Wishing everyone a most wonderful Easter!
He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.
Come, see the place where he lay.
It was a rainy night in the city I drive Uber in. You may or may not know that I am an Uber driver now. I clock a lot of windshield time. I drive in the sunshine or rain. I really do not mind driving at all … through the rain or sun … makes no difference to me. I just don’t drive after dark. Except now during the Fall/Winter when it gets dark so darn early. I do try to be off the paying road and headed home by dark anyway. I have a thing about people getting into my vehicle that are … well … a little inebriated. You see, my “new-to-me” vehicle, that I have had a year now, is the first vehicle I have had that has all leather and loaded. Yep, I made a heck of a deal Black Friday 2015. I love it! It is a Toyota 4Runner and it is probably the nicest vehicle I have had since I have been single. Anyway, I digress. Back to the windshield time.
The other day it was raining on and off and I found myself headed home in the rain. So… I noticed something that spoke volumes to me. Actually, I heard that familiar voice in my spirit that said… “This is a good topic to write about.” To be honest, I have heard that voice a lot in the last few months and just never wrote about any of the topics. I made a note about the topic but just never put the words down that went with it. That happens from time to time. I just seem to think I am too busy and do not take the time to write those important words that are waiting to be put to the keyboard. As you have read before, if you have ever read any of my blog posts, that I don’t really know what I am going to write fully until I sit down and do it. It seems as though God is guiding my thoughts and fingers as I type. I like that too!
It usually takes me anywhere from 3-4 hours to write a blog post, proof it, add scriptures and pictures to it and then do the “Yoast, SEO perfection”. That is why I don’t do much writing lately. I am trying to drive and do many other things to earn $$$ so as NOT to return to “Corporate America” to work. I love being more available for mom and dad and for a few other things. Really, I am so much happier now than I ever was before in so many areas of my life. One of the many things that makes me happy is having mom and dad living here with me. God has truly blessed me with their presence, every day! We have a lot of fun together. Yes, it’s not always peaches and cream but it is life. It is real and it is love. It is family! We do love each other and we are learning how to co-exist and have a grand time doing it.
So, back to the rainy night on my way home from “Ubering” all day. It wasn’t really raining hard, just a little sprinkling. One of those kinds of rain that if you are in the darker areas you can see just fine through that windshield, but once the light of an oncoming vehicle shines on your windshield the reflection of the light on the rain droplets makes it difficult to see unless you use your windshield wipers. It was just about the time when the light from an oncoming car hit my windshield and my eyes couldn’t adjust to see when I heard … “This is a good topic. The spots all over the windshield represents the sin in your life and the light … well, represents Me.” Also, when you turn on the windshield wipers they wipe the rain drops (sin spots) away like Jesus does when He becomes Lord of our lives. It brought tears to my eyes, as it always does. I immediately knew in my spirit what was being said and knew I was going to write a post about it someday!
We may have a clean windshield for a very short time, but then that old sin nature creeps back in – because we are human – and we sin again. Just because Jesus comes into our lives and becomes our Lord doesn’t mean that we become perfect and never sin. There will always be those showers of just sprinkles of sin or the “Oh My Gosh! Downpour!!” of sin. I have experienced both, more than I care to say, since Jesus shined His Pure, White Light onto the windshield of my life and exposed all the sin spots and wiped those sin spots away.
You know, we are human and God/Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows that we are going to sin and sin again. He is our Creator. The Creator always knows what the created is going to do. However, Jesus didn’t come to this earth to just be an excellent example. He came to do just what He did. Live a sinless life, be crucified on a cruel cross and die there. Then be buried in a borrowed tomb and RISE AGAIN on the third day, after defeating death and Satan. He is now in Heaven awaiting the time when the Father says “Son, go get my children.” That will be THE MOST AWESOME DAY!!! We will meet Him in the air and live with Him forever. That is if you have asked Jesus into your heart to Shine His Pure, White Light onto the windshield of your life and wipe away those sin spots and the sin that you will commit in the future.
1 John 1:6-8 English Standard Version (ESV)
6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
You say, well, “If Jesus is going to wipe away my sin now and in the future, I can sin and not worry about it.” That, my friend, is one way you can look at it, however, if you truly give your life over to Him and want Him to lead and guide you in your daily walk with Him, you will not EVER have that attitude. He loves you and wants a true and healthy relationship with you. Let’s look at it a different way. If you are married, you don’t say … “Well, since I am married I can do anything I want.” WRONG! You want your relationship to be a good one. You want to please the person you are spending the rest of your life with. You love them so you want to do whatever it takes to make them happy and feel loved. You don’t want to hurt them intentionally.
Although we want these things for our loved one, sometimes, we mess up. They mess up. We neither one are perfect. We should know this going into the relationship. Likewise, in our relationship with Jesus. Although He is perfect, we are not and never will be. We should want to please Him and want Him to feel our love. You don’t ever want to do something intentionally to hurt Him but it happens. When we begin to live our life for ourselves and do it “our way”, that is basically a sin. It is not easy to live with one foot in the world and one foot with Jesus. It pulls at your heart and it hurts Jesus’ heart. He wants all of you, just like you want all of your spouse’s love. This is the way we should feel if we have a “real” relationship with Jesus. Sometimes, though, we do hurt Him. We do disappoint Him. We are human and He knows it. This is a link to a very good website about hurting God. It speaks to many different things.
Anyway, the raindrops on my windshield will always remind me of my sin and how Jesus shined His Pure, White Light onto the windshield of my life and wiped away my sin because of His death on the cross. His blood on that cross covered my sins. Even 2000 years ago, He knew then that I would need His cleansing power over my life. His blood has wiped my windshield clean of those sin spots, so-to-speak, and always will.
If you would like to know this Jesus I have been speaking about, click this link and it will take you to a website that will explain what it means to be saved and it will guide you into a relationship with Him. He loves you so much. After all, He calls you His beloved.
Covers All – Powerful Worship Music by gloryfall
Hello everyone. It has been so long since I have been able to just sit down for a couple of hours… maybe three… and just write what God has laid on my heart. I have had a lot laid on my heart lately but not things to share with the world – at least not yet. Just stuff that has happened to me in my personal life that has been … well, let’s just say not your normal, run of the mill stuff.
The title of this post is BEING FED BY OTHERS because I truly have been. Whether it is through my church and Sunday School – Life Groups is what they call it now… I have trouble not saying Sunday School though. I have called it that for many, many years… anyway, I digress. So, whether it has been through church, or friends or family. It has been a wonderful time of learning… and let me add work has provided some of that feeding as well.
Work is awesome but consuming and my manager is more awesome and so gracious and forgiving. She is one special lady. Now, don’t get me wrong. You walk on the wrong side and disrupt the good flow of things, she will let you know it. She has it in her to say things that cut to the core. However, that is … that it “cuts to the core” because it’s true and you know it. On the other hand, she is the most gracious and merciful manager I have ever encountered and, well, that is pretty awesome to me. So there are some things at work that have happened that have been less than perfect and then there have been things that have been perfect. I know… sounds contradictory. It is but it’s all good! I am learning and trying to be the biggest sponge you have ever seen. My limits are being stretched every day and I like that.. sometimes… I Love that! Then there are days that I just want to scream! But I keep going because I don’t like to quit. I like to learn and I like doing what I do. You see I am an Applications Instructor. That means that I learn EVERY DAY! Yep, I have to “know it” but I also learn it.. meaning “stuff” … over and over again. From my students, from myself and others. It’s a pretty cool thing. However, that is not what I wanted to write about, necessarily.
I wanted to say how much I have experienced grace, mercy and kindness. Today it was from a wonderful bunch of students in my class that kinda had some technical issues. Now usually when there are tech issues, the scores that the students give are usually low. Today, not so. They totally surprised me! I think this is the first time that I have experienced, since being at my current job, that the scores were up there even with MAJOR tech issues. I think it was a combination of things… but I don’t want to analyze it too deep right now. That will come later with my manager… which will be a good thing. However, I do want to acknowledge that the students in this class (10 of them) were a very interactive and happy class. They enjoyed learning and were most forgiving of the circumstances that we encountered today! Yep, it was a refreshing outcome… and one that I am so appreciative of. Gracious and merciful students. Nice!
The other thing I want to recognize is actually from a pastor in San Antonio. I received a message from my website the other day. It was from this pastor in San Antonio and he was asking about one of the pictures I used some time back on a post. He was just asking if he could use the picture for their “new” church’s logo. The picture is just one I got off of the internet when I Googled a topic. The post was ENCOUNTERING GOD ALMIGHTY. The picture is quite good and he believes it would be a perfect logo for the new church that he is wanting to start on October 24, 2015. Of course I told him I had just Googled it also, same as him, and he could certainly use it and I attached it to the email.
One of the things I wanted to do with this post is include one of his posts. You see he writes a blog also. He has held this blog for 12 years, he says, and it is quite good. Please give him the graciousness to read his blog post on THE BLESSING OF MERCY.
I mainly wanted to introduce you to him and ask you to read his post on The Blessing of Mercy. It is truly a blessing to encounter Mercy from any source. The best is the Mercy that our Savior gave us. Please read on and comment, if you want, on any encounters with mercy and grace you have had lately or ever. Here is his post:
God morning, beloved. It is written. "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35) Jesus lived and died by that truth. He "gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age." (Galatians 1:4). "In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope." (1 Peter 1:3).
Mercy is love expressed. When Christians practice mercy, they place the needs of others above their own, in much the same way that Jesus placed our need for forgiveness and salvation first, allowing Himself to be insulted, abused, and finally crucified in order to procure that salvation for us. God so loved that He gave. Calvary is the proof of God's mercy.
To be merciful is to act out of love and compassion for others, to try to see with their eyes, think with their minds, and feel with their hearts. God's Son did just that when he took on human flesh and blood to experience life's struggles just as we do, though without sin. He offered His life in our place as the substitutionary sacrifice for our sins.
As we display mercy in Christ's name, we become more like our Lord. By His grace we will obtain the ultimate mercy: entrance into God's heavenly sanctuary, to abide with Him forever. Amen.
Worship with me. Lord Have Mercy.
Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant.<a href="https://youtu.be/eDpp_YdXnqs" target="_blank">
Remember to be in prayer for Encountering GOD church…We launch this church plant on Saturday October 24th 2015. You are invited to our home for a night of worship and hear what God and Jesus have to say about His church. Email me for more details or send me a Facebook message. oxox
Be Blessed and Be a Blessing
Pastor Eric Hughes
Lead Pastor Encountering GOD Church &
Behavioral Health Specialist
A Behavioral Health Specialist is a person that covers the needs of individuals, couples and families dealing with challenges in their everyday lives. I work with people of all ages to find productive solutions for their problems.
Isaiah 61:1 – The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
Thank you for reading my blog and his too. May God richly bless and keep each of you in His tender care. God loves you so much, after all, He calls you His beloved!
Hello all. It has been quite a while since I have written anything. Today, I received the email below and the Spirit strongly encouraged me to share with you today. This is from the website Reasonable Faith and it is the Question of the Week. The author of the answer is Dr. Craig and he welcomes any questions you may have about Christianity, etc. Below the answer I have included a link to his website and the link to submit a question.
What about the Sincere Seeker?
I have read a big deal of your work and I am really inspired by you and your work.
But there is this one question that greatly troubles me; I always had it in mind since I was very young but having solved a lot of questions, I am concerned about this simple question that I am not able to solve or find a satisfactory answer from a scholar.
I need your views on why God will send people to hell on the basis of their Religious beliefs. A person who sincerely researches on Religion and Theology trying to find if a God exists and if so, what Religion and fails to identify the right Religion, why is he to be punished? A person arrogantly denying the right Religion while knowing the truth might deserve to be punished somehow but what about the one trying his best but failing.
You might say that its natural for one to find the right Religion if pursued honestly … but there need to be stronger arguments supporting this idea; because it doesn’t sound like all the people moving away from Religion were dishonest.
How would you respond to a hypothetical condition of a person sincerely failing?
Thanks in advance.
Dr. Craig responds:
Your question is a good one, Muhammad, and I’ve addressed it in a number of places, most recently in my Defenders lectures “Excursus on Natural Theology,” parts 1-4. I’d really encourage you to listen to or to read those lectures, since they will fully explain my perspective.
The problem with your question is that it assumes a purely humanistic, and perhaps even naturalistic, point of view with respect to finding the knowledge of God. It takes for granted that it’s basically up to us to figure out which religion is true. But whatever other religions may teach, this is not the point of view of Christianity. If God were to abandon us to our own intelligence and ingenuity to work out whether or not He exists, He would be a very cruel God indeed. As one of the students in my Defenders class remarked, getting into heaven should not be like getting into Harvard! But God has not abandoned us. The Bible teaches that God loves us and so by His Holy Spirit seeks to draw people to Himself. The self-authenticating witness of God’s Spirit will enable, not only believers, but also sincere seekers to come to a knowledge of God.
Therefore, if a person ultimately fails to come to faith in Christ, it is never just because of lack of evidence or because of intellectual difficulties with the faith. At root, he refuses to come because he willingly ignores and rejects the drawing of God’s Holy Spirit on his heart. Now this convicting power and drawing of the Holy Spirit may take time. It may take years in order for the unbeliever to finally come to Christ. Nevertheless, no one in the final analysis really fails to become a Christian because of lack of arguments or evidence; he fails to become a Christian because he rejects God. But anyone who does respond to the drawing of God’s Spirit with an open mind and an open heart can know with assurance that Christianity is true, because God’s Spirit will convict him that it is true.
Look at the words of Jesus in John 7:16-17:
My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me; if any man’s will is to do His will, he shall know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.
Here Jesus says that if anyone is truly seeking God, if his will is to do God’s will, then he will know that Jesus’ teaching is from God rather than just his personal opinion. Jesus is affirming here that if anyone truly wants God’s will – is truly seeking God – then he will come to know that Jesus’ teaching truly is from God.
So in answer to your questions: “A person who sincerely researches on Religion and Theology trying to find if a God exists and if so, what Religion” will come to find the true God and the right religion, just as Jesus promised, because the Holy Spirit of God will guide his search and draw him to Himself. Only the person who resists the convicting power of the Holy Spirit will remain in unbelief. Such a person willfully thrusts the grace of God from him and so separates himself from God. It’s not that God “will send people to hell on the basis of their Religious beliefs.” Their false beliefs are, rather, symptomatic of their estrangement from God. God wants to save them and tries to draw them to repentance and faith, but they refuse to come and so find themselves wandering in error. So I deny your “hypothetical condition of a person sincerely failing.” If Christianity is true, then there is no ultimate (lifelong), nonculpable unbelief.
You respond, “You might say that its natural for one to find the right Religion if pursued honestly … but there need to be stronger arguments supporting this idea; because it doesn’t sound like all the people moving away from Religion were dishonest.” You seem to be saying that there is ultimate (lifelong), nonculpable unbelief, and so one needs stronger arguments to support the truth of Christianity.
Now I don’t think we’re in a good position to say with any confidence that there is ultimate (lifelong), nonculpable unbelief, Muhammad. First, as I say, God’s drawing of a person may take time, years even, so that we can’t say of someone who is moving away from God that that’s where he’ll end up. (Read the many testimonials we receive from ex-unbelievers who for many years were moving away from God.) It is particularly the case that many Muslims go through a phase of atheism after shedding Islam before they come to Christ.
Moreover, we’re not really in a position to read a person’s heart or deepest motivations. Sin is incredibly deceitful, and we have an amazing ability to rationalize things so as to justify our behavior. Read C. S. Lewis’ provocative The Great Divorce about the self-justifying rationalizations of people in hell. If we can convince ourselves that our obstacles to faith are intellectual rather than moral or emotional that makes our unbelief respectable in our own eyes and in the eyes of others. How do you know what lies in the heart of a person who resists the drawing and conviction of the Holy Spirit until the end of his life?
Furthermore, I do think that we have good reasons for supposing that Christianity is true. First, there is the witness of the Holy Spirit. It can be an intrinsic defeater of the defeaters brought against it. Second, there are good evidences for the truth of Christianity, particularly for the historicity of the radical personal claims and resurrection of Jesus, whereby God vindicated those claims.
You did not disclose, Muhammad, whether you are one of these sincere seekers after the true faith. If you are, then here’s what I would encourage you to do. Begin to read the Gospels and ask yourself whether Jesus of Nazareth could really be who he claimed to be. In your prayers, ask God, whoever He is, to show you the truth about Jesus, whether he spoke the truth from God or was just giving his own opinion. Look at the work of Christian philosophers and biblical scholars, such as you will find at this website. Watch on YouTube some of the debates which I have had with both Muslim scholars and unbelievers and ask yourself which way the evidence points. If you are truly seeking God, then I believe you will come to know the truth.
Have a Question for Dr. Craig? Submit it here.
To read more questions / answers, visit the Q & A Archive.
May God Richly bless and keep you all in His tender care. After all, He does call you His beloved!
The Song – God So Loved The World – Charles Billingsley
Before I begin to complete this post ” LIFE IS NOT SHORT IT IS ETERNAL”, I want to tell you something. I had a title or topic to use for this post and then didn’t finish the post a week ago. I have been mulling it over time and again over the past week. I didn’t feel any urgency to write, finish and post this last week. Today, I opened it up and began to type some more. God kept giving me words and thoughts and before long, the title and whole look of the post had changed. God is so good… He smiles down and gives me words and phrases and paragraphs to share with you.
This post may seem a bit convoluted but I think it comes together nicely at the end. I hope you can follow along and not get lost in the words and thoughts God and I are trying to convey. Thank you for reading. Enjoy!
Please know that Life Is Not Short It Is Eternal!! As I sit here and wonder what I am going to type and how I am going to expand on this topic, I remember… God is the One who gives me the topics and the expansion on each. I stop and ask, “Lord, what do you want me to share for this topic?” He just simply says “Type and I will give you the words”. So I type…
I know each of you may understand deleting emails that were not meant to be deleted and recovering them from the trash. Sometimes actual good emails even end up in the spam folder. I have quit going through my spam to see if any of them are good ones… that is, those that are meant to go to my inbox. It takes too much time and I just finally came to the conclusion that if I was meant to get it in my inbox it will be there and anything else will just have to be deleted from the spam folder. As I said, I know you all understand that part of it and when you delete it from your spam or trash folder, you know it’s gone for good, never to be recovered.
Sometimes life is kind of like the spam folder. It catches so much “stuff” and it gets so full of that stuff that you are actually weighted down with stuff and don’t know what to do with it all. So you just delete it. That is you must cut relationships, stop bad habits, stop going places that are not good to go to, stop allowing “trash” to come out of your mouth, stop bad attitudes, and stop “trash” from entering your eyes that goes directly into your thoughts and heart, etc. You get the point.
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart[a] brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
What about the one or two emails that were not meant to go to the spam folder but are deleted and never to be recovered? Well, I just have to wait to hear from the person that sent you the email in the first place then I can “watch” for it again and then retrieve it from the spam folder and move to my inbox.
Now stopping or quitting some of these damaging or detrimental ways is very difficult sometimes and sometimes you cut things out of your life that maybe shouldn’t have really been cut. When you cut or delete the good things from your life it is difficult, at best, to retrieve them sometimes. But when you try to retrieve them and work at it, you can do it. Things such as prayer time, praise and worship of the Creator of it all, fellowship with other believers, serving in your church or community, etc. You get the picture. These are important and really shouldn’t be cut from your life. These will give you balance and a good foundation to build on with the other things in your life.
God speaks to my heart so many times during the day that I just don’t get all of the things down that He tells me to share. I struggle with this and I also struggle with the time to sit and write. I miss writing and write as often as I can and sometimes that is just not enough, as far as I am concerned, but God has blocked me from writing at times. This is one thing that that has been deleted from my life that really wasn’t meant to be deleted forever, just for certain times. Maybe modified but not deleted. So I am in the process of finding a balance with my job – which takes a tremendous amount of brain power right now – and other things in my life. God is helping me find that balance.
So, with that convoluted mess of words above, hopefully, God can use me to wrap this up in a nice neat bow.
I think what God wants to warn about is that sometimes we allow “trash” to enter our lives, whether it is through reading, watching or listening or even saying. These are areas we can control. We just have to make the choice to not allow those things that tear down, destroy, mess up or otherwise… our relationship with God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit. The “world” is so messed up with varying beliefs and ways of doing things that it can be so confusing sometimes. People tell us that… “Sure it’s ok to do this or that. It feels good, right? Then it’s ok.” I love this one… “Life is short. Enjoy yourself.” My pastor used this example some time back in church. He reminded us that life is not short it is eternal! So whatever you do today will have to be accounted for, eventually, in the presence of the HOLY GOD! If you know His Son Jesus, then God not only sees you through His Son’s eyes but your name is written in the Lamb’s book of Life and never to be blotted out. You will live forever with Jesus in the Heaven that He has prepared for us. If you do not know Jesus, then you will not be “deleted” from existence, you don’t just cease to exist… but will spend eternal life in Hell with unending torment. (see this website for answers and scriptures on this subject – GotQuestions.org).
This is a disputed topic and one that you really need to know about so you can ensure that you will be in Heaven with the Creator, Savior, King of Kings and Lord of Lords – Jesus for eternity and not hell! God’s Word tells us how to be sure and His Word is True!
19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell[a] from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”
If you are interested in knowing this Jesus and knowing what He has for you, or just have questions, please see this website for what it means to believe and follow Jesus Christ (Bible.org). Our God is such a good God and loves you so very much! After all, He calls you His beloved!
The Song – God So Loved The World – Charles Billingsley
This post is not like most of my posts, but I believe God wants me to share an important message because I believe so many are misled by whom they worship and what worship is. So, I do hope you enjoy reading this post and understanding what and how and why I believe what I believe.
I am a Christian and believe in the Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Here are a couple of websites that explain this concept – GotQuestions.org and DesiringGod.org. I also believe in the Virgin Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. That He lived 33 years on this earth and walked among the common people of His land. He was fully God and fully man. He was the image of the Father in Heaven. He performed miracles and wonders that the people had never seen and loved like no human ever loved. He was crucified on a cross at Golgotha and He died for the sins of mankind (that includes you and me), our sins were covered with His precious blood and we were forgiven because of His sacrifice. He rose again on the third day, conquering death forever. He – Jesus – was seen by over 500 people before he ascended into Heaven to be with His Father, our God, and now sits at the right hand of God – until that day when God says “Son, go get My children” and at that time there will be a Shout and a trumpet will sound by the Archangel and Jesus will descend. He will be riding a White Horse, wearing a white robe dipped in blood and these words will be written on His robe and on His thigh – KING OF KING AND LORD OF LORDS – Revelation 19:16. And the armies in Heaven will also be riding on White Horses and following Him who is Jesus. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that HE IS LORD! LORD OF ALL!
Now this is just a high overview of what I believe. This is the main and most important parts of what I believe. I don’t recall any part in that paragraph about Mary, except that she being chosen by God to bear and birth, as a virgin, our beloved Lord, Jesus Christ, and she raised him along with his earthly father, Joseph. Never once does it say anywhere in my Bible that Mary is to be worshiped. I know this will step on A LOT of toes – if you are Catholic. However, the recognized Christian Bible NEVER ONCE says anything about worshiping Mary or holding her in high esteem except that she was Jesus’ virgin mother when He was conceived and she stayed a virgin until His birth. Not that Mary wasn’t very special and most precious… but she is not to be adorned with our praises. Those praises are to only … ONLY … go to the One who died for our sins on the Cross. Please don’t be misled by any doctrine but what the Word of God says.
I just can’t understand why people – a religion – Christians – promote worshiping Mary when the Bible says NOTHING about it! I have just been educated today that the Catholic Bible does say something about Mary and that she should be worshiped and prayed to. I believe that is causing many to be misled… and so many are misled by this belief. However, I believe the Bible that is recognized by the Christian religion as to be the Bible that was written by Spirit led men and God spoke to them and instructed them what to write. God filled them with His Spirit and they wrote the Bible. Here are a couple of excerpts from a website I found: AnswersinGenesis.com
“The Bible is unlike any other religious book. Despite forty authors writing from three continents over nearly two thousand years, it maintains a perfect consistency of message. Its words point unerringly to Christ, whose work on the cross was ordained by God—the true author of the Bible—before the world began.”
“The Bible was written over a period of roughly 2,000 years by 40 different authors from three continents, who wrote in three different languages. These facts alone make the Bible one of a kind, but there are many more amazing details that defy natural explanation.”
There are many other things said on this website that are compelling. I suggest you read it. It is jam packed with wonderful facts about the Bible. OK, you say… “But man left out the texts that referred to Mary…. And how she should be worshiped.” Well, I say that the texts that were left out of the Bible today were not divinely inspired and did not have the consistent message of Christ and Christ alone. All of the books of the Bible, as it says above, written by 40 different authors and was written over a 2,000 year period “…maintains a perfect consistency of message.” The divinely led men that assembled the Bible that we have today saw a message that was consistent in the books that we see today in our Bible. That is why they chose to assemble those particular books to create our Bible. It has a consistent message. Jesus Christ is our Savior and … well, refer back to my first paragraph of this post. It states it all, and why I believe in the Bible is the Divinely Inspired Word Of God. It is God’s message to His people. The people He created.
So, I will wrap this post up by saying … I hope the ones that “didn’t” know now know why the Bible is the Bible and why Mary should not be worshiped. Oh, another website I would like to direct you to as well… The article is entitled “Should we worship Mary?” and the website is Bible.org. This is another excellent article that explains that if you use Mary as your mediator … well, here is the 1st 2 paragraphs of that article with a scripture reference.
“While all Roman Catholics do not necessarily worship Mary, the fact that many pray to Mary (which is an act of worship and no where justified in Scripture) and give her titles which resemble those given to Jesus Christ including the idea of mediatorship, this question and others related to Mary have been included under this heading.
Worship is something that is to be restricted to God alone. As the angel stressed when John fell at his feet in appreciation for the revelation he had seen and received, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book; worship God” (See Rev. 19:10; 22:9). Mary is not God and her exaltation in the Catholic church has no foundation in Scripture. While we may and should appreciate the ministry of men and women, they are only instruments used of God for His glory. Christ alone is our mediator. Paul clearly points this out in 1 Timothy 2:3-6.”
3 “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.”
So with all that said, I will say that I hope you now understand my view point and understand why the Bible is the Bible and why I dislike the idea of Mary being prayed to or worshiped in any way. As it says above, God alone is to be worshiped. There is a lot more I could write about but I, myself, need to read some more about it.
I want to add that I believe Mary is very wonderful in that she was chosen of God as the “favored one” which translates literally, “endowed or filled with grace”.
28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!
But that does not mean we are to worship her or even pray to her – because as it states above… praying to her is a form or worship. Anyway, my views are strictly based on what the Bible, the Holy Word of God says… Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of my faith, and yours too, if you believe in Jesus and have accepted Him as your Lord and Savior. If you know this Jesus, I will see you one day in Heaven with Him. If you do not know Jesus and have a relationship with Him as your Savior, here is another link to explain what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It will explain it in very easy to understand terms and help you know why we believe what we believe as Christians.
God loves you so much! After all, He calls you His beloved.
The Video – King of Kings
God tells us in His Word,
I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
I know what this scripture says about the branch or branches. We are the branches. OK, I get that. However, this branch feels a bit tattered and torn. Not torn away from the Vine, no, that is not what I mean. Just tattered and torn a bit. As if the ends of this branch are frayed a bit. You see, I was hired two months ago by a company and I loved… LOVED my new job. It was a Training position and I had waited five years for this… another training position. You see, I was laid off 12-2009 and could not get back into the field. I have been a trainer or project manager of some sort for about … well, let’s just say, many years. I was longing to get back into training and this was my chance. I was traveling and loved that too! Nonetheless, it came to an end yesterday morning at around 9:00 am. Yep, my perfect job was coming to a crashing, screaming halt and I didn’t know why! The thought … “But This Was The Perfect Job That God Gave Me!” “This is the door that He opened for me, so it was the perfect job!” “WHY IS THIS COMING TO AN END?!” entered my mind more than once, or twice. I actually told God the day after the interview three months ago that I didn’t want this job. I was concerned about the stress it would be on my already bad back and neck. So, what happens? I get a call 4 days later with an offer. I said … “But God!? What are you doing? I waited for five years and this is the one I said I DIDN’T WANT! But You are going to open this door!?” OK, I humbled myself and accepted the challenge. I did rather well, I thought. Yet, two months into the job, the “door” is slammed shut!? OK… GOD… NOW WHAT?!
So, I am feeling a bit tattered and frayed at the ends. Looking back to the time after I was laid off in 2009… I went without work for 2 ½ years, then was in a call center for another 2 ½ years and then the perfect job, and NOW IT IS CRASHING DOWN AROUND MY EARS!? Yes, God allowed this – but I don’t believe He caused it, and I DO NOT know why! I may never know, but I will still be Abiding in the Vine.
Although I am feeling a bit tattered and torn, I do know one thing. My God will NEVER let me go! I am stuck better than glue to the VINE. No matter how much I kick and scream and question, I will never be severed from the One True Vine. He knows my weaknesses and He knows my strengths. He created me… as the Psalmist says…
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.
19 Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!
Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
20 For they speak against You wickedly;
Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
This beautiful Psalm was written, of course, by the shepherd, the king, the man after God’s own heart, David. He knew God very well and obviously knew that God knew him very well also. I know this too. I know that God knows my anxious thoughts. I also know that God knows my faith in Him is intact. That does not mean that this “branch” still doesn’t feel a bit tattered and frayed at the ends due to someone else’s actions. Let’s face it, pruning is painful but necessary.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;[a] and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
But I don’t know where the pruning should be done. However, I know the Vinedresser, personally. He knows where the pruning needs to be and when. I will always be found “Abiding In The Vine” and I do know another thing, I know my God can restore anything eaten by moths. Anything the enemy destroys, God can put back together better than ever. Yes, I am a bit tattered and frayed at the ends but I have great faith in my God that He will restore tenfold! He promises to provide and take care of His own and I am His – without a doubt! I AM HIS! I know He loves me so much! I know He calls me His beloved!
The Video – I Am His and He is Mine – Amy Shreve
I heard someone tell a story the other day about their wife’s experience with an out of body experience (confirming life after death for her). She apparently had a serious illness and the doctors had to do an emergency surgery on her. As they performed this surgery, she supposedly stated that she remembered watching the doctors work on her body from above. She remembers hearing the doctors talk back and forth and even heard other people talking from a room or two away.
Suddenly she was no longer watching the doctors operate on her but she supposedly stated that she was in another place where there was a bright light. No “tunnel” experience, just a bright light. She stated that there were people in the area. Lots of people. Some of them were in one area and ecstatically happy. Then there was another area where some of the people were sitting around very studiously listening to a “teacher”. Others were milling all around while others were huddled together and seemed to be anxiously awaiting something.
I began to listen very carefully to the person telling this story. I even got teary eyed thinking of Heaven and the joy that must be there. I was pretty ok with everything so far. Even intrigued by the energy of the speaker that was telling the story. OK, back to the storyteller’s story.
This wife had stated that there was no real noticeable gender of anyone, however, she did state that everyone was young and beautiful. Then she stated that there was a man (I thought there were no genders) that walked up to her and she felt a great amount of love. The most love she had ever felt. She stated that this “love” that she felt was an overwhelming love like she had never felt before. This person told her that it was not her time but she could choose to stay there or go back. She told this person she wanted to stay. This person proceeded to show her the two or three small daughters she had on earth and explained how these girls would grow up without a mother. Then she decided to go back.
I was tearing up about this time because I personally was associating the “man” as our Savior, Jesus Christ. However, about now in the story, somehow the person was revealed as to be her grandfather. That really ruined it for me! I was still wiping my eyes when he stated this and all of a sudden I felt a bit of disappointment. I was thinking all along that this was Jesus and now it is her Grandfather!!? Oh My goodness! The person telling this story about his wife stated that all she remembered about her grandfather was an overweight, jolly man that would take his teeth out and kid around with the grand kids.
The storyteller said that she did go back and was revived and she lived to tell about it. Her experience proved to her – and apparently him – that there is life after death. He wrapped up the story by saying this (somewhat paraphrased)… “I said all of this to say this… Folks, there is a Heaven! There is no hell and a place of everlasting turmoil and pain. We are all on a journey and all at different stages. We all go to the same place and that place is Heaven.” YIKES!!!! I wanted to RUN out of the room!! What was he saying!? That this woman – his wife – that told him this story has the insight of the ages to tell us all that the Bible is a bunch of hooey and there is no hell and we are all going to the same place? What about these scriptures?
Revelation 21:8 – But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Matthew 25:41 – Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Revelation 20:10 – And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Matthew 25:46 – And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
John 3:13 – And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven.
The above scripture references were found on this website: The Official King James Bible online
Then there are these also from this website: Bible.org – What the Bible says about Hell
Heaven or hell is determined by whether a person believes (puts their trust) in Christ alone to save them (John 3:16, 36, etc.).
Hell is conscious torment.
Matthew 13:50 “furnace of fire…weeping and gnashing of teeth”
Mark 9:47-48 “47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire— 48 where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’
Revelation 14:10 “he will be tormented with fire and brimstone”
Hell is eternal and irreversible.
Revelation 14:11 “the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever and they have no rest day and night”
Revelation 20:14 “This is the second death, the lake of fire”
Revelation 20:15 “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire”
Some of those may be repeating… but that is even better. I can never get enough of the Word Of God! The Bible!
I tell you people! There are many, many folks out there that will tell you that there are many ways to God and that we are all going to the same place just taking different roads to get there! NO!! THAT IS A LIE STRAIGHT FROM HELL! Yes! Hell!!
I was sitting at the end of the table by this person when they came back to sit down. I was trying to wipe the last bit of moisture from my eyes (from when I thought I knew where he was going with the story). He had sat down and he reached out and touched my arm and patted it as if to say… “it will be ok.” I kind of got creeped out. I had met this person about a month or so ago and thought I liked him. He was a pleasant man with a jolly side. Everyone seems to really like him. I am not saying he is not a nice man. I am saying he is very deceived by the “evil one” – Satan. This is right where Satan wants people. In that “feel good, happy” place. That way they seemingly have no reason to search for the truth, because they already have it… supposedly. RUN! RUN! AS FAST AS YOU CAN! If you are not a well-seasoned Christian, you have no business associating with people like this. I am not saying be rude or ugly to them. Just like them at a distance. They will sway you to and fro if you are not solid in your beliefs and know that you know!
Please do not misunderstand me! I AM NOT saying that this person or his wife are evil. NO! I am saying they are misled and misguided because the Word of God is infallible! It is living and breathing. If anyone can read any of the scriptures above and believe that there is no Hell, then they are VERY misguided and mislead.
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
God is very specific about the existence of Heaven and Hell. Watch the Video below. It is an excellent one if you have questions. It gives scriptures and some may be some of the ones above, but like I said, they all bear repeating.
JUST REMEMBER… God loves you so much. He sent His only Son Jesus to die for you! If there is no Hell, then why did Jesus die? God calls you His beloved! Please call out to him today.
The other day someone commented on one of my posts and said “we should draw closer to the Light daily.” The post was about our sins being revealed in the Light of Jesus. When we meet Jesus Christ, we realize how our sins have held us back and kept us in prison so-to-speak. We realize this and make a decision to follow Christ in our daily lives. Then life happens. When life happens, it sometimes keeps us from following Him fully. There is a scripture that can help us in our daily walk. Actually there are many scriptures but this one is a good one to start with.
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
That pretty much says it all. If you walk in these ways, “…an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Abundantly! God will provide for you abundantly.
Increasing in knowledge is not that hard to do. Simply read your scriptures (the Bible) daily. One cannot read the Bible with an open heart and not receive something that is valuable to their Christian walk. If you ask God to reveal the meaning of His Word, He is faithful to supply your needs. He loves for us to ask Him to help us understand what He is trying to say. He wants us – His beloved – to ask and walk in the Light of His Son Jesus Christ and understand how to do that to increase our faith and knowledge. His Word is our instructions for life.
The Bible is an amazing book that is filled with wonderful stories and examples of common folks, called by God to do uncommon things. You may never be a Moses or a Paul. God didn’t call you to be them. He called you to be you and to be the best you can be. That can be done by doing what this verse says… 5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
God loves you so much! He calls you His beloved! Talk to Him today. Ask Him to help you understand His Word so you can increase in knowledge! He is faithful to do what He says.
The Song – Holiness – Tom McCain
I have just started reading “The Joshua Code”. I saw it on one of my devotionals that I receive every day. It was a great price and I ordered it about 3 weeks ago, I guess. When I unpackaged it, I pulled out this beautifully hard bound book with scroll work on the front. I really didn’t understand what it was all about until I read the Introduction. I guess I missed the explanation in the ad where I ordered it from. The ordering of this book was one of those “God” moments, though. As I read the advertisement I heard in my spirit, “yes, Leah, order the book.” So I did. I am SO glad I did. You see the first chapter is so appropriate for my upcoming speaking engagement this coming Saturday. I have been asked to speak at my niece’s church for their Women’s Luncheon. The theme is Love, being that it is February and I guess it is considered the “Love” month. Each chapter in this book is meant to be read and studied and weekly. It is comprised of 52 scriptures that every Christian should have memorized. Here is the quote from the ad online.
“The Israelites finally had land and the opportunity to start anew. Their leader, Joshua, spoke wisely about how to follow God’s law and how to be successful. Joshua 1:8 says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” The Joshua CodeTM is a challenge to keep the Word in our mouths through memorization and in our hearts through meditation “day and night.”
The fifty-two chapters in this volume are designed to lead you on a yearlong journey by spending each week memorizing and meditating on one Scripture verse so that it becomes a living part of your very being. Topics include grace, temptation, the three levels of prayer, fruit of the spirit, and more. The outlines in each chapter can also be used by the busy pastor or Bible teacher for guiding their members. God’s Word is powerful and profitable when studied and applied by anyone, the young and the seasoned believer alike.”
Anyway, when I picked up the book to read a few nights ago, I just could not get going. I got sleepy instantly – which happens a lot when I read – and then I just had to lay it down. So, last night I picked it up again and began reading the 1st chapter. This will be my week to absorb and memorize and understand the very first scripture. I was astounded at the topic and all the things said in this short chapter. It was perfect for my talk this upcoming Saturday. I had not really gotten a solid idea of what I was going to speak on, except it be about Love. As I read my heart filled with excitement and anticipation. God provided me a book to read to learn from and to use as my topic for my talk on Saturday. God is so good. He keeps taking care of me at every turn. I love the scriptures and the way this first one was explained was so wonderful. Let me explain a bit.
The first chapter is entitled “Everyone Has A Worldview”. It talks about how the author was shaped by events of the day as he was growing up, just as we are. Let me quote some of the first chapter.
“Everyone has a worldview. We all view life through some type of lens. Certain predisposed persuasions or seemingly benign biases do, in fact, determine how each of us views our world. Presently, the Western world is engaged in a huge confrontation between competing worldviews” …
“Even though worldviews may change across the decades, there is a single constant that does not change. The simple fact that one’s worldview can be determined by one’s response to the first four words of the Bible: “In the beginning God…” If we believe these four words, then we will view our world through the lens of Scripture that does not change. If we do not, then we will continue to view our world through the lens of culture that continually changes.
Perhaps there is no other verse under such constant abuse and ridicule as Genesis 1:1. It demands the answers to three important questions: When? Who? What?”
Now I don’t know about you, but I have always just believed the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God. Some folks don’t think so. Well, I totally agree with the author here… if you don’t believe the first four words of Scripture then your world is an ever changing mess, most likely. God’s Word is unchanging and ever true. We must believe or we are constantly in a searching, changing mode that goes with this whim and that whim – the way of the World.
You say, “Ok, but how is that all about love?” Remember, my talk this coming Saturday is themed “Love”. Well, the next few words says it all.
“Before Genesis 1:1, there was love. In His high intercessory prayer, the Lord Jesus prayed, “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). Before the foundation of the world that is reported in Genesis 1:1, there was love.”
Now I could go on and on and type more quotes to explain. However, I will just hope that you get the book and read and absorb and memorize. I was just blown away by the last phrase. I guess I never really sat down and thought about it in depth. I just believed and accepted it. LOVE has always existed… before the “beginning” that Scripture speaks about in Genesis 1:1. Maybe that is elementary to you but I was so excited to read that and comprehend it. I am still thinking about it. BEFORE ANYTHING… God was and therefore Love was. Go buy the book!
God loves each of us so much. He has before time began! He knew you before time began. He saw each of your struggles. He saw each tear that has fallen. He knows you by name. He loves you so deeply! He wants to hear from you today! This very moment. Call out to him today! He calls you His beloved!
The Song – God So Loved the World – Charles Billingsley