Confessions

Jesus Christ, the historical man who walked this earth a little more than 2000 years ago, is the son of the living God, who created all we see and works even to today in the lives of men. This same Jesus died, was buried, and rose again showing himself to witnesses who wrote about these events so you and I can know about them today. He is now in heaven, working in the hearts and minds of men, to bring them to a knowledge of God so that people may be saved from their sins and can live with him forever.

“until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts”

Sorry I have been gone. I have been absent in my own mind. Still am. Thank God for his mercies and tender love.  Let him who has ears to hear, hear before it is too late.

God bless.

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Cutting Through The TV Static in My Mind

My mind is filled with static. Kinda like the static on an analog TV. Wikipedia says it is caused by electromagnetic radiation being picked up by an analog TV receiver. Here is what it looks like. (Thought it might be helpful in our digital world.)

Like a TV, my mind is filled with all the noise of life. Work, family, hobbies, national news, politics, personal problems, sin, guilt, worry, friends, and on and on.

The noise makes it hard to focus. I find I cannot keep a thought for more than one or two minutes before I am off on some worry or concern. When in prayer, I get distracted by thoughts. When the fog clears, I remember I was praying.

Here are my thoughts about getting through the static to get a clear connection to God. (Apologies for the corny TV analogy)

Shield your antenna

I find the only way to stay focused on God is to tune out to the crazy things going around me. Turn off the news, quit reading new web sites, no talk radio that does not build up or focus in on my object of affection, God. Work hard at work and then leave work at work or within well defined limits at home. Let go of all the things in life we have no control over. Matthew records these words of Jesus in Matthew 6:34, “do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Point your antenna in the right direction

So often I find myself looking for peace in all the wrong places. I get stressed and I start eating. Bad habits start to creep in and then guild follows. None of these things help me in my prayer life. I get busy trying to fix things my way only to have things get worse. Panic and depression are the only result of looking for help in the wrong place. This is where the world is. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:12-13

12remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to (the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Stay tuned into THE source of peace

Once we get the signal (I know, I am sorry), we have to stay on target. When we are far off, we have no hope. But now, we are near to God. Paul continues in verse 14, “for he himself is our peace.” Christ the Prince of Peace has finished the work of Salvation. Now I stay in the word. Pray often. Meditate on Christ. I don’t let the world creep back in.

6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:6-8

Don’t think for one moment God is not listening because you cannot focus. Instead of getting down on yourself, talk to God about it. Ask for his peace. Keep working on it, do not give up. Stay faithful. He loves us so much.

God bless.

Sin Happens!

Despite all the commands against sinning, you still do. It just happens. Paul wrote in Romans 3:20, “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.”

All the laws teach us how good at sinning we are.

The Israelites left Egypt in glory. God rescued them with many miracles and they still forgot. They did not get very far before they started to grumble and complain.

When they got to the promised land they were afraid to enter the land. God became angry and told Moses he would make a new nation through him. But Moses prayed.

“Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: ‘The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.’ In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”

The LORD replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. Numbers 14:17-20

Don’t let anyone lie to you and tell you God does not forgive. Or that the God of the Old Testament gave no grace. He knew, more than that, He knows we are imperfect and we sin. That is why he sent Jesus the Christ to come and save us from this world of hurt we are in.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Romans 3:21-26

God did this. He loves us so much. He made the way to take care of our continuous sin problem. This does not mean we should just go do what we want. Do not be so ignorant of God’s Word. He did forgive the offense in Numbers, but he also punished the Children of Israel too.

We cannot make a practice of sinning. We must keep fighting. Don’t give up.

Have Faith Always

I just love this poem. I have told it to myself often over the years. I shared it with you about a year ago and want to bring it up again now. It fits in with my current topics. Actually it will probably always fit into my topics.

always have faith
always faith have
have always faith
have faith always
faith always have
faith have always

Three simple words that mean the same thing no matter how you say it.

God bless.

The Difference Between Life and Death

I just got through watching Nova: Deadly Ascent on PBS tonight. It was about climbers on Denali the highest mountain peak in North America. It was very interesting. On this very unforgiving mountain 45% of deaths were caused by falls. The rest caused by exposure and complications trying to survive in this harsh world. When bad weather swept upon the climbers they had to get into shelter quick. During these times survival depended on three things, eating, drinking plenty of water, and maintaining body heat.

Three things between life and death.

I am convinced that we are in a life and death struggle today. The outcome of our spiritual survival hangs in the balance every day. There are things we can do to help us survive.

Like the climbers on Denali, some people die their spiritual death from falls. While Jesus took care of our sin problems on the cross, practicing sin, leads us down a path that ends in a crevice we cannot climb back out of. That is why it is so important to train ourselves to resist sin. What I mean is, if you keep on sinning after the sacrifice, you will come to a point where you give into it and then there is no way to come back.  NOTE! If you just read that last statement and said, “I am there.” or “God will not take me back.” Then stop what you are doing right now. Get on your knees and pray, because there is still hope, and God will take you back. Tomorrow morning, find someone to talk to about God.

When a climber falls into a crevice they may have fallen to an instant death. However, some few, because of friends, safety gear, or fortune, are able to get back out of the hole. I believe we think we can handle sin. We only fool ourselves. There comes a time, sometimes after the first sin, when our hearts grow cold and we by our own choices become unreachable. Beyond God or any influence that will allow us to reach up and take hold of Gods precious grace once again.

But for those who do not fall. There awaits the exposure to the harsh environment we are in that taxes our spiritual health. The day in and day out need to keep putting one foot in front of the other on our walk with God gets to be hard. We get down, discouraged, and can loose hope. That is why fellowship with other survivors is so important. We spur one anther on, encouraging, sharing, and loving together.

Just as there are three components to survival on Denali, I like what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:13, ” And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

God bless. Keep the faith, hold to hope, and share the love.

What Pleases God?

Have you ever felt like you were working overtime to please someone but end the end found out you had no idea what would make them happy? Confused?

How often have you bent over backwards trying to do something for someone else and they never ever appreciated what you did for them?

It happens all the time. We work hard, sacrifice the things we want, spend time with people we do not want to, obey unwritten rules, and basically make ourselves miserable trying to get the next promotion, win a mate, satisfy a friend, or _______. You fill in the blank.

Unfortunately the world is doing the same thing with God. Stop and think of all the ways, methods, rules, and groups worshiping God. The funny thing is, there is only one Bible that tells us about God and what he wants. I just cannot imagine that God ever intended it be so complicated.

Know what? It is not complicated.

Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. Hebrews 13:15-16

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, “What does God really want?” The world’s religions are looking for the perfect sacrifice to appease God. AND all he really wants is for us to do good and to share. Christians the world over could do no better this Christmas than to proclaim allegiance to God and offer to him a sacrifice of praise, good works and share.

I am reminded of what God said through Micah,

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Stop sinning and stop loving the wrong things. Walk, walk humbly with God. Know Him, love Him, rely on Him. Glorify Him.

God bless. Be simple.

Do You Feel Okay?

Do you feel saved? Do you feel like you are doing the right things? You might even have a checklist of things you do to make you feel okay about yourself.

  • Went to Church on Sunday – Check
  • Read my bible this morning – Check
  • Fasted yesterday – Check
  • Did not eat meat on Friday – Check
  • No Catfish – Check
  • No Pork – Check
  • Dressed up for Church – Check

Alright that is enough, I am not trying to pick on anyone. (There is certainly nothing evil or wrong about having rules and rituals, we all have them.) I just want to make the point the Hebrew author made in Hebrews 13:9.

So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them. Hebrews 13:9

The author is talking about the struggle Jewish Christians had converting from Judaism. They grew up with  many rules and regulations governing their spiritual and physical lives. When they converted to Christianity they put the law and its regulations behind them and their faith and trust in Christ.

They found that hard. Especially when all those things made them feel okay. We can fall into the same trap when we put trust in doing certain rituals or abstaining from things to feel okay. This is a problem because it is very easy for us to fall away when our human strength cannot keep us on the straight and narrow.

The good news is we do not have to worry about these things any more. Our strength comes from God’s grace, not from what we do to feel okay.

God bless.