April 29, 2012

A Lie Straight from the Mouth of Hell

Jude 4
"For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."

If you went to the average university campus today, and asked students if they know a verse of Scripture, most would say that they do. If you had asked 10 or 15 years ago, most would have quoted John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Everybody knew that verse then.

But today, most would reply with, “Judge not that you be not judged.”  [Matt. 7:1] The whole focus has changed. Ten or 15 years ago the focus was on the truth of God’s love. But today, surveys reveal that practically everyone is convinced that there is no absolute truth. So the emphasis has switched from truth to tolerance.

And that leaves us free to do anything we want without worrying about what God teaches. Beware of these vain teachings. Do not mingle the holy with the profane. Keep to God's Word, obey it and live. Or, cherry pick God's truth that fits your convenient lifestyle and suffer the consequences (Revelation 22:18-19).
              
Choose God and reject the world: Click Here If You Choose God.

Courtesy Rich Atchley

April 28, 2012

SHIPWRECKED!


Acts 27:10
"And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives."

Paul, as a prisoner, was on his way to Rome when the storm struck out at sea. Though tossed about by the great waves and strong gusts, Paul held a confidence in God. He even shared his faith with the ship's crew who were his jailors & fellow prisoners. An abiding faith in the true & living God will always give us the faith to share with others as Paul did on that tempestuous day.

Consider 3 points in this chapter of Acts:

Point #1: God was the Source of his faith. After all, Paul knew that God was the Creator of the universe. So, what were waves to Him that set the tide in motion? He was keenly aware that God parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River. To be sure, he also knew that Christ stilled the tempest out on the Galilean Sea (Mark 4:35-39). Indeed, Paul penned these very words in I Corinthians 2:9-10, "But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;" Thus, Paul believed God and trusted in Him. Do you trust Him, Reader?

Point #2: God was the Source of revelation. Paul had a basis for his faith which was determined not by a whimsical fantasy of hope, but by the hard facts and accounts which were found in God's Holy Word. He confessed it before the pagans: "...[F]or I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me." (v. 25) God's word is a more sure word of testimony than anything else, and a more sure word of prophecy (II Pet. 1:19). God's word doesn't change from age to age. It's not possible to trust God without trusting His word. Friend, are you trusting what God has revealed in the Holy Bible?

Point #3: God was the Source of his salvation. Paul stood firm on what God had told him; that is, that their lives would be spared (v.22). There is no salvation in any other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved except by the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:10-12). Paul stood on God's promises even when the howling storms of doubt and fear assailed because he most certainly knew that by the living Word of God he would  prevail.

I Peter 1:25 states, "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."

And, Luke 21:33 promises. "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away."

Reader, you are standing on sinking sand if you're not standing on God's Word. If you're putting your trust in anything or anyone else but Jesus Christ, you are like that foolish man who built his house on sand (Matt. 7:26-27).

Please consider this illustration:

There was a man who became shipwrecked on a deserted island years ago. He managed to build himself a hut to live in and with it stored the possessions he was able to salvage from his boat after it was wrecked.

He would watch every day for some sign of a ship or airplane passing by. He prayed to God for help. Some days he would get discouraged and wonder if he would ever get off that island, but still he prayed.

One day he was on the other end of the island and noticed some smoke coming from the direction of his hut. He ran as fast as he could back to the hut and then he realized that his fears had come true. His hut and all his belongings were destroyed by a fire. All that was left was the smoke and rubble of it all.

He asked God why did this have to happen. He did not understand.


Later that day a ship appeared on the horizon and soon landed on the island and rescued him. They told him that they were plotting a distinct course and noticed smoke off in the distance and thought the smoke was a signal for help.

It was a sign for much needed help and it was a sign from God that He was still in control and He would not forsake His beloved child even if there was a doubt or not.


Let's look at how Paul's ill-fated sea voyage turned out. The ship ran aground and was broken in half with the violence of the waves. They jumped out and swam out into the sea to get to land. Some reached the shore on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.

As God had promised.

Out of the storms and travails of this life we can build a stronger faith and hope on the One who shed His blood for us on Calvary. Through the greatest storm in Christ's life, He conquered death. We, too, can have victory, and beauty for ashes. God will work out all things for your good if you love Him (Rom. 8:28).


Have you put your complete trust in the Lord Jesus Christ? Click Here


’Tis the grandest theme through the ages rung;
’Tis the grandest theme for a mortal tongue;
’Tis the grandest theme that the world e’er sung,
“Our God is able to deliver thee.”

He is able to deliver thee,
He is able to deliver thee;
Though by sin oppressed, go to Him for rest;
“Our God is able to deliver thee.”

Jesus Calms the Storm (Lego Animation)

Mark 4:37-39

"And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."



Please enjoy a father-son production of the story from the Gospel of Mark. The award winning short film was produced using stop animation and Legos.




April 27, 2012

The Barber

Isaiah 55:6
"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:"


A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed.

As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don't believe that God exists."

"Why do you say that?" asked the customer.

"Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things."

The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument.

The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt.

The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: "You know what? Barbers do not exist."

"How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!"

"No!" the customer exclaimed. "Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside."

"Ah, but barbers DO exist!", answered the barber. "What happens, is, people do not come to me."

"Exactly!" - affirmed the customer. "That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! What happens, is, people don't go to Him and do not look for Him. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."



If you're waiting for God to hit you over the head with a thunderbolt, it's not going to happen. If you're waiting for a "special revelation" intended just for you, don't hold your breath. If you're seeking the revelation of God, all you have to do is read the Holy Bible.

Don't go through life missing out on the knowledge of God when it is right before you: God's Holy Word.

The mockers and unbelievers ask for a sign that proves God's existence. To these kind of people, Jesus has the answer:

"Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."      Matt. 12:38-40

Thus, the proof is that Christ is risen. If that isn't enough friend, then truly you are lost and blinded by the world (II Corinthians 4:3-4).

Turn now and repent before it's too late! Open My Eyes and Turn Me From Darkness to Light.

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.


Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.



Story courtesy Marlen Hardy

April 26, 2012

The Purpose In Gethsemane

Mark 14:36
"And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt."


If you're a Christian, you face your own private Gethsemane every day in that you surrender your selfish will to the will of God and, thus, walk in the Spirit. But, in between the surrender and the walk is the agony of getting up because the Spirit is willing yet the flesh is weak. There is a war in the members to pull away even in the midst of the taking the first step. How did Christ win the batttle? In the desert, He fought the Enemy with the Word of God (Matt. 4:1-11). In the Garden, the Lord won against the will through prayer. There is power in God's word and prayer. Use both mightily. May the Lord help you and strengthen you through His Holy Word in your Christian walk today. In Jesus' name, Amen.


All those who journey, soon or late,
Must pass within the garden’s gate;
Must kneel alone in darkness there,
And battle with some fierce despair.

God pity those who cannot say:
“Not mine but thine;” but who only pray:
“Let this cup pass,” and cannot see
The purpose in Gethsemane.



- Ella Wheeler Wilcox



To him that overcomes the foe,
White raiment shall be giv’n.
Before the angels he shall know
His name confessed in Heav’n.
Then onward from the hill of light,
Our hearts with love aflame,
We’ll vanquish all the hosts of night,
In Jesus’ conqu’ring Name.

Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory!
O glorious victory, that overcomes the world.

I want victory in my life! ClickHere



April 25, 2012

Beyond the Pale

Proverbs 22:28
"Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set."

In the olden days, "Beyond the pale" was an expression (albeit archaic by today's standards, which are ironically beyond the pale) used to describe a certain action that denoted disapproval. I never understood the connection between the described action and the word pale. I reasoned that it had to do something with the blood draining from a person's face out of shock of another person's negative behavior or speech.

Not so.

I've come to learn that the word pale has nothing to do with a deficiency in blood or absence of color. Instead it comes from the Latin word palus, which means, a stake (also the name of the wooden post that Roman soldiers used to represent an opponent during fighting practice).

Pale is an old name for a pointed piece of wood driven into the ground that demarcates a barrier when it is made of such stakes. Pole is from the same root source. Impale is pretty self explanatory, right?

So, the figurative meaning as it applies to the expression Beyond the pale indicates going beyond an area of defense, a safeguard, a barrier. Thus, the ultimate meaning is for a person to to go beyond the acceptable or reasonable. In other words, a person going beyond the normal custom.

I want to point out that there's a BIG difference between going beyond the markers of acceptable behavior, conduct, speech, etc. and moving the markers altogether.

And herein is our problem.

The Bible clearly points out that boundaries are set by our fathers; in this case, men of wisdom who held knowlege, reverence and fear of God. There are fewer and fewer of these men. When men become godless, the family follows. And, whichever way the family goes, so goes society.

If you take the time to read the entire Bible, you will see clearly that God set boundaries from the get go. Let's read Gen. 2:17 for further demonstration of setting limits:

"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

Boundaries are placed there for our protection. There's wisdom in the landmarks. Yet, people question them, thinking it a noble cause to question the markers placed by God.

For example, consider these moved landmarks:

There was a time when murdering babies was morally and legally reprehensible and indefensible. Not so any longer. The U.S. Supreme Court (courtesy of the Warren Burger Court) moved the landmark. In fact, it was a "landmark" ruling.

There was a time when marriage was between one man and one woman for life. Not so any longer thanks to divorce, cohabitation, sodomy, fornication and so forth.

There was a time when every department store was closed on Sunday out of observance of the Lord's Day. Not so any longer thanks to an impatient life-style which demands modern day "conveniences" to be readily available at a whim's notice.

There was a time when blood-borne diseases were limited & isolated. Not so with AIDS and HIV, which is a man made disease that resulted from moving the landmark.

There was a time when television and Hollywood censored themselves. Nowadays, there is no blur between the boob tube and the carnal world at large.

There was a time when children respected their parents, especially their father. But, now there is a prejudice against all that is paternal.

I could go on and on, but you get the point. Everything, it seems, is beyond the pale. Even Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal lamented America's predictament in her op-ed piece, "America's Crisis of Character".

In other words, this Nation is beyond the pale.

I am not advocating for a return to simpler days, Reader. I'm advocating and seeking your prayers for a return to Jesus Christ. This great Nation needs to humble itself before its God.

Don't you see that the greatest landmark - yes, it's a beacon, too - is the Cross? Death ends there and life begins. But, only for those who surrender to Jesus (Rom 10:9-10).

The world at large doesn't blink any longer when it comes to going beyond the pale. And that's because the world keeps moving the landmark ever so farther from God that people don't notice that they're marching slowly toward the cliff. Death awaits those who travel this wide, wide path (Matt. 7:13-14).

Don't be one of them. Don't stay on the ungodly path of the world. Choose the straight and narrow way. As it says in Jeremiah 6:16, "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls."

Choose Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for He is the way, the truth and the life. I Choose Christ!

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus;
There's just something about that name!
Master, Saviour, Jesus,
Like the fragrance after the rain;

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Let all heaven and earth proclaim;
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away,
But there's something about that name!

April 24, 2012

The Heritage of the LORD

Psalm 127:3-5
"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."

When I came across  Frans Hofmeester's time-lapse video of his little girl, I couldn't help but smile, laugh and cry because I have 6 daughters (yes, six!) of my own. Each one is growing up too fast for my liking. Each one grows into a beautiful young lady. And when I read the above quoted Scripture, I can't help but praise God for making me the richest man in the world because He has blessed me with six (yes, six!) beautiful daughters. To God be the glory!

Please enjoy the video.




Dear Reader, do not think for one moment and be fooled that Mr. Hofmeester's little girl's development began at birth. This child began developing in utero. In fact, Psalm 139:14-16 declares, "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them."

Only God knows you best because He made you. Don't think for one second that your existence here on earth was by chance or luck. Only fools gamble. Secondly, don't believe that your existence on earth at this particular moment is coincidental. You were born according to His plan, not your parents'.

I want you to know something else, friend. You might not know this. Perhaps you do. But, I'm going to challenge you today to make a decision to either believe man or to believe & trust in God. Open your Bible and read this passage for yourself and tell me who you will place your trust in.

"As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all."  (Eccl. 11:5)

Reader, what does God say in this passage? He says that you (and not just you personally, but all men) do not know how the Spirit works or how bones grow. God states quite plainly that you don't know God's works.

How are bones separated from the other flesh? How do they grow out of them and hardened? How do the hundreds of cells know which way to migrate within the egg and develop into eyes, ears hands and feet, heart and brain? How do the more solid and substantial parts of the baby's body strengthen while other parts seed are converted into skin and flesh; sinew and marrow?

To put it bluntly and succinctly, only God knows.

I'm sure there is plenty of scientific research that shows the embryo's development and many theories as to human development. Somehow, though, science is at its best when it describes God's creations, whether it be geological entities, the discovery of new universes or the observation of a micro-cellular event such as in utero development. Science is at its worst when it prescribes the reason why things are the way they are.

Therefore, Reader, neither you nor I are cosmic accidents. We are here because God willed us to be here. And, if we are wrought by His mighty and loving hand then no one - NO ONE - has the right to murder an unborn baby. By God's word, abortion (ie, murder) is wrong. According to the Declaration of Independence, it is a denial of God-given rights. Consider:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." (Read it all here: The Declaration of Independence)

Thus, God's work agrees with His word. We can't say that about men. The framers of the Declaration thought this as well, which is why they declared that Government secures these God-given rights and does not bestow them.

And as it pertains to unborn children, their rights and the right to due process are denied when laws are enacted to murder them without due process.

So, who are you going to trust? You can't have it both ways. God will not share His glory with any man.

Children are a precious resource that is God sent and God given. Let's all work hard to protect the rights of every living being, born and yet-to-be born.

I'm Tired of Men's Lies. Today I Choose to Trust Jesus!

April 23, 2012

If I Wanted America to Fail

Proverbs 29:18
"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."

Another dire warning to Americans. I cannot think of a more critical presidential election than the one we'll be facing in November 2012. Please pray for this great Nation!

Psalm 1:1-2, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night."

Psalm 106:3, "Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times."




Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.


In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us let us die to make men free
While God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! While God is marching on.


April 22, 2012

If I Were the Devil, Pt. 2

Romans 1:20-22
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools"


I came across the video on Paul Harvey's famous commentary made in 1965. It is a supplement to the commentary I had briefly written about in a post on February 19, 2012. Here's the original link: If I Were the Devil.

Consider the words and the images as you reflect on the state of America TODAY. Pray for this great Nation Under God. The enemy has been steadily at work at removing God from the public and private spheres of life. Refuse to be moved from God's truth and stand firm on God's Word!



I want to stand up for Jesus! Click Here

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, each soldier to his post,
Close up the broken column, and shout through all the host:
Make good the loss so heavy, in those that still remain,
And prove to all around you that death itself is gain.


Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song.
To those who vanquish evil a crown of life shall be;
They with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.



April 21, 2012

In Nothing We Trust

Proverbs 25:28
"He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls."

Across the nation, city halls, much like Washington, have become petty, polarized and powerless to deal effectively with the problems they face. Voter engagement is driven down as a result. Mainstream  churches are losing worshippers. Overburdened, crumbling and unruly public schools are prompting parents to pull their children out. Businesses are shuttering their factories & warehouses, leaving behind in its wake, unemployment and helplessness. Labor unions once credited with creating the middle class are now often blamed for the demise of industry. Even the local daily newspapers, once venerated for reporting the news and not editorializing it, have become polarizers in the culture wars.

The bygone days of American institutions holding sway & influence in American culture are things of Norman Rockwell wishful thinking.

In a survey of a Main Street Town in the U.S.A., seven in 10 Americans believe that the country is on the wrong track; eight in 10 are dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed. Only 23 percent have confidence in banks, and just 19 percent have confidence in big business. Less than half the population expresses “a great deal” of confidence in the public-school system or organized religion.

“We have lost our gods,” says Laura Hansen, an assistant professor of sociology at Western New England University in Springfield, Mass. “We lost [faith] in the media: Remember Walter Cronkite? We lost it in our culture: You can’t point to a movie star who might inspire us, because we know too much about them. We lost it in politics, because we know too much about politicians’ lives. We’ve lost it—that basic sense of trust and confidence—in everything.”

And there is the rub. In that quote - "We have lost our gods" - everything we need to know about the demise of America is encapsulated. God was replaced by Government. People thought that they could govern themselves better without God than with Him.
Please take caution: This attitude of removing God from public life did not begin at the P.T.A. meeting or in the public schools or in the courthouses or in city halls or even in the church. The desire to remove God from public life and private life began in the home.

You see, when God is not the center of your life then you are left to fend for yourself, interpreting the day's blessings and trials through your own lenses, philosophy, mental aptitude, etc. But, the Bible admonishes us, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil." (Proverbs 3:5-7)

So when people trust their institutions more than they trust God, or, seek to remove God from private life and public life altogether, is it any surprise that the institutions they've chosen to trust are crumbling?

Government is crumbling, civic life is crumbling, churches are crumbling all because the family is crumbling. And the source of this moral dry rot is the absence of God. By the way, don't think for one minute that we, as a culture, are living in a vacuum. Satan runs right in to that void in your life and public life and fills it with distractions that pertain to lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life (I Jn. 2:16). That's exactly what's happening.

If you want a case study of a nation in decay, study the nation of Israel in the Book of Judges. You'll see what decadence, depravity and destitution look like in all its glory. Sadly, it leads to captivity.

When you are spending more time on Facebook than in the Good Book, then you're bound to find that the fruits of your labor result in nothing. Even your own thoughts come to nothing. Why? Because if it's trash you put in your mind then it's trash you'll get out. You reap nothing but the wind. And then people have the nerve to say, "In nothing we trust"?

In Proverb 25:28, the picture I want you to see is that of a city whose walls have been so nearly destroyed as to be without defense against an enemy; so is the man who has no restraint over his spirit, the source of man's passionate energies. He has no defense against anger, lust, and the other unbridled emotions that destroy him. And the family, culture and society around him.

Dear Reader, if you're American, the time is now to turn back to God. II Chronicles 7:14 states, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Before Nations change, Governments must change.
Before Governments change, people must change.
Before people change, you must change.

And before you change, you must surrender your entire life to the Lord Jesus Christ. Friend, there's no other way (John 14:6). If you're ready for change, if you want to trust in someone other than your Government, if you are tired of the nothingness & meaninglessness of life, then click here: I Want A Real Change In My Life.


Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is peace
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is love
There is comfort in life's darkest hour
There is light and life
There is help and power in the Spirit
In the Spirit of the Lord

 

April 20, 2012

Christian Meeting Bombed In Kenya

Psalm 23:4
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."


On March 31st, a bomb attack at an outdoor worship service killed two Christians—a woman and an eight-year-old boy—and wounded more than 30 in the Kenyan city Mtwapa.

Hundreds of Christians were attending the outdoor service when a hand grenade was thrown towards the pastor’s podium. Muslims were also holding a meeting around 300 metres from the scene of the attack. The Islamic preachers were vilifying Christianity in their sermon which could be heard from the location where the Christians were holding their conference.

Kenyan officials blame members of al-Shabaab, a radical Islamic group in Somalia, for the bomb attack. Attacks and kidnappings coordinated by al-Shabaab in last year have prompted the Kenyan military to strike at al-Shabaab targets in Somalia. The Kenyan government has issued a warning of possible attack by the militants during Easter celebrations.

A Barnabas Aid contact in Kenya said that there has been a concerted Muslim backlash against conversions from Islam to Christianity. They have ordered a church in south Kenya to close down within six months.

Barnabas Aid is providing practical support for Christian converts from Islam in Kenya who are suffering as a result of persecution. One of them is a woman whose husband was killed by Muslims after the couple left Islam to follow Christ. We provided her with funds to start up a small business to support her children.

Pray for the wounded and the grieving. Pray these Christians will rest in the knowledge that the Good Shepherd walks with them through this difficult time (Psalm 23). Pray the Lord will give these Christians the grace to continue to meet together and encourage one another. Pray for God's will to prevail in Kenya. Pray also for the perpetrators.

(Source: Compass Direct News)

April 19, 2012

Looking for God In All the Wrong Places

Proverbs 8:17
"I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me."


If you're seeking God in the mountain tops or in the gilded skies or in mystical experiences or in a drug-induced state or by star gazing then, my friend, let me tell you: You are going about it the wrong way. You see, in order to find God, you need to look at the one source where His wisdom and will is revealed: the Holy Bible.

Consider the above quoted Scripture. There is a promise made by God to the Reader that will be fulfulled by Him, if you meet the conditions.

The first condition of the promise is that you must love God. Well, do you? If you love God, you must love Jesus.

Look at I John 4:14-16 -

"And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."

There's no way around it, dear Reader: If you're seeking God, you must come through His Son Jesus Christ who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me." (John 14:6).

And Isaiah 34:16 indicates, "Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them."

Matthew 4:4 further says, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

It's pretty clear that the only place for man to feast on God's every word is found in the Bible.

The second condition is that you must seek Him early. Early in the day; early in your youth; early in your problem. The key word is EARLY, as in the first place, above all things else.

Here's another conditional promise made by God in Proverbs 2:4-5, "If thou seekest [knowledge] as silver, and searchest for [knowledge] as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God."

So, seek God early and through His Word [ie, the knowledge of God]. When you do so, seek His word as if you're looking for silver & gold. That means with an intense, untiring desire. Think about it: How do men seek money? To what degrees do men go to get rich? Reader, seek the salvation of your soul as earnestly as the covetous man seeks wealth. Indeed, what profits a man that he should gain the world and yet lose his own soul?

The weight of your decision - to accept or reject Jesus Christ - will truly be felt in eternity. Do you want to wait until after you die to realize what a great treasure you passed up in knowing God through Jesus Christ His Son?

Ponder this parable by Jesus, "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field."  (Matt. 13:44)

Stop searching! Put everything aside, friend, and believe what Jesus Christ did for you at Calvary. He is a precious treasure to cherish here and hereafter.

Choose life, eternal life. Choose Jesus! I Choose You, Jesus!

Seeking the lost, yes, kindly entreating
Wanderers on the mountains astray,
"Come unto Me," His message repeating
Words of the Master speaking today.


Going afar upon the mountain,
Bringing the wand'rers back again,
Into the fold of my Redeemer,
Jesus the Lamb for sinners slain.
 

April 17, 2012

The One Very Thing

Psalm 66:16
"Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul."


There are many things, many niceties & goodies my children have that I didn't have growing up. I don't begrudge them for it. In fact, I'm the main contributor who indulges them because I love them. True love cannot be expressed in the giving of material things, I know. But, as a father, I can't help but buy them things that I know will delight them, make them smile and happy.

However, there is one thing my children have right now that I didn't have when I was their age, which I do take them to task on. Indeed, my heart envies the one very thing that each of them have that I wish I had had as a little boy growing up in the Southside of San Antonio, a poor working class neighborhood where you had to grow a set of eyes on the back of your head just to watch your back. In the barrio kids grow up fast. My childhood was no exception. But, I digress.

The one thing I envy that my children have in their possession, the very thing that I would've liked to be an owner of was a relationship with Jesus Christ. Growing up Roman Catholic meant going to mass on Sundays, confessing your sins to a priest on Saturday, eating fish on Fridays and feeling empty every day. It's like I sensed something was missing. That something, turned out, was Someone by the name of Jesus Christ.

How sadly ironic that in a house of worship I didn't even know the Master of the house! The good news is that Christ waited patiently for me and I came to know Him as Lord and Saviour in March 2004.

Since being born again, Jesus has shown Himself to be true to His Holy Word. Jesus has been my Provider, Sustainer, Healer, Intercessor, Protector and Comforter, to name a few. My family and I have gone through alot and yet He has been with us, giving us peace, every step of the way. Truly, a relationship with Jesus Christ was the one very thing I was missing in my life. Now that I have it, I don't intend to give it up or walk away from it, come what may.

Dear Reader, I don't know where you are in life. If you're poor, rich, male, female, adult or teen. You may be an American. Or, you could be from one of the many nations that read this blog daily. In any event, I want to personally thank you for taking the time to read these posts.

It's my hope and prayer that when you read these posts that you have your Bible (preferably the King James Version) in your hand. And that when you consider the words on your computer screen, it's my sincere desire to see each and every one of you to personally know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. Furthermore, if you already have a relationship with Jesus, it's my motivation that you draw even closer, nearer to the Lord through His Word.

Let's face it, there are 2 types of people in the world, irrespective of nationality, creed or culture: Those who need Jesus and those who need more of Jesus.

In a world of greed & poverty; information overload & confusion; technological advancements and abject misery; moral relativism & spiritual darkness, there is One who is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). And, a personal relationship with Him is the one very thing this world needs and it's what you need.

Can you honestly say that Jesus Christ is your Lord & Saviour?

It's not too late, you know. It's never too late. I Want A Relationship With Jesus.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
fill me with Thy love and power;
let Thy blessing fall on me.

I surrender all, I surrender all,
all to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

April 16, 2012

Even the World Itself Could Not Contain the Books Of Christ's Works

John 21:25
"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written."


Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in an obscure village. He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty, and then for three years he was an itinerant teacher.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never traveled, except in his infancy, more than two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompanies greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

While he was still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies. He went through a mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth, his seamless robe. When he was dead, he was taken down from the cross and laid in a borrowed grave through the courtesy of a friend.

Twenty wide centuries have come and gone, and today he is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of all human progress. I am well within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever were built, all the Parliaments & Congresses that ever sat, and all the kings & presidents that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has this one solitary personality.

- Unknown

The man referenced in the above passage is the God-man, Jesus Christ. He made exalted claims for Himself:

1. He said that "he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9).
2. He claimed equality with God (John 5:17-18).
3. He claimed to be the promised Messiah, "the Son of the Blessed" (Mk. 14:61-64).
4. He claimed that the shedding of His blood would bring remission of sins (Matt. 26:2820:28).

The worst charges that could be brought against Him were that He loved sinners, and ate with them (Matt. 9:10-13). But this charge He readily admitted, for His purpose in coming to earth was to "seek and to save that which was lost" (Lk. 19:10).

It was said of Him that "Never man so spake" (John 7:46). Many were astonished at His teachings (Mk. 7:37; Lk. 2:47). His works were equally as astonishing (Lk. 5:26).

There is no one in history like Jesus. As a Preacher, as a Doer of things, as a Philosopher, as a Healer, no man ever, had the sweep and the vision of Jesus. Jesus looked to the soul while other men dwelled on material things. His teachings taught during His earthly sojourn 2000 years ago was true then, has been true in every century since and will be true forever.

The human experience of 2000 years shows that Jesus never made a mistake and never sinned. Jesus never uttered a doctrine that was true at that time and then became obsolete.

Plato was a great thinker and learned in his age, but his teachings will not stand the test of time. The doctrine of Confucius gave a great nation moral and mental dry rot. The teachings of Buddha resulted in mental and moral chaos. Mohammed offered a system of ethics which harsh, severe, rigid, and, in the end, capricious & cruel as the god he worshipped. Thomas Aquinas, Francis of Assissi, Thomas A. Kempis  and other profound philosophers have become obsolete, obscure and irrelevant.

Napoleon had the world at his feet for four years, and when he died the world was going on its way as if he had never lived. Alexander the Great lived a very short life whose end was prophesied in the Holy Bible. Other men taught us to develop systems of government because we have trouble with self-government. Only Christ through His Holy Spirit can truly govern men's unbridled passions, lusts and wickedness.

Not all the investigation of chemists, not all the discoveries of explorers, not all the experience of rulers, not all the historical facts that go to make up the sum of human knowledge can match the priceless words uttered by Jesus Christ.

Jesus spoke the truth; He lived the truth; He is the truth (John 1:1; 14:6). And His Truth is eternal.

History has no record of any other man leading a perfect life or doing everything in logical order. Jesus is the only person whose every action and whose every utterance strike a true note in the heart and mind of every man. He never said a foolish thing & never did a foolish act.

No poet - Shakespeare, Dante, Swift, Machado, Cervantes, Chaucer, Wordsworth, Dickinson - loved humanity with the love that Jesus bore toward all men.

Ladies & Gentlemen, Christ is matchless because He is the Son of  the Living God. Everything He does for you & me is done out of perfect love. Won't you draw near to Him? Don't you hear Him beckoning to your heart today? Please don't hesitate. He's calling. He's calling you today!

O for the wonderful love He has promised,
Promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.

Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

I pray that your name will end up in the book of life (Rev. 20:11-15). The only way is through the Son of God. Jesus Christ is calling you: Come Home!

April 15, 2012

For Whom Do You Grieve?

Proverbs 24:11-12
"If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?"


I encountered an interesting article on grief and loss on the internet the other day. The discussion centered around the source of people's grief. And the question came up: For Whom Do You Grieve? There were poignant and touching comments made. I'm including some of them here, hoping that it will cause you to ask yourself that very question.


Rebecca J.
He lays in Plot 190 A-1 in the Garden of Eternal Life Cemetary, the man in prearrangements explained and provided me with a map. His headstone is black granite with the words, “Beloved Husband and Father” etched into it in all caps and in a classic font. A life summed up in only four words. It is a single headstone, not the double kind with the wife’s name engraved on the right side, just waiting for her to die. I was glad I didn’t also have to see my mother’s name, the reminder that one day she too would die. After sixteen years, soft grass had grown over his plot, but today, was hidden by snow. My tears made it difficult for me to read, but there I stood. Plot 190 A-1. It had been sixteen years since I stood in that spot, in my only dress, staring at the audience of my father’s friends and business acquaintances. Short of breath, I dropped to my knees and let the snow seep through my jeans. I laid down on the wet earth, resting my cheek on top of the snow, imagining my father’s rotting bones six feet below. He was in a maple casket, his bones decaying inside his best suit. I wondered what his body looked like, if the skin on his face had turned to leather, or if his bones protruded from his rotten flesh. I wondered what stench filled the casket. The smell of death, I imagined, the formal-dehyde slowing fading away. His body has been locked inside that casket for sixteen years. Sixteen long years of being fatherless. Sixteen years, six feet below the soft grass and cold snow. I sat up and punched the hard, winter ground. He was supposed to teach me how to make asparagus soup the morning he died.

Reader, even in the everyday-ness of life, death visits a loved one. Can you imagine that your one last conversation with the one you love could be about the minutae and routineness of life? If you knew that it would be the last time both of you would speak to one another, how would your conversation change? The Bible says, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" (Heb. 9:27). But, there is One who is risen. There is only One who can save. Christ alone is the Hope of Glory (Col. 1:27).

Grady Mc.
The father no one even told me about until I was 40 years old which was several years after he died. Although I always ‘knew’ something wasn’t right because I didn’t look at all like my brother, sister or the man who was supposed to be my father, they held onto their well rehearsed stories until it was too late for me to look a the person whom I probably most resemble in the world. So I grieve the man I never knew and the loss of the family who kept the secret for all those years. I imagine how different our relationships would have been & how different I might be if I would have been let in on my own life.

Relationships are the most valuable possession people have. Your very first relationship with your family will impact you - positively & negatively - in your future interactions with others, from friends, spouses, co-workers and the world at large. If you look at how Isaac and Rebekah raised their twin boys, Jacob and Esau, it was unhealthy because each parent had their favorite (Gen. 25:20-34). Probably Grady's parents meant well, but now he is left with more questions than answers. I won't even pretend to know what it's like to have unresolved grief like Grady's. But, this I do know: Christ is our Comforter and peace (John 14:26-27) and will never forsake us or abandon us (Heb. 13:5).

Jen S.
I grieve for children who have been abused, ignored, unloved. I grieve for those who are waiting for a family to call their own, to love them like no one has. A family to make them feel safe, and allow them to smile and have dreams. They are waiting, waiting for someone to say “You are good enough for me to invest in. You are good enough for me to love. You are not broken, you are not unlovable.”
I also grieve for those who are stuck where they are. They have no voices loud enough to get help. They might not know that they need help, because this is reality, this is what happens in families. I grieve for those who are waiting to be rescued. And I’ve learned that it is not enough to grieve. My silent grief, inside my comfortable house will not do the rescuing. I must move, I must act, I must be a part of the rescuing.

Our true Rescuer is Jesus Christ because what profits a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul (Mark 8:36)? There's a hymn that entitled, "Rescue the Perishing". Consider these lines -

Rescue the perishing,
Care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o'er the erring one,
Lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.


Rescue the perishing,
Care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful,
Jesus will save.


Dear Reader, are you rescuing the persishing with the Gospel of peace? If not, why not? I pray that you will be moved by the entries to reach out to a lost and dying world. People are hurting. They need to know that Jesus Christ cares for each soul out there. Jesus died on the Cross and is the embodiment of John 3:16.

If you aren't saved then, Friend, I need you to make a decision right now that you can't overlook or postpone. Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for your sins. Without Him, you are condemned to go to hell. Please consider the weighty matter before you. Choose wisely, choose Christ.

Click here: Jesus, Rescue Me Now!

April 14, 2012

The Most Important & Influential Book of All Time

Isaiah 40:8
"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever."

The Holy Bible has been banned, burned, loved and hated. It’s been outlawed & outcast. It's been smuggled in countries in whole or page by page. It's been denounced, doubted, denied and destroyed. In spite of all of these things, the Holy Bible hasn't been silenced. It continues today to be read by more people today than any other book. The Holy Bible is the most important book of all time.

I Peter 1:24-25 declares, "For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."

Did you all out there get that? The word of God endures forever. Forever. All eternity. Without end.

In other words, even though:

A car's engine will burn out and lock up, God's word endures forever.

A computer's hard drive crashes and all data is lost, God's word endures forever.

A legal contract may be breached, but God's word endures forever.

International treaties are broken, but God's word endures forever.

The U.S. Constitution may be attacked and altered beyond recognition, but God's word endures forever.

Man's philosophies and self-help aphorisms may come and go, but God's word endures forever.

Your father's and mother's words fail you, but God's word endures forever.

The President's lofty words may fall under the weight of hyprocrisy and demagoguery,  but God's word endures forever.

The leaders of religion misinterpret, misquote, misunderstand or malign God's word, God's word endures forever.

When all else fails (and sooner or later, they all will), God's word endures forever.

God's word endures forever because God, the Eternal One, spoke it. His Truth, you see, can't help but be true. God's word doesn't come true. It's already true. What was true yesterday, was true also at the beginning of time and is true today and is true forever.

Because Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life..." (John 14:6a) and because He is risen (Matt. 28:6) then Jesus Christ is the only Son of God and the words that He spoke are true. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8).

Here's a truth I want you to remember for the rest of your life: God loves you so much that He sent His only begotten Son so that if you believe in Christ, you will not perish and go to hell, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). God is waiting for you to make that decision to trust in His Son Jesus Christ.

Reader, what are you waiting for? Aren't you tired of men's empty philosophies and promises? Aren't you exhausted of looking for the next great idea only to be disappointed and disillusioned? Aren't you weary of religion & rituals that are devoid of meaning?

The only way to know God and have a meaningful and true relationship with Him is through His Son Jesus Christ. The Lord said in John 14:6b, ",,. [N]o man cometh unto the Father but by Me."

If you're ready to know the embodiment of truth, Jesus Christ, click here and see for yourself what peace, love and truth really is: I Want to Know Real Peace, Love and Truth Today!

 

April 12, 2012

The Excellence of God's Name

Psalm 8:1
"O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens."


If you never felt pain,
Then how would you know that God is a Healer?

If you never went through difficulties,
Then how would you know God is a Deliverer?

If you never had a trial,
Then how would you know God is the All Sufficient One?

If you never felt sadness,
Then how would you know God is the Comforter?

If you never made a mistake,
Then how would you know that God is forgiving?

If you knew all,
Then how would you know that God will answer your questions?

If you never were in trouble,
Then how would you know that God is the Rescuer?

If you never were broken,
Then how would know that God can make you whole?

If you never had a problem,
Then how would you know that God can solve them?

If God gave you all things,
Then how would you appreciate them?

If God never corrected you,
Then how would you know that He loves you?

If you had all power,
Then how would you learn to depend on God?

If your life was perfect,
Then what would you need God for?

How can you & I have a relationship with God? Through His Son Jesus Christ who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

After all, consider what Jesus' name means -

"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matt. 1:21)

Jesus Christ will save you from your sins! Here's how: Save Me Jesus!


April 11, 2012

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Spends 35th Birthday Behind Bars [UPDATE]

Here's another UPDATE on Pastor Youcef. Please keep him in your prayers. The article can be read at Pastor Youcef Spends Birthday Behind Bars.


Today, is Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s birthday, and our sources in Iran confirm that he is still alive. Thirty-five years ago, on the 23rd of the Farvardin month of the Persian Calendar, Youcef was born in Iran.

This is the third birthday that Pastor Youcef has been forced to celebrate behind bars, condemned to death in Iran for apostasy – becoming a Christian in a regime governed by Shariah (Islamic) law.

Tomorrow, marks exactly two and a half years of imprisonment – 913 days illegally held in prison for his faith.

Both the Iranian Constitution and the International Declaration of Human Rights, of which Iran is a signatory, not only forbid executing someone for their faith but expressly protect religious freedom. Despite these assurances of religious freedom, Iran continues to imprison Pastor Youcef indefinitely for charges related solely to the exercise of his faith.

Today, Christians and supporters of Pastor Youcef all around the world are holding a fasting and prayer vigil for the persecuted pastor to bring attention to his plight. Just last week, hundreds of Christians and supporters of religious liberty attended a vigil and march for Pastor Youcef’s release in Hamburg, Germany.

These are just a few examples of the increasing international pressure being placed on Iran to release Pastor Youcef. Nations like the United Kingdom, Brazil, and many others are directly demanding that Iran immediately and unconditionally release Pastor Youcef.

The ACLJ’s Tweet for Youcef campaign is now reaching nearly 1.5 million Twitter accounts around the world each day with updates about Pastor Youcef. His story has reached over 91 percent of the United Nations member states, including Iran. The Tweet for Youcef Brazil campaign in Portuguese also continues to see tremendous growth.

Even with this increasing international pressure on Iran for Pastor Youcef’s release, it is critically important to remember that Pastor Youcef is still in an Iranian prison under a death sentence that could be carried out at any time. The only reason that he is still alive today is because of the international outcry against this abhorrent situation. It is not enough that Iran remove his death sentence, rather we must demand his ultimate and unconditional freedom.

Please continue to pray for Pastor Youcef. As a Birthday present for Pastor Youcef and symbol of solidarity for those persecuted for their faith, please let the world know that you support Pastor Youcef by signing up to Tweet for Youcef today.

Happy Birthday Pastor Youcef.