Denying Yourself

It’s difficult to deny yourself.  I’m currently trying to watch what I consume.  I haven’t been drinking Pepsi, or Dr. Thunder (off brand of Dr. Pepper) or any sodas for that matter.  I’ve also cut back on the un-healthy snacks I eat.  I do have a sweet tooth.  I find myself craving a Pepsi in the morning, or a candy bar in the afternoon.  They are at my convenience at work, no-one would even know.  But I’m trying to stay strong and fight the Snicker’s urge, or the urge to eat a Reece’s peanut butter cup or two.  They do come in a package of two.  The point is, it is difficult to fight the urge to eat or drink unhealthy.  One every once in a while, won’t hurt, but once you start with one, then you want two Pepsi’s and that leads to three a day.  I find it’s best to just quit cold turkey like I did with alcohol.  I used to enjoy German beer.  I lived in Germany for 22 years in the military and as a civilian.  But I felt like the Lord wanted me to stop drinking so I did, and it’s been a smooth transition to sobriety.  All things are possible through the Lord. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  (Philippians 4:13 KJV 2022)

Have you ever fasted?  Did you know that we as Christians are supposed to fast?  The Bible says when you fast, Matthew 6:16 says “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;

18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

When we fast implies that we are supposed to fast.  I fasted a few times, and it is very difficult.  The Bible says to keep it secret and keep it between yourself and the Lord.  I was fasting for a very important decision and it worked out according to God’s will.

I go home for lunch or bring my lunch with me to work to save money.  Oftentimes we have leftovers at home, or I make a sandwich.  But there is a restaurant right across the street that I enjoy going to.  Do you know how tempting it is to just get something from there?  Update: I just got off the phone with my wife and I asked if she wanted to have lunch at that restaurant across the street and she said to go home and have a sandwich, so it looks like I am denying myself again.  It really is hard to deny yourself.  But like I stated earlier all things are possible through Christ.

If we want to be disciples of Jesus Christ sometimes, we must deny ourselves of our human and fleshly wants. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022). Have you denied yourself before and did God bless you?      

Where Did All The People Go?

Imagine you wake up one day and one third of all the people you know are gone.  They disappeared into thin air, off the face of the earth.  It’s as if they were abducted by aliens. 

You go to your neighbor’s house and they don’t answer the door.  Their dogs are barking.  Their cats need in.    

You call your Aunt, and she doesn’t answer the phone and she always answers the phone.

You send a message to a friend on Facebook, no reply.

You send another friend a text and they don’t get back to you and they always do. 

The person that watches your children is missing.  You are forced to take them to work with you.

On your way to work you notice cars on the side of the road abandoned.  You go to work and half of the people you work with are missing.  They didn’t show up to work.  And they are very punctual.  Their always on time!

You turn on the news and the news is talking about some alien abduction, because that is what they are going to say.  The news is claiming that millions of people are gone (abducted).

You go to have your car repaired during your lunch break and his shop is closed.  The person that repairs your car is missing. 

You have an appointment to get your hair done, not today they are gone.

Your favorite bank tellers are gone. 

You want to order pizza and your favorite pizza place is closed because so many people didn’t show up to work.

I could go on and on forever, but you get the picture.  And there is way more than just these examples that will be impacted, according to Mary Fairchild (April 16, 2020) there are 2.5 billion Christians in the world.  If that number is accurate and they do believe in the birth, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and they have repented of their sins, then around 2.5 billion people “shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

1 Thessalonians 14 “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

What happened to all these people?  Where did they all go? 

Susie, Jennifer, Rob and Dave all tried to talk to you about Jesus, but you brushed them off.  Saying “I don’t have time for that kind of talk”.  

You dismissed them as Bible-beaters or do-gooders.  Maybe you even thought they were naïve to believe a book written over 2000 years ago with crazy stories in it like Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, Jesus walking on the water and turning the water into wine.  And Jesus healing people and throwing out demons. 

When Jesus returns will you be caught up in the air?   In a twinkling of an eye…

1 Corinthians 52 “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

Will you be asking yourself, Where Did All The People Go?   

The Woman That Fears The Lord

It’s hard to be married to someone as nice as my wife.  Don’t get me wrong, she is amazing!  She is everything I am not.  I’m nice too, but I can’t compare to my wife.  She is so selfless.  She puts everyone before herself.

I love to help people too, most of the time.  My wife will stop what she is doing, all the time, and make it her number one priority to put your needs before hers. 

And I am learning from her to put myself last, but it’s a hard trait to learn.  The Lord blessed my wife with a huge, selfless heart.

My wife is teaching me that it’s ok, if people take advantage of you, so what if you are taken advantage of.  We are here to serve God and serve one another.

She is storing up treasures in Heaven.   Yes, there will be treasures in Heaven waiting on us because of our good works here on Earth.  No, our good works won’t get us into Heaven.  Having faith in Jesus Christ and repenting of our sins get us in Heaven, but good works equals treasures in Heaven.

See these scriptures about good works and storing up treasures:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19 – 21 ESV)

“Sell your possessions and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:33 – 34 ESV)

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17 – 19 ESV)

See these scriptures about eternal life:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ESV)

“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40 ESV)

And finally The Woman That Fears the Lord:

 “An excellent wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens.  16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.17 She dresses herself[b] with strength
    and makes her arms strong.18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.20 She opens her hand to the poor
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.” (Proverbs 31:10: 20 ESV)

So, the next time someone you know wants to help someone, even if you think they are being taken advantage of or you think it’s too much, let them help, help them help.  We can’t out give the Lord.  It’s never too much.  They are storing up treasures in Heaven, where treasures really matter, not here on earth, where things rot and decay and can be stolen by others and we can’t even take them with us when we are called to Heaven.  The treasures that really matter are in Heaven.   

We Have More in Common Than We Think (Devotion)

In today’s world, in today’s society the world wants to separate us.  We separate our laundry not people.  We have all these different ethnic groups.  We are put into categories.  We have whites or Caucasians, blacks, African Americans, Indians or Native Americans.  And I am certainly not trying to offend anyone.  We have democrats vs. republicans, conservatives vs. liberals.   We have all these different labels.   And most recently we have vaccinated vs. unvaccinated.  The world, the Devil wants us to hate each other because we are different.  But God…But God is Love and light and GOD wants us to Love one another.   

And I would argue that instead of being different, we have more in common than what we think.  And I am going to prove that in the time I have allotted with you today, but first let’s pray.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father in Heaven please help me with this message that I am delivering today.  Be with this crumbling world that we live in.  The world wants us to hate each other Dear God, but You want us to love one another.  Help me to show that we have more in common that not.  Be with the so-called leaders of this country and the world and put them on their knees.  I ask that would pray to you asking for your guidance on important decisions they make that affect us all.  Please comfort and heal the people on our prayer chain and I’m sure there all others that have unspoken prayers as well.  Bless this time we have together today, in Jesus name I pray Amen.

Like I said, our nation is divided. The whole world is divided.  We are put in categories.  But I am going to do my best to prove that we have more in common than not.   

Q, have you ever cut yourself, or given blood or had you finger pricked?  Yes, what color is your blood?  Red. 

Manuela you were born in a different country.  You were born in Germany.  Have you ever cut yourself, have you ever given blood, have you had your finger pricked?  What color is your blood?  Red. 

Brother Eddie, you’re from a different state.  You’re from Louisiana.  Half the time I can’t even understand what you’re talking about.  Have you ever given blood, pricked your finger or cut yourself?   What color is your blood?  Red, let the record show that all three stated they have red blood.   

We have something else in common.  We were all created by God in our mother’s womb. 

We have even more than that in common.  We are all going to die.  We are either going to stop breathing or our hearts are going to stop beating, unless of course Jesus comes to gather the church first. 

Let’s go to 1 Thessalonians 4: 14 “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

When I was 14 my mom passed away, but while she was still here, she told me that Jesus was coming back in my lifetime.  I’m not calling my mom a prophet.  I’m not sure what lead her to tell me that, maybe the Holy Spirit wanted her to tell me that.  You can take that with a grain of salt.  But it sure wouldn’t surprise me if Jesus did return soon. 

Anyway, let’s review, we have more in common than we think.  We all have red blood flowing through our arteries and veins. 

We were all born the same way, created by God in our mothers’ wombs.  We were all born the same way…without any clothes.  And we are going to die the same way or be gathered up to meet Jesus.

I would argue we even have more in common if we would just take the time to talk to one another and get to know each other.

Q:  Do you like to watch football?  What is your favorite team?  Me too 

Manuela:  I love being married to you and I would bet you feel the same way.

Bruce: Do you like to go camping?  Me too

Eddie: Do you love to come worship God with your church family?  Me too. 

See, we have a lot in common!  Don’t let the world divide us into groups of people.  We are one group made by our Heavenly Father.  Let’s spend the time we have left wisely, praising God, and doing God’s will, loving each other shining the light of Jesus Christ around the world, trying to expand the Kingdom of our Father.

Thank you!  

The Full Armor of God

“The Armor of God is a metaphor in the Bible found in Ephesians 6:10 – 18 that reminds Christians about the reality of spiritual battle and describes the protection available.  The full armor of God comprises of the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Gospel of Peace, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit”, Christianity.com (2019).

Ephesians 10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”, Bible Gateway KJV (2021).

10” In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. 11 Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places13 Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. 14 So stand firm and hold your ground, having [b]tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), 15 and having [c]strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. 16 Above all, lift up the [protective] [d]shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God”, Bible Gateway Amplified (2021).

The first piece of the Armor of God mentioned is the Wide Band of Truth (tightened) meaning personal integrity, and moral courage.  As a Christian it is vitally important to keep our personal integrity intact, in other words we need to live our lives with strong morals and values by upholding strong values no matter the situation or who is watching.  If no one is watching, would you still make the same decisions and choices?  The answer should be it doesn’t matter if anyone is watching, we act the same. 

What is moral courage?  Moral courage is standing up for what you know to be right.  An example of not having moral courage is Pilate. “When Jesus was taken before Pilate to be “tried,” Pilate displayed an absence of moral courage. Pilate was the Roman procurator of Judea; he was the highest official representative of Rome who was responsible for administering justice and keeping peace. When Pilate tried Jesus, he found Him innocent of any wrongdoing saying, “I find no fault in this man” (Luke. 23:4). His responsibility at this point was to protect the innocent Jesus from the Jewish Sanhedrin and mob. He should have dispersed the crowd and taken a stand for right, even if he had to employ his Roman soldiers to enforce it”, Mike Willis (2012).

“Like many politicians, however, Pilate lacked the courage of his convictions. He sought to avoid having to take a stand on the issue of Jesus by sending him to Herod. When Herod returned Jesus, Pilate tried to pacify the Jews by releasing a prisoner for them, offering Barabbas and Jesus. He expected that the mob would prefer that Jesus be released rather than Barabbas. When they chose Barabbas over Jesus, his plans were foiled. He then sought to appease the Jews by scourging Jesus (Luke. 23:16), but the Jews still wanted Jesus dead. Finally, Pilate gave in to their will, trying to release himself from the guilt of his sin by washing his hands of the matter (Matthew 27:24). His display did not excuse his sin of lacking the moral courage to do what was right. He gave in to the mob rather than defending what was right”, Mike Willis (2012). 

Another example of not having moral courage is when Peter denied Jesus three times see Mathew 26: 69–75.

Next, the Breastplate of Righteousness.  The Breastplate of Righteousness is equivalent to an upright heart and an upright heart is one without motive.  “When we say that the heart must be upright, we do not merely mean that it should not be crooked. We mean that there should not be any motive or aim in one’s heart. For the elders to oversee the church, they must have a heart that can say before God that their help to the brothers and sisters and their leading of their spiritual pursuit are with absolutely no motive”, The Elders’ Management of the Church, Witness Lee  (2014).

The church I attend recently went through something like this.  Our Pastor left and we formed a pastoral search committee, for more than one and a half years, we searched for a Pastor and we did so without an agenda.  The only agenda we had was what was best for the church and we were successful filling the position. 

Next, the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news].  The Gospel of Peace.  It is so peaceful knowing that as believers, we don’t have to worry about tomorrow.  We live in uncertain times.  We lost someone crossing our main street here in small town America.  And just the day before we lost someone when a train hit a log truck.  Not to mention, all the other things that could happen, heart attack, stroke, tornadoes, flooding and let’s not forget COVID. 

Having peace of mind is invaluable, because of Jesus Christ we can face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news when we do pass, we will have everlasting life in Heaven.

Above all, lift up the [protective] [d]shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Everyday we are attacked by the devil, he will try everything to try and keep us from being a child of God.  He will try anything to get us to question our faith, therefore we must use our shield and our helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit (word of God) to stand firm from the devil’s attacks, especially the word of God.  Every time we are attacked, we should dig deep into the word of God for answers and reassurance.  The more we pray and read the Bible, the more reassurance and protection we have from the devil.

And let’s not forget the Helmet of Salvation.  We can be sure that the devil does lose the battle in the long run.  The Bible tells us so.  We may be attacked while we are here on this earth by the devil, but in the end, in Heaven, there will be no devil.

Are you suited up with the full armor of God?  Are you wearing your Belt of Truth, your Breastplate of Righteousness, the Gospel of Peace, your Shield of Faith, your helmet of Salvation and your sword of the Spirit, because when you do, nothing can touch you, not even the devil!  And rest assured some day we will be in Heaven and it will all be worth it. 

God Bless you, let’s make Jesus famous.  Let’s make Heaven crowded and don’t forget to Love, Pray and Fish. 

Eternity Devotion

The Lord put this devotion on my heart to share with you before Easter, the day Jesus was resurrected, paying our sin debt in full.  Read below the devotion I gave Sunday, March 28, 2021.  I asked a friend to perform Amazing Grace. 

I’ve asked Neil to sing Amazing Grace for us today. 

I love the line in Amazing Grace that says:

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years

Bright Shining as the sun,

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise

Than when we’ve first begun”

Today I want to you about Eternity, eternity

Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, I love you.  Help me articulate this message that you have laid on my heart.  It’s hard for us feeble humans to understand eternity, please give me the words to say.  Please be with this church Dear God, lead, guide and direct us as we make important decisions, we want your will to be done.  Please place your comforting and healing hand on everyone on the prayer request list as you see fit and the unspoken prayer requests, I am sure you know their needs.  Be with our country.  I pray that the leaders of this country would come to you in prayer asking your guidance before implementing any policies that affect us all.  Be with brother Zack as he brings the message, you have laid on his heart.  Forgive me of where I have failed you, in Jesus name I pray, Amen.   

First, what is or how long is eternity? The dictionary’s definition says Endless or unending time, A state to which time has no application; timelessness.

When I was coming up with some examples to try and explain what this might look like I thought about when I take our dogs out at night, I oftentimes look up on a clear night and see God’s beautiful and amazing creation and I see all the stars that God spoke into existence.  I see millions of stars and I wonder how many stars are there and does that equal eternity?  Supposedly, the stars add up to a 10 with 24 zeros and it begs the question, does that equal eternity? No it doesn’t

Another example I thought of was, if you have ever been to the ocean and looked out as far as you can see where the water and sky meet and you can see the sun rising or setting, another beautiful example of God’s might, that he spoke into existence.  It’s as if you can see forever, does that somehow equal or represent eternity?  No, that still doesn’t match eternity. 

Then I wondered how many drops of water make up the ocean, what if every drop of water in the ocean represented 10,000 years of eternity, would that somehow equal eternity, there’s roughly 26 sextillion  drops of water in all the oceans, does that add up to eternity?  And the answer is no it doesn’t.

The truth is we are not equipped to understand God’s power and might as human beings we can’t fathom what eternity is going to be like. 

When I think of spending eternity, with our Heavenly Father forever and ever and ever, the ever’s don’t end.  When I think of that it brings a smile to my face.

If we are a born-again Christian, if we asked Jesus into our heart, if we repented from our sins.  If we believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, in a miracle in itself, that Jesus walked the earth free of sin, teaching and preaching, healing the lame and sick, that he died on the cross for our sins and was raised on the third day and sits on the right hand of the Father, then we are going to live forever and ever and ever praising God and that should bring a smile to your face. 

What I would like for you to do is turn to your neighbor and say eternity to them?  Can you say it without smiling?  Can you really think about spending eternity in Heaven without smiling?

The Bible says…John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 6:54Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Today when you go from one place to the other, from here to upstairs to Sunday School or to the main Church worship area and you pass by someone, say eternity to them as they pass by and see if they smile or if you can keep from smiling, because it is going to be awesome to live in Heaven and praise our Heavenly Father for eternity, forever and ever and ever.  The ever’s don’t end.

The devotion turned out very good and went right along with the Pastor’s sermon preparing us for Holy Week.       

False Idols

I signed up for a free class with BMA Seminary to challenge myself, to learn more about Paul and his final journeys, to improve my writing, and to figure out what I want to do when I grow up, possibly a Sunday school teacher?  We will see what the Lord puts on my heart. 

As I wrote my threaded discussion post, I was reminded about the time that I put football in front of visiting family.  I’m not implying that family and God are the same thing, but it is easy to put God on the back burner and if I was willing to sacrifice family for football, I was willing to do the same thing with God.

I was watching the Dallas Cowboys play a game that if they won and they got help from the Washington Football Team, if they lost, then Dallas could make the playoffs, not that they deserved to make the playoffs.  I was engulfed in the game and my wife said, “Let’s go visit your Uncle.”  We had a family event scheduled, I believe we were going to eat with them and family.  And I said, “I’m not going anywhere until this game is over.”  I quickly realized that I misspoke and certainly shouldn’t have said that.  I recorded the rest of the game and we went to visit family.  While I was there, I heard the outcome of the game and I was no longer interested in watching the game, but I shouldn’t put football before family or God for that matter.  We only have so much time left with our family and we should enjoy every minute we have with them.  We shouldn’t forsake God or family and I should reexamine my priorities.

Do you put anything before God, work, football, fishing, even family, God should always come first.  After-all, God allows us to have everything, to include our career, and our family.       

Well Done My Faithful Servant

Are we doing enough on this earth with the life that God gave us?  Are we doing enough with the talents that God blessed us with?  Are we doing enough with the money or mina that God allows us to have?  Will we be disappointed that we could have done more, or will God say “Well done my faithful servant?  What we do with our lives are up to us.  We can fully submit our lives to God and ask for his guidance on every aspect of our lives or we can live according to our selfish desires.    

In Luke 19:12-27 Jesus gives a parable, The parable of the mina’s 

12 “He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.

13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.

15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.

16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.

17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.

18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.

19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.

20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:

21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.

22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:

23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?

24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.

25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)

26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.

27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” (Bible Gateway, KJV 2021)

Let’s look at the Amplified version below:

11 “”While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they assumed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately [as soon as He reached the city]. 12 So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to obtain for himself a kingdom, and [then] to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants, and gave them ten minas [one apiece, each equal to about a hundred days’ wages] and said to them, ‘Do business [with this] until I return.’ 14 But his citizens [the residents of his new kingdom] hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to be a king over us.’ 15 When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these servants, to whom he had given the money, be called to him, that he might find out what business they had done. 16 The first one came before him and said, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten more minas.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you proved yourself faithful and trustworthy in a very little thing, you shall [now] have authority over ten cities [in my kingdom].’ 18 The second one came and said, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ 19 And he said to him also, ‘And you shall take charge over five cities.’ 20 Then another came and said, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I have kept laid up in a handkerchief [for safekeeping]. 21 I was [always] afraid of you, because you are a stern man; you pick up what you did not lay down and you reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to the servant, ‘I will judge and condemn you by your own words, you worthless servant! Did you [really] know that I was a stern man, picking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Then why did you not [at the very least] put my money in a bank? Then on my return, I would have collected it with interest.’ 24 Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ 25 And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas already!’ 26 [Jesus explained,] ‘I tell you that to everyone who has [because he valued his gifts from God and has used them wisely], more will be given; but from the one who does not have [because he disregarded his gifts from God], even what he has will be taken away.’ 27 [The king ended by saying,] ‘But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and kill them in my presence.’” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2021)

Let’s take a closer look at this part:

“‘I tell you that to everyone who has [because he valued his gifts from God and has used them wisely], more will be given; but from the one who does not have [because he disregarded his gifts from God], even what he has will be taken away.’” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2021)

We all have gifts that God blessed us with. For instance, I like to write, but I don’t write nearly enough.   I like to give devotions.  It allows me to face my fear of public speaking.  I would love to be able to speak like Dr. Bruce Wilkinson does.  He captivates an audience and grabs their attention.

The Pastor filling in at church asked me “Have you written any new articles lately?” I said “No, I haven’t been inspired” That is a way out.  I should always be inspired.  What’s wrong with me that I am not inspired?  That is the question.  What am I doing with my talent that God gave me?  I need to pray to my heavenly Father to inspire me.  I need to meditate on the word of God and pray how can I serve you, what would you like for me to do for you Dear Heavenly Father.  I should always be inspired for the Lord. 

What is your spiritual gift, what are you doing with it, and will God say Well done my faithful servant?           

Training Day

My workplace closed their offices, giving us the opportunity to telework “as we work together to minimize the impacts and spread of the COVID-19.”

While I was at home taking care of training.  I accomplished Harassment Prevention Training for Supervisors and while I was doing this training, I got a big dose of reality in the form of the world.  The sin of the world smacked me right in the face.  At the end of the training the transgender person stated, “I am Bobbi, I am a good employee, that wants to work in a harassment free workplace and I’m transgender.”  Next up, Paul states “I am Paul, I am a good employee, that wants to work in a harassment free workplace, and I am an Atheist.”

My heart went out to Paul.  I wanted to find him and talk to him.  Who is this Paul, where does he live?  I just learned I cannot force my beliefs on Paul at work.  Of, course I would not force my beliefs on anyone, but it does beg the question why doesn’t Paul believe?  Did he grow up in a family of nonbelievers?  Did something happen to him to make him want to stop believing?  Was he ever a believer?  As Children of God, these are the people we need to reach and plant a seed with so that God can come in and convict their hearts before Jesus comes to get the church or before he dies. 

Bobbi, while I do not understand, can be forgiven of her sins.  We are all sinners, we can all be forgiven.  The only sin that cannot be forgiven is the sin of rejecting Him and refusing His offer of forgiveness and new life in Jesus Christ, this alone is the unforgivable sin, because it means we are saying that the Holy Spirit’s witness about Jesus is a lie.

Luke 12:10 “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who [d]blasphemes against the Holy Spirit [that is, whoever intentionally discredits the Holy Spirit by attributing the authenticating miracles done by Me to Satan], it will not be forgiven him [for him there is no forgiveness]. “(Bible Gateway 2020, Amplified Bible)

You can’t even take some online training without a reminder of a sinful world. 

The Greatest Gift of All

Do you realize the greatest gift anyone ever gave us was free?  The gifts that mean the most don’t cost anything.  I’m talking about the gift that God gave us, the gift of grace and salvation and his love.  We tend to get caught up in the worldly, materiel aspect of Christmas, going out buying gifts, trying to give the best gift, and outdoing each other.   

The best gift given cost Jesus his life, but it didn’t cost us anything.  The greatest gift of all time is God’s free gift of grace, If we are a Child of God, we believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, walked the earth perfect and sin free, while healing the sick and lame and teaching. Jesus put all our sins on his back when he dragged that cross and was crucified on it and arose three days later making it possible for us sinners to repent of our sins and be forgiven and live eternally in Heaven with him, praising him for eternity, forever. 

The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (King James Version, Bible Gateway 2020)

Ephesians 2:9: “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (King James Version, Bible Gateway 2020)

Romans 5:21 “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (King James Version, Bible Gateway 2020)

Romans 5:21”so that, as sin reigned in death, so also grace would reign through righteousness which brings eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Amplified Bible, Bible Gateway 2020)

1 Corinthians 15: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” (King James Version Bible Gateway 2020)

1 Corinthians 15: “Now brothers and sisters, let me remind you [once again] of the good news [of salvation] which I preached to you, which you welcomed and accepted and on which you stand [by faith]. By this faith you are saved [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose], if you hold firmly to the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain [just superficially and without complete commitment].

For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], and that He was buried, and that He was [bodily] raised on the third day according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold].” (Amplified Bible, Bible Gateway 2020)

That is the best gift ever received by mankind and it cost us nothing, however, it did cost Jesus his life. 

This Christmas let’s not forget the true meaning of Christmas, after all you can’t have Christmas without Christ – God Bless you and your family!