Friday, June 13, 2014
One of my favorite movies that I can watch over and over and never get bored watching is Tombstone with Kurt Russel and Val Kilmer. It conveys the movie version of the Earp brothers and the famous battle at the O.K. Corral. At one point in the movie, it seems like the Earp brothers are on the receiving end of a losing battle. The town of Tombstone has been overrun by a group of notorious gang of cowboys known by the red sashes they wear. They have a disregard for the righteous law and instead seek their own vigilantly style of disbursing judgement where it benefits them them most including keeping most of the town under their proverbial thumb. But things change when Wyatt Earp moves to Tombstone along with his brothers Virgil and Morgan and their wives in hopes of starting a new life..
But like all bad guys, the cowboy's don't like the law that the Earp brothers want to enforce in town and soon things get out of hand when Morgan is shot and killed, and Virgil is wounded so much that he can no longer act as Sheriff of Tombstone. Wyatt believes that it is based on his willingness not to take a stand as sheriff leaving his brothers with no choice but to right the wrongs. The movie takes a dramatic turn when the remaining Earp brothers pack up all their belongings and high tail it out of town, leaving the cowboys to their own brand of justice once again. In fact they mock the Earp families on their way out of Tombstone.
But that is not where it ends by a long shot. You know that Wyatt Earp, a notorious lawman quick with his guns isn't about to let this go without a justice being disbursed. In fact, one of my favorite lines of the movie is when Wyatt is about to board the train out of town with his family when the cowboys attempt one final ambush on the Earp's and Wyatt and his cohorts come out of the shadow and kill them all except for one man, Ike Clanton. He cautions him to take a message back to the rest of the cowboys, "you tell em' I'm comin', and hells comin' with me!"
And so begins Wyatt's cleasing of the earth of all the cowboys wearing red sashes and taking back all the unrighteousness they have been wrecking upon the towns they oversee.
But there is a day coming on earth, when God will do just the same to the inhabitants that are left here that didn't take the short cut to heaven by believing in the salvation of Jesus Christ before the rapture of the church. Now when the Tribulation is about to be unleashed, God's only reason for doing this is pretty much just like Wyatt's. He has given them all plenty of opportunity to repent, meaning stop doing wrong, accept Jesus Christ as salvation and follow Him. God is so patient and merciful, because He doesn't want anyone to perish.
Yes, even all those child killers, wife beaters, murderers and people you can't help but believe are so evil everyone else looks like a saint in comparison. That is the reason we shouldn't be glad when we hear people say, "I can't wait for God to judge that person, I hope he goes to Hell!" Or "They will get what they deserve one day, I just hope God comes back now!" We shouldn't rejoice over anyone being judged by God and cast away from His presence.
Every one of us deserves such judgement, but he has shown mercy to us in Christ and allowed us to experience his forgiveness and salvation. It is His nature, (meaning God's) to love and to forgive. He doesn't want to judge people but He must. Why must God judge people?
Because God is not only loving, but He is also righteous and holy. He cannot look at sin. Habakkuk 1:13 says of God, "Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing."(NIV)
This is the reason for Jesus Christ to come to earth and die for our sins. Because if He didn't, God couldn't stand to see us stand in His presence. It is only through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ that when we accept what He has done for us, and ask for forgiveness of our sins, we become covered by the blood of Jesus. God no longer sees us as sinful, but saved. God required blood sacrifices to atone for all sins and when Jesus came He paid the price for ALL of our sins, past, present and future.
But only those of us that have accepted the gift of Jesus Christ's sacrifice and salvation that ONLY comes through a belief in Him will have the gift of heaven when we breathe our last breath here. There is NO other way!
We can never be good enough to get to heaven on our own, no matter what kind of godly lives we live. How do I know that for a fact, it's simple. The Bible states it as truth. In Romans 3:10 "As it is written: THere is no one righteous, not even one." (NIV)
Every person believes that they are good but others aren't. How do we determine what is good, we have to take the Bible's stand for what being good means. Otherwise the standards we set for what is good is up for debate. One person has their opinion and someone else believes something different That is why we need the absolute truths the Bible defines as the standards in which we all must measure up to. Getting to heaven isn't about being good enough, on our own merits, it's only through being forgiven. Those are the only people you will find in heaven. Those that have found forgiveness in Jesus Christ, and in Him ALONE!
God takes no pleasure in judging the wicked. Ezekiel 33:11 states, "As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their wicked ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!" (NIV)
It is not too late, but it will be one day. Don't you want the assurance of going to heaven when you die? Don't you want to know without a shadow of a doubt that when this life ends, it won't be THE END? All you have to do is believe that Jesus Christ was God's only Son, sent here to save you through His death on the cross. That He rose again on the third day and now sits in Heaven. Ask Him to come into your life and to forgive you of your sins. .Turn away from the sinful life you were living and instead ask Him for help to live a godly life. Without Him, you can't do this on your own! In Jesus name, AMEN!
If you sincerely prayed that prayer with your whole heart and meant it, I want to welcome you to your future home when this life is done. Who knows when the rapture of the church will happen, but if it comes after you prayed this prayer, you won't be here to see Hell coming to Earth. You will be in heaven safe from the Tribulation that is coming. When is it coming? The Bible says no man knows the day, but it will come. Don't wait until it's too late. You never know when your number will be up! Have that assurance today! If you don't take God up on this opportunity today, you are rejecting His offer by not making a choice. Hopefully you will make the right one. In fact, I have prayed if you have found your way here today, it is not by accident. God is calling your name. He is calling you to come to Him! Try Jesus, there is NO other way!
Thursday, June 12, 2014
"Just remember, six inches for Jesus!"
That saying has lasted in my mind since first hearing it during Michael's 16th birthday party from his sister, Danielle, a young women that is wish beyond her 17 years! She was explaining that some of her dating friends seemed to be glued to the hips and to help avoid unnecessary temptation, she reminds them to remain six inches away from one another, six inches for Jesus in order to stay spiritually and physically pure until marriage.
Wise advice indeed and one I have quoted more than once to my daughter who has just begun to date her first boyfriend and both of them wishing to stay pure until marriage. But temptation is hard at times. Is six inches really enough?
But where does temptation even come from?
Satan wants to undermine our faith by using various deceptive schemes to entice us to sin, sowing within us the seeds of doubt, unbelief and rebellion. Two of his very powerful temptations were those of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, in which he achieved his purpose, and of Jesus in the wilderness, in which he failed. These two instances show that Satan's favorite device is to tamper with the word of God.
The Bible encourages Christians to stand firm in the faith and to watch out for temptation. God promises to help us resist temptation, and He assures us that He will not allow temptation beyond what we can endure. As our compassionate and sympathetic high priest, Jesus, who has experienced human temptation, is ready to bring our prayers for strength in times of temptation before the Father.
Temptation must not be confused with God's testing of our faith as a way of strengthening it, for God never entices us to sin against Him. When faced with confusion of what to do, consider what God's Word says about anything. His Word is 100% reliable about any decision that goes against what He has commanded.
Remember our thought life will be the first the enemy will attempt to attack. He will try and convince us that there is no harm in simply talking to that "friend" at work of the opposite sex about the problems you are facing in your marriage, that there is nothing the Bible teaches that you can't go into a bar and have a few drinks as long as you stay in control, or visit that website just to check things out. But remember, it's to gain a foothold in your life, because our thoughts lead us to compromising actions that will eventually get us into hot water and cause us to get into more trouble than ever before.
Joseph went faced with Potipher's wife tempting him in the palace, ran so fast, he left his cloak behind. That is precisely what we need to do in order to walk along the path God has laid out before us so perfectly. It is a war we must wage daily and one we must never take for granted thinking we are above being tempted. That is just where the enemy would love for you to keep thinking those thoughts.
So back to the original question to keep you from your temptation, is six inches for Jesus enough? It might be, but if it isn't do WHATEVER it takes to distance yourself from that temptation. Don't visit a bar if alcohol is too tempting. Don't browse the internet if websites are too tempting, if someone you work with is your temptation, transfer to another position or department and if necessary, quit and find a different job. The point is wherever you have to go to stay on God's path, GO, RUN!!!
For some six inches isn't enough, but moving into a different city or state might be, but the simple truth the lies behind the saying, "Six inches for Jesus!" certainly can inspire us to remain diligent when facing whatever temptations the enemy tries to send our way.
Thanks to Danielle Vega for my inspiration for this post!!!
"When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me," For God cannot be tempted by evil, not does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, give birth to sin. Don't be deceived dear brothers." ~ James 1: 13-16
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Whenever you have to do anything difficult, it is nice to have someone on your side.
To encourage you.
To cheer you on.
To let you know you're not alone.
Even parents know just how important this is. Go to any sporting event or a school performance and you will see parents, friends and others cheering for you. It helps boost our confidence. It provides an ally when facing things that seem overbearing and downright difficult. Parents understand just how important it is to build a good foundation of self esteem in their child because society as a whole can bring it down so quick with a harsh word or even a sneering look.
Even in this life, believers understand that more than anyone. Often times we stand alone. Against the odds. The lone man on the totem pole. Taking a stand.
But what difference can one person make?
For those who have been encouraged and saved by the efforts of just one person, it was more than enough.
Look at the Jewish Holocaust and you can see how one person made a difference.
Hilter made a difference in attempting to eliminate the Jewish people or those that supported them. He was one man, but with the support of many was able to unleash unparalled terror during World War II.
In the same situation, there were countless people who made the difference as well by one person willing to take a risk. Look at the lives of the people who were willing to place their lives on the line, to help smuggle Jewish people to safety. The stories of survivors like Anne Frank and Corrie Ten Bloom convey the actions of just what one person can do.
The actions of any one person can have far reaching impacts than just what they do at that moment. They can either serve to make this world a better place or make it worse. But the choice is up to us.
Look at the ripples the lives of people like Walt Disney, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Billy Graham and Albert Einstein have made in the world and how their contributions continue helping people. Imagine what would have happen if they opted to let someone else do something? Oh how different things might be today.
Today you have a choice. to do something. To smile at any person you meet today. To step out of your comfort zone and make an effort to make someday's day better. To stop pretending you don't see that homeless person holding that sign asking for help. To chose to volunteer at your church instead of keeping that pew warm on Sunday morning and letting someone else do it. To help out where you can, and stop believing that YOUR actions won't make a difference because it does.
As believers in Jesus Christ, it is our duty to do SOMETHING! We can not sit back and think our actions won't make a difference. We are to run for the audience of One; we are to run for Jesus.
Hebrews 11: 1-3 ~"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that YOU will NOT grow weary and lose heart." (NIV)
He not only waits for us to finish our race in this life at the heavenly finish line, but He is with us every step of the way. Imagine what you could accomplish if you simply believed you could do ANYTHING! You will never know until you are willing to take that first step.
Who will you run for today?
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Picture Credit: Pic taken from firstname.lastname@example.org
Today was a day, I had seen coming for quite some time. While I can't go into specific details about what prompted this post, it made me realize just what a daily battle we face every single day. When stuff happens in our lives, in our neighborhoods, in our country, we all want things to change, but when confront with the question just how involved do you want to get, we shy away. We want someone else to step up and be the strong one who will stand unwavering in the face of what's to come. The person who might have to face going to court to testify against someone, the person who might have to point to someone in a line up, the person who has to make that first initial call. But when asked, we want to remain uninvolved, anonymous, unknown.
Why is that? What are we so afraid of?
Retaliation if someone finds out it's us that made the call or pointed the finger. The one who turned them in.
What about the safety of those of us willing to stand up for what is right without wearing a gun or badge?
Who will protect us when things end badly, if they do at all?
We've seen enough of the news stories or watched courtroom drama's to see how it can play out. The witness testifies but soon they or someone they love winds up on the short end of the proverbial stick.
That is why I believe people need to stand up to what they fear.
If God is for us, who can be against us.
Don't we trust Him enough to rely on His protection, His army of warriors to watch over us day and night?
We, as Christians, believers in Jesus Christ, need to begin to take more risks.
To stand up for those without a voice, who need our help. For those injustices taking place in our homes, our neighborhoods, and in our country. We need to stand up and get involved. We need to let those around us know that we will not simply smile and wave and hope someone else will do it.
God has called us to a daily battle. One not found in the battlefields but in the spiritual world. We need to arm ourselves with His armor and begin to wage the war on our knees.
Lately I've been dealing with spiritual battles in my dreams. I've been committing more of God's Word to my memory in the battle I face at night. At first I woke up in great fear because it was so real and I haven't had those feelings since I was on the verge of becoming a believer. Where I was held bound by a force so evil that movement and speech was impossible. Only remembering what I needed in order to be free and to call on the name of Jesus Christ as a believer was the only way I was able to be set free.
There is power in that Christians!
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities, against powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand". ~ Ephesians 6: 10-13
I only fear the world is going to get worse and we will be called to action like never before. Let us go boldly into the fight, but let us remember that we are just passing through this world and this is not our permanent home.
So when you get the call asking just how involved do you want to get what will you do? How involved will you get?
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Sometimes I think that being a Christian can be a whole lot more difficult than it is to simply be part of the world. When tragic things happen, people expect us to act and behave a certain way. They often look to us to see how we will weather the storms of life that truly seek not only to drown us but to overtake and kill us.
Just this week, while browsing my growing Facebook feed, trust me it takes awhile, I notice two very significant prayer requests. One was from a blogging friend I met a few years ago who is still struggling with the loss of her husband just a few months ago, and the other from a woman facing a cancer scare.
Both are Christians.
Both are dealing with something most of us pray never crosses our path.
Both are struggling and finding it beyond difficult some days to even catch a breath.
It feels like someone has let all the air out of their balloon or worse has popped it.
And life sucks for them. It sucks because no other words seems to justify how they can feel during this time.
They don't always feel that way. It's just the way it is today!
But why as Christians, believers in Jesus Christ, who know that one day, none of these things will matter. Death will no longer be an issue. We will never have to attend a funeral or cry over anything in life again. Cancer will be defeated once and for all and we will be forever healthy.
Because we are still living in a sin-filled world, dealing with the effects of sin, grief, emotions, loneliness, pain, fear, insecurity, depression, while still believing in God.
Being a Christian doesn't mean we won't have to deal with these or even walk through them multiple times.
The things that bother me, is people often times want to band aid things. They tell us stuff like it will be okay, in time, things will get easier; that what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger; that God must have a purpose in all of this; God wanted to take this person home; or my favorite, they are another angel in heaven now.
Scripturally that last one doesn't even wash. Angels are beings created by God and when we die, we don't get wings and join the flock.
We, as believers in Jesus, will join all the other believers who have died and will step into God's presence in Heaven. No wings for us.
Yet, as believers, we know all the other statements, but at those low points, we don't want to hear them. We want people to understand we have need to grieve, to fear, to worry, and at times when no words will do, cry til there is literally nothing left inside of us. We may have those days quite a bit, and there might be days where everything is fine and then we relapse again.
We need to be able to vent what we are feeling and to be able to say, this sucks! It's not fair! Why me?!!!
We aren't looking for explanations, it's just a part of dealing with these things. We will get better at handling them at some point in the future, however long that may be. It will never be the same for everyone.
What I believe we need to understand is that we can pray for them. We can pray for comfort, for people to give up their time, and if they can let them know they are not alone. To run errands, send cards, help out around the house, bring things like their favorite dessert or coffee, just to let them know they are NOT alone in this life, even if they feel like the walls are closing in. Like they are out of strength to try to hold on any longer.
Prayer is the thing that we need to employ more than ever in this life. It is definitely more powerful than you think and the last thing the enemy wants us to do. So will you do me a favor today and add these two very admirable and strong women who are dealing with the worst life has to offer? Pray for encouragement, courage to get through this day, to find joy in the small things and for God to reveal to them in mighty ways, that they are NOT alone in this struggle. We all need friends and neighbors who can come alongside us and help us get through these dark days.
Let us help them find ways to put air back into their balloon or better yet buy them a bunch!
Proverbs 11:25, "He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."
Sunday, April 20, 2014
For a believer in Jesus Christ, it is all about Resurrection Sunday, not Easter. Let us not confuse the two separate meanings of how the world celebrates today with Easter baskets, chocolate bunnies and colored eggs, but for a believer in Jesus Christ, today sets us apart from every other religion in the world. Jesus Christ was crucified on Friday, and three days later, He rose again in glory and fulfilled His promise that even death has lost its sting today.
Any other religion from Mohammed to Confucius to any god in history, not one of them fulfilled every single promised written hundreds of years before they came to Earth. Jesus fulfilled every single one. However that is not the foundation for the faith followers of Christ have. Jesus predicted His death down to the smallest detail and every facet of His life up to that point. He claimed to be the Son of God and one would think if He truly was, then even death would have no victory over Him, and it didn't.
Jesus delivers on His promises just like He did that day and even today. Everything He has promised has, is and will come true. He did not stay dead. If He had, then perhaps He would have simply been what everyone said He was, a prophet, a good man, a teacher with sound morals. But it is the one thing that no other gods have is the Resurrection and an empty tomb.
If you don't know Jesus, you might fall in line with all the other claims that He didn't really die, His body was moved, and the greatest cover up in history was played out upon the world. But I would ask you one question, why would so many be willing to die for a lie? Why would the people who followed Jesus Christ be willing to die for the ultimate cover up the world has ever known, being beheaded, burned, stoned, a crucified if it didn't really happen as the Bible said.
The truth is, they wouldn't. Not after all these thousands of years. The promises that Jesus makes to His believers is remarkable and life changing. Death no longer has a hold on us. When we breathe our last breath here, we take the first one in heaven. Death is no longer something we have to fear. We will live an eternity with Jesus Christ along with every single one who has confessed a belief in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. No more will we have to face illness, sadness, fear or death because the Bible promises that once our body gives out here, that's it. It is finished!
I can only imagine what hope, happiness and unparalleled joy was felt today by those that thought Jesus was dead. When Mary found her Savior alive when she went to the tomb expecting sadness but finding happiness beyond measure. She couldn't wait to go and tell the others. Imagine Mary, Jesus' mother who was grieving for the loss of her son, only to learn He was alive again. If you have ever lost anyone to death, I could only imagine how joyous they would feel to learn that He had risen!
What profound love the Father offered to those of us without hope, to give unconditionally His only Son to pay the ultimate in sacrifices to us all. A gift of eternal life and a changed life. Redemption, salvation, hope, forgiveness and promises that will always come true if we place our faith in Jesus Christ.
If you don't have those things but would love to become a follower of Jesus, please pray this prayer today and change forever how the rest of your life will be lived.
I come to you humbly and ask for your forgiveness of my sins. I know without You, there is no hope for a better future in this life or the next. I want You to come into my life and change me. Fill me with Your presence and help me to become a follower of Yours. I turn from my sins and instead walk in Your ways.
Thank you for the sacrifice you made when you took my sins upon the cross and died for me. Thank you that you fulfilled Your promise and rose again on the third day taking control over death as You promised. Thank you for the payment of my sins, past, present and future and for coming to live in my life. Today I celebrate Your resurrection and Your life.
In Jesus Name ~ Amen
If you have prayed that prayer in sincerity and from your heart, today you have a new home! Welcome Home to a new life in Jesus Christ. Happy Resurrection Son-day!
Saturday, April 19, 2014
I sometimes wonder just what that Saturday felt like following the crucifixion felt like to those that witnessed it first hand.
I can only imagine the grief that Jesus' mother endured not only having to bring this wonderful child into the world but to stand at the foot of the cross and watch all this happening to a son she knew perfectly well was not guilty. I would have to say she spent the night with close family members and friends.
The disciples must have gathered together after having been spread about the city because the Bible states in all the gospel accounts that none were there but then how did gospels capture the story. Did they flee the city hoping to avoid capture after the garden? I feel that they did. They reunited some how and endured this day remembering those times that they walked with Him and the lessons they learned, miracles they saw Him perform. I even expect an occasional laugh came through too about some funny thing that remembered Jesus doing.
I wonder how Peter felt the day after his denial of Jesus. I wonder just how many "what if's" he played out in his mind. I personally feel that Peter felt the worst. He was now living the life of regrets. A life he probably felt he could take back and wished he could. I see Peter sitting among the rest of the disciplines in the Upper Room but isolated from the others in tears.
So they all united together with one another grieving over the loss of what they must have questioned was the true Messiah. I guess He wasn't really the one we had hoped for? It can't have ended this way? Surely we have missed something? What will happen now?
These are all questions I am sure ran through the mind of the believers and followers of Jesus Christ.
Yet this particular day was still a day of lost hope. I can't imagine anyone somewhere thinking, Hey wait remember what Jesus said, He always spoke in parables, didn't He say something about rebuilding the temple in 3 days, do you think it means Him? If so, won't He be coming back again?
I seriously doubt it because the Bible does not record this day. I can only imagine it was the longest day any of them had ever experienced in their life. Life without hope can do that to you. Rob you of time, of joy, of life even if you let it.
Heaven must have fallen silent at that very moment Christ died as well. I can only imagine the grief that God experienced after having to punish his son, who did no wrong with all the sins of man, past, present and future as those He personally had committed them all. God grief must have been greater than we would ever know. I am sure the angels were weeping. Heaven for a brief moment must have fallen silent.
In the world I am sure that Satan and his enemies were having a great old laugh at God's expense too! Fists being thrown in the air at God, mocking him that even his only perfect son, could not bear the power of death. That they had won!
Yet as we know not even the power of death could hold back our Savior. For at that moment he was in the pit of hell taking back the keys of death from Satan and his minions because in a few short hours, the world would know for certain that Christ will rise from the dead. We all know that Jesus was still on the throne, still in power and still working in the details. Wait til tomorrow!
Little however did the disciples now the majesty of what would await them in the morning. But for now, I am choosing to reflect and remember just what Jesus has done in my life today and how if it weren't for Him, I would be hopeless and lost.
If you are feeling like the bottom has fallen out of your world, if you have lost hope, the will to move forward past today, if you feel completely all alone in whatever your facing and you don't know Jesus, I would encourage you today to seek Him. He will completely rewrite your book, the challenges you face you won't face alone. He is the ultimate in redemption, forgiveness and hope. If you'd like to give Jesus a try just simply pray this prayer:
I know that everything I've tried in my life has left me feeling alone and empty. That nothing this world has to offer can fill the place in my life that only You were meant to. I realize now, I can do nothing without You, and I don't want to any longer. I realize I am a sinner and I don't want that life anymore. I turn from the things of this world, and ask You to come into my life. Forgive me Jesus for all the things in my life that are wrong and messed up. Fill me with Your Spirit.
I know You are the Son of God, that you came down here to Earth to sacrifice Yourself unconditionally for the payment of my sins, past, present and future. I know it was through your sacrifice on the cross that you paid the payment once and for all through You blood that was shed. That You died but on the third day, You rose again victorious over the power of death. That simply believing in You and asking You to come into my life, I am forgiven, I am restored, I am saved and when this life is over, I will have a forever home in Heaven with you. In Jesus Name, Amen.
I would encourage you if you have prayed that prayer and meant it with your whole heart, you have just increased the population in heaven by one and there is a celebration going on in the heavens just for you. Now it's time to make your life count. Pick up a Bible and begin reading the book of John to learn more about Jesus. Welcome home!