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!            

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!

Does God Regret Making Man?

Genesis 6:1 “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2. That the sons of God saw daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4. There were giants in the earth those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were old, men of renown.
5. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6. And it repented the Lord that he had made man in the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7. And the Lord, said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repententh me that I have made them.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2020)
6. “And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in his heart.” (Bible Gateway NKJV 2020)
8 “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2020)

Noah built the Ark that God instructed him to build and God destroyed everyone except eight people. Only eight people believed in God, the rest of mankind perished.

Genesis 7:7. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2020)

Genesis 7:16 “And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2020)

Genesis 7:23. “And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.” (Bible Gateway KJV 2020)

Can you imagine when God shut the door and it started raining, flooding, the people knocking on the door, pleading for Noah to let them in saying. I believe you now. I believe there will be a great flood now, let me in.

It hurts my heart to think that God would even think about regretting making man. If it doesn’t hurt your heart, then it’s cold as ice. They sinned so much that God grieved in his heart. How sad is that! That we have failed God.

What do you think God thinks now as he looks down on us?? I’m sure he thinks the same thing as he did then. We are destroying each other. We are killing each other, we are destroying the earth that he created.

I feel like the Corona virus has divided us, some people say wear a mask, some people say don’t, it doesn’t protect you, some say it does protect you. But we need to keep our focus on Jesus, not on a mask. We need to stop the HATE, stop hating each other and stop fighting amongst ourselves, whether about the Corona virus, wearing a mask, or anything else. We are to love one another, not to tear each other down. We need to support each other for the decisions we have made and the faith we have. Does God resent making us, and does that break your heart? That’s what we should be asking ourselves!

What My Mom Told Me 36 Years Ago

Back in 1984, my Mom had a small beauty shop in Mena, Arkansas and she was going through a tough time, she told me that she needed to go somewhere and pray. It was late at night and me and my little brother, who was 1 ½ at the time were staying at a baby sitters house. I was 14 at the time.

My Mom said she was either going to go on top of Rich Mountain or to Board Camp to pray. I didn’t want her driving on top of the mountain in the middle of the night with the fog so I told her to go to Board Camp. That was the last time I would see my Mom alive. My Dad picked me up the next day and told me the news that my Mom had died in a car wreck.

My Mom and Dad were divorced so it was a shock to both of us that I would now be living with him. Anyway, that is not really the point of my article.

The point of my article is that my Mom told me, that Jesus would come back to get the Church in my lifetime and I wanted to share that with you. I’m now 50 years old and everyday it’s looking closer and closer to the last days, when God could send Jesus to come get his children.

If you dare turn on the television, or listen to the news, you see hatred. You see us fighting amongst ourselves, killing each other and then there is COVID-19, and I am sure we all have our opinions about that. I guess that’s why I like to go fishing so much. I just like to get away from all the madness and hate in the world.

What’s sad to me is the people that don’t know Jesus, that have denied him, pay particularly close attention to Matthew 10:33 below.

Matthew 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

I believe, it’s our duty while we are still here on earth as believers to tell people about Jesus and what it’s like to believe and not have to worry about dying. When Jesus is accepted into one’s life he renews you and changes your heart, replacing hate with love. That’s what we need today, is more Jesus!

Renewed
Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. (Bible Gateway 2020)
“You should rejoice in the saving grace of Christ if you are a Christian. Tell others you know the reason for the hope that is within you so that they may come to give their lives to Jesus Christ before it is too late. As each day passes by it is one day closer to the rapture and then it is too late” (God’s Mercy and Grace 2020).

Rapture
John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (Bible Gateway 2020)
Luke 10:20 “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (Bible Gateway 2020)

Mark 13:26 “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.” (Bible Gateway 2020)

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

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.
I’m not sure how my Mom knew that Jesus would come back to get us while I was still alive It’s been 36 years since she passed away, sometimes old people just know stuff.

I for one know that I can’t wait to get to Heaven and not have to worry about this world and its worldly things, no diseases, nothing to worry about and according to my Mom, it’s coming soon, during my lifetime, so be ready– God Bless!

Fishin’ In Heaven

Can you imagine what it is going to be like in Heaven? I don’t think our feeble minds can fathom what it will be like to witness Heaven with our own eyes and what it’s going to be like.

We will finally get to see our loved ones that have passed before us. We won’t have to worry about a virus, or any other disease. We won’t need to wear a mask in Heaven. We won’t have to lock our doors, or worry about riots, looting, shootings, stabbings, bombs, Churches being burned down, our children being kidnapped, and gang violence to name a few atrocities. The list goes on and on. No one will commit suicide, or have mental illnesses. All we will have to do is worship Jesus for dying on the Cross for our sins so that we were able to have everlasting life with them in Heaven.

Instead of Hate, we can focus on Love! 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)

I imagine Heaven to have the best fishing in the World, can you imagine not having a care in the World. Let me say that again, not a care in the World, yes that makes sense, because everything we worry about is of the World, it’s Worldly. All the things I mentioned above, diseases, hunger, all the trials and tribulations that we face on this World will be over.

And I don’t think we can fully understand what living in Heaven will be like. I pray every night for the safety of my family and I can’t even allow myself to share that prayer with you, because I don’t want it to happen so bad, but I won’t have to worry about it in Heaven. All these things that we fear are manmade, because we are sinners.

I believe God is trying to get our attention with this Corona virus and with all the hatred that people have in their hearts. I believe God is giving us one last chance to get on our knees to repent and ask for his forgiveness. We are ALL sinners! I also believe God is giving non-believers one last chance to accept Jesus Christ into their lives as their personal Savior. When we accept Jesus into our lives he makes us new again. He restores us and replaces the hatred with love. And finally I believe God is sending Jesus to get his people and it may sooner than we think.

Repentance
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (Bible Gateway 2020)

Renewed
Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. (Bible Gateway 2020)

Rapture
John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (Bible Gateway 2020)

Luke 10:20 “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (Bible Gateway 2020)

Mark 13:26 “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.” (Bible Gateway 2020)

I just went fishing this weekend. I was blessed to be able to go Saturday and Sunday and it was so much fun, but I can’t imagine what it will be like to fish in Heaven. When I get to Heaven, I just want to praise God and go fishing with my loved ones.

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). 

Replace Sinful Nature with Good-Hearted Nature (Love)

My wife and I were reading our Bible plan and I came across these verses I wanted to share with you in Ephesians:

Ephesians 5:17 “With the Lord’s authority I say this. Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18. Their minds are full of darkness. They wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.”

20. “But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him. 22. Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.  24.  Put on your new nature, created to be like God-truly righteous and holy.”

25. “So stop telling people lies.  Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.  26.  And don’t sin by letting anger control you.  Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.  27.  For anger gives a foothold to the devil”, Holy Bible New Living Translation, Second Edition.     

I love these verses.  It’s not easy being a Christian and living up to all the expectations that others have for us, not to mention the expectations that we have as Christians.

Verse 22 says “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.”  Before accepting Jesus into our lives as our savior, we were more concerned about ourselves and filling our sinful needs and wants, but when we accept Jesus into our lives and become Christians, we need to be more concerned with others’ needs and not putting our sinful nature first. It’s about loving others and being more like Christ and when we do sin, we need to be aware of it and ask for forgiveness and try to not fall back into that same mindset again.      I love in verse 26 it says not to “let the sun go down while you are still angry.”  My wife and I try to not to go to sleep mad at each other and that is just one example, but the big picture is to not go to sleep mad at anyone.  That’s a hard feat to accomplish.  We don’t know if we will wake up tomorrow and it would be a travesty if we didn’t make amends with a loved one and didn’t get the chance to say you’re sorry and you love them.  Verse 27 says “for anger gives a foothold to the devil”.  The Devil wants nothing more than to destroy us and every chance he gets he will try to replace our good-hearted nature with sinful nature, so don’t let the devil get a foothold into your life, remember to Love like Jesus.

Love

Our Church set up it’s slide in a nearby park, it was open to the public. We wanted to spread love around, meet new people and try the new slide out, before kids camp starts this week.

You should have seen how much fun the kids and grown-ups had on that slide. We had a great time fellowshipping, eating and meeting new people, some of the older members even tried out the slide. We need to do more things like this in our communities to break bread and fellowship with one another.

We made our rounds around the park looking for new people to “love on” as one of our church-members said. We got to meet some new people and some new people showed up to Church this week. I’d call that a success.

Instead of fighting, and politicking, we need more love in the world we live in now. I could certainly do a better job of loving my family, my wife, my kids, my Aunt and Uncle, Step-Mom, friends and even my enemies. Can we really ever love someone enough? We could all probably do a better job of showing people we love them.

Join me, and tell someone that you love, just how much they mean to you while we still have the chance.