Wednesday, December 31, 2014

DECEMBER 31 "END OF THE YEAR, END OF THE WORLD!!!"

As we conclude the end of the Bible, at the end of the year; we also read about the “end of the world”.  So much talk today about the end of the world, so many write ups in tabloids about “Armageddon”, so much hype in movies about the “Apocalypse”, in each and every case, it’s about zombies, it’s about doom & gloom. People are crying, people are without hope, people are in fear, they would sell their souls to prevent “the end of the world!” It’s unfortunate that the only perspective we get about “the end of the world” is from those that have rejected God and have nothing but fear, nothing but doom and gloom to look forward to, who can blame them! But for you and I, we have a different perspective all together, about the end of the world. When we read about the end of the world, in the Book of Revelations we don’t get a sense of doom & gloom. I read about a jubilant crowd, the martyrs waiting in Heaven who are excited about this day, “how much longer Lord”, they ask, with great anticipation. We read about the end of the world and a New Heaven and a New earth descending from Heaven where “God’s home is amongst his people, He will live with them and they will be his people.” If there’s anything I’ve ever been told in life that is “too good to be true” this would be at the top of my list! It is hard to imagine a day where evil is once and for all vanquished, where there is no more hurts and pains. A paradise where we no longer have to lock our doors, worry about death, losing a loved one, being murdered, used, raped, bankruptcy, cancer, divorce and all the ills of society are gone and Jesus dwells right there amongst his people. It is too good to be true and I have always been taught, “if it’s to good to be true; then it probably isn’t!” However, this is one promise and probably the only promise that I would ever say to ignore, that old adage. This is too good to be true; however it is true. The end of the world is actually a glorious thing. It is “the thing” that we don’t think of enough, it is the event that we don’t’ dream about enough, it is actually the greatest hope and event for any human being to live for. It is the “blessed hope” of the Christian. The end of the world is the best thing that will ever happen on planet earth and as we read in Revelations, at the end of the year,  we are told about, yes…“the end of the world” and we have nothing more to add, nothing more to say, than what is already written, “Come, Lord Jesus Come!






Tuesday, December 30, 2014

DECEMBER 30 "DO YOU REALLY WANT TO GO THERE!!"

Do you really want to start a dialogue with God?  Or as we would say today, “do you really want to go there?” Normally that statement reflects the idea that you don’t want to start an argument you are going to sorely lose; there is just piles of evidence heaped up against us, if we want to start throwing accusations. What I especially like about the Old Testament is we get actual dialogue from God and I find that fascinating. How does God think? What upsets him, if He was going to speak, what would he say? If you will read through the whole Old Testament you will get to know Jehovah/Yahweh quite well!

Today we read in the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi and Jehovah has one last opportunity to speak. It will be 400 years before God ever speaks to the Jewish people again! And what we find is that it is the typical conversation between man & God.  God says, “I have always loved you” man says, “how have you loved us!” It’s the conversation that still goes on in every break room, church foyer and family functions. We say, “God loves you”, they say, “how has He loved us, look at my life and all that has happened to me, you call that love!” Warning from today’s reading…it is an argument you don’t want to start with God. However they started the argument so God says, just like He did with “Job”, I will end it.  God begins to bring up all the worthless and phony offerings they have brought to Him over the years, sheep, goats and lambs that were sick, lame, crippled that they took from their flock and knew they could not have sold these animals for 1 cent and had the nerve to say, “here is my offering Lord, how I love you!” In the middle of worthless offerings they married heathen women and in marrying heathen women we can say that “liked/loved” heathen women, how could this be? They divorced and abandoned their wives when they were fed up with them and left them destitute. And why…because a prettier, younger woman came along? There is a term used in Psychology “selective amnesia” and it is a mental illness we all suffer from, especially religious people. Self deception is another unhealthy mental disorder. Mentally, warped people cannot serve God.  They truly do not see or purposely choose to block out/forget, the phony, hypocritical religious life they live. They have convinced themselves the lamb they sacrificed “was the best of their flock”. They have convinced themselves “divorce” was the only option. They have convinced themselves the “ungodly” were not that “ungodly”. They do not see their hypocrisy, all they see is the misery of their life, the struggles, what seems like a cursed life and when you come to them and say “God loves you” you’d better duck quick, because they might just swing at your head! In their minds, they have been nothing but faithful, and God has been anything but faithful. God does not speak often but when He does speak He lets it all out! Do you really want to get into an argument with God about who has been more faithful? Do you really want to get accusatory with God? Do you really want to go there? If you have a beef with God it is better that we look and search introspectively rather than point the finger at God. The more we refuse to look inwardly at ourselves; and outwardly choose to condemn God, the more we are given ourselves up to deception and you know what they say the problem is with deceived people…they are deceived! And unless a miracle happens, how do you ever reach a Christian who has given themselves unto deception? If you think the people in Malachi “saw the light” once the truth was told to them, you are naively wrong. In their self deluded minds they are right, they are just and God is wrong and God is unjust and the scary thing is, we are all just a few steps away from finding ourselves in this state of mind if we are not careful. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

DECEMBER 28 " OH MY GOD, HE'S CREATED A FRANKENSTE...

DECEMBER 28 " OH MY GOD, HE'S CREATED A FRANKENSTE...:      "HOW far is this kid going to take this before I have to knock him off his feet", ever wonder that?  How far will an employee...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

DECEMBER 27 "COME OUT OF HER, THE GREAT FALSE RELIGION"

Why do people want to stay in their false religion and attempt to serve God there, after they have come to the truth? Is it some kind of compromise? Some kind of admission of "partial guilt"? A text that has often stood out to many is our text in Revelations, " Come away from her, my people. Do not take part in her sins or you will be punished with her". One of the most frustrating things for me as a Born Again Christian is to have a Catholic come to me and tell me "we are the same".  We are both "believers" we are both "Born Again" it's just that I am Catholic and you are Protestant. And I grieve for the martyrs who gave their lives so that we could be set free from false religion. As if there's salvation inside the Teachings of the Catholic Church?! As if salvation and forgiveness of the "original sin" comes at at the baptism of an infant. As if Martin Luther was just a great fool in forging the Protestant Reformation. I wonder if these Born Again Catholics have ever heard of the "Protestant Reformation?" What was the Protestant Reformation all about if there was salvation through the Roman Catholic Church?  Why were men burned at the stake by the Pope, if there was salvation through the Church of Rome.  I date them to tell William Tyndale, who was executed by strangling and then his body burned at the stake by the Papacy, that we are all the same. I date them to tell John Wycliffe who gave his life trying to translate the Bible into the common language of the people and in so doing spent his life running from the Papacy.  The Pope was so infuriated by his teachings and his translation of the Bible into English, that 44 years after Whycliffe had died, the Pope ordered the bones to be dug-up, crushed, and scattered in the river. Every Christian Religion outside of the Roman Catholic Church today is Protestant, ie: Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, and many more are all part of The Protestant Reformation, what was Martin Luther Protesting? The Catholic Church and it's false teachings of indulgences, trans-substantiation, purgatory, salvation only through the Church of Rome. Martin Luther came out of her once he experienced salvation through Faith Alone in Christ and declared his intolerance for the Roman Church's corruption on Halloween in 1517, by nailing his 95 Theses of Contention to the Wittenberg Church door. Luther who would be exiled in the months following the Diet of Worm Council in 1521 that was designed to martyr him. Our text goes on to say in Revelations, "for her sins are piled as high as heaven.....the blood of the martyrs and prophets is on her hands". And we only show how completely ignorant we are when we say, "I'm a Born Again, but I serve God in the Catholic Church".  Never in one sentence has such foolishness ever been uttered. If you are Born Again, then come out of her or share in the judgement of her sins.  We have not even begun to tap into the lives that were martyred at the hands of the Papacy.  The "Spanish Inquisition" is still the dark stain on the history of the Church, the martyring of the Jews, God's own people, once again the Tribunal for the Spanish Inquisition was led by the Pope.  History records men and woman who gave their lives and were burned at the stake by the Catholic Church and these saints did so, so we could experience salvation, so we could know God. And for someone to come along today and say, "Luther, Whycliffe, Tyndale, none of you know what you were talking about, you died as martyrs in vain, you protested and were murdered by the Pope and Catholic Church yes, but I say, you were all wrong and I am right, there is salvation in the Catholic Church, I am a Born Again Catholic Believer!" Our text today warns us to come out from under her spell. The blood of the Martyrs is on the hands of the Catholics and God is giving a solemn warning to us that have come to the knowledge of the truth, "come out of her or you will share in her judgement". When the books are opened and every wicked deed is judged under the sun and God judges those who shed the blood of the martyrs, I know that on that day, Martin Luther and the great reformers will all be glad they did not remain in her claiming to be saved, but that they came out from her, even if it cost them their lives.









Thursday, December 25, 2014

DECEMBER 25 "BAH HUMBUG IT'S CHRISTMAS"

wonder how many readers we will get on Christmas Day? Christmas Day is such a celebratory day. With phone calls and visits and dinners, where does Jesus fit in? Then you actually do take the time to sit down and read your One Year Bible on Christmas and you are reading about judgment in Zechariah and then we are faced with even harsher reading in Revelations about Jesus and the bowls of Judgment He is releasing upon the earth. It's not very Christmassy reading, to say the least. It would be so neat if we picked up the One Year Bible on Christmas Day and it just so happened to be a reading on the Christmas story; instead we are faced with doom and gloom.  It's almost as if we and Jesus are not on the same page on December 25th or December 24th for that matter. It's not often that Christmas or Christmas Eve falls on a "church day" but it seems that when it does it turns out to be an inconvenience to us. It's almost as if Jesus is getting in the way of our Christmas celebrations. Catholic Churches are flourishing on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but statistics show that Christian Denominational Churches tend to have poor attendance on those same days. It is almost as if in our stance to be "anti-religious" we are swinging way to the other extreme and almost becoming irreverent or aloof to the Celebration of CHRIST, ie: CHRIST-MAS. And when we pick up our bibles on this day to read our portion it seems as if our stance is confirmed as we read nothing even remotely close to what we are experiencing on Christmas Day. Perhaps JESUS and His angels are not in Heaven celebrating Christmas with us on December 25th. Any Historian and/or Theologian will tell you Jesus was never born in December any way. And so our One Year Bible reading today is surely not going to give us warm, fuzzy, Christmas feelings (as a matter of fact you may put it down) and it will not reinforce any kind of religious connotations to this Christmas Day, but if we are not careful we can go to the other extreme and come off as irreverent and careless to the day. The fact is, the world celebrates this day as a special, religious holiday in celebration of Jesus Christ and we who claim to be the true followers of Jesus must find a balance somehow between the religious sentiment to the holiday as appossed to making it more than it should be. I would hope that the sheer difference between us and the rest of the world is that in a few days. Jesus and the manger scene gets packed up and "put away" for another year and we keep him out for the rest of the year and continue to sing, "celebrate Jesus celebrate..." Not just on December 25th but on January 25th, February and so forth. Is December 25th really just another day? Maybe so....... there is no sentiment in our reading today to reinforce any other conclusion, but if the world wants to pick this day, to celebrate our Savior; then why not jump on board rather than say, "aggghhhh, Bah Humbug, this is religious, I'm not celebrating" after all, isn't any day, a good day....to celebrate Jesus?!



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

DECEMBER 23 "DON'T HAVE YOUR HUSBAND STOLEN FROM YOU!"

 Adultery is an ugly thing.  Adultery should never happen, Adultery is part of our culture. Adultery is one of the 10 Commandments; actually it’s mentioned twice in only 10 Commandments. Proverbs mentions 3 things that make the earth tremble, paraphrased by me, “will rock your world”, and one of those is “a servant/slave girl who supplants her mistress”.  Imagine, the humiliation of a woman, with status, who had all the accessories available to her to make herself beautiful to her husband, all the resources she needs.  She can be rested, therefore in a pleasant mood for her husband, she has resources, therefore can lavish herself with all she needs to beautify herself, perfumes, dresses, beautiful night gowns, products to enhance her features, her body, her hair and here we have this lowly servant girl, with a mop in her hand, no make up, nothing to beatify her, no status in life, she is just "a lowly servant girl"; how does she ever supplant (move out of her spot) this woman who had all the advantages? The woman with all the advantages in her grasp feels completely unthreatened by this lowly servant girl, but how shocked is she when she finds out her husband is having an affair with this lowly servant girl and what’s worse is it’s not just sexual, this lowly servant girl has also won her husband's heart! The bible says, “these are the things that make the earth tremble!” It is scandalous, it is shocking and it happens all the time and has been happening for a very long time and the bible says, “these things ought not to be”. Often when we hear of an affair we are wanting to see who this “drop dead gorgeous woman” is who seduced this man away from his wife and sometimes we are shocked to “see” she is not near as good looking as his wife and so we then wonder, “how did this servant girl supplant (remove her from her spot) his wife? His wife had access to him always, his wife had all the resources, all the beauty, how could this happen? Could it be that men are not as superficial as they are accused of being! Could it be that men do appreciate outer beauty very much, but they are also drawn to inner beauty? Can it be that in the long run, inner beauty of a woman will triumph over the outer beauty of another woman? These are all rhetorical questions because history has given us all the answers to these questions and they are all definitively “yes”. It should not happen, it ought never to happen but yet it happens every day and somewhere, even now, as I write this, some woman, with all the advantages is in the middle of being supplanted by some servant girl and she doesn't even have a clue and when she finds out it will be too late! When you think of all the things that God could have written that “rock the world” He chose to mention this, “a servant/slave girl who supplants her mistress”.  Why? Because it just shouldn't be, it is completely backwards; as backwards as a fool prospering! I believe this scripture is not an indictment against men; but rather it is an indictment against women. Women who had all the advantages at their disposal to keep their husbands, but yet lost them to another woman, not just any other woman, but lost them to another woman who was so greatly disadvantaged, it is truly an indictment. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of scripture in Proverbs that does indict men against adultery, plenty more so than any towards women, but that is not the case today. This one today, is for women, take heed, it is a shame, it is scandalous, it rocks the world, that any woman, with all the advantages at her disposal, would ever lose her husband to another woman, yet it happens every day, just don’t let it happen to you! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

DECEMBER 22 "THE NETHERWORLD OF THE BIBLE"

DECEMBER 22 "THE NETHERWORLD OF THE BIBLE":      IT is amazing to me as we come to the close of the year readings, in our One Year Bible that often you can't tell if you're rea...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

DECEMBER 20 "JUST HOLD ON GOD, I'LL BE RIGHT WITH...

DECEMBER 20 "JUST HOLD ON GOD, I'LL BE RIGHT WITH...:      I DON'T know to many people that would be so bold as to tell God, to "just hold on a minute" and then to keep Him waiting...

Friday, December 19, 2014

DECEMBER 19 "DON'T EAT BEFORE COMING OVER!"

DECEMBER 19 "DON'T EAT BEFORE COMING OVER!":      DON'T eat before coming over, please!  Have you ever invited someone over for dinner and somehow there was a miscommunication and t...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

DECEMBER 18 "DO YOU STILL HAVE A SONG TO SING THIS CHRISTMAS?"

"Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept…..we put away our harps." No problem right, they’re down in the dumps, it’s just not “good times” right now. However the most unlikely (or maybe not so unlikely) event occurs, the ungodly Babylonians want them to sing a song for them. One of the great songs about their God, that they are renowned for singing all over the existing world; at that time. Unfortunately, to the surprise of the Babylonians and maybe even to their own surprise, they reply “we have no song to sing”.  In the most unlikely situations and times, when we least expect it, will we be asked, by those that we have been trying to reach, those that have been persecuting us, those that have rejected us in the past, now, in our worse moment, at a time when we are down, do they come to us and say, “sing us a song” and what do we say, “get a way from me right now, I just want to be left alone; going through a rough time, I've hung my harp and I have nothing to sing about God right now”.  The danger is, who knows if we will ever get this opportunity again and of course it comes to us at the worse of times. But isn't that life! When we are prepared, when we are on our God, when we are on our spiritual high horse and want to preach and sing to the world, nobody wants to listen, but then when we are down, someone knocks on our door, someone gives us a call or shows up at our church and we are not singing anymore! Do you still have a song to sing? Singing is unique to our faith, Christians do allot of singing. The birth of Christ was preceded with a Choir of Angels singing about the coming birth of Christ,  “Suddenly a great army of heaven’s angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God; Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased”. The celebration of Christ (Christ-mas) has always been with singing. 
As Israel is being reintroduced to their God; Jehovah brings a great deliverance for His people, Miriam, in a moment of spontaneity, picks up her tambourine and shouts, “let’s sing to our God!”  One thing that is still good about Christmas is that every mall, every store for the next week or so, will be filled with music that is specific to celebrating Christmas. No doubt, some of the songs are a far cry from celebrating Christ (Grandma got run over by a reindeer) but yet, if you listen enough, you will find they still play some of the classics; and that’s a miracle in itself, especially in today’s politically, hyper- sensitive society, that we live in.  Christmas can become annoying if you don’t have a song to sing anymore, as you cannot get-a-way from singing during Christmas. Has Christmas caught you at a bad time this year? Are people, that you would least expect, wanting a song from you this Christmas? Question is, “do you still have a song to sing or have you hung up your harp?”

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

DECEMBER 16 "COULD I HAVE ISSUE WITH THAT CUTE BA...

DECEMBER 16 "COULD I HAVE ISSUE WITH THAT CUTE BA...:      THERE must be thousands of Christians that God wants to ask this question to. In our Old Testament reading (Micah) we read 1 Listen to...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DECEMBER 16 "WILL YOU PERISH BECAUSE OF YOUR IGNORANCE?"

But you, O Bethlehem are only a small village among all the people of Judah, Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past”.  This of course is the scripture that the Pharisees used to reject Jesus as the Messiah. As far as they knew, what they had been told, Jesus was from Nazareth; therefore He could not be the Messiah as prophesied about in Micah. Had the Pharisees done their research they would have found out Jesus was not from Nazareth, his parents had only moved there later on, but that Jesus was actually born in Bethlehem. Ignorance is not always bliss!  The Pharisees and many others will perish because of their ignorance. How many people today will argue about religion, salvation and eternity who are completely ignorant and don’t know what facts they are arguing on. The Pharisees would ultimately perish based on what they had heard. How many times when Jesus was speaking to them did He not say, “have you not read?!”

I once was perishing, I lived a horrible sinful life, but because I had never murdered, robbed a bank or raped (the cardinal sins of the Catholic Church) I thought I was going to Heaven. And what research, what study, did I base my belief on…..absolutely nothing. My confidence of where I would spend eternity was totally based on ignorance. Had Jesus asked me, “have you not read?” my answer would have been, “no, I have not read but I have thrown a few bibles in the trash”. How many people out there will one day perish because of ignorance? And when a Christian did come their way, with some knowledge, they blew them away, chased them away, spouting ideologies and beliefs that have absolutely no validity to them whatsoever, if only they had done their research. The problem is we don’t’ want to do our research in fear of what we might find. My beliefs, regardless of whether they are founded on truth, allow me to live a comfortable, self indulging, sinful life with no eternal consequences, why in the world would I ever want to find out that they are based on false presuppositions. We all know that “religion is man’s invention to reconcile himself with God on his own terms” and that may give some a false peace here on earth, but one day, when standing before the Judge of the Universe we will be asked, “have you not read…..unless a man is Born Again, he will not enter the Kingdom of God”. The truth incarnate was right there in front of the Pharisees, but yet they perished because of their ignorance and prejudices. People will argue until they’re last breath as to what they know, but what if the belief and/or religion they have argued in defense of their whole life; what they thought to be true, is actually a lie? Are you willing to gamble whether you will spend eternity in Heaven or Hell simply based on what you have been told without ever having done your own research? Will you too, like the Pharisees, one day perish in Hell for eternity, simply because you were ignorant of the truth and facts? The answer to that question we know, sadly enough, is “yes” many will perish because of ignorance. “We know that you cannot be the Messiah, because you are from Nazareth” those will be the words that haunt them for all eternity!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

DECEMBER 14 "GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY VS. MAN'S FREE WIL...

 DECEMBER 14 "GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY VS. MAN'S FREE WIL...:      THE problem with the story of Jonah is it causes many lazy Christians to form a wrong Theology.  And that theology is, that God will br...

Friday, December 12, 2014

DECEMBER 12 "LOSING...IS NOT AN OPTION!"

DECEMBER 12 "LOSING...IS NOT AN OPTION!":      WHY is everything about being Victorious, about overcoming?   21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

DECEMBER 11 "ARE WE THE LOVE CHURCH OR HATE CHURCH?"

Kudos to the Church in Thyatira.  If I was the Pastor of that church I would frame these words from Jesus and hang them in the Church foyer for everyone, especially visitors to read, “I have seen your love, your faith, you service and patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things”.  Of course I would leave out the next part, “But I have this one complaint against you, you are permitting that woman Jezebel….to teach them to commit sexual sin”.  We know that “Love” is the primary objective, the primary goal of a church.  The church in Thyatira seems to have reached this high and lofty goal. I think we can agree, there’s a few churches today that are seriously lacking in love. It’s unfortunate that the very objective that the Thyatira church has strived to be, now brings with it a serious fault. They have tried so hard to be “the love church” that in doing so they have completely avoided any kind of behavior that might be taken as “unloving”.  I have never once confronted someone for “sexual sin” in the church and had them say, “Pastor, I know you’re doing this because you love me, I can just feel the love coming from you”. It was normally the opposite; they left the church, with all sorts of inflammatory accusations and of course accused me and/or the church of being “unloving”. The love church in Thyatira will never behave in any way that would leave any room for interpreting them as being unloving.  Have you even been in one of these churches? There is no judgment of any kind, anything goes, it’s all about love, encouragement and acceptance. Sounds like the ideal church doesn’t it! Then you have the other church that says, “we need to exhort, encourage but also need to chasten and rebuke” and most often what they really are is a church of constant rebuking, rules and legalism and there really is no encouragement and/or love.  The church that is full of love is corrected by Jesus for allowing flagrant sin to go on (very typical) and the church that judges all sin and keeps a tight rein will be accused by Jesus for having no Grace and no Love (very typical).  This should have you wondering, “what church do I serve God in, how would we be characterized by Jesus?”  I ask myself that question all the time. Jesus may not write letters to the churches anymore, but He still keeps himself well acquainted with His churches and always will; until His return at least.  Jesus has an opinion of your church, the question is, would you ever ask him what His opinion is and would you be able to hear what He is saying?  “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches”. God is speaking in many churches, trying to help them, sometimes through encouraging words sometimes through rebuking words, but many churches go on to function and remain the same, never being changed, never being transformed into the church that they could be because they have ears, but not ears that hear and certainly not ears that listen. But if we have ears to hear and listen our church(s) can be changed and transformed into great churches; and isn’t that what we all want, we know it’s what Jesus wants, we know He is speaking but are we listening?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

DECEMBER 9 "DO YOU MIND IF I HAVE SOME JOY!?"

I know that the Christian Life is not the perfect life. That if I expect my life to be ever so bliss because I’m a Christian is wrong. However, I still cannot get away from the scripture that continuously tells me, “my life should be blessed because I fear the Lord and obey him. So while I should make room in my theology or life, for hard times, I must also understand that it isn’t my lot in life to be miserable and beaten down. In both Psalms and Proverbs today we are told that “how joyful are those who fear the Lord, how joyful and prosperous they will be, may you live to enjoy your grandchildren” then in Proverbs we read, “whoever obeys the law is joyful” it is almost a duplicate of what we read in Psalm 128.  And so I get it, I get it, my life isn’t going to be perfect, I know, I’ve been told enough times, through radio talk shows, to sermons, to books and from friends. I got that part, it’s been made loud and clear to allow of us. It’s almost the strategy they use in “sales”. Set expectations low and hope to produce high, like that nobody is disappointed. It’s almost like our Christianity Community is using the same methodology with us. Let’s set our expectations low about this Christian life and if you so happen to have a good year, then all the better! The problem is as I continue to read my bible I am not getting the same message from God. Through the Word of God I believe God is telling us to set “expectations high!” God is telling us believe for the best, believe for a prosperous and blessed life. So why does everyone in Christianity want us to set our expectations low?  Why are they so afraid we are going to be let down “by the Almighty?” Cannot I not believe God for a long, fruitful and prosperous life, can I not believe God to be able to be blessed and enjoy my grandchildren some day? “Well, brother you don’t want to get your hopes to high”, someone might say.  And I say, “why not!” It is as if people are taking their personal experience as a Christian and redefining the Word of God through their experience. Instead of taking the Word of God and redefine their lives to conform to it, they do the opposite. They take the experience of their life and redefine the Word of God.  Thence, my beaten down life, my losses, my lack of victories can only make me have to change the bible or look at it with a skeptical eye. It is not the bible that we should be looking at with a skeptical eye, but our own lives. As the Word of God says, “let God be true and every man a liar”.  We will always paint ourselves in the best light. However, upon closer examination, we will find it is our lackluster performance that has caused many of God’s promises to fall the ground and rot. I understand trials may come, I know Jesus said, “behold in this world you will have tribulation” but Jesus also said, “BE OF GOOD CHEER, for I have overcome the world”. The life of a Christian is not doom and gloom, but at least I’m going to Heaven. And just as sinners have a taste of Hell here on earth, so should Christians have a taste of Heaven here on earth. If the agenda of the Christian Community you are surrounded by is also to set low expectations then you will have to consider why and what is going on because it simply is not what God wants us to do.  According to our reading today He wants us to set and expect A Good Life, A Blessed Life, A Prosperous Life and to dumb down or water down or lessen any of God’s promises to accommodate or validate or excuse our lack luster Christian experience is wrong.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

DECEMBER 8 "I DON'T UNDERSTAND ETERNAL SECURITY??...

DECEMBER 8 "I DON'T UNDERSTAND ETERNAL SECURITY??...:      I SIMPLY don't understand Eternal Security and I understand it even less after reading today's passage in Jude.  The author pro...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

DECEMBER 7 "CONFLICT WITH THE BROTHER OF LOVE"

 DECEMBER 7 "CONFLICT WITH THE BROTHER OF LOVE":      THE reason we have conflict in the church is because some people are just jerks.  Surely it has nothing to do with us! It's always ...

Friday, December 5, 2014

DECEMBER 5 "HAVE YOU EVER SOLD OR BOUGHT SEX?"

Selling sex for money is as old as the bible itself. I wonder who the first woman was who thought, “I need money, why don’t I sell sex”.  As old as this practice is, it’s amazing that we are still not comfortable with the idea. Nobody is proudly and anxiously bringing his prostitute girlfriend home for the Holidays. “Mom, Dad, I want you to meet my new girlfriend, she’s a very successful prostitute in our downtown area and I love her and thought it was time you meet her”, how well would that go off in front of the family at Christmas?  Most women have never technically sold sex for money and most men have never technically paid a prostitute for sex. I have seen talk shows where a woman was presenting herself as a “dignified woman”. She explains about her role in prostitution and how it is a means of paying her way through University, where of course she’s studying to be a Doctor or Lawyer. The talk show’s agenda is to present this woman as a normal, moral person who is just being resourceful with what she has. She’s beautiful, nice body, why not make some money off of it. Our text today mentions this prostitute comes up with the idea of selling sex in order to pay for her food and clothes. Regardless of why she is doing it, even if it’s to feed her children, she is still described as a lewd, base and very immoral woman. What if a woman gives a man sex, for free, in exchange to keep him. She says, “I want him and I know if I give him sex he will keep coming back to me, even if it’s only for that”, is that still considered “prostituting yourself?”. There’s all sorts of “legalized” prostitution that takes place every day where no money is exchanged, but the idea remains the same.  The man knows it’s his affluence, power & prestige that gets him the sex (for free) and the woman knows that what gets her, into his life, is the sex she supposedly is not selling, at least not on paper. If the love of money is the root of all evil, where does sex come in to play? Sex and money are a ruthless combination. It’s interesting that in Heaven there will be neither sex nor money. As a woman, if I obey God, live by his commands then my needs will be met; and if I obey God, live by his laws than my needs will be met too and I will not have to pay of sex. When we rebel and step outside His will, and His commands then all the rules change and we sink to our lowest point as human beings. There is not only sex trafficking in our society today but we have sunk even lower to human trafficking, there is no limit to how low we can sink when we abandon God, which is the whole premise of our scripture today. Imagine a society where prostitution is legalized?!  God sees this as one of the lewdest, lowest and most immoral thing a woman can do, is sell her body for sex. It’s a violation against her own self, and she doesn’t even realize it, or maybe she does but can’t resist the money which makes it that much more base & immoral. Unfortunately, for those of us who took Economics 101, it’s the law of supply and demand, isn’t it! A product will vanish off the market once the demand diminishes, however the opposite is also true, a product will increase in it’s availability/supply as demand increases.  As our society continues to degrade more and more the law of Economics is ever so perpetuated in the case of Prostitution. If we were to ask who has ever sold sex, made an agreement to go to a hotel and exchange sex for money, many women would say, “not I”.  If we were to ask men, “who here has ever contracted a woman for sex, for this I will pay you “x” amount of dollars, let’s meet”, most men would say, “not I”.   If we change the question a little, then we get a whole lot more people saying, “guilty as charged”.  As a woman, the question would be, “how many of you women have ever used sex to get something you wanted from a man” the answer would be many saying “I have”.  If we asked the men, “how many of you have ever used your influence, your power, your wealth, to get you sex, quite a plethora of men would have to respond “ I have”.  The standard from God is, sex is not to be used as a bartering tool!  Who was the fist woman to think of sex as something to barter with? Who was the first man to think of sex as something he could pay for and get it on demand? Whoever they were and whenever it was, doesn’t matter, because had they not thought of it, surely our generation would have.  Our text covers the issue of bartering sex for a need and God is clear to tell us, “no excuse!”  Whether you sell or buy sex because you are lonely, scared, hungry, insecure, broke, whatever the reason, God says, “it’s not a valid one” sex was not given to man as a gift to be bartered and the fact that we would even think of such a thing, the fact that we would not only think about such a thing, but participate in, to one degree or another, this indeed shows us that we are sinners in need of a Savior. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

DECEMBER 4 "JUST GO AHEAD AND PUNT THE BALL"

DECEMBER 4 "JUST GO AHEAD AND PUNT THE BALL":       BEAR with me those of you that are less than sports enthusiasts because there is a valuable lesson in life to be learned here.  I was ...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

DECEMBER "DID JOHN JUST TELL US WE ARE THE DEVIL?"

I’m sure glad John wrote this “the brother of love” and not me, because I would be accused of being the “brother of hate”. John is vehemently attacking “hypocrisy” in his writing. To think…..I thought this was just a problem in the bible belt of America or in the deep south; people claiming “to know Jesus, Praise Jesus, Hallelujah!!” But yet live like The Devil. We preach “Christianity is a relationship with Jesus, not a religion”, but the problem is as we venture out across America, we find that in many states and cities across America, Christianity is just another religion to most people. Growing up on the east coast, as a Roman Catholic, we were faithful church attendees on Sundays, but lived pretty sinful lives through out the rest of the week. Everyone in my family was immoral, everyone in my family drank & cussed, but yet on Sundays there we were in church trying to act (at least the adults) as pious as we could. That’s why as a teenager, I left the church and religion all together.  When I was 21 years old I was finally coaxed into stepping back into a church, this was not easy for anyone to do, it took much persistence to get me back into a church after what I grew up in, I hated it. This was a Christian Pentecostal Church, I had never been in one of those before. What impressed me was people actually living out their Christian faith, not just at church, but especially at home.  I came to believe from that point on that if you claimed to be Catholic, you were just a religious hypocrite, but if you claimed to be Christian, you were a genuine believer. Being in the military, I was often deployed and had an opportunity to do much travel, domestically and overseas. It didn’t’ take long for my na├»ve hypothesis to be quickly chattered into a million pieces. In the mid-west (the Bible Belt), the South (God’s Country) and South Africa (Born Again Capital of the world), where Christians, Baptists and Pentecostals were the predominant churches you would think all would be well and good. However, that was not they case, I began to meet professing Christians that cussed, drank and were often pregnant out of wedlock, this began to seem all too familiar, but how could this be? I thought it was just the Religious Catholics that lived like that? I thought I was told “Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with God”; the euphoric bubble was being burst.  My whole idea of what I thought I had left behind and what I had entered in to was shattered. I left religion when I was young, wanted nothing to do with it, couldn’t stand religion and the hypocrisy behind it, I loathed it and was so thrilled when I came to know and experience Christianity, now that was being question too, was there no hope?  What saved me was the Book of 1 John. When I read what we read today, it saved me from leaving the Christian Church and Faith altogether. I read the words of John, boldly proclaiming, “THIS IS NOT RIGHT!” You cannot claim to know Christ and live the way you are living. I learned that there are hypocrites everywhere. They are in the Catholic Churches, Baptist, Pentecostal, non-denomination, they are everywhere and we cannot simply run from Faith and Christ because of them. Do we sin, do I sin, of course! However what John is speaking about is blatant sin!  I knew after reading 1 John that I didn’t have to leave the Church and become an Atheist or Agnostic. From that point on I knew what I thought was true, confirmed by John. The revelation was that all I can do is make sure I knew and I lived by what the Word of God taught me and not to allow those that wanted to live hypocritical lives to drive me out or discourage me.  The other revelation I learned is that one day Jesus will come back and separate the tares from the wheat. Until that time, God allows the Church to be intertwined with both. The question we need to honestly ask ourselves is which one am I? Am I a tare or am I “the wheat”. Another parable describes us as sheep and goats. When Jesus comes back will he assess us as one of the goats or one of the sheep. The sheep, Jesus says, “know my voice and obey my commands?. We don’t have to leave the church because of hypocrites; all the more reason why we need to stay and display what true Christian faith is, because God will continuously bring in lost souls and they, like I, will be looking for genuine faith and a Christian profession that is genuinely lived out. Will they find that in you?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

DECEMBER 2 "END TIMES PROPHECY FOR DUMMIES"

Daniel is one of the greatest prophets for end times that ever lived. Over 2000 years later, we still have no prophet, no man that has ever given us more accurate detail about end times, the coming of Christ and the 7 year tribulation.  What gives Daniel even more authority is that Jesus himself, tells us to reference to Daniel’s book  for End Times “prophecy”. Daniel’s math and prophecies can seem too complex to even begin to digest, but if we take the time we find out they are amazingly accurate. In a simple, “End Times Prophecy for Dummies” let’s break down his numbers.  Daniel references the time period for the completion of Israel’s judgment for their rebellion as 70 x 7, which equals 490 years. Daniel also goes on to predict another prophecy about the “anointed one”  “Christ” to come and then be killed, seemingly accomplishing nothing. The dates Daniel gives for the Anointed One are 7 sets of 7 (7x7) = [ 49 ]  + 62 sets of 7 (62 x 7) = [ 434 ] .   So 49 + 434 = 483 Years.  According to Daniel, the clock starts ticking for this prophecy when the 2nd Temple is rebuilt. There’s no way Daniel could have ever known what the date would be for the rebuilding of the 2nd Temple. He simply writes that it will be 483 years from that date.  Today, we know that the 2nd Temple was attempted to rebuilt and stopped quite a few times, but most commentators agree that when the temple was finally and fully rebuilt was around 450 B.C.  Again, Daniel predicts that from the time of the completion of the 2nd Temple to the time of the cutting of the Anointed One would be 483 years.  We know that in B.C. we are counting down, then when we get to zero, we start counting upwards with 0 A.D. (Anno Domini / In the Year of our Lord/after the birth of Christ) and then counting upward, 1 A.D., 2 A.D. etc…etc…So if the Temple is rebuilt around 450 B.C. and Daniel predicts the cutting off of the Messiah at 483 years, let’s do the math! We count down 450 B.C. down to Zero, that leaves us with 33 Years. We count 33 years forward and that leaves us at 33 A.D.  Who do we know and all Historians alike, that was around in 33 A.D., that was known as “The Anointed One” and was killed?  Jesus (Savior) Christ (Anointed One) of course!  All Theologians and Historians agree that there was a man by the name of Jesus Christ, that was by the Romans, using crucifixion as their means, around 30 – 33 A.D. Daniel prophecies that in 490 years would be the completion of the judgment of Israel and 483 years for the cutting off of the Messiah.  There’s a difference of 7 years between Daniels first prophecy (490) and 2nd Prophecy (483).  490 – 483 = 7.   We have never seen the fulfillment of these last 7 years of Judgment?  This is where Jesus helps us! In the Gospel of Mathew 24:15 Jesus is quoting as saying, “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand…”  Jesus himself goes all the way back in time to reference to Daniel’s Prophecy of which, Jesus is one of them, but now Jesus references to a part of Daniel’s prophecy not yet fulfilled, “so when you see” in other words, this part has not been seen yet. Jesus is alluding to the fact that there is a part (the 7 years) of Daniel’s prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled and this 7 years of course is the 7 year tribulation. It is in the 7 year tribulation that God’s judgment on the people of Israel is finalized. Daniel writes about a Peace Treaty at the beginning of the 7 years and he writes about the Peace treaty being broken and the Anti-Christ setting himself up in the temple and breaking that peace treaty, which goes alongside with what John writes in Revelations Chapter 3. The accuracy of Daniel’s prophecy is simply amazing, but even more amazing is we know that we serve a God “who is working out all things according to his purpose and plan”. We may look around at times and feel like everything is getting out of control, especially for Christians, but Jesus is trying to show us through Daniel that history’s events are actually going just as Daniel and of course Jesus has always known and predicted. The comfort we can have in Daniel’s pinpoint accuracy is that they came from Jesus and God knows exactly what He is doing and one of the greatest prophecies that we can read in His Word is that in the end, WE WIN!
No matter what we have to go through, no matter how bad things degrade in our society (as they are) Jesus tells us if we will endure until the end, He will come back, set things straight, throw the dragon, the false prophet and the devil into the lake of fire and we reign triumphantly with Him. Everything Gabriel, the Arch Angel shared with Daniel in our text we know came from Jesus,   who is the Living Word, the Alpha & The Omega, The First and the Last, who knows all things to be and all things to come. If you want to take a peek, skip to the last chapter of The Book and you will read that in the end, according to Jesus, we win and our triumphant!!! “Heaven and Earth will pass away, but every jot and every title of my Word, shall be fulfilled, say The Lord”



Monday, December 1, 2014

DECEMBER 1 "WHY DO SAINTS, CALL THEMSELVES SINNER...

DECEMBER 1 "WHY DO SAINTS, CALL THEMSELVES SINNER...:      I'M tired of hearing Christians, call themselves sinners.  Paul never wrote in his Epistles, " to the Sinners at Corinth &quot...

Sunday, November 30, 2014

NOVEMBER 30 "IS ALL REVELATION FOR SHARING?"

NOVEMBER 30 "IS ALL REVELATION FOR SHARING?":        28 “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

NOVEMBER 26 "WATCHING THOSE WE LOVE SUFFER"

For sake of argument, let’s say David wrote this Psalm(choices are David, Ezra or Daniel). David writes, “I am worn out waiting for your rescue”.  Well, if David is sick and down and out why wouldn’t God come to the rescue right away? “When will you comfort me?”  There is not even any comfort for David either. Unless you have suffered or watched others suffer than this scripture means nothing to you yet, until one day you experience this situation. I have experienced this watching my wife suffer. She had one ailment, that was very bad, went to emergency was prescribed the wrong drugs, after a few days of that she went to another doctor who prescribed a new medication that she ended up being allergic to and have a horrible reaction, fever, swelling, her skin literally looked burned from the high fever she carried for 3-4 days. I prayed for her every night as she lay there crying, often in pain. My powers were impotent, as far as I could tell. I prayed for her in the morning, her fever raging, no difference and then headed over to church for morning prayer, as is my custom. I sat there at church perplexed about even praying. I was angry and confused. This was a severe illness and if not any other day or time, this is when we desperately needed God to help us and He wasn’t. And so I would rally my faith, pray, go to work and then “believe” that when I got home she would be better and when I arrived home she was worse!  We decided it had peeked and we needed to take action. We went to Urgent Care, 3 hour wait, they sent us to another. We arrived at the other Urgent Care and they would not accept our Insurance, they recommended another Urgent Care and that one was closed. And as far as the Emergency Room, that is where she was misdiagnosed and we were given a $500.00 co-pay. We ended up back home and I prayed again, to no avail. I woke up in the morning, prayed again and headed off to prayer at our church. Once again I sat there dumbfounded and angry. David writes in verse 84, “how long must I wait”.   David goes on to write in verse 87, “but I refused to abandon your commandments”.   This is the temptation that comes when we face suffering and have no relief from God. Those that don’t serve God expect nothing back from God. We who serve him, obey his commands expect that when things get bad, He will intervene and when He doesn’t, when He remains silent it is an awful struggle we go through and the temptation is “why then, even follow your commands”.  I know this, I will show much more empathy, in the future, towards the individual that tells me they are not serving God anymore because they watched their wife (or anyone they loved) suffer and die of cancer while they prayed everyday and “believed” God to heal them, but they just got worse, suffered more, cried in pain, etc…..”  This is very hard to watch and then go to church on Sunday and act as if everything is “okay” between you and God, when it is not! If the Christian is known for having a flame of fire inside them then I would describe these events as the enemy unleashing a serious fire hose at our fire. I have seen the most on fire Christians go through something like this and walk into church completely lifeless, not even knowing why they are in church that morning.  You will never know the depth of your allegiance to God and Faith until you watch someone suffer you love or you yourself suffer and have no relief and hear absolutely nothing from this God that you serve.  It’s rough to go through but we must all come to the place these 3 men came to. We know David endures through, we know Job said, “though he slay me yet I will praise Him” and we know Peter said, “Lord to whom and where would we go?” and each of us in our journey will come to a crossroads where we will have to make a decision to either; come to the same conclusions or not; if we choose to accept, we move on, if we choose not to we now embark on a journey of a spiritual unraveling of faith that leads us to a slow, spiritual decline and death.

Monday, November 24, 2014

NOVEMBER 24 "PETER, YOU INSULT ME!!!"

  Well, it sounds like “unbelievers” have been trying to trash talk Christians for a couple of thousand years; and to think I thought this was only happening to us, here in the 21st century. Glad to see, nothing has changed….., neighbors, co-workers, relatives are always waiting for the day when we are going to slip, mess up or say something we shouldn't have said; and when we do,  you can count on it, everybody is going to know about it.  It’s interesting to see that nothing has changed in the past 2000 years. However, what I do take issue is Peter eluding to the thought, that I, might behave in such a way that would give my neighbor, justifiable cause, to have slander against me. I’m insulted and I’m sure so are you, that Peter feels like he has to write this and caution us to “act & behave” like Christians in front of our unbelieving neighbors!
Verse 12, “be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors”.  Are you just as offended as I am today? I mean, what is Peter implying!?!?  Do you think Peter is implying that there are times that my neighbor might have justifiable cause against my profession that I am a good Christian man? Now I’m thinking…..if Peter is talking about that time that my wife and I were “having it out” over finances and all the windows in the house were open and of course the whole neighborhood was listening. Okay, alright, maybe one time that happened.  Wait now…..maybe Peter is talking about the time I got out of the car and slammed the door and was yelling at my daughter? I wonder if Peter is talking about that time we were late for church and we were all fighting, yelling and blaming each other as we got into the car, slammed the doors and screeched off to church. Oh no…..is Peter talking about that time my girlfriend slept over and the neighbors saw her leave early in the morning, of course nothing happened, and every neighbor, of course is going to believe that. I wonder if Peter is talking about that time we had the great family gathering and all our unsaved family (and some saved) were pouring into our home with their cases of beer and leaving our home quite intoxicated and getting behind the wheel of the car (well what do you want me to do, I wasn’t drinking, I can’t control them, they’re grown adults!)  Now I’m wondering if Peter is talking about the time my son was parked in our driveway, for over an hour, with his girlfriend in the car,  surely they know,  that they were just “talking”, at least I hope they were just talking.  Alright, there is that one time, the neighbors did call the cops and they had to come to our house for a domestic violence call. Things got out of hand, I’ll admit, but that was a one time thing!”

            I could go on all day, couldn't I, about our indiscretions.  The reality is, if you have lived for God for any length of time, you will see and hear of conduct that is quite “unbecoming” of one that claims to be a Christian. So in essence, Peter is not out of line, as a Leader in the Church of Jerusalem, one who has seen and heard it all, no doubt, to reach out to his brethren and caution them, “don’t give your neighbor(s) any reason to accuse you”. We all need this and if you are insulted by it you are probably the worse offender! We all need to Word of God to show us who we are and who we are capable of being. The Christian who claims to never have displayed, “unbecoming” Christian conduct to a neighbor, is clearly under a spell of self righteousness and delusion. It is bad enough that our neighbors, co-workers, and relatives will falsely accuse us from time to time, but at least they know they are speaking lies and normally those lies are exposed. However, what is horrible is when they are not speaking lies and all we can do is bow our heads in shame.  Next time you are getting ready to step into “the next dimension” (your flesh) think twice, think about who you represent, think about who’s watching & listening and think about who’s name you are really tarnishing, don’t give your neighbor any justification to accuse you, step back, hold your peace and exercise self control.  In Peter’s words, “BE CAREFUL!”

Sunday, November 23, 2014

NOVEMBER 23 "IGNORANCE IS BLISS"

NOVEMBER 23 "IGNORANCE IS BLISS":      WE know the courts have higher sentencing for pre-meditated crimes vs. manslaughter or self defense. Our court systems, whether they re...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

NOVEMBER 22 "WHEN THE HOLY BECOMES UNHOLY"

NOVEMBER 22 "WHEN THE HOLY BECOMES UNHOLY":      WHERE were they?  Where did the priests take off to and who's hands have they left the responsibility of the Sanctuary & Temple...

Friday, November 21, 2014

NOVEMBER 21 "CLASS WARFARE IS UGLY"

There’s no denying, James is not that fond of “rich people”.  If it was only this reference in Chapter 5, that would be bad enough, but James has taken jabs at the rich in other chapters as well. No doubt, James did not grow up with affluence of any kind. We know from the Gospels that Joseph and Mary (James’ parents) were poor. Historians believe that Joseph died at an early age, as he is not mentioned in the Gospels; except in the early stages of Jesus’ life. Now with Joseph dead, James & Jesus (step brothers) probably had to work that much harder to make ends meet at home. Jesus himself takes a jab at rich people saying, “it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of an needle than for a rich person to get into heaven”.  I’m sure in the Church of Jerusalem where James was an elder, there were not many affluent people in that congregation. However we cannot deny that it was Joseph of Arimathea, an affluent man, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin that God used to purchase the burial place for Jesus. Mathew calls Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man. The tomb Joseph purchased was so large that a huge boulder had to be rolled in front of the entry and guards placed at the door to prevent anyone from stealing Jesus’ body. This was by no means, a poor burial. The rich young ruler Jesus did try to call to follow him, failed. However, Zacchaeus was also wealthy (though it was gained unrighteously) and he did follow Jesus.  Interesting though, that although most that followed Jesus were poor, they were not lazy non working men, they were all working men. Jesus never called one disciple to follow him that was not a “working man”. If you were to categorize my income by any economic census, I would be considered poor.  But yet I have always worked a job, as long as I can remember. Christians tend to think that if they go into an impoverished area of town, where everyone is on welfare; and preach the Gospel “to the poor”, that there is going to be an overwhelming response.  You may have a response, but it will not be for Jesus, it will be for handouts. It would be good for us to understand that being poor is not an automatic ticket into Heaven.  And we would do well to also understand, that neither is being rich an automatic refusal into Heaven.  I could write, as James wrote, just as many ugly comments about my experience in working with  “the poor” over the years, as James writes about his experience with  “the rich.”  Some of the poor people I’ve worked with used me, drained me of my money, my time, my vehicles, everything I had, they drained me and the church for all that it was worth and the one time they were ever told “no” that was their marching orders to move on to the next welfare program. All I was to them was another welfare program and because I was a Christian it was my duty to help them. All the while they never gave a dime to the church, never helped in anyway; they took, took, took, and never gave and then left. It is true that affluent, rich people, are hard to reach and are often very arrogant about their success and often do mock the Gospel and accuse Christians of just needing “a crutch”.
I have worked around people (because of my profession) like this for many, many years.  I don’t know how a rich Christian is to respond to James’ epistle, as he/she sits down to read his epistle. He/she might take offense to it. He or she might feel that James is being unfair or resents rich people. Is there anyone wealthy and/or rich that is reading this today? I think the best we can try to do is not categorize people and/or allow people do create social class wars. I have been equally blessed by well to do family’s in the church, in times of financial need, as I have been placed by middle class or poor, by their Fellowship and strong faith. Are the rich hard to reach? Yes, but so are the poor. God will bring the poor and the rich into the church and encourage them to live in harmony and not allow social classes and prejudice to divide. Each social class has their own unique (and sometimes not so unique) characteristic flaws that they must overcome, now that they have been called into the body of Christ. Don’t’ hate the rich because they are rich and don’t’ look down on the poor because they are poor. It is our duty to be no respecter of persons and not give preferential treatment to one or the other. Am I saying that James is wrong, about what he writes in his Epistle? Of course not, all scripture is God breathed and inspired by the Holy Spirit. All I'm trying to do is bring a balance, that if you were to just open your bible up to James Chapter 5, you might not get. God's not trying to get us to "hate the rich', that's class warfare and it's ugly, He is simply trying to give us perspective, which I hope you got today!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

NOVEMBER 20 "DIVIDED LOYALTIES"

James today follows up on his theme in Chapter 2 that he was touching on; he comes right out and says it now in Ch. 4, "purify your hearts for you loyalties are divided between God and the World". Loyalty is a virtue of a by-gone era. Our kids are raised watching professional athletes run from one team to another, it's all about the mighty dollar, there is no loyalty. These athletes have no loyalty to any team or any city. It's all about "me". You bring that mind set into the Church or into your Christianity, and it's a nightmare. It goes against the very grain of Christian ethics, that teaches us to "do all things without selfish ambition, but rather considering others more than ourselves". Churches today are so desperate for parishioners that we put up with this quasi Christian that is coming out, but yet Joshua confronted them and told them, "if it's to difficult to serve the Lord, make a decision today whom you will serve."  The Philistines kicked the great warrior David off the battle field because they believed he had divided loyalties. They knew David would be unreliable on the battlefield with divided loyalties between Israel and the Philistines. People with divided loyalties are definitely unreliable and unfaithful. Proverbs warns us that relying on them is like relying on a broken tooth or foot out of joint. A gentleman in our church was recently sharing that his company  has a clause that states if they are caught drinking beverages by the competitor, that they will be released from the Company. Their standard is, "If you work here, we expect that if you entertain at your home, you will be serving our companies products at best, but at least, definitely not serving the products of the competitor." They demand loyalty from their employees and are not ashamed to do so. Nobody is more despised in politics than "moderates". These are politicians that are not Conservative, but neither are they Liberals. Politicians on either side would say, "stop being so double minded, make a stand for something!". Jesus also makes mention of this in Revelations, "I'd rather you either be hot or cold". We are seriously irritated by people who just want to be "middle of the road" and apparently so is God, "because you are neither, I will spit you out of my mouth".  Moses did not try to keep his spot as Prince of Egypt and also try to function as a helper for Israel. The book of Hebrews tells us that Moses forsook the fleeting pleasure of sin that he had being the Prince of Egypt, to be associated with the People of God. Moses knew better than to try to play both sides of the fence. The irony of all this is that people who try to be moderate, or middle of the road are only doing it because they think it's the perfect compromise and will bring them the greatest joy, but ironically enough, they are the most miserable. People, Christians that have the most peace & joy are those that have made a resolute decision about whom they serve, what they believe and what church they are going to be loyal too, in the end, James, Jesus and Joshua all say, "this will be the best decision you can make, not only for you, but for those around you". How embarrassing it was, for David, such a great warrior as he was acclaimed to be, to be sent off the battlefield. And how embarrassing it will be to us,  who have undivided loyalties when we are left out of the equation, when our Church and/or our God is looking for someone to include, someone to get involved, someone to help, we will wonder and be embarrassed, at how often we are left out of the equation or even asked not to participate, but this will be your lot, as it was David's, until you make a resolute decision as to whom and what, you want to be loyal too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NOVEMBER 18 "GOT PEOPLE SKILLS?"

It seems like brother James is trying to school us in some “good ‘ol fashion people skills”.  Simple gestures like not to show partiality, show mercy to one another and that “love” covers a multitude of sins. We know that according to scripture, “God has ordained that we be fruitful”, so then why are we often, not fruitful? James helps us to understand that if we want to be fruitful, there may be more to it than praying, “Lord make me fruitful, make my church fruitful”.  It’s not like s “super power” that you just get, fruitful will not be the result of something you “just get” but it will be a result of how you treat people. Obviously James has seen this in the Church, as one of the Elders in the Church in Jerusalem.  He has seen preferential treatment being giving to one Christian as opposed to another, he has seen lack of mercy in the dealing with each other and he has seen people holding grudges for past sins. “Love covers a multitude of sins” folks!  I know that we see and read about the mega churches, but the reason these churches are a phenomenon to us is simply because of that, they are a phenomenon!!!  Most churches are not satisfied with the amount of growth. Statistics show most churches in America are either stagnated in growth or declining. I know my family often talks to me in ways that I would not appreciate, someone talking to me that was not “family”.  Can it be that as churches we become to familiar with one another and when a new comer comes in we forget he/she is new and we cannot just be crude, rude, insensitive, cold as we often are with each other because of familiarity. Jesus is quoted as saying to the Father, “none that you have me have I lost”.  It would have been nonsensical to make such a statement if there wasn’t the possibility of losing fruit, which the God brings in to our lives and Churches.  If we will take heed to James’ educational epistle here on how to deal and work with people, we might find ourselves more fruitful as individuals and as a Church. We might want to try changing our prayer from “Lord give me fruit lest I die” to “Lord help me to hold on to the fruit that you bring me, Lord help me to retain and not chase away those you bring my way, Lord help me to develop some people skills so I can be fruitful”.  James teaches us today, that fruitful, often times is a whole lot more practical than we seem to think, James learned from the best, his brother was Jesus so we might want to take heed to his words today!

Monday, November 17, 2014

NOVEMBER 17 "BI-POLAR............CHRISTIAN!"

 We read today about a “double minded man”.  A divided man, or woman, you know…can’t make up his mind what he wants, she has divided loyalties, divided affections and divided interests which lead to divided and unstable commitments. I think I know a few of these people. If we like to throw around the term “bi-polar” then let’s do it! They are bi-polar Christians, bi-polar in attendance, bi-polar in commitments and as we rack our heads trying to figure them out, what makes them tick, what makes them so fleeting and unpredictable we just cannot figure it out. James give us insight that what we are dealing with is an individual with divided loyalties.  Joshua says, “stop wavering, make a decision today” David is not allowed to fight with the Philistines, they tell him to go back, David is accused of having divided loyalties (which David had whether he realized it or not). We can live in a Country, be in a Faith, attend a Congregation, each Sunday, faithfully, but have divided loyalties.  Divided Loyalties will get you killed. Some of these journalists that are being caught and beheaded in the Middle East, ironically enough are Muslim sympathizers. They are American, but have divided loyalties. I didn’t’ say they were Muslims, I said they were “Muslim sympathizers” in other words, I am of Judea-Christian belief, I am American, but just because they are not; and they are Muslim, doesn’t mean I’m right and they’re wrong.  If I go there and let them see that I am not this harsh, arrogant American, John Wayne, “It’s my way or it’s the high way” they will see that I am a sympathizer and we can be in harmony” The reality is, no they won’t! We have seen first hand that what they will do is capture you and behead you. Why? Because they don’t have divided loyalties. Our scripture today says, “let not ANY double minded man think that he will receive anything from the Lord.”  Joshua says, “make up your mind today who you want to serve”.  Jesus in Revelations says, “be hot or cold” same message, make a decision! The bible is filled with the idea of not being double minded, but rather to be resolute, committed and sure of where you stand and what you believe. In politics nobody is despised more than “moderates”. The Conservatives can’t stand them and the Liberals can’t stand. Each party will say, “Stop being a coward and choose a side!!!”.  One thing we can respect about Islamic Extremists (okay, I respect nothing about Islamic Extremist, but for the purpose of my argument…) is that they know what side they’re on and they are sold out for the cause. Are we sold out for the cause or is our Christianity simply “the soup de jour”. A moderate politician I can tell you will never get anywhere and certainly will never get elected into office.  James tells us neither will the “moderate Christian” get anywhere. James, Jesus and Joshua, the 3  J’s all tell us, make a decision what it is you want because until you make that decision, you’re wasting everyone’s time, effort and energies and you yourself are going nowhere, make a decision today, be hot or cold!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

NOVEMBER 15 "DON'T DO IT!!!"

NOVEMBER 15 "DON'T DO IT!!!":      THE most disobeyed thought that comes to our minds, more often than we would care to admit is, " Don't do it !"  How many...

Friday, November 14, 2014

NOVEMBER 14 " PERSONAL JESUS"

Depeche Mode even had a hit in the 90's called "Personnel Jesus " , the lyrics went something like this....
Your own personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who cares
Your own personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who's there
Pick up the receiver
I'll make you a believer.....
We read the verse today in Ezekiel and we might question it. God is telling Ezekiel to let Pharaoh know that He heard him say, "for you have said the river is mine, I have made it myself" Really? Six Billion people in the earth and God is paying attention to one sentence uttered by one person, in the midst of billions of people and quint trillion conversations. How can this be? Somehow this idea of a Personal God doesn't resonate with us. We can believe in God's existence, some kind of moral being in the Universe, even Creator of all. We can even see his as a judge, judging people, as they die, one by one. However this notion of a God who pays attention to me, as if I were the only one, this is hard to grasp for most people. This is why most people are very comfortable with religion because it espouses a belief in God but doesn't take it as far as a Born Again believer would.  The term "Christian" was originally a mocking term for those that the book of Acts describes as being part of "a sect" (modern day translation "cult" ) that believed Christ dwelt in them, a Personal Jesus, how ludicrous what that? This mindset is still very much prevalent today. People don't mind talking about God in general terms but when you begin to speak about God in a personal way, and reveal that you are a Born Again Christian, you will still be deemed as being a little of the far edge, you will still be deemed as fanatical and perhaps be accused of being in a Cult. We are not comfortable with a Personal God, but yet that's what God has always wanted, even as far back as the book of Ezekiel. God's purpose in all of this is laid out for us, we read, "that Israel may know that I am their God". Tragedy is, they never did know, and when the Personal Jesus came, of which Depeche Mode sings or mocks about, they crucified Him. Here we are in the 21 Century, maybe about four to five thousand years later and we still don't' know "the personal Jesus".  Pharaoh did not believe in a Personal Jesus, I think we can agree on that, but yet we see that in spite of Pharaoh not believing, that God was still listening and paying attention to Pharaoh, as if he were the only one. Not only does God reveal that He is listening to every word, but that Pharaoh will be judged by those words, by those actions, regardless of what Pharaoh and you and I believe. God is not to busy to hear our hateful words, see our sin and observe our uncharitable behavior. There was a story in the Phoenix Arizona paper about a burglar that robbed a house and when the Police showed up they found the house ransacked and noticed that the thief had turned a statue of Jesus to face the wall.  The thief was not comfortable with the idea of a Personal Jesus watching your every move and this is indicative of the society we live in. Why aren't are churches fuller, why aren't more people coming into the Evangelical Christian Church? The answer is because they want a Jesus that is facing the wall, they don't want a "Personal Jesus" give them religion and they will flood your Sanctuary, give them a Personal Jesus and you will actually scare them away!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

SEPTEMBER 13 "GOD YOU ARE STRANGE!"

There are times my daughter (Shania) has not understood me. There are times Shania has thought that I was mean, uncaring…..and probably thought my behavior was quite unchristian.  I remember harshly confronting a young unchristian man that kept coming out to church and was vehemently pursuing my daughter and always trying to get her somewhere alone where they “could talk”.  On several occasions I politely said hi to him and then interrupted their “moments” and told my daughter to come with me. However he would follow or cut her off in the hallway later on in the service, he just would not be deterred. I’ve seen too many, young, unsuspecting, easily flattered girls, seduced and ripped off from the church, by wolves in sheep’s clothing, to allow it to happen to my own daughter.  After the stern confrontation, he stopped coming to church. My daughter did not look at me with high regard and respect for this act, as a matter of a fact, it was the opposite, she saw me in a different light, she saw it a negative mark in my character. All I heard for the next few weeks was “my dad is mean, he says he cares, but yet chases away, this poor, troubled young man who is simply seeking God”. It tainted her view of me just like our scripture in Ezekial has tainted our view of God. “He is mean, uncaring…poor guy, God just takes his wife from him, who would do something like that, surely not a caring God”. My daughter was reading story in her One Year Bible and asked me about it, she too was perplexed by God’s actions and behavior.  I thought to myself, “what is their to say, it is a very strange situation.  And to make matters worse, God tells Ezekiel that he is not to shed a tear either. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer that these stories were not in the bible and that I did not have to try to explain them to my daughter, and honestly, to myself. I am trying to teach my daughter and others of God’s great love and kindness and then she reads this odd story, the same one you read, and wondered, “wow…God sure can be mean and weird. My answer to Shania was simply, “yes, God did take her, I guess Heaven is a bad place to go eh?”. It was a tongue and cheek comment, and she did laugh…. “a little”.  I know my bible tells me “that there is no sin found in our God and all His ways are just and true” and I must trust in that scripture as I want my daughter to trust me when my behavior, seems to her, unbecoming, in her opinion, of a caring ,Christian man. I had the opportunity some time later to do some ministry in a Juvenile Detention Center and I was in with a group of young men, doing a bible study, when one of these young men, finally looked up at me (he had his head down the whole time) and said, “do you remember me?” That’s when it became evident to me who this young man was; it was the young man that was coming to church, hitting on my daughter months earlier. He was up to trouble then and has continued in trouble since.  At the time my behavior seem unjustified in my daughter’s eyes, but it was not. I had a higher purpose; beyond that moment, in the foyer of our Church.  My higher purpose was my daughter and the preservation of her innocence and her future. I personally think the brutality of Jesus’ death and the suffering Jesus went through also makes God look mean, strange and different than what I would expect of God. However there was a higher purpose beyond those two days that Jesus suffered;  that is beyond my/our understanding. We don’t have to try to justify God in every story in the Bible and try to make excuses for Him and/or his behavior. We simply have to say, “I admit, that is strange, I admit that does seem quite mean of God and I’m sorry if that story only gives you more reason “not to serve him”, but I trust him even though I don’t always understand God or agree, I do trust in his character”.  The truth is God’s people today still lose their wives, still lose their children, still lose their grandchildren and although God did not show up and audibly tell them, “I’m going to take your wife’ the end result was the same…the wife, the child or grandchild was taken and when we know that God is Omnipotent and could have stopped it, it only makes it that much worse. In those times we can turn on God and become Atheists or we can say, “though I don’t understand and I don’t agree, I will continue to trust and follow you because I know that all thy ways are just and true”…….perhaps that’s why Job in his suffering said, “though he slay me, yet will I praise Him!”

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NOVEMBER 12 " IS THERE SUCH A THING AS SECULAR FA...

NOVEMBER 12 " IS THERE SUCH A THING AS SECULAR FA...:       THE Secular and the Christian World sure don't agree on much, but one thing they do believe in is that if an individual has Faith,...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NOVEMBER 11 "NEVER GOT AWAY WITH NOTHING"

 NOVEMBER 11 "NEVER GOT AWAY WITH NOTHING":      MY guess is that many people reading this blog will have, perhaps 2 things in common.  #1. They often wondered "there's got to...

Sunday, November 9, 2014

NOVEMBER 9 "WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT FROM GOD?"

 NOVEMBER 9 "WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT FROM GOD?":      I was praying at our church this morning, with a few other Christians in the room, when I saw a young boy approaching me.  He bypassed ...

Friday, November 7, 2014

NOVEMBER 7 "SO GLAD I SERVE THE GOD OF THE N.T.!!"

I am so glad I serve the God of the New Testament. I think somewhere between Malachi and the Gospel of Mathew, the God of the Old Testament was converted. The God of the Old Testament seems like He's always judging people for their sins and angry and Jesus of course, is more like Grandpa, He's just so nice and accepting and tolerant and forgiving, almost a "pushover", but hey, that's fine with me, I'd much rather that than this angry God in the Old Testament. How could God be so different in the Old Testament as opposed  to the New Testament? It almost seems like two separate Gods; unless I begin to look closer. The first place I need to go in my research of these seemingly two separate Gods, is Golgotha. When I get up to Golgotha, I see Jesus, hanging on that cross, with a crown of thorns forced unto his skull , nails driven into his hands and feet and a side pierced with a sword and a back that has it's flesh so beaten, the flesh is just hanging and then when I see this, I have to wonder, who is this Jesus and who was it that didn't like him because judging by the torture He received, somebody or some people despised him. But why? Then I remember that time he did confront the woman who had had five husbands and was shacking up with her current husband. Then I also remember the time he flipped over the tables in the Temple and began to call the people names and judge (oooops, there's that word) them for their actions.  I also remember the time he called the Priests hypocrites, told them their father was the devil, he called them adulterers and thieves, now it's all coming back to me. Jesus called sin sin and sinners sinners. He really wasn't this warm gushy grandpa type of God after all, so where do I get this notion then? It's not in my bible? As a matter of a fact, when I think of it, in Revelations, Jesus seems to be full of judgment, awful and awesome judgement that almost makes the God in the Old Testament look passive. Maybe the Jesus I'm thinking of is the one that the religious world has created that is just a fictitious as Santa Clause himself.  Maybe Jesus, just like Jehovah, sees all our sin and is just as angry about our sin today as he was 4000 years ago? Maybe Jesus today still does judge and bring consequences to sin, just like he did with Israel thousands of years ago. Maybe that's why I look around, read the news, talk to co-workers, and get depressed at the news (or could I say judgement) that I hear about? When I look at my life, it seems bliss compared to what I hear at work and watch on T.V. Maybe Jehovah didn't convert somewhere between Malachi and Mathew because He didn't need to. In our text in Ezekiel we read that His ultimate goal is to forgive and restore. Sounds allot like Jesus to me. Maybe the greatest understanding we in the 21st Century could gain is that we serve the same God of the Old Testament and He hasn't changed and He still does judge, get angry and bring consequences on those that blatantly and defiantly sin in the face of God.  It's interesting that as we go on to read our New Testament reading in Hebrews we read "the day is coming , says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. ..........I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts, I will be their God and they will be my people." Could it be that the God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament, could it be that Jehovah is Jesus? Could it be that this same God, in Old Testament and New Testament has always had the same purpose and goal in mind and that is to bring his people to a place where they would know him, know his ways, follow him in his ways so he could bless them and not have to judge them? Nothing has changed from Old to New Testament. The same sins and disobedience that brought judgment and God's disfavor 4000 years ago are the same sins and disobedience that bring judgement upon our lives in the 21st Century. And what brought blessing and prosperity upon God's people 4000 years ago is still what brings blessing upon people today; and that is, a reverent fear and obedience to God's ways. Christians that are blessed today are the ones that have the understanding that we serve the same God, and what cursed and brought judgement in the Old Testament is the same that will being cursing and judgment today and what brought blessing then is also what will bring blessing today. " I am so glad (phew) I serve the God of the New Testament", anyone who utters those words shows only their ignorance, He is the same God and He was good and merciful then, only wanting relationship with his people and He is good and merciful today, only wanting relationship with us still, " I am the Lord thy God, there is no shadow of turning in me, I am the same yesterday, today and forevermore!"

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

NOVEMBER 5 "EYES TO SEE"

 NOVEMBER 5 "EYES TO SEE":      AS we function in a natural world we can begin to view Christianity as a natural process, we can begin to view salvation as a logical d...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NOVEMBER 4 "HOW DO YOU KNOW U LUV JESUS?"

I go to church, I pray from time to time and on the occasion, pick up my bible. I'm not perfect, but I do abstain from most obvious and premeditated sins. I wonder, is my love for God shown by being faithful in ministry, is it shown by my generous giving, maybe....I can guess and assume on these previous virtues, but here is one that I don't have to guess about, it's plain as can be, "For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers".  There it is, in writing, "you have shown your love FOR GOD, by caring for other believers.  We lose that vital link with God when we lose our heart for other believers in the church. Every relationship hinges on common bond in that relationship. Two people connect when they have a common idea, sport, hobby or passion that they share and connect on. Many couples divorce when the children have grown and moved out because that couple now realizes they had no other bond between them, other than those children, that are now gone, "what do we have in common now, nothing!" and they divorce. Our connection to Jesus, is our heart, our common bond for his people. Many religious people would attribute their love for God then, by telling us the good and how much they care for their families. This does not impress God that you would care for your own family, you are quite dysfunctional at best, if you don't care for your own family. God does not mince words. Our scripture indicates that we show our great love for Him when we care for "other believers", never mind your family. To illustrate this, Jesus gives us the parable of the Good Samaritan. What's good about the Good Samaritan? We know the answer, "that he cared", but the answer is not that simple, everybody cares, at least most normal people. I'm sure the priest and the Rabbi would have stopped if this was their mother or father on the side of the road. However, it was not and therefore;  they did not stop or care.  Yes the Good Samaritan cared, but what's more relevant is that he cared for someone that was not part of "his own". In Hebrews today we read that God attributes our love for him but loving other believers. "Give preference to one another" another scripture reads.  At the end of this we read a secret to keeping a passion in our relationship with God.  Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. 12Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent.  Christians who become dull are Christians who have no interest in caring for other people in the church. All they do is come out, hear the sermon and rush home, but are disconnected from other believers and are definitely disconnected from caring for other believers in the church. We often hear this comment, "I've lost interest in the Church, not God, but the Church, I just stay home and worship there".  Well the truth is, before they lost interest in the church they lost interest in the believers in the church. What do you really have in common with Jesus if you've lost interest in caring for other believers? How do you show your love for God? Any answers you come up with, that our contrary to our scripture today, are meaningless at best; and very deceptive and misleading at worse. We don't have to guess, we don't have to assume or wonder anymore about how we know we love God, it has been laid out for us today, we know we love God when we are actively engaged in the caring for other believers. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

NOVEMBER 3 "DO YOU HAVE "THE MARK?"

 NOVEMBER 3  "DO YOU HAVE "THE MARK?":      IF this is not what we already knew, at least deep down in our conscience, now it has been confirmed in by Ezekiel. And what is that yo...

Friday, October 31, 2014

OCTOBER 31 "HAPPY HALLOWEEN......WHAT'S SCARIER T...

OCTOBER 31 "HAPPY HALLOWEEN......WHAT'S SCARIER T...:      I have always wondered about people who claim a peacefulness about dieing. It is not that I don't believe the accounts/stories I ha...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

OCTOBER 30 "DO YOU LOVE ANGELS?"

Do you love Angels?  Apparently, you're not the only one! The writer of Hebrews takes a whole chapter to dismantle, for the Gospel's sake, the worship of Angels. As one man famously quoted, "the more things change they more they remain the same." Here we are, a couple of thousand years later, still having to deal with this issue, of worshiping Angels, in the church.  We love Angels, they're beautiful (not sure how we know this?), they have wings, they fly and best of all, they don't judge. God, he's the boss, the mean guy! Angels, just help and do good. People who have a love affair with Angels, often are not that knowledgeable
of the Bible. Angels may be beautiful and only there to help, but if you read Revelations, they judge (by God's decree) and kill worse than any villain in Hollywood. The Catholics like to worship Mary and Saints, Christians like to worship Angels. Each religion has their own demi-gods that they set up for themselves, rather than go to God himself. Jesus himself is the mediator between God and man, not Mary, not Saints, and not Angels. "I don't feel comfortable going to Jesus, why can't I just go through Mary, Angels or......".  The question is, "why don't you feel comfortable going through Jesus? Why do we avoid authority?  Why do we avoid the boss at work, the principle at school, the Pastor at the front door on Sundays?" Normally there is a reason.  Santa Clause is a distraction from Jesus on his birth. Easter Bunny is a distraction from Jesus on his Victorious Resurrection and Angels are another distraction from a relationship with the Savior Himself. We used to have a woman that would come out to church we her Angel lapel. She never came out to church without it and always had stories of Angels for us and the little kids. She would get the kids to kiss her Angel lapel. She would also talk to me about Angels and I would politely listen and try, like the author in Hebrews, to play down her worship of Angels and point her towards Jesus. I was never quite successful in that endeavor. I wonder if the author in Hebrews had more success? I once lost my wallet and the person I was with suggested we pray to Saint Antony to help us find it. I asked, "could we also pray to Jesus himself to help us find it, after all, He is God, I think He could probably do a decent job too".  The answer was, "well, of course you can, but He may be busy with other stuff, why trouble  Him for the small stuff, just pray to Saint Antony, don't' be difficult!"  Why trouble Jesus with the small stuff? Well # 1, because He told us to and # 2 because nowhere in the Bible does it mention praying to Saint Antony for lost artifacts. Once again, people who are often distracted by religious decoys are often people who are ignorant of The Word of God. In short, our scripture today is simply telling us to "stop worshiping Angels and putting them in a place of preeminence above our Lord and Savior, Jesus. Not just Angels, but Mary, Saints, Santa, Easter Bunny and whatever else we are lured into to draw us away from the one that the Holy Spirit is trying to lure us to, each and every day and that is Jesus, a name above all names, our mediator, our lawyer, our defender, a friend that sticks closer than a brother, a father to the fatherless, a comforter to the widow, the healer of the broken heart, HE IS the one we should go to, there is no other and if there was, there would still be no better, than Jesus, to go to in our time of need, affliction, distress and/or comfort. "Come to me, all you that are heavy burdened down"  Come to me, Jesus says, not a decoy, not an idol, not a lessor god, false god or Mary, Saint or Angel, but COME TO ME!