God’s Not the Problem, He’s the Solution

You can remove God from schools but it will not improve education.  You can remove God from government but it won’t improve politics.  You can remove God from the public square but it will not improve man’s inhumanity to man.  God doesn’t divide.  Man divides.  God creates order, establishes fundamental moral and ethical rules, gives hope for the lost and shame to the sinner.  Removing God from our society and marginalizing His Word has not had one redeeming benefit.  Instead it has created self-centered, out of control, prideful people living hell-bent destructive lives and all the while aching and longing for peace, love and understanding.  Meanwhile the Creator, Father God, observes, hoping for reconciliation, offering a way to be reborn not of this world but for the next.  He has been patient….but soon the door will close and the bridegroom waits no more.

“The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish and five were wise.  The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.  The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.  The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell sleep.  At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.  The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’  Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Matthew 25

Where is Your Focus?

So many of us allow the enemy to play mind games with us.  We get caught up in every day problems and issues that whip up anxiety and fear and cause emotional and health problems.  Fears also keep us from reaching our fullest potential.

Don’t focus on your problems, focus on the solution. Christ did not see the Cross, He was focused on the Resurrection! There is new life after death, new victories after defeats, greater glories following bitter experiences. Satan wants to keep you focused on the past and your troubles…. push them aside and embrace your true destiny as a loved and favored child of the all powerful creator God…you have a birth right to immeasurable blessings!

“A man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven.” John  4:27

The key to happiness is to be tuned into the spirit and not controlled by the flesh.

“Verily, verily I say unto you, except that a man be born of water and of  the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:5-6

Christ is the living water…we are mere flesh but through the Spirit within we can become one with the Father through the Son.  Living there is to dwell in peace, security, joy and true understanding.

“Whosoever drinks of this water shall never thirst again.” John 4:13

You are valuable.  You are loved.  You are a blessed creation that cannot be cursed.  You are promised true riches and blessings beyond what you can imagine and dream.  Stay focused on Him.  Everything else will then come into proper perspective and you will be able to clearly see your true worth and your true calling. Fears and problems will melt away like the receding Winter snow.

Peace and joy be with each and every one of you today!

The Blind Man Who Was Healed Twice!

There is a remarkable story in the Gospel of Mark regarding a blind man healed by Christ.  The fact that Christ healed this man of his affliction is not the remarkable part.  The Gospels tell us of many miracles performed by Jesus to reinforce the point that He was from God and of God, that He and the Father were one.

I am always amazed how God always answers my prayers.  Always.  This is a root cause of my unwavering belief in that I trust in the promises of God because I have experienced them myself on many occasions.  One of the things I have learned about answered prayers is that sometimes prayers are answered in stages.  In other words, the Lord needs to set a few things straight in our lives before the final blessing can be delivered.  For me this has been the slow but steady progression away from selfishness, intemperance, idol worship ( i.e. materialism), dishonesty, and mistrust (i.e. trusting the wrong people).  There have been building blocks over several years, lessons learned and small blessings earned.  The pieces fit together like a puzzle and I now can see them building a picture of what God has always had planned for me but from where I had too often strayed.  I needed to be ready to learn, ready to give up things, ready to open my heart and mind to the truth and unwavering in  my faith.

Mark 8: 22-26 is instructive.  The King James bible describes the story this way:

Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him.  So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything.  And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.”  Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.  Then He sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”

Here Christ is moved to cure the blind man.  However notice that his first attempt at healing yields an intermediary result.  The man can see, but darkly.  He cannot make out all the images clearly.  Then the remarkable happens, Christ touches him AGAIN and the result is a complete cure of his blindness.

What happened here?  Surely God can heal in one stroke?  Why two?  Perhaps the man’s faith faltered when he felt the hands and mud, and he doubted.  This would imply that our FAITH is a catalyst for healing (elsewhere remember Christ saying, “your faith has healed you.”  ex. Matthew 9:22, Mark 10:52, etc.).  Perhaps also that the depth of this man’s afflictions, the length of time he was afflicted, required a two stage process to bring healing and restoration.

In my own experience I have learned that God loves me always, yet He hears me when I come to him with unwavering faith.  He also needs to work in me to bring about the desired result.  He works in His time and not my time, and He often needs (in my case) a hot refining fire to help me learn from my past mistakes so that His blessings will be appreciated, enjoyed and more permanent and not wasted or taken for granted.

Back to the scripture.  Notice that Christ concludes this encounter by instructing the man to avoid his old life…don’t go back to town, don’t tell anyone he knows about what happened.  Was it because the man’s faith was fragile?  Could his “old friends” remind him of his blindness and convince him it all never happened?  Did the man need time to reflect and praise God for what had happened so he could truly understand and firm up his faith?  I know that when I tell certain people of my faith and my belief that my blessings are a gift from God they shake their head and think I am losing it.  Fortunately I am at the stage in a walk  where my faith is not shaken by what others say or think about me.

Are you a blind man looking for healing?  If so, be of strong faith, and wait on the Lord.  He will hear you and come to you, and the manner and time in which He answers you will involve not just Him but you as well.  His response may come in stages, not one fell swoop.  Look for the signs and believe…and whatever you do, do not be shaken by the doubters around you who reject the miracles of Christ in answered prayer!

Have a blessed day and week ahead!!!

Don’t Allow Fear to Control Your Life!

The enemy uses fear and confusion to control us.  Fear and self loathing creates a barrier between us and God.  We feel inadequate to be loved by Him…how can God love me when I do this, or that, or did this 5 years ago?   When we are distressed by fear and confused by the voices telling us we are inadequate, we distance ourselves from God as we expect and hide ourselves from painful judgment.

This lie distracts us from the Truth that we are loved by God, our creator, who wants the best for us and has a unique plan for each one of us so that we may fulfill the calling for which we entered this world.

The Bible proclaims God’s love for us…so much so that He gave His only begotten Son to be born of man, suffer and die and rise again as a the perfect sacrifice for our sinful nature, and so that instead of trying to work our way back into God’s presence (an impossible task) we need only believe on Christ and in doing so reach God!

No greater love exists than that from an all-powerful God.  He knows us, knows our strengths and weaknesses, sins and fears, triumphs and tragedies.  He asks us to bring our brokenness to Him as well as to recognize and worship Him for our blessings.

Oh what deception keeps us looking at our faults and filth instead of outwardly to the glory and majesty God offers us! Through Christ we are washed clean by the blood of the lamb! Can you believe this and embrace it?

So many times I have succumbed to the whispers: “you’re not good enough,” “you’re a failure,” “you cannot possibly be loved by God because you did X.”  My old sins, my continuing sins thrown back at me.  Doubts planted, fears fueled.  Until I learned a few things.  First I am a sinner.  I cannot stop being a sinner, but I can rise above my sin by focusing on Christ and relying upon the Bible and His Word to try and lead a righteous life.  When I sin I lay them at His feet and ask for forgiveness and then strive to improve my life…knowing all the while that He loves and cares for me as much as I love and care for my own children, despite their rebelliousness. My heart belongs to Him.

I allow God to guide me.  I open myself to hear His spirit inside me, and work to drown out the competing, confusing messages. Only through Christ can my old wounds be healed and my walk made straight.  Yet when I stumble, He is there not to punish but to lift me up, dust me off, and send me on my way with a fresh Word of encouragement and love. I am His and He is God, to whom every knee shall bow.

Will you pray with me today?: “Show me the way Lord, let my steps be your steps, my words and deeds pleasing to you.  Make me an instrument of your love, grace  and peace.  Show the world that through my brokenness, greatness can emerge, and to you be all the glory! Block out the enemy, shroud me with your shield of protection head to foot, fill me with the Holy Spirit and allow me to be a lamp to provide light to others so they may know the way to salvation. AMEN!”

The Distinction is in the Details, and Details Matter in Faith

In today’s world, people believe there are many paths to God.  Folks sometimes believe they can reach God through being a “good person” and helping others.  Various religions accept Jesus as one of their gods.  Some say he was a prophet, a teacher or a good person.  Others demonize him as a liar or a lunatic.  There cannot be many paths leading to the same God or Heaven because there is no agreement between the major religions on the nature of God and heaven.

Christians believe Christ was the son of God, that he died as an atoning sacrifice and was resurrected, and that only through believing in Him can one, through Him, gain heaven and an eternity in the presence of God.  Heaven is a reward for faith, not a reward for good deeds.  We could never do enough good deeds to overcome sin, and anyway Christ paid the price already!

Some say these distinctions are just minor details, and that there is one story of a higher being that all seek just in different ways.  The Christian Bible leaves no room for compromise on the subject.  The Bible is defined as God’s infallible word inspired through the prophets and written own by those who walked with Christ.  It is either true or it is false, it cannot be both because it claims to be the Word.  It also tells a story woven from Old Testament through New of a redeemer, a Messiah and Christ claimed that title…he was the redeemer but more importantly the great “I AM”  He was one with God, one in the same.  Christ claimed to be God!  The fulfillment of prophecy, the miracles, the resurrection all tell of someone more than a “nice guy” or “wise man,” or “just another prophet.”  We cannot all be gods like Him because we could never and have never duplicated his life and deeds…no one has risen from the dead to tell about it.  Christ did and over 500 witnessed it. Fantasy or truth?

Some people tell me I believe in fairy tales when I say I am a follower of Christ.  They say I am missing out on life.  I see broken-ness, sadness, longing and despair in their eyes. In the end if I am proven wrong (and I know I will not be) then all I have done is led a good life, treated people with love and respect, and enjoyed peace in my soul.  If they are wrong, and the day comes to stand before Him and account for their unbelief, what will they say?  What regret they will feel!

In John 14:6 the path is laid out for us by Jesus, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Therefore, we must know that we must follow Jesus and His teachings because He and The Father are one .  As John follows in verse 7, “If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.  From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”

The world has little use for people of faith.  They believe in themselves and their idols of clay in society and entertainment and politics.  However I have yet to find anything but disappointment in those built up by man; I have found nothing but promises fulfilled through my faith in the Lord!

Keep your eyes straight ahead on the one true savior of humanity, Jesus Christ and do not allow ANYTHING to sway you.

Are You Walking in Place? Attitude is Everything!

Your attitude towards living is very important. Your actions normally follow your thoughts and therefore you create your own reality….how do you think?

I have found that one needs a change of mind to have a change of heart, and therefore experience a change in results.  I often think of the story of Lot’s wife in the Bible.  God commanded that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah be destroyed because there were no righteous people left, save for Lot and his family.  As God destroyed those cities and everyone and everything in it he commanded that they “don’t look back.”  Lots’ wife, hurrying away from the mayhem and destruction, could not help but turn for one more look and was destroyed as well.  See Genesis, Chapter 19.

Why did she look back?  She was married to a righteous man and was spared the initial destruction, so her commitment to God was established.  I have thought that perhaps it is because the old life was a “comfort zone” for her.  All the memories, people, places and things…even though branded sinful and blasphemous by God, she could not help but revisit what she once had.  She was “past minded” and not “future minded.” The results were devastating. When God moves us to change, we do well to listen and not long for the past!

One of the greatest enemies of your today could be your yesterday!  “Sameness” is a curse….if you will walk with God, who is a living and dynamic God, you will find the change your life needs to get you away from harmful and unproductive behavior, by changing your thinking and thereby changing your walk, talk and ultimate result!

First you must gather the strength to leave your own “comfort zone” and stop settling for being in the same place, day after day, with no hope of the type of blessings, joy and peace you are seeking and are authorized to receive.  Embrace God, move forward with Him as your guide.  Forget the old life of bad choices, bad company, sinfulness and spiritual death.  Lay claim to the promises of God for you, which are unique to each one of us.  Forget about what you have done, this will not prevent you from becoming a new person and having a new life…Christ’s atoning death on the cross has removed your transgressions and washed you clean!

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”  Psalm 103:12

Most importantly, as you progress do not cling to the past.  You may have to shed friends, shed old habits, even distance yourself from some family influences.  The past can haunt you, hurt you, and draw you back.  Remember Lot’s wife and look ahead to the promises God has for you!  Your best is yet to come!!

May God bless you and yours today and always!

The Corruptability of Power

The concentration of power in mortal men and women without true faith ultimately leads to oppression and corruption to suit the selfish interests of the powerful and their supporters and allies. Allowing God to have supreme authority over men and women assures (through a fear of God and eternal consequences) order, fairness, righteousness and true compassion. Society preaches that faith is slavery and sin is freedom, while God teaches that faith is freedom and sin is slavery.  Unchecked power, where there is no faith, no fear of God, no humility and no perspective on man’s obedience to his Creator, can only lead ultimately to the destruction of those who seek and embrace it.

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. Titus 1:15

In all things, in all ways, act to please the Lord.  I pray every day to be a better father, husband, friend, employer, witness.  I beg for humility and strive for obedience.

What does it profit a man if he should gain the world yet forfeit his soul?  Matthew 16:26, Mark 8:36   These are words to live by!

God bless and keep you!

 

Never, Ever Give Up!

It can be difficult to wait on God because we are impatient creatures.  This is even more so in our instant society where gratification is always moments away.

The Bible reminds us that God knows our hearts, and He operates at a level beyond our understanding, so that when He responds to us he does so in the right time and in the right way for us.  We must never, ever give up when we seek His face and His assistance.  Our faith must not waiver but must endure when the answers we seek are long in coming and our prayers seem to miss their mark.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”  Hebrews 10:23

God is always faithful and His promises are as good as gold.  We must “hold fast” and wait on God.  He is there.  He is listening.  He cares.  He simply responds in His time and His way knowing us, His children and His creation, better than we know ourselves.

Be strong in your faith.  Trust God.  Wait on Him. Your prayers are being heard and God is right now moving in your life in ways you have yet to see and understand.  All will be made clear and you will reap the rewards of your faithfulness!  Have a blessed day!!