Monday, December 26, 2011

Aftermath of Christmas

WOW!!!! We had an amazing Chirstmas this year! We spent a lot of time with good family. There was more food than I could eat, but I tried anyway. There were presents galore, and the laughter and squeals of happy children was a constant reverberation everywhere we went. This truly was a wonderful holiday. But the question that I have is, what's next? One thing that I have noticed throughout the years, is that the day after Christmas mainly consists of children trying to play with all of their gifts. They even are adament that they bring their toys and gifts with them everywhere they go. And they seem to forget about all of the other things that they had before Christmas. This brought me to an interesting thought. What happened after Christ's birth?

Matthew 2:1-12

"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: ‘AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.’” Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way."

Christ was worshiped. Wise men from the east knew who this child was. I believe that they got their information from the prophet Daniel. While in captivity under the Babylonians, he rose to be a high ranking official as an interpreter of dreams. He probably told the magi hundreds of years before what to look for. The gifts brought were represenative of Christ's life, death, and Royalty. They recognized who He was and traveled a long way to worship.

Luke 2:20

"The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them."

So what should we be doing now? We should rejoice in His coming. We should offer praise and honor to Him for coming. Because His coming meant that we would have a way to obtain forgiveness for our sins, and gain eternal life in heaven with Him. We should also spread the Gospel. We know that He came. We know that He died. We should be sharing this wonderful gift with all that we come into contact with.

Now, I am not one for making new years resolutions. But, being it is directly after Christmas. I feel that I need to do just as the wise men and shephards did this new year. I am going to strive harder to give glory and praise to God for all that He has done and will do for me, and share this wonderful gift that has been given to me.

Thanks for reading, and God bless you all!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Manger to the Cross

Last night our church put on our traditional Christmas play. We based our play on the book, "The Three Trees." In this story we see three trees all with a different wish. One wants to be turned into a beautiful box to carry the most valuable treasures in the world. The second one wants to be made into a mighty sailing vessel to carry kings across the seas. The third wants to be left on the mountain and point to God, so when people see him, they will be reminded of God. As the story goes, one is cut down and turned into a manger. He is overcome with disappointment, until one night when baby Jesus is placed inside of it. He knew that he was holding the greatest treasure ever known. The second tree is turned into a small fishing boat. Just as disappointed as the first one was until it found out that Jesus was on board and calmed the seas. He knew that he was carrying the King of Kings. The third tree was pieced together and had to endure a jeering crowd. Then they nailed a man to him. He felt ugly and ashamed. However, He knew after that day that every time that someone looked at him, they would remember the sacrifice on the cross.

My part was interesting. I got to play the part of a disciple in one scene and a Roman soldier in another scene. I know you are probably saying that would be kind of hard. But is was interesting working out the logistics of it. But the part I enjoyed the most was being the Roman soldier. I have talked with several people who said they could not play that part. And I understand that. But it meant a lot to me to put Christ on the cross. It really brought it home to me that it is because of my sin that He had to die on that cross. It was a good reminder to me of what His sacrifice was to me. A chance for eternal life.

Now some people have asked me why we did the whole story? Well, is that not the message of Christmas? It is not just about celebrating His birth. But, the fulfillment of a promise to us as told in the Old Testament. He had to be born before He could die, or the resurrection would mean nothing. He had to become a man, just like me and you.

John 1:1-14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

He came to pay a debt that He did not owe, and that we could never pay. He did this so we could have eternal life with Him. That is the true meaning of Christmas. We can see this in our favorite Christmas Carols. If you look at "Away in a Manger", "Joy to the World", "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", and so on, you will see that they all start with verses about His birth. Then they talk about His life, and ultimately Him as King and Savior of this world. So this year, as we remember His birth, let us also celebrate His life, death, and resurrection as well.

Thanks for reading, God Bless, and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Traditions

One of the things about Christmas the most is some of the family traditions that we have. These are special times and activities centered around this time of year that, for me, adds a bit of excitement to our celebration. For example, I love going Christmas caroling every year with my church. We visit rest homes and the homes of some of the elderly that cannot get out much and sing our favorite Christmas tunes. I also enjoy visiting with all of our relatives for gifts, fellowship, and of course THE FOOD!!!!!!!!!! But, probably my favorite tradition is the private Christmas morning with my little family. My wife and I tell our children the true Christmas story, and the real reason for gifts to our children, and then open presents. We want to instill in them the importance of Christ's birth, more so than the commercialism that is going on around us. It seems that society does not understand the true meaning of Christmas, or argue that we should not celebrate it, because it is not really Christ's birthday.

This brings up a good question. Was Christ born on December 25th? Probably not. The Bible does not give an exact day. It was more likely that He was born in the spring or summer. Luke chapter 2 tells us that the shepherds were out watching their sheep in the fields overnight. I do not believe they would practice this in the winter time. Many people believe that we should not celebrate His birth on December 25th because of that. This brings to mind 2 passages in the Bible.

Romans 14:4-6
"Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God."

Colossians 2:16-17
"Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ."

I am of a mind to celebrate the birth of Christ this time of year. And the reason we do is based on a tradition began by the early church. But what is the problem with it? Nothing. The scripture above says not to judge someone on a day they see as a holy day, or to celebrate a festival. That is between him and God, and it matters so little in the scheme of things. We should spend more time spreading the news of Christ rather than arguing over whether to recognize December 25th or not. I believe having a day set aside, whether it be by tradition or whatever else, makes it easier for me to focus on being thankful for His birth. Because His birth was the fulfillment of a promise. And that promise is that we have a sacrifice great enough to cover our sins so that we can be forgiven and become sons of God.

Galatians 3:26
"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus."

Thanks for reading, God Bless you all, and Merry Christmas!

I would like to give you an opportunity to share some of your favorite family traditions around this time of year. Please comment below to share. If you do not have a Google ID or anything of that nature, you can post under anonymous and type in your name at the end of your comment. Thanks, and I look forward to reading!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Defending Christ's Birthday

Going in fashion with my last few posts, I am going to stay in the Christmas spirit of things. This time of year has always been, and always will be my favorite time of year. Mainly because we set aside time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Now there are those who try to argue that we should not do this. They say that Christ really was not born this time of year, or that He is really not the Messiah. So I am going to devote this page to give some proof that He fulfilled all of what the Old Testament said about how the Messiah would be born. Now many Christians can tell you that He fulfilled those prophecies, but cannot tell exactly which verses in the old testament contain them. So here are a few that I have found, and the scripture in the new testament where they are fulfilled.

Prophecy Concerning Jesus' Birth
1)Virgin Birth

Isaiah 7:14 - "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel."

In this verse the prophet Isaiah tells us that the Messiah will be born of a virgin, and His name shall be called Immanuel which means "God with us." We see the prophecy fulfilled around 700 years later, when Mary, who was a virgin, gave birth to Jesus.

Matthew 1:18 - "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit."

Matthew 1:25 - "but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus."

2)Messiah born in Bethlehem
Micah 5:2 - "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."

Micah prophesied around the same time as Isaiah. In this prophecy he named a specific city to which the Messiah would be born. This rules out anyone saying that the Messiah would come from a region or country. The prophecy was fulfilled later in Bethlehem when Mary gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem.

Luke 2:4-7 - "Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

Matthew 2:1-2 - "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him."

3)The Messiah would be from the Tribe of Judah

Genesis 49:10 - "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples."

In this set of verses, Jacob is blessing his 12 sons. Here we see a blessing with a promise to Judah. The promise was that many of his descendents would be rulers, including a supreme one that all people would become obedient to. The bible teaches us that the Christ's Kingdom has no end, and that everyone would recognize Him as Lord.

Psalm 45:6 - "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom."

Romans 14:11-12 - "For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.” So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God."

Now Jesus was born around 2000 years after the death of Jacob. However, Jesus' lineage is traced back to Judah in Luke 3:23-34 and Matthew 1:1-16. I will not write these out because of their length but feel free to look it up and check to make sure that I am telling the truth.

4)The Messiah would be a descendant of King David
Jeremiah 23:5 - "Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land."


Now Jeremiah lived in the 600-500BC range. He affirmed in this prophecy that Jesus would be a descendant of King David. We can trace this lineage through Luke 3:23-35 and Matthew 1:1-16. Just as we did tracing Him back to Judah. You can find King David's name in that list of family members.

I hope this has been a helpful way to actually see the prophecy recorded, and where it was fulfilled. Now I am sure there are many other prophecies about this, but I just picked out the main ones that drive it home for me.

Thanks for reading, God Bless you all this week, and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Peace at Christmas

I really, really love this time of year. I love the special get-togethers, parties, caroling, and Christmas plays. I enjoy seeing the laughter and joy in children. But most of all, I enjoy the celebration of the birth of my Savior. I enjoy the time to reflect on what His birth meant for my salvation. And I do receive a certain peace this time of year, realizing that God is always in control. He set His perfect plan in motion, so that I might be saved. That is the best part of Christmas to me.

But this brings me to the point of peace. I think of how much peace that I have this time of year, and I see the exact opposite in the world. They are not at peace. They spend so much time stressing and fighting over gifts. About how to decorate their houses. Many of them do not even know the true meaning of this time of year. They have no peace. This makes me think of the verses about peace given to the shepherds by the angels. Doesn't it say peace on earth and goodwill to men?

Luke 2:8-14
"In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.""

WOW! The last verse says peace among men with whom He is pleased. A lot of people tend to leave that part out of their greetings and advertizements. They do not want to offend anyone. But the verse makes a lot of sense when you read the whole thing. The reason that there are so many people around us this time of year with no peace, is because they do not have Jesus. There is nothing we can do on this earth that would please God. No amount of works, morality, or religious practice means anything to Him unless one has received His Son. That is what the verse means. Peace is given to those that would one day accept His Son as their Savior. That is the peace of Christmas. Like I said in my post about Black Friday, we need to get out there and share what this time of year is really about, so that peace in which we have through Christ Jesus may be spread.

Thanks for reading, God Bless You all, and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Encounter




I recently had an opportunity to read a book entitled "The Encounter" by Stephen Arterburn. This is a story of dealing with anger, abandonment, and ultimately forgiveness. It was an easy read (I read it in one day), and the way the plot developed kept it interesting.

Synopsis:
The book begins with the main character making a trip to his hometown in Alaska. He is on a search for his biological mother who abandoned him at age four. He has had numerous problems with his anger that have made the news and tabloids many times, being that he is the owner of a Fortune 500 company. He was involved in many bad relationships and had the tendency to become violent with his employees. He even came to the point of attempting suicide. After that incident, one of his friend's invited him to church, where he met the pastor. The pastor counseled him to help him with his issues, and suggested that he find his true mother and make peace with her. While on his search, he begins to unveil much about his birth mother. There was a lot of evidence gathered that his mother really did love him, and did not want to be apart from him. The manner in which he meets his true mother is not as he expected, and the outcome tragic. Yet in the end, he does forgive and make peace with his mother, and makes plans to spend time with her to get to know her better.

My Thoughts on the Book:
I really enjoyed the message of this book on forgiveness. It teaches us that we should forgive those who do us wrong. The main character was so angry that he did not want to forgive her, but eventually learned the value of grace and forgiveness. It reminds me a lot of a set of verses in Luke.

Luke 6:27-36
"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."

It is easy to forgive and treat kindly the people we know and love. But it is so much harder to do that than to someone who has hurt us. Even the lost understand the meaning of how to treat someone who loves you. But we as Christians, are set apart for the Gospel. We are in the world, but we have been called out by the one that is greater than the world, which is Christ Jesus. This means that we are going to be different, and this is one of the ways that we stand out. And it provides us with a great witness of the love of God.

The only thing about this book that I did not like, is that there is no indication of the main character getting saved anywhere. It does say that he went to a church, and that he learned to sing his mothers favorite hymn, yet no profession of salvation. I personally think that would have been a better ending.

About the author:
Stephen Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Ministries—the nation’s largest faith-based broadcast, counseling and treatment ministry—and is the host of the nationally syndicated “New Life Live!” daily radio program heard on over 180 radio stations nationwide. Steve is also the founder of the Women of Faith conferences attended by over 3,000,000 women. As a best-selling author, Steve has written over 60 books, including the best selling Every Man’s series and his most recent book, "Reframe Your Life." He has been nominated for numerous writing awards and won three Gold Medallion awards for writing excellence. Steve has degrees from Baylor University and The University of North Texas as well as having obtained two honorary doctorate degrees.

This book was provided me free from the publisher by BookSneeze.com blog book reviewers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Black Friday

I do not believe in my 29 years on this earth that I have ever seen the madness that is evident on "Black Friday." A day when common sense seems to go out of the window, all for the purpose of great deals for Christmas. People stand in lines for hours, sometimes through bitter cold, just to be the first ones in line for the item they covet for either themselves or as a gift to someone else. Our Television sets and internet pages are full of violence surrounding this day. People getting trampled, pepper sprayed, arrested, and even killed all for the sake of what they believe Christmas is all about.

Now I will admit, my wife and I did go shopping early. We got up at 4 am to head down to the stores for some of the sales. And we do save a lot of money. However, you would not see me grabbing, and snatching, and even fighting over specific items. However, my wife and I never take our mind off of what the true meaning of Christmas is. As a matter of fact, one of our main stops this year was at LifeWay Christian Book Store. And I noticed some things that were very encouraging while I was there. Number one; It was the longest line that we waited in to make a purchase. My wife and I had to wait over and hour and a half in line to check out. At Toys R Us, we did not have to wait in line at all. It was heart warming to see all of those people buying gifts with Christian influence for their loved ones. Number two; everyone was in a friendly mood. I got the chance to strike up many conversations about church, Christ, and the true meaning of Christmas. And every person that I talked to was in full agreement. There was no pushing, yelling, or fighting over gifts. Number three; I noticed much love and compassion in that store. Now, when you are in a line that long, someone is going to have to go to the bathroom. Especially since the people working the store were passing out warm drinks for everyone in line. I noticed numerous times, people leaving their spot in line to use the restroom. And the people behind them, held their spot in line for them, and even offered to hold their basket of items for them. It is amazing how the atmosphere can change when you are with a huge gathering of fellow Christians.

Now with all this going on last week, I wondered. What would it be like if everyone put the same effort in to seeking Christ, as they do that gift they want to buy. Many people fight hard and do some of the most amazing things when they find out that they can get something for free on Black Friday. But, why do they not do the same thing for salvation. Salvation through belief in Christ Jesus as our Master and Savior is a free gift. The price has already been paid. Jesus gave His life, on a cross so that we might have eternal life for free.

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

Romans 10:9-10
"that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

Acts 4:11-12
"He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."

Ephesians 1:13
"In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,"

So, why are people not waiting in line to receive salvation? I think one of the main problems is advertising. Do they know about Christ, and His sacrifice? Do they understand that without Him they are condemned? Do they know exactly how much God loves them? We see all sorts of advertizements on TV, newspapers, and catalogs on all the things on sale. So how do we advertize? We witness to others. We tell them the story of Jesus. We tell them the gospel(good news). And this season is the perfect opportunity. We will come into contact with so many people this time of year, and we should seize every opportunity to share with them the true meaning of Christmas, which is the birth of our Savior. We stand beside them in line. We visit them at family get-togethers. We sit beside them in a crammed food court. There are so many opportunities that we have to advertize for Christ.

Matthew 28:19-20
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Acts 22:15
"For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard."

Hebrews 12:1-2
"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

So I encourage you today, do not let the true meaning of this season be forgotten in all that we do. And make sure to take time to tell someone of our Savior's birth, and the gift of salvation that He brought with Him.

Thanks for reading, and God Bless You all this week!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Small Moments

By now, most of you have guessed that I love to blog about my kids. It is not that I am this super proud dad with a sense of "My kid is better than your kid!" However, I am a super proud dad of my kids. They are three of the biggest blessings in my life. My son is at the top of his Kindergarten class. He never gets in trouble. He loves to play ball, wrestle in the floor, and loves all things boy. My oldest daughter is my weak spot. She is always the last one to tell me bye in the morning, and is always on the porch waiting for me when I get home. Her favorite thing to do is crawl in my lap before bed, and either watch "Tom and Jerry" or have me read a book to her. This time is filled with "I love you daddy" and an abundance of hugs and kisses. My baby girl is a little angel. She was a band aid to broken hearts after the loss of two pregnancies before her. At 6 months old, she almost never cries. Every time you look at her, all she does is smile, laugh, and try to talk in her own way. My wife and I have been blessed far beyond what we deserve in this life.

This brings me to the thought of, how do I teach my children about the love of God? As I certainly see them as a wonderful gift from God, what am I doing to ensure that they grow up with the knowledge and love for God that I have? My only answer is that I do my best to teach them of God, and what he wants us to be in this world.

Psalm 34:11
"Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD."

Now some people suggest the best way to instruct our children is with nightly bible devotion time. I agree with this to a point. We must make sure that the lesson is child friendly. In other words, put it in a way the child can understand, and do not endevour in a 30 minute to an hour bible study with a three year old. It just does not work well. When they get older, yes. Planned bible studies or devotion time is great. However, this begs the question on how to do it with small children. Being blessed to be an educator, I understand a little of what small children can and cannot handle. Instead of specific devotional time everyday, we look for small moments.

Small moments are times during the run of the day in which something happens, or a child notices something different, that we are able to relate God to them. It does not have to be a long sermon quoting many scriptures. But just enough to get them to think about God. For example, my kids have noticed in the past in grocery stores and other places of business when someone drops something, that my wife and I help them to pick things up. My son asked me one time why I did that. They were a stranger and we are not supposed to talk to them. Now I was proud that my son knew not to talk to strangers, however, a small moment appeared. I took the time to explain how helping others, even if we do not know them makes God happy. I got a moment to share with him what is meant by loving your neighbor, and to have compassion on those who are less fortunate. My oldest daughter loves to get dressed up for church. She loves to get her dresses on, and little necklaces to look like a princess to go to church. She asked one time, "Daddy, why do we always go to church and wear our prettiest clothes?" Well, there was another moment. I took a couple of minutes to explain the importance of church, and that we want to give God our best. I used the scripture Acts 2:42 to help with the point.

Acts 2:42
"They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."

My wife and I not only look for the small moments to teach our children, but we try to model it as well. We try to read our bibles everyday. One day my son asked what the story I was reading was about, think that I had this big story book like he likes to read. It took no more than two minutes to convey the importance of reading your bible. And he and his sisters see us doing it. Children are the greatest lie detectors. They know what we say they should do, but what does it mean to them if we do not do it too. I once caught myself telling my daughter, "Do what I say, not what I do." What does that really teach my child? It teaches them that it is okay not to do what we are supposed to. They will grow and emulate everything that we say and do. If we teach them what is the right thing to do, and then do the opposite, we are teaching them to be hypocrites.

So, how do I teach my children of God's love? I look for the small moments. And you must be careful. You never know when they will come, and you can be assured, that your kids are always watching what you do.

Thanks for reading, and God Bless You all this week!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Devil in Pew Number Seven




I have never viewed myself as an avid reader until the last few years. As a matter of fact, I hated to read when I was a kid. However, when I got to college, I learned to enjoy reading. I just had to find a genre that suited me and that could keep my attention. I just finished reading a book entitled "The Devil in Pew Number Seven" by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo. It is a true story based on the life of the author. I found it hard at times to put down from reading. One of the reasons for my intrigue of this book is the location in which the story takes place. The backdrop is the Sellerstown community in Columbus County. This community is located about 5-10 minutes from where I currently reside, and about 15 minutes from where I grew up. I also recognize some of the people described in this book and know them personally. Although most of the events occurred before I was born, it is still pretty familiar to me. I am also overtaken by the message of this book. It shows how hard it is to bless and forgive those that persecute or try to hurt you.

Synopsis:
The book begins with an introduction to the parents of the author. It tells of how they met, and how their ministry got its start. As the book continues on, the author shares insight on all of the trials that her parents went through before their move to North Carolina. Once the move is made, the authors father makes great strides in work at the church that offered him a job. The church begins to grow, and bear fruit, much to the dismay of the antagonist in the story, who is a wealthy and powerful individual in the county. This sets up a chain of events in which this man tries everything in his power, legal and illegal to run this preacher out of town.

Now, I am not going to ruin the book for you by telling you how that it ends, and all of the details. What I will do is tell you that what I read was one of the greatest examples of practicing what you preach. Will all of the horrible acts perpetrated against this family, they stayed true to their faith. They always leaned on the Lord. There were constant reminders of scripture through all of the trials. And never once did the family seek its own revenge.

I particularly like the way the author ended the book. She ended it with certain truths that she learned from these experiences that helped her to draw even closer to God. And how that God manifested Himself to her, and had a forever effect on her life. This book was not only good reading, but an inspiration for those Christians who are going through many trials. I think that all I go through in my life does not even come close to what they went through. And if they can do it in the midst of their circumstances, then so can I. I encourage you all to take time to read this book.

Thanks, and God Bless You all this week!

I have in no way been compensated for my review of this book. These are my personal thoughts on the book.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stay Close

I am forever amazed at some of the things that a child can play with, and it keep their attention for long periods of time. Now there are a lot of things at my house that we have to keep on lock-down because we do not want them to play with them and lose them. Such as the flashlight. I have yet to meet a kid that did not love to play with a flashlight, day or night. But, they seem to have trouble putting them back where they need to go. And when the lights go out, it is an interesting task to find them. One of the things that I have noticed that my kids love to play with is an umbrella. There is some fascination with watching it open up, and hiding underneath. Whether it is raining or not. Or whether they are in the house or outside, they do not care. The funny thing is, when it rains, they do not want to use it then. They want to run out in the rain and feel it falling on them. Now, don't get me wrong. I enjoy it sometimes too. But, my kids do not like to use the umbrella for its real purpose. Many times my wife and I will tell them to stand real close so they will not get wet. For when the umbrella is used correctly, it protects us all. This reminds me of a verse in the book of James.

James 4:8
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded."

We will face many storms in this life. Whether they come as a tragedy, financial hardship, or relationship problems, we all will have struggles. The question is, are we prepared for them when they happen? Or the proverbial question, "Do we keep and umbrella around all the time just in case?" The best thing we can do is to draw close to God. By striving in our lives to form a good relationship with our Heavenly Father, He will get closer to us. Just like we tell our kids to stand close under the umbrella to keep them dry, we should draw close to God when we are faced with our troubles. And He is faithful to us to see us through.

Jeremiah 30:17a
"For I will restore you to health, And I will heal you of your wounds,’ declares the LORD."

Now some people think that their problems are too big for them to handle. And they are right. There are many things that we cannot handle on our own. But my God is bigger than any problem imaginable. My God is greater than anything. And as long as I draw near to Him, I know that everything will be alright. This reminds me of a song that I like to hear on K-love. The name of it is "Our God" by Chris Tomlin. The link to the song on You Tube is below if you would like to listen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oksdb06SsTM&feature=fvsr (If this does not work, you can go to youtube.com and search "Our God" by Chris Tomlin)


Thanks for reading, and God Bless You all this week!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Taking Shape

Trusting God seems to be something that I struggle with time to time. Now don't get me wrong, I do study my bible and pray regularly. However, there are times when I lean on my own understanding. There are some things that are easy for me to place my trust in. I trust that my alarm will go off at 6 am every morning for me to wake up to go to work. I trust that my wife will have a lunch packed for me and my son before we leave for school(She is wonderful). However, trusting God seems hard sometimes. And I know that this may not make sense being that I am a Christian, but it does happen. And, God is faithful to me anyway. He always finds a way to get my attention, and put me back on the path that I should be.

Jeremiah 29: 11-13
"For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart."

This makes me think of a new pair of shoes. The first few times that you wear them, they hurt your feet. The reason is because you have not broke them in yet. It likes to keep its original shape. After you wear them to begin with, they still go back to the original shape. However, every time that you wear them, it breaks them down even more than the previous time. This process will continue to occur until, the fit is just right, and it does not hurt to wear them anymore.

Is this not true of how God works in our lives? When we become saved, we are a new creation, much like this new pair of shoes. Sometimes we struggle greatly with our old ways. Temptation is still strong, and sometimes we still fall. But, that does not mean that God will give up on us. He will continue to work in our lives, and to mold our hearts to what He wants us to be. But we have to be diligent. We must search for God. We do this by continuing to study, pray, and go to church. All of these things make our hearts easier to mold. It also helps to take away the pain of the life that we once lived in. We can see that there is hope ahead. Every time that we seek out God, and place our trust in Him, it gets easier to place our trust in Him.

Romans 5:1-5
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

Thanks for reading, and God Bless You all this week!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Roy from Indonesia

Last month I decided every so often to look at the story of a martyr who died for their faith. This gives us a glimpse of what is going on in the world around us to those that share our faith. It is a reminder of how Christians are persecuted around the world, and is to offer examples of faith from present day believers. This post is the story of a 15 year old boy named Roy who lived in Indonesia. These events happened in 1999. This story is taken from the book "Jesus Freaks" by DC TALK.

The teens could tell that the shouts and chanting were getting closer and closer. An older
teen looked nervously at his friend. “The Muslims are coming. We’d better hide the kids,”
he said. Others, following his lead, helped the smaller children find hiding places in the
buildings nearby. Then they hid themselves.
It was January and a crowd of mostly Christian children and teenagers had gathered for a
Bible camp at the Station Field Complex of Pattimura University on the island of Ambon,
Indonesia. When the camp was over, cars came to take the laughing, rejoicing children
back to their homes. But there were not enough cars to hold the young people.
Mecky Sainyakit and three other Christian men had gone to Wakal village to try to rent
additional transportation to take the rest home. But they had not yet come back.
What the kids waiting for rides home didn’t know was that on their way to the village, the
men were attacked by a Muslim mob, who pulled them from their car and out onto the
road. Mecky and one of the other men were stabbed to death, and later their bodies were
burned by the mob. The two other men escaped with their lives.
Before long, the mob reached the University. They found many of the teens and forced
them to come out of hiding.
Roy Pontoh was forced from his hiding place and made to stand before the mob.
“Renounce your Jesus, or we will kill you!” they threatened.
Roy was terribly frightened. Though trembling, he answered, “I am a soldier of Christ!”
At this, one of the Muslim attackers swung a sword at his stomach. The sword hit the
Bible Roy held, and ripped into it, knocking it out of his hand. The man’s next swing sliced
open Roy’s stomach. His last word was “Jesus.”
The mob dragged Roy’s body out and threw it in a ditch. Four days later, his family found
it. Even though they are wracked with grief, Roy’s parents stand proud of their son, who
stood strong in his faith to the end.

Luke 12:8
And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God

Thanks for reading, and God Bless You all this week!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dealing with Pride

You know, I never really thought about how much a foot injury can do for a man's heart. I know this phrase may sound weird to some of you. Biologically our foot is a long way from our heart. Sure it is connected by a series of arteries and veins that cycle blood to the foot and back, but this is not the connection that I am referring to. This past weekend, I was in the process of helping my sister move out of her house. Like always, we started with the big, heavy, and awkward items to get them packed and save the easy stuff for last. Well, on my way out the front door, I missed a step while carrying a couple of boxes in my hand. The popping sounds in my foot resonated to my ear as pain shot across my foot and up my leg. I hit the ground pretty hard, however I did not notice any pain from my landing. All I could think about was my foot. Was it broken? Was it sprained? What am I going to do if I cannot walk? I began to get angry at myself for being foolish. How could I have possibly missed that step. As many times as I went in or out of that house, why now? I also started lashing out on those around me. I would tell them that I could do things myself, and that I did not need any help. I began to understand that I couldn't and became even more upset. I was letting my pride get the best of me.

Proverbs 29:22-23
"An angry man stirs up strife,
And a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression.
A man’s pride will bring him low,
But a humble spirit will obtain honor."

Pride can be a dangerous thing to deal with. With pride comes anger. As was I when, I did not want others to help me when I was in need. As the scripture here in proverbs reads that anger causes strife. Strife being defined as vigorous or bitter conflict, discord, or antagonism. All of this conflict leads to being easily embittered. It causes our tempers to be enraged easily. In the scripture above, we see this causes us to fall into sin. All of this because of pride. Pride is not something that we come across from God.

1John 2:16
"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world."

Pride is something that has to be dealt with. Proverbs 29:23 tells us that a humble spirit will obtain honor. Sometimes it is not the easiest thing to do. But we must make and effort to be humble. Because if we look at all the things in our life to try to make ourselves look worthy, it will never be good enough. We rely on the sacrifice of Christ. His death is the only thing that makes a way for us to God. Not the things that we do.

2 Corinthians 5:21
"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

Will we ever experience times when our pride can get in our way? Of course we will. But what we need to do is control it. We need to work hard to keep ourselves humble. Humility is not feeling sorry for oneself, but a hidden power that we have. It gives us the ability to receive the blessing in our time of need. I don't know why I had to fall when I did. But I do know that God had a purpose for it. Everything that He does, He does to help me grow. Maybe it was for me to learn this lesson on pride. And if so, I think He got His point across to me.

Thanks for reading, and God Bless You all this week!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How Do I Measure Up?

In my devotion entitled "What am I worth" last week, I expounded on what I felt my worth was as an individual in the sight of God. At the end of the devotion, I asked the question about how we are to look at ourselves and what kind of difference are we going to make. This week I want to continue on that train of thought to look at how I measure up to God's standards.

Amos 7:7-8
"Thus He showed me, and behold, the Lord was standing by a vertical wall with a plumb line in His hand. The LORD said to me, “What do you see, Amos?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said, “Behold I am about to put a plumb line In the midst of My people Israel. I will spare them no longer."

It may be hard for some people to remember what a plumb line is. Back in the day, (a little before my time) someone building a house would use a plumb line to make sure the wall is standing up straight, and not leaning. They would attach a weight to a string and lower it from the top of the wall at a certain distance from the top of the wall. They would then look at the distance from the weight to the wall and determine how much adjusting they would have to do to the wall to make it straight. Now a days, we have replaced the plumb line with the level, which uses bubbles in a tube to make sure something is standing up straight. In the analogy above, God tells to prophet Amos that he was going to measure His people, and not continue to spare those that did not measure up. He was going to deal with them for their disobedience to His commandments.

If God were to put a plumb line on us, would He find that we measure up to His standards? I am sure that we would not. For none of us are good enough on our own to present ourselves righteous before God. There are many people today that have the idea of what my pastor likes to call "easy believeism". This is where people think that all they have to do is say that they believe in God and that is enough. But, that is not accurate with what the bible teaches.

Romans 10:9-11
"that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

Jesus as Lord. Lord meaning your master. This means that you choose to follow Him and all that He teaches. If we truly believe He is who He says He is, we will obey what He teaches and commands. Satan believes in God. He knows for a fact that Christ rose from the grave. He knows the bible better than any of us. Does that mean he will get into heaven?

John 14:15
"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."

Luke 6:46
"“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?"

So what can we do to help us measure up? Be faithful to Him. On our own we are nothing. But, if we devote our lives to Him, if we strive daily to look for ways to serve Him, these are the things that God looks at for us. What have we done with the gift that His Son gave? If we look at ourselves on a daily basis on how we measure up, it will help us to grow. We would be forced to face our sins and short comings and deal with them. All of this will help us to grow closer to God. Can we ever be perfect? No, but that is no excuse for not trying.

Thanks, and God Bless You All this week!

Monday, October 3, 2011

What am I worth?

I have always felt self reflection necessary to Christian growth. To take time to examine ourselves, to see if we are being true to our Lord. If we find an area in which we struggle, then we can focus on changing that to something that we are strong in. 1 Corinthians 11:28 reads "But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup." Now this verse is found in the teaching of observing the Lord's Supper, and should be done before taking of the Lord's supper because of the warning given in the context of the verse. However, we should not limit ourselves to this practice around the time of Lord's Supper at church. It should be a daily process. If we only look at what needs fixing every once in a while, we might be missing something all together.

In my self reflections lately, I have been asking the question, 'Am I doing all that I am supposed to?' And 'How does God see me when He looks at me?' The answer that I come up with was not too good. Was I as a person worth the price that Christ had to pay on the cross. It is hard sometimes to view ourselves in this light, and honestly I found myself fighting back the tears. Am I as a person, worth anything to God? Does He need me? Of course He doesn't. There is nothing good enough about myself on my own that is good enough for God. However, the amazing part is that He loves me anyway. He gave His life for me. Not because I deserve it, or because I think I am entitled to it. But, just because He loves me.

We need to live life in the thought of how can we make His sacrifice pay back dividends. Christ invested a lot in us. How much do we return the favor. I can only imagine what it was like to hang on a cross and forgive me for all the times I was going to fail. He thought about me! So what am doing? Am I trying my best to serve Him? Let's be honest. It is easier to be a Christian in the US than it is elsewhere in this world. People are dying in other countries because of what they believe. They are paying the ultimate price for their beliefs, while we sit all comfortable and cozy here. So, what can I do different that will make a difference here? These are questions that I encourage you to asks yourselves on a daily basis. Imagine what a change we could see in our spiritual lives if the first thing on our minds when we get up, is how can I best serve my Savior today, or how can I do better in serving my Savior today. Because it is not about me anymore, it is about Him.

Thanks for reading, and God Bless You all this week!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Martyrs

Today at school we had the annual See You at the Pole rally before the day started. I have to admit that I was a little scared when I left for work this morning in a bad thunderstorm about how many would show up. So, when I got to work I stood out front to tell everyone that we would meet in the Library instead. And I was not prepared for what I saw when I got there. Talk about a WOW GOD moment! I had the biggest crowd that I have had in the 6 years I had been in charge of this. Now there has been a lot that has been said about having prayer time at school all over the country. And there has been some persecution. And I spoke with my pastor about this and what he said was very encouraging. He told me that it was an honor to be persecuted. Matthew 5:11-12 "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." I begin to feel somewhat excited that I got to get a small piece of what all of the apostles and church leaders in the early church experienced.

This got me to thinking about all those who suffered because of their faith in God. The story of a martyr is not one of sadness and pity, but of power and victory. From time to time on this blog I will be posting the story of a martyr for the Lord. Not to gain sympathy for what we believe, but to offer encouragement that we are not alone. That God will also be with us through everything we face. I find it fitting that the first martyr be the subject of my first martyr post; Stephen.

Acts 7:54-60
"Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse. When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep."

Stephen was a devout man of God. The end of chapter 6 of the book of Acts tells of all the wonders, and how that no one could stand against the Word that he taught through the spirit. So the Jews conspired against him and claimed that He blasphemed against Moses and God. (The word blaspheme can also be translated as slander) So, he was arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin to be questioned. When he spoke to them, he retold the story of Abraham through all of the prophets, and compared the religious leaders to the Jews that would not follow God and resisted the spirit. For this, He was stoned. However, the part of the story that stands out the most was his attitude. He asked the Lord not to hold this sin against them. With his dying breath he prayed for those who killed him.

There is much to learn here from Stephen. He was not afraid to tell others about Christ. He was bold and courageous. And when it cost him his life, he was not angry at the situation, he was not mad at those who killed him. Yet, he loved them. He prayed for them. I hope that we all can be strong like Stephen. Anytime we face persecution for what we believe, I pray that I can have the same attitude as he did.

Thanks for reading, and God Bless You All this week!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Questions?

Questions can be powerful tools to use. As a teacher, I love to have question and answer time with my students. As long as the question has something to do with the topic, I don't mind answering them. Pretty much because it is important to them, and it helps them to learn and understand more of what I am teaching. The same in church? If there is something about the bible, say a doctrine or a verse, that we do not understand it is best to ask your pastor, deacon, elder, and so on. However, questions have the ability to be dangerous as well. They can also lead to downfall if not used properly.

This past Sunday at church our pastor referenced the first question ever asked in the bible. Now, sadly, I had never thought about this question. Genesis 3:1 "Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?" What we see here in the context is not the asking of a question for the sake of knowledge and wanting to know more about God, but rather, questioning God's Word and authority. We could reword the question to say "Did God really say that?" This questioning the will of God and His authority ultimately lead to the fall of man. And we have been struggling ever since to regain that connection. As we continue reading the bible we see more and more examples of this. Cain questioning whether he was his brother's keeper, Moses questioning God about sending him to Pharaoh, and the list continues on.

Questioning authority always leads to problems and loss of fellowship. As a parent, I expect my children to act a certain way, to do what is right, and to do as they are told. I have a great disdain for the question "why?" when they are told to do something. Sometimes they need to learn just because I said so. Now sometimes I do give an explanation of why somethings are important when the timing is right. But the questioning of authority has no place in my home because I want them to learn at an early age to respect authority. If this is instilled in them then they will be more receptive to the teachings of the Word of God. They will understand better the need to follow Him without question, which is the basis of faith and salvation. To get to a point where we say "Lord, what You want and not what I want."

So, what does this mean for us as Christians? Is it okay to ask questions about the bible to learn more? Absolutely, and we should on a regular basis. Is it right to question the commands of God and His perfect will? Definitely not. It is not up to us. We can practice this in our homes, in our work by submitting to those that have authority over us, in society, and in our churches and spiritual lives.

Thanks, and God Bless You all this week!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What do we do with Grace?

One of the many parts of my job that I enjoy is being a coach. I love to get outside after school, and play. I often times get on the field and go through the drills with my team. I want them to know that I will do the same as I ask them to. It builds a level of trust with my athletes. Along with this, at times, I can become very "loud" at some of our practices and soccer matches. I have been known to throw my hat past the bench area, and speak my mind to an official occasionally in maybe a not so nice fashion. I really get into what I am doing, and I want to win. I want my team to be a success. Now, we do pray before every game starts. And I am always saying to God that I want to represent Him well. And sometimes I end up ignoring that all together. I feel ashamed sometimes when the game is over and I am on my way home for the way that I spoke or carried myself during a game. I have even contacted an official a couple of days later to apologize for the way that I spoke. This led me to think on what are we doing with the Grace that God gives us. Ephesians 1:7 reads "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace." By His grace, we are saved. Because none of us is worthy on our own to be saved. It is because He was gracious enough to send His Son to die for our sins. Christ suffered, bleed, was beaten, and crucified just because He loved us, and wanted us to spend eternity with Him. How do we repay this grace? A lot of times we use it to enable us to sin. What I mean by this is that sometimes people say that it is okay to slip up because God will forgive them. Or, I will just ask God to forgive me after I do this, or later on when I get older. That is not what grace is. Will God forgive us? Yes, but we need to strive to live our lives in a manner that is pleasing to Him. We need to look at grace as our lifeline to reach eternity, rather than to trample it when things don't go our way. We always need to be mindful of God, and act as if we are truly thankful. Not just something to fall back on. We need to be proactive about being a good witness to those around us all the time. We need to be truly thankful for the gift of grace. I think of my children at their birthdays. When the get the one gift that they wanted the most, they hug everybody, they are so thankful and joyous, and cannot wait to play with their new possession. When was the last time we acted the same way towards God for His gift of grace? So happy and thankful. And we cannot wait to apply it in every aspect of our lives. So the question is today, What do we really do with God's grace?

Thanks and God bless you all this week

Thursday, September 8, 2011

This person?

I am extremely encouraged today. Last night, one of the young men that our assembly loves dearly came to know the Lord last night. PRAISE GOD! So I will ask you all to keep him in your prayers. Thinking on this topic lead me to think about those that we may think will never get saved. Those that just do so many things wrong that we sort of stay away from instead of witnessing to. And when they do get saved, it is like 'really'? That guy? These situations remind me of a set of scripture in Acts. Acts 9:17 reads "So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” When we sit back and read the whole story of Saul's conversion we see that Ananias was given a vision to go and lay hands on Saul. And that Saul was praying. This news stunned Ananias. He had heard of all the horrible things that Saul was doing. He knew that he was responsible for the death of many Christians. However, Ananias put his trust in God, and went to where Saul was and laid hands on him to receive his sight once again. Saul's name was later changed to Paul, and he became one of the greatest evangelists ever seen. Know I am sure Ananias was thinking 'wait, this guy? are you serious'? This story just goes to show us that God is in control. We may not always understand all of the situations around us. We may not see the path that God has laid before the people around us. Christ Himself told Peter not to worry about what John was supposed to do before He ascended into heaven. We must however be obedient to God's Word. We do not have the right to pick and choose who we witness to. The great commission at the end of the Gospel of Matthew does not say to witness to who we want. It tells us to spread the Word to "all" nations. And when we see this person that has come to know God, who has gotten saved, it is our responsibility to give that person as much support and love as we can. No matter who they were before Christ. Because Christ did the same for us. And if He can overlook the person that I was before He saved me, then I can do the same to everyone else.

Thanks, and God Bless You all this week!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane!

It is never a dull moment when you live near the coast of North Carolina. I have lived through several hurricanes in my time. I can remember when Hugo hit when I was a child. I can even better remember Bertha and Fran two weeks apart, Bonnie the next year and Floyd two years later. So when we learned that Irene was on the way, it was just another storm. One of the observations that I made with this latest hurricane, is the number of people in the area that seemed to be so frightened by the thought of a hurricane hitting the coast. People felt that there was emminant danger ahead and feared for the worst. Now don't get me wrong, a hurricane is a serious affair, and not to be triffled with. But, it seems that all of the people that I noticed this way, have not had much experience with hurricanes. Either it be that they have not been a resident for long, or they are just too young to remember some of the storms in the past. This got me to thinking about Paul being shipwrecked on his way to Rome, and all that he went through for his faith. In a letter to the church at Corinth, he summed up what he had gone through.

2 Corinthians 11:23-29
"Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?"

Paul had gone through more than any other apostle. Yet he still continued. He took it in his stride. You see, the more we are exposed to the storms of this life, and persevere through them, the stronger we become. The less the storms have an affect on us. One of my favorite verses sums this up.

Romans 5:3-5
"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."


We face these battles daily over our faith. When these storms do come, we need to keep our eyes on God. He knows what is going on. He understands everything that is happening to us better than we do. By keeping our faith and trust in the Lord, we will survive these storms, and become strengthen by them. If Paul can do it, so can we. So I encourage you today, if you are going through a trial, if the storm seems too great to overcome, turn to God and put your faith in Him. And He will see you through.

Thanks, and God bless you all this week!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Stand for what is right

In this day and time it seems harder and harder to find people that are truly devoted to God. Now many people will jump on the bandwagon of saying that they believe in God, but there is nothing in their life to give supporting evidence. Luke 6:46 "Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?" James 2:26 "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." Some of the people you ask will say that it does not matter if you believe or not. It just matters that you are a good person. Some that we come in to contact with have a hatred for anything to do with God. It seems like they are always willing to pick a fight. Then, you have the many different religions in the world that all teach different things. So, which is right? Are we willing to stand up for what we believe against all odds? How strong is our faith in the fact that God is there and that He will do all that He has promised us? We need to be willing to stand alone on what we believe. No matter what people may say to us, do to us, or think of us. A perfect example of this is Elijah of the old testament. In 1 Kings chapter 18 we see that Elijah was willing to stand alone on the promises of God against 450 other men who believed in Baal. He offered a test to prove who the real God was. Many of us have heard the story, and I encourage you all to go and read it again. Because the message is so clear. Elijah did not go to prove who he was, but who God was. He was willing to stand alone on what he believed. And God answered his prayer. Are we standing in the face of adversity? Are we prepared to defend the Gospel, even if no one else is there to support us? Or do we tuck it in and wait for someone to go with us? 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline." If we are truly His, we will witness. We will defend the Gospel. We will stand up for what is right, whether we are with others who share our belief, or we are alone.

Thanks and God Bless You all this week!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Constants

I love being a teacher. I love the opportunity to have a part in helping young people to figure out what they want to do with their lives, and to be a positive influence for them. In my science classes we have to learn about constants. Constants are things in an experiment that do not change. Something that we can control in order to measure whatever it is that we want to figure out. They can be things like temperature, the amount of light, and pH. By having a constant in an experiment, the data that is collected is more accurate. Meaning, the facts that we learn have more accuracy and are more reliable. This makes me think about Christ. Christ is a constant in our lives. He never changes. And because He never changes, we can rely on and have more faith in Him than anything else. Sadly, there is a growing movement that believe that the bible and Christ change with the times. They believe that the scripture has a different meaning today than it did when it was actually written. As far as I am concerned this is a falacy. The Word does not change. No where in the bible can you find a verse that explains that scripture will have a different meaning for other people in different times. It was not meant to. If you think about the scriptures themselves, they were written over thousands of years, by all sorts of people with different backgrounds. There where shepards, kings, fishermen, doctors, tentmakers, travellers, and taxcollectors that all had a part in producing the God inspired teachings that is our bible. Over all of that time, the bible remains perfectly cohesive with no contridictions. How could this be possible if it were meant to change over time. When Christ died, He died for all of our sins; past, present, and future. Christ was there in the beginning. Christ will return in the end. And how He judges who will be raptured with Him before the tribulation, and how He judges who will enter His kingdom afterwards will be based on the Word. We learn that Chirst and the Word are the same. John chapter 1 verse 1reads "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." And verse 14 in the same chapter reads "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." We must look at the bible as a constant. It does not change. By doing this, we ensure that how we are measured is accurate. We will ensure that our final result is approved and acceptable by our God. Just think, if He were not a constant, how would we know if what we were doing was going to provide good results. I honestly believe that the teaching that the meaning of scripture must change with the times is spoken of in 2 Timothy Chapter 4 verses 1-4. "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths." Be wary of those who try to make the bible fit their desires, not their desires to fit what the bible teaches. My hope is that by using the right constant, I can recieve a passing grade and enter the Kingdom with Him.

Thanks, and God Bless You all this week!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thanksgiving

You know, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays every year. There is plenty of time spent with family, some of which I do not get to see very often. There is also an abundance of food. It is one of a couple of days that I do not watch what I eat. And an added bonus to all of this, is that my birthday runs the same week as Thanksgiving every year. But probably the best part about Thanksgiving is the meaning behind the holiday. A time to give thanks. Thanksgiving is the only American holiday that is based solely on Christianity. Christmas and Easter have their non-biblical aspects to them; Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. However, Thanksgiving is all about giving Thanks to our God. Now I know that it is July and not November, and some of you are probably thinking, Why is he talking about Thanksgiving now? Well, why do we set aside just one day a year to give Thanks for all that God has blessed us with? Psalm 7:17 reads "I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness
And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High." King David here did not wait for a specific day to give thanks to the Lord. He felt the need to do it continually, which is a common theme throughout the Psalms. Hebrews 13: 15 reads "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name." It says "continually." We have been blessed with so much in our lives. All of which we should not let a day go by that we do not give thanks to God for what He has done. He sent His Son to die on a Cross for us. A love that is more abundant than any other in this world. He gave us our families and food to eat. All that we are and have accomplished are because of Him. I have worked very hard on my children to say Thank You every time someone compliments them or does something nice to them. And for the most part, they do remember to Thank people, as do most of us. However, God does so many good things for us on a daily basis. Do we say thank you for all of them?

Thanks and God Bless You all this week!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Why do you go to church?

I am a very blessed individual. This past Sunday, I was able to be present at my younger sister's baptizm. I was so happy that I could not restrain the tears. It felt a little nostalgic being in the church that I grew up in. I had not visited that church in years. It felt good to see some old friends as well. At my own church, we have had a few new visitors recently. This led me to think about the reasons that people go to church. What is the motivation? Some come looking for hope, some come to learn, some only come for special occasions, and sadly, some come just to be seen. My case in point for my sister's baptizm was a very special occasion. However, we need to look at the driving force for going to church. Why should we go to church? We should go for the sole purpose of self centered reasons. I know this may sound bad but hear me out. We need to go to church with the mindset of spending time with our Lord. Now, it is nice to spend time with brothers and sisters in the Lord. This time can be uplifting, a chance to encourage one another, and to prepare for the week. But, our major motivation should be to receive a blessing and preparation for self. When we go for our own personal selves, all of the others just seem to go along with that. When we attend church for ourselves, we expect to be blessed by what we hear. When we go with a mindset of self, we pay more attention to the message, we enjoy the fellowship more, we enjoy those special moments, like my sister's baptizm, more. When we go to church for the wrong reasons, we miss out on those blessings. When we go to church so we can see so and so, we get just that. We got to spend time with that person and we missed out on that blessing. When we go just for special occasions, we are just going to be seen. If we went to seek the Lord, it would be more likely that we go more than just a couple times a year. Some people go to church for their kids. How does this help your kids? Kids are real smart these days. They see that we are not serious, and probably will not take it as seriously too. We must keep the attitude of strengthening ourselves when we go to church. Contrary to popular beliefs, the purpose of the church is for Christians. I have debated many people that say that church is for the lost. I do not agree. When you look at the letters of Paul to the different churches, he addresses the letter to the church. This reference is to those individuals at that assembly that are saved. We go to learn as much as we can, to gain encouragement from other believers to go out and be a good witness to this world. It is our job to bring a saving knowledge of Jesus to the lost. Then we bring them to the church so they can learn as well. Why do I go to church? I go for "me." I go, to strengthen "myself." I go to serve "my" Lord. Everything else, is just enjoyed so much more when I do.

Thanks and God Bless You all this week!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Independence Day

I love this time of year. Time to celebrate the birth of our nation. A time to remeber those who were seen as radicals and rebels, challange an empire to be recognized as an independent nation. A time to honor those who gave their lives to ensure that we had the right to govern ourselves and provide freedom for our new nation. Not to mention the cookouts, family get togethers and of course fireworks. I can remember how my two oldest kids reacted to the fireworks that were displayed before their eyes. I enjoyed watching them more than I did the fireworks. All of this thinking about our history and the birth of our nation out of the old empire set my mind to thinking about salvation. When we become saved, we become a new creation. We separate ourselves from the rest of the world. We choose to be known as a singular Christian. And everything about our identity changes. We choose to follow a different path. Is it always easy? Most certainly not. As a matter of fact, as soon as we make the choice to follow Christ, that is when it is the hardest. It seems that is when we go through some of the harshest trials. We can see in the book of Matthew and the 4th chapter that as soon as Christ was baptized, He was tempted by Satan to turn back. Such is the same for us. When we first make that decision, hard temptations follow. Sometimes from our friends, and even our families. When there is no one else that are friends and family that are also saved, they sometimes don't understand why we would want to do that. They become distant. We seem to be ridiculed sometimes as well. This attack on our soul is Satan's way to try to get us down while we are still new to the Word. It is important that we strive to read the scriptures as much as possible to defend ourselves from, and fight temptation. Again this seems to resemble the birth of our nation. As soon as we declaired our independence, we had to fight to keep it. Years of war, suffering, and death. Our founding fathers could have easily given up and joined the British empire once more. However, they continued, and won their independence. What does this mean to those who have been saved for a long time? It says to me that when someone chooses to follow Christ, it is our duty to build them up. Our duty to help them grow and fight the temptation to turn from their commitment. We need to follow the example of our founding fathers and Christ. When Christ was tested, He did not waiver. He did not turn back. He fought temptation for forty days, and found victory. Have we found our victory? Are we preparing ourselves to fight temptation everyday? Just some thoughts for this independence day.

Thanks and God Bless You all this week.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Faithfulness

I love working in VBS. When else do we get the time to dress up and act silly with the kids at church and it be perfectly acceptable? The last few years I have had the opportunity to help lead and teach at VBS. I guess that one of my gifts is working with young people. There is not many things as fun as spending time with kids. I guess that has something to do with me working in Education. One of the lessons that I was able to do was a lesson on faithfulness. What is faithfulness? Faithfulness as I can see it is using what God has blessed us with to serve Him. In Luke chapter 19 Jesus tells the parable about the slaves entrusted with some of the master's money. They were told to put it to work until he returned. Upon his return, some of the slaves turn the small amount of money into much more, and one hid his money for fear of losing it. The ones who used the money to make more where blessed with more opportunities for service. The one who did not lost it. This parable explains to us what we are supposed to do while we wait for Christ's return. When He ascended to heaven, He gave a promise that one day He would return. While He is gone, we are supposed to witness and use the gifts we have been blessed with to serve Him. All born again Christians are blessed with at least one gift. Some are blessed with more. To reference theses gifts you can look up Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12. Are job is to use them to the glory of God and win more believers to a saving knowledge of Him. If we prove ourselves to be faithful with a few things, God will entrust us with more things in the future. Part of this will be our rewards in heaven. The flip side of this story is what happens when we choose not to use our gifts. If we choose not to, according to the story Christ told, we will lose our gifts. Sometimes we do not use them like we should. Maybe we are just tired that day, maybe we think too much about what the people around us will think, etc. Whatever the case may be, we need to keep our minds on being faithful with the gifts we have received. Jesus looks at the world a lot differently than we do. He never hid His love and grace to us because of how He felt or what people around might have said to Him. So, in whatever gift God has choosen to bless you with, use it to glorify God as often as possible. Because the blessings will continue to flow when you do.

Thanks for reading and God bless you all this week!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Need a Re-do!

Since I have begun with this blog, I feel that I have become pretty computer savy. I have learned to do things that I could not imagine. However, with all that I have learned to do with computers, I still make some careless mistakes. Sometimes I wish that I would have spent more time paying attention in my grammer classes and computer classes growing up. It is so nice having things like spell check, and grammer check. However, my favorite feature is the Undo button. I have had the occasional erase everything by accident moment when typing research papers and coming up with assingments for my students at school. Thankfully there is always the Undo button at the top that I can click and my work would go back to like it was before my error. In a way, that is how Christ is. At one time in our history man was perfect. There was a time when Adam and Eve were sinless. But, because of their sin in the garden, a curse was passed down to all mankind. We were separated from God. The sin in our lives acts like a divide that pulls us out of the perfect will of God in which we were designed. We were a great mistake in the history of life. With all these mistakes, Jesus came, lived a perfect life, and died so that we could become rightous. He is our Undo button. His love and grace can undo all that we do, and all that we have become. Christ is the only way to cover our sins, kind of like what the older generation used white out for. There is none other holy enough, or great enough to forgive those sins. John 14:6 reads, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father but by me. He is our advocate. He is the one that makes intercession to the Father on our behalf. I like knowing that I have an undo button here on this earth. It is nice to know that when I make mistakes in this life, that I have a Savior great enough to undo it for me. Thank God I am saved.

Thanks for reading, and God bless you all this week!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gifts from Christ

I love good Christian music. Every time that I get in my vehicle, the radio is tuned into Klove. When I am on my way to work each morning, that is my time to get personal with my God. I listen to the music, sing to the top of my lungs, and sometimes just talk to Him. As I listen to these songs, I feel a sense of His presence and what it is that Christ has done for us. I started reading through the Gospels and looking at all the things that He went through and what it has done for me. I have come up with a few ideas that I would like you to entertain for just a moment. First and foremost His birth gives me Hope. God saw the shape the world was in. He knew that we needed an example to live by so that we could one day spend eternity with Him. Christ left the glory of heaven to be born on earth. He knew He would die, yet He came anyway. His baptism teaches me obedience. As we know with the Trinity, and many verses in the New Testament, Jesus is God. However, He still made a point to be baptized. Did He really need it? I don't think so. But He did it to show an example of obedience to the will of God. His time in the wilderness after His baptism teaches me that all men are tempted by Satan. Of course Satan knew who he was dealing with. He knew that Christ had a power over Him. Yet, he tried anyway to make Him stumble. That lets me know that Satan will keep attacking us, even when we become saved. More so as soon as we profess it and become baptized, when we are young in the Word. His life and teaching show me what true love really is. The greatest commandment as seen in Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Everything that He taught, the way He lived showed us the example of how to love each other, and how much He loved us. Because of His teaching, He had to die. His death saved me. He was the only true and acceptable sacrifice for my sin. He allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross, and die, so that I could gain forgiveness for my sin, and go to heaven one day. If He had not died, salvation would not be available to us. When He was buried, He carried my sin to the grave. He bore my sin on that cross. He took them from me, and paid the price for my transgressions. When He arose, He gave me justification and a promise. I now have someone in heaven that will go to the Father on my behalf. And because He arose, I know that He will return. I do not know when this day is, but one day, a trumpet will sound, and I will be called up to meet Him in the air, where I will be with Him forever and ever. This is what Christ has done for us. These are the gifts that He gave. If you are reading this and have not given your life to Him, if you have not chosen to receive these gifts, I pray that you do so soon. 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 reads "And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain— for He says, “AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU,
AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.” Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION." Please do not wait too long.

Thanks and God Bless You all this week!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Defend Yourself

It has become apparent to me that Christianity has been vastly under attack this past decade. Many people believe us to be unreasonable, and even crazy for the way we believe. The majority of the world's population believes in other religions such as Islam, Buddhism, and even atheist. We are in a constant state of having to defend ourselves in our belief of God, and His Son, Jesus, who died on a cross and rose three days later. The pressures of this world weigh heavily on us. We receive ridicule, lack of respect, and even ostracization. How do we combat this? How do we stay strong and persevere? To this I love Ephesians 6:10-17. It reads "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Notice the scripture says to put on the full armor of God. Not just part of the armor. When I think of armor I think of our military. All the things they use to protect themselves in time of war. If they have to leave base without a piece of equipment, they are vulnerable and in danger. Such is the same for Christians. If we leave home everyday without a piece of our armor, we are vulnerable and in danger as well. Maybe not from bullets and bombs, but from the words and attacks of society. Everyday we need to speak the truth, believe in the Lord, read the scriptures daily, have faith, and ultimately we need to be saved. Constant devotion to these aspects prepares and protects us daily. It also helps us to grow and become more dependent on God's Love, rather than the love of the world. So, if you feel like you are under constant attack from those around you. I say, put your armor on everyday.

Thanks and God Bless You all this week!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Line of Communication

I was blessed to have the opportunity to speak this past Sunday at my church. I always enjoy this chance to share what God places on my heart, and yet there is a load of responsibility that goes with it. Did I use the right verses? Did I misinterpret something? Did I make the point that was needed? Did I make a difference? All of these questions I used while praying for the message that God wanted. Now I do not claim to hear God's voice directly, but I believe that He uses subtle clues, i.e. lays on your heart what needs to be said. In this case it came from a young man that asked me what exactly is a personal relationship with God. I gave him an answer and had a good witness session with him, but the question kind of stuck with me. I started studying my bible and could not find anywhere that it used the phrase "personal relationship." This was perplexing. So I started thinking about what it means to have a good relationship. This lead me to a sermon. One of the big keys that I discovered while studying was the need for communication. Most of us sadly only seem to pray when we are at church, before we eat, and at bedtime. Lets think just for now about your spouse, significant other, special family member. How would your relationship be with that person if you only spoke to them before a meal, right before sleep at night, and three other times a week? The divorce rate might be higher. This lead me to think, what is the status of my relationship with God. When to I talk to Him? I come to find that my relationship was not too good. I mean, if you think about the person that only talks to you when something is wrong or wants something, does God see us the same way. Don't get me wrong, I know that God loves us all, but do you think He gets tired of us trying to use Him, instead of serve Him. Psalm 145 teaches that God draws near to all who pray to Him. We need that closeness with our creator. One of the other ways to best communicate with Him is constant study. The bible is the life story and legacy of Christ. By taking time to read and find out who He was, what He did for us, and what He expects of us, deepens our relationship. We have to ask the question, do we really know our Lord, and does He know us? John 10:24-28 reads "The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand." So I ask again. What is the state of our relationship with our Lord. Do we commune with Him often, or only at the appointed time or when we need something.

Thanks and God Bless You all this week!

Monday, May 23, 2011

End of Time?

I know that many of you have heard about or seen in the news about this group of people that said the world would end soon. That the rapture would have been this past Saturday at 6pm and the actual "Doomsday" would be in October. Well, I am still here. I have not gone anywhere. The truth of the matter is that none of us know when the world is going to end. Matthew 24:36 reads "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone." Jesus Himself does not even know when the rapture is going to be. Only God the Father does. With that being said I would caution you when you here someone say that they have figured it out. What makes them great enough to be let in on a secret from God that He will not even tell His Son? But, one thing that this whole false prophecy has done, is to cause people to think about the end of time. Should we be actively searching the scriptures for a secret that will tell us the exact day? No! Should we be selling all we have and quit working because it will all be over soon? Definitely not. What we should be doing, is carrying on what Jesus told us to do before He returned. In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus commanded "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." And if you flip your bible over the the book of Acts in the first chapter verses 7-11, it teaches that the disciples were chastised for watching the clouds. Is the end of the world coming soon? I believe so. But, instead of looking for the end, I feel it more important to witness and share the Gospel of Christ with as many people as possible. The exact day in which I will be raptured, or the appointed time for me to die is none of my concern. That is God's business. My business is to do the best I can with what time God has given me.

Thanks and God Bless you all this week!