Archive for December, 2010

Warning against harming children


                “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he was drowned in the depth of the sea.”


                Children are filled with goodness and a natural faith.  Evil seeks to corrupt and defile what is good.  Children are innocent, and for the most part, adults desire to keep them from experiencing things that can rob them of their innocence.  God is an enemy of anyone who would actively seek to harm any child; Jesus forewarns about the harshness of the punishment for such actions.  The punishment is so harsh that death is a more desirable option.

                [This illustration is rather intense; I felt led to share it because it accurately describes the warning of this scripture.]  I grew up in a home with a stepfather who was a child molester.  He was a Boy Scout troop leader and a respected lawyer in the community.  He was also very skilled at hiding his evil deeds.  He molested many in my family (including myself), and many in the small community where I grew up.  This man robbed so many children of their innocence.  Some of his victims went on to lead sinful lives as a result.  Many became alcoholics and drug addicts.  Most victims struggled through life as they attempted to deal with the pain he inflicted upon them; relationship problems, psychological disturbances, job difficulties; I believe one victim even went on to commit suicide.  Yet, while his evil went unseen by others, it didn’t go unseen by God.  God’s wrath was being stored up; after over 11 years of robbing children of their innocence, he was led away from his law office in handcuffs and publicly shamed; in one day his entire life suddenly became a nightmare.  Truly, it would have been better for him “if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he was drowned in the depth of the sea” (just as Jesus proclaimed in this scripture.)  The judge sentenced him to decades in prison.  Everyone he had known turned their backs on him; his freedom was taken; his clothing, his work, his family, his privileges; a comfortable bed was exchanged for a cot; his suites were replaced with prison issued clothing.  We later learned that he was most likely being sexually abused in prison.  The very atrocities he had brought in to the lives of little children were being visited upon him.  He eventually died in that place.  (I can only hope that he accepted the Lord before his death.  I have forgiven him of what he did because God has given me a new heart.  But his life is an example of how God’s wrath comes to visit those who harm children.)

                Today, as believers, and as Christians, we should seek to protect children from the evils of the world.  We have to be careful about how we behave, and what we might expose the innocent too.  Movies for instance that are inappropriate for certain ages should not be watched if they could be harmful to the development of a child.  We should use proper speech, and behave in a ways that model Jesus Christ.  Children have the Lord as their defender, so we should tread carefully, and always seek to edify them, build them up in the faith, and protect them from evil.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You now and we lift You up.  You are just an awesome and mighty God.  We pray for all those who would seek to harm a child, and we ask that You would enter their hearts and transform them.  Please continue to protect children from those who would seek to abuse them or destroy their faith in Your Son.  And Lord, help us to be good examples to the youth that are in our lives.  We don’t want any of our actions to cause children to behave in a manner that is not in keeping with Your will.  Help us Father to be good examples, and good role models.  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. 

Praising God; Personal Testimony


             A blind man calls out to Jesus saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” […] So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to him.  And when he had come near, he asked him, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?”  He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.”  Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.”  And immediately he received his sight and followed him, glorifying God.  And all of the people when they saw it, gave praise to God (Luke 18: 40-43.)


             There are two people in this scripture; a blind man, and God; there is a man in need, and there is the God who can fulfill that need.  The man’s belief in God’s ability to provide him with his sight was worthy of praise from God.  Jesus himself pointed to the man’s faith saying, “your faith has made you well.”  God honors faith in man, while man honors God by praising Him for the needs that He fulfills in the lives of those who ask Him.  The man who was healed followed Jesus and outwardly praised God’s miracle.  Those who witnessed the healing, as well, gave praise and honor to God for what he had done.  What is it you need? 

             Before I new Jesus Christ I was sitting in a one bedroom apartment, doing drugs and hording things; staying up all night, thinking of killing myself.  I had an answering machine that was completely full of messages (I was fearful of listening to them.)  I had a warrant out for my arrest; I had no money in the bank; I had been writing bad checks; I spent some time in a psychiatric facility.  I had already attempted suicide but failed.  I was smoking cigarettes out of the trays because I couldn’t afford a new pack.  I believed I was one of the world’s smartest people and that no one truly understood me.  I couldn’t hold down a job, or even look for one.  Laziness had swallowed me up.  I was watching huge amounts of pornography.  My laundry was dirty, there was garbage lying around my apartment.  I had nearly died of an overdose; in that moment when I was near death, I cried out to God, “Jesus Help me.”  I didn’t know it at the time, but as I look back, that was the moment my life began to change.  Jesus Christ began his work in me.  Everything I needed, he began to provide.  Soon after I was shipped out to California to get sober; I began working full time; I began showering, doing laundry, paying bills.  I began to get healthy physically; I began praying daily and growing closer to God.  I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior, and began to read the bible on my lunch breaks.  I bought a car, and began to pay off my old bills.  I started to call my family.  I discontinued fornicating, and watching pornography.  I started to tell other people about what God had done for me; I started buying things for strangers, helping orphans, doing ministry.  Today, I sit and listen to people and take time to give people rides.  I teach bible studies and pray for others.  I look around my room today and it is neat and tidy; the books are neatly placed upon the shelves, the floor is clean; my laundry is hanging and folded.  Everything is swept and in order.   I no longer smoke cigarettes, chew tobacco, or drink alcohol.  I’m working full time in a care giving field.   I love and feel deep empathy for other people today.  My heart has come alive.  My mind has been healed, and the insanity has left me.

             I had cried out in desperation just like the blind man, and just like the blind man, I had been healed.  The man I am today is not the result of my doing but of God’s doing.  My life had gone from Chaos to order because God is Good; because he hears the cries of those who seek Him.  God receives all of the honor, and all of the glory, and all of the praise for the dead man He brought back to life.  Praise God for all of his wonderful works.

             What chaos remains in your life?  What insanity is their still inside of you?  Cry out to Him and He will hear you.  Ask Him in desperation and your needs will be met?  For God is good, and He can and will provide you with a miracle, if you are only willing to ask Him, and let him lead you!  Life for you will never be the same; give Him that opportunity.

             “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You now and we thank You for all of the lives that You have changed.  You are so awesome, and so praise worthy.  So we praise You now.  May all honor and glory be Yours.  Give us what we need Lord, and increase our faith, that we may know Your power and experience Your goodness.  Heal us now from anything that is a sickness in us, and give us new hearts, with new desires.  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.             

No Fellowship, No Faith


                “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them” (Mathew 18: 19-20.)


                God has always desired to dwell within groups of people.  In the Old Testament, the Jewish people wandered in the desert for forty years.  They traveled from place to place, setting up camp where ever God directed them too.  Everyone had a tent, but God dwelled in the tabernacle tent, set up right in the middle of the people.  The idea being, that God was at the center of their nation; He was brought them together.  The Jews shared many things; language, ethnicity, physical features, common practices; but only God could make them one.  Jesus said that in order for him to be present among them, or in the midst of them (dwelling at the center of the group), two or three, or more had to be gathered together.  The Lord promised that their common prayers would be answered by God.  God was meant to be shared; God was meant to bring the believers together; it was impossible to separate fellowship from a true belief in Jesus Christ.  This was reflected when Christ taught his followers how to pray.  He taught them to pray saying, Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven; and give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us; and lead us not in to temptation, but deliver us out of the hands of the evil one; for Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever, amen.”  There is no ‘I’ or ‘my,’ in this prayer; instead there is an ‘us’ and an ‘our.’  God is to be shared between people.  He is meant to be at the center of every relationship, of every group, and of every heart.

                I have been privileged to answer prayer lines at church.  Many callers are in very serious spiritual conditions.  Many are in drug addiction; some are noticeably intoxicated over the phone.  Many have serious emotional problems.  Many are also stuck in some sin; adultery, fornication, dishonesty, etc.  One thing seems to tie many of these struggling people together; when asked where they attend fellowship, many say, “I don’t attend fellowship anywhere right now.”  I ask them, ‘are you a part of a small group bible study;’ many reply, “No, I used to be, but not now.”  I ask, ‘where are you serving;’ they answer, “nowhere, but I have been thinking about getting involved.” I say, ‘do you have any close friends or Christians you talk to on a regular basis;’ often the answer is, “No, not really.”  Somewhere along the way, many got the wrong impression; they came to believe they could have a relationship with Jesus Christ in the absence of others.  They began to move away from God, and the result was selfishness, isolation, and disconnection.  Closeness with God is often directly proportional to a person’s closeness with others.  God brings people together, sin pushes people apart.

                Fellowship is essential for all who believe in God.  Without communion with other believers, there is no way to share God and experience the true love of Jesus Christ.  Our faith is not exercised in a vacuum; God hears common requests that are lifted up to him in gatherings.  If you are not in a group fellowship, or involved with other believers, how can you practice the faith?  If you have always isolated yourself, it’s time to know the true power of love; the true fullness of the faith; a true connection with the body of believers; it’s time to allow the Lord to answer your requests as they are offered up in love.  Go to your church; find a bible study that works for you.  Make friends and begin to call them and pray with them.  Get involved in serving others in the church and in the community.  Share yourself with others.  Come to know your eternal brothers and sisters.  Gather together and give yourselves to one another in the bond of peace, and in the love of Christ.

                “Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  They Kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  And give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us, out of the hands of the evil one; for yours is the kingdom and the power, and the Glory, forever and ever, Amen.  Father we desire intimacy with others, and closeness with them.  We ask that you would help us now to let go of isolation, and begin to build true friendships with others; help us to enjoy gathering together with other believers, and give a heart of true unity.  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.     

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