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.

LiveJournal Tags: ,

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.