Sunday, December 18, 2011

God’s will toward men!

This week we will be celebrating Christmas, while we all remember Luke's account of the birth of the Messiah I have found a different word picture from this account.

Luke 2: 8-14
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
       14 “ Glory to God in the highest,
      And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

You see in the last line of the above passage we see that this new babe that was born would bring peace on earth and good will toward man. The babe that was born was the Messiah, Emmanuel; God with us.
In reading this passage today it occurred to me it was not only goodwill toward men but was God's will toward men. God sent down his son to live among us to make atonement for the sins of the world. Our pastor pointed out today that this would be the first time since the fall in the garden that we would truly have peace on earth, not among men, but between man and God.
Christ was sent to make final atonement for our sins so we would not have to make a sacrifice every year to have our sins covered but would have them forever wiped away by this baby that was born in Bethlehem.

That is why the Christmas season is so special!

Have a blessed week!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

When we give who does it benefit more, the person who is receiving, or the one who is giving?

Isaiah 9:2
The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.

Last week we talked about what we are celebrating and what Christmas means to us. This week we are continuing with our month long celebration of the birth of our Lord. As I was researching the writing for this week, I thought about the saying "it is better to give than to receive". I had always thought it was one of those sayings that everyone thought was in the bible, but was just an old truth passed from generation to generation when in fact it is in the bible, although I can't find where it was prior to this appearance, it is in the book of Acts.

Acts 20:35
I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

If we think about this we have all said it but not really thought about what the saying means although it seems so self explanatory. If we think of a gift that we have given or have been given throughout our lifetime, what emotions come to mind?

I find myself looking at this through my Dad's eyes. Growing up he had a rough life he was raised just after the depression and didn't always get things, not just toys or things he wanted, he didn't always have shoes, food, or adequate clothes to wear. Now hearing that you would think I was going to talk about how he was a miser and always kept his money close, as that is often what happens when people grow up with nothing. That is not it at all. I was spoiled beyond spoiling, Dad always spent everything on his kids. I never really thought about it until I started writing this week and looked at it from a different way. I apologize now and will understand if you can't read the whole thing but I can't really get the point I am trying to make across without sharing a Christmas story from my past.

When I was eight years old my Dad and his friends Clark Nash and Rule Goodman went quail hunting every available minute they had and I wanted to go as well. I only had a .22 caliber rifle, which made bird hunting impossible. All that year we looked at shotguns and I just knew I was getting a .410 for Christmas. December rolled around, our tree went up, and there was a nice forty inch by ten inch box under the tree, I knew it was my gun. I had other presents but never even noticed them as I was focused on my gun.
Christmas morning came and of course I dove for my box with my gun in it. To my surprise, or I should say disappointment, there was not a gun in the box but instead it was filled with Avon bottles. You see the other gifts that I hadn't noticed were all pieces to a shotgun each wrapped individually. My Dad truly enjoyed giving more than receiving but with a little surprising twist to make things interesting. Looking back on things I would have bet my face wasn't big enough to hold my smile and I know my Dad's smile was even bigger.

Take the time to think about this story and who was the one who truly received the gift, was it the son; or the father that gave?

You see my Dad gave without condition to bring enjoyment to his son, our Heavenly Father gave without condition to give the world salvation and grace; through His Son.

Have a blessed week,

Monday, December 5, 2011

Your true meaning of Christmas

Last week we posed the question what is Christmas?

The next two weeks we will explore through God's word, what Christmas means to all of us.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Christ came not only as our Savior to redeem us and save us from eternal damnation, he came to give us life free from all of the chains of sin that each of us were born into. That is the reason that the wise men, the shepherds, the Jewish people, and even king Herod, were so interested to hear of his coming.

Matthew 2 :1-4
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

The Jewish people were told throughout the bible of a Messiah that would come to deliver them from oppression and bondage. This is the reason the wise men and shepherds were so jubilant when they saw the star and were told by the angels what it was to lead them to. On the other hand it is also why King Herod was so concerned as he knew that the Messiah would free man from the darkness of the present world and that a truly free people could never be ruled as he had ruled them in the past.

I see Christmas as a day of celebration not only as it is the birth of our Savior, but I see it like a day a hostage or prisoner would remember and celebrate as their day of release. The next few weeks I will share more scripture recounting the birth of our Lord. Feel free to share what Christmas means to you.

Have a blessed week,

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Respect and Honor

This past week while at my son's Cub-scout pack meeting, I was hit square in the face with the realization that honor and respect have become a thing of the past. The pack leader was working so diligently to get the kids quiet for the Bear Cub achievement awards ceremony, but there were several kids who could care less what he had to say. The disheartening part was their parents were too busy texting away on their smart phones to make them pay attention.

Then when I got home I turned on the news and saw images of the occupy protesters. I will not give a political opinion as that is not what this ministry is all about. It is about honoring God first, our parents, our elders, our country, and then as is stated in the Bible, authority. I believe right, wrong or indifferent we should honor one another no matter what side of the issue we find ourselves on. We can disagree but at the end of the day we should respect and love the other person enough to treat them as brothers and sisters.

I believe that it all starts with honoring God and keeping his Word. If we as a nation would get back to the truths that are in the Bible, all of the strife we are feeling would cease. Paul speaking to the Christians in Rome told them to show respect and honor to the authorities. I wasn't living then but I am pretty certain that living in Roman times would have been a little tougher than what we are witnessing today, yet they were still instructed to pay their taxes, customs, and to honor the governing authorities. Today many have been brought up believing that if we disagree then we not only shouldn't show respect and honor, but that it is almost our right to show disrespect. That is not what I find when I read the following passages.

Next week we will finish Romans 13 as the rest of this chapter truly guides us on how we should treat one another.

Have a blessed week,

Romans 13:1-7
1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.  5Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

1 Peter 2:13-17
13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What is Faith?

Hebrews 11:1-3
     Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Faith is not just believing in something but knowing that what you believe will happen. Jesus said " if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you".
It is through our beliefs and knowing that what we ask and command in Jesus name, that we truly experience the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Some people think that things happen for others because they have a stronger faith when in fact when we accept the Holy Spirit in our lives we were all given the same measure of Faith and we were given every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. What we believe to be true affects the things in our lives. If we accept what the world tells us we are putting limits on God's blessings.

Romans 4:19-25
 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
  Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

Over the past few weeks I have been lead to a deeper study of faith and not only the belief in God's Word but knowing beyond any doubt that God does what he says in his Word. In the passage above Abraham was told he would be the father of many nations even though he was in his old age. Through his faith he believed what God told him. In the passage above it states " Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was IMPUTED to him, but also for us." Being heirs of this promise we are able to not only have hope in God's Word but we can know that what is said in scripture will come to pass.

This week take some time to get alone in a quiet place and meditate on God's word and allow him to speak to you. In our quiet times we are able to have our beliefs strengthened through the power of the Holy Spirit living within us. By doing this we stop limiting what God can accomplish in our lives.

Have a blessed week,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In this world but not of this world

Hello Everyone,

I know many people think when they accept Christ that all of their problems go away, nothing can be further from the truth. It actually gets harder because we live in a fallen world where lies and deceit are more common than truth and integrity. In the book of John Jesus tells us we are not of this world but merely living in it and also warns us that we will be persecuted, but he also tells us not to worry or have fear as he will send the Helper or the Spirit of Truth that proceeds from the Father to comfort and care for us.

John 15:18-21
 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

That does not mean we can't live a full abundant life while we are in this world, Jesus said "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." We must turn from the ways of the world and turn to Christ.

How many of you watch football and wonder why there is instant replay? Ever notice how the players rush to the line when they know they didn't make the play. People do the same thing at retail stores when they return things they know they have used. We have instant replay and return policies at our stores because the way of the world is lies and deceit. These are the things our children are getting taught everyday. We must meditate on His Word and put our trust in God and tell Satan the King of lies that he has no place in our lives.

When you think about it we could eliminate many of the worlds problems by following the simple truths written in the book of John. I have included a few passages from this book but would encourage everyone to read through and meditate on Jesus' teachings.

Have a blessed week and share the Gospel of Christ with someone,

John 15:9-13
 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Do not be ashamed!

Hello Everyone,

Over the last few weeks I have talked about some topics that are very relevant today, deception, fear, anxiety, doubt, and the answers to those words, Faith, Hope, and Love.
We are being fed a constant diet of doubt, fear, and deception by many people that are doing it unknowingly and actually think they are doing us a favor by the things they are telling us. Jesus warned us that these things would take place, but he also told us not to fear.

1 John: 1-6
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

I believe that deep in the heart of everyone is a place where the Holy Spirit resides. Unfortunately for many of them they have not given the short simple invitation. They have not said " Jesus I believe you are my Savior and came to earth to live among us, was crucified for the sins of the world, then rose the third day to prove to the world that you are Christ. I ask you to come into my heart and reside in the place that was made just for you."

Romans 10:10-13
10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

Today is a day we must remember and not be ashamed of who we are or where we live. We must proclaim to the world we are Americans and we are Christians.
Pray for our country and for those that have paid the price for us to have the right to make this proclamation.

Have a blessed week,

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fear and Anxiety

Hello Everyone,

The past few weeks we have talked about Hope and what it means to have faith in God doing what he says. This week with the 10th anniversary of 9/11 happening on Sunday I thought it would be appropriate to tackle the topics of Fear and Anxiety and how Hope and faith in God will conquer ALL fears and anxieties.

Ten years ago 20 men were able to change the lives of everyone who travels or gets together in large groups or for that matter, everyone living on the face of the earth. All of this was made possible by their actions and the fear and anxiety brought on by the possibility of it happening again. Jesus warned us that the thief/Satan was sent to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I believe we have allowed him to do just that. We have allowed it by not relying on the author of truth, God our true protector to take away our fears.

If you fly you know the changes that have been made, if you take out a loan you know the additional paperwork that has been made, if you go to sporting events you have felt the change that these actions have brought on our society.

The thief has come and has stolen, he has killed, and he has destroyed. Just like when he made his first appearance in the garden he has stolen our innocence, our peace, and our joy. The difference between now and when he appeared in the garden is Christ.

John 10:9,10
9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

We have been redeemed and have a protector from Satan. Jesus Christ is our redeemer, our savior and our deliverer from the evils of this world.
Each day this week I will send out another scripture that will give you a foundation to stand on. Remember to call on Christ when fear and anxiety start to take over.

Have a blessed week,

Deuteronomy 20:3,4
3 And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; 4 for the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’

Psalm 46
1 God is our refuge and strength,
         A very present help in trouble.
 2 Therefore we will not fear,
         Even though the earth be removed,
         And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
         Though the mountains shake with its swelling.  Selah 
 4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
         The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
 5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
         God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
 6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
         He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
 7 The LORD of hosts is with us;
         The God of Jacob is our refuge.  Selah 
 8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
         Who has made desolations in the earth.
 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
         He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
         He burns the chariot in the fire.
 10 Be still, and know that I am God;
         I will be exalted among the nations,
         I will be exalted in the earth!
11 The LORD of hosts is with us;
         The God of Jacob is our refuge.  Selah 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hype versus Hope!

Hello Everyone,

This past week the people on the east coast were bracing for one of the worst disasters they have seen on over ten years. The weather forecasters and government officials were looking at the computer models and preparing everyone for the destruction that was on its way. Now that it was not as bad as was predicted many people are crying fool and claiming that it was all hype and that it was never going to be as bad as predicted. It is sad to see people upset because thousands didn't die and the destruction was less than had been predicted.
I can only imagine and guess at how many prayers were said over the days leading up to the hurricane. I know at our church prayers were said for the people in the path of the storm and would assume that the same thing was done all across the country.

When it comes to hype versus Hope, Hope and prayer will always prevail!

Have a blessed week,

Matthew 18: 19-21
19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Psalm 107:28-30
8 Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble,
         And He brings them out of their distresses.
 29 He calms the storm,
         So that its waves are still.
 30 Then they are glad because they are quiet;
         So He guides them to their desired haven.

Mark 4:38-40
38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

Saturday, August 20, 2011

There is Hope in the Lord!

Hello Everyone,
Over the last few weeks people in America and across the world have been led to believe that there is no hope. If you listen to one news program they tell you one side is wrong and the other program tells you the other side is wrong. In actuality they are both correct there is no hope if you put your trust in man. I say do not worry or fret because we were told it would be this way. Put your trust in God and do not worry as he is our provider, our protector and our redeemer. Also do not get caught up in the bickering over this, that, or the other as we are ALL children of God no matter what our opinions may be.
Matthew 24:5-7
5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
Philippians 2: 14,15
14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
Ephesians 6:11-13
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Philippians 4:8,9
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

I have an exercise for everyone this week. If you want to see what the weather is going to be like check the weather channel, if you want sports news check the newspaper, if you need to know traffic conditions they are given on the top of the hour on all radio stations. This week remove anything negative from your lives. Don't check the market, don't watch FOXNEWS, MSNBC, OR CNN. Rely on the Word of God for guidance. Pass this on to everyone who you know would not be offended as we want this to be a positive change and change can only happen when we embrace it. Next week let's see how our worlds have changed.

Have a blessed week,

Monday, August 15, 2011

What is Hope?

Hello Everyone,

Over the last few years the word hope has been used in a presidential election as a slogan" Hope and Change" a few years before that in another presidential election as a place" A man from Hope". During the first Iraq war a general used it as a description"Hope is not a strategy". We use it everyday without thought to what it means. "I hope it doesn't rain" or "I hope the Cards make the playoffs".

Merriam's defines it like this:
1. a feeling that what is wanted is likely to happen; desire accompanied by expectation
2. the things that one has a hope for
3. a reason for hope
4. a person or thing on one may base some hope
5. Archaic, trust reliance
1. to have hope; want and expect
2. to want very much

Paul had a different definition in Romans 5 and Romans 8
Romans 5:1-5
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in HOPE in the glory of God. And not only that, but we but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character, and character, HOPE. Now HOPE does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which was given to us.

Romans 8:24,25
24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

The word hope has become nothing more than an adjective to describe something. We need to get back to where HOPE is a reverent trust in God our provider, comforter, protector, and loving Father.

Have a blessed week,

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Jesus Filter " The true meaning behind the term"

Hello Everyone,

Over the last several weeks we have been on a journey through, creation, sin, the law, sacrifice, and now finally to the end of our journey, but the beginning of life!

This week we celebrate Passover, Good Friday, and Easter or Resurrection Sunday. To celebrate anything you need to understand the meaning behind the celebration.

Passover was celebrated as God's Angel of death "passed over" the Jewish first born when Moses was liberating God's people from Pharaoh. It is where the term blood of the lamb was taken as the Lord commanded the Jewish people to put the blood of a sacrificial lamb over their doors to mark them as God's people. Sometimes in the world and in the church we celebrate without knowing the reason or the cost associated with the celebration.

That brings us to Good Friday. Many people in the world today recognize it as a three day weekend and nothing more. Good Friday to me marks the day God paid the ultimate price just to be close to us. Think about that for a minute; how many of us would think of giving up our material possessions to be with God. Not many in today's society would give up anything they have to be with God. He gave up his son! Not only did he give him up to be with us but sent him down to live as us and suffer for something he didn't do. God being Holy could not go back on his word or judgments without someone paying the price for the sin of the world. Knowing that we could never pay the price ourselves he came and dwelt among us, then on Good Friday paid that price!

Jesus Dies on the Cross

45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” 48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.
49 The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
55 And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, 56 among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

In the above passage the veil being torn represents the doors being opened so all of mankind could have an open relationship with our sovereign and Holy God. Jesus' death on the cross brings an end to the law, and starts the new beginning we all have access to, through Christ. God now sees us through the Jesus Filter and no longer sees our sins when he looks at those who have accepted Christ.

Now giving us that access, he didn't stop there. Knowing that man is sinful by nature, God raised Christ from the dead on Resurrection Sunday. Good Friday is the day we mourn, and also celebrate Christ' death on the cross, but Sunday is the day he came back to live in our hearts.

John 3: 16-17

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son; that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Jesus Filter

Hello Everyone, We are one week away from Resurrection Sunday which means we are only five days away from celebrating Good Friday or the day when our debt was paid. In the past weeks we have been looking at why we were created, our fall, our laws, and our ways of atonement for sin. This week we are going to look at The Holiest of Holies in the Tabernacle and the Levite Priests and what they had to do to cover the sins of the Jewish people and the way God changed all of that. Hebrews 9:1-7 1 Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lamp stand, the table, and the show bread, which is called the sanctuary; 3 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, 4 which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. 6 Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. 7 But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; Genesis 22: 7-8 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together. The Jewish people were shown that they were to pay for their sins against God through an offering, most of the time it was to be a lamb.This had significance as in Genesis Abraham told Isaac that God would provide a lamb for an offering when he was told to go up on the mountain to sacrifice his son Isaac. John 1: 29 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Now see God created us to be in fellowship with him but through our own doing we fell away from God. Through our freewill we chose to sin against God and man by doing things that did not glorify God. Being holy and to his word God could not have fellowship with us without judgement and payment for those consequences. He tried allowing us to pay for our sins but we kept repeating the same sins over and over and over again, generation after generation. The only way for God to have that Father/ Child fellowship with us was to pay for our sins ONCE and for ALL. Matthew 26 : 1-2 1 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, 2 “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” When Christ was put on the cross God no longer saw our sins, he sees our sins through the blood of Christ. At that point total atonement for our sins was paid by someone who did not have to pay the price but loved us so much he chose to pay the price. Next week we will conclude our journey at the top of the glorious mountain of God! Have a blessed week! Billy

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Jesus Filter

Hello Everyone, The road is winding but the scenery and destination are so beautiful I feel it will be worth the trip we are going on. This week we are going to dive into the laws and what they represent to us. Before Moses came down the mountain with the tablets in his hand, man didn't know that he was sinning. God had to find some way to give man a chance to redeem himself of the wrongs he had done. Being a just God he could not convict man without first letting him know what the Law said. The Jewish people have spent many years and generations obeying the laws that Moses brought down from the mountain. Sacrificing, eating only certain foods, following the Law. But still they were not able to speak face to face with God. What would it take to atone for the great sin and be able to be in fellowship with God? He wants a relationship with us or he would not have given us the rules to live by. We can follow the laws and be what we would call perfect but we would still fall short and not be good enough to be in fellowship with God. So what could man do that would be enough? What could man give to buy his salvation? Romans 3:23 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Matthew 19:24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Unfortunately man alone can never do enough, and there is not enough money in the world to buy your salvation. There is only one way to salvation and that is through Christ our Lord. For not by our works will we be saved but through our faith in Christ. Romans 3: 21-26 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Have a blessed week, Billy

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Jesus Filter

Hello Everyone,

We are continuing with the series called The Jesus Filter. As I said last week just stay with me as this is an awesome journey with a wonderful end, but like all journeys you have to travel to get to your destination.

See man never knew that he was naked until he ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Even then he didn't know what was wrong, he just felt different, ashamed and he didn't understand the feeling. Then Cain slain Abel and he too didn't understand what he had done wrong, but he too had a feeling that something was wrong. Mankind went on feeling like something was wrong without really knowing what it was.

God had to find some way to show them what it was that they were doing wrong. He gave us rules to live by and follow so we could get closer to Him. So the chasm that had been created by that day in the garden could be attoned.

Exodus 20: 1-17

1 And God spoke all these words, saying:
2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
8 “ Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
12 “ Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

This week think of this passage and what The Ten Commandments meant to the people of Israel.

We are headed to a wonderful ending but as I said we must travel through some unexplained territory and some bumps in the road to reach our destination.

Have a blessed week,


Monday, March 28, 2011

The Jesus Filter

Hello Everyone,

We are continuing with the series The Jesus Filter. It will be a little bit of a journey but trust me we will get to the point where The term Jesus Filter will have more meaning.

Last week we looked at why we were created this week we will dive into just exactly where things changed, in the garden.

Genesis 3:1-7
1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

Adam and Eve were in paradise but could not fight the temptation to do things on their own apart from God. Today we are born into doing the same thing because of what was done in the very beginning. We go through our lives thinking that unless we do it on our own we have not accomplished anything. That is not the way we were intended to live our lives. We were intended to live our lives in fellowship with God.

That was all changed with one seemingly harmless piece of fruit. But it wasn't the apple it was the action that changed things.

Some people see it as relying on God to meet our needs, I see it more as including God in our lives and letting Him meet all our needs. He has plans for us beyond anything we can imagine we have to open our hearts and allow him to reveal those plans to us.

This week set aside time, even if it is just fifteen minutes in the morning to be still in a quiet place and listen to what he has to say.

Have a blessed week!


The Jesus Filter

Hello Everyone, Over the next several weeks we will be going on a journey of discovery. Discovering who we are, what we were created for, and discovering our salvation through our faith and the love giving grace of God. The first question: Why were we created ? This is a question that has been posed many times over the years and can only be answered by going to the source; Our Creator. In Genesis 2:26 God says, "Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." I see this as we were made to be in fellowship with God. He made us to be in charge of everything he made. He wouldn't make us in his image and in his likeness and then not have anything to do with us. How many of you have had a difference of opinion with your child and then decided to never talk to them again? It just doesn't happen that way. God made us to be close to him he wants us to call on him the same way we would call and talk to our closest friend. This week don't just pray, open up your heart and have open coversations with God. Let him know your joys, your pains, and even your doubts. He is there for us, he has been since the beginning of creation. Have a blessed week! Billy

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A year ago this past Thursday my Dad passed away from his long fight with cancer.

I bring this up as it along with God's prompting is what led me to start this weekly ministry. I found myself worrying about his salvation and whether he had accepted Christ in his heart. 19 years earlier my Mom had passed away suddenly without the chance to tell her how much I loved her and without us discussing Christ.

Her death is what led me to accept Christ as my Savior. I can't say at that point that I understood what being saved meant. I stumbled many times since then but seeing my Dad, the man that I looked up to and thought could whip anything in such a vulnerable state made me realize we can't do things on our own. We were never meant to we were meant to give it all to God.

Over the last year with the guidance of our pastors and the leading of Christ I know the true meaning of being saved. I know that as followers of Christ we have already won the battle over death our bodies may be beaten and broken but we are alive in Christ.

1 Corinthians 15: 50-58
50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed
52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
55"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"
56The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
57But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Have a blessed week,


Monday, March 7, 2011

Seek God in all things

Hello Everyone,

Over the last several weeks we have been looking at how life throws us the proverbial curveball. Whether be on our own accord or by something that nature or someone else has done. I have often thought and heard the questions why? Why does God permit these things to happen? Why does God allow evil in the world?

Saturday morning while driving into work I was praying/ arguing/ asking for things from God when it came to me. We always ask the questions that you see above when it is not God causing these problems.

God gave us freewill to choose what paths we will take, we are the ones who choose to go it alone without seeking him first. Bad things happen because we choose to live our lives without God and his love.

Adam and Eve lived in paradise but chose to do the one thing God told them not to do. All the trees in the garden but they chose to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We do the same thing with our lives. We chase after earthly things and make decisions without involving God in our plans.

Seek his counsel and pray about everything.

Have a blessed week!


Philippians 4:6,7

6 Fret not about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.

7and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:33

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Seek First The Kingdom Of God!

Hello Everyone,

Over the last week I have added extra travel time to my driving schedule, kids activities, and busyness both at home and work. During that time, for the first time since I started writing this email, I missed getting a devotional written for the week. I was down on myself for letting this happen but through it found the message God was guiding me towards.

Matthew 6:32-34
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

In society we are all so busy we chase after everything under the sun and only give God our extra time!

Do you think we could get by with that at our jobs or with our families? Then what makes us think that God only deserves the leftovers?

I have had a chance to truly think about it this week as I was feeling guilty about not getting out my writing. That is when this passage was brought to light. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Think about that. He didn't say do everything you need to then when you are done seek Me. He said SEEK FIRST!!!

We serve an awesome God who deserves to come first in our lives. Wouldn't you agree?

This week I am making a pledge with God to give him my first fruits, the first moments of the morning. I will get up early while everyone is still in bed and the house is quiet and just listen to what he has to say.

Try it and let me know how your week turns out.

Have a blessed week!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Our Undercover Boss Jesus Christ

Hello Everyone,

One of my favorite new shows is Undercover Boss. It is a show where the CEO of the company disguises him or herself and takes on the lowliest of jobs in the company. I found it interesting the similarities between what the bosses are doing and what our Boss did. God came to earth as man to suffer the same hardships and trials that we go through and to pay the ultimate price for the things we did.

This past week our pastor was teaching on Christ's final moments on earth. If you have studied the New Testament you know that Jesus' last days were spent teaching his disciples how to live as he did.

In Christ's final hours while preparing to eat the Passover feast, he did something that was more than symbolic. It was one of the greatest things he could have taught. He taught us in this passage not to think of ourselves in to high accord, never put ourselves above any one else. If Christ himself would do the lowliest of jobs what makes us think any of us are above doing the same. To be true leaders we must first be willing to do what we expect of others.

Have a blessed week!


John 13:1-17
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”
7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”
8 Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”
9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”
10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”
12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hello Everyone,

Have you watched the nightly news lately?

If you have you may have noticed that there is a serious lack of people caring for one another and showing true love. The biggest story from the Super Bowl wasn't about the game or the commercials it was about Christina Aguilera making a mistake and getting caught up in all the excitement of the game and botching the National Anthem. I am as patriotic as they come but being a musician I know that if I were judged for the mistakes I made in my musical career and not the actual right notes or words that I played no one would know about the gift God has given me.

The truly sad thing about it all is during the Anthem the only shots they continue to show on the news are of the people who noticed the mistake and not the Pittsburgh player who while watching showed what it meant to him. I am not sure if anyone else noticed as no one in the media has mentioned it, but one of the players when shown on camera had a tear well up in his eyes and roll down the side of his face. Here is probably one of the toughest people in America who had worked his whole life for this moment and showed true emotion, something that the world has lost sight of.

Last year after Jamie McMurray won the Daytona 500 the biggest story was that he cried, not the reason he cried or what it showed our young men who were watching, no just that he was a man and cried.

I hate what it has taught our children. Even though I can't recall ever saying anything wrong to my son about crying, while watching Where the Red Fern Grows he kept saying the air was blowing in his eyes.

It is ok to show emotion, it is ok to mess up, it is ok to not be perfect. As we are all children of the most high God and are loved for what we do right or wrong.

Have a blessed week!


John 13:34-35

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Luke 6:37

37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

1 Peter 3:8

8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A revival of Faith

Hello Everyone,

You have a health scare, you get bad news at work, or a member of your family is hurt. Have you noticed how a bad situation makes you think about the things that matter most in your life. When we experience bad things we naturally are drawn closer to our faith and our family. Over the past year I have realized how God allows adversity and forms of persecution in our lives to open our eyes, minds and hearts. I hate to quote one of our President's advisors when he said "don't let a good crisis go to waste" but it does ring true when we face adversity we must use those times as times to get closer to the One who is truly in control.

When we are faced with bad things in our lives we should live as Job and seek God's love, wisdom and promises. He has promised throughout the Bible that he would never leave us nor forsake us.

1 Kings 8: 56-58

56 “Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. 57 May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us nor forsake us. 58 May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands, decrees and laws he gave our ancestors.

I have read the book of Job several times and each time I read throughtthe first chapter I am struck by the very last verse. In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. He had just lost all of his wealth, his flocks, and his family but still he praised God.

Adversity in our lives can be a revival of Faith.

Have a blessed week!


Job 1: 18-20

18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised.”

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.