Bearing the Cross with Joy

It always amazed me how that Jesus went to the cross freely. He wasn’t made to take on the suffering of a lifetime. Jesus chose to bear the death on the cross with joy. Joy and happiness aren’t the same thing. Joy is the comfort in your heart of knowing that what you are doing is right. Happiness is just momentary pleasure. It is why God said that the joy of the Lord is my strength. As you well know that life isn’t fair. Bad things happen to good people. As well as good things happen to bad people. God says that rain is a blessing and it falls on the just and the unjust equally. How we can walk through this world is for the joy that is set before us. I can’t say that I have been happy walking through this world all the time. But I can say that I have had warm blanket covering my heart as I walked through trouble. I have has people fuss me until they were blue. Then I told them thank you and be blessed of God. They didn’t know what to say after that. It was because the joy of the Lord kept me safe. I smile and laugh at trouble. People have looked at me sideways and said he is crazy. I would turn around and say no, I am a fool for Christ. I always ready to give answer to anyone who asked why I believe. God saved me from death. He raised me up and made me a son of God. He blessed my life with a wife and family. He has kept my family and I from disease and death and destruction. I am on my way home. My home isn’t this earth. My home is heaven with my Father, my old Brother and the Holy Spirit. And I am homesick and very tired of this world. It has nothing in it that is worth my life with God. For all the plans of mice and men, everyone will die and stand before God in judgement. What you do here will determine what will happen to you on the other side.


Kings and Priest

All throughout history there has been kings and there has been priest. The king ruled over the people in civil matters. The priest ruled over people in the spiritual matters. It was very rare all over the world to have a king that was a priest. The English king Edward the Confessor was the exception. In Israel, it was the rule rather than the exception. Moses was priest and judge over Israel. That was until Israel asked God for a king to be like the other nations. God gave them their wishes and the heartache that went with it. The kings of Israel didn’t work out so well. The people regretted their decision to choose a king. God wanted all of Israel to be priest to God. But they refused God’s offer. It cost them dearly for that mistake. God was going to set up a kingdom where the people were kings and priest to God. It took over 2000 years for the kingdom to arrive and it did with Jesus. As a king and priest you would have access to God and the authority to carry out His will on this earth. This is something that God has always wanted for man. It began with Adam in the Garden of Eden. When Adam lost his authority, God has been trying to restore it man. It took a very long time for man to accept it again. Man’s rightful place is in the kingdom of God. God has been patiently waiting for man to come home. Where are you today? How far are you from the kingdom of God?


The Same Yesterday, and Today, and Forever

You don’t know how many times people have told me that I need to be consistent. It became a broken record in my ears. I would try to be steady but something would always happen. I would never try to be a screw up, but it just seemed to happen to me. If I got angry then I would be as big a screw up as possible. I never tried to compare my sons to each other. Boy, would I get how my brother did this or that. Just look how well he is doing. I wanted to throw up. Consistency was always my goal. I wanted to be able to achieve things in life. Especially things that were near and dear to me. When I was 12 years old, I built a swing made from a car tire. I tied the tire to a rope and hung it in my favorite tree about 4 feet off the ground. I got a 6 foot ladder and sat on the top holding the tire. I jump on to the tire and swung out. When the tire was about 15 feet off the ground the rope broke with me in it. I hit the ground on my back. I woke up about 10 minutes later. I definitely had a concussion. It cause all sort of problems for me. In particular, it cause dyslexia, problems with hand and eye coordination. It took a lot of work all through high school to correct this. When I got to college I wanted consistency. As hard as I looked for it in this world, I never found it. It was only when I met God did I find consistency. You see God is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. He doesn’t change at all. God is there for us all the time. And as a side note, God healed me of Dyslexia.


Considering the End of their Conversation

Do you ever think about what people say to you? As I was growing up, I would listen to my mother. She always didn’t know what to say to me, but she tried. For a long time I would just do what she said. When I actually started high school, things began to change. As I would think about what was being said and what I wanted to do, well. It didn’t always work out to my benefit. Sometimes it was a real disaster. I know my parents wanted the best for me. I was an individual all my life. I didn’t want to graduate from high school because I knew what was coming. I would have to grow up. People were always telling me things. Sometimes I would listen, sometimes I wouldn’t. I was going to do what I wanted. So I thought. We don’t live on an island, myself ourselves. People will always be part of our lives. That means social interaction. If you don’t behave, people will have nothing to do with you. If you let people run over you, you won’t accomplish much in your life. So you have to be somewhere in the middle. I thought my parents were idiots until I grew up and saw them differently. But I still didn’t trust too many people’s opinions. When God came into my life, it took a lot for God to break that exterior shell I had erected. But when He did and won my trust, the world opened for me. I know that when my heavenly Father talks to me about a subject, I have to consider the end of our conversation. God doesn’t talk to me about unimportant topics. We have had conversation about nothing, like the weather or shopping for clothes. But when He talks to me about heavenly things, I know that I need to pay close attention. My life is hanging in the balance when we have those conversations. Think of what God is saying and consider the end of His conversation.


So Great a Cloud of Witnesses

Would you do some of the things that you do if your parents or grandparents were watching? I would hardly think so. Just think to have your family watching as you go clubbing. Some people have lost all their shame. Still there are some that still have it. Yes I said shame. It is a natural response to getting caught doing something bad. Do you remember the red face when you were caught in a lie? It is called shamefaced. It was put into your life by God to help you to make the right decision. I have seen people work hard at getting rid of their shame. The bible says that bad company corrupts good morals. This is very true. You hang out with the wrong crowd and all that it comes to is a death spiral. Look at the young people in gangs. Most of them are dead by 21 years old or in prison for life. I hear people say they never had a change. It is too hard to break out of the death spiral. Yet, I have seen people come to this country with nothing, but the clothes on their back. He went to work and college. He graduated as an architect, then sponsored his brother who graduated from college. Together they sponsor the rest of the family. Today they are successful, because they worked at it. They choose the right way and followed it. There are many people who are successful because they work at it. God said by the sweat of your brow shall you eat. Let me get back to the great cloud of witnesses. Your parents, grandparents, cousin, relatives and friends who have gone on before you are watching you every day. So when you go clubbing and act the fool, they see you up close and personal. Shame isn’t a bad thing. It is a necessary thing.


Wars and rumors of Wars

Over 2000 years ago, Jesus’ disciples asked how we will know that it is the end of time on this earth. Jesus began to explain to the disciples what to look for. In Matthew 24:4-8 Jesus said, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” How many people do you know about that has said they were the Christ? How many wars and rumors of wars do you know about? How many earthquakes do you know about? Then Jesus says that this is just the beginning of sorrows. The pictures of the refugees are in all the news. The bombings in Israel are in the news. The wars that rage on every continent are in the news. It’s like they are filming the bible as it unfolds. Yet all the leaders are saying that man can solve the problems of man. It requires money, supplies, and armies to solve the problem. Personally I believe what Romans 1:22 says, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” There is only one way and His name is Jesus. God has been trying to get man’s attention and solve his problems. Now it is up to man to choose the right way. God help us all.


Lost and Found

When God created man, He made him in His image. God gave us a free will to choose whatever we wanted. God was hoping that man would choose Him. But man had other ideas. God had to deal with this loss. Because of this loss, God had to made provisions in His laws so that man could come back to Him. Otherwise man would be a total loss. It is not that God has not had a people who have followed Him. All throughout the ages there have been people who have been faithful to God. God tried starting over with Noah. But man decided to go back to his fallen state. Serving God isn’t the hardest thing that I have ever done.  It takes a conscious decision and commitment to follow God. It is a daily decision. It is easier to go back to the fallen state. But it doesn’t stay that way. Sin is fun for a season, then it becomes slavery. Guess who is the taskmaster for sin? God opened the way for man to be able to come back. The cost of that commitment to man is very high. God gave Jesus a choice to do His will or not. Jesus decided to pay the price for us. No greater love has any man than one lay down his life for another. God gave His son for our sins so we could make it back to heaven. I talked about people talking more these days and not really communicating. What I am saying is to communicating God’s love for man. Anyone can know the love of God if they are willing to approach God. He is not going to kill us because of our sins. You see the sin in our life is already killing us. God wants to release us from that death sentence. Thank God.


The Good Samaritan

This is a story that Jesus told. There was a certain man who was traveling from Jericho to Jerusalem. Thieves attacked him. They stole all his goods, clothes and money. They left him for dead. There were people traveling the road. A certain priest saw the man and passed on by. Then a Levite saw the man and passed on the other side of the road. The man who was beaten was a Jew. Then there came a Samaritan and he had pity on the man. He bound his wounds as best he could. He picked up the man and brought him to an inn. This stranger paid for the beaten man to stay until he was better. He told the inn keeper if I own you anything more he will pay it on my way back. Jesus was explaining what God had been trying to teach man for 1000’s of years. We are not only to be involved with God, but also with our fellow man. We are social being. God made us that way so we could be with other people. Just think you didn’t want to be around people. What would happen to you? What would happen to you when that person who helped you wouldn’t have? Ever since Adam and Eve, God has had 2 rules to live by. The first is the love God with you whole heart, soul and mind. The second is like the first. You are to love your neighbor as yourself. In those 2 laws are all of the bible.


The not so Good Samaritan

Jesus and His disciples were leaving Jerusalem. They were headed back to Capernaum. Jesus decided to go through Samaria. This was a break with all traditions. Righteous Jews didn’t go through Samaria. Even though this was part of Israel, they had a nation of people who had married into heathen families. Jesus stopped at Jacob’s well. The disciples had gone into the town to get lunch. Jesus was sitting there when a woman from the town came to get water. He asked for water. They began to talk and the woman was surprised that a Jew would talk to her. She asked if he had something to get water with. Then Jesus began to explain to the woman, if she would ask of Him, He would give her everlasting water. The woman asked how. Jesus began to explain about eternal life. He told her to go and get her husband. She said I have none. Jesus said you have spoken the truth. For you have had 5 husbands and the one you are living with isn’t your husband. The woman went into the town and told the men what had happened at the well. The town came out to see. Jesus spoke to the people and they believed. It doesn’t take a 2 hour oration to understand what God is saying. The truth is simple. God made it so we could understand. The kingdom is not far from you. It really is within earshot. All you have to do is open your mouth and ask God to forgive you. And He will. The not so Good Samaritan heard the truth and was willing to receive what Jesus had to say. It is that simple for anyone.

Buyer Beware 1.0

Tis the season for politicians to lie to us. It is election season. I can remember when people who ran for political office were basically honest. It has gotten so corrupt that the honest people have gotten out. All that is left are career politicians. What is that old joke, oh yeh, how do you know when politicians are lying? Their lips are moving. You know what the sad part of this really is, is that the politicians are just a reflection of the general population. The murder rates have doubled in last 20 years. Violence is on the rise. Christianity is on the decline in the United States. Look at the US Congress and see how hard they have tried to legislate Christianity out of this country. You talk about hate crimes. You have to hate God to try to get Him out of a country. The Roman Empire lasted for about 600 years. Do you know why it fell? It was something very original, immorality. Let us see, how about this country. Do you think that the USA has become immoral? It is only following the rest of the world. Everything has become global, including immorality. Do you know when the murder rate began to climb? It started climbing when the US Supreme Court decided the case of Roe vs. Wade. If you don’t know what that case is, it is the abortion case. When life became cheap, people started killing each other at a faster rate. But what can we do? I am only one person. One person is all it takes in God economy. Someone who is willing to stand up against evil. Do you remember the Edmund Burke saying, the only thing necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing. So who is going to stand up against evil?