Through it all…

god's been good

I know that I know that God loves me. He rescued me from the depths of my sorrow, fear, feeling abandoned. I’ve had seasons of great challenge. I’ve had times of pain both mentally and physically. But through it all, God’s been Good. I’ve placed my trust in the Lord and have given up the things of the world. I once thought that these worldly things were necessary for me to be happy. They are not. God has saved me, He has raised me, He filled me with the Holy Ghost. He healed me, to the uttermost. He picked me up and turned me around. He placed my feet on solid ground. For all of this, I thank Him and give Him Praise. Again, through it all, God’s been Good in my life.

You might ask why I am so confident of this.  How do I truly know?  Well, each story or in this case, every testimony is different.  When I received the touch of God, I was at my rock bottom.  Really!  I’m not giving you the standard testimony of someone who now goes to church and is all happy.  That kind of person, I am not.  I am a realist.  I was raised to study and investigate and always question what lies before me.  I lived my whole life that this was the only way.  To cover all the bases; to get all the answers to all the questions.

So how long do you think I studied the question, “Does God love me?”  Well, I don’t have knowledge of how long, but I will tell you it took 45 years for me to think about that infamous question.  My life was at a point where I needed to make a choice.  Sometimes that’s where you need to be so that the only thing left is “Choose Jesus or Die.”   “Oh, come on, George.  Really?  Sounds to me that you are saying all the right things. Is this real?”  Before I asked myself the question “Does God love me?” I was ignorant. I was wandering around lacking any knowledge of God’s love.  Jesus was calling me to come home to Him.  All the while, I closed my ears and eyes of that.  I know now the truth.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ESV)  Yes, He was chasing after me from the beginning of time, though I didn’t know it.

My testimony began with a man sharing his love for me by telling me that there was a man who loved me and wanted a relationship with me.  His Name is Jesus Christ.  For me it was like bait in the water of a great pond filled with fish.  Except it’s not about hooking fish.  It’s all about His mercy and grace that pulled me out with one great pull.  Great is the Lord. “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 145:1-3 ESV) 

You may have heard the following praise, even if you don’t think of yourself as spiritual or religious.  It has been said, “God is Good all the time. And all the time God is Good.”   This has nothing to do with being spiritual or anything to do with religion.  It has everything to do  with relationship.  The Bible says this.  And it is a promise.  “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”” (1 Corinthians 2:9) “Does God love me?  Most wholeheartedly Yes.”  I now serve One Master.  It’s in Christ Alone that I give my life.  Has it been easy?  No. Have I been blessed?  If you’re looking for me to quantify this question, I can’t.  God’s blessings are immeasurable.  Overflowing.  More than I can even imaging.  His grace is sufficient for me.   Through it all, God’s been Good!

Friend, I don’t know what you are facing.  I  don’t know of the circumstances by which you live your life.  I don’t know if you feel that if God knew me, He couldn’t love me.  But I know this that God loves you with an everlasting love that can never change or be diminished.  If you knew Him like I know Him you would know that He is Alive and death has died.  Jesus paid the price for sin and death by His suffering, crucifixion and resurrection.  I’m just asking you to come to  the everlasting love of Jesus and have a talk with Him.  My joy is unspeakable because I know that someone will read this and join in everlasting life, the Family of God.  It’s not how much you have done.  It’s simply about belief.  There is nothing you can do to earn eternal life.  God paid the price for you.  It’s His grace that will be applied to you once you accept Him.

Jesus, You paid the price for all of us to receive Your grace and partake in everlasting life with You in Heaven.  You’ve not applied a lot of rules or duties to receive the greatest gift.  We only need to believe.  Then we will see Jesus in all of Your glory.  Thank You that You have been with me since the beginning of the age and through it all You have been good.  Help me to understand more and more about You.  Bless our relationship Lord.  Forgive me sin and come into my life.  Thank You Lord.  I will serve You until I die.  I’m on the battlefield for the Lord.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

 Don’t believe me. Believe God!

Seize the Moment

“The National Football League” – “The NFL”. Of all the professional sports played, my favorite is professional football.  Well, I also love Curling, but that’s another story.  I have been a fan of pro football for as far back as I can remember.  I played intramural football in grade school and around the local neighborhoods.  I was very small while attending school so I did not participate in football in either Jr. High School or Sr. High School.  But that did not deter me.  Sunday afternoons were spent watching the NFL on television.

nfl logo

I guess you can say that I became a student of the game.  I was interested in intricacies of the game.  I wanted to learn both offensive and defensive strategies.  I understand the situations and play calling.  I was into everything.  I read a lot and studied my favorite teams.  I watch the NFL Draft every year.  I look at trades between the teams.  I am a FAN.

Chris Ogbonnaya, Vincent Rey

One thing I have learned is that the entire game of football can be expressed in taking advantage of every moment you get to move forward.  The whole objective of the game is to score points.  In order to do that you have to seize every moment that would produce points.  I’ve come to understand that as a team practices for the upcoming game, they go over everything that they need to have an advantage over their opponent.  They even go over what is called “the fundamentals”.  Those include blocking, tackling, running, catching passes, returning kicks, etc.  They also study play books and look at film.  You might say that this is enough, but many times it is not.  It all lies in the minds of the players.  Are they aware of what is happening on the field?  Do the really know what their opponent will do in every situation.  Good teams, playoff teams know their opponent that well.  Seizing every opportunity is key to success.  Their ears and eyes must be attentive to what is going on.

touchdown

Jesus Christ gave us very important instructions to seize opportunities that He lays before us.  Jesus said, For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17 ESV)  This was Jesus mission.  He said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10 ESV) Jesus was obedient to the end to reach those who were destined to die in their sins.  He looked and moved with one thought in mind.  This gospel that He was teaching must be shared to the entire world.  His plan would give everyone who believed the best opportunity to win.  The Bible says, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15 ESV)   For this is known, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16 ESV) Here in lies the absolute truth.  If we set our ears and eyes on Jesus Christ, we will always win.  Defeat is not a part of those who believe.

We must seize every opportunity to share the gospel with a dying and lost world.  It is our command.  It is spoken in the Word of God and is the absolute and unchangeable truth.  The question is are we focused on ourselves or are we ready to take hold of the utmost prize.  No football game victory.  No Super Bowl win can compare to what is in store for those who believe.  The Apostle Paul said this, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 ESV)  The game plan you need to have is Jesus.  He is all you need.  Victory in Jesus, on-time every time.  You just need to believe.  It’s that simple.

Calvary

Friend, you may not have thought about the intricacies of the sport of football.  And that’s OK.  Really there are a lot more things to focus your mind on.  But let me tell you this.  There is nothing more important than a relationship with Jesus Christ as your Savior.  I made the choice to follow Jesus and his plan for my life in 1999.  Since then my life, my focus, my priorities have changed.  Has it been easy?  No.  Every day I have to pray for Jesus to give me the necessary steps to take to glorify Him with my life.  If you have never made the step to believe and trust in Jesus, you can do that if you want.  You can simply talk to Jesus and He will listen.  You can then be on the everlasting winning team.  Pray this little prayer.  It’s not the prayer that matters.  It’s your heart and acceptance of Jesus that saves you.

Lord, I know that I am a sinner.  I know that I have made mistakes in my life.  I’m told that if I confess these sins to You and repent from them that I can be saved.  Lord, forgive me of my sins.  Every one of them and I believe that you came to earth, was crucified, and died.  And you rose from the grave to defeat sin and death.  I believe this.  I confess this.  I receive Your saving grace.  I am now saved.  Thank You Lord.  I pray in the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

Glory to God!!!  Another child of God welcomed into the Family of God.  If you prayed and believed, it’s important for you to be fed daily with the love of Christ and the promises of His Word.  Find a local church to attend.  Talk to the Pastor and tell him that you are saved and want to know more.  I am sure he will be excited to walk with you on your journey to eternal life.  God bless you friend.  I will be praying for you.

Don’t believe me. Believe God!

And He prayed

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may 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. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:20-26 NKJV)

Jesus knew what was before Him. Every detail from His arrest to the Cross. He knew what He would suffer; all of the pain and agony. But He stopped and prayed. He prayed for “those who will believe in Me through their word”. The word of His disciples. Jesus was praying for His Church. The Church He knew would be established by His shed blood and the power of the Holy Spirit and through the words that would be given to His disciples. Jesus was praying for you and for me. Jesus prayed that “they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me”. He was praying for His Church, to be one in Christ, so the world would know the Name of Jesus. He saw the greater need.

I’m reminded that my life at one time was headed to eternal suffering and death. I’m reminded of the man whose name was Mark, who set aside what he was facing; his suffering, his cancer, his daily challenges and how he took me by the hands in his office, in the middle of a busy day and prayed for me. And two days later, I’m reminded of when I knelt before Jesus and asked Him to forgive me. The single most important day of my life when I called upon the Name of Jesus and was saved. This man lived out every day demonstrating the love and compassion of Jesus and took time for me because he, too, saw the greater need.

Who will we encounter? What will we need to set aside? Will we demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus as Mark did for me? Will we see the greater need? Will we pray?

Oh dear Jesus, thank You for praying for us. You knew what You would be facing, but yet again, You set that aside and saw the greater need. You saw those whose lives would be trapped under the burden of sin and You prayed. You prayed that we too, would believe. That we would be one with You. Oh thank You Lord. May others see Jesus in me and know that You love them with an everlasting love and desire for them to call You Savior and spend eternity with You. In Your Holy Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Matthew 18:10 NKJV – The little girl story I’ll never forget

“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”

Nancy and I were reminiscing the other day, back a number of years ago to a very special meeting we had with a little girl in the hospital. We were asked to visit her and to pray for her. She had terminal cancer. We were so blessed to go. We took her a teddy bear.

When we arrived her parents were with her along with some family friends. After some time for everyone to get comfortable, I was asked to pray. I sat down next to her and took her little hand in mine. I remember feeling that this little girl and I were connected someway. While I prayed, the little girl stroked my hand with her other hand. Time seemed to stand still. This little sweetheart of a girl went to be with Jesus a few days later.

I share this with you because prayer is a direct connection with the heart of God. I didn’t know if she would be healed. I just knew that I had to pray. What happened in her room that night changed all of us.

Nancy and I look forward to when we will see her again. She lived a very short life of 5 years, but I will carry her story until I see her again. She was very special, showed no fear, and her story will now touch a world.

Precious Lord, thank You for the opportunities that You give us to pray for others. I am so grateful that You gave me an opportunity to pray for this little girl. I rejoice that she is standing with You in heaven. Help us Lord to hear Your still small voice and respond in obedience. Lord, you capture our prayers and surround them with your mercy and grace and then take them heavenward for You to answer. Always for Your purpose and our good. We give You praise, Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 19:14 NKJV – My declaration

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

I look at this Scripture as a prayer of humility that seeks God’s intervention into our whole being as we recognize where our all in all comes from. David prayed that he could not bear that a word or thought of his should miss being accepted by God. It didn’t matter to David if his human actions were accepted by others here on earth. What mattered was that his thoughts were witnessed by the Lord.

This scripture verse declares what lives very deep in my heart and all too often, I forget to declare it. It would serve us very well that we declare this verse before we start our day. Before we begin to walk, and work, and go about our lives. Before we even speak another word, we should lift our voices to heaven and make known this request.

Having a prayerful relationship with God is vital for a believer. This is where we can draw our strength from, where we can feel God’s protection, where we receive God’s wisdom, where God restores us, and where the Holy Spirit empowers us to live in this world. The world would like for us to just go about our day and “Just do it”. Get about what needs to be done. And sometimes the world wants us to believe it doesn’t matter what we say or who we push around, as long as we get the job done. Well, that’s not good. I’ve been a victim of that and I must confess a partaker in it as well. I have been caught up in the rush of things and have failed to recognize that my actions were not acceptable in God’s sight.

There are times where we just have to slow down, realize where we are and what we are doing and ask ourselves, “Is all that I am saying and all that I am doing OK with God?” It reminds me in a way of what my mother used to do with two adventurous twin boys who had no intension of slowing down or stopping. She would always say, “I’m going to count to ten before I say something or do something that I’ll regret.” When we heard that we knew we had gone too far. And Mom understood she needed to stop and take a breath.

Friends, David understood how important it was to honor God in all he said and did. He could not even bear the thought of failing in this area. Join with me in declaring this Scripture each day. May the Lord receive it and may He return favor and blessing to all of you.

Dear Lord, I declare that my words and my thoughts are pleasing unto You. Lord, You are my strength and my Redeemer. May all that I say and do give glory and honor to You. Help me Lord realize that it doesn’t matter if my words and actions are accepted by the world. It only matters that I can demonstrate Jesus Christ Alive in my life. Help me and teach me to walk always in Your ways. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!