Friday, October 31, 2014

Why Should Christian's Celebrate Today? - October 31, 2014

2 Timothy 3:16-17(New Living Translation)
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

Today is Reformation Day, the birthday of the Protestant Church. On this day in 1517, Martin Luther, a Catholic priest, wrote to Albrecht, Archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, protesting against the sale of indulgences. He enclosed in his letter a copy of his "Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences," which came to be known as The 95 Theses. These he nailed to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenburg, Germany, and began the events that changed the Christian world forever.

The most important theological truth that the Reformation was the belief that Scripture alone—not human traditions or the rulings of a church—held complete authority for Christians (“sola scriptura”), and that salvation was a free gift of God that could not be earned by good deeds. The Catholic church at the time was "selling salvation" and profiting from the poor by doing so. They also made sure that the Bible remained in Latin, and the common man of the day was unable to read it for himself.

As a result of the Reformation, and the work of Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Knox, the Bible was translated and printed in the language the common way, opening the way for generations and millions of people to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

One Nation, Under God, Indivisible? - October 30, 2014

Matthew 12:25(New International Version)
25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand."

Luke 11:17(GOD’S WORD Translation)
17Since Jesus knew what they were thinking, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is ruined. A house divided against itself falls."

On June 16, 1858, at the Springfield, Illinois, statehouse for the Republican State Convention, Abraham Lincoln gave what was thought at the time to be a very politically incorrect speech in which he referenced this statement from Jesus. In the speech, where he was rallying his fellow Republicans to not give up in the battle to resolve the slavery debate, he stated that "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

He was speaking about the confusion that existed about whether a new state should be admitted into the Union as slave or free. His statement was meant to say that in one way or the other, the debate would somehow be settled. In a few short years from this date, the United States would be embroiled in the Civil War that would cost hundreds of thousands of lives to finally settle the issue.

Over the last few decades, there has arisen a split in this country over a secular government that dismisses any government intervention in the morality of its citizens, but promotes the government interference in the economic freedoms of the people, versus a government that allowed its citizens freedom to pursue economic and personal freedom, within the moral limitation of government as allowed by the conscience of its citizens.

For example, those who are pro-abortion want total freedom to allow unrestricted abortion, yet it would have the government force citizens to have to pay for everyone's access to abortions. On the other hand, the other side feels that no citizens should be forced to have to pay for abortions if they are not willing, but feel that the unborn child has the right to life that should be protected by the government.

We live in a Nation that is very divided these days over many issues concerning economic and moral issues, and I feel that the divide is getting wider. These are issues of right and wrong, and you have to be on one side or the other. There really is little ground for compromise, because what middle ground is there in whether or not a baby should live? And, what middle ground is there between whether or not you have economic freedom rather than the government dictating what you can do and what you can earn? As in Abraham Lincoln's day, our National issues will be resolved one way or another. It is only a matter of time.

And what has caused our great National divide? My belief is that at one time in our history, moral and economic issues were settled based on what God's word found in the Bible said about a particular issue. The same was true for the issue of slavery. True Bible believing Christians were against the enslavement of men, because in Jesus Christ there was "neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free"(Galatians 3:28). All were equal in the eyes of God. Others tried to twist Scripture to make a defense for slavery, but there was no room for the middle. You were either for it or against it, and the Bible was clearly against it.

I believe there is hope for our Nation that can be found in our Pledge of Allegiance as approved by Congress in 1954. We can only hope to settle our Nation's ills and issues by being citizens that are united as "one Nation, under God", and can only be a Nation "indivisible" if we commit ourselves and our allegiance to our God. Through Jesus Christ we are truly able to live lives of freedom, and only through God can we truly survive as a Nation.

This is a re-posting of a previous entry I made, but it is as relevant to day as it was when I posted it before. Now especially, we are entering a time when our participation in the electoral process of our Nation is needed more than ever. The choice we make on behalf of God, freedom and liberty will define what our country will be like for generations to come. Make sure your voice is heard this election cycle, so that the voices of your children will not be ones of scorn for what has been left to them.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Our Civic Duty - October 29, 2014

Deuteronomy 10:12-16 (New Century Version)
12 Now, Israel, this is what the Lord your God wants you to do: Respect the Lord your God, and do what he has told you to do. Love him. Serve the Lord your God with your whole being,13 and obey the Lord's commands and laws that I am giving you today for your own good.

14 The Lord owns the world and everything in it—the heavens, even the highest heavens, are his.15 But the Lord cared for and loved your ancestors, and he chose you, their descendants, over all the other nations, just as it is today.16 Give yourselves completely to serving him, and do not be stubborn any longer.

In the 14th Century before the birth of Christ, Moses returned from the presence of God to the people of Israel, to present the law he had been given. The nation of Israel was at the threshold of entering the land given to them by God, and at the precipice of establishing a new nation. In his address to the people, Moses gave them the Lord's direction for what they were to do, and he codified their laws for living in the Ten Commandments.

Over many many centuries later, another man stood at the precipice of establishing a new nation, that declared its independence from an oppressive power, and were waged in a war that would determine the existence of the new nation. As he led his troops in battle and later as he led the new nation as its first President, George Washington often depended on his faith in Jesus Christ and his knowledge of the word of God. In the following statement, he too lays out directions for what they were to do:

"While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian."
--The Writings of Washington, pp. 342-343

As we contemplate our actions leading up to this years mid-term elections, and we make very important decisions on who will steer the direction of our Nation over the next few years, let's embrace the admonition of George Washington, and let's take to heart these words from Moses that are as true today as they were over 3000 years ago:

"...the Lord cared for and loved your ancestors, and he chose you, their descendants, over all the other nations, just as it is today. Give yourselves completely to serving him, and do not be stubborn any longer."
--Deuteronomy 10:15-16(NCV)

Drawing from John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance 1948 Ad George Washington: John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company of Boston, Massachusetts ran this paper advertisement that came from a 1948 magazine and features New England's largest financial institution titled He took a new job and the world changed is George Washington. Ad tells of some Washington history of being a fisherman, farmer in Virginia, a school master in Connecticut.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Who Will Go? - October 28, 2014

Isaiah 6:1,5,8-10 (New Century Version)
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a very high throne. His long robe filled the Temple.
5 I said, "Oh, no! I will be destroyed. I am not pure, and I live among people who are not pure, but I have seen the King, the Lord All-Powerful."
8 Then I heard the Lord's voice, saying, "Whom can I send? Who will go for us?" So I said, "Here I am. Send me!"

In the year 740 B.C., the prophet Isaiah was called to speak for God to the people of Israel. He went on to prophecy to them that their nation would come to an end. They had strayed from the worship and reverence of the One true God, who had established their country and had given them their land. In response to the blessings of God, they went on to worship other pagan gods, carry out detestable acts and fall into corruption and sin.

God went on to send numerous prophets to warn the people of their impending destruction, but they hardened their hearts and didn't listen. Israel went eventually was conquered and exiled, returned and conquered again, until finally in 70 A.D., the Romans crushed a Jewish rebellion, Jerusalem was destroyed, and the Jewish people were scattered through out the world. They would not officially return to their God given land until almost 1900 years later, when in 1948 the State of Israel was re-established.

Today, we as a Nation are faced with the same situation. We are a corrupt and sinful country that has turned its back on God. On a much smaller level, we come across people around us at work and in our own households, that are lost and fallen away from God. In face of this situation, who will God send to turn the heart of the Nation? In our generation, who will go for God? Who will be the difference maker in the lives of the lost people around us, as they struggle to find their way in this land? Are we as ready as Isaiah was to say, "Here I am. Send me!"

Monday, October 27, 2014

Inside Baseball - October 27, 2014

Psalm 16:8 (New International Version)
8 I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

I have learned that life throws you many curve balls, to use a baseball term. No matter what day it is, most of them end up with some sort of problem to deal with. As a Christian, you may have thought that life would be very idyllic. You may have thought that nothing would go wrong. Truth is our Savior promised us that we would encounter trouble, especially for following Him. What are we to do?

This verse from the Book of Psalm is a great place to start. As this verse says, I have learned to always put God first in all things. I approach each day, committing myself to God and His purposes. I try to grab onto wisdom from His word, to give me the guidance and support to make it through the day, and to overcome anything that is thrown at me. In other words, "I have set the Lord always before me".

With God on the field with you, as the lead off batter, I can be sure that I will be a winner in the game of life. Commit your day to Him and you will find yourself winning at life as well.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Waiting on God - October 26, 2014

Psalm 27:14(New King James Version)
14 Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Galatians 4:4-5(New Living Translation)
4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.

We are a very busy society, used to things happening at a fast pace. Every aspect of life around us is busy, and because of this we have become increasingly in patient with everything. Nothing can happen soon enough, and we want everything done yesterday. Because of this tendency that has ingrained itself in our lives, we have to have a solution to our problems and difficulties instantly. We can't wait for things to work themselves out; we want it fixed now!

One of the biggest lessons we need to learn from our Christian lives is how to wait. When Adam and Eve fell, we would have expected that God would turn right around and resolve the issue. Unfortunately, if that would have happened, we might not be here today. He worked through generations and accomplished our salvation at just the right time; His time. God's timetable is not our timetable, and He will accomplish things in the time and manner that He sees fit.

I know that it is easy to be impatient during times of trouble, wanting God to take it away, but what we need to be asking is for God to teach us during this time. We need to learn to wait on the Lord, understanding that in His time He will set things right. In doing so, we will learn that our present circumstances are just temporary and that when we trust in God, He will work every situation out for our good.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

True Riches - October 25, 2014

Luke 12:15-21 (New International Reader's Version)15 Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against wanting to have more and more things. Life is not made up of how much a person has."

16 Then Jesus told them a story. He said, "A certain rich man's land produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, 'What should I do? I don't have any place to store my crops.' 18 "Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my storerooms and build bigger ones. I will store all my grain and my other things in them. 19 I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things stored away for many years. Take life easy. Eat, drink and have a good time." ' 20 "But God said to him, 'You foolish man! This very night I will take your life away from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'

21 "That is how it will be for anyone who stores things away for himself but is not rich in God's eyes."

One of the biggest problems in today's society is the proper focus concerning money and the accumulation of wealth. We all get caught up in the pursuit of more and more money. What is your focus in regards to money and what you have been blessed with? Is it to save what you receive only for material possessions and retirement?

In the Book of Luke's version of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was asked to resolve a dispute a man had with his brother, concerning the fair division of their inheritance. Questioning the man as to why he was asking Jesus to be the judge and arbitrator, he related the parable noted above. Note that we are told that the man was rich, and that his lands produced a good crop.

Obviously he had been very blessed, and since "all good things come from above", the right focus would have been to acknowledge God for His blessings, and to seek God as to how he should distribute what he had been given. Instead, the man was focused only on himself, and on top of hoarding what he had for himself, he desired to store away even more. Because of the man's foolish focus on only himself, God takes it all away, even the man's life.

Jesus's teaching is very clear here, and it gives us great "food" for thought as we consider what true wealth is all about. God provides us with everything we have; our money and possessions; our very lives. He expects us to have proper focus in regards to the blessings He gives us. The message to the man and audience as well is that his concern is wrongly placed in God's mind.

First, we need to always acknowledge that God is our provider, and second, we need to seek Him when it comes to how we use what we have been given. Third, we need to share the blessings that come to us, be it money or financial, or be it talent or ability. In God's economy it does not matter the amount of money and wealth you have, but the heart in which it is received and how it is ultimately utilized. As you increase your understanding about true wealth, seek the riches God offers in your investment in the eternal.

Friday, October 24, 2014

What You Mean to God - October 24, 2014

Psalm 8 (New International Version)
1 LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.

2 Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against 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 mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

5 You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
7 all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

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

If you have ever wondered your importance to God, you should witness a total lunar eclipse and meditate on this chapter from the Book of Psalm. It is one of the wonders of God's creation that is totally mesmerizing as you are witnessing it. You feel very small, yet when you read God's word, He speaks often of how you are important to Him. This photo is from the last "blood moon" that we had on October 4, 2014.

King David of ancient Israel spent many hours gazing into the heavens, and what he saw caused him to also wonder how God could work in his meager life, yet God chose him for a specific purpose, to do His will in his time. Now thousands of years later, David is a fact of history, and he is know for being "a man after God's own heart"(1 Samuel 13:14). David serves as an example to one blessed, yet one very human in his shortcomings; in other words he was probably like many of us.

You too are important to God; He cares for you, and He is "mindful" of you. As you get closer to being like Jesus Christ, and as you grow closer to God, He will show you what you are to do. Although you may seem very small, He has something for you to do on His behalf. Be sure you are prepared to do it.

Photo "Lunar Eclipse" by fyarrito, 10-04-14

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Prayer of David - October 23, 2014

Psalm 20(New International Version)
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.

3 May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.

4 May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.

5 May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the LORD grant all your requests.

6 Now this I know:

The LORD gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.

7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.

9 LORD, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!

He was a "man after God's own heart"; he made the main focus of his life to be fully devoted to God. Not that he was always obedient, and not that he never suffered from human failures, but in all things he was totally devoted to God. That is why there are many Psalms from David. He spent his time seeking and crying out to God, and when he was rescued by God, he would give him praise.

I call this psalm "David's Prayer", because each of the first five verses are prayers lifted up to God. These are prayers as simple and substantive today as they were over 3000 years ago when they were written. They are prayers that we can pray for ourselves or for others.

After these prayers, David tells us what he knows about God; he simply states why he has trust in God, and he compares it to those who don't do the same. He tells us that God does good things for His people, and because of this we can ask Him to hear our prayers.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Refining Fire - October 22, 2014

Zechariah 13:9 (New International Version)
9 This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are my people, 'and they will say, 'The LORD is our God.' "

Malachi 3:2-4 (New International Version)
2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.

1 Peter 1:6-9 (New International Version)
6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, 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, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Life has its difficulties, hardships and challenges, and many a new Christian has fallen back into their old way of living because of life's disappointments and problems. It is far easier to cover and minimize the problems by embracing the world, but in the long run God draws back to right living those he loves.

The process that we go through as Christians is likened to a silver or gold smith, refining the precious metal, by burning off the impurities in the fire. So too we are brought through the fire of difficulties, hardships and challenges, to help to us get rid of anything that hinders our relationship with God. Through all of it though, God makes His presence known by bringing us comfort through the Holy Spirit.

If you are a Christian in the midst of the refining fire, hold on to Jesus and the promises of God. Strengthen your faith through prayer, the fellowship of other believers, and worshiping the Savior of your soul. Remember too that as you journey through, God will bring you to a place of joy. All you need to do is hold on to your faith.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Higher Way - October 21, 2014

Isaiah 55:6-13(GOD’S WORD Translation)

6Seek the Lord while he may be found.
Call on him while he is near.
7Let wicked people abandon their ways.
Let evil people abandon their thoughts.
Let them return to the Lord,
and he will show compassion to them.
Let them return to our God,
because he will freely forgive them.

8“My thoughts are not your thoughts,
and my ways are not your ways,” declares the Lord.
9“Just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways,
and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.”

10“Rain and snow come down from the sky.
They do not go back again until they water the earth.
They make it sprout and grow
so that it produces seed for farmers
and food for people to eat.

11My word, which comes from my mouth, is like the rain and snow.
It will not come back to me without results,
but it will accomplish whatever I want
and achieve whatever I send it to do.”

12You will go out with joy and be led out in peace.
The mountains and the hills
will break into songs of joy in your presence,
and all the trees will clap their hands.

13Cypress trees will grow where thornbushes grew.
Myrtle trees will grow where briars grew.
This will be a reminder of the Lord’s name
and an everlasting sign that will never be destroyed.

In so many ways I am so small as compared to God. I am so lacking that I feel that He should do more than pay attention to me. My understanding of Him is very limited, and I cringe at how impossible my life is without Him. He puts me in my place by the sheer wonder of the world He has created around me, and to think that as great as He is, His love extends to the "least of these".

Everything God does has a purpose, and every word uttered from Him will not be wasted. Ours is just to commit ourselves to His gift of Jesus and to tell all those we know about His love. What seems strange to us, that the Creator would love and care for us, is the character of He who made us. As a father tenderly cares and protects his children, so too God cares and protects us.

If you have not done so, "seek God while He may be found". By getting to know Jesus, He will reveal Himself to you, come into your life and stay with you.

Photo from "I go to the Rock", Savior's Knee Blogspot, 11-28-2010

Monday, October 20, 2014

How to Succeed - October 20, 2014

Psalm 1 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

1Blessed is the person who does not follow the advice of wicked people, take the path of sinners, or join the company of mockers. 2Rather, he delights in the teachings of the Lord and reflects on his teachings day and night.

3He is like a tree planted beside streams— a tree that produces fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. He succeeds in everything he does.

4Wicked people are not like that. Instead, they are like husks that the wind blows away. 5That is why wicked people will not be able to stand in the judgment and sinners will not be able to stand where righteous people gather.

6The Lord knows the way of righteous people, but the way of wicked people will end.

It is hard for me to believe that more people do not embrace the promises of God. It is probably because so many resist even to read and study the word of God found in the Bible. You may ask yourself, what are they afraid of? I believe it is because they are afraid to face up to their own personal sin.

When you look in the mirror, whether you are a believer or not, and if you are in sin, it will be hard for your to be comfortable with yourself. The Bible is such a mirror. When you read and study its teachings, it will reflect the good and the bad of your life; it reveals sin, and it rewards righteousness.

If you do not do so on a regular basis, it is time you picked up a Bible and started spending time reading and studying it. You will soon find that it will bring blessings into your life through the change of your mind and spirit, and you too will succeed in everything you do.

Photo "Tree at end of Summer" by bertythul, 8-23-10, from stock.xchng

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Truly Satisfied - October 19, 2014

Psalm 49(New Living Translation)
1 Listen to this, all you people!
Pay attention, everyone in the world!
2 High and low,
rich and poor—listen!
3 For my words are wise,
and my thoughts are filled with insight.
4 I listen carefully to many proverbs
and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp.
5 Why should I fear when trouble comes,
when enemies surround me?
6 They trust in their wealth
and boast of great riches.
7 Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death
by paying a ransom to God.
8 Redemption does not come so easily,
for no one can ever pay enough
9 to live forever
and never see the grave.

10 Those who are wise must finally die,
just like the foolish and senseless,
leaving all their wealth behind.
11 The grave is their eternal home,
where they will stay forever.
They may name their estates after themselves,
12 but their fame will not last.
They will die, just like animals.
13 This is the fate of fools,
though they are remembered as being wise.


14 Like sheep, they are led to the grave,
where death will be their shepherd.
In the morning the godly will rule over them.
Their bodies will rot in the grave,
far from their grand estates.
15 But as for me, God will redeem my life.
He will snatch me from the power of the grave.


16 So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich
and their homes become ever more splendid.
17 For when they die, they take nothing with them.
Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.
18 In this life they consider themselves fortunate
and are applauded for their success.
19 But they will die like all before them
and never again see the light of day.
20 People who boast of their wealth don’t understand;
they will die, just like animals.

Do you long after the riches of this world? Are your pursuits after those things that money buys? Is your first aim in life to do all you can to obtain wealth? Do you believe that in doing those things you will have satisfaction? Has God been relegated to a small corner of your life as you pursue after these things? Do we hunger more for power, wealth and riches than for the love and satisfaction found only in God?

Many times in God's word we are warned against worldly pursuits. We are told that by doing so we can never find satisfaction and happiness. Any of us who have spent a little time on this planet knows that this is true. No matter how much we seek after the world and its riches, there is never enough and we can never be satisfied. In God's economy, worldly wealth is fleeting and soon fades away, but He gives us supernatural wealth in Jesus that can sustain and satisfy us for eternity.

Only by seeking God first and foremost in our lives can we ever be truly satisfied, and He tells us as long as we put Him first, He will take care of everything else we need. Only in Him can we be rescued from the world and given satisfaction that lasts.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Nowhere to Hide - October 18, 2014

Jeremiah 23:23-24(New King James Version)
23 “ Am I a God near at hand,” says the LORD,

“ And not a God afar off?

24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?” says the LORD;

“ Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:23-24(GOD’S WORD Translation)
23“I am a God who is near. I am also a God who is far away,” declares the Lord.

24“No one can hide so that I can’t see him,” declares the Lord. "I fill heaven and earth!” declares the Lord.

There are many in our world, that think that they can live their lives as they'd like without any repercussions. They constantly comment that they have plenty of time left to think about their future, and that they will think about God when they need to. You also hear them comment on their personal behavior and have the false assumption that God can't really see them, or that He isn't paying attention to them. What they say that what they do in private is their own business, and what He doesn't see won't matter in the long run.

Truth is though, God sees everything! He is omnipresent, meaning that He is everywhere at the same time. We may not see or "feel" His presence, but He is there. When Jesus Christ stepped into the world, He made this fact known when He told his disciples, "And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.”(Matthew 28:20b)Once we accept Christ as Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit takes up residence within us, to guide and impart godly wisdom upon us. Once He is within us, there is no place to hide. Everything we do is under His caring eye.

Since God already knows everything about you, why not bring it out in the open? He sees your secrets, so why not turn them over to Him? Why not surrender and confess all that has you in bondage? Through Jesus Christ, you have been redeemed and He has taken your punishment upon Himself. If you still are waiting to turn your life over to Him, there will be a day that everything about your life will be laid before God and judged. On that day, there truly will be nowhere to hide.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Generous Living - October 17, 2014

Proverbs 11:24-26 (New Living Translation)
24 Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.

25 The generous will prosper;
those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

26 People curse those who hoard their grain, but they bless the one who sells in time of need.

Proverbs 11:24-25 (New Century Version)
24 Some people give much but get back even more.
Others don't give what they should and end up poor.

25 Whoever gives to others will get richer;
those who help others will themselves be helped.

Proverbs 22:9 (New International Version)
9 A generous man will himself be blessed,
for he shares his food with the poor.

2 Corinthians 9:6-11 (New International Reader's Version)
6 Here is something to remember. The one who plants only a little will gather only a little. And the one who plants a lot will gather a lot. 7 You should each give what you have decided in your heart to give. You shouldn't give if you don't want to. You shouldn't give because you are forced to. God loves a cheerful giver.

8 And God is able to shower all kinds of blessings on you. In all things and at all times you will have everything you need. You will do more and more good works. 9 It is written,

"They have spread their gifts around to poor people.
Their good works continue forever." —(Psalm 112:9)

10 God supplies seed to the planter. He supplies bread for food. God will also supply and increase the amount of your seed. He will increase the results of your good works. 11 You will be made rich in every way. Then you can always give freely. We will take your many gifts to the people who need them. And they will give thanks to God.

Do you consider yourself to be a generous person? God has created a wonderful circle of generosity: He gives to us, so that we can give to others, and in turn He continues to bless us, so that we can further bless others...and on it goes.

We serve a very generous God, and He constantly gives to us freely. Our lives, relationships, work, income, joy, music, everything we have has been generously given to us by Him. He has even given His only Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins, and give us the opportunity to be eternally with Him. And Jesus, gives us the Holy Spirit who takes up residence in our hearts, and instructs us how we are to be generous to others around us.

The wonderful thing about having a generous heart is this principle, the more generous we are with what God has given us, the more generously He blesses us to be a blessing to the world around us. But we need to be sure that we adhere to the key to this principle of generosity, which is our attitude in giving. We are never to give just to receive, but we must be directed in love to freely give as generously as we can in thanks and gratitude to God.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Well-placed Trust - October 16, 2014

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (New International Reader's Version)16 God has breathed life into all of Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right. 17 By using Scripture, a man of God can be completely prepared to do every good thing.

Some may be asking, "Why the Bible?", and others might be thinking, "I have a pretty good handle on things,...why do I need I need the Bible for my daily life?". In our Nation and in the many of the countries in this world, the Bible has been ridiculed and banned from schools and public life, and relegated to the back corners of libraries. The Bible for many has just become another book of stories and myths that is no more valid than any other religious texts. I too have been guilty of placing my Bible on the shelf to gather dust way too many times, but in recent years I have discovered that it is useful and powerful as I make my way through life.

How can we know that the Bible is relevant and accurate in what it telling us? Did you know that the Bible was written by 40 authors over a span of approximately 1600 years? Here are some evidences that I heard discussed not long ago:

Manuscript copies that were used for modern day translations have been found faithful to the original writings. For the Old Testament, over 18,000 complete and partial copies, dating from as early as 250 B.C. as late as 90 A.D., have been found to be the same. This was supported by the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls in Qumran between 1947 and 1956. For the New Testament 5000 complete or partial manuscripts containing over 20,000 lines of text, only found 40 discrepancies of punctuation, which did not change the meaning. No other ancient document has more accurate evidence for its authenticity.

Archaeology also supports the validity of biblical scripture. There has never been an archaeological discovery made that has ever contradicted the Bible. Any search of the internet will give you a list of these, some of these are the Qumran(Dead Sea)Scrolls, House of David Inscription, Ossuary of Caiaphas,and Pontius Pilate Inscription.

Prophecy found in the Bible has long been considered a validation for what is written. The Book of Daniel lists in detail the rise and fall of kingdoms several centuries ahead their time, and the historical record of kings and kingdoms for which Daniel served in ancient Persia are supported in our history books today; you may have heard of Nebuchadnezzar, Darius the Mede, Cyrus the Persian, all are found in the history of ancient Persia, the area now encompassing Iraq and Iran.

Finally the continuity of the story told in over 66 books of scripture, over 1600 years, in 3 distinct languages and different countries, lead us to the One who has all the answers and His book, the Bible.

I believe that the validity and authenticity of the Bible for someone is in direct correlation to the amount of time they take in reading and studying it. If you have never chosen to pick one up and read it, you owe it to yourself to make it a practice in your life this year.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Salvation Living - October 15, 2014

2 Peter 1:3-11 (New International Version)

3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

When you come to belief in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, life takes on a whole new meaning. As new believers we are excited and have a hunger for God's word and anything that will continue your knowledge of Christian living. At the same time though, along with the joy of our new relationship with Jesus, we may find that there the more we try to do the right things, the Adversary(the Devil; Satan) will do all he can to trip us up.

You see, if your believe that there is a God, you have to believe that their is Satan. But Satan is no more than a fallen angel, created by God, that is always looking to torment those that are not following him and the ways of the world. It is his mission to lead as many as he can away from the love and grace of God as he can. Because of your new life in Christ, you may soon realize that many things you found desirable and appealing about your old life no longer are, and some of your old friends will no longer recognize you as one of them.

So how do you overcome these negative pressures and bad influences on your life? The answer is made very clear in the scripture verses from the Apostle Peter noted above. The step-by-step approach to "insulating" yourself is given starting in verse 5 where is states, "add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love." What's even better is that God gives you the divine power and ability to follow through on the steps.

So if your ready to embrace "salvation living" and grow deeper and stronger in your relationship with God, follow the step-by-step instruction from Peter, and you will soon see that you will have a new perspective on what happens to you, and you will experience the joyful life of following Jesus.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

On Fire for God - October 14, 2014

Romans 12:11 (New International Reader's Version)
11 Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord.

Romans 12:11 (New International Version)
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Spiritual fire, a filling of God's Holy Spirit, the reception of Jesus promised "Comforter" is the mark of a follower of Jesus Christ. When you are "saved", surrender your life and accept the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross for your sins, and accept Him as Lord over your life, as the risen, living, Son of God, you are filled with a constant companion. He helps guide you through this Christian life, convicting you of wrong and lifting you up in times of righteousness and joy.

I believe that once you experience a true conversion, you can never lose it, but Paul encourages us to never lose our zeal for God; never get bored with serving Him. After a few years in our Christian lives, we may tire of waiting for our coming Savior, but keep in mind that it is all working out for His purposes. Be about His business, and He will be about yours!

Photo "Worship" by Everywhere, 12-30-2005, from stock.xchng

Monday, October 13, 2014

Helping Others - October 13, 2014

Proverbs 3:27 (New Living Translation)
27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it
when it’s in your power to help them.

Galatians 5:14 (New International Reader's Version)
14 The whole law can be found in a single command. "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."—(Leviticus 19:18)

Galatians 6:2,9-10 (New Living Translation)
2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

Allot is made these days of being independent and taking care of yourself, but as a society, I think that we have grown quite callous in taking care of others. Too often we look on the plight of those who are hurting and say to ourselves, "It's not my problem. I have enough on my plate to worry about." This is especially true with our young people. They are more apt to do something to "save the whales" or some other over-exaggerated and over-hyped environmental cause, than they are willing to help their fellow man.

For a Christian and follower of Jesus Christ, this is totally opposite of what we are called to do. We are called to love those around us better than as we love ourselves. That means to go out of our way to help someone in need. This is counter to our culture, but we need to start being living examples of the "hands and feet" of Jesus, and we need to pass on this example to our children and others around us.

I even take this a step further when I reflect on the proverb alone. I believe that we "withhold good" by not telling others that they are perishing; that they are lost to their sins without Christ. As we go through our daily lives as living, earthly, examples of the "faith that is within us", be sure that we let those we help know, that it is not in our own power that we do these things we do, but it is because of the power of God that is within us.

Photo: © Marcy Maloy/Getty Images

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Misplaced Trust - October 12, 2014

Jeremiah 17:5-6 (New Living Translation)

5 This is what the Lord says:

“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord.

6 They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land."

These days we hear much about radical Islam sweeping through the Middle East, North and Central Africa, and gaining footholds across the world. Many fear that this radical belief will drive the group ISIS to start terror strikes within the United States. As scary as that may seem, there is a more insidious religion spreading through out the world. It started in Europe and the West, leaving a vacuum that has allowed radical Islam and other alternative beliefs to corrode the foundations of centuries old beliefs, and it has been creeping throughout our culture over the last two decades, reaching an especially rabid fervor over the last six years.

This new "religion" of sorts that has been eroding long established culture and morals, has been steadily gaining ground around us, and in our Nation. You see it with the constant barrage against Christianity and other religions, and its attempt to wipe out every vestige of any of the established religions. Practitioners of this "religion" use our own laws against us to assist in their efforts, and they have been winning, because those who do practice a mainstream religion seem to be apathetic to the problem. It mocks the God of our founding fathers, and it ridicule and ostracizes all who wish to practice the faiths that have made our Nation great.

What I am talking about is the religion of Secular Humanism. Wikepedia defines that it,"alternatively known as Humanism, is a secular philosophy that espouses human reason, ethics, and justice, and the search for human fulfillment. It specifically rejects "religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience or superstition as the basis of morality and decision-making."

In other words, it is a "religion" that trusts or has faith in the ability of human beings to determine how they should lead their lives apart from the belief in any supernatural, transcendent, being. It believes it can answer all of life's questions from the natural world and science, free of anything spiritual or sacred. And yes, if you are a believer in this, you are practicing a "religion"; the belief, faith or trust in humanity alone.

Through the prophet Jeremiah, God likened those who believe this way as "stunted shrubs in the desert with no hope of a future". If you have ever been in a desert, you know what this means. In the desert, many plants flourish for but a few short days when the Winter rains bring much needed water. Although they may green up and flower, they will soon succumb to the heat and lack of moisture, shrivel up and die. When you drive through the desert in the Summer, you will definitely come across many plants such as tumbleweeds, blowing across the barren land.

If we place our hope and trust in our own efforts, we may find ourselves in these same circumstances. In the beginning, it may seem like everything is great; we might be successful and having fun, doing whatever we like with our lives. Sooner or later though, when we are in an empty and troubled place, a dry and barren place, we will have nothing to turn to or depend on to help us make it through this difficult place.

We will wander about aimlessly, coming to the end of our lives without any hope of a future. Very few people that believe this way find true joy and contentment, when they come to the end of their lives. Most end up very much alone, depressed, and fearful of the unknown. Imagine only being able to count on the fact that when you die, you just decay and turn into dust? Can you believe in something, where that is all their is to life?

Photo "Wastelands" by Justino307, 4-4-2007, from stock.xchng

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday Praise! - October 11, 2014

Psalm 42(New International Version)
1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.

2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?

3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

4 These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng.

5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

6 My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon —from Mount Mizar.

7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

8 By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”

10 My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Tomorrow? - October 10, 2014

Proverbs 27:1(New Living Translation)
1 Don’t brag about tomorrow,
since you don’t know what the day will bring.

Matthew 6:34(New International Version)
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

In the busy-ness of today, we seldom really think about tomorrow. Most of us believe that we will have many of them, but we are not promised any more. We all are just one step off of a sidewalk, one set of stairs, one medical diagnosis, one crazy person, or one greasy cheese burger away from our last today.

Recently I was looking at a website that has been created for our high school class's 40th year reunion. It's been interesting looking through the updated profiles of my classmates, seeing where people are living and what they were doing. It has also been fun catching up with a few people on Facebook, and noting how many are interested in renewing a connection. It has been great recalling fun days and fun times, crazy hair and crazy clothes, and of course great music.

As much as this exercise has been fun, it has also been bittersweet. The website also has a memorial section, and it has been sad reading about those who have passed away. I pictured each one's face, and the numerous times and places that I encountered them in and out of school. No matter what relationship I had with them during those high school years, I am saddened by their passing. Some day, other classmates will be doing the same thing and my name will be on that list. I just pray that I left a little bit of Heaven behind.

God does not guarantee us another tomorrow; He is the One who will ultimately number our days. That is why Jesus made it a point to tell us not to be concerned about tomorrow. His message to us was that our concern was to make today the best that we could; to use whatever He has given us for His glory. He means for us to be Jesus Christ to everyone we encounter, showing them and telling them that God loves them. He expects us to wake up every morning, thank Him for a new day, and commit it to His service.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Divine Appointment - October 9, 2014

2 Peter 1:3-4,10-11 (New International Reader's Version)
3 God's power has given us everything we need to lead a godly life. All of that has come to us because we know the One who chose us. He chose us because of his own glory and goodness.

4 He has also given us his very great and valuable promises. He did it so you could share in his nature. He also did it so you could escape from the evil in the world. That evil is caused by sinful longings.
10 My brothers and sisters, be very sure that God has appointed you to be saved. Be sure that he has chosen you. If you do everything I have just said, you will never trip and fall. 11 You will receive a rich welcome into the kingdom that lasts forever. It is the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Life is certainly filled with uncertainty. We don't know what each day, week, month, or year will bring. Rumor has it that there are only two certainties in life, death and taxes! So we wake up each morning, not knowing whether it will be our last, and if it is, are we ready to face what happens next?

In 2Peter, in the face of false teachers and opposition, the author was writing to warn followers of Christ to be sure of what they believed. He makes it very clear in these verses that the Creator of the universe, our God, has chosen us because of His own glory and goodness. God is the one who gives us His power, through His Holy Spirit, to live a righteous and holy life.

All the good things that we are given are from Him, but we don't just inherit them because we are His children. We only receive them if we have faith in the One(Jesus Christ), who has chosen(given his life) for our sins, so that we might be reconciled (made right)with God. Our ability to have faith and live a godly life comes from God Himself.

Because God chooses us, we can be certain that we can enjoy living in this world and the next. But it does take action on our part. The action of placing our faith in Jesus as the only one that can save us. Has God appointed you to be saved? Have you done your part?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Good Life - October 8, 2014

Psalm 1:1-2(New Living Translation)
1 Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.

2 But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.

How great it would be if everyone would just follow the ways of God. Our world would be much more peaceful of we left it all to Him. He gives us the instructions, if we would just take them in and live by them. Then things would really be much simpler.

Unfortunately, we are a stubborn and self-centered people, and the Word of God is contrary to our nature. We choose to go the opposite way, so our struggle is one of overcoming the consequence of our behavior.

Why not simplify your life? Why not choose to read and live by God's Word instead of our own nature? Why not keep the good company of He who made you, and leave it all to Him? Let Jesus Christ be your guide and your life will be much simpler.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Spiritual Fire - October 7, 2014

Romans 12:11 (New International Reader's Version)
11 Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord.

Romans 12:11 (New International Version, ©2011)
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Spiritual fire, a filling of God's Holy Spirit, the reception of Jesus promised "Comforter" is the mark of a follower of Jesus Christ. When you are "saved", surrender your life and accept the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross for your sins, and accept Him as Lord over your life, as the risen, living, Son of God, you are filled with a constant companion. He helps guide you through this Christian life, convicting you of wrong and lifting you up in times of righteousness and joy.

I believe that once you experience a true conversion, you can never lose it, but Paul encourages us to never lose our zeal for God; never get bored with serving Him. After a few years in our Christian lives, we may tire of waiting for our coming Savior, but keep in mind that it is all working out for His purposes. Be about His business, and He will be about yours!

Photo "Worship" by Everywhere, 12-30-2005, from stock.xchng

Monday, October 6, 2014

Giving Generously - October 6, 2014

Luke 6:38 (New American Standard Bible)
38"Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."

Luke 6:38 (New Century Version)
38 Give, and you will receive. You will be given much. Pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you."

Mark 4:24 (New Century Version)
24 "Think carefully about what you hear. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you, but God will give you even more.

Much has been said about giving these days, but for the believer the act of giving takes on a very spiritual meaning. God is aware of everything we do, and the attitude of our hearts during the act that we are doing. He seeks for us to have a generous heart, giving of ourselves in generosity, and with that same generosity it will be returned to us by God. Don't get me wrong, I am not talking just about material possessions or money.

Our giving can take many forms. Let's say that you spend your time serving in a homeless shelter or helping with the children in Sunday School. This is a gift of your time and service. After it is done and you reflect on it, don't you receive as much if not more benefit from your act and gift of serving others?

God wants us to live in abundance. He wants us to have it all. He demonstrated that to us by giving us the greatest gift of all; His Son Jesus Christ as the payment for our sins. In light of that, abundance in living is achieved through the transformation of our hearts, where we freely give everything in thanks and gratitude to God for His unquestionable love. Freely give because of what you have been freely given.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Distractions and Obstacles - October 5, 2014

Job 1:6-7 (Amplified Bible)
6Now there was a day when the sons (the angels) of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan (the adversary and accuser) also came among them.

7And the Lord said to Satan, From where did you come? Then Satan answered the Lord, From going to and fro on the earth and from walking up and down on it.

Luke 22:31-32 (New King James Version)
31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

1 Peter 5:7-9 (New Living Translation)
7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

If you ask many Christians, they would probably say that they have a pretty good handle on overcoming Satan. In fact, once they are "saved", accepting Jesus' work on the cross for salvation, many probably rarely think about the work of Satan and his fellow demons. But the fact is that Satan is alive and well, working overtime trying to defeat us. Yes, we are saved and will spend eternity with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, but it is at this time when the devil works overtime.

It really isn't important to him to focus on those who are already on his "team"; those unfortunate souls that have rejected Christ and have decided to go another way that is apart from the One true God. God loves us all intensely; we are the "jewels" of His creation, and Satan hates that. He desires for us to worship him and not God; so his entire mission is to snatch everyone away from God that he can. That is why those who are saved, true followers of Christ, are so very important to God. We become God's walking billboards, living testaments, ambassadors, witnesses to the grace and mercy only found through Jesus Christ.

As the god of this world, that is doomed to destruction at the end of time, Satan spends his time as we read about in the passages above. He is looking for those he can "sift like wheat"; "devour". He wants to keep us distracted by occupying the time we should be working on behalf of Jesus Christ and God's kingdom. How does he do that? He uses the obstacles in our lives that will slow us down and will distract us the most. They are different for each one of us, because we have all been created, and been saved for a specific purpose in God's plan.

Think about it. When you are fearful about things are you a strong witness for Christ? When you are angry with someone at work or home are you a Christ like example to others? When you worry about personal finances and money are you totally dependent on God? When you are focused on your own difficulties, do you have time for others that need to know Jesus? We fail in our responsibility to tell a dying world about the salvation found in Jesus Christ when we are occupied with the "cares" of this world.

Does this sound like your life? The solution is found in the verses below:
James 4:7-8 (New Living Translation)
7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Godly Habits - October 4, 2014

Psalm 15(New International Version)
A psalm of David.

1 LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?

2 The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; 3 whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; 4 who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the LORD; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; 5 who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.

Much has been said about bad habits, those things you do over and over again that are either annoying to others or destructive to you. On the other hand, you don't hear about good habits that make you a joy to be around. Maybe its because we often are looking for fault in people, but nothing is better than to encourage someone to gain good habits (and I don't mean brushing your teeth or cleaning up after yourself).

There are habits that identify a righteous man or woman, and identify them in God's equation as "blameless"; these are characteristics that follow after the heart of God. In the psalm above, we learn what some of these are, and we are told that walking in them will bring us into God's "sacred tent", and onto His "holy mountain". Study them; teach these verses to your children and grandchildren, for in following these habits, we will gain the favor of God.

By displaying these characteristic habits, people will know that you are walking apart form the world and with God.

Warning Signs - October 3, 2014

Colossians 2:20-23(New Century Version)
20 Since you died with Christ and were made free from the ruling spirits of the world, why do you act as if you still belong to this world by following rules like these:

21 "Don't handle this," "Don't taste that," "Don't even touch that thing"?

22 These rules refer to earthly things that are gone as soon as they are used. They are only human commands and teachings. 23 They seem to be wise, but they are only part of a human religion. They make people pretend not to be proud and make them punish their bodies, but they do not really control the evil desires of the sinful self.

Many people go through the motions in trying to be religious. Other than Christianity, most of the other religions require people to do something in order to gain favor with God. These "works-based" systems of faith all think that if we only will do certain things then we might make it to heaven or some equivalent. The problem with this is, "how do you know that you have done enough before you die to win God's favor?

What if you do allot of good things, but happen to do something bad on your deathbed; will you make it to heaven, or is it not enough? One religion even perverts this to make zealous followers believe if they kill themselves or others in the name of that religion, and take those they hate with them, that they will gain salvation. How does their god, if he is supposed to be merciful, accept that suicide or the killing of others is justified? How nuts is that?

What you have here is many people going through the motions and claiming by doing so that they are making themselves acceptable to God. Even some so-called Christians try to do all they can to please God. What a waste of time and energy! Don't they realize that all that our God requires is the acceptance of the work He has already been done? Don't they know that Jesus Christ did the work and paid the price with His own life to make us right with God?

The only way to lead a godly, faithful life is to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. Once we do, the Holy Spirit indwells us and helps us to live righteous lives. Our own efforts are futile, unless they are directed by God. He will never let His own fall(Romans 8:38-39); He alone provides us what is necessary to make it to Heaven. Nothing that we do on our own will save us. Knowing that fact, why not abandon going through the motions and accept God's plan for you?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

No Fear! - October 2, 2014

Psalm 27:1-5 (New Century Version)
1 The Lord is my light and the one who saves me.
So why should I fear anyone?
The Lord protects my life.
So why should I be afraid?

2 Evil people may try to destroy my body.
My enemies and those who hate me attack me,
but they are overwhelmed and defeated.

3 If an army surrounds me,
I will not be afraid.
If war breaks out,
I will trust the Lord.

4 I ask only one thing from the Lord.
This is what I want:
Let me live in the Lord's house
all my life.

Let me see the Lord's beauty
and look with my own eyes at his Temple.

5 During danger he will keep me safe in his shelter.
He will hide me in his Holy Tent,
or he will keep me safe on a high mountain.

As you live in Jesus Christ, you can rest in the knowledge that God will keep you safe. Though you may not understand it, God exhorts us to have no fear. As David wrote in the Psalm, this song of praise, Go will keep you safe in His shelter and set you feet on a high mountain. Claim God's promises and have NO FEAR!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I Am Blessed! - October 1, 2014

Psalm 1(New International Version)
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
As I celebrate another birthday, I ponder the fact that I am truly blessed; I am grateful to God for the wonderful blessings He has allowed me to have. As I enter another decade of life, I thank Him for salvation in Jesus Christ, and for the love, patience, grace and mercy that He has shown me over the many years I have tried to humbly walk with Him. He has given me family, life, good friends, and provision beyond measure. He gave me the way out when times were rough, and immeasurable joy when times were good. I pray that He will continue to bless me for many years to come.