Category Archives: Faith

Get Up Press On Lean In Take Hold

Get Up Press On

Isaiah 6:5 –  “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
Bible.com

Lean In Take Hold

Philippians 3:8-14 – What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Bible.com

No matter the shortcomings or the circumstances it’s time to take hold and press on. We must spread the gospel message quickly. Not as ones who have yet taken hold of the final prize, but as imperfect people who have faith in Christ.

They Loved Darkness Instead of Light

You probably know a person who absolutely refuses to believe that there is a God. In fact, in their opinion, anyone who believes in God is a weak-minded person. They say a person who believes in a creator must do so because they can not comprehend how the universe was really created. Perhaps the most propagated lie among many non-believers is that a real atheist knows the information in the Bible more than most believers do. I would say that this is obviously not true. It is a lie that I am sure many atheists want to believe themselves because it makes them feel good about the poor decision that they have made to deny the existence of God.

I would contend that the majority of believers and non-believers in my country know the Bible about as well as they know what is written in their fifth grade history book. Unless you are the fifth grade teacher or a person who is just extremely interested in history, you probably only remember pieces of what you read or learned years ago. Maybe they remember the high points, but certainly do not themselves comprehend the full breadth of what it is to know the Word of God. Who created God? That question in itself is odd at best, especially coming from an all-knowing Bible thumper like an atheist.

He was there from the beginning and so was the Word. The Logos (Word), Jesus. In Him there is life. That life is the light of all mankind. God and the Word was there in the beginning of what we know as time and matter. Our human science and ability to understand our universe are all limited by a fundamental inability to comprehend an existence without time or matter. Through Him all things were made that have been made and without Him nothing has been made. (Reference John 1:1-18, John 8:12) “All things” does not just mean things that we can see with our eyes or grasp within our mind. He did not need a creator because life was from Him. We can not understand anything outside of what has been given to us as a frame of reference by Him.

God is real and he is not and never will be dead. Yet, sin and the desire for sinful pleasure is a powerful attractant. To this end there must be a way for people to justify their sin. What better way is there to justify sin than simply denying that there is a God. Let me highlight a few things that may have been forgotten over the years since the last time you read and fully comprehended the Bible and all other religious texts and decided that there is no God. You may know and remember the verse John 3:16. However, do you remember what John wrote in the verses just before and after this verse? Jesus had just finished telling Nicodemus that he, Nicodemus, could not comprehend heavenly things and that only He, Jesus, had ever been in heaven and came back in the flesh. In short, only Jesus fully understood what it means to be born of the Spirit. Then, John tells us why people refuse to believe in God (this is only one place where the Bible says this, it is stated in many ways within different books of the Bible).

John 3:16-21 – 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. (www.Bible.com)

You see, this is just one example where the Bible tells us why people will deny that there is a God and they will not believe in Jesus. Jesus is the life of this world and that life is light for us. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. (Proverbs 4:19, www.Bible.com)

Jesus said that whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. If you do not know where you are going then you are lost. That is why He is that light shining in the darkness to help us find the way to the Lord. (John 12:35) Yet, if you are too overwhelmed with the pleasures of this world you will refuse to look for the light and may even go so far as to say there is no light. Without trying to sound too harsh I will say that people may simply be mentally incapable of thinking about anything outside of mental or physical pleasure at certain points in their life, myself included. For some, these points in life seems to last until they are dead. Believing in a God and living a life that tries to honor the Lord would simply be an aggravation for a person who loves sin.

On the other hand there are those that say darkness is light and light is darkness. They call evil things good, and good things evil. This is not new, but Isaiah said it would be true in the future (Isaiah 5:20). These people say they believe in God, but they try to twist around the word of God and manipulate the meaning of verses in order to fit their desired lifestyle. In the Bible, Paul tells us in both his letters to Timothy what to look for in the later times concerning marriage, diets, and all sorts of daily activities that will be twisted around. (1 Timothy 4:1-4, 2 Timothy 3:1-5). He said that false teachers and prophets would suggest that what is right is bad and what is wrong is good. These people have consciences that are seared. They will quarrel about words and meanings and will give up their beliefs for money (1 Timothy 6:3-10). Paul gives Timothy this charge: 1 Timothy 6:20-21 –  20Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. (www.Bible.com)

Even so, through all of this we must remember that the battle is against the powers of this dark world and spiritual forces who oppose God. (Ephesians 6:12) The flesh and blood people of this world, who do not walk in the light, are simply lost and in darkness without the ability to comprehend a real spiritual battle. Yet, they would say that they can comprehend how the universe was made outside of the truth of God. Our task is to shine the light to those around us to help open their eyes to the truth so that they can ask forgiveness for their sin and accept the mercy and grace of the Lord. (Acts 26:18)

Our job as believers is not to pass judgement, but to point unbelievers to the light. (Romans 2:1-16) We are not sinless. We are not perfect. We will not be perfect or without sin as long as we live in this world in these fleshly bodies. We simply have to believe in Jesus, that He is God’s son, that He died on the cross and took our punishment, then do our best to live without sin and accept His mercy and grace when we fail.

We have to help people who are in darkness to find the light and to see why hating the light is a decision that they will regret in the end. Loving the darkness to fulfill physical and mental desires for pleasure is a decision to accept very temporary gain and a very permanent death where you will remain in darkness.

Grace be with you all.

The Rock

I’m standing on a firm foundation

He is a solid rock

The only key to eternal life

The stone that the builders would cast off

 

I’m drinking from an endless fountain

From where living waters flow

He is the only source of salvation

For those who would be scorched below

 

I’m living in the light of knowledge

This light shines in the darkest night

He is the life in all creation

In whose image we all were made

 

Grace and Truth flows ever abundant

His glory shines as the one and only Son

The Word was sent to be the proof

Of God’s love for me and you

 

His dwelling made in a fleshly shell

So he could see just how we fell

Tempted too and even more

Than you and I could have ever bore

 

With His blood we all are saved

A ransom paid, our death belayed

And Heaven made with plates displayed

A banquet waiting to this day

 

The trumpet soon will sound

A day foretold and closer now

Are you ready to give way

To my Lord whose prepared today

 

Drink from the well that’s ever quenching

Freely the water is given

And freely it should be taken

On this resolve do not be shaken

 

On that firm foundation you should stay

And never waver come what may

Live in the light of His resurrection

Though the world has its detestation

 

Jesus is the only way

But you should know what Hell will say

All those people who believe

They are haters that deceive

 

Yet let us live and do believe

On Jesus’ name I live and breathe

When false prophets try to mock

Stand upon this solid rock

The flesh is weak

Why am I writing this blog post today? I don’t know, it just came to me. Maybe this is for you, maybe it is for me. Let’s just see where it goes.

When you think about the vices that weigh most people down, you really have to place the blame on our inability to tame our flesh and rise above the primal desires that were designed into these mortal bodies we live in. Financial issues, non-medical obesity, adultery, laziness, theft, the need for the next electronic gadget; all of these things relate to an issue with controlling our fleshly desires for things, physical pleasure and comfort.

This is not just a modern day issue. Even the apostles had to deal with these issues. Look at what Jesus said to them. It was the night that Jesus would be betrayed by Judas Iscariot (sold him for some silver coinage). Jesus had took his closest disciples with him up on the hill to pray, but they fell asleep instead. Mark 14:37-38 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,”he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Bible.com) After all the miracles of healing, casting out demons, feeding the multitudes and walking on water, how could these guys fall asleep when Jesus asked them to pray? 

At some point in your life you are going to have to decide that you are not going to give into the desires for things that bring no lasting benefit to you physically, spiritually, or emotionally. Sometimes you also have to decide if something that will benefit you physically is really beneficial to you in the complete sense of your personal wellness when  the spiritual and emotional benefits must also be included in the calculation. The most obvious answer to which of these three things is most important relies heavily on the fact that our spiritual well-being has eternal consequences. Doing anything for momentary pleasure or short term benefit, without first thinking of the long term consequence, can have long lasting impact on ones life. Especially if those short lived pleasures are partaken of frequently.

In the book “Smart Money Smart Kids”, Rachel Ramsey states that winning with money means “learning patience, delayed gratification, and contentment” (p. 201). I would contend that these principles are important for winning in many areas of ones of life. Yet, these principles of living are not necessarily strengthened by the fact that we are advertised to almost constantly by all these electronic devices all around us. Then these advertisements put small subconscious messages in our minds that tell us that these things we see are acceptable and normal to have or do. I’m not saying these things are all bad, they are probably not. But the problem comes when you start to think that you must have these things to be content with life.

This is why we must continually be mindful of why we are doing the things we do each day. What is the real reason why you are going to buy that new iPhone? What is the real reason why you are eating that third plate full of spaghetti? What is the real reason why are are dashing on a little extra cologne today? We must make sure that our actions are being governed by something other than our own flesh. Sometimes you can’t follow your own heart or your mind alone, but you should have your heart, mind and the Spirit working together to make the bigger decisions in life.

The apostle Paul in the book of Romans says it this way; “Romans 8:7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” (Bible.com)  Knowing this, that the flesh is not able to submit to the law, our Lord the creator sent His son Jesus in the flesh to be a sin offering. Because Jesus, in the form of sinful flesh, was sacrificed as an offering for our sins, if we believe in Jesus he will be faithful to send His Spirit to us to help us make the right decisions in life. Our job then is to make sure the we are listening when the Spirit is guiding us.

Wickedness returns to Iraq, an end times thought

The latest issues in Iraq are happening for many reasons, I’ll list just a few. First, a weak Iraqi government and fearful spirit in their military personnel. Second, a weak U.S. leader whose foreign policy is to let whatever terror group take over what they can. Then, there is that whole Bible prophecy thing.

The obvious reason, in plain site of the world, is that the Iraqi military has not stood up and held back what is yet another radical Islamist terror group taking over a middle-eastern country. This is a bit different though in that our U.S. government (CIA, etc.) is not secretly backing this takeover like in the other countries that have recently undergone regime changes. No, this takeover is really just another replay of an age-old battle that has been happening over and over for a few centuries in the region. This battle is between different Muslim groups who claim rights over the country, and one of these groups happens to be very strict and is known to be very evil in terms of how they treat women.

Our government leadership in the U.S. has known that this was happening for several months now, and has chosen to drag their feet on a response and worry about poll numbers and how a response may or may not lead to votes in the mid-term elections in November. I know that putting boots on the ground in Iraq again is not an easy decision. That may not be the approach we should take, but we should at least provide the support that is requested from the Iraqi government. Unless for some reason our leadership wants that country split into three regions for some reason (Kurds, Sunni, and Shi’ite).  This may not be a bad idea if your only goal is stability, but the Shi’ite group should not be allowed to continue their horrible treatment of women and overly cruel practices of punishment and religious intolerance.

Now, the real reason behind this is that it is part of a bigger plan. A part of Bible prophecy. I know, we hear this every time something happens in the middle-east. Somehow some religious personality is going to link anything they see to the end times. Well, if the shoe fits!

So, here is a little short breakdown of what to watch for. If you see these signs over the next few months/year, you’ll know what is up. You should know that Bible scholars are not all in agreement on the literal nature of some of these prophecies because you could very easily see where Babylon could actually refer to the current day economic center of the world (maybe New York).

1. Zechariah 5:5-11 talks about wickedness being taken to Shinar (Iraq or Babylonia) and oddly enough the chapter uses a woman to symbolize the wickedness. I don’t know why. I know a woman is used as a symbol in prophecy a few times, but I don’t think they all tie together. It also mentions a cover made of lead over the basket. This may mean nothing, but you could note that bullets contain lead and so do bombs.

2. The Iraq wars in the 1990s and 2000s were bad. However, the Bible prophecy talks of great numbers of casualties that would take place in that region in the end times. This makes one think that there would need to be some weapon of mass destruction used against a major population center in the country (Jeremiah 51:29). Might that come from Iran or terrorists? I’m not sure. Israel will also get involved somehow.

3. According to which scholar you read, insert WW3 here. (not necessarily Armageddon, but an attack on Israel where God intervenes)

4. After this great loss of life and desolation, a leader will stand up and will convince this region and the those around it to sign a 7 year peace arrangement. Somehow Israel and its foes will be talked into having peace together and they will sign a peace initiative of some kind. (Daniel 9:27) This may also include Russia and Iran (Gog and Magog maybe) as they are surely part of the WW3 scenario above.

5. Babylon (current day Hillah, south of Baghdad), will be rebuilt and will become the center of trade for the region.  Some scholars differ and say that this may be any new city built that is set up as the economic and religious center of the world. Also, a new Temple will be built in Jerusalem (which will of course anger many Muslims).

6. About 3.5 years into the new Peace time (7 year covenant) the anti-Christ will desecrate the new Temple, which is obviously a bad idea because that is going to bring the wrath of God. (2 Thes. 2:3-4)

So, when does the rapture and the tribulation period take place? There is a lot of debate on those. Let’s just make sure we are all ready for the rapture when it happens.