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September 1, 2016, 9:59 AM

What Do You See?

When you walk down the street, or at the mall, what do you see?

Do you see people of different color, ethnicity and culture?

Do you see young people that need to pull their pants up, clean up, and grow up?

Old people that need to speed up, ease up, or lighten up?

Do you see people in need, or people of greed.

Do you see people in need of a helping hand or people looking for a hand out?

Or do you look at people with a heart of love and compassion and realize that God loves everyone one of them, and died to save them just as he loves you and died to save you.

As Christians we must start seeing people as God sees them, with a heart of love, mercy and grace.




August 30, 2016, 11:09 AM

What Should My Response Be?

This blog post is not about:  A Man being told he could not pray on Clemson University campus unless he registered to do so and was located in a “free speech zone.”

The purpose of this blog post is not to discuss:  People at Travelers Rest H.S. being told they were not allowed to bring an American flag into a football game against Berea H.S. because it was offensive to the students, players, and fans of Berea H.S. 

The purpose of this blog post is not:  To convince you to vote for Donald Trump for president, nor to convince you to vote for Hillary Clinton for President.

The purpose of this blog post is not to discuss:  The actions and words of a football player who refuses to stand for the playing of the National Anthem, because he refused to honor the flag of a country who oppresses blacks and other minorities. 

The purpose of this blog post IS:  To share with you from God’s word how we as Christians and the Church of the living God should respond to things in life that are contrary to your beliefs, principles, and convictions.

So many things happen these days that just make us want to scream!  We read or see things in the news and we are left speechless and dumbfounded.  Or maybe we know exactly what we want to say but know we shouldn’t say it.  

In a world of 24 hour news, social media, and live feed videos, we as Christians must take pause before we post, tweet, or just old fashioned rant.  

When you don’t know what to say or feel like you might explode if you say anything, stop and consider these steps.  

1.  Turn to God in prayer.  Give your hurts, fears, pains, frustrations, and confusions to God.  Take time to vent to God before you vent to anyone or anywhere.  - I Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.”  Pray for guidance and patience in how to think, act, and how to respond or whether to respond at all. 

2.  Remember we are commanded to love our neighbor.  Who is my neighbor you ask?  Well, in short, everyone.  But, to be more precise it is not just people who look like you, talk like you, and believe like you, but it is also those who don’t.  It includes those who are not like you, don’t believe the same way you do and even those who don’t like you.  Remember the story of the good samaritan?  Luke 10:25-37

3.  Remember to love your “enemies.” - Perhaps avoiding the idea of looking at people as your enemies is the best philosophy to embrace to begin with.  After all everyone has a soul that needs to be redeemed by Jesus Christ.  We are to love, care for, and be kind to everyone so that they may see Jesus in us and come to know Him.  That includes those that oppose you, torment you, persecute you, are out to get you, or otherwise drive you crazy.  - Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”

4.  Remember to let your light shine for Jesus Christ.  A soft answer turns aways wrath.  Be the bigger person.  Humble yourself and think of others first.  Realize that it is largely a choice to be offended or not.  In a day and age when so many people are so quick to be offended over so little.  Respond to adversity as Christ would, with love.   Love does not mean having to agree with, embrace, or join in.  It does mean that we don’t tear down, belittle, or berate those that disagree with us or persecute us and our beliefs.  We should temper our response with kindness and love.  Demonstrate that we are willing to go the extra mile so that others might see a difference in us.  When we respond as Christ would respond, in love, we are letting our light shine.  - Matthew 5:16  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

5.  Stand on the Word of God boldly.  Research the issue, and know the whole story.  Don’t jump to conclusions or have knee jerk reactions based on news headlines.  Once you have know the whole story and have followed the other 4 steps as listed above then respond in Godly fashion with the truth.  I Corinthians 6:13 ESV “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

Respond and discuss the events of life as God leads you, God guides you, God protects you and as He would respond.  Be wise as a serpent, but harmless as a dove.  

 




August 25, 2016, 10:26 AM

Recapture Your Amazement!

We live in a world where very little amazes or surprises us anymore.  In an age of 24 hour news, live feed videos and constant posting on social media we have become calloused to anything that can really bring a sense of awe.  

There are still a few things in life that bring a jaw dropping sense of awe and amazement:  Viewing a Redwood tree in person, a particularly vibrant sunset backdropping a lake or mountain view, or maybe some horrific tragedy of violence shown in the news.  But, far too often we see things of wonder without batting an eye.  We take for granted the wonders the world holds or are eyes and ears can behold.  We have seen it before, heard it before, or done it before. 

As a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ I know that have been forever saved from the penalty of sin by an almighty God who paid my price through His own Son Jesus Christ death on the cross and resurrection from the grave.  The fact that the God of the universe, King of kings, Lord of lords, and creator of the universe would love me and care enough about me to save you and me if we are willing to turn to him in repentance aught to thrill us and amaze us, but there are too many times in the business of life that it doesn’t.  

But if I may, can I just remind of you something that is truly mind-blowing, life altering miraculous?

The God of the universe loves you and wants fellowship with you!  He says so in the Bible, and He shows so in the work He did in sending Jesus to die in our place on the cross.  No matter what you have done, no matter what your age, regardless of your social or ethnic reality, He wants to know you.

If you have called on Him to be your Savior and Lord, He has come into your life through the person of the Holy Spirit to live in you.  Never to leave you or forsake you.  In the beginning of the history of creation God walked with men like Adam, Enoch and Abraham.  Later he dwelt among men by his presence by leading them with a cloud and later indwelling the tabernacle that was built for Him.  Then Jesus was sent to live with and die for all mankind so that we could live with Him forever.  Today Jesus is in heaven but His Holy spirit is sent to live in us.  

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” - I Corinthians 6:19-20

Think about that for just a moment…

The God of the Universe, creator, sustainer, miracle maker, provider, healer, comforter, Prince of Peace and King of kings is living in you if you are saved and belong to Him or wants to live in you if you will call on Him!

Allow the truth of that reality to recapture the amazement  and sense of wide eyed wonder once again in your life.  

Call on Him.  He is waiting with arms wide open.




August 24, 2016, 3:44 PM

Lead the Way!

There are so many choices and options in the world today.  So many roads and paths that can be chosen and followed.  So many activities, conveniences, and distractions to occupy our time.  There are so many people trying to get your attention.  People trying to lead you, your spouse, and/or your kids to follow them.  There are so many things pulling you in different directions that if we are not careful we can be pulled apart, led down the wrong path, or perhaps worse yet...do nothing while we try to sort out all the confusion.  

Not me, not this guy, not this husband, not this father.  I am choosing to lead the way!

Life is full of choices.  As a Christian, I realize that many of them are vain and wrong.  We all have our own lives to live and many of us families to lead and lead them we must or someone else will lead them away for us.  Don’t wait for someone else to take charge in leading you and your family the way you should go.  

To not choose the way to lead is to let someone else lead for you.  Chances are you will not like the direction they lead you; or your family.  

Understand that when you start to lead it will not be easy.  Different people want to choose different paths.  But if we are to be Godly witnesses and examples then we must lead despite the conflicts, challenges, and rebellion.  

In the Bible Joshua was tasked with leading the nation of Israel after Moses died.  It was an un-enviable task, but Joshua chose to follow the leading of Almighty God and to be strengthened by almighty God for the task of Leading.  

He made his decision and by the grace of God stood by his decision in the direction he would lead.  He was not ambiguous in the direction He would lead, nor did he waiver.  He challenged people to make a decision to follow him or not.  

Joshua 24:15 “...choose you this day whom ye will serve...but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”

Realize that we cannot make people follow you, that is why as Christians we must lead.  But like Joshua we are responsible for our own direction and that of our family.  

As Christians we must choose this day that we will follow the Lord!




August 23, 2016, 1:36 PM

Don't Wait, Rejoice Now!

If you are waiting for the right time to rejoice,celebrate, and Praise the God of Heaven for His love and goodness; now is time! 
Waiting for the circumstances in life to be what you want them to be before you take time to rejoice and give thanks and praise to God is like a young married couple waiting until they are financially prepared for children; it’s not ever going to happen.
Your joy as a Christian should not depend on your circumstances. Joy comes from God and therefore it cannot be affected you by what is outside of you. 


Don’t be fooled into allowing the actions, attitudes and circumstances of others, determine your joy. Don’t let things outside of your control impact your joy. Don’t be deceived into thinking you are or have to be in control to be happy. Because You don’t!
If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ then real joy comes from knowing that your sins have been completely forgiven by the shed blood of Jesus on the cross.  If you are not a believer and follower of Jesus Christ then real joy will come by you calling on God to save you and adopt you into His family. Knowing that you are a child of God brings a joy and peace because you know the promises of your eternal salvation and the calm of knowing that God has promised to never leave you nor forsake you. The Circumstances of your life, no matter how awful cannot change these truths. 


In Acts 16:25 Paul and Silas faced some of the most dark and dire circumstances imaginable. They had been falsely accused, arrested, beaten and put in shackles. They were in the deepest darkest, coldest section of a prison, but they refused to let their circumstances darken or dampen their joy!


And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God and the prisoners heard them”


Despite their circumstances Paul and Silas were full of joy! Why? Because they knew the Joy of the Lord was their strength. They knew no matter what would happen that for them to live was Christ and to die was gain. Their relationship with Christ was the origin of their joy. They were so overcome with joy that they could talk to their God, that they decided to rejoice and sing about it! And others heard them singing.


When your life reflects the response of an understanding of God’s love as opposed to your understanding of your circumstances you can’t help but have joy and others around you can’t help but notice. What a witness of their joy to a literally captive audience. 


No matter what your circumstances rejoice because of the joy that comes about from knowing the love of an almighty God. Maybe God will do a miracle and deliver you from your circumstances as He did for Paul and Silas. Maybe he will do something greater, like give you the ability to rejoice no matter what!
Don’t allow circumstances to deny you the joy of rejoicing in God’s love. Look to God and allow Him to fill you with unquenchable Joy!


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