IS God Real?

I struggled with the title of this devotion.  I went back and forth between three titles, God Is Real, Is God Real and another one, but every fiber of my being KNOWS that God IS Real!

The reason God laid this devotion on my heart is I saw a post on Facebook.  I can’t remember the group I was in.  I hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will guide me back to that post, but someone wrote God is not real in the comments, and it broke my heart to think that there are people out there that don’t believe in God, that deny his existence, that deny him.

And there may be someone in this room that hasn’t accepted Jesus into their lives.  I pray that if you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, you would ask Jesus into your heart before it’s too late.  There is a lot going on in this world right now.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow.  You could die in a tornado, there could be a Hurricane, or flood.  We are having wildfires.  You could die in your sleep.  You could have a heart attack, or a stroke.  You may not make it home from this event.  I may not finish this devotion.  If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus.  I implore you to ask Jesus into your heart and accept him as your personal savior before it is everlasting too late.    

I am not bragging.  I give all the glory to God.  But I have heard God (the Holy Spirit) talk to me and I have felt the Holy Spirit’s presence.  Have I seen God, no I haven’t, but that’s where faith comes in.   

Now I don’t always do what the Holy Spirit wants me to do, but I have heard the Holy Spirit talk to me and you guys may have too.  I was coming back from (you guys can fill in the blank) fishing on Highway 88E and there was a truck broken down on the side of the road and I passed the vehicle, and something told me to turn around and go back, turn around and go back.  And I had to ask for forgiveness for not doing what I was told.  The Holy Spirit told me to stop drinking and I stopped drinking alcohol about three years ago.

And I’ve felt the Holy Spirit.  You may have felt the Holy Spirit in church or when you are praying, or during singing church hymns.  The last time I encountered the spirit I was praying.  It seems like Manuela’s whole family had COVID and her sister’s father-in-law is in (was) ICU with COVID pneumonia and not doing very good at all and Manuela was talking to her sister and her sister didn’t know what to do so she told her to pray.  So, Simone said she prayed, and we are not sure of Simone really believes in God, so she prayed that if you’re real God show me a sign, and the next day Berndt’s health improved.  So I was praying for God to heal Berndt and not only would you be performing a miracle and saving Berndt’s live but you would be possibly saving other lives by proving that you are real and you do perform miracles and the Holy Spirit started at the top of my body in my arms and went down my back and in my spine and stayed there for a little bit and ran down my legs and I was just thanking God for the gift of the Holy Spirit and it felt like goosebumps but they were inside my body and it lasted for a two or three minutes. So don’t tell me God’s not real.         

1 Corinthians 6:19 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]?” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022)

Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one [the only God]!” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022)

1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Do not quench [subdue or be unresponsive to the working and guidance of] the [Holy] Spirit.”  Bible Gateway Amplified 2022)

Acts 20:28 “Take care and be on guard for yourselves and for the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd (tend, feed, guide) the church of God which He bought with His own blood.” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022)

2 Timothy 2:8 Remember Jesus Christ [the ever-living Lord who has] risen from the dead, [as the prophesied King] descended from David [king of Israel], according to my gospel [the good news that I preach], for that [gospel] I am suffering even to [the point of] wearing chains like a criminal; but the word of God is not chained or imprisoned! 10 For this reason I [am ready to] patiently endure all things for the sake of those who are the elect (God’s chosen ones), so that they too may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it the reward of eternal glory. 11 This is a faithful and trustworthy saying:12 If we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we deny Him, He will also deny us;13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful [true to His word and His righteous character], for He cannot deny Himself.” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022)

John 3:16“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] [a]only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Whoever believes and has decided to trust in Him [as personal Savior and Lord] is not judged [for this one, there is no judgment, no rejection, no condemnation]; but the one who does not believe [and has decided to reject Him as personal Savior and Lord] is judged already [that one has been convicted and sentenced], because [b]he has not believed and trusted in the name of the [One and] only begotten Son of God [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, the One who alone can save him]. 19 This is the judgment [that is, the cause for indictment, the test by which people are judged, the basis for the sentence]: the Light has come into the world, and people loved the [c]darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For every wrongdoer hates the Light, and does not come to the Light [but shrinks from it] for fear that his [sinful, worthless] activities will be exposed and condemned. 21 But whoever practices truth [and does what is right—morally, ethically, spiritually] comes to the Light, so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are—accomplished in God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence on Him].” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022) 

Men, and women we are here to praise and worship God, thank God, and spread the good news of Jesus Christ so that they would not perish but have everlasting life.

We are the apostles, Hebrews 3:1 says “Therefore, [a]holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, [thoughtfully and attentively] consider the Apostle and High Priest whom we confessed [as ours when we accepted Him as Savior], namely, [b]Jesus;” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022) 

Matthew 28:16“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022)

Is God real?  I know I am not supposed to use explicit language especially at church, but you darn right God is Real!  I’ve experienced things that you cannot explain happen to me.  I’ve had friends and family members experience miracles.  I’ve heard of miracles.  Neil Taylor is a walking example of a miracle.  Just look at our prayer chain.  There have been many examples of answered prayers and miracles on our very own prayer chain.  We see it over and over again and I would submit that if God doesn’t heal someone, then it was his will.     

God heals people.  He saves people.  He moves mountains. 

There is a song by Jon Reddick called God Turn it Around and the Bridge goes like this: 

He is Healing Someone, He is Saving Someone, God is Doing Something Right Now, Right Now, He is Moving Mountains, making a way for someone God is doing something Right Now, Right Now.

There’s another song called Too Good to Not Believe by Brandon Lake, listen to that song when you have a chance.

It pains my heart to know that people deny the good news of Jesus Christ!

I’ll leave you with this quote: “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and un-prayed for.” Charles Spurgeon

Go talk to someone about Jesus, plant a seed and let God do the rest.  Romans 10:13 states “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord [in prayer] will be saved.” (Bible Gateway Amplified 2022) God Bless you! Just Believe Please!  Before it is too late!    

No Storms In Heaven

I would say natural disasters are intensifying, God is pouring out his judgement on us. 

Today on earth, the storms seem to be intensifying.  In December 2021, a tornado traveled 227 miles on the ground 200 miles in Kentucky with a death toll of at least 70 people.  In 2020, we had so many hurricanes we had to start the Greek alphabet over naming them. 

The Bible says there will be earthquakes in diver’s places.  We are having a record number of natural disasters including devastating wildfires.  On March 30, 2022, the USGS lists 50 earthquakes over 2.5 magnitude in the past day and 21 tornadoes in the last 14 hours according to Tornado HQ site by Hayley (2022).  And as of this writing on 30 March 2022 there are 604 wildfires in 19 states of the United States that have burned 404,797 acres of land according to 2022 Fire, Weather &Avalanche Center.  You don’t think God is pouring out his judgment on us for turning away from him, from taking him out of our schools etc., etc.?  See below Bible scripture:    

Matthew 24:1 “While Jesus was seated on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, and said, “Tell us, when will this [destruction of the temple] take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end (completion, consummation) of the age?”

Jesus answered, “Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error]. For many will come in My name [misusing it and appropriating the strength of the name which belongs to Me], saying, ‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many. You will continually hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end [of the age]. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish and the time of unprecedented trouble].” (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2022)

But there is good news, there will be no fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, and storms in Heaven.  There will be no more sickness, disease, and death in Heaven.  There will be no more wearing a mask or getting a booster shot.  There will be no more fear in Heaven.  No one will steal your identity in Heaven.  Heaven will be perfect.   We won’t even need the sun in Heaven because the glory of God will illuminate it, see Bible scripture below:

Revelations 21:22 “ I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all] and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of the sun nor of the moon to give light to it, for the glory (splendor, radiance) of God has illumined it, and the Lamb is its lamp and light. 24 The nations [the redeemed people from the earth] will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring into it their glory. 25 By day (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed [in fear of evil]; 26 and they will bring the glory (splendor, majesty) and the honor of the nations into it; 27 and nothing that defiles or profanes or is unwashed will ever enter it, nor anyone who practices abominations [detestable, morally repugnant things] and lying, but only those [will be admitted] whose names have been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2022)

Oh, how we long to be in the presence of our almighty Lord and Savior!  Bur until then, comfort each other with these words; see Bible scripture below:

1 Thessalonians 13 “Now we do not want you to be uninformed, believers, about those who are asleep [in death], so that you will not grieve [for them] as the others do who have no hope [beyond this present life]. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again [as in fact He did], even so God [in this same way—by raising them from the dead] will bring with Him those [believers] who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by the Lord’s [own] word, that we who are still alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede [into His presence] those [believers] who have fallen asleep [in death]. 16 For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the [b]archangel and with the [blast of the] trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain [on the earth] will simultaneously be caught up (raptured) together with them [the resurrected ones] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord! 18 Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words [concerning our reunion with believers who have died].”  (Bible Gateway Amplified Bible 2022)

Until Jesus returns comfort each other insuring them that Jesus will indeed return and if we believe in him and have a relationship with him and have repented from our sins, we will be with him for eternity. 

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. 

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?   

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.          

Sports A False Idol?

Football season started back up last night.  And I couldn’t help but wonder if we idolize sports and the athletes?  I didn’t change my routine last night, my wife and I still read our Bible’s but afterwards instead of turning on a cooking show, our normal routine, I tuned in to the NFL Thursday night opener, pitting the Houston Texans against the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. 

I’m also into fantasy football, I know something else that could potentially take my attention from worshipping God.

I prayed that if I’m not to watch football that God would cancel the season and give me a clear answer.  I certainly don’t want anything to take away from my worship.  I don’t plan on missing church or, neglecting Sunday School preparation, or taking away from our nightly Bible reading because of it. 

One could argue that if you allowed it, anything could take time away from your worship time.  Not to toot my own horn, really, but I quit drinking alcohol about a year and a half ago because I felt like it was hindering my walk with Jesus, and I do feel closer to God as a result of my sobriety.  I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a drink or two and still worship God, but for me, I feel like it was the right choice.     

If you look back in the Bible, it talks about false idols a lot.  Now, I don’t worship football, or sports or athletes, but I also don’t want sports to get in the way of my worship time and putting God first.

 Zechariah 13 says “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.” (Bible Gateway 2020)

And in Zechariah 10:2

“For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.” (Bible Gateway 2020)

I’m sure I could write an article about the football players kneeling and social injustice and our feelings about that today, September 11, 2020, the 19th anniversary of the insidious attack on the United States.  I served 22 years in the military and I personally don’t like to see kneeling during the National Anthem.  I say stay in the locker room or kneel the entire game if you want, but not while the flag is on the field and the National Anthem is playing and the airplanes are flying over.  They taught us to stand at attention and salute the flag during the Anthem.  It’s certainly not bringing us closer together and uniting us, it is bringing us further apart and dividing us, but I digress.  I won’t charge you for my two cents, at least I got that out of my system, and I won’t bring it up again, whether you agree or disagree.  It’s not my intent to start a debate, certainly not that type of debate with this article.

However, I did listen to an article with Dak Prescott today, where he was praising God for allowing him to be blessed with the skills to play football and I enjoyed that very much. 

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/fox-sports-calls-out-skip-bayless-for-insensitive-comments-about-dak-prescott/ar-BB18ULxj?ocid=spartan-ntp-feeds

And the Kansas City Chiefs owner, Clark Hunt, is a devout Christian also and they won the Super Bowl last year, so sports can be a good thing, if we allow it. 

https://www.themix.net/2020/02/clark-hunt-kansas-city-chiefs-owner-christian/#:~:text=Clark%20Hunt%2C%20the%20owner%20of%20the%20Kansas%20City,employees%20to%20develop%20their%20spiritual%20faith%20as%20well.

The point of this article is to not put anything before God, whether it’s football, sports, athletes, alcohol, drugs, our jobs, even our families.  God allows us to have all these things, our careers, our families and our health.

We’ll see if there is a football season or if it is cancelled and I may have just answered my own question with the above links.  It could be all in how we watch or allow ourselves to be entertained, because that is what it is, entertainment.  There are two examples of two Christians associated with football above, God Bless and thanks for taking the time to read my article. 

Let’s Pray

There are a lot of things going on in this world right now.  We have COVID-19, we have politics, you could argue we have the COVID-19 and the politics associated with it, we have a category 3 currently Hurricane, but expected to strengthen to a category 4 Hurricane soon, bearing down on parts of Louisiana and Texas.  There is social unrest and people with hatred in their hearts in the United States.  School is starting or has started all over the United States, whether you are home schooling or your children are attending school in person, it is stressful to say the least.  There are people that don’t know Jesus and that breaks my heart.  And I am sure I am missing more things that are going on, in our lives.  And all this affects our home and work lives.    

So pray with me.  Dear Heavenly Father, help us, we need you in our lives.  (I need you!)  Please be with the people affected by the Corona Virus.  Dear God, in 2 Chronicles 14 it says “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways , then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  Dear God I am pleading with you to help us during these times.  Dear Lord, I also say a special prayer for everyone that is in the way of Hurricane Laura.  I pray that they heed the warnings to evacuate and get to safer ground and if they don’t, that you will protect them.  I also want to lift up all the staff and workers, teachers and students that are attending school.  Dear God please keep them safe and healthy.  Let them finish the school year and focus on learning.  Dear Lord, I know I struggle with all the information surrounding the Corona Virus Pandemic.  I don’t know who to believe, wear a mask, don’t wear a mask, it helps, it doesn’t help.  I struggle with the numbers, the rates.  I pray that we don’t lose focus on you.  That we put your first and have faith that you are going to see us through all this.  Dear God there is also social unrest in the United States.  I pray that you stop the hatred we have in our hearts for each other.  Our souls are what matters Lost Souls Matter, dear God.  I pray a special prayer on anyone that doesn’t know you or believe in you.  Be with us dear Lord and help us through all of this.  It’s a lot to deal with and I want to shine my light to others and I want others to say I want what he (they) has (have), but it is certainly a struggle now.  Forgive me of where I have failed you, in Jesus name I pray Amen. 

I feel like we need to pray, and I just wanted to share this with you, God Bless!            

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!