Friday, September 28, 2012

It's Good to be Married!

But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.(1 Corinthians 7:2-7)
It is good to be single and to be able to serve the Lord without reservation and whenever the opportunity allows. However, marriage is a good thing too and one is still able to serve the Lord well, but marriage has other duties as well. I thank God He has given my wife and i an opportunity to serve Him as a family and therefore we can kill two birds with one stone . . . or two ministries with one effort!
Oh it is is indeed good to be married!
One spouse does not own the other, as some may believe! No, God owns both husband and wife. We are however, to look out for the other and fulfill our roles as helpers . . . completers! For instance in our family and ministry, my wife is the administrator as she is gifted by the Holy Spirit. She has special discernment over things I may rush into without thinking it out. I on the other hand have been gifted with teaching and evangelistic tools and as the spiritual head, I am free to study, teach, and lead by the Word of God. Yet my wife is still capable of discerning His Word and I also can handle finances and admin duties of the family. We compliment one another and support when necessary. It is not 50/50, but 100/100 effort!!! Many times it is an effort too . . . Yet there are some things I must do as a man. I must protect my wife.(1 Peter 3:7) I must love her as Christ loved the Church. (Ephesians 5:25) I must provide for her physically and spiritually. It is not so much that she is weak, but vulnerable! God has designed man to do this.
What has happened? We have believed a lie! C'mon men . . . step it up. No wife will refuse to submit to a Godly man. My wife adores me when I am following after Christ and doing what He requires. When I do not, family life is in a shambles. I am accountable to God and to my wife and to my entire family. I am responsible!
Men must love their wives . . . then wives will respect the men! Love is a verb . . . . not just a word! (Ephesians 5:21-33)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Nothing but Fools?

We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.(1 Corinthians 4:10-13)
Nothing but fools . . . well yes, in a sense! As missionaries, many times my wife and feel alone and forgotten, yet we persevere. Why? We cannot quit on a God who has never forgotten us! We have to constantly remind ourselves that this world is not about rewards, fame, or having it all. it is about serving God in the area in which one is called. Paul experienced this day after day. he must have been rather comfortable as a Pharisee chasing down the early Christians. He was well educated and respected among the Jewish leadership and feared among the Christians. he has clout! Yet when Jesus called him, he left it all to follow Christ. Now he was a wanted man . . . but wanted to be killed! Though my wife and I led a rather comfortable life af government workers before being called to the mission field, we feel believe in our hearts that this life is so much better. We may never know if we can make ends meet month to month and we may run out of energy before the week or even the day is through, yet God makes up for our weaknesses and shortcomings. many have said we were fools forgiving up our jobs when we could have waited and retired later. But how could we ignore God? Do ot ignore the call of God. many times, we only get one chance. make the most of it. Go ahead . . . be foolish . . . God makes His fools seem wise to the wise of this world! We trust Him to equip us and provide for us as He sees fit. What about you?
Things may not always look good in the present, but God promises a much better view from heaven one day!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

One Team . . . One Goal . . . Follow the Leader

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1: 10-12)
As the Body of Christ, we should be one team . . . with one goal . . . following one leader. All too often, this is not the case. We find divisions, within demominations as well as within local churches. No team can be very successful for long with infighting and quarrelling. As it is a problem today within our various churches, it was also in Paul's days. I believe it is human nature to want to be the one and not to be one! Listen to Paul's words to the Ephesian church . . .
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.(Ephesians 4:3-6)
There is only one Good Shepherd! We all fall under His rule. While we may admire this pastor or that minister, it is not them whom we follow, but Christ. As they come under the Savior's guidance, we can easily follow their lead. It is Christ whom was crucified and raised from the dead and His Spirit which leads and guides us all. God is on the throne and His Spirit leads the churches. Let's not get caught up in worshipping the representatives of Christ, but rather the real thing.
We are one team . . . one goal . . . following one Leader . . . Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Reputation vs.Integrity

I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. (Romans 16:17-20)
As believers, we cannot live for what others say about us. We cannot thrive on man's applause. We cannot seek the popular vote. Rather, we must be motivated by what the Lord knows about us . . . in the most quiet places, when the spotlight is off and the cameras are off.
Reputation vs. integrity . . . which is winning out?
Many of us easily fall for the empty praise our friends and associates. We crave the insincere flattery and offer false impressions to be accepted. We say what needs to be said and yet maintain bitterness and hidden agendas deep within our hearts. We play the crowd much like a present-day politician. yet know one really knows us . . . our inner struggles and tempting issues . . . but God! It is not what man thinks about us that counts. It is what God knows about us. We mustt flee from the lust of this world (2 Timothy 2:22). . . yes, even the shallow relationships and praise of the world! Seek to please God and accomplish His will despite the world's demands and empty promises. (Matthew 6:33) It is how we can preach the Gospel without saying a word! Is our walk in step with our talk?
Reputation vs. Integrity . . . which is winning out?

Monday, September 24, 2012

focused on the heart

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall. 22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.(Romans 14:13-21
Some real advice to live by here from Paul. Do this . . . don't do that . . . this is right, but that is wrong. We are quick to judge others'actions, but not as quick to look into one another's hearts. Many times we accept what we do, yet say what another does is so wrong. As believers, we must be careful that we do not tempt others to sin by our actions. However, we must also remember that what is temptation for one, may not be a stumbling block for all. Be careful when judging actions and let's be focused on the heart of people, so as to win them for Christ! Remember from whence we once came . . .

Friday, September 21, 2012

Not so with Jesus!

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. (Romans 13:14)
Have you ever had a desire to do something or looked so forward to a special occassion, but once the time arrived and the activity was over, it just was not what you anticipated? All the anticipation . . . all the excitement . . . all the plans . . . and then the moment was over! Life always seems to set us up for disappointment: a birthday wish . . . an anticipated trip . . . an unfulfilled dream . . . a broken promise . . . a realtionship gone bad. . . Not so with Jesus! Anything on this earth pales to a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. One has to know Him for themselves to ever describe it. It's better than the best birthday present. It is more relaxing than the best vaction. It is more thrilling than the most awesome roller coaster ride. It is a high greater than any drug. It is sweeter than any dessert. Nothing on this earth can compare to Jesus! Relationships will always have disappointments. The best families will always have disagreements. We have to eventually come home from vacations. The buzz from a smooth drink will wear off over time. Drugs may give a temporary relief from the realities of life, but ususally leads to more complications. Jesus is a permanent answer to all of life'issues. Not that they go away, but Jesus makes life make sense! Problems still exist . . . that is life. Relationships may still sour, but that is how it is with people. Issues still occur because we live in a sin-filled world. What Jesus offers goes beyond this world. He offers hope . . . peace . . . understanding . . .and most importantly forgiveness! is grace is sufficient to get us through life and reward us with an abundant relationship which is eternal. The world and all it offers is coming to an end . . . not so with Jesus!
Do you know Him?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

THE Highest Authority

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.(Romans 13:1-2)
Let the politician beware . . . it really is not the popular vote that puts him or her in office . . . it is God who allows the victory. Let the criminal beware . . .even if we get a way with breaking the law (no matter how small the crime) God will hold us accountable. God establishes government and orchestrates the laws. He is still the highest authority and we all will answer to Him one day! The politician had responsibilies to represent the people, but woe to the one who approves of policies (even fights for them)that go directly against God's Word. Woe to us when we know something is contrary to God's Word yet we tolerate it or worse . . . participate in it simlpy because it is legal! Some things may be legal in this world, yet God commands us as believers to take a stand for HIM!(1 Corinthians 10:23) When push comes to shove, we must honor God, or face the consequences. He is still God. He is still on the Throne and He is THE HIGHEST AUTHORITY! Whether we make the laws, enforce the laws, or follow the laws, we are all subject to God. As for CHRISTians, well we even have a higher standard to live by as well. We must be SPIRIT-filled and SPIRIT-controlled. At times that just may go against the popular opinion ans even the law! Are we willing to risk our freedoms for the freedom with an eternal relationship with God? Are we willing to live according to the HIGHEST AUTHORITY?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Strange Advice?

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:18-21)
This is surely not advice you will receive from those in the world today: Do good to those who hurt you; Do not seek revenge; Be friendly with everyone . . . even those who do not particularly like you. Rather strange counsel in this dog-eat-dog world. How can anyone move up the ladder like that? Rather strange advice, is it not? However, this is just what Paul is saying here as he writes to the believers in Rome. The Roman government had forever been imposing taxes on the Jews and as long as they remained quiet and behaving, things would be fine. The Jews were seeking freedom, trying to get back at these tyrants who ruled not only Jerusalem, but the entire known world. Yet Paul's advice to them would be to remain clam, treat them well, even help them when needed and allow God to work things out. It is hard to remain calm and trust God when all hell breaks out round us. Our first reaction is to defend, fix things, and make the playing field level if you would. We desire to lash out or get back at those whom hurt us or keep things from us. Yet if we truly trust God and desire for Him to receive glory from our lives, we must trust Him and His timing. In fact, we need to be like Jesus . . . pray for those who mistreat us and even seek ways to be kind to them if possible. Our kind nature and strange behavior may just win them for Christ! We cannot be worried about those who seem to do all the terrible things yet still prosper. (Psalm 37:1-8) God does have our back. He knows our struggles. While we do not simply sit back and be beaten down, we still need to allow the Holy Spirit to guide our actions rather than our flesh. Let God be God and trust Him. Yes, it is hard, but remember, this is about Him, not me! Strange advive . . . but eternal benefits!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Not Just a Movie, but a Lifestyle

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God . . . this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is his good, pleasing and perfect will.(Romans 12:1-2)
We often get caught up in movies, actors, and everything else we see on the big screen, TV, and on DVD. However, this title is not just a movie, but a lifestyle! he Bible is talking about real life transformers . . . not robots from outer space! Paul is referring to you and me in this present day. Besides being one of my life verses, remnding me that this walk with Jesus is new each day, it is a challenge to not get too comfortable in this world. My role is to represent the Living and True God, not to blend in to a cold, dark, and disgusting world. I have come to realize that I cannot have it both ways. I am either in a state of transforming into what God would have me to be, or I am conforming to this twisted image of a man that the world would like me to be. There is no middle ground. I must not allow this world to grip me. I must give over complete control to the Holy Spirit in order show Christ to this world. You see, we can allow the environment to change us, or we can change the environment in whick we find ourselves.
Choose ye this day . . .(Joshua 24:15).

Monday, September 17, 2012

Picked for the Team

If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.(Romans 11:17-21)
I can recall being on the basketball court at a young age, much younger than my brother's friends, yet still wanting to be picked for the game. Many times I would not get picked and would have to wait for the next game. But there were the times when I would get picked (evn if it was the last pick). I felt like I belonged with these older boys and eventually they would discover that I wasn' too bad for a kid of 13 or 14! Each week I would practice to make the cut for the Saturday games.This experience allowed me to improve my skills and gain valuable playing experience from these older guys. Well, like those days on the outdoor courts in Baltimore, Jesus has given us Gentiles a chance to be picked for the team! Though we are not the older guys on the court, he is standing in the middle and pointing a finger at you and me, asking us to join His team. Though we do not qualify as mambers of the Jewish Nation, we are picked to be on His team. The question is will we respond? Are we prepared? Once picked for the team, will we work for the team goals and give it our all to please the team's leader? Will it be enough just to be on the team . . . at the end of the bench, or do we desire to be a significant player in the game? It is not enough just to be picked for the team . . . Jesus calls us to be a game changer . . .to play a role in His game plan for this world! Just as He invited us to be on His team, we must know play in such a way that causes others to have a desire to come off the sideline and get into the game. Picked for the team . . . God's team . . . a game already won but yet still time to play!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Many people do good things . . . .

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”(Romans 10:9-11)
These are very familiar words to most born-again believers today. To be a follower of Christ, truly saved from sin, one must not only believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be, but we must not be afraid to speak about it. In fact, we are commanded to share our belief with those whom we encounter and lead them to a relationship with the Savior. We are live in such a way that shows others what a Christian is and how a Christian should live. We also know what we have come to label as The Great Commission. Read it carefully. These are Jesus' words to every believer, not simply the early disciples:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(Matthew 28:19-20)
It is not enough to be saved . . . We are not seeking fire insurance! We are saved to do good works, so those who see us will glorify our Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16) Many are mistaken to beleive that we do good works to be saved . . . NO! After giving ourselves over to Christ, the residing Holy Spirit spurs us to live for the Lord. Many people do good things, however, only what one does for Christ is of any real value. Please do not be fooled. There is only one way to eteral life and only one way to live for the Savior while we are on this earth. Jesus paid it all for us . . . we must in turn commit to live for Him . . . despite the struggles, the rejections, and anything else that comes with the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ!
As I remind myself daily . . . I am just a nobody!

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Stable Relationship

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.(Romans 8:38-39)
People just do not trust others this day and age . . . especially yong people. Fathers have abandoned their children. Once rock-solid marriages are on the verge of break ups or already ended. Friends you once trusted have betrayed trusts. Teachers, policemen, coaches, even religious leaders have been found guilty of terrible acts misconduct with those whom they serve. Who can be trusted? Is there such thing as a stable relationship anymore? Thak God for these comforting and trusted words of Paul concerning Jesus! Paul was convinced and so am I, that once one commits to Christ, it is a stable relationship. Jesus will hold up His end of the bargain! We may wander, but Jesus remains faithful. he will never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)
I have tried Him for myself and know this is true!
It is so important to show people the love of Christ. Working with youth, I have found that they need to experience trust over time. Many have been hurt by those closest to them. If they are to trust a God they cannot see, they must first trust us who know God. We must be there for them to experience God in the flesh. One of mentors would say we must be "Jesus with skin on". Who do we need to be Jesus to today? Who needs to expereince trust, commitment, and dedication? It starts with a smile, a helping hand, a caring thought. It takes time. jesus gives us all the time we need. Will we do that for others?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Reality Check

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:14-25)
If you think we don't sin . . . well we are lying! While it remains our goal as believers to not sin, the reality is that we do. We strive to sin less and less each day, but being sinless has been accomplished by only one . . . Without the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and the power of the Holy Spirit residing in us as His children, well we are lost! We are hopeless. No man is perfect . . . not one!!! Thank God for His grace. Embrace it. He grants us forgiveness through Christ alone, not our merits. (Ephesians 2:8)Paul knew this well. As great and as zealous as he was for the casue of Christ, he realized he was nothing without grace. He battled sin from within day after day. I too know the struggles. I want to please God daily, but from the moment I open my eyes, I feel the struggle between my will vs. the will of my God. I want what I want, yet I seek to please the One who has resued me from the penalty of sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.(1 John 3:8-10)
I need a serious reality check all day long. Whether I am battling fatigue, selfishness, pride, bitterness, or just plain old laziness, I must decide moment by moment to live for Christ and not for me. How 'bout you?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

a series of concussions

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.(Romans 6:11-14)
We can get used to sin. At first, we may not see the consequences. We feel bad, but when we think we have gotten away with it, it begins to feel ok and we do it again. "Maybe it was not so bad", we convince ourselves . . . "perhaps it is ok. after all, everyone else seems to be doing it." Those convincing words of the enemy continue to twist our thoughts today as they did Eve. (Genesis 3:1-6) I have heard sin compared to a concussion. Like the athletes today, the first concussion never seems so bad. They recover and are soon back in the game. However, medical experts have come to realize that a series of concussions get worse and wors and the effects can be deadly. CAT scans and other medical tests are revealing irreversable damage to the brain. Sin too can be easily ignored early on. We do not feel the damage of a little lie and office gossip. A innocent fling with a co-worker or weekend pornography with the guys. We begin to ignore the symptoms and keep doing the same things over and over . . . feeling comfortable and then . . . WHAM! The final blow is struck and the damage has beeen done! Marriages fall apart, children are abandoned, sentenced to jail time, even an early death occurs. Sin is all-consuming. Do not get comfortable with it. Do not continue just because the consequences have not take place. Repent now before more permanet damage is done! Satan is still on the prowl . . . do not give him opportunity to destroy you!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

God's 911 Response

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.(Psalm 91:1)
On this day of remembrance, as we recall where we were and what we did when the terrorists struck in New York, the Pentagon, and over the skies of Pennsylvannia, I am encouraged by the 911 response in Scripture. Before disaster strikes, we need to be assured of our protection. However, He is also there when disaster strikes and in the aftermath. The key is to know the Lord and place our hope, our faith, and our future in His hands! I was encouraged to see the churches packed immediately following September 11, 2001. But what about now? The terrorists have been captured and killed. It seems as though we are breaking codes and capturing even more of the enemy every day. But where is our faith? In Whom is our trust? Had my wife not made the decision to obey God's call into full-time ministry less than a year prior to 9-11, where would she be now? She worked in the Pentagon in a location where the plane struck and lost thirteen co-workers to the terrorists' activities. Please be encouraged today that although we live in a sin-sick world and face unknown dangers every day, there is hope and safety in the shadow of the Most High! We can live trusting in His plans for us. We can live despite the dangers we face. More importantly, we can live abundantly with out fear, knowing God is in control! Mnay brave police, fireman, soldiers, and civilians risked their lives during 911 and since for the lives of others. let's live like they did each day . . . risking it all for the lives of others.(John 15:13) Not only is God in control, but He is returning. We should not fear the enemy, we should fear the Lord and be sure we are secure in His hands. We should be sure our childrn know Him. We should live out loud so others may come to know Him!(Mattehw 5:13-16)
Be encouraged . . . be courageous . . . be Christ to a blind world so they may see Him in us!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Lfe of Leisure?

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.(Romans 5:6-8)
Enemies of God . . . you and me! Imagine that . . . If God had not reached down from heaven and sacrificed His very blood for us, we would still be lost . . . destined for an eternal hell. I don't know about you, but I have to keep that in perspective. There is nothing you or I could do in order to be one with God!
Oh, but for God!
While we were still sinning . . . still going against all He is and was, He sacrificed Himself in the form of a human being and made a way for every human being to be one with Him. If He loved us so much while we were His enemies, what does that say of His love for us as His friends? This is why am so adamant about how we live today! How can we casually say we are CHRISTians? How can we flippantly mention God or worse yet, choose to ignore Him? How can we not declare His glory if He has indeed rescued us from such a future as we deserve? No, CHRISTianity is not a walk in the park or a joy ride simply to avoid hell. It is a sacrifical and devotional life to a Living God whom we owe our very existence! As we ponder what Christ did for us, I wonder if we realize that we are now to do it for others . . . sacrifice our lives so they too may be free from the grip of sin. This is no longer a life of leisure. Have we considered the costs . . . Jesus paid it and we must as well!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Guilty . . .with a possibility of parole!

There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.(Romans 3:11)
Sad news for every one of us: No one is good! So if only good people go to heaven, well guess what? No one will get there! Not Mother Teresa, not Mary, nt even the sweet little old lady down the street. No one is good! We all stand guilty before a holy God! The following passage reminds us of our sin nature, yet gives everyone hope . . .
. . .for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood . . .to be received by faith.(Romans 3:23-25)
Guilty, with a possibility of parole: but it is up to us! While each of us is guilty of sin, there is hope for each of us. But it only comes through fairth in Jesus Christ. He alone has provided the way out. He paid the debt for sin on the cross, and we must accept His sacrifice as our only way out. No time for good behavior. No plea bargain. No fancy New York lawyer. It is only through Jesus. He goes before the Judge (God) and declares that I am guiltless because He has paid the price for my sin. His life for mine and at no cost to me. Unbelievable, but true. Because God so loved the world . . . and me! (John 3:16) yes we are are guilty of sin and do not deserve God's grace. But that is exactly what grace is. Yet it must be accepted on God's terms! Where do you stand before the righteous Judge . . . guilty or paroled? Sentenced to death or free to live? Your choice!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Practice what you Preach!

" . . .you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”(Romans 2:21-23
We have all heard the saying, Practice what you preach! Many times we as parents are caugh saying just the opposite, "Do as I say not as I do." Well, while we are yet sinners, we who are responsible with teaching positions (and that is just about all of us)who name the name of Christ must be aware of the example we set. It is not enough to know the Word or even know Jesus as Lord and Savior. We must live it! As people of influence, we must be walking Gospels. People need to see Jesus daily in the way we live. In a world full of phonies and fakes, we need to be true to our calling as disciples of Jesus Christ! Kids especially can point out a phony! We cannot walk around like we are perfect, yet we must set the example. Many times, we show the greatest example of a Christian when we humbly admit our faults and failings. However, we must also show the sacrifices and determination it takes to live according to the Word with success! We must be real. As living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2)we show the reality of Christianity to a lost and dying world. Still not sinless, but striving to sin less and less!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What will we do with Him?

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.(Romans 1: 18-21)
Some may say they do not care about God. Others may even try to believe there is no God. However, as we read here from Paul, the simple presence in nature reveals to each of us His mere existence! Who else could paint a sunset . . . magnificently different each evening? Who else could possibly design a seaside beach, a mountain plain, or island hideaway? Nature cries out to each of us that there is indeed a God! There are no excuses!
The question remains: What will we do with Him?
Some said He is Lord and Savior. . . . others said "Crucify Him!" It is no different today. Some say He is still God while others try to remove every mention of God from the public eye. Some keep Jesus in their pocket and take Him out on Sundays, at Bible studies, and in their private prayers. Very few will stand in the public eye and demonstrate their faith in the Living God.
What will we do with Him? What will you do with Him?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

God first

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”(Romans 1:16-17)
Paul had an obligation to God. Realizing what he had been before Christ saved him, he was energized by the opportunities to share Christ with others. Depite the various challenges Paul faced, he never backed down from his obligation to Christ . . . because of his love for Christ! We all love things. We have our personal dreams and aspirations. We have our family relationships and plans for our lives. Yet as good as all these dreams and desires are, none should ever surpass our love for Christ and our desire to do His will. Never should we put God second over our personal or family goals! This is what I believe Jesus meant when he said:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26-27)
God first . . . then everything and everyone else will fall into place!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A matter of FACTS!

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. But he has risen! He is not here! See the place where they had put him. 7 Go! Tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him. It will be just as he told you.’” (Mark 16:6-7)
Did Jesus really die? Did He really rise from the dead? Did He rise back to heaven in bodily form? Questions . . .questions . . .questions! But why? In a court of law, eyewitnesses provide evidence to the truth. So why do we not take the eyewitness accounts of so many concerning Jesus' life, death, and resurrection? Is is not just a matter of faith, but a matter of FACTS! Peter stated it.(2 Peter 1:16) Besides the Roman Seal, the empty tomb, an AWOL Roman soldier, and a 1.5 to 2 ton stone being rolled away with no one noticing, there were eyewitnesses to resurrection. We read of over 500 eyewitness physically seeing Jesus alive and well following the burial. (1 Corinthians 15:6) Then of course, we have the disciples; eleven of the original twelve died for their belief in Jesus! People do not die for a rumor, a fairytale, or a hope. They died for what they believe in! Read the book of John. He was the closest to Jesus. He wrote of the FACT that the disciples saw Jesus' hands and side and witnessed the wounds close up. (John 20:20)It no doubt encouraged them and as they received the Holy Spirit(Acts 2:4)they went out and taught, testified, and toiled for the growth of the Church. They died doing just that! So no longer doubt . . . It is a matter of FACTS!

Storms and Faith

Jesus got into a boat. His disciples followed him.  Suddenly a terrible storm came up on the lake. The waves crashed over the boat. But Jesu...