Thursday, December 30, 2004

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.  And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.  Acts 2:2-6

The day of Pentecost, a day which is still celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter.  This was the day which the Apostles were told by Jesus would come when he told them to wait for the comforter that He would send to them.  This miraculous moment in Christian history is often taken completely out of text.  The Pentecostals refer to this as the reason they believe someone isn't truly filled with the Spirit until they speak in tongues.  As we will see by further investigation into the Bible, this argument does not hold up.

When the Spirit fell upon them it was for the purpose of getting across the message of Jesus Christ to a large crowd of people from many different countries that spoke many different languages.  Everyone heard the gospel in their own language so they could understand and as a result three thousand people were baptized.  If you have ever been privilege to witness a baptism it is a very emotional thing and I can't even imagine being a witness to three thousand being baptized.  That must have been an awesome day.

Another gift of the Spirit is however what is called the "Speaking of Tongues," where the Spirit speaks through you to the Father.  This is in the heavenly language, which is not understandable except by God or by one who is an "Interpreter of Tongues."  This language is often thought to be the language, which was spoken on the day of Pentecost.  Throughout the rest of the book of Acts we see others that are saved and when the Spirit comes upon them they begin speaking in tongues.  This premise has led many to believe that when the Holy Spirit comes into our lives it is marked by the speaking of diverse tongues.  Now we get to see where this is an inaccurate statement.

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.  And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  But one and the same Spirit works all these individually as He wills.

I Corinthians 12:4-11

Apparently this was a problem in the early church just as it appears to be today.  There are many who will try to make you feel like you are not been blessed by the Spirit unless you speak in tongues.  As Paul clearly tells us here there are many gifts of the Spirit and no one person will possess them all.  Paul starts this message off with these words:

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:

Unfortunately when it comes to our faith ignorance is still running rampant.

Through studying and prayer we should be seeking to eliminate the ignorance in our lives and once this is accomplished we can seek to destroy the ignorance in the churches around us.

Our Lord and Savior tells us in The Book of Luke how we can receive the Holy Spirit by this simple parable:
"If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?  Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?  If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"            Luke 11:11-13

I don't think we can get any clearer on this than what the Master has said.  It is when we try to take simple Christian teachings and turn them into something deep or philosophical that we distort the true and simple meaning. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.            Galatians 5:22-26


Monday, December 27, 2004

I had something prepared for today but as I was reading "The Normal Christian Life," by Watchman Nee, I was so amazed by something that Watchman Nee said I had to make it todays post.  I have to admit, when I first began reading this book I almost put it down and never picked it up again.  Watchman Nee is very intellectual in his approach to his faith and it takes having to read a paragraph 2 or 3 times in some cases before I can totally grasp what he is trying to say.  I think that anyone would enjoy this book if they were to give it a read, just be prepared to put more thought into it than you would with any other book you might read on Christianity.

The following paragraph hit home on something that I have struggled with my entire Christian life.  It is self explanatory so I will not add my 2 cents.  I hope you enjoy it and it helps you as much as it has me.

God Bless,

At the beginning of our Christian life we are concerned with our doing, not with our being; we are distressed rather by what we have done than by what we are.  We think that if only we could rectify certain things we should be good Christians, and we set out therefore to change our actions.  But the result is not what we expected.  We discover to our dismay that it is something more than just a case of trouble on the outside - that there is in fact more serous trouble on the inside.  We try to please the lord but find something within that does not want to please him.  We try to be humble, but there is something in our very being that refuses to be humble.  We try to be loving, but inside we feel most unloving.  We smile and try to look very gracious, but inwardly we feel decidedly ungracious.  The more we try to rectify matters on the outside the more we realize how deep-seated is the trouble.  Then we come to the Lord and say, "Lord, I see it now!  Not only what I have done is wrong; I am wrong."

Monday, December 20, 2004

For we all stumble in many things.  If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.

Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.
Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.

Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.  See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.  The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.

(James 3:2-6)

Imagine a world where people actually think about what they say before they say it.  If everyone would take the time before they spoke there would never be anything said out of anger, jealousy, spite, or any emotion. 

In this chapter James is trying to relate to us how dangerous the tongue can be, how detrimental it can be to you and to those around you.  We have all said things that we have regretted, in fact we have all said something that we still regret to this day.

By simply learning to control what we say instead of being overcome by emotion and blurting out the first thing that comes to mind we can save ourselves and others a lot of unnecessary pain and discomfort.

The very nature of man is sin, sin dwells at our very souls.  It is the inheritance passed down to us from Adam and Eve.  Paul says in Romans:

For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.
Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
(Romans 7:18-20)

Paul is explaining that our human nature is sin.  When we are born again into a relationship with Jesus Christ we must condition ourselves to overcome our sinful nature.  Part of this is controlling the members of our body, the most disobedient of which is the tongue.  James goes on to say in chapter 3 that 'no man can tame the tongue,' and he is absolutely correct.  Taming the tongue would be taming our sinful nature and this is something we cannot do.  Like the old saying, "A leopard cant change its spots."  Neither can we change our human nature, but we can control it.  By doing something as simple as thinking before we speak we take away the power of sin over our tongue. 

I want you to really think about how powerful a tool the tongue is for sin.  Think about the things that you say today.  Every time you gossip about someone, curse or talk about something that you have no right talking about I want you to be aware of it.  Think of the old cliché, "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all."  If you spend today concentrating on how many times you say something you shouldn't have said you will be amazed.  Probably half the conversations you have in a day could be eliminated and some days you might find that if you hadn't said something you shouldn't have said you probably wouldn't have talked all day.

Be careful of what you say, and be mindful of how it affects others.

God Bless.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of Peace.

No, this is not the lyrics to the popular sixties song, it is taken from the third chapter of Ecclesiates. It is important to remember when we are going through troubles in our lives that there is a time for everything and a purpose.

On a personal note I had to leave my home last sunday, I had to leave the woman that I love very much and the life that I have come to be very comfortable in. This chapter in Ecclesiastes came to mind and as I was flying across the Atlantic ocean late on sunday night. They have been a comfort to me and I pray that they will be a comfort to you in your times of need. I know from faith that nothing is coincidence, all things happen for a reason. Whether or not you choose to believe it there is a greater power working in our lives, that power is God. Although He allows us to make our own choices(freewill) He still places us where He needs us. I have been out here only 2 days but already I have found a good Bible study and I pray that I will be able to contribute to this group.

I ask for your prayers while I am gone and I would like to make this post open to comments for anyone to post a comment(anonymous or not) for any prayers that you may need in your life. On this same note I would ask that everyone pray for those who need prayer in any comments they may have left.

I apologize for being more personal on this post rather than evangelical but I felt the need to share with everyone what has been going on with me for the last couple of days and to ask for your prayers that I may have a safe journey and discover God's will for me while I am here.

God willing, barring any real emergencies or internet problems, I will post new updates every monday, wednesday and friday while I am away.

God Bless,

P.S.- Megan, I love you very much and will be home before you know it.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Then the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?"

Now my question is, "Have YOU considered Job?"
Undoubtedy you have heard sermons concerning Job and maybe even read the book of Job, but have you really stopped to consider Job?

Job suffered greatly at the hands of Satan with but one instruction from God, that Satan could not take his life. Job lost everything, his children, his flocks, his harvests, everything that he had spent his life building and everything that God had given him. His body was plagued by boils and open sores; his friends and even his own wife thought he was a fool for hanging onto the hope that God would save him. Job never lost his trust in God and never turned his back on Him.

Many Theologians and Biblical Scholars believe that God does in fact turn His back on us from time to time in order to strenghten us in our faith.

And we rejoice in the hope and the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
(Romans 5:2-5 NIV)

Consider for a moment a mother and her newborn baby. I have seen shows on television that show by a mother blowing in her babys face and then dunking him under water the baby can hold its breath and swim for a period of time. Of course the mother would not leave the child under for to long because eventually the baby would run out of air and drown, but she leaves the child down long enough that he may learn to swim. I like to attribute this to how God is with us sometimes. He lets us go on our own until he sees that we need picking up. It is during these times in our lives that Satan will attack us the most, trying to convince us that God has abandoned us, that we are not worthy of God so He has left us. Satan is right about one thing; we are NOT worthy of God, but God has justified us through faith in His son and our Lord, Jesus Christ. These times of suffering can be difficult for anyone, even your most steadfast Christian, but if we persevere we will be that much stronger for going through it. It is during these times we need to run to God with open arms and praise Him for all that He has given us and all that He does for us in our lives and if our faith comes through our sufferings, God will reward us just as He did Job.

And the Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10)

Because Job never turned his back on God throughout all his sufferings and temptations, God gave back double to Job. Job's faithfulness brought him through his sufferings and he was greatly rewarded.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
(Hebrews 12:11) ( I encourage everyone to read Hebrews 12:1-13)

As Paul states in Hebrews, suffering is not something that anyone likes. At the time you feel as if you can never make it through and all hope seems lost, but we have one promise that we can take comfort in and that is; God will never put us in a situation that He knows we cannot bear. He is faithful to us to protect us and to watch over us just as a loving father should do. He will never let us be tempted beyond which we can handle and cause us undue suffering.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (I Cor 10:13)

Much of the New Testament is about suffering and temptation, and there is much more suffering and many more temptations to come in our walk with the Lord. Our growth as Christians depends heavily on how we deal with the trials and tribulations in our lives. Do we turn to God, or do we turn to our own understanding?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Paul states in these simple words in Thessalonians how to overcome all obstacles in our lives and with this I will end.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in EVERYTHING give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

In the mornings I like to go through the internet and visit news sites to keep current of world events. I read an article the other day and the more I think about it the more aggravated I become. The article concerned a church which was allowing openly gay people to be clergy. Now I don't plan on saying the name of the church or which denomination, but it was a proclaimed Christian church.

Before I get further into this post I need to say one thing. I do not have a problem whatsoever with homosexuals. If this is the life you choose to live that is fine, its your decision and I am okay with that. Its not my lifestyle but this is what our country is; a mix of individuals. With this said I will move on.

I have studied the Bible and I truly believe and others with me that homosexuality is not acceptable. If you are a Christian and truly filled with the Holy Spirit then you will keep yourself from sexual immorality and not continue living the way you lived before accepting Christ.
"But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will jusdge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you."
(I Cor 5:11-13)

I have heard the arguments presented by the homosexual community considering homosexuality in the church.
"Jesus took away the old laws."
"Sodom was destroyed not because of homosexuality but because the men wanted to rape the angels."
"The sexual immorality that Paul talks of is prostitution not homosexuality."

These are all arguments that I have heard and I have investigated on my own. I am not attacking the homosexual community. As I stated above, I have no problem with homosexuals in general. What I do have a problem with is the church flexing to become more politically correct.

This is my point. Because we have become a politically correct nation, the church is expected to conform to society. WRONG!!!! The church does not conform to society or accept individuals simply because this is what is acceptable to everyone else. I do not apologize for my faith and I most certainly do not apologize for God. It is time the world stops trying to be politically correct and become more biblically correct.
We are given a clearer understanding of what God thinks of homosexuality in the book of Romans.
"Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Amen
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion." (Rom 1:24-27)

I am not trying to take this out of context, the chapter is talking about God's wrath against the world of unbelievers but these paragraphs point out something. Paul is clearly saying that homosexuality is unnatural, indecent and a perversion. If this is true then a person who is homosexual and becomes a believer should abandon this lifestyle. Homosexuality is not acceptable to God so why should it be acceptable to us as Believers? As believers we are so eager to be loving of everyone and this is a good thing but we should'nt jeapordize our own beliefs in the process. Its like the old saying goes,"Hate the sin, love the sinner." We need to dispel the sin from our church, not just homosexuality but all sin. Sin is going to happen, none of us are perfect but we should'nt make it a point to keep sinning, hiding behind the blood of Christ. In everything we do we should try to dispel sin from our lives and become more like Christ. He set the example, we just need to follow.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

When the Lord called me to be a Believer, I felt such a joy that I wanted to share it with everyone. Over the years I have found that wanting to share my happiness and the good word of Jesus is a hard thing to do. The Spirit guides us and gives us direction when we are talking to others and are not sure what words to say, but if the heart of the one you are talking to is closed, nothing you say will get through to them. Paul tells us in (I Cor 1:18)

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

It pains me that everyone cannot feel the hope and promise of the Lord Jesus Christ and it frustrates me when they turn a deaf ear to the message. I understand though, I was once in the same position as many are today; lost in the wilderness.
God calls us to Him, not Him to us. He has given us free will and allows us to make our own decisions.

"Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." (I Cor 1:22-24)

Although Paul wrote this some 2000 years ago it still stands true today. There are those who rely upon their own wisdom to save them. They think through the study of science they can solve anything. I believe this is true, but I also believe that the greatest scientific mind in the world has the knowledge of an infant when compared to the infinite wisdom of God. We cannot hope to attain through our own understanding the innermost workings of the universe, much less the mind of God. It is through faith in Jesus Christ and what he did for us on the cross that we are saved, not by our own understanding.

With all these things in mind it is not to say that we should not preach the Gospel to others, on the contrary we should tell everyone the good news, but if we dont convert everyone we should not feel badly. The Spirit moves in us to tell others and even if they are not converted on the spot you never know what may happen down the road. God make take the seed you planted and with tender care and watering the seed may start to grow. A seed was planted within me years before I was saved and I look back at the ones who helped to plant it and I am forever grateful to them. They have given me a gift that I cannot repay.

To quote a popular saying,"Give the gift that keeps on giving."
The world needs a blood transfusion, so give the gift of life through the sharing of the Gospel and the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

When the world seems to be dragging me down I take great comfort in the writings of Paul. Paul was the author of many of the books of the New Testament and his letters to the churches offer much insight into the type of man he was. He was a "Man on Fire" for God and was unwavering in his pursuit of become Christlike and turning others into strong Believers.

Paul had struggles and pains to overcome, writing many times from prison, but the whole time giving praise to God that he was able to suffer for Christ. He was beaten both physically and mentally for his faith and yet he still went on, only to be martyred in his later life for his beliefs.

The degree of his faith makes me ashamed that I even dare call myself a Believer. Often times when faced with adversity I crumble under the pressure, but the important thing is that I pick myself up again and keep on going. In our lives we will continue to face trials and tribulations, and it is important how we react to them, but what is more important is that we do not concede defeat. The world may win some battles, but we need to win the war.

In my reading last night I came across a passage written by Paul to the the church in Corinth and I wanted to share it with you. It shows the love that Paul has through Christ, but it also shows the toughness and character of Paul. In the following verses Paul is describing to the believers in Corinth the hard life the Apostles must face in order to show them how good they have it. We should do well to heed these verses ourselves and be thankful for all we have. On the same note to do what we can to grow stronger and model our lives after the lives of the Apostles.

"Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings - and that without us! (The riches and kingdom Paul is refering to is riches and kings through the saving grace of Christ, not literal riches and kingdoms.) How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men! We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hand. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.
I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have, For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?" (I Cor 4:8-21)

It's amazing how strong Paul is in reprimanding the church. He knew that there was wrong-doing going on within the church at Corinth and he handled it with a iron fist. Just because we are Believers and trying to do God's good work doesnt mean we have to be weak when we do it. Just as Paul said,"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power."
We need to be loving and kind to all but not afraid to be powerful as well. It is the Spirit of God that lives in us and through his Spirit we are made powerful for His name sake, for the strengthening of ourselves and others.

God Bless

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

A couple of days ago I received a visit by two young men. As elders in the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS), they were on their missions work and canvasing the neighborhoods in my area. At the time I knew little to nothing of the beliefs and teachings of the LDS so I offered to read the Book of Mormon and talk with them again in a week.

During my week of reading I did some investigating into the LDS and what I found completely disturbed me. Their teachings and beliefs are akin to Christianity mixed with Freemasonry. Joseph Smith their founder taught in some of his other writings that God was merely a man on another realm who acieved Godhood and furthermore teaches that we likewise can become Gods. He goes even further to state that there are more Gods than he could even begin to count.

Well, the Bible and my faith tells me that there is only ONE God and there will only BE ONE God. To say that we can become Gods is blasphemous and an insult to our creator.

The most disturbing thing about the LDS is the conviction and the faith of its members. They truly believe that their religion is absolutely correct and if you do not adopt their beliefs and masonic based rituals you will be damned to Hell for eternity.

At the age of 19 these young men are sent out into all the world as part of the LDS missions. As a result of these missions their church is rapidly growing with over a million believers world-wide. The alarming rate at which this false doctrine is growing is staggering. As christians we should be doing our part to counteract this religion. Although they claim to be the true faith and Jesus is their Lord and Saviour, they are poisioning the truth. I encourage everyone to study up on the LDS and to prepare yourselves, and if a Mormon comes to your house be prepared to do what you can to educate them on the truth and help them to escape the false religion in which they have poured out their faith. Many Mormons have been raised into the LDS by their parents, grandparents and other elders in their families. Just as many of us were raised into the beliefs of our parents. Since many of them have not heard the truth I believe that we as Christians need to help to educate them. If you turn them away you never know if you could have saved them or not. We should be educating all those around us on a daily basis about the truth and Mormons are no different, if anything they need our help more.

I see the ever growing numbers of Mormons as a sign of the End. I do not want to discuss my beliefs concerning the End Times as many others do, because I do not want to sound like Chicken Little running around yelling "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!", but I do want to write what the Bible tells us concerning false prophets and false teachers and let you decide for yourselves.

"But there were false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the soverign Lord, who bought them - bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Thier condemnation has long been hanging over them, their destruction has not been sleeping." (II Peter 2:1-3)

"Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish." (II Peter 2:10-12)

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Through the years and even recently I have found that anger is a tough thing to control. Of all the human emotions love and anger are probably the toughest emotions to control. Anger seems to well up at inopportune moments and it takes a great deal of self control to keep from blowing up. Someone cuts you off in traffic, a teller at the supermarket was rude to you, or any number of things we encounter in our daily lives. Not only is it important how we handle these things for our own spiritual growth but also how we handle them in front of others. As Christians the world constantly has us under a microscope and it is important that we walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

The question is; how can we get our anger under control?
Jesus told us that he would send us a comforter (The Holy Spirit) to guide us in our ways. The Holy Spirit helps us in our daily lives to overcome the obstacles of the world which Satan places in our path. When we let go and let the Spirit lead us we find that the obstacles that used to look like mountains placed before us, are no more than mere pebbles which we can step over. It takes time, prayer and patience. Even Paul struggled with sin in his life, and declared himself at one point a "wretched man".

"When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:21-25)

Praise God for giving us the strength to overcome the ways of the world and giving his only son Jesus to take away our sins.

So we see that we are not alone. When we come face to face in our daily lives with evil and the anger begins to well up we have the grace of God to get us through.

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you." (James 1:19-21)

His word is our armor and our defense in an age of ungodliness and a world that has given itself over to evil. Hold strong to the word of God and He will bring you through the snares of the world.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Our life is unmanageable without God in it. We cannot possibly begin to understand or to live the way that He has planned for us. Only when we turn our lives completely over to Him can we begin to see the wonderful things that He is doing in our lives.

Sin has separated us from God and our soul longs to be reunited with Him. This is often misunderstood and many live out there entire lives without ever finding the truth. They jump from one thing to another trying to find justification and meaning in a life that has none without Him. There is nothing in the world that can ever replace God and when we try to do so we fail. We subsequently move on to the next thing hoping we will find our meaning in life.

Worldly things will never fill the emptiness we feel inside. We cannot replace the sadness with money, entertainment, objects or lusts of the flesh. These simply give us brief moments of happiness and when they have lost their appeal we eagerly seek our next fix.

God wants nothing more than to love us, and for us to love Him. He wants us to place all of our trust and hope in Him and He will give us that which we most need and desire, a life of happiness and meaning. The world can never fill the void that we feel in our lives. God is the source of our love and happiness. He will provide for us in all of our needs, spiritually and physically.

The biggest pitfall of Christians is not seeing the work of God in their lives immediately. God works according to His own calendar and we cannot hold him to ours. Everything is according to His time. This is something that is very difficult to understand, but if we endure to the end and allow things to be done in His time then we find not only are our prayers answered but they are often greater than what we expected. He gives us what we need and this often doesn’t coincide with what we want. Father knows best.

“For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us.” (Romans 3:25)

Through faith in Jesus Christ we are given the promise of everlasting life. Through his blood we are forgiven of our sins. Washed away are our transgressions and we are born into a new life, a life of happiness with God. Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice that we may know God and not be separated from him by our sin.

What a wonderful life we have when we trust in Jesus and know the Father, but He tells us that this will not be an easy life all the time. We will be persecuted for our faith in Him and we will constantly be under attack from Satan and the lusts of our flesh.

“But those who endure to the end will be saved.”

(Matthew 24:13)

To experience the wonderful glory and everlasting life that God offers we simply have to trust in Jesus.

“Each of you must turn form your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

The very moment we turn our lives over to God and trust in His son Jesus Christ our lives will never be the same. Once Jesus comes into our heart we are a new creation, the lives that we used to live are now gone, our sins have been washed away and we are forgiven. The Holy Spirit has become our guide, our new super-conscience.

The Spirit convicts us and leads us in the ways of the Lord. When we do something that is not in accordance with God, the Spirit places a heavy burden on our heart so that we may know what we are doing is wrong. We have a new heightened awareness of what right and wrong is. We have a comforter who lives in our heart and keeps us in tune with our Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32)

The teachings of Christ are many and I cannot hope to get into all of them in this one post, but I do wish to cover one topic today and that is what Jesus said about the greatest commandments of all.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Wow, that is a powerful statement. To say that all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. At first glance these commandments seem very easy, but if you have ever tried to love someone who has wronged you then you know these are not as easy as they sound.
I hear the expression 'Hate the sin not the sinner,' all the time, but I don't agree with that. As humans with human minds it is often difficult for us to separate the two. We see people according to what they do. If this guy killed someone and went to prison, he is a murderer. It doesn't matter that he may have come to know God through Jesus Christ while he was in there, the second we know what he did he is automatically labeled a murderer. We must push away from our prejudices and learn to truly love one another for just being a wonderful creation of God. Everyone may not return your love and kindness but its just as Jesus says;
"But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6:35-36)

Here Jesus tells us how we should treat our enemies. He didn't say it would be easy, only that it is what we must do.

Only when we come to fully understand the first commandment and put it into practice can we hope to develop a heart that is open enough to love our neighbor.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the commandment that we must strive for. When I was first saved I thought that 'Love the Lord,' was no problem, I can do that, I already love Him. But, did I truly love Him? No. I fell back into my old ways within a few months of being saved and I backslid so far it took me 2 years to come back to Him. Learning to love God and give Him your entire heart, soul and mind takes some time and dedication. Giving your heart to Him doesn't mean that you truly love Him, truly loving Him means giving Him everything you have not just your heart. There is a big difference from what I call "Spiritual Puppy Love" and true love. Spiritual Puppy Love is the people you see that are just saved and they are so full of joy and happiness and they love God one minute and the next thing you know they have fallen back into their old ways without even blinking an eye.

Loving God is a learning process for all of us. I try to give praise to God every second of the day and I try to put Him first in everything I do, but there are those moments when I get upset and in the midst of my anger I push God out of my mind. I have finally reached the point in my walk with Christ where I can control my anger a little better and turn my mind back towards Him, but it still takes a little effort. Our human minds like to hold onto anger, we like to dwell on it, but if you do this long enough it will eventually eat a hole right through you. Not a visible hole but a spiritual hole.

Have you ever met someone who is just angry all the time? Doesn't matter what is going on, they could be at the park on a beautiful spring day with the person they love and they are still griping about something. Unfortunately this describes the majority of the world. They have forgotten how to love somewhere along the lines, they have a hole in their heart that has been eaten away by some event in their past. It isn't until they can learn to love again that the hole will be filled and the anger will be replaced. Lucky for us, for them and for the whole world we have the best teacher there is on the subject of love; Jesus Christ.

The word love is mentioned over 200 times in the new testament. Jesus' ministry was established on the foundation of love. As disciples we are to seek to become Christ like. This brings me back to the second commandment: "Love your neighbor..."

"As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
(John 13:34-35)

Jesus showed us the way to love by being an example for us to follow. As believers we need to be there for one another and willing to do what we can to help.
It is also important that our love for one another is evident to the rest of the world. As Believers we are under the watchful eye of the world and open for scrutiny. Non-believers watch us very careful, just waiting for us to slip up, so we must be careful in all that we do.

God Bless

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Christ came to make disciples to himself. He wants us to follow him and strive to become like him. He does not want our religions with our hollow prayers and half-hearted rituals. He wants you entirely and completely as a living sacrifice to him.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)

I look at many churches today and see how they are lukewarm. Jesus tells us in Revelations 3:15-16, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

If Jesus came today, how many churches and Christians would he find that are lukewarm? I think that fits about 80% of the Christian world. Of course this is my guesstimation and probably wouldn't hold up to real statistics, but I am not here to talk about statistics. You know what they say,"70% of all statistics are wrong." :o)

Jesus, loves us and he died for us and with the knowledge of this Truth we cannot live our lives as we so wish. We can no longer go about our day, only bowing our heads at the supper table, the bedside at night or Sundays and holidays to acknowledge him and give praise and thanks to him. Our days should be filled with praise and honor, our minds always focused on him. If our minds are not on him then they are on things of this world.

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other."
(Matthew 6:24)
Which one do you serve God or the world?

I want to be able to say that I lived a life holy to him, that I used every opportunity to bring praise and glory to his name. That I sought to bring as many as I could to know him through his son and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
If you are hit by a bus today and have to stand before God, what will you say to him when he asks you, "What did you do with the life that I gave you?"

"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.
After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'
His master replied, well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!
The man with two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'
His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many. Come and share in your master's happiness!
Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' " (Matthew 25:14-30)

Jesus tells us the parable of the wicked servant to describe to us how important it is for us to use that which God has entrusted to us. He has entrusted to us our lives. This life you are living does not belong to you, it is a loan from God. He created you so that you might have a loving relationship with Him. What are you doing with the talent(life) that God has given you? Are you burying it and doing nothing with it or are you using it to profit the Lord?

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33)

God knows our very needs, more so than we do. We think we know what our needs in life are and this is when problems begin to arise in our lives. Our lives become unmanageable; days seem to get worse and worse until we find ourselves in a hole that is so deep we can barely see the top in order to climb out.

Take everything to God and give it to him. Seek Him in all that you do and He will never lead you astray.

"I will never leave you, nor forsake you." (Joshua 1:5)

Take comfort in these words and know that if you follow him with all your heart and all your soul He will always you lead you down the path of righteousness.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)