“Do You Carpe Diem?”

Throughout our lives we encounter the subject of death in varying circumstances. Sometimes it hits close to home, sometimes it is just far enough away that we brush it off as “…so glad it wasn’t someone in our family”. Either way I don’t think we take the time to appreciate the life we all have in front of us. I understand that some may take offense to that last statement and if you do; good! This means you take every day on as a gift and treat it as such.

For those who are mourning the loss of someone close there is no magic answer for making the pain of loss go away. However, there is peace found with God and the Son Jesus Christ. It is He who listens to our every groaning regardless of the severity or complexity. The hardest part of turning to God with our grieving is the “trusting” part. Simply trust as a child trusts their parent and you will see God begin working in your life. The first sign to look for is a friend or family member asking to be at your side through your mourning; just say “yes”.

By saying yes to that friend or family member who wants to mourn with you, it could very well be their prayer to be a blessing to you and God is simply answering their prayer to answer yours. Don’t deny them their prayer as it might also be a prayer about being more obedient, caring, loving, or simply trying to not be selfish. We may never know the “Why”, but that is okay, just roll with God’s plan.

Was there a time you told someone “No” and you later regretted it?

Something to try during a time of mourning might be to turn your mourning into energy for helping or reaching out to someone else. The truth is this; no matter how much we mourn it cannot bring that person back. However, we can honor that person by giving, loving and sharing more with those around us who just might need you to be a blessing for them. Simply put, don’t dig yourself into the hole of mourning and never come out.

God’s promise of life after death is also something we should take the time to think more about as it should make us appreciate the life we have now and know that we should not waste it by living like we will never die. This is a selfish way to live and not one of the directives God has given us. The first directive from Christ was to worship God only and the second, love your neighbor as you do yourself. You can’t do either if you let mourning take over.

How have do you feel inside after helping others?

God places every person in our path for a reason and if we are simply mulling through life day to day without realizing that someday those around us will not be here, we are doomed to a life full of regret. This is not at all how God wants us to live! If you think about it, the phrase; “Carpe Diem” (Seize the Day) is more than just a quote that looks cool on a coffee cup. It should be how we approach life every minute of every day as God intended.

How have you handled the hard days? Did you trust God, or did you try to just trust in yourself?

It is okay to mourn the loss of a loved one, but don’t let it take over your life. This life is the only one you have so treat it like the gift it is. God never promises an easy life here on earth, but He does promise that in the end you will be free from the burdens that you had while here. Through Jesus Christ you can accomplish all that God has planned for you so don’t waste another day. Use this day and every day after as an opportunity to simply be a blessing to others, just as they were for you when you were in your time of need.

Are you ready to “Carpe Diem”?

 

The Koifish Christian

“Nudging the World One Person at a Time”

According to the Merriam – Webster Dictionary, the word “Nudge” is defined in a couple of ways depending on how you want to use the word. In one sense of the word it indicates a touch or gentle push and in the other version one can prod lightly or urge into some sort of action.

As I read these definitions I realize that God uses both when he wants us to move within His plan. Since one option is physical and the other might be verbal, I would even go as far as a spiritual urging. As a Christian I believe that it is very important for us to be aware of the signs God places in front of us to draw our attention back to Him. Going day to day with the belief that “God works in mysterious ways” is in my opinion not a good way to get to know God.

Do you believe God works in mysterious ways?

For a non-Christian this might simply be boiled down to an intuition based on past experiences that would cause one to be aware of little nudges in our thoughts that might cause one to choose a new or different course. I even think that some Christians would agree with this.

On this point I am going to say that God’s creation (humans) are not robots and yes, God would give us the ability to recall from memory the things that help us make decisions. What I am going for here are the nudges that come out of nowhere and are not relative to the situation we are in at that moment. I for one do not believe in the concept of “Chance, matter and motion” and the rest of what Evolutionists believe, so for the concept of the “Nudge” I am referring to, this would not work.

The “Nudges” as I like to call them, can come in many forms and are not regulated to any particular box. They can be a thought, a comment heard in passing, the actions of another person, a visual cue or symbol, or just a “feeling”. Yes, I know what inspiration means…good question though.

Not only do we get a nudge, we also get the burning feeling or thought that won’t go away. This is God’s way of letting you that He is serious about what He wants you to do, whether you are praying for it or not. Have you ever ran with that feeling or thought and realized that you had no idea how to go about it, but knew that you just had to do it? If you have, then you are being given an opportunity by God. It is an opportunity because it will either make your grow or open doors for you. However, since it is God’s plan you may not benefit other than being a blessing to someone or glorifying God. If we say we are Christian, this should not be a problem.

If you did not follow through with the thought or feeling, did you regret it later?

What we need to understand is that these nudges might not be given to benefit someone other than ourselves, why? Because we are straying away from the fold and need a little redirection. This is where the pride thing comes in and is probably one of the most difficult to contend with. Even when our closest family gives us nudges of love to get back to what is important we will still stray on our own, not even realizing that we are.

Even Jesus talks about this in Acts 9:5-6 (KJV) when He says; “And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks“. These are long sticks used to herd goats / sheep, so think about how those might be used in our own lives. Some of us require more poking and prodding than others, whereas some only need a “Nudge”.

What can we as Christians take from this? What can a non-Christian take from it?

So be aware and just wait for the “Nudge”, it will come when you least expect it and when you get one – swim hard and fast!

Praise God for the Nudges and I thank Him for you.

Have a wonderful day in your pond!

 

 

The Koifish Christian

“Say Amen!”

     As we sit in our pew next to a friend or even a stranger, we listen to the message from the pastor hoping to glean a nugget of knowledge, hope or a simple reminder of God’s love.  While we listen and learn there are points in the message that may bring a rise in our emotion that feels like our soul wants to shout from the rooftops the Truth we know in Christ.

     In the upper Midwest there seems to be a tradition of remaining silent and stone-like during the Sunday Service in Christian Churches.  I personally do not know why this is, but in all the churches I have attended it is like this.  Since I am only speaking of this phenomena in general terms, please don’t wear this shoe if it doesn’t fit.

     Myself having attended a Baptist church for a few years while living in Oklahoma have experienced the other side of this coin.  In that church we were encouraged to say “Amen!” when the preacher said something that supported the Truth of Jesus Christ or encouragement for all to take in.  It is also a great way to give the preacher encouragement that his message is accurate and well received.

     In 2 Corinthians 1: 20 Paul makes a statement about “Amen” that I find refreshing to my soul as to why saying it is so important.  20. “For all the promises of God find their yes in him.  That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”  When we say “Amen” we are saying that God’s will is the final answer and it shall be so.

     I believe “Amen” for a Christian is the seal for God’s promise through Jesus Christ.  Each time we say it at the end of our prayers, we are sealing our prayer with the belief and confidence that God in His time will answer it.  “Amen” can also be said when we affirm the Truth when it is preached.

     In my humble opinion saying “Amen” during the preacher’s message should be considered the norm rather than the “thing we don’t do here”.  As Christians it seems to me that it is our role to be heard and not silent when the Truth is spoken or if we need to share the Gospel to the lost.  So then the question begs to be asked; are we following the traditions of men or are we following what God is urging us to do; to whom does the glory belong?

“Minding the Net”

“Follow me and I will make you fishers of men…”  Matthew 4:19.

As I read this short verse it occurs to me that anyone who has ever been exposed to the story of Jesus Christ has heard this quoted many times by many pastors, Sunday school teachers, or evangelists simply trying to spread the gospel.

What concerns me is if we as Christians really understand what this verse means.  In any version of the story Jesus makes it sound pretty easy, but we may have to step back for a moment and take this verse in.

Have we taken the time to fully understand what is asked of us as believers?

Within this short verse is a lot of labor, sweat, tears and even physical pain.  In our world as we perceive it today we will struggle with perception or even empathy as it concerns the work Jesus and his disciples endured.  Good example; my feet get sore sometimes in comfortable shoes, I can’t imagine walking the miles Christ did in a pair of sandals that more than likely did not have gel insoles!

Would we go the distance with Jesus?

Now lets consider the confrontations Jesus had and literally standing alone with nothing more than the words given by the Father.  We are told not to fear death or even injury, but yet we shy away from a verbal confrontation about defending the faith.

Do we shy away for our sake or the other person’s?

The last part can be a little touchy, but are we selective to who we talk to about Jesus Christ?  Many Christians will talk about not being selective to those we invite into the doors of the church or how we determine who we share the gospel with, but I would guess that we are all guilty of being choosey, when it is not our place to do so.  Every person is made in the image of God and thus, we serve him, not the other way around.

Do our perspective goggles uncover the truth of God in how we see our fellow human beings?

My thoughts and prayers are for all of those who stand, walk or run to spread the truth of the gospel to every corner of the earth.  May God make your feet swift, your labor fruitful and message one that allows the seeds to be planted for the bountiful harvest to come!

 

Praise God in all He does for the smallest of blessings!!!

The Koifish Christian

“Are You Willing to Stand in the Gap?”

Last night I heard a young man talk about opposition to Jesus Christ and how we should to deal with that barrier. He used the examples found in the book of Acts, chapters 3 and 4.  This of course is a great example of how Christians should be bold and forthright with in whom we find love, peace and grace.

The thing that struck me the most was that this man was talking about opposition to Jesus within the confining walls of a prison. It is not important as to why he is there, but this young man, even in his current environment has made a choice in his life to put God first.

In our daily lives, we have a perception of opposition that might include; slow traffic, bad cell phone reception, running too late to get coffee, and many other nuisances we consider opposition. As I live in and witness this perspective, it must also be begged to ask; why do we take these examples on to solve, but we don’t try to face opposition as it concerns our belief in Jesus Christ?

In some cases, we know that in our daily work environments we should keep ourselves from causing someone to be offended by our beliefs, but even there we can assert our beliefs in a loving and caring manner. Our goal should always be to lead people to Christ by our example, even if we don’t speak about it.  However, there will be confrontation to our belief and we are directed to defend the faith.

If we were to find opposition to our belief in Jesus Christ, we should be asking ourselves if we are ready and or able to defend it in a manner that is still able to plant seeds with love, genuine attention and patience. In every instance, we must approach every situation with love.  If we don’t approach with love, we are not defending our faith in the Gospel of Christ and our efforts are for naught.

So, in the end how we answer the opposition is the most important part. In my opinion we can proclaim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior through our words and actions.  If our words and actions reflect the commands and examples of Jesus Christ we are His.  If He calls on us, we are told to stand in the gap and do whatever it takes to keep our fellow man / women from the grips of sin and hell.  This can only be done by sharing His message to the whole world without thought for self.

 

The Koifish Christian

“A Victory in the Rubble”

Rubble and stone mixed with dust do stifle,

Somewhere a child cries unceasing,

Nearby a man briskly walks by with a rifle,

From the desolation God’s work is increasing.

 

The children cry holding our hand,

War and devastation bring dark sadness,

Desolate and barren is their land,

Their dreams whither as each day passes.

 

A victory by the hand of God today,

Giving warmth in a time of need,

Formed by someone who chose to pray,

A blessing requested has been freed.

 

Earnestly, it takes the work of another,

Teaching their hearts not to be made of stone,

Eagerly, caring for a sister and brother,

Learning to live by the standard God has shown.

 

Taking the easy road was never an option,

Using God’s yoke to carry the heavy loads,

His Grace given through the Adoption,

Good News to those on wide and rough roads.

 

Giving of ourselves to wipe away dust caked tears,

Obedience to God by always loving our neighbor,

Heed the call by God to comfort a child’s fears,

It is through His Redemption and Will that we labor.

D.E. Jones

 

 

Thank you Victor for all the work you and your team do to bring the love and comfort of the Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into areas of the world that need it most.

Go to this link for more information:  Victor Marx Homepage

 

 

 

 

 

“Making the List”

Each day we walk around at work, shopping, doing chores, at home, or wherever your comings and goings take us we are bound at some point to pass by someone. Sometimes we look them in the eye and sometimes they look us in the eye or maybe neither.  Sometimes we give a salutation, sometimes not, but either way our paths pass by the other.

Why is this such a big deal? A better question to ask is; did you at least offer up a smile for the other person as you passed them?  For some people, depending on their life circumstances, forming a smile to share with someone is not an easy task.  In most cases I think most would agree that “we are just too busy to stop and talk”, but I would offer that as a Christian this is an open door to loving someone who needs it.

The one thing we probably all have in common as we pass each other daily is a “List”. That list is full of tasks, items and worries.  Spinning in our heads are the things we deem as important and worthy of our full and undivided attention.  Quick question; when was the last time we took the time to focus on those we love with that same kind of attention?

Speaking for myself I tend to forget things because of having too many things on my mind at once, so I try to write things down. There is one list though that I do not forget to fill out; my prayer list.  On that list go the names of people who are struggling, sick, hurting, or those who God has simply put on my mind to pray for.  In some cases, I don’t know why I am supposed to pray for someone, but I pray for them anyway; God will take what He needs from that if He is willing – I don’t question it.

My list or your list should not be a secret; let people know you are adding them to your prayer list. I have found that people react positively to this.  Most times I just put a first name or some initials and the topic to pray for so that they don’t think I am getting too personal.

As it concerns following up with them; I leave that to God. He will put it on my heart to ask how they are doing later.  In many cases I have had the person come to me to give me an update.  I chalk this up to God letting me in a little part of His plan; awesome!

As for me; if you find yourself talking to me and share your hardships or struggles with me – you just found a place on my Prayer List. Rest assured that I will be obedient to follow through with that prayer and more if required.  This list takes priority over all other lists in my pocket or in my head and I hope that by taking these simple steps we can learn to grow in our relationships with other people; showing that we genuinely care can help carry a burden for someone and in some cases, eliminate it.

What or who has the highest priority on your list today?

 

 

P.S. Don’t forget to put those closest to you on your list also!

“Hallowed Be Thy Name”

How serious are we about this line in the Lord’s Prayer?

Using the name “God” or “Jesus Christ” in any manner that does not address either or give glory – it is considered blasphemy. This also includes your shorthand texting acronyms or using it as speech.

Do you agree or disagree?

Before you answer I want you to consider how you answer this question when asked; “Do you consider yourself a Christian or an Atheist?”

Before you answer with Atheist, I would ask this: “Why do you use the name of someone you don’t believe in?” If you say it doesn’t matter and I can say what I want, I would offer this.  If you are using the name of “God” or “Jesus Christ”, it tells me that your lips say you don’t believe, but in your heart you know He exists.  As a Christian I see you using the name of “God” in vain is your way of rebellion against the God you know exists.

Let’s be clear here; I do not see someone using the name of God in vain as a way to give glory, but what I do see is an opportunity for a Christian to bring God’s glory to that table. So the next time you hear someone using the name of “God” or “Jesus Christ” in vain; ask them why they prefer to use those names to curse.

At the end of this short bite on blasphemy I would ask you – the Christian, this; have we forgotten the line – “Thy Kingdom come, thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven”? Don’t forget, He is coming back to bring judgement and a sword.  We are the stewards of His Kingdom here on earth so it seems to me that many of us who claim the title “Christian” need to punch in

“To Be PC Or Not To Be PC?”

Can’t believe I turned to Shakespeare for this one, but when tough topics come up we have to be honest with ourselves and each other. In the news all we hear about is being politically correct. What does that mean anyway? Of course the answers some learned in their secular college course somewhere will come out, but to be honest, I think this is what got us into the mess we are in now.

My intent is not to pinpoint a college for a fault, but what I am referring to is the idea that political correctness was taken to levels unseen by everyone. Now, we are stuck with it regardless of how far it has come and I have an idea that many of those who raised banners for it are now stuck eating “Crow”, but in order to save face are unwilling to upset the status quo they find themselves in. Why? Because quite frankly it could mean losing jobs, friends and their livelihood.

It seems to me in my simple mind that if I am being honest, it is a better quality than lying to myself and everyone around me about my feelings and what I consider to be right or wrong. If I give up my beliefs and betray my feelings I have just handed who I am over to someone else; something I refuse to do regardless of the consequences. Anyway, I am not mine to give away as I belong to God.

For those who are struggling with choices they know they must make to save themselves; make the choice you know your heart is telling you.  God has put His Law on your heart and by this you will know that the choice you make is the right one. Do not let sin cloud your heart and repent.  Let God in so that you can honestly and clearly examine yourself; remember God have given you grace through Jesus Christ – He is your gift so honor and cherish it.

For those around you who claim there is no God or God’s Law does not apply or other absurd claims; they too know that God exists.  If they truly thought that God did not exist they would not fight so hard to prove otherwise. For those who would challenge you in this our foundation comes from the book of Romans 1: 18 – 25. Although you may come from a biblical world view it is simple. Do not let anyone be the judge over God and His word, but remember that our example is Christ and it is with Christian love we approach the lost; not free love as they might have you believe.

As Christians we are constantly told that we have to prove that God exists so I will simply reverse the table and use the same weighted balance; prove that He doesn’t.  Theory and hypothesis do not count as fact or truth. Remember that the Laws of Nature are used by science which also agrees with Laws of Logic, so just because I believe in something that cannot be considered tangible does not mean that I am the only one in the room that uses faith as my foundation.

Praise and Glory to God as He continues to use those who know Him and those who claim otherwise – All for His Glory!

“A Prize Fighter”

Each day for me as a Christian can be like stepping into the boxing ring or octagon whichever your prefer. If we consider the challenges we as Christians face within the secular world that surrounds us, we at times will take some punches that cause us to reel or even buckle, but we still get up and face the next round.

I find it interesting that those who are either not Christian or do not share in our resilience will make comments to criticize our belief, and yet when things get a little tough in their life or they find themselves with nowhere to turn they complain, blame and accuse others for their misfortune.

One of the toughest punches I receive are when I hear someone take God’s name in vain. I have to say that these have the hardest sting, and for those who use His name as commanded otherwise i do try to correct them.  Along with the correction I also offer up a prayer for them.

So each day as we step into the ring of life we as Christians must always remember that Jesus Christ has placed before us the one and true prize of redemption through which He stood in our place to not only fight for us, but also to take every painful blow sin could throw at Him.

Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already l obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: not forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Praise God in all of His wonderful glory!!!