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...