…"But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!" 2Tim. 2:9
In our society today Halloween is one of the most celebrated holidays in America. We get dressed up in different costumes and walk around to houses and ask for, and receive candy from people.
There is a history to Halloween, that I won’t get into in this post but to say that, Halloween goes back to the eve of All Saints Day, observed with traditional games and customs. The word comes from medieval England’s All Hallows’ Eve. However, many of these customs predate Christianity, going back instead to Celtic practices associated with November 1st, the beginning of winter and the Celtic New Year. Witches and other evil spirits were believed to roam the earth on this evening, playing tricks on human beings to mark the season of diminishing sunlight. Bonfires were lit, offerings were made of foods and sweets, and people would disguise themselves as one of the roaming spirits, to avoid demonic persecution. Survivals of these early practices can be found in countries of Celtic influence today, such as the United States.
Now every Halloween we will see at least one person who will be dressed up as the devil. They will have the normal devil costume with the red suit, tail, horns, and pitch fork. I’ve often wondered, where we get that image from? How many of us really believe that the devil, the enemy of God and anything that is righteous, really looks like that? Do You? You would be surprised at the answers people will give you on this.
We just have to go to the truth, God’s Word, to see what and who the devil really is.
His first entrance onto the pages of scripture is in Genesis 3:1-5. Right from the beginning, and the book of Genesis is the book of beginnings, we see that Satan is questioning God and the truth of what He says. He puts doubt into the heart of Eve, that God can’t really be trusted, that He really doesn’t have your best interest in mind when He tells you something. He puts that doubt into Eve that God is holding back from you what is good and beneficial, and therefore He can’t be trusted. Listen and read this to yourself over a couple of times and see the subtlety that the devil uses and still uses on us today.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:1-5
“you will be like God,” is literally, “you will become a god or become a god unto yourself.
Also notice the word crafty, because that’s the word that God uses to describe the character of the devil, crafty. It means cunning in a very subtle way, deceitful in a very deceptive way, that is the devil…that is Satan. Do you really think that he would dress up like a guy in a red suit with horns and a pitch fork? Do you really think that he would want to stand out and be easily identified by you or me? No, he is full of cunning and deception, and his objective is to fill you with doubt and deception as to who God really is, and to pull you and me as far away from the truth of God and His word as he can.
Listen to how Jesus described the devil as He was having a discussion with the religious rulers of Israel. These were men who prided themselves on their study and knowledge of God from the old testament.
“They answered him, “Abraham is our father!” Jesus replied, “If you are Abraham’s children, you would be doing the deeds of Abraham. But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth I heard from God. Abraham did not do this! You people are doing the deeds of your father.”
Then they said to Jesus, “We were not born as a result of immorality! We have only one Father, God himself.” Jesus replied, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come from God and am now here. I have not come on my own initiative, but he sent me. Why don’t you understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot accept my teaching. You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I am telling you the truth, you do not believe me. Who among you can prove me guilty of any sin? If I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? The one who belongs to God listens and responds to God’s words. You don’t listen and respond, because you don’t belong to God.” John 8:39-47
Jesus was asking them, why don’t you believe me when I am telling you the truth, and the reason was because their real father was the devil himself and they would naturally do the things of their father, it’s who they are. Jesus told them that you are just portraying the character and nature of your father, the devil, and he has always been a liar, in fact he can’t ever tell the truth because the truth is not in him.
Listen to what Paul said; “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1Corinthians 2:14
It’s only natural that we will follow the character and nature of our parents. Look at your own kids, one will have your patience while the other will have your spouse’s eye for artistic beauty. They will just naturally follow the genes they received from their parents, and so will you and so will I. That’s why Jesus said to another religious leader, Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. That literally means born from above. A second birth must take place. read the rest of chapter three of the gospel of John
There are only two kinds of people in the world today, children of the devil and children of God. You are either on one side or the other. There is no in between, and Jesus defined this to the religious rulers.
A better costume to wear if you want to be dress up as the devil for Halloween this year is to dress as an angel. Yes, I said an angel…“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” 2Corinthians 11:13-15.
Dress as an angel of light, not just an angel, because that’s what Satan can look like. He’s not parading around as a guy in a red suit, he’s in your church, he’s in your schools, he’s in your government, and he may even be in your family as well. He is a liar and he is cunning and deceptive in everything he does. He wants to keep you from the truth and he wants to keep you from the knowledge of God, and he will do anything he can to accomplish this.
If you’ve never been born from above, if you’ve never asked God to forgive you and come into your life and make you a brand new person, all you have to do is ask Him, and He will do it. His word says so and that is the truth. Click here for the full story.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18.
Where do you go when things aren’t going your way? Is there a well worn path to your favorite watering hole, or maybe a friend that will allow you to use their shoulder to cry on? Whatever you do or wherever you go, does it bring long lasting comfort and strength to see you through life’s storms?
I’m speaking to those who our children of God, those who claim that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, and you’ve chosen to walk with Him through this life. If this is you then you need to listen to what I’m about to tell you.
Weather you’ve been in a storm or maybe you’re going through one right now, or maybe every thing is hunky dory for you and life is good, get ready my friend, because the storms will come. Jesus promised that when He said;
This world, and anything in it should never be a haven of rest for us, no matter if things are good or not going so good. Learn to run to your heavenly Father, and not to the things you used run to when you lived in the world.
“Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossions 3:3
Remember we are not a citizen of this world anymore, we belong to Christ and our citizenship is in heaven. We have a new address and we are just passing through this one.
“But our citizenship is in heaven – and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20
Living the Christian life, walking in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and living a life that is obedient and brings glory and honor to the name of Jesus Christ, is not an easy road.
Jesus gave us this warning, but He also gave us His promise to always be with us and will always give us what we need for this journey or the task at hand, and will never leave us nor forsake us. You and I are never alone.
Have you learned this in your walk with the Lord? Is it something that, through trial and error, you have experienced in your Christian life?
In Jesus earthly life, He learned this, just as we do. He was our example and He paved the way for you and I to walk in “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through the things he suffered. Hebrews 5:8
Listen to what Paul said, “Toward this goal I also labor, struggling according to his power that powerfully works in me.” Colossians 1:29
These words, labor and struggling, don’t sound like very pleasant and easy words. The work that God had called for Paul to do was anything but easy and comfortable.
But don’t forget the rest of that verse…”according to his power that powerfully works in me.” Paul was just the channel for God’s work to be accomplished, just like you and me are today. We are God’s hands and feet in this world. We carry the fragrance of Jesus Christ wherever we go, to a lost and dying world.
“Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” Matthew 11:29-30
Sometimes storms come because we have drifted away from God and He is lovingly and gently trying to bring us back, or it is God preparing us for something that is coming our way. Whatever it is, it’s always for our good and to bring God glory. That’s why we’re here, to bring God glory.
When I was a kid in school, my friend and I got into trouble and we were called down to the principle’s office. That only meant one thing. Back in those days you were allowed to get paddled by teachers and principles, and that’s exactly what happened to us, but I will always remember what my friend said to me when he came out of the office after getting his shot first. He told me, “when he starts, lean into him and it won’t hurt so much.”
My friend, when the storms come into your life, and they will, learn to lean into God, and it won’t hurt as much.
“Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons?
“My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline
or give up when he corrects you.
Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed.” Hebrews 12:3-13
Are you the type of person who is organized and has everything under control? No surprises going catch you off guard…right? You are in good shape and you are just cruising along and life is good. How does that usually work out for you?
I’m that type of person too, but the more I work at getting everything together and lining all my ducks in a row, something unexpected, that I failed to figure in, always comes along. Have you ever experienced anything like that?
I don’t want to talk about things going wrong, I want to talk about being in control and in charge.
As a child of God, Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior, and He is the one who has mastery over my life, my thoughts, and my actions…or does He?
Because I like to be in control and have my life all in order, and I don’t like it when those situations come along and throw everything out of sequence. That makes me upset, angry, and insecure. When that happens, instead of leaning on God and running to Him, I try to do it all on my own.
After all, God made me like this and he gave me this type of character, that’s what He wants me to do…right?
Anything that I put on the alter of my heart, anything that I place there instead of God, is an idol. An idol is worshiping anything other than God.
“So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5
“We think that idols are bad things, but that is almost never the case. The greater the good, the more likely we are to expect that it can satisfy our deepest needs and hopes. Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life.” Timothy Keller – from his book – “Counterfeit Gods”
Click on the picture of the book and get your copy from Amazon. This is an incredible read and you will be totally surprised at what idols are and how many you worship. You are limited to only one purchase per visit as the printers are having a hard time keeping up with the demand.
Because of my personality, if I had all the money I needed and everything was all nice and neat and in order, I would think, “what an awesome person I am to be so organized, I certainly do such a great job”, and I wouldn’t need to rely on God as much, would I? I might even start worshiping either myself or my great organizational skills. I hope you get my point.
In 1Samuel, Eli the high priest, was judged by God because of the sins of his sons, which he did nothing about. Listen to what God said to him;
“You have honored your sons more than you have me by having made yourselves fat from the best parts of all the offerings of my people Israel”.’ 1Samuel 2:29
His was the job of tending to the offerings and sacrifices, but he honored his sons more then he did God. His sons became his idol.
Remember Jacob tricked Esau into selling him his birthright, but it didn’t mean anything to Esau, he put no value or importance on it, he had other things that he placed on the throne of his heart.
But Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” “Look,” said Esau, “I’m about to die! What use is the birthright to me?” But Jacob said, “Swear an oath to me now.” So Esau swore an oath to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Genesis 25:31
If your idol is power and success, humiliation is your greatest nightmare, you use people, and you probably have a problem with anger.
If your idol is the need to have the approval of everyone, your greatest nightmare is rejection, you smother people, and you have an emotional problem with cowardice.
If your idol is control and self-discipline, your greatest nightmare is uncertainty, you make people around you feel condemned, and you have an emotional problem with worry.
These are just a few, there are others, but the point is; idols can hide themselves in a myriad of ways in our lives and they are not always bad in and of themselves, it’s always the way we deal with them and use them.
God has wired and made us to worship, but that worship should be for Him and Him alone. If we put anything else on His throne, we are worshiping an idol.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen”. Romans 1:18-25
Imagine if we lived in a world where people didn’t lie to one another because the reasons for lying were all removed. Imagine no more manipulating the truth so that I could put myself in the best position to win. Imagine people actually stopping to help one another out, no matter what the situation, and never requiring a payment for their services. Imagine people looking for opportunities to do good and not to hurt or malign someone else. Imagine no more criticism or personal attacks.
Sounds like a dream or a fairy tale right, but this kind of world does exist and it will be coming to where you and I live some day soon in the future. I don’t care how much you buff and shine this world that we live in today, it is on its way out and God is preparing for a new one to take its place.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven of God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God: and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4
If you’re putting all your hope in this world and in this life, and what you think you will get out from it, even as a child of God, you hope is definitely misplaced.
“If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitied.” Corinthians 15:19
There is a hope that the child of God has that cannot be applied to anyone else. You and I have an eternal hope that rests on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. That has been confirmed and established forever by the resurrection from the dead of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; even Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 1:3-4
Don’t rest your hope in a job or a business, or circumstances, these are all things that are going to pass away, rest your hope in the eternal facts and evidences that God has given you. Our hope and faith isn’t a leap in the dark, as some would call it, it rests on the facts and evidences that God has given to us in His Word.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you.” 1Peter 1:3-4
Our hope is a living hope! It’s based on a the living Lord Jesus Christ. He is not dead, but alive and watching and orchestrating everything toward the end that He has planned, not what politicians or governments or terrorist organizations are planning.
“Now faith is the evidence of things hoped for, being sure of things we do not see” Hebrews 11:1
There is a new world coming that is going to be full of God’s grace and truth, and God is looking for people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4) The door is open for anyone who wants to come in but it won’t be opened forever. Are you in? Where is your hope and what are you looking for?
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast, which reaches inside behind the curtain, where Jesus our forerunner entered on our behalf,” Hebrews 6:19
An anchor is only as strong as what it’s anchored too. Massive ships have extremely large anchors that hold these ships still, but it doesn’t matter how big the anchor is, it’s what it’s anchored too. If that anchor is hooked on a small rock and that rock moves and gives way, the whole ship will be adrift.
What are you anchored too? What is your hope in? Anchor your soul into Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of the faith. He is unmovable, steadfast and sure.
Only God can give grace and truth and He wants to pour it into your life now, and the one to come. He is preparing a place for you, so you and I will be with Him forever.
“Do not let your hearts be distressed. You believe in God; believe also in me. There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you. And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be also.” John 14:2-3
This is where your hope should be, and this is where your anchor should be hooked too. We should be telling others of this great hope that we have, so that they too my enter into that blessed hope.
“Looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own possession, zealous of good works. Titus 2:13-14
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35
Trust is a very fragile flower. It can take years to build and yet in just one short moment of indiscretion can all come tumbling down, and there is nothing you can say or do to change it. Have any of you been there? I think all of us have at one point or another.
The main ingredient in any solid relationship is trust. Without trust there really is no relationship. You see, trust sets a relationship apart from all the others.
A young man who is going to college or out making his path in the world, sees and dates other young women. He’s just looking around not really for anything in particular, he’s just having fun making his way in the world, getting his direction as to where he wants to go…but then it happens.
Of all the people he’s enjoying and having a good time with there is this one that stands out from the crowd. He’s attracted to her and she is to him, and most important of all, they enjoy each others company.
They spend hours on end just talking and learning about each other. Every single detail comes out. They laugh, they cry, and they get to know just what makes the other tick.
This is a place that we don’t usually let other people in, but when someone opens the door to their heart and say’s, “I care about you, I love you, and I trust you to come in and make yourself at home,” that is and should be treated as a very special moment, because something is born at that moment inside the hearts of both of these people. It’s called trust.
If handled the right way, this trust will build into a strong unit and a force that nothing can knock over or penetrate through. There are four pillars that have to be present and born in the right order for all this to take place.
You have to bridge these four pillars together to make a solid unit that you will be able to build on for years to come. These are going to be the foundation pillars of what your relationship, and the relationship of your children and grand-children for generations to come, will be built on. When you think of it that way, you can see how so very important all this is.
Our society today doesn’t hold to these truths anymore, and the selfish, I want what’s best for me, attitude is what is control instead of this process.
The results are very evident… divorce, broken homes, teen suicide, and lots of lonely people who think that sleeping with every women in town, is being open and free, and in reality their heart is cold and empty, and they don’t know the first thing about truth or trust.
There is always the initial attraction that we go through. We may be attracted to a lot of different people, but through the talking period and sharing of truth, you will know if this is the one or not.
Once you have established that this person is willing to open themselves truthfully and honestly to you, this will open up the next bridge to trust that you must cross. Without truth there can never be any trust.
This is where many relationships fail. Truth is not as free flowing in our society today as it once was. People don’t think twice about lying or stretching the truth, but the bottom line is truth and integrity are the only ways to build a solid relationship that will last a lifetime. There is no other way… period.
Jesus said to His disciples in John 8:32, ” you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” When you know the truth about anything it does set you free. There is no more doubting or wondering which way to go…when you know the truth. When you know the truth and the solid rock of trust is built you can whether the strongest of storms.
Follow these pillars and you will find that right person that will fit you like a glove, and then continue to build on the truth and trust that you have established, and your marriage will be one that will last a lifetime and one that will be emulated in your family for generations to come.
The death of a loved one is never an easy experience. Weather a person comes to deaths door through a long illness or a tragic accident, losing someone who has been a part of your life, leaves a huge whole. Friends and family that come to circle around, you at that very painful time, can help and hold you up, but they can never take away the pain and devastation that you go through.
On top of the tremendous loss, there is all the paper work that must be handled and taken care of. Yes, I said paper work. I don’t mean this in any way to be disrespectful of the dead, but these are things that have to be done after we’re gone, and it’s a pile of papers that need to be signed and delivered to all the right places. This is something that all of us must go through, but none of us ever think about until it is all to late.
My mother-in-law passed away after a fourteen month battle with pancreatic cancer. Cancer is a horrible illness that usually leaves families reeling, but pancreatic cancer is usually discovered after it is too late and death is quick. Usually two to six months, but my mother-in-law lasted fourteen.
Then there are the constant drives back and forth to the hospital for the chemo treatments and any other things that may come up. It is a long and draining experience that leaves you numb and listless.
With all this going on and now the tragic news of the persons demise, there are the insurance forms and agents that need to be contacted. If there is an estate, there are attorneys, social security, clergy, funeral homes, and family members, just to name a few of the many things that have to be taking care of. This in and of itself, can be a daunting task for anyone to handle, but even more so after the devastating news that your loved one has died.
With all the emotions, fears, and drama that this brings, wouldn’t it be nice if you had everything prepared and ready to go, when this door, that we all must pass through, opens?
I would like to introduce to you an eBook that I have been given access too with all these answers laid out for you. A guide to organize and put together the people, phone numbers, and addresses, that you must contact. Have all the right papers ready to go and everything that you must do, all laid out for you. “This is My Story” is a great resource for everything you must do during this very difficult time.
Don’t leave your loved ones running around trying to find your insurance papers, or the name to your pension administrator, or your doctor, attorney, and close friends, during this very emotional period. They will have enough to deal with your loss, let alone all of the administrative process as well.
I remember everything that my wife had to carry, and all the arrangements that she had to do, and when the evening came she would just collapse in my arms, weeping desperately for her mother. If I could have known where some of these documents were and who to contact, I could have helped her so much more.
In, “This is My Story“, you will find resources and guides on how to leave a legacy for your children and grand-children. Record your family history on videos, and guidelines for a personal legacy letter, setting up wills, trusts, guardianship, and marital agreements.
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I know that my wife’s burden would have been so much easier to carry if she had all this information organized and set up before hand for her, but this is a bridge that we never feel we will have to cross…but we all will one day.
If someone charged me $100 for this, I would pay it in a heart beat, but they aren’t. $50 dollars would be a steal for all the valuable information in this book, but they aren’t selling it for $50 either. For the price of what it would cost you for a meal at McDonald’s, $9.95, is what you will pay for all this information. I still can’t believe that’s all they are charging for everything that you get in this book.
Click on the book and view a sample of this amazing information that we all need to know. Let’s see McDonald’s or peace of mind? I think I’ll take peace of mind.
We read so much today about physical healing and miracles that deal with the physical nature, and those are all well and good, but we will all eventually succumb to old age and the body will give out and the door of death is something that we will all have to walk through one day. To me, the greatest miracle of all is the miracle that lasts throughout eternity, the miracle of a changed Heart.
About four years ago my mother-in-law’s life was taken over by pancreatic cancer. It is a horrible cancer, as all cancers are. To just watch as a person’s life ebbs away and all you can do is try to make them as comfortable as possible.It’s a very emotional and trying time for everyone. I say this not for pity or sadness on my part, but for my wife Lori.
Lori and I met about eighteen years ago when life was throwing me a curve. Lori gave me hope and the spark that was so buried deep inside me. Oh, I tried to fight it and stay in my self-pity, but she did not give up. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. We got married and I will save the rest of that story for another blog, but what I really want to concentrate on is her current situation.
After Lori’s mom passed, her best friend was diagnosed with cancer also. She also passed from this world and went on to the next. To take two hits like that is hard enough for anyone, but there was more to come.
Lori also suffers from degenerative back decease. She walks around most of the time in pain, physical pain. There is also an emotional pain that she walks around with too. That pain is called her Father.
He made cancer seem like a walk in the park. No man that I have ever met can compare with the selfish, angry, hateful heart that this man possessed. This heart did not come from the emotional pain that he endured from the death of his wife. Her passing from this life to the next was an entrance, from the fifty five years of hell that this man, put her through, to a place of peace and rest, where there is no more crying…. She is finally free from all of that.
This all goes back to when he lost his sister, who was just seven years old at the time, to cancer also. Those pressures and emotional scares were deep and Bob carried them throughout his lifetime. It was the only way he knew how to live with his very hurting and troubled heart.
Now the incarceration of my wife begins. Bob was trying to do the same things to my wife, his daughter, that he did to his wife. The verbal abuse, the constant harassment of phone calls, and demands for her time were never ending.
The story went on, and Lori and I both continued to pray for Bob. We prayed that God would keep us strong. To help us see what is really going on inside him. What is making him act the way he does. He is hurting. He is so very angry. And God, what is our part in all this? Sometimes I wanted to wring his neck, and other times I felt sorry for him.
He was the one who was really in prison. He was the one that kept himself locked in, so afraid to come out, so afraid to face himself. But that is the only way he would ever be free. That is the only way any of us will ever be free. When we look in the mirror and see who we really are.
John 8:32;” And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Well that prison door was about to be opened. It all started when Bob joined our men’s bible study.
I want to talk now about the miracle God performed in Bob, my father-in-law’s life.
He joined the men’s bible study that I facilitated. He really loved getting out of the house and being one of the guys, ever since his wife died. We would talk about our sports teams and we always had something to say about our beloved, Detroit Lions. We would do our best to tell of how we would right the ship, if only we were the Head Coach of the Lions. Once we got all that out of our system, we really did open our bibles and get into a study of God’s word. We would drink our coffee, and eat our little munchies and share life with each other. It was a good time.
Bob would come over to my house and we would ride together to the church where the bible study was held. Sometimes he would get there two hours early. Since I only lived three minutes from the church, it left a lot of time for us to talk.
Sometimes we would go out to dinner or just sit in the kitchen and talk before it was time to go to the study. Bob was lonely, and all he wanted was someone to talk too. I know that I would complain sometimes, because he would come over so early, and I had things to do, but you know, I kind of didn’t mind. We would have some good talks, and looking back, God was letting me see inside into Bob’s heart, and I was seeing something start to happen. Bob was reading his bible every day. Even his next door neighbor said she saw him sitting on their back deck reading his bible.
God was doing something in Bob’s heart. He was changing this man from the inside. He didn’t seem so uptight about things like he used too. He was actually starting to be nice to people. People were starting to notice this as well as us.
The real proof came on Christmas. We had all of the family over our house for our yearly Christmas celebration. Food was out, and everyone was mingling and talking and just sharing the joy of the season. Normally Bob would sit at the table and not talk to anyone, unless he was spoken too. But this year was different. He was reaching out to the kids and talking to them, and saying hello to everyone. He even sat with his daughter-in-law and talked to her for about an hour. He gave her a hug and a kiss when she left to go home. Now this was something that everyone stood up and took notice of, because everyone knew that Bob did not like Debbie. In the past he would never have spoken with her, let alone give her a hug and a kiss good bye. Everyone saw this and took notice that this was not the Bob they all new.
When everyone left, Bob stayed. He stayed for about three hours. I could tell that he just wanted to talk to someone. So we sat down at the kitchen table… and we talked.
He told us about a time when his mother had come to live with them. This was way back when my wife was still living at home. He proceeded to tell us how his wife treated his mother,” like she was an angel,” he said. “She treated her like a queen”, he continued. But the most shocking thing came next. With watery eyes, and a difficult time getting the words out, he admittedly said,” but I treated her like a jerk. I was an idiot.”
It was a very emotional moment, but this man, maybe for the first time in his life, was admitting that he was wrong. He admitted that he was not the man that he portrayed himself to be, and he had definitely not lived the kind of life that God required of him. He told me; “I just want to get to heaven and be with my Vergie.” That was his nick name for his wife. She had died of pancreatic cancer about twenty months before all this. They had been together for fifty five years.
Through the prayers, love and friendship of so many people, and most of all, the intervening of God’s word in Bob’s life, this man was changing right before our eyes. You have heard of the miracles of people being cured of physical ailments. I think the greatest miracle of all is when God gives a person a new heart. One that can see and feel the world from the way God sees everything.
On January 12, 2009, Robert McMaster died of a massive heart attack. They said that he was dead before he hit the ground.
I believe with my whole heart, and not a doubt in my mind, that Bob has finally reached the place that he always wanted to be. He is in heaven, and he is with his Vergie.
If there was ever a person whom I thought was totally unreachable with the gospel of Jesus Christ, Bob would have been that person. I would have said that there was no way God could change Bob McMasters heart. I was so wrong.
God taught me that nothing is impossible with Him at the controls. Not only is Bob a great example of this, but my life as well.
The night that we went over to Bob’s house, after we got the call of his death, we found Bob’s bible opened to this verse.
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14: 2-3
Right now Bob and Vergie are in the place that God had been preparing for them. How about you? Have you examined your heart lately? Better yet, why not let God take a look at it. After all… He’s the one who wired it up. No one knows better how to fix it than He does. Just ask Him. He will do it.
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:13
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55: 8-11
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
I was watching a very popular show the other day, that is on network television, in the morning. There are four doctors on the program and each one of them represent a different area of the medical field.
One doctor is female, one from the male side of medicine, one a children’s doctor, and one is a plastic surgeon, or cosmetic surgeon. I think the word plastic surgeon is more appropriate, because that’s what they do, they inject and insert plastic in bodies to make them look younger, hotter, and sexier.
I see this as a very big problem, especially with the women in our world today.
The world breeds discontentment with ourselves, and actually with the God who made us, because it’s good marketing for the products and services that they sell and it makes them a lot of money. To the tune of almost 40 billion dollars a year.
After a women goes through the process of having children, or just the normal process of aging, everyone’s body changes. The world holds that, don’t you want to stay young and sexy for as long as you can, carrot out in front of people, and they run after it as fast as they can.
The majority of people that fall prey to this marketing machine are women but there are also men that go this route as well.
The under-laying factor in all these people is discontentment with themselves and their marriages and other relationships. They are insecure people that don’t want to be out of the loop. They want to be with the in crowd and they want to be the center of the action. Truth and reality are things that they struggle with.
My wife worked for a real estate company and her boss was a millionaire. They had money, two beautiful children, a successful business, but she was not happy with herself and there were some cracks starting up in their marriage. She wanted breast implants.
This lady is a beautiful women and in my opinion, didn’t need these surgeries, but she went and not only had the breast implants, but also the lip injections. My big question is why is she doing this?
Now everyone will say, it’s for me, or I want to look good for my husband, but is it really? With discontentment, comes the allurement of other eyes and the attention from other sources, that these surgeries will bring. If you are not content with yourself or your marriage, you can be sure, the world will bring some new sources to your door.
I’m not saying that these are things that will happen, but there are natural tendencies that human nature will follow, and you need to be aware of them and how they work or you will fall prey to them and just become another statistic.
I am a Christian, I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and these are situations that every child of God should be aware of. If you are only getting fed from TV and what the world and magazines are saying about you, and how you should look and feel, and your mind and heart are being molded by what they all have to say, you are on the wrong road. You will fall victim to them, not if, but when it happens.
Start finding out what the One who made you has to say about you. Find out why He wired you the way He did. There is a reason why He put you together the way He did. He wants to use you for His purposes and bless you beyond anything that you can think or imagine.
The world says it can change you and make you happy, but God says He wants to give you real contentment and real joy in living. He will give you life and give it to you to the fullest measure. Run to Him, and not to the imaginary mirror that the world holds up for you to see yourself in.
Love is the greatest power in the universe, and it can also be the most powerful tool, when withheld from someone. Nothing can do more harm and cause more devastation then the power of love.
Loved? Loved. is my 2 word story. For those of you who don’t know what I mean by a 2 word story, I will explain.
On April 16, 2011, the EACH program was set into gear, with the Prayer Walk that was held in downtown Detroit Michigan. 25,000 people from about 500 churches, of all denominations, met in solidarity to pray for the city and pledge one million hours of community service to help those in need and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
EACH stands for Everyone a Chance to Hear. Hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, and part of this program is to come up with your story in just two words. You wear your two words on a t-shirt, button, or a hat, and pray as God will open the doors for people to ask you what those two words means on your shirt, and then you have the invitation to tell them your story of how you met Jesus Christ.
Loved? I was not, as a boy growing up. I was small and not very big, very shy and not assertive at all. I grew up in a home of verbal abuse. I was always told that I couldn’t do anything and that I would just grow up to be a garbage man. If I ever did want to try something, I was told I couldn’t do it because I was to small, or I would break it, or some other reason that my parents had in their arsenal of negative statements.
Words can kill, and I never was involved in any physical abuse, so I don’t know what that’s all about, but I do know that words can hurt and the scares can linger for a life time.
My view of God was some big guy in the heavens just waiting for me to slip up, and he couldn’t wait to bring the hammer down on top of my head. He loved punishment and judgment, and since I couldn’t do anything right, He was having a fun time with me.
Well, needless to say, these things all turned me into other avenues to find validation and love, and they were all the wrong ones. Drugs, alcohol, and women got me in a whole lot of trouble, and there were times, when I look back today, that I should have been dead. I used everyone and I hurt a lot of people.
When I was ten yeas old, I gave my life over to Jesus Christ, while watching a Billy Graham crusade on TV. My mother would always watch him and so we did as well. Something that he said just resonated with me and I got down on my knees before I went to bed, and asked God to come into my life and change me. I meant it with all my heart.
They sent me a copy of the gospel of John and I remember going through it but I don’t think I read it all the way . I never told anyone what I did, and because we were catholic, I never had anyone to talk to about it.
Years later after I was married and my wife was expecting our first son, something happened.
I was working the night shift at one of the big three, and one of my party buddies, was going to day shift. He was my best friend and after being on the day shift for one year, he got bumped back to nights. Well I couldn’t wait for me and him to get back to our party ways.
While he was gone , we used to go all the way up the stairs, to the top of the roof of the building, (a staircase that was only used by the skilled trade guys), to get high. But someone, we didn’t know who, had put a picture of Jesus up there, and we used to use that picture as our code word. When we wanted to get high, we would go up to a guy and say, ” Do you want to go and see the Lord at lunch time?” He would know exactly what we meant.
Well when I say my friend after a year, I took him up to see the Lord. I figured we would start our reunion in the right way. Well, he had other plans.
He told me that he had become a follower of Jesus Christ and that he had put the picture of Jesus up because that’s where him and his other Christians friends, from day shift, would go and have their bible study every day.
He told me all about Jesus dying on a cross to save me from my sins and that He really loved me, and would come into my life and change me.
I got down on my knees again and asked God to come into my life. My friend gave me a bible and I still have that bible sitting in my office.
I think God used my friend to complete what He used Billy Graham to start years before.
I learned that God wasn’t waiting for me to mess up so He could punish me. He punished His son so that I could live. He loved me that much to pay that kind of price, just so I could be free. Nobody has ever loved me like that, and nobody ever can. Only God can do that.
Loved? was the word that I carried around my neck for some twenty years of my life. Now I have replaced it with a new word. Loved. He really does love me and loves me like no one else ever can. Circumstances can change, people can change, and events can change, but His love for me and you will never change.
At His last meal with twelve of His closet friends, right before He went to the cross, He said this to them;
“No one has greater love than this — that one lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends” John 15: 13-14
What’s your 2 word story? Do you have a 2 word story?
Someone asked me, “what is faith?” I think a lot of people ask that question, and I know that I’ve had that question myself, off and on during my Christian life. What do we mean when we say, “we have faith?”
Well we all have faith, but in different things. We have faith when we get into an airplane, we have faith when we get behind the wheel of an automobile, and we have faith when we sit into a chair, that the chair will hold us up and it won’t collapse on us. (I’ve had that happen, by the way.) This is faith that all of us carry every single day of our lives.
We need faith to live, and we need faith to live eternally with God. It’s how our walk with God is initiated. “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.
Is it just a leap in the dark, like so many say today? Is it just an, “I hope so”, or “I think this is the way”, statement? Not at all. God gave you a brain, use it. He doesn’t want you to check your brain at the door.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
Now there are not to many things in this world today, that you can be sure of and not to many things that you can be convinced of, but God says you can be of Him.
Chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews is the faith chapter. It goes through all of these people in the bible and talks about the faith that they had in God and what He said. You see, this is not about the great faith these people had, but it’s about the faith they had in a great God. The subject is God, and faith is the vehicle that God uses to work in our lives.
Faith in God is simply believing God is who He said He is and believing what He said. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Heb 11:6
Now that is going to take some knowledge and study to get to know Him, because how can you believe and trust what someone says if you don’t know them. That would be a leap in the dark. Would you get married to someone you just met? No, although some people do, and end up in divorce court before the year is out.
If you have stepped into a relationship with Jesus Christ, and you believe He took the penalty for yours sins on the cross, and you know enough about Him to trust Him with your eternal destiny, than why don’t you move further along in this relationship and really get to know Him so deeply and personal, that His thoughts will be your thoughts and His concerns will be your concerns.
Now I’m not talking about a robot mentality, that’s not what it is at all. Take someone who has been married for fifty, sixty, or even seventy years, they just have to look at each other and they can tell what that person is feeling, simply by a touch or a look. Wouldn’t it be so nice to know God that well. You can!
Let’s just read one example of faith from Hebrews chapter 11. Abraham.
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He had received the promises, yet he was ready to offer up his only son. God had told him, “Through Isaac descendants will carry on your name,” and he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead, and in a sense he received him back from there.” Hebrews 11: 17-19.
God tested Abraham’s faith in Him. (read Job 23:10, James 1:2-3, 1Peter 1:6-8). Abraham knew that God promised His seed would come through Isaac. Abraham had waited a very long time for the birth of Isaac, and now God is telling Abraham to offer Isaac on the alter. That went against everything that God said and everything that God was to Abraham, because Abraham knew God very well.
So when God asked Abraham to offer up Isaac, he didn’t flinch one single bit. It says, “he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead“. Notice that he reasoned. He didn’t leave his brain at the door. Abraham reasons to himself, “well God said Isaac is the one, I’ve been waiting a long time for him, he just wouldn’t take him away after He promised…I guess He will just raise Isaac back from the dead.”
For all intense and purposes, Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac on the alter, so God’s word says he basically did receive him back from the dead. You can read the whole story in Genesis chapter 22.
That’s faith my friend. Do you think Abraham could have expressed such a strong faith in someone that he really didn’t know that well? To many of the people who are in our churches today, have met Jesus Christ, but they don’t know Jesus Christ.
There were many others who didn’t receive the end reward of their faith, but it didn’t diminish it at all. They still went to some horrible deaths believing God all the way. “But others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain resurrection to a better life.” Hebrews 11: 35 It goes on to say that the world is not worthy of them.
Where is your faith today? Do you know Him? I mean, do you really know Him? Are you looking forward to seeing Him when you exit this world as if you were going to be reunited with a very good friend that you haven’t seen in a very long time.
That’s how He wants you to know Him. You can by taking time every single day in His word. He wants to talk to you, and He wants to hear from you today.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the honor both now and on that eternal day.” 2Peter 3:18
Saturday, April 16, 2011, will be a day that the 25,000 people, who braved the rain and cold temperatures, pray will live on for years to come.
The first of its kind, prayer walk, was held at Comerica Park in Detroit Michigan. Thousands of Christians came together to pray for their city, it’s leaders, and also to pledge a million hours of service to their communities.
This all started about two years ago and grew into the E.A.C.H. program. E.A.C.H. stands for; Everyone A Chance to Hear. To hear what you might ask? To hear the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
500 churches, from all denominations, came together in this massive event. There were singers and lots of umbrellas, but most of all, there was the hope and the hearts of thousands of people calling for God to move His mighty hand on this ravaged city of Detroit.
The news media came from all over the country. CNN, MSNBC, and national reporters came from every where to cover this event.
There has not been any kind of event like this since the days of Billy Graham and his crusades that covered all the major cities of America with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The EACH program will be a bit different. Instead of using one man, the entire body of Jesus Christ, His church, is being called on to go out and share the gospel of Christ in word and more importantly, in deed. One million hours of service to communities all over southeastern Michigan. Showing the love of God in the things we do and say to people. Going out of our ways to help out those who are in need with the things that we have.
Easter will kick off a one year program of service by the church and followers of Jesus Christ.
There are billboards, all over the city highways, that have just have one word on them, and after Easter, they will be replaced with two words. The two word story is coming April 24, 2011.
Everyone who is a follower of Jesus Christ has a story. It’s His story and how it has changed people from the inside out. My two word story is; Loved? – Loved. Go to the 2 word story link on April 24, 2011, and read more.
There were extra police officers that were working that day because of the crowd, but all they were doing was shaken hands and having pictures taken with the prayer walkers, and walkers thanking them for all their hard work that they do in laying their lives down for the people of the city of Detroit. They were dumb founded and didn’t know what to say with all the accolades that were being heaped upon them.
As I watched all this and taking all of it in, I thought…what would it be like if our whole city was like this? What would it be like if our whole state of Michigan were filled with people like this? What would it be like if our whole nation was filled with people of this nature?
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, help get His story out in your town and in your city or state. That’s why we are here!
“Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 18-20
Webster’s dictionary official definition of the word integrity is; “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”
I can almost see and feel the perspiration coming from inside myself and a whole lot of you as we read these words. Words like, moral and ethical principles, moral character, and…honesty? Doesn’t sound like the world we live in today does it? But that’s what the word integrity means in the dictionary, but it has taken on a whole different meaning in our world and even in the church.
What does it mean to have a moral character? What does it mean to have ethical principles? Where does one see honesty anymore?
The word moral means; “the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong.”
Do you know right from wrong? Do you have a principle or a set of rules that guide you through the maze or what’s right and what’s wrong in this world today?
There are a lot of people in Washington who will give you the principles and rules that they follow, and there are CEO’s and presidents of Banks and large Corporations who will be happy to tell how they divide what’s right and what’s wrong. As a matter of fact, there seems to be a bunch of people who have their own set of rules and principles that they follow according to what they believe is right and wrong, and each and everyone of them is different.
They have to be grounded and based on something. For example, most people will say that it’s wrong to cheat, but just about everyone does cheat at some point or another. One may think it’s OK to cheat on their taxes and another will find nothing wrong with cheating a cashier, when she accidentally gives them the wrong change. The difference, of when these two people think it’s OK to cheat, comes from their moral character. How is our moral character formed?
That’s the million dollar question. I believe it goes all the way back to when we were children. Our parents, and the environment that we were raised in, shapes our moral character, but then you have to look at how your parents were raised and how your grand-parents were raised, and it goes on and on and on.
God says in Numbers 14:18; “‘The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in loyal love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children until the third and fourth generations.” We live in a sinful world and we’re raised by sinful parents and we go about living our sinful lives in the direction and path that we choose, with no regard for no one else except our own selfish desires.
Honesty is the result of ethical principles and moral character.
Now it’s easy to see, how a world that does not acknowledge or even see God, would come to all these destinations, but what about those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ? Those of us who are Philippians 1:21 Christians; “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” What about us, where do we get our moral compass and who do we line it up with?
I was invited to a business networking event, which was being held at a bar-restaurant. I spotted a few people that I knew from church. If I didn’t know who these people were, you would be hard pressed to identify them from the crowd. Who were the Christians and who were not. They all looked, acted, and talked the same way.
Have you ever been at a traffic light and suddenly you had the weirdest sensation, that you were moving? You quickly pressed down harder on the brake peddle, just to make sure you weren’t rolling. If you were to look at something stationary, like the street light pole on the other side of the road, you would easily see that you were really not rolling.
You see, when we fix our energies and attention on something solid, unmovable, and not changing, we can easily get our bearings straight, and not rely on the forever changing feelings and emotions of the world and our own humanity. They are marred and unreliable.
There are people and churches that live their spiritual lives totally depended on miracles, healing’s, prosperity, and health. They are all based on feelings and emotions, and they are walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit. They have just made unto themselves another law that they have to follow.
“Are you so foolish? Although you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort?” Galatians 3:3
My friend, only the solid and unmovable Word of God, can be trusted to be your stationary post and compass, to guide and direct your thoughts and minds toward God and the path He has designed for your life.
Spend some time every day in it and and talk to God. He’s just waiting to hear from you, and you know what…it will change your life forever.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not empty, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:8-11
What if you were visiting Niagara Falls, and you saw a canoe with three or four of your family members, and they were just floating down the river, having a great time. Unfortunately the river emptied into the huge drop of the Falls, and if they continued on this route, it would surely end in their deaths, and they had no clue where they were headed… what would you do?
That may not be happening literally, but it is happening spiritually all around us.
Everyday we encounter hundreds and maybe even thousands of lives, people we see at the store, our place of work, our neighborhoods, and our friends. Thousands of people who don’t know Jesus Christ. Thousands of people who our in the canoe of life, and heading for the falls, and don’t realize anything is wrong.
Do you care? Our you remotely interested that others are on their way to death and total separation from God for the rest of eternity?
If you are a child of God, you should care and you should be interested because that’s why Jesus Christ came to this world over two thousand years ago.
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
God is on a search and rescue mission. He has lost something and He wants it back, and He has chosen you and me as His ministers of this mission.
God was the first missionary Himself. Go back to the book of beginnings, the book of Genesis, after Satan, through his craftiness and lies, stole the bride of Christ away, and you find Him walking and looking for His bride.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the orchard.
But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:8-9
God was the first missionary, and He has been on a search and rescue mission ever since. He has been looking for His lost sheep and calling them back home. This is the theme all through the bible and if you don’t get this down, you will struggle understanding the rest of God’s word.
There is an incredible program going on in Detroit Michigan, called E.A.C.H. – everyone a chance to here. To here what? To here the good news of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and this program is growing rapidly. I would not be surprised if this spreads to our entire nation.
There are almost 500 hundred churches involved, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, and non-denominational churches, all with the same desire and effort…to get out God’s good news to mankind.
Ladies and gentleman, there is only One church, and that’s the church of Jesus Christ, the Bride of Jesus Christ, that God the Father made for His son. Satan stole her away, and God wants her back. He paid the price for her redemption…the door is open and God is calling an army of witnesses to get the word out. The only reason there are divisions in His Church, is because of you and me, not God.
“I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overpower it.” Matthew 16:18
There is a time line that EACH is following and it starts with Easter. A prayer walk in downtown Detroit, and there is expected to be around 30,000 people there, maybe even more, and then the army of God is going to go out into the world and spread the good news by doing good.
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.
My friend is a missionary to Africa, and most of the people in his area are Muslim. He is a carpenter by trade and is building a school in Ghana. One of the Muslim villagers is working with him, and my friend and him decided to fix all the fences in the village.
While they were doing that, one of the Muslim Imam’s was watching them. He watched as they fixed the fences without being asked and without asking for nothing in return.
The Muslim Imam approached him and asked him, “are you a Christian?” He replied, “yes I am.” The Imam declared, “you are different from the others.”
You see, they have seen other people who have called themselves Christians, and they lied and cheated and have brought the name of Christ down.
It’s not by what you say, but by what you do that others will know you belong to Christ. Demonstrating His love and compassion to the world, through the actions we take, will demonstrate who we really belong too, and it’s the best way to spread the good news.
“So then, you will recognize them by their fruit. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’24 will enter into the kingdom of heaven — only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
” Matthew 7:20-21
That’s what EACH is all about. Demonstrating with your life and then give an answer of the hope that is within you, when someone asks.
What are you doing? Who will be in heaven because of what they saw in you or what you demonstrated in your life, or by what you said.
This is God’s program and we are just His tools. What kind of tool are you.
Through the years since the life of Jesus Christ on this earth, the gospel, or good news of God, has changed and evolved into different guides and peramiters that we have put it in.
Simply believe on Jesus and His shed blood on the cross, and you’re saved. Nothing more. It’s nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all true, but A man’s professed faith may be nothing more than mental assent to a well-known fact. Such intellectual agreement involves no commitment of the person, and does not produce a transformed life. It is not enough to believe in the existence of God. True, this is essential, but it is not sufficient. Even the demons believe in the existence of God and they shudder at the thought of their eventual punishment by Him. (James 2:19)
The word believe carries with it much more than just an intellectual accent to this existence of God. I think our human nature is always willing to give just what I have to to get by and no more.
Look at all the failed marriages in America today. People that believed and vowed their alligence to one person, until death due they part, but when life starts to crash against us, and spill it’s waves inside our boats, we look for the first way out. Where is our love and commitment when these storms arise?
There was the rich young ruler who asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus told him to keep the commandments, and he replied that he wholeheartedly has kept all of them. He had kept the law, the rules and regulations that the law required, he had done just enough, but what was Jesus reply?
“When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was extremely wealthy.” Luke 18:22-23
Jesus told him that he still lacked something, and that was a real commitment from the heart, and he couldn’t do that because his money was filling that empty spot in his heart. Jesus said get rid of that money and I will fill that empty place in your heart with Me.
Jesus knew what he was thinking and told him, ” don’t worry because you will have treasure in heaven.” Sadly the rich young ruler couldn’t make a real commitment. He turned and walked away.
I’ll bet that rich young ruler looked real good in church on Sunday. Probably was the head of a men’s bible study, maybe even an elder in his church, and even helped people out with his money, but where was his heart really?
There is the story of the lawyer in Luke 10:25-37, who asks the same question of Jesus and this time Jesus goes further with His answer with a story of His own, about the good Samaritan. It is more then just doing what you have to do to get by, if you aren’t willing to live it, then you haven’t made a real commitment.
Peter also made such a commitment to Jesus. After Jesus told them of His death and how they would all scatter and leave Him alone., Peter turned to Jesus and vowed that even if everyone else ran off, he would never leave, as a matter of fact, he would even give his life for Jesus.
Peter meant what he said and Jesus knew that, and Peter’s life proved it, but he had it all wrong, it was Jesus who would lay His life down for him. Peter’s heart was in the right place, but Jesus knew that he was still going to have to go through more training. Remember what Jesus told him;
Luke 22:31 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:” Satan wanted to get at Peter because he was a leader and his heart was 100% sold out to Jesus.
Jesus never taught easy believism. Whether He was telling the rich young ruler to sell everything he had and follow Him or telling a crowd of people, who were only looking for the next miracle, that to do the work of God was to believe on Him, (John 6:28-29), He called for people to abandon their own agenda and trust Him radically. Radical trust calls for both believing and acting upon that belief.
Love is believing and committing, and always followed with action. Any other way is not real.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matt. 16:24-25
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Rom_8:35-37.
When considering the triumphant Christian life, we may wrongly think that victory depends upon getting out of impossible situations. Actually, we are already “more than conquerors” even while we are in the midst of the impossibilities.
For us to be ultimately defeated, we would have to be separated from Christ’s love for us. We would have to be cut off from the loving care of our victorious Lord. Can any foe or any situation accomplish that? “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? ” This question is answered in Rom_8:38-39. “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
No spiritual foe can enforce such a separation. Neither can any circumstance of impossibility separate us from our loving God. Rom_8:35-36 list some of the impossibilities that make us feel as though we are being defeated. “Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter’ .”
When troubles and pressures arise, when we are attacked or are lacking resources, we may be tempted to think that victory is no longer available. When our experience is like a lamb being led to the slaughter, we may think that victory could never be ours. Nevertheless, the truth is that “in all these things we are more than conquerors.”
Yes, right in the middle of the impossibilities of life, we are already more than a spiritual victor. Actually, we have already been made participants in a mighty, eternal, abundant victory, the victory that Christ accomplished on the cross and in the resurrection. “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
Our victorious position in any situation is not circumstantial. It is relational. We are united by faith to the victorious one, the Lord Jesus Christ!
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Co_15:57).
I don’t know how many of you are married but if you are married or you may be planning a wedding, you remember that there is a lot of preparation and planning that goes on to make sure this very special day goes on without a hitch.
God is planning a wedding and He is preparing for a marriage feast. Now when God puts things into motion, I guarantee that they will go on without a hitch. There won’t be any last minute complications that will throw His plans off.
The greatest romance novel is the Bible. If we go back to the beginning, the book of Genesis, the book of beginnings, we see God talking to someone when He said,
“Then God said, “Let us make
humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”
God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them,
male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27
There is a very distinct difference that we bear from all the rest of God’s creation. We bear the image of God Himself. We are image bearers for God as we walk in this world.
You see, God made the world for us and He made us for Himself. We bear His image because we belong to Him. I’ve had so many people come up to me and say, “you look just like your father.” Well we can say that about all of us, because we bear His image. Now Satan comes along.
“Now the serpent was more shrewd
than any of the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Is it really true that God said, ‘You must not eat from any tree of the orchard’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit from the trees of the orchard;
but concerning the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the orchard God said, ‘You must not eat from it, and you must not touch it, or else you will die.’ ” Genesis 3:1-5
Satan comes along and he challenges God’s love for Adam and Eve. He tells her that God is holding back on you. He’s not telling you the truth. How can He love you if He would do this to you? I won’t do this to you. I will give you everything. You can trust me. Come with me, and Adam and Eve ate from the tree and plunged all humanity into sin.
That tree was kind of like a wedding ring. We were betrothed to God and we ran off with another lover…Satan. Sin is a rupture in the love-relationship between God and us. The ability to love God well and love others well came undone.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the orchard.
But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”Genesis 3:8-9
God was the first missionary looking for the lost. Did He know where Adam and Eve were? Yes He knew. He knows where you and I are today my friends. This is the whole theme of the Bible. If you don’t understand this, you won’t understand the rest of the Bible. God lost something and He wants it back!
“And I will put hostility between you and the woman
and between your offspring and her offspring;
her offspring will attack your head,
and you will attack her offspring’s heel.” Genesis 3:15
God became the first prophet and made the first promise that He would fight to win back our love.
“The LORD God made garments from skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21
“The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said, Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
God becomes the first priest to offer a great sacrifice to remove the sin problem. God could as easily walked away and said, “you’ve run off with another lover, I will go make me a new one. I don’t need you. You’ve made your choice.” He didn’t do that. He told Satan, “You’ve stolen from Me what was mine and I will win her back.”
“You were bought with a price.” 1 Corinthians 7:23
“Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory, because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.” Revelation 19:7
There is going to be a great wedding feast that God is preparing for His bride. You can read all about at the end of the book of Revelation. He has already paid the price, He has already bought us back from the Evil One, and now His offer goes out to everyone.
Are you getting yourself ready for the wedding day? Are you inviting your friends, family, and everyone you know to this great celebration?
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” Revelation 21:1-3
Whenever we are traveling in an area were we’ve never been before, we usually have a map that we follow. I remember back in the day, taking that long road journey called the family vacation, and my wife following the map that we had and telling me the next road I would have to turn on. We had planned ever road and stop with a marker, so there was no way we were ever going to get lost.
Now I have a terrible sense of direction. All you have to do is turn me around in a circle and I would get lost, and I am no different than any other man when it comes to asking for directions. I don’t know why, but it’s a part a the male species to never want to admit that we are lost and we need directions. I guess it just hits at our pride; you know, the man, the head of the family, the one who protects and provides…..is lost! Just a hard thing for us guys to swallow. Thank God for GPS.
We joke about this, but when it comes to following your life map, the life map that God has laid out for you, we all have a hard time admitting that we might need some direction, and sometimes we just get lost and need some very definite help. When it comes to this, all of us, male and female fall very short on admitting these things.
When the bible talks about the offense of the gospel, why would the gospel be offensive to anyone? The gospel is the good news of God. The way is now open for anyone who wants to, can now come to God and receive forgiveness for all their sins, everything that they have done to offend God. That’s what our sins are, an offensive front against God. He will wipe the slate clean, and give you a brand new life map, that He has laid out specifically just for you. He has promised to be your guide and help you to through your life map.
Why would this be offensive to us? Because I don’t like asking for directions. It makes me feel like I’m not in control. It makes me feel inferior, less of a person, like I don’t know what I’m doing. It means that I have to swallow my pride and admit that I’m lost and I don’t know the right way to go. That’s never been an easy thing for me to do, and maybe that’s never been an easy thing for you to do also, but that’s what is needed to do.
Just like my wife is telling me, as we drive endless hours looking for that road we can’t find, “why don’t you stop and ask for directions?” God is saying the same thing to you and me; “When are you going to admit that you’ve lost your way, and come to Me for directions. I’ve got the life map that I made just for you and you won’t be alone, because I’ll walk you through it.” That’s a promise from God to you and me. Listen to what He says;
“Now, this is what the LORD says,
the one who created you,
and formed you:
“Don’t be afraid, for I will protect you.
I call you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I am with you;
when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not harm you.” Isaiah 43: 1-2
I want to close with something King David said to his son Solomon before he passed the throne of kingship to him;
“When David’s time to die approached, he charged his son Solomon, saying. “I’m about to go the way of all the earth, but you – be strong; show what you’re made of! Do what God tells you. Walk in the paths He shows you: Follow the life map absolutely, keep an eye out for the signposts, His course for life set out in the revelation to Moses; then you’ll get on well in whatever you do and wherever you go.” 1 Kings 2: 1-3 from “The Message”
It’s never to late to ask for directions, and it’s OK to do so, because all of us get lost. God has a life map for you, and He will walk with you through it and even show you where all the signposts are. All you have to do is stop whatever you’re doing and ask Him for directions. He just waiting to hear from you.
“God came to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
With the permission of Mrs. West, I would like to show you a portion of an article that she wrote for a school paper. She is the editor, and a teacher, at this school, and she is also signed up and receiving a “Love Note From God” everyday. Listen to what she has to say.
“Earlier this year I shared with you
an email that I receive almost every
day. It is entitled “My Love Notes
from God,” and the notes are actually
taken from scripture and sent
out in “note” form, signed from God.
I enjoy reading these short notes
each day and have been amazed at
how often they come with a message
that I particularly need at that time.
In reality, the entire Bible is our
“Love Note from God,” inspired by
His Divine thoughts and therefore
worthy of reading, understanding’
and discussing. What a privilege we
have as mere humans to be able to
touch the very heart of God through
the study of His Word. And what a
privilege we have here at Fairview to
not only study the literature of man
but to study God’s Holy Word. Let us
never forget this awesome opportunity
that our children have here at
Celebrating God’s Word,
It brings such a joy to our hearts to know how God continues to bless His Word as He sends it out to many hearts and lives. He still is on the throne and He still is in the business of changing hearts and changing lives. How about yours? Maybe you know someone who could use a Love Note From God everyday.
Go to the website and sign up. It’s free. “My Love Notes From God”
God bless you all.
Walk through the streets of any large city and you will hear the sounds of busy activity. But imagine the streets of New York City, Pittsburgh, our nation’s capital, as well as major cities along the eastern seaboard silent everyday at noon as people join together to pray.
Too good to be true? It happened in the 1850s and it all started at the Fulton Street Church in New York City.
In 1857, the leadership of the Fulton Street Church in New York City saw a sharp decline in church attendance. They tapped Jeremiah Lanpher to lead the effort to reach the unchurched of the city. Lanpher was a former merchant with no formal theological training. He wasn’t sure how to proceed, so he organized a noonday prayer meeting. He printed up notices and handed them to anyone who would take one. On the day of the meeting, Lanpher waited.
Jeremiah Lanpher announced he was a city missionary and there was going to be a prayer meeting. No one showed up and he began praying. Twenty minutes later he heard someone coming up the stairs and that first time maybe two or three joined him. The next time someone joined him and then the room was filled. And so he went from one room to two rooms to three rooms and he went to the church sanctuary.
In the following months, noonday prayer meetings sprung up all across the city. In fact, many factories blew the lunch whistle at 11:55 a.m., giving workers the chance to rush to the nearest church to pray for an hour. Churches of all denominations were filled with people praying on their lunch break. This caught the attention of the media.
The Layman’s Prayer Revival had the motivation that we must pray one hour. Jesus said, ‘Could you not tarry with me one hour?’ And they wanted to go pray during their lunch hour so there was fasting and great prayer. The editor of the Herald Tribune was looking out of his window at a few minutes before twelve and he was shocked to see men running from their places of business, bumping into one another and within a minute they all disappeared into churches. And he said what’s going on? So he sent a reporter down to see what it was and he said, ‘they are all praying.’
The next day he got all of his reporters together, put them on horses to cover the whole city. They came and said there must be fifteen thousand people. So he began to write stories, and then before you know it, there were twenty-five thousand. The more stories he wrote the bigger the meeting got. And he put them on horse to cover the whole city and they came back and they said there must be about forty thousand men praying through the lunch hour. What’s happening here? Because New York was center of the world at that time, all over America, in Cleveland, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, people would read the New York papers and then revival began to break out.
Prayer meetings organized by lay leadership spread like wildfire across the United States. By 1859, more than one million unchurched Americans were won to Christ. God was pouring out His spirit, preparing America for one of its darkest chapters in history.
The layman’s prayer revival took place two years before the Civil War. And think of all of the thousands men who were slain and cut down in battle. The only positive thing we can say is that many of them knew the Savior before they went into that battle.
Imagine if we all took an hour out of our busy lives to pray — what could happen?
The 700 Club
There is another revival that is starting up in Detroit Michigan. Here is where you can get more information.
The world rests uneasy.
Just a few weeks ago, artillery shells from North Korea sailed across the Yellow Sea and struck a South Korean island, killing four and injuring 18. Shortly afterward, the U.S. announced it was holding joint military exercises with South Korea and dispatched an aircraft carrier to the volatile region.
Within days of that incident, hundreds of thousands of confidential cables from U.S. diplomatic sources were published, revealing the backstage drama and tension of seeking to maintain peace and security in an increasingly unstable world.
The cables highlighted the growing concern over the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran. Blunt remarks from several prominent leaders in the Middle East and Israel warned of the menace posed by a nuclear Iran, with one Arab leader referring to Iran’s president as “Hitler.”
This month, South Sudan will hold a referendum to decide whether to become an independent nation. If that happens, it will no longer be under the rule of the Muslim-dominated North. Many expect conflict to break out again, resuming the violence of two decades of civil war that killed more than 2 million civilians in the South.
None of this should surprise anyone who follows Christ and has a biblical worldview informed by the Scriptures. The Bible says that the heart of man is “desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9), and from that depraved heart flows unending greed, lust, and desire for power. Mankind is lost in sin, alienated from God, at enmity with Him and with each other.
Jesus told us that while wars and natural disasters have always characterized this present evil age, these symptoms will increase at an alarming rate as the Second Coming of the Messiah draws near (Matthew 24).
However, none but the Father in Heaven knows when that will occur. Until that time, we are to be busy proclaiming and sharing the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
While the world relentlessly and unsuccessfully pursues political and economic solutions to our problems, followers of Christ are to be busy sowing the seeds of the Gospel found only through faith and repentance in Him. Lasting peace and security will only come when the King returns and sets up His Kingdom.
At the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we will be busy proclaiming that Gospel of the Kingdom around the world in this new year, starting in Haiti this month, followed by Liberia, the Philippines, Lithuania, India, Canada and the United States.
As the world sinks into increasing depravity, violence and turmoil, nothing is more critical than growing our roots deep into a stable faith in Jesus Christ, and making Him known to those around us. And be encouraged that as the world grows darker, the light of the Gospel shines ever brighter.
“In this world you will have tribulation,” Jesus said, but we can be of good cheer, for He added, “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version.
As I look around at the state of the union, our country and the world, I’m not encouraged about the future. Many people feel the same way today. There are not a lot of happy smiling faces around anymore.
Watch the news, and all you see is story after story of the disintegration of our culture. Violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and corporate scandals fill the headlines everyday. Lawlessness and immorality are running rampant right in front of our eyes every where you look.
Want to see the direction we are headed, just take a look at the entertainment industry. That’s always a good meter to read if you want to see where we are going. Vulgarity, nudity, unwholesome innuendos, are what our movies, music, and television are consumed with. It’s almost a race to see who can out do the others for higher ratings. There is no public embarrassment or outrage as they continue to push the boundaries of normal decency further and further out. People have become numb as we spiral further and further down this deadly road.
We have a president and an administration, that’s more liberal then any other in our history. They were dealt a severe blow in the last elections, but the long road we are on is by no means any closer to the end. Many are wondering what new laws are coming that will harm our security, our freedoms, and the sanctity of life and marriage. Especially Christians, who have a growing concern of vocal government hostility, that my hamper the way we worship and our ability to teach and preach the truth of the scriptures publicly.
Mix all these things together and add the “Christian Church” that is trying so desperately to be like the world, and it isn’t hard to see the many unanswered questions that we face today.
One question I hear a lot is, “where is God in all that is happening today?” Is His plans for our country, and for His people, being defused or sidetracked somehow?
That’s a question everyone has had in his heart and mind, weather you want to admit it or not. It’s easy to wonder that, with all this wickedness and immoral conduct taking place all around us, where God is? We are all concerned about the future for our children, and grand children, and what’s it going to be like for them?
You will never find the answer, or any source of truth, in the media or the many talk shows that are on the air. The answer is from God in His Word.
First, God is on the throne. Not a single molecule escapes His notice or operates outside of His immediate control. Despite the way things are going, He remains unchanging, immovable, and supremely in control. This is not some wishful thinking, or some pious platitude – it’s an anchor of truth we can’t rehearse enough.
Quit standing on the premises and start standing on the promises. God’s promises for His people have not changed and they will never change.
Our relationship with Him is irrevocable. This is true for us and every generation of believers that follow us.
Finally, God’s Word is not silent about what He is doing among sinful nations. The Bible offers clear, detailed insight into how He actively accomplishes His sovereign will through the worst expressions of natural depravity. Despite all this, scripture leaves no question about who is in control and what the ultimate outcome will be. God is always moving and working everything toward His ends and to achieve His means.
This should give every child of God, amazing security and comfort in grasping this truth. I pray it does for you.
If you would like to become a child of God, and you’re not really sure what that is and how it happens, click the picture below. We’re all prying for you.
“The Love of God” is an old hymn sung by “Mercy Me” Enjoy and be blessed.
This is an old hymn, that you don’t hear very much anymore in church. I just had to print it out here for you. Read the verses and take in the message of the song. There is a little side note at the end, about the song, that I didn’t know.
As you read the lyrics, think about the extreme love that God lavishly pours out on you and me every moment of every day of our lives. This incredible love can never really be understood be the unregenerate heart and mind. We can only begin to come to the very fringe of understanding God’s great love for us, as He comes into our lives and starts to change us to be more like Him. It is this great love of God, that even starts to take this tremendous task of changing your heart and mine, as His gracious gift to you and me.
Verse 3 was penciled on the wall of a narrow room in an insame asylum by a man said to have been demented. The profound lines were discovered when they laid him in his coffin.
Here is a link to the song with the words right in front of your eyes to read along. Be blessed
As I was getting ready for an appointment that I had this morning, I thought I would help my wife out as she was getting ready for work. I had some extra time, so I made her lunch and then went back to getting myself ready. I saw she was in a little rush so I told her that I would start her car for her and get it warmed up before she had to leave. The temperature was twenty degrees that morning, as we live in Michigan, and the winters can get cold.
As I was finishing brushing my teeth, I saw her getting her keys and running out into the cold to start her car. I yelled out, “honey, I will do that for you”, she said back to me as she ran by, “I need it done now”.
I was hurt. I thought to myself, she doesn’t believe me when I said that I would start her car and it would be all warmed up for her, before she had to leave. She didn’t trust me to handle that one simple little task. Have I ever let her down before? Well, yes, I guess I have at times, but not with something as simple as this was. I had already made her lunch and got the coffee ready this morning.
Then it hit. God was tapping me on the shoulder and He said to me, “Brian, that is an all to familiar scene with Me. How many times has you done that exact thing to Me.” I thought, ” you’re exactly right God, as You always are.”
How many times have I read in God’s Word, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Do I believe Him? Do I really trust what He says to be true? Has He ever let me down before? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it will show up in the way I live and respond to the circumstances in life.
When I respond to God as my wife responded to me, that really shows that I don’t trust Him. By my actions, I’m calling Him a liar. I’m saying that He can’t be trusted completely, and that’s what Satan did to Eve. He called into light the validity and truthfulness of God’s Word.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1
When God says He’s got your back, that should take that burden away. I shouldn’t worry about that anymore. That’s the whole purpose of trusting someone. When I told my wife, I was going to start her car and have it all warmed up and ready to go, she should have said, thank you. That is something that I don’t have to worry about anymore. You have lifted that burden off of me and have taken it upon yourself. I can now move forward with one less task to carry, but she didn’t do that. Like I do with God, she continued to worry and carry that burden herself.
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 You see, love is an action word. God just doesn’t say He loves us, He showed His love for all humanity, by dying on a cross for your sins and mine.
“but He made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:7-8
There is every reason my wife doesn’t totally trust me. I have let her down and have not always come through like I promised I would, but thank God, He is not like us. God is the One who is faithful, not you and me. He always comes through and He will never let us down. We need to quit standing on the premises and start standing on the promises.
“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” Numbers 23:19
“casting all your anxiety onto Him,” because it matters to Him concerning you.” 1Peter 5:7
“Faithful is the One calling you, who also will perform it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 5:35
He is faithful and true, and yes, we can trust Him completely for everything in this life and the next.
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.” Revelation 19:11
God’s Word brings us a comforting promise, along with an insightful command as we face a New Year: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5-6).
You and I can live this coming year without fear if we apply these four incredibly wonderful truths to our lives and root them deep into our hearts.
The Contentment Of His Provision
Contentment is not getting what you want, but it is wanting what you already have. First Timothy 6:6-8 says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us therewith be content.” If you know Jesus Christ, you have contentment. If you’ve got clothes on your back, something to eat, and Jesus Christ in your heart, you’re rich!
Do you know why we have fear? Because we think our needs or the needs of someone we love are not going to be met. Or we fear that the things we think are meeting our needs are going to be taken away from us. The deepest need of your heart can only be met in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Companionship Of His Presence
I don’t know what I’m going to face next year. But there’s one thing I know, He will never leave me. Are you a child of God? He will never leave you either. Isn’t that wonderful!
What’s another reason we may fear in the coming year? Because we’re afraid we’re going to have to face something we don’t understand, and we’re going to have to face it alone.
When God’s Word promises that God will never forsake you, it literally means that He will never abandon you. He will not give up on you. We need to practice the presence of the Lord this coming year. When the devil comes and knocks at you heart’s door, you can simply say, “Jesus, please go answer the door.”
The Confidence Of His Promise
We’re going to zero in on a little phrase in our verses in Hebrews, “He hath said.” A promise is no better than the one who makes it. Who says, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”? It is the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God. This is the confidence of His promise.
In the coming year, when you say, “God, I just don’t have the strength.” The omnipotent God will answer, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” When you say, “God, I’m afraid of what is going to happen.” The omnipresent God says, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” And when you say, “God, I don’t know what to do.” The omniscient God will respond, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” He himself hath said it.
The Comfort Of His Protection
Hebrews 13:6 promises, “So that we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Now, put that with verse five which says, “He hath said.”
Like I said earlier, I don’t know what you’re going to go through this coming year. But I know you can boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, so I will not fear what man shall do to me.” When you find your contentment, companionship, and confidence in Jesus. Then, you’ll find your comfort and courage in Jesus.
There once lived a farmer who became jaded about Christmas and all things “Christian.”
Late one raw winter night, he sat alone in the house, reading. In the quiet he heard an irregular thumping against the back porch door. He flipped on the light. To his surprise, the birds that had made their nests in a nearby tree were flying against the glass, almost as if knocking to come inside. The limb on which they had built their nest had fallen under the weight of the ice. His heart went out to them.
He pulled on his snow boots and overcoat and pushed open the storm door. Immediately the birds fluttered away. Against knee-deep snow, he made his way out to the barn. He slid open the barn door and wondered how he could get the frightened birds into its warmth and safety.
He built a massive nest out of hay, but they wouldn’t come near. He sprinkled some crackers in a path from their tree toward the barn. But they didn’t follow. He tried to shoo them in, but they only scattered. He even lit a couple of candles inside the barn, hoping the added warmth would draw them. But to the birds, he was only something to be afraid of. He knew nothing of their language and nothing of their world.
He thought, If there were just some way that I could become a bird. If only for a few moments I could communicate to them how much I care, I could get them into the barn and they would be safe and warm.
At that moment, as only God would plan it, church bells began to ring in the distance. The farmer suddenly remembered, as he looked at his watch and checked the date, that it was Christmas morning.
At that moment, he grasped the true meaning of Christmas. A man becoming a bird is nothing to be compared to God’s becoming a man. This was what the Savior did—He came to rescue the farmer himself and all humanity from the cold of sin. There in the deep snow on the back porch he fell to his knees, softened his heart, and returned to the Lord his God.
See Philippians 2:6-11.