“His Will or Yours?”

As I wade through my day and think of other things I would rather be doing, I also think of; what is it that God wants me to be doing? One thing that reminds me of how small my plans are is when I read in the book of Proverbs how man’s heart might direct his plans, but it is God who guides his feet.

Maybe what we as Christians should be concerning ourselves with is those who are out in the world standing up for Jesus, risking all for His glory.  It is easy to wrap our prayer lives up in our own little world, especially when we are continually asking for things that maybe we should not.  A better question to ask ourselves is; is what we are asking God for within His will for us or our will for Him?

Whatever we do it is our prayers and time studying the Bible that prepares us for each day; giving us the spiritual nourishment and strength to do what God asks of us.

Praise God and may the Kingdom of Jesus Christ reign on earth as it does in Heaven!

“Our Public Testimony”

Today I saw something that made me think of the status of Christians everywhere.  I witnessed a young lady sit down to eat a meal at a public eatery and before she ate any food she bowed her head and folded her hands.  I am assuming that she was thanking God for her food, but it also seemed as though she was trying to hide the fact that she was praying.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t always thank God for my meals when at the table, but I do thank Him at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day.  My practice may not be in with the best discipline, but I do thank God nonetheless. So, again, I am not without fault here.

What I would like to point out concerning how we conduct ourselves as Christians in public.  Starting with what the Bible says we are to never deny Christ or He will deny us; (Matthew 10: 32 – 33) 32. “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”

As we are human and prone to forgetting things I find it fortunate that through the grace of God we have Jesus Christ and the ability to ask for forgiveness, along with the ability to pick up the Bible and remind ourselves of what Christ actually said.  So being my own worst critic and quick to be hard on myself when I don’t do the things I should, I love the fact that God has a way of reminding us of what is important and that sometimes He doesn’t work in mysterious ways to keep us on track with our physical and spiritual life.

When it comes to our confession of faith in Jesus Christ we should only fear a few things; God, something that can destroy both the body and soul, and offending the Holy Spirit.  Nowhere in that list does it say to fear another human being.  In my own experience if someone is offended it is because they are trying to suppress the truth of God and are feeling conviction from God and instead of agreeing to or complying with it, they become angry or “offended”.

So to give a bit of a warning; if you happen to see me or another Christian praying prior to eating their meal, maybe as a Christian approach us and let us know that we did the right thing; everyone can use a dose of support from other Christians.  If you are not a Christian, then maybe take the time to ask the person why they pray; you might be surprised by what you hear.

Jesus Christ is the risen Savior and in this truth resides the living God that we glorify in all that we do.

Praise God!!!

 

 

“In My Tribulation God Waits, In My Heart He Lives”

There has been a cliché I have heard lately that has not quite hit the mark. There may those who agree and there of course will be those who disagree. I am not the first to think of this and more than likely, not the last, so here is the cliché I am thinking of;

“God will never give you more than you can handle.”

I would actually disagree with this. To be honest I think God does give us more than we can handle so that we can be nearer to Him. Think about it, when do we call on God the most; when we are in great need or tribulation.

When it comes to our happiness or feeling of fulfillment I believe that God wants the best for us, so much so that He gave His only Son for us, but at the same time God has told us through the Gospels that our tribulation and trials are there to make us stronger not weaker.

Romans 5: 1 – 5: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” NKJV

Of course many of us have been there when we have called on God to help us through the challenge each of us had in front of us and in some cases promises were made or pledges said. Therein lies the topic of how we act towards God after we get back to what we consider a sense of normal or comfortable. How did we carry out the promises made or did we soon forget what we even said because the situation was so bad?

God has given in each of us the ability to overcome tragedy through the promise He has given through His Son Jesus Christ, by whom we have a hope that no other has or ever can offer. With the connection we have to God through His Son, we know that no matter the consequence it is by divine promise and plan that we go through the challenges in our life, each in their own category and way. Each of us has our part to play and through love, fear and obedience to God the victory will be ours.

So looking back on my own life, turning to God through the good and bad is what we are told to do; it is that simple. God wants that relationship with us, but we must understand that the path may not be the smoothest and that we are to always be prepared by placing ourselves into prayer and study of the bible regularly. These are the tools by which we shield ourselves from the world and the stress it daily throws on our shoulders.

So to bring a solution to the table I will provide you with a new cliché; “In my tribulation God waits, in my heart He lives.”

“A Morning With God and Good Coffee”

Each morning as many Americans get up out of bed and head out to the kitchen, one of the first things that they reach for are the ingredients used in making one of the most popular morning beverages found in this country and many others; Coffee.

For many of us we cannot even think remotely close to straight until the first cup of coffee has been consumed. With some of the fumbling around witnessed by many a spouse or significant other, we could probably come up with some pretty funny episodes for a comedic stage-play.

Next after the coffee might be some sort of breakfast, whatever the makeup or even none at all.  Whatever the order, Coffee is used to start the day off. I believe there are also some studies out there that prove the fact that most people on the highway going to work are compared to being “buzzed” from alcohol because of their morning fogginess even after drinking coffee. Fact-check anyone?

Now that many of you are shaking your head north and south I want to take this to the next level.  Should we be starting our day with God first, before the Coffee?  By now some of you have caught on to the fact that I have been capitalizing the word Coffee.  Why?  Because we capitalize the name of God.  Has coffee become our god rather that the God we all know and serve?  Believe me when I say that I am right there with you.  My body’s first actions or muscle memories are to go straight to the coffee pot so I must also ask the same questions of myself and I am.

So as a Christian living today what tells us that God should come before my morning coffee? Now it might easy to turn to the Ten Commandments and recite the First Commandment, but there are some verses in Matthew that make it pretty clear where God and coffee are prioritized for Christians.  Matthew 22: 36 – 40 “36. ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?’ 37. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. 38. This is the first and great commandment. 39. And the second is like it; ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. 40. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (NKJV).

My challenge to any of the followers of this blog is to first pray and worship God in the morning before our morning coffee. I would even offer that our morning coffee will taste much better after recognizing God in our lives first and it will also put our soul, mind, and body in a state ready to go through our day glorifying God.  The by-product of that being joy.

Tomorrow in my coffee I will be adding a heaping spoonful of joy because a good cup of coffee does not contain sugar, creamers or any other worldly additive; it takes God first to make it great.

“A What In The Room?”

The meeting began just as any other meeting with some small talk at the onset and then it was into the business at hand.  As the discussion commenced and the ideas flowed there was a point made as to the ownership of a certain item within a system.  This is when it happened, someone said; “You don’t want to make Satan mad.”

Once that statement was made there were giggles and additional statements about Lucifer with more giggles, laughter and a general acceptance of the name being used in the room made for business; secular and usually politically correct.

To say that whether this blogger was offended is actually irrelevant.  What is relevant is what would have happened if the name of Jesus Christ had been used; what then?

Actually I have seen it before in other meetings years past where the name of Jesus Christ has come up, but usually it was saved for cursing and not for edification.  I have heard the name used in a positive conversation, but it was soon stopped when other members to the meeting showed up because of either secular laws or policies.

Concerning the most recent meeting mentioned earlier I am quite certain that the name of Jesus would have not received the same attention that Satan’s did and this is what I find ironic.  Jesus died for every human being before during and after; what did Satan give – nothing.  I would also guess that almost everyone in that room calls themselves “Christian” and should know better if they do.

Additionally, when we as Christians find ourselves in these situations we must choose love and patience before we act.  Our cutoff should come when the name of God or Jesus Christ is taken in vain; it is then that we should again use love and patience to let it be known that not only do we find it inappropriate, but that God finds it unacceptable.  Either way it is a chance to talk to someone about Jesus Christ; use it.

Today, everyday and in every moment we owe Jesus Christ everything, because through Him we are able to connect to God.  Jesus Christ should not have a place in our society as “the elephant in the room”, rather He should be the cornerstone of everything we do, whether at work or at home.

Thankfulness and Praise to God Always!!!

“Hidden Gifts?”

Each day we go about our business of going to work, taking care of the family, spending time with friends and just doing what needs to be done. For some this might not be the case and their pursuits might be considered wrong or wasteful. So with that being said I would offer that all the examples listed may not be using gifts they didn’t even know they had.

In the book of Ephesians starting in Chapter 4 Paul addresses the topic of “Gifts”. Starting with those of us who identify ourselves as Christian we are actually given guidance and directives towards our time here on earth as being used to seek out, grow and maintain our given gifts all for the glory of God.  The path is through prayer, discernment and pursuits equal to that of one that is mature.  We are instructed to put away childish games and to start acting out God’s will in accordance with the commission left by Jesus Christ.

Christians are also instructed to no longer pursue the things of the past life in sin that were once the focal point in our lives.  Basically Paul almost goes backward in his approach to explaining the role of gifts in our lives, but it does make sense.  His audience is more than likely Christian or new believers in Christ and his instructions are basically designed to give them hope for the idea of having gifts, but he is also clear that not everyone will have the same gifts and that we should accept the one we do get and make the most of it.

So if we take the time to read Ephesians I think each of us no matter where we are in life we can probably find within our daily grind that we have gifts that we might even wish that we could use more or have never used at all.  Whatever the situation the object is to use them for the sole purpose of glorifying God.  Considering what He did for us it seems to this blogger that what we can offer is but a small price to pay.

Remember this; if someone smiles at you, offers you a “Good Morning” or just a helping hand they might be working on their gift.

“Where Do I Start?”

Not being a man of high intelligence or extreme complex thought I usually try to stick to what I understand best and will at times shy away from those things that I find too complicated or difficult for my brain to digest.  This does not mean I am not willing to learn, it simply means that I choose to live my life my way as long as it falls within the confines of what God has planned for me.

In the quest for a fairly simple life I have attempted to follow God in the best way I know how, but with all the self-proclaimed Christian denominations out there I find it difficult to discern which one I am supposed to follow or none at all. One funny thing though; I have recently learned of Theonomy and find it a curious perspective that has caused me to dive even deeper into my bible  There are many well-educated authors on the subject which also leaves me a very long reading list to tackle!

Discouraging at best is probably the best way to describe my experiences and none more discouraging than the lack of fellowship.  This is a difficult subject because at our jobs we are to keep those subjects hushed, but I never thought that as a Christian I would consider myself lonely as one. I am also not naive enough to think that I am the only person seeking knowledge and fellowship in Christ, so don’t assume that this my version of a pity party as it is not pity that I seek.

Through these searches and during this time of difficulty I am still thankful to God for the opportunity to learn more about Him and myself. I will also count it to joy for any amount of time I have to be in prayer and in God’s Word; through these I consider myself not wanting for anything.

So in summary what I am experiencing is nothing compared to those on the other side of the world being persecuted and killed for their Christian beliefs which leaves me in a position to be nothing less than thankful.  I am however, left with the task of prayer for them to have strength in love and perseverance through faith.

“A Perspective of Salvation”

Today the world took another spin as we attempted to keep up with the momentum of time.  Each of us sees that rotation in many varying ways, which make us the unique species on this planet.

So are we that unique?  Well I think the answer is pretty obvious; we have a soul.  Even for those who say they don’t do and according to what we know in God’s Word to us, we are held responsible for the care and welfare of this planet. That should makes us qualified to carry out God’s wishes along with His ordnances.

This might be a point of disagreement and that is okay if it is, but our lives as Christians should not be to only wait patiently for Christ’s return or even death to carry us away to Heaven.  Actually we should be very busy to take care of Christ’s Kingdom here on earth as we were left as its caretakers until His return; whenever that may be.  Christ never tells us when; only to be ready.

So if we are to be busy prior to Christ’s return, then what exactly are we supposed to be doing?  We know that we are not saved by works, so then I must assume that we are “Saved for works” as stated by Dr. Joel McDurmon.  Knowing that Dr. McDurmon is a Theonomist makes my point more interesting.

Dr McDurmon comes from the idea that God’s Law must also be the civil law and we know that it is also the basis for our moral law.  This law also tells us that we are to care for God’s Kingdom along with its inhabitants.  We already know that the laws of God are just, but some may view them as “old”, “Jewish” or “no longer applicable”.  With the degraded society we live in that claims to be “modern”, “well-rounded” or even “fair”, for those descriptions I will simply disagree.

God’s Laws were and are fairly simple; yet difficult for even the best Jew to follow.  Considering the best and perfect Jew was Jesus Christ; perfection does not fall on any human being’s resume.  With this I am simply trying to understand how I as a Christian can be a better one and a proper steward of Christ’s Kingdom here on earth.

I greatly respect those whose knowledge of God far surpasses mine and for them I am grateful to God.  From these our faith is measured in how well we receive and discern their words concerning their interpretation of God’s Word, its meaning and symbolism.  Whatever God has wished me to glean from their teaching I will use it to strengthen my faith and my stance for Christ’s Kingdom.

As there are too many to mention I will thank Jeff Durbin, Dr Joel McDurmon and my current pastor for their teaching; they bring my soul the freshness and nearness of God each time I hear them speak.

“As the Sun Sets”

As the world turns yet again for another day and the sun goes under the horizon, my mind takes me into a place where everything and everyone I see I must give thanks. This might sound easy on the surface, but I also have to be thankful to those who were not necessarily nice to me or worth, in my mind, giving thanks to.

This might be the thoughts of others as well; not sure.  To give thanks or even forgiveness is not always easy, as human nature dictates that these two things can be considered as optional. However it works for any of us is, well…, up to us. But is it really?

We say that we have “free will”, but do we really? If sin is controlling certain aspects of our lives, do we truly have enough control to say that the decisions we make are actually free from anything, other than the sin that permeates our total being?  The only way to let these go is to not only give our sins up to God, but we have to remember forgiving others must be done first before we approach God with the burden we want lifted from us.

Jesus speaks in the parable of the Unforgiving Servant about forgiving others first. Matthew 18:32″Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you? 34. And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35. ‘So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

As we go through our day as Christians, we know that not everyone we encounter believes what we do. Although this wall does exist, thankfulness and forgiveness are still understood by non-Christians.  Living for God is not easy and I too struggle with the secular challenges, so with that being said I do know that the days of not forgiving and keeping Jesus Christ under a rug of social acceptability are over.

So as the sun sets at the end of each day, take a moment to think about how to best thank someone or give forgiveness if needed. God’s judgements may sound harsh concerning forgiveness, but in reality the potential pain we can cause others by not following through with what God expects of us could actually be our last chance to do so since none of us are guaranteed tomorrow, but being judged before His seat is.

Matthew 16: 24,25;  “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

“A Piece of My Heart They Shall Forever Have”

Many of us have walked through stores and seen employees who live with limitations and must work harder than anyone else in the store to come up to what most of us consider normal or average.

For some people it is a momentary passing and a fleeting thought that appears or some of us think of how good it is that they are working and trying to be part of society and not a burden.  And then there those of us who either know are a family member to them.

For me as a father of a young adult with limitations, not only do I have thoughts into their trials in life, it is my heart that pulls so hard that it could come out of my chest because of the love I have for all of them.

I want to be their knight, their crusader, and their shield.  But there are also times I wish to carry their sword.  These can be one of the toughest times for a Christian when we have to choose between forgiveness and correction for those who forget that people with limitations are not to be discriminated against.  We are our brother’s keeper and must know that for those who cannot always speak for themselves we must.

If it were not an important issue we would not have laws in this country to protect those who are not able to do for themselves the things we take for granted every day.  There is a reason the laws God gave, Moses communicated and Jesus fulfilled were created and they were for the good of all humans, not just for a privileged few.  I believe for us it is a matter of task that we try to take them seriously and not just let bad things happen without somehow enforcing them where possible.  If not the laws, then at least the idea they represent must somehow be presented.

So the next time we see a person with limitations working in the stores we frequent, take a moment, tell them they are appreciated and are doing a great job.  Know that they are always giving their best, just as we should always give them ours.