Friday, October 7, 2016

Why - God - Why?

g“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”  – Hebrews 6:10
There was a gentlemen who was struggling with an area of his life and he had pent up frustration and aggravation with God. He had a faith in Christ for years, but was recently feeling abandoned by his Savior. Where had God been in this area of his life to allow the pain and loneliness to set in. For years, this gentlemen had helped the homeless in his spare time. He went out of his way to ensure that one of his families friends, (a single mother with 3 children), was always taken care of regarding food and utilities. This man had mentored teens away from a troubled life and introduced many people to the Christ that he loved so dearly.

With these and so many other accomplishments he had impacted the lives of hundreds of people in the name of Christ. With this report card in his back pocket, he was completely caught off guard when a letter came that shook his spiritual life. His faith was rocked, so to speak, by news in that letter and he found himself blaming God that night and ever since. This feeling that God had abandoned him sank more deeply into his mind and spirit.

This man could easily be you or your husband, brother or friend. His situation is no different than that of millions of people every day. Not one of us is immune to painful and hurtful situations. Your spouse has an affair, your kids are doing drugs, you have an accident which leads to a law suit and you lose everything, you lose your job and can’t find another, the list goes on. It’s easy to fall into a feeling of self-pity, and look for someone to blame when struggles fall upon us. It’s just as easy to turn away from God in anger, disappointment and resentment. After all, how could he have let you suffer when you have done so many good things.

Have you ever been there? We read in Hebrews that God will not forget all that you have done for others in His name. God is just and will keep His promise to you. It states a few verses later: “imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” These struggles are to remind you whom you are placing your trust in. He instructs us that we are to continue to be faithful, patient and diligent in our efforts on His behalf. Through these struggles we are given the opportunity to strengthen our walk with the Lord or to turn away from it and rely solely on our own inherent ability to deal with them. I propose the maker of heaven and earth has a better plan than you do. Be blessed.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

How Can It Be?

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding"  Job 38:4
Think, don’t react, just think for a moment about everything around you.  Take a look at the trees, the bark on the trees, the heartwood and sapwood inside of the tree, the budding flowers as new leaves are formed, the roots stretching far underground and of course the leaves on the trees.  It draws nutrients from the soil, water from earth and from the sky, carbon dioxide from the air and distributes all of this throughout the entire ecosystem of it’s structure so that every part gets exactly what it needs to survive.  It’s branches grow toward the light, it’s roots extend in every direction to provide strength and support, it’s leaves fall off and are recreated and each one is unique in it’s design.  Tell me who designed this infrastructure and ecosystem so perfectly.  Was it Pascal, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Aristotle, Socrates  . . . . .   You get my point, right? 

We know the formula for water, but can we create it?  Can you tell me how to create a single grain of sand or dirt?  Where do I go to learn how to create wood? 

There is a Creator of everything that makes up this incredible sphere called earth, and the universe around us.  He spoke it into being.  There was nothing but an expanse, He spoke and it began.  He is the only one who has created water, soil and air.  He formed the trees, the rocks, the mountains and the depths of the oceans.  He created light from nothing, to shine through the darkness.  The perfection of everything around could not just happen in such intricate detail to sustain itself in perfect harmony. 

Why do we continue to believe that we are here simply by happenchance?  Look at the oceans and the perfect flow of water to the pull of gravity and the rolling waves of the tide as it comes in.  Look at the sky in it’s infinite depths and realize that though we believe we know how far it stretches, there is no way to be sure we have seen it all.  How were the stars so perfectly placed and the the planets in an exact orbit around the sun, so as not to burn up or freeze.  The grains of sand along the shores are so numerous that man is unable to comprehend the number of such magnitude.
If indeed you continue to believe that the perfect environment for our life cycle on this planet called earth was random, then I say there is something that has blinded your acceptance of the truth.  I will always believe and can never be convinced otherwise, regardless of my age, that we were created by God with unbelievable, intricate detail, just like the air, water, beach and sky.  There is nothing about the human that is not known by Him.  He has created us to do amazing things. 

It’s time to recognize that God is God, and He made you perfectly because He doesn’t make mistakes.  You may feel unworthy of His love and attention, but you are mistaken.  For His love for you is unquenchable.  Today is your day to make use of everything He has given you.  So begin by acknowledging that He is the Creator of all things and that He indeed has a plan for you.  Today is your day to do amazing things.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Pascal's Wager

Blaise Pascal (1623 to 1662) penned "Pascal's Pensees" - a collection of his thoughts and ideas.  One was known simply as "The Wager" (#233) and has been discussed for 100’s of years now.

Blaise Pascal was a mathematician, a physicist, a writer and a Christian philosopher, who’s work was the basis for most of the computer language behind most of our applications and operating systems today. 

As much as his logical argument (The Wager) was true then, it is even more true today.
Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists”

I've described it to my children, youth groups and small groups like this:
We can accept that numbers are infinite. There are odd numbers, even numbers, positive and negative, but there cannot be a finite end, for there is always 1 greater or 1 less than whatever number you can think of. We accept that space is infinitely large and infinitely small, because we have yet to reach it's edge. We accept that there is always something beyond what we can see and know. But in relation to time, we see finite limits. 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 52 weeks or 365 days in a year, a certain number of years in a life. Each description of time has a finite definition of length and because we will all die time has a finite end. So, we accept that we are each given a finite time on this earth.

If we choose that this life is all there is and we can only accept those things that are finite, then by logic and reason we can do anything we want and desire in this lifetime, without eternal concern.  This person will live this life without abandon and without fear of consequences based on something they choose not to accept.  They will wager that there is no infinite time of eternity.  It’s not a matter of inability to accept, because we have already demonstrated that they accept the principle of infinity, it’s an unwillingness to accept it.  They are unwilling to risk missing out on what they could be doing in the finite time of their known life, for the uncertainty of a possible infinity of eternity.

On the other hand, some people are willing to expand their thinking beyond what is finite and known, to that which is unknown and that which is infinite.  In doing so they make a choice to live this life in search, in expectation and understanding that the infinite eternity is as real as infinite numbers and space.   These individuals will wager that this life is only a temporary passing of time, with a faith that something greater and infinite in time exists beyond the known.  The choices and decisions this group will pursue in this life will be made with an understanding that it impacts the reward in the infinite eternal reality.  The risk they realize is missing the goodness and righteous infinite reward as a trade off for the temporary pleasures of this finite life.  The fear of this group of individuals is that those who do not agree with an infinite eternity will end up in an infinitely eternal state of Hell, having wagered everything for this life with no worry of the next.

Everyone must participate in the wager, so which will you choose?

As a formula:
If Y then A=G and B=H
If N then A=B
              There is eternity = Y       There is no eternity = N
              Eternal Heaven = G        Eternal Hell = H
              Belief in God = A             No belief in God = B

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Who do You Trust

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."      - Joshua 1:9


The turning of the page so to speak in the Israelites flight to the Promised Land.   Moses had passed away without crossing over the river Jordan and experiencing the joys and abundance the Lord had promised.  Joshua was now to take the reins and lead the children of God into the land God had prepared for them.  Just as Joshua needed to hear from the Lord that day, as I’m sure the emotions were high and the task at hand seemed overwhelming, we need to hear it as we face the challenges in our lives. 

God’s promise was clearly articulated to Joshua on that day.  Joshua 1:5, “No one can stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, I will be with you.  I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  - I’m sure Joshua took that to heart.  I mean if the God of the Universe told me that no one could ever defeat me, I’d be walking pretty tall and confident.  Regardless of what challenge he came upon or who threatened his life or his purpose, he knew without a doubt that God was his protector.  But it required Joshua to be very strict in following the law handed down to Moses, and to meditate on it day and night. 

How much more so are you in need of God’s promise to walk with you daily and be your protector?  I surely have fallen at moments in my life when I was fearful and in need of a certain, strong provider.  Drawing on the faith that only through God can a situation be resolved, forces one to reflect on His promises to us, similar to His promise to Joshua.  Do you recall in Matthew 28:20, “…surely I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.”  These were the words from Jesus to His disciples to encourage them after His death and resurrection.  This same spirit that was given to the disciples is available to you and I, if we so chose to accept and grab a hold of it.  Also, I’m sure you’ve heard Paul’s words to the Hebrews, in the 13th chapter the 5th verse “… Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”  The same claim from Joshua 1:5 is recalled here by Paul in his epistle to the Hebrew nation, not by co-incidence, but carefully thought out and perfectly structured to encourage them and us 2000 years later.

We need to hold true to these promises of Jesus Christ and those of His disciples recorded in the New Testament.  God is our provider, our comforter, our strong tower and our protector.  He will stand before us against all enemies and protect our rear from evil that might approach unseen.  You can trust in God’s promises to His children just as Joshua did as he led them into the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey.  Pass them on to your children, and their children.  The God of the Universe is with you everywhere you go and will not forsake you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Get Off the Sidelines

Many have been tossing around this scripture as a word for the current state in America.

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

Who are "my people, who are called by my name" referenced in this scripture?

Considering it is from the Old Testament, a word from the Lord to King Solomon (son of King David), my understanding is that it would reference the children of Israel. Continuing in 2 Chronicles 7:19-20 . . .
"But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name." 2 Chronicles 7:19-20
So what makes American's believe that 2 Chronicles 7:14 references America? I believe we are a Christian nation, not because God has ordained America as such, but because our founders as a collection of individuals, who based on their faith, put forth the values of freedom, diversity, peace, unity, respect, truth, upholding the law and love for our fellow man as the foundation for this country. These values align hand in hand with those values of the Christian man.  But, be clear that a Christian in Bangladesh, China, Brazil, Canada, UK, Germany or any other country has these same principles. So, what makes us believe that God has had his hand on our country and not theirs?
My belief is God has His hand on His people, which after the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Christian nation (worldwide) is grafted with the Israelites into this group of people. Not based on the boundaries of our nation, but by the belief and commitment to Him and Him alone.
Has God removed His hand from His people? No, He has not. The perception of Americans as a "Christian nation" has caused us to believe that He has, because we are feeling the pressure of the evil of this world more than we ever have in the past. In the last 20 years we have allowed this evil to grow as we have slowly removed God from the school, the courthouses, businesses, conversations, life/death decisions and so much more.  So, in recent times we are seeing the result of these actions, as described in 2 Chronicles 7:19-20.  In taking this scripture (2 Ch. 7:14) to a global scale though, God’s hand is very much still on His people.  More people are coming to the Lord in countries all over the world including Africa, the Middle East and the Far East; where individuals are passionately seeking His truth as the escape from this evil.
God's hand is still on His people, but because many of today’s "Americans" tend to focus more on ourselves than we do on Him, it certainly feels like He has removed His hand from those of us in America.  We have allowed this to happen and yet it still seems as though it has snuck up on us over time.  Many times we turn a blind eye to what is going on and leave it to others to deal with on our behalf.  It is this complacency that has brought America from where we started to where we are today.  If you feel that God has removed His hand from America, than I must ask, what are you going to do about it?
Just like our fore-fathers, you must get involved.  Sitting on the sides will not resolve the problems we face today.  I propose that we stand up.  Take a stand for the truth that is at the very heart of our countries foundation.  Stand up for your fellow man, love others, take your eyes off of yourself and look to help your brother, your sister and your neighbor.  Work hard at fighting back against the wave of evil that is spreading throughout our society and lift up the wisdom of God as our supreme guidance rather than the wisdom of man.  Focus your prayer life on the Church, the Government, the education system and the media; that God will make Himself visible and known there.  Standing on the sidelines and watching it happen around you is representative of your willingness to accept the outcome, which may be even farther away from God than it is today.
If you aren’t engaging others with this conversation, than I suggest you begin doing so.  We control our actions to promote and stand up for God’s Kingdom.  They can’t take that away from you, but they will continuously try.  Become a warrior for Him and He will keep His hand on your shoulder the whole way.

What are your feelings, thoughts and advice in regards to the situations we are facing?
How can I help you strengthen your walk, your faith, your prayer life?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Where are You Focusing

Let me ask you a simple question:
Is a world view in line with or opposed to a Godly view?

If you believe that the worldy view is opposed to a Godly view, you would be in line with the writers of the scriptures. For you see, this world is driven by man's self interest, greed, comfort and success. God's view is driven by the peaceful, humble and loving servants heart, where ALL can live in harmonious concert with one another, lifting praises only to Him.

Through mans choices, we have influenced the state of this world, and in doing so have allowed evil, greed and selfishness to blur our vision of what God intended as a paradise for mankind to live. Each day we must make choices on how we are going to live, and each day we must reach beyond the desires of this world to grab ahold of something much greater.

We are all in this together. It is not a church thing, a religious thing, an atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish or Christian thing. We are all guilty of destroying the peace and love that God had intended for us to live within, and it is not a 21st century thing. In thousands of years we have not changed. Anger, deceit, lust, pride and greed have flowed through out blood for that entire time.

But, you can make a change today and tomorrow. Focus on loving mankind, praising God the Father and seeking His will and purpose. In doing so we begin to close the chasm and push back the evil in this world.

"You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.” " James 4:4-6

Thursday, June 23, 2016

It's not About You

The self interest that is within each of us drives our decisions, our reactions and our choices in any given situation. It's inherent in our human nature to want the best for ourselves and our families and in most cases we are willing to go to battle for those things when confronted. 

We need to take a look at the bigger picture though. Just because we believe something is best for our family, doesn't mean that it is. We have limited knowledge and as such we are constrained in our ability to see what may ultimately come from these decisions. Who might get hurt, what dynamics around us are impacted because of decisions we make? 

God is all-knowing and all-seeing. He alone has a perspective that can see the end before the beginning. What we must learn to do is rely on His knowledge, wisdom and guidance; and put aside our own desires and interests. 

God is not a Santa Claus though and just because we want something doesn't mean it will come to pass. He alone knows what is good and righteous and kingdom building. We are often found taking the blessings provided by God and using them to satisfy our own needs without expanding His kingdom at all. 

Can you imagine that if everyone who prayed to win the LOTTO actually won. The payout would be only slightly more than the cost of the ticket. God's hand is not in the LOTTO drawing. God is into blessing those that will share that blessing with others, and become a stronger servant as a result of doing so. 

Few men have this characteristic, mind you, and often those that do are quiet in the shadows, unknown to you and I. A braggart is doing nothing but trying to draw attention to themselves. Focus on going to the Lord with sincerity in your heart and asking to be blessed, that you might share that blessing with others, all the while giving Him the glory.

" What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." James 4:1-3