Thursday, August 5, 2010

A heart of love

I spoke to someone yesterday about the subject of love. Love is a tough thing for the average person to describe because it involves so many things. They would describe an act of love and I would say, “Yes, that is part of it.” We see only the bits and pieces of love. The whole of it is really difficult to comprehend. As difficult as it is to describe there is no denying we all need it. Infants crave it from their mothers and mothers instinctively give it. Husbands and wives need it from each other which forms a basis for a healthy marriage relationship. There is no one thing which describes love, save one. He, however, is not a thing but a Divine Being. He pursues us with the desire we would love Him in return. He seeks one after His own heart.

But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.
(1 Samuel 13:14)
And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. 
(Acts 13:22)
If you read this carefully, you will see God considers doing His will an act of love towards Him. He calls David “a man after his own heart.” Doing God’s will with a sincere heart is an act of worship and an act of love. Love is a living thing which grows if it is nurtured. The works a Christian does are motivated because of love for God. (James 2:26) However, works performed by a Christian have nothing to do with salvation. Salvation is something completely done by the love God has for you. You have no part in that other than the acceptance of it. (Ephesians 2:8)
Paul defined love like this:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7 New International Version)
After reading this verse I want you to think of the last argument or disagreement you had with someone. If it was over something petty I would like you to read this twice. To be honest, I have to read it twice myself. I hear this verse used to describe a marriage relationship. It works for that but it is how we should treat every living human. It is how we are to treat each other and how we are to treat God if we truly love Him.
To a degree we will all fall short in our ability to love the way God does. I do believe he grants grace and extra measure to those who really seek Him. David was a man after the heart of God but there were times recorded He fell a bit short too. God still loved him and honored His promises to him. There is no reason to believe He would not honor your sincere desire for love as well.

After all this talk, I still cannot describe love any better than I could before. I only know that love is real. I think it comes with time and application. It applies best when we aren’t trying to apply it at all. Love speaks to the hearts of those you care about when you don’t even say a word. It shows in our actions and motives. It dances in our eyes and wells in our tears. It flows like a river from the very throne of God. (Revelation 22:1) It is up to us to decide to jump in the river and get wet.

Father, I thank you for being who you are. I thank you for all you do for me and providing for me. I ask you would help me to walk better according to what you would have me do. Help me to walk in love of you and all I come into contact with. Not only me Lord, but those who read this and desire the same. I ask you would bless them with this. May all this be done according to your will. In the name of Jesus I ask these things. Amen.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gifts of the Spirit

I can remember Christmas as a little boy. The excitement and the anticipation of what you were going to get in the way of presents. Sometimes there were a few and sometimes there were many. I suppose the best presents I received were the ones that I would use throughout the upcoming year. Some of them I used on a daily basis. These are the presents that served a utilitarian function of some sort and it became natural to use them.

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
(Romans 12:6-8)

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
(1 Corinthians 12:8-10)

The Holy Spirit will give gifts to the Christian so they will be empowered for service. You do know that as a are in ministry...don’t you? It is my belief all Christians have at least one of the gifts. I believe many have more than one gift. I never have met anyone I believed had all of the gifts. You will see these gifts show themselves as you minister for the Lord in one way or another. You will sometimes work with another Christian who has a different gift from the one you have. They will work seamlessly with one another because we all of one body. (1 Corinthians 12:12) These are service gifts to be used in what you are called to do. All of these gifts have their place and I believe all of them are still in existence today despite what several of my Christian friends may think. I have even seen gifts which were not mentioned in the lists above. He gives you what you are best suited for. Gifts of the Spirit will flow naturally from the believer. They will never contradict scripture and they will always give glory to God.

When I think of the gifts of the Spirit and the help he gives us, I remember what Jesus said:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
(John 14:12)

Think of what Jesus did while He was on earth. He not only has entrusted us with His ministry...He has equipped us with the help of the Holy Spirit to do the same things. The greatest miracle to me is to see someone receive Christ into their heart. This is just one facet of the work of the Holy Spirit and a testament of how much you are loved of God. Use your gift and allow God to show His love to someone else through you.

Father, I thank you for what you entrust to me. Guide and direct me in the way you would have me use what you have given me. I thank you for all who read this today and ask your blessing upon them. Help us work for you in a way which is well pleasing in your sight. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fruit of Life

For a long time what I am about to share were just words on a page for me. I understood them but had trouble getting them from my head to my heart. It was more of a problem with my faith and how merciful our God truly is. Over time I have seen how faithful God is and how much He really cares for those who have trusted Christ. This strengthens my beliefs and convictions. Assurance is available for all who follow Christ. The assurance that we are saved from sin and wrath help us to walk forward unfettered. The assurance God is always with us gives us courage to go on in some of the most terrible of circumstances. To know...that you know...that you know... is something which comes to us directly from the Spirit of God who bears witness to our hearts. It stems from His fruit.

Let me first go into what Christ has saved you from when you received Him as Savior.

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21)

When you received Christ as Savior you were set free from this. You were set free from having to follow the lusts of the flesh. It isn’t that you are unable to do it  but you choose not to do it anymore. Before you had no choice. Christ has set you free but you have to walk according to the Spirit of God or the flesh will try to creep in like an invasive weed. It is up to you to choose to walk daily according to what God’s will is for you that day. You have a have freedom.

The Holy Spirit will help you and direct you. He will give you instruction to the amount you will let Him work in your life. He will not force you. He will allow you to make the final decision on a matter but you need to choose wisely. Just because you are saved doesn’t mean you are some sort of mindless drone. God will take care of what you allow Him to take care of. It is up to your faith in Him as to what you will release to Him.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
(Galatians 5:22-24)

This is what God gives you after you receive Christ. These are not fruits but rather fruit. It is singular and not plural. You have it all or you don’t have it at all. This is what God gave you and made you a new creature inside. (2 Corinthians 5:17) This is what enables you to walk the walk of a Christian. You can only do it through God. It is your equipment for the journey. Again, how evident this is in the life in the Christian is according to how much they allow God to work in their lives. You still have a choice. Once again, this choice hinges on your faith in Him. When you trust Him with all of your heart in all things you will see this fruit grow in much fuller measure. You will put away the things of the flesh more as time passes. Your life will be more rewarding to you and the lives of those you come in contact with will be blessed as well. You will grow and be blessed as you are doing so.

To someone who has not received Christ as Savior this is all gibberish. I would say to them that God wants you to have this fruit and made a way by which it can be obtained. To those Christians who do not see the measure of fruit they would like to see I would say simply trust God. Use the faith God has given you and start taking Him at His word. His word is true and faithful. Study your scripture to grow your faith. (Romans 10:17) To know...that you know...that you more valuable than anything you will ever gain on this earth.

Father, I thank you for the freedom I have in Christ. I thank you for the help of the Holy Spirit in all of the aspects of my life. If there be any reading this that are like I was and have trouble understanding this, I ask that you would guide them and help them. Strengthen their faith and give them and unquenchable desire for your word. Bless all who read this in great abundance of blessings. May your name be praised and glorified in the name of Christ Jesus. Amen.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

God of all Comfort

Some topics are easier to convey than others. It is frustrating to have something you want to share only to be stopped by a limited ability to share it. However, that has never stopped me in the past and it is a topic too important to not share.  I have been doing word studies on the Holy Spirit and His ministry to us as believers. The more I study...the more I find. I have decided on dividing this into topics to help maintain a train of thought. So there will be more than one post on this subject. Today I want to share some of my word study as well as what scripture has to say about Him.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
(John 14:16)

The word “Comforter” here refers to the Holy Spirit. In Greek the word is “parakletos” which means helper, advocate, counsellor and comforter all of which pertain to the ministry of the Holy Spirit for us as believers in Christ. This would usually be enough for me but the study went further. The word “comfort” is from the Greek as well. It is a compound word. The prefix “com” means “with” or “with you.” The suffix “fort” means “strength.” So the true meaning of the word is “One who is with you in strength.” You could also take it as “One who is with you to give you strength.” I would think both definitions are accurate. This really changed the way I thought of the word “comfort.” I always viewed this as a reactive action rather than a proactive one. A place we would run to for solace or to recover when we felt defeated. It is more like a fortress we go to and prepare for battle. A refuge to plan what we must do next.

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
(John 16:13-14)

The Holy Spirit does not come to speak of Himself. He points to what God has done and what Jesus has done. He often points to the cross of Christ. He will never contradict scripture but will point you to it and give you recall of it when you need it. He reminds us when we should speak and in my case, when to shut up. He never forces anything on you as a believer but awaits your response to His direction. He is always willing to teach and always ready to go before you. He lays out your path before you even when you are unaware of it as a Christian. He can keep you from making some really bad mistakes if you will allow Him to do so.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
(Rom 8:26-27)

He prays for us when we don’t know how to pray for something. Other than the sacrifice Christ made on the cross this is one of the greatest acts of love God does for us. Many times we don’t even recognize it or acknowledge it. It humbles me to know that God Himself prays for me. I have not even mentioned or given reference to the gifts He gives us or the fruit He allows us to bear as believers. It is impossible to think of my life in Christ without Him. He gives us instruction, guidance, help and of course...comfort.

Father, I thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to us. I thank you for His help and guidance. I thank you for His prayers. I thank you for taking such good care of us as believers in Christ. I ask you would bless each and every one who reads this and give them a fresh touch from the Spirit of God. Let our hearts and minds dwell on you according to your will. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Chew Barbwire

Today is a special day because I have a guest writer. The following post was written by my wife. I wanted to share it with you all.

I could think of lots of titles for this note but since I've been posting things my Daddy used to say as my Facebook status this week I thought I would use one of his sayings as my title.

There's one in every crowd. A thorn in your side, a pebble in your shoe, an itch where you cannot scratch...a problem person. Many people like to act as if once you become a Christian ALL of your problems are solved in life. I do not know where this bald-faced lie comes from but it seems to show up over and over again. Some evil spin doctor somewhere said, "Once you're a Christian, you're on Easy Street. Clear sailing from there!"

Have you been reading your Bible? Did Paul and Silas practice their music in a country club...or in prison? Did Stephen get gifts or stones? Did Jesus have a place to lay his head or was He always on the move? Did He ride in a gold chariot or on a donkey? In case you don't get my drift here please read 2 Timothy 2:3.

It is more than just a perverse sense of humor that kept God from including a "whack a mole" feature in our lives. It's very low-key but He is in personnel development. He guides us into the places where we will learn what we need and He manages to use it to help others if we cooperate with Him.

Back to the pebble in your shoe, er problem person. You would think God would honor your prayer to take him out. Maybe not out of existence but at least out of your vicinity BUT No! What does He do? Pay attention now. This is a shocker.

Matthew 5:43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (NIV)
Oh whoa, baby, we are on the "No Pain, No Gain" plan! Seriously, Lord, this is not really what I wanted to do, for, this person. Pray for them! You have got to be joking! I was thinking more like sending them a computer virus or something. Putting something discreetly in their path to trip get it?

The more I get to know the character of God the more certain I am of one thing. His MO (method of operation) is different from what you expect it to be. Whenever you think things could definitely not add up the way they are going and the way He says they should go, they do. Surprise! His way or the highway! I'm telling you, it is amazing.

And what do we gain from praying for those who use and abuse us? He improves us. He reminds us that He loved us when we were snotty-nosed little brats who did nasty things. He did not give up on us. He kept knocking at our door and speaking to our heart. He made it so simple we could understand it. He was merciful and loved us through it all. Humbling, isn't it?

Lord, I ask you to be with those who are struggling today with the situations they are in. Comfort them. Strengthen them. Encourage them. Lift their heads. Help them to see the situation and the problem person the way You see them. Help them to become the person You would have them be. Glorify Your name in their life. Help us to reflect You in everything we do. I ask this in the precious and holy name of Jesus, who is my King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Amen.

P.S. What do you think Daddy meant by "Chew Barbwire?"

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


This post is going to be a bit different today. Have you ever thought of a song and the tune goes on in your mind all day long? I do this sometimes with songs, sometimes with people coming to mind and other times it is verses of scripture. I view these events as an opportunity to learn more while my mind is focused on them.  A verse of scripture is much like a fine gemstone. There are usually many facets each with their own perspective on the stone as a whole. The verse going through my head right now is one which gives one of the clearest pictures of compassion.

And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (Matthew 8:2-3)

I look at a lot of things in this verse. Leprosy is one of the most cruel diseases on earth. It disfigures, cripples, and kills. Here we have a man who had no other solution than to seek God for relief. What does he do? He simply asks the One he knows can heal. Jesus then did what no one else had the nerve to do…He touched him. Leprosy is a contagious disease. Jesus then said “I will.” This is the answer from God in many of our most hopeless situations. When we come to Him believing He will do something for us…He will. Because the man had faith and because Jesus is compassionate this man was cleansed from his leprosy.

Another facet of this gemstone is salvation. Sin is like a spiritual leprosy. We all have it and we all are disfigured and crippled because of it. No one is exempt from this. (Romans 3:23) When we finally become tired of our lives because of sin we can tell Jesus: “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” Jesus’ answer is always the same… “I will, be thou clean.”

Father, thank you for your compassion. Thank you for putting this on my heart today and I ask you would bless and encourage each and everyone who reads this. I ask you would send this word forth and let it accomplish your will for it. As always, I give you the praise for what you do now and what you will do. I ask this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Only one way

One Sunday, after church, another couple along with my wife and myself decided to go out to lunch together. We were wanting to spend time with them and get to know them better. We discussed how pretty the day was and things about work and such. Eventually the conversation turned to the sermon we heard and we discussed that too. You know how you get into a conversation and one thing leads to another and pretty soon you are discussing a host of things? I have to be honest, I am not a theologian. I am just a man who hungers for God. I read my Bible, pray a lot and try to be honorable to Him for what He has done for me. Anyway, these people are Christians and of that I have no doubt but the man said one thing that disturbed me greatly. He said: "In this world we have many religions. All will eventually get to heaven in their own way." My jaw dropped open after this statement because it flies in the face of scripture.

A little while later I was at work and was talking to someone who is a pastor's son. We always had good conversations about the things of God and would discuss all manner of topics. Then he surprised me too by telling me the same thing I heard at that lunch table a little while before. He said: "All religions will find their way to heaven because they all really worship the same god." I am not easily shocked but these statements shook my senses! Today I am going to draw a line in the sand and give you the scriptures so there will be no doubt about the matter. In fact, I am going to give you four of them.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
(John 14:6)
My friends didn't know how to answer when I quoted this scripture. That was really all I did was to quote the scripture. You have to look at who was talking in this verse. If anyone should know what the truth is, it would be Jesus. I think this verse is self explanatory too. The statement gives you the option to accept or decline. That's it!! No mention of another religion or another god. Forgiveness is available for anyone who will receive it. There is no gray area in this verse...just black and white.

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
(Isaiah 55:1) 

Jesus will receive all who come to Him. There is no price for salvation...Jesus took care of the price. You can't earn it because it is already paid for. You will contribute nothing to your own salvation other than receiving it. It astounds me how many people, including Christians, believe you have to pay as you go. This is not a type of thing where if your "good" outweighs your "bad" you get in!! Be very careful of this because that theology is false doctrine. Salvation is a free gift to you because He wants you to have it. He knew you couldn't do it by yourself so He took care of it. It's called grace.

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
(Isaiah 55:7)

God does ask you to turn from your former ways but He helps you with that if you are willing to make the decision for Him. You won't miss the former ways. I have never met any Christian who doesn't wish they had made their decision for Christ sooner.

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
(Romans 10:8-10)

This is how you accept what God is offering. It is as simple as believing, repenting and receiving Christ into your heart. To other people who may be into the other religions my friends were speaking of I say this: This is available for you too. The truth and salvation of Jesus Christ is so very inclusive. It is also exclusive. Only those who are willing to accept God on His terms will inherit eternal life. He paid the price and He gets to make the rules. If you had any idea of how He loves you and desires would not even hesitate.

Father, I thank you for the opportunity to share what you give to me. I do know there are some who would think this too basic but still it needs to be shared as long as there are people out there who have questions of your grace. I praise you for your grace!! I thank you for all you do for me daily. I ask for you to be with each and every one who reads this text and bless them according to their needs today. I pray a special blessing on the one who may be having questions of how to get to know you. Draw them by your Spirit I pray. I ask these things and give thanks in the name of Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Strongest in my broken places

Over the past few months I have had an opportunity to reflect on the direction my life is taking. When I look back I have truly been able to take a close look at what things I like about myself and those which had to be changed. We have to choose how we want our character to develop based on our experiences. We have to choose based on what we know is the will of God. God transforms us when we accept Christ but we still have choices to make. We all age and face new challenges in our health. We have things in our lives we have to deal with and some of those things are not pleasant. No matter how unpleasant things can become I know God can and does use us according to His plan for our lives. I have been blessed beyond measure.

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

(2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

To start with, I want to let you know I do believe in God's love for us. I believe He is able to heal the body and the mind completely. However, I do know I have prayed for people who He healed and for people who did not recover physically. Because God does not heal a person of an affliction does not mean He doesn't hear us. It doesn't mean He doesn't love us. It means the time is not right or He will use this person as they are. I myself have conditions I wish I did not have to contend with. I have mentioned them before so I won't go into them. We all have something in our lives we feel hold us back. We feel they keep us from living our life to the fullest.

Paul said he was attacked by a messenger of Satan. All Christians can relate to this. God in turn used this for the good of His kingdom and for the good of Paul. I do not know what the condition Paul was speaking of here. God used it rather than remove it. I myself asked God to remove my problem. Many times I asked God to heal this problem. He let me know my particular condition helped me to pray. I am of much more use to you and my friends if I pray for them. I am of much more use to God if I pray also. While He did not heal the condition, He made it bearable and useful to Himself. He didn't heal the illness...He healed my mindset towards it.

When you weld two pieces of metal together, the weld becomes the strongest part of the metal. This is what God can do with those broken places in your life. He can become your strength in the areas you are not strong yourself. I am not sure if you have a "thorn in the flesh" to contend with today. I do think the first thing to do when you are not well is to pray about the matter. Give it to God and see what He will do. God does heal and I don't want to make you think otherwise. I have seen it! I have received it myself! My prayer for you is for you to be well and whole. Should God choose to use you as you are, I pray He would be strong in the broken places of your life.

Father, I pray for those who read this today. I ask you would take any concern they may have and comfort them. I ask you would take any illness or medical condition they have and heal them. Use them for your glory in the way you decide Lord. I ask for your peace to flood them and allow them to rest. Grant them strength for whatever they have to face. Become their strength in all they do. I thank you for who you are. I praise you for all you have done and all you will do. May the love you have for them cover them as a blanket Lord. Even now make it so. I thank you and ask these things in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Being Content with Yourself...revisited

A little over a year ago I wrote a post on the subject of being content with yourself. That post is here if you care to take a look. I really didn't think much about it at the time. When I write these posts, it is more of a dictation than a writing. I put no great forethought into them. I write as the Lord lays things on my heart. That is why I call this blog: "From the Heart." I have four main reasons I do this. One: I want to see people saved from their sins by accepting Jesus Christ as Savior. Two: I want to encourage those who struggle with these issues in life. Three: It helps me to build my own faith. Four: The Lord told me to do this.

At first, I promoted this blog pretty heavily. I wanted people to see it. I don't do that anymore. I believe the Lord will lead the one here who needs to see what is posted. I see things here via a stat meter. It doesn't give personal information but I can see if someone used a search engine to get here. I can see what they typed into the search engine. I have noticed the post on contentment is a major concern to many people. It is enough of a concern they search for it. It is enough of a concern that I wanted to clarify and elaborate on something I mentioned in that post.

because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:7-8) NASB

I break from my tradition here and use the New American Standard Version for these verses. I find it to be clear and to the point. We are born with a built in nature of sin in our lives. This is the reason Jesus was crucified. He wanted us to have peace with a holy God. We couldn't do this ourselves. We as unbelievers were an enemy of God in our hearts. We are loved by God even though we were an enemy to Him. It is God and not us who made this sacrifice as an extreme gesture of grace and mercy towards us. He died so we might be free. Free from sin, worry and fear. The cross of Christ does and will always represent freedom in the truest sense of the word. In my post on contentment, I made the following statement:

"If you read this, and feel that you are not content with your present situation or state of being, talk with God about this. This is where you can learn, like Paul, to be content. He has a plan that He has made just for you! I will give you a hint: It involves receiving Christ as Savior. He only asks that you follow the plan His way. Your life may be turned upside down but He will give you peace."

While I implied the subject of surrender, I did not state it. Today I want to tell you honestly that true peace and contentment will only come for you when you receive Christ as Savior. If you wanted a different way...there is none. The road to Heaven is long and narrow and only through the blood of Christ by way of the cross. The person who is still a sinner will have to surrender and accept Christ. For the Christian, the key is to surrender. Surrender everything you have and everything you are to Christ. You asked Jesus to be Lord...let Him be Lord. He wants to take the worry, fear, loneliness from you. He wants to take the impure thoughts, addictions and inhibitions from you. All you have to do is ask Him to take them. You do have to be willing to let go of the control you have and give it to Him. Some things happen quickly and other things take time but if you persist in this...He will take them. You will be left with peace and contentment which is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) It is a good thing to have and you will wonder why you waited and held on so long to the things that held you back. It truly breaks my heart to see the searchers who come to this page looking for contentment. While I am glad they do I wish I could do more. While I know I am limited in what I have to offer, I know God is not. My honest and sincere prayer for you is that you would let Jesus take all of this baggage from your heart. Only He can. Only He will. Give your heart to God for Christ's sake. Christ gave all of Himself for your sake.

Father, my heart truly goes out to those just simply looking for peace in their lives. Lord I know you want to do this for them. So many of your people I have seen joyful in very difficult situations. You make the heart peaceful. Draw those who read this to yourself and show them your ways so they may obtain peace and contentment. I have loved you a long time and I have yet to see someone you did not reach out to with love and compassion. I ask you to now touch that one who is hurting and give them peace. Bless all who read and make them a beacon unto yourself. May they be a shining light on a hilltop so your name will be praised and glorified. I ask this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

To Believe

A few years ago we had a missionary to Peru come tell us about the work she did. This was a person who grew up in the community in which we lived and she was back giving an update to all the churches which supported her work. When she finished speaking she asked if anyone in the congregation had any questions. Someone asked: "Have you ever witnessed a healing?" She said she had. She shared a story of how she was about to leave the country. Just before it was time for her to board the plane a woman came up to her. She had a small child with her who was deformed from birth. This child had one deformed arm and the feet were not developed. This mother wanted the missionary to pray for her child. She wanted prayer for the child's healing. The missionary began to pray and by the time she had finished, the child was completely normal. She said it was "so neat" to see the little hand form from a new arm. Little toes formed from a foot that had no toes. The woman was beside herself with joy exclaiming: "I knew it! I knew He would do it if you prayed!"

And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. (Mark 9:17-27)

It is my belief this child the missionary prayed for was healed because of the faith the mother had. Perhaps it was the faith of the missionary. I am sure she prayed with faith too. God honors your faith. In the passage above, the father of this child was struggling with doubt. I know I can identify with him. We have something that just weighs us down and before long we don't feel as if our prayers go through the ceiling. We have allowed ourselves to become discouraged. Notice I said "we have allowed" is a choice. Sometimes we tend to limit God don't we? Touch this part of my life and don't touch that. We struggle with surrender on certain issues and it costs us. It costs us much more than we gain when we don't take God at His word. You will never know true freedom as a Christian until you give those things which keep you bound to Christ. That's a fact! I didn't say you wouldn't be a Christian. I am just saying you will struggle much more with peace and joy.

When I talk to someone about the Bible being the Word of God, I get some pretty nasty looks. You see, I am someone who is termed a "literalist." I believe the Bible literally. From the creation of the world to where Moses saw the sea parted...I believe. From where Gideon took a small army and defeated the Midianites to where David killed Goliath...I believe. From the point Noah entered the ark to where Elijah called the fire down from Heaven...I believe. From where Jesus raised Lazarus to where He died on a Roman cross for my sins...I believe. I don't need to go on do I? Now I know there is some symbolism in the prophetic messages in the Bible but when you read accounts of the men and women of can take that to the bank! This actually happened.

This post has one true message:  Believe God for He is faithful and give yourself to Him. Whether it be in prayer for healing or help in everyday life...God is able. The more of yourself you give to Him the more you will free Him to do wonderful things for you. He does do some pretty wonderful things too. I believe that.

Father God, I thank you for all you have done for me. I praise you because you are who you are and you do what you said you would do. You are faithful Lord. When I struggle with things in my life: "Help thou mine unbelief." Grant me that which I need to make sound decisions and not doubt in my heart. I continue to pray for Debbie who needs your touch. I lift up those who read Lord. I ask you would help them with any trace of doubt they may have. You are a reliable God and only you are able. May your blessings abound on them Lord. Bless them and keep them I pray. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I have no luck at all

I want to ask a question. How lucky are you? I mean on a scale of one to ten how lucky would you say you are? I hear this term "lucky" a lot. I have always heard this term. I have even used it myself. Or when something doesn't go the way you want it to you refer to it as bad luck. So here we have the concept of good luck and bad luck. One form being good and the other bad. I have a verse I want to share with you today.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

This verse just destroyed your concept of luck. According to this verse, it doesn't exist. Everything happens for a reason. Some things we like and others we don't like. Everything happens for a reason. So what do we have instead? We have providence. God is in control. He controls situations to the smallest detail. Think of how your body is made. According to science you are an organism comprised of cells and amino acids and a lot of other parts. According to God, you were created in His image and He gave you what you need. According to science. evolution is the accepted theory. There was this big bang thing and a bunch of goo that formed an amoeba. Now that would be lucky!! No gambling house on earth would allow you in if you were that lucky! You would break the bank!! There is no luck in gambling. The odds favor the house. It's not's math. I use this only as an illustration. Gambling is not an activity I recommend for anyone. Most evolutionists don't believe in God. I don't believe in evolution. What happened is God made you and everything you know. When you think about it...there is much more logic in that.

I read in the book of Acts about Paul and what he went through. If there was ever a case of bad luck he would have it. He was ridiculed. He had a bounty on him. He was arrested and thrown into prison. He was stoned, shipwrecked, bitten by a snake!! He did get the gospel of Christ out, didn't he? God allowed these things to happen for a reason. So many lives are still being touched this day by his ministry. Oh yes...God has a plan and He is in control. Make no mistake about it. I suppose I write this because so many people believe in chance. It is frustrating to me and I think it hurts God's feelings. I believe it really hurts Him when a Christian believes in chance situations. He loves you so much!! You are not here by chance or luck. You are someone He wants to be here. He put you here and has allowed you to have a choice. You can choose Christ and allow God to be sovereign or you can reject Him and take your chances. How lucky do you feel?

My Father in Heaven, I do praise you and exalt your name above all. I thank you for allowing me to be here and to have the choice to come to you. I thank you that there is nothing which happens by chance circumstance but you are always in control all the time. I thank you for that and I ask you would guide me and help me to choose things wisely. I pray once again for all who read this. May you encourage them and give them just what is needed for their individual situations. You know all of their hearts Lord. You know them better than they know themselves. Bless them and keep them I pray Lord. Draw them ever closer to yourself. On a personal note Lord, I would ask for the healing of my friend Debbie who is so very ill. I am giving over this matter to your mercy and love. I am expecting life over death. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Monday, May 24, 2010

That little voice

I have felt the need to pray more lately in the form of intercession. I pray for my needs of course but I feel a special need to lift up those I promised I would pray for. Some of these people I know very well and some I don't even know personally. My wife helps me edit these posts because it is something she does well. She tells me I am a "wordy" person. I am sure some of my prayers are that way too. However, some of my prayers are just a few words long. I am confident God hears all of my prayers. I have to be careful that I not only pour out my heart to God but listen and wait for His answer.

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
1 Kings 19:11-13

In the verses above, Elijah was told by an angel to meet with God in a specific place. When God passed by all manner of things happened. He didn't find God in any of the powerful events which occurred. After all of this he heard a still small voice. God was speaking to him.

When you pray do you stop to hear that still small voice? Do you have this thought of a person come across your mind? Sometimes it is just that simple. God is so merciful. He knows we as humans lack the ability to always keep our train of thought. He also knows the things we need. He knows the needs of those you are praying for. He is God! I have tried to be mindful and take care I do not try to dominate all of this conversation. I am open and receptive to what He has to say. As much as I hate to admit it, there are times I have been less than thrilled with His answer or what he wanted me to do. Eventually I come around. It is an honor for God to be willing to use you or me for anything. I don't take it lightly. You never know what kind of blessing you will be to others if you will take the time to just listen a little. I know sometimes it makes me seem very peculiar indeed when I try to implement what He gives me. We are a peculiar people aren't we? (1 Peter 2:9) There are times someone I haven't thought about in years comes to mind. I won't even be in prayer at that time but I try to take just a moment to whisper a prayer. I believe God has put them on my mind for a particular reason and He wants me to pray for them. This still small voice is just that. A still small voice. If you ignore miss out.

One more thing before I close. If you promise someone you will pray for them...please pray for them. It only takes a moment and it costs you nothing. The rejoicing you will both do for answered prayer has its own reward. Just remember God's voice is not always that of thunder.'s a whisper.

Thank you Father for giving me the opportunity to pray. Help me to keep my eyes and my heart focused on those things which are important to you. I want to be more inclined to hear your voice when you speak to me. May all who read this be blessed in a special way today. Give them what they need and encourage them as only you can. They are such a blessing to me and I ask for blessings upon them. I thank you and praise you in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

To live and not die

I wasn't planning to post today but something happened yesterday that changed that. While driving to work I was heavy-hearted. Those of you who know me also know I am prone to bouts of depression. The Lord has blessed me because I never think of doing harm to myself. I know a lot of people with depression think of suicide often. Some even attempt it. Some... succeed. When the Lord speaks to me, I do not hear an audible voice. It is more of a strong impression that comes all at once. No, I'm not psychic or clairvoyant, and I don't have a magic wand. What I do know is someone out there is thinking about ending their life right now. This is for you.

My heart is severely pained within me, And the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, And horror has overwhelmed me. So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, And remain in the wilderness. Selah I would hasten my escape From the windy storm and tempest.”
(Psalm 55:4-8)

I know how David felt when he wrote this. He cries out to God because there is no one left to cry out to. Knowing what I know about David he probably cried out to God before anyone else. David did have one important advantage right here. He knew that he and God made a majority. Anytime you add God to the equation you end up with a majority. You feel so alone and so helpless. You cry out too. Don't you? He is waiting to hear from you. He wants you to pour your heart out to Him! Hearts are His business!

Maybe you think you have had enough. You want out. You want to end it and life be over with. I have a few personal thoughts for you. First thought..don't!! I have sat with people and held their hands while they grieved the death of someone who committed suicide. I have tried to encourage and help them to believe it wasn't their fault. I always...ALWAYS!!! fall short of this goal. Such a waste. It rips their hearts out!! Since I have been in this situation a few times I finally came to the conclusion that those who kill themselves are some of the most selfish people of all. There is no consideration for those they leave behind. If there were, they would live and be there for them.

Second thought...while my depression is chronic, it does come in spells. I usually wait them out. I even fight back. Yes, I am battle scarred and walk with a limp...but I am more than a conqueror!! Jesus is so very faithful!! I posted before on this subject and you can read that here. Because I have been through depression, I have a special love for those who suffer it. In many respects it has made me a more compassionate person. If I am having a really bad time I try to rally prayer support from those who love me.

Third and last thought...the breath of life which God breathed into Adam is holy. That breath of life has been perpetuated through time till it became your turn to live. Please do not kill that holy thing of God! If you only knew how much He loves you. He wants to be there for you to guide and prosper you. He wants you to live and not die!! (Psalm 118:17) Before you do this thing you cannot undo...won't you talk with Him? It could only help and certainly do no harm.

My email is on my blogger profile if you need a human to talk to. You are welcome to use it. All I know is God loves you enough to make me pull my car over and pray for you. If He doesn't care then that's hard to explain.

Father, I come to you and ask you to reach out to the one for whom this is intended. Give them a chance to choose life instead of death. Reach into their heart and give them hope and assurance. Replace the despair they feel with joy and peace. Give them a sound mind and help them keep their eyes on you. I pray you will intervene in this situation, Lord. I have your assurance this is what you wanted me to do. I thank you for the opportunity. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Monday, May 17, 2010

When you pray...

A long time ago, before GPS and cell phones, I had a situation which needed closure. I was to meet with someone from out of state to be able to resolve some issues in my own heart. The problem was I had a street address but no phone number. Unfamiliar with the area, I wandered in circles for a while. After a while I asked:  "Jesus, lead me there." I had no doubt He would answer this prayer. In about five minutes I had this strong urge to turn down a particular road. The street I was looking for was connected to this road. I met with the person and resolved my situation. On my own, I drove around this place many times without success. After the prayer, it was five minutes. Out of all the answers to prayer I have received, this one stands out to me because of what it meant to my heart at the time.

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
(Mark 11:24)

Prayer is a living thing. It is holy communion with the Creator of all things. It is communication with Him who knows you better than you know yourself. There are so many references to prayer in scripture. There is no way I can effectively communicate all aspects in this post. Today I want to focus on

The verse tells us to "believe that ye receive." How many times have you prayed thinking God wouldn't do something for you? If you approach prayer with this attitude, you are probably correct. You have to believe God loves you enough to answer your prayer. There should be no room in your heart for doubt! I want you to think of it as when you were a child. You would ask your Mom or Dad for something and all you had to do was ask. More times than not, you would be given that which you wanted. You would also be denied things that were not good for you. Not all prayers get the answer we want if they are outside of God's will for our lives. The key thought here is to believe He wants to answer you. He does. In my experience, God loves His people and He loves them to pray. How many times has God looked at me and wondered why I don't ask Him for what I need? We keep Him at arm's length when we give up and don't ask. Prayer is a wonderful gift God has given us. We should use it often! Nothing can usher you into His presence the way prayer can.

Do you have things in your life you need? Is there someone on your mind who needs something of the Lord? You can keep driving in circles without an answer or you can bring it to God in prayer. The choice is yours.

Thank you Father for hearing our prayers. I praise you for the opportunity. I ask you would continue to teach me how to pray more effectively. I thank you for all who read this and ask you to encourage their hearts and renew their minds. Help them to believe you want only good for them. Help them with their faith in what they ask for. Fill them with an intense sense of your love for them. Fill them with the joy and peace which only comes from you. I give you the glory for all that you do for them. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What are you planting?

I have always loved to work with plants. I love how you can put a seed in the ground and watch it grow over time. Roses tend to be my favorite plants but I do grow vegetables and annual flowers as well. When I was younger, I would plant a kernel of corn in the ground and watch it sprout. The corn stalk would eventually produce two ears of corn. From one seed you would get hundreds of kernels on the two ears of corn. The Bible relates our actions as sowing or reaping. Not just some of our actions...but all of them.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
(Galatians 6:7)

This is such a basic truth that it often gets overlooked. In the above verse the Apostle Paul relates this passage to sowing and reaping. If you look for similar references in the Bible you will see it compared to sunshine and rain as well. (Matt. 5:45) So who does this verse apply to? The answer is that it applies to everyone. Christian and non-Christian alike. In some religions you have the concept of "karma." Your actions do have consequences. How many times have you heard someone say: "What goes around, comes around." Same concept. So this is indeed recognized as a universal truth. I believe Christians have an advantage with God to lead and direct them.

Prisons are full of people who are reaping what they have sown. We bring a lot of the bad things on ourselves with choices we have made. Perhaps we treated someone badly in the past. We reap that. We may have thought something evil of someone. We reap that too. We reap in action and deed and in the mind as well. Sooner or later it all comes to pass. Remember what I said about that kernel of corn? One seed produces hundreds. This is how I view this verse because of the context in which it is given. You could reap one to one, twofold, or even a hundred fold! I think it has to do with what exactly you have sown. I have seen people really destroy themselves with alcohol and drugs. I have seen them become Christians but they still have a lot of the health problems associated with their past life. Like I said, it applies to everyone with no respect to persons. I have also seen people miraculously healed of health problems. They still had to endure their consequences.

Before I go any further, I want to be clear about something... Sometimes we go through trials as Christians. You have to remember God will "test" his followers to strengthen them. He did this with Job. This is universal with all Christians. Remember that the testing is to build you up rather than break you down. This is a totally different concept and I don't want to bring unnecessary grief to someone going through a trial.

Two actions people make sum up why I am writing this post. Both actions reap much more than hundred fold. We can choose to accept Christ as Lord and Savior and live our lives for Him. He is faithful to help us make good choices even though we may make mistakes along the way. The other action is to reject Christ when He calls to your heart. When you really think of the seed you sow...then it baffles me why someone would turn Him down. We all have our gardens to plant. What are you planting today?

Father, I thank you for who you are. I recognize you as a just and merciful God. Help me to make good decisions in my life. Forgive me for those decisions that I have made which have fallen short of your will for me. Help me to build people up rather than trying to tear them down. May I think of the consequences each action has beforehand. Keep me always mindful of people's feelings and needs. I pray for all who will read this and ask your blessing on them. Make them aware of their actions and the consequences of those actions. I thank you for hearing me and ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Do Over!!

Do you remember the times you played a ball game as a kid? Sometimes the branch of a tree may block your view of the ball. Sometimes you would trip over something that shouldn't have been on the playing field. Even a playful dog could interrupt the game. "Do over!!" someone would shout and we would do that play again. Not everyone always agreed to a "do over" because their team was leading or had an advantage because of what had happened. Most times we were given a second chance. It all depended on the rules laid out before the game. As we go from childhood to adulthood, life can become more challenging and perplexing. The rules seem to change and there appears to be more gray area instead of black and white. How many times in the course of our life have we wished we could get a "do over" when things don't turn out the way we want.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
(Matthew 22:36-40)

In the days of Jesus' ministry, the law handed down by God to Moses, set the standard of how things were supposed to be. In Genesis God gave Adam and Eve rules to live by in the garden of Eden. In Exodus, you have the 10 commandments. In Leviticus you have laws pertaining to the priesthood and other laws. The law was to show man what God required.

Holiness is not taken lightly by God. It does not require near perfection. It requires perfection! Mankind has always fallen short of this. The law showed men how far from holy they were. Centuries later, Jesus came and started to turn their religious system upside down. The leaders were afraid of how the people loved Him and the authority with which He spoke. He was perceived as a threat to all their religious customs. To this day, Jesus is the only one in history who has ever been able to keep God's law and not break it. In the above verses, one of the religious leaders tries to trap him and asks about the law. Jesus made his answer very simple and clear. He sums up the entirety of the law in a few short words.

To me, this is a miracle in itself to be able to get that much information in such a concise form. All we have to do is to love God with all our hearts, minds and souls. Then we have to love everyone the way we love ourselves. Wow! That's simple, right? I really hate to be the one to pop your bubble...but doing this is not possible apart from God. Making the law more concise didn't change the fact it's still the law. No matter our desire, we still fall short of perfection.

You see there are three types of love. Eros is a sensual type of love. Philia is a brotherly love. The type of love spoken in the verses above is Agape love. This is the kind of love God has for us. It is a sacrificial love...a holy love. Apart from Christ there is nothing holy in any man or woman except the breath of life God gave us! Sure, there are some people that are pretty nice once you get to know them. However, I really doubt they would hang on a cross for you. It wouldn't do you any good even if they did. That price has already been paid.

God in His mercy has offers us a "do over" for the condition of sin. He planned it, He made the way for it and He paid for it. God's way is for us to have forgiveness for our sins. A fresh start! A clean slate! Jesus' purpose in His earthly life was to fulfill the prophecies of scripture and to pay our sin debt with His own blood! All He asks is that we yield our heart to Him. We accept Jesus into our hearts by trusting Him and taking Him at his word. To trust in someone that you cannot see is an act of faith on your part. For those willing to take that step of faith, He will change you from the inside out. Scripture says that you become a "new creature."(2 Cor. 5:17) I know this to be the case. You don't have to worry about trying to clean yourself up to come to Him. He wants you just like you are right now! God will fill you with the love you need to love Him and to love others. He will give you peace. I cannot explain this peace. It is something you must experience.

Let me ask a question... How is it with your life? Do you feel something is missing? Do you feel an emptiness inside? Do you wish someone understood you? Well, someone does understand you. He made you! Who better to understand than your Maker Himself? He loves you very much!! He wants to give you a "do over." He will teach you the meaning of true love. He will give you what you need to live your this world and the next.

Say this prayer aloud with me and I can promise your life will never be the same!

Heavenly Father, I am a sinner. I admit this sin before you and I am sorry that I have sinned against you. I lay my life down before you and I turn away from my sin. Forgive me God. I accept the fact that Jesus died in my place because of sin. I ask for Jesus to come into my very being and I make Him the Lord of my life. From this day forward I will live for you and do your will as you lead me. Show me what you would have me do from now on. I thank you for hearing this prayer and making me your child. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

My prayer for you:
Father God, I thank you that you hear the prayers of a sincere heart. I ask that you would hold and keep the soul that has cried out to you. I ask your blessing upon them and their household. I ask you to bless all people they come into contact with. Hedge them from all attacks they encounter and lead them through all they may face. Teach them your ways and your Word. For those who read and didn't pray, I ask that you would continue working on their hearts and minds until the day they can come to a knowledge of your glory. Protect them and keep them until that day Lord. Lead them to yourself. For those who know you and read, I ask that you would bless them in abundance Lord. Encourage their hearts and renew their spirits. I give you the honor and praise for all who read. I thank you for all of them. In Jesus' holy name I pray, Amen.