God Places People in our Lives for a Reason Devotion

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

See the notes below for the devotion:     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second verse: Romans 12:6  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Too Much God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday Night Church Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Works In Mysterious Ways Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Church in Obedience

In our Sunday school lesson this week we are studying being obedient as a Christian.  And while we are not meeting in Sunday school, my wife and I try to keep up with our Sunday lessons. 

In the introduction our lesson states “Sometimes we can complicate the concept of following God.  Following God can be summed up simply as obedience.  This is really all that God demands of His people.  He does not call believers to be perfect, for God knows that perfection is impossible for mortal human beings.  All God asks is that we obey him.  Christianity is really that simple.  This lesson challenges the believer in the area of obedience.  Are you willing to be obedient to God even though it may result in opposition by men?  We find a great example to follow from the apostles as they remained obedient to God despite the opposition they faced.  More firsts develop in Acts 5:17 – 32: the first miraculous escape from prison and the first beating.” (Baptist Expositor Learner/Spring 2020 Witness to Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria: A study of Acts 1-8)      

As Christians we get persecuted because we believe in something that others may not, because we believe in God and that we are saved by God’s grace.  That he sent his only son to die on the Cross for our sins so that we may have eternal life in Heaven.  You can see in the below scripture that the apostles stood fast in their faith in God, even though they knew they were going to be persecuted. 

17 “Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,

18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.

19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,

20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.

21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned and told,

23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.

24 Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.

25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.

26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.

27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,

28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.

29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.

31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.

34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;

35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.

36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.

37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.

38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:

39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” (Bible Gateway King James Version 2020)

It’s hard to stay the course and have faith as Christians, but that is exactly what we are called to do.  Love, Pray and Fish (more on that later). 

Dove: Courage is Beautiful Commercial

I was watching “The Voice” the other day and I saw this commercial.  I love this commercial because courage is beautiful. 

Thank you too all the health care workers, endlessly, working countless hours.  I can’t imagine what you are going through, seeing people pass away right before your eyes, but let’s not forget, there are also many success stories that bring a smile to your face and warm your heart, knowing you helped reunite people with their families.  Thank you for relentless dedication.    

This spot captures the vulnerability of this situation.  It also shows a glimmer of hope in the health care workers’ eyes, that this is going to be alright, eventually, and that we are in this together.  The workers also show that they are strong and they are working together to keep us safe, that right now, it’s about them, the health care workers, but soon this will be about getting on with our lives and getting back to some of our families we haven’t seen, and going back to church and worshipping God with our church families. However, the Church is not defined to the four walls of our Church.  Hopefully, you have been reading your Bibles, praying and watching devotionals and Church services on line or enjoying drive-in services.     

Right now it’s about helping one another.  If we learned anything from this it’s that we should help one another all the time, not just when there is a crisis.    

We are truly blessed to have such a great Church family and neighbor to help us when we needed it. We returned from Germany about a month ago and they have certainly been there for us, helping with groceries, a lawn mower battery, the lawn definitely needed our attention when we returned.  They helped with whatever we needed and we are thankful. 

These trying times will bring us closer together and remind us that courage is beautiful.  Thank you Dove for showing us that and for donating to Direct Relief. #UnitedforAmerica      

https://www.directrelief.org/

Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?

We had a guest speaker at our Church this Sunday 29 March, while we are still in quarantine for five more days, we listened via Facebook.  And the preacher brought a great message.  He posed the question do bad things happen to good people?  Why does God allow these things to happen?  Why does God allow tornados like the one in Jonesboro, Arkansas on 29 March, or the 10 tornadoes reported 31 March in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Georgia, or the 6.5 magnitude earthquake in Idaho 1 April, floods, hurricanes, famine, diseases, plagues and viruses like we have now in COVID-19. 

Does God allow these things to happen, he created the Earth, he even allows the devil to tempt us to test our faith see JOB.

Job 1. “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.  2. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.  3. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.  4. And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and drink with them.  5. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all:  for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned , and cursed God in their hearts.  Thus did Job continually.  6. Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.  7. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou?  Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth and from walking up and down in it.  8. And the Lord said unto Satan, hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and eschewed evil?  9. Then Satan answered the Lord, and said Doth Job fear God for nought?  10. Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?  thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.  11. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.  12. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.  So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.” (Holman King James Version Study Bible 2012)   

You can read more about Job in the Bible, but the point is that God told Satan to test him and that Job has integrity and will curse thee to thy face.   

So why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? 

Mark 10:17 “And when he has gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?  18. And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou good?  there is none good but one that is God.  19. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor thy father and mother.  20. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these things have I observed from my youth.  21. Then Jesus beholding him loved him and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.  22. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.” (Holman King James Version Study Bible 2012) 

You see we’re not as good as we think we are.  We may do good things from time to time, we may help our neighbor from time to time, but does it take a life altering event to help our neighbors?  We’re proud too, so we think we are good.  We all may not have committed adultery, or stolen, or lied or cheated, or even broken one of God’s commandments?  But we’re not perfect, only God is perfect.  We are all sinners, we all have bad thoughts and we all do bad things, or maybe we covet what others have.  We are selfish people, not all of us, but some bought supplies that we may not need that others may need more than us.  We have blurred the lines of right and wrong.  We’ve made abortion into a selfish decision stemming from irresponsible acts and it’s sad. 

 We’re sinners, we’re not good, that’s why we can’t say that God lets bad things happen to good people.  God allows bad things to happen to sinners, we’re all sinners, none of us are perfect. 

That’s why we should all repent and ask for God’s forgiveness.  I feel sad for people that have not accepted Jesus into their lives.  John 14:5 “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?  6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 

Every day, we see more tornadoes, more storms, more people afflicted by COVID19.  God is mad and we need to ask for his forgiveness, repent before it is too late.

I believe there is more work to do, there are more lost people to bring to Jesus, there are more seeds to plant, and more hearts for God to convict, let’s make Jesus famous, let’s spread the good news.    

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 Holy Spirit

I’m taking a class with BMA Seminary; Introduction to Christian Teaching.  I believe it will help me learn more about the Bible and I hope it will compliment my writing.  One of the required books I need for the course is the Baptist Expositor, Leader.  I was reading the first lesson of Leader/Spring 2020 book and the first lesson is on Acts 1:1-11. 

I’ll summarize what’s taken place: “The apostles, were told to wait in Jerusalem for the power of the Holy Spirit Who would empower them to witness for Jesus.  Jesus told them that their witnessing would be far-reaching beginning at home and going to the uttermost part of the earth.  What a gigantic task that lay before them!  How can such a task be accomplished?  They key to their success would be the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Baptist Expositor Leader/Spring 2020)

“Today believers do not have to wait for the baptism in the Holy Spirit.  He came 2,000 years ago to empower the church and has faithfully dome so ever since.  We can tap into that power right now and be witnesses for Jesus.  Are you utilizing the power of the Holy Spirit now to be an effective witness for Jesus?  We should work hard at our witness for Jesus knowing that one day He will return to this earth just as He ascended into Heaven.”  (Baptist Expositor Leader/Spring 2020)

We were just talking about this at Church, well we had Brotherhood breakfast at Church; we’re Baptists so we eat a lot, and the devotion was about asking God to use us to witness to others.  If we have faith and pray to be used as a witness, the Holy Spirit will make give us the words and confidence to be an effective witness.  I know it’s hard to step out and have faith to talk to others about Christ, but that’s what were supposed to do, we are supposed to build the Kingdom.  I read a statistic that shocked me; only 32 percent   of the World’s population believe in Jesus.  This is going to sound BOLD, but I wish it was 100%!  Hell wasn’t intended for us; it was intended for the Devil and his demonic angels.  Matthew 25:41 says “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (King James Version of the Holy Bible Holman KJV Study Bible 2012).  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be on the left-hand side, bound for everlasting fire!

The sad thing is that you just have to BELIEVE in Jesus, that he died on the cross for your sins and accept him into your heart, and your life and repent from your sins.  We’re all sinners, but believers are saved by God’s grace because we are sinners, we’re not perfect.

So, ask to be used by God to witness to others and let the Holy Spirit work in you.    

Saturday Night Live

Back in the day I used to watch Saturday Night Live, back in the day I used to get in a lot of trouble on a Saturday night too, especially in a small town with not much to do.  But last Saturday night we had a wholesome fun night.  We had what our church calls a 4:19, Matthew 4;19 says “And He said to them, Come after Me [as disciples – letting Me be your Guide], follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!” (Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

It was a fun night full of fellowship.  We had a fish fry and desert auction to raise money for our Youth Group to go to Mexico and build a Church for less fortunate people that don’t have a place to worship God at. 

Not only did we get to eat fried catfish, hushpuppies, and fried pickles, we also got to bid on desert and that stole the show.  I played the role of bidder, jacking up the prices.  I made sure I had the funds available to cover in case I won the bid, but there were a few times I backed out of 100 dollar banana pudding.  The banana pudding is really good and it was for a good cause.  It was a success and we had a good time, as opposed to running the streets in a small town with one movie theater, and not too much else to do. 

Not only did we have an awesome Saturday night, Sunday morning turned out pretty good too.  Sunday morning the Holy Spirit was stirring in Church in full force.  Three young men were baptized and saved and another joined the Church, God has BIG things planned for our Church and I am glad I am a part of it.  Stay tuned for more fund raisers and to find out how the Youth Group Church building goes and if we can manage to top this last weekend.