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!

 

 

Luke 6:27-28 NKJV – The Source

But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.

Again, this very verse has challenged me. AND again, the challenge occurred at the workplace. Now I have to say that I am very thankful for the employment I have and the people I work with every day. But there are days, when the stresses of the work begin to wear on everyone. And that’s when things are said that people don’t mean to say. Now, it’s just not at the workplace that this occurs. It can happen anywhere. It’s not like we live in a peaceable world. There is chaos, and strife, and tension just about everywhere. When you experience it, well, it’s not good.

Now I wouldn’t call any of these people my enemies and frankly, when I get drawn into the situation myself, and I fall, I pray I’m not looked upon as an enemy. But this scripture is very clear as to what I am to do when I’m treated wrongly. There have been times that I have been used spitefully and even cursed at. It’s then I have to stop and bridle my tongue and not respond in defense. Defense is a natural survival mechanism, but when not controlled it can get you in a lot of trouble.

Scripture teaches us that it is wrong to strike back or to return evil for evil, whether by immediate retaliation or by taking revenge later. Forgiveness is always the best approach. God’s forgiveness of our sins leads us to pray for His forgiveness of others and to be forgiving in our dealings with other people. Is this easy? Well, sometimes it’s not especially if we don’t understand where our “Source” of forgiveness is.

The “Source” of forgiveness, the “Source” of our peace, the “Source” of our compassion for others comes from the Blood of Jesus. It’s only through the Blood of Jesus that we can endure this world, that we can forgive as we have been forgiven, that we can love our enemies.

These last couple of days has been a challenge to me and I am so thankful that God is still working in me to live a life pleasing to Him in all I say and do. I’m being transparent today because I want you to know that if you are struggling with loving your enemies or those who do you wrong, you are not alone.   I struggle as well. But we have Jesus. The lover of our souls. Who loves us with an everlasting love and through His Blood, we can pour out that kind of love on others. Even on those who hurt us.

Will I have more days like today? I’m sure that I will. But I pray that I remember what God has spoken to me about over these last few days. We must always remember our “Source”. Thank You Jesus!

Precious Lord, thank You for Your precious blood. It’s the source of life and everything we are. Your precious blood allows us to live and breathe in this world. Let us always remember to cling to You and Your sacrifice on the cross to enable us to demonstrate to the world that You are alive. Help us Lord to draw our strength from You. May we always love our enemies and forgive all who persecute us. Thank You Jesus. In Your Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

1 Timothy 2:1 NKJV – We’re in this together

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.

The other day I began to think about the countless people God has placed in my life. It started out because God placed someone on my heart to pray for. I’ve done this before. I’ve prayed for a lot of folks God placed on my heart. But after the prayer, I began to meditate on all the other people that are in my life. My family, my friends, my neighbors, my co-workers, my church family. Even the people at the auto repair shop that I know. I began to think why they were involved in some way with me. Then the revelation came.

The people that I encounter every day, whether I’m working, or in church, or getting my car fixed, or at the grocery store, have been placed in my life for a reason. I may not know that reason, but they were placed there by God. Before the beginning of time, God established a plan for my life and every single one of these people God specifically placed in my plan. I thought, “Wow”. Every one of these people no matter the level of impact or relationship, God knew and established our contact. Even those people that we may not like or who we keep at a distance. I then began to think of the impact my attitude and the way I live my life has on all of these people, and found myself in prayer again. Repentant prayer.

Well, the revelation continued. I began to realize not only were all of these people placed in my life as part of my plan, I was placed in their life as part of their plan. Whoa!!! Yup. It’s true. I was a part of the individual plan God established for them. I again began to think of the impact my attitude and the way I live my life has on them and returned again to prayer. This time a prayer of petition. Help me Lord.

You see, that’s why I say “We are in this together”. When God placed the individual on my heart at the beginning of this blog, to pray for, God had a reason. There was some need and God wanted me to be obedient to pray. I didn’t know the reason. God just wanted my obedience. God placed this friend in my plan and he in mine for a reason. To love each other. Even to love enough to stop and pray that day. These past few days, God has changed me. He has given me a new perspective of what my relationship is with every person I encounter. Even those I don’t like or keep at a distance. I now have a greater understanding of my responsibility to their lives. These people may not understand this whole encounter thing, and they may never understand that I am in their life because God placed me in their plan, but that’s ok. God has commanded me to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) And, “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

So, I am thankful for every single person I encounter because each of them, whether they know it or not, has been placed there by God Himself. And I am excited that God has placed me in their life. We are in this together!

Heavenly Father, thank You that You established a specific plan for my life and You have placed others in my life as a part of that plan. Help me Lord to walk in the ways of Jesus and to be a constant light to them. And Lord, to those I am a part of their plan, again, Lord, help me to be obedient when You call and to be open to share the love of Christ and the message of eternal life through Jesus. May Your mercy and grace abound in these encounters. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Proverbs 12:25 NKJV – Breaking the chain of anxiety

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.

Anxiety is a crippling emotion. It grips a person and causes lots of other problems; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Doctors say it can cause many ailments and diseases in people. Some people feel trapped, alone, and by themselves as a result of anxiety. I’m not a doctor and I don’t want to sound here that I have this emotion all figured out. I don’t. I still deal with this emotion from time to time. Some of you reading this know all about anxiety and what it can do. My prayers are with you.

But what I’m talking about here is what God thinks about anxiety and how He instructs us about this emotion. There is such a thing as a “ministry of encouragement”. The ministry of encouragement is more than a superficial word. It’s a spoken word that is an important aspect of caring for one another. In the book of James it says, “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” (James 2:15-16 NKJV) We see anxiety all around us. We see it in our family, our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors, and even feel it ourselves. The bible tells us clearly how Jesus dealt with those He saw. It says that, “He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd.” (Mark 6:34 NKJV) The multitude were those who Jesus walked with, talked with, and ministered to. An encouraging word is a compassionate word. It is given to uplift someone above what they are facing. It is directed to move their mind from where they are to another place. A place of peace and a place of love.

The first part of Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine”. The second part says, “but a broken spirit dries the bones.” I desire more of the first part then the latter. But the latter describes exactly what anxiety does to a person. It dries you up to where there is no life giving flow any more. Overcoming this emotion is very important to God. He desires for us to be free; to have the chains broken of anxiety that rob our joy. Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV, says “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

I feel that I’m talking to someone who will read this and understand what I’m talking about. God has called each of us to be an establisher and a builder of His Kingdom. I believe that means to be an encourager. One who is willing to share a kind word, build up someone who is down, and demonstrate the compassion of Jesus Christ.

Let me share a secret with you. When I am full of anxiety or worry and I set my emotions aside to encourage another person, what I am worried about just seems to wither away. At least for that moment. Encouraging others is a medicine for the heart; both theirs and our own. When we go to God in prayer and make known to Him what causes us worry and receive that peace, and then partner that with bringing encouragement to another person’s life, we are bringing God’s promises to life. What a tremendous formula for freedom.

Great and glorious God, thank You that You care so much for us. That You want the chains of anxiety to be broken for good. That we can call upon You and make our emotions known to You and receive Your peace. Help us to have a revelation moment when the grip of worry and anxiety leave us and may we give You all the honor and praise. Thank You for Your Word Lord and help us live a life of encouragement and compassion for others. May we be more and more like Jesus. In Jesus Name we pray. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 115:18 NKJV – Adoration Prayer

But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!

Sometimes we have to step back and meditate on the things the Lord has given us. If you don’t this world will begin to pull us back into a belief that what we have is what we have worked for. Well, I’m here to say I don’t believe that. At one time, I believed that, but I’ve changed. Thank You, Jesus. What I have now is so much less than what the world would think as being necessary, but in reality I have so much more. Am I making any sense here? Just keep reading. I’ll begin to clarify myself.

When I met Jesus and accepted Him as my Savior and the purpose of my life, I had to give up the world. I had to leave the world behind and follow Him. I made that choice. There were people who didn’t understand my decision. Some thought I’d get over God and come back. Some thought it was “nice” and they were glad I was “happy now”. I’m not condemning them. I have no regrets. I’m just speaking the truth. I continue to live and work in the world, but what I found to be important in my life and a priority has changed. I am now addicted to God. God healed me of my addictions to the world.

So sometimes it is vitally important that each of us spend some time in prayer but not ask for anything. What do you mean? Pray without asking? Yes. Prayer is a conversation with God from your heart. You can pray without asking. There is something very powerful in prayer without asking. Prayers of love and adoration to Almighty God Himself. Let me ask you something. When you were growing up, did you like when your mom or your dad or a relative or even a teacher called you out and told someone how special you were? I know I did. We all would love to hear how we were loved and how much we meant to someone? That’s human nature and it is birthed in us. To give and to receive love. How much more important is it to pour out that kind of heartfelt love and adoration to the Lord. To tell Him how much He means to us and how much we love Him. To recall the blessings He has given us. To thank Him for the times we felt His presence. So below, I’ve put together a list of some of the things I thank God for and cause me to bless His Name:

  • Before Jesus died, he prayed for me in the garden (John Chapter 17. You really need to read this and let the Holy Spirit get this into your heart)
  • Jesus gave His life for me so that can spend eternity with Him. (When He was on the cross, we were on His mind)
  • God causes the sun to rise each morning for me and the day and His mercy is new. (It’s a promise – Lamentations 3:22-24)
  • God loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • God is slow to anger (Psalm 103:8)
  • My lovely bride, Nancy, who I cherish and celebrate each new day with her. (My great gift from God)
  • My Son, Daughter and Son-in Law who love Jesus and call Him Savior

And the list can go on and on and on. My point is there is such a thing as prayer without asking God for anything. I call it Adoration Prayer. I believe that this kind of prayer is received by God as a first fruit offering. Because, let’s face it. Without God we have nothing. But with God, all things are possible.

Precious Lord, thank You. You are a great and glorious Lord and I worship You. O how I love You, Lord. I sing praises to You and worship Your Holy Name. For all Your goodness, I will keep on singing. Now and forever more. Let everything that is within me, Praise the Lord. I will shout of Your goodness day and night. Bless the Lord, O my soul. In Your Name, Jesus. Amen and Amen.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 78:42 NJKV – Turn your eyes upon Jesus

They did not remember His power: The day when He redeemed them from the enemy

We all come from diverse situations and backgrounds and in some cases our past lives are as different as day and night. Childhood memories can be warm and loving for one, but not so much for another. And growing up in the city may not compare to growing up in a rural community.

As Christians, we face the same trials and struggles as anyone living today. We have joy and heartache; peace and fear; abundance and lack.   And sometimes our past can makes itself out to look pretty good when we face circumstances that are hard. When we thought we had no worries and could conquer the world, we lived a superficial care free life. And maybe we said, “I’m on top of the world.” And then there are those times in the past where maybe life wasn’t so good. When we made big mistakes or lived recklessly and had to pay a great price. And then maybe we said, “The past; it always comes back to haunt me.”

We can let our past come back to haunt us. God has given each of us a mind that can make choices. The Children of Israel made a choice as they wandered in the desert hungry and thirsty. They thought that their captivity in Egypt may not have been so bad. As least, they thought, it was better than what they were facing. They had a flawed viewpoint. They took their eyes off of Almighty God, who rescued them from their long years of bondage.

And then, on the other hand, we can bring back into our minds the heartache that our past may have brought and allow us to be discouraged, defeated, chained, and back into a bondage of self-doubt and lack of worth. Again, it’s a flawed viewpoint. Again, we allow our eyes to be torn away from the One, the Holy God, the Almighty Savior who took us out of the miry clay.

“He also brought me up out of a horrible pit. Out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.” Psalm 40:2 NKJV

My friend, Almighty God loves you so much; more than you can comprehend. God chose to send His Son, Jesus, to seek and save the lost. Jesus, the Rock of our Salvation. We can set our eyes on Jesus and know that no matter what we face, no matter what happened in the past, He remains. He loves us with an everlasting love and we never have to look back. We can look ahead to the Glory that He promises. We can rebuke the mistakes and heartache of the past that we might be tempted to recall and we can set our eyes on one thing. Jesus. The way, the truth, and the life.

Blessed Lord. Thank You for being the one thing that we can set our eyes upon and be saved, blessed, restored, renewed, delivered, and healed. Thank You God that You chose to send us Your Son, Jesus, to rescue us from our past and deliver us from the bondage of sin and heartache. Glory to Your Name. Help us Holy Spirit to set our eyes on Jesus and not be turned away in the midst of our struggles. For Jesus is our Rock. In Your Holy Name, Jesus, we pray. AMEN and AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Luke 10:40-42 NKJV – Someone cares

But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Have you ever had one of those days when you felt you were so bogged down with giving, and serving, and providing, that if someone would just see or give notice to what you faced and helped or encouraged you….Oh the frustration. The enemy uses this against us all the time. He comes in to persuade us that we are the only one who gives anything to the Lord and that no one even cares. Well that’s not true. I don’t believe that at all.

The enemy is a liar and a deceiver. He wants to attack us exactly where we serve. He wants to make us ineffective as servants for the Lord. If the enemy can cause us to take our eyes away from Jesus, he can cause our pride to rise up and to make us believe his lies. That is what happened to Martha. She only saw what was before her, with a flawed viewpoint. Martha’s preparation became elaborate and maybe even burdensome. But Mary had a different viewpoint. She knew that being at the feet of Jesus was an incredible and wonderful opportunity that took precedence over every other thing.

Our eyes need to remain on Jesus. He is our Hope. He is where our strength comes from. The Psalmist said, “But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” (Psalm 3:3 KJV). We give, we serve, we provide as God directs because we love Him and “We love Him, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 KJV)   The scripture passage ends with, “and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” You see, there is someone who notices and someone who cares.

Lord God, thank You for being our hope, our strength, our joy and the lifter of our heads. Give us strength when we feel burdened with serving you and protect us from the enemy when his lies try to defeat us. Help us, Lord, to lean on Your strength and to keep our eyes fixed on You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!