and your dishonest trade. So I brought fire out from within you, and it consumed you. I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.

19 All who knew you are appalled at your fate. You have come to a terrible end, and you will exist no more.”

1 John 2:15-17 (New American Standard Bible)
15Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

17The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

Yesterday we talked about the fact that sometimes we begin to forget that nothing we do is done in our our own strength and is because of our own efforts. We forget that God has given us our abilities and talents. But at times, we forget about Him altogether and take all the credit for ourselves. Our pride begins to take the best of us. So what is the root of what is really going on.

In the times before the time of mankind, God created a most beautiful creature, an angel of light, that was adorned with every precious stone found in the heavenly realm. He was an angel among the highest order and exalted, a cherubim like Michael and Gabriel. It has been said that he led the choirs of angels.

But the problem was that all of this exaltation caused him to be prideful and seek to set himself above God. He wanted to receive glory and praise for what he was. He forgot that everything he was had been given to him by God. In his pride he started a rebellion against God in heaven. For this, God cast him out of heaven along with one third of the angels(Revelation 12:7-9). Even now he and his company of angels roam the earth causing havoc and destruction.

He has a lot of influence on us, and his ways have incorporated themselves into every corner of this world. We as human beings have in the same manner become boastful and proud, and most of us choose to elevate ourselves and our efforts over God. We take credit for what we should be thanking God for; our abilities and talents that we use to accomplish things in this life. Do you recognize when you are doing this? Do you realize that all you are and all you have are because He who created you, He who should be your God, has blessed you beyond measure?

Satan wants to steal God's glory, and everytime we are praised for something we do, or we fail to pass on glory and honor and praise to God for what we do, we are doing just as a prideful angel did long ago. We too become part of the rebellion.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Falling Star - October 3, 2010

Proverbs 16:18 (New International Version)
18 Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.

Isaiah 14:12-15 (New International Version)

12 How you have fallen from heaven,
O morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!

13 You said in your heart,
"I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.

14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High."

15 But you are brought down to the grave,
to the depths of the pit.

We really can be very arrongant sometimes. We enjoy "tooting our own horn". We want to be the "center of attraction", "all that", "the man(or woman", the "hit"; we enjoy the limelight and when people place us on a pedestal. We like to be on stage, and if given the opportunity, everyone of us wants to be the "star".

Whenever we feel like we have done something extraordinary, we sure like making sure the people around us at work or school, and even at home really know about it. If we are not careful, the more we do this it ends up starting to go to our heads. We start thinking that we have really done something special.

We begin to forget that nothing we do is done in our our own strength and because of our own efforts. We forget that God has given us our abilities and talents. But at times, we forget about Him altogether and take all the credit for ourselves. Our pride begins to take the best of us.

If this is beginning to sound a little like you, be sure you take a look at this blog tomorrow as I look at the root of what is really going on.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Future Things - October 2, 2010

Isaiah 65:17-25 (New International Version)
17 "Behold, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.

18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.

19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.

20 "Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
he who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere youth;
he who fails to reach [a] a hundred
will be considered accursed.

21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the works of their hands.

23 They will not toil in vain
or bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the LORD,
they and their descendants with them.

24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
but dust will be the serpent's food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,"
says the LORD.

When you consider what the future time will be like, you need only study references in the bible to how things will be. As nuch as we here on earth want to believe that we are in control of our own destiny, we really have no clue how things will really be.

Someday everything will be made new, and as the bible says, the old things will be remembered no more. God will remake the earth to be the paradise he originally intended. Before the fall of man, God created a perfect world and populated with every creature imaaginable. He then place mankind in the garden to tend it and dwell with God.

We will one day join our God in the new paradise, spending our time in worship and praise to the One who made it possible for us to be with Him once again and forevermore.

Friday, October 1, 2010

He Knows Me! - October 1, 2010

Psalm 139 (New International Version)

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.

19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

There is someone who knows us completely. He has known us since we were conceived and determined what we would do, where we would live, and when we would leave life. Before our mother's felt us move, He had knit together our intelligence and our vocation, the families we would someday have and raise, and the work we would eventually do for Him. He loved us from the moment He decided that we would be a part of His plan, and He included us as a unique part in something beautiful. He allowed us the opportunity to come to Him and express our ultimate love for Him, and He set our future destination to be with Him in heaven.

As I think upon all the years that have passed, I wonder what He has in store for me. I looke forward in excitement to those I have yet to meet, and I am anxious to tell the story of Jesus Christ to those He will eventualy choose for me to befriend. He has blessedly taken me through the valleys and lifted me to the mountain tops. He has given me gifts that far outweigh anything the world has ever taken from me. He has restored my soul and redeemed from the pit, and He has set my feet upon the Rock, my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

On this day as I look back over the landscape of my life, I give Him praise and all the glory and honor that He is due. He has taken me and turned me into something for His purposes, and I give thanks and look forward to the life He has in store for me.