Sunday, September 28, 2014

Religion: Product of God, or tool of satan? Part 4

Over the past few weeks we have researched different scripture about religion, and the traditions, and rituals that man has put into place. While reading I found the following passage that, to me, sums it all up.

Zechariah 7:3-8
 They were to ask this question of the prophets and the priests at the Temple of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: “Should we continue to mourn and fast each summer on the anniversary of the Temple’s destruction, as we have done for so many years?”
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me this message in reply: “Say to all your people and your priests, ‘During these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting? And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves? Isn’t this the same message the Lord proclaimed through the prophets in years past when Jerusalem and the towns of Judah were bustling with people, and the Negev and the foothills of Judah were well populated?’”
Then this message came to Zechariah from the Lord: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. 10 Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.

It is not all about observing rituals, festivals, and traditions, but it is all about loving one another. When we truly love one another, foods, drinks, appearances, clothing, rituals, and observances won't get in the way. 

I don't believe we should become chameleons and cater to the cultures and traditions where we reside, but I do however believe we shouldn't let them get in the way of having fellowship with our fellow man. It is our job as Christians to share the good news, not the traditions, rituals, and rules, that push so many away from asking God into their lives.

There is only way to God, through His Son Jesus Christ, and He made it so simple even man, with our dense ways of thinking, can get it right.

So to wrap up this lengthy lesson, and to answer the question, "Religion: Product of God, or tool of satan?" I believe the answer is Religion: Product of man, used by satan, to lead people away from God.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

It's not about who or what we know, but about the One who knows us!

Over the last few weeks my wife and I have entered talent contests, and applied for positions that, when taken at face value, we are not qualified to hold, which is what brought up this topic.

You see if you look at any of us under the world's value system, most positions people hold today would be out of their reach, but when we look at the same positions under God's system, we are all qualified to do His will, through Christ.

You see God doesn't call us according to our worldly abilities, but He works through our spiritual gifts, that He has given us. If we continue to live our lives according to our plans, and the things that we feel we are, or aren't qualified to do, we will miss out on the wonderful plans God has for our lives.

This week while filling out that resume, or preparing for that audition, don't compare yourself to others but look at who God has called you to be.

Exodus 3:10-12
10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”
12 God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.”

1 Corinthians 1:26-29
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Parable of the Sower

Luke 8: 4-15
And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.”When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?”
10 And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the restit is given in parables, that
‘Seeing they may not see,
And hearing they may not understand.’
11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones thatfell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

I have always read this parable and understood it as four different kinds of people. While reading through it recently, I understood it as four very distinct, and different phases, of the same persons life, mainly mine.

In the beginning I was the soil on the wayside, not really caring to hear God's Word, as I couldn't see what was in it for me, besides I was only interested in having a good time.

I was also the stony ground when I did finally take the time to listen, but not having conviction in my faith allowed it to fall away.

I then was the seed among the thorns. I didn't stand up to the weeds, and the cares of the world silenced the Word. The sad part of this phase of life is, it is the final phase of the soil being matured, and is the most difficult phase to be in as the world tries to overpower the born again believer. 

Thankfully God never left me through all those times in my life and worked the soil of my heart to make me the man of God I am today. I am still working on full production to reach the hundredfold, but at least now I am producing.

When you think of the parable this way, it lets you know, that even though you might be in any of the first phases, God is still there working on your heart.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Shake off the dust

Reading through the book of Acts today, I was reminded what Jesus told His disciples to do when they came in to a town or household that didn't receive them.
It got me thinking of how we spread the gospel today. Do we continue to try to reach people that won't or are unwilling to receive what we are teaching, or do we shake the dust from our feet and move on as Jesus disciples, and Paul, Barnabas, and the early church did?
This  is a tough subject to understand, as we are told to go make disciples of all nations, and to spread the gospel, but at what point do we stop preaching the word to someone? 
At what point do we shake the dust from our feet? I wish I had the answer as none of us want to give up on anyone, as God didn't give up on us, but we can only bring the message and be teachers, at some point we have to shake the dust from our feet and put our energy into spreading the word to those that will receive it.
Acts 13: 46-52 NLT
46 Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, “It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles. 47 For the Lord gave us this command when he said,
‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
    to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.’
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers. 49 So the Lord’s message spread throughout that region.
50 Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town. 51 So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection and went to the town of Iconium. 52 And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 10:13-15 NLT
13 If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing. 14 If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. 15 I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day.
Mark 6:10,11 NLT
10 “Wherever you go,” he said, “stay in the same house until you leave town. 11 But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”
Luke 10:10-12 NLT
10 But if a town refuses to welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate. And know this—the Kingdom of God is near!’ 12 I assure you, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a town on judgment day.

Monday, June 30, 2014

What is the meaning of life?

Rather odd question to pose don't you think, but out of the hundred or so people that this email goes out to, and the several hundred that will read it on the blog or Facebook, most will have a different answer.

This is probably one of the most difficult writings I have written to date. I am sure I know the answer for myself, but am unsure how to help others find theirs, if one can be shown by a fellow man. Hopefully this will peak some interest and get you searching on your own.

You see some will find meaning in their possessions. Others will find it in their accomplishments. Sadly enough many will not have an answer at all. Even more sad are those that don't care to seek the meaning, but are content to live whatever life they are told they should live.

The more I read and re-read scripture, the more I find that the little things of the world, such as pleasing everyone, and making sure I am accepted by man, have little or no meaning to me. I am strengthened by the inner peace of knowing God is pleased with me, and nothing man can do will change that.

Reading the following passage, you see even Solomon, in all his wisdom, found himself questioning the meaning of life. His only true peace came when he realized it was in God, that he could find true meaning.

Ecclesiastes 2:1-25 NLT
I said to myself, “Come on, let’s try pleasure. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless. So I said, “Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?”After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. And while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I tried to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world.
I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees. I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves. I bought slaves, both men and women, and others were born into my household. I also owned large herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who had lived in Jerusalem before me. I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful concubines. I had everything a man could desire!
So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me.10 Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. 11 But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.
12 So I decided to compare wisdom with foolishness and madness (for who can do this better than I, the king?). 13 I thought, “Wisdom is better than foolishness, just as light is better than darkness. 14 For the wise can see where they are going, but fools walk in the dark.” Yet I saw that the wise and the foolish share the same fate. 15 Both will die. So I said to myself, “Since I will end up the same as the fool, what’s the value of all my wisdom? This is all so meaningless!” 16 For the wise and the foolish both die. The wise will not be remembered any longer than the fool. In the days to come, both will be forgotten.
17 So I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
18 I came to hate all my hard work here on earth, for I must leave to others everything I have earned.19 And who can tell whether my successors will be wise or foolish? Yet they will control everything I have gained by my skill and hard work under the sun. How meaningless! 20 So I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world.
21 Some people work wisely with knowledge and skill, then must leave the fruit of their efforts to someone who hasn’t worked for it. This, too, is meaningless, a great tragedy. 22 So what do people get in this life for all their hard work and anxiety? 23 Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night their minds cannot rest. It is all meaningless.
24 So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him? 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What is the Great Commission?

The Great Commission was Jesus last instructions to His disciples. I believe this is one of the most confused of all Jesus commands. I personally take this command as making disciples of all nations, which doesn't mean to go make sure everyone in the world is saved, but to me means, making others like the twelve He had picked to start His church.

Having the gospel preached to you and being a disciple are two vastly different things. Being a disciple, means to follow the disciplines put forth by Jesus Himself.

I think so many people have taken this passage and used it to go to every nation, having crusades, and alter calls to get people "saved", while overlooking the true meaning of the passage, to make disciples of all nations.

I think of the old parable, give a man a fish he will be fed for the day, teach a man to fish he will never go hungry, Jesus told Peter follow me and I will make your fishers of men.
I believe the Great Commission is for us to teach them to be like Jesus not just getting saved.

Matthew 28:18-20
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Remembering Dad

I want to wish all the Veterans a Happy Memorial Day.
On Memorial Day we think of the loved ones we are waiting to be reunited with when our Lord returns. 

Today my Dad would have been 79, I always think of him on Memorial day weekend as that is when they play John Wayne's war movies, and since he and John Wayne shared the same birthday Dad always celebrated "their birthdays", this year it was Green Berets. It is always a bittersweet time as I think of him and then think of how I miss him, but I can rejoice knowing that I will be with him again. 

This is one of the hardest things for us to deal with. So many people struggle with this, if you have lost a loved one, the devil will fill your minds with the question, were they saved, will I see them again.  As believers we know that once we are saved, our sins are forgiven and we will see our loved ones again when Jesus Christ returns. But it is also a place where satan creeps in with his questions. Just know that the closer we get to God the more the devil comes against us. Do not let him fill your minds with these questions. 

Remember it is through faith and the grace of God that we are saved, not by our works, so rest in knowing that all your loved ones had to do to be saved, even with their last thought is ask for Christ to forgive them of their sins, and believe in their hearts that He is their Lord and Savior.

So on this Memorial day remember the good times you had, and the ones you will have, also remember the soldiers and their families, and the sacrifice Christ gave for us.

Matthew 11:26-29

 26And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
   27And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
   28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
   29But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Only God can makes things unclean

This is a passage that confuses many people, most of the time when I see this passage it has to do with drinking wine or beer, or eating food such as pork, or catfish, or any other un-scaled fish.

Peter was told by the spirit, to not think of anything that God made as unclean, but many religions still stick to a strict practice of not eating or drinking certain things. Paul points out that we sh...ould not do anything purposely if we find it would offend one of our brothers or sisters.

I will give an example, say you have a friend that has a problem with alcohol, even though you don't have a problem with it, you have them over for dinner and serve wine or beer , this to me is what Paul is talking about.

Trust me I do think we have taken this to a different level when it comes to our political correctness, we have to realize Paul is speaking of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

If you can, with faith, eat or drink something, and have nothing between you and God, than eat or drink, if you have doubt, abstain from what you question.

Romans 14:20-23
20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. 22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Grafted in by faith!

Romans can be a difficult book of the bible to read, as Paul was such an eloquent writer, but when you slow down and read with the aid of the Holy Spirit, things start to come to the forefront.
This is my fourth or fifth time reading it slowly one chapter a day and I am seeing things that were intended for our edification.
In this passage Paul is speaking to the gentiles, or non-Jewish people; you and me. It is through the Jewish people that Christ was sent to the world but they did not receive him. Through their disobedience we were pointed towards Christ, through our obedience in believing He was who He said, they were blessed.
This passage makes think of how we are all needed in the body of Christ, those who believe and understand, and those who are seeking and are yet to fully understand that Christ came to die for our sins.
Romans 11:25-31
25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”
28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.  29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.  30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience,  31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.  32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Stumbling block or place of rest?

I love how Paul states things in this verse of Romans. He makes it as plain as can be why the Jewish people did not attain righteousness, through scriptures from the old testament prophets.

They were trying to obtain it through their own actions, and in the process missed the one person that could bring them salvation.

The sad thing is today many people are still missing it, by making Christ the stumbling block, instead of the rock they should rest on.

Romans 9:30-33 NKJV
30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


We as believers know what we hope for and what we believe. Our hope and faith lies in Christ as our savior, that he lived, died, and rose back to life, sending the Holy Spirit to live within us.
The part in this passage that stands out to me is verse 28 as I have heard so many people talk about God sending tragedy and trials into our life to test us.
I can not see a loving God sending us trials, however I do know, and am assured by this passage, that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:24-28
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.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Yes God"

Over the last few weeks we have been looking at people in the bible whose lives were forever changed by a call from God. This week we will look at the life of Noah one of the earliest to have his life so radically changed by a word from God.

I have read this story several times, but a recent movie "Evan Almighty", where a newly elected senator, is asked by God to build an ark, made me look at it in a completely different way.

You see, we don't truly see the implications and ridicule that Noah went through during his day, by spending all his time building an ark. But when it is shown through a story of someone doing what society sees as crazy, we all start to understand.

When Noah started building the ark, there had never been a single raindrop, so for him to be building an ark to escape a flood, he had to be seen as crazy. But like the character in the modern day story, Noah didn't waiver but obeyed God and continued building the ark, just as he had been told to do.

Is there anything in your life that you feel you have been called to do, that others would see as a radical gesture, or even go as far as calling you crazy? Tough question isn't it.

How many of you would build the ark? How many of you have something that you have been called to do, but the pressures of the world keep you from following God's will? When God's calls your name, how will you respond? "Noah", " Yes God"! Genesis 6:13-22 13 And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.14 Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. 15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the arkshall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.” 22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

To do or not to do?

I find myself in Paul's dilemma as well. Those things that I know to do, I don't do, and those that I shouldn't do I do.

I know it is not quite what Paul faced but I have been praying to God to wake me from my sleep early, at around 5:30 each morning. He does His part by waking me up, but my flesh likes to lay in bed until I have to get up. I also know that TV is something that takes up entirely too much of my time, stopping me from doing those productive things, I know I should be doing.

What in your life is keeping you from doing what you know you should do, and what are those things that you shouldn't do that you are doing?

Romans 7:13-20
13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 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. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

Friday, May 9, 2014

What is faith?

What is faith? Is it something we must work for? Is it something that is given freely?

According to the passage below Abraham's faith is what set him apart from those who didn't believe. Faith is something that we all have been given, the only works on our end is to believe, as Abraham believed, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

Romans 4:1-8
1What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?  2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.  3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”  4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,  6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”

Thursday, May 8, 2014

All have sinned!

Just like Paul is stating in the passage below, we were all sinners, the only thing that separates us from our sin, is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the washing of those sins through His blood.

So no matter what any of us do if we don't believe in the one who was sent, and the one who sent Him, through faith, then all we do is of no account.

But through our faith in Christ we are seen as be...loved and righteous in the sight God, as seen through the blood of 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.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Really God, this is how You want to use me?

Acts 9:10-19 NKJV
10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.”
And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”
11 So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”
13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.
19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. 

Think about it for a minute, God spoke to Annanias in his sleep, and told him to go give sight back to a man, that just days earlier gave the orders to stone Stephen!
What do you think would be going though your mind?
Sometimes it seems where we are, is not where we think we should be, I can assure you Annanias was thinking just that, that he was not where he should be, when he was standing face to face with, in essence the Adolf Hitler of his day.
I know it is bold to speak with such language but when you look at it, Saul, who would become Paul, was set to eradicate all who called on the name of Jesus Christ, that is until his life changing encounter with the Lord.
Now looking at it like this, imagine you are Annanias and God told you to go restore the sight of this man; that's a real head scratcher isn't it.
Many of you may feel the same way, as you aren't where you think you can serve God best, but that unpleasant customer, or the person that is mean and rude to you at work, just may be the next Paul, or Peter, God is just asking you to restore their sight!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Faith; Standing on the promises of God!

As we continue to read through Hebrews many profound statements stand out.

Today in chapter 11 the first verse says it all in one short sentence, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

In our world today, if you can't touch it, see it, taste it, or feel it, and you still stand on that belief, people call you crazy or a dreamer. But you can still judge s...omething by the results it has produced in the past. When we look at our faith, and God's word, which our faith is based on, we can see over and over again how He has done what He had promised.

Now this is something that our world will stand on and respond to, as a man's word is still His bond. If a friend or a business partner tells you something, and then doesn't follow through you start to disbelieve what they say. But if over a period of time, and many promises followed through, you will stand up for that person.

This is what our faith is based on, the promise that Jesus is who He says He is, God does what He said would do, and has done, and we, as His children, are heirs to this promise.

Hebrews 11:1-7 NKJV
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

3 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.

4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.

5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

His payment is sufficient!

I know it seems like we have been stuck on one subject these last few days, but it is an important subject.

While we continue to read through Hebrews we are reminded how the old covenant was a shadow of things to come, and that no matter how many sacrifices were made, our sins were still there to relive each time the sacrifices were made.

Hebrews 10:1-10
1The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. 2 If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.
3 But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. 4 For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God,
“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.
    But you have given me a body to offer.
6 You were not pleased with burnt offerings
    or other offerings for sin.
7 Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—
    as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”
8 First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). 9 Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. 10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

Some religions and denominations, still live under this practice, and try, through their own actions, to do works for their sins.

In my opinion, and the way I read what is in Hebrews 10, this is nothing more than a door way for the devil to use the things we have done against us, by reminding us of what we have done wrong.

In the following passage the Word is showing us that the sacrifice Jesus made for us is sufficient, and God is not waiting with his hand out for more payment for our sins, nothing you or I do can chance that.

15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says,
16 “This is the new covenant I will make
    with my people on that day, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.”
17 Then he says,
“I will never again remember
    their sins and lawless deeds.”
18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.

I see it this way if God has forgotten our sins and will remember them no more, than why do we?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Those that hear His voice,

It seems that lately I have been led on this journey of seeking. And one thing keeps coming to light, that although we are to spread the gospel, and let people know of the gift of grace, it is ultimately God's plan in the new covenant that everyone will know Him, in their heart.

It has led me to a ministry of seeking those that seek Him, not standing on the street corner shouting out His name, but teaching those that hear His voice, and truly seek Him.

Jesus said in John 14, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd."

I don't believe this means we should just discount, or stop spreading the gospel throughout the world, we should just not force it on those not ready to hear.

After all "His voice" maybe coming from someone typing out a message on Facebook at seven o'clock on a Tuesday morning.

Hebrews 8: 7-13 NLT
7 If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. 8 But when God found fault with the people, he said:

“The day is coming, says the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel and Judah.
9 This covenant will not be like the one
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
and led them out of the land of Egypt.
They did not remain faithful to my covenant,
so I turned my back on them, says the Lord.
10 But this is the new covenant I will make
with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their minds,
and I will write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11 And they will not need to teach their neighbors,
nor will they need to teach their relatives,
saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’
For everyone, from the least to the greatest,
will know me already.
12 And I will forgive their wickedness,
and I will never again remember their sins.”
13 When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Is God on your caller ID?

How do you know when you've been called? Or when it's time to step out of the boat? I am reminded of the gentleman that was in a  flood and they were evacuating the area.

The first person came by in a truck and said " Hey you need to go now the waters rising." He said, "Nah I'm ok God will take care of me."

The water rises a little more and the next person comes by in a boat and said " Hey you need to go now the waters rising." He said ," I'm good, God will take care of me."

The water  engulfs his house, and now he is on the roof. The next person comes by in a helicopter and said, "Hey now is the time, your house is going to be washed away." He said, I'm good, God will take care of me."

He dies and gets up to heaven, and his first question for God is, "God why didn't you take care of me?" God said, " What did I have to do, I sent a truck, a boat, and a helicopter."

Some times we do exactly as the gentleman in the story. God has a plan for our lives, but we just don't seem to see the forest for the trees. The obvious eludes us, while we work our jobs praying for God, to show us His plans for ours lives.

Acts 9:1-8
1Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest  2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he  found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.  4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting
5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord? ”Then the Lord said, “I am
Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what
do You want me to do?”
Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you
will be told what you must do.”
7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.  8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.  9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Not every calling is going to be a miraculous event, like Saul's transformation.

But what if he has already shown us His plan? What if His plan, that we are praying for, is right where we are now?

Over the next few weeks we are going to look at other people in the bible that were called by God to do something miraculous, some of  their lives were changed in a radical way, others were used right where they were, doing what they had always done.

This week listen for God to speak to you and share with you His plan for your life.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Jesus: Our high priest, forever!

Jesus is our high priest appointed by God, to not only offer the sacrifice, but be the sacrifice for our sins. He was able to know our sufferings and troubles, because He too, suffered as a human.

I also want to Point out verse 4 where it states, "And no man takes the honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.

God puts the call on our lives to teach, and spread His word, it is not something that we take on ourselves, it is only with God speaking through us that we are able to lead people to His word, and we should lead according to where they are in their walk, whether new born believers in need of milk, or those that have progressed to solid food.

Hebrews 5:1-9
1For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.  2 He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness.  3 Because of this he is required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins.  4 And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.

5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him:

“You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.”

6 As He also says in another place:

“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek”;

7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear,  8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.  9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,  10 called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,”  11 of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.  14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Are you living in His rest?

The Israelites that fled Egypt, were promised a land flowing with milk and honey, and a rest from all of their strife, but they weren't ready to follow Moses in faith. So only their offspring was able to see the promised land.

God wants us to enter into His rest so much so, that He gave His son, to allow us to enter into the rest we could not enter on our own.

Today open your hearts, accept Christ into your life, and enter into the rest that God had intended from the very beginning.

Hebrews 4:1-10
Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:
“So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest,’”
although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.”
Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts.”
For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Whose house were you built from?

Whose house were you built from, Jesus whose house has been reconciled through the price He paid on the cross, or Moses, whose house was under the old covenant?

Both were built by God, but Moses', was to built to point us to the other, Jesus, and His house or covenant. Through Moses we were given the law, through Jesus we were freed from the law.

Hebrews 3:1-6
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,  2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.  3 For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house.  4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.  5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward,  6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What is man that you are mindful of him?

Think about the following passage, and let what it has to say soak in.

When I read this passage, it makes me think of God's plan for mankind. You see God didn't plan for us to be in subjection the world, but for the world to be under our authority. Many people think that the devil has more power than man, but in reality He only has what power we give him.

In the beginning, God said man would have dominion over the earth, and after Jesus resurrection, the Holy Spirit gives us back, through Jesus Christ, the authority and dominion we, as born again believers, once had while in the garden.

So "What is man that you are mindful of him?" Just God's crowning creation!

Hebrews 2:5-9
5 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. 6 But one testified in a certain place, saying:

“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
7 You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”
For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

He has recieved His inheritance!

Just a few days ago we celebrated Resurrection Sunday, the day Christ came forth from the tomb, showing all of mankind that He indeed had conquered death.

It is fitting that we finished the book of John on Sunday, and now we are starting Hebrews, as Hebrews opening verse tells us who the Son of Man truly is, and of His inheritance as the son of God.

It is so refreshing to know that through Christ, we are given the same inheritance, and all of the promises of the old testament are fulfilled through Him.

Hebrews 1:1-4
1God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Do you love Him?

The following passage is out of the last chapter of the book of John. John didn't finish his gospel account speaking of himself, like you would find today, he finished his account speaking about Peter.

In the passage Jesus is asking Peter a very pointed question, that hurt Peter to begin with, but by the end, reassured him of his relationship with Jesus.

It made me think, if Peter was hurt by Jesus questioning his love, when Jesus knew that Peter loved Him, then how does it make God feel when we question His love for us, when we know how much He loves us, so much that He gave His Son to save us.

John 21:15-18
15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”

And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.  18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”  19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The unexpected gardener

John 20:11-16
11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”

14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”

She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

How many gardeners have you passed by this week?

I point this out 
as Mary almost passed up an encounter with the Risen Lord, because she mis-took Him for the gardener. Also Jesus tells us "‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 

We need to expect to see Jesus in the most unexpected people in our lives. We never know who we are greeting, or who we may be ministering to.

As we celebrate the Resurrection, we must realize, that Jesus came to earth as a man, He being holy, could have come down as King from the very start, but didn't so He could experience life as the Son of Man.

Look for Him in everyone you meet, 
do not miss out on the opportunity to greet the unexpected gardener.