Monday, October 16, 2017

Searching for Peace Within

Searching for Peace Within

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”   John 14:27

In these troubled times, some people find it hard to find peace.  I think of this past week and the terrible wild fires burning block after block of homes.  Who can even imagine the fear; the grief and the loss of those in the midst of such destruction?  There are still so many not accounted for.

We have had so many catastrophic events to happen here in the last few months, many have asked if we are entering into the “End of Days”.  There is the threat of North Korea and the repercussion of Iran’s deal with former president Obama.  These are not times of peace in our country, let alone the world.  These things affect some more than others.

As for myself, I believe that ‘God is God’ and he can handle it far better than I can.  I can still close my eyes at night and have a good night’s sleep.  “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.”            [Psalm 33:5] I look at it this way, “He who keeps you will not slumber.” [Psalm121:3]  So if God doesn’t sleep, why should I stay awake worrying about things I can’t do anything about?

Going back to the scripture for today, Jesus really stressed the point of peace.  He says that he has given us a spiritual peace unlike anything the world can offer us. He even goes further by saying, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  Peace and fear do not mix; you can’t have both at the same time.  Let’s begin with the word, ‘fear’.

This is a very familiar word to me.  I spent the first 40 years of my life living in fear; fear of everything. I was afraid to live and afraid to die.  In earlier years I had tried to commit suicide three different times and when I look back now, I am amazed at how the Lord saved me from dying and in wonder of how I could have ever done such a thing. At the very lowest point in my life, I had an experience with Jesus Christ and asked him to come into my heart (mind) and promised to serve him the rest of my life and I try to do that every day.

I began to read the Bible and study it, and there was a scripture that stood out to me, “I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4.  Notice that it says, “I sought the Lord” and he did hear me and took away those fears. Praise God!  Yes, there are times when I worry about a loved one or grieve over something, but I know for a certainty that God can handle it and prayer sustains me. From this comes peace of mind.

Now comes the word, “Peace”. The world will never be at peace so don’t expect that to happen.  We should pray for peace for certain things.  Pray for peace for our country and God tells us we should Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you.” [Psalm 122:6] Think about this, way back in the time of King David, God says we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem because it is the apple of God’s eye.  If you ever think of all the countries who hate Jerusalem and want to destroy it, this is why.  They are ruled by Satan and want to destroy anything that God loves.

The word, “Hate” should not be in a Christian’s vocabulary.  We are called by God to love others and so we should.  When I write about other religions; that is what I’m writing about; not hating these people, but who they serve and the evil things they do.  Yet, the world calls us “Haters”; that is so wrong.  I pray that every single person would come to know Jesus as their Savior; Muslims, Hindus, Buddhist’s and all those who don’t know God.

When I write about life styles, I’m not hating the people who choose to live those ways. I love them and it grieves me beyond what you can imagine to know they are not living for Christ, because according to God’s Word, they are not going to heaven. I have found that most people living a different life style do not have peace in their life.

Friends, there is an old song that I try to follow and it explains the stand I make as a Christian.  It explains how I can find peace in times of anxiety and distress.  You may be in a storm or some crisis; you may be afraid for yourself or someone you love, but it cannot erase the peace of God unless you allow it to.  If you make a decision to follow Jesus, you will find peace that has eluded you in the past.  I promise you will never regret turning your life over to Him.

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow                                                                                               No turning back, no turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.

     Though none go with me, still I will follow;
     Though none go with me, still I will follow;
     Though none go with me, still I will follow;
     No turning back, no turning back.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Time of Distress

A Time of Distress

But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears.”  Psalm 18:6 (NLT)

I really didn’t want to write about Las Vegas, but because it is so fresh I feel I should.  In May of this year, I wrote a Blog about “Suddenly”.  When I saw what happened in Las Vegas, my mind immediately went to that word, “Suddenly”.  This killing spree was so sudden; fun and music one minute, to terror and death the next.

A massacre, as they called it, is nothing new.  It happened many times down through the ages and there seemed to be no way it could have been prevented.  In the olden times they didn’t have television, radio, computers or Facebook to spread the news around.  I dare say that today everyone has heard about it around the world.  Then the critics began their tirade about whose fault it is along with the madman who did the shooting.

First critic I heard was that our guns had not been confiscated here in America.  They complain that if we didn’t have guns this wouldn’t have happened.  My answer to that is, if the average American didn’t have guns, there are millions out there on the black market, and if you wanted someone dead, you would find a way to do it. 

The second thing was, there was not enough security at the hotels.  My thoughts on this is as big as these hotels are, they are not going to frisk everyone who wants a room.  Hotels are not like airports with all their security systems.  No one is going to go through all your luggage or shopping bags each time guests are going in and out.  This is not a police state.

Now for the big one; why didn’t God stop it from happening?  Our God is a big God and he can do anything He wants.  However, we live in an evil world and evil things happen to the rich and the poor; the old and the young, the leaders and the followers.  God created the world to be wonderful place and then He put people in it. Because of their disobedience, it became evil. We are not puppets who do only what our master tells us, but God also gave us a mind so we could choose what we wanted to do.

We live in perilous times. We are threatened all around us and within us. Our country has been blessed by God, but we have turned away from Him.  Most Christians are aware we are living in the “latter” days. The years of freedom in America has gone from good to bad so quickly. I know I have said this before, but what was once good and righteous is now evil and fanatical. Christians are now “Haters” because they want people to follow God and they don’t accept the evil of the world.

God has a plan for every person’s life, but that doesn’t mean we choose to follow it.  Prisons are full because of bad choices.  We don’t have to follow His choice or plans if we don’t want to although God’s ways are the best.  It was not Gods plan for this madman to go into a hotel and start killing all these helpless people. Where do you think this man is today?  There are only two places to go when you die; Heaven or Hell.

Any one of us can die ‘suddenly’.  Are you ready?

Monday, October 2, 2017

A Time of Deception

A Time of Deception

“Take Heed that no one Deceives You”    Matthew 24:4

There has been no greater time of deception in this world than right now!  Lying goes hand and hand with Deception.   Our government holds the largest number of liars of any other organization. They even lie to cover up the lie that they told in the first place.  Who can you really trust?  It surely isn’t our government leaders.

The only one we can trust is God Almighty!  He does not lie, he never deceives and He is truth.  In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  This is where you go for Truth and Life.  There is no deception in God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. So how do we get answers for our lives?  Open the Bible which is the Word of God and pray that the Holy Spirit will give you the answer.  I promise you that He will if you are open to it.

This world has always been drawn into deception by Satan.  He wants nothing more than for you to believe the lies that are constantly being thrown your way.  Pray for your children in college; Satan has sent his demons in to many of the staff members, including the teachers, to proclaim lies about history, Christian leaders and sin that is against the Word of God. These young minds have set out to learn about the world and the times we live in.  Colleges are set on teaching a lie about sin being right and good being wrong.

No one is perfect and that’s the truth, but true Christians are not ‘haters’, they just believe the truth in the Bible.  The days of slavery were gone a long time ago, but the troublemakers are bringing it back to the forefront again and to make everything seem racial.  Speaking for myself, I was raised in a small town where we were all neighbors and cared for each other.  I have always respected people for who they are and not what they look like and raised my children the same way.  I have never believed in slavery and understood the horror of it, but I didn’t feel guilty about what other people did years ago.

We have had black and white families in our church and never think about a racial divide.  We are like brothers and sisters.  Many of us are good friends are good friends and never have anything to do with this controversial stuff.  We are Americans who should all be working together to improve our country. All these protests never seem to lead to anything good, but generally turn ugly and people end up getting hurt. 

The point of all this is, if we can’t stand together for our country, how can we possibly look past the deception and go on to the reality of what is happening?  North Korea is looking for a battle with the U.S.  All this other stuff is minor if N. Korea sets off a nuclear weapon. Don’t people realize that once a nuclear bomb hits here or anyplace else, there will be retaliation?  Then who is going to worry about who is right and who is wrong? 

Look at the news coverage on Puerto Rico with no houses standing and no water or electricity.  If you don’t think it can never happen here, you are living in a dream world.  Just like Jesus said in Matthew 24, there is a time coming when it will be ‘nation against nation’.  That time is here now.  What is happening now is just the beginning.

This is a warning of what is to come.  Young people, don’t buy into Satan’s pack of lies.  Believe in the Truth of God. People of this country, don’t listen to the deception of others, but Stand for the Truth!  You’ve heard the statement that ‘Life is what you make it’.  That’s a lie, because without God you’ll never make it at all.  Without God, you are headed to Hell.  You may be rich and successful and own a lot of things, but I have never seen a hearse pulling a U-haul.

Life isn’t what you make it, but it is, “Who you choose to live for.” There are only two choices; God or Satan.  If you haven’t made that choice yet, it is not too late. God loves you and won’t give up on you until your last breath.   Forget all the different agendas; look towards God and call out to Him.  Perhaps you think he has let you down, or that He didn’t answer your prayers.  God always answers us; it just may not be when you want it or the way you wanted it, but if you look back you’ll see that He was there all the time.

Do not let the enemy of your soul deceive you. God loves you just like you are and is waiting for you to call on His name.  Don’t give up on God and He won’t give up on you!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Nation Will Rise Against Nation

Nation Will Rise Against Nation

"For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And There will be famines, Pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.    Matthew 24:7

“We’ve been hearing these words for thousands of years and it hasn’t happened yet.” Many people agree with this, however, they are not Believers of the Word of God.  I have yet to understand how millions of people go to church every Sunday, but think they are qualified to pick and choose what parts of the Bible are true.  If you don’t believe in a Virgin Birth, then why would you believe the Bible at all? The third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, came to us as a Comforter.  How can you believe that spooky story?  No one ever saw Him or heard him speak, so why would you believe it? 

Guess what, you just threw out the basics of the New Testament if you don’t believe that the Bible speaks the truth.  If you do not believe in the Word of God I suggest you literally throw the Bible in the garbage and never go to church again. However, there will come a day of reckoning when Jesus returns and to those who don’t believe he will say, “I never knew you.”

I will get responses from those who don’t believe the Bible and they will say, “You are too hard on us. We believe in God.”  Guess what, so does Satan, the enemy of our soul, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble! James 2:19   It takes more than just believing in God to be a Christian.  The Bible couldn't be any clearer than this, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 That is, unless you don’t believe in what the Bible says.

I wrote last week on all the disasters going on in America and it isn’t over yet. There are so many dead in Mexico after two major earthquakes and today was another 6.1 tremor. Hurricane Marie has literally wiped out Puerto Rico. What is coming next?  These things have happened before, but now they are happening harder and oftener.

We can’t disregard all these ‘nations coming against nation’.  Right now we are not sure what is going to happen with N. Korea threatening us.  This is very serious and if you think nothing can touch us, you are very wrong. We read in the Bible By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed--by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths.” [Revelation 9:18]  What about the scripture in Rev. 8:7, One-third of the earth was set on fire, one-third of the trees were burned, and all the green grass was burned.”  How could this happen except by a Nuclear Bomb?

Is this a dooms day message?  You bet it is, because something must wake up people whose heads are buried    in the sand. Someday this is what is going to happen; we don’t know when, but it is coming and it’s time to understand we must have our hearts right with Almighty God.  We need to know that when we die, we are going to go to heaven and live forever with Jesus Christ!  If your heart isn’t ready, you will not go to heaven but your outlook is Hell!  God didn’t put you in this situation – you did it to yourself.

I really don’t like doing a message like this but you need to hear it.  Look around you at the sinful lives people are living and in a time where ‘right’ seems wrong and ‘wrong’ seems right. Don’t believe all the lies that are coming at you today.  Even some preachers are teaching a watered down gospel; they are teaching that you are forgiven without repentance.  There are so many places in the Bible that talks about repentance and forgiveness that you need to study it if you think you don’t have to confess your sins to God.  In Luke 13:3 the Bible tells us “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”   

Please open your hearts today, repent and ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life.  It’s that simple and if you really believe it to be true, then today you just got saved and no matter what else happens, you will be with Jesus for eternity.  Don’t wait – we don’t know how much time we have left.   

Monday, September 18, 2017

When the Sea and Waves Roar

When the Sea and Waves Roar

And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.” Luke 21:25-27

I dare say that most of us have been watching the terrible hurricane that came to Florida this last week and before that the one in Texas.  I was hardly able to take my eyes off it.  We have prayed constantly for all those affected by these storms that has battered our country.  We also thanked the Lord we live in Michigan, but grieved along with our friends and family that had to endure it. 

I have heard people complaining and saying, “Where was God when all these things happened?”  I’m sure as all this begins to clear that we will hear many saying, “Praise the Lord for the miracles he did during the storm.”  We live in a fallen, sinful world where good things happen and bad things happen.  As I watched the storm happening, I couldn’t help but think of what Jesus told us in Luke 21 about “the sea and the waves roaring.” Also, about the “power of heaven being shaken.” During this time, I’m sure that fear had many shaking from wondering what was still coming on the earth.

Ladies and gentlemen; this was just a warning of what is yet to come and it seems that day by day there are more signs.  No one seems to say much about the great fires in the west or the devastating earthquake in Mexico, but it happened.  What will happen next?  We don’t know, but the Lord laid it out pretty plainly in Matthew 24 and 25.  In Matthew 24: 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.  

That is true, we don’t know when Jesus is coming back to earth, but we can know this for sure, He will come! How many times does scripture tell us of His return, almost every book of the Bible?  There are some things that still need to happen yet; the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem; the Abomination of Desolation standing in the temple and other things relevant to his coming. This is how we need to be ready, “Be waiting and watching”.   How many more warnings do we need?

How about N. Korea’s dire warnings they keep sending to us?  My fear is that they may be crazy enough to actually send one of their Nuclear Bombs against the U.S. or one of our other places like Guam.  Is it possible they can reach us?  It’s a possibility and if not now, in a short time.  Do we have the defenses to stop it?  Maybe! 

I believe God is still watching over us even through hurricanes, raging storms, and great fires burning in the west.  There are enough Bible believing Christians in our country to rise up against the enemy to overcome. I am so proud of our Americans who have joined together to help each other during these troubled times.  I have watched while so many risked their lives to reach out to those in need.  It’s not over yet; the cleanup and supplies needed are overwhelming, but if we all work together it can be done. 

There are many of us who can only pray, but those prayers are reaching Heaven.  Yes, some have died and some have been hurt, but life must go on and the only thing that can stop it is those who want to disrupt our way of life.  Those who want to divide our country and divide the people.

Is it that only black lives matter? Is it that only white lives matter?  If these dissidents are stopped, the divisions and racial prejudice will go away, but allowing all these marches accomplishes nothing but angry people. Our government doesn’t even know what to do about it because they are still working on the balance of “Political Correctness”. Remember to pray for our government to understand and have their eyes will be open to see.   

So, let us continue to pray and stand for the right to overcome the wrong.  At the same time, Jesus is coming back when you least expect it and we need to watch and wait so we will be ready to meet Him.  Let the sea and wave roar; the wind blow and the fire burn, but the victory over the enemy of your soul will be defeated.    

     Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:28

Come Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

There are Goats in Your Orchard

There are Goats in Your Orchard!

And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.” Matthew 25:33

            Have you ever been to a fruit farm and picked fruit; apples, cherries, peaches or pears?  You may have been in the southern states where you picked your own oranges or grapefruit.  I’m sure you have noticed that not all the trees in the orchard bear fruit. Some trees appear to have dried up and died; others look perfectly healthy, but have no fruit.  However, I have come across very old abandoned orchards that are still bearing fruit.
 In the northern regions of our country there are thousands of apple orchards.  It’s quite common to find deer feeding on the fruit. Farmers find it difficult to keep them out of their orchards and consequently thousands of dollars of profit are eaten up every year by the deer.  However, it would be a rare sight to see goats feeding in the orchards. Goats are very destructive. They will eat anything in sight, so farmers are keep them away from the trees.  Generally, you will find fenced in pastures where the goats graze along with sheep and cows.
Like Christians around the world, we are much like orchards filled with fruit trees, and the goats are those who are lost in sin, but are desperately looking for fruit to fill their emptiness.  There are a lot of fruit trees and many goats that need to be fed from them, but sadly, not all the trees are bearing fruit.
When we confessed our sin and asked Christ into our heart, we were appointed, or commissioned, to bear fruit.  “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit; fruit that will last.” (John 15:16)
What is this fruit we must bear?  It is so important that Jesus warned of the necessity of bearing fruit that was compatible with citizenship in the kingdom of God.  “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. (Matt. 21:43)  As you can see it is of vital importance we bear fruit.  If we don’t, the opportunity will be taken from us.
What kinds of fruit are there? “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  (Gal. 5: 22)  This fruit needs to be visible in the life of every believer.  Why?  There are goats in the orchard and they are watching to see what these trees are producing. 
The lost are standing outside the fence and keeping an eye on the Christians; the way they live, their attitudes, actions and reactions.  Do they see the Christian reach out with love, or, with anger?  Jesus was teaching his disciples about this very thing. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.”  This fruit we bear is so important, that Jesus went on to say in verse 19, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Listen!  Bearing good fruit as a witness to the lost is the same as bearing fruit to God. “So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.” (Ro. 7:4) 
                Have you ever taken a bite out of a big, red, juicy apple, only to find you bit right through a worm hole and you didn’t see the worm?  You didn’t know whether to swallow what’s in your mouth or spit it out.  This is what the lost (goats) are thinking when they see the Christian say one thing, but live in ungodly ways.  You can witness to a sinner, from now until Jesus comes, but if you are not representing Christ with the fruit of the Spirit, they won’t know what to do with it. They’ll be thinking, “I don’t know if I should swallow this or spit it out.”
In Col 1:10, Paul tells the Christian, “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work.”  There are many people in this world who do good works.  It gives them a feeling of self-worth and they use their good works as a way to show others how great they are or makes them feel better about them self.  Good works are wonderful, but where is the fruit?  Are these works done with the love of Jesus; with joy, peace, patience, kindness, or are they done grudgingly, out of guilt, or to make oneself look good? 
It is up to you to take care of your orchard and allow God to prune you, so you will produce not only good fruit, but abundant fruit. Pruning can be a difficult process, but necessary for your good.  Remember this scripture in Romans 8:28 All things work together for the good of those who love And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” That purpose is to provide fruit to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. 

 It’s alright to have goats in your orchard; open the gates, let them come in and offer fruit so good and so pure; they’ll want to be “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ -- to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil 1:11)

Monday, August 21, 2017

God Expects Obedience

God Expects Obedience

Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” Jonah 1:1-2

            We all know the story of Jonah and his disobedience when God told him to go to Nineveh and warn the people what God was going to do if they didn’t listen.  Jonah actually ran the other way and he ended up in a big fish.  The people listened to him, repented and over 120,000 people were saved that day.  That was a long time ago.
            In spite of what you may think, God still speaks to us today and he expects you to answer by saying,   “Yes, Lord.”  However that is not usually what happens. I can see you now saying, “Well he never speaks to me.”  I can tell you right now that is not true.  
            If you are a born again Christian, you have responded to the call of the Holy Spirit through Gods voice.  You were obedient to that call then and many more times throughout your life directing you in so many ways. How many times has your life been saved by urges to go this way or that?  How many times have you felt a nudge to change direction in a situation that led to a better outcome?  Yet, we brag about what we did and how we did it, not even thinking about thanking God for his help.
            I think how many years of my life, I never gave God credit for anything. Now, after serving him for the past forty years, I can’t even image what my life would have turned out without the guidance of God.  I find that I need him more and more every day. That’s because I have learned to listen to him through the Bible, teachings, prayer and listening when he speaks into my heart.
            But that is only the beginning; next comes being obedient.  When God speaks to you to do something, don’t wait too long to answer his call.  Recently the Holy Spirit had been tugging at my heart to send a note to someone, but I had been so busy I didn’t do it. Then one day I knew I had to do it that day.  I asked the Lord to give me the words to say as I began to write. It turned out to be what the person needed to hear, and why not, it came from God himself.
            You may not realize the importance of obedience to God.  This scripture in I Samuel 15:22 may help you to look at this more clearly.  But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”  We know by the word of God that we should honor the Sabbath.  It may be a sacrifice for you to go to church on Sunday when you would rather do something else.
In Exodus 20:8-10 it says, Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.”  This seems like a pretty strong command and yet God lets us know Obedience is still more important than Sacrifice.
            Each day, ask God what he wants you to do.  He may give you a direction or it may be to call someone or send a note to someone who needs encouragement. It can be to read the Bible and there you may find answers. “Holy Spirit, let me hear from God today and use me in any way you choose. Help me to be obedient and may someone be blessed.” Amen!