Monday, January 30, 2012

Forewarned is Forearmed

James 1:13-15 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

There is a natural progression to sin and death. James saw this and he warned us about it. The question is, "What shall we do?" James also tells us not to blame God, He is not responsible for our faults or bad judgement. In fact, nothing but good can come from God. So where does this all come from?

Paul gives us a clue in Romans when he laments that there is a battle inside of him between the 'old man' before Christ came to abide with His Holy Spirit and between the 'new man'; the time after his conversion to Christianity. This is where the problem lies. Again, the question remains, "What shall we do?".

Fortunately God does provide an out for all of us. Paul states in Ephesians 6:10-20:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Let no one say that bad things come from the Lord and let no one say they were not warned about the consequences of bad choices and sin. Above all, let no one say that the Lord abandoned them and left them with no instruction or tools with which to avoid such behavior.

Dig deep within yourself and within God's word. You will find the answer. Always He is with us. Always he is just a prayer away. He always will be there waiting...waiting...with open arms.

Blessings all!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Not as Orphans

Not as Orphans

Text: John 14:16-20
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 

One of my favorite chapters is John 14 where Jesus is comforting His disciples before His death on the cross.   He was giving them valuable information, which  at the time, I doubt that they understood until much later on.  However we, having the benefit of hindsight, can look at this and realize what a gift Jesus was giving.

But I wonder if we really, truly understand what Jesus was saying to his disciples and by extension, to us today?

1) I will ask the Father
Jesus himself will be interceding for us. This is not something we initiate. This is something God does for us.  Just like our physical lives, our spiritual life is also in god's hands and in His control.  This is how it should be. Your own experiences tell you this is right.  What has happened to your life each and every time you have tried to control it?  If you are like me, you've made a mess of things.  it is only when I have yielded my life over to God that things started taking a turn for the better.  Do not be too hasty to be captain of your own ship. Running upon rocks is far to easy to do.

2) he (The Father) will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.
 This gift that Jesus will ask the Father for will be a) An advocate.  One who will defend us. A barrister who will be with us whenever we are accused of something. He will defend us. His sole purpose it to b) help us when we cannot help ourselves. This defense will not cost us a dime.  It is given freely by the Father because Jesus has asked for it. And importantly, c) (He will) be with you forever!  This is a big deal! Not only do we have an advocate and helper free of charge, but He will be with us forever...not just until we die...God transcends is forever.  I take Jesus at His word.  The Spirit of Truth will be with us...forever. We know this advocate as the Holy Spirit.

3) This gift is not for the world.  It is for people who believe in Jesus.  
 Jesus was talking to his disciples whom he had chosen and who believed in his message. These were people who had an intimate relationship with him and whom he had given a mission to spread the Good News and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

 4) Because I live, you also will live.
 Jesus was talking about his death, burial and resurrection. Because He will live after His death, we will also live! Death has no hold over Jesus and neither will it conquer us. Because Jesus will live on, we will also live on. We are not certain how this will be, nor are we certain when this will be, but we can be certain that it WILL BE. I trust in Jesus.  He has never lied. He is capable of bringing to pass, whatever promise He makes.

We who believe in Him today are included in this promise. We all have an intimate relationship with Jesus; we all are given the the Holy Spirit as a seal of our relationship and redemption; we are all given a mission of spreading the Good News of Jesus to all the world. 

On that day, the day of our redemption, we  realized that Jesus was in the Father and we are in Jesus and he is in us.  In other words, all of us...God the Father, Jesus, the Hold Spirit and us...are related..forever...and ever...Amen!

I would strongly suggest you ponder these words that Jesus has left us. It is truly amazing information which will help you understand the unique relationship that you and I have with the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen?

Blessings All!

Monday, January 2, 2012



Yesterday in church, the Pastor during the prayer time, opened the floor up to anyone who wanted to say what they were thankful for in 2011.  Very appropriate, although my first thought was, "Where do I begin?". Although I did not get up and speak, I guess because I was so overwhelmed at the thought, it did spur me to write this and share with you some of the things I was thankful for this past year.  I am hopping that it will also nudge you into thinking about the same.  It is always good to reflect!

I am thankful for my family. My dear wife, who by the way, has decided to stay with me at least one more year. This will be year 37. She has trouble making up her mind. :-) But besides my wife, I have 3 wonderful sons, 2 of them are married to wonderful women who have made them better people.  My youngest son is now in a relationship which I pray will lead to marriage as well.  We met his significant other and are thrilled with her!  She really is a a person who makes my son a better man. Seriously. He needs her, even if he can not see it now. This is another thing for me to pray about.

I also have 6 wonderful grandchildren. Each one is a blessing.  I often say that if I knew that having grandchildren was so fun, I would have skipped having children and would have gone straight to the grand-kids part. Others have pointed out my folly on this, but I still maintain the concept.

I am thankful for my brother.  I have written about him in the past.  He continues to be an inspiration to me. I appreciate his love for the LORD.

I am thankful for my church family...and it is a family.  We share each others struggles and pains, but we also rejoice when one of us is lifted up and blessed.  It is such an important and meaningful part of my life, I simply cannot put is aside.  I pray that each one reading this would have the kind of church family that I have. Just a blessing!

I continue to be amazed at how the LORD works. Not only in my life, but in those around me as well.  I am doubly astounded when He works with me.  I would probably have given up long ago. But He continues to inspire me and works with me so that I can become the kind of man He wants me to be.  I am forever grateful about that!  I hope you are too as He works with you.

I could go on and on and on and...well, you get my point.  We must all stop sometimes and just count our blessings, don't we?  It is so easy to get caught up in the negative things of life. So easy to become bitter and doubtful, we must always encourage one another to see the good that God has done.

Make no mistake, these blessings are not my own. I have not earned them. They have been given to me to share. So dear friends, why don't you take some time and write your own blessings down and share them as well.  I find when I am feeling down, or when things are not going my way, just pulling them out and reflecting on them is a great way to put everything back into perspective...everything back on the right track.

Try it out and see if is will work for you too.  I am confident that it will because God is Good! Happy reflections.

Blessings all!