Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Best Friend You Can Get to Know in 2012

It's all about Jesus. That is where it's at. There is nothing more important than the fact that Jesus is the Christ, He is the Anointed One, He is God in the flesh. He is God. HE is our God. He is my God. What could possibly be more important than this? What legacy do you want to leave with your children's children? How about a legacy of faith? Nothing could be more beautiful or important than that!

How can we make sure all those in our sphere of influence are introduced to Jesus? That they, at the very least, know a little about who He is?

The first way is by demonstrating LOVE. Matthew 5:9 explains that the peacemakers are blessed because they shall be called the children of God. You see, those that show love and spread peace will be remembered as God's children. The BEST way to be a testimony for Jesus is not to proclaim all of your rules, and morals and piety, but to be loving. John also tells us that they will know us by our LOVE for each other. When we treat people with kindness, courtesy, respect, charity, consideration and compassion-these will show the world what our God is all about :) It may seem so simple, to some even corney or cliche, but it is Biblical and absolutely true. You just need to show God's love. That is the ministry. The epistles tell us that if we Love we will fulfill the law. Jesus says if you love God and love your neighbour-you are following all of the laws.

But love isn't something we can just work up or force ourselves to do. Sure, there are some types of love that can come naturally, like the way you feel about your children, your own flesh and blood, but the love of God, is supernatural and Divine. it brings about forgiveness and tenderness and kindness that the world looks at with astonishment.

How can you be filled with this miraculous love?

It only comes from God.

In John we are told we need to abide in Him who is the True Vine and we need to abide in His love....
As you pray, and read the Bible, and listen in the stillness for the voice of the Holy Spirit. As you walk with God, as you meditate on what Christ did on th cross of Calvary-as you consider His great sacrifice, you will find the presence of God in you will give you an ENTIRELY new outlook on your life. You will begin to see the people around you from God's perspective instead of your own, and you will love them as He does.

Jesus told us we need to Abide in HIM. There are all sorts of teachers, and preachers, books and seminars-that want to give you some kind of program, or formula-that is going to show you how to live the Christian life. But the Christian life is not a formula, it is CHRIST.

Every problem that you could think of-is answered by your relationship with Christ. Just think, if a pastor has to sit down with Church memebers who are arguing and tell them to get along, while he may take the time to figure out who is right and who is wrong etc. I guarantee that the real problem is spiritual. If we loved each other fervently as Christ does, if we had compassion and tenderness for each other, if we were humble, if we were praying for each other, and having compassion for each other, if we were filled with the Spirit of Christ, we would not be arguing like we do. It is really that simple.

If you will invest the time into your PERSONAL, abiding with Jesus, that intimate one-ness that you have with HIM-will cange your relationships with other people. It isn't a formula, it's a friendship.

I am so glad that when I am all alone, I am still in the presence of the one who never leaves me nor forsakes me.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Joy to The World

The most important Christmas image for me is the star. I LOVE seeing a good, well-done Christmas star decorating someone's house. We have a beautiful star on the top of our tree. Just like the sailors look to the North Star, the wise men looked to this unique star to guide them in a constant direction closer to their Saviour. God's guidance is like a star. Not only does it give direction by its placement but it also gives us light and even beauty.
There is one house that I drive by sometimes in North Collins that has literally the hugest, most impressive Christmas display I have ever seen anywhere, and at the center of it all is this immense, gorgeous star. And as you look at it, you realize that while on the one hand it looks like a star, it also looks like a cross with light shining from it.

As Christians, the truths that we celebrate-those of Divine Light & Illumination, redemption, salvation, peace and freedom-are ideals that are significant to every human being at all times of the year and in all places. Whether it is when the Jews sit down to a Sedar meal and remember how God delivered them from Egypt or whether it is the Gentiles singing songs about the advent of Jesus Christ, or whether it is the lighting of a Menorah that reminds how God protected and provided for the people of Israel amidst persecution---the great eternal truths are always present. The fact that a Merciful God offers hope in a world full of fears and light in a world full of darkness.

That is why lighting candles at a candle-light service or sitting and watching my tree is meaningful to me. It doesn't just stand for winter-time, or another year come and gone, or family and all I have to be thankful for, or even just the birth of Christ-it is the very essence of Christ that I am reminded of yet again-that He came here, was born humbly, died and rose victoriously and will one day return as a triumphant, irresistable, glorious King over all, The fact that in the end, no matter how hopeless it may seem, or no matter how trite and cliche the words of faith may seem-in the end-when the fullness of the time has come-God will send His Son. And just like those little snowdrop flowers surprise the heck out of us when they're the first things to sprout up and blossom when spring has barely begun-all of the war, darkness, hate, sorrow and suffering, sin and darkness of this world will give way to the marvellouse light of our glorious KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. ALL that is truly good will just prosper and flourish and spread and the meek really will inherit the earth. The kingdom of God will come to man. So, interestingly, for me-Christmas is a reminder not just of what happened 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem and the prophecies that those ancient Jews watched being fulfilled, but the prophecies that we are watching being fulfilled and our turn to see the coming of Messiah. This is our Blessed Hope. Have a Blessed Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Broken and Whole

As judgmental as people can be of one another, a lot of the times the one who judges me is myself. No matter how hard I try, I can never live up to everything I believe and want to be.

It can break your heart, trying to deal with what some call "Self." Of course, one of the things that I have learned is that it isn't really me. The new me wants NOTHING but good and holy things. It's the flesh that still is present that sometimes can raise it's ugly head. But I don't have to spend my time entertaining that old nature-intead I like to spend time being the new man that I am and following the new desires of my new heart.

But when something comes up as it often does, it can make me sad. But it is or should be a learning moment. According to Romans 8 God uses all things together for good to them that love Him so even those times when you're feeling down because you feel so dissapointed with yourself-God can do something good. So here's one, how about learning to let God love you when you mess up? This can be a hard one to learn.

We feel tempted to try and punish ourselves, do some kind of penance, put ourselves down a bit, tell God just how disgusted we re with ourselves etc. Well, God already knew how nasty your sins were before you were saved and He still chose to love you and forgive you. So don' shy away from it, go ahead and confess it, own up to it, but accept nd receive the forgiveness and the love that your Father still has for you. The way I see it, He has already forgiven us, we confess it so we can accept the forgiveness ourselves and not deal with feelings of guilt. and screw up our walk and fellowship

So thank You Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, for understanding and forgiving me. Thank You for accepting me. Thank You for forgiving me. Thank You for healing me. I am broken but I am whole. Amen.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I Will Now Hi-Jack Humanism

Behold! How good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity-I believe that is from Psalm 133....


In order to abide in Christ's love, we first must get a look at HIM and who He is and how He demonstrates His wonderful love to us


The next great thing that happens in our journey to God's love is that we begin to love others more. Love our brethren. Love our neighbours, and love our enemies. 


When you are talking about theology all of the time but you're cold, sarcastic, mean and even detached from your humanity--you have entered into the scary world of religion! God's people will be known by their love. You can right it off as liberal or hollywood but the fact is where there is love there is some warmth, there is some gentleness, there is a tender heart. If you're cold and calculating in your relationships-even if it is in the name of Biblical truth etc. You are lacking love, and you're religious but not godly. The presence of God fills your heart with a special kind of compassion and tenderness. A love that the world will not mistake for being commonplace. They will KNOW that you are different.


I can remember a time in my life, where with good intentions, I was FILLED with religious zeal, and that zeal made me angry at the world, I felt I was at war with everything and everyone. Trying to set things right & get the truth out. And hey, some of the stuff I was crusading for I was probably right about! But what a miserable life. A life driven by being against something is so much less rewarding than a life driven by being for something or better yet being in love with someone!  


As I look at and examine and think about and ponder and meditate on the glory, the creativity, the strength, the beauty, the compassion, the wisdom, the truth, the splendour and the sublimity of my Redeemer and Creator-I am filled with wonder! My life is an adventure. My heart is thrilled. 


What makes us human beings is that we can laugh, dance, sing, paint, write poetry, make love, climb mountains, stair at the sky in astonishment, explore, fall in love, write a symphony, show compassion----you say what on earth are you talking about.....I'm talking about the fact that God made us as individuals, humans, people, and we enjoy things, in this very human way-a way that the animals don't. A dog doesn't look up at the stars at night and say 'wow! how beautiful!' and though all species have to reproduce they certainly dont fall into or make love, you say what is your point? Well, what makes is DIFFERENT is the fact that we were made in the image and likeness of God. So you see, you can learn something about the personality of your Creator by what makes us different than the animals. God loves. God creates. God makes music and melody and beauty! 


So yes, my rigid friends among us, even you-need to join this Divine dance and enter into the kind of life God designed us to enjoy. 


David, danced before the Ark, he played the harp, he fought as a warriour, he wrote the Psalm. He lived a passionate, creative life with God, as a man AFTER GOD's OWN HEART

Friday, December 16, 2011

Love Love Love Love Love

Joy unspeakable and full of glory and peace with surpasseth understanding!  Those are a couple of the great emotions promised to God's saints. Not all of God's saints seem to enjoy these blessing though. I heard one teacher try to excuse this lil discrepancie by claiming that we have just misunderstood what joy and peace are, they're just a kind of quiet contentment, just enough to get us by thru this tough life. Well, I don't swallow that. Could Paul and Silas sing out with confidence from a dungeon after being beaten, with that kind of cheap imitation of joy? Nah. They had something to write home about, they had something supernatural and downright scandalously extreme, they were some fanatics ; )

Every single day I'm learning a lil more about God's amazing love. You can't exhaust it. It is soooo liberating and I want so desperately to be able to explain it and share it because I know many people just don't understand. I am so burdened to see so many people receive God's healing. But you have to be willing and open to learn.

None of us are beyond learning something new. None of us.

Some things I've been learning
#1. I'm not a sinner ;) People go on and on about how they hate themselves because their flesh is so filthy and disgusting etc, but Paul says it is no more I that do it but sin that dwells in me. You see, we here so much about it Jeremiah where it says we have this desperately wicked and deceitful heart but we miss the rest of the story where we are given BRAND NEW hearts. I am not bad. I am not my flesh. I am not dirty. I am clean, pure, and holy by the blood of Christ. I am a new creatire. With good and holy desires. I am not dirty or evil anymore. I am a servant and son of the Most Holy God. Pretty cool!

#2. God is not a sadist. . . yes, God does and can use suffering and sorrow in our lives to bless us and draw us closer to Himself but He is not cruel and He is not half as stern and harsh as some would have you believe. He is our FATHER. And He isn't like and earthly father, as loving our your earthly Daddy may have been. Your Heavenly Daddy is infinitely more lovign and affectionate. He gives us ALL good gifts, they all come down from the Father of Lights. Think about ROmans 8, and also the sermon on the mount when Jesus talks about asking Him for things, how HE WANTS to give us good things. God isn't looking for an excuse to punish you and make life difficult, Nowhere in the New Testament Scripture is it even hinted at that God has that attitude, so why do we want to often paint God the Father as this brutal, angry, harsh, authoriterean. There is no Scriptural evidence to support that. God loves us extravagantly!

#3. The Christian life is succesful when we ABIDE in His love. In John 15 we learn that Jesus is the True Vine and we are the branches, How many times have you heard a sermon on that portion of Scripture and all the sermon is about is the "Purging" in other words, if u wana bear fruit God's gonna purge ya and prune you and its gonna hurt! Well, that is partialy true, BUT the emphasis of the Scripture is that we will grow and bear fruit and keep the commandment if we ABIDE IN HIS LOVE. How do I abide in His love? It's easy really. Think about it. That's right,.every day, meditate on His love and you'll find you are abiding. Now you may think the purging part means trials and tribulations, well that maybe, but for some, what you need to be purged of is your false notions about our Merciful Father! You may not need another fiery trial today, your purging for today might just be reading this blog....

Simplicity.
We're told in the New Testament, not to leave the Simplicity that is in Christ. Jesus liked to keep things simple for us, why do you suppose He boiled ALL of the law down to two commandments. Love God. Love others.

You see people on the internet arguing about Christmas, the Jewish feasts, tattooes, denominational labels, Church polity, genealogies, etymological origins of proper names, lol everything under the sun pretty much. But all you really need to know is. Love! You say that's new age, liberal, hippie nonsense :) lol you can tell that to Jesus, my friend. He is the one who made it so simple for us to understand. This way we woudln't get bogged down with endless, fruitless debates and weak, confused consciences. Chill out everyone! And Merry Christmas to you all! Jesus loves you.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Life Of Freedom

For me,the American flag flying in the wind, a soaring eagle or a Harley Davidson roaring down the road-sum up the sense of Freedom and Liberty. Camping. Out in the mountains, out in open areas where there's nothing boxing you in, makes me feel so free! As most of you know, one of my very favorite statements from Scipture says that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty! I love freedom. I value it so much. And I look for it, not only in politics and nations, but in spiritual and emotional life.

Some people believe they have freedom, and don't realize the prison they've created for themselves. Being rebellious and doing wrong isn't real freedom. and abandoning your beliefs and principles isn't real freedom. Real freedom is just being free.

I see some folks who claim to be free because they've separated from some individual or group who is, or is perceived to be controlling or manipulating. They feel they have fought back, escaped, and are now free. If so, good for them! But let's look at what true freedom is all about. When you are liberated in mind, soul and body-it bears certain fruits. Just like flying down the road on your Harley Davidson with the wind in your hair, your new-found freedom will be EXHILERATING!!! Is what you're experiencing exhilerating you and filling you with sincere enjoyment, or are  you full of anger, resentment, rage and paranoia?

When first standing up to any injustice it is totally natural to have some anger and zeal. But Jesus wasn't making stuff up when He told us to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, and overcome evil with good! He told this to us for OUR sake because He knew it would save us from the poison of hate/rage/bitterness that will literally get in your bones and destroy you. You will NEVER see Jesus condoning evil behavior and He is NOT asking us to, we should stand up against wrong but we should be vigilant not to lose our own souls in the process and become what we think we are fighting.

You want to experience freedom? When you can look into the face of someone who has profoundly hurt you and love them, you will be free indeed! Nothing can hurt you, when the natural pangs of fear and anger and resentment just don't seem to come. The love of Jesus is a vaccination that makes us immune to the damage that our enemies can do to our hearts. They can't make us hate them! They CANNOT hold that big of a place in our hearts ANYMORE-the only thing they can take from us now, is pitty!

Jesus tells us not to judge. And again, He didn't say that just because He likes the sound of His own voice. We MUST leave the judging to Him because when we condemn others, we're bringing ourselves into condemnation. Why? Because Jesus knows the truth-that we're just as guilty as the ones who've hurt us whether we admit it or not. We like to compare ourselves with ourselves and justify ourselves but the fact is if Jesus can forgive me, I must forgive others. And who will be blessed because of it? Me! This is all for my good so I can be free and sleep at night!

I know I will let myself down. I know I find myself judging others at times. But I am going to make this new understanding of forgiveness a part of my life from now on and let the blessings flow. I'm going to follow the principle of overcoming evil with good and blessing my enemies and praying for my persecutors.

It is easy to be misunderstood here. In NO way does this mean that you should not set up healthy boundaries. In no way does it mean you should expose yourself to unsafe or unacceptable behavior. It simply means you will not hate, spread resentment, hold grudges, condemn etc. True love must be tough love AT TIMES but never abandon love for hate or stop seeing things through God's eyes. God sees us all as the same, creations who He has come to seek and to save. Pettiness, envy, hate, covetousness, and bitterness that can eat a human being alive, will have no power over the Christian who is full of Christ's love & compassion. Would to God that we would understand this by the illumination of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Merry Christmas

The Lord came to us as a little baby. He came to the humble, vulnerable environment of Bethlehem. He came in the vessel of a frail, human body. And the angels of Heaven sang the glory of it, they said Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men!

The Prince of Peace will one day soon bring peace to all the world by being the true King of kings and lord of lords who reigns in authority and justice, but even now, He brings peace to the hearts of millions. He brings peace to believing families who cherish one another and worship together in family alter and Church.

Let this be a time of renewing our love, passion and commitment to the Prince of Peace and all of the wonderful blessings that He has entrusted to us. For so many of us, this year has brought many new challenges. The economy is difficult, people are sick, people have lost loved ones, etc. And yet we are also blessed, and so filled with thankfulness that we have hope in Christ.

As we approach a new year, let's renew our commitment to the Lord and to one another. Let's resolve to stick together, Take care of each other, and band together to get through whatever is ahead of us, knowing that because of the message the angels gave to those Shepherds, we do have hope, we do have a bright future, there will be worldwide peace on earth someday, but for now, that peace can reign in our hearts, and if we let it, our households. Let your heart be warmed by the sublime, beautiful, timeless truths of how a powerful, wise Almighty Lord, made His dwelling among men, in the most unlikely of ways, How He faced everything that we face, how He understand, how He demonstrated sacrifice and love to us and how He came out of it all victorious. Let's celebrate and meditate on the Christ!

Monday, December 5, 2011

the Old Snow Paths

So, I've been listening to some preching this evening, as I sit here, feeling sick-I've been listening to John R. Rice. A great Preacher from the past. We hear a lot of talk about the "Old Paths" and the "Old Time Religion" but in this man's sermon-I detected the true, authentic love and humility of the old time religion.

He also wrote a book on the Christian home. It's a beautiful, and perhaps under-appreciated book because it is so simple, and old-fashioned. Even in a lot of our TALK about the old paths, I think we get all flashy and strut around like a peacock and miss out on the sweetest blessings.


In an atmosphere where compassion and politeness are normal-it is easy to take it for granted. But in a culture where mutual respect, dignity, compassion and love seem to be waning and waning, how sweet and beautiful the grace and kindness of older generations becomes.

In a time when a lot of things that used to be considered vices, now run rampant under the guise of liberty, how refreshing becomes the idea of numbers of people living clean, pure, holy lives. Some people, when talking about the 'old paths' go on an instant tirade about backwards hats, baggy pants, 'britches' on women, make-up, and harry potter. But I'd like to share what I think are some of the wonderful, blessed hallmarks of the old paths that I'd like to make a part of my life. BTW, these are not all necessarily NECESSITIES, they are good things, they are things that are based on Biblical principles, but they aren't a list of rules and dogma, you'll see what I mean.....

FAMILY ALTER

Not too long ago, Christian families found it quite natural to sit down at some point in their day and open up the Bible, share a few Scriptures, pray together, encourage each other and sing a spiritual song. It wan't forced, It wasn't embarassing, it wasn't a duty, and it wasn't looong, it was just a refreshing part of the day when the whole family came together around God's Word and got on the same page. Are you a bad Christian if you don't do it in your house? I wouldn't say that. But it sure wouldn't hurt yes? It was a pretty regular thing for Christian families back in the day, It kept unity and sweetness in the family. It was a blessing. And maybe if we wanna encourage our children and keep our famlies together and serve God, family alter would be a great idea! Some kids have never even heard their Dad's pray out loud. You shouldnt be afraid to pray with your family, you wife and your kids.

MARRIAGE and KIDS

Nowadays someone ets married at 30 years old and someone says, wow, ur marrying so young! lol Really? My grandmother was married at 17! But times have changed. Again, I'm not a nutcase. I'm not saying there's something wrong with waiting until later in life ot get married but I think the mentality that is causing this trend is not a good one. Even among Christians we have a lot less respect for the institution of marriage than we used to. Marriage is a blessing ordained by God. What God hath joined together let no man put asunder. We should respect and seek to support and encourage marriage. Marriage is a good thing, It brings stability to our society, to our children, and to young adults. People actually look at being with one partner all of your life as a bad thing. It isn't a bad thing. Noe everyone is lucky enough to have it that way, but if you manage to meet the RIGHT person and marry them instead of experimenting and making mistakes. That's a GOOD thing not a bad thing.

Average Americans only wanna have 1.5 kids these days, that way they can afford to buy more cars, send them to summer camp, play every sport, go to private schools on and on, in my not so humble opinion, our priorities are off. Again, I would NEVER tell you how many kids to have. I'm just saying children are an heritage of the Lord, they are a blessing. And there is nothing wrong with being more concerned about family than obsessed with career. Just throwing it out there. There was a day when families had one tv, not a tv in every room, and one car in the driveway, and everyone survived. lol

Not being afraid to sing

One of the biggest things that old time religion Churches had going on was loud, heartfelt, singing. People are afraid to sing now and enjoy themselves and they think they have to sound professional. It isn't 'american idol' Get back to enjoying singing and making melody in ur heart to the LORD!

Christmas
I was taught when we were young that Christmas was a time to be thankful and be together, there were times we had almost nothing for presents, or even just plain old nothing lol but I never remember feeling sad, my parents didn't make a big problem out of it so we didnt know we were supposed to be sad :) My point is, if ur broke, it's okay, mak it an old-fashioned Christmas, make things for people, write letters or cards or crafts, show um u care and enjoy each other's company and sing Christmas carols about the Lord. These are just a few of the blessings of the old time ways that I think we ca benefit from. God bless everyone.