Do We idolize Sports Stars?

I grew up in the 80’s and my favorite sports star is Michael Jordan. I can still see him soaring through the air. He could dunk it from the free throw line. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t worship Michael Jordan. But he is certainly my favorite sports star of all time.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=michael+jordan+highlights&&view=detail&mid=3426CF00651E34547CBA3426CF00651E34547CBA&&FORM=VRDGAR&ru=%2Fvideos%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dmichael%2520jordan%2520highlights%26qs%3DMM%26form%3DQBVR%26sp%3D1%26pq%3Dmichael%2520jordan%2520%26sc%3D8-15%26cvid%3D854EB2CABD2748A08956CE0D783DD982

And I love watching football too, if you ask my wife, I probably spend too much time watching football. Now with COVID-19, I wonder if God is trying to tell us something. I wonder if God is shutting Sports down for a while. I wonder if we should stop paying so much attention to Sports and get into our Bible’s. Are we spending more time paying attention to Sports instead of worshipping God?

When Michael Jackson passed away, that’s all that was on the television for days, don’t get me wrong. I felt remorse for his family and friends but it didn’t affect me personally. The same with Kobe Bryant. I was sad for his family and friends, but we are all going to pass away, or go to Heaven when God sends Jesus to come get us in the rapture, whichever comes first.

I wonder if God is trying to tell us something. Worship him not Sports, actors, or entertainers. Maybe we need to spend more time in Church, praying, reading our Bible’s and worshipping God. God Bless!

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?

Would You Come Back To A Sinful Earth?

If you’ve watched any news at all lately, you know that we live in some trying times to say the least. We have so much hatred in the World today, essentially we are killing each other, there is rioting, looting, and let’s not forget the Corona virus too.

What if God called you home like Charlotte Holmes and you were able to experience Heaven’s beauty, and of course it exceeded all your expectations? I don’t think we can fathom the beauty and its peace. What if you heard the angels singing and you were able to experience this for yourself? And you got to smell the beautiful flowers like Charlotte did? And you saw your family that passed away inside the gates waving to you to come join them and God gave you a choice to enter the pearly gates of Heaven or return to your living family on Earth?

An earth filled with hate, and violence, full of trials and tribulations or you could enter the gates of Heaven, something you have been looking forward to since you became a believer in Christ. That is the ultimate goal, to make it to Heaven.
But God says if you go back, you have to spread the good news. You have bring as many people back with you as you possibly can, would you go back to Earth or enter the gates of Heaven?

What a dilemma! Maybe your work is not quite done on Earth and you know without a shadow of a doubt your coming back to Heaven and you can bring more people with you. I would like to say I’d go back to my family and do some more work, what would you do? I say, there’s more work to do, if you are a believer, spread the news about Jesus.

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2020/may/missouri-woman-dies-goes-to-heaven-and-comes-back-with-mission-to-bring-home-as-many-as-we-can

 

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.

 

What if You Knew Your Destiny?

What if you knew your destiny?  What if we knew when we were going to die and how?  Would you want to know, when and how?  I don’t think I would want to know.  Then we could possibly change the outcome?  I don’t want to know the date I’m going to pass away.  I would be more focused on that date than living my life.  Would it change the way you’re living if you knew your destiny?    

We should live our lives to the best of our abilities like today is the last because tomorrow is not guaranteed to us.  I believe each day is a gift from God and if you’re not living the way you should, we may not live a long and fruitful life.  On the flip side of that, is it so bad to die?  I mean the ultimate goal is to live a life pleasing to God and to go to Heaven, through our belief in Jesus Christ and God’s grace.  However, I will feel sad for the people that I leave behind that love me, my wife, my children and loved ones.   

I believe we should shine our lights and try to sow seeds with unbelievers, so they can have what we have, everlasting life.  I think that if you are not trying to expand God’s Kingdom, we may not live a long and fruitful life.  If you have everlasting life and you’re not worried about dying, or what happens when you die, then you can focus on living your best life and spreading the good news about Jesus and telling people that Jesus died on the Cross for our sins so we don’t have to worry about dying and going to a Devil’s Hell, which wasn’t even created for us, therefore we do know our destiny.  If you’re a believer, you’re going to Heaven and you’ll have everlasting life.   

         

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). 

Would You Drop Everything To Follow Jesus?

Would you give up everything you have, all your possessions, which God allowed you to have, to follow Jesus, to serve him and learn from the ultimate teacher?  What an honor it would that would be.  

 Matthew 19:16 “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” (Bible Gateway King James Version 2020)

I don’t know how long it would take to sell all your things and donate the proceeds to the poor, but can you imagine the opportunity to go and serve Jesus?  Jesus knew the man wouldn’t sell his belongings and donate his wealth to the poor and come and follow him.  What would you do?  I would like to think that I would.  Now, I believe I would, but a few years ago, I may not have.  Now, I know what an honor it would be and we should want to do this, not because we are sure to be rewarded in Heaven, but because Jesus died for our sins.  It’s the least we can do.   

God allows us to have our possession anyway.  Why not give it all back for him, for we will be paid back (rewarded) in Heaven.  “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” (Bible Gateway King James Version 2020).  What would you do? 

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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Praying and Washing My Hands

I’ve been praying a lot lately, and washing my hands.  I’ve been praying that God has mercy on us and wipes out the Corona Virus.  Or, God certainly has the power to wipe us out, but I pray that he doesn’t.  I’ve been praying that we turn back to God and seek his face, that we put him back number one in our lives, that we don’t have false idols.  When I am reading the Bible, I notice that worshipping anyone other than God makes God mad.  I’m praying that we repent from our sins, we’re all sinners, and none of us are perfect.  And, I’m so thankful that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. 

When Michael Jackson died in 2009, that’s all you heard about on the news was how distraught everyone was about losing him.  Kobe Bryant just passed away and I hope we are not worshipping entertainers, athletes, anyone except God.  Sports, has been shut down, School is closed, but then again we’re not allowed to pray at school anymore either.    

I’m praying that the kids can get back to going to the parks and playing, and that they can get back to school soon too.  That we can get back to watching football, and basketball (sports in general).  We just need to be careful not to worship the players and Sports and not to put it before going to Church and worshipping God, and I’m washing my hands.

I’m praying that we can get back to attending Church in person and that I can get back to attending pastoral meetings with my fellow brothers, so we can find the Pastor that God has in store for our Church and I’m washing my hands. 

I’m praying for people that may not have accepted Jesus into their lives or that don’t believe in Jesus.  I pray that they come to know Jesus and accept him as their Savior before it’s too late.  We live in an unpredictable time, we are seeing tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, diseases, hurricanes and more.  We need to be ready to go and meet our maker.

I’m also thanking God, on a daily basis for my countless blessings that I don’t deserve.  I’m truly blessed.  Let’s not forget to thank God, even in these times of despair and uncertainty.        

And, I’m praying that God will forgive me of my sins.  I know I am not perfect, that I am a sinner.  I’m repenting for my sins and washing my hands – Stay Safe and God Bless You. 

Are You Lucky or Blessed?

Are you blessed or lucky?  Am I blessed or lucky?  My family returned from Germany, March 20th, after visiting my wife’s family and celebrating her 40th birthday with her twin sister.  We arrived on March 10th and planned on staying until March 25th, but our plans were changed by the Pandemic, Corona Virus.

First, we were told all American’s had to be back with in the U.S. by Friday, March 13th, but we just got there three days earlier and ignored the warning.  And, the 4 0 celebration was planned for the following day.  However, our return flight kept getting cancelled.  My wife spent hours on the phone trying to book our return flights.  We finally got a flight that didn’t get cancelled, however, we had to fly from Frankfurt, Germany with a layover in London, England and then to Dallas, Texas, five days early, as opposed to or our original flight from Frankfurt, Germany, straight to Dallas, Texas.    

On the way over to Germany, I sat two seats away from someone that coughed the entire flight and didn’t bother to cover their mouth.  We walked through Dallas Fort Worth Airport, and Frankfurt Am Main Airport and I don’t think we practiced social distancing lining up, to check in on the way over.  On the way back, they did ensure we spread out when we exited the plane in Dallas, before we checked in with the CDC that was waiting for us there.

We arrived in Dallas and were screened for the Corona Virus, passed our screening and were told to self-quarantine for 14 days at home.  We did and never developed any serious symptoms, yes, we had a sniffle or a cough, but nothing to get too worried about.     

I said all that to say this, am I lucky or am I blessed that we flew all the way to Germany to visit with family, celebrate my wife and sister-in-law’s 40th birthday and to visit with some old friends and made it home safe.  God was definitely with us when we drove back from Dallas to Arkansas, because we were exhausted.  We took turns driving, but somehow made it home.  Are we lucky or blessed?  I believe we are blessed, God was definitely with us. 

I’m blessed!  I have a beautiful family that loves me, and we are healthy.  I have a job right now, when according to CNBC ‘Another 6.6 million file for unemployment’ (9 March, 2020).  I have a roof over my head.  I have a loving Church family, and have many more things to be thankful for.   

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/another-66m-americans-file-for-unemployment-benefits-as-layoffs-show-no-letup/ar-BB12nLmw?ocid=spartanntp

 I’m sure all of you have stories to share about your Corona Virus experiences, are you lucky or blessed?  I’m blessed!