Tuesday, April 30, 2019

I sit...

How often do you just sit and don't DO anything? I mean anything. 

How often do you add to that nothing, just the thought of being still before God?

Quite a few times today a song by Steven Curtis Chapman "Be Still" kept crossing my mind.

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know He is our Father

How often do you just sit and close your eyes and open up a prayer time and just be silent?  Sitting before God in prayer but asking nothing.  To just be with Jesus.

Praying isn't about a grocery list for our personal genie.  Prayer is our part of our relationship with God. When the world wears you down, prayer is where you get refreshing from the fountain of living water.  Prayer is where you find relief.  Prayer is where you find comfort when you just hurt too much to know what words to say.

Prayer is where we get restored after we trip, fall and fail. Peter did. We are in good company.

Just sitting and listening.  You DO realize that Jesus can and does speak to people?

If we patiently wait, we can be given answers to questions we didn't know we had need of asking.

We can have things revealed to us that but all rights we shouldn't be able to know.
Have had that happen before myself, many times.

Prayer is how we get lead through the valley and the mountains.

So try it. Jesus often got away to be by himself with His Father.  So should we.


I had once been told that Grace means 'unmerited favor'.

It's receiving what we certainly do not deserve in light of how we really are.

What then is mercy?

The  definition that I read this morning is:

compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm.

Grace and Mercy are new every day in Christ towards those who believe.

It's an interesting sadness that comes to me when I hear of people who claim to be Christians who do not treat others with the same Grace and Mercy that Jesus gives to them.  They are judgemental.

There is a difference between judging and evaluating what is before you.  Yes, a many times often misquoted passage is the "you shouldn't judge".

We do not have the authority to enter into condemnation against another. This much is true.  However, as workers in the Harvest of God, we ARE indeed to evaluate the fruit of others.

God gave and gives discernment.  It's a valuable tool used to evaluate one thing from another. 

It is, like many other things that come from God, a tool with a double edge.

It can be used in its right way, to provide insight in how best to deal with people.  Such as the example of not casting your pearls before swine. 

It can also be wrongly used to justify berating others or simply not forgiving or forgetting the transgressions of others.

The key thing to understand and remember is the Grace and Mercy of God covers all YOUR sin. If you are unwilling to show that towards others, who are also claiming to be believers, then YOU are saying that the finished work of Jesus wasn't enough.  You are saying that you have the right to enter into condemnation against another.  That my friend is wrong.

Either the blood of Jesus covers all sin or it covers no sin.  Either His grace and mercy are perfect or they are not. It HAS to be one or the other.  There is no middle ground. 

Peter, who hours before professed his unswerving love for Jesus. Would die for Him!  Ended up swearing and cursing the point that he didn't know the man.

His soul was crushed.  He was even told what was going to happen and did it anyway. 

Now, Jesus had every right to withhold Grace and Mercy from Peter.  But He didn't.   Consider the rest of Christ's words to Peter upon telling him that he was about to deny Him 3 times.  That He prayed for him.  But that wasn't the end.  Consider how Peter WOULD have been like had Jesus not interceded on Peter's behalf!  After the Resurrection, Jesus restored Peter.  Grace and Mercy flowed.

Christians ought not to be like the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus day. Wagging their fingers at others. Looking down on them.  When is it ever our place to say that someone doesn't deserve what Christ gives us?  Notice the tense of the word. Gives. Not gave.

Grace and Mercy are not a one time thing.

It is renewed every day.



Remembering our own place before God should help us remember where others are before God.  If we harden our hearts towards others, where will that put us before Jesus?

Jesus said to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and spirit.   Love your neighbor as yourself.

Is there any room in those two for denying grace and mercy to others?

So why do some do that?

They themselves have a problem with God.  Rather than dealing with it, they attempt to deny others.  They are the ones who have a heart that's not right with God.  Not forgiving others erects a wall.  It puts up a barrier.  Since God's apparently not doing or has done something, allowed something, they are bitter and angry with Him. 

Get over it.

You can sit there and hold your breath before God all you want. He will remind you that He invented air.  Don't put yourself in a place where Jesus will need to deal with you. 

Show the same Grace and Mercy He brings to you. 

Life is more than movies, places to go.
It's more than the things you own.

All of those things are going to go away in time.  It's your relationship with God that's eternal.  How do you want Jesus to speak to you when you face Him some day?

I am so grateful that Jesus doesn't give me what I deserve. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

What it is..

It's interesting that in today's devotional reading I found the following from Henry Blackaby:

Discipleship is personally transferring the full dimensions of your relationship with Christ to the person you are walking with. It is not the imparting of spiritual disciplines as much as it is acquainting another with a Person you love.

In quite a few of the past 19 years I have found so called church leaders attempting to call what they were doing Discipleship but in reality it was just the imparting of Spiritual Disciplines. 

To me, it's the difference between reading the manual that comes with a tool and the creative finesse of knowing how to make it sing like an orchestra conductor.  Having tools heaped upon you without the knowledge of them, without knowing how they benefit you and others really makes them useless. 

A Disciple followed so closely in word, deed, conduct, actions, to their Master that they were covered in their dust. As it used to be a saying "May you be covered in the dust of your Master". 

Are you covered in the dust of Jesus?
To be a Disciple meant to let go of what pleases you and to instead do whatever pleases your Master. 

To teach Discipleship is what Blackaby said.  To show your Disciple your relationship with God. To show them how it got there, to show them how to get there. To not only give them tools, but to show them how to make them sing.
Getting it right is very important.

It involves accountability. It involves a commitment on the part of the Disciple and the Master. 

We live in a world with so much going on that the level of commitment and the level of accountability is very difficult to obtain as it was in Jesus's day.  But it's not impossible.

How do children learn to walk?
How do they learn to take that first step?

It's the beginning that's the most difficult.

It also lays out the life of the Master before the Disciple.  So the Master is to be following their own disciplines. None of this do as I say not as I do stuff.

A follower of Jesus is to be doing as Jesus did.  Taking up your cross and follow is to do what Jesus did.  Putting to death your wants and desires and taking up what Jesus's wants and desires are.

This world is approaching its end.

It's not going to be accepting what God's been saying about it, but we must still persevere in teaching others, in showing others Jesus. 

People in all honesty and bluntness don't want to work at getting something.

It's going to take work to live out what you believe.  It's likely why it says in the New Testament that eventually people will gather around them teachers to tell them what their itching ears want to hear.  They want to be told this sin isn't so bad. That that sin is not going to keep you from God. That being a good person is enough to go to Heaven.


Jesus is the only way, His truth is the only Truth, only in Him is Life!

His truth says no sin is acceptable. None!
His truth says none of our deeds are good enough to get into Heaven. None!
His truth says that ONLY through faith and trust in His finished work on the cross will save you. NOT Allah, not your works apart from a life apart from God. 

Where do you learn all this in detail? By Discipleship.  By being with other believers.  By being held accountable.  By obeying Jesus. 

Will you be giving up on what the world calls fun?  What's more important, obeying God or obeying the World?  You can't do both. God's idea of joy is true joy. Not the imitation joy found in the world.
God's idea of peace goes to the depths of the soul that the world will never achieve.
God's idea of love is more than an idea that the world offers, He demonstrated it by dying on a cross, after horrific torture. Then 3 days later arising from the dead.
His idea of love was to take your place.
His idea of love was to take your death sentence from sin upon Himself.
His gift to you cost Him everything. But because of His obedience to His Father, He now reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He intercedes for the believer. He's our advocate. He teaches us through the Spirit on how to be more like Him.
He forgives our sins. Casts them as far as the East is from the West. Remembering them no more. He cares for you in every moment of your life to say that "I am here. Trust me." He promised to never leave us or forsake us.  He keeps every promise He has ever made.

Would you rather know that kind of love or this beyond watered down lie the world calls love?

There's been many a man who have tried to experience all this life has to offer.  But the most detailed truth boils down to what it says in Ecclesiastes: vanity of vanities all is vanity.  It is all a waste apart from a real relationship with God. Wasted time, wasted effort.  You can try the world's escapes but will end up where you started having wasted time getting there.

I would rather learn more from Jesus than any other person in history.  I want to know more.  I pray to be shown more. I share what God shares with me.  The best discussions I have ever had are with people about what God has shared with them.

Jesus thought so much of me. Sinful, saturated in sin, me, to think of me when He was being beaten. I was worth it to Him.
Jesus thought so much of me. Sinful saturated in sin me, to think of me when He took the lashings.  I was worth it to Him.
Jesus thought so much of me. Sinful saturated in sin me, to think of me when the nails were being driven in. I was worth it to Him.

He said that I was worth it to Him.  If by dying He could save me, He would do it. 
If by dying He could make me right before God, He would do it.
If by dying He could wash away the stench and grime of sin from me, so that I could stand before Him. He would do it.

He did it.

For you too. Come as you are.  You can never wash off what sin has done to you.

Only Jesus has the power to cleanse you.

Don't waste another moment thinking you have to get your life straight.  I will save you the effort.  You can't. You won't.

Come to Christ as you are. Learn from Him.  He will take away your sin. Give you a new life in Him. 

Then you will find what you have been trying to find all your life. 

Then seek out a Church that preaches and teaches the whole Bible.  One that will help you grow in Christ.  One that will help you become a Disciple of Christ.

Jesus said my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  Trust Him.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

What is the door? Are you in it?

As I was reading this morning something occurred to me.  As the writer of the devotional was saying Jesus said that He is the door. Jesus also says to Ask, Seek and Knock.

But consider what we as Christians keep saying about doors of this opportunity or that opportunity.  Oh that door was closed, oh that door was opened.

Go back to what Jesus said. He is the door.

In Christ you are always standing in the doorway if your relationship with God is where it should be.  There is no closing of a door.  Jesus is the way. As long as you are walking with Him, your always in an open door.

The writer of the devotional also was pointing out that we judge our circumstances by what we see and not by what God sees.

His example was Paul and Silas.  Thrown in jail.  Oh no the door of their serving was closed! They were going to be done for.  No. God hadn't left. They were still working with Jesus.  The Lord showed up n the Philippian jailer and his household were saved. A prison ministry was the next part of God's plans.

We shouldn't judge our circumstances by what we see.  God doesn't.

I pray often for God to show me more. I need His understanding to go with what I am shown.  Only the Spirit of God can reveal the things of the Spirit.  I am still a child of God, learning how to be a child of God.  A Child learns from the one doing the teaching. 

Was reading in my Bible Plan today and as God would have it, it was the passage where Solomon had a dream about a conversation with the Lord.  He prayed for wisdom.  Look at Daniel, he prayed for understanding of dreams.  Notice that God answered them both.  I am often blown away by the WOW moments when God connects the dots.

Sometimes I have to wait for enough to connect to be able to write.  It's awesome at what God reveals.  There are even times He reveals things about other people that I shouldn't be able to know.  Yet I read in the Bible of times He did that for others too. So I am in good company.
It's nothing within me that makes me worthy of any of this. It likely has to do with giving up my wants for His plans. Giving up on my desires for His Will.

As Henry Blackaby said also "If you are walking daily with the Lord, you will not have to find God's will—you will already be in it."

The eye of the storm is the safest place to be.  Interestingly enough think of what they tell in dangerous storms.  Stand in the doorway. 

Are you?

In the Headlines of Today

"But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge;" Acts 4:19

Goes for today too, when standing on God's Word is under attack.  When agendas within the Church and without don't align with God's Word.  When you are confronted by people about your beliefs. Don't be afraid of those you face.  It says in Luke 12:12 "for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."  The lines in the sand are getting deeper. This world is not falling to global warming.  It's being prepared for the events of the book of Revelation.  Both the planet and the people.  Matthew 24:37-39 "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,  and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be."  The kind of people at that time is what people are today "The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time." Genesis 6:5.

Sensationalism in the media is being used as a weapon to attack believers. It's being used to strip away the rights if people.  Evil is certainly on the rise.  But Jesus said not to be afraid.  He is with those who are His. We are being attacked on TV, in the movies and at work. In social media and just out in public.  Those who say we are being intolerant are themselves being intolerant.  But again Jesus said "I have overcome the world."

We are Soldiers in this Spiritual battle of this life.  Revealing the darkness with the light of Jesus.  It's not our light that shines in the world.  John 1:4-5 "In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." When the Father looks at a believer,  He sees Jesus.

Paul tells us that he fought the good fight.  1 Timothy 6:12 "Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." 2 Timothy 4:7-8 " I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;  in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing."

Paul also reminds us of being soldiers for the Cross of Christ.  2 Timothy 2:3-4 "Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier."

Put off the old self, put on Christ.  Ephesians 4:22-24 "that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,  and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.We are given the tactics of the enemy of Christ. Jesus said that the world would hate believers not because of what they did, but because of Christ in them."

Spiritual blindness is everywhere.  Evil is everywhere.   Within the Church, warnings are given above people gathering for themselves teachers who tell them what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,"

Jesus warns 7 churches in Revelation.  All those churches no longer exist.  He is watching all churches in this world. 

Peace and safety!  Is the cry of the headlines.  People want it but don't realize it will never come apart from God.  Jesus said that people will want peace and safety.   1 Thessalonians 5:3 "While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape."  They want it but in their terms, not God's.  They still want to be the god of this world without acknowledging the Creator of all things.

But why?  As it also says about how intense the events of Revelation are.  If these things had not been shortened, no one would survive.  All men and women everywhere will be without excuse.  Romans 1:20 "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."

Every knee shall bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, not us, but Jesus.  Philippians 2:10-11 "so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

The Gift of Salvation is free. There are no hidden fees, no hidden catches.  It's simple.  Romans 10:9 "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;"  Jesus promises abundant life for those who have put their faith and trust in Him.  Not necessarily worldly riches but blessings nonetheless. Internal peace that cannot be explained.  Answers to prayers that are incredible. 
A life that is truly lived. 

Go ahead and read the end. Revelation spells it out. God is a God of love, but that love demands God's justice.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

My Testimony

Well, to put it correctly…Jesus let me know He was looking for me in December 1974.  Which means I was about 7 years old.   Saved at a very young age!  But…I only wish I knew then what I know now.   I can remember being excited the day I was going forward in the church…could not wait for the sermon to end and the invitation to be given.  Can remember being in the Pastor’s office afterwards with some Elders, being given a little book that had much of the book of John in it.  Can remember praying with those men & affirming what Jesus had done in my life.  I was a ball of excitement…all ready to go to school the next day and tell the other kids about what had happened!  After all, I was excited maybe they would be excited for me too!  Uhmm…wronnnnnng.

To say the least it did not go very well at all, in fact it was a source of many to pick on me about for quite a while.  The shock of how that excitement turned to maybe wishing I’d kept my mouth shut was something I thought about for quite a while.  I wasn’t understanding why people were being that way!   Unfortunately, there wasn’t any follow up…so I really didn’t know if what I was feeling was normal or wrong.  I didn’t know who to ask…so I didn’t.  Looking back it felt like that went on for almost another 10 years.  Then I was more-so into the Youth Group.  Can remember an overnighter where there was a concert…Al Holley was the singer.  Can remember some part of that evening hit me hard…and found myself in a restroom crying out to God.  Not really knowing what I was asking other than I wanted something more.

In the mean time, life happened…got involved in things I wish I didn’t.  Spent two years at the Lorain County Joint Vocational Center, actually the last 2 years of high school were there for Industrial Electronics. Had lots of dreams that never happened.  Went back to school, for more electronics training.   Worked nights at a grocery store while going to school during the day to help pay for it.  That sort of panned out some…actually was getting jobs that had something to do with what I went to school for.  Worked at WOBL AM1320 radio for a short while.  Worked for a company that repaired computers, did installations etc.  That’s where I got my ‘official’ training with computer repairs.  The rest of what I know…I learned on my own.  Which takes us to another part of my life…my online life.

I had gotten my first ‘IBM PC’…rather a knock off that I’d bought from a relative.  Then I’d found…the internet.   Wow…a whole world that I could explore…and not have people using me as the source of their amusement!    I had that more than any one kid should have had while growing up.   Oh I had other reasons why I became a source of other people’s amusement…I was born partially blind in my left eye.  I can’t see straight ahead out that eye.  I can see anything else around..just not the center.  My right eye is ok.  But it always made for difficult times as a kid.  I couldn’t run well because of problems with it.  Also born flat-footed, so running was going to be difficult no matter what.  I do ok today because the shoes they make now make it possible.  Sooo sports was out of the question for me.  All this to show…that I did a lot on my own.  Had my own workbench in the basement of my parent’s home.  Experimented with electronics on my own a lot.  Practically paid for the Radio Shack store near where I grew up by all the stuff I got out of there.   And this takes us to what I was doing online.  First was the Web…then came Chat rooms.

Chat rooms were places I discovered that I could be me without being pre-judged by people based on what they saw.   Yeah after a time they could tell by how I talked of what I stood for and what I didn’t.   It also lead to at least 1 trip out of state for a vacation too.  Went to Indiana to spend a vacation with someone I’d met in one of those chat rooms.    Went well enough. Only was a few days and then I came home.  But I also got into some of the darker sides of the internet.  For a time, there was some experimentation into the pornography that was available.  Had myself convinced I’d be ok, that if I was going to witness to these people on there…that I had to understand the stuff they were messed up with.  Note to self: Don’t EVER try that again!

Months went into years with the internet stuff.  Mean time I was involved at the church I was saved in, that I grew up in.  Was the Audio-Visual Engineer, and for a time a Deacon in the church.  After the man I had learned from had retired from the AV, it was up to me to keep it all going.  Sometimes repairing/building sound systems to keep things going for services.  I liked what I was doing…really was cool to be serving God in that way.

Was back working grocery during this time as well.  Worked 3rd shift for 7 ½ years, then due to God working out a change of plans…ended up on 1st shift for the next 2 ½ years.
To say the least, 10 years of grocery work…was educational.  Not so much the labor part, but the learning about different kinds of people part.

At the 9 year mark…life for me was coming to a screeching halt.  I was about to hit a wall that I could not get around.   My ‘online’ world was crumbling all around me.  ‘Real World’ life was not much better.  Can remember hollering outside that spring of 1999 that I was not going to follow in the same footsteps as some of the others in my family.  That I was going to break the mould.   Then things REALLY were going down hill.
Work was harder than ever.  Online, all the people I’d thought were ‘friends’..weren’t.  Relationship wise, that was a disaster.   That story is for a different time. 

I’d come to the point of sitting on the floor in front of my couch in the home I was renting, with a gun in my lap.  I had checked to make sure it was loaded.  I knew how to use it…grew up with them.  I was hitting such a streak of despair of life that I didn’t want to go any farther in it.

Then, as it happens, God intervened in my life again.   The phone rang.  It was my Mom. Can’t remember what we talked about, but it sure ruined the mood to commit suicide.
After she had hung up I realized I had 3 ways this could go.  One was to indeed end it all.
The Second, was to keep on living in the misery that was now my life.  Or Three…finally and wholly tell God ‘ok, I’m done, do whatever you want with my life.  I’m done messing it up and never getting it right.’.   I chose Door #3.

Life began to change for me…some things just weren’t important anymore and others I could tell I was being convicted of that needed to change.

I had always had a deep interest in Star Trek.  Read close to a hundred books at some time or another.   Conviction set in…it dawned on me that I could just about quote you whole books…whole stories…but I had not read through the Bible even once.   I had books, and other Star Trek stuff.  God worked it out that someone I worked with was able to do us a favor, and I paid for it with my Star Trek stuff.  They could give it to their nephew for the next several years. 

All in all I think I read through the whole Bible 7 times.  Please don’t ask me to quote passages…to this day I still struggle a whole lot in recalling what I’d read.  Memorizing Scripture has always been extremely difficult for me.  

Other areas of my life began to change…all because I finally got it.  There’s no way to live the Christian life, if I’m setting the rules for it.  It will always be doomed to fail if I am the one telling God how it’s going to be.   When I chose Door #3…and finally unhandcuffed God…wow.

Work turned around very quickly.  Got promoted to Assistant Dairy Manager not long afterwards.   In August of 1999, August 17th to be exact.  I was back online again…but not the chat rooms.  Yahoo had a thing called Groups..and there was one…Adult Christian Singles Group.  I joined it.  Looked good.
Picked out 10 people of their members that were at least in OhioColumbus northward.
Only 1 person ever came on there that night.  My future Wife-to-Be.  Valerie.
We talked a lot online that night…in fact I still have the original message saved from that night on my portable hard drive.  Called her on the phone…shared web sites with her…mine for hers and hers for mine.  In a week I had talked her into letting me come down this way for dinner…that turned into me fixing dinner for her at her place.  Which was Spaghetti and Texas Toast lol.   When I first pulled into her driveway that night I KNOW I heard God speak to me.  He said “Ok, there she is, take care of her..and don’t mess it up!”  This was one of two times I know full well that God was talking to me.  We’ve now been married 11 years this coming November 1st.  The things God has done since that day!  I proposed to her ‘officially’ in the parking lot of an Applebees in ElyriaOhio.  That was 2 weeks after first meeting her.  Even at the age I was, I still wanted to meet her Dad & ask his permission.  Had the ‘Father-Son’ talk with my own Dad too.

The events that have happened in the last 11 years..go from the normal to the ‘God did that!’.    We’ve had our share of highs and lows..but I will say this…God has done far more in these years of my life…that I can see anyways…than at any other point in my life.   I love my Jesus. I love my God.  There was a time that for many many years, Satan had me convinced I wasn’t saved.  That God has left me.  That I was that despicable.
Had me convinced that I was such a low life sinner that there was no way that God would ever want me, would or could ever use me.  That I had no friends because I was so useless. 

But God has shown me, clearly, that I am in HIS hand and NOBODY is strong enough to take me from there.  It was NEVER me who found Jesus. It was JESUS who found me in 1974.  It was JESUS who started the relationship that we have.
Phillipians 1:6  For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Jesus began it, and as a song I heard in recent months put it…nothing ever touches me that God has not allowed to go through His hands to get to me.   We may be stretched, we may be strained, we may feel like we’re standing on the fires of Hell, but NOTHING will ever separate us from the love of God.  Hebrews  “FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES."   We may not like it, and it may seem to scare the whatevers out of us…but it’s for our own good.  Often times clay gets hot in the hands of the creator when it needs to be reworked into something new and better.  As we are in the hands of our God.

I could tell you stories of how God showed us how to know that coming to Columbus was where he wanted us…we prayed and a few days later the renter of Valerie’s home gave her notice..she was moving out!
Of while it was rented, a storm hit, the gutters were coming off…and how God put new one’s on it for us while we were still in Elyria trying to figure out what to do!
Of how God had moved us down here…and within 1 month to the day of getting the house and yard back in shape, I began working at what was called Sensotec, and is now called Honeywell-Columbus.  Doing electronic assembly work…that some of which is in Space…on Mars…the International Space Station…EVERYTHING I was dreaming being involved in as a kid when my dreams seemed a lifetime away.

Of how God had allowed my Wife to get breast cancer…the fact that I had to put my Wife completely in God’s hands to heal.  At first this tore me up inside.  In as much as that is something God’s given me an uncanny ability to do so, to fix things or figure out solutions to problems on the fly…I could not take this from her…I could not do anything to make it go away.  I admit that I cried.   For a brief moment I felt the typical hopelessness, but God had a plan.    How awesome is it when it’s cancer, but the cure for it had been found already…and it was of a type that a specific drug could take out.  What also came out of this was that God opened doors for Valerie to be able to witness to others because of this.  Both during the treatment and afterwards.

Of how God stopped an 18 wheeler from killing me in October of 2006.  I was going to work early, like I normally was…and I became the morning headline news.  A Swift 18 wheeler was running a red light at Georgesville-Philippi and I ran into him.  Many have said if I was 3 seconds faster or slower…either I would have been killed, or he would have killed the lady driving the mini-van who was next to me in the other lane.  This was the Second time I know God spoke to me…as He put His hand over my face to close my eyes and said to me “No, I don’t want you to see this.”   The next thing was two guys trying to get me out of my truck.  It was now 3 feet shorter on the front end.  All I had was a broken arm.  But God used that to make me rely on Him more.  It also showed me how short life can be when we take it for granted.  Up to this point, I was not one to get up on front of people.  I shunned it.  You might even say I ran from it. 

I ended up preaching my first sermon in July of the next year.  My now former pastor had to be at Conference and he needed someone to fill in.   I had figured Satan had tried to shut me up…so I had better speak up!
There are many other things I could share…but I was asked to try to keep this short.
I love my God, today more than yesterday.  He died on the cross, paid the price for my sins.  He arose 3 days later…death could not keep Him.   He lead captive a host of captives…of which one day soon I will be one of those He’s coming back for.   He died for me…He sought me, He bought me, with His redeeming blood.  I am safe in His arms. Safe in His hands, now and forever.   Charley Pride had a song out “He Took My Place”, many many years ago.  I grew up listening to that album.  That song was and always will be my favorite.  

The things God has done and continues to do in our lives is always incredible.  Valerie and I have only spent 2 or 3 times apart in these 11 years.  Neither of us sleeps well when we’re not in the same place.  We try to always pray every morning before I leave for work.  I always tell her that I love her.  God has blessed our marriage in ways that I could never count.

In my personal life…I find myself agreeing with Paul in his letter to the Philippians.
Php 1:23  “But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.”

I have heard the phrase “That’s a God thing!” Well yes, that sums up my life.  What He’s done, what He continues to do…yup, that’s a God thing!  I have plenty of reasons to look back and see what Satan wants me to see to sum up my life saying I’ve failed at being a Christian, that I will be left behind when the Rapture happens.  But I KNOW what Jesus has told me, of who I am in Him.  I am a Child of the Most High.  I love my God, I long to be in Heaven with Him.   Satan speaks lies.  Jesus tells the truth.  There are days I wonder how I will make it the next hour, let alone the rest of the day.  I do find myself praying far more often than I used to.  Often times while I work.  At just about any place that I am at, I can pray.  I can’t imagine a life without Jesus in it.  I think now of “When God Ran” by Philips Craig & Dean.  “He ran to me, He took me in His arms, held my head to His chest and said  “My Son’s come home again!”

That one phrase always give me chills.  Reminds me of “He sought me and bought me, with His redeeming blood…”  I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that whatever it holds, I’ll always face it with Jesus.   


It's an interesting note from one of Henry Blackaby's devotionals.

If you are walking daily with the Lord, you will not have to find God's will—you will already be in it.

He says also that the Disciples never had to ask what was next, they simply followed Jesus.  Where He lead they went.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Blackaby also said that if we are following Christ then we don't need a map. 

Trusting in a GPS can sometimes get you into trouble.  You're relying on a gizmo to safeguard your way from point A to point B. 

There's a line from a hymn that comes to mind "where He leads me I will follow..."

The question remains is who is in the driver's seat?  If it's me then I have a problem, since only the one who is known as 'the Way' knows where I am to be going!  I have made a great deal of mistakes in my life thinking that I saw the plan of God for me and jumped the gun to get into it.  I made messes so great that it has taken years to straighten out.  In hindsight anyway, from my perspective, that is.  Patiently waiting when I think I know often shows me there's something else that I need to consider.  I don't always remember that but thankfully Jesus is there to remind me, just like He did the Disciples.

The greatest joy is indeed to be found in a life where you are at the center of God's will for you.  It's only found through obedience and trust in Jesus.  Seek it today.  Let go of 'self' today. No amount of earthly joy will compare to the joy God grants in obeying Him.

Friday, April 26, 2019

What then...

What then is your life, but a reflection of your relationship with God?

In the end, there are only two kinds of people.  Those who are saved by the blood of Jesus and those who are not.

There are none saved because of anything or anyone else.

But think of that word reflection.

Think of your words, do they show that Christ is in you?

Colossians 4 "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person."

Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

It's the Word of God within you that shines. 

There are many many verses that speak of the tongue.  It too is a two-edged sword.  With it comes both blessings and cursings. 

What kind of fountain brings forth bitter and sweet water?  Do we show Christ Jesus in the way we talk?  In the way we act?  Do people see us as no different than them or do they see something more?

I have not always kept a civil tongue myself.  This is is as much to me as anyone else.  There are no secrets before God.  There's only truth.

There's no slip of the tongue where the Holy Spirit has control.  There is no sinful anger issues where the Holy Spirit takes up residence.  Are you a reflection of your relationship with God or are you reflecting you?

Darkness has no reflection. 

Words are the most vivid and powerful display of what's going on in the heart. 

This world vies for our attention.  Spiritual warfare is everywhere it's not just where others are.

It's unconventional.  It uses passions and subtleties against the very people it's using to its own ends.

James 3:6 "And the tongue is a fire, the veryworld of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell."

An old saying always comes to me after I have said something that perhaps I shouldn't have.  "Think before you speak."


Do people see your life and glorify God?
Or do they see your life and don't see any reason to?

Just some things to consider.  In recent days I confess my tongue has gotten the better of me.  It's lead me to getting frustrated.  It's lead me to say things that I had to ask forgiveness for.  It lead me to say "It's very difficult to write the story of your life if you keep trying to use the pen."

Our lived are not our own.

Ephesians 2 says we are His workmanship.  Jesus says in the Gospels to take up our cross and follow Him.

Doesn't say to go do your own thing. 

The days of the greatest peace in my life are when I am where God wants me to be.
The greatest joy there is is when I can rejoice with others at what God's done or is doing with them.

So consider who you reflect. Consider your words.  Do people see you or do they see Jesus? 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Vine

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Was reading this today in one of my devotionals.  

The part of it that stood out was the writer of it making the statement that it's the relationship not the activity that's important to Jesus.

We can be oh so busy trying to do this or do that for God, wholly intent on that purpose, yet miss the relationship.

The branches produce fruit from their association with the vine. From their relationship with the vine. As they received so they give. As he pointed out in that devotional, "He cautioned that if they ever attempted to live their Christian life apart from an intimate relationship with Him, they would discover that they ceased to produce any significant results. They might exert great effort for the kingdom of God, yet when they stopped to account for their lives, they would find only barrenness."

Seems to be a very direct tie in to the passage in Matthew 7 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’"

It's entirely possible to be so busy trying so hard to be doing this or that, to miss what's important.

Look at Mary n Martha. Luke 10.
"Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Are you doing so much that you neglect what's important?

I can remember a time when I got overeager to be involved with doing that I put the cart ahead of the horse.  I got so far ahead of God that I was the problem not the help.  I was now in quicksand in need of being saved instead of being in a position to help others. I was excited at first.  Thought I had it all figured out.  Wrong.  I was so very wrong.  I was missing the relationship.

I face many things today.  I am ashamed at times to admit that I still sometimes find myself on the wrong side of the cart.
At least now I think I am recognizing that and trying to get situated again.

I am not here to change people. That's God's job through the Holy Spirit.
I am not here to save people. That's the work of the Holy Spirit.
I am to be A light...not THE Light. Only Jesus is the Light of the world.  If anything I am a reflector of His Light.
I really do think Andrew had it right: Hey, here's Jesus! Come and see!

It's much easier when I remember that God causes the growth. Not me. I cannot grow unless I am being fed.  I am a branch. I am not the vine.  My relationship with God is everything to me.  It's not where I want it due to the sin nature in me but it is my goal and desire. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Can you fast for 6 days?

Do you fast for 6 days, eat for an hour or so on the 7th, then start fasting again for another 6?

Sounds ridiculous doesn't it?

How far would we get if that's all we did to get by?  Yet that's exactly what most who call themselves Christians are doing.

Jesus did say, while teaching the Disciples to pray "Give us this day our daily bread."
Each day that the Israelites went out to get manna it was there to be recieved. Except for the 7th. God provided enough on the 6th day so as to cover the 7th so that they would rest.

But are you eating more of His Word, the Bread of Life, than what you get on a Sunday Morning?  If not, then why not?
Jesus said He is the bread of life.

You eat physical food 3 or more times a day.  It's to sustain your physical body. 
You don't think your Spiritual body needs food too?  You face Spiritual warfare with no strength, no energy, no wisdom, no knowledge of what's going on and yet cry out to God to save you?

Eating Spiritually is as important as eating physically.  But let us not neglect the other aspects.  Eating is mostly accepted as a social convention too. Most relationships grow well when food is concerned.  How do you expect to have your relationship grow in Christ if you aren't going to Him for bread and water?
He too said that the Spirit brings forth wells of living water.  But why do you neglect talking to Jesus daily? Isn't that part of growing in Christ?

If all this makes you think, then good. Be thinking.  Jesus is not some genie. He's not some Spiritual 911 service when things go south. 

You are to be in a relationship with God. With Jesus Christ.  Going about your day as if He's not there tells Him and the world that you believe you don't need Him all that much.  That you've got it covered.

If anything in the last few years, I am learning just how much I have missed getting to know Jesus more because of my neglect of Him.  Because I wasn't reading His Word. Because I wasn't spending daily time with Jesus. Because I wasn't daily praising Him. It says in the New Testament to speak to one another in Psalms hymns and Spiritual songs. To speak to one another the truth in love.  To build one another up in Christ. 

Where in your life are you doing any of that?  Where?

This will not exempt you from troubles or trials.  A tree planted by the waters does gain nourishment, but it's the storms of life that cause the roots to go deeper and the winds that buffeted it to make it strong.  Not just the sunshine and fair weather.

Can a bird go a day without relying on Jesus? Does it? No it doesn't. Jesus said we were much more important than even a bird.

He loved us enough, and still loves us, to die the most horrible form of death.  We repay Him by going off and doing our own thing all the time?  Like some college kids who only show up at home to raid the refrigerator, get laundry washed, and never see their parents again until the next time?

Think about what you are eating.  Spiritually.  Don't go a day or half day without relying on Jesus.  Quit starving yourself.  Jesus said of the days of Noah people would be lovers of themselves.  Self-centered, self-seeking.  Everyone doing what was right in their own eyes.
Do you run off and always do your own thing only to cry out to God when YOUR plans aren't going well?  Are you wasting the blessings of God on your own lifestyle? Buying the best for you while you neglect God?  Jesus warned that people who did that would have purses full of holes.

Is that you?  Think about your life.
Think about your day today. Think about how much better it would be if you would only include your Savior.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

This Day

This Day I have prayed to be better than my yesterday.  Yesterday was rough.  The things in it were hard for me to take.  I know that I was not alone, that my God was there with me.

But still, His presence was to strengthen and to lead me through.  There were stones flying at me, Spiritual stones. Some hit hard while others bounced off.

It's to be expected! Jesus said to expect such things if you are following Him.

Yes rejection hurts. You are expecting one kind of news and get another.  Was reading today of King David experiencing a similar sentiment.  His joy was turned to sorrow as well. 

I know not what God has planned but I do know in whom I have believed.  These days are still like the days of Noah, like the days of Lot. We do well to remember that.

I have another blog that I toss my other writing projects and such onto. Last night I discovered the statistics for it. My most read posting on there was my Testimony of Jesus in my life.  Of when Jesus saved me.  The path my life has been.  That was encouraging!  The country's that have been reading those things was amazing to see.  Jesus said to tell others of thd great things He has done for me and I did.

I guess yesterday also showed me something about me.  Was reading this morning about the source of the water of life within the believer. 

"For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water." Jeremiah 2:13

The writer of the devotional was both reminding and encouraging people to remember where the living water comes from in their lives.  It's from Christ.  Yesterday I was burdened but never thirsty inside.  My Wife brought me water but there already was water.  There was a load on me but the burden was lighter than it could have been.  Jesus keeps His promises.  I may not always see where I am going but as Psalms 23 says "He leads..."  So yes disappointment does come but it's only for the moment.  The joy He will bring will overshadow it.
Quite often we pray alright but aren't praying big enough.  We settle for less than He is prepared to give.  It's a lesson that I am still learning.  This life is but like grass it shoots up is lush and green and then is gone.  To dwell on what might have been is a waste.  Staring in the rearview mirror while the car is moving into traffic.  Not good.  You will be the next accident.

So as the writer of another blog reminded me, take those feelings and leave them at the cross.  All of them by name.  We trusted Jesus to save us, we need to trust Him to see us through the ugly stuff in our lives.  The letting go of every single thing that harms us or holds us back in our life.

Let go and move on as He leads. It may get dark at times, but He sees just as well in the dark as in broad daylight.  What is scary to us isn't to Him. He leads. He decides where the rest stops are.

Today is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Monday, April 22, 2019

What is a Christian?

What is a Christian?

Primarily responsible for maintenance of the gardens, plant collections, landscape, and grounds. Duties and Responsibilities: ... Activities include planting, pruning, fertilizing, watering, weeding, mulching, and pesticide applications, pest control, garden cleanup, and custodial tasks.

Pretty much the same thing. Jesus told many parables about workers. He was praying for workers for the Harvest.  His need for people was to do pretty much the same as that description of a gardener that I just gave.
The Holy Spirit has the job of causing the growth.  Ours is to go out and tell. Go and share. Go make Disciples.  Teach those new to the faith what it means to be a Christian.

No amount of urging on our part will ever cause the seeds to grow faster.  Granted we are always eager for results.  I can remember my first experience in elementary school about learning how to grow seeds. Great patience is required.  As I learned later on in life, your talking to what's been planted helps. Plants require more of what comes out of us than the oxygen that they produce, which is what we need. 

Many times Jesus told those He healed to go and tell others of the great things God has done for them.  Breathe out the words to others and help them see what God's done. Breathe onto and into their lives to help them grow.  The Spirit uses our breath and He waters. After patience growth can happen.

Is there ever an off time? A time when this isn't happening? Oh no. What God begins no one can stop. Our lives are like these digital billboards that always catch your eye.  When people who are in the dark see the light they can't help but be changed by it.

In the beginning of John it says they saw a great light. This wasn't the sun. It was the Son of God.

Light is the last part of a growing plant. Water, oxygen and light. Jesus says we are now the light in this world.  Let your light shine for all to see. Don't hide it under a basket. He says that too.

So be a gardener.  Care for those around you.  You are in God's Garden. Watch God work. Help keep out that which destroys. 

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul. Love your neighbor as yourself."

Be who God designed you to be.

Increase our faith!

Luke 17 verse 5 days "The Apostles said "Increase our faith!"

Then Jesus in the next verse "And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you."

A few verses later Jesus heals 10 leprous
Men on their faith alone.

He didn't touch them.  He was at a distance.  He commanded and they did.

It's interesting that Jesus notes that of all who returned to praise God it wasn't any that were Jews.

The Apostles asked and an example was given.  Jesus said that the Jews seek for a sign.  Yet it wasn't the Jews who returned to praise God. 

We have seen things happen in our lives that can only be explained through the faith we have in Jesus.

We have been in need and our prayers were answered in ways that cannot be explained by any other means.

We were in the far northern part of Ohio, over 2 hours away from a home we were responsible for and were told that the gutters had fallen off.  We tried to locate someone by way of long distance calls but hadn't been able.  Prayers went up.

We knew neighbors who were also looking for us. When we had heard nothing, we were going to try to come down to try to fix it. We called them and were told they were already fixed. They thought we had went ahead and got someone to fix them. We told them no. So they checked further and discovered that a company indeed was in the area to fix gutters on a house and had done the wrong house. Ours!  We tried to find the company to do the right thing and pay but couldn't find them.
The interesting part was the slogan of the company.  "Doing awesome jobs for an awesome God".

Mark 11:24 ""Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you."

Without Excuse

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Romans 1:20

Putting this in today's world "Can't you see what's right in front of your eyes?"

Decades ago most scientists were indeed Christians.  They were constantly seeing exactly what this verse says. Over 2000 years later and yet again God's Word is still proven true.

The laws of physics that man has written a hundred years ago also have the ring of God's truth.  Solomon notes the vanity of things. Nothing lasts. You have scientists who prove the same.

Scientists have consistently proven there's intelligence in the designs of everything around us. The birds, plants, animals and people.  There's no evidence of evolution.  Just evidence that proves the truth of the Bible.

Now take that further.  If indeed all this is true...then the rest of the Bible must be true. You can read it for yourself. You will find historical evidence that proves the Bible. You will see it for yourself.  Nowhere else in human history has any set of documents been written with the inspiration of the God of the universe.

Without excuse.  Consider those words.

Without excuse.

If Jesus is your Lord and Savior the you have nothing to be concerned about.

If He is not. What excuse will you try to give Jesus?  Because the question WILL be asked why you should be allowed into His Heaven. 

Being a good person won't cut it.
Having lived a good life won't cut it.

You have sin stains in your life.  You cannot get rid of them on your own. 
There's no excuse you can give as to why you turned from the truth. 

The only way to remove those sin stains from your life is through your believing in Jesus Christ.  Having put your faith, your belief, in what He did on a cross to save you. 

He's the only way into Heaven.
There is no Allah to let you in.
There's no other god to let you in.
There's no amount of good things you can do.

Jesus says the He is the only way the only truth and the only life.  No one comes to the Father but through Him.

So what will you tell Him?
Everyone has that question to answer.
That includes you.

The you that you really are.
Your changes to your body will be gone.
Nobody will stand before Jesus as a transsexual.  Nobody will be anything but who they were born as.  Living a life of sin as a homosexual will not get you into Heaven.  You cannot be a Christian and a homosexual too.

I know in whom I have believed. Jesus.
I know who is my Savior.  Jesus.
I know what His creation has shown me. It has the autograph of its creator. Jesus.
I know by the evidence of what He's done in my life. The words that He's spoken to me.  It's Jesus.

A day is coming soon that you will be answering that question.  Either when you die or when Christ returns you will answer that question.  You.

There's no avoiding it.  Your point of view on it doesn't not matter.  Jesus is the risen Savior.  He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He is the Creator God.
He has all the right and authority given to Him by His Father.  Not Buddha not Mohammed. Not anyone else.

What will you answer?

Sunday, April 21, 2019

I will come again - Jesus

"“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.  And you know the way where I am going.” John 14

It was more than enough that Jesus arose from the dead, He had already conquered sin and death. He had fully obeyed the Father.  Salvation had come. His Disciples were now Apostles. 

In the midst of that...a gentle reminder that He will be back.  The Father's Plan was in motion. The powers of Hell and Darkness would not overcome the power of God through the Holy Spirit's work. 

Today means oh so much.  Today we celebrate the greatest event of history.  Today we praise God for what the Son has done. 

Unfortunately if you are still rejecting Jesus, if you are still fighting the call to come to Christ and be saved, then this day means nothing for you. Why would you celebrate something Jesus has done if you have never put your faith in His shed blood?  This day of all days I ask you to reconsider.  To let go of the lies holding you back.  Let go of the idea that you need to get your act together before you come to Christ. You see, God only takes imperfect people. He takes all who would come just as they are.  It matters not what's in your past. It's your future that Jesus is ready to give you.  A future and a hope.  When is the last time you really had hope?  It's free when you come to Jesus.
Run, don't walk. The invitation is for a limited time.  As John 14 says He will be coming again.  Make today your new Birthday.

A Day like Today

Today is a day of remembrance.

Today is a day of celebration.

Today only is both to you if your faith is in Christ Jesus as your living Lord.

It isn't about bunnies or chocolate or even eggs. 

It had nothing to do with baskets full of sweet things or gifts.

It has nothing to do with special outfits.

Today is a day to remember the beginning of the end.  Today is a day to remember that when Christ ascended He took with Him every pre-church believer. The 3 day celebration in Sheol would continue in Heaven.  The place He prepared for them was ready.   The Church was born.
The final chapter of humanity was playing out. 

Here we are 2000 years later and the patience of God is still with us.  At any moment the great trumpet can sound or the shout from the Throne of God will be heard. 

I see the ever increasing tolerance in the media towards evil.
I see the ever increasing tolerance in our world towards evil.
What we considered as bad years ago is now tolerated.  It doesn't make it right, it does show that the Bible is true.
We would know what the last days were to be like...and they are here.
More and more sexual sins of ever increasing amounts and it's being publicly defended and accepted.
Oh that it would be on this day we call Easter, the day of remembrance of Christ Jesus appearing to many people as overcoming death and the grave, that it would be today that He would return.

I so long for the return of my Savior. 
I know He is with me now, but to get to go home would be so awesome.

Live your days like that could be the day He returns.  Jesus said that if only the man of the house knew when he was going to be robbed, he would have prepared for it.  Jesus isn't going to be stealing, but He is going to come at an hour we likely won't expect.  Be ready.

In which we live

For me, there are two views of my life. The immediate world around me and a step back to the larger world of life.
I am excited about the one, the plans that God's shown us about our future.  I am almost 'wowed' into silence at the other. Jesus said in Matthew 16:1-4 "The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’  And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?  An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away."

Indeed, I do look at the signs of the times. That's what brings the 'WOW' and many times a 'Whoa...'  People can deny it all they want.  Christ is coming.
The level of evil in the world is ever increasing. Sexual sin and all its perversion is increasing. I look at the news headlines and am disgusted by what adults are doing to children.  I am disgusted that we eventually end up with those in government that seek to PROTECT such evil people!  Murdering our own children is PROTECTED.

Well, as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be when Christ comes. Evil will be rampant on the earth.  Peace and safety!  That's in the headlines it's all you hear.  Guess what, the Bible said it would be. 1 Thessalonians 5:3 "While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape." Even if it means stripping the rights of others, it's there in the news.
Jesus is coming. 
The King is Coming.
Soon, and very soon.
There is not much time left. Nobody knows the day or the hour, but, Jesus said you WILL know the signs. You can stick your head in the sand but the signs will not go away.  Everything that the Bible says is coming will come to pass.  Everything leading up to the coming of Christ the first time was written and came to pass.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Two Sons, Two Sins

A rather interesting thing I saw in reading this morning.  A very famous passage about the Prodigal Son.  But it was not just about the one Son who went away. 

It was about both Sons and the Father.

There is the one who did what he did and ran off.  Then there's the other that did not.  The Father's love for both, to him, was to allow his son's to discover truth on their own.  What was interesting is by going down the road that the fallen one had, and returning to his Father, that one found the truth.  The other who was there the whole time had to have it explained to him that he missed it.

There is a truth in that just because you follow everything and do everything that is 'expected' of you it doesn't follow that it's obedience. 

The Pharisees and Sadducees are prime examples.  Move into today.  There are a great many today who think they are giving service to God but do it with wrong motives.  A great many? Yes. In Matthew Jesus tells a great multitude to depart from Him.  The same multitude who say to depart from Him.

Matthew 25 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

The second son thought all his years of service were better than his brother's life that was squandered.  Yet from his own mouth he mentions his own partying ways with his friends.  Something tells me his own obedience was on the surface. Knowing that just by doing just enough, he would stay in the good graces of his Father and still inherit what was left. 

Interesting to me is this can be overlaid with the history of Israel.  How the kings changed from one kind to another.  One squandering the wealth of Israel or the status of Israel to those who obeyed and back again. 

It isn't enough to have head knowledge of God, of the procedures to follow.  To have surface obedience.  To do what's expected.  To act like you are worshipping on Sunday and live your way during the week.  Ignoring Jesus,  living like your own self wants to.

If you aren't to the point of true obedience then you are not obeying. 

If you are not acknowledging that you are indeed a sinful person in need of a Savior, then all your deeds mean nothing.  If Jesus has not become your Savior and Lord your life of doing what you want means nothing.  If you only do what you want your life means nothing in the light of Christ.  Letting go of every single thing that is between you and God is necessary.
You cannot hold a cross and your world too.

A life that only looks like it's obedience isn't a life that's a relationship with God.

I want to be told the earlier part of Matthew 25.

Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

Both sons had a sin.  Both are the kinds of people in this world.  Both have a conversation with their Father. 

We don't know the rest of the story about these sons, but if the Father got through to the second Son then maybe his life was changed too.

He evidently was there all those years and still missed a real relationship with his Father.  He missed the life lesson his brother got.

Friday, April 19, 2019

What to Do...

I am glad that from the sense of personal experience that I can never know what a life apart from God is like.  But it saddens me to hear of people who I know who don't know that kind of personal relationship.

I came to Christ a very long time ago.  1974 I believe.  I can still remember being in the Pastor's office afterwards and praying for Jesus to come into my life and save me.

As a Micah Tyler song goes "...never been a moment..."  There's never been a moment, a day, a week or year that Jesus has ever been apart from me. I may have been far from Him at times but He's never ever left me.

Yet as I look on those whom I know that are, if they will be honest with themselves,  are struggling through their lives. 

Yes be honest with yourself.  Now.

Are you ready happy?  Honestly?
Are you putting on a show for others to see, hiding your struggles? Honestly?

Are you living for yourself? Honestly?

Come now, this is between you and God. Not you and me not you and anyone.

Are you stressed and are holding it in?
Are you fighting flashes of anger that are like a valve on a pressure cooker?  No matter what you do it releases when you really don't want it to?

Are you worn down and try to explain it away but know it's because you have been trying so long in your own strength that you about have nothing left to give?

Oh reader, stop. Just stop.

The Savior of this world wants to call you friend.  He wants you to be adopted into God's family.  He is ready to share all the resources at His disposal to help you be all that you can be in Christ.

The lie you have been listening to about how much you would have to give up is just that. A lie.

What you will get is a peace you cannot explain.  A love that's greater than anything you have ever experienced.  A relationship unlike any you have ever known. 

No more pressure cooker.  No more worrying.  No more.

What are you waiting for?  Why would you choose a life whose burdens you cannot carry over one whose already lifted those things up?

Don't live the lie, live the Life!

Either look for a post on here for Romans Road or Google it.  It's time.

History's Turning Point

Many devotionals go into detail about the significance of 'Good Friday'.

The day on which Jesus followed through with obedience to His Father.

The day that the veil was torn in two from top to bottom.  This was no small feat.  The veil was extremely thick. Was very wide. There was absolutely no way to see into the next room when a priest entered. It was also practically sound proof. A priest would have a rope with a bell attached tied to his foot. If things didn't go well for him they could only drag him back out.
But now..."It is FINISHED!!!" Rings out.
A tremendous RIIIPPP is heard a ways away, Witnesses there see the impossible happen.  This veil is now ripped AND they can see inside. 
Because of Jesus obeying, a way was now made, prophecies fulfilled.  Promises kept.  Was reading today of the promises being made to King David about this very thing.  Until Jesus died on the cross and descended into Abraham's bosom. David was eagerly awaiting that promise to be fulfilled.  Then Jesus shows up.  Imagine that!  Jesus shows up down there and all those who have looked forward to His appearance celebrating!  All those who were not in the side of Sheole were getting ready to leave.  All those who were in the part that could see Him were crying out for help. Begging for a second chance and getting none. In torment they were in torment they would stay until the Judgment day to come.  Jesus likely told them the same as He told the living on that day yet to come.  "Depart from Me for you never knew Me."

For those of us who are alive now.  Make sure you have Chosen Christ.  There will be no second chances.  Once you die that's it. End of the line.  The train is in the station and it's not going anywhere.

Jesus paid the largest price in history to make it possible for you to be saved.

Don't waste the life you have been given on worthless endeavors and worthless plans or things.  Come to Jesus....and begin to LIVE.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Sheep's Life

This is a small part from one of my devotional readings

"God's desire is to take you from where you are and bring you to where He wants you to be. When He found His defeated followers hiding together in an upper room, Jesus’first word was “peace”(John 20:19). Jesus’first words to you after you fail may also be “peace.” Jesus will find you in despair and bring you peace. Then, He will reorient you to Himself so that you can believe Him and follow Him. Don’t give up if you have failed your Lord. Remember what happened to Peter. God has not yet finished developing you as a disciple."

More often than not, one of Satan's most used phrases to us has to be "you're a failure."  That we messed up so bad that there's no going back.  That God doesn't even love us now that we have...well fill in the blank.

On the other hand his other favorite tactic with believers is to get them so busy with so many things that they don't have time to talk to God. Don't spend time reading the Bible. Don't bring a tithing to Church. Oh go one further. Convince them they don't need to go TO church.  That they are doing ok. Or they let things into their lives that become a silk rope.  A desire or pleasure that in reality is a strong snare or stumbling block.  Convincing them that of what they deserve.  That what they do isn't hurting anybody.

Spiritual reality isn't the same as physical reality.

Spiritual reality is anything no matter how small or how great can come between you and God.  Jesus said to deny yourself. Which isn't for the moment.  It isn't just saying no to something today and yes to it later.  Take up your cross and follow Him.  Think about that. When Jesus picked up His cross where did it lead to?
That is a deep one.  Are we doing things that please the one to whom we belong or are we doing things to please ourselves?

I was sharing what I was shown about Psalms 23.  I realized another underlying message in that first part a few hours later.  All the focus of the sheep is to be on the Shepherd.  Not on themselves.
Jesus said His sheep know His voice.
Back in the day, many sheep from many herdsman were kept in the same pen. When a particular Shepherd came, he called out and His own came to him. Not the rest.

Praying for God to show me more means needing to deny myself.  Means trusting when either Christ says move or to stay.
It means removing bad habits in order to live a life that is in obedience. A sheep went where the Shepherd leads.  King David knew sheep.  His 23rd Psalm was a revelation from God to him about his life.
But God thought so much about it's message to include it in His Word.

What's going on in your world?  Are there obstacles that Satan is using to keep you from being all you can be with Jesus? 

Mark 9:24 "I do believe, help my unbelief!"

That was a person who wanted more from Jesus.  He needed more...and got it.

That part of that verse says a lot.  A sheep who knows who it's Shepherd is has an unwavering belief in that Shepherd. When one goes astray, He leaves all to go find it and bring it back.  What you may not know is that Shepherd breaks the leg of the one who strayed and carries it. To reteach it dependance upon the Shepherd. 

Give up on the negatives that Satan is trying to get you to believe.  Pray the same as that desperate Father in Mark 9:24. Thar Jesus would help your unbelief. That your faith would be made stronger. That you would see for yourself just what habits or parts of your life that aren't compatible with a life that's taking up a cross to follow Christ.  This is what's changing my life. This is a daily surgery.
Letting go of every single thing that is identified as a problem isn't easy. 

1 Samuel 15:22 "“Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams."

You may stumble and fall. But get back up.  Return to obedience.  God does believe in second chances.  He showed it with Peter.  He shows it to everyone who belongs to Him.  Is there something in your life that you know you shouldn't be doing?  Then stop it. Give it to Jesus to deal with.  Are you discouraged?  You are in good company.  How discouraging was it to be through what Jesus did to be crucified? 
Raise up your head. God's not through with you yet.  His love knows no limits.
He will go wherever you are to be with you.  To save you. 

Listen to the Great Shepherd.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Father's Hands

Was just reading what many will in the coming days.  That of Jesus's last words "into your hands I commit my Spirit" being said to His Father.

It's so amazing to me that Jesus went through all that He did. Took the absolute worst that this world could throw at Him...all for the love of His creation.

They may beat Him...but He still loves.
They may mock Him...but He still loves.
They may ridicule Him...but He still loves.
They may nail Him to a cross...but He still loves.
They may stab Him in the side with a spear...but He still loves.

It was love for you and I that held Him there.  It wasn't going to end there.  His obedience made the way for that love to turn into the greatest gift ever.  Eternal life.

Jesus always believes His Father.  His Father gave Jesus the authority to lay down His life and to take it up again.

Jesus did what no other is capable of doing.  He became the only way to Heaven.  No other religion ever can claim that.  All the others are dead. Jesus arose 3 days later and is ALIVE!

The Father's Plan worked.  Jesus arose from the dead to prove He is both Lord and King.  King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Remember that this weekend.

True Friend

A True friend.
John 15:15 ""No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you."

An old saying is friends come and go. Another is that many times friends are in your life for a season, then either you move on or they do. Still another says that people are in your life at a particular time for a particular purpose.

What if you had a friend that was with you your entire life? From before you were born even!
Jeremiah 1:5a ""Before I formed you in the womb I knew you". 
How often have you sat and thought about how long Jesus waited to first hear from you?  He had been patiently waiting. Although when it comes to Judgment concerning sin, He indeed Judges, He is the master of being patient.

How often do you sit and consider that He is not only the Lord Jesus Christ, but He is also the best friend you will ever have?

His friendship is so great that He was willing to face death for you. John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."

You have probably, while praying, called Him, Jesus or Lord, or some combination of the two. But have you ever referred to Him as "My Friend"?  If not, why not? If you are saved by His finished work on the cross, then truly He IS your friend.  That verse hit me recently and I realized that it felt right using that description of Jesus in my prayers. Think about it. You have earthly friends whom you sort of confide in about you, your troubles, concerns, worries, problems.  I say sort of because in all truthfulness you have NEVER fully declared everything that you have ever thought, said or done to another human being. Yet in Jesus, He already knows...and He still calls us...friends. He loves us unconditionally, wholly and completely. If you are reading His Word, He will show you things you never would have understood on your own without Him. It really is an amazing, awesome thing when God shows me something new.  I get to share it back to Him and HE loves it!

So here's your challenge. Start using that description of Him to Him in your prayers. He is a personal Savior who loves to hear from us.
King David was and is considered a friend of God. Abraham was and is considered a friend of God.  So are you.

The Shepherd

Yesterday was rough for me.  Was very tired from that day plus the day before.  Add to a tired body, a tired mind and weariness is certainly there.

While writing yesterday Psalms 23 was with me. 

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

With what I have learned from life...
He is the Shepherd.  Not me. I gave my life to Him.  His words to me are to take up my cross and follow Him.  Where He leads I am to follow.
I shall not want.  Indeed regardless of how life's twists and turns have gone, He keeps His promises.  I may not have the absolute best of things, be it food or clothing or cars or houses. But I have what He says meets my needs.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
Last night I didn't need much coaching to listen to 'go to bed'. I was in need of rest and He provided it.  The sleep was good.  More times than not people miss the second and third words 'makes me'.  Anyone who has ever been around parents raising children know that babies and toddlers needs to be made to rest. They aren't all that willing to obey.  We as adults ought to learn from that.  Listening to our bodies when exhaustion sets in. When fatigue is coming.  When it's better to say no than yes when pushing ourselves isn't the right thing to do. Last night yes I had ideas of something to do, but listening when I am being told it's time to lay down was the right thing to do.
He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His Names sake. Consider that. Think on it. If you are in Christ, you are not representing yourself anymore to this world. You are no longer going around thinking of you and how you should be exalted. You represent Jesus Christ.  To do that requires learning.  Learning about righteousness only comes from being in the light. Which means in God's Word, in prayer, in fellowship with Him. In fellowship with fellow believers. 
Jesus said that you don't light a candle and put it under a basket.  No you light it to share with others.  I am also reminded of the fact that as being His workmanship   it's part of this verse too.  He will teach what righteousness is through the Holy Spirit.  What is referred to as the Paraclete...the other who was to come who is of the same nature and kind as Jesus.  We who were in darkness and are now in the light need to be taught.  I like movie metaphors. In the movie "The Matrix" after being rescued, and being awake for the first time, Neo asks "why do my eyes hurt?" The answer was because he had never used them before.  I don't put any stock in the storyline of those movies but there's a kind of truth in that statement concerning Spiritual matters.  Until you are born again in Christ Jesus, you aren't alive.  Your sentence of death because of sin keeps you from understanding the things of God.
1 Corinthians 2:14 "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised."
So I look for more. My prayer has been "show me more".  I can only be shown when Jesus turns up the light.  I live in a world of darkness.  The blind leading the blind.  That's my literal take on John Chapter 1.  We can learn from other believers in Christ, by what they have had revealed to them, but the author and perfector of our faith is Christ.  Not J. Vernon McGee, not David Jeremiah, not Any pastor anywhere. If they are truly following Christ and not their own ambitions and their own version of a vision for the Church then they are worth learning from.  The Berean church wouldn't even take the Apostles word for it when they taught. They went and looked up everything themselves.  If that example was included in the Bible then it's something that we need to consider.
For His Name sake.
Nothing that we do is about us. Get over yourself.  It's not about how at ease we are, about how lavish our homes are. About how much of this country we have seen.  It's not about how much is in our bank account or stock portfolio. As believers it's about the Shepherd. It's about who and what Jesus is.  He is the way, the Truth and the Life.  Telling others is what we do.  Andrew had it right. "Hey! Here's Jesus! The Messiah! Come and see for yourself!"
Ever really see how someone who has been in darkness reacts to being exposed to the light?  Don't expect people to be all warm and fuzzy about being shown they need a Savior.  Some react differently than others.  Just saying to be prepared.
In my life I was so excited to share when I was saved, but the kids in my school were harsh about being told. 
For His Names sake.  Keep that in mind today.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A Second Look

Yesterday I shared about not being forsaken.  In the deepest sense of the word the only person who truly lived that word was Jesus on the cross when His Father looked away.  When His Father broke their connection,  when His Father could not bear to see all the sin heaped upon Jesus. 

We think we understand the word and countless many believe they have lived either moments of being forsaken or lives that seem to show it. 

Just because God appears to be silent doesn't mean at all that He's left.  More often than not it's us who have drifted.  It's us who have ventured off the path that He's wanted us to be on.  Which isn't to say that in the midst of our not being where we ought to be that He's not there.

No matter where we are, He's there.  Some know what it means that to simply be with someone is stronger than words.
Right now, with me, there are indeed things happening in my life that I don't fully understand.  I don't know if it's a level of maturity or acceptance, but my degree of crying out to God to change it is much lower than in days gone by.  I know that Jesus is with me.  I can tell He's there.  I don't understand the whys in life but am trusting that where He's leading is right.
Life isn't going to make sense.  I have a brain that strives to put all the ducks in a row.  The math needs to add up. There should be an order to things.  That what I have should have a purpose.  When things aren't right my hardwired brain tries to go into problem solving mode.  It's a vicious cycle at times.  Faith means just trust when it isn't making sense.  There's times when figuring things out is the right thing to do and I am learning that there's times when it isn't for me to know.

It doesn't mean that I have been forsaken.  It means that Jesus sees a whole picture not the small detail that I do.  It's trusting in His direction,  if I indeed believe Psalms 23.  The Shepherd leads. Not the sheep.
The Shepherd directs.  The Shepherd protects.  The Shepherd.

I don't understand what I am going through today,  but my Savior does.
I refuse to give in to worry or depression or stress. It's enough that Jesus says "Follow me."