Wishing everyone a most wonderful Easter!
He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.
Come, see the place where he lay.
Today, I was reading some comments from one of my previous posts on running. The comments were from readers of various posts. One reader had some nice things to say. I began to think what an appropriate post for January 1, 2018. Running for the Prize. OK, OK, yeah, I will be using an old post for a new post, again. The Blog Post Etiquette Police can advise me after the fact.
Let me start with saying I AM SO GLAD 2017 IS OVER! It has been a trying year, to say the least! I feel like I have been running and running and running all year. My family has gone through a great personal loss and my health has taken hit after hit after hit. I just know 2018 will be better.
I do feel, from time to time, that I am “Running for the Prize”. Sometimes it seems a spiritual prize and at other times, it’s just running for the prize to just finish the day and to get home to my quiet house with my father and my Zuckie (my standard dachshund). My home – my Solace .
If you know me at all, you know that I do love my home. I love to be at home and I love my family. So, with that said, I will tell you that I do long for the time when I finish this race that we call “life”. When that occurs for me, I will be home where my heart has always been. In the presence of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But until that day, I will continue to run this race on earth. Striving to make the most of each moment in this race for the prize. Striving to forget the past and pressing on towards the future because that is where the prize is.
Philippians 3:13-15English Standard Version (ESV)
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
So, with that said… I will continue with this old post made new, once again.
Have you ever seen a dachshund race? Oh My Goodness! It is the funniest thing I have ever seen! I follow a little dachshund on Facebook and he is quite the celebrity! His name is Crusoe and he is from Canada. He was in a “wiener dog race” and he finished 3rd and the prize was a squeaky ball! (see it here and if you still want more see his blog… here) It is so much fun and the funniest thing to watch! If you know me at all you know I L-O-V-E love dachshunds and everything about them! These races are so funny because these little guys are so excited at the starting line. They are so wound up to get going on that race and for what? To get a squeaky ball!? Not much of a prize as far as you and I are concerned… (or Zuckie – one of my dachshunds – for that matter. He does not like anything that squeaks! He doesn’t like noise… loud trucks, loud anything and especially sirens).
But let’s focus on how the dachshunds begin the race. These little guys are so excited and so ready to get going! Excitement, anticipation and readiness are the traits you see in them! They are full of joy and life! You know we run a race too! Every day! And we run the race for a far greater prize than any squeaky ball. We are running for the prize of an imperishable crown
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Striving for a Crown
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
We should be running for the prize daily! So shouldn’t we begin our daily race the way these little dachshunds begin their race? With excitement, anticipation and readiness? We as Christians, in our walk with the Lord, should be filled with excitement, anticipation and readiness. If we meet every day with that frame of mind we cannot loose!
Jesus left us a Helper which is the Holy Spirit, our closest friend! That means He can help us throughout each day! I have a friend at work that when she gets there and walks to her desk we speak the “Good Mornings”. Then we ask one another the usual “how are you doing?” We usually say…”Blessed and Highly Favored!” and yesterday I added “…because I am a child of the King!” If we truly believe this we can meet each day with an attitude of excitement for what God will do in our lives that day, anticipation of how it will change us or someone around us and readiness to be used for the Kingdom of Christ.
Try it out! When you first wake up in the morning, focus your mind on God and how He has blessed you by giving you another day to tell someone about Him. I love this scripture:
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Therefore, thank Him for all the blessings you have whether it be a little heartbeat at your feet (human or animal) or a job, or a vehicle to drive, or a nice soft (or firm) bed to sleep in, or food on your table or any number of things! You choose! Focus on what blessings God has bestowed on you in your life and not the worries, problems and trials you face each day and THANK HIM FOR THOSE BLESSINGS! I know… I KNOW if you do this you will feel better and you will be ready to run the race for the day!
Psalm 95:2-3 tells us
“2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
3 For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.”
The Song – Hezekiah Walker – Every Praise!
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
As I sit here in my hotel room contemplating what to write about tonight, I remember back over the last year. You see my blog went online Thursday before Good Friday 2014. A lot has happened in the last year since I began this journey. This journey of mine began as I was working in a Call Center and making somewhat low pay. It did offer some good insurance and good friends regardless of the low pay. Another thing it offered me was time almost every night, if not every night, to write my blog posts. I haven’t worked there for about 2 months now and I have missed writing like I used to. You see, the new job that the Lord gave me is one I love and am so very grateful for, however, it does not afford me the time to write like I used to. I know the Lord was preparing me for this time in my life with my last job that I had for a little over two years. I grew a lot while I was there. Mostly internal growing. I learned more about following and trusting the Lord, knowing He had a perfect plan for my life. I just had to finally hand the reins over to Him and let Him lead me. I did (most of the time) and has the walking with Him been ever so sweet.
As I approach this weekend, looking forward to Easter, it won’t quite be the same as last year. Last year, I was able to go to my own church, sing in the choir and be a part of that whole worship experience for Easter morning. Oh how I love my church, the pastors and the folks in it. I have been there for almost two years, it will be two years in August. I have grown there as well.
The job I have now has me out of town at any given week and no telling where I am going to be. The past month and a half I have spent in the North West mostly. Washington state and Southern California. Today I left Southern California and 85 and sunny (almost warm) and landed in Portland Oregon and was welcomed by 48 degrees and rain. It is quite interesting and I do love it. I am headed down a path of somewhat knowns, but there is always a twist to every trip that makes for an interesting time. I never get bored and really don’t get lonely. I spend 2-3 weeks a month in a different city, different hotel, different vehicle, and a different location with folks I never knew before and may never see again. However, I never feel alone or lonely. I have always been a people person – thanks to my wonderful mom and dad that taught my brothers and me how to socialize and communicate no matter where we are. It is a gift that is sometimes just a God given talent and others have to work at it.
I met a young lady in my last location that had the prettiest smile and brightest outlook on life and was absolutely wonderful with customers. I told her what I thought about how wonderful she was with all the customers and she told me a little bit about herself. She told me that when she was young (she was pretty young to me now… lol), she was so painfully shy. She said that she could barely speak to a stranger. Then she got tired of not being able to talk to people and got tired of being so shy, so she made her mind up to come out of her shell and begin the journey of learning how to talk to people and converse. I commended her for that. She made a choice. She didn’t want to stay so shy because she realized how confining that is. So she chose to change. She chose to be different. With that choice, she is making a difference in people’s lives, even if it is just a bright smile and a “Thank You” and “You’re Welcome”. Yes, those two phrases are missed so often in this day and age. People have either forgotten how or were never taught how to say “Thank you” and “You’re welcome”.
There is another person that chose to make a difference in people’s lives. This person knew the journey He was going to make from the time He began. He knew it was not going to be an easy journey. It would be one with painful and joyful moments alike. A journey with folks that loved Him and folks that hated Him. Most of those, if not all, never really understood Him. The journey I am talking about would be that journey from the most perfect place, Heaven down to this globe of ours known as earth. The journey from the most perfect place to earth? Really? Then He would enter this world of ours as a tiny baby. Helpless and shriveled, crying and cooing. His mother, Mary, would wrap Him up in “swaddling clothes” and lay Him in a manger. She may not have understood her Son, but she knew He was a very special gift from God above.
As this baby grew up, He put His foot to another journey that would be totally misunderstood by the masses, yet He went anyway. He walked the dusty roads of his homeland and chose 12 men to follow Him on His journey. That journey proved, what seemed to be, the undoing of this Man they called Jesus. The road that seemed to be his undoing was the road to the Cross. Via Dolorosa. Literal meaning “a sorrowful way”. A sorrowful way it was if you just look at the surface. As Jesus walked the way to the Cross, He no doubt saw the people that had almost a week earlier been singing His praises and laying palm branches down as He passed by on a donkey and they were singing … (known as Palm Sunday as explained by GotQuestions.org)
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
The King of Israel!”
Now, down this Via Dolorosa, they were shouting and cursing Him. Makes no sense to me or to most of you, I imagine, except that human nature is a fickle thing. Jesus, as He walked, with the weight of the cross and the sharp edges of the beams cut into the open wounds on His back… surely thought, as He looked into the eyes of the people lining the street, “I am doing this for you.” And “I love you so much!” Yes, what a sorrowful way, indeed. However, the story doesn’t end there! Yes, the end of the sorrowful way ended in the death of Jesus as He gave His life into the hands of the ONE that loved Him more than we can imagine.
As today – Good Friday – ends for me, I think of that day. That sorrowful way and cry in my spirit and my eyes fill with tears and pour down my cheeks as I think of the pain and suffering Jesus endured for me. Yet, even tonight, He whispers to my heart, “… and I would have done it if you were the only one to do it for.” I cry even more. My Jesus, My Savior, My Christ. Saying Thank You is so little compared to what You did for me… for the world.
That journey You took for me and for the world changes everything. Because… the journey DID NOT END THERE! No!! Because, on the third day, the stone was rolled away and Up From The Grave You Arose! Halleluiah You Arose! An empty grave is there to prove my Savior Lives!!
As I celebrate Easter in a strange church, in a strange city, in a strange state, I will be with people that have the same goal in mind – hopefully … to praise You for what You did for us so we can live with You forever in Heaven! Halleluiah what a Savior!
If you do not know this Jesus that I write about, please click here to read about what it means to be a Christ follower. To follow the One who walked that Via Dolorosa for you. Here is a link to Bible.org and it will explain it very simply to you. Call out to Him today. He is waiting to hear from you. After all, He calls you His beloved.
The Video – Via Dolorosa – Sandi Patty
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.
Today I am posting another article I received this morning from The Berean. I love their emails and they are always so good to explain the scriptures. That is one of the characteristics of the Bereans. They delve into the scriptures and pull out the meaning of them. I think you will enjoy this post. It covers a lot of ground but I think you will like it. Again, it comes from this website The Berean. Click the link to see more great info about them.
11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
Do we get the significance of the truth that He works all things in our lives too, according to the counsel of His will? This truth does not apply to just the “big” things of His overall purpose but even to us! Do we really perceive our relationship to Him as being one of the Potter to the clay?
As He formed and shaped Adam and Eve, He is forming and shaping us, and it is our responsibility to accept and submit. Do we live our lives as though He truly is omnipotent, omniscient, and individually aware of us? Do we conduct our lives in such a manner that we fully understand that this awesome Being is actively and personally involved in what we do?
By viewing Him as Potter, do we grasp that He has every right to mold the clay into whatever form or state and make whatever use of it as He chooses? He can fashion from the same lump one person to honor and another to dishonor. He can determine our sex, race, ethnicity, level of wealth, or location. He is under no law or rule outside of His own nature and purpose. He is a law unto Himself, under no obligation to give an account of His actions to anybody else. He exercises His power as, where, and when He wills.
He is not merely overseeing our lives but actively participating in them, and He is ultimately responsible for what happens in them just as much as those national and worldwide occurrences that we hear in the news. The sovereignty of the Bible’s God is absolute, irresistible, and infinite. Our trust is to be in Him.
God’s purpose and plan has been and is being carried out as He purposed, and nobody can turn Him aside. Now His purpose and plan has reached out to include us just as He predestined when He declared the end from the beginning. Have we caught the vision?
Are we willing to completely turn our lives over to this Being who does not always act in a way that is pleasant to us? God immediately struck Aaron’s sons and Uzzah dead, but He has allowed countless others who perhaps did far worse things to live long and seemingly full lives.
God permitted Methuselah to live almost a thousand years. He chose to endow Samson with strength as no other person ever had. Jesus went to the pool of Siloam and chose one man to heal, paying no attention to the others. Why did He allow the Morgans, Carnegies, Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and many others to amass incredible wealth, while allowing perhaps billions of people around the world barely to scrape by in miserable poverty?
When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, the city of Jericho and its citizens stood barring their progress. God brought the walls down, and the city’s defenses collapsed—the one and only time God did such a thing. Every other city had to be conquered by warfare, risking Israelite lives to take them.
Clearly, He treats and responds to individuals according to the counsel of His own mind, and He answers to no one. He does this even in the lives of His children. The apostle John lived to be around one hundred years old, yet Stephen was stoned to death, Peter crucified, and Paul beheaded.
Considering the witnesses of those great servants, what right do we have to complain about the discomforts He creates for us to endure and grow within? He could rescue everybody in every uncomfortable circumstance, but He does not. Have we fully accepted that He may choose difficult things for us?
— John W. Ritenbaugh
The Video – Potter’s Hand – Darlene Zschech
The following is a book review on the book Jesus, Jihad and Peace by Michael Youssef. I am a member of the First Look team from Worthy Publishing and what we do from time to time is review books that have not yet been published. Enjoy!
Jesus, Jihad and Peace
What Bible Prophecy Says About World Events Today
By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
A book review by Leah L. Adams, 2015
Michael Youssef’s account of certain events and practices in the Middle East are quite informative and very interesting. The knowledge he brings to the subject is vast. Being born in the Middle East, spending his early years in the culture of the Middle East and visiting regularly affords him quite a broad view of Middle East practices and the culture from then up to today. His book is a very good mix of past historical events in the Middle East up to today’s happenings along with Bible Prophecy. He presents it very well with an understanding that surpasses many that have spoken of and written about this particular subject.
Dr. Youssef, founding pastor of The Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia, presents this combination of knowledge of the Middle East and Bible Prophecy in a very understandable and readable way. It is a book that will hold your interest and help you understand why certain things are the way they are and probably will never change.
Being close to the people of the Middle East and friends with many he is able to speak in a very authoritative way and yet shows compassion and concern for them. He also writes in a way that is a warning to the American public to wake up and be aware of world events. Some of the events stemming from some of the Middle East practices and beliefs are quite alarming and America and the rest of the world needs to know about the reasons and beliefs behind these events and act accordingly.
I thoroughly enjoyed Jesus, Jihad and Peace and would recommend it for anyone that is interested in what the Bible says about certain events in history and certain disturbing events of today. The world news headlines will never touch on some of the topics in this book and therefore we, as human beings, living in a “not so small world”, need to educate ourselves and become aware of what has happened in other parts of the world and what could come to the doorstep of your own homeland.
Dr. Youssef ends the book with a wonderful account of what true peace is. He explains the three different types of peace; Deceptive Peace – The “Peace” the World Offers, Dark “Peace” – the Peace of Islam and Divine Peace – The Peace of Jesus Christ. He very clearly explains the difference and encourages the reader to find that Divine Peace by meeting the Savior, Jesus Christ.