There’s a whole lot of love in the house of the Lord

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The general area around where I live has many different businesses but it still can identify itself as a family neighborhood.  If my wife and I had children in school age, we would feel very confident to raise our children here.  There are shopping centers, grocery stores, convenience stores, department  stores, gas stations, and even a local Emergency Room.  There are doctor and dentist offices.  And we are only little ways from Lake Erie and access to recreational opportunities on the lake.  There are many places of worship to choose from and the folks around here are friendly.  They’re “good people”.  We feel safe and secure.  We’ve never had an issue.  This makes me smile a lot.

When I got married to my wife Nancy, we  wanted to find a place to worship in as we both were attending different churches.  What did we do?  We took it to the Lord in prayer.  It wasn’t long that we both came into agreement and it has been a tremendous blessing.   Oh by the way, we will be celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary in May.  We were  married in the church we now attend.  We have been so blessed.  We are confident this is where the Lord wants us.

What drew us to this church?  There’s a whole lot of love in the house of the Lord.  Our church is filled with the Love of God.  Our church’s mission is Connecting People to a Growing Relationship with Jesus Christ.  That being said, is the same kind of love being poured out when church is over.  What are we doing outside of the church walls?  Jesus said this, And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”” Mark 16:15 ESV  And Jesus also said this,  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 ESV   It’s a tough question.  What are we doing outside of our church walls?  It’s fine that you may attend a church full of love for you.  But what about the lost outside of church who are headed to an eternity in hell.  Yes, hell.  It’s not a pretty picture.  I hope that you are not saying or thinking that you’re ok and that’s not your problem.  That kind of  thinking is not biblical.  Jesus gave us a command.  We must be obedient to it. 

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Friend, I’m asking you to think about this.  Really think.  I wouldn’t want anyone to perish because we were selfish; thinking only about ourselves.  The man who told me about Jesus in 1999 was not selfish and loved me so much that he told me about Jesus.  Did you get what I just said?  The man loved me so much that he told me about Jesus.  Love isn’t only inside of the church to get people to attend.  If a church is like that they are missing the most important command of God.  The Apostle Peter said this, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 ESV  We must take the Love received by accepting Jesus into our lives and go tell a world about it.

You have a choice.  This is my challenge to  you.  I ask you to pray and listen to what God is saying to you about a lost and dying world and how you can reach them; to pour out the love that Jesus gave you when He died for you on the Cross.  He took your sins and paid the full price for them.  His death on the cross.  Jesus is our Blessed Hope.  He is the Son of God and He is coming back someday.  You have a choiice.  I will be praying for you. God bless you.

If you have never asked Jesus to be the Lord of your life, you can do that. In humble prayer ask Jesus to  forgive you  of  your sins, repent of your sins and  declare your belief that He died for you and arose from the grave to defeat sin and death for all.

Don’t believe me.  Believe God!

 

 

James 1:2-4 NKJV – Count it all joy

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Oh, what joy there is when the true understanding of this scripture passage resides deep in your heart.  This is a call to understand suffering from the viewpoint of confidence that God is sovereign.  The trials spoken about here are various kinds of circumstances, often related to hardship and persecution.  The real tough stuff in life.  Trails can be considered pure joy only when there is a knowledge that they are designed by God for His purpose.  They are our tests of faith given to us in order for us to develop perseverance.  And perseverance is what we need to possess to endure the evilness of this world.

I’ve heard pastors preach that we all ought to expect to suffer.  It’s inevitable when we call ourselves believers.  I will tell you, though hard to hear, it is the truth.  To believe in Jesus, the Son of God is not to evade suffering; rather it is to face suffering with a new hope.  Suffering will equip us for more effective service.  Suffering will draw us closer to Jesus.

There have been some suffering that I have endured that I pray no one else has to endure.   Some of that suffering was caused by medical and health issues.  And during those times I remember crying out to God.  Sometimes weeping into the night because of the physical pain. My prayers were not to ask why, but to ask for it to end.  Praise be the Name of God, He did cause it to end and God also used me and my suffering and pain to help others endure the same kind of suffering and pain.  I could not have been able to pray with or bear the burden of someone else who suffered had I not suffered first.

Isn’t that just like Jesus and His incredible love for us?  How could we know our need for Him had He not suffered and died at the Cross?  Jesus continues to this day to use us in our suffering to bring others to an understanding of Him and His love.  Suffering is the price of godliness.  “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2 NKJV)  Suffering is a condition of service.  “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.” (Colossians 1:24 NKJV)  Suffering draws believers to the Lord.  “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8 NKJV)

Friend, patience is an aspect of faith and hope.  “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James 5:7-8 NKJV)  Let us allow patience to have its perfect work.  That when we are called home to be with the Lord, we will be made perfect, lacking nothing.

Dear and precious Lord.  Help us understand that in our sufferings we can count it all joy.  Knowing that the testing of our faith produces patience.  Help us understand that through Your love for us, our patience is made perfect.  Help us endure so like Paul we can say I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord.  Thank You for Your everlasting love and care for us.  In Jesus Name.  AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

BONUS BLOG – 10/12/2013

Be encouraged my friend.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

We are in effect running a race before a crowd of people who have already finished the race with honors.  Among the things that we need to set aside that burden us or weigh us down is fear in the face of suffering, discouragement and doubt.  Like the athletic runner, believers must be in continual motion toward the finish line despite any opposition.  This requires discipline, training, effort and endurance.

The cloud of witnesses is there to cheer us on and inspire us, but we must remember our principle encouragement comes from the person and work of Jesus Christ, who has gone before us and is our founder and perfecter of our faith.  He is the ultimate example of faith in the race.  Jesus endured the cross in anticipation of the joy of being Savior of His people when the necessary suffering was over.

Again I say, “Be encouraged my friend.”

Don’t believe me, believe God!