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January 24, 2017, 1:14 PM

Key Words, Cliche Phrases, and Magic Wands

The Christian life is not one of ease.  If it is for you, you might not be living the Christian life.  Christians deal with troubles, trials, hardships, and heartaches just like everyone else.

The Christian life is also not a life of perfect living.  We sin, fall, and fail, just like everyone else.  When we do God has to chasten and discipline us and rarely is the chastening easy or desirable.  

No matter how or why we get there, when we find ourselves in a mess, the important thing is that we call on God for help.  Because, He is able to deliver us from any situation if we will call on Him and turn to Him for our Help.  (Psalm 121:2 - “...my help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.”)

God can, and often does deliver us immediately from our trouble.  (After Peter walked on the water to Jesus, he took his eyes off of the Lord and began to sink.  He became afraid and cried out “Lord, save me!”  Matthew 14:31 says: “...immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him.”) But perhaps just as often the process of delivering us from our trouble is not immediate.  When this happens, we are often prone to fits of impatience and panic.  

We get the idea that if we pray, it is like waving a magic wand over our hurt and troubles and things are supposed to magically, instantly get better.  

Often times when we share our troubles and prayer needs with others, we get a cliche response:  Just trust the Lord with it, or you just need to have enough faith.  Other times we think if we use a key word like Jesus Name our problems will flee from us.  That is not how turning to God works.  

I want to remind you of what when Israel was in slavery in Egypt: (Exodus Chapter 5 - 14)

God heard their cries and saw their need.  He called Moses to deliver them from  Pharaoh and the Egyptians.  But, they were not immediately delivered.  In fact things got worse before they got better.  After Moses first went to Pharaoh, Pharaoh made their work harder.  Sometimes when we cry out to God to deliver us from our trials and temptations, things get tougher before they get better.  It took 10 plagues before the people of Israel were delivered from Slavery.  During this time Israel was required to obey God’s instructions in order for them to be delivered.  Even then it took a pillar of fire, cloud and the crossing of the Red Sea for their troubles to be destroyed.  

When you are in trouble, call out to God and turn to Him.  Trust that He hears you and is able to deliver you and then have faith.  Obey what He tells you do and will give you the strength to do.  Don’t just sit there waiting on God to do it all.  Follow His Word!  Obey His Commands!  Understand that a people who rely on the God of the Bible will never be let down nor disappointed.  

If you are turning to God for help from your troubles, know that God has heard and is active...He just might not be done yet delivering you.  

But He will!  It won't be done through cliches, key words, or magic wands, but it will be done in a miraculous way!




November 1, 2016, 12:00 AM

Ready for Takeoff!

Christian, do you find your life has become dull and listless?  Do you find yourself floating along in life with no real power or victory?  Or is your life spinning out of control?  

Do you remember what it was like when you first called on the Lord to save your soul?  How exciting it was, full of wonder, hope and possibility?  

But something happened didn't it?  Somehow you have become untracked and sidelined.  It just doesn't seem the same anymore.

I suggest a new beginning.  A new journey.  A new adventure.  Something exciting!

As a kid, I went through a phase where I wanted to be an astronaut.  The idea of exploration, specifically space exploration thrilled me.  Perhaps it was watching shows like "Star Trek: The Next Generation" or just being a kid during the first launches of the space shuttle.  It might have even been going to Cape Canaveral and and had my picture taken with what I was left to assume was a real live astronaut in full space suit with face shield and oxygen tanks!  As I grew up, my desires changed, I changed, and my reality changed.  

I never became an Astronaut.  But to this day I am still fascinated by space, the stars, and space exploration.  I read an interview by Ron Guran, who flew into space on the shuttle Discovery, and I read about life training to be an astronaut:  He said that because there are so many things that could go wrong during launch, that they most of their training (as much as 90%) is focused on that one phase of the flight.  

That is amazing!  Read that again...90%!

Christian, If your life has gotten mundane, boring, or status quo and you are just floating along; I suggest we reboot and begin again fresh.  Or, If life in this sin cursed world that we temporarily call home has dragged you down, beaten you up, and threatened to spit you out, I suggest you start over and begin again.  No matter the reason, as you start over, pay special attention to the beginning.   

1.   Ask God forgive you for letting your life be bogged down, dragged down, beaten down and just floating along.  No matter whether or not is because of your sin or just the effects of a sinful world we live in, ask Him to forgive you, pick you up, and help you set sail again.  - He will lovingly and faithfully do it.

2.  Ask God to strengthen you and prepare you as you begin again.  Ask him for the grace to get off on the right foot and with a strong foundation so that you can have a victorious journey - He is your strength and He will never steer you wrong. 

3.  Begin each day of your journey focusing on the take-off.  A successful journey is a step by step, day by day journey.  Begin it with prayer and meditation on God and His Word. - It is how He will train and renew your mind to face the challenges of the day.

4.  Get ready for an adventure unlike any other, with God as your friend and your guide.  Explore the mind of God and the love and purpose that He has for you as your read the Bible, His love letter and guidebook for your life.  - He will never leave you nor forsake you.  

Prepare for the experience of a lifetime!  This is more than just a new day or new beginning in your life...Prepare for Takeoff

This is the start of something truly special in your life!  3...2...1...

"Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning;  for I trust in you; teach me the way I should walk; for to you I lift up my soul." 

Psalm 143:8 

 




October 31, 2016, 12:59 PM

Don't Be Scared. Be Loved Instead.

Halloween is a time for dressing up, trick or treating and being scared by things that go bump in the night.  A time for scary stories, ghost stories, and running through a graveyard at night with a bunch of black cats crossing your path...okay maybe that last one was just my plans this evening. 

No matter how you celebrate Halloween, or don't celebrate Halloween, there is no doubt that someone will try to scare you or creep you out this time of the year.  Scary movies reruns, scary sitcom  episodes, and scary commercials will invade our television viewing.  Hollywood has for the last several weeks been promoting the scary movies coming to a theater near you.   Haunted Houses, haunted corn mazes and haunted local places of legend will have throngs of people showing up for a scary good time.   

Silly costumes, scary costumes, and downright disturbing costumes will parade around our neighborhoods in search of candy and the occasional.....AAAAHHHHHHHH! Moment.
None of it is really all that scary.  In fact most of it is silly if not even comical.

But, do you know what is really scary?  Admitting what it is that really scares you.  Admitting what really scares you is the opposite of comical.  
Things like:

What is going to happen tomorrow or what does the future hold in store for me?

What happens to people when they die?

What would happen to me if I were to die tonight?

Is Heaven real?  Or worse yet, is hell real?

How do I get to Heaven, or how do I stay out of Hell?

Is Satan real?  What about ghosts?  

Is God real, and if so what does he expect from me and how do I find out?

If I did not know the answer to all these questions it would scare the life out of me!

If you don't know the answers to those questions or ones like them, let me answer them for you. 

I don't know what the future holds, but I do know that God holds the future.  He sent His son to die for you so that when you do die (as everyone faces the end of their life someday) you don't have to go to a real place of fire and punishment called hell that was not meant for Satan and his demons and not meant for you, but can live forever in a real place of perfection called Heaven.  God loves you so much that made away of escape through Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God, dying in your place on a cross and then rising from the dead proving He has conquered death and paying the price of sin once and for all.  

When our life ends on this earth we will be faced with a very real, very loving, and very perfect God that demands perfection.  We are not perfect.  We cannot live perfect.  We fail to reach perfection and that is called sin.  God cannot allow sin into Heaven, but if you turn from sin and believe on Him and ask Him to wash away your sin, He has promised that He will and He will welcome you into Heaven when your life on earth is over.  It's that simple.  There is nothing else to do.  The Bible says that we are saved by grace (undeserved kindness) through faith (believing without really seeing) that it is not of works or anything we could do, lest any man should boast or brag.  

Don't be afraid any longer.  Turn to a loving God and loving Savior today.  He will save you and there will be nothing to fear.  

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life - John 3:16

Don't be scared...Be loved instead.  




October 26, 2016, 10:44 AM

Want Your Vacation to be the Best Ever!!! Don't Forget to Pack!

Are you planning a vacation, or weekend getaway?

Great vacations are pursued by us all.  Whether it be a Summer vacation, Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations, spring break, or just a weekend getaway; an approaching vacation will captivate a great deal of our attention.  

Making reservations, packing suitcases, and planning a vacation itinerary so that we can squeeze the most out of the time we have away often consumes our thinking.  We will meet with a travel agent, pick up brochures, and purchase tickets months in advance.  We even make check lists and packing lists to be sure we did not forget anything.  The thought, “Am I forgetting something” usually grips us just as we are leaving the house for the vacation.  

A vacation taking opportunity is just around the corner.  Are you prepared?  Have you planned?  Have you forgotten anything?

What are you forgetting to pack?

Did you forget Jesus?  

Wait...What?  You didn't pack a Bible?  You are not going have your devotions or do some Bible reading while you are gone for a week?  You didn't include selecting a church to visit while you were away over the weekend?  You don't have time for that?  So, what you are saying is that it will take away the time that you were going to use to do what you wanted to do, and to have fun?  

Often the only time we pray to God for anything on vacation is when you think to ask Him to protect you as you leave out your driveway on the trip or to pray for good weather when you see ominous clouds.

That sounds bad when you really think about it doesn't it?  You didn't realize how it looked until you read it in black and white or how it sounded until you heard it in your head?  

Don't worry, I am as guilty as you might be.  But I am asking the Lord to help me not to do forget about him on my vacations and getaways from now on.  Even on trips when I am no where near a church or scheduled church service time, I can at least lead my family in a time of worshipful devotion right there in the car, the hotel room, the tent, or wherever we are.  

Don't forget about God when you get the chance to get away for even a short time.  He never forgets about you!

Don't forget to take God with you on your next vacation.  Don't forget to worship God on your vacation...it might be the best vacation and best worship service you have ever had.  

Hebrews 10:23, 25

"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;)  

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching."




October 20, 2016, 12:02 PM

Christian, How Shall We Vote?

Every presidential election cycle seems to be promoted as “the election that matters more than any before.”  Of course the election that matters the most in the moment is always the one that is next.

While most elections in my adult voting life have seemed to have a “voting for the lesser of two evils” feel to them, this perhaps more than any other has that connotation.  

How we arrived as a nation to the place we are today with the horrendous choices we have today will have to be left for another day.  However, few Christians can truly sing the praises of our current list of nominees for president.

Sure one looks more polished than another, but we are still comparing a bruised  spoiled apple to a spoiled, mealy peach.    I think we can agree both are awful and trying to figure out which is worse is like trying to decide on which tooth in which we wish to have a root canal.  

Donald Trump has certainly been guilty of diarrhea of the mouth.  He may be guilty of sexually assaulting women.  He is accused, we don’t know for sure.  

Hillary Clinton has certainly been guilty of attacking and destroying the women who have accused her husband of the same and worse actions.  She is guilty of allowing atrocities related to Benghazi, we are unsure to what extent.  

I think we agree that neither is a choice we would choose...so what do we do?

First we trust God.  We pray to God.  We confess our sin and beg God to turn our country back to Him.  We trust His will and His plan for us and for our country.  

But should we not vote?  No, our voice needs to be heard.  

Do we vote for a third party?  No, I think that voting for a third party unfortunately is like not voting at all.  I realize that there are some that disagree and think they can not in good conscience vote for either Donald or Hillary and I respect that, but I can’t find another candidate that I feel is that is worth casting a vote for to make my point.  

What we must do is vote the issues based on the priorities of the Word of God. While there are many areas I will not address because they are farther down the priority list for me.  It’s not that that they are not important.  But I believe if we make a voting decision based on these issues that God will bless us and provide for the rest.  

Vote for the Candidate that will:

1.  Be a strong friend to Israel - The Bible Says:

“I will bless them that bless you (Israel, and curse them that curse you.  In you (Israel) will all families of the earth be blessed” - Genesis 12:3

If we fail in this area, we will fail as a nation!  We must stand strong with God's chosen people.  That does not include approving of every action.  But it does mean being a staunch ally.

2.  Defend the unborn baby - The Bible Says:

“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” - Jeremiah 1:5

Not only does God forbid murder, but God describes here that he knew Jeremiah before he was ever born.  The same applies to you and me, as well as to every conceived baby.  Killing the unborn child is murder plain and straight.  

3.  Stand for the traditional family and against the re-defining of marriage and the advancement of the agenda of sexual perversion.  The Bible says:

“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female...” -  Matthew 19:4

God does not make mistakes.  Marriage has been created, defined and ordained by God.  Who are we to attempt to redefine it.  God also created male and female.  Who are we to re-define who what he has made us.  

4.  Stand for equality and civility of all mankind, regardless of gender, race, religion or creed. - The Bible Says:

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” - Matthew 22:27-40

Treat others as you would want to be treated.  Let’s end (as much as possible in this life) racism, sexism and inequality.  We are all made in God’s image.  

 

While there are many other issues to consider that are important:  Job creation, border security, government assistance, strength of military, tax plans, social security, immigration reform etc.  I believe that if we vote based on the 4 issues as I have described we will have voted as God would have us vote. 


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