Planting Seeds

My family and I just returned from visiting Germany, we were celebrating my wife’s 40th birthday in her homeland with her twin sister and the rest of her family, and we got a chance to spread the good news about Jesus to some family members.

My wife’s daughter downloaded the Bible app on her phone and is reading the Bible daily.  I spoke to my daughter and her boyfriend was very receptive to what I had to say about Jesus and being a believer, mainly what it means to be saved by God’s grace.  He even stated that he has read my blog.  After visiting with us, my daughter watched “Breakthrough” and inquired how to get K-Love on her phone. I would call that a breakthrough!    

My wife also had some very promising talks with her Mom that may have opened the door to her curiosity.

We spent time with two old friends that are mutual friends as well, that we shone our light on and also piqued their interests in the way we are living, no longer drinking alcohol, and one stated, “he needs more Jesus in his life”, I even played K-Love on his Google speaker.

This trip to Germany to celebrate the life of my wife and her twin sister, turned out to be an opportunity to shine our lights and plant seeds, all we can do now is pray and continue to shine the light and trust that God will convict their hearts.  

Inside Goosebumps

I was praying the other day, and I was talking to God, telling him that I was a sinner and thanking him for sending his only Son to die on the Cross for our sins.  I thanked him for being a sinner saved by his grace.  I told him that I had backslid for a while, that I had gotten away from going to Church that I only prayed when I wanted something, used to drink alcohol (I’m not saying drinking is a sin.  I’m saying I told God that I quit drinking and it’s best for me not to drink) and was asking for his forgiveness, but I told him I was back that I was thankful for all his blessings and how I didn’t deserve them, but he continues to bless me anyway. 

And I got the most peaceful feeling I have ever had.  I felt goosebumps all over my body, but these goosebumps weren’t on the outside of my body, they were on the inside of my body and they traveled from my head to me toes real slowly.  I was thanking God for his presence.  I was feeling the Holy Spirit.  It was amazing and I didn’t want it to end.  It lasted for a few minutes.  I believe God was telling me it’s alright, that I’m back now, going to Church, worshiping him, reading the Bible, shining my light, spreading the good news about him to others, and that everything is going to be alright, as long as I don’t take him for granted again and continue on his path he has set out for me. 

The Importance of Knowledge in our Walk with Jesus

What does the word “walk” mean when referenced to our relationship with Jesus? In our Sunday school lesson we are studying Colossians 3:5-11. Colossians 5 “So put to death the sinful, earthy things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature, and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.” (Holy Bible, Gift & Award Edition, New Living Translation, second Edition)

In my Sunday school lesson it says “Paul offers two very good reasons why the sins in 3:5 must be avoided. First, the wrath of God is coming for those who practice such things. God’s wrath is real against those who sin and the Bible is full of examples in both the Old and New Testaments. Specifically, Paul mentions that God’s wrath is coming upon the children of disobedience. This key phrase is mentioned two other times in Ephesians 2:2 and 5:6, related passages. Paul uses this phrase in Ephesians 5:6 after listing some of the same sins in that letter. The wrath of God is serious and often met with eternal consequences.” (Baptist Expositor, Learner 2019)

It goes on to say “The second reason Paul offers the Colossian believers as to why they should put these sins to death is because this is how they used to walk. The key word walk speaks of ones behavior and is a repeated word from 2:6. Paul used the word previously to speak of how the believers should now walk in Christ, but here in 3:7 he is referring to their behavior before Christ when they lived in these sins. There was a certain time in the past when these sins were part of their ongoing lifestyle. The point of emphasis is that these sins were part of their past, but should not be part of their present. Just like all believers who have committed their lives to the Lord, there are certain past behaviors that are no longer appropriate.” (Baptist Expositor, Learner 2019)

“Walk” in this Sunday school lesson refers to our behavior before and after accepting Jesus into our lives and one of the questions in the lesson is Colossian believers should put these sins to death is because this is how they used to walk. And the new man (after accepting Christ) is characterized by a renewal to knowledge.

The more we study our Bible and meditate on it, the more we learn what is expected of us as Christians. We’re to leave the sinful earthly nature behind and live a life pleasing to God in our renewed life.

Doing What We Want To Do

I was at an event called Fields of Faith Wednesday at Bearcat Stadium in Mena, Arkansas.  Before I go any farther, I want to explain what this is. 

Fields of Faith is a student led event where students invite, pray for, share with and challenge their peers to read the Bible and follow Jesus Christ.  The venue is an athletic field to provide a neutral rally- point where a community can come together.

And it was awesome seeing young adults come together and worship Jesus.  There was pizza provided by a local pizza place, there was a band.  There were testimonials and guest speakers.  I would certainly call it a success.

But I heard the phrase doing whatever we wanted to do in some testimonials and this applies to us at Church as well, sometimes we hear someone say that they just did whatever they wanted to do when they were younger or before they were saved, referring to going out drinking, getting drunk, passing out, doing drugs, cheating, lying, stealing, basically living Worldly.  Instead of doing whatever we want to, shouldn’t we want to follow Jesus, shouldn’t we want to do the right thing, read our Bibles and worship God.  The more we read the Bible the more we learn how we as Christians need to live our lives. 

I’m not trying to pick on the kids.  It’s just some constructive criticism that applies to all of us even at Church.  And I’m not trying to sound better than anyone either.  I’m a sinner too.  I just want to change the perception that living for Christ is a choice we should want to do as opposed to living a sinful Worldly life.  We can still do what we want to do and live for Jesus Christ and leave the Worldly sinful life behind.  It’s the least we can do for Jesus since he died for our sins and with the grace of God we can all have everlasting life in Heaven, all we have to do is believe in Jesus.

Are you doing whatever you want when you read the Bible, go to Church, pray and worship God or are you doing whatever you want and living a sinful Worldly life? 

Just Believe

I couldn’t sleep last night. I’ve got insomnia and I had this article stuck in my head. I got up twice to literally put pen to paper in the dark so I don’t wake up the rest of the family. I was up first at 1:30 am and again at 2 am. My best ideas come at night when I can’t sleep and if I don’t write them down, their gone the next day, no matter how much I rack my brain, I can’t remember it.

I was up last night wondering what it’s like to be a non-believer. What’s it like to not believe in God? You can either choose to believe in God and Jesus or you can believe in nothing or maybe you believe in science. Don’t you think it takes more energy being a non-believer than it does being a believer? It’s kind of sad, when you think about it. How do you fully love if you don’t believe in Jesus? That’s a big part of being a Christian, is to love like Jesus or to try, how can we ever love like Jesus, but as a Christian, we must love one another. If you don’t believe in Jesus, it almost sounds like the absence of love.

What does it take to be a believer? I’m no expert, but I think it takes a person with an open mind and a willingness to believe in something greater than yourself.

Something that I think we take for granted, is the sun rising every day. Another miracle that we take for granted is the miracle of human life leading up to child birth. I don’t believe that these things just came about on their own. I believe that God created all living things and created Heaven and Earth. Genesis 1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of waters. 3. Then God said ‘Let there be light’, and there was light. 4. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day’ and the darkness ‘night.’ And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day,” Holy Bible NLT, Second Edition. But I believe in the bible, if your an atheist you don’t believe in the bible.

It’s hard for me to fathom not believing so I’ll chose to Just Believe.

Strengthening Your Walk With Jesus

First of all, I am a sinner just like you! But, in my opinion, surrendering to Jesus Christ and accepting him as your personal savior is the easy part. It’s strengthening your relationship with Jesus, improving your walk with him is the hard part, and I wouldn’t really say it’s difficult, but it takes time.

First, you need to pray to strengthen you relationship with him, secondly, to be able to hear what God wants from you or which path you should travel, you need to read your Bible and finally attend Church. It may be hard to find the right Church for you, maybe it’s not the first Church you visit, but keep looking for a Church that fills your spiritual needs. It should be a place where you feel loved and a place where you feel overcome by the Holy Spirit and when you accept Jesus into your life (with faith), ask him to forgive you of ALL your sins (with faith), pray to Jesus, read your Bible and attend a loving Church with the Holy Spirit, God will certainly bless you and your cup will runneth over.

In Psalms 23 it says “1The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. ” New International Version (NIV).

Also after accepting Jesus into your life you’re going to be faced with choices everyday. It could be anything from to drink alcohol, try or do drugs, gossip, go to work or stay home, who you associate yourself with, to how you treat your neighbors. There are many choices we are faced with on a daily basis that either strengthens or weakens our relationship with God, and as Christians we need to make good decisions.

We must also love one another. John 13:34 says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another”, New International Version (NIV). To love like Jesus loved us might just be the hardest commandment to live by because Jesus loved us so much he died for our sins, but we have to try to love one another as much as we possibly can. God Bless You and I look forward to writing more.

My Cup Runneth Over

I have been strengthening my walk with Jesus and spending more time building a relationship with him (my wife and I have joined the Church, my wife and I have been reading our Bibles, daily, and I have been praying more) and I can see small miracles being performed everyday.

I commute 1 hour and 45 minutes one way to work and the road I travel is heavily populated with deer. I pray that the deer stay on their side of the road and they have. I have passed deer right on the shoulder of the road. I try to slow down and move over to the other lane, if it is possible. I pray for my safety when I travel to and from work and the last few months have seen a lot of rain and thunderstorms to include hail, strong winds and sometimes tornadoes. And God is looking out for me, whether that means my boss sending me a message to work from home, or the storms along my way dissipating and weakening, missing me, or me being allowed to adjust my time to travel to and from work, whatever the case may be God is taking care of me.

Our Pastor at Church is also leaving and we’ll be looking for a new one. God put it on my heart to be a part of the committee to search for a new Pastor and I didn’t tell anyone about this feeling to be a part of this committee, but one of the Deacons unexpectedly asked if I wanted to be on the pulpit committee. It was such a welcomed surprise and an honor to be nominated, God certainly works in mysterious ways. While I don’t want to lose the current Pastor we have, I certainly don’t want to stand in the way of God’s will and I look forward to helping find a Pastor to fill the void of losing the current one.

I feel blessed beyond measure, my cup is definitely running over and I believe the more time you spend getting to know Jesus, reading your Bible, spending time at Church, attending Church events, helping when you can, and praying the more you will be blessed. And I feel Blessed!

God Is Working Within Us

As we celebrate this fourth of July, I wanted to share with you the change that is occurring within my life.

My wife met some very nice people at the Holly Springs Homestead and they invited us to their Church. I was reluctant at to go at first, probably the devil making his case that I didn’t need to or want to go, but we attended the Church. Soon, we started attending Church events, gatherings and even various occasions to eat, Baptists like to eat and I could feel the Holy Spirit working inside me.

I noticed my wife reading her Bible every night. I would watch TV while she read and after about two months I started joining her, now we read the Bible together for about 30 0r 40 minutes a night. She has a plan inside her Bible; how to read the Bible in one year.

We read the Bible every night, we attend Church every week and we pray. I pray several times a day, maybe five or six times and the difference it makes in my life is astonishing.

I want to share this scripture with you that I read last night:

Psalms 1:1 1. “Oh, the Joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. 2. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. 3. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. 4. But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. 5. They will be condemned at the time of judgement. Sinners will have no place among the godly. 6. For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction”, (Holy Bible, Gift & Award Edition, New Living Translation, Second Edition.)

This is so true. everything that I do now that I am improving my walk with Jesus, and getting to know him more, is better. I am more motivated at work. I am more organized at work. I am in a better mood. When I commute to work, I see deer quite frequently on my commute to work and sometimes they will be standing right beside the road looking like they would pounce right in my lane as I drive by, of course I slow down and get over into the left lane if I can, but they stay right in their tracks and that is something I pray about on a regular basis.

I have also been praying that the storms are not severe in our area, due to my commute to and from work and the last few weeks the weather has been very good. There was a tornado that didn’t completely form in Mena a few weeks ago, again something I frequently pray about.

When I pray, I ask to be able to hear God, to let me know the right path to take in life and I was having an un-pure thought and I instantly threw up in my mouth. The timing was remarkable. I told God, ok, you’ve got my attention. I am sorry.

Another time, My five-year old was really pushing my buttons and I told her to go in her room and we were arguing. I was overreacting, I was about to put her into her room and at that split moment there was a loud lightning and thunder and that was the only loud thunder and lightning of that storm. Again, I said ok, God you’ve got my attention. I’m sorry.

God is working in me and my wife’s lives and it is truly remarkable, and its my contention that my wife finds me more attractive because we are doing something together. Enjoy your fourth of July and join in on reading your Bible in one year.