Archive for September, 2010

Difficult but necessary


                “You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I tell you not to resist an evil person.  But whoever slaps you on the one cheek, turn the other to him also.  If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.  And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.  Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away” (Mathew 5: 38-42.)


                Let this sink inn.  This is no small command.  You are never to repay evil with evil, but overcome evil with good.  Implementing this scripture in to your daily life separates those who truly follow from those who don’t.  God bless all of you.

Faith leads to happiness


             Then Thomas, called the twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.  The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”  So he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger in to the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.  And after eight days his disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them.  Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you.”

             Then he said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at my hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into my side.  Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

             And Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed.  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20: 24-29.)


                Thomas, having heard all of the accounts of Jesus appearing to others after his resurrection, said that he would not believe unless he touched the holes in Jesus’ hands.  So the Lord appeared to him and let him touch his wounds.  Thomas fell to the ground and worshiped Jesus and said, “My Lord and my God!”  Although Thomas came to believe, those who would come to believe in the resurrection and the gospel message without having laid eyes or hands on the resurrected Lord were going to be far happier and stronger in their faith than those who needed proof.  The word ‘blessed’ means ‘happy,’ and so those who have a strong faith, are also those who are extremely joyful.

                Early on in my experience as a Christian, I attempted to use my intellect, logic, and reasoning to grow closer to God (although our minds play a part, they are not to rule over us at the exclusion of our hearts.)  As I began to understand that trust and faith in Jesus Christ were not things that could be attained by reason, my faith became stronger, and my joy began to increase.  I needed less proof (although there is a lot of evidence) because it had been replaced with trust in Jesus Christ.  As my trust in Jesus Christ grew, so did the smile on my face; as my faith increased, so I began to focus more and more on the eternity he has promised, and the hope of a future with the God that has created all things; in turn, the struggles of this life that bring most people down, seemed to become speed bumps and not mountains; they became ripples and not waves; the hope and faith in the future has not only made life bearable, but instead it has been conquered.

                Today, you may yearn and desire proof; but you will not know the greatest happiness that comes from simply trusting Jesus Christ without having laid your eyes or your hands upon him.  You can believe him when he says that he will return for you.  You can know that right now, God is watching, and He has a future and hope for you, in an eternal kingdom.  Your joy will increase, and your faith will be like a rock that cannot be moved.  You will begin a new life filled with happiness and love that comes from the eternal God, living inside of your heart.

                “Lord Heavenly Father we come before You and lift You up; You are just an awesome and mighty God.  We ask that You help us to believe, not only with our minds, but with our hearts.  Help us to trust in You, and to have faith in what we have not seen or touched.  We want our joy to be complete, and we want to be blessed, so give us the faith of a child; and fill us with Your Holy Spirit.  Help us to focus on Your eternal promise and the hope of the life to come.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

How dare you talk about repentence


                And he opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the scriptures.

Then he said to them, “Thus it is written, and it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And you are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24: 45-49)


                Jesus was standing before them in his resurrected body while he spoke these words.  They were confused about the meaning of the resurrection and crucifixion.  They had excepted a king on a throne in Jerusalem, not one who had come back from the dead.  Jesus enlightens them about the crucifixion and resurrection, and he shows them how they fit into the scriptures.  The disciples were commanded to begin revealing this same purpose to the world.  The Gospel, the testimony of God to the people was theirs to take forth.  The entire world would have the chance to repent, and to be forgiven of all of their sins through their faith in what was done by Jesus on the cross.  Two words that are very important to note in this scripture are “repentance and remission.”  They are at the heart of the gospel message.  They are both actions, but one is man’s responsibility, and the other is God’s responsibility.  The initial contact point between God and man is faith in Christ; that faith, if genuine, then drives a person to change their behavior in a way that is pleasing to God.  What does “repentance” look like; if a man is sleeping with his girlfriend, he stops; if they are getting drunk, they quit drinking; if they have been lying, they begin telling the truth; if they have been unloving, they begin to love.  Disobedience to God comes to an end, and is replaced by obedience.  The second word, “remission,” is God’s responsibility, and He fulfilled his obligation on the cross (not an obligation, but rather a labor of love.)  Those who accept Jesus Christ as their substitute have received the removal of the filthiness that exists within them.  This is what is known as ‘the great exchange;’ we give Jesus Christ all of our Sin, and he gives us all of his righteousness.  The disease of sin is then put in to “remission.”

                One day, I was reading my bible in the coffee shop, and I leaned over to the gentleman across from me, who was reading as well.  I told him about the book I was reading, and he told me about his book.  He was having a hard time with drugs, and I began to minister to him.  He was without a vehicle because he had crashed it one night while drunk.  He had been attending a couple of church services with a friend, and so I invited him to come with me to a couple of services as well.  He began coming along to feed the homeless, and made some attempts to read the bible; he had a hard time walking away from the drugs and the woman he did drugs with.  We talked rather openly about what would happen if he didn’t repent.  He would often talk about buying a brand new car, as if that would make his life better in some way.  He was living at home and saving his money up for that nice new car.  After some time, he faded away and stopped coming to the fellowships.  I would call him and get no reply; I went to his house to see how he was doing, but I got ‘the cold shoulder.’  Last week, after nearly two years without contact, I received some disturbing news.  Apparently he did get that new car he had so desperately wanted; a brand new 2010 Scion.  Last week he was driving it in the middle of the night while intoxicated and he lost control of the vehicle and crashed; only this time, he hit a 70 year old woman who was walking home from work.  He survived and is in the county jail facing up to 10 years in prison.

                Today, many people’s lives are shattered because they refuse to repent.  Prison is a place filled with people who had every opportunity to make a change but refused.  Rehabilitation centers are littered with individuals who have fought change to the bitter end; choosing some drug over even their own children.  Some will fight with God all the way to the grave, but the grave sadly is not the end.  Hell will be filled with people who died without making that change.  Every flag God raised; every person he sent in to their lives with a warning; every good thing he removed to bring them to their knees was rejected in favor of some lifestyle, drug, relationship, career, or pleasure that suited them.  So many people today are putting off repentance; don’t be one of them.  Whole churches have stopped talking about repentance, because it doesn’t bring up warm fuzzy feelings.  But it is a central part of the message of God, and of the gospel.  Half of the message is repentance (responsibility of the believer,) the other half is forgiveness (responsibility of God.)  Today, don’t be the one that refuses to change.  If there is an area of your life that needs a change, make that change (it’s keeping you from growing closer to God.)    If you are sleeping with a girlfriend, if you are cheating on your taxes, if you are refusing to forgive someone else; whatever it might be; give it up, and give in, and repent and offer yourself over to God fully; allow Him to transform you and mold you and shape you; and you will know true peace, undivided peace, and an incredible forgiveness that will fill your heart and spill over in to the lives of all of those around you.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You today and we ask that You convict us in our hearts of the sin that remains in our lives.  Give us the strength to turn away from evil, and to be forgiven.  Lord we want to be more pleasing to You, and we want to be closer to You.  So please help us to repent; help us to change; help us to be ‘reborn.’  And help us to bear fruit for You Lord.  We love You Lord, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

Two messages a week will be sent to your email address.

Join 6,153 other subscribers