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? 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? 2020)

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

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). 

How Do You Thank God?

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

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

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

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

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

Begging For Water

  Luke 16:19-31 King James Version (KJV)

19” There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:

28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” (KJV Bible Gateway 2020)

Can you imagine begging for water?  Can you imagine begging for someone to have mercy on you and dip their finger in water to cool your tongue?  I cannot imagine what that would be like, nor do I want to know.  All because you rejected Jesus and didn’t live a life pleasing to God.  You just have to believe, ask for forgiveness, repent for your sins, and God will convict your heart, while you are attending Church, reading your Bible and praying.  He’ll show you what you are supposed to do and how you are supposed to live.  It’s all in the Bible and you won’t have to worry about gnashing of the teeth, like it says in Matthew 13:42 King James Version (KJV).

42 “And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (KJV Bible Gateway 2020).  Instead you will have everlasting life.

If you don’t know Jesus Christ and haven’t accepted Jesus into your life as your personal Savior, now would be a great time to, especially with the uncertain times we live in now. 

Below is a site that tells you how to accept Jesus Christ into your heart as your Savior.

How to Accept Jesus Into Your Life – Steps

  • Trust Jesus Christ today!
  • Admit that you are a sinner and that you need God’s help.
  • Be willing to change your mind and turn from your sin (repent).
  • Believe that Jesus Christ died for you, was buried, and rose from the dead.
  • Through prayer, invite Jesus into your heart to become your personal Lord and Savior.

Here is a prayer you can say to invite Jesus into your life:

Please forgive me for my sins. I believe that you sent your Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins.

I believe that you love me. I believe in my heart who you are. You are the Son of God. I confess with my mouth that I am a sinner. I accept you Lord Jesus as my savior. Please cleanse me from my sin and create a new and clean heart in me. I do believe that you are my savior and I now want to live for you as my Lord and my God. I know that I have eternal life in you because of the work you did on Calvary’s cross for me. Thank you, God. In Jesus Name. Amen. Here are the scriptures behind this prayer:

Prayer to Accept Jesus

This is not an all-inclusive list, if you want more information, contact your local Church.

Dove: Courage is Beautiful Commercial

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doing What We Want To Do

I was at an event called Fields of Faith Wednesday at Bearcat Stadium in Mena, Arkansas.  Before I go any farther, I want to explain what this is. 

Fields of Faith is a student led event where students invite, pray for, share with and challenge their peers to read the Bible and follow Jesus Christ.  The venue is an athletic field to provide a neutral rally- point where a community can come together.

And it was awesome seeing young adults come together and worship Jesus.  There was pizza provided by a local pizza place, there was a band.  There were testimonials and guest speakers.  I would certainly call it a success.

But I heard the phrase doing whatever we wanted to do in some testimonials and this applies to us at Church as well, sometimes we hear someone say that they just did whatever they wanted to do when they were younger or before they were saved, referring to going out drinking, getting drunk, passing out, doing drugs, cheating, lying, stealing, basically living Worldly.  Instead of doing whatever we want to, shouldn’t we want to follow Jesus, shouldn’t we want to do the right thing, read our Bibles and worship God.  The more we read the Bible the more we learn how we as Christians need to live our lives. 

I’m not trying to pick on the kids.  It’s just some constructive criticism that applies to all of us even at Church.  And I’m not trying to sound better than anyone either.  I’m a sinner too.  I just want to change the perception that living for Christ is a choice we should want to do as opposed to living a sinful Worldly life.  We can still do what we want to do and live for Jesus Christ and leave the Worldly sinful life behind.  It’s the least we can do for Jesus since he died for our sins and with the grace of God we can all have everlasting life in Heaven, all we have to do is believe in Jesus.

Are you doing whatever you want when you read the Bible, go to Church, pray and worship God or are you doing whatever you want and living a sinful Worldly life? 

Faith and Patience

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

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

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

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

Strengthening Your Walk With Jesus

First of all, I am a sinner just like you! But, in my opinion, surrendering to Jesus Christ and accepting him as your personal savior is the easy part. It’s strengthening your relationship with Jesus, improving your walk with him is the hard part, and I wouldn’t really say it’s difficult, but it takes time.

First, you need to pray to strengthen you relationship with him, secondly, to be able to hear what God wants from you or which path you should travel, you need to read your Bible and finally attend Church. It may be hard to find the right Church for you, maybe it’s not the first Church you visit, but keep looking for a Church that fills your spiritual needs. It should be a place where you feel loved and a place where you feel overcome by the Holy Spirit and when you accept Jesus into your life (with faith), ask him to forgive you of ALL your sins (with faith), pray to Jesus, read your Bible and attend a loving Church with the Holy Spirit, God will certainly bless you and your cup will runneth over.

In Psalms 23 it says “1The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. ” New International Version (NIV).

Also after accepting Jesus into your life you’re going to be faced with choices everyday. It could be anything from to drink alcohol, try or do drugs, gossip, go to work or stay home, who you associate yourself with, to how you treat your neighbors. There are many choices we are faced with on a daily basis that either strengthens or weakens our relationship with God, and as Christians we need to make good decisions.

We must also love one another. John 13:34 says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another”, New International Version (NIV). To love like Jesus loved us might just be the hardest commandment to live by because Jesus loved us so much he died for our sins, but we have to try to love one another as much as we possibly can. God Bless You and I look forward to writing more.

My Cup Runneth Over

I have been strengthening my walk with Jesus and spending more time building a relationship with him (my wife and I have joined the Church, my wife and I have been reading our Bibles, daily, and I have been praying more) and I can see small miracles being performed everyday.

I commute 1 hour and 45 minutes one way to work and the road I travel is heavily populated with deer. I pray that the deer stay on their side of the road and they have. I have passed deer right on the shoulder of the road. I try to slow down and move over to the other lane, if it is possible. I pray for my safety when I travel to and from work and the last few months have seen a lot of rain and thunderstorms to include hail, strong winds and sometimes tornadoes. And God is looking out for me, whether that means my boss sending me a message to work from home, or the storms along my way dissipating and weakening, missing me, or me being allowed to adjust my time to travel to and from work, whatever the case may be God is taking care of me.

Our Pastor at Church is also leaving and we’ll be looking for a new one. God put it on my heart to be a part of the committee to search for a new Pastor and I didn’t tell anyone about this feeling to be a part of this committee, but one of the Deacons unexpectedly asked if I wanted to be on the pulpit committee. It was such a welcomed surprise and an honor to be nominated, God certainly works in mysterious ways. While I don’t want to lose the current Pastor we have, I certainly don’t want to stand in the way of God’s will and I look forward to helping find a Pastor to fill the void of losing the current one.

I feel blessed beyond measure, my cup is definitely running over and I believe the more time you spend getting to know Jesus, reading your Bible, spending time at Church, attending Church events, helping when you can, and praying the more you will be blessed. And I feel Blessed!

God Is Working Within Us

As we celebrate this fourth of July, I wanted to share with you the change that is occurring within my life.

My wife met some very nice people at the Holly Springs Homestead and they invited us to their Church. I was reluctant at to go at first, probably the devil making his case that I didn’t need to or want to go, but we attended the Church. Soon, we started attending Church events, gatherings and even various occasions to eat, Baptists like to eat and I could feel the Holy Spirit working inside me.

I noticed my wife reading her Bible every night. I would watch TV while she read and after about two months I started joining her, now we read the Bible together for about 30 0r 40 minutes a night. She has a plan inside her Bible; how to read the Bible in one year.

We read the Bible every night, we attend Church every week and we pray. I pray several times a day, maybe five or six times and the difference it makes in my life is astonishing.

I want to share this scripture with you that I read last night:

Psalms 1:1 1. “Oh, the Joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. 2. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. 3. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. 4. But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. 5. They will be condemned at the time of judgement. Sinners will have no place among the godly. 6. For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction”, (Holy Bible, Gift & Award Edition, New Living Translation, Second Edition.)

This is so true. everything that I do now that I am improving my walk with Jesus, and getting to know him more, is better. I am more motivated at work. I am more organized at work. I am in a better mood. When I commute to work, I see deer quite frequently on my commute to work and sometimes they will be standing right beside the road looking like they would pounce right in my lane as I drive by, of course I slow down and get over into the left lane if I can, but they stay right in their tracks and that is something I pray about on a regular basis.

I have also been praying that the storms are not severe in our area, due to my commute to and from work and the last few weeks the weather has been very good. There was a tornado that didn’t completely form in Mena a few weeks ago, again something I frequently pray about.

When I pray, I ask to be able to hear God, to let me know the right path to take in life and I was having an un-pure thought and I instantly threw up in my mouth. The timing was remarkable. I told God, ok, you’ve got my attention. I am sorry.

Another time, My five-year old was really pushing my buttons and I told her to go in her room and we were arguing. I was overreacting, I was about to put her into her room and at that split moment there was a loud lightning and thunder and that was the only loud thunder and lightning of that storm. Again, I said ok, God you’ve got my attention. I’m sorry.

God is working in me and my wife’s lives and it is truly remarkable, and its my contention that my wife finds me more attractive because we are doing something together. Enjoy your fourth of July and join in on reading your Bible in one year.