A Valentine’s Letter to Christian Seniors

A Valentine’s Letter to Christian Seniors

38719628_l     It’s February and time to celebrate Valentine’s Day! Hearts, flowers and chocolates are a plenty. Many feel sweet expectations and enthusiasm to celebrate those they care for, but perhaps you share little enthusiasm for this day as your spouse may have passed on or you are away from them due to differing health needs. Maybe you are spending this Valentine’s Day at a nursing home or assisted living facility.  Maybe your family lives far away and you will see no one you especially care for this day.  I write whatever your situation to remind you that you are cherished and can have sweet expectations this Valentine’s Day.

     First of all, on this Valentine’s Day I encourage you to remember that Jesus is thinking of you, that He cannot forget you. (I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. Isaiah 49:15b, 16)

     Secondly, remember that the marks on Jesus’ palms are there because He allowed Himself to be killed as a sacrifice for you so that you can have eternal life with Him.  Jesus loves you very much.  (For God so loved the world that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  John 3:16)

     Thirdly, sister or brother in Jesus remember this Valentine’s Day that God made pleasures forevermore for you. (You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11) God created roses for you to smell. He thought of cocoa beans for chocolate and sugar for cookies and desserts for your taste buds to enjoy. He painted the sunrise and sunsets different hues for your eyes to gaze at until the sun rises or falls below the horizon. He designed the sandy beaches to tickle your toes as the waves roll in and out to the deep. He made everything good that your senses have and ever will enjoy! (1 Timothy 4:4a For everything created by God is good).

     Is that all?  We haven’t seen anything yet. You and I are still waiting to behold perfect goodness and perfect love when we die and are forever with Jesus. (Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more. 2. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3. And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God: 4. and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away. 5. And he that sitteth on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he saith, Write: for these words are faithful and true.)

     This Valentine’s Day remember that Jesus is thinking of you.  That God loves you very much.  Remember that He has treated you with many good things, with only the best to come!  You are cherished and you can have sweet expectations to be fulfilled from our good Father.  Happy Valentine’s Day beloved child of God!

Grieving Your Loved One At Christmas

Grieving Your Loved One At Christmas

Is this your first Christmas without a loved one present on earth? Or is this Christmas yet another lonely year without them? While Christmas is often spent with family and friends, for those who’ve lost a loved one to death the holidays can become a season of stinging pain and unquiet-ed aching because a cherished one has passed beyond reach to be laughed with, dined with, and enjoyed. This universal loss is agonizing, but Christians have hope because this separation is temporary – it’s as if our cherished one is away on vacation (is heaven not the ultimate awesome destination?!), and in a little while we will join them, seeing their face and hearing their voice again. Whether the time apart from our loved one is a few years or a few decades, we know that when we exhale our last breath we will enter the kingdom of heaven where we are as alive as our loved one because we both have been washed clean from sin and made holy and allowed to stand in the presence of God. What a hope we have within us!

Why do we find comfort in joining our Christian loved ones after death? Because Jesus comforted his disciples that although he were about to leave them upon his death and subsequent departure from earth, Jesus said he would come again to receive them so that they would dwell in that place with Him and His Father (John 14:1-6). Further Biblical truth reveals the hope of those who follow Jesus: 1 Cor 15:51-55 “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed…O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”.

If you have not been cleansed of sin (the bad things you do) but want to, then you can now! Only believe Jesus’ words in John 14:1, “…I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” and in Mark 1:15 “…The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” If you have at some time repented and followed Jesus, you may not spend this Christmas or the next with your believing dear one, but you can spend it cherishing them and looking forward to making new memories in just a little while – thanks to the One for whom we celebrate the holiday, sweet Jesus.

A + B = I Hate the Homosexual (True or False)

A + B = I Hate the Homosexual (True or False)

If I believe stealing is immoral, does that automatically mean I hate thieves? No. If I believe breaking the Ten Commandments is or should be immoral, does that mean I hate people who break the Ten Commandments? Of course not; that would also mean I hate all people, including myself – and I don’t.

A common argument from the homosexual movement is that people who disagree with them hate them. Is that logically true? No. Could some who opposes the homosexual movement hate the homosexual? Yes. Do all people who disagree with the homosexual hate the homosexual? Of course not. I find such an argument to be a petty argument to incite sympathy…you don’t like what I’m doing so it has to mean you hate me. There must be a better argument than that. The idea of Equal Rights sounds a little better, but still doesn’t fit the bill. Anyone?

Pederasty (man/boy sex): Next in America? Christians May Say, Okay

Pederasty (man/boy sex): Next in America? Christians May Say, Okay

With the new U.S. education standards known as the “Common Core” soon to influence the sexual orientation of the children in public schools, the recent overturning of the courts to make homosexual marriage legal in Oregon and Pennsylvania, as well as the press coverage of the homosexual kiss from NFL player Michael Sam, news anchor Anderson Cooper revealing his sexual orientations, etc, etc, etc, the homosexual movement is making great strides. While the movement has made great strides throughout the last decade, the momentum is growing to quite a pinnacle with more to come.

With so many homosexual related headlines, I have thought I would hear buzz among people in general, if not among conservatives or Christians about the significant changes going on in our society.  Significant changes happening in our lifetime. That hasn’t been the case, at least in my experience, and I’ve asked around. From the silence I gather that people in general, conservatives, even Christians, are more okay with the homosexual strides being made, than not okay with them.  If monkeys were about to gain the right for citizenship, would that not be discussed among the average Joe?  There is too little opposition to the homosexual movement, and so this will be our country.

No matter the temperature towards homosexuality among the pop culture, conservatives, or Christians…I still still plug on and ask whomever may read this article to reflect on a thought.

Just because the majority of a society, even a democratic republic such as the USA, believes certain practices should be morally acceptable and legally supported – such as homosexual practice and homosexual rights, is that reason enough to make it so? Pederasty was a normal practice in ancient Greece; does that mean their country collectively made the right choice to make it normal?

“In their (ancient Greeks) eyes, it was not despicable when a married man had affairs with boys…” (Hein van Dolen from Greek Homosexuality). See http://www.athensinfoguide.com/gayboylove.htm for more on this common practice.

Who decides the measuring line for socially acceptable behavior and legal rights? Please tell me so I know who’s movement will be next in the headlines. Those who want to practice pederasty? Anyone…conservatives, Christians – to this would you speak out?

The Eerie Silence of American Christians

The Eerie Silence of American Christians

Today on Yahoo, “Pennsylvania’s gay marriage ban overturned”.

Any thoughts, Christian? I ask the Christian because I’ve observed that I seldom hear the everyday American Christian discuss todays issues through a Biblical lens, and maybe someone is waiting for an invitation to speak. Throughout the years I’ve rarely heard church members converse about Godly things outside of the Sunday School lesson.  Why the eerie silence? Why do Christians seem to be hush hush about righteous things both inside the church and out? People talk about what’s on their mind – even Facebook asks “What’s on your mind?” in the blank box waiting for a post because they know you will share what’s on your mind.

Is the headline “Pennsylvania’s gay marriage ban overturned” a reflection of the quiet American Christian, and are Christians quiet because they mirror the godless culture more than they mirror Christ? Are righteous things so seldom mentioned because God’s righteousness has little place in the mind and heart of the Christian? Have we collectively become nominal Christians – honoring God with our lips but our hearts are far away from Him (Matt 15:8)?

Would there be a difference in America if everyday Christians spoke up about their Godly convictions because they lived a holy life in obedience to the teaching of the Bible?  Would public policy look differently if we were more obedient?  Many Founding Fathers mentioned God in their writings which reflected in their laws – because He was on their mind.  Would the morality of popular media look differently if professing Christians would not accept the godless entertainment that so often breaks the Ten Commandments and unsubscribe to this media.

I shudder to ask, are America’s Christians so quiet because we are walking in the footsteps of Judah, who rejected God for false gods, exchanging obedience to His Word for disobedience? (see the book of Jeremiah, found in the Old Testament of the Bible, for the full story) Are righteous things so seldom mentioned because God’s righteousness has little place in the mind and heart of the Christian?  I hope the eerie silence ends.

Christian, are you sexually frustrated? How about you, non-Christian?

Christian, are you sexually frustrated? How about you, non-Christian?

Anyone sexually frustrated because your sexual desire is not a) morally and socially acceptable or b) not legal? Feel free to borrow the argument below:

An unmarried person desires to have sex with another. Choosing to do so results in sexual immorality.
A married person desires to have sex with someone other than their spouse. Choosing to do so results in adultery.
A family member desires to have sex with another family member. Choosing to do so results in incest.
An adult desires to have sex with a child. Choosing to do so results in pedophilia.
A person desires to have sex with an animal. Choosing to do so results in bestiality.
A member of one sex desires to have, well they can’t have intercourse because it’s not naturally possible, but desires to have sexual relations with someone of the same sex. Choosing to do so results in homosexuality.

Common words throughout all instances listed above: desire and choice. There is a desire to have sex. There is a choice to do it or not.

America is now giving moral, social and legal rights to the homosexual that are equal to the heterosexual. If America wants equal rights for the homosexual, then the sexually immoral, adulterer, incestuous person, pedophile, and those who practice bestiality must become morally and socially acceptable, and if need be, legally equal to all other sexual orientations. Doesn’t America want fairness and equality, not just for the homosexual, but for all people who are born with the desire to have various sexual relations?

Are homosexual rights an issue of fairness and equality?  Are they unalienable?  I say not.  Civil rights are an issue of inherent skin color.   One may be born with black skin or white skin – but they have no choice in the matter.  One may be born with a human nature having a tendency towards homosexual desire, as well as other sexual desires listed above, but they have a choice as to whether or not they act on the matter.  ‘

No matter how strong the desire towards any behavior, Jesus’ blood is more powerful than our tendency.   John 8:36 Romans 8.

 

 

 

You Attend Your Church Because They Make You Feel Welcome, Well That’s How I Feel at Walmart

You Attend Your Church Because They Make You Feel Welcome, Well That’s How I Feel at Walmart

Call me hormonal because I’m pregnant, and I’m fine with that. What I’m not fine is speaking to people from nearly all arenas of my life and realizing a progressively common theme among professing Christians…that most Christians believe that some parts of scripture aren’t meant to be followed today. Just slap a sticker that says “God is love and He forgives” and let the preachers and teachers tell you ways to feel better about yourself…and bam, you have a theology and a church. If you’re by far primarily relying on your good preacher and Christian books to tell you what God says – then you’re going to be deceived to some extent. If you’re listening more to men about what God’s Word says because you trust the guy and he just makes you feel so good, but you know scripture only to the extent your preacher or your book quotes a couple verses, then I would have little confidence in your theology. Do you know how dangerous that is? If you’re not in God’s Word for yourself – then I wouldn’t claim to understand God’s ways. And we wonder why the American Christian church is in decline… If you balk at the American churches who are ordaining homosexual ministers and the like…but spend more time listening to teachers and preachers and reading books than actually reading His Word…then you’re likely on a slow and steady path to becoming like them, or it may be the generation after you…but it’s coming and the American Christian church will continue to diminish.
I Don’t Want to Be a Good Person; I’m a Christian – Part II

I Don’t Want to Be a Good Person; I’m a Christian – Part II

Are the good deeds of the non-Christian person, the religious person, and the Christian person pleasing to God?  Is it enough to Him that you want to be a good person?  I don’t know who wants to be the bearer of bad tidings, but at least these bad tidings can be overcome.

For the non-Christian, the person who does not acknowledge God as God, he disobeys the first of the Ten Commandments:  Old Testament, Exodus 20:3, You shall have no other gods before Me.  If you do not acknowledge God as the supreme and only God, then you have sinned.  So what is God’s reaction to a person who has sinned?  In the New Testament, in John 8:24, I (Jesus) said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He have His only begotten son, what whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life.

But thanks to Jesus who said in John 3:17, For God did not send the son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.  So there are great tidings for everyone who has done one sinful thing!  We can be saved!  John 7:38 says, He who believes in Me, from his innermost being shall flower rivers of living water. John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh. John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Nevertheless, while one sin committed by a person negates their goodness before God and condemns them from eternal life with God – and while all people have sinned and need help…God offers sinners help and eternal life with Him!  Woohoo!

Is the effort of a religious person pleasing to God?  Jesus spent a lot of time in the New Testament conveying His displeasure of the religious leaders, whom He called white washed tombs due to having the appearance of goodness while having evil hearts that did not sincerely serve Him (Matthew 23:27).

Apparently, God is not an easy going fellow when it comes to goodness and evil.  Even if people today, like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, give religion a go of it, even devoting their life to religion, this does not mean their sacrifice is an acceptable service before the Lord.  In Genesis 4:3-4, Cain offered a gift to God from his harvest, but scripture does not say that Cain offered his best as did his brother Abel.  Cain’s gift was rejected by God as Cain did not worship and serve God above all else.  He valued the best of his harvest, his little god, before honoring God – which is breaking the first of the Ten Commandments.  This was the rich young ruler’s downfall as well.  He asked Jesus what good thing he should do in order to have eternal life in Matthew 19, but while the ruler said that he already kept all the commandments, he valued his riches above God.  The efforts of religious people are not acceptable to God because the appearance of goodness does not equate a sincere Christ follower.  In Matthew 16:25, Jesus said For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.

In Matthew 7: 15 Jesus said people can wear sheep’s clothing – having an appearance of being a follower of Christ, but not sincerely following Him. Isaiah 29:13 Then the Lord said, because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.  These people had “good” intentions, but their outward service did not match their inward hearts.  Some people will even call out to God, but will not be accepted into the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 7:21-23 Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father  who is in heaven.  Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.   Does this seem unfair?  It is not, because the hearts of the people never truly followed God, they followed God in appearance alone.

The religious person may have more difficulty going to God and following Him because they deceive themselves that they know God because they try to do a lot of good deeds in the name of God, rather than repent and follow God from their heart.  The non-Christian is at least upfront about his choice to not follow God.  I was a religious person  for about 20 years, and then God opened my deceived eyes to see that my goodness, even my religious goodness, would not earn my way into heaven.

Of the Christian, God says in John 5:24 that the believer is no longer condemned for his sin – but is the believer’s attempts at goodness always pleasing to God? As mentioned in Part I of this post, in 1 Corinthians 13:3 God says through Paul, And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.  And in 1 Corinthians 3: 13 Each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. Old Testament, Hosea 6:6a says For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice.

What goodness is acceptable to God?  John 15:4, 5b Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  Apart from Me you can do nothing.  Unless we are forgiven of our sin and made right with God, we cannot abide in Jesus.  But once we are made right with Him, we can abide in Him and be filled with the fruit of goodness – the fruit of righteousness as mentioned in Philippians 1:11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.

So if a believer abides in Jesus, then he can bear good fruit; he can bear the fruit of righteousness.  And while the  believer is abiding in Him, he will love God by obeying Him which produces good fruit.  John 14:23b says, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.  Galatians 5:25 says If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit, and verse 22 and 23 lists the fruit of the Spirit which includes goodness.

If the believer abides in God and loves God by obeying His word – then the Christian will be striving to obey Matthew 22:37, 39 because all other commandments rest on these two commandments.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Vs 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and Prophets.  If the believer is abiding in God, loving God and living in obedience to these two commandments, then the Christian profits before God because the motive of their good actions stem from their unabashed love of God and love of others.  Acts of love towards others profit the Christian, as shown in 1 Corinthians 13:3.  And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.  So all acts done with the primary motive of obedience to God, out of unabashed love for God, and out of love of others are profitable for the Christian because these acts of goodness are genuinely good and pleasing to God.

So while the non-Christian and the religious person’s goodness cannot be acceptable to God because he is not made right with God,  the Christian’s goodness can be pleasing to God when the believer’s primary motive is to obey and love God, as well as to love others as himself.

I Don’t Want to Be a Good Person; I’m a Christian

I Don’t Want to Be a Good Person; I’m a Christian

Do most people want to be good people?  I think most non-Christians would affirm this desire, as well as religious people, and people who follow Christ.  Should it be a goal of humanity to be good?  Does incredibly good behavior cause God to debar the gates to the Garden of Eden or cause God to smile on the people He has redeemed?   I would say no; I think Satan is pleased to so easily deceive man into wanting to be good people, so that they do not focus on how they can become righteous people.

If this idea is true, people may feel this reality is abrasive and that God is unfair to reject man’s attempts at goodness; but since God designed the universe and said (New Testament) 1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God, then man’s opinions do not effect God’s reality, no matter how much we don’t like the sound of it.

What does the Bible, God’s Word, say about man’s goodness in general?  Since the Garden of Eden when evil entered the world, we learn that no person is good. Old Testament, Psalm 14:3b There is no one who does good not even one.  OT, Isaiah 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment. In the New Testament, in Romans 7:18, Paul says, For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.

What does God say about the goodness of religious people (not sincere God followers and Christ followers, but sincerely religious people)?  NT, Romans 10:2, 3.  For I bear them (Israel) witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.  In Matthew 23:27 Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”  So good acts based on religious conviction are not necessarily acceptable to God, so says Jesus.

And of the forgiven sinner to whom Christ has imparted His righteousness, are all of his good acts pleasing to God?  1 Cor 13:3 says, And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.  Apparently they are not.  God, through Paul, says to the brethren (1 Cor 3:1), to Christians, 1 Corinthians 3: 13 Each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.  So, not all of a Christian’s good behavior will be rewarded.

So, why wouldn’t man’s attempt to be good, the attempt by non-Christian, a religious person, and a Christian, be considered good by God?  Isn’t being good – a good thing?

Well, it appears God gets a little more serious about man’s behavior. OT, 1 Samuel 16:7b For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. NT, Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God…able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. NT, Romans 2:16b God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

In my next blog I will sift through scripture to see what goodness is acceptable to God, whether from a non-Christian, a religious person, or a sincere follower of Jesus.

Is the Christian Church Outdated?

Is the Christian Church Outdated?

For me, answering this question doesn’t require that I put myself in a non-believers’ shoes to honestly critique the church.  I have no reservation saying yes; in most cases the church is outdated.  With sadness I share my response as to how some churches in recent generations have been stewards of their priceless gift, stewards of their little corner of overseeing the Kingdom.  From the outdated buildings, to the half empty pews, this is not a reflection of the powerful and living Word of God, but a contradiction.

God, being the Alpha and Omega, cannot become old or outdated in any respect as He created everything that can be, whether in the year 1800 or 2050. (New Testament, John 1:3)  All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  In addition, (NT, Hebrews 4:12a) For the word of God is living and active.  So, if the church has become stale or the pews (or rather the folding chairs) empty, it is not that God is irrelevant or out of date.  According to His Word, this simply cannot be true.  Therefore it can only be the keepers of His Kingdom on earth to which the burden falls.

So, let’s look at the church.  Scripture tells us that just because there is a church building with people gathered, or for that matter a group of people who hold a church service in any particular place, it does not guarantee that God is present with them.  Although when a person has the Holy Spirit – a new life inside of them – then God resides with that person, in that place (NT, Acts 7:48, 51).  So I ask, what does a person look like with whom God dwells, and therefore what does a group of people with whom God dwells look like?

Jesus said in (NT) John 14: 23, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him and we will come to him, and make Our abode with him.  What do those who are obedient to Him, the people in whom God is abiding, what do they look like?  Jesus said He came that people might have life, and have it abundantly (NT, John 10:10b).  Paul said he wanted believers to be filled up to all the fullness of God (NT, Ephesians 3:19b).   Christ redeemed people (NT, Ephesians 1:7) back from what was lost in the Garden of Eden, as He intended for people to have eternal life (NT, John 3:16), fullness of joy and pleasures forever (Old Testament, Psalm16:11b).

If people of the church are obedient to Him, then the people will be living an abundant life, filled with the fullness of God, full of joy and experiencing pleasures.  That sounds a lot like the people who were a part of the thriving church in Acts.

I suggest that the church today has become outdated because slowly, throughout recent generations, people have become less obedient to God’s Word; this disobedience manifesting in various ways.  Due to the lack of obedience, we observe less of God’s vibrant life among professing believers and among the professing church.   Sadly, due to believers not loving God, nor obeying God, the professing church has largely become outdated, because the God who gives eternal life, abundant life, fullness, joy and pleasures can never go out of style.