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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Manipulating God

"You, Lord, are the Most High over all the earth" Psalm 97 

Lawrence beamed at the capacity audience in San Francisco; the sixth stop of his Worldwide Evangelical Movement tour. "God is sitting on his throne, waiting for you to give him a hint. That's right, God is leaning forward, anxious to hear your requests so he can give you what you desire in the deepest place in your heart. He made you to abide with him some day and until that day, he wants to make you happy and satisfied. 
"Have you been passed over for that promotion? God knows and wants to release the blessings of that new job to you. Can't find that special person to complete you? God is aware of that missing piece in your puzzle of life as well. What about the home you keep driving by, wishing it was yours? Yes, my friends, God is fully aware of your needs and he wants to fulfill them, make you happy and give you the greatest, most fulfilling experience that life has to offer. 
"I know some of you are thinking something like, 'How can I ever afford that home I truly want? I need a better job and less debt.' Friends, God is the God of satisfaction and delight. He made you and knows how to make you satisfied and content on this earth as you prepare for eternal life with him.  
Lawrence became silent, walking back and forth on the platform, scanning the audience as he moved. And then, "What is the key to unlocking God's blessings, you ask? Sacrifice. Yes, it is sacrifice. Think of how he showed his love for us. Sacrifice! He sacrificed his own Son so we could have this wonderful life. And now he expects us to learn that same sacrifice. God GAVE so we could live and now it is our turn. We must sacrificially GIVE to release those blessings from heaven."  
By now Lawrence was commanding the audience with his fine-tuned and powerful voice, it was as though he hypnotized them...Give, give give. Sacrificially give. Give when you don't think you can. God is waiting. Release those blessings from the throne of God." They were on their feet as the army of ushers passed buckets across the rows of excited, believing people. 
Does this scenario sound familiar? Do you have, perhaps secretly, desires that you hope God will bring to pass to make your life better? Desires of more money, better job, better marriage, better body, bigger house? If you do, admit it to God. As the famous southern pastor, J. Vernon Mcgee once said, "You might as well tell Him because He knows anyway." 
God does understand our secret desires of wealth, health, homes, trips, etc. But what he wants for us is far better. Does anyone really believe that God sent his only Son, Jesus, to live and die for us so that we could have more money, bigger homes, better cars, and more fun? Jesus did give sacrificially, didn't he? His sacrifice was given freely so you and I could experience redemption and forgiveness of sins. Surely we can see clearly that Christ did not experience such an excruciating torture and death so we could accumulate more stuff on earth. 
Psalm 97:1-5  The Lord rules! Let the earth rejoice! Let all the islands celebrate! Clouds and thick darkness surround God. His throne is built on righteousness and justice. Fire proceeds before him, burning up his enemies on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees it and trembles! The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of the whole world! 
Our lives are actually spiritual. As such our warfare is taking place in the spiritual realms, every day...every hour. God's great sacrifice has made it possible for us to walk in the spirit, guided by the Holy Spirit. As we gear up each day with the Armor of God, we engage in the battle prepared and protected by God. Do you see material things as important in this daily battle for souls and lives? 
Ephesians 6:10-17  In conclusion be strong—not in yourselves but in the Lord, in the power of his boundless resource. Put on God’s complete armour so that you can successfully resist all the devil’s methods of attack. For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organisations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil. Therefore you must wear the whole armour of God that you may be able to resist evil in its day of power, and that even when you have fought to a standstill you may still stand your ground.  
Take your stand then with truth as your belt, righteousness your breastplate, the Gospel of peace firmly on your feet, salvation as your helmet and in your hand the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Above all be sure you take faith as your shield, for it can quench every burning missile the enemy hurls at you. Pray at all times with every kind of spiritual prayer, keeping alert and persistent as you pray for all Christ’s men and women. 
Men and women who claim to speak for God but seek to gratify their flesh are, in truth, serving the enemy of our soul and feeding their own flesh. The Bible tells us to die to the flesh: 
Romans 8:12-16  So then, my brothers, you can see that we have no particular reason to feel grateful to our sensual nature, or to live life on the level of the instincts. Indeed that way of living leads to certain spiritual death. But if on the other hand you cut the nerve of your instinctive actions by obeying the Spirit, you are on the way to real living. 
All who follow the leading of God’s Spirit are God’s own sons. Nor are you meant to relapse into the old slavish attitude of fear—you have been adopted into the very family circle of God and you can say with a full heart, “Father, my Father”. The Spirit himself endorses our inward conviction that we really are the children of God. Think what that means. If we are his children we share his treasures, and all that Christ claims as his will belong to all of us as well! Yes, if we share in his suffering we shall certainly share in his glory.    
A man left his house early one morning to attend a Bible study. It was then he saw an obstacle! A flat tire. Not low but dead flat. He had no time to change a tire. He pondered his situation and felt God nudge him to have faith that He would take care of the tire. So, he prayed and believed that God would do the impossible. 
He drove three miles to a gas station, filled the tire with air and drove to the study. The tire never leaked or deflated again. Life is spiritual! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Statement of Faith

I believe in One God, the Creator of all things, visible I believe that within the nature of the One True God, there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are coequal in power, nature and eternity.

I believe that Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God, but the Son of Man, who was born into this world of a virgin, lived as a man among men, suffered and died for our sins and was physically and literally resurrected from the dead, that He ascended back to Heaven and is alive today, seated at the right hand of the Father. He Himself is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the one to whom every knee shall one day bow.

I believe that all mankind is helplessly lost, separated from God, and that the only path to reconciliation with God is personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. Salvation is therefore the free gift of eternal life, bought and paid for by the death of Christ on the cross.

I believe that Jesus Christ will one day return physically and literally to this world at the climax of the age, at which time the dead of all time will be raised and judged according to God’s mercy and righteousness.

I believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in the world today revealing Jesus Christ, convicting of sin, and empowering the Church. I believe in the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian as proclaimed in the scripture and lived out down through the ages. What the Holy Spirit did in the time of the Apostles, He desires to do today!

I believe that the Bible is a gift from God, written by men who were moved by the Holy Spirit. I can think of no better proclamation that what the scripture itself gives us in regard to our faith concerning the Bible:
“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
-II Timothy 3:16-17
I believe in One Church, comprised of all true believers in Jesus Christ, regardless of race, or denominational creed, and that Jesus Christ Himself is the Head and Lord of this Church.
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

All You Do Is. . .

We don't preach (or live) the whole gospel. Instead we live the AYDI (All You Do Is) gospel, When we share Christ, we often present the reality of the Christian life in manageable bites, starting with All You Do Is. We woo people along with the least amount of commitment, only to add more requirements the longer they walk with Christ. The progression looks a lot like this:

  • All you do is say this simple sinner's prayer.
  • All you do is attend church.
  • All you do is stop doing bad things.
  • All you do is read your bible.
  • All you do is get baptized.
  • All you do is learn how to pray.
  • All you do is memorize Scriptures.
  • All you do is learn how to share your faith.
  • All you do is attend Bible studies.
  • All you do is teach a Bible study.
  • All you do is raise your kids to be Christians.
  • All you do is make sure your marriage reflects Jesus.
  • All you do is go on a short-term mission trip.
  • All you do is give money to the church.
  • All you do is give money to those in need. 
  • All you do is become a pastor or a missionary or a deacon or an elder.
  • All you do is die to your own desires and embrace Jesus' lordship.

This progression is not the Gospel. Where it ends, "All you do is die to your own desires and embrace Jesus' lordship," is where is should start. As Western Christians, we tend to think linearly, but the Gospel is more circular, all-encompassing. The Gospel isn't a progressive list of improvement tactics.
       Taken from, Everything, what you give and what you gain to become like Jesus. Mary DeMuth

Friday, January 03, 2014

Fun With Photo Filters

I downloaded a photo editor app which came with some special filters and effects.
I got a kick out of this image and so did my wife. I guess this is the 2014 version of me.
I hope pipe tobacco is not too expensive!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Faith Not Feelings

We live by faith and not by sight!  2 Cor. 5:7

Unlike any other book, the Bible is God's living, eternal Word, filled with absolute promises that enable us to live an extraordinary life with no fear. However, because we do have weak moments when we do feel afraid, we have only to call upon the Lord, to read His words and see His promises to bask in the peace and security He freely gives.
Regardless of our circumstances, He will never leave or forsake us. Not only that, He awaits for us at the door of our mansion in Heaven with a perfectly fitted robe of righteousness, washed in the Blood of the Lamb. Hallelujah!
At a meeting, the leader, when talking about our feelings said, “Feelings are neither right or wrong, they just are!” At first some of those present stood against his description but after considering what he said, they all agreed it was true. Feelings are part of who we are but when they cause misdirection, confusion, fear, or more negative responses, we know they are to be controlled. And only God can come to the rescue. He can replace negative feelings with His promises of care and eternal salvation.
            John 11:25-26  25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
            John 10:10-11  I came that [you] may have life, and have it abundantly. 11"I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
            1 Peter 1:3-5   3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
            John 10:27-30  27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”
            John 6:35-40  35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. 37 However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. 38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. 39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”
            1 John 4:4   4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people (false teachers, spirit of the anti-christ), because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.
            Romans 8:38  38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
            2 Corinthians 5:17  17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
            Matthew 11:28-30  28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

            The teenage boy told his father, “Dad, I don’t feel like mowing the lawn today.” To which his father replied, “Then I guess I don’t feel like feeding you dinner.”

Thursday, November 07, 2013


At first, Allen held his shield of faith high, deflecting those fiery satanic darts, extinguishing them quickly. But as time wore on, his shield seemed heavier and his focus scattered so it wasn’t held as high. A little space is all Satan needs for those darts. He is an excellent marksman.
            Time passed, Allen’s attention shifted, his shield dropped lower. More darts hit their mark. Allen seemed less positive about his faith and standing in Christ. He found doubt to be a normal part of his life, slowly replacing faith, slowly dropping his shield.
            Until finally, Allen didn’t bother to put on his armor at all. His shield of faith was somewhere in the closet, under a pile of doubt and insecurity.
If only I'd (done or not done) that. I should’ve seen that coming; saved more money; got rid of that credit card; been more honest with them; studied harder; finished the project on time. . . and so the little accusing voice (fiery darts) within our minds goes, piling on guilt and condemnation. The Bible clearly says, however, that there is no condemnation for believers. Will I listen to the condemning voice (not God) or the uplifting, encouraging one (God)?

            Romans 8:1-2  So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit—and this power is mine through Christ Jesus—has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death.
            Romans 8:9-11  But you are not carnal but spiritual if the Spirit of God finds a home within you. You cannot, indeed, be a Christian at all unless you have something of his Spirit in you. Now if Christ does live within you his presence means that your sinful nature is dead, but your spirit becomes alive because of the righteousness he brings with him. I said that our nature is “dead” in the presence of Christ, and so it is, because of its sin. Nevertheless once the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives within you he will, by that same Spirit, bring to your whole being new strength and vitality.
            Romans 8:14-15  For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, Abba! Father!
            Galatians 4:6  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba! Father!
            Romans 8:28, 31  Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good. What can we ever say to such wonderful things as these? If God is on our side, who can ever be against us?
 John 1:12  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
            God's rescue is eternal and very personal. He prepared the way by allowing Jesus, the innocent Lamb of God,  to be crucified so we may experience not only joy for the moment, but a joy everlasting. Well aware of our weaknesses, He implanted His Holy Spirit in our hearts, our souls—preparing  an immediate, incorruptible two-way communication system between us and Himself.

            And what of your shield of faith? Is it shiny and dent-free, hanging on the wall or hidden in the closet? Or is it covered with dings, dents, scrapes and black spots where those fiery darts were extinguished?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Do not fear anything except the LORD Almighty. He alone is the Holy One. Isaiah 8:12

Teddy spent his life debating issues with friends and fellow workers. He always had the latest information and had uncovered the deepest government secrets. He loved stunning and shocking everyone with his disturbing revelations.
            And then one day he realized his so-called “pursuit of truth” was eating away at his own peace. His verve for life was losing its lustre. His valiant efforts of tearing down the walls of deception had become self-destruction, like slowly drinking drams of poison.
            Teddy’s faith in God was taking a back seat to the latest developments of his quest for truth. The horrible accounts of governmental lies and deceptions were eating away at his joy and peace that Christ offers all believers. His focus had shifted from delight in God’s promises to delight in uncovering the latest business scam or pack of lies from Washington D.C.
            As He always does, the Holy Spirit brought Teddy back to his First Love to bathe again in God’s precious truths and eternal promises of redemption. Nowadays, when he does begin overturning those rocks to peer at the ugliness beneath, Teddy is quick to let them lie, reminding himself of God’s magnificent love found in His Living Word, the Bible.

·         Isaiah 8:11-14  The LORD has said to me in the strongest terms: “Do not be afraid that some plan conceived behind closed doors will be the end of you. Do not fear anything except the LORD Almighty. He alone is the Holy One. If you fear him, you need fear nothing else. He will keep you safe.”

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

·         Prov. 3:5-6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways,and He will guide you on the right paths.

·         Psalm 9:10  All those who know your mercy, Lord, will count on you for help. For you have never yet forsaken those who trust in you.

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

·         John 14:1-3  Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.

·         Romans 9:33   God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, “I have put a Rock in the path of the Jews, and many will stumble over him (Jesus). Those who believe in him will never be disappointed.

·         Romans 15:13  I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

·         Rev. 21:5   And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”

After a great magic trick people usually say, “How did he do that?” Even more so, by placing our faith in Jesus Christ we can say: “How did He give me such peace?” “How did He change my thinking like that?” And “How did He cleanse me from ALL my sins?”

He did all these things and more because we have trusted in Him.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Quote from “Wisdom Hunter” by Randall Arthur

  1. Let God have your life. Let wisdom guide your life. Let people be your life.
  2. Evangelism should have as many different approaches as there are people.
  3. Christian growth is the lifetime process of personally discovering what is inherently valuable, and what is not.
  4. The local church should be more than just a preaching station where people come and sit front-to-back as spectators and listen to a one hour lecture before returning home. It should be a spiritual support group where Christians get into one another’s lives.
  5. The essence of the Christian walk is to live contrary to human nature.
  6. An easy, routine way of life which many associate with stability and security only brings  stagnation. Entrenched routine only spoils people and makes them simple and weak. 
On the other hand, progressive resistance in life always has the potential to give progressive strength, and to make us progressively wiser. Resistance makes a person think new thoughts they never thought before. It makes a person ask questions they never asked before. It makes a person seek answers they never sought before. It makes a person beg God for help that they never before realized they needed. These quests, quests of the heart and soul, eventually make a person deeper, wider, and taller.

“You will know the truth and the truth shall set you free”  John 8:32

How often do we struggle with our behavior, thoughts, attitudes and actions? Others may not be aware of our struggles but they are hiding just below the surface. Many years ago a visiting pastor stood behind the pulpit, sharing the Word of God. He was unknown in the church. In appearance he seemed unremarkable. A man in his fifties, glasses, dark hair, dark suit.
            His message was tearing at our facades; who we really were when we were not at church. Did our neighbors see us as our Christian friends did? How about or fellow workers. What version of us do they see?
            Then he drove home his point vividly: “Here at church, people see me as I am right now, smiling and friendly, standing upright, the picture of Christian behavior. But what about on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and throughout the week, is this what they see?” As he said this, he stepped from behind the pulpit and walked slowly across the stage, revealing to us his deformed and crippled right leg. Each step required effort as he drug that leg sideways, causing his entire body to lope along with effort. “Do my neighbors and co-workers see a different person from the one I present at church?”
            Faith in Christ CAN set us free if we walk in the truth.

·         John 8:36  So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed!
·         Romans 8:1-2  So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death.
·         2 Cor. 3:16-17  Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, then the veil is taken away. Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom.
·         Gal. 5:1  Freedom is what we have—Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free men, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again.
·         Gal. 5:13-14  As for you, my brothers, you were called to be free. But do not let your freedom become an excuse for letting your physical desires rule you. Instead, let love make you serve one another. For the whole Law is summed up in one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
·         1 Peter 2:16-17  Live as free men; do not use your freedom, however, to cover up any evil, but live as God’s slaves. Respect all men, love your fellow believers, fear God, and respect the (President).
·         Romans 7:6  Now, however, we are free from the Law, because we died to that which once held us prisoners. No longer do we serve in the old way of a written law, but in the new way of the Spirit.
·         Romans 6:20-23  When you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. Well, what good did you receive from doing the things that you are ashamed of now? The result of those things is death! But now you have been set free from sin and are the slaves of God; as a result your life is fully dedicated to him, and at last you will have eternal life. For sin pays it wage—death; but God’s free gift is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.

Freedom is one of the primary pillars on which America was founded. Over the decades, those freedoms have been eroded and the original foundations have given way to vicious assaults by evil men who do not walk in the freedom of Christ. “Thinking themselves wise, they became fools,” according to Romans 1:22.

True freedom, freedom in Christ, can NEVER be taken away from one who has put their faith in Christ. Just as Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice for our sins (Jn. 10:18), he also guards our lives for all eternity.