Memphis Trip

My family and I, me, my wife and two daughters, went to Memphis to visit an old Air Force friend, his wife and three daughters this past weekend 6 – 8 November.  We had an awesome time catching up with them.  We went to the Riverwalk and explored.  The colors are changing so it was just a beautiful drive up there and back and in Memphis as well.  We got BBQ from a BBQ place.  After all, you can’t go to Memphis without getting BBQ, can you?  We even passed by Graceland on the way the BBQ joint. The best BBQ restaurant I have been to is still Allen’s BBQ and catering in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. https://www.zomato.com/hot-springs-ar/allens-bbq-arkadelphia/menu

And on the way to getting BBQ there was a homeless man standing in the middle of the street on the road median and I had some money in my wallet, which I never have money on me and we were stopped there for a few minutes and something was telling me to give the money to my friend to give to him and I just sat there froze and I didn’t act on it.  Now what he does with the money is up to the homeless person.  If he chooses to buy food with it or whatever, that is not up to me to judge, but I missed an opportunity to help someone.  I don’t know if I was afraid to be judged by my friend, or I didn’t think I had enough time to get the money out before we started moving, for whatever reason I didn’t act on a chance to do good.  I don’t normally give to homeless people on the side of the road, sometimes I judge them and think how did they get in that predicament?  But, it’s not our responsibility to judge people.  Are we a bad decision away from being in their shoes? 

I was listening to Bruce Wilkinson speak and he said him and his wife both have a special part of their purse or wallet they put money in and they call it God’s money that when someone is in need or they get that feeling to help someone they have money set aside specifically for that reason.  Hopefully, there will be another chance to help someone, and I’ll be ready to help.   

Listen to The Secret of Success by Bruce Wilkinson here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULjJ7eEhZr4&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR1VZnd6ejPv-TFKqJN6A_zw7o38iYMFlqueEbE_Ljoo7TA9ZN_DWXMrF2A          

All Is Well With My Soul Devotion

Pray:  Dear Heavenly Father, be with me to deliver this message that you have laid on my heart.  Thank you for everything in my life, be with the people on the prayer request list, put your healing hand on them and comfort them as you see fit.  Be with this Country, the only one that can help us is you.  I pray that your will be done with the election.  I know you will provide us with the Pastor you have picked out when the time is right, keep the Church strong and in one accord in this time, lead guide and direct us, forgive me where I have failed you, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.  

“It Is Well With My Soul” is a hymn penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford and According to Wikipedia, this hymn was written after traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first two were the death of his four-year-old son and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer and had invested significantly in property in the area of Chicago that was extensively damaged by the great fire).[2] His business interests were further hit by the economic downturn of 1873, at which time he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre. In a late change of plan, he sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sea vessel, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford’s daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone …”. Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.[3] Bliss called his tune Ville du Havre, from the name of the stricken vessel.[4]

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to knowa
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.


But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
A song in the night, oh my soul!b

These are rhetorical questions, just to get you to think.  How would you react if you lost your spouse or significant other?  What if you lost your son or daughter?  I’m sure some of these things have happened to some of you in this room, we have all experienced loss, and if you haven’t you will.  What about if something happened to all your sons or daughters?  And your spouse?  What if you lost your job?  What if you lost everything, your family, friends, job, house, all the money in the bank?  Would you be able to say, “All is Well With My Soul?”  I know I would struggle with that.  I pray every day that my family is not taken away, even if the kids go on my nerves sometimes, or get I in a little spat with Manuela.  I still love them dearly.    

Job 1:13 And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:

14 And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:

15 And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

18 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:

19 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

20. Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,

21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Job 1:20 Amplified Then Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head [in mourning for the children], and he fell to the ground and worshiped [God]. 21 He said, “Naked (without possessions) I came [into this world] from my mother’s womb,
And naked I will return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.

What if everything was gone, what would we have left?  We would have God left and we are supposed to put God first.  I know it’s hard to think of everything being gone. 

God is the one that blessed us with all our possessions, sometimes we need to be reminded to cherish every minute we have with our family, friends, our Church family and thank God for all our blessings and try not to take them for granted.

End with Prayer thank God for your family, friends, Church family, job, house and land that I am borrowing from you God.  Dear God sometimes we need to be reminded to keep you first in our lives, help us to not take anything you have blessed us with for granted.  We love you, in Jesus’ name I pray Amen.

I gave this as a devotion this weekend, 26 October 2020, and we had a Pastor fill in for the first time at our Church and I was astounded when his message was on the same verses of the same book of Job as mine and the song that the Lord laid on my wife’s heart sang by my wife and three others was also from Job as well.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had never met the young man before, but the Holy Spirit was certainly involved in our preparation in choosing all of our messages.  I was an amazing Church service to say the least – God is Good…All the Time! 

God Places People in our Lives for a Reason Devotion

A few weeks ago, the Lord laid on my heart to give the fourth Sunday church devotion.  I texted my Sunday school teacher and asked who was giving the devotion, he wrote back that his wife was giving it, so I thought it was a done deal until he wrote back saying that she was willing to let me have her spot and she will give her devotion at Youth night, which is in the evening of the same day, anyway this is how the devotion unfolded.

See the notes below for the devotion:     

Prayer – Thank God for the Church and the church visitors and the church members.  Thank him for all my blessings…thank you for sending Jesus, your only Son to die on the Cross for our sins.  Thank you for Brother Dickie (interim Pastor, every two weeks) and family, for sending him to fill in, in our time of need, thank you for using Brother Dickie as a vessel to deliver the message you’ve laid on his heart and may we have an open mind and an open heart to receive that message.  Dear God, send us a pastor, the one you have picked out for us.  Give me the words to say, the message you have laid on my heart.  We love you, in Jesus name we pray, Amen

Good Morning Church family.  It’s an honor to be standing before you today.          

Start out with scripture John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Amplified 34 I am giving you a new commandment, that you [f]love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”

We have this written on our refrigerator door “Love Like Jesus”

Talk about the church and how we love one another, that we help each other out.  That’s why I love this church.  I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other church. 

Tell the story of Luke and Dee inviting Manuela to church.  My wife helped at Luke and Dee Dee’s farm and they invited her to church and that is how this wonderful relationship with God started or continued for me. 

Tell the story of how we met Miss Lori Goodner.  And that she is at Church and what a blessing it is to have her here and to have her friendship, that God puts people in your lives for a reason.  He used an innocent child to crawl up in her lap and blessed us with her friendship.

Last year when we were registering the girls, Charlotte, 4 and Julie 7, at school.  We were going from one station to the other, signing the kids up for car rider, school bus, lunch meals, etc., etc. and we noticed Charlotte climb up onto someone’s lap.  Embarrassed we apologized, but the lady was not put off by the innocent little one making herself at home in her lap, she said it was fine.  We were able to finish registering the girls and spoke to Mrs. Lori and got to know her, made friends with her on Facebook, making it official, and invited her to church.    

Manuela met Travis at an arrowhead digging school event.  Somehow, we put two and two together and figured out that Travis is Mrs. Lori’s Son. 

We met Neil and Sheila at Jenssen Park at their granddaughter’s birthday party.  Funny story, did you know, Sheila’s maiden name is Taylor, when she married Neil, she didn’t have to change her last name.  We knew Leah Taylor from school which is Neil’s daughter-in-law.  Again, God’s hand in, blessing us with them in our lives. We get to be blessed with specials from Neil and Sheila at church. 

That’s what we are supposed to do, Love one another and invite people to church. 

Second verse: Romans 12:6  

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

Amplified Version: Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them accordingly: if [someone has the gift of] prophecy, [let him speak a new message from God to His people] in proportion to the faith possessed; if service, in the act of serving; or he who teaches, in the act of teaching; or he who encourages, in the act of encouragement; he who gives, with generosity; he who leads, [d]with diligence; he who shows mercy [in caring for others], with cheerfulness. Love is to be sincere and active [the real thing—without guile and hypocrisy]. Hate what is evil [detest all ungodliness, do not tolerate wickedness]; hold on tightly to what is good.

God gives everyone a special gift and my wonderful wife has been blessed with the gift of giving.  She has a Big, loving, generous heart filled full of love, and all she wants to do is give, generously, you would much rather give that to receive and I love you for that.  I thank God every single day that he put you in my life.  That’s what God does, he strategically places people in our lives for reasons, like Luke and DeeDee, like Mrs. Lori, and Travis, and Neil and Sheila and the rest of you.      

Close out with a prayer, thank you God for putting all these people in our lives, for  Luke and Dee Dee inviting Manuela to church, thank you for using an innocent child to climb onto Miss Lori’s lap, thank you allowing us to meet Travis and his family and for bringing Neil and Sheila and Leah and her family into our lives. Thank you, God, for all the visitors and the members of this church and that hopefully the visitors will be members someday.  Thank you for all your blessings and forgive me for all the many times I have failed you.  We love you Lord, in Jesus name we pray Amen.          

Do We Take Advantage of God?

That sounds strange, how can we as mere humans take advantage of God?  I’ll explain:

Sometimes we take advantage of people; take for instance this weekend.  My daughter was sick Saturday night, so we didn’t want to expose her to the rest of the church congregation and make them sick, so we stayed home from church Sunday.  I had the idea of going fishing.  So, I load up and go fishing and I caught a few, but first I wanted to try the top water bite, since it was early in the morning.  The fish were having no part of that, so I switched to a different lure and caught a fish with it, then that stopped working so I tried a different type of lure, that didn’t work.  I finally fished with what these fish want and that is a fake worm, wacky rig style. 

I ended up feeling guilty because I wasn’t at church on a Sunday, which we were trying to be safe and not get the rest of the church sick, but I ended up feeling terrible, I kept thinking I should have been at home.  My daughter was fine, she woke up feeling great, but I still thought I could have been at home listening to the service on Facebook.  I kept saying let me try one more lure, let me throw just one more cast, let me catch one more fish, one more, one more and I ended up being gone for four hours.  I got home in time to listen to the visiting pastor’s sermon, but I still felt like I could have done more, like I was taking advantage of something. 

We take advantage of someone’s generosity; do we do that same thing to God?  We accept Jesus into our lives, and we are safe, we are saved, but do we get complacent?  Do we sometimes stop going to church? Do we stop praying as often?  Do we stop praising God as much as we used to?   Do we stop reading our Bible’s as often as we used to?  Do we stop preparing for Sunday School like we did before?  Do we take advantage of God’s mercy and grace, everyday we do.

I’m sure we can all do a better job of spending more time with God, praying, attending church, praising God, singing songs, studying our Bible etc., I’m going to try and not take advantage of God’s grace, until next time, God Bless you!         

Sports A False Idol?

Football season started back up last night.  And I couldn’t help but wonder if we idolize sports and the athletes?  I didn’t change my routine last night, my wife and I still read our Bible’s but afterwards instead of turning on a cooking show, our normal routine, I tuned in to the NFL Thursday night opener, pitting the Houston Texans against the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. 

I’m also into fantasy football, I know something else that could potentially take my attention from worshipping God.

I prayed that if I’m not to watch football that God would cancel the season and give me a clear answer.  I certainly don’t want anything to take away from my worship.  I don’t plan on missing church or, neglecting Sunday School preparation, or taking away from our nightly Bible reading because of it. 

One could argue that if you allowed it, anything could take time away from your worship time.  Not to toot my own horn, really, but I quit drinking alcohol about a year and a half ago because I felt like it was hindering my walk with Jesus, and I do feel closer to God as a result of my sobriety.  I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a drink or two and still worship God, but for me, I feel like it was the right choice.     

If you look back in the Bible, it talks about false idols a lot.  Now, I don’t worship football, or sports or athletes, but I also don’t want sports to get in the way of my worship time and putting God first.

 Zechariah 13 says “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.” (Bible Gateway 2020)

And in Zechariah 10:2

“For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.” (Bible Gateway 2020)

I’m sure I could write an article about the football players kneeling and social injustice and our feelings about that today, September 11, 2020, the 19th anniversary of the insidious attack on the United States.  I served 22 years in the military and I personally don’t like to see kneeling during the National Anthem.  I say stay in the locker room or kneel the entire game if you want, but not while the flag is on the field and the National Anthem is playing and the airplanes are flying over.  They taught us to stand at attention and salute the flag during the Anthem.  It’s certainly not bringing us closer together and uniting us, it is bringing us further apart and dividing us, but I digress.  I won’t charge you for my two cents, at least I got that out of my system, and I won’t bring it up again, whether you agree or disagree.  It’s not my intent to start a debate, certainly not that type of debate with this article.

However, I did listen to an article with Dak Prescott today, where he was praising God for allowing him to be blessed with the skills to play football and I enjoyed that very much. 

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/fox-sports-calls-out-skip-bayless-for-insensitive-comments-about-dak-prescott/ar-BB18ULxj?ocid=spartan-ntp-feeds

And the Kansas City Chiefs owner, Clark Hunt, is a devout Christian also and they won the Super Bowl last year, so sports can be a good thing, if we allow it. 

https://www.themix.net/2020/02/clark-hunt-kansas-city-chiefs-owner-christian/#:~:text=Clark%20Hunt%2C%20the%20owner%20of%20the%20Kansas%20City,employees%20to%20develop%20their%20spiritual%20faith%20as%20well.

The point of this article is to not put anything before God, whether it’s football, sports, athletes, alcohol, drugs, our jobs, even our families.  God allows us to have all these things, our careers, our families and our health.

We’ll see if there is a football season or if it is cancelled and I may have just answered my own question with the above links.  It could be all in how we watch or allow ourselves to be entertained, because that is what it is, entertainment.  There are two examples of two Christians associated with football above, God Bless and thanks for taking the time to read my article. 

Let’s Pray

There are a lot of things going on in this world right now.  We have COVID-19, we have politics, you could argue we have the COVID-19 and the politics associated with it, we have a category 3 currently Hurricane, but expected to strengthen to a category 4 Hurricane soon, bearing down on parts of Louisiana and Texas.  There is social unrest and people with hatred in their hearts in the United States.  School is starting or has started all over the United States, whether you are home schooling or your children are attending school in person, it is stressful to say the least.  There are people that don’t know Jesus and that breaks my heart.  And I am sure I am missing more things that are going on, in our lives.  And all this affects our home and work lives.    

So pray with me.  Dear Heavenly Father, help us, we need you in our lives.  (I need you!)  Please be with the people affected by the Corona Virus.  Dear God, in 2 Chronicles 14 it says “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways , then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  Dear God I am pleading with you to help us during these times.  Dear Lord, I also say a special prayer for everyone that is in the way of Hurricane Laura.  I pray that they heed the warnings to evacuate and get to safer ground and if they don’t, that you will protect them.  I also want to lift up all the staff and workers, teachers and students that are attending school.  Dear God please keep them safe and healthy.  Let them finish the school year and focus on learning.  Dear Lord, I know I struggle with all the information surrounding the Corona Virus Pandemic.  I don’t know who to believe, wear a mask, don’t wear a mask, it helps, it doesn’t help.  I struggle with the numbers, the rates.  I pray that we don’t lose focus on you.  That we put your first and have faith that you are going to see us through all this.  Dear God there is also social unrest in the United States.  I pray that you stop the hatred we have in our hearts for each other.  Our souls are what matters Lost Souls Matter, dear God.  I pray a special prayer on anyone that doesn’t know you or believe in you.  Be with us dear Lord and help us through all of this.  It’s a lot to deal with and I want to shine my light to others and I want others to say I want what he (they) has (have), but it is certainly a struggle now.  Forgive me of where I have failed you, in Jesus name I pray Amen. 

I feel like we need to pray, and I just wanted to share this with you, God Bless!            

Too Much God

Can we ever have too much God in our lives? What a dumb question, right! How much time do we give God? Do we make God our number one priority?

Life does keep us busy, but how much time do we spend praying, attending Church, reading our bibles and fellowshipping with others? Do we put anything before God and say I can’t make Church Sunday night because I have a football game, or other sporting event to attend or anything for that matter. Do we skip Wednesday night service, or business meetings? How much time do we give God? Are we putting God first in our lives?

Do we let our job get in the way, or our family? God blessed us with our job and family. Is there something we could do less of to give more time to God? For me it’s fishing. I love to go fishing. I have even gotten up early on Sunday morning to go fishing before Church and I ended up catching a 5.5 lber too, but I praised God for allowing me to catch it and I made it back home in time for Church. Life/Church is definitely is a balancing act. You need to have time for work, family, rest and God, but where does God rank in that? He’s supposed to come first.

We could probably all do better at giving God more time, after all, he is the one that allowed us to have our family’s, jobs, and life for that matter.
I found this on the ole’ internet. I’m only using it as an example. Instead of a 40 hour work week, they are using a 60 hour work week, but you can use it to see how much time you give to God, or if there is more time you could give by getting rid of something else.

“Take a minute and figure up how much time you spend with God in an average week either in private, in Bible study, or gathered with the saints. Now calculate how much discretionary time you have in an average week. A person who works sixty hours a week, sleeps 57 hours a week, and spends 25 hours a week to accomplish chores and other necessary tasks, has 26 hours of discretionary time per week. This person has 26 hours to waste, watch TV, spend on hobbies, etc. How much discretionary time do you have in an average week and what are you doing with it?” (How Much Time Do You Spend With God? BibleStudyGuide.org 2020)

“Now list all the activities which take up your discretionary time. Is any one of your discretionary activities more important than spending time with God? Can one of your discretionary activities save the soul? What do you think – If a person spends only 1% or 2% of their discretionary time with God, what does that say to God? If a person goes on vacation for two weeks every year (224 hours of discretionary time) but only spends 52 hours a year or perhaps 156 hours a year with God, what does that say to God?” (How Much Time Do You Spend With God? BibleStudyGuide.org 2020)

https://biblestudyguide.org/articles/god-spending-time-with-god/god_time-spend-time.htm

How much time do you give God? Can we ever have too much God in our lives? No!

Wednesday Night Church Service

Romans 12:1”Therefore I urge you, [b]brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be [c]transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

3 For by the grace [of God] given to me I say to everyone of you not to think more highly of himself [and of his importance and ability] than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has apportioned to each a degree of faith [and a purpose designed for service]. 4 For just as in one [physical] body we have many parts, and these parts do not all have the same function or special use, 5 so we, who are many, are [nevertheless just] one body in Christ, and individually [we are] parts one of another [mutually dependent on each other]. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them accordingly: if [someone has the gift of] prophecy, [let him speak a new message from God to His people] in proportion to the faith possessed; 7 if service, in the act of serving; or he who teaches, in the act of teaching; 8 or he who encourages, in the act of encouragement; he who gives, with generosity; he who leads, [d]with diligence; he who shows mercy [in caring for others], with cheerfulness.

9 Love is to be sincere and active [the real thing—without guile and hypocrisy]. Hate what is evil [detest all ungodliness, do not tolerate wickedness]; hold on tightly to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor; 11 never lagging behind in diligence; aglow in the Spirit, enthusiastically serving the Lord; 12 constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength], 13 contributing to the needs of God’s people, pursuing [the practice of] hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you [who cause you harm or hardship]; bless and do not curse [them]. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty [conceited, self-important, exclusive], but associate with humble people [those with a realistic self-view]. Do not overestimate yourself. 17 Never repay anyone evil for evil. Take thought for what is right and gracious and proper in the sight of everyone. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for by doing this you will heap [e]burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome and conquered by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2020)

For our Wednesday night Church service we were blessed to have three people give their testimonies, their stories were amazing. I was touched to hear about how God saved these people’s lives. They had all reached their rock bottom at one point in their addictions, and God had mercy on them. They were at one time broken and chained to their addiction, but God made a way for them. He ensured the right people were put in their lives to help them overcome their addictions. They shared their stories with us and they shared that they thought they were beneath us as a Church and I couldn’t help think. I’m no better than them, why would they even think we are better than them? I’m a sinner too.

I am glad that the Church I attend does not shun anyone, or turn anyone away. That is what Church is for, it’s for worshipping God, and it’s for loving people and accepting people for who they are. It’s for bringing people, all walks of people to Jesus Christ.

It was such a wonderful blessing to hear these stories of recovery. It was a humbling experience. I couldn’t help think, that could be me up there. We are all sinners and we all have our vices.

Romans 12:1”Therefore I urge you, [b]brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be [c]transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2020)

“And do not be conformed to the world [any longer with is superficial values and customs]…

At the end of the Church service, one of the recovering (ed) addicts in our Church prayed this amazing prayer, pleading with God to help the country through these times we live in. He went on to say how proud he was of his peers, and how awesome God is to bring himself and them back from the depths of their brokenness. He said if God can heal them, God can help anyone. It was an amazing prayer that touched my heart.

One wrong decision and this could be any of us. We all have addictions, some of us eat too much, or drink too much, or I probably fish too much, when I could be spending more time with my family. Maybe we have a gambling problem, whatever it may be, we all have our own vices. It’s about controlling them.

…but be [c]transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2020)

That’s exactly what these people have done, they have broken their chains through Jesus Christ, transformed and progressively changed themselves and matured spiritually focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes, renewing their minds so that God’s will could be done. They were all very grounded in their spirituality. They wouldn’t be where they were today without God’s hand in their recover.

3 “For by the grace [of God] given to me I say to everyone of you not to think more highly of himself [and of his importance and ability] than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has apportioned to each a degree of faith [and a purpose designed for service]. 4 For just as in one [physical] body we have many parts, and these parts do not all have the same function or special use, 5 so we, who are many, are [nevertheless just] one body in Christ, and individually [we are] parts one of another [mutually dependent on each other]. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them accordingly: if [someone has the gift of] prophecy, [let him speak a new message from God to His people] in proportion to the faith possessed; 7 if service, in the act of serving; or he who teaches, in the act of teaching; 8 or he who encourages, in the act of encouragement; he who gives, with generosity; he who leads, [d]with diligence; he who shows mercy [in caring for others], with cheerfulness.” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2020)

What I love about the Church I attend is we don’t judge people, we accept all walks of life. It’s not our job to judge people, that’s God’s responsibility.

9 “Love is to be sincere and active [the real thing—without guile and hypocrisy]. Hate what is evil [detest all ungodliness, do not tolerate wickedness]; hold on tightly to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor; 11 never lagging behind in diligence; aglow in the Spirit, enthusiastically serving the Lord; 12 constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength], 13 contributing to the needs of God’s people, pursuing [the practice of] hospitality.” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2020)
Again, we are to love one another and not judge one another and think we are better than someone else. We are to welcome others into our Church and not turn them away. How can one accept Jesus Christ into their lives, if they are turned away? Contributing to the needs of God’s people, perusing [the practice of hospitality].

14” Bless those who persecute you [who cause you harm or hardship]; bless and do not curse [them]. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty [conceited, self-important, exclusive], but associate with humble people [those with a realistic self-view]. Do not overestimate yourself. 17 Never repay anyone evil for evil. Take thought for what is right and gracious and proper in the sight of everyone. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for by doing this you will heap [e]burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome and conquered by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2020)

“Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for by doing this you will heap [e]burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome and conquered by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2020)

Finally, it’s hard to hold our tongues sometimes, and not say what our mind is thinking. We need to be careful with our words. We probably shouldn’t even think those thoughts in the first place, but we are not perfect. But can you imagine, how the other party would feel if you did turn the other cheek and instead of hatred, you used kindness. That makes some people feel very little, and could possibly humiliate them a little bit, or at the very least humble them enough to maybe have them look in the mirror and evaluate themselves. It will be like heaping burning coals on their head. I’ve had that feeling before thinking to myself, I can’t believe I said that, or I did that. We shouldn’t seek vengeance, again that’s God’s responsibility to take care of that.

I hope you enjoyed this. I enjoyed writing it. Take care of each other, love one another and God Bless!

God Works In Mysterious Ways Part 2

Since I started attending Church, or even before God has been working in my life, what I call mysteriously. First he got me back to my hometown. I found a job and my family and I moved to Arkansas. Then God found me a closer job, three miles from my house.

Next, through God, my wife was invited to attend Church, then I was appointed to the Pastoral Committee, which I had a desire to be on, but didn’t tell anyone.

Last year, my wife and I were going through the gauntlet of registering the kids, a six-year old and a four-year old and we were going from one table to the other in the cafeteria registering both kids and the four-year old, Charlotte hopped right in one of the teacher’s lap, like she knew her for years. The teacher assisting with registration didn’t mind, and had taken to Charlotte. It was a cute encounter and Charlotte stayed in her lap for the time while we were registering Julie. The teacher and my wife ended up exchanging numbers and became Facebook friends, you know, it’s not official unless it’s on Facebook and now “the Teacher” and her Son and children have started attending Church with us and it’s such a beautiful thing.

Of course we asked if it’s ok that Charlotte stay with her for a few minutes while we finish up with registration.

That fateful day in the cafeteria, registering the kids for school turned out to be beautiful relationship with a stranger that Charlotte made friends with.

God plants people in our lives, just like the sweet people that invited my wife to attend Church. And these unexplainable things have been happening since we arrived here, especially at Church. That is God working in our lives, we just need to let God do his work and not get in the way of it – God Bless!

Is God Disappointed With Us?

Genesis 6:1 “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2. That the sons of God saw daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4. There were giants in the earth those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were old, men of renown.
5. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6. And it repented the Lord that he had made man in the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7. And the Lord, said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repententh me that I have made them.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2020)
6. “And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in his heart.” (Bible Gateway NKJV 2020)
8 “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2020)

Noah built the Ark that God instructed him to build and God destroyed everyone except eight people. Only eight people believed in God, the rest of mankind perished.

Genesis 7:7. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2020)

Genesis 7:16 “And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2020)

Genesis 7:23. “And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2020)

Can you imagine when God shut the door and it started raining, flooding, the people knocking on the door, pleading for Noah to let them in saying. I believe you now. I believe there will be a great flood now, let me in.

It hurts my heart to think that God would even think about regretting making man. If it doesn’t hurt your heart, then it’s cold as ice. They sinned so much that God grieved in his heart. How sad is that! That we have failed God.

What do you think God thinks now as he looks down on us?? I’m sure he thinks the same thing as he did then. We are destroying each other. We are killing each other, we are destroying the earth that he created.

I feel like the Corona virus has divided us, some people say wear a mask, some people say don’t, it doesn’t protect you, some say it does protect you. But we need to keep our focus on Jesus, not on a mask. We need to stop the HATE, stop hating each other and stop fighting amongst ourselves, whether about the Corona virus, wearing a mask, or anything else. We are to love one another, not to tear each other down. We need to support each other for the decisions we have made and the faith we have. Is God disappointed with us, and does that break your heart? That’s what we should be asking ourselves!