Surrender: To Resist is Futile!

When we surrender to God, salvation comes through the grace of Christ and his sacrifice on the cross.  But the beauty and majesty of our experience does not end there…we become filled with the Holy Spirit and our lives receive real purpose!

God created us for a reason.  We were pre-wired and predestined to be faithful followers.  Our longing to know Him is our soul’s search for our true purpose in life.  That purpose begins to be revealed once we are saved.

All of us have gifts from God…seeds planted, ready to blossom and bloom once we embrace the power of the Holy Spirit within us.  We then discover our purpose…which inevitably will bring glory to God our Creator and through Him allow us to reach our fullest potential as His creation.  We must be open to receive these gifts…that means rejecting your old life and becoming renewed.  How hard that is!  Yet the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ makes it so much easier.

Grace is the gift of righteousness.  It frees us from sin and allows us to discern with an open heart the truths of life as ordained by God.  We can work then to live righteously and walking the narrow road towards eternal life in the presence of God.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”  Matthew 5:6 

Surrender to God.  Change your life.  Open your heart and your soul will be released to guide you to your true calling and ultimate victory in this life and the next!

Have a blessed week!

Yes Virginia, there is an American Exceptionalism, and One of its Foundations is Free Religious Expression

In the past few years the idea of “American Exceptionalism” has been attacked as biased, arrogant and ignorant of the overall global geopolitical realities.  In fact it is none of that.

The truth is there IS an American Exceptionalism rooted in a representative democracy (government of the people, by the people and for the people), freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religious expression.  When the founders created our form of government there was none like it in the history of mankind and there have only been followers since.  The concepts of freedom and representative government have allowed Americans to enjoy the most abundant, fruitful, just, compassionate, inspiring and secure culture and society ever known.  There is no other country, culture or society that can match the American record.  None.

This does not mean that America is always right, is perfect, is without blemish, blame or fault.  Throughout our history slavery, discrimination, economic inequalities, gender inequalities and political corruption have existed and restricted individual growth and success.  However the fact that America HAS  a representative democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religious expression has allowed this nation to address these problems, find solutions and largely overcome them.  There have been no fatal blows to our founding principles.  The same cannot be said wherever inhumanity, discrimination, bias and oppression reside.  Dictators, tyrants, military juntas, and terroristic governments have come and gone but still America stands.  American leadership in the world has always been based upon a widespread recognition (albeit not always appreciated and sometimes resented) that America offers a special hope as a sure partner for anyone seeking to uphold and defend the principles of freedom.  Because where freedom is lost,  oppression begins to take hold.

It stands to reason that efforts to restrict, reduce, and marginalize representative democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religious expression are fought in this country and resented as un-American.  Perhaps the most important of these is religious freedom.  Why?  Because the free expression of religious beliefs establishes the moral and ethical foundations for life; stripped away their absence leaves a vacuum where there are no boundaries, there are no ethics, there are no rules for living and man becomes  a “beast” whose life is “nasty, brutish and short,” to quote Thomas Hobbs.  There is a reason that the country was founded as a nation “under God,” because the founders knew that God-fearing people would ensure that a free society would not devolve into chaos, where anything goes, everything goes, and rules and laws are whatever one decides that they might be for their own selfish purpose.

I am thankful that I was blessed to be born and raised in an exceptional America.  Where I can write this essay without  retribution or imprisonment.  Where I can fall on my knees and pray to God without restriction or oppression, and where I can petition my government through an elected representative to propose and enact laws that continue to support and protect the freedoms so many have fought and died to defend throughout our history.

God Bless America!

Are You Worshipping the Right God?

Who do you worship, the God you want or the God who is? Make sure that you bring your faith and your needs to the right place!

The god we want is a part-time god.  The god we want does not require repentance.  The god we want blesses our sins.  The god we want has flexible rules.  The god we want is “relevant to the times.”  The god we want weighs our good works against our bad deeds and only requires a 50.1% passing grade.  The god we want is hip, cool, looks like a movie star, and drives a hybrid car.

The God who is demands obedience.  The God who is hates sin but forgives the sinner who repents and “sins no more.”  The God who is has unchangeable rules and commandments contained in the true word Bible.  The God who is exists as the alpha and omega…He is the beginning and the end and never changes.  The God who is requires faith not good works, but recognizes that true faith will result in good works.  The God who is demands that we love him 100% of the time and give Him 100% of our efforts.  The God who is, is the Creator….he is no respecter of persons, and his true image is unknown to mankind.  He cares for your soul, not your car, your house, your suit of clothes, your wealth or influence…He holds the power over life and death.

We need to ignore the “god” established by men, written about in secular books and portrayed on the movie screen and embrace the God of the Bible.

Take heed that no man deceive you, for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many….and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people….false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  Matthew 24:5,11,24

Which god do you worship?

 

Are You Walking in Place? Attitude is Everything!

thelordspromise

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…

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What is Your Source for Moral Authority?

The concept that there are no moral absolutes is one of Satan’s greatest deceptions.  By giving us the notion that “anything goes” and “right and wrong are what we each decide” the foundation of ethics, morality, true wisdom and humanity have been shaken to the core.

Is there no wonder that every “group” with a personal cause is fighting the establishment claiming that their rights are “settled” and “protected” and “enforceable” by law, rule, lawsuit and criminal indictment?  The slippery slope of moral relativity is leading us into chaos where no one really has any rights because everyone has the right to do whatever they want and the impact on each of us is merely a consequence of “progress.”

It pains many to hear this but God did create a system with moral absolutes.  He gave us rules to live by, commandments and directives.  These rules and moral laws were established by the creator who made us, who knows us and who loves us.  Like a child with a curfew however, these rules are often resented, seen as unfair and restrictive and constantly debated, marginalized, challenged and rationalized away.

Instead of looking to God for a firm foundation of how to live, we create new sources for moral authority: politicians, athletes, scientists, Hollywood stars, and yes even pastors, priests and “holy men.”  These folks write books, give talks, make announcements, appear in films, march in the streets, and travel the world giving their own special insight into life and morality.  If we only listen to them, follow them, copy their examples, we will be “true, honest, righteous, loved, respected, and doing what is right.”  Then of course these men and women themselves inevitably fail: personal conflicts, lies, addictions, misstatements, crimes, contradicting lifestyles, bad behavior, destructive behavior, suicide, murder, assault, etc.  Those who loved, respected and followed their earthly  “moral leaders”  become disillusioned and confused, searching for someone else to emulate who will also inevitably fall short.

Meanwhile there is God.  Creator of the universe.  The Maker of heaven and earth.  The one who has established the very foundations of life and given us the guide book and lessons for living a righteous and abundant life, wondering when we will turn to Him and claim our inheritance as His children.  He is there, but we ignore Him, marginalize Him and rebel against His authority….any acceptance requires us to acknowledge a painful truth: we are sinners and must repent and turn away from the world that rejects Him.

God loves each one of us.  He knew us and the plans He had for us before we were in our mother’s womb.  His yolk is heavy but the burden is light.  Following Him we are lead through the Valley of Darkness with no need to fear.  Embracing Him and taking Him into our hearts we are promised all that we can ask and then some.  He is true peace, peace within our souls that surpasses all understanding.  Most of all, as our true moral leader, He above all others will help to set a narrow path that is straight, honest, successful and fulfilling.  His rules are the foundations of life, why?: because He is life, He created life, and He controls life now and forever.

Pray that the Lord God may enter your heart and show you true peace.  Embrace the Word, reject the world, and live the most rewarding, successful and fulfilling life you could ever imagine with your eyes on Jesus Christ and the Father God.

Enjoy a blessed week!

 

 

If You Want to Find Faith, First You Have to Abandon Religion

Telling people to abandon their religion is a very drastic and perhaps controversial statement.  However it is important that believers discern the difference between religion and true faith.

Often people confuse the concepts of faith and religion.  Religion is a man-made vehicle through which the word of God is controlled, interpreted, augmented with rituals, and sometime used to divide, group, segregate and discriminate against fellow believers.  Religion is a set of rules and definitions that may bear little if any resemblance to the true Word of God.  Religion can be not just a distraction from but a substitute for God’s Word, so that those who follow a particular religion may mistakenly come to believe that their religious affiliation is the “way, the truth and the life,” and not Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Religion takes the immoveable, unchangeable, sufficient Word of God and makes it something else….it becomes what followers want to hear and what proponents need them to hear to keep the audience coming back for more.

What is faith?  Faith is a one on one relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.  It requires no robe or special garment, no magic words, no rituals, no special foods or drinks, and no intermediary.  Each of us is invited to open our hearts to God privately and to talk to Him, hear from Him, and become reborn and renewed through His Son.  As on judgment day each of us must stand alone and account for our lives, so too our faith is a personal matter between us and God.  We cannot abdicate it to someone else, nor can we set it aside and substitute religion for that special relationship.

The Bible says that:  “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

It reminds us: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you?” 2 Corinthians 13:5

Although there are exceptions for sure, I am confident that only true faith brings transformation, and not true religion.  One cannot become new again, repent and turn to God simply by attending a service, mass or other gathering one a week.  One cannot expect to change from within, simply by listening to a sermon for 30 minutes every now and then.  No matter how great the orator, our sinful natures require personal obedience and unless your pastor, ministers or priest are accompanying you throughout your daily walk, to school, and work, and so on, no one is there to instill the required humility, discipline and obedience one needs to be faithful in a fallen world that surrounds and bombards you daily with temptation.

For many years I attending a religious service every week and thought I knew God.  I didn’t.  It was only when God touched me and invited me into a personal relationship with Him through Christ that I understood true faith.   This faith has helped me to weather many storms, to ride them out with confidence that Jesus and the Father were an active part of my life.  They are me, encouraging me, comforting me, assisting me.  There are so many times when the hand of God has been displayed in my life as a reward for my faith, that my love and reliance on Christ and the Father have been cemented for life.  I could never have found this faith, this relationship, this confidence and peace without knowing Christ personally and being introduced to the Father through Him.

With religion I was looking through a glass as if darkly, and could not see my calling, my hope and my future.  Mere words could never give me the confidence I needed to trust in the Creator.  Now, with open eyes and an open heart, Christ is in me and I am in Him.  I have a strong and steady place to go to and share my hopes and dreams, relieve my fears and pain, and experience a unique relationship that is like no other in the universe.

You can have that peace and comfort and confidence. You won’t find it in religion, you will only find it when you make it personal between you and God.  Call out to Christ and invite Him into your life. You don’t have to leave your church…I’m not advocating that…but you will have to get close and personal with the Savior, and no one can do that for you.  The best way is on your knees in fervent prayer.

Trust me when I say when you invite Christ into your life, there is no more beautiful feeling in the world.

“God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get…God

Somehow society has misled us into believing we can do it all.  We are supposed to be superhuman beings working, raising families, having all the latest gadgets, traveling to all the exotic locations, wearing the nicest clothes and driving the coolest cars, and this will create lasting happiness and joy.  When these goals cannot all be accomplished, or when they do but lasting peace and joy do not sweep over us, we feel cheated, angry, bitter and depressed.

Then we turn to society again, where we got the false messages to begin with, and look for answers in self-help books, psychiatry, drugs, alcohol, sex, new age gurus, diets, crystals, magic pendants, secret hidden messages and on and on.  Funny thing is, none of these so called answers to our problems ever bring permanent relief (while causing us to spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in the process).

Meanwhile the creator of our universe, the father of humanity, the maker of heaven and earth, the most powerful, most intelligent form of life in existence, sits by waiting for us to turn to Him!  Believe me when I tell you I have had all the trappings of life, fancy cars, gold watches, big houses, world travel, pretty women, great food and booze….it all meant nothing ultimately.  It brought no lasting joy, no peace, no real happiness.  They were all substitutes for the real answer to the true peace and happiness in life, which I only found once I gave my life over to Christ.  Christ is the answer.  The Bible is the guidebook to all solutions. A relationship with a living God was what was missing, and I believe is missing in all of us.  Until you find that reconnection…plugging back into the power source of your life, you are just on a wild ride to nowhere.  All bells and whistles with an emptiness inside.

Many men tell me…hey I don’t need God or church because I’m a guy.  I’m a leader.  I’m educated, tough physically, and my family and my society looks to me to take whatever is thrown at me and keep standing.

This is false bravado.  Being tough does nothing for the soul.  Being tough does not create a clear path to real freedom, peace and success.  No one is so tough that the right punch, landed at the right moment, will not bring them to their knees.  Sometime that’s what it takes to look up and see God.

I paid the price of being tough.  I paid the price of admiring myself in the mirror instead of admiring my creator who made me.  In the end I am thankful that the mistakes, the pain and suffering I experienced and shamefully caused to  others was not catastrophic.  I was “rescued” just in time.  It could have been worse, and for that I thank God every day!  He heard my cries, came into my life, and changed me.

This does not mean I am perfect…don’t be fooled.  Becoming a Christian, loving God does not mean you will not sin…although society will use this against you to cause you to doubt your faith journey and try and distract you from the truth.   You will fall, over and over, but your heart and your mind and your body and your soul will be His and your efforts to live better, seek righteousness, and love your fellow man will grow and grow until you can push out as much of your past life as you can handle and your primary focus will be on God.  Then will you see such amazing blessings in your life!

Here’s the secret:  the closer you get to God, the happier and more successful you will be.  God promised this in the Bible.  I have seen it in my own life…supernatural blessings, protections, encouragement, even miracles.  This is the message you need to remember….the world is fallen.  It has no answer for your longing and pain.  God is the answer…Christ is source of refuge and comfort. Open your heart and pray and he will hear you…then be prepared to listen to what he has to say just for you.

If you have read this and believe it, pick up a Bible.  Start reading the Gospel of John, and then the Book of Romans.  Study the Sermon on the Mount and memorize the blessings God promised David and all of us in Psalm 91.  You’ve tried everything else…you are running in place…give God a try and your life will never be the same.  I am living proof of this.

HAVE A BLESSED DAY!