He Reigns!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Don't Be A Fool

Don't Be A Fool

"The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior."
~Jeremiah 23:5-6

The land of Israel was sinful and no matter what God did for the people, they continually fell into sin. This went on generation after generation until finally, the time was right and this prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Yet Israel refused to accept that Christ was the Messiah they had been waiting for. And so it goes today.

For generations, the Bible has been available to everyone, yet there is only a remnant who believe it is the word of God and follow Jesus Christ because of it. The world today is no different than it was in the days of the Old Testament. Lawlessness, poverty, war, pain and sorrow continues to this day. Our technology has improved but our hearts are as sinful and destructive as they were in Jeremiah's day.

We bow before the gods of this world, we follow our own lusts and desires, we sacrifice our children through abortion, the foster care system, and abandon them to the streets. We ignore the poor and homeless, we do not tend the widows and orphans, the sick and the dying. We call good evil, and praise evil as good. We are a sinful, godless people.

"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one (Psalm 14:1-3)."

It is difficult for me to look at the world knowing the answer to all of our woes is at our fingertips. It is difficult for me to look at the world knowing what Christ went through on the Cross for each one of us. We certainly don't deserve His mercy and grace, yet He freely gives us both out of His unending, undying love for us.

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19)."

It is not God's desire that we should live this way. He does not want us living in sorrow and shame but rather in fullness and joy through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9). In Christ is life, joy, peace, happiness  and love (John 17:3, Colossians  3:4).

Don't let the devil rob you, know Jesus as your Savior and know what living life really is.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Pray For Our Nation

"If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned."
~Jeremiah 18:7-8

The 2016 presidential election was one of the most contentious that I can remember, and the outcome was one of the biggest upsets the Democratic party has ever seen. I believe the reason was prayer. The previous eight years had divided this country on many levels and set race relations back at least five decades. Many were preparing for civil war in the event of Hillary Clinton's victory. It turned into such a mess, I doubt I'll live to see it straightened out - if indeed it can be straightened out.

However, one bright spot emerged during the presidential campaign...more people than ever before were on their knees praying for God to take control. And more Christians than ever before got out and voted. Prayer changed the direction we were headed. Prayer moved the heart of God.

"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14)."

We cannot stop praying for America. We cannot stop seeking God on behalf of our nation or our leaders. No matter how anyone feels about the current administration, we must continue to pray. America has had a rough go since 9/11, and the past year has been fraught with disasters on every level - racial tension, riots, protests, police killings, mass murder, hurricanes, drought, fires...and the list goes on. But the answer to those problems, and to all our personal problems, remains the same - prayer.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8)."

The promises of God are the same now as they were yesterday, last week, or a million years ago. God can be moved to change through our prayers. Often throughout the Bible we see countries in dire circumstances because the people turned from God to follow their own desires. After disasters befall them and they realize God has left them to fend for themselves,  they returned to God. They prayed and God answered.

We are no different. America, founded on biblical principles has fallen far from the plans of our forefathers. We have turned our backs on God and He has left us to our own perverse desires. But it's not too late. There is still time to change our country and our lives through prayer.

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19)."

"...The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective  (James 5:16)."

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you (Jeremiah 29:12)."

Friday, October 6, 2017

When Will It All End

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
~Matthew 24:29-32

Rumors abounded in September 2017 that the "Rapture" was going to occur, first on the 9th & then on the 23rd. Obviously, it didn't happen, and it's not going to. At least not for a while.

We cannot know the exact day or hour, but we can know the times. The Bible is very clear that Jesus will return after the great tribulation, which is the final 3-1/2 years of the 7 year period known as the tribulation. When will the tribulation begin? 

The Bible tells us there will be signs we can look for. One of those is the peace treaty between Palestine & Israel. Once this occurs, the final 7 years begin. Currently, President Trump is working on that very thing. He calls it the "biggest deal" of his life. And as the master of the Art of the Deal, he would know. He has brought the leaders of Palestine & Israel closer than ever to a peace deal that could be signed at any time.

One other sign that could occur at anytime is what the Bible calls the "6th Trumpet War," or what we fear may happen - WW3 - which I believe began with 9/11. It just hasn't gone global yet.

But the important thing to remember is that while we may see these things happen in our lifetime, we have to be ready to stand before God Almighty every moment.

"But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ (Luke 12:20)."

We are not guaranteed tomorrow. We have seen friends and acquaintances who were living their lives only to be killed in a car wreck, have a brain aneurysm, or die some other way unexpectedly. We see random killings on the news every day, and we all know someone who died from cancer or another disease.

We go about our lives rarely considering today may be our last on Earth. Only God knows the number of our days & the number of our heartbeats. (Job 14:5; Psalm 139:16) I want to be here to see the Lord's return but I also know that may not be His plan. But either way, I know I am ready to see my Savior face to face.

While we will all face God at some point, it won't be a great meeting for a lot of people. For some, it will be everlasting damnation. And not just for evil people, some professing Christians will also receive bad news on that day.

“'Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven' (Matthew 7:21)."

Live as if today may be your last. Make sure you tell those you care about that you love them, make sure your affairs are in order, but above all, make sure your heart is right with God.

I may die tomorrow. I may live to see the Lord's return. I don't know, but I do know that no matter when my last breath escapes my body, I will be glad to step from this life into life everlasting.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Respond In Faith

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
~Isaiah 41:10

Depending on God for everything, in every situation is essential in our Christian walk. We all know that, yet we don't always do it. It's easy to say you give glory to God when things are easy and going your way but what about when they don't? Do you blame God when times are tough? Do you feel rejected by Him when you experience loss? Are you angry with Him when disaster falls?

Our response to all of life's events determines how we will get through any situation. If we fall apart, chances are we will take a very long time to recover. If we respond in anger, bitterness will fill our hearts. If we blame God, we will never see the victory on the other side.

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)." No matter how things appear, our faith that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will, is key to surviving anything.

Today my daughter Cassandra would have celebrated her 42nd
birthday. She died at age 16. There is nothing more devastating than losing a child. It throws life out of order. Our children are supposed to bury us, not the other way around. But our response to the death of a child will either make us or break us.

Often, the loss of a child results in divorce. Underlying resentment by one or both parents cause the division. It is our nature to lay blame, and spouses often blame one another. Loss can also alienate siblings, who have no way of processing their own feelings of anger, frustration, and guilt. The repercussions can be varied and devastating in their own right. But our response in faith has the power to not only heal us but give us a happier, healthier future.

"But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me (2 Samuel 12:23).” David understood the importance of the right response in faith. He understood who God was and believed God was faithful in every circumstance.

We choose how to respond. Our response will determine who we will be on the other side of any disaster. Our response in faith will strengthen us, and bring us out of disaster with a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God.

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! (Psalm 103:1)."

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

No Reason Why

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."
~Psalm 20:7

The attack in Las Vegas, like 9/11 & Oklahoma City, brings terror much too close to home, yet we see it around the world on a daily basis. We are naive to think we are immune or somehow untouchable by cowardly acts and insane agendas. As long as satan has some modicum of control, there will be no peace on Earth. Our trust must be in God alone.

I've been seeing a common thread this morning on social media. Now that the initial shock is over, people are asking why this happened. There is no answer to that question. There is no sane answer for insanity. There is no rational answer for the irrational. There is no understanding of the actions taken by someone who is deluded. We are trying to make sense of the senseless. And like 9/11 & Oklahoma City, in 15 or 20 years, there will still be no good answer for why.

The world has lost its collective mind. Everywhere we look there is terror and murder; horrific events taking place worldwide every single day. Is what happened in Vegas worse than what happened in London or Germany? No, but it happened here, in America, on our doorstep to people who were doing something we have all done. Going to a concert to have a little fun, what could be more innocent? The reality that it could've happened anywhere to any one of us is terrifying. But we cannot allow fear to win.

Even in our darkest hours, God is in control. He has not left us, He has not forsaken us (Deuteronomy 31:6). The Lord is for us, not against us (Romans 8:31).

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33)."

The world is a crazy dangerous place, so we must place our faith, our very lives in the hands of God. If you don't know the Lord, or you aren't sure of how to have faith and trust in God, please send me a message. I am always available.

Some may trust in chariots and horses but the strong things of this world crumble before Almighty God. Put your trust in God and you will withstand the storm.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Eyes of Your Heart

“Now the natural man does not receive the things from the Spirit of God — to him they are nonsense! Moreover, he is unable to grasp them, because they are evaluated through the Spirit. 15 But the person who has the Spirit can evaluate everything, while no one is in a position to evaluate him.
~1 Corinthians 2:14-15

I remember the days before I knew who Jesus Christ was (unfortunately), and I remember thinking how silly it was for people to spend so much time in church. Going to church two or three times a week – who does that??? But after I received salvation, I came to understand why church was important. Not only did it become important to me, I couldn’t get enough. I went to church twice on Sundays, once on Wednesdays, once on Tuesday mornings for Bible study, and I went to worship services on Friday nights. I could not get enough of what God had to offer! The difference was, prior to my salvation, I saw everything through the “natural man” and not through my “spiritual man.”

What a difference salvation made in my life. It was as if blinders had been lifted from my eyes and I could see beyond the world around me. In reality, what happened was when I accepted Christ into my life, He made me whole again. He made me brand new (2 Corinthians 5:17) and I began to see things with my spiritual eyes, or the “eyes of my heart.” The old was gone and something brand new and exciting was before me. And it’s been like Christmas morning ever since. The excitement of who God is and who I am in Him never ceases to amaze me. His revelations in my life continue day to day as I study His Word, pray and worship Him.

We are limited people but we serve a limitless God. There is no depths to which He will not go to drag us out of the muck of life. His love knows no bounds. We are the most important part of God’s agenda, so much so, that He became human to die for our sins to ensure our place in Heaven with Him. He loves us so much, He went to extraordinary measures to have a personal relationship with us. And as if dying wasn’t enough to prove His love, He sent His own Holy Spirit to live within our hearts to teach and guide us. God is a wild man! He is wild about us!

“For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).” If we know nothing else about God, knowing this alone should bring us to our knees. The Creator of the Universe, of all that was, is or ever will be, created all that we see, and the things we cannot see, just for us. His love is so vast, so grand, so out of this world, I believe the expanding universe is the only thing that could hold it. That and the hearts of you and me.

“We love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).” Before He ever separated the light from the dark, before He created the Heavens and the Earth, before He grew a single blade of grass or put a drop of water in the ocean, He loved us. He loved YOU! And He continues to love us no matter what we do. God never turns His back on us, He never walks away from us no matter how sinful we are. He is always there for us. We are the ones who turn our backs on Him. We are the ones who grieve His Spirit because He doesn’t want any of us to go to hell (2 Peter 3:9). But it is up to us. We have to choose between the natural man and spiritual man. We have to choose between earthly life or heavenly life. We have to choose between Heaven and Hell. We have to choose to either follow the devil or follow Jesus. Choose well, your very soul depends on it.

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:14-15).”

Friday, September 29, 2017

Go Ahead And Dance!

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might, while wearing only a linen ephod (2 Samuel 6:14).”

Much of the Psalms written by King David are devoted to singing praises to the Lord for all of the good things He did. David could get himself into trouble, and he had a problem with sexual sin, anger, and a host of other problems we all face from time to time. However, David never failed to repent and praise God. Acknowledging our sin can be difficult, even for Christians, maybe even especially for Christians. I think some of the reason for that is the belief that once saved, always saved. This seems to give those who believe that carte blanche’ to do whatever they want without repercussions. Another reason, I think, is that Christians can be devious in their sinning. They don’t want anyone from church to see them coming out of a bar but they don’t consider staying out of the bar.

It can be easy for us to ignore the little sins and transgressions in our lives and tell ourselves “everyone is doing it, so what’s the harm?” After a while, the sins get bigger and the covering up of those sins gets easier as well. But eventually, God will allow the whole mess to come crashing down on us and we have to face what we have done. Sometimes, we get so out of whack, it’s easier to face God with sin, than to look our pastor or other church member in the eye and confess what we’ve done. We are prideful, sinful people. No wonder God repented for making man! (Genesis 6:6)

In the Old Testament, sins were covered yearly by taking an offering to the priests. They used the blood to wash the sins, and burned the carcass as an offering to God for the forgiveness of sins. It was a very intense procedure that had to be done just right, and if the priest did something wrong and entered the Holy of holies, he might come out dead. They even tied a rope to his leg so if he died, they could drag his body out. God was deadly serious about sin back then, and He is still serious about sin. But He also took pity on us, seeing how we just can’t stop sinning and needed more than a yearly sacrifice. So He became flesh and sacrificed Himself in the body of Jesus Christ on the Cross for all of our sins.

For me, knowing what Christ went through for me, knowing how it breaks His heart when we live a life of sin and misery, breaks my heart to think about it. I know the life I led was horrendous for me, and I know the person I was then broke Christ’s heart. The person who came to Christ asking forgiveness died that day, she was put to death in Christ Jesus and became a brand new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17) That alone is worth dancing about, leaping and shouting.

Confess your sins and move forward. Leave the dead to rot where it is. You have a new life in Jesus Christ and there is no reason to risk hell for anything. Tell the truth, shame the devil. Dance like David did and kick the devil in the teeth. You are a new creation and if that’s not worth dancing about, I don’t know what is.