Perceiving is Believing

What you see is a reflection. What you hear is an echo. Scientist say that everything including molecules are in motion. So that everything isn’t solid. We perceive that a brick wall is solid. If we try to run through it you would get a nasty headache. Although there is truth to the statement. This world is temporary and in the end roll up like a scroll and disappear. So it is what you perceive is the truth or what you believe. In a gubernatorial election, I heard the incumbent say that the new governor had won the hearts of the people. That is a perception. I have seen this principle work over and over again. So many times the news media will target a candidate and try to destroy his acceptability by telling lies. I lived through Hurricane Katrina. Without a doubt, everything the media said about what was going on in New Orleans was an outright lie. They retracted their statements about a month later. By that time the damage was done. The presidential race is full of lies that the news media repeats and repeats until people believe what they are telling is the truth. Or they will push one candidate over another because it fits their beliefs. Because everything is in motion you can’t trust what your eyes see or what your ears hear. That old saying if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So what do you do? Who can be trusted with the truth? And where can we find this person or persons who will speak the truth? There are moral absolutes in this world. People already know what they are. Because they are written in your heart and mind. And who wrote these truths in our heart and in our minds? You already know the answer to that question. It isn’t what any man has to say. It is only what God has to say on any given subject. Mine isn’t to reason why, mine is to do and die.

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In 1983, the United States Congress passed an historic bill. And how it got through Congress was also historic. This historic bill was sponsored by a congressman who was dying of cancer and he wanted to do something significant. He took his bill and posted on the wall of congress. Anyone who wanted to sign it could. There was no debate, no filibuster or no arm twisting. It just passed through Congress. This historic bill was The Year of the Bible. The first time since the time of Christ has a nation declare a Year for God. You wouldn’t believe what happen to this nation. The Gross Nation Product was higher than the pass 20 years. Prosperity came back to this country. Christianity became popular. Churches filled up. People were excited about being an American. Imagine trying to get that bill through this congress. It would take a miracle. Gallup Poll took a survey of the American people. They asked what are the three most important things in your life. The American people responded with a usual answer. It was a strange as the bill itself. The American people said that what was most important in their lives was love, joy and peace. If you don’t know these are the first three gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is what God gives to His children. It is what we need to live in this world. It is also what we did to show that God is alive and well. Joy especially in these times. Joy is that constant knowing that all is well in the world. That God is in control of everything. As God says, the Joy of the Lord is my strength. So rejoice and be glad for this is the day the Lord has given to us.

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Guilt and Condemnation

That is a 1, 2 punch if I ever saw one. It has destroyed more people than wars itself. Those 2 attributes have held people in bondage since the beginning of time. There isn’t 1 person on this earth that hasn’t done something wrong. With the act came guilt and condemnation. And the more the person did something wrong, the more they felt guilty and condemned. It is a trap conveniently set up by you know who our adversary, the devil. It is meant to make you think that you can never go to God with a problem to be solved. Whenever you feel guilt, anger, confusion or condemnation, it only comes from one source, the devil. They are his tools to try and defeat us in life. Did you know that the devil has to use our power to defeat us? He has no power on his own, so he has to use ours to become powerful in our lives. He is so powerless, he has to go to God to ask permission to do anything on earth. Why people worship this has been is a mystery. Why does he have no power? It is very simple. When Jesus died and went to hell, He took from the devil the keys of death and hell away from him. This left the devil powerless. When God raised Jesus from the dead, He made Him King of kings and Lord of lords with all power in this world. When you are bothered by the devil call upon the name of Jesus. And He will answer you with power. There isn’t anything of value the devil has. It is all death and destruction. So call upon the Lord and He will answer and show you great and mighty thing which you haven’t seen before.

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Another Day, Another Dollar

The economics of the world seems to be regressing not progressing. Over 100 years ago, people were working for 1 dollar a day. This was big money. Of course the cost of food back then wasn’t much. And most people made their own clothes. The plumbing, the outhouse, was outside in the backyard. If you wanted to go anywhere you had to ride a horse or take a carriage or walked. It was a very long time ago and things have changed drastically in the last 100 years. Things are always changing and yet they are the same. My younger brother met a young man from Vietnam right after the war. He was sponsored by an American couple to come to America. He had no money and literally own only the clothes on his back. He went to college to study Architecture. It was and still is a 5 year course. He work at menial job while he attended the university. My brother said he saved as much money as he could and still lived in America. When he graduated with honors and began working, he sponsored his brother. Then they sponsored their family. They worked and saved their money until all of their family came to America. He is a successful architect and fairly wealthy. And he didn’t start out with much more than a $1 a day. The success story in this country have always been the people who took advantage of what was offered. They used their mind and backs to produce the outcome they wanted for themselves and their family. What is it that you want to achieve in your life? Is it worth fighting for? How will you achieve your goals? Only you know how it will all end. So off to work we go for another day and another dollar.
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On the 3rd Day

When Jesus was led off to be tried by the religious leaders of Israel, it was the day before Passover. The trial ended early in the morning. Jesus was handed over to the Romans for execution. Pilate didn’t want to execute Jesus because he knew that it was only because the religious leaders were afraid of his power over the people. Finally after their insistence, Pilate released Jesus to them for execution. Jesus said it Himself, that this was the reason He was born. It was to die for the sins of man. By noon, Jesus was on the cross. It was recorded that the skies turn black and lightning stuck everywhere. These religious leaders thought that they were doing something good for themselves. But in fact, they were following God’s plan for man. By 3pm, Jesus was dead. They had to hurry and bury Jesus and the 2 thieves because Passover began at sundown. They asked Pilate to place a squad of Roman troops at the tomb of Jesus just so no one would steal His body. They knew that Jesus had said that He would rise from the dead in 3 days. On the morning of the 3rd day at sunrise, something happened. The Roman troops heard the stone that covered the tomb being rolled away. A light brighter than the sun shone out of the tomb. And they saw Jesus walk out from the tomb. They fell to the ground face down in fear. Then they fled in terror and went to the religious leaders to tell them what had happened. The leaders told the Romans to say that Jesus’ follower’s came and took His body. Jesus had led captivity captive. He stormed hell and took the keys of death and hell away the devil. And then on the 3rd day, He rose again to led the rest of us into the kingdom of heaven. And like Jesus said this was the reason that He was born into this world.

The Person of Jesus

I want to talk about who Jesus is. Not about what religion perceives He is. It took me a long time to figure out that He was more than just an icon. I had to go through trials, some of my own making, before I saw a clear picture of Jesus. When I first met Jesus, all that I knew of Him was taught in religion classes. This is a very narrow view of Him. Jesus came to this earth as man so we could relate to Him. He spent time growing into a man who loved people. Most people don’t understand that when it was time to die for our sins, Jesus didn’t want to die. But He was going to do His Father’s will on this earth. He was a human being as much as we are. Jesus suffered temptations just like we do. When I asked Him into my heart, I began to know Jesus. But like any relationship I had to spend time walking and talking to Him. I had to give my time and effort to develop a relationship. It seemed so foreign to me when I started. It wasn’t what I had been taught. I had to unlearn many concepts of Him. Jesus would talk to me every day. He would spend time with me not only to teach but to be with me. We would go to the store or just for walks. It was always interesting that Christian people would find this odd. They never saw Jesus as personable. He is in every way an approachable human being. Yes, He is my God and we must respect Him as such. But Jesus was a regular guy like you and me. Since the beginning of time, God has wanted to develop a relationship with His children. The bible is full of stories about this very thing. I have been walking with Jesus for some 38 years. And you know what I have found out. That Jesus, who is my God, is also my older brother. And my Father sits on the throne in heaven. And my older brother and my friend loved me so much that He died to pay for my sins.

Good Friday

I am going to my brother’s house where we will eat boiled seafood. We will probably be there for hours. It is always good to be with my brother and his wife. My family has always gotten together for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Something that my mother and her 2 sisters learn from my grandmother and her family. There are many reasons why this happened. The most likely one is to keep our family connected. Today many families live across the country or the globe. And it isn’t easy to stay in touch. I have cousins that live in the same city I haven’t talk to in a long time. It is my fault for not reaching out to them more. There are no more of my mother’s generation living. Which makes us the older generation. When we get together, I wish that older generation was here enjoying seafood and jokes. I know that they are looking down on us and watching what we do. My younger brother Bill joined them last July. I know he was glad to see mom and dad. Good Friday is all about taking care of family. Until God had a sacrifice to pay for the sins of man, man couldn’t enter into heaven. God needed a perfect sacrifice without spots or blemishes. And the only man found to be perfect for the sacrifice was Jesus. The pain and suffering He did on this day was for one reason only, to allow man to enter into the kingdom of God. When Jesus died and rose from the dead, it is said that He lead captivity captive. He freed all the people waiting for His arrival in hades. He stormed the gate of hell and took the keys of death and hell away from the devil. And led the saints into heaven. We have a lot to be thankful for. Jesus did this over 2000 years ago. And He still reigns and rules from the right hand of God.

Making a Choice

We have free will. We can make choices in our lives. As much as we would like to blame other people for our bad choices, we really can’t. Today we celebrate Jesus making a choices to help us. This is the day before His death. Jesus had to make a choice of living or dying. He assembled His disciple for the Passover meal. They broke bread and drank wine together. They also ate a meal. All the disciples were happy and full when Jesus asked them to come with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane. This is where Jesus had to make a choice. Whether He was going to die for our sins or not. He told them to wait while He went a little further to pray for guidance. Jesus prayed hard because He didn’t want to die, but He knew that God’s will was more important than His. He went back to the disciples and they had fallen asleep. Jesus woke them up and asked them to pray with Him about this most important decision. Again Jesus went by Himself to pray about this decision. The bible said Jesus sweat blood over this decision. But He knew that God’s will was more important than His. He went back to the disciples and they had fallen asleep again. He woke them up and asked them to pray some more. Jesus went back to pray for a 3rd time to ask God not to die. But Jesus knew that God’s will was more important than His. So Jesus made a choice. There in the Garden of Gethsemane He chose to die on the cross for our sins. It was not long after that the chief priest’s guards came to take Him to the trial for His life. Making a choice sometimes isn’t as easy as it seems. When choosing the right way, you sometimes have to think about what you are doing and then choose. Because making a choice can sometimes it will be the hardest thing you ever did.

Giving and Receiving

It is so easy as a child because our parents saw to it that we had what we needed. In the beginning we couldn’t do for ourselves if we had to. So our parents had seen about our needs. But as we got older more was required from us. We were required to pick our clothes or toys. But in each stage of our lives responsibility for of wellbeing was transferred to us. Until the day we were required to take care of ourselves. When I was walking out of my high school graduation ceremony, I had a frown on my face. My mother tried to get me to smile, but I realized everything had changed in my world. Nothing was ever going to be the same again. I was going to be responsible for myself and had to make decisions for my life. I had been on the receiving end of everything for a long time. Now I had to move into the giving end and I didn’t know how I would fare. Now I had to give of my time, energy and effort to make my way in life. No longer was life going to be easily given to me. So I charged right ahead. Lowered my head and press in to acquire what I needed in life. I didn’t make all the right decisions at first. I made some bad ones and paid for it too. I wanted to be different from my parents. The university I attended was 5 blocks from my home. I lived 2 blocks from my parent’s house. A mistake I still regret. I began to learn what giving and receiving is all about. If you want to receive you have to give first. I didn’t always want to do that. I wanted what I wanted. But I had to learn. I was responsible for myself. I became selfish to a fault. But I had my eyes and my heart opened the day I met God. He showed me that the only way to really receive was to give first. When we see about other people first, then I needs are met. This is how God setup the world to be able to work. My life and this world was always about giving and receiving.

Full Moon

Last night was the full moon. As I was driving home I could see the man in the moon. It was close enough to the earth see features on the surface. Although the moon is 93,000,000 miles away from earth. The moon has a direct influence on earth. It directly effects the tides of the oceans and the weather. It’s funny how it affects us so far away. The atmospheric pressure builds until the full moon and then is released. It causes more things than the tides and weather. Crazy things happens during the full moon. More robberies happen, more killings happens, more strange behaviors happens around the full moon than not. More people fall in love during the full moon. It’s like the world goes crazy for one night. This is no excuse for anything, but it’s interesting. Each day is a new day for man. God gives us now to live in. He wants us to be aware of what is going on today. For us to be the people we are supposed to be. We can plan for the future, but we have to take care of now to get to the future. Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day. It was clear and cold not a cloud in the sky. And today promises to be just the same. But that is no excuse for not preparing and executing our plan for today. God gives us the tools to do our job each day. We are to take what we are given and use it the best result we can. That means studying and preparing for our future. It doesn’t matter what we do in life as long as it is honorable. Living up to who and what we are in this life. It is always up to us what we will become. So choice wisely what you do with your life. Go after it with passion and heart and you will succeed. Because remember that God gives us now to live and have our being. It is also called by another name. It is also called the present.