Preview: Pastor Mike's thoughts
Pastor Mike's thoughts
Thoughts on today's Christian world and how it fits into secular society.
What will 2009 hold?
Wow, it's been a long time since I've actually sat down and blogged. Since the last time I have put myself out there in cyberland
, me and my wife Carmen have made the move to Las
Vegas and started a new chapter in our life. More about that later...:)
One of the things that I love about being blessed to work in the secular world is that you have more of an understanding of what the toubles
and trials of the people outside of the church are. When I worked full time at the Church, I became distanced from what was happening in the lives of those who had never experienced the love of the Lord. My secular job today places me with a lot of business people across North America, and I can tell you that there are a lot of scared people out there. They're scared about what 2009 holds for them.
As I deal with people who are living in a constant state of anxiety over everything from finances to family matters, it reminds me of how quickly we forget the words of Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
The US today is in one of the most troubling times since the Great Depression, yet you find fewer people who are willing to turn to prayer. People today will focus more on self-help books and earthly ways to try to find relief from their fears, when all they really have to do is to get back to the basics, the basics of the Bible. It's the perfect self-help book. Here's some pointer to help you with that:
- Stop worrying so much. Go to God's Word and find the way to peace when you thumb through the pages. Perfect peace is found when you totally rely on your creator.
- Learn, or remind yourself, on where your thoughts should really be. Worrying about what you can do to change something that will only change through the will of God is like running into a brick wall, complaining that it hurts, and then doing it again.
- Remind yourself that life on this earth is short. It's our audition to see if we're worthy enough to spend eternity in the Heavenly Kingdom with our father who loves us so much.
There's probably a thousand ways to take your eyes off the world and put them back to the Lord, so find what works for you and do it. God has a plan for the World, and we can't change it. So stop worrying, and start worshiping.
Have an Blessed day, and we'll see ya soon
In sickness and in health
By far the most requested prayer request that I get from people is for the gift of healing, and this week has been no different. Today I would like to request special prayer for my Mother-in-Law, and my Aunt. They're both battling lung cancer, and it's not a good prognosis for either one. My Mother-in-law is saved, and knows the power of the Lord, but my Aunt needs special prayer in this area of her life.
As I was praying for these two women, it reminded me that "All things are possible through Christ Who strengthens me (Ph 4:13)."
It's easy to pray for someone and just walk away leaving it in God's hands, but it's a much tougher thing to believe it. I mean Truly believe it. One of the most incredibel passages in the Bible addresses this issue inMatthew 9:27-30 27As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!" 28When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" "Yes, Lord," they replied. 29Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"; 30and their sight was restored. Jesus warned them sternly, "See that no one knows about this."
Two things from this passage need to be noted here, the question of faith, and the results true faith will bring. Jesus asked the men if they truly believed, and they replied , "yes Lord." They didn't just say yes, they said yes LORD. They truly believed that Jesus was Lord, Lord over their affliction, and through that faith, they were healed. Results like this are not limited to just a select few, anybody can be healed when they have true faith.
How does your faith compare to these two men? Do you have someone in your life that needs prayer, and if you do, do you TRULY believe that they can be healed? The Bible says where there are two or more gathered, it can be done. Please let us pray for you on any request that you may have. We've already been adding a prayer warrior a day from throughout he US, so allow us to do what the Lord has called us to do through our gifting. Please feel free to email us at email@example.com
for a prayer warrior to pray for you today.
Loving and praying for you today,
Well, as you can tell from my last blog, I didn't keep my word to well. I mentioned last Summer that I would be keeping in touch with everyone through this blog, but it's been so chaotic this last year that I failed to keep my word.
As I've been working through some very serious family health issues, God has blessed us in many ways. It reminds me that trials can in fact be our best friend. They strengthen and grow us. We grumble and mumble our way through them, but we MUST keep the faith. God will give us the strength we need to endure these tests.
Having said this, I would like to pray my way through the rest of the year and go on a sort of, prayer pilgrimage
." I would like to use this blog as a place for people to post and pray for their needs, as well as the needs of others. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
to have your request posted and prayed for. I don't care if I've ever met you or not, if you have a prayer, I'll be there for you.
Well, I look forward to hearing from you all and having the privilege
of being your prayer warrior. Have an awesome day.
Welcome back to me!
Well, as most of you have noticed, I've been gone for quite some time. There's been a number of things going on in our lives that have kept me from doing anything here, and now that things are starting to settle down, I'll be more vigilant about serving God on this site. I'll be seeing you all tomorrow, so until then, God Bless you.
How is homosexuality right?
I have now come to a conclusion about myself. I have come to the self-realization that I AM NOT POLITICALLY CORRECT. I will never agree with homosexuality. There, I said it. To all those people (even in some VERY misguided churches) that say God accepts this class of people in there present state, I ask you to refer to the story of Sodom and Gomorah. Now does this mean I hate homosexuals, no. I just consider them to be in a state that keeps them from a closer relationship with God just like any other sinner. Now I know that by saying this very open statement, I'll draw some fire, but I would rather be Biblically correct than politically correct. 1 Corintians 6:9-10 says Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters, nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thiefs nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderes nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God. There, the Bible says it, not me. It's plain as day, the homosexual offenders are lumped in with the rest of us sinners (yes, I said us). The fact of the matter is that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but we're not forgiven until we recognize that we need our Lord Jesus to forgive us of our sinful ways. That includes homosexuality.The problem that we as Christians face today is that the vocal minority in this nation are getting laws passed that call us biggots if we have a different view than they do. There is legislation in various states making it against certain non-profit laws for a church to preach against homosexuality. They call it a hate crime, we call it our beliefs. Having said this, I wonder who the biggots really are. The following story is from a local Pastor who does some very incredible writing on how political issues are effecting the church and the believer. Please don't read it and do nothing, write your congress people and let them know that you will not put up with this. Do it for the sake of the Church before it's to late....Far left Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has once again introduced his so-called “hate crimes” bill to provide special federal protection for homosexuality, cross-dressing, and transsexualism.H.R. 1592, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007, is a rehash of his 2005 bill, according to sources in Congress.H.R. 1592 claims there is an epidemic of “hate” against homosexuals and cross-dressers that is so pervasive throughout our nation, that local law enforcement officials are overwhelmed in dealing with the problem.In addition, Conyers’ and his congressional cohorts claim – without any evidence whatsoever – that homosexuals, cross-dressers, etc., are so persecuted in their home states that they are fleeing into neighboring states to avoid persecution.The legislation asserts that violence against these groups forces “such members to move across state lines to escape the incidence or risk of such violence.” Liberals also claim things are so bad for homosexuals, cross-dressers, etc., that these individuals are prevented “from purchasing goods and services; obtaining or sustaining employment, or participating in other commercial activity.”The bogus claim that interstate travel is involved in “hate,” is needed by Conyers to invoke federal involvement in local law enforcement through the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution.“Conyers has created a whole false scenario about hordes of homosexuals and cross-dressers fleeing across state lines in order to justify his dangerous hate crimes bill,” said TVC Executive Director Andrea Lafferty. “If there is such a mass migration of homosexuals, cross-dressers and drag queens across state lines, I wonder why the mainstream media hasn’t reported on this national tragedy? Of course, the truth is that there is no migration of fear-filled drag queens or homosexuals crossing stat[...]
Having some ice cream
Sometimes it's easy to get so caught up in our own world that we just plain old forget to take a look around us and slow down. As you notice lately, I have become so busy with so many things going on that I haven't been blogging much. People have asked me why, but to be honest with you, I don't have a real good reason other than the fact that I have poor time management skills.
My friend, Pastor Al Warren, sent me an email today that reminded me the importance of sitting down and taking the time to be with God's people. It reminded me that the act of kindness can rekindle even the coldest of hearts. Please take the time to read the email below that he sent me and se how it touches your heart today.
Saying Grace In A Restaurant
Last week, I took my children to a restaurant.
My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace.
As we bowed our heads he said, “God is good, God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And Liberty and justice for all! Amen!”
Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, I heard a woman remark, “That’s what’s wrong with this country. Kids today don’t even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!”
Hearing this, my son burst into tears and asked me, “Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?”
As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job, and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table.
He winked at my son and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer.”
“Really?” my son asked.
“Cross my heart,” the man replied.
Then, in a theatrical whisper, he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), “Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.”
Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal. My son stared at his for a moment, and then did something I will remember the rest of my life.
He picked up his sundae and, without a word, walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, “Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes; and my soul is good already.”
Albert L. Warren
How to give
Give, and it will be given to you (Luke 6:38, NLT).
In this passage, Jesus made an incredible promise: "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Luke 6:48, NIV).
In other words, the Lord promises that the more we give, the more we will get back. That is amazing, but also dangerous. We really have to be on guard about our motivation. Our heart attitude in giving is something that we have to keep a watch on.
Money shows what's really in the givers heart. The intent of the giver makes all the difference in the world. Our motive should not focus on the return, but on our love for the Lord Jesus and our desire to obey Him. If our motives are pure, we know for sure that we'll get a huge return. But if we try to manipulate God through our giving, the law of sowing and reaping is something we'll never experience.
Oswald Chambers in "My Utmost for His Highest," describes the emptiness of Godly-money manipulation: "Our Lord replies in effect, that abandonment is for Himself, and not for what the disciples themselves will get from it. Beware of an abandonment which has the commercial spirit in it... If we only give up something to God because we want more back, there is nothing of the Holy Spirit in our abandonment; it is miserable, commercial self-interest."
Self-interest is empty because it focuses the spotlight on ourselves and away from God. When we give to a ministry because we don't expect a return other than it will further the Kingdom of God, then we'll really see how God rewards us.
I'm worried about a lot of Christian fund-raising efforts that focuses on this giving and receiving principle and tries to get people to give to their ministry with the promise that they will get more back in return. Yes, the principle is a true one, and if the donor's heart is right, they will receive a reward. But if we are not extremely careful in how this is presented we will play upon people's self-interest and cause them to be tempted to greed, and sin.
Personally, I prefer a ministry that needs to be explained, and let the Holy Spirit speak to people about how much, if any, to give. That way, any giving will truly be of the Sprit and there will be no chance of wrong motive. Remember, it's really about what's in the heart that should determine what we give. Love more, give more.
Praying that we all learn to give through love,
Biblical or Wordly, which is fair?
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8
Is it just me, or does it seem like there are a lot of people out there in today's "Christian" world that are going in different directions? In the 60's there was a prevailing philosophy that said, "if it feels good, do it." As I look around today, I see that people are more interested in twisting what the Bible says to make them feel good than what the Word of God really says. This really disturbs me because if what God asked us to do was easy, then everyone would be on board, and we wouldn't need Him. As I study how the Bible says I should lead my life, I have to admit that it's easy to wonder why it's so hard to follow His commands. Why wouldn't God make it easy for us? It's because we are too busy trying to make the Bible suit our needs and beliefs, that it can't possibly be easy because God's ways are not like ours.
God is Holy! Man is not! When we start having the faith that God is in control, and His way is the only way to eternal life, then we'll start to accept
the Bible for the truth that it is. You see, it's like trying to blend oil and water, they just don't mix. When you start trying to make the Bible conform to the world's ways, then you just have a barrier that cannot be broken. It's not natural. Now I have no idea why God has chosen our paths in life the way He does, and I wouldn't even try. I do know that He created me for a specific purpose
, and I will
accept that and try not to be dissatisfied because things are not going the way I wanted them to. I'll accept God's Word and have faith that even though sometimes it doesn't seem fair or culturally relevant, I will always remember that God's Word will stand forever. When we stand before Him in judgement, He won't be judging us on how well we conformed to the world, He'll judge us on how we conformed to His Word.
Praying that we remember the right way to the Kingdom,
What a statement of faith
AN AFFIRMATION OF FAITH
We believe in Jesus Christ the Lord,
Who was promised to the people of Israel ,
Who came in the flesh to dwell among us,
Who announced the coming of the rule of God,
Who gathered disciples and taught them,
Who died on the cross to free us from sin,
Who rose from the dead to give us life and hope,
Who reigns in heaven at the right hand of God,
Who comes to judge and bring justice to victory.
We believe in God His Father,
Who raised Him from the dead,
Who created and sustains the universe,
Who acts to deliver His people in times of need,
Who desires that all people everywhere be saved,
Who rules over the destinies of people and nations,
Who continues to love people even when they reject Him.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
Who is God present in the Church,
Who moves people to faith and obedience,
Who is the guarantee of our deliverance,
Who leads us to find God's will in the Word,
Who guides us in discernment,
Who impels us to act together.'
Mennonite Hymnal 1969
Can we afford to not care?
I often struggle with talking to Pastors and people in the church who think that taking a political stand is not the Chistian thing to do. Their apathy is the very thing that is taking this country down, and when they are arrested one day for uttering the name of Jesus, they'll be the first ones wondering how this great nation got to that point.
Now a few weeks ago, I talked about how it's important for the believer who takes a stand to not become so radical that they completely tarnish the image of our faith. But once again, this doesn't mean that we have to become weak and timid. It werely means that we need to become activists without harming. We can take up arms with our votes, our petions, our voices, and our money. Now thats the sort of arms that will make all politicians cringe and take notice of the masses.
Please read the following article by a great writer from the AFA (American Family Association) on Hristian Apathy, it realy hits the nail on the head.
By Don Wildmon | AFA Founder/Chairman
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN AFA JOURNAL, JUNE, 1994
One of my favorite poems is this one written by Ella Wheeler Wilcox:
One ship drives east and another drives west
With the selfsame winds that blow.
’Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
Which tells us the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As we voyage along through life:
’Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.
I have often wondered why there are so many individuals who frequent our churches who are unconcerned about the spiritual and cultural war being waged in our society. With so much at stake, it should be that every person who calls himself a Christian should be active and involved in trying to turn back the tide of immorality which seeks to engulf us.
We leaders in the church are responsible for the apathy which exists in our midst. For years our emphasis has been nearly totally on trying to get people to come to church instead of be the Church. We have been more concerned with the building than with being. We have left the impression to those who come to our sanctuaries that if they will attend worship with some degree of regularity, give some part of their income, and assume some small role in keeping the institution (both locally and denominationally) going, then they have fulfilled their "requirements" of citizenship in the Kingdom.
Baptist preacher Vance Havner once said that the worst thing that happened to the Church was when Constantine made it the religion of the Roman empire. It gave Christianity respectability. And most of us want respectability more than we want responsibility. We don’t really expect our faith to require much of us, nor to cost us much of our comfort. We expect little or no sacrifice.
Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As we voyage along through life:
’Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it," said Jesus. "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."
There are those who seek the comfort of the sanctuary, and there are those who seek the cause of the Savior. They are not the same.
Why? They differ because of the set of the soul.
A prayer for our nation
We are certain you agree America needs help
and that help can only come from petition
of prayer to Jesus Christ and our Father.
But that must be the prayer of every citizen
in our nation. An awesome chore right?
We further believe you and I have been
selected to be the initial Prayer Warriors.
By the law of Geometric Progression,
millions of fellow prayer warriors can be
reached! Wonderfully, the progression
begins with our contact of only two
"dependable" warriors. It is that simple.
Once 32 contacts are accomplished,
do the math and you will see how this
multiplies and multiplies. We ask that
you recite the following each & every day.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive our trespasses as we forgive
those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation and
deliver America from the evil one.
Also, of extreme importance we are
requesting you enlist two other
dependable Prayer Warriors.
By the law of Geometric Progression
We can cause the entire nation to pray.
Please, for the sake of America, become
a Prayer Warrior today and enlist two others.
THEN PRAY DAILY
GOD BLESS AMERICA AND YOU.
Don't quit! Don't give up!
Don't give up on this nation.
My words are wise, and my thoughts are filled with insight (Psalm 49:3, NLT).Have you taken a look around at our great country lately? I mean seriously taken a look at the news. We're sure turning down the wrong path. If we're not fighting among ourselves, then we're fighting with someone else. It seems as though our leaders have no clear direction on which way we should be going now that the times are not all peaches and cream. So what should they do during times like this? Great leaders, who are wise, turn to the Bible when things get tough.Feeling a little bit on the restless side one night before a major battle in the Pacific, General Douglas MacArthur turned to his Bible, which he did on a regular basis, and read God's Word until he felt at peace. Then the general went to bed. Even though the battle the next day would play a major role in the course of World War II, knowing that if he gave his plans to the Lord, not only would he feel the peace, but the outcome would be to God's glory.General George Washington, our first President and father of our country, said, "It is impossible to rightly govern... without God and the Bible." The first time I visited his Mount Vernon home, the guide took me to the place where morning and evening General Washington knelt to read his Bible and pray.Another general, Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President, said, "I believe in the Holy Scriptures, and who so lives by them will be benefited thereby..."General Andrew Jackson, who became our seventh President, in referring to the Bible, stated, "That book, Sir, is the Rock upon which our republic rests."Why did these and thousands of other leaders, and also scholars and massive numbers of lay people, choose the Bible? Why not Shakespeare, or a great novel, or a discourse on philosophy?The answer's pretty clear: The Bible is God's Word to man. It has the power to bring peace, happiness, comfort and guidance as no other book in the world can do. Generals Washington, MacArthur, Grant and Jackson knew this, as have many great leaders and others down throughout history.If the Bible is so vital that even great leaders turn to it in times of crisis, then all of us should turn to it in our everyday lives.Here's what the Bible has to say about this topic:"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right" (2 Timothy 3:16, NLT)."All your words are true" (Psalm 119:160, NLT)."Every word of God proves true" (Proverbs 30:5, NLT)."The Scriptures cannot be altered" (John 10:35, NLT)."Forever, O LORD, your word stands firm in heaven" (Psalm 119:89, NLT).Thank God for giving us the Bible. Through it, God has revealed Himself, His own thoughts, attributes, commandments, promises, plan of redemption, and the future, as well as many other things.I cannot imagine what life would be like without God's Holy inspired Word. Let's start praying today that the leaders of our country will learn to turn to the Word of God again today as this great nation faces some very turbulent times. Pray for the peace that it will bring this countryif we truly turn back to God. Pray for our leaders.Praying for our President.Pastor Mike[...]
How to spread the word.
Have you noticed the lives of the prophets or the apostles -- Jeremiah, Amos, Peter, John? All were ordinary people living lives outside of the box. You're in a position where you feel unimportant, wondering how you can make a difference in a world of billions? Don't despise the day of small things as you are a vital part of God's plan! (Zechariah 4:10)"His lord said unto him, 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.'" Matthew 25:21You may have heard the story of a heavy bronze bell that had sunk into a river in China. All the enigineers of the area tried to raise it, but they just couldn't get it done. A man coming up to them asking, "If I raise the bell, may I have it for my church?" The reply was "Yes, since we have to leave it, it's yours."He then had his friends get a huge number of bamboo rods, hollow, light, and practically unsinkable. Taken down by divers, they were fastened, one by one, to the bell. After many had been fastened, the bell began to move, and when the last one had been added, the buoyancy of the rods was so great, the gigantic bronze bell was brought to the surface.Some thought bamboo rods were too small and insignificant to move a huge bell, but enough of them working together made a difference. You may think you are irrelevant in the big scheme of things, but God wants you to share the gifts He's given you. If we don't use our unique gifts, we not only fail God, but we fail the body. When joined together with other believers in Him we will make a difference!"And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary." 1 Corinthians 12:21-22Our lives can make a difference! The fact is that God can do a lot with a little. God is looking for that one who can make his or her mark. Will you be that one person?When God chooses to do His work, He doesn't just pick members from society's elite. He can use the nobility of the royal or the wisdom of the scholars, but they are in the minority. So who are the majority that God uses? Every day people like me and you. The ones that think they are not worthy.Have you ever tried to drink water from a fire hydrant? Ever thought of dishing up a whale for dinner? I know what you're thinking: "Too much." That's often what comes to mind when we think of Jesus' words: "Make disciples of all the nations" (Matthew 28:19). At last count, the world population had topped six billion. It makes you wonder how you could ever do enough to spread the gospel. The simple fact of the matter is that if we all did a little something to spread the word, collectively we could bring the entire planet to Jesus. If we each thought of ourselves as the bamboo rod that lifted the bell, we could lift the name of Jesus. But it takes all of us to do it. We're only as strong as the weakest link.Get out there in the world today and start talking about Jesus. The Muslims are the fastest growing faith in the world because they consider it a sin to NOT talk about their faith. We as Christians used to be like that, but no we think of it as someone elses job. It's not. It's the job of everybody who knows the name of Jesus to evangelize. If you truly love Jesus, then it will be the biggest point of your daily existance. If we all lifted our voices, we'd be heard.Growing togetherPastor Mike[...]
How to fight.
Proverbs 18:2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinion.
Well, I've been the New California liaison for the Stop the ACLU coalition for a few weeks now, and have been surprised at some of the contacts I've made.
I took this position because I felt that the ACLU was infringing on the rights of Christians. As I researched the ACLU agenda, I discovered that it was worse than I realized. However, as I became a member of the "stop the liberals brigade" I realized that there were some Christians out there with great intentions, but a little misguided.
When we take up a cause as Christians, we need to remember that it is for the sake of the Lord, not to be able to get our own voice out there. When we take on a fight for the Lord, we need to be guided by the Word of God, not our own words. In fact, opinions should really have no place in our ministry, it should be based 100 percent on scripture.
I bring this up because I see so many Christians out there with websites that are fighting the very things that are bringing this great country down, which is great, but they're crossing the line at times. They're so busy getting caught up into their opinions, and their anger, that they're not backing their words with THE WORD. If you really want to minister, then the best way to argue your point is from the Bible, not the heart. Be well spoken, peacful, and articulate, not angry and ranting. Remember that we need to be all things to all people. We need to be examples of temperance and self-control as an example of how Christ brings truth and peace to a believers life.
The world already has enough ammuntion to use against Christians without us giving them more by being rude and ugly. Go out there and fight for the rights of the Christian faith, go out and spread the Word of the Lord, go and be a warrior for Jesus, but do it for the right reasons. I'm not saying to be a pushover, I'm saying don't fall into the same angry trap that so many of the people we fight against are in. We fight so everyone will know the LOVE of Jesus, not the anger. Be an example. Fight hard, but smart.
Praying for peace and understanding,
Going through life?
Have you ever stopped and thought about how much life is like the calendar? Each season has something beautiful to offer, but most of the time we just don't stop and take the time to enjoy it. We're so focused on the future that we lose memories of now that we'll never be able to recover. There's a time for everything folks.One of the most famous Bible passages is found in Ecclesiastes 3. Most people will easily recognize verses 1-8 because we've heard them in songs, at funerals, and other special events. But if you really want to get to the heart of time, read the rest of the passage.Verse 11 says He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from the beginning to the end. Every season of our life is beautiful and should be lived to it's fullest. Winter brings the beauty of fresh fallen snow on mountain tops which supplies us with life-giving water for the rest of the year, but most people can't wait for the cold to end. Spring brings the beauty of blooms and hope, but we look for Summer to come so we can enjoy the warmth and long evenings. Summer brings us the warmth and beautiful late sunsets, but we can't wait for the heat to go away. Fall brings us the beautiful colors of life that God gave us, but we can't wait to start the cycle over. Enjoy each and every season of your life. Enjoy the lives of others that God has placed in your path. Enjoy the beauty around you. Take time to make memories of each season that will last forever.Verse 12 says I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. This is something that all of us want to do, but we get so busy that we forget. I'd like to say it's simple, but it's not. Let's be honest, we focus so much on the future that we forget to live the present. We always assume that we'll have the chance to say goodbye or I love you to someone again, to meet them for lunch, to tell someone about Jesus, but the reality is that we may never get the chance again. Then what happens? We're left with regrets, and regrets bring sorrow. Don't live your life full of regrets, live it to the fullest. Live your life with joy and passion. Don't let winter keep you in the house, go skiing..:)Verse 13 says That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in his toil-this is the gift of God. We all have to work, and we all have to live, but how do we do these things for the glory of God? We take them both as a gift. What would happen if either one were taken away, or diminished in some way? We'd look back and say "if only I had_____." We have one life to live, make sure you live it well enough to be able look back and smile and know that you did it well. Does your life bring a smile to the faces of others. It's a gift, take the time to live it in such a manner that makes God feel like He gave you the right present.Verse 14 says, I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing can be taken from it. God does it so we will revere Him. Our time here on earth, and what we do with it is an act of worship! Our stewardship of our time reflects the reverence we have for our God. Don't let a chance to live, or to serve Him escape you. Show Him your reverence by living your life worthy of his praise. Make Him proud. The way you spend your time after this life hangs on it.I'm not sure what season of your life you're in right now, but go out today and make it the best one ever. Make every minute an act of worship. Make your time here a wonderful memory for yourself, others, and God.Be blessed today, and love each other as God loves you,Pastor Mike[...]
Money or what?
I heard a story lately that told about a husband and wife that were moving into a new house that they had just bought with the wife's money. She reminded him that it was her money that bought the house and everything in it each time they went into a new room. This process repeated itself all day long. Finally, near the end of the day, a truck delivered this brand new big-screen HD TV with surround sound and all the bells and whistles that you could dream of. The wife looked at her husband and proudly said, "just think hun, if it wasn't for my money, this TV wouldn't be here." Having had enough, the husband said, "Snookums, if it wasn't for your money, I wouldn't be here."Isn't love grand?....:)
When most people say the word rich, we instantly think of money. The money magazine Forbes has a yearly list of the top richest people in the world, but they've missed the boat because we're all rich. 1 Corinthians 1:5 says For in Him, you have been enriched in every way-in all your speaking, and in all your knowledge. When you look in the mirror in the morning, do you see yourself as rich? If not, then here's why you should.
The first part of this verse deals with where to find true wealth, and that wealth is found in Jesus! This passage says, "In Him." Philippians 4:19 says My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ. Believe me when I tell you that nothing makes a person wealthier than a personal relationship with Jesus. God knows what you need, and He'll supply it. Having faith in that statement ensures that we'll be cared for for all of eternity. Most of the people like Bill Gates and Donald Trumps spend all their time trying to make the next billion and wind up dying miserable in their fancy mansions. Me, I would rather die dirt poor in an apartment knowing that my mansion waits for me in the kingdom of heaven. than with a huge bank account and a lot of doubt. Remember, our money can't buy our way into heaven, but our faith can. Now, who's really rich?
The second part of 1 Corinthians 1:5 says that, "we have been enriched in every way." If you really want to become wealthy, then allow yourself to be "enriched" in every way. The key word here is, "every." God will enrich those areas of our lives that we surrender to Him. If you're struggling with finances, then turn your budget over to God. If you're struggling in faith, ask God for more. The reason we aren't blessed in more areas of our lives is because we want to maintain control and force God to do things our way. It doesn't work like that. If you REALLY want God's blessings, then allow Him to take control and bless you. It's hard because of our pride, but believe me, He loves us more than we love ourselves, He'll take care of you. Just sit back and let Him do the driving.
Thank you for allowing me into your lives today. God has blessed me with all of you, and for that, I give Him thanks. Have a great day, and remember to tell someone about Jesus today.
How to forgive
As I look around today, it seems that there is more and more anger in this world. Along with this anger, comes the ultimate forgiveness of our sins and the sins of others. But what concerns me the most is the fact that more and more people have gotten to the point that people are so unwilling to forgive each other. When did we get to this point?
So what is forgiveness? It's about REACH. We know that God reached out to us in the most incredible act of forgiveness ever seen when He sent His Son to die on the cross for us. We all see this act and wish we could do the same. Somehow we always seem to fall short when we allow anger and emotions to keep us from forgiving others as we've been forgiven by the blood of Christ. So what's the Bible say about this? Micah 7:19 says He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in Mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities (New Kings James Version)
. We should follow His example of letting our anger go and showing others mercy like we've been shown. We all know how easy that is to say, but how hard it is to do. So, how do we do it? Try the REACH method.
R=Recall. Recall the hurt. To heal, you have to admit that you've been hurt or offended. You shouldn't remember the hurt as a victim or accusor, but remember objectively what happened.
E=Empathize. Empathize with the person. Try to understand what the person was going through when the person hurt you. Doing this allows you to relate to the person more which makes it easier to understand their actions.
A=Act. Give an act of forgiveness. Try to remember a time when you hurt someone but they forgave you. Remember specifically what happened and how it felt so you can see yourself giving that gift back to the person who hurt you.
C=Commit. Commit to truly forgive. It's easy to say we forgive, but most of the time we still harbor resentment. If this is the case with you, then pray for the Spirit to cleanse you of anything that may be holding you back. Don't allow the anger or pride to fester into something that will later explode.
H=Hold. Hold on to forgiveness. Remember that there's a difference between remembering the event and experiencing the cold emotions. Don't let the past dictate your future. Allow the act of forgiveness to grow you into a more Christlike example.
Everyone of us at one time or another has been wronged. Can you imagine what it would be like if we dwelled on it forever? It would eat us alive. Sometimes it does. We have to let go and let God. If you're still harboring a grudge, it's holding you back more than the other person. REACH out to them and reconcile. If you truly want to make a diffence in two lives, then forgive someone.
I pray that all of you have the most incredible day of your life today. Be blessed and stay strong in Jesus.
What can the Bible do?
The word of God is full of living power 1 Timothy 4:12, NLT.
I find it amazing how so many Christians can read the Bible, but have so much doubt. Here's the truth of the matter; you either believe it or you don't. You either believe that it is the infalible Word of God, or you don't. It's power has transformed lives of even the hardest of hearts. So why do we doubt that it could make a difference in someone's life. The following passage is from the web site INSIGHTS from Bill Bright
. It's an incredible story of how the Word of God can change lives.
You may be familiar with the famous book, Mutiny on the Bounty, and its infamous captain, William Bligh.
In 1787 at age 33, Captain Bligh was given command of "The Bounty," a three-year-old merchant ship. The Bounty set sail on December 23, 1787.
In April, 1789 the famous mutiny took place, led by Bligh's one-time friend, Fletcher Christian. The following is an extract taken from Bligh's logbook entry for April 28 (original spelling): "Just before Sunrise Mr Christian and the Master at Arms... came into my cabin while I was fast asleep, and seizing me tyed my hands with a Cord & threatened instant death if I made the least noise..."
Bligh and 18 other crew members loyal to him were set adrift on April 28 in an open boat. In most cases such an act would have led to certain death for the men aboard, but Bligh was a magnificent seaman and landed in Timor, Java, without any loss of life on June 14. The journey of 3618 nautical miles took them 47 days.
Captain Bligh miraculously lived after the mutiny and returned to England to report the crime. Many of the guilty sailors were found and hanged. Several, however, could not be found.
Twenty years passed and the whole incident was forgotten until a sailing ship discovered an uncharted island. When the crew landed, they could hardly believe what they had found -- an utter utopia. There was no disease, no crime, no drunkenness, nothing but grace and harmony.
When the crew learned the reason for the change in the islanders, they were amazed.
Eight of the Bounty's sailors had fled to this island after the mutiny. They had ravaged the people and all but one of the sailors, Alexander Smith, had died.
In desperation Smith had rummaged through all of the other men's belongings, looking for more whiskey. In his search, he found a Bible. He read it, believed it, and became a Christian. He introduced the entire population of the island to Christ and they, with him, believed and obeyed the Word of God, transforming their society.
This is why I fight
You know, the following link is why I am begging people to become more involved with what is happening in this country. I'm not going to give my opinion on this (you should know it by now), I just want you to click on it and see where we are going in this country is someone doesn't step up to the plate. Remember, this is who the Democratic National Convention chose to pray for them.
Who's the smartest?
2 Chronicles 30:12 Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the Lord.A major corporation conducted a study on the flight of geese. In their study they found that geese fly in a "V" formation with one goose in the lead. After a period of time, this goose relinquishes the lead to another goose. During flight they noticed head movements of the leader that seem to give signals to the other geese flying, perhaps to let the others know how he was doing. They estimate that the formation flight pattern reduces wind drag due to the lift the other birds receive and believe it increases their performance by up to 70 percent. Whenever one goose drops out, another goes with it. These two geese do not catch up to the original pack, but join another group later.Doesn't this sound so much like the church today? I was raised in an Assembly of God Church until I reached my teens and decided I no longer needed Jesus. After a few years in the Marine Corps, and a few more years in the bottle, I became the Prodigal son and returned to Jesus and His church. But things had changed since I had left the body of Christ years earlier. It seemed that while I was away from the Church, a new revolution had started among the denominations. It was the, I'm right and you're wrong revolution, and it was, and still is getting stronger every day.Yesterday I wrote about how 71 percent of the nation believes in God, but the secular 29 percent are stripping us of our rights. Today I say it's because the Body of Christ is so busy bickering about the who's right and who's wrong theology that the enemy is finding it easy to beat us. A Pastor friend of mine used to respond to minor theological differences by asking the question, "what does it have to do with my salvation?" What a question. We need to stop this bickering about things that make no difference in our salvation, and join forces to spread the Word of God.I remember when I decided to return to the church, I had no idea which one to go to. I sat down one night and cracked open the yellow pages of our town to see what church I would go to. Wow, was I surprised. When I opened the phone book of our small town, I saw so many churches, that I had no idea which one to go to. I remembered from my earlier years in the church that I needed to go to one that worshiped Christ, but I soon discovered that most of the churches had the name Jesus in their name. Well surely I could pick one of those and be safe, right? Wrong! I came very close to going to a LDS church because it had the name of Jesus in it's title. My point being that the church Jesus had in mind has split in so many directions today that it confuses the very people we are supposed to be reaching out to. How can we look appealing to the lost if we are bickering over the different ways we worship the very God that we love? How many people are we losing for Jesus because of our lack of unity? Maybe the geese are smarter than we are.I think that we should remember our place in the Bible. Jesus is the Shepard, and we are the sheep. We would be wise to follow the example of the "dumb" animals if we want to make the church stronger. Consider these examples:*Lions in Africa will follow a herd of zebras and try to split them up into many smaller herds because they know that when the zebras are all in one herd, they will repel any attacks the lions can spring on them. This is what's happening in the church today. Satan is using our pride and [...]
What are you doing?
Amos 6:1 Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come. I recently read an article from The Barna Group (a Christian research organization), that dicloses the following statistics from mainstream America:4% believe everyone is God. (2005)71% believe that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect creator that rules the world today. (2006)7% believe that God is the total realization of personal, human potential. (2006)2% believe that there are many gods, each with different power and authority. (2006)8% believe that God is a state of higher consciousness that a person may reach. (2006)4% believe that there is no such thing as God. (2006)After seeing this survey, I wonder why it is that prayer is being taken out of our schools, abortions are being performed, crosses are being taken down, Gay marriage is becoming legal, and our Christian rights are being stripped away. Can't Christians see that we are a MAJORITY in this coutry? Why are we allowing this to happen? Well folks, it's called apathy. It's the attitude that as Christians, we shouldn't become involved in the political arena. I say that's absolutely not true.There are an amazing number of Christians, as we speak, that are wondering what they can do do spread the Word of God throughout the world. Well, I suggest that they start at home by voting, and letting their voices be heard by their political leaders. I say this because if this country's lawmakers continue on the path they are being led on by liberal forces opposed to Christianity, then we won't be allowed even spread the word in our own communities. If we can't utter the name of Jesus in our own schools, our courts, or on the street, then how can we teach other countries to do it? We have to lead by example!When I was in seminary, I had the good fortune of becoming friend with a Vietnamese Seminarian by the name of Tran. Tran would tell me stories about how the goverment of Vietnam would not allow churches to meet in public, so his church would meet in the attic of their house. There would be 30 people in cramed into the attic. There wan't even enough room for them to stand up, but they were as happy as they could be. they were happy because they knew the love of Jesus. I fear that one day, this may happen scenerio may happen here if we don't start taking a stand now.I put a passage from the Book of Amos at the top of this bolg, and it says; Amos 6:1 Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come. We have to understand that we cannot be passive if we want this country to remain Christian. This verse clearly states, "Woe to you who are complacent in Zion." Let me remind you that it doesn't say good for you who are complacent. The world, looks at us to be a moral compass for all countries to emulate. We were once a nation known for it's ethical and moral principles, but that opinion of us is quickly fading away. How can we be a compass for others to use if our needle is pointing south? We have to regain the Christian values of this country againif we really want to be a model again. But we have to start by DOING something.So what can we do? Here's a few starters:1. Vote. There's nothing in this world that will make a politician turn their way quicker than a vote. Vote for the candidate that represents the values of the Bible, not of the world.2. Write y[...]
What am I tired of?
As many of you know, I have chosen to accept the position of Pastoral Liaison for the State of California for the advocacy group, Stop the ACLU.org (www.stoptheaclu.org) My job will be to organize and rally Pastors and Churches to take a more active role in fighting against the radical liberal organization, ACLU. Now having said that, why would I take this drastic step? Here's some reasons:
1. When I saw the picture of a nativity scene displayed by an ACLU fraternity with the heads cut off the Biblical figures and replaced with Karl Marx and his likes, I could no longer sit by and allow my Lord and Savior to be desecrated like this.
2. When the ACLU starts to take this country from the Biblical principles on which it was founded from our classrooms, our money, and our ability to display our symbols, then I fight. Now I know that there will be people who read this blog, who will try to claim that our founding fathers had no intentions of this being a Godly nation, but I say they are blind. When we take God out of this country, then we're done.
3. They advocate killing.....It's called abortion.
4. To many Christians are acting like there isn't a problem. I hear my fellow brothers and sister claiming that it isn't right for them to get involved. I hear Pastors say that church isn't the place for politics. Then where is the place? We need to stand up for our Christian principles before we have none.
I beg you, please do something. Visit the website www.stoptheaclu.org and see what is happening in our nation today, and how you can fight this. Email me at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Now I want to make it clear that we shouldn't hate those peole who oppose us, we need to pray for them. DON'T HATE...
Praying for the salvation of all,
Acts Of The Will
Yes, Lord, I will follow you (Luke 9:61, NLT).
The last couple of days we have talked about questions to ask ourselves before embarking on serving God. Today we're going to talk about our will. It's amazing how many times in the Bible that God indicates we are supposed to exercise our free wills in order to enter into an intimacy with Him.
An evangelist tells about a woman who came to him anxious about her salvation. He said to her, "Mrs. Franklin, how did you become Mrs. Franklin?"
She replied, "When the minister said, 'Wilt thou have this man to be thy wedded husband?' I said, 'Yes.'"
The evangelist then asked her, "Did you say, 'I hope so,' or 'I'll try to'?"
The woman quickly replied, "No. I said, 'I will.'"
Then pointing her to God's Word, the evangelist said, "God is asking you if you will receive His Son as your personal Savior. What will you say to that?
The woman's face lit up, and she exclaimed, "Why, how simple that is! Why didn't I say 'yes' a long time ago?"
Two little words, "I will," spoken by both the man and the woman result in marriage. So it is in becoming a Christian, who the Bible refers to as a bride, in marrying our heavenly Bridegroom, our Savior. One does not become a Christian until he exercises his "will" to receive Christ and says, in effect, "I do." Referring to our Lord's death on the cross for our sins, Jesus always stands ready and, in effect, says, "I did."
You have heard the old expression that "whosoever will" may enter into eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 16:25).
God's grace, foreknowledge and predestination are all great and wonderful mysteries, and we cannot understand it all. But one thing we do know is that our will is involved, not just in receiving Christ, but in receiving all His precious promises. Even our praise to God is an act of our wills: "I WILL praise the LORD all my life; I WILL sing praise to my God as long as I live" (Psalm 146:2, NIV). Also, "I WILL bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Psalm 34:1, KJV).
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord, then go out and serve Him. But serve Him with power and strength. Serve Him with all of your will.
Praying that we all serve more often,
The big uestions
Psalm 25:5 Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long
The following are the next five questions to ask yourself from yesterday's blog regarding God's will to help you when facing a change in direction in your life.Is it reasonable?
God expects us to think. His guidance may transcend human reasoning, but it never excludes it. God doesn't bypass our mind; He operates through it: "Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be babes, but in your thinking be mature" (1 Corinthians 14:20)
. We are warned in Scripture not to put our mind in neutral. We are to think and practice what we know to be true (Philippians 4:8, 9)
.Does a realistic opportunity exist?
Closed doors are not meant to be knocked down. If you have a hopeless scheme, let it go. If it isn't God's timing, wait. If a realistic opportunity exists, and all the other factors are in agreement, then take the plunge. God may open a window of opportunity, but it will close if not taken advantage of. The faithless man asks, "What do I stand to lose if I do?" The faithful man asks, "What do I risk losing if I don't?"
Are unbiased, spiritually sensitive associates in agreement? Be careful not to consult only those who will agree with you. Give your advisors permission to ask hard questions. Don't be afraid of "no" answers. If it isn't God's will, don't you want to know before you make the mistake of acting impulsively?Do I have a sanctified desire?
Don't think that being in the will of God must always be an unpleasant task. The joy of the Lord should be our strength. I find my greatest joy in serving God and being in His will. But don't get the idea that if everything is wonderful, you must be in the will of God. Is this a desire to satisfy a lust of the flesh or a Spirit-filled desire to see God's kingdom established and people helped?Do I have a peace about it?
This is an inner peace. Is the peace of God guarding your heart and mind?
If you have been able to answer yes to all of these deciding factors, what are you waiting for? Remember, God wants us, and needs us, to accomplish his will, so if you're feeling a call in your life, ask yourself the preceeding ten questions, then make the move. Now go, and serve with jy.
Praising God for you,
Psalm 25:4 NIV Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths
In today's and tomorrow's devotionals, I would like to share with you 10 questions you'll want to ask yourself and pray about when you're faced with a decision. The first five are generic. They represent moral issues and Godly wisdom that are normative for all times.Have you prayed about it?
Prayer was never intended to be a fourth-down punting situation in which we ask God to bail us out of our hasty decisions. It was intended to be a first-down huddle. We aren't supposed to ask God to bless our plans; we're supposed to ask God for His plans.Is it consistent with the Word of God?
In our culture, ignorance of God's Word is no excuse since resources are all around us. I believe that every home should have at least a concordance, a Bible dictionary, a topical Bible, a good commentary, and a study Bible with notes. Most pastors would love to share what God has to say about a given matter. If they wouldn't, you have called the wrong pastor!Can I do it and be a positive Christian witness?
A seminary student stopped by my friends office and told him about a job he had been offered. It would take care of his financial needs, but he had some reservations concerning the sales pitch he was required to use. My friend asked him if he could use the sales technique and be a positive witness for Christ. He didn't take the job.Will the Lord be glorified?
Can I do this and give glory to God? In doing it, would I be glorifying God in my body? Am I seeking the glory of man or the glory of God? Am I doing this to be noticed by man or am I seeking to please the Lord?Am I acting responsibly?
God doesn't bail us out of our irresponsibility. But when we are faithful in little things, He will put us in charge of greater things. Don't get ahead of God's timing or you will be over your head in responsibilities. Seek to develop your life and message, and God will expand your ministry.
Remember, when you follow God, His love will follow you.
Looking forward to tomorrow,