How Do I Respond To Others

James 2:1-4 “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand here” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”

Wow! Evil thoughts! Do you see your favoritism towards people who have more, or are better dressed as evil? God calls it that. All too often in society the well-dressed, the seemingly more important people get better seats and are treated as though they are royalty and deserving. When I think of people who get special attention when they come into a room, my mind goes to celebrities, athletes, and high powered business people. And sometimes even preachers and teachers of God’s word. Sad, but true. A person should never be judged by their lack of. When Jesus talks about our loving our neighbor as ourselves, he means everyone we come in contact with. We do not get to pick and choose who we love and are kind to. 

I think the reason we will treat a well-dressed seemingly important person better is that we want to identify with them. We want to see ourselves as more than we are. We fail to realize that not all of these people have gotten where they are by honesty and hard work. Some may have cheated or been born into wealth and privilege. They may even be gaining their lifestyles at our expense. So often those who have much find it hard to follow Christ, who came as a humble servant. Too often a person’s appearance is more important to us than their character. 

When we show favoritism because of someones standing, wealth or position, we are looking at the outside and not the character and depth of a person, we are showing selfish motives. All people need fellowship, the rich, the well dressed, and the poor and needy. All are human beings made in God’s image. We are told that showing favoritism is wrong. Yet, Christians do it all the time. Churches even do it, wanting the rich inside the doors, blessing the offering plate! Shame on us! 

All too often people view someone being rich as their being abundantly blessed, approved, and favored by God, not true my friend. Often those riches are stumbling blocks to a right relationship with God or any relationship with God. People trust in themselves, they seem to have all they need, so why need God? Following Christ means that we are told to live humble lives, ready to give it all up for Christ’s name and hold onto eternal life. We must live faithful in this life. Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

God’s word tells us that many who are first in this life will be last. (Matthew 19:30) For those who walk faithful regardless of their earthly wealth and circumstances, God promises riches untold in eternity. (Matthew 19:29 reads:) And everyone who has left houses and brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. The world views those who have and those who have not differently. But we as believers need to view people the same, with the same kindnesses and places of importance because we are all made in God’s image.  

Why is showing favoritism bad, here are a few footnotes from my bible.

  1. It is inconsistent with Christ’s teachings.
  2. It results from evil thoughts.
  3. It is a by-product of selfish motives.
  4. It insults people made in God’s image.
  5. It goes against the Biblical definition of love.
  6. It shows a lack of mercy to those less fortunate.
  7. It is hypocritical.
  8. It is sin.

Showing favoritism IS SIN. Have you ever thought about it that way? Be honest. We are told in verses 10-11 of James: “10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.” We cannot use this verse to justify any sin, by saying “well I have already broken one of God’s laws, so why try? God’s mercy is great towards us, and when we repent of our sin, He forgives us. We all need to do our best to not let sin reign in our bodies. Even Christians sometimes sin, but it is not a lifestyle of sin. We need to always measure ourselves against God’s standard, not man’s. We are not saved by the law, but by God’s grace, but as believers, we are to obey God’s word and not only hear it, but do it. One day we will all, even the rich, the poor, the needy, sinners, all appear before God’s throne of judgment to be judged for our conduct. (2 Corinthians 5:10) God’s grace does not cancel our duty to obey him. 

So, in conclusion, before you decide to show favoritism to someone who seems of better standing, wealth, or privilege, remember these words found in the last couple of verses of James 2. “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” I want to live a life that pleases God in all I do. I want to treat others as I want to be treated. I have experienced being treated differently because I did not seem to measure up to what the world thinks my financial status should be. I have been judged and found wanting because my academic history did not seem to be enough. I have been judged and found wanting because I have chosen the path of homemaker over a business woman. I am sure at one time or another each of us has been either favored or found lacking. 

I want to love as Jesus loves, I want to see others as he sees them. I want to mimic my Lord in all I do and say. I want to see those in need as people made in the image of God, just as deserving as I. I want to; “Act justly, Love mercy and Walk humbly before my God.” (Micah 6:8) The world and its ideas of who should be lifted and given privilege are messed up. Choose mercy over judgment. Let God work out the details of others’ lives. Do not assume that because someone is homeless, out of a job, dresses shabbily, did not go to college, does not make lots of money, or is not in the limelight, that he or she is just lazy, unintelligent, unmotivated, etc. Maybe they are in that state so that you can show mercy and kindness and act like Jesus. Maybe theirs will be the untold riches story we read about. Look into the eyes of everyone and see that they are image-bearers of their Creator. Be Jesus to them…show mercy, show love, act like the One in whom you believe, the Lord Jesus Christ!

We all come into this world with nothing, and we will take nothing with us when we leave. And we will all stand before Him. Be ready!

Do You? Do I?

Have any of you read the accounts of Daniel in your bible? Most Christians have at least some knowledge of Daniel. So, the back story is this King Darius appoints 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. Now Daniel was obedient to the Lord, faithful, trustworthy, and did nothing to draw attention to himself and did nothing wrong in his work or private life. He obeyed God, prayed three times a day towards Jeruselum, and God blessed and advanced him. Fast-forward, Daniel had so distinguished himself among the other administrators because of his exceptional qualities that they decided he needed to go. They plotted and tried their best to find fault in his work but could not.

Here is where the story takes a turn. The other administrators and officials knew that Daniel was faithful to God, the true and living God. They knew he prayed to God daily, so this was the basis for their going to the king to get him to issue an edict and enforce it that if anyone prays to another god or man during the next thirty days, except to the king himself, they would be thrown into the lion’s den.

Let’s pick up the story from the word of God.
Daniel 6:10-15 “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened towards Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to God, just as he had done before. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or man except you, O king, would be thrown into the lions’ den?” The king answered, “The decree stands-in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” 13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed, he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him. 15 Then the men went as a group to the king and said to him, “Remember, O king, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.

Wow! Daniel had heard what would happen if he disobeyed, yet being obedient to God was more important than his life. He continued to do the right thing, knowing what might take place. It seemed that now around 70 to 80 years old. God had been faithful to him ever since he had been taken captive around 17 years old. He trusted God’s plan. From day one of his captivity, Daniel had been faithful to do what the Lord had instructed him to do. He did not allow the enticing things around him to sway his devotion to God. Can we say the same? Are we faithful to God? Do we look at our circumstances and allow them to dictate our obedience?

Moving on: Daniel 6:16-22 “So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” 17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep. 19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” 21 Daniel answered, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.”

Daniel had no promise from God that we read that said that God would for sure rescue him from the lions’ den, but Daniel knew God had always been faithful and whether he lived or died, he was going to serve God. I am sure he must have felt some fear, at least the kind of fear that does not want pain, one’s body to be torn to shreds and eaten while still alive. But Daniel had made up his mind a long time ago that he would not serve any other God. No matter what happened. Nothing could change his mind. He had been given favor with his captors. The king respected Daniel and it sounds like he even liked him. This was a hard night for the king, sleepless, probably walking the floor, wondering what he would find. He had witnessed Daniel’s faithfulness to the living God. He had seen the blessing God had given to Daniel. We will see now that God will punish those who were wrong, and we hear these words fromencounter we hear the king.

Daniel 6:23-28 “The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in God. 24 At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crused all their bones. 25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples nations and men of every language throughout the land: “May you prosper greatly!” 26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdon people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdon will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. 27 He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” 28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reighn of Dyrus the Persian.”

God used this time to open the eyes of the king. Daniel was a living witness and testimony to God’s faithfulness. He knew whether he lived or died he would be with the Lord. His faith was strong, his mind made up! Nothing, not even the threat of death would or could sway him. Now ask yourself this question: “Is your mind made up?” Even if you thought you were going to die a horrible death, would you still be obedient to the Lord?

We are living in uncertain strange times. Christian’s are fast becoming the enemy to many; evil does not like the light. We do not know where the paths of life may take us, but we better know before we get there what our answer will be, who will you serve? I see people/Christians who are already realing from this pandemic and the changes in our way of life. Some have mouthed such mean and vile things, others live in fear. God’s word tells us that ,”He is the same, yesturday, today and forever.” (Malachi 3:6)

No matter your past faithfulness or how you are right now, you can ask the Lord to fill you with fresh fire. To grow your heart in faith and faithfulness. You can this very moment decide that no matter what comes your way, you WILL be obedient to the Lord and His word. Even if death is a possiblitly you will stay the course. God may or may not deliver you as he did Daniel, but not matter what happens you will still be with him. If your eyes close in death hear on this earth, remember the very next step is eternity with Jesus, your faith will become sight!

None of us know the paths that we will have to walk on. Some paths are harder than others, but all paths are meant to draw us closer to our Lord and Savior. They are completing the work started in us at the moment of our salvation. We are never promised an easy road, but we are promised that God NEVER LEAVES US OR FORSAKES US, He is faithful to the end! Is your mind made up?

God Is…

I feel impressed to remind myself and everyone else just who God is. During these chaotic and often scary times, we are witnessing and many are experiencing we all need to be reminded of who God is.

God is Infinite. Colossians 1:17 “And he is before all things, and in him, all things hold together.” God is self-existent. He has existed forever. He is Jehovah; He is the I AM.

God is Immutable. Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”
God does not change his mind, his plans, his character. He can never be better or worse depending on the situation. His promises never change. We can depend on God, He is faithful in all things.

God is self-sufficient. John 5:26 “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.” God has need of nothing. Unlike us, we have needs that must be met. Because God has no needs, and we are needy, we can go to him and trust that he will meet our needs. He has all wisdom, goodness, understanding, power, ability and so much more; and He is the supplier of all our needs. We just need to ask!

God is Omnipotent: Psalm 33:6 “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath fo his mouth.” God has unlimited power. There is nothing He cannot do. God does anything that is in alignment with his will. He will not go outside of his perfect will to act. If God wills something it will happen. God’s will is always in line with his character. If He has a plan and a purpose, it will come to pass. Nothing can stop His plan from unfolding. No man, no evil, nothing. So, when he says He will come again, we can trust his word. John MacArthur says it this way: “Although such power might seem frightful, remember that God is good. He can do anything according to His infinite ability but will do only those things that are consistent with Himself. That is why He can’t lie, tolerate sin, or save impenitent sinners.”

God is Omniscient: God is All-Knowing. Isaiah 46:9-10 “Remember the former things, those long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” God is aware of everything at all times. He does not sleep or get distracted. He knows every detail of your life, your thoughts even before you think them. He knows the full content of your heart and what dictates your actions. You are an open book to him, you have not secrets. This is both comforting and frightening, don’t you think? It also means He understands us, better than we do. We need never fear telling God all of our junk, he already knows and sees it; we cannot tell him anything that will change his mind about us.

God is Omnipresent: God is everywhere. Psalm 139:7-10 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your Presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.”
Jeremiah 23:23-24 “Am I a God at hand,’ declares the Lord, ‘and not a God afar off? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.”
God is all places at all times. You may run, but you cannot hide. The fullness of his presence is always with us. No matter what our situation, no matter where we are, He is there. We should be deeply comforted to know that God is always with us and around us. I find it very comforting to know that even on my worst day, He is with me.

God is wise: Romans 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements and unfathomable His ways.”
God knows it all, every fact, every reason, every everything! He is always wise, consistent in his wisdom. He always does what is the wisest and best thing for us; even during those times when we would say, really God? Why? Or I can’t? He does not have off days, and all his decisions are perfect and right. No matter the paths we wander down in life, even sinful ones, God can still use it for our good and his glory to accomplish in us what needs to be done. Our sin and rebellion will not and cannot thwart his plans. He tells us that he will finish the work he has started in us.

God is Faithful” Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”
2 Timothy 2:13 “If we are faithless, He remains faithful for he cannot deny himself.”
God’s faithfulness d with his immutability. He does not change. God does not forget. He acts according to his will and way and does all the things needed for us and in our world. He promised us that He would be with us and He is. We often wonder why if God is faithful that he allows us to suffer, but it is only because we cannot fully understand His wisdom and the reasons He allows the things that He does. We try to reason it in our finite minds, and we just can’t. He is always good, always with us, never changing, and always available.

God is good: Psalm 34:8 “O, taste and see that the Lord is good.”
God is kind, He is tenderhearted towards us, He is long-suffering with us. He always acts in a manner that is right and perfect. He is gentle and loving with us, even when we sin and come to him for forgiveness we need not be ashamed, for he is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us. He takes pleasure in our joy and happiness. We can experience God’s goodness as we learn of him and obey him. He delights in giving us good things. Even when bad things happen the bible tells us that he can make it good for us and bring glory to himself in the process.

God is just: Deuteronomy 32:4 “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.”
God’s justice means more than he is fair in all he does. He acts rightly in all situations. God is fully just and fully merciful. God will have justice for sin, and He is right when sinners go to hell, and right when those who call on his name are saved, “born-again” and go to heaven. We either get God’s mercy in this life or his justice, both are right. God cannot and is never wrong.

God is merciful: Romans 9:15-16 ” I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” God’s mercy is underserved by us. We are born sinners at birth, but God chooses whom He will have mercy on and whom he will have justice on. Without God’s mercy, we would have no hope of heaven. We are the work of his hands. If I make a beautiful piece of pottery, I shape it and paint it until it looks great, is it not my right to smash it if I choose? Or I could set it on my shelf to admire and possibly use. As it’s maker I get to choose how I use it or do not use it. God is our creator.
People want to argue that if God is so good why do people go to hell, it is simple, unbelief.

God is gracious: Psalm 145:8 “The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.” God’s grace is something we cannot earn and we cannot lose it. He bestows it on us. God’s common grace is given to all, but his Saving Grace is for those who trust in His name and belong to him. Common grace: Matthew 5:45 “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” His Saving Grace sanctifies us, it enables us to live for him and eventually enjoy being with him for all eternity. If you belong to Christ His Saving Grace has been extended to you and you have received His mercy and not His justice. Unmerited favor is yours. You did not earn it, He was gracious in bestowing it upon you.

God is loving: 1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
God’s love is unchanging, infinite, all-consuming, sovereign, perfect, eternal. He does not need us, but he allows us to be loved and to love him. God wants our love. His love for us has no end. God will not one day stop loving you. Nothing you can do will make him not love you. Why? Only God knows. But aren’t you thankful that he loves us and that he has chosen us?

God is Holy: Revelation 4:8 “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord Almighty.”
Holy, is set apart, sacred, and divine. Trying to describe the Holiness of God is hard. God’s holiness binds all his other attributes together. He is completely perfect, complete in every way. There is no one like him. God tells us that because he is perfect, we need to be perfect as well. Matthew 5:48; but the reality is we cannot be perfect that is why we needed a Savior, it is why Jesus died on the cross to satisfy the Father. There is no other way that we can meet the standard, we must be born-again. And when we place our trust in Jesus and we turn from sin, God sees us as perfect. Wow! Isn’t that amazing. We will never receive the sentence we deserve for our sin. Jesus paid the price.

God is Glorious: Habakkuk 3:4 “His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, And there is the hiding of His power.” God’s radiance shines forth in all that He is and all that He does.
John Piper says it this way: “The glory of God is the infinite beauty and greatness of God’s manifold perfections. The infinite beauty-and I am focusing on the manifestation of his character and his worth and his attributes; all of his perfections and greatness are beautiful as seen- and there are many of them. That is why I use the word manifold.”

God is often referred to as light. We are told to be salt and light. When I think of God’s thrown I think of a light so bright shining from it that it nearly blinds me in its uniqueness and brilliance. In Revelation 4:3 we read: “And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.” All that God is, Is glorious…Radiant…Perfect…Unchanging…All-Powerful…All-Knowing…Merciful and Good…God is…

As you read this I pray that the cares of this world faded away. I pray that you were reminded that no matter what is happening around you or in you, God’s got it! You can relax, live, love, laugh, and continue walking with the Lord, and have no fear for the future. God has always been and will always be in charge! Right now He is working out the plan he put into place before the beginning of time, if you could not handle it, you would not be here now. It is for such a time as this that you are living in this world. He has promised to complete the work he started in you and get you to heaven…Relax…trust Him.

And if there by chance is someone reading this that does not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, know that today all your sins can be forgiven when you put your trust in him. Your slate can be wiped clean and you will be made perfect before God the Father in an instant. For if you die without Christ yours will be an eternity in hell, forever condemned without hope. Utter darkness and unspeakable things to endure, forever.
So it is either forever in heaven where everything will be perfect and we will forever be with Christ or it is hell. Think about it!

Are The Wicked Succeeding?

Psalm 9:10 “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you”.

Psalm 10:1-11 “Why, O Lord, do you stand afar off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 2 In arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. 3 He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. 4 In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. 5 His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies. 6 He says to himself, “Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.” 7 His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. 8 He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent, watching in secret for his victims. 9 He lies in wait like a lion in cover; he lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. 10 His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. 11 He says to himself, “God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees”.

Are the wicked succeeding? If you are watching the news all the time and keep your head buried in world events and those things happening around our word you would say a resounding, Yes! God seems silent right now. The COVID-19 virus is still going strong and getting stronger in many areas. People are still very sick and dying every minute of the day. Our government is in shambles and I am pretty sure a laughing stock to other countries. We are no longer the example we should be for other countries. There have been lines drawn in the sand and people in high places are acting like spoiled children. People are still rioting, still killing, still…(you insert something) It seems our world is in a mess. And guess what I know all of this and I don’t watch the news. I see and hear enough, I do not want to know more.

God is seemingly for the most part being very silent right now. I hear people asking, “Where is God in all of this”? “Why doesn’t he do something”? People are complaining, people are tired, emotionally weary, hurting, desperate in many situations, God? God? God? “Where are you”? Evil seems to be succeeding, voices of reason, of people who love God are being silenced, censored. Freedom of speech seems only to be okay for those who are causing problems.

Rest assured God has not left us, Psalm 9:10 above tells you, “He has never forsaken those who seek him.” NEVER! He has not in the past and He will not now. God allows all kinds of things to push us, often to our breaking point it feels. But he pushes us to him, He crowds us in to see where we are going to put our trust. Who are we going to listen to? Will we repent? Will we stop doing those things that anger God and turn from our wicked ways and acknowledge Him, worship Him? Will we surrender everything to Him? Even our right to be offended? Even our right to say whatever we want? The wicked seem sometimes to have it all, wealth, power, etc. They do not care who they offend or hurt in their efforts to satisfy their desires. They certainly are not for us!

Let’s read on. Psalm 10:12-18 “Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Don not forget the helpless. 13 Why does the wicked man revile God? why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”? 14 But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. 15 Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out.16 The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. 17 You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, 18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order, that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more”.

God knows God sees, God hears, and at the right time when God is finished working out this detail of his plan He will move, He will conquer sin, death, hurt, disappointment, evil and evil men. God’s timing is not our timing. Regardless of whether or not it seems evil is succeeding, it isn’t. God’s word tells us to expect these things. As he works all things out according to the timetable set before the beginning of time. But over and over He reassures us we are not alone, we are NEVER alone and we will NEVER be forsaken. As HIS children we are covered by Him. Yes, we may experience temporary hurts, disappointments, sorrows. We may be wrongly accused. But God…

The disciples experienced so many horrible things as they persevered for the Kingdom. They preached and taught Jesus. They did not allow themselves to be embroiled in the politics and positions of people. Evil men existed then and they knew God would defend them. He would have His perfect will and way. All they needed to do was keep on following, trusting, teaching, and preaching Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is the answer to every question asked. Jesus is the one in whom we can trust. Jesus conquered death, Jesus is interceding for us right now. And one day He will return, He will have the final say on evil. All these who have caused pain, slandered His name, and seemingly prospered at the expense of others, will be dealt with. And my friend if they have not repented; it is not going to end well. It will end with an eternity in hell.

We do not face evil alone. God is always with us. All we need to do is read His word, Pray, and Seek His Face. It is a supernatural happening when we submit ourselves to God. The Holy Spirit comes in and gives us incredible peace, and even joy as we watch the events take place, knowing God wins! We need not be afraid all the time. As a child of God, you should be telling others about Jesus, and not contributing to the chaos around you. It will happen whether or not you participate in it. As I said in another blog, be an encourager. Be Jesus to someone here on this earth. It will keep you focused on what is important and keep you from getting caught up in the craziness around you.

Even King David had to flee and hide and do things that made him uncomfortable and hard. He was anointed, yet life dealt him some hard blows, injustices, etc. But He knew He could trust God, He knew he was not alone in it. We are not promised an easy ride in this life. It is going to be hard, we are going to have those things that seem to push us almost to breaking, but God. Remember child of God, we are to emulate the One who died for us in word and deed, have you, are you? If not, repent, turn away from the chaos of the world, fall in the lap of Jesus, and set out to be the “Salt and Light” you are supposed to be. And remember often, we are to keep silent in matters other than where Jesus is concerned. Now is the time to tell others, “He is coming back someday, maybe this day, be ready”!! The time is drawing near, Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

Evil is not succeeding…God is still on the throne, He hears every word and sees every tear and unjustice, evil has a short time…and then God will banish evil for good!

Are You An Encourager?

Life is hard. I think that is a true statement at any given time, but it seems to have been even more challenging and harder than it usually is. As we look back on 2020. Many people have lost jobs, had reduced incomes, kids unable to attend school, churches closed, orders to stay home and away from family and friends, people very sick and even dying from this terrible virus. Let’s face it, h of this year has not been fun; encouragement is hard to find. The news outlets certainly do not encourage us, many of the people you come across are worried, afraid, and many are right down miserable. Evil seems to be running at a new pace, and everyone wants this year to end!

Finding someone that is an encourager is like finding a diamond in the sands of the ocean. And when you run across someone with an upbeat, encouraging attitude, it is like a sunny day, with just the right amount of humidity in the air, not too hot, not too cold, almost perfect. My mind goes to a spring day when the temperature is around 73, it is sunny, and there is a slight breeze rustling the leaves. The world looks bright and happy.

I love these types of people. No matter what seemingly lemons God gives to these people they always find a way to make lemonade. Even if they do not have the exact amount of sugar to go into it, it seems to taste good. It makes me want to make my own. These types of people tend to be encouragers. They can see the sunny side of just about any situation, but also they simply refuse to allow a cloudy rainy day or year to dampen the joy inside of them. See joy can only be lost when we hand it over. Happiness comes and goes.

God’s word encourages us to be encouragers. I think about Paul and Silas, they were beaten and wrongly imprisoned. They could have been very angry and unkind because of the unjustness of it all, not to mention the pain of being beaten. But we read in Acts 16:40 these words: “After Paul and Silas came out of prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Seriously! These men who had suffered so much were doing the encouraging? Wow! How many of us could do the same?

I think the reason they could do this after such an ordeal is that they were confident in Christ. They understood that all of this is just temporary. Every trial, pain, hurt, wrong they experienced was a temporary honor to suffer for their Lord. They did not whine and complain that He had allowed it. Paul and Silas understood there was more at stake, and the other believers needed hope handed to them, encouragement to face their trials, and these men did it! They needed encouragement to keep going, putting one foot in front of the other, making the best of it all.

Maybe you should take a look at yourself. Do you spread love and encouragement to those around you and those you meet? Or are you one of those who grumble and complain when life is not comfortable and the way you want it? What if 2021 does not get any better? What if it gets worse? Who do you want to be. We need to band together, stop putting negative junk on social media, stop putting every angry thing that happens out there. Most everyone has access to the internet and TV people do not need anyone to tell them what unjust things are happening in our world. We get it! It is bad people are killing both guilty and innocent, but your negativity and passing it along is not needed. People are dying, and many are sick, but the government is not the answer. Jesus is!

I want to encourage you to remember this is not your home. For those who belong to Christs, we are foreigners in a foreign land. This world is not the final note that will play in our life’s orchestra. One day either we will die and go to heaven, or Jesus will step out and come to get us either way; What a glorious day!

Be an encouragement to someone today. Decide to make lemonade with whatever life is giving you. Try your best to see the positives in life. I promise that if you look to the bright side, life will not seem so heavy. Remember what we read in the book of Revelation, God Wins!

I will leave you with some encouraging words from God’s word. I pray they do encourage you and give you a lightness in your step, and a smile on your face (regardless if anyone can see it because of your mask), and remember that God is with us, He is in control, this too shall pass, and one day every tear will begone, every hurt will be over, no more sickness, no more death, evil vanquished forever!

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Did you read it? All the more!)

Psalm 31:24 “Be stong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”

Romans 15:2 “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”

John 16:33 ” I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Romans 15:5 “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.”

Romans 1:11-12 “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong-that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”

Bridle It!

James 1:26 “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”

Oh my, these are not words that people in 2020 want to hear or obey. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone is spouting it on social media and other places. And sadly, if you agree to disagree, you are labeled a hater. Anything or anyone that looks different than the mainstream agenda and the actions of this fallen world is taken as a threat and as hate.

People feel free to express themselves however they choose, and for the world, it is to be expected, but not for the church, not for true believers and followers of Jesus. Now everyone sends out their messages, via social media, their thoughts on any given subject known. And the content of their hearts has been displayed for all to see. Arguments have ensued, making their point known, and criticizing any who disagree. There seems to be little love left for them. They have taken up the banner for the world and forgotten that they are supposed to be a “light in the darkness,” “set apart,” “a city on a hill,” “peacemakers,” “lovers of people,” and the list goes on. We Christians are to hold no other banner high but that of Jesus Christ! If you say you are a Christian, you are labeled a hater.

Somehow people think that because they did not physically speak the words that it does not relate to their tongues, I dare say they are mistaken. It is a form of their tongue voiced in a manner that seems safe because they are hiding behind keystrokes. Social media is now the platform to spread hate, unkindness, lewdness, and all sorts of things unholy.

I have been shocked by some of the stuff that has appeared on my friend’s pages, even ashamed of and for them. They seem to have forgotten who and whose they are and how they should conduct themselves at all times. When you can put on your Sunday best, post pictures and videos of yourself having church (watching on a screen, because of COVID,) and in the next moment post profanity and ugliness. I ask: How? Why? What are you thinking?

The scripture above should scare anyone who practices such behavior. It clearly states that if a person who says they are religious does not keep a tight reign on their tongue their religion/testimony is worthless. Should those words not jar someone into repentance? We are never given the liberty to run our mouths, call people names, spew unkindness, or any such thing, at any time, for any reason. We are to be peacemakers, lovers of others, kind, trustworthy, helpful, spreaders of the gospel, but not imitators of the world. When you have stopped looking like Christ and started looking and sounding like the world, you need to check your heart. There is a stench coming from you.

People need bridles. They need to allow themselves to be led by the Holy Spirit in all things, actions, words, what they post on social media. Our words, whether spoken verbally or written down, reflect our hearts and our attitude towards God and man. If you are looking and sounding like this filthy godless world you need to hit your knees in repentance.

James 1:19-22 “My dear brothers take note of this: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Wow! Are you being deceived? Do you think you belong to Christ, yet in your heart of hearts where it matters, you do not? Each of us needs to take a long hard look at what is captivating our hearts, our minds, our time. We need to think before we speak or type. We need to remember that we are the church, the body of Christ; we ARE or should be a PECULIAR people. (1 Peter 2:9)

We are to spread the gospel, the good news. We are to be examples of Christ’s likeness. We are to be the difference, loving God, and loving people. We are to live holy and righteous lives remembering that the Lord is always with us, always watching, hearing, and seeing. Nothing we do or say is hidden from Him. That should make you have a holy fear and make you change your behavior.

I believe we are in the last days; how long they will last, I do not know. I know what you are thinking, I have heard that said for years, but one day, it will be true; He will return, and the world will have lost its chance. We need to live each day as though it were our last. I would hate to think the last thing I said or did was to be unkind, unforgiving, vulgar, etc.

Bridle your tongue, check your heart, walk in a manner worthy. Remember that you are a child of God, an ambassador to the world on His behalf. What you say, what you do, what you type and post matters. People are seeing, hearing, and many are leaving with a sour taste in their mouths for Christianity. How very sad. One day you will stand before God; you will give an account for every word spoken or written, everything laid bare.

I pray that you take a long hard look inside today. Get it settled with the Lord. Stop giving excuses for bad behavior and start being that light in the darkness.

As The Pendulum Swings

This past week has been an emotional roller-coaster, in the middle of an already hard season of life. A week ago today, I watched my sister pass from this life to the next. I was watching via video as the pendulum between this life and the next swung. And somewhere in the middle of it, she slipped into eternity. Life support was disconnected, and in less than a minute she was gone, the screen a flatline, where once a faint heartbeat had been. There was no sustainable life in her. I had rushed as much as you can from six hours away, not allowing myself to cry, focused on the task of arriving in time. I had been told I would be able to go be with her for the end. However, when I arrived and gave them my name, they called the ICU and was told that I was not allowed. At that moment all the tears I had held in check came rushing out. My heartfelt as though it would burst from the weight and pain of it all. But God…

As I was waiting to hear them say I could go up, I see a woman walking by. She looked my way and somewhere in my head I felt I knew her, but since we were both behind masks, I just figured I did not. But she persisted in looking at me above her mask with a furrowed brow and spoke my name, and I knew that voice. A voice from my school days, a voice I had not heard for over nine years. About the time she was asking me why I was there, they said those words that cut like a knife, you cannot go up, we are sorry. When the floodgates opened and my heart was pouring out, this friend, this angel sent straight from God, rubbed my back, spoke words of love to me, took me to her office, and allowed me the privacy I needed for such a raw, hard time. I was not supposed to be back there, but at that moment my hurt, my pain was far more important to this ambassador for God than the rules. And as I saw the horrible image of my sister on life support with blood running from her mouth and I spoke my final words to her with tears running freely down my face and my heart feeling as though it would stop, this friend, this angel cried with me. She shared in the pain of what was happening.

God knew before I arrived that I would be told no, God knew I was going to take it very hard, God knew I needed a private place to say my good-byes, God knew she worked there, I did not. God knew it all and He had already prepared her to recognize me, to come to my aid, to allow her love and kindness to shine through as she gave me shelter in the middle of my storm. He is good that way, always looking out for us.

My sister had been bed-ridden for years, blind for many. Her life consisted of a bed, a TV to listen to, and my brother and his wife taking care of her needs. She could not even stand up for a few moments. But even in that hard, often lonely existence, she made the best of it. She never complained or cried in front of you bemoaning her circumstances, she was just thankful she was still here, still able to talk to us, still able to be near her family, listening to the hustle and bustle of life. Life had not been kind to her, taking her only daughter right after she received a transplant. She and her husband, along with their son were left with a little one to love and raise. Life and health did not allow her to participate very much. But she could give out hugs and kisses, snuggles, and advice.

I do not understand why her life had to be so hard, or why her health had to be in steady decline, with multiple near-death experiences. Only God knows that. Only God knows how much hard, sorrow, hurt, joy, happiness, health, and wealth we need to get us heaven ready. His word tells us that He orders our steps or lack of them. He dictates or days and hours. And it tells that whatever our lot, it is good and perfect in Him.

As my sister was oscillating between this earth’s broken body and heaven, seeing and being completely transformed and healed extreme, God was right there. He was orchestrating it all, He was meeting her at death’s final breath and taking her to sights unseen and He was holding each of us in His loving hands. He was giving the peace that passes understanding, even as tears flowed and words of love escaped our lips.

I have read often that He never leaves us or forsakes us, and I can tell you that it is true. He did not say we would escape the hardness of life, or that we would not taste hurts that take our breath away. He said, that no matter where we are, no matter what the circumstances are, no matter how deep the pain, He would be with us, He will comfort us, and He will carry us as needed. I have felt carried this past week. Oh occasionally tears well up and even slip out, but not in a desperate I cannot take this kind of way, but in a, “I miss you here, I miss your voice, I miss your face, but I will see you again.” And then about the same time as those thoughts enter my mind, I think to myself: “Wow, The first face my sister has seen in years was Jesus.” “Those legs that were too weak to stand or walk, are now running on streets of gold.” “Those feeble hands that shook so bad that she could not get her food to her mouth without most of it falling onto the bed, are now steady and holding those of her maker and loved ones who have gone before.” And in that pendulum moment, my heart is made glad, my tears cease and I am flooded with joy.

God has her, she received the perfect healing, her faith is now sight.
Her hard life has ceased, every pain is gone, every lonely moment filled to overflowing, feet that could not, now can. Beauty beyond what I can imagine has captivated her. My oh my how awesome is that!

Until I see her again I will miss her “Sunday funnies.” She called me each Sunday to tell me a joke. I will miss our conversations that only sisters share. But I will walk with a spring in my step, a smile on my face, and hope for our future reunion. I will trust God in this hard season, I will lean closer to him, listen more intently, and make sure the oil in my lamp is full.
Because I do not know when my “pendulum” moment will come when I will walk my final step, breathe my last breath, and experience my last heartbeat. But I do know, I will walk in faith and live life to the fullest and trust that the God who created it all, is working it all out, for my good and His glory. He is good like that : )

What should be your take away from this: “If you do not know Him as Lord and Savior you need to, you will spend eternity somewhere, either heaven or hell.” “Make sure your lamp is filled with oil, your eyes are in His word and your heart is tender to His leading.” “Make sure you love well those around you, do not harbor unforgiveness of any kind.” “Trust if you have lost a loved one who was in Christ, you will see them again, and they are better than they have ever been.” “Walk in such a way that others see Jesus in you.” “Hold fast to what His word says and remember, He could come at any moment, so how we live second to second matters.” ” His peace that passes understanding is real, and available to you.” “He is faithful, giving what we need not one moment too soon or too late.” “You can trust him with your pain.” “He loves you more than you can imagine.” “He is good even in the hard.” “Joy is found even in the presence of sorrow and grief.” “Smile, He’s got this!”

John 3:16
John 14:27
Romans 8:38-39
James 4:8
Revelation 21:4
Isaiah 25:8
Psalm 31:24
Psalm 46:1
Psalm 55:22
Lamentations 3:32
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Hebrews 4:15
Hebrews 13:5

They Are Hard To Love

What do I mean by that? Well, there are people in this world who are hard to love. And God puts those people in our lives. Why? To teach us to love sacrificially. To teach us that it is not about us, to teach us that sometimes, even daily, we are called to love as Jesus did. Sometimes we feel that the person does not deserve it. But Agape love, the kind Jesus has for us, says they do, and we can.

First, we cannot be worried about ourselves. We cannot try to love someone through our own need or want. Loving someone with Agape love starts with a humble heart before God. Then it has to expect nothing in return. In other words, there may not be a pat on the back for something.
Often it is not even recognized when we love this way.

God loves us for no reason. We in ourselves have nothing good to give to him. We are born sinners at birth, left to our own devices, most of us tend to be selfish, we want things our way, yesterday! It is all about me! My needs, my wants, my desires, my being comfortable and happy.

We find the perfect reflection of God’s love in the Cross. Jesus poured out His blood for us, He took the punishment for our sins upon Himself, and He never uttered a word…except to say, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”

Some people, either because of circumstances in life, conditions, or just stubbornness, and selfishness do not know how to give love. For whatever reason, their love meter has not got any higher numbers on it. It is like you are banging your head on a wall over and over with the same result. Hurt, pain, and disappointment. The only way we can love sacrificially is by the power of the Holy Spirit. By walking daily with the Lord, reading His word, learning His ways, and trusting Him to fill those empty spots that are left by the world and others.

It is rare when love is returned the way it is given. The best thing is to have no expectation that it will be. We love because He loves us. When you expect something and it does not happen you have set yourself up for disappointment. You simply do the right thing, love the right way, and leave the rest to God. He will reward you and bless you for what you do. He will cover all the areas that need covering and fill you with all you need to keep going.

In our world today too many people refuse to love if you do not agree with them. If you cannot affirm them in the way they think you should see it as hate. We were warned in scripture that those things that are right would become wrong, and the wrong things right in the last days. People are all about themselves and their feelings these days. If nothing else this pandemic and the hardness of 2020 has revealed the content of everyone’s hearts.

I will leave you with a few. verses to meditate on. If you find that you are struggling to love sacrificially, fall. on your knees before God, ask him to fill you up and to help you move out of the way, so that you can love as He has told us we should. Let him fill up all those places that are barren and in need, and I promise that He will, and He can.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever. believes on him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” or Wife, or Husband, or Sister, or Brother, or neighbor…..

1 John 3:16 “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

John 13:34-35 “I give you a new commandment to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”

Galatians 5:14 “For the whole law can be summed up in this one command, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Wife, Husband, Friend, Sister, Brother….You get the idea.

Why don’t today you ask the Lord to help you love as He loves. To give when you feel you cannot, and remember that He is watching and He is the rewarder of those who obey Him.


Evil Out, The Holy Spirit In

Luke 11:24-26 “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than at first.”

People wish to reform themselves. They desire to stop bad habits or some sin that they are actively pursuing. Their life is just one mistake after another, and it is taking its toll on them and those around them. They seek change and set about doing the work of changing on their own. They may surround themselves with a different type of person than they usually associate with; often they desire to move away and to be set free from something or someone they feel bound to in the wrong way.
Whatever the reason, they need something different. Life needs to go in another direction.

Many times these people find themselves going to church. They become friends with the “right kind” of people, and the bad habits stop (for a while.) They have swept their house. It is clean. The change has been a superficial one. Often we can change a bad habit or even stop a known sin, but here is where the( rubber meets the road) if you have not fully repented of your sins, if the Holy Spirit is not now living in you, then you will eventually return to the life you knew before, and all too often even worse sin.

We need the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the purpose he has given us, and to help us have the strength to not go back. We need the Holy Spirit to teach us and guide us as we walk out this new life. God gives us new purpose when we commit ourselves to Him; He redirects our desires so that they come in line with His will and His way. When we leave the Holy Spirit out, and we have not truly been born-again then we are in danger of our swept house becoming even viler than before.

You may be thinking my sin is not as bad a so and so’s. Sin is sin, and without Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in us, we cannot live the life we are meant to. We cannot say no to those things that lure us away. The enemy of our souls knows those things that entice us. He knows just the right thing or person to put in our path to trip us up. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and helps us to say no to it. We have power in our efforts. Without the Holy Spirit’s help, we tend to follow the crowd and to justify the sin in our lives. Because when we reject Jesus, we have committed the very worst sin there is, and the sin of rejecting Jesus and His offer of forgiveness, and freedom, will send you straight to hell.

Life outside of Christ, even one seemingly well lived will result in the same end, your eternity will be in hell, eternal torment, and not in heaven with the one who created you and died for you, where there is no more sin, no tears, no illness, no anything bad, just eternal joy with your Savior.

You should ask yourself hard questions. Look deep inside and see if you truly know Jesus; is he the Lord of your life. If you have been born-again then the things of this world no longer hold you. There should be outward evidence of an inward change. When our hearts have been made new, we no longer desire the things that used to hold our minds, bodies, and hearts captive. We hate sin and desire to live our lives pleasing to Jesus.

We cannot go back to the sin we once lived in, the very thought makes you sick to your stomach. To think that you would offend this wonderful Savior who took your sin upon the cross so that you would not have to receive your due punishment. But if you reject the Lord, if you have dabbled in Christianity and then returned to who you were or worse, you need to be very concerned. We are not promised tomorrow, today is the day of salvation. Check your heart…Check your life and see if it lines up with what and who God tells us we should be. Make sure you can say: I am His, and He is mine.

The very thought that you could end up in worse condition should be enough to make you run to the foot of the cross and seek the Lord. But sadly many people’s eyes are blinded, their ears do not hear and they go back to the life they once knew or worse. Their hearts are hardened to the word of God.

I pray that you do a soul searching today, that you make sure of your salvation. Make sure the change inside is one happening under the direction and unction of the Holy Spirit. If it is not, it will be a superficial change, and it will not last.

I want you to know the wonderful life that you can have when you live surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ!