Do I Have Enough Faith?

I had this article on my mind and was going to write it and we received an email from the Occupational Health and Safety Manager at work stating “masks are a critical part of keeping our community and family members healthy, and I can’t emphasize this enough! I encourage you to mask up, educate your friends and family and set a positive example for those around you. Let’s make masks the new norm together.”

My wife refuses to wear a mask, she will not frequent a place that requires her to wear the mask. because of her strong conviction of faith that she has. She says, if God wants me to get the Corona virus, then I’ll get it, and that God has this predetermined. And while I feel the same way. I almost question my faith because I feel the need to wear a mask when I go to Walmart, or assisting customers at work because I don’t know where these people have been, maybe they are coming from a State that has higher numbers, however, I don’t feel the need to wear the mask at Church, and that may be a mistake.

We went to Lowe’s the other day and she didn’t wear her mask. You know what they say about peer pressure, peer pressure is a (insert your own word). I didn’t wear a mask either, however, if she hadn’t been with me, I probably would have worn a mask.

Now, I am questioning my faith. Do I have enough faith to walk around without a mask? If you believe the news, or media, the numbers are going up and staying cooped up in our houses will only postpone the inevitable. So what are we supposed to do? Are we supposed to accept that masks are the new norm? I have a hard time with that.

Am I being naïve that I don’t want to wear a mask? I don’t want my family to get this virus. I don’t even want to call it by name anymore. I guess, it’s to each their own. We can make our own decisions regarding the wearing of the mask.
Instead of mask, we could insert weapon. Every night I pray that I don’t have to use force on anyone trying to force their way into my house to protect my family. Do I have enough faith to rely on God to protect my family or do I take matters into my own hands? How much faith do you have?

Love, Pray, Fish

I think this is going to be my new catchphrase from now on; Love, Pray, Fish

John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  35. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Bible Gateway 2020)  

The World we live in is consumed with so much hate right now, we have people killing each other, we have riots, we have violent protests, Antifa, terrorist groups, and the Corona virus.  The World is a scary place right now.  However, instead of hating, we should love one another, like Jesus told his disciples.

I got up around 530 in the morning the other day and I went fishing, on the way to my favorite fishing spot, I admired a beautiful sunrise.  I was also able to pray and share my thoughts and concerns with God and take in God’s beautiful World he created to include eight deer, what I found interesting was that they were so spread out.  There was one group of three and the other five were scattered out.  I could not believe how many deer I kept seeing.  I arrived at the ponds and jumped into a boat, the fog was lifting off the pond, it was so beautiful, and it gave me a peaceful calming.  I didn’t’ have a care in the world while I was fishing.  It was a great place to escape from the crazy world we live in.

 

Later that day, I had a Pastoral Committee meeting and I told them I went fishing and I didn’t have a care in the world at that time, and one of them said “I wouldn’t go as far as saying that.”

But, what do we really have to worry about?  Yes we live in a sinful world that is being taken over by sin right now, like I stated above, we have the Corona virus running rampant, there are people killing each other, we have violent protesting, and riots, people are blocking the roads, it’s just crazy out there in the World, but what is the ultimate goal of a person of faith, that believes that Jesus died for their sins and we are saved through God’s grace?  It’s to meet our maker in Heaven, right!  I’m not saying I want to get the Corona virus, but as followers of Christ, what do we really have to fear?  Yes, we are persecuted for being different, Yes, we are different, and we have a strong belief in Jesus Christ.  There is a common thread here, being different whether it is what color of skin we have or what country we are from.  So, love like Jesus, pray and give it to God, and fish.  That is what I did.  I was able to relax and forget about all my worries and I fed my family in the process.

 

How Do You Thank God?

How do you thank God when he answer’s a prayer?  I was praying the other day that God would keep us safe in this weather coming into Arkansas from Oklahoma.  There was a tornado on the ground from Idabel, Oklahoma.  The local TV channel had two tornado warnings close to Dequeen, Arkansas, 38 miles away from us, apparently it didn’t turn out to be too serious, but it got my attention. 

How do you thank God, when he answers your prayers?  I thanked God for keeping us safe.  But I wonder if we pray more asking for something than thanking God when he does deliver. 

The best thing we can do is make sure we do pray and thank him for answering our prayers and to live a pleasing life towards God.  We’re all sinners, it’s hard to live a pleasing life to God, without mistakes, or judgements in error, but he must try our best and ask for forgiveness when we do sin. 

We also can make sure we are spreading the good news about Jesus, taking opportunities to tell people about Jesus and about being a Christian.  To put our faith in Jesus, that he will take care of us, that he paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, so that we can be forgiven for our sins and are saved by God’s grace, that we will spend everlasting life in Heaven with him. 

Don’t forget to shine our light and sow the seed with unbelievers and let God convict their hearts and be patient.  It may take a long time for their hearts to become convicted, but we need to have faith that it will happen. God bless and thank God.          

Should We Live In Fear?

Should we live in fear?  With all the uncertainty of staying at home, or going out in public, and opening up the economy.  Should we live in fear?  No, having said that, I am not taking unnecessary risks.  I am following the guidelines, six feet apart, no gatherings of more than 10 people, all that jazz.  Only one person from our family goes and does the shopping, we don’t take the whole family to the store.  I don’t even know if that is allowed? 

I did go to Walmart a few weeks ago to get necessities and I didn’t wear a mask.  I don’t think I had one to wear, now we are wearing one when we go.  I’m saying all this to say that, while we are following our State’s guidelines, we shouldn’t live in fear. 

I have faith that God will take care of us, one way or the other.  Maybe I need to have more faith, but I’m not taking unnecessary risks.  My work has closed the office to the public and only a few people are allowed to work in the office at a time, the rest are tele-working from home. 

I’m not afraid to go out in public. 

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had faith, they didn’t worship the false God. 

13 “Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.

14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was won’t to be heated.

20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.” (Bible Gateway King James Version, 2020)

Believers, we certainly shouldn’t live in fear, maybe we just need to have more faith.  

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Make Jesus Famous

How can we make Jesus Famous?  You say isn’t Jesus already famous?  According to Learn Religions 32% of the World’s population are Christians.  That’s less than a third of the World that are going to Heaven. I believe in Heaven and Hell and right now, there will be more people in Hell than Heaven and that is SAD! https://www.learnreligions.com/christianity-statistics-700533

I wrote an article not too long ago where I talked about handing out donuts, and if you think about it, it’s the same concept.  To hand out donuts or knock on people’s doors, whatever it takes to make Jesus famous and build God’s Kingdom.  Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? 

We’re all sinners, but I’m a hypocrite.  I recently bought this cool necklace with a cross made from small nails on it.  I’m a hypocrite because I keep the cross inside my shirt. I shouldn’t hide my necklace.  I shouldn’t hide my faith.  I should shout it out from the rooftops.  Why do we hide our faith? 

We should want to make Jesus famous, or more famous, according to that statistic, only 32% of the World population is going to heaven.  We should want every single person to believe in Jesus and we should be out there spreading the good news. 

Are you sitting on your hands or are you trying to make Jesus famous?  What are you doing to make Jesus famous? Let’s Make Jesus Famous!        

Faith and Patience

Our Church is currently searching for a Pastor, and in our Wednesday night message, someone commented that our Church’s faith and patience may be being tested now since we have been searching for five months, for such a long time.  And my argument is maybe five months is not a long time to God.  Maybe God is trying to teach us something, maybe he is trying to teach us patience and faith.  Maybe, if we found a preacher in the near future and it took six and half months or seven months or even less than a year, maybe that is a blessing because it didn’t take years.  I think it depends if you look at the glass half empty or half full. 

Our Church has always had a Preacher either filling in or in view-of-a-call so there has been a preacher preaching every Sunday and I firmly believe that God has used or Church for inexperienced Preachers to gain experience.  We’ve truly been blessed with the different sermons from the different Preachers filling in.  And meeting with the Pulpit Committee is a blessing in itself too.  We have developed a camaraderie that we will miss when we do fill the position, we joked that we may continue to meet even after we find a Pastor. 

God puts us through trials and tribulations and tests our faith to teach us, for us to grow as Christians.  “God’s ultimate purpose for us is to grow more and more into the image of His Son” (Got Questions.Org 2002-2020)

“This is the goal of the Christian, and everything in life, including the trials and tribulations, is designed to enable us to reach that goal. It is part of the process of sanctification.” (Got Questions.Org 2002-2020)

Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknew he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Holman KJV Study Bible 2015)    

“Trials develop godly character, and that enables us to rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, character and hope.” (Got Questions.Org 2002-2020)

Through all of God’s trials and tribulations, we overcome adversity and it makes us stronger in our walk with Christ. 

I watched the movie Overcomer a few days ago and I highly recommend it to you.

“And he that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.” (Holman KJV Study Bible 2015) 

Are you an Overcomer? 

God’s Plan

I lived in Germany for seven years after retiring from the Air Force and wanted to come back home to Mena, Arkansas to be around my family and the beauty that Mena offers. 

I was working at LRMC (Landstuhl Regional Medical Center) as an HR assistant, in-processing new personnel and out-processing personnel leaving and performing leave and finance duties for all the soldiers assigned and I was thankful for the job, but there is a term limit for government civilians working overseas, that they started enforcing, called the five-year-rule.  I had completed 22 years in the Air Force moving where the military wanted me to and I wanted to live where I wanted to, so I took it upon myself to find a job in Arkansas to get closer to family and home. 

I applied for what seemed like countless jobs only to be turned down, however, I made some interview lists and struck out, but I finally got an interview to be the Program Assistant in Arkadelphia with the ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) and was hired, a blessing from God.     

My wife and I sold almost all our things and shipped some essentials along with our Van and moved to Mena, Arkansas.  Arkadelphia is 1 hour and 45 minutes away from Mena one way.  That job got me back to Arkansas. 

It didn’t take too long and my wife, Manuela, was invited to attend a Church in Mena.  We started attending Faith Missionary Baptist Church and fell in love with the Pastor’s style of preaching.  It was like he was preaching right at you at times.  It was as if he was spying on us, but that was just the Holy Spirit working inside of us.  The Pastor ended up leaving and the more we got to know the congregation, the more we fell in love with the Church body.  They’re so loving and nice.  That’s what following Jesus is about…Love, and the Church does a great job displaying that.

Anyway, I was asked to be on the Pulpit committee, to help search for a new Pastor.  I wanted to be on the committee, but never expressed this desire to anyone.  That was God’s work.  I thought being on the committee was going to be a breeze, we’ll meet a few times, make a few phone calls and have a new Pastor in a few weeks.  I was wrong, we are going on three months.  You see, there are more Churches looking for Pastors than Pastors looking for Churches.  God wants me to learn something from this experience.  I know God has a plan and it’s on his time, not mine.  That’s one thing that God is trying to teach me (patience) and the other I think he wants me to understand is to have faith.  God’s got this.  It’s not about us (the pulpit committee), it’s about him.  He is going to send us the right preacher for our Church.  We just gotta believe.   

There’s not many government jobs in Mena, but we do have the Forest Service in Mena and I found an opening in Mena that I applied for.  I had been praying to get closer to home for some time now and when I saw the opening,  I put my resume in for it and prayed and waited.  Well God heard me and I got the job.  Now, I drive about 6 minutes one way to work as opposed to driving 1 hour and 45 minutes.  It’s crazy, I hardly ever have to put gas in my car now.  I bought a Ford Eco Sport to help with gas mileage for the drive to Arkadelphia.  It gets about 35 miles to the gallon on the highway.  I was getting gas every two days, now maybe once every two weeks, another blessing from God. 

On one of the times we visited Mena, my wife and I looked at a house that my step Mom’s sister and husband had for sale.  At first, I thought why should we look at this house, we don’t even have a job lined up here yet (Oh Ye of little faith) but God works in mysterious ways.  I ended up getting the job in Arkadelphia, buying the house and eventually getting the job in Mena.  The house is less than three miles away from the Forest Service.  All of it worked out, God has a plan.  We just have to have faith.              

Faith and Patience

I work in Arkadelphia, Arkansas and I commute 1 hour and 45 minutes one way to work. We moved from Germany to Mena in April 2018, I’m a government employee and there weren’t very many GS jobs near my hometown in Mena, where my wife and I wanted to live.

But, I kept looking on USA jobs for job opportunities in Mena or at least in the area. I finally found one I was qualified for and applied for it a few months ago (It seems like almost 6 months). If you have ever applied for a job on USA jobs, you know it takes a long time to get notifications on the status.) I interviewed for the job over the phone and I would much rather interview in person, with a firm handshake and look the interviewers in the eye while answering questions while dressed for success.

I was nervous and I didn’t like my interview, but I prayed that if it was God’s will, they would pick me for the position. I rationalized it with God, saying I would have more family time, I wouldn’t have to worry about deer jumping out in front of me, or wrecking my car. I wouldn’t have to worry about bad weather. I would save money on gas, and oil changes, wear on tires, etc., etc. But God knew all this.

I kept my faith, but I hadn’t heard back from them in what seemed like an eternity, but in reality it was probably 3 or 4 weeks, so I called the forest service and checked to see if they had made a selection and they stated they had, but it was taking a long time for the notification to be announced. And two days later, I was notified that I was selected for the position. If I hadn’t have been selected I would have been disappointed, but I would accept that God needs me there in Arkadelphia, however, I kept my faith and tried to be patient and it all worked out and I am still thanking the Lord for this opportunity to be closer to home.

Fishing Trip Prayer

We’ve been busy and I finally got a chance to go fishing yesterday. I looked at the radar and there was a little patch of rain nearby and a long line to the West of us. I pressed play on the radar to try and figure out where the rain was headed, but I was having a hard time predicting if it would rain or not.

I was about to grab my gear and go, but my wife wanted me to wait until Charlotte, my three year old, woke up from her nap, so I honored her request, but I was hopeful that I didn’t miss my chance to fish without thunderstorms and heavy rain.

On the way to the undisclosed location, I said a little prayer that it wouldn’t rain hard and there wouldn’t be any thunderstorms. The radar looked like it could rain any second. I had the van already packed with my gear and I made sure to bring a rain jacket.

We arrived at my fishing spot and I jumped in a boat and paddled out to my favorite fishing spot. It had just rained and it was in the afternoon now, so it wasn’t ideal fishing conditions. The wind was blowing me from one side of the pond to the other. I paddled from one side of the pond to the other a few times and I said “Ok, if this is where you want me, this is where I’ll stay, take me where you want me Lord.” And I didn’t fight it, I just fished right there. I was getting frustrated because I had been there for about an hour and not one bite. I even tried different fishing lures. I saw a big bass attacking and eating a perch, right by the boat. I didn’t even think to try and scoop the fish up with my net though.

I started getting some bites, but nothing serious. Keep in mind I am not a professional fisherman and I like to fish with Zoom Brush Hogs on a big hook, so oftentimes the bass get off. So now that I am at least getting some bites. I’m getting more frustrated that I am not catching any fish and I forgot my basket to put any fish in that I may catch, so I am thinking that the reason I am not catching any fish is because I didn’t bring a stringer or my basket, which makes no sense at all. It would make more sense that I would catch a lot of fish because I didn’t bring a stringer.

Anyway, now the sun is coming out, it’s getting hot and it’s really not ideal conditions for fishing. And now I am praying that I could catch a big fish because I know there are BIG fish in this pond. I hooked a huge one before, but didn’t officially catch it and I didn’t get a picture of it either, but the Lord blessed me with good weather and that is what I asked for. My prayer was to not have thunderstorms or heavy rain. I didn’t pray to catch any fish.

Now, I am praying that a big fish would take this lure like he is serious about it and swallow it or that it is hooked in his lip. The prayer was to actually catch a fish and that the fish wouldn’t get off the hook. I was just about to give up. I was making my way back to the shore and I hooked a monster bass and he was wearing me out. I was afraid he as going to get under the boat and get off. And the Lord blessed me with a great catch. It even jumped up and “tail walked” on me and still couldn’t get off the hook, it was hooked pretty good. I recently bought a big net for an occasion just like this, but it sure is hard to scoop up a 6 lb. bass by your self. I ended up releasing the fish because she had eggs.

I give all the glory to God that he allowed the fish to get hooked so good that the fish could not get off the line and into my net. Like I said, I am no great fisherman anyway. And the Lord first blessed me with no rain, like I asked for, then I prayed to catch a fish and I did. I told the Lord thank you for allowing me to catch that fish. The Lord does answer our prayers, but we have to be careful what we ask for. If we pray and have faith he will provide.

Breakthrough

Last night, my wife and I found someone to watch the kids while we had a “date night”. Our Church posted that the movie Breakthrough was playing at the local movie theater, so we decided to go watch it. We don’t typically go out much these days, we have a five year old and a three year old, so we stay at home with them most of the time, but I have a cousin that was gracious enough to come take care of them for a couple of hours. It was certainly nice to get out and see some of our Church congregation. We had a pretty good turn out of about 2o people for the first showing and there were more standing in line, when our showing was done.

So how was the movie? I absolutely LOVED it. It was amazing, however, if you watch the trailer, you can pretty much figure out what is going to happen. But I think there is a bigger picture to the movie beyond the obvious story with John, the boy that falls though the ice. I think there is another story line with Mike Colter’s character “Tommy”. You see Tommy heard a voice telling him not to stop looking for John and exactly where to look for him in the lake. But there is one problem, Tommy doesn’t believe in God, so I think a possible outcome of the true story is that Tommy finds God and becomes saved, at least that is what I hope happened.

Not only is this movie based on a true story, it is a faith based film, it also has some sports in it and the executive producer of the movie is Stephen Curry. It’s truly a great movie. I encourage you all to go and see it. I have embedded the trailer movie here and an interview with Stephen Curry stating why he wanted to be involved in the movie.

I’m sorry I haven’t written more. I’ll try to do better, enjoy the trailers.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Characters+in+Breakthrogh+&view=detail&mid=F5B8F1B46AF421DB2F3EF5B8F1B46AF421DB2F3E&FORM=VIRE0&mmscn=tpvh&ru=%2fsearch%3fq%3dCharacters%2bin%2bBreakthrogh%2b%26form%3dEDNTHT%26mkt%3den-us%26httpsmsn%3d1%26refig%3de90982d154734e7ae71a61cd3769241f%26PC%3dASTS%26sp%3d-1%26pq%3dcharacters%2bin%2bbreakthro%26sc%3d0-23%26qs%3dn%26sk%3d%26cvid%3de90982d154734e7ae71a61cd3769241f