Thursday, December 10, 2015

Study is Encouraged

You Owe it to Yourself and Your Family - Study as if Your Life Depended on it

I love mathematics and statistics.  I've reviewed the work of Peter Stoner numerous times over the last 10 years and still find it amazing to fathom the simple impossibility of any other person in all of history to be declared the Messiah, Anointed One, Χριστός (Greek), מָשִׁיחַ (Hebrew), Son of God, God's Only Son, Savior.

Consider there are over 300 Messianic Prophecies written in the Old Testament; over the course of 900+ years, by no less than 20 authors.  There have been an estimated 88 Billion people since these writings.  The chances of 1 person from this group of 88 Billion fulfilling only 8 of these 300 prophecies is greater than 1 x 10 to the 17th power (17 zero's behind the one).

As an analogy; cover the state of Texas, two feet deep with silver dollars.  Put a single red dot on one of those dollars.  Blindfold a person, and place them at a random place within the State of Texas. Ask them to walk as long, and far as they would like and then pick up one silver dollar.  The odds of that one dollar have a red dot are equal to the odds of one person fulfilling 8 Messianic prophecies.

What the chart below shows though is that Jesus of Nazareth, is that 1 person.  Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Read the scriptures and judge for yourself.  If you are making a judgment on His deity or existence without actually doing research into the topic, then I can assure you the outcome of your assessment is questionable.  Because this is, without question, the most important issue in one's existence, I implore you to spend the next 2 weeks leading up to Christmas to truly evaluate the evidence that is laid out in the Scriptures.  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Beatitudes: Pure in Heart

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. " - Matthew 5:8

I used to think of this verse and imagine what it would be like to see God.

Just imagine waking up on Sunday morning and beginning your process of getting ready for church. You know, making the breakfast, getting the kids dressed, brushing their teeth and hair, trying not to spill anything on their recently laundered outfits. Amidst all of the chaos, you are trying to keep yourself calm as you see the big hand on the clock moving progressively closer to the time you must leave. Once all of the kids are ready, you have a whopping 10 minutes to get yourself dressed and ready. If your house is anything like mine, this weekly ritual makes it very difficult to ready one's heart and mind for the Lord.

Now imagine, waking up as the sun is rising, the house is quiet, the kid's are still asleep. You make your way through the dark hallway to the kitchen to get that first cup of coffee and spend some quality "me" time before the chaos. You see a figure seated at the kitchen table with 2 cups of coffee, the aroma filling your senses. Your first inclination is to scream and run for the phone, then you see him smile, and his eyes fill you like a warm embrace. You suddenly recognize Him as your loving Savior, and you hurry to His side, falling to your knees before Him. A soft voice says, "Rise, my child. Come, let's walk." and He hands you your cup, blended perfectly with the cream and sugar. Emotion overwhelms you and you reach out to embrace the Son of God. Together, you walk with Him out the back door and along a path leading from the back yard into the woods and down by the river. For the next hour, you and Jesus Christ walk, talk, laugh and cry together in an emotional reunion. Upon the return you have one last question for Him. "Lord, why did You come to me today and not before?" With a smile upon His lips, His eyes soften and He says, "The only difference my child, is that today you recognized My presence, rid of the world's worries and concerns." With a smile, an embrace and kiss on the cheek, He is gone. The only evidence of His visit was the warmth upon your cheek.

Reflection on Scripture:

Jesus stood on the hill in Capernaum on that day sharing this wisdom with His disciples and the crowds. Do you think they understood? Keep in mind that many of them were of Jewish culture and heritage. They had seen God have personal relationships with their ancestors, Kings, Priests, Prophets and His chosen messengers. I suppose their understanding of Christ's words were that they must do something in order to purify their hearts and then they could also see the God of Abraham, Jacob and David.

We need to realize that it is impossible to make your own heart pure. This goes back to man's exhaustive propensity to sin. As long as sin is part of your existence you cannot discover purity in the Lord. The grace of God enables you to come to the table pure of heart. You see, by accepting His gift of grace and the redemptive qualities of His mercy on your sins, you have become worthy, through Christ, to be in God's presence. There is no other way. As much as people want to "see" the Lord to satisfy their quest for His existence, it is not until they have accepted His existence and grace that they are able to see Him. How surprised those on that hill would one day be to realize that they were actually sitting there with the very God they longed to see, but were unable to comprehend it.

So, how about you? Would you recognize God if He walked up to you?  Do you really want to see God?  If so, how would you act differently than how you are acting today?  What are you going to do to change this?  The advantage you have over those on the hill that day is enormous, but you have to act on it. Accept His saving grace and redemptive spirit and join into a oneness with the Lord. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Beatitudes: The Merciful

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. " - Matthew 5:7

Showing mercy takes love, courage and compassion. Being able to completely forgive someone for what they have done and remove the guilt and anguish that is so often associated with unrighteousness requires mercy. I think you will agree that it is difficult. I have seen mercy, in legal terms, described as receiving an acquittal even though you yourself confessed and testified of your own guilt and the jury have found you guilty without a doubt. Can you picture in your mind a time when mercy has been shown to you? Likewise can you picture a time in which you were able to demonstrate a heart of mercy to someone else? Many people find it hard to demonstrate mercy in a world where an eye for an eye is the norm.

As Jesus portrays the image of righteousness for those present on that hill in Capernaum, He paints a picture of God's love and forgiveness. Through God's mercy our sins are forgiven and likewise we should strive to forgive others. We see additional references of this in the book of Luke, the 6th chapter and 36th verse, "Therefore be merciful, even as your Father is also merciful." This representation of God's love for His children is manifested throughout the scriptures, both in the Old Testament and the New. We are endowed with His blessing when we are able and willing to be merciful to others. This blessing though is caught up in the realization of God's mercy in our own life.

You see, we all need God's mercy in our life. For the redemption of our sins is required for eternal glory with Him in heaven. But it doesn't stop there. For you see, even though God's mercy washes away the guilt and shame of the sin, the very nature of our humanity is to sin again, and we will. It is God's grace that provides us with salvation. We don't deserve it, it is provided without warrant and there is nothing we can do to earn it. It is truly a gift without merit because God so desires for your presence in heaven with Him rather than seeing you condemned to the lake of fire for all of eternity. Grace and mercy go hand in hand. Grace, through Jesus Christ, is God's plan of salvation while mercy is His forgiving compassion for our transgressions.

I had a mother share with me this example of the difference. If Charlie threw a ball through the window, and his Dad forgave him with no punishment. That is mercy. If his Dad went one step farther and took Charlie out for ice cream afterwards, that is grace. Live as one with a heart of mercy and watch how God uses that love and compassion to mold you more into the likeness of His Son.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Beatitudes - Seeking Righteousness

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” – Matthew 5:6

I am on a diet again. It seems like I am always on a diet. A terrible thing to do during the holidays, when there is so much wonderful food and deserts available everywhere you go. The older I get the harder it is to control my waistline. I have discovered that the general cause though is over indulgence. Going from one extreme of strictly reducing calorie intake to the other extreme of eating every sweet I can get my hands on. What a viscous treadmill we are on as we try to control the very essential needs of our body. Food and water are requirements for sustaining a healthy lifestyle. This basic necessity has always been there and we all know the anguish of going too long without one or the other.

It is no different with our spiritual walk. There is a basic necessity, inherent in each of us, to be fulfilled and to find our purpose. Face it, you have asked the most common question at one point or another in your life, “Why am I here, and what am I supposed to do with my life?” It is the most commonly asked question in the world today and I propose that it has been for all time. In the days of Peter, Matthew, John and the other disciples the same question was asked. Imagine Matthew being raised in a strong Jewish home with vision of becoming a Pharisee, Priest or Scribe. Yet, he ends up becoming a tax collector and persecuting his own people for taxes and exorbitant fees. What happened in his life to push him away from the culture in which he was raised? With his knowledge of the scriptures, from his youth, he knew of God and the Jewish laws. He worked for Rome and likely did very well for himself. Physically I’m sure he never hungered or thirst for anything. So as a wealthy man of those days, he must have been longing for something more and asking himself “Is this it? Make money and then die.” I imagine that he hungered for a real purpose and a sense of justice and righteousness in life. For, when Christ looked at him and said “Follow Me”, he did.

A hunger in your life for purpose and fulfillment is fostered by a belief that there must be more than your current state.  I find myself frequently feeling, that each morning I wake up to the same high level itinerary: breakfast, commute, work, commute, dinner, some family time and off to bed; only to wake up 6 or 7 hours later and do it all again.  Whether you, like me, are seeking a more meaningful contribution to society and a more spiritually connected existence with your Creator – I propose the root desire is to make a more substantive contribution to the justice and righteousness of the world. The Lord is able to fill your desire when it is for the goodness and righteousness of His Kingdom. Some will seek more in life for selfish and self-centered pleasure and when it has been accumulated, will continue to find themselves hungry and thirsting for purpose. You see the world cannot satiate the emptiness inside. This can only come from the One who created you for righteousness and glory. Seek Him and your quest will come to an end and your real life will begin. Be ever thankful for what you have been given in life, and continue seeking His blessings on what you will do from here forward.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Beatitudes: An Eternal Inheritance

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" - Matthew 5:5 

Who are the meek? So often the word is associated with weakness and timidity. As Jesus stands on a hill, outside of Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee, He is addressing a mixed crowd of Jewish leaders, laborers and gentiles. Amidst this crowd are folks just like you and I. Some are angry with God, some are afraid of God, some are unbelieving and some are arrogant and self-righteous. As He lay out the guidelines for those seeking heaven, there is a pointedness to His statement about the meek. For in this situation I believe Jesus is referring to humility.

I was attending a conference on "investing for success" a few years ago. Speaker after speaker came on stage and laid out their ideas for breaking through the barriers which separate the extremely wealthy from the not so wealthy. Do this, do that, give us your money and trust that we will invest it and make you rich. Instant pleasure, the shortest path, easy money; people, by their general nature, are self-serving as were the people gathered on that hill listening to Jesus speak. It's not our fault you see, it goes back to original sin. Man has never been content with life. There is always more than what we have, and as far back as history goes man has been seeking it.

What Jesus is telling the Pharisees, tax collectors, Sadducees, Scribes and commoners on that hill though was contradictory to that inherent belief. For to find true wealth meant to humble oneself as the "meek" did. I imagine people left that hill confused on that day. Just like the conference I attended, they had come expecting to hear the key to breaking the bondage of oppression and finding their way to success. What they heard was the opposite.

So the lesson for us, 2000 years later, is no different. True success and wealth is found in serving, humility and meekness; and I don't mean weak or timidity. Love others, seek those who need help and do something about it. The wealth you seek should not be of this world, but of eternity. The money and possessions you gather here is worthless after you die, and face it, you are going to die - right? This doesn't mean that money and possessions are evil. Actually, they’re not. The love of money and possessions is. Seek wealth so that you may expand His Kingdom and bring more people to a relationship with Christ. You will be fulfilling Jesus' direction in Matthew 5:5. For you see, the true inheritance is in heaven not in this world.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Beatitudes: Blessed are the Mourners

"Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted. " - Matthew 5:4

Losing someone is difficult for all of us. There is no easy way to transition from a moment when you are embracing a loved one to the moment of saying goodbye for the very last time. With the death of a loved one, there is an emptiness that consumes those left behind as they struggle with the emotions that have been nurtured, protected and strengthened over years and even lifetimes in many cases. Relationships are built on trust, love and forgiveness. I have known individuals who have lost a loved one and had unfinished issues with them. The inability to forgive or receive forgiveness has haunted them for years after the death. Likewise, there are those who did not have the last opportunity to share their feelings of love with the deceased, leaving them feeling guilty and no means of escape.

We learn from these experiences not to leave unfinished business or empty words with those we love. But, how do we resolve the past events? If you have ever been to a wake or a funeral you know how difficult it is to comfort those in mourning. There is a song by Casting Crowns titled, "Love them Like Jesus", which discusses the difficulties of bringing comfort to our fellow brothers and sisters in times of mourning; but it also reminds us that God is the ultimate provider of comfort in all circumstances. While being 100% God and full of the sovereignty and wisdom of God; Jesus was also 100% human with the complexities of emotions and feelings, the same as you and I.

If you recall, even Jesus wept. He wept at the tomb of his friend Lazarus, and over Jerusalem; as even He mourned their fate and their lost direction in life. His weeping was out of love for the children of Israel. Knowing that He would be with them only a few more days before the crucifixion and their faith and understanding were still lacking. We are asked to stay by their side and love them like Jesus would love them. Empathy, love and just a mere presence is often times the right anecdote. Many times the best thing for us to do is to hold someone's hand and cry with them.

We are reminded by this verse in the 5th book of Matthew that those who mourned will be comforted by God the Father in a way that man cannot. Even in those circumstances when we are angry at God because we wanted His intercession and miracle, His love doesn't change. Three words put together make an incredible impact when understood: God Loves You. It is not to be flippant or taken lightly. You see God's love is the only true constant. There are no requirements, conditions or circumstances that cause His love to increase or decrease. By first accepting this, we then need to understand that His love for you is exactly as the love He has for those who are mourning, and the same as the love He has for the deceased. Comfort is provided to those who are mourning by the loving embrace from the only true source of unconditional love - God the Father.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Beatitudes - Poor in Spirit

"Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  Matthew 5:1-3

For the next week or so we are going to look into the Beatitudes. A portion of Jesus Sermon on the Mount captured in the 5th through 7th books of Matthew. I relate the Beatitudes to the guiding principles required of the disciples then and even today. Jesus takes this opportunity to preach a sermon to the masses and lay out what it means to follow Him. In doing so, He is establishing the vision, mission and expectations of being a disciple. The words that are contained herein are set apart from what the Jewish leaders, and society were expecting from a Messiah. There was a belief that the Messiah would come and overthrow the Roman government and establish a new government under God, similar to what they had experienced in the past under the leadership of David, Solomon and others.

But, on the back side of Christ's life we are privileged to see the distinct difference from what Jesus came preaching and what the men and women of that time were expecting. Jesus was building a following based on the ethical and moral value structure contained in these scriptures, which contradicted the Jewish leader’s belief that there was a hierarchy through the Sanhedrin, Pharisees and High Priests. The contradictions were considered outrageous by some, confusing to others and inspiring to a few. These would become His closest followers and disciples to build His church upon.

"..poor in spirit.." Clearly Jesus is not just referring to those in poverty, but those in spiritual poverty. So, what does it mean to be spiritually poverished? Lacking for spiritual wisdom and understanding, Needing spiritual intervention and transformation. It was a guideline for the wealthy as much as it was for the financially oppressed at the time. It was a message of justice between classes, where in it was not based on how much you had here on earth, but how much you understood you were lacking to get to heaven.

"..theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Now this could be considered blasphemy, heresy or just plain arrogance in the eyes of the Jewish leaders of the day. For who was this man from Nazareth claiming to know who was entitled to the kingdom of heaven. Their years of education, studying, training and preparation had readied them for those decisions, so He must be a con-man and leading these people astray.

So, put the two together and we discover that those that realize they are not worthy of heaven, and cannot get there on their own are the children who are in line to experience heaven. This realization brings them to the foot of the cross, seeking the wisdom and knowledge of the only One who can get them to heaven. These are the poor in spirit. The rich in spirit are the one's who think they have it all figured out and know all the right things to do to get to heaven. Their piety and pompousness will lead them to feel threatened by Jesus Christ's words and ethics lessons.

Isn't this still the case 2000 years later. The Beatitudes are as valuable today as they were then, in teaching us the ethical and moral values towards the treatment of others. In what area of your life are you rich in spirit? How are you going to shed some of those encumbrances? We are called to be poor in spirit, and pliable, teachable and open for the Lord to work within us. This should be your goal as a Christian.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Let There Be Peace

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” – Colossians 3:15

The joy we can experience in life is completely dependent upon our ability to seek it with our heart.  There will always be others who have a difference of opinion or perspective on something in your life.  Your choice is in how you choose to deal with that difference of opinion.  In most cases, when we feel passionately about something and another offers an opposing view, we become defensive and try to justify our position.  The simple fact of the matter is that you both are probably right, based on the life experiences that have led each of you to this point in your respective lives.  This is not to say that we shouldn’t hold firm to our beliefs and convictions, but we must also understand that the other person has that same right.  Joy is taken quickly when frustration ensues and tempers rise.  Finding peace is only accomplished through patience, love and enough grace to understand that God has created each of us uniquely.

We are created uniquely with a personality, gifts, talents, passions and desire in a way that can best glorify His purpose in our life.  This is a great thing in that when we are joined together our experiences, our passions and our desires can complement one another for the greater good of the whole.  This requires acceptance and understanding of the uniqueness of each individual, and the grace given to each to create a stronger body of believers.  What you and your brother or sister in Christ have in common is greater than the small differences that separate you.  Accept them for their differences and embrace the bigger purpose that God has placed before all of us to further His kingdom on earth through love, grace and mercy.  Pursue the challenges we face as humanity, bound together by the common good from the Father above.  In the 1950’s there was a song that went something like this:

“Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me
Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be
With God as our Father, brothers all are we 
Let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony"

Be thankful for the love we have been given from God above and for the grace He has demonstrated through the redeeming sacrifice of His Son.  In this world you will have trouble, but God has overcome the world and has brought you eternal life.  In that you can be thankful and filled with joy.  Be blessed my friends and bless others in the process.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Time Management 101

“Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years” – Genesis 1:14

Everyday we are making decisions in life.  Decisions on what to wear, what to eat, what meetings to attend and how we spend our time.  We attempt, as best we can, to manage life in 24 hour increments.  We have allowed the to-do list to overwhelm us and as a result we have lost sight of the things that are truly important in life.  Of course, I am speaking in general, not in regards to any one life, but society as a whole.  We tend to be consumed with the frivolous while the meaningful matters slip to the side.  Time is a commodity that cannot be recreated.  You are given a finite amount and are asked to manage it appropriately.  It has never increased nor decreased.  The same window of opportunity in each given day existed in the life of David, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Paul, Peter and the others; as exists for you today.  Great leaders of the more common era had the exact same allotment of time in their day as you do, but I propose to you, that they took control of their time in a more manageable fashion than you and I are doing.

The sun rises on each day with a newness for you to do great things for the Lord.  We think about those in history that have changed the world, some for better, some for worse.  They woke each morning to a sunrise and through focused attention drove towards a purpose that was greater than themselves.  It wasn’t through intellect or riches that visions and goals are obtained, but through passion and purpose.  When the sun set on their day, they would stop, refocus and lay out their plan for the next day.  They would re-energize and rest, to take on the obstacles that they knew were on the horizon.  Rather than look to others to solve their problems they took the responsibility on themselves. 

God created the heavens and the earth to be inhabited by those who love Him.  He gave us day light and night time to dwell within His paradise, not to try and consume it and control it.  From the moment of original sin though, mankind has continually attempted to do just that, to control the things within our purview.  I propose that is the single biggest reason some people resist the opportunity to give their life to Christ.  The act of submission, of releasing authority and control to another is counter intuitive to the very sinful nature that we are born with.  The realization that following Christ requires one to humble themselves and submit their life to the purpose that God has called them too is frightening to most.  I’ll be so bold as to say that most self-proclaimed Christians have not truly embraced this calling in their own life; including myself.

The 24 hour window that God has provided for us to serve Him is consumed with serving our own pleasure, desire, habits and ambitions.  We must work, we must provide for our families, we must feed and nourish our bodies.  But must we sit for hours in front of the computer or TV; or shopping, or seeking entertainment to avoid our boredom in life?  Really?  I ask you, how is any of that expanding or helping the Kingdom of God on this earth.   Here’s a question for you to contemplate: “Do you long for the opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus and praise Him endlessly?”  If Jesus walked amongst you today, would your calendar and “To-Do” lists change?  God did not create this world so you could draw farther from Him, He created it so you could draw closer to Himself.  We aren’t here to celebrate our life, we are here to celebrate Him and His presence amongst us.

In Psalm 100:3, the author writes; “Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture”
  We are to follow Him, because He created us to do so.  You did not make yourself, and choose to be born, and thereby have no real authority over what you were created for.  You truthfully should have no control over your purpose in this life, other than following the One who has created you. So as you plan your next 24 hours and you make your next “To-Do” list, I ask you to seriously consider the impact you will be making for God’s Kingdom based on the items you have written down.  Then ask yourself, “What am I going to do differently with the next 24 hours knowing that I belong to God, and only God?” Make your life important in His Kingdom, not in man’s world.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Right Where You Are

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”  – Proverbs 19:21

We all think of it as destiny, or some with a more romantic perception may consider it to be serendipitous.  But, have you ever considered that you are exactly where you are in life because that is where God wants you to be?  I’ve worked in the computer technology market for over 25 years, for 4 companies.  In that time frame I have lived in Michigan, Florida, Massachusetts and now in Texas.  I have turned down opportunities with other companies in California, Colorado and North Carolina to stay on a career path with more stability and stronger potential.  In each occurrence when head hunters (recruiters) would call there is always that temptation to leap, to take a chance and do something different with my life.  There is the pride and arrogance that goes along with being sought out by others which is normally propagated by the person on the other end of the phone.  They get paid dearly to make me feel as if I’m their only candidate and they are hopeless if I don’t come aboard.  It’s easy to let their sales pitch begin to work in your mind and actually create a new dream, but how do you know if it is from the Lord, or for your own glory?

I believe that God does steer our lives through our careers, education, relationships and yes even where we live.  Paul, Peter, Luke, Mark and John made themselves available to the Lord, to travel all throughout the Mediterranean Basin to preach the Good News to all that would listen.       Their education varied from the highest honors available through the universities of that time to nothing at all.  They came from very diverse career backgrounds from doctor to tent maker to fisherman to writer and philosopher.  They did the work that was required to put food on their tables each day, which provided them the opportunity to preach the gospel wherever their feet might have landed for the day.  Today we get so wrapped up in what our career is that we forget our purpose.  When we look at our mentors and the early Christians, they were wrapped up in their purpose and often times didn’t even think about careers.

God’s established a purpose for each of us, that is unique to our capabilities, knowledge, talents and passion in life.  His purpose doesn’t change because we get an inkling to pick up and move  or pursue new opportunities.  His desire and plans for your life are established without dependence on your lifestyle and career choices.  Take Saul of Tarsus (Paul) as an example.  He was highly educated and had the deepest desire to become the best Pharisee known in the land of Judea.  He studied the scriptures day and night, argued and challenged others to equal his knowledge and commitment to the law.  God’s plan for Saul was unforeseen in his own plans for his life.  There is no way that Saul had anticipated the engagement with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus that day.  Yet, despite his past education, knowledge and choices, he quickly realized that God’s plans for his life were very different than his own.  He chose wisely to follow God’s plan. 

The route that Saul had taken in life led him to that very spot on the road that day, filled with knowledge, conviction, wisdom and passion in life.  Had God been working in his life unbeknownst to him to prepare him for this step?  I believe the answer is yes.  I believe that God’s finger was in his creation, his childhood, his education and his passion for knowledge.  Did God’s purpose include Saul persecuting Christians?  Perhaps.  I say this not because I believe God would want anyone to be persecuted, but it is conceivable that after his conversion Paul’s testimony would be all the more powerful having come from such a heinous background.  Paul’s credibility as a scholar of the scriptures and as a truly converted Jew of Roman heritage was a strength in his testimony all throughout his teachings.  Numerous times he uses his past as an example to others that God’s grace and love is for all mankind, even someone as malicious and evil as himself.

Your life up to this point has not been a series of random acts.  God has been working with the choices you have made in life.  If you, like me, have chosen to pursue career paths that take you to different locations, God will use all of that experience toward His purpose in your life.  Look back over your life, take an inventory of the skills, talents and passions that you have accumulated and then ask God in your prayers tonight: “Lord, how can You use these skills for Your kingdom?”  He can and He will.  You have to be willing to let Him.  Are you? 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Think You Would Throw the Stone

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”11 “No one, sir,” she said.“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”  - John 8:10-11

We have all come to the point in life where we had to go outside of our immediate feelings and take the “high road” so to speak.  Not easy and most of the time avoided.  Christ knelt in the dirt of a street in Jerusalem where a group of authorities had gathered around a woman.  With anger in their eyes and hatred in their hearts they were determined to unleash their own version of wrath upon this woman for the sins she had been guilty of.  His blue eyes cut through the anger, the venom and the superiority which poured forth from their hearts.  His words forced upon them the reality of the truth in their hearts.  The truth they knew in their heart is that they were just as guilty of sin as was the woman before them.  Each of them came to the same conclusion and walked away reconsidering their anger.

So many of us struggle with accepting and loving those that we see as blatant sinners.  Can you honestly look at any other person with eyes of judgement without first looking at your own sinful actions?  You can dislike their actions, their choices and their disregard for God’s commandments, but what gives you the right to condemn them?  If you live as if your sins are forgiven through God’s grace and treat others as if their sin is not, are you not extending your authority beyond your rightful place?  God alone can judge a man’s soul for eternity and though you and I may feel as though we understand God, we are completely wrong.  For God is beyond human comprehension.
Love them.  Forgive them.  Help them to understand the righteousness that God has made available through His loving grace and forgiveness.  A truly fulfilling love of Jesus Christ will create within you a heart with a desire to serve and follow His commandments in all of their truth and righteousness.  Sin becomes apparent and one is driven to their knees with a desire to be forgiven, redeemed and made whole within. 

You need to know, regardless of where you are in life, what you are holding onto and what you have done; that you are a child of the one true God.  You are worthy of His love, His forgiveness, grace and salvation from the past that haunts you.  Christ tells you, as He told the woman on the streets of Jerusalem, “Neither do I condemn you, go forth and sin no more.”

Your Best Friend

Friendships aren't born, they are created over time.  Strength comes from trust, love, humility, honesty and sacrifice.  One typically will go out of their way to help a friend whenever possible.  There isn't a blood bond, but many times there is a heart bond that is even stronger.

Take a moment to evaluate your friendships.  Ask yourself what is the foundation, what is the basis of your friendship.  What are you putting into it, and what are you expecting to get out of it?  What have you given up, what have they?  What are you willing to give up to keep it?

Now evaluate your relationship with God.  What is the foundation and basis for your relationship?  What are you putting into it, and what are you expecting from Him?  What have you sacrificed to follow Him?   What has He sacrificed for you?  What are you willing to do going forward to keep your relationship with God?  What do you expect Him to do for you going forward?

John 3:16 tells us "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.  That whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but shall receive eternal life."

He has given it all for you.  Are you willing to do the same for Him?  There is no more valuable relationship in your life than to strengthen this relationship first and foremost.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Starting Over

Born again?  When Nicodemus came to Jesus and asked “How can a man be born when he is old.  Certainly he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb” (John 3:4)  When you were born, you came into this world having spent 40 weeks developing in your mother’s womb.  You drew blood, nutrients and oxygen through your mother’s umbilical cord as your body developed from a single egg.  Within days that egg, once fertilized, split into two cells, then four, then 8, 16, 32, . . . . and so on.  With each doubling of the cell count, God’s hand was forming different parts of who you would become.  Your nose, eyes, hands and feet became perfectly formed the way He so chose, based on what He had in mind for your life.  Eventually hair follicles grew and eyebrows, lips and finger nails – He made you exactly the way He wanted to.  You did not do this, nor did your mother or father.  Certainly, they started the process, but God created you.

At the point of birth though, you began a journey that reacted to the stimuli of the world.  You cry, you laugh, your personality was formed based on the love, compassion and struggles of your infant years.  As your brain gathered data from your surroundings, God’s original Masterpiece was being transformed into something less perfect by His standard.  The world was your university and where your knowledge was drawn from.  The more you learned from those around you, the less you listened to God inside of you.  Therefore the separation you feel from the Holy One is creating the tension in your life.  You have experienced perfection and your mind knows the original feeling of being held in the God’s hand.  The time you spent with Him during the creative process inside the womb formed your original thoughts and dependencies.  Life is a struggle because you realize there is more than what this world can offer you.

God is the only one who can fill that burning desire in your heart for more.  Money, fame, prosperity, sex, drugs, adrenaline and other people cannot fill that void.  For you see God wants to re-create within you a new thing once again.  Now that you are older and have formed your own perspective on life and views of the world, He wants to build upon the passion that He put inside of you.  Only God can draw this purpose from you.  What He put in your heart and mind can be drawn upon to fulfill a purpose that He designed from your original creation. 

How can a man be born a second time?  By accepting and acknowledging God as the sole creator and Lord of your life.  It is not a physical re-birth, but a psychological and mental re-birth.  Giving of one’s self to God Almighty, to be used for His original intent and to live for Him rather than for the world.  This is the new thing He will create, this is the re-birth of a child of God.  Haven’t you been sitting on the sidelines long enough, wondering what you should do with your life?  It completely rests in your hands to make that decision today.  Accept Jesus Christ as God’s only Son, sent to save the world from our sins, and create a way for us to live eternally with God the Father.  Accept Him as Savior and Lord of your life, and give Him back control, so He can use your life as it was intended from the beginning.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

I hope live

When the world stops for just a moment, and your breath is taken away by the sudden realization that you are not in control, what do you do?  It's beyond comprehensible to believe that you actually have control over the events in this life.  Can you choose not to blink, not to breathe, not to swallow, not to love?  Certainly, but because you are not really in control, all of those will happen anyway.

Three weeks ago I met my youngest grand daughter for the first time.  Today we lay to rest one of my best friends.  The greatest thing is that in both instances, I am witnessing the grace and love of my Savior in action. A child is born into this world, not of their own doing, but of the forces around them.  A child takes their first breath, not because they want to, but because they have to.  A child is instantly immersed into this world with no understanding or knowledge of what lies ahead, and through their life experiences will become who God has intended them to be. I propose that 99% of us step into our eternal rest, outside of our own doing.  For it is destined for each and every one of us once to die.  We can force an acceleration to this event, but we can't avoid it.  It's not in our control to say we will live forever.

What happens between birth and death is the purpose of this life.  It is either lived to bring His love to others or it is not.  There is no other real purpose.  Sure we get up in the morning and take on the day's challenges with drive, ambition and desire to succeed; but there is no real eternal purpose in that.  If, in this life we are looking for the real purpose, it is in loving others, helping others, sharing His grace and love with those we meet and leave them with the realization that we just passing through.

I hope you are able to laugh today.
I hope you are able to love today.
I hope you are able to forgive today.
I hope you are able to live today.
Be blessed my friends.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

You can't hide

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:8-9

It is so easy to justify our actions at times, and create the illusion that everything is ok. If you are like me, you are really good at putting on the false impression that life is good when you are breaking inside. How many of us have been in the middle of an argument when the phone rings. Picking up the phone the attitude changes, the voice changes and the pleasantries come out. Most of the time it's pretty easy to deceive others into believing that everything is just fine.

The problem is that when we try this with God it doesn't work. I chuckle as I think about the times in my life when I have tried to put on the righteous face for prayer time, when I know my heart is bitter, angry or hurting. How silly of us to think that God doesn't really know what's going on inside of our hearts and minds. I believe it is His desire to hear us bring that before Him, and seek His help in forgiving or dealing with our problems. You need to realize something, there is nothing, yes nothing, that you can bring before God that is going to make Him stand back in amazement or disgust. He created you, and before you drew your first breath, He knew you. 

Do you believe that? Do you believe that God created you? If so, than you must also believe that the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth is not surprised when you have done something wrong. After all, what makes you any different than the 20 billion or so people that have come and gone on this earth over the several thousand years since Adam and Eve were in the garden? Is there something different about you that no other human being in history other than Jesus Christ himself has possessed? Face it, you're not coming up with any original sins. The things you struggle with, I struggle with and so do millions of others. The key for you to realize as a confessed believer in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, you have the power and authority to bring those sins to God Almighty, with a heart of true repentance and receive complete forgiveness. Yes, complete forgiveness.

God promises us in Psalm 103:12, "as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." So here is your geography challenge for the day. If God throws your sins as far as the east is from the west, how far would you have to travel to retrieve that sin? Folks, (tongue in cheek) we all have a long way to go to overcome our sinful nature, and walk perfectly in God's eyes. As a matter of fact - you never will, so quit deceiving yourself. Take a few moments each day to come before God with a repentant heart, seeking righteousness, and truly ask for forgiveness. In doing so, God removes the unrighteousness as stated here in 1 John. Try it tonight before you go to bed. Stay strong and be blessed. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It's Too Complex for Mankind

"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?  We were created by God with unbelievable, intricate detail as well.  There is nothing about you that is not known by Him.  He has created to do amazing things.  It’s time to recognize that God is God, He made you perfectly, and He doesn’t make mistakes.  Today is your day to make use of everything He has given you.  Ready, Set, Go !

Monday, October 5, 2015

His Creation - Welcome Kimber Elizabeth

His Creation

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” – Jeremiah 1:5

The amazement and wonder of a child’s eyes as they first come into the realization that they have a brother or a sister sharing their home.  I was incredibly blessed by our Father in Heaven once again yesterday (October 4th, 2015) with the birth of my newest Grand Daughter – Kimber Elizabeth Dicker.  I was in the waiting room with her Great-Grandmother, her Grandmother, her Aunts
and Uncle (my children), and her Sisters (my Granddaughters, all 3 of them), when her Father, William, came down to tell his little girls that there was a new baby.  The joy, the happiness and love in their little faces was unbelievably precious as they hugged their Daddy. 

It was about 25 minutes later, when William came down stairs to the waiting room and asked me to join him.  As we walked into the labor/delivery room; my emotions were in my throat.  I first saw my oldest, my baby girl lying on the hospital bed, exhausted, yet so and full of love.  My heart pounded in my chest to come to her and hold her, and help her find rest, peace and comfort.  Then my eyes shifted to the newborn babe, Kimber Elizabeth was placed into my arms for the very first time.

As a Grandfather, the first time you see the child of your child is a surreal experience.  Your mind is flooded with the memory of when her mother was born, 26 years ago.  In that moment while I looked into the beautiful face of Kimber, I recalled, crying over Jayme when she was born, and promising her the world.  Kimber’s eyes were wide open, she stared up into mine and cooed while sucking her fist.

This child in my arms at that very moment, was closer to God the Father only 1 hour earlier than she will be throughout the entire rest of her life.  She was created by Him 40 weeks prior for a unique purpose that only she can fulfill.  He has blessed her with everything she will need throughout her life on this earth.  He whispered to her spirit for the last 9 months the secrets of His Love, His Kingdom and His Peace.  Kimber had been in the presence of God the Father only moments before she lay in my arms, and as I prayed over this child, the very spirit of the Lord was flowing through the room. 

We all enter this world, and take our first breath.  From that moment on, there is no moment in your life where you will be filled with the same closeness to heaven.  The feeling is real though, and buried within each of your souls.  You too spent 9 months with the Father in isolated development before birth.  At the heart of each of your souls, you know what His love is like and what it is to be unconditionally loved.  For each of us we spend our entire lives looking to fill that void, that emptiness inside, because we know what is should be like.  Yet, everything around us we try falls short of the intimacy with God the Father that is ingrained subliminally into your being. 

There is nothing in this world that will do.  Relationships, sex, drugs, work, alcohol, partying, rebellious behavior, money nor material objects will ever fill this void.  They all bring temporary pleasure, which fades in time and is often times replaced.  The problem isn’t in these things, or in your desire to be filled, to be satisfied.  No, the problem is in the example that has been set.  The bar has been set so high in your Psyche, that nothing will achieve it in this world.  Eternity with God the Father is the only thing that will satisfy this longing.  A relationship with Jesus Christ will bring you as close as you can possibly come in this life.  For the perfect love that He brings will overcome anything the world may bring against you.  Each step you take closer to the Savior is an expanding realization that you are coming closer to God the Father, and rekindling the intimacy you once shared. 

Welcome to our world Kimber. Follow your heart lil one, and stay upon the righteous path, which leads to Jesus.  Do not fear, for you have a loving family right here to help guide you every step of the way.  I love you more – Pops.


© Sondove Enterprises, 2015
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Friday, October 2, 2015

Is Gog Emerging

“And I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them." – Ezekiel 39:21

Three words that people often times forget about when they think of the Lord: “smite”, “wrath” and “forsaken”.  Perhaps because we don’t want to think about that part of God’s character because it creates fear and requires that we actually try to abide by His guidelines.  There is references throughout the scriptures that God is Holy, Perfect and Righteous and at the same time Vengeful, Jealous and Omnipotent.  As such, as is demonstrated in Kings and Judges and throughout much of the Old Testament; He has very little tolerance for those that choose to refuse Him and the love He has offered to the world. 

  In the times before the Messiah came to the earth, mankind dealt with the realization that there was a God through the Prophets: Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Zephania, Zecharia and Malachi just to name a few.   They were intercessors and communicators from God to the children of Israel and Judah, delivering instructions on how to live within God’s plan, and what would happen if they did not.  Kings, Priests and Governments listened intently to their every word to better understand how to serve the one true God, or in some cases how to battle against His people.

  So, did God’s character change?  Is God still a God of wrath, judgment and vengeance?  The answer is unequivocally – Yes.  The book of Revelation was revealed to John, the beloved, while banished to the prison Isle of Patmos.  In this book Jesus Christ, Himself, reveals to John what will happen in the last days.  War, pestilence, suffering, death, destruction and inhumane acts from one upon another will envelope the earth and those that remain during the tribulation.  There is much discussion on whether that includes or does not include the believers and followers of Jesus Christ.  Many, including myself, believe we will be taken up before the tribulation, but there are just as many that believe we will all go through tribulation and then be drawn up.

  The reality is that the day is coming that God will unleash His wrath once again upon the earth’s inhabitants that have refused to accept His love and saving grace.  The time is coming when according to Ezekiel 38 and 39, we will see God, Himself, defend Israel in a manner of such magnificence that all mankind will know that it was God and nothing else.  As tensions mount in the Middle East, are we nearing the realization of a prophecy from 2700 years ago before our very eyes?  As we watch the unveiling of events in the high tension areas of the world, one must wonder if we aren’t drawing ever so near to the last days. 

  This then begs the question about your own salvation.  Should war break out in the Middle East, and God shows His wrath upon those that attack Israel, where do you stand in your belief and relationship with Jesus Christ?  Based on the current tensions in Russia, Syria, Turkey, Iran all surrounding Israel; war is very likely.  Will it take the actual realization of this war to convince you that the Bible and all that is within is God’s own Truth revealed through man?  If you reference other prophecies from Ezekiel, Isaiah, Daniel or others, you will find the majority have already come to be.  Is that enough to convince you of His existence?  What is it that you are waiting for?  

  God’s wrath and judgment are very real and will bring bitter pain and suffering to those who refuse to follow Him.  The scriptures of war, destruction and vengeance in the Old Testament are all the proof you should need that mankind cannot withstand the wrath of God and I can only believe that come tribulation and ensuing judgment day will be greater than anything recorded in the scriptures of old.  You are right in fearing God, but you are also covered by the grace and love of Jesus Christ as your mediator and intercessor between you and God.  He has taken the wrath intended for you and I and carried it to the cross where He became the sacrifice for our iniquities.  Therefore, we will not receive the full wrath of God as we deserve, as those in the Old Testament did (reference the Midianites, those in Sodom and Gomorra, and the Philistines).  We experience the full love, grace and mercy of the Lord in our life, because we follow the One True Messiah – Jesus Christ. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Discovering the Root of Your Will

“Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.” – Isaiah 56:1

Have you ever noticed that the longer you focus on doing things that are right and just, the more difficult it becomes.  Especially when there is little recognition or evidenced results in the situation.  We are designed to seek self-proclamation and attention when we are doing good things.  By the nature of our human psyche we often times do things simply to boost our own image and our own recognition.  Yet, even though it is natural and common place, it does not justify the abstraction from the glory and presence of God. 

Doing good works and helping others is a representation of those who are following Jesus Christ’ teachings and striving to grow in their Christian walk, but it is not unique to the Christian church.  As the scriptures tell us in James 2:19, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”  Muslims, Buddhists, Hari Krishna’s and even atheists do good works to bring glory to themselves.  What makes good works from a Christian more meaningful to the recipient then good works from any of these groups?

God has placed a purpose in your heart and mine to do good works for His glory.  Putting aside our selfish and prideful thoughts, and simply help others with the intent that God is lifted up.  We draw others to Him through our actions and allow them to gain a better understanding of His love, peace and grace as a result.  Seeking justice must be present in our actions and this often eludes mankind, for justice is often hard to grasp from the perspective of the Lord.  What is just in His eyes vs. what is just in yours?  If others receive benefit at your expense is this justice?  As long as His glory is revealed and His name is praised, than yes it is. 

His return is soon upon us, and we are told to be busy about His business and sharing His love and words with others.  So we must ask ourselves, how busy are we?  If He were to return tomorrow, would you be found busy serving others on His behalf?  It is my hope that you are drawn to discovery of how you can serve as we draw closer to His time.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Reliable News is Hard to Find

{God said to Ezekiel} “I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.” – Ezekiel 37:22

Did you read the news today?
Was it a paper, or was a it a web-site, or did you watch it on your favorite cable channel?
Of course you believe everything they are telling you right; because we know they don't have an agenda or any intent of convincing you toward their interests.
How many of the news outlets you "trust" on a daily basis are telling you what will happen in the year 4715?  I would suggest that they have a hard time telling you what will happen next month or in 2016.

Let me introduce you to Ezekiel.  One of many authors of the scriptures we call the Bible.  He walked the earth around 700-600 BC.  He was a prophetic man, which means he heard from God directly on things that would come to be.  His prophecies detailed future events relating to the children of Israel.  He prophesied about their hardships, their scattering, and their gathering back to their land along the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea. He then went on to prophesy of the wars that the Israelites would face, and their ability to overcome opposition from around the world.

Fast forward to 1948, when they were at war with Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.  They overcame those countries attacks and established themselves as a sovereign government from that point to where we are today.  'm very serious - over 2700 years ago, this man of God, wrote on parchment with the ink from fruit trees at the time of a war that would take place on the soil of Israel, in which the Israelites would overcome impossible odds and reclaim the land given to their ancestors (Abraham, Moses and Joshua).

Is there a single person in our midst today that could tell you and I what will happen in 2700 years?  No.  I don't believe so.  But, we have written proof that he prophesied this and it acutally came to pass, just as he said it would.  Doesn't this at least peak your interest to know what else this man of God prophesied and cause you to at least be curious as to if his other prophesies will come to fruition in our very near future?

If you trust CNN, FoxNews, Yahoo, Huffington Post, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, etc. etc. etc. when they are frequently wrong on modern day stories, why aren't you able to trust this man who has proven time and time again to be accurate in his prophetic writings?  You may believe the Bible is a fictional story, but there are numerous demonstrations of these events over time that are without doubt or question factual.  Perhaps you might want to reconsider the validity of the scriptures once again.

Do You Still Day-dream?

"At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children." - Matthew 11:25

As children our minds were filled with imaginary friends, games and situations.  I absolutely recall imagining hitting the home run with bases loaded to win the World Series for my team.  I recall imagining being the hero on the white horse saving the damsel in distress from the evil madman.  But now, many years later, when I close my eyes the problems of the day materialize in my mind.  Worry about the bills, the project that’s late at work, the kid’s schoolwork, my health and the other 10 million things going on at any given moment.  It seems impossible today to relax and calm myself enough to actually allow my mind to get beyond the stress of living.  Are you in this same boat?

God doesn’t want us worrying about these things though.  He asks us to trust Him and to cast our worries upon Him.  As we carry these burdens in our daily lives we become unproductive and unable to serve Him with everything we have.  I’ve found that it helps to imagine myself sitting in the grass next to God Almighty when I am completely stressed.  Filling my heart and mind with His glory and His presence, and recognizing that everything I have and everything I am is His.  I can do nothing without Him.  The sooner I am able to come to this realization the sooner I am able to breathe in His beauty, peace and love.

Let the imagination of your childhood fill your mind and heart once again.  There will come a day when you will be standing before the Lord, in all of His glory, majesty and wonder.  Until that day comes though, you can imagine yourself face to face with Your Savior and relinquish your worries and cares upon His shoulders.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Breathe Through It & Tell Them All

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”  - Joshua 24:14-15

Did you breathe? When the news caught up to you that your loved one was gone, did you breathe; or was the sheer emotional trauma such that you were left in stunning disbelief?

Death of a loved one is something that cannot be prepared for. Even in the circumstances when we know it is coming the event of one's last breath is in most cases overwhelming. There is no way to prepare the heart or the brain for the absence of one's presence, and when it happens, nothing can stop the memories from showering through the veil of deterministic hardness.

My friend, Terry, lost his father this week and I ask for your prayers and condolences to be upon him and his family as they celebrate the life that was and the eternity that lies before; while still suffering with the mourning and loss of their beloved.

In this though, I also ask that each of you take record of those around you. Your parents, grand-parents, siblings, spouse, children, grand-children, friends and extended family. Every one of them will die, and though it is not a pleasant or joyous thought it is a reality. You, through your relationship with them, have some responsibility for what happens the moment they take their last breath.

If you have done nothing to understand their faith in an eternity with God, the Father; than do not jump to the conclusion that it is indeed secure and sealed. Take the step of sharing the salvation story with each of them. If you don't, are you certain that someone else will? If you are challenged by having this dialogue with the most precious people in your life, how deep is your love for them. If you have shared and they have chosen otherwise, then your prayer closet should be filled with their picture and your prayer life overloaded with their name upon your lips. Each must choose for themselves whom they will serve, but it is upon your shoulders to at least share your belief, so they have an understanding.

Don't claim to love them, and not be concerned about their eternal rest. For they will see death one day, and that day is not within your control. So, I suggest you be busy about his business, as if it were the most important thing to do with your day.

Peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, be upon you and your family Terry - I love you brother.