Thursday, September 30, 2010
Chandra and I stopped by Bob's Drive In on the way home this evening so I could partake of a nice chocolate ice cream cone. Yes, it was yummy. What Bob's is really known for is its signature sandwich - the Fiesta Burger, which is kind of a gooey, chili laden cheeseburger that will leave you wanting more.
As far back in my childhood as I can remember my family always had Bob's to eat. It was our treat to get cheeseburgers or a banana split from there. I remember I always looked forward to a banana split because they came in a little plastic boat shaped dish. You probably guessed what we did with those, we actually used them for boats when it would rain. That was a great time, placing one in the flow of water washing down the street and laughing with joy as our cheap plaything would whisk its way almost down the storm drain. I can't remember if I ever lost one down the drain, but I am sure I did.
It is good to remember back to days gone by, to remember where we came from. I don't remember a whole lot about yesteryear, but the memories I do have are what helped to mold me into the person I am today. The biggest changes came at the hand of God through my life, even when I wasn't converted, God still directed my path. See, He knew me before the foundation of the Earth, so He had to be in control of my steps to lead me to a desire for Him. Without going all predestination on you, God chose me that I might choose Him. See, in and of our sinful dispositions we actually reject God. Until His favor and grace on us we will reject Him 100% of the time. Only until He pours His love on us are we then able to actually see Him as how He truly is and actually desire to be His.
I try not to get too theologically deep in my posts, but this subject warrants deep thoughts and also deep emotions from most people. I never gave predestination and election much thought. Only when I saw just how lost I really was, was I so in need of a Savior. I praise Him for loving me and forgiving me. I love Him more than anything and hold His Name above all else. May you be shown the grace that He bestowed to me and may He find you where you are and not leave you there.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Well, day 90 - 3 months in to this little experiment of a series. In case you've jumped in late, or just happen on this post, I have created this series to chronicle 1 year in my life with a picture of the day. Today marks 90 days, or about 3 months. I started it on my birthday, July 2nd, and will end it on my birthday next year, Lord willing.
Today's post of a tape measure is just a catalyst for a question - What are you measuring your chance of eternal life against? A lot of people bank on their goodness, which has nothing to measure it against, only their moral inclinations, which can vary greatly from person to person. Hence the tape measure, it is used to gain a proper and consistent guide to length of an object. You could say that its measurement is "truth" and something used to measure, other than the tape measure, that comes up with a different measurement is outside of that truth. The same hold true with what we are measured against to attain eternal life.
When you ask someone why they have eternal life, are saved, converted or going to heaven, most will tell you it is because of something they did in the past, because they believe in Jesus, they made a decision or their goodness outweighs the bad they have done. But the bible says something different- it says that none are good, that we all fall short of the glory of God and that we are destined to an eternal hell or the second death. We have no hope in and of ourselves. Our "goodness" is measured against the Perfect Lamb, Jesus Christ. On judgment day we will stand before God and have to tell where our hope lies. It will either be in our own "goodness", with hopes that we somehow did enough good in our lifetime to merit eternal life or it will lie solely on Jesus for His sacrifice and His redemptive work on the cross as the Spotless Lamb.
See, we all will go to heaven when we die, but we will all not stay there. On the day of judgment many will stand before the Holy God and proclaim their goodness, saying they healed the sick, done good their whole life, even cast out demons in the Name of Christ. Will that matter? No. Will someones profession that they believed in God be enough? No, even the demons believe and they are smart enough to tremble where they stand. Will feeding the poor trump the lies you told to your parents? Or will giving $5.00 to the Salvation Army take precedence over lying on your taxes? Not at all. If you have told one lie you are under the judgment of God. Saying everyone has lied will not be an excuse, because it will be you and you alone before the Judge.
If you have broken even one single commandment you are doomed, there is no hope in and of yourself. Romans 3:20 says there is none righteous, not even you. Then in Romans 6:23 it says the wages of sin is death, or you are buying your own ticket to hell with your sins against God. But there is hope, a free gift, the gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ. He came to take away the sins of the world, if one would simply trust in Him, believe his Word and repent of their sins, placing all faith and hope in Him for everything. In other words, instead of paying your own way to hell, you can have a free gift to eternal life with God.
Sounds like a no brainer to me. But so many are also deceived by a false gospel these days. So many are influenced by a very man centered message that demands nothing but a "decision" to be made. Men declare other men saved instead of pointing them to scripture to see what God says about that. After the "decide" then they are back to their sin filled lives focused squarely on themselves, thinking nothing of God unless they need something. They may even rededicate themselves to God if they happen upon a good sermon or are in some kind of great need at a moment in their lives - financial needs, marriage issues, addictions, jail time, etc. Then it is right back to the same old purchasing of their eternal ticket in hell. No remorse, no grief over their sins against God, just a whole lot of "me, me, me" and none of God until they are in need of something once again. I know, I was there for 30 years of my life, saying the damning "sinner's prayer" countless times through my life.
How many times have you said that prayer, hoping it would stick this time? How many times you you ask for forgiveness for the same old sins? Daily? Have you ever repented, not just say you are sorry, but turn from your sins to God and lay your life at His feet for His will to be done? Are you your own or are you God's? When you think about eternal life in heaven does it seem boring to you? Do you still focus on what you will be doing to make you happy for eternity? If yes, then you have some issues to work out. I have heard it said that everyone wants to go to heaven, they just don't want God there when they get her. And I would say that is fairly accurate. Most people just want a reunion with their loved ones, be able to eat as much as they want in their glorified bodies, play golf every day, go fishing every day or do whatever else their self centered minds love more than God here on this fallen Earth. They think nothing of Jesus who will be there to tell us of His love for us. They think nothing of sitting at His feet as He tells us the secrets of scripture that we all got wrong. Nothing about God, except as a divine butler to wait on their every want and need for eternity. How twisted is that?
With every post I make on this little ol' blog, I pray that someone will come across it and God will use it to open someones heart to hear His truth. I desire to see my Lord high and lifted up. Am I perfect? Not even close, but my faith is in the One that is Perfect and I want to share that with you all. I want everyone to know the richness of God's grace and love toward them. I have no hidden agenda, I don't want anyone's money or for them to attend a certain church - I am in it for God's glory. May He use this small blog to reach even one person to pour His glory on. Who knows who might be lead here? I may never know this side of heaven, but I know one day Jesus will tell me. If He has been glorified, then I have done what should come natural to any born again believer - I have sown the seeds of God's Word so that He may water and bring forth fruit - to His glory.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
This is a magnet that my brother got us last year, along with a t-shirt each with the same graphics minus the words. Great ice breakers as people can probably tell it is Christ related with the cross, but can't really make out what the rest are supposed to be.
Christ is coming back, as the last arrow depicts. Revelation says that He will be the judge then. Are you going to be a part of His church when He does come back? If not you will be cast into the lake of fire. Sounds kind of harsh doesn't it? But rejecting God is what humans do best and the only way to reconcile that now is through Christ. We all have sinned against the holy God of creation and all deserve hell, but in His goodness He made a Way for us to be in His grace. Do you know Jesus Christ? Not just about Him, but personally know Him? Have you repented of your sins and turned to God for everything? If not, then you will see Christ when He returns as the Judge of your sins against Him. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord!
Monday, September 27, 2010
Fall is upon us here in my neck of the woods. Our summer was more intense than normal with high heat and very little moisture. It looks like the fall is going to be a little more extreme than normal as well. We are only a few days into the season and the temperatures are below normal.
Changing of seasons always reminds me of 2 Timothy 4:2 where Timothy is exhorted to be ready in season and out of season when preaching the Word. That pretty much describes at all times. That can seem like a daunting task, but if you are in fellowship with the Lord it should come fairly natural to someone. It will not require any "gear shifting" to take your mind out of "worldly" and into biblical, because it will already be there.
So changing seasons mark a drastic change in weather, which is also a time of renewal. Summer makes way for autumn, autumn for winter, winter for spring and spring for summer. Although some of the seasons may seem to get out of whack, nature usually corrects itself. What an amazing design, how God made four different, but needed times of death, renewal, growth and harvest. All four seasons are needed or the other three following will not be what they should be, until winter resets the changing of season. I am speaking for my climate, my hometown area. I know other countries and parts of the U.S. also have different seasons, but since I have only seen the change of seasons here, that is all I know.
Today I also cut our grass, for maybe the last time of the year.... maybe. A secular song started running through my head for some reason - "Turn, Turn, Turn". Actually it is a secular song with lyrics straight from the bible - Ecclesiastes 3, to be exact. Only a few words were added by the song's writer, but the words penned by King Solomon ring true still.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
There is no telling how many millions of people have heard this song and do not know where the words come from. There are probably atheists singing this song right now that do not know they are reciting the Word of God. Just one more proof that the Word does not go out void and that God still does speak through donkeys sometimes.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
So this is what my hands touch more than anything, a computer keyboard. I touch one at work all day and I touch another at home a lot too. Seems like I am coming up with new ways to use a keyboard all of the time. Thing is, it is really easy to stop being productive and just let it waste time.
I try to stay productive when at the keyboard, but one page click leads to another, then to another, then next thing you know I'm playing Family Feud on Facebook or watching a string of stupid videos on youtube. It is a vicious cycle that I have to be on guard for, but often times it is too late before I realize that I have once again been sucked into the void of mindless time wasters on the world wide web.
I am a bit more productive these days though. I have done a couple of small things for Real Truth Matters using After Effects and have a few other things in the work. I did actually shed the computer some during my vacation to actually do some manual labor, making a homemade steadicam for RTM. It is just about ready to go and just waiting for me to add the weights, which I will this week at work.
Doing things for a ministry is really a blessing, even if it is not a lot of things. I do have to watch that as well, because I don't want to be purely motivated to just "do" something for RTM, I want to do things that will magnify and glorify God, just doing it through Real Truth Matters. If you have never checked out Real Truth Matters it would be a great website to bookmark. There are many free resources available on the main site as well as the tributary sites like youtube, facebook, Vimeo and twitter. I highly recommend adding all of them to your favorites and bookmarking, as new content is added regularly. Start with the welcome page and the video that is posted there, then jump over to the Vimeo page and watch the "History Of The Modern Gospel" series that is still in production. They are releasing new installments gradually as the Lord sees fit.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
This week was the 16th Annual Paducah BBQ on the River and mmmmmm mmmmm mmmmm was it as tasty as ever. Chandra and I started the day off eating a BBQ sandwich at one of the booths. It was really good. We then walked the perimeter of the event, about 2 city blocks squared, where Chandra partook of a strawberry shortcake. I just partook of carrying the camera and her drink around while she ate her desert.
There were thousands of people in the downtown area today. I have heard a couple of accounts, from some of the BBQers, that yesterday was busier than previous years. They said that they set sales records. Not sure if it was because they had more customers or if they charged higher prices. Either way several charities brought in some serious cash for this years sales.
After we walked around we headed out to the mall area to take advantage of some great $10 freebie coupons from a couple of places. We then headed back down to the BBQ to meet Bobby and Tina from our church. We serve on the Evangelism team for Oak Grove and used today as the first setup of our Prayer Request Station. We could not set up within the confines of the actual event, so we set it up on the opposite side of the floodwall, in the parking area used by many attenders.
The Prayer Request Station is modeled after the Prayer Stations from YWAM. We took it upon ourselves to get the banner and made all of our own literature, but YWAM also has all of that available of your ministry would like to check into it. We, at Oak Grove, would also be able to assist you in what we have done, so that you may get one of these into ministry within your own community. To say today was a blessing would be a big understatement.
I am normally not a very vocal person when witnessing, but this is a lot different. This is a very non-confrontational was to spread the gospel. Everyone needs prayer and all you are doing is asking to join in prayer with them for whatever needs they may wish to share. We had a wide range of requests today that we prayed together with about 90% of those that stopped by. The other 10% said they just wanted us to pray, but not with them, so those requests will join the others that will be prayed over by our prayer ministry at Oak Grove.
We had requests by parents that had incarcerated children, those that asked for salvation to be granted to their children, others had physical needs, medical concerns for others and various other needs. We do not take any of these needs less serious than the others. We did and will pray over those in financial need just as fervent as we do those in need of a healing touch from the Lord.
We realized that this is going to be a well received ministry to our area very quickly. The Lord blessed us with this and we praise Him for allowing us to join Him in working in and through prayer for these dear souls. Today's "trial" run, or inaugural run as I'd rather state it, was a huge blessing to us all. We all had no idea what the Lord had in store for us, but we were pleasantly surprised as He ministered to us as we ministered to our community. We now see that this is a way to reach out to the people in our Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. We are reaching out to those that God places in our paths, to pray with them and to ultimately share the Gospel of Christ with them. The reception to this was overwhelming in a very good way. We only had a very few naysayers that said they were "all prayed up for now" or one young man told us that he was "trying to quit".
I know it is a humbling experience to admit you need prayer, especially to someone you do not know. But God will use this outreach to make an impact. It is His will that we pray for others, saved or not, for whatever needs they have. We believe He will answer, because He delights in our delight in Him. We are not naive to think God will answer our requests in the way we request Him to, but He will answer. We also know that our faith in Him can allow Him to work in non-believers as Jesus did in Matthew 8 with the centurions faith, Matthew, Mark and Luke's accounts of the man let down through the roof to Jesus for healing and Jesus healing the nobleman's son in John 4. These were all because of the faith of others, not those being healed. This is where we get our basis to pray for others, no matter what their spiritual condition. WE should pray for the lost so they can see God working in their lives, so they may come to a saving faith themselves.
It was obvious that not everyone that stopped knew God. But we do and we have access to His throne room to bring our requests and lay them at His feet in belief that He will answer them to glorify Himself. Our hope is not in our prayer or us, but on the One that can work in these peoples lives. What a wonderful thing it is to be able to boldly approach the throne of the living God and ask Him to work in others lives.
Friday, September 24, 2010
This is one of my favorite shirts to wear, because I want everyone to know that I do love my wife. We may not have the model marriage, get along 100% of the time or agree on everything, but I love Chandra more than anyone on this planet. I love her more than I ever have and it is because God has really shown me what our marriage is supposed to be.
I always thought of marriage as just having a wife, someone to spend time with, a partner in decisions, someone to share in responsibilities, etc. but have been shown over the past 2 years or so that a marriage is much more than that. Ephesians 5 really opened up a whole new understanding for me of how I failed my wife and ultimately was failing God, to see just how I am to strive for the same type of love that Christ exhibits to His bride, the church. I fail so often, but praise Him that He showed me that failure so that I may be sanctified in that area of my walk.
I advise any married couple and any person that is going to be married one day to study the Word and see what God says about marriage and family life. Pastor Durham recently wrapped up a wonderfully edifying series called "Divine Design For Home" which will be a huge blessing to you. All messages are available for free MP3 download from the Real Truth Matters website. I can't stress enough the importance of a Christ centered marriage and family life. Even though my family has much room to grow, we are striving for a home that is in complete surrender to the authority of the Lord.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
If you read the post I did a few days ago I outlined an issue I had with a case of Diet Cokes that I had purchased. About 3/4 of the cans inside the case were damaged, but the carton itself was free of damage. I sent Diet Coke a nice little email outlining the situation, they contacted me with some questions and I responded. Today I received a nice little note stating they were sorry about the issue and also sent me 2 coupons for 2 free 12 packs. Now that is cool. I expected nothing and they apologized via email, a letter and gave a consolation gift of 2 12 packs.
It is nice that the Coca Cola company did this for me, even though I would have still consumed their product if they didn't. I wasn't looking for a freebie and even told them that, I just wanted to let them know that there was an issue and they could look into it if they wanted to. I would want to know if my company were putting a product out that was not of good quality.
It reminds me of me somewhat. I know that I do not always portray Christ to this world. I often act out of the flesh, which means I think more of my opinion than I do about hurting someone else's feelings. I do not go out of my way to offend, but I do and I am in the process of seeking God to show me those moments more quickly so I can correct my outburst. It is a process for me, since I do not really know that I do it at the time, but now within a few seconds I see things I could have handled a little differently and conveyed the same message. I am a work in progress and I pray that one day I will see the error before I commit it and totally avoid it all together. I pray that that then, in turn, turns to not even thinking of the outburst, but that what I see now as the correct reaction to be my first and only reaction.
With God leading me through this I know it will come to pass. It is His will that I am kind to others and show them the love of Christ through my words and actions. This is not saying that I am or will compromise the truths of God's Word, but that I will do it in a more loving manner.
Romans 12:9-10 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother[a] abides in death.
1 John 4:7-21 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Seeing God Through Love. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
I posted the poll question on the top right of my blog a while back. I had thought that when it had gotten to 100 responses I would write a little posting to tell the results. Well, it has gone up to 161 responses, so I figured I should go ahead and publish the current results.
The choices in the poll are as follows:
Other Religions (Muslim, Mormon, JW, Etc.)
Worldly Influences (TV, Music, Movies, Etc.)
Lack of prayer
Apathy towards state of Christianity
Professing Christians that aren't truly converted
As you can see by the chart, 55% of responders said that "professing Christians that aren't truly converted". Of the choices I included, that was not my choice. I believe that "disbelief" is the top danger to Christianity. A disbelief of Christians that do not really believe that God will do what His Word says and a disbelief about what is actually in the Word of God.
Of the other choices I think that Atheism and other religions have no danger to Christianity. These false religions will always be, have always been. I do not discount their threat to the world, but to Christianity they are no threat. They are a result of man trying to please man, which is a result of my choice, disbelief.
"Professing Christians that aren't truly converted" also can go into that same category, as a result of disbelief. There are things that also take this out of the "disbelief" category, such as the Word not being properly conveyed, men eliciting an emotional response, etc. But it does boil down to a result disbelief in some form or fashion.
The remaining choices of apathy, worldly influences and lack of prayer are all direct results of disbelief, they are signs of the disbelief that is rampant across the world. Christians are very guilty of hearing sermon after sermon on what God's Word says about something and then as soon as we leave the building we have a memory loss. We go back to the same rut we have been in, doing the same things we have always done. We get "comfortable" again in our lives. We know we are to be Holy, to strive for Christlikeness, but we seem to not believe that we actually have to put forth an effort to be conformed.
I read a story a while back of a church that was opposed to a bar being planned in their neighborhood. They held prayer meetings, prayed during services and prayed during services. They asked God to not let the place open. When God did not answer their prayers they then prayed that the place would shut down. Out of the flesh, the preacher prayed for God to burn the place down, to send fire from heaven. Not long after the bar was struck by lightning and did in fact burn to the ground. The bar owner heard about the preacher's prayer and decided to take the church to court as the reason his bar burned. The bar owner was quite adamant that the church had been against him since his plans were first made known, that they had prayer vigils and had prayed days before that his bar would burn to the ground. The preacher and congregation said that although they did pray that the bar be shut down and did cry out in haste about it burning down, they didn't think it would happen. The judge during his statement said that it struck him odd that a man that did not believe in God believed that God had burned his establishment down, while those that professed to believe in God did not believe that God could or would do what they asked. Not sure what the verdict was, but it just goes to show that Christians can go through the motions, pray for things to happen, cry out in what is seen as earnest cries to God and still not believe that either God will not answer their prayers or is either incapable of answering.
Disbelief is the root of many besetting sins today. I am just as guilty as the next person. When we sin it is because in that moment we do not believe what God has said about that sin, we believe more in our temporary pleasure than we do in God's Words. Disbelief is also the reason for the other world religions. The false religions of the world do not believe that God alone can save a person, so they resort to works and man to accomplish salvation. Even a lot of professing Christian churches have done this, tell you that you have to make a decision, say a prayer or "just believe in Jesus" all are very dangerous because none of them are biblical. You must repent and believe the Word of God, put your total faith in Christ that died for your sins, turn from your sinful life and to the God of the Universe. It is that simple, but man thinks they have to do something to gain salvation. You just have to rest in God and He will do it all. Just trust and believe.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Today's picture is of a dear brother in Christ, Stan. He says that he isn't very good at speaking in front of groups, but I think he has done very well the times he has felt lead to speak. He has been shown a lot over the past few months and wanted to take an opportunity to let the rest of us know how God has been working in his life. His testimony of God's goodness really blessed me this evening.
Stan really means a lot to me. He has been a very good friend, has taught me a few things and is a wonderful man that God is using greatly. He challenges me sometimes when he asks "what's God doing in your life right now?" But I need that challenge, because I always need to be aware of just what God is actively doing around me. I do pay better attention, not to have something to tell Stan when he asks, but his questioning has just opened up a facet that I was ignoring. An area of understanding that was missing from my daily walk.
Stan is but one part of the body at Oak Grove. He is just as integral as the pastor or any other member of the body. We are all connected, we are all part. We should be just as connected as an actual body, when a hand is hurting then the feet should know. For the most part I think this is true there at Oak Grove. We are a tight knit group of people that realize our standing before a holy God. We know we are needy and we know that God uses the body of Oak Grove to minister to one another. I can attest first hand to that.
Oak Grove is also part of the larger body of Christ. We have the life blood bond of Christ. We may just be a little toe on the fuller body of Christ, but that little toe is needed. The other body parts are worldwide and we need fellowship with those other parts as well.
If you do not have a church home I implore you to seek God to show you where He would have you. Then search out a church family that is true to the Word of God firstly, then where you feel like you belong. Do not do those in opposite order as many "churches" out there cater to the flesh and are quite good at it. Seek a church that stands on the authoritative Word of God, salvation by faith alone , by grace alone, through Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. Do not fall for the slick gimmicks or the tickling of ears or the lusts of the flesh.
I know the struggles of being in a church that does not properly preach the Word of God. After God truly saved me, He allowed me to see a lot of things going on around me that I had always seen, but I then saw them with new eyes. This was the church I was raised in, that my mother still attends, so I had a lot of investment there. Thing is, God was not the draw any longer. The man centered, purpose driven philosophy had filtered in over the years. With the installment of the newest pastor, the church started a more rapid decline to a man centered message. I do not pray for that congregation nearly enough, but I need to. It would be awesome to hear that they have repented of their man centered ways and means and turned to God and His Word for everything. Out with the social club, in with the true Church of God.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
This evening was a struggle for me. Not a struggle to take Allan to a football game, but a struggle on who I should root for. On one side I have my Alma Mater, Paducah Middle School (PMS) and on the other side of the field Forrest and Allan's school, Lone Oak Middle School (LOMS). I was torn at first, I really wanted to support my former school, but I also wanted to be there encouraging Allan to support his team. Come to find out that LOMS was a lot better team this evening and won 30 - 0.
I really wanted to cheer PMS on, especially since they were the underdog in the battle. I have a tendency to always feel compassion for the weaker opponent in a match up. When I was a die-hard NASCAR fan I chose Kyle Petty as my favorite driver, who was an underdog, and I got a whole lot of ribbing about it. I remained loyal though through his career. I really wanted to stay loyal tonight as well, but then it dawned on me - I never attended a PMS game when I went there, so this was my first time to see a game of theirs. So, my allegiance was changed tonight to my home team now, Lone Oak. I'm going to start cheering a favorite on instead of the underdog.
What was good about the evening was a little time together with Allan. He'll look back someday on this, his first football game and hopefully remember that I was there beside him. Even if we at first had a different allegiance, his team won me over. I am often time critical and crucial to the boys and to my wife, so these times are times I need to keep in memory and not the things that always seem to be front and center, the "bad" things.
I remember going through the Love Dare a while back and having to make a list of good things and bad things about Chandra. Know what, the "bad" list was a lot easier to think of things and also a lot longer than the "good" list. After making the list I had to destroy it, symbolically as forgetting those things. Of course I did not, but it did leave a lasting impression on me to not focus on the negatives of my wife. So a couple of years later and I still can easily remember the bad things, but by the grace of God they do not have a hold on me any more. The good list has grown, not because she does things any differently or tries to not do the "bad" stuff, but God has given me the heart and mind to not let those things mean so much any more. Instead the good list is longer and fuller than it ever has been, the bad list is shrinking daily as I fall deeper in love with my wife and appreciate her more.
Part of this was realizing that our marriage is a reflection of God's love for us. Our marriage is to show the world how Christ loves the church and how that relationship is glorifying to God. She is my gift from God, a physical reminder of His love for me. I see her in a new light and that has changed me, not necessarily any changes that have taken place in her.
I am still far from where I need to be as a husband and father, but by God's continued grace and blessing I am on a path that glorifies Him more. I realize that I will never love Chandra as Christ loves His church, but I know that it is one more way to look to Him for that as a goal. It is wonderful to see our weaknesses and know that the only hope we have is found in Christ.
It was also good to see the PMS team in a circle praying before the game. I can only hope that they were praying to the true God of scripture. These kids need to know about God and even though I do not know any of them personally, I desire that they come to know Christ and become a child of God.
Monday, September 20, 2010
My dad passed away a few years ago and I have never gotten around to cleaning out his old place. His old place actually was my grandmother's "old place" before he lived there, so it has some history. This is where we had family get togethers for the whole family on Easter and Christmas, so many memories of my childhood were formed inside this home.
Being on vacation this week, the fact that I'm not getting any younger and the more pressing fact that the place is not going to clean itself up, I decided to do some work down there. It is on the same piece of property that we live on now, so I have never been able to use the excuse that it's too far away or that it slips my mind. I see it every day.
One of a few reasons I haven't done much yet is bringing back memories. Mostly of the day that my dad had his stroke that later lead to his death. My mind races back to his stay in the hospital and my lack of preaching the gospel to him. I was silent for the most part during his hospital stay, even though I spent more time with him there than anyone else. God has used this time of my life as a catalyst to actually be more bold and speak to others about their need for Christ. Not that could save my dad, or change anything, but that every person on this planet has a family and a lot of those in their family are also silent when it comes to sharing the gospel.
I wonder why that is. Why can we talk about mundane things like the weather and sports, but when it comes to eternity we clam up and get a sudden case of shyness. I am not a talented speaker, but I now see the urgency to speak about things of God and not just saying the prayer at Thanksgiving dinner either. I have lost family members that are still hard to talk to, because like me until 4 years ago, they are banking on a single point in their lives when they made a profession or said a prayer. They think I am crazy or a religious nut now that I have actually been converted, to them I have turned into one of those people that dances with snakes and drinks poison. I am not, of course, but they see my beliefs as extreme and they are.
God saving anyone is extreme. It is a supernatural work that bares supernatural fruit that makes people take notice. An encounter with the Holy God, Creator of the Universe has to make a drastic change in a person. If a drastic change has not been made, then it should bring into question the professed conversion. I am not going to go all "fruit inspector" right now, but their are things that will be quite noticeably different about someone that has been radically and forever changed. First and foremost is a hatred for the sin they once loved, because this sin is hated by God. Another is a desire to tell others about what God has done for them, tell their testimony and bare witness for the saving power of God. Another is a change in time commitments to certain things. This includes TV, hobbies, work schedules, internet usage and any other use of time in a day. They will now want to do holy things like read and study the bible, spend time with other Christians, go to church whenever the doors are open and witness to others. These things do not save anyone, but they are fruits that are produced that show the change that God has made.
So, the picture of the day is of my mom and dad's marriage certificate that I came across today. It is from 1965, so it is a little over 45 years old and is in really good condition for its age. On a side note, my mom and dad divorced when I was 18 years old, so my dad kept this certificate all those years. Not sure if my mom would even want this, but she might. I'll ask her next time I talk to her. I should also start talking more spiritual with her and also with my brother and others in my extended family. I love them all and I would like to be able to say resoundingly that by all indications they were truly converted when their time comes and they cross over into eternity. Pray form me in this area, as family is usually the least receptive to things spiritual. I'll pray for you as well, just leave a reply with your loved ones first name and I will pray for them and for you as you share the grace of God with them.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Oh my. Thought I had seen all of the "Coexist" types of bumper stickers. I was wrong. Here is the newest, at least to my eyes, on the market. It says "respect" if you can't make it out. Also on this car is the ever popular and aforementioned "Coexist" sticker. At least the "respect" sticker doesn't have any Christian imagery.
I addressed the "coexist" thing a while back in a posting about the rock group U2 and so many people's claims of them being Christians. Uh, not. At least unless they have recently repented of the Universalism and all inclusive "all roads lead to God" rhetoric. Since that posting I have seen a "Coexist" brand of bed linen at the local KMART and Sears stores. The logo of this, however, also does not include any Christian images. The place of the cross in the original coexist logo has been taken by what looks like a glove or some kind of monster.
Many people now do not see anything at all wrong with this type of thing. Many professing Christians will tell you that other roads lead to the True God as well. This in direct contradiction to Jesus' Words in John 14:6 "No one comes to the Father except through me". I think that is really cut and dry. Some prominent preachers also have said that other religions would be saved. Joel Osteen and Billy Graham have both said that other religions followers would be in heaven.
Christianity is a very narrow road. There are many that think they are on it because they simply said a prayer or believe the facts about Jesus. A relationship is non existent and not wanted. They are perfectly content of having their "ticket" to heaven as long as they don't have to give up any of their sins during this life. They grasp at straws and redefine Christianity with their morals and standards instead of the One that set the standards. Oh lost and deceived people they are. In their deception and self righteousness they deny God and will fight tooth and nail with you about their having "taken care of it already". These are the the most lost of the lost, because they have a form of godliness, but not true Christianity. An atheist that totally forsakes God is more accepting of the true message of the Bible than these poor souls.
They really need prayer. These people are your friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances. You talk to them every day. Pray that God will give you the opportunity to share with them, to till the ground and sow the seeds of God's Word in their hearts. They need to hear the truth, at any costs. I think this is what was meant by dying to yourself, denying yourself and sharing the Word. It should be a desire to share the truth of God's Word to those you know and love. You want them saved, right? This should be the top priority of your conversations with them. Pray for opportunity, pray for strength and pray that God uses you to reach them in their lost state.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Had a good day trip with Chandra today to cape Girardeau Missouri, just about an hour away. We went just to get away, have lunch and do a little shopping. All things accomplished. We even stopped to take a few pictures at their river front area.
The riverfront area there is nothing like the one here in Paducah. The main difference is that the same river doesn't flow through both cities. Cape has the Mighty Mississippi River rushing past her and we have the Ohio River, which spills into the Mississippi down around Cairo Illinois. Cairo is downstream from Cape, so the same water doesn't flow through both places.
The two rivers are very similar, but also very different. The Mississippi is visibly faster flowing with many apparent undertows. I would not want to be in that water at all. The Ohio at Paducah, on the other hand, seems to have a slower current and not as intimidating. The Ohio in Paducah is also not as wide as the Mississippi at Cape Girardeau. I think in Paducah from the Paducah bank to the Illinois bank is right at one mile. Not sure the width if the Mississippi in Cape, but it is wider.
The biggest thing they have in common is that God created both of them. He carved out their paths and set the flow of the water in each. He knows where every single drop that is in each river originated, how it made it to the rivers and where it will end up, pouring into the sea. Isn't it amazing how much water is in these rivers? But on a grander scale, how much water is in the seas of the Earth? Now think about this, this will boggle your mind for a while. Each and every water drop that makes up all of the water on the planet, if numbered would not even be a single drop in the bucket of time in eternity. If you could somehow take a drop of water, fly it in the space shuttle to mars, deposit it, return to earth, take another single drop to mars, return and repeat until every drop of water was taken from the Earth to Mars. Then reverse the process and return all of the water, one single drop at a time. This would not even be a second in eternity to come. We would be singing praises to God the whole time and He is worthy to sing even longer and we will.
Do you look forward to that eternity? Or do you really want to go to heaven, but not want to do any of that "praising stuff"? Do you want to miss hell, go to heaven and just be happy for eternity? I am sure everyone wants to go to heaven, just most people don't want God to be there when they get there. They want all the benefits, but want nothing to do with the Holy God of the Universe. Where do you stand? What are your thoughts? Do you love God or are you just wanting to avoid His wrath by not going to hell? Do you love Him more than anything or everything else? Examine yourself and see where you truly stand with God. There is no gray area, it is a black and white issue. If you say I am "but".... then you are in need of some soul searching. Please get alone with the Lord and ask Him to reveal your true standing.
Friday, September 17, 2010
This is my desk at work. Yes, it is a little cluttered, but it works for me. Also there is a little extra clutter as I was trying to get everything caught up because I started vacation today too. So, don't be a hater.
I've been at my job for going on 15 years. That is a very long time and what has made it even longer is I have never called in to work. I left early one time with a very bad sickness, but tried to tough it out and just couldn't make it. I know that while the place would not fall apart without me, it does make a difference when someone doesn't show up or leaves early. That may be why I moved up the ladder to my current position.
Forty hours (plus) a week I labor for a days wage. What I do also understand is that God gave me this job. While it may be hectic and nerve racking at times, it is still a great place to work and it is the means at which God supplied me to supply the needs for my family. Do I ever see myself leaving there? No, but I do know that my plans are not always the Lords plans and He might have a different agenda for me. I pray that I am aware of His guidance and that I am in tune with Him so much that I will hear His voice and follow. I do have a tendency to be a little hard headed at times and have asked God to kick me through doors instead of just bringing me to them.
I also realize that this place is also a mission field for me. These men have worked with me a long time, most before I was converted 4 years ago. They know how I was and they know the changes that God has made in my life. I do pray daily that God will show me the opportunities to share and witness to these people. I may be the only Jesus these people ever see, so once again I need to be so much in tune with God's will that it just comes natural to talk. Being an "office" worker does make it somewhat difficult, but God does provide the opportunities to share. Since praying for the chances to witness at work, God has been faithful and I have shared with many men there. A lot of them claim to be Christians, but by their fruit they are just like the majority in America - deceived. This is the hardest group of people to reach, because they think they already have what you are telling them about. Some of the terminology may be the same, but their understanding is so skewed and twisted that it is hard to make headway. That is just another way to seek God daily - for His power and words to come through me and for those people to be made ready to hear and accept the words. Please join me in prayer for these souls I work with day in and day out. Also pray for your co-workers and others God puts in your path. You may also be the only Jesus these people see.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Walking through the local clearance store, Surplus City, I saw this piece on a shelf. My first thought "Ha, ha - they misspelled cafe'", then the second thought was "I guess that's why it's in Surplus City". Well, the jokes on me. I was incorrect and caffe' is the Italian word for coffee. Even though my spell-check is saying that it is a misspelled word it has been trumped by the online definition. I also learned that the word is likely from the region Kaffa in Ethiopia where coffee originated.
So, I can still learn a thing or two when I am wrong. And yes, I can admit when I am wrong. What happened when I discovered I was wrong? I first thought, "This can't be my picture of the day now, I'd better find something else in a hurry." Then my ego had a second thought, yes I need to show that I can be incorrect and learn from that. So there, I was wrong, but I learned from the experience and moved on, having a new bit of knowledge. Useless knowledge, albeit, but new knowledge.
I had to humble myself about 4 years ago to, when God showed me that I had been dangerously incorrect about my salvation. I had always banked on my experience at 8 years old, the preacher doing all of the talking and me doing a lot of head nodding. I didn't even know what sin was at 8, but I did get very good at it a little later in life. I always looked back at that moment as when I got saved, but all I wanted was to be saved from hell because I had heard a scary story about burning in a lake of fire forever. That is part of salvation, but should not be the focal point of salvation.
Christ is the focus of salvation, the cross the centrality, His sacrifice, His goodness, His righteousness, bestowed on me. I do deserve hell for how I did view myself in my sins. I was a good guy in the eyes of the world, and a super guy in my own eyes. I did do some bad stuff here and there, but I was nothing like those other guys that did much worse than I was doing. I was doing okay. That is okay for the next 30 years, mired in the filth of my sin but then God stepped in and opened my eyes to my true state. I had created a god of my own that was more of a senile old man that said "That's okay Jeff, I forgive you, you said the prayer, you took care of it when you were 8." And so goes many other people through life, looking to a moment in time to define their salvation. But true salvation is from far more than just the flames of hell. It is salvation from a sinful life that does not glorify God, it is a life of praise to God, a life of thanks to God, a life of sharing the gospel with others, a life in full submission to Him, His slave because He purchased us with the greatest price.
No where in scripture is salvation talked about in a past tense. Not that you gain salvation through your life, but that we are saved daily by God to walk the path He lays before us. Paul said it like this in 1 Cor. 1:18 "but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" and then again in 2 Cor. 2:15 " For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing." We are continually being saved from hell, from our own sinful desires and from, most of all, denying God in our actions, words and choices. We are being saved from us.
Are you being saved? Do you point to a single moment in time that bares nothing on your eternity? Does a fleeting profession define your salvation or does a life lived dedicated to God? Does living for God come natural to you or is it a burden? Do you think of Christianity as "a lot of rules you have to follow" and burdensome? Is it a joy to fellowship with others or is attending church "optional" in your eyes? Are you being saved daily? Are you repentant about your sins? Is your life a steady climb towards Christ-likeness? If you could still go to heaven without attending one more church service, reading one more verse or saying one more prayer - would you be content with that? Most people really want to go to heaven, they just don't want God to be there when they get there. They want an eternity of living as free as they can, doing what will make them happy and most of all not being in the alternative place. That's all it is, a salvation from from torment. Is that true salvation? Wipe the dust off of your bible and dig in deep to see.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Had a good evening with the young 'uns at church this evening. I played kickball with them and threw the football around a little bit. During kickball I was the designated thrower/ pitcher/ roller/ whatever its called.
The kids were kind of loud at times, kind of self centered at times, but really good overall. I would have, at one time, gotten really upset with the noise the kids made, the yelling and screaming and bickering, but my patience has come far and I owe it all to Christ. My anger threshold has gotten a lot higher as of late. I really am a calmer person these days, but I still must call out to God to give me strength.
The strength is most of the time needed with my family, as they are the ones I am around most of the time. My wife is probably the one who feels like she gets the brunt of my anger, but I don't think she does. I take most of it out on myself and remain quiet the bigger part of the time.
Through God I am able to actually not get angry, so I don't have to control that emotion. It's like it is gone sometimes, which is great, the other times I must call to God. I am always thankful for reason to seek the Lord in things that come up in my life. He wants us to bring Him our requests and our praises often. Believe me I do bring them often, like constantly throughout the day. I feel like me days are a constant dialog with God as I pray for people as they are brought to mind. This has been a tremendous blessing to me to be able to pray for others, even though they may never realize I did have the opportunity to pray for them.
What a blessing it is to have people that you can pray for. How awesome it is to have a God that listens to my requests and answers them all - yes, no or wait. I praise Him for each answer He gives, as it reassures me that He is constantly by my side.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Anyone that knows me, knows my beverage of choice - Diet Coke. I've been drinking these delightful sodas since I was 14ish, so I have had a few in my day. I've heard that they are bad for me, but I can't remember who said that...... oh yeah, that's one of the signs that they are bad for you, loss of memory.
I'd say that throughout my decades of drinking Diet Coke I have not had many issues with packaging or the taste, but today, taking my savory sodas from the box I saw that the majority of them were damaged on the tops, bent up. The box itself was undamaged, so my only thought was that they were damaged during production and made it through quality control before being boxed up and sent on their way to the Paducah Wal-Mart. The only issue with them is it is a little hard to drink out of a can that is bent out of shape in the location that you drink from. The process is similar to trying to drink after going to the dentist, you can feel the can touching, but when you turn it up it kind of dribbles down your chin. I did send an email to Coke telling them about the issue, but it will probably go unnoticed. After all, it's not one of those issues that would keep me from drinking Diet Cokes any longer.
The packaging does remind me of how we live a lot of the time. We are so bent up and mangled that our original design is hardly noticeable. We then put on this outer shell (the box) and hide our flaws from everyone else. It is very noticeable to those that we are around and allow to see those flaws. Only when we open up and share those flaws are we really being honest and that allows for us to ask for help and for prayer that we can get back onto the path that God has lined out for us. We must return our focus, our purpose on the Lord and allow God to mold us into His workmanship. We will still have our dents and dings, but they actually become useful as we tell others how God uses those to bring us closer to Him, give us reasons (like we need more anyway) to seek Him and His grace to overcome. Through that we can witness to others about the goodness of God and our need to trust in Him.
Monday, September 13, 2010
So, it's not really a real
All I have to say is WOW! Not that this cheap perfume is the final straw in undermining our youth, but it is one more straw in the pile. So many things these days revolve around darkness and evil. I assume that the success of the Twilight series is reason for products such as this. I am also semi-sure that is why you can also now buy "Christian" vampire books too. The "church" tries so hard to be like the world, but is the world really interested in this cheap imitation these professing Christians are putting out there? I think not.
I may step on some toes here, but I think that the majority (as in 99.9%) of those that pawn these goods to our children in the guise of "Christian" fiction are as lost as yesterday's lunch. They see what is popular in the world and then grab hold firmly and try to relate it to Christianity somehow. Never mind that Christians are supposed to be seperated from the world 2 Corinthians 2:14-17,John 15:19, John 17:14-16, Romans 12:2. Not to mention our command to be Holy.
This has been going on since the bible was being written as evidenced by the need of Paul and John to tell professing Christians to stop it already. The thing is, that in our time it has progressed so much that what we would call acceptable now Paul and John would be tearing us apart over, and rightfully so. American "Christianity" has veered so far from what the Bible says Christianity is and should look like. I am not saying we should start wearing robes and start eating locusts, but we should take the things that were written, in context, and apply them to our lives today. That is the desire of God as He penned the Bible through the hands of those He chose to write the scriptures.
We must return to true Christianity! We have to be revived and brought back to the place that we left, the place that we should strive for. Remember this question, "What do you have to do to be in spiritual decline?" Nothing! Just sit still, don't move closer to God, just sit still and watch yourself start sliding down that slippery slope. A true Christian would be bothered by this, they would want to be closer to God and in turn further from their sins. Where is your heart today? Where should it be?
Sunday, September 12, 2010
I noticed a baffling thing this morning. Actually it would be kind of hard not to notice. Through the night thousands, if not millions, of ants made hundreds of hills or small mounds in our yard. Why? Not really sure and also not really sure what would set off that many ants in that many different locations on the same night.
To me, this is just one more example of God's creation and how He orchestrates His creation in a perfect symphony. The ants have to have some sort of mechanism, whether it's weather, temperature, moisture or tiny calendars on their cavern walls that tell them exactly when to start excavating their winter hideaway. These small creatures had to really work hard to do the amount of digging evidenced this morning. Each one doing its part to accomplish the common goal.
If only we, as humans, the top of God's creative order would be so diligent at what our tasks are. Imagine how we could impact the world for Christ if we stayed focus on our command to go and make disciples of every nation. What a different world it would be if Christians did the work of the kingdom as these small ants do their work. That our kingdom minded tasks would come natural to us and that we could do it without second thoughts, without complaining with glorifying Christ as our common goal.
Too bad we are depraved and sinful creatures. The only of God's creation capable of sin and we do it quite well. The seas rise and fall at God's command, the wind blows and the rain falls. Birds sing their harmony praising God and the coyotes howl at the Moon that waltzes across the sky. But, we humans stand in defiance and opposition to our Creator. We are the only part of Creation that stands like spoiled children and say "no" to God. We are so self centered and self minded that our kingdom minded tasks are a hindrance to us most of the time, unless we can get an accommodation or pat on the back. We can't seem to just "go" and do as the Lord commanded us to.
We do have hope though. We can seek Christ and look upon the cross when we feel our bratty inner kid start to show. We can call to memory the sacrifice of Christ, when He purchased us from our shackles of sin. We can yet again repent of our self-centeredness and return to God humbly and with a clean heart. We must be diligent and we must stay focused on Christ and do His work first, then if we have any spare time do a little "me" time. Chances are that "me" time will turn more into "His" time as our focus shifts and we no longer cherish that self serving, self centered time we like to take. God can do an amazing work in your heart and will direct your path and will give you your hearts desire, thing is - those desires will have changed and He will have given you the desire to be focused on His work rather than your "me" time.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Today marked the 9th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States. The most notable was the Twin Towers in New York City. Please also do not fail to remember the Pentagon attack and the failed attack of Flight 93 in rural Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 lives were taken that day. All were someones son or daughter, all had a name, all had friends and families and all were taken for a false religion.
This year's remembrance was marked with controversy in itself and will be remembered for those controversies. The first is the planned mosque near Ground Zero and another was Pastor Terry Jones' threat to burn a stack of Qur'ans. The burning did not go through (yet), but the mosque is still going forward as far as I know.
Do the Muslims have a right to build a place of worship (albeit to a false god) only a short distance from Ground Zero? Yes, they have the right. Should they is the actual question. To the majority of the world, no they shouldn't out of respect for those lost 9 years ago due to the extremists of their religion. The Muslims think they should open there, under the guise of building relationships with other religions. I don't buy that at all. I believe this would elevate the Muslim worlds superiority complex even greater.
Are all Muslims terrorists? No, they aren't, but they all will follow those extremists if they are told to do so. They may not all strap explosives to themselves, but they will support the work of their "martyrs".
A lot of the world also tries to lump Christianity into terrorist acts. They always cite Hitler, the Catholic Crusades, the KKK and Timothy McVeigh. I will go on record saying that none of these at the time of their terrorism could have been Christians. Later they could have been converted (not saying any of them were, but everyone is filthy in their sins), but there is no way a true bible believing, Jesus following Christian would do these things.
We are all depraved creatures and are, ourselves, capable of the same types of horrible sins. As a matter of fact the one true Holy God sees all sins in the same light. Have you ever hated someone? That is murder to God. Have you ever loved the gifts of God more than the Giver of those gifts? That is idolatry, having other gods instead of the True God. So, see, you are just as much a sinner as Hitler, McVeigh or any other murderer there has ever been. We just like to elevate the "big" sins above our "little" sins, when in all actuality they all grieve God. So, what to do then? How can a murderer ever have hope of salvation? How can an idolater find forgiveness? In only One, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. When you believe in and upon Him, believe His Word, repent of those terrible sins against God, turn to Him, you will be forgiven. You will also be changed, become a new creation. God loves you so much that He will pluck you out of your sinful life and create a new heart in you that is repulsed by those terrible sins that you once loved.
I suggest that you turn your bible (or look one up on the internet if you do not have one) to the Gospel of John and begin there. Then flip over to Acts and see how God used those He called, even a murderer like Saul of Tarsus, whom God wrote most of the New Testament through. Then continue reading in Romans and flip over to 1 John, James, 1 & 2 Timothy and all of the other books of the bible. Go back into the Old Testament and see everyone pointing to the coming Savior. Read the Psalms and see how David struggled with sin, but always repented and turned to God.
There is so much in the bible to lead you. Actually everything you will ever need to know is found throughout those 66 books. Also use the plethora of resources available to us thanks to the internet. John MacArthur, John Piper, Paul Washer, Michael Durham all have great teachings and tools for free on the web. Don't try to reinvent the wheel. God gave us these men that have put many resources out there for us to help understand the Word.
Oh, and the picture was of a lady that was walking down the street today. I assumed it was to memorialize those fallen 9 years ago. What a fine gesture to remind those that all to soon forget what has happened to our country. It would be nice though if people would remember those that have given all to further God's kingdom. The true martyrs for God, that would not renounce their faith in Christ. A good place to start is the Voice of Martyrs webpage.
Friday, September 10, 2010
My picture today, if you can't quite make it out, is of fog. Actually you see the light more than the fog in front of it, but it's the best I could do with my phone.
It started raining yesterday around 4:00. As the night progressed the rain became harder and steady. It did not let up, it kept raining straight through around 3:00 today. Our land around here was parched and in very high need for rain. The rain is the left over tropical storm Hermine that came inland in Texas and made its way to here. It is too late for the farmers as their crops are already being harvested because of the hot and dry conditions through the summer.
All that is left now is a refreshed ground and the fog. Looking out into the foggy night, your vision is very much shortened. One thing that is very obvious is the way the fog disperses any light around it. It magnifies the light source and brightens the surroundings a bunch in the lights vicinity. That is how Christians should be. We should be able to soak up the light of Christ and not only reflect it, but magnify it. The days are dark, but that is just more opportunity to live Christ centered life. Cast our worries upon Him and follow His Word. He has promised to take care of us, so just disperse His Light all around you and don't worry about what happens next. He is faithful.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Today is day 70, if you couldn't tell by the title of this posting. If you could tell by my last 2 posts, which were not "picture of the day" posts, I have been keeping up with the goings on in Florida as the ball continues to bounce in favor of Pastor Terry Jones burning a couple hundred Qur'ans. It has been a busy day for me posting on here, so I used the banner of my blog as my picture of the day - it is a jpg so I am stretching it by calling it a picture, I know, but
Seems like Mr. Jones can not make his mind up and was fed some misinformation from the Imam in Jones' area seemed to make a few promises about the Ground Zero Mosque not being built in exchange for no Qur'ans being burned. The Imam neglected to be forthright with Pastor Jones, because he has had no contact with the New York Imam over the opening of the Cordova Center at Ground Zero.
So, is it on or is it off? I am fairly sure we will see this fringe group in Florida or the ultra-fringe Westboro church in Topeka Kansas has vowed to take over the festivities if Jones fails to follow through. You all remember Westboro, they are the way out in left field "church" that says "God hates fags" and protest military funerals under the guise that God is judging America through killing her soldiers because the U.S. allows homosexuals to serve in the military. This is not the group of people that I want associated with me or what true Christianity is.
Seems like the loonies are always the ones a religion is stereotyped by. I believe for the most part that most Muslims would never do anything terroristic in nature. But they all get lumped in with the extremists that commit all of the atrocities we hear about. This holds true for Christianity as well. The world sees Christianity as those that dance around with snakes drinking strictnine daring God to take their life. Now we have the uber-extreme folks that claim to be followers of Christ, but want to cause discord wherever they can. They love to draw attention to themselves and in turn really run God's true Church through the mud with them.
I am definitely not a Muslim sympathizer, but I do believe that their religion is as false as most of the professing "Christian" churches today, including Westboro and possibly Jones' Dove World Outreach Center which he pastors. I was initially on the fence with this man, but I am getting a foot on the ground on the side that says Jones is a wacko. Jones does seem to be having second thoughts and is looking for an answer on what to do or not to do. Pray that the God of Abraham and of David will enlighten him. If he is not a true Christian, pray that this is his Damascus Road experience that brings him into a true knowledge of God.
What it boils down to is that on the 9th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks that there will be Qur'ans burned. I honestly believe that we will feel repercussions from that day for a long time to come. I am content though that God is in control. This day was ordained before the Earth was spoken into existence and God is firmly in control and I am firmly leaning on Him and His Word for guidence even more.
The people of Dove World Outreach Center and also of Westboro need to be prayed for very greatly. We also need to be praying for our soldiers over seas, that they will be protected. Pray that the extremist Muslims that look for opportunities to kill and destroy are held at bay and that God puts a hedge of protection around His people.
Okay. I posted a blog about the possibility of Pastor Terry Jones and his congregation burning of a Qur’an. A few minutes later I was informed by a good friend that Jones had agreed not to burn it. After reading the AP story it seems that Jones has gotten word that the Ground Zero planned Mosque will not be built, so he will not go through as planned. Apparently this was his “Word from God” that he was awaiting on.
The fact that he was planning on burning a Qur’an did not really make a deep impression on me, but what did was the worldwide outcry for him (them) to not do it. Although the actual burning of the book would have been detrimental in many ways. The decision to not follow though, or actually the outcries themselves, is what really get my ire.
Let’s start with President Obama. Does he really need to be involved in this? Okay, it could possibly set off some Muslim extremist to do something, or actually give him a reason to do something. They are always looking for something to blame their terrorizing on anyway. But that is all hypothetical. Does the Commander of the “free world” need to voice his opinion on a pastor of a 50 person congregation to not burn a Qur’an? I haven’t heard any outcry from Obama to stop burning bibles, the American flag or even Christian brothers and sisters in other countries. What about those atrocities? Do they not command the attention of President Obama?
Another that was speaking out on the matter was Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, "It's regrettable that a pastor in Gainesville, Florida with a church of no more than 50 people can make this outrageous and distressful, disgraceful plan and get the world's attention, but that's the world we live in right now". So immediately this congregation is not worthy because they are “only” 50 strong. I hate to break it to Hillary, but David was only one strong and slew a giant. Others that have spoken out against the planned burning were the Pope and Afghanistan war chief Gen. David Petraeu.
As I said in my last post, I am not for or against burning the Qur’an. It is not going to affect me in any way. But what does is the outcry of the public and leaders against it. I really hope and pray that this wakes true bible believing, God loving Christians up to the state of the world. This world and its leaders and the public will defend the Qur’an and the Muslims that cherish it words, but turn a blind eye to Christianity. I pray that this wake up call stirs Christians worldwide to repent of their Laodicean ways and cry out to God for revival in their hearts first and then to spread across the world. It is time that Christians stand up for the God they say they worship and follow. Enough of this “oh well” attitude. Jesus, Paul, Peter and the rest of the Apostles took stands for Christ that cost the majority of them their lives.
Why can’t we take a stand that might allow us persecution? Why are we numb to the fact that we have it so easy in America, but our brothers and sisters across the sea are being burned alive for not renouncing their faith? Those are the true champions of the faith. Those are the ones that we should be looking to for leadership, the ones that stand fast and are beaten. American Christianity thinks persecution is someone saying “ why do you go to church so much” or giving them a dirty look because they are carrying a bible. ***WAKE UP CALL*** that is not persecution. That is sinners voicing their lack of understanding. All Christians should be in prayer for those in other countries that are spit on and beaten while walking to a church gathering. Pray for those that only have a single page of scripture to hold fast to, while we have dozens of bibles in our houses that barley get opened up. You think we are blessed nation because we have so much? Think about it like this - we are a cursed nation because we have so much. We are so dislocated to what is going on in other countries because we have so much and keep piling it on. We go about our days complaining because we have to wait 2 minutes at a drive through window for our extra large value meal while a small church is gathering in the dark sharing a few grains of rice, but praising the Lord for each and every grain.
We (Christians) have our wake up call. We need to cry out to God for forgiveness and for mercy that He will save us from us. Cry out that He will convict us of our idolatry and to give us a heart for our brothers and sisters across the globe.
I am not in agreement with either side of the uproar of burn the Qur'an day. I do think that it will be a very dangerous and self serving move by Florida pastor Terry Jones. Also, knowing the history of Islamic extremists, I am in agreement that they will retaliate for the burning of their sacred book. The problem? They will retaliate on American citizens that will have no part in Jones’ actions. We could see repercussions from this act for many years to come.
My opinion: While Pastor Jones is covered under the “freedom of speech” of the United States, this is not speech. This is an action. Where is the line drawn when something is deemed to not be speech and is indeed called what it is? In this case a theatrical burning of the Qur'an to show his personal disgust with a violent faction of the Muslim faith. If this were just for his church members and himself, then no one else would have known about this, no media involvement and no threats from the extremists that have had their attention drawn to his church. Would this even be an issue if the media circus had not grabbed hold of this and sent it across the globe? Will the media be there to make sure the smoke rises on the 11th? I am sure they will be.
The coverage of this by the media brings me to my next point. Where is this much coverage of bible burnings? Where is the public outcry when Christianity is attacked? This is proven by Comedy Central’s South Park program. They censored the episode that insulted Muhammad, but they openly mock Christ and Christianity very regularly. Why is that allowable, but is not for the Muslim religion? Seems to be double standards from media and TV. I assume this is because Christianity is a peaceful religion, or at least that is what I hope is the reason. I would like to think that Christians are outraged at these things and are doing something about it. Maybe not at the extreme level that the Muslims go to, but doing something.
Would Pastor Jones be doing this without media attention? Who knows, but if this was for something other than a show we would definitely not be hearing anything about it. If this was a personal conviction of Pastor Jones he would have just called his church membership together and said “we’re going to burn a Qur'an tonight” and done it. There wouldn’t have been a media blitz with a countdown clock on CNN (not really, but there is a lot of coverage) had this not been told to the press by someone and that someone had to come from that church.
I don’t know this mans convictions. I have no idea why he wants to do this. I only know that chances are the extremist Muslims are going to take this a run with it, opening the doors for a “reason” to do evil things. They look for “reasons” to cause destruction and this is a “reason” to them. They hate the USA already and they will lump all of Christendom together with this lone church, they will lump all US citizens together with this lone church and life is going to be very different from now on. I am sure the “terror Alert” will be maxed out on September 11th and following. I just pray that none of our troops or civilians are harmed because of this act.
When you start to hear things attributed to this book burning, just keep in mind that Muslims burn Christians. They do not only burn our Bibles, they burn our brothers and sisters alive for not renouncing their faith. I have seen videos of this. Check out The Voice of the Martyrs webpage if you want to know what real persecution is. It is not being laughed at work for praying before you eat, it is being burned alive because you hold fast to the cross of Jesus and what He did for you. It is loving Christ more than anything and singing hymns while your skin melts from your bones.
Christians do need to take a strong stand against these horrendous acts. To what extreme I have no idea. But to be passive and let dear brothers and sisters be tortured for their faith is unacceptable. But, having a “Burn the Qur'an” day is not the way to do it.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Oh Wal Mart, you are the savings place. Well, you are the convenience place, that is for sure. My hometown of Paducah has 2 Supercenters, which was once unheard of. From different stories I have heard that our mall are Wal-Mart was once the top grossing Wal-Mart of the entire business. The second location is said the consistently be in the top 10 in sales as well. Is that true? I have no idea. It might be just rumors that circulate through a small-ish town, but I would welcome anything concrete if anyone knows the facts.
This does remind me that most people take almost anything they hear as fact. They do not discern that it could be false, they do not look into it, they just take it at face value and run with it. This often times happens at church buildings across the world. There is something that sounds like Christianity being proclaimed, same words, same characters, but something so very different. That difference is the man-centered message that has permeated our world.
THis message puts man at the center of salvation, instead of God. It boils down to a "decision" or someone doing something to gain salvation. A works based religion that has the same lingo of biblical Christianity, but is oh so different and oh so dangerous. I am not referring to Mormons or those fringe, radical poison drinking - snake dancing groups. I am talking about the majority of churches today. They preach a message that says that "accepting" Jesus will get you to heaven. That all you have to do is walk the aisle, say a prayer and BAM - you're in. Nothing else to do, you don't even have to go to church, but asking forgiveness is highly suggested because you might lose some of your rewards in heaven. There is no talk of holiness, repentance or living a life that glorifies God.
What a dangerous state this is. This is the apostate church that relies on its goodness and morality to work its way to heaven. The pews are filled with professing Christians that care nothing about being at a church, nothing about God, but yet really want to go to heaven. Why? Probably because the alternative is not very pleasant. They really do want to go to heaven, get all their rewards, talk to all of their past relatives and friends, eat whatever they want, not have any aches or pains, never be sick, never get old. But what is missing in their view of heaven and eternity? Well, the most important reason to go to heaven is God. AS a matter of fact He is the ONLY REASON to go to heaven. Eternity with the Creator. Countless hours at the feet of Jesus praising His Name and trying to discern how He chose to die for you. A far cry from the false converts view of heaven.
These false converts are in much need for prayer. I was one for 30 years, until God saved me from my sins, my sinful lifestyle and from Hell. But most of all He adopted me as His son, so I can be joint-heirs with Christ. I am a son of God and He is my Father. I pray that He sends His Spirit one more time to save many souls, false converts and all, for His glory.