Are People Even Following The Bible Anymore?

I receive prayers daily, and I do my best to share them on Facebook and even on a group at work that I stumbled upon, actually that God led me to and here is today’s prayer:

Dear Lord,

This world is quickly trading your truth for a lie and calling it the truth. I pray that I would reject the lies in this world and would live to chase after your truth. I pray that I would pursue righteousness always so that I can know you more, lead my family to also walk in your righteousness.  Lord, you are all that matters in this world.

In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

Sadly, the world has turned away from God.  I remember in school we used to say a prayer every day before school started.  And sadly, now they don’t, in fear it would offend someone.  We have become so politically correct.   

Do churches even preach out of the Bible anymore?  If they did, they would learn that marriage is between a man and a woman, not a man and a man or a woman and a woman.  That is not how God designed marriage.   

According to Genesis 2:20 “And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

In Genesis 2:20 God wanted Adam to have a helper a help meat so he caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep and Eve was created from man to be his helper or help meat. 

 Matthew 19:3 Says “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

If this offends someone that, let it offend someone, but this is what the Bible says and I believe the Bible.  I don’t take anything away from the Bible and I don’t add anything to the Bible.

The Bible also says this in Leviticus 18:22 “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

Abomination is a strong word meaning “a thing that causes disgust or hatred and their abomination of indulgence”

But then again it seems like the world has turned away from what the Bible says. 

I don’t look forward to the month of June anymore.  The symbol of the rainbow has become the symbol of sin, instead of it’s biblical promise that God will not flood the earth again. The rainbow that was once a sign of the covenant or promise between God and Noah has been made into a mockery of sin, see the scripture below:

Genesis 9: 11 “And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.

17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

About two years ago, our church was searching for a pastor and our church was adamant that all the candidates meet the qualifications set forth in the Bible:

1 Timothy 3 saysThis is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

  3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2022)

And in our search of a pastor many were disqualified after the first verse the husband of one wife. 

We wanted to please the Lord in our pastoral search.  It ended up taking us 1.5 years to fill the position and we are extremely satisfied with the person the Lord blessed us with.

I was on the search committee, and I was naïve when the search started, I thought we would meet a few times and, in a month, or two we would find someone, like qualified pastors just grew on trees.  We met regularly for the 1.5 years and prayed intensely.  The entire church prayed, and we certainly didn’t want to divide the church either.   

But I started questioning what is taking so long?  Was it something we were doing wrong?  Were we not praying hard enough?  Why was it taking so long to fill the position?  All the while, the Lord was making sure to fill the pulpit every week.  It was such a blessing; we never went without someone filling in.  The Lord reminded me to have faith and patience and that his timing is perfect timing, just like with Abraham when God promised to make Abraham into a great nation. Abraham had to wait on God’s perfect timing.

The person we hired is young and I believe the Lord was preparing him for the position.  We were looking in different states interviewing people from all over, and the person that the Lord sent us lived 6 miles from our town, so he and his family are local.  It turned out so well.  And we stuck to what the Bible says and found someone that meets all the qualifications of a pastor according to the Bible and we are truly blessed. 

However, it seems like the Bible is just a guide in today’s society and the world is not following it and that is scary!     

Being Offended is Just the Bait of Satan

I am paraphrasing an excerpt from a book I am reading called The Bait of Satan by John Bevere (2014)

The author, a pastor goes on to tell a story about a young man, a fourteen-year-old that was on fire for the Lord.  He was in his youth group, and he volunteered for everything.  He even went on a missions trip with them and witnessed to almost everyone he encountered. 

He would pray for hours on end and the Lord revealed many things to him and he was sure to share this with others, everything he shared was a blessing.  He knew he was called into ministry. 

The author goes on to say that he invested time into the young man.  However, there was just one problem, he had too much confidence in himself, and the pastor knew he would go through a breaking point. 

A few years go by and, he moves, and the author begins to travel full-time but still stays in contact.  When the man is eighteen, his father gets an incurable cancer.  However, the young man and his mother fast and pray, believing his father will be healed, getting others to join them praying and fasting.  Thankfully, his father gave his life to Jesus six months earlier. 

However, his father’s condition worsens, and the pastor’s wife calls him telling him the news of the young man’s fathers’ condition.  The pastor drives all night arriving at their house at 4 am.  He ministers to the family and leaves a few hours later.  The young man still confident his father will make a miraculous recovery.  However, his father passes away and when the young man calls to tell his friends of the news, they are sobbing, not because of the news of his father passing away, but of the news that the young man’s best friend has passed away due to an accident. 

The young man lost his father and one of his best friends in the same day.  “The shaking had begun.  He was bewildered, frustrated, and numb.  The presence of God had seemed to have eluded him.”

Just a month later, on his way home, the young man came across an accident that just happened.  He knew emergency medical training, so he stopped and assisted.  Everyone in both cars were his close friends and two died in his arms. 

The author says his young friend had reached his limit and he spent three hours in the woods praying and crying out to God.  “Where are you?  You said You would be my Comforter, and I have no comfort!” 

He thought that God had turned his back on him, but this was the first time his own strength had failed him.  He became angry with God.  His offense was with God, not anyone else.  He asked why had he allowed this to happen?  “Lord, I’ve served You and laid many things down to follow You” he prayed “Now You have abandoned me!”   He believed God owed him something for all he had given up to serve him. 

The author goes on to say that many have experienced hurts and disappointments in their lives some more extreme and some less extreme.  And many become offended with the Lord, and they believe He should take into consideration all they have done for Him.  “They are serving Him for the wrong reasons.”  “We should not serve the Lord for what He can do but rather for who He is and what He has already done for us.”  He goes on to say “those who become offended do not fully realize how great a debt He has already paid for then to be free.  They have forgotten from what manner of death they were delivered.  They see though natural eyes rather than eternal.” 

The young man stops going to church and starts a whirlwind of drinking and hanging out with the wrong crowd, partying, and going to bars wanting nothing to do with the Lord.

However, he can only keep this up for two weeks, his heart becomes convicted, but unwilling to take this to Lord.  The author says a year goes by and through several incidents he can still see God working in his life.  He approached God in a different humble way. 

The trail was finally over, God showed him that he never left him and was still by his side.  His spiritual walk was restored and “he learned to put his confidence back in God’s grace, not in his own strength.”

The pastor says he kept in touch with the young man and a year and half later he told him things he had seen in himself that he never knew was there.  “I was a man without character and shallow in all my relationships.  I was raised by my dad to be strong outwardly, a self-made man.  I could never have grown the way God wanted me to.  I am thankful the Lord did not leave me in that condition.” 

The author goes on to say that “a lot of shaking occurred in his life; Self-confidence was eliminated.   But this young man had the foundation that Simon Peter had, and it could not be taken away.  Instead of building his life and ministry through pride, he is building by the grace of God.” 

“Offenses will reveal the weakness and breaking points in our lives.”   The pastor goes on to often say the point we think that we are strong is actually a place of hidden weakness and it will remain hidden until a storm blows away the cover.  “The apostle Paul wrote, For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3, emphasis added)

And finally, he finishes “We can do nothing of eternal value in our own ability.  It is easy to say this, but having this truth deeply rooted in our being is another matter.

The Bait of Satan is an incredibly revealing book in that it teaches us to not be offended by people, that it’s truly the devil that is offending us.  This is what he strives for, he wants us to leave our church that God has planted us in.  He wants us to be offended and fight with our neighbors.  And aren’t we all neighbors?  Being offended is just the Bait of Satan. 

Live With Purpose

It doesn’t matter where you work.  If you work at McDonald’s, Star Bucks, U.S. Motors (Nidec), or the Forest Service.  You are there for a reason and you should look forward to getting up in the morning and going to work because we don’t really work for these companies I just mentioned.  They may sign our paychecks (do they do that anymore?)  They send our pay electronically into our bank accounts.  But we work for Jesus Christ.  And I am talking to myself here.  There is someone at your work that you need to talk to, or witness to.  There is a reason you are there.  You may hate it there but stop running from it.  I don’t believe in coincidence or luck.  God placed you there.  Get up in the morning with purpose and attack the day and see who you can impact, who can you witness to? Who needs to hear your testimony today?  Is there someone that is hurting at work?  Have they let you in? 

Yes, there are people that I just don’t get along with at work.  But is God testing me and you?  I’m reading this book called The Bait of Satan, John Bevere, 2014 and here are some excerpts from it:

“Holy Spirit, enable me to live in Your power so that when God, my Father, is testing my heart that seeks after His heart and not the insecurity of a man [or woman] who seeks to take matters into their own hands.”

 Or this excerpt, “Test my heart with obedience, Lord.  I am committed to seeking only Your judgment and mercy, not my own.”

 Or what about this one?  “Make me like a Samuel who refuses to judge others but chooses to serve them instead.”  Do you know how hard that is?  But we are supposed to be Christians and we are supposed to have Jesus Christ inside of us. 

“Holy Spirit, empower me to serve Your appointed leaders and not to judge or correct them.  It is not my word of correction that is needed; it is Yours.”

Is this striking a chord with you?  Because it is with me.  I really must look at myself in the mirror now.  But wait there is more: “Father according to Your Word, You have set me in the body just as You please.  I am in the place where You want me, and I will not allow the devil to uproot me through the trap of offence.”  In other words, if someone offended you. 

“Father allow me to become a mature tree in whom you delight rather than one that is uprooted for its lack of fruit.” (Luke 13:6 – 9) 

Every time you take control of the wheel of life and you move from one job to the other or from one church to another.  You could be messing up a plan that God has for you.  Let God drive the car!      

Every single one of us has purpose in life.  There is a reason we work at the job we work at.  Every person in your life is in your life for a reason.  The people in your family are there because God put you and them there.  There is a reason for every person you work with. 

Before we run from one job to another or one church to another, be in prayerful support if you should leave that job or that church and listen to the Holy Spirit before making rash decisions.  Yes, I am talking to me.  And finally, “My delight is in the law of the Lord.  I will mediate upon Your Word day and night” (Ps. 1:1-2).  If you are praying if you should leave a job, or church and it feels like God is not answering you, then perhaps his answer is No.  Be in prayerful support for all important decisions. 

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it.  I love you.  God Bless. 

Fish/Jesus Sign Fell Off (Ichthys)

On the way to work today, I got behind a car.  It was an older Honda that had the fish/Jesus sign (Ichthys, Greek word for fish) removed, or maybe it fell off.  It was an older car.  I couldn’t help but think that since it was an older car that either the sign that portrays the sign of Jesus being a fisherman either fell off or perhaps it was sold to someone that didn’t have a relationship with Jesus and didn’t believe in Jesus and took it off.  Either way, a non-believer or the Jesus/fish sign falling off breaks my heart. 

It made me sad.  I wanted to talk to the person driving the car and ask them what happened to their sign, did they still believe in Jesus.  Did they ever believe in Jesus?  Is there any thing I could do to help them restore their relationship with Jesus?  

 All I can do is pray that they will put their Fish/Jesus sign back on their car and display their belief in our Savior Jesus Christ proudly. 

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.