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July 11, 2016, 12:45 PM

Ridding Yourself Of Your Burden

No doubt you have realized by now that being a believer in Christ does not mean that you will not have troubles and problems in this life.  Everyone in this life sooner or later (and most likely both) you will deal with hardships, sorrows and being treated poorly in life.  Turning to Christ for Salvation does not cause life’s troubles to cease or go away.  If you were expecting that, or someone promised you that...well I am sorry.  

However, it does mean that you have an advocate to whom you can take your every concern, heartache and care.  

“Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.”  I Peter 5:7

The People that Peter was addressing when he wrote this were under intense persecution from the government, people who were practicing other religions, enemies, and even their own countryman.  The Christians did’t have anyone in whom they could trust; a friend, neighbor, or even family member might betray them and turn them over to the authorities which would mean imprisonment and possible death. 

But Peter had lived with Christ, walked with Christ, and experienced Christ and his love and compassion.  He knew that ultimately it was Christ that was in control of even the most dire of situations.  Knowing this he instructed the people to “cast their cares upon the Lord.”

Casting your cares upon Jesus is a choice.  It is a decision that you must make.  Not just once, (although it begins with a single choice) but day by day and moment by moment.  It means allowing God to carry the weight which is dragging you down.  It means trusting Jesus with each issue.  It is a conscious decision and the idea of turning over your perception of responsibility and control to someone else can be a most frightening one.  We as a people tend to want to be in control and keep control.  But we must realize as long as we are hanging on we never truly have control.  There are just things that are outside of our control. 

To be freed from our cares and concerns we must realize that there is an almighty God with whom we can trust to carry the weight.  And when we do release them into Christ’s strong hands, it is beyond liberating.  

Remember that Peter did not differentiate between little cares and big cares.  Every one of our cares is God sized to God, and God can handle them all.  Remember that we must also choose not to snatch back our cares.  They are God’s cares when we let Him fully have them and no one cares more than God about you and your needs.  

When you have called upon Jesus Christ to be your Savior and Lord, then God adopts you as His child.  He stands prepared and able to carry your burdens and will free you not only from sin but from the burdens are unable to bare.  But, we must turn to Him and give him our cares, He will not take them from us if we are not willing.  Turn to him and tell Him “God will you take this?  I can’t do it any more.”

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He might exalt you in due time:” - I Peter 5:6

The question is, will you let Him carry your heavy load?  Will you turn to Him today?




July 5, 2016, 3:26 PM

Time to Let it Go

What is it that we are holding on to and refusing to give up, that we aught to be willing to pry our fingers from.  

Not to long ago I heard someone say:
"Even in the face of great persecution and hardship, America will stand strong and refuse to get on her knees!"

While I understand their sentiment was in reference to patriotism and standing against oppression, terrorism,  and tyranny, I wonder if that attitude of pride has not impacted our own spiritual detriment?

Don't misunderstand me, I am a red-blooded, flag waving American who realizes I am truly blessed of God to live in this still greatest of nations.  I am forever grateful to the those who have served, fought and died so that I can enjoy the freedoms that I do.  

But I believe that it is that American stubbornness that we are so proud of, has caused God to remove His hand of protection from our nation.  We have seen the consequences of the sin, but we are so enamored with our own pride that we reject  the open loving arms of an Almighty God!

We are so dead set against bowing the knee to any enemy, foreign or domestic that we have refused to bow the knee in surrender and prayer to the God that has blessed our nation for so long. 

In Revelation 16 we find the world in the midst of the 7 year tribulation and subjected to the worst plagues imaginable.  Famine, disease, and wars have ravaged the land. Now the plague of sores, the water in the sea and rivers turned to blood, and mankind being scorched with fire are being experienced.  It is the judgment of God upon a sin cursed world.  It is the worst of the worst and it is the hand of God bringing judgment.  

Yet the most striking words from the verses in chapter 16 take place in the last half of verse 9 where mankind we find man's response:

"and (man) blasphemed the name of God, which had power over these plagues: and they repented no to give Him glory."

And verse 11:

"And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not their deeds."

Instead of repenting and turning to God, these people shook their fist in the face of God and refused to bow the knee to their creator.

Sound familiar?

While we are not living in the end times of the tribulation yet.  But before we get there, as a nation and as individuals.  Don't you think we should let go of our pride, bow the knee in prayer before God, repent and ask Him to bless us once again?




June 28, 2016, 3:02 PM

4 Words that are key to the Problems of Violence in the World

Violence is everywhere.  Hatred is increasing.  Rhetoric and Political Maneuvering continue.

It seems that there are more voices than ever crying for the violence to stop.  Yet screaming insanely for a return to sanity doesn’t seem to solving any of the problems.  

The loudest voices are calling for gun control.  Remove the guns and we can remove or at least reduce the problem is the mantra.  Yet, in the places where there is the most gun control, it at least seems to be where there is at least as much violence as places where guns are rampant.  

But this is no a blog about the pro’s or con’s of gun control.  It is not about whether we should or should not have more in depth background checks.  It is not a discussion about what the founding father’s intention of the 2nd amendment was or was not.   

This is about the real root of the problem.  

There is a real problem in America, and it comes down to 4 words. 

Love - or lack of love to be more precise.  The Bible says to love one another.  Yet all we really do is love ourselves.  Think about it.

Apathy - Most people think hate is the opposite of Love but it is not.  Apathy is the opposite of love.  If it is not someone that we love, then we as a country and human race tend to be apathetic towards them.  

Think about it.  Generally speaking if a person is part of or associated with a particular demographic group, then they care; because they love them.  But if they are not part of that group then we generally speaking tend to be apathetic.

Hatred - When someone in a particular demographic determines that someone else not in their demographic is apathetic to them, then hatred can set in.  When hatred sets in then violence soon follows.  When hate turns to violence, we don’t need a gun to kill someone.  A gun is not the most dangerous of weapons…any weapon at your disposal in the hands of hate.  

Apathy is something we are born with, love is something we must learn to do or have our heart changed by God to do.  Hatred is the result of not learning to love. Hatred is also the result of Sin.  

Sin is something we are all born with and something that can only be removed by God.  It can only be removed by God when we are honest with God and turn only to God and ask for forgiveness of our sin.  We are commanded in the Bible to love one another.  To not love one another is to sin, love is only possible because of God.  God first loved us the Bible says.  He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die in our place and pay for our Sin.  He offers a free gift of salvation and a heart forever changed.  God offers this gift of salvation out of love with open arms.  But the world, and closer to home, in America we have now rejected God and hate anything to do with the God of the Bible.

All life is precious.  All lives matter.  Yet we are living in a generation who has not been taught the Love of God.  Because they have not been taught the love of God, we have never learned to love others and apathy has set in.  Now that apathy has set in, Hatred and violence has followed.  

Don’t you think it is time we started teaching the Love of God in America and the world?

 




May 18, 2016, 3:36 PM

How Great is Our God!

As believers in Jesus Christ, we often reference how great God is. We sing about How mighty He is,  because he can do anything.  We reference how big He is, because he is bigger than our troubles, enemies, and our fears.  How awesome He is because He alone can give the victory and save mankind from sin.

But do we really have any scale for measuring God’s greatness?   

In the paragraphs below, I hope to give some idea of scale of just how great God is.   Although even at the scale I present, God is bigger.  

To get a sense of scale i would direct you to Isaiah 40:26, where we are encouraged to consider creation and the stars in heaven:

Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

So let us consider the stars in the sky and how massive our Universe is that God has created:  Did you know:

God created the Sun.  It is 93 Million miles from earth.  It is 800 Thousand miles in diameter and 1.3 million planets the size of planet earth could fit inside of it.  

Mark a place to represent earth.  If each step (3 feet per step) you took = 3 million miles, it would take 31 steps to represent the distance of the Sun from Earth.  

God created the planet Pluto.  (I still consider it the farthest planet in our solar system.) If each step you took was = 3 million miles, you would have to walk approx.  1/2 mile to show you the distance of pluto, at it’s closes point in their orbits, to planet earth.  

God created the star Proxima Centauri.  Proxima Centauri is the closest start to earth other than our own Sun.  It is 24 Quadrillion, 800 Trillion miles from earth.  Now Pleasant Hill Baptist Chuch is at 3041 Six Mile Hwy in Central, SC in the north west corner of South Carolina.  Now if the church represented earth, and each step was = to 3 million miles, how far would have to walk to reach the closest star?   

The Answer is:  Hawaii!!! (Bet you did not guess that did you?)

And there are estimated to be hundreds of millions of stars in our galaxy alone.  There are also estimated to be hundreds of millions of galaxies.

Are you starting to see how big the universe is?

One more example to give you a sense of scale:

God made VY Canis Majoris.  VY Canis Majoris is the largest known star in the Galaxy.  If you could get in a 747 jumbo jet and fly at cruising speed (575 MPH) around VY Canis Majoris, it would take you 1100 years to get all the way around! VY Canis Majoris could hold approx.  1 Million of our suns!

Consider creation and get a better understanding of How big and powerful God is.  As big as it is, the Bible says that God spoke it into existence, and it was good.  It was just there.  He spoke, and it appeared out of nothing!  

The Bible also says that He holds the whole Universe in his hands! (Isaiah 40:12)  He holds the universe in his hands and he hung each star and knows them by name!

The Best part!  You are the best part and most meaningful part of God’s creation.  God loves you, cares about you, and knows everything about you.  

Better yet, He has a purpose for you and will enable you to complete the purpose He has for you.  

Considering creation and the stars...is there really any reason not to trust Him!




May 4, 2016, 12:14 PM

Taking it Day by Day

The church hymn “Day by Day” has been one of my favorite hymns since my youth.  However, today i stumbled upon the origin of the great hymn and it has given new light and meaning to the song for me.  

I now share the account of it’s origin with you and hope that you are touched the same.  

It was written by karolin W. Sandell-Berg.  Lina, as she was known was bon in Sweden on October 3, 1832 to The Reverend and Mrs. Jonas Sandell.  She was frail in body but strong in spirit.  She feasted on the artistic, literary and Bible influences of her home life.  The Bible teaching was of a special focus given her father was the pastor of the village’s Lutheran church.

Tragedy struck in 1858 when she was 26 years old.  Lina and her father were enjoying a boat trip on the east coast of Sweden when the ship suddenly lurched.  Before her eyes her father was thrown overboard and drowned.  

Returning home alone, Lina began processing her grief through the Scriptures and expressed her faith through poetry.  Fourteen poems were published in the year following her fathers death.

7 Years later Lina’s best known hymn “Day by Day” was published.  In it she spoke from personal experience about the daily strength the Lord provides for His struggling children and had provided for her daily struggle.  

Given the personal nature of her writing and the knowledge of her personal circumstances gives new meaning to the following words.

“Day by day, and with each passing moment, Strength I find, to meet my trials here;  Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.”

Today if you need strength for a particular trial, take this grand old hymn into the day with you, and claim some of the wonderful promises God has given.  Maybe you will, like me, find this song to find a special place in your heart.

Psalm 27:1 - “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

 


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