Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Do They Know You’re a Christian

Make 2014 a year for sharing

“The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”” – John 5:10

He sat on the curb in his worn shoes and torn jeans with holes throughout.  He hands were covered in the dirt and grime from years of disregard.  He wore a baseball cap that had long faded and dark sunglasses that hid his blindness.  As he heard footsteps, he would lift his cup, but his voice no longer had the energy or desire to speak.  When the rains came, he would rise, steady himself and manage to walk along the edge of the curb, in traffic, to the overpass, where he would sit until it passed.  And so, his life had been for 38 years.  He would beg during the day and sleep under the stars each night.  The little that he received each day would afford scraps of bread and perhaps a cup of coffee each day at the little corner store.

On the opposite side of the road, rising above the overpass, and this man’s small corner of the world was a steeple.  The church had been there for over 20 years and thousands had come and gone every Sunday, Wednesday and other days throughout the week.  His blindness kept him from knocking upon their door for these many years.  The church was right there, less than 100 yards away and yet to him it might as well have been 100 miles.  His ailment, his handicap had prevented his awareness to seek help, love and assistance from the compassionate followers of Jesus Christ. But, where were they in fulfilling their purpose?

Periodically, he would get a rush of passersby that would stimulate his begging even more, but in his blindness he could not detect that they were heading to/from church.  His receipts would generally go up during those times, as the clank of coins hit the bottom of his cup.  There were times when he could hear footsteps, and then make out soft voices saying, “No sweety, we don’t have time to stop, we’re going to be late” or “No honey, if we give to him, he’ll just waste it on drugs or alcohol.”  The comments had made him bitter over the years, so he simply chose not to engage people any longer.

Then one Sunday morning, as people walked past on their way to church, something happened.  A new member of the community had come to the church for the first time.  As he walked past the beggar, he stopped, knelt down and placed his hand upon the man’s shoulder.  In response the blind man raised his cup, but the stranger, gently lowered the beggars arm and leaned forward.  He whispered in the man’s ear and then helped him to his feet.  He placed one arm around the blind man’s back and propped him up.  People kept passing, some making comments under their breath, others just staring in disbelief. 

The stranger helped the beggar across the street, and down the sidewalk to the front door of the church.  Walking inside, the two of them sat in a pew near the back.  Those around them covered their noses from the stench of the blind beggar clothes and hygiene.  The sermon that morning was on loving others as God loves you, not because you deserve it, but because He offers it.  His love is not dependent upon your state in life, your possessions or your back account, it is free and available to every man, woman and child equally.  And likewise, we are called to love others in the same manner.

Your path will cross with 100’s of people each day.  Isn’t it about time you started to love them and care for them in the same manner God loves and cares for you?  In their blindness to His truth, they are looking at you to see if it’s real.  How will they see God in you if you aren’t able to demonstrate it for them.  If you claim to be a Christian, then you ought not be embarrassed or hesitant to tell the whole world about the good news.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2014
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Be Transformed

Make 2014 a year for sharing

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” – Romans 12:2

If you haven’t asked, you will.  Nearly everyone I have come across has at one point and time asked the question, “What is God’s will for my life?”   After a few minutes of talking with them I often times discover that most of them are willing to ask me that question, but very few have actually sat down and asked God to show them.  Many aren’t really interested in knowing the answer.  Because, believe it or not, discovering the answer to this question will likely have a radical change on your current lifestyle, career and friends.  It may involve giving up things that you have become comfortable with, or having conversations with others that make you nervous. 

As Paul boldly states, this is a transformation from who you are today.  It will take a change of character, mind, heart and intent.  It is no longer what “they want”, or what “I want” and becomes what does “He want”.  The first step to understanding God’s will in your life is to realize that it is not your life, it is a life that has been given to you strictly for the purpose of praising Him and bringing Him the glory for all things.  It is a life of serving others and sacrificing instead of wanting.  When we focus on the world’s view, we are driven by temporary pleasure and instantaneous results.  Let’s face it, before most people make any major decision today they first evaluate the outcome of that decision on their job, home, finances and relationships.  Somehow this model must be broken and the first thing we should focus on is how can it help the Kingdom of God. 

Are you ready to truly seek His will in your life?  Over the next week, let’s investigate what Jesus tells us is required to actually discover our purpose and God’s will for our life.

Lord Almighty,
Today we come before You with our mind and hearts open to hear Your word.  We long for direction, even though we know it may not be where we want to go.  We seek to serve You and to live our life in Your grace and spreading Your gospel.  Help us Lord, break down the obstacles and worldly values so that we might see what You want from us.  In Your name I pray – Amen

© Sondove Enterprises, 2014
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Closing the Gap

Make 2014 a year for sharing

“But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by 
faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe” – Galatians 3:22

You are a sinner, as am I.  Every one of us is living in sin each and every day, and yet by the grace of God we have the opportunity to be washed clean of our sinful nature.  You may say that you are a good person, loving and kind; and you would be accurate in describing yourself.  But, the truth is that you are indeed, in all of your goodness, a sinner unworthy of God’s perfect, holy eternity in heaven.

As long as sin abounds in this world and we are in this world, sin will abound in us.  But for those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, this sin is washed away.  You might say that you have helped 100’s or thousands of people in your lifetime.  You might say that you have given to the poor, the hungry, the hurting and those in need.  You may have even donated an organ to another to keep them alive.  All of these are noble, loving, kind and generous; but not one of them will secure your access into God’s eternal peace.  For you see, even the wicked are kind and generous at times.  Those who refuse to accept that there is a God, will help the poverished and needy; and give to charities to help children.  Your actions will not provide your salvation when the judgment day comes.

Examples of our daily sinful nature include: jealousy, greed, envy, cursing, lying, stealing, anger, lust, blame, loose talk about others, vengeance, selfishness and pride.  These seem simple on the surface but demonstrate our separation from God’s holiness and peaceful, loving character.  The world presses down upon us to live for ourselves and to let others do the same, but in doing so we are elevating our standing above others and demeaning their character at the same time.  Some will say that they are not worthy of salvation – the prostitute, the drug dealer, the mother who aborted a baby, the murderer, the father who beat his children, the demon possessed, the wicked and the evil.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Jesus death on that cross shed blood which is sufficient to cover the sins of the world, even yours, despite your worldly opinion.  The evil one will try to convince you that you are unworthy of salvation, but God tells us that salvation is for all mankind, and we are all worthy to be saved. 

This world is filled with billions of people. Yet, if you strip away the worldly possessions and titles, we are all the same.  We are here to love God and love one another, in that order.  The CEO of a Fortune 50 company has no more value on this earth than you or I, when it all comes down to it.  You see, each of us will die one day.  When that happens, the wealth, possessions and titles mean nothing any more.  There is only one thing that matters on that day: did he/she believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.  For from that day forward, their life is in a state of eternal righteousness or evil.  The choice cannot be made after their death, only before.  So, in knowing this, you must decide to take up your salvation each and every day through prayer and asking God’s forgiveness of your sinful nature.  Have faith that Jesus death on the cross, His burial and resurrection will overcome any of the evil in this world and grant you eternal salvation with the Lord Almighty upon that day.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2014
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It’s Your Choice

Make 2014 a year for sharing

“We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”– 1 John 5:19

There are only two kind of people in this world; those who follow the ways of the world (the evil one) or those who follow God Almighty.  It’s not complicated, you either are or you are not.  There is no middle ground, of being sort of saved.  We are all part of the world until such time that we decide that we will no longer remain there. 

The evil one, “Satan”, dwells in the world and is the prince of the power of the air (according to Ephesians 2) and we are all walking in our sinful nature abiding to his authority.  Have you sinned in your life?  If the answer is yes (and it is), than you have become separated from God’s plan of peace, prosperity and eternal life.  We are all born with a sinful nature, dating all the way back to Adam and Eve’s original sin in the Garden.  If you are like me, you likely sin every day in one way or another.  This world applauds sin and justifies it with political correctness and tolerance, rather than stand up for the truth of God’s laws and commandments.

Examples abound:
“Thou shall not murder” – over 50 million babies have been aborted since Rowe vs. Wade. It’s murder.
“Thou shall not steal” – daily 100’s of crimes happen in every major city in this world.
“Thou shall not take the Lord’s name in vain” – Cursing and swearing have become pervasive throughout our workplace, our media and our entertainment industry, and has become glamorized in the process.
“Thou shall not commit adultery” – Over 50% of divorces are caused by an adulterous affair, leaving children to accept this as an acceptable practice.
“Thou shall not lie” – On the lips of every person are the lies and cover ups of their past.
“Thou shall not cover your neighbor’s house” – This society is riddled with the “More, more, more” syndrome.

These are only 6 of the 10 commandments that are abused and imposed upon daily by people all over the world. There are over 600 other commandments throughout the scriptures, and I assure you, the prince of the air is pressing upon each and everyone of us that it is okay to break these rules/laws.

Jesus Christ is the only one who came to this world and lived 33 years without breaking a single law or commandment.  He battled the same temptations, problems and situations that you and I face every day.  The difference is that you and I are prone to pursue our problems from a worldly point of view and He did from an eternal point of view.  Each day we must choose how we are going to face the decisions and problems that arise.  It’s not about the house, the car, the income, the education, the joy and pleasures that come from this world, it’s about God’s love and His ultimate purpose to draw us closer and closer to His eternal being.  We allow the world to shape our thoughts and desires which in essence push us father away more than drawing us closer.

Think about what you are choosing to do today – step closer to God the Father, or step one step farther away and closer to the world.  Every decision results in one of those two things, and you have the free will to choose which you will pursue.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2014
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

You Are America

Happy Independence Day America

“Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people” – Proverbs 14:34

In the 18th century leaders in the American Colonies stood up and decided to make a change in the world.  They chose to stand up and fight for what they believed in.  They stood upon the principles of Freedom, Equality, Peace and Liberty.  Their desire for independence led them to stand and fight against the heavy hand of the Great Britain.  They fought in order to relieve themselves from the burdens of taxation without representation, and against the tyranny of oppression that was placed upon their livelihood in this new land.  They fought for sovereignty and the freedom to pursue life and prosperity without the governing oversight of the British forces.  From 1775 through 1781, the colonial militia fought for their beliefs and their cause.  Many died in the defense of their principles, but after 6 years of battling the British army they were able to defeat them once and for all, upon the surrender of General Cornwallis in Yorktown, Virginia. 

Our ancestors chose to stand for their freedoms, and fight against the corruptness of the oppressive government reign at that time.  They made the decision that their freedom was worth the potential loss, and they gave everything they had to achieve that goal.  Here we are 238 years later.  Are we made of the same character, backbone, courage and passion to stand for our liberty, our freedom and our equality?  In America today we are governed by a Congress, Legislative Branch and Judicial Branch that is as corrupt and controlling as that which our ancestors chose to break from. 

Where is the morality, the equality, the peace that we came together and fought for.  This country is divided into 2 factions, and it is destroying itself from within.  The problems we face are difficult and not for the weak of heart, but it would appear that many are apathetic and could care less.  The majority of the 330 million people in this great country has little concern for the decisions made in Washington.  This isn’t new by the way, and is not reflective of the current administration.  This problem has been developing as long as I have walked this earth, but seems to becoming progressively worse in the last 10 years.  Our lives have become overwhelming busy, therefore causing us to limit our desire or ability to focus on the real issues.  As we strive for our own gain, we have chosen to care less for the whole.  We have become greedy, entitled and rich with blame for others.

What built this country was a strong backbone and desire to make life better for the masses.  What we are left with is a society of individuals focused on themselves and an attitude of entitlement that our lives should be easy.  I stand today to say we are wrong.  This life should not be easy, that was never a promise.  It is hard, but worth every fight.  You have the freedom to achieve great things in your life.  You are free to pray, to the God of your choice, or not to pray.  You are free to speak your opinion and to express your beliefs without condemnation.  You are free to pursue your dreams and visions without the persecution of others.  You are free to equality with every other man or woman by your side.  Not in a financial sense but in the state of freedom that is given to all.  You see, along with these freedoms given to you, is the reciprocal freedom that every other person is entitled to.  You may not agree with their opinions, actions and choices; but they are entitled to them none the less.  

Our forefather’s fought for independence so you and I could pursue that which makes us happy within the guidelines and laws of the new land.  We have abused this right to it’s fullest extent and modified those laws to accommodate the agendas of the few.  We have chosen to create a power hungry governing body that is driven by money, position and authority, rather than by serving their constituents.  Many of our elected officials are attempting to lead with righteousness and integrity.  Many are able to take their eyes off of their own gain and push for the gain of the whole.  To these I say, Thank You, stay strong and press on.  Unfortunately, there are more that are not living righteously and ethically, for the benefit of the masses, but rather for the benefit of themselves and those who have empowered them.  They aren’t the ones to blame though, we are.  Our electoral process has put them into the positions they have.  Because we are living in an apathetic America, we are carelessly voting people into positions of authority, without any idea of who they really are or what they stand for.  It’s the responsibility of every American to educate themselves on the strengths, values, character and ability of the candidates that put their name on a ballet. 

So America, where are you?  What are you going to do to put this country back on track?  Are you satisfied setting on the sidelines and doing nothing, or is there an ounce of courage inside of you that you are willing to put forth to do something about it?  Are you comfortable being apathetic and hoping that someone else will step up?  What if no-one does?  Where will this great 238 year old country be in  5 years or 10 years?  Is your freedom worth fighting for?  Then do something.  Use the courage you are given from your Creator to stand up for righteousness and stand up.  Use the tools around you: Facebook, Twitter, texting, blogging and other means to voice your opinion.  You are a member of this society, take a position with a voice and tell those in Washington what you really think.  You are America, start acting like it.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2014
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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Forever - Amen

Make 2014 a year for sharing

“For thine is the Kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen” – Matthew 6:13b

This verse has been debated because it is not found in some of the early Greek manuscripts of Jesus prayer.  It was likely added by the early Christian church as this was a common doxology, or benediction, to early church gatherings and scripture readings.  It also has roots in 1 Chronicles 29:11, where David speaks of the Lord’s power, glory, greatness and kingdom.

Do not get hung up on whether this verse was or was not part of Jesus actual prayer.  The verse speaks of the truth of the Father and is a respectful, humble way to close a prayer.  For thine = “God”; is the Kingdom = “it is all His, heavens and earth”; and the power = “God is all powerful, all knowing and sovereign over all things”; and the glory = “God deserves all glory, honor and praise”; forever and ever = “eternity is infinite, forever, without end”. 

Over this last week we have looked at the fundamentals of praying to the Father as taught by Jesus Christ himself.  Secular men will claim that prayers are futile and a waste of time.  I strongly recommend that you heed warning to avoid their counsel.  Prayer is a foundational element to building a stronger relationship with God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  Do not let the world tell you that it is worthless and pursue God through a daily moment.  Let your words be true and just as you lift them to your Father in heaven.  Because even in the 21st century – God answers prayers, within His will to do so.

Our Father,
Who art in heaven.  Hallowed be thy name.
They Kingdom come, thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
For thine is the Kingdom and the power and glory forever and ever. - Amen

© Sondove Enterprises, 2014
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