Friday, December 30, 2011

The first good deed

As we start off this new year, what do we expect of ourselves? Are you one to set goals...new year's resolutions? We will all agree that we want this year to be better than last... But what are the things that make it better than last. More money, better housing, children doing better, easier job...These are all good! But what do we expect from deep within ourselves? Do we want to be of better character...closer to God? Seriously do you want to be closer to God? For most of us that means change; a lot of change and even hard change. Sometimes it even brings about fear; can I start to get closer to God? Look at me, my life...I'm a wreck deep down.
Our last devotional ended with this verse Gen. 4:7 "If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." This is a very important verse for us to consider, and it is a principle that we all must put into practice. So what we are going to do is to use this verse as the "cornerstone"...for our devotionals over the next few weeks...we will talk about touchy, hard...topics.
So here we go, "If you do well,". What does this phrase mean? Does it only apply to offerings? No. Remember Adam and Eve, what happened when they did not do well. What we need to do, is to do well according to God's standard. Not of what man may think but what God wants. So many times man's approval...get's in the way of us doing well. The next thing I want us all to recognize is that we need to think about doing well. That in our daily living we need to be thinking about doing well. That every day we have choices...and in these choices we need to be thinking about of doing well. If you are like me sometimes I just do without thinking about doing well according to God; I just do. We all need to keep our Lord God at the fore front of all that we do. Is what I am doing pleasing to God. Is my work pleasing to Him? Is my play time pleasing to Him? Am I more interested in pleasing myself versus pleasing God? You see you can be doing the littlest of things that is pleasing to God and guess what He lifts you up. Or better said is that He accepts you and what you have done. Or you can be doing something big and guess what He lifts you up, accepts what you have done. Be it little or big God accepts those "good deeds" and to have God's acceptance is what it is about. Now with that there is a beginning or a starting point. No one can by pass this, let's call it the first good deed. Last week was Christmas week...on Dec. 25, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the son of God. The Savior of all mankind. Now here is the question what have you done with the good news, the good news of Christmas? Have you put your trust in that child, who was born that day in Bethlehem? The child who grow up into a man, doing miracles...then dying on a cross as it was written; then three days later coming back to life. Proving to the world that He is the son of God, that He is the savior of the world, that He has the ability to do what He said He could and would do. I know we have heard these words before, but they are so important John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. "For God did not send the son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him." Have you believed? Have you put your trust in Jesus? For this is the beginning of being accepted of God. It starts with God giving us the Gift of His Son. All we have to do is believe, trust...and accept this most important gift of God. This is the most important thing for being accepted...of God. You cannot by pass this first step.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas is here

For us as believer this is a special time of year. It is the time of year in our country and many others call, Christmas. There is a little more excitement in the air. More decorating of homes, businesses, towns...Planning of big meals, families trying to get together... Yes there is a lot of shopping...But the season of Christmas is here! Even the real spirit of Christmas is here too. That is there are more things about our Lord Jesus being said, being displayed...that are acceptable in the public eyes. It's Christmas, the celebration of the gift of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Luke 2:10-14 "But the angel said to them. "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
This is the season of great joy! Great joy that the Lord Jesus was give to us, all men as our savior. What good news this is; it was good news back in the day of the Lords birth and it is still good news today! It was such good news that a heavenly host (many angels) appeared praising God. At the end of this praise it says this "And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." God is pleased with us His creation, and He sent His son to save us from our short comings, imperfections...(sin) to bring us to back to Himself... and this is done through the Lord Jesus Christ, the son God. So let us all get with the rejoicing of the season. Praising our Lord for the great things He has done and is doing. So put on the Christmas cheer this week. And merry Christmas to you all and to all your families.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Anger...countenance fallen?

As we go through life we experience many things. We even have questions about God, about Jesus...religion...Then for some reason we have questions about this word, sin. A word that just popped up. Now when we talk about sin we think of bad deeds...or even thinking of the meaning of the word sin- missing the mark. In our story of Cain and Abel we are at Gen.4:7 God talking to Cain, "If you do well will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." Cain had just missed the mark. The mark of bringing first "fruits" if you will. Cain became angry and his countenance fell. Was it while he brought the offering or was it after when God had no regards? The reason I ask, is that for us we sometimes know we are missing the mark but we still continue. But there are those times when we are trying...we think we are doing it right...then we find out we were doing it wrong.
What I want us to see here is that Abel hit the mark, when he gave an offering. God accepted it...regarded it, and Abel felt that acceptance of God. Let me use the word, fellowship, Abel still had fellowship with God a good fellowship. Now Cain on the other hand missed the mark, sinned. Sin is at the door, it is here for Cain, it has entered in. When we do those deeds, things, actions, or thinking...that misses the mark, sin has enters in. It is there in our house...we might not think so...but it is there. God is telling Cain a basic truth if you do well...if you do not do well sin enters in. Look at yourself Cain, anger...your countenance, fallen. These are signs of sin. You must deal with them, do what is right...Go back and correct the matter. Humble yourself admit the wrong and do what is right. You see God even way back here and before (Adam and Eve) is making a way for us to be in the right with Him. Now sin has a desire, a desire to consume us. Let's face it, sin is wanting for us to commit more and more. Sometimes it seems like it grows. But us the redeemed must acknowledge when we miss the mark to God, through His son Jesus Christ. Last week we mentioned not giving of the "first". But sin can involves a whole lot. Let us humble ourselves before our God in these areas...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Are you doing well?

For Adam and Eve, there was a little push to commit that first sin. That is the serpent talked them into it...Last week we talked about the consequences of sin. Well with this eating of the "apple" there was also one big thing that happened; the knowledge of good and evil. Well the knowledge of good we can handle, but the knowledge of evil, that is totally different for us. Here is where we all get into trouble. It's true! How many times do we find ourselves thinking bad things? Then we do those bad things or some of that bad things or wish that some of the bad things will happen. Have you ever had your mind wander...and then you are thinking how did I start thinking those evil things. Well it is also tied into the first sin.
Adam and Eve are now out of the garden of Eden and are now on the "Earth". It is different not the same as being in the garden. There is work, sweat, pain...but the biggest thing is that there is no longer walks with God in the evening. Sin does that, it puts a barrier between God and us. Does that mean that God does not want to talk to us? No, it means that He talks to us differently. In our story we have Adam and Eve out of the garden and having 2 sons, Cain and Able. Gen. 4. Now our story goes like this; the 2 brothers bring an offering to God and God has regards for one of the offerings (Abel's) but the other He had no regards (Cain's). Two offerings; we could look at this as strictly teaching...going into what the meanings are... But that will take a long time...And to tell the truth I am not that good of a bible teacher. So with that we will have a narrow focus if you will.
Gen. 4:3-5 "So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering; but for Cain and his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell."
What I want us to notice here is that Cain bought an offering of fruit and that Abel bought firstling. Or the first. You see God want from us the first fruits if you will. He wants the first. Not the leftovers...Now that has a lot of meaning. Alright, now this may hurt a little but this is what God expects. He is to be first. He is first...So for us that means we must put Him in first place. That is in our personal world, our ways, our thinking...that God is of the utmost. When He said He wants of our first fruits...we give them to Him. When it comes to our ways...we follow His ways...When it comes to service we put our first strengths...When it comes to time, our time, we honor Him first. When it comes to following Gods rules...we follow. Now this is an important concept; that God comes first in everything. That when we do anything for God it has to be of the "first". God is not impressed with the leftovers...He is not impressed with us doing things different from what He has set; even if in our modern times, when it seems better. When it comes to worship, we worship Him. When it comes to thanks for things being done... we thank Him, for He is the one Who does and provides... So guys this is hard! So God first, Including His son and the Holy Spirit. Family next, with our wives taking the lead. Others are next...So many times we get in "trouble" because our priorities are mixed up. Sometimes, We get in trouble because we think that our priorities are right but we are not giving the right amount(money, time, service...) in the right proportion. We cut back in areas...Less time with God. Doing less for our wives and family. Let's face it, it is not easy to be last! We all want to be first or we even might settle for second place. But the truth of the matter is that we are not even third... God had no regard for Cain's offering and we focused on the word, first, that it was not his first fruits. So Cain had a reaction to the way God disregarded his offering. Two things: the first was anger and the second his countenance fallen. When we fall short of something I guess this is what happens. If we are real with our selves we can say, yes this is what happens. Now God sees this in Cain; Gen. 4:6-7a "Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up?" God does ask us the same questions today when He sees us angry...So what do we do, we have a choice or choices to make. We can correct the matter and give of the first. Lifting up God, so He can lift us up. So when need be let us all go back and make it right.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Far reaching affects

In Gen. 3:14-24 is recorded the curse and punishment of Adam and Eve sins. Now there is a lot of material here! We will not look at it all, nor will try to go over the prophetic meanings. We will start with a question from verse 13, God speaking, "What is this you have done?". Yes, I know this was said to Eve. Guys when we do something...is this not a valid question for God to ask us also. Remember I said I had to wait till my dad came home? You know we did not have cell phone back then, nor were you able to call work for personal reasons...Dad would see me there in the corner...and I still can hear him say, "What did you do this time." Now if I was smart I would tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Not always the case, excuses...You see after he talked to me my dad would go and talk to mom. Then he would get the rest of the story. Well if the 2 stories we in line with each other, it was better for me(hind sight), if not we had more to deal with. Let's think about that for a minute; how many times when we confess our sins do we not tell the "whole story"... we make light of something...excuses... Can you picture God shaking his heads, you see He knows the rest of the story. Don't try to make light of your wrongs to God.
Now as we move down our text we see God pronouncing "Judgement" on the three. You see the disobedience of eating the "apple" came with a cost, telling or convincing someone to do something wrong...comes with a cost. So God tell them the first part of the cost. One for the serpent, one for Eve (women) and one for Adam (Man). Let's just deal with the man and the women. For women verse 16, "I will greatly multiply your pain in child birth. In pain you will bring forth children yet your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you." For the man verse 17-18, "Cursed is the ground because of you, in toil you will eat of it all of your life. "Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; for you are dust, And to dust you shall return." Now these things are still in place today. There are pain, toil, sweat, issues of authority and physical death (Gen.2:17). But also look what else happens. We have God providing skins for clothes, a few devotional in it's self, and God sent them out of the garden of Eden. Not only did He send them out, He also made provisions that man would not be able come back by himself.
What we must recognize is that there is always a price to sin. That sin affects more than you and God. In our verses above we can see that Adams and Eves sin even affect us today. Our sins affect our spouse, our children, our friends, our co-workers, our community...and our sins have far reaching affects into the future. This is a hard concept to grasp, how can it be? Think about it, if you are older and have children, do they not do the same or similar wrongful deeds. As a dad I can see the struggles my boys have, for the most part they are the same ones I struggled with. ( Look at the verse at the end).
One commits murder it affects God, the one murdered, his family, his children, his friends, the community... A married man commits adultery with his eyes, looking, it affects his relationship with his wife...even his relationship with his children... A young man does the same thing it reaches into the future to affect his marriage. Think about it, sin has far reaching affects. Hopefully seeing this reality of sin will give us all a push to bring them(sins) to God. Not only for forgiveness, but repentance; the turning away from sin. You see we need God's forgiveness, through Jesus Christ, but we also need His strength to help us not to sin. To break the bonds of sin that presses on us, that one sin or sins that just keeps popping up. The one's that are hard to stop, even when we are trying hard not to do them. We need the help of our Lord.
Exodus 20:5 "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generation of those who hate me."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blame- excuses

Now when I was young and did something bad...my mother would put me in the corner and say these famous words, "Wait till your father gets home." I tell you, time seems to stand still while you are waiting for your father to come home to deal with the situation. You think about a lot of things while you are waiting like that, fear is a big thing, shame is a big thing. The disappointment of dad and what will he do? Why did I do that? What was I thinking, was I thinking? What am I going to say ...or tell dad?
In our text we have the account of Adam and Eve coming before God. Gen.3 :11-13 "And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree which I commanded you not to eat?" The man said, "The women You gave to with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." Then the Lord said to the women, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "the serpent deceived me, and I ate."
When you are waiting for dad you think about a lot of things or even in situations alike. We think of things to explain how there was a reason why I, we did what I, we did. For the most part it was that something or someone...made me or pushed me, caused me...into doing that bad act or even deceived me. Isn't that true? We even do that as adults. We try to blame someone else or something else. That it was _____or ______that caused the problem...and guess what, as a result I, we are not the problem... Did you notice that Adam tried it and then Eve tried it too. It is not easy to say that we are wrong...really think about it. It is hard to totally admit our faults, short comings...never mind admitting wrongful actions... Let's face it we are good at the blame game. Think about it, were did we learn how to do it so well! We even do the excuse thing too! It seems so natural, isn't it?
I remember when I was a young man working, a situation that happened to my boss. Well his boss was upset about what another worker done...Well my boss replied to his boss, "Sir, it is my fault I told him to do it that way." You see I'm not sure if he was a Christian or not, but he did know how to take responsibility for his actions and decisions...the right way. He admitted. I know same old thing, go to the Father admit those things to be cleansed...in the name of His son Jesus. Admit them the right way! Don't do the blame thing or the excuse thing...Take 100% of the blame for all your actions.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Are you looking small?

Last week we used the word shame to talk about the first reaction to eating of the "apple". But there is another word that fits here as well, guilt. You see eating of the "apple" gave us as mankind knowledge...of good and evil, but it also was the first act of disobedience against God. Which brings about guilt. Now let's talk about what guilt is for a bit. Guilt is the fact of one committing an offense or a breach of conduct. For example violating a law. But an important part of guilt is that the conduct...that one has done also involves a penalty. Now, when we sin against God this penalty will be enforced and/or has to be paid.
Let's give example of guilt that will help us understand the feeling of guilt. Have you ever been pulled over by a police officer? Or seen some one pulled over? Most times the person is trying to look "small" when cars drive by; it is something that we don't want others to see...we have done something wrong and don't want others to know or see. Let's face it sin is not something we want others to know about...it also brings about guilt; you get the ticket to pay. Really deep down all of us would rather be in right standings, happy...versus being guilty for doing wrong actions; paying...
Now for Adam and Eve sin brings about guilt, which brings about the reaction of hiding, because of fear. Let's look at Gen.3: 10 "He said, I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." Guilt brings about fear. So for us adults we have to really think about this, for the most part we have our lives so ordered that when we do something...we somewhat know the penalty, consequences...(we think). Then sometimes we take the risk based on our willingness to take the penalty...or even hope or think that there is no penalty...remember because no one sees. When we were young, real young and we did something wrong, can you remember, there was the guilt and then the fear. What is dad and mom going to think or do? Do you remember those days? Well, guess what, just because we are older does not mean that the emotions/ reaction...that we display because of guilt goes away. We may be able to mask them...but deep down they are still there. Again have you gone to Jesus to take care of business?

Monday, November 7, 2011

The big cover up

Now back to our study in Gen. 3

Gen.3:8 "Then they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees." Last week we talked about the "shame" of our bodies... that sin has brought about. If only that was the only thing that happens when we sin. The next thing that is that the man and women hid themselves. They tried to hide from God. What foolishness, hiding from God! A God who sees everything...You see we still do the same thing today. We try to hide our sin; we think that no one is watching...We look over our shoulders...to see if anyone is looking...then we do our thing. Let's be real; isn't that true of us? Sometimes we think that as long as no one else knows, I'm ok. We rationalize in our minds that God doesn't know...because we don't see Him...
You see doing wrong, breaking God's law...the things we call sin, brings about shame and guilt. Look at what Adam and Eve try to do. First they try to cover it up(fig leaves). Knowing that, that did not work, they tried to hide. Guess what that does not work either. You know, don't we do the same things today. We hide our sins...Or we even try to cover them up, try to make things right by doing good deeds...Sometimes we even try to rationalize them away...Sometimes we even forget that sin has a price. " surely you will die." Gen.2:17. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
What do we do when we find ourselves in this way of having committed "sin". Do we cover it up...Hide...Pretend that it's not real...Forget about it...Well let me tell you, I think that I have done all those things, even believing for a little while that one worked here and there. But guess what, it did not. There is only one way to deal with "sin". Yes, only one way. For there is only one way that works. That is to ask forgiveness, of God and then men if need be. 1John 1:9 " If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." James 5:16a "Therefore confess your sins one to another and pray for one another, that you may be healed." Forgiveness of God; what cleansing...forgiveness of men, what healing. It's true! True repentance...to God what a powerful thing what cleansing, also forgiveness of men what healing it brings.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Stay Strong

So many times we as men get confused as to what is strength? What does strength look like? And even when we figure that out we get confused as to how to use our strength. A few years back this ministry started and then not too long after it was suggested that we have a "name". The basis for this ministry was to help men to be strong in their Christian walk; but not only limiting the ministry to men. So with that I was thinking of be strong, act strong...Well we decided on Stay Strong. hence the Stay Strong Ministry. Not to long after that we heard the song, "Stay Strong", by the News Boys. Which is unofficially the theme song for this ministry. So back to strength, physical strength, being strong physically, muscles. Mental strength, being strong in thinking. In life we need both these strengths! Which is of more importance? Well that depends on the circumstance. If you need to move a heavy object that is on you,taking your breathe away well physical. But really you need both. A great football player is not only physically strong but also mentally, thinking...he is able to "read" the offense or defense or even an individual player; then he able to use his physical to the best use.
For us as Christians there is also spiritual strength. We use words like faith, belief...But it is the actual trusting God. That is trusting God to do what He said He will do and for us to do what God tells us to do. So back to our name Stay Strong. It comes from 2 sections of scripture in Joshua. The first being Joshua 1:1-9. Here God tell's Joshua to be strong and courageous in verses 6,7 and 9. But at the same time God is also telling Joshua to obey the law...That is that Joshua strength is in obedience to God's word, not waivering to left or the right. When Joshua is doing His part God works mightily by using Joshua to do great things. Now the next section in Joshua is chapter 24:14-15"Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the river and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for your self today whom you will serve; whether the gods which your father served which were beyong the river or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are liveing; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
You see real strength is to be determined to serve the Lord God no matter what. When things are going smoothly...or in times or great difficulty...real strength is to obey Him...to put aside our wants, desires...To stand firm on the word of God. Real strength is being like Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego,in Dan.3 this is were the 3 were to be tossed into the firy furnace. Here is what they answered the king in verses 17-18 "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliever us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliever us out of your hand , O king. But even if He does not, let it be know to you, O King, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." Now that is strength! Spiritual strength. Someties we need to wait on God...and during that time it is hard not to do things in our own strength...we may even bend the rules a little bit, you know what I mean? Let's not do that any more but instead let us be strong, stay strong trusting and obeying our Lord God and His son Jesus.

Monday, October 31, 2011

They are different

So the serpent did his work! He was able to get Eve to doubt, wonder...if the word of God was true. She looked at the tree, pondered, it seems good...looked good and will make me wise(let me include the word happy). So she ate and he ate, Adam. That's how it all started for mankind. You know even today we fall for the same trickery...We even do the same things in evaluating...or sometimes we just do without evaluating. We see people who are living a life that isn't right...or doing wrong practices...questionable dealings...drinking....or whatever it might be. But it seems that they are happy...and nothing is happening to them...It may even seem that they are "blessed". So many times when we think of these things we take it to the extremes, we over look the little things that are wrongful...and we think as long as I'm not doing it like so and so or like that degree...
In our text it said that they ate(was it a bite, a taste, a whole apple, how about an apple pie) and their eyes were open. Look at what they first noticed? Nakedness. So they covered themselves. Before they were able to walk around naked, both of them being content... nothing of bad intentions. Now their nakedness brings on a whole different reaction or reactions. That is the reaction of shame. Shame of the difference in their bodies...Not only that the shame at how they probably now are looking at each other's body. Let's face it guys here we would definitely have a hard time. Now this effect of our body difference still comes into play even today. But let's not only see the body difference but there is also that difference in the way we act. That is the male____, "ego", thinking...and the female____, "ego", thinking.... Let's face it we are different! So men we need to understand that! We need to live with our wives in an understanding way. Guess what that means? We need to learn, we need to study...our wives. What are their needs, wants, desires, likes, dislikes and... Just like us men are different from each other our wives are also different from each other. So we as men need to understand his own wife! 1Peter3:7 "Likewise husbands , live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the women as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered."

Monday, October 24, 2011

The first stunt

What I would like to do is to continue in Gen. 3. Last week we talked about our wives being a blessing...suitable, using Gen 2:18-24. In this section we have the temptation to eat "The Apple". Some even refer to it as the fall of man. Gen.3:1-5. "Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the women, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?" The women said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" The serpent said to the women, "You surely shall not die! "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Alright guys I know that this section is about Eve, but there is a lesson here for us also. Have you ever trusted someone or even something only to be hurt...disappointed...? A friend says they will do something...they forget or fail. You buy something that was to do this and that...and guess what it doesn't. Have you ever trusted advise that was just bad? Now with some of these things there could be some let's say innocence. That is that friend tried his best...But there is those that are just misleading or things that are also misleading. Now there is a word mentioned in verse 5 that we need to recognize, "crafty". Words that help us understand this are skillful, clever, cunning, guileful, trickery and deceitful. Did you catch that last word. One must remember that this serpent was deceitful but he also was clever, skillful...
Here is where Satan does his first recorded "stunt" to mankind. That is to take what is true and to twist it. To miss quote it, of what was said or written. To put a new meaning on what was written or to cast doubt on what was written. He is trying to get you/me to believe him! Trying to get us from believing the real truth of the bible, of God, of Jesus Christ. Recognize the deceit and don't believe the lie. If it does not line up with God's word, the bible; then question it...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Helper

As men what are some of the things we struggle with? What do we need encouragement in? None of us are without our struggles. Some struggle with this and some with that. One might think that one thing is a struggle, while someone else might think it is not. Another way to put it is what temptations are tempting you...or even what should you be doing, that you have a hard time doing.
In Gen. 2:18"Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone', I will make a helper suitable for him." Now this devotional will be more directed toward the married men, but it is also important for you unmarried to learn for maybe the future. As men here is the first need(physical)... that is mentioned in the bible. One side note, I understand not everyone needs to get married...The Apostle Paul addresses this in 1Cor.7:25-38. It is not good for man to be alone. Isn't that true? Think about it. Being alone not talking to anyone, no texting...Talking to oneself...not good! Verses 19-20 are about God forming every beast of the field and bird of the sky...and bringing them before Adam to be named. And verse 20 ends saying this, "but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him."
God made a bunch of animals...and guess what? They did not fill the need that Adam had. Have you ever heard that a dog is man's best friend? What a lie. But sometimes animals seem to take the place of that need man has. But guess what, it doesn't. So Adam has this need, it isn't satisfied with animals so God formed or made women. Verses 21-23. Now guys I'm going to cut this short. Do you realize that your wife is a gift of God? That she is suitable for you? That she is the helper you needed? That God made her special for you? So many times we miss how blessed of God we are that He gave us our wives, how special they are as a person. A person that we get to share life with...to talk with, laugh with, play with...they are not only there to take care of the home...Oh they are so much more. So men, when was the last time you did something special for your wife? To show her that you love her...do you lift her up(praise her)...

Monday, October 10, 2011

A guide

What a stretch of nice weather! Summer still lingers on for a little while but fall and winter are on the way! For where we live it is easy to notice the change of seasons. All we have to do is look at the trees; what colors...in a little while the trees will be without leaves, flowers also giving way for the colder season and birds will be going south. All this gives us signs of winter coming.
In life we have many signs that help us. Signs for what road we are on, signs telling us to slow down, signs that indicate danger, signs showing us where things are...but in life you will not see signs telling you how to walk...in most of life's decisions. In fact some signs may not be wise to follow. Also some advise may not always be wise to follow. So how do we know what will help us in our Christian walk? Well we have the "book", the bible. Have you ever heard it as a road map? You see the bible gives us the foundation of how to live...Yes there are a lot of do's and don'ts. Some may say I'm being legalistic...but obeying God's word is the right way to go.
As I was thinking of this, is it that bad to follow God's word in the acceptable things. That is what our nation...sees as right. For instance thou shall not steal. Yes, we should obey that! Retail stores agree with this ...but even that basic biblical principle comes under fire... sometimes.
As believers we need to read God's word. We need to believe it is true, right...that it will guide us as we go through life. There is a lot of bad advice out there and even just bad ways of doing things that seems acceptable. One needs to read God's word to help us filter through all the signs, advice...that are telling us how to walk. So that we can walk the right way, God's way. We here of this verse often, we sing songs about this verse, do we believe what this verse says? Do we do what it implies? Ps 119:105 "Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wrap up

As we wrap up our series on the prodigal son, I will make some comments...First let us go back to the beginning. By this I mean, let us talk about why this parable was told by our Lord Jesus. We did not go over this in our study yet. To answer this question we need to go back to the beginning of Luke 15:1-3 "Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." So He told them this parable, saying." If we read all the way down to the end of the chapter it seems that He told them three parables in a row.
As with the parable of the prodigal son, there are three groups of people. The first being tax collectors and sinners, the second being Jesus and the third being the Pharisees and scribes. Each of these three groups are represented in our parable. The tax collectors and sinners are represented by the younger son. Jesus is represented by the Father. The Pharisees and scribes are represented by the older son. O.K. this is what I learned from studying different commentaries.
Now isn't it a wonderful thing when sinners, come near to listen to word of God? Yes, it is. Rom. 10:14 "How then will they call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?" And even how more wonderful when one comes to his senses, believing...in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. It is wonderful for me, it is wonderful for you and it is going to be wonderful for all sinners that God redeems. Let's face it, how "ugly" were we before salvation, or how "ugly" would we be if Christ didn't reach out to us and saved us? Sin is sin and it is "ugly".
Now as to Jesus and the Father; let's keep it simple God in three persons, but one. As to the Pharisees and scribes, represented by the older son. The two of them grumbled about people coming to Jesus Christ. As we believer's, become older...sometimes we also can grumble about people coming to know Jesus...You see it is easy for us to forget we were saved by grace...that the mercy of God reached down...Saved us from our "ugly" self. And instead we start to look for works...to prove ones acceptance into the kingdom of God. We even do that to ourselves...but works don't save, works don't even keep you in the kingdom of God, only the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ can do that. Now faith without works does come into play...
We looked at this parable in a different way, trying to understand each character, and to see if we can identify with each. We all were like the younger son and even now sometimes we still act like him in areas of our life or in our Christian walk. Now we also can identify with the older son, works, devotion...and maybe even scorning the work of our Lord Jesus in calling sinners to Himself. Now as the father can we also be loving, forgiving...showing mercy...when we see the so called "ugly" of people. Telling of the good news... Being excited about people hearing the good news... Let's be real hear, the "ugly" shows up a lot; not just in others but even in ourselves. We need the love of the Father forever! We need to be also showing the love of the Father as we go through our life. You see the Christian life starts from being "ugly" without God...to believing...on Jesus, God. Now that "ugly" starts to change; but it still shows up. We need to confess, our "ugly" just like we did at the beginning of our Christian walk. Just as we want Jesus to forgive us of our "ugly" so also let us be willing to forgive others of their "ugly". It's a life time thing!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The anger thing

"But he became very angry..." Luke 15:28a. So he we have it, the older son became very angry. Now guys this is going to be a hard devotional for us. It is not easy to talk about anger. It is not easy for us to recognize anger in our selves. It is not easy to admit we have anger when we are told. I could make it easier on us if I was to limit our talk to when we are "very angry", that is when we are very bad or fly off the handle...but even a little anger, or moderate anger if you will, for the most part is not good.
For our study we will see what caused this anger in the older son. That is that the father was celebrating the return of his "Lost son". Read the response of the son in verses 29b-30, "yet you have never given me a goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends." It seems that the older son is showing signs of jealousy and or envy. Maybe bitterness from earlier. Last week we talked about deserves, that is when God gives to someone even if they do not deserve it...Well let's face it sometimes we get angry when that happens. Someone is given a raise or a promotion...and we/ you get angry. Someone receives a gift...that you believe you should have been given...We in our minds think that so and so doesn't deserve..., I am better than they are...what makes them more special...why did they get...and not me...Or even why did they and not someone you think maybe more deserving...Someone wins something...or someone wins a competition...we sometimes get angry. Do you understand what we are talking about? Do you know what we are talking about? It is so easy to become angry over the littlest of things and situations...and not to realize it. That is to become jealous or envious, and to have anger creep in. Let me throw in one more word that is a part or closely involved with this anger, bitterness. Now these two things/emotions are not good, they both clouds one vision/thinking...We need to deal with them...and it is not easy sometimes. For me it's hard most of the time. So many times we let anger creep in and do it's work...in us. As with this older son because of jealousy and or envy, anger set in and took control. Yes, did you notice that, that anger can take control and cloud our thinking... With that let us guard our hearts, against having anger...replace it with love, mercy, grace...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Works

As we continue in our study of this parable , we return or come to the character of the older son. Luke 15:25-27 "Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.'
As we continue on in our study we will be touching on some deep and hard topics. But this group of verses, also need to be addressed. For as we gotten to know the character of the younger son and the father, we also will try to understand the character of the older son. Now the older son, seems to be a hard worker and a good worker. A worker who looks after the interest of his father. By way of being in the field...and it seems working to it was time to quit, or to the end of his shift...he was not lazy. Even after receiving his inheritance this son stayed with the father. Not only that it seems that he also took or kept his place under the father. That is that his father was still in charge of the family...Even though this son also received his inheritance, it seems that he waited until it was time or the proper time to receive the inheritance. It also seems that this son was very obedient to the father. Skip down to verse 29b "Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours;"
So last week we ended with being able to celebrate when we see God doing mighty works...Yes, we need to do that! But if you are like me, well sometimes I don't want or don't feel like celebrating. You see works, get in the way. Just like Martha, works get in the way. I'm not just talking about working, it seems that the longevity of living a Christian life (obedience) may also get in the way too. That when God choices to work in someone, do something for someone and...we have a hard time with it, don't believe it...we don't recognize it...we have doubts...We even may think that, that person doesn't deserve it...
But think about it what do we deserve from God? Our sin...deserves death. But God in His mercy saved us, by grace you have been saved. And His mercy...continues on as we live the Christian life. So when He works in someone, for someone...or gives to someone...it doesn't mean that they have to work for it, or that they worked for it, or that they deserve it... sometimes God just gives. Sometimes God just blesses because of His great love! Read Matt. 20 'the parable of labors in the vineyard." Verse 15 "Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?" So give thanks when God is working...when He is working in you or others celebrate!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

As I continue with this blog postings, sometimes it would be of help, that I can have some ideas of what to write about. That is maybe a topic that we as men struggle with...not to say that I'm an authority...but maybe we can look at the word of God to help us with our struggles...to be encouraged to live our lives as our God and Lord Jesus will have us live. Hopefully I will hear from some of you soon. Thanks Peter Dee

Monday, September 12, 2011

celebrate

"and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate." Luke 15:23. The son comes home, his father hugs him...gives him clothes...the family ring, forgives him...then he turns and directs his servants to prepare a feast and a celebration. In modern days we would say let's have a party! A home coming party! It is a time of joy...Proclaim the good news and celebrate the good news. Now not to be confused with the "good news" of the gospel. But the good news resulting from the gospel, the good news of one turning to Christ, the good news of one turning back again to Christ, the good news of one coming to his senses.
Now for this father the good news is this, verse 24 "for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found." Now here is a good example of one who is not saved...not following Jesus Christ...They are lost and dead. Two things: 1. Lost not finding their way, no direction...doing what is right in their own eyes/thinking...without God. 2. dead in their lost ways, that is dead spiritually. Even though their body is still walking around and thinking...deep inside there is a part of them that is dead inside. It was the same for all of us before we came to the saving work of Jesus Christ. Here also is a good example of what happens when one turns to Jesus Christ...and becomes saved...They are not lost any more and not only that, the part that was dead now comes to life. Life takes on a whole new meaning, the things of God seem to be clearer...Words like hope...start to take on new meaning. The word of God, that was foolish before, starts to become, let's say "wonderful"...They now can see a direction for their life, not lost anymore.
So as men we need to celebrate when hearing of the good news...When one is "saved", or when one turns back. When God is doing mighty works! No matter how small or big we think they are, when God is working it is mighty! Rejoice with those who rejoice! You know in this parable the father stopped what he was doing and celebrated the return of his lost son. It is important to celebrate, to take joy...and most important of all to give thanks to God, for the mighty work He is doing in our lives and the lives of others.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Quickly

"Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet." Don't you like how the father does this? Quickly! Let me say that again, quickly! What a father! The son confesses and the father forgives. How? Quickly! That is what is so great about our Lord Jesus Christ. He forgives quickly. I have never heard about Him saying, let Me think about it, maybe or even come back tomorrow...He forgives! Now let me just say that our Lord knows when it is real... He restores us back to where we belong...Sometimes when we come to the Lord, confessing our sin...we come with what we think needs to be done to us...punishment...Do you know what I mean? That we need punishment...to pay a price...Not to say that sometimes sin has consequences...But when God forgives through His son Jesus, it's quickly...He restores us back to fellowship with Him. Isn't that wonderful? He even elevates us back, put a robe on him. The best robe! Put a ring on him, let's call this a family ring...a ring of the father. Put sandals on him, Let him be dressed with the things of the King from head to toe.
So many times we think that God treats us according to our deeds...Even who we are or think we are...that forgiveness from God through Jesus Christ has to be earned...That there is degrees of forgiveness...That these degrees have all kinds of things that have to be taken into account. Who you are, where are you from, what class of citizen, what do you look like, what was the sin, how was it committed, did anyone get hurt and...But that's not how our God works! If one repents, truly," God if faithful and just to forgive..."1John1:9 Thanks be to our God who forgives us quickly! Now for us as fathers, let's also follow this and be ready to forgive quickly! For us as husbands, let us be ready to forgive quickly! For us as sons, let us be ready to forgive quickly!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Slave to the father


Luke 15:21-22"And the son said to him, 'Father I have sinned against Heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
Here we have the son not wavering. That is even after he felt the love, compassion of his father, he still confesses his sin. Have you ever decides to confess...then never do it? He is also ready to take the punishment...,if you will, of his sins. Willing to become a slave of his father. He recognized that being a slave of his father was better than being free and working...for "others". Did you notice that concept? It is better to be a slave to the "Father" than to be free... and working for others...or ourselves. So many times we don't realize that it is better to obey God and follow Him; than to have the freedom...that we think we have, the freedom of the world... or for us the freedom...of living in the U.S. Now it is hard for us to understand this slave thing.
So what I'm going to do is give a few verses that will help us.
Gal.4:9 "But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be know of God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?"
Rom.6:16-19 "Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the ones who you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves to sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you presented your members as slave to impurity and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification."
As the Apostle Paul says, "a bond servant of our Lord Jesus Christ".

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A good feeling


"So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long ways off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran, and embraced him and kissed him." Luke 15:20. This is a wonderful verse for us to comprehend. But before we dive in to understanding this verse let's recall our story. A man's son demands his inheritance, now. The father grants his son's request and the son leaves. Let's think a little here, do you think that this was all done with no conflict? Or maybe not on the fathers side but how about the son...what kind of character did he have...It seems he did not leave on good terms... The son goes to a different land and spends his inheritance on loose living. Now he is on his way back home, coming up the driveway if you will. No phone call, no e-mail, not even snail mail. He just comes. His father sees him. Let's stop there for know.
As with all stories it is hard to understand the deep thoughts...of a character in the story. Sometimes we see a little bit, in their reactions in the story. Today we are going to focus on the father. What kind of man was he? Now guys this is a good example for us. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him." Most often when one is disobeyed....sinned against...betrayed...there is the feeling of hurt...un-trust, displeasure, bitterness. anger and even hatred. You see this father did not display these things, in fact I like what is said, " felt compassion for him."
What does it mean compassion? It is a word that I myself, have a problem to grasp and practice. It involves words like mercy and sympathy, but with a sense to help...make better...; maybe not just a sense but the actual doing. It may even include forgiveness. So many times when one is going through trials...or sin it is hard to feel compassion for them. You see this father felt compassion right away, I would even venture to say he was waiting for his son to come back. No matter how, when...he came. The important thing was that he came back. To feel compassion, do you understand that it is a feeling. And yes it is a good feeling. Too many times we as men are hard nosed...we lack compassion...we lack feeling...we even lack in our thinking, that it is not a good thing to feel compassion...we don't try to understand compassion or the feeling. We might even think of it as a weakness but it is not. O.K. Guys did you notice what he did when he met his son? That's right he embraced him. That means he hugged him! For some of us that is hard, we don't show our feelings that way. But it is important! It shows a tenderness...and love...much more than words, a hand shake or gifts can show. Now that kissing thing, I will let you figure it out on your own. Remember the parable of the good Samaritan? Luke 10:30-36. How he felt compassion on the man; that was beaten and robbed. How the Samaritan helped him, got him well... That is another good example of compassion. So let's work on compassion! Sometimes men we need to work on it in our own homes! We lack compassion in the everyday living of life. Now men there is an area that most of us struggle with. That is compassion toward our wives or even girls. O how important it is to feel compassion. O how important it is to show compassion. Do them both! Compassion it is a good feeling!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Victory


Sin, continued sin...does all kinds of things. It can have far reaching affects. It can make you not to think right...It can even go so deep that you can lose hope. This next phrase "I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men." This is also said when he came to his senses. He recognized that his deeds were of such that the shame... also affected his family. He also recognized that he needed to be back with his family even if it meant to become a hired hand.
Sometimes the guilt of sin is so strong, you have a hard time lifting up your head. It is so strong that it was hard to go before God...Have you ever felt that way? That what you have done was so bad that, you think God could not forgive you. Well we know that God through His son Jesus Christ forgives...You see he was sent to bring us back, to pay the price of our sin...all, every kind..., to heal us...teach us...give us life...
So many times one who has sinned...then comes to his senses...repents to God...That one has a hard time coming back to "church". He may have the sense of not being worthy... Have you experienced what I'm talking about? That a feeling of contempt is there... Sometimes we, the "church", put conditions to prove... that one has really repented. I'm not talking about the need to stay away from...a situation that will tempt you to sin. But we step back...we may even say, ' Let's see if there is any fruits..." or even 'just wait he'll be back where he was before.' Sometimes we just hold back. We inside the "church" lose hope in that person...
You see there is a war going on that we cannot see. And sometimes the battle is right before us or a few blocks away and we don't even know. Sometimes the battle is in our home and we don't even know. Then there is a break through for our side we hear the news and guess what we don't believe it...or we just let it pass as having no significance. Sometimes we can't get over the hurt...we may even think that there should be punishment...payback... When we turn back to God or when one turns back to God...or repents...asks forgiveness...there is a victory! We need to be shouting...praising...not sitting back with a look of unbelief. Yes, sometimes things happen...it may not seem real after a period of time. But we need to be up lifting... and encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ. Helping each other on our Christian walk. Let's face it tomorrow I will need forgiveness, I'm a sinful man, I will also need encouragement...to help me in my Christian walk. Isn't this true of most/all of us?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Admitting


We ended with the young man in our story coming to his senses. We talked about him taking action "getting up". But there is another important part of coming to one's senses. We see that in our story in verse 18b "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight." One must recognize that one has sinned against God. It is a hard concept to grasp, even for Christians. For the most part we think that we sin only against other persons or people. When one comes to his senses, he grasps this truth of one sins against God first. Psalm 51:4"Against You, You alone, I have sinned and done what is evil in your sight." You see we need God's forgiveness of our sins...because it is His law...that we break...It is Him who will forgive us, heal us, restore us... bring us back into fellowship with Him... It is in His son Jesus Christ that we have forgiveness of our sins and everlasting life. So when one sins...no matter how small or insignificant or big...we sin against God.
Now as we continue our discussion we also need to recognize that sometimes we do sin against others. That when we break God's law...sometimes when we do it involves persons or people. Guess what? Yes, we need to take care of business with those affected too. Yes, we need to ask for forgiveness! Just like how sin affects our relationship with God so does our sin affect our relationship with others we sin against. Now when we ask for forgiveness we admit the wrongful action, deed...Now here's the deal that person has a choice, to forgive or not to forgive. It is important to ask for forgiveness of people but one must note that people are not like God who "is faith and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1John1:9b. Also people cannot cleanse us from our sin....only God can do that! But we need to forgive each other we are commanded to. The Lord's prayer and read Matt.18:21-35. It is for our good...restoring, healing...because bad things...can come about when forgiveness is not asked or given. Have you ever experienced the power of being forgiven? The relief...not being condemned or owing... the weight is lifted. The relationship being restored! You know this goes both ways, for being forgiven and also giving forgiveness. Forgiveness what a wonderful thing.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Coming to one's senses

"And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving any to him." As we continue on, we see that this young man is now willing to eat food fed to pigs. From being well to do to being in rags. Now we must remember that there were days in between these two ends. That this down ward spiral had days of hard times...stress. What happen to all his friends...as we mentioned before he is alone. No one to give him even pig food...You know when you are going wayward...most of the time it seems alright. You say to yourself, it's ok, nothing is happening...it feels good, I'm happy...We even find people to tell us that it's alright...we even associate with people doing/acting...the same way.
"But when he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger.' Don't you just like that phrase, "But when he came to his senses"? So many times we need to come to our sense. You know what I mean? We need to think, true thinking(Gods way...), not relying on our wisdom or wisdom of the times... Have you ever made choices in life that effected you greatly? We are talking about wrong choices or decisions not just sinful choices. Being not waiting, spending above your means, going where you should have not gone...You see we all are being pulled...For this young man the pull was hard, and it took him a long time before he came to his senses. I know in my life sometimes it took me a long time to come to my senses in some areas of my thinking. While others were easy for me, we are all different. So are you in the storm, being beaten down...maybe know is the time to come to your senses. Let's say the storm is about relationships, marriage, parenting, friends...and things are just not going well. It is hard to come to your senses here, to change yourself. That is to initiate a Godly change of putting on love...That you will forgive, that you will ask for forgiveness, that you will take a look at your own way of thinking...and change. That you will be willing to suffer for the cause of Christ.
For it is important when you come to your sense to start doing. Hopefully I 'm not the only one who has come to his senses...wanting to change...and to be better...do better...thinking of what to do..., all with good intentions, then don't do them. Do you know what I mean? Or sometimes I start out doing and then slowly go back to the way it was before. It is hard. It is hard to change. It is hard to let other know that you were not think right...not acting right...even if we are only changing our actions. We do not like to admit we were wrong...we were not thinking right...You see the young man in our story, came to his senses and said, "I will get up and go to my father". You see when one comes to his senses, he doesn't just stay there, he get's up and reacts.
For him it was to go back home to his father. He had to leave where he was and go back to where he left. So many times we need to go back or turn back to God. That is we need to go away from where we are now. Let us remember that in this situation, the young man is in rebellion...He moved into harms way. For some the storm that blows is for us to endure, to put more trust in God. For our young man, now he has a long journey home, walking...with a lot of time on his hand to think... You know guys it is hard to admit a wrong, never mind a continued wrong. It is even harder to admit that we are sinful...and not good...It is hard to admit that we need Jesus Christ. It's true these decisions are hard for us, but the love of God through Jesus Christ, will heal you and restore you! So he came to his senses and took action.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Things come our way

" Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished." Luke 15:14. As our story continues we see that this young man spent everything. It is hard for us to understand how one can be wealthy...and spend everything. It is hard to manage money! It is hard for us to recognize a need verses a want...Never mind that there is so much out there that money can buy. So this young man foolishly spent his inheritance on stuff...loose living. Do you know what I mean? Even just a little bit. You are compelled to buy something (a want) and you take money...that was for a bill or for your families well being...to buy it or even to do something. Even if it is just a small amount... Or we might save...but we still only have in mind our desires...wants, not willing to compromise for the good of your family.
This young man found himself to be impoverished. From being well off to being poor. You see in life things happen. So a famine is upon the land, food prices are up and rising, now he is in want of just having enough to eat. So next thing this young man is looking for work, just to survive. Guess what, he finds a job feeding the pigs. You see for this young man the storm is blowing hard, and now he is starting to feel the effects of it.
So what I want to do is make a side note here. We must remember that storms in life come. Just look what is happening in our country; floods, fires, tornados...Now some of the people going through those ordeals are Christians. Strong Christians following God...we need not be asking why...is this happening to them or that area... So many times we think that it's because of sin...God's judgment. So when things like that happen be slow to react to why...Pray for our brothers in those areas. Now with our young man, do you think that he needs prayer...Now there are a lot of youth that all of us know...and some of them need our prayers. Some maybe going wayward, some having a tough go in life, some have life changing decisions before them...some lost...we need to be praying for our children, our young adults and yes for the adults too! We all need prayers from fellow believers. Yes we all need praying believers praying for us. It is easy to condemn...but to pray for them, that takes work---and love.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Storms

" And there he squandered his estate with loose living." Luke 15:12b. Last week we talked about praying for one's family, now. While they are in the midst of the storm or they are in the calm, of a sunny day. If you have lived a small amount of time you know that storms come up quite often. And the storms of personal life come up often too. Sometimes there quick thunder storms, sometimes there with flooding rain, sometimes with sever winds...and sometimes the rain comes for days at a time... And when the storm comes sometimes it hit a small area and sometimes it covers vast areas. Now we are not talking about the weather only.
Back to our story; the younger son is in the midst of a storm. Here's the thing guys; I believe he doesn't even know it. This is the type of storm that keeps growing slowly. So this young man is in the middle of a big storm and it's getting bigger. " Loose living" we don't have to think too hard to know what that means. Now some of us might think of only money but I believe it's a lot more(look at the end of the story). So here we have a young man in a middle of a storm and guess what? He is there all alone. He doesn't have faithful friends(God believing). But I believe He has the prayers of his father. Sometimes the storm, will calm down for a bit only to hit harder. They can be tricky! Keeping us pinned down, trapped.
Have you ever been caught up in something, rebellion...sin, that seems to be o.k. That is, it isn't affecting anyone...everything seems to be going alright...You might even be saying no one knows, what's the big deal. Let's face it we can be very secret men...everything is just fine..things are still going well. It may even seem to be going better than before... But there is nothing that our God doesn't see. Prov. 15:3 "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good." Last week we talked about prayer, using David as an example. So let's continue using David as an example. You see there was a reason that David was praying for his son, or better yet why his son was sick unto death. 2Sam. 11 is the account of David's sin with Bathsheba...something that he tried to keep secret, but God sees. God revels to David that He knows...2Sam. 12 and in verse 10-14 He tells him the consequences of his sin. One of them being that his son will die. You see sin does all kind of things, not good things and sin also, for the most part has consequences. Our (your) sin affects you and the ones around you... It needs to be addressed! We need to ask for forgiveness...Let me end with one more thought. You ask God to forgive you of your sin, what then? Have you heard the word repent? How about put off the old and put on the new? So many times when we repent of a sin...we don't put on the new. That is we stop the old sinful action but we don't replace it with a new action. Then before one realizes he returns back to the old. Now when we talk about new, we are talking about Christ like; Godly actions. So let me end with this phrase, "sin destroys and forgiveness restores."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Reactions of dad and mom

Luke 15:12b-13 "So He divided his wealth between them. And not many days later the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country," As we continue our study of the prodigal son let me remind you of what we learned so far. We talked about the love of money and being demanding. The love of money, that can take you away from the faith, or that you think that having more money will solve your problems... Demanding as to think we have a right or deserve...something...we kind of tied it in with "beware of all types or greed."
In our parable we see that the father grants his youngest sons request, and divided his wealth between the two sons. We could talk about this and say what is he thinking...but it is a parable so we will just accept what it says was done; without trying to get to a motive...of why the father did this.
After the younger son "gets" his share; he decides to move. To move far away to another country. Guess he wasn't happy where he was living. Was it the area? The people? His family? or Was he being pulled by the "bright city lights"? Not too sure but I do understand a little of each. Not being content where one is and looking over there thinking that it is easier...funner(is that a word?) or I will be better off.
What I want to do here is to focus on our reaction as dads and moms. As our children get older and become adults, they have to make their own decisions...in life. Sometimes these decisions will be, let's say, not good or maybe questionable. So what do we do as fathers? For the most part we get frustrated I think. What I want to do is encourage us to do is to pray for our(your) children. In 2Sam. 12:15-23 we have the account of David's son becoming sick. in verse 16 "David therefore inquired of God for the child, and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground." Let's call this hard prayer for his son; he just didn't do the quick prayer...He was on his knees...and more. As we continue to read, David learns that his son died. What does he do? He get's up, cleans up and goes to worship God. Wonder if he was singing a form of "Blessed be the name of the Lord". To wrap things up we need to be lifting up our children in prayer now, before things happen, and while things are happening. Not just in a quick prayer... but on our knees, if you will. Pleading or inquiring of God for them. So many times we lack in this area and so many times when we start to pray it's too late, it's after the fact. As fathers let's lift our family up before the Lord in prayer. Let's pray for our children now, even if things are going well.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The prodigal son

As summer is here, what should we do as men? Last year we went through selected sections of the book "Love Dare". This year we will start to look at a parable of our Lord Jesus. I think that this parable is fitting for us as men for the main characters mentioned are male. All of us should be able to relate to these characters or at least understand somewhat, what each character is like. This is a story of a father and his 2 sons. Have you guessed yet? It is found in Luke 15:11-32 and we know this as the parable of the prodigal son.
We will start our study with the definition of prodigal, 1. one who spends and gives lavishly and foolishly. 2. one who returns after an absence. (Merriam-Webster collegiate dictionary). With this definition our main character fits into both. For us today, returning after an absence, doesn't always mean a bad thing. One might return after an illness or a call to active duty...so there could be a positive prodigal. Now when we think of prodigal, or the prodigal son, we usually think about the first definition or even we might think of one who is rebellious.
Our story starts out in Luke 15: 11-12 "And He said, "A man had two sons. "The younger of them said to his father 'father give me the share of the estate that falls to me.' " What is being said is that the younger son wants his inheritance now. What a unique demand! What word could one use to describe this action...bold, arrogant, unhappy, rebellious...How about these two words, greed and demanding. Think about it for a minute, greed we can see easily, but demanding? It is there too, 'give me'.
So again I will go over the single page in this devotion! Greed, to desire more...for example money, power, fame. Now this I believe is one of the problems that this young man has. So with this greed we will talk about the love of money. In 1 Tim 6:10 "For the love of money is the root all kinds of evils." The son in our story, well what do you think? Did he love money? It sure does seem it. We're not going to go to deep here; we will talk about that in another devotional. But to desire money, to wish you had more money...if only I had more money so many of my problems would be fixed...Have you ever had those thoughts or similar ones? Sometimes we can get to a point when we think that money will solve our problems in life. It can even get to be, so strong of a feeling that it can draw us away from the one who can solve our problems, our Lord Jesus. Yes, if we continue to read in 1 Tim 6:11" It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith..." Money, things, wealth...the desire of...the love of; how dangerous a desire. Let's face it we all need to be on guard here.
The next characteristic of this young son is that he is demanding. He wants what he wants and he wants it now. Let's face it for the most part we can be very demanding as people or a person. In all types of situations and with material things. With that comes the attitude that we deserve or have a right to whatever it is. This young man wants his inheritance now, can you just picture him telling his father how much...and what he believes is his? So many times I have seen and heard of family members fighting over an inheritance, even when things are in order. Jesus says this in Luke 12:15 "Beware, and be on your guard against ever form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."
The nation of Israel wants(demands) a king in 1 Sam. 8. You see they rejected God as their King and wanted to be like the other nations. Oh, you might say Samuel's son had a part but God says they rejected Him. So God let them have a king to rule over them. If you read your bible you will be amazed at how many bad kings there were. You see we can be demanding or thinking we deserve...but at some point we can cross that line of "beware of every form of greed." It is every form of greed, not just of money. That desire to have more or even to be more...(I'm not talking about the wanting to be Christ like here). So are you demanding, thinking you deserve, or you are better than...do you try to act...to elevate one status...greed comes in all types of ways. How about money? It is so easy to get caught up with money. It can consume you, even when you don't have any or very little. Let's end with a few words for us to be able to understand this better; money, power, fame, prestige, status...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Time and remembering

Now as we move on in our discussion of faith, we move into our growth spiritually. Now this does involve time, experience, learning...Some might grow in aspects of the Lord rather quickly, while others slowly, but that time thing plays a big part. Faith though it involves learning, it is more than learning and memorizing. It involves all aspects of one's life and the actions one does if everyday life. The learning part helps us to know God's direction. That is learning the word of God. But, God also gives us the Holy Spirit, who helps us...
Now let's get back to the time thing. As we go through life time continues, day and night keep on coming. With each day different things come with it, our world is not a boring place! People are all around, things need to be done, places to go... Now this is where our faith starts to grow. As we see God working in our lives from day to day, in situation to situation, from task to task... When we see that He is helping us, protecting us...We learn to lean on our God, going from strength to strength(Psalm 84). The learning of life that is hands on. That, when you needed patience; God helps you to learn patience. Think about it, are you more patient than you were 2 years ago, 5 years, 10 years...and still even if it has been 30 years you find that you still need more patience. How do I know; because every day is different and guess what, some things just keep on coming, in different ways of course. Hopefully one is getting stronger with God's help and hopefully one begins to understand that we need God's help.
How many of you have teen-agers? For some strange reason they seem to have life figured out. They don't need wisdom from their parents...I'm not too sure but my dad tells me I was the same way. How foolish I was. Now that I am older I wished I had all that wisdom and experience that I have now, back when I was younger. You see our faith grows stronger as we go through the things of life with God's help. We must understand that it is the time thing, we don't go through all life situations all at once or in just a few short years. We started out our faith by believing the truth that God is real and His son is Jesus Christ. Then we moved on to that word of "trust", that we will trust God to do what He said He would do. Now let us remember the things God has done for us, in the "times of life" and ... It is so important to remember what God has done! The nation of Israel did, they held the Passover and other feasts. They built stone memorials, Ebenezer stone, 1Sam.7 . We are commanded to do it. The Lord's supper, " do this in remembrance of me." To remember the basic of our faith, the forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ and eternal life. So we must always remember, to remember our God, to the race is finished and we are taken home. " We will never forget", we here that saying often, now let's say that statement about our God.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More on faith

Now there is a lot more to faith than what I have written in the last few devotionals. What I want to do is to kind of wrap our series on faith up this week with a few more thoughts. But before we go on in our talk I want to go back to a basic principle of belief...and of faith.
Last Sunday during the sharing time, Rosa shared about how her father was saved; that is how he came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe she shared this verse, Romans 10:9 , for our study we go from verse 8b to 10, "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart--that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." Rosa shared that she told her father, that she couldn't say the words or believe for him, that he had to say it for himself...So with faith one has to do it for oneself, you can't rely on your parent's faith, your spouses or even if you go to the right church; faith, belief...in Jesus Christ is a decision one has to make on one's own. It is also a decision for one as to how he will continue to walk in faith... Now as we continue to walk, God is gracious to help us and also to let us walk with other believes...so we can encourage each other....to build up our faith.
Now there are more things to talk about, a lot, dealing with faith. I want to wrap it up with, obedience and love. Yes, that obey thing, it is still there after one is saved. You see one doesn't want to sin anymore, that is deep down, even though we find ourselves still sinning. We want to obey the Lord Jesus...but we still fall in little ways and also in big ways. Some things just seem to plague us, but as a believer we strive to not sin and when we do we should also be striving to confess it to God, and ask for forgiveness...Now why do we want to obey Jesus? Because of our love for Him. We love Him because He redeemed us(you). He paid the price for our sins, not only that He given us eternal life, not only that He made us new, not only that He blesses us with spiritual blessings, not only that He sent us the Holy Spirit, not only that He intercedes for us before the Father, not only that He is going to perfect us and the list goes on and on. He keeps on giving to us, even when we are not deserving...what great love!
I heard a man giving a message and he said this, "when one realizes how much it cost God to redeem you...for the forgiveness of your sin(s). How much He loves you. Then ones love for God will grow...because one realizes how sinful one is...how much God has forgiven and how patient He is with us(you). Reminds me of Luke 4:47"For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." Let's face it I wish God only had to forgive me for only one sin; but my sins are many and not only that some of them I have a hard time with, committing them multiple times. Thanks be to our God, who is willing to forgive us our sins. 1John1:9"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." So each time ones sins and has to confess...it should remind us how much God loves us and we should also start to love Him more or have more love for Him. You see God just didn't give us salvation, eternal life and the forgiveness of sin; but a whole lot more. He is showing His love to us daily! When we realize this/ see this/ experience this we can glorify God and the words of Jesus will play out in our lives, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:15. So another aspect of faith is love; let's call it "great love".

Friday, June 17, 2011

Faith and the Holy Spirit

Faith, do you have it; is it growing? We've been talking about faith for the last few weeks. From believing, trusting, remembering and also continued remembering. So, how do we know that we have faith in God? We sometimes get asked about when one accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior, is that when we know? Some deep questions! So here will come some short answers, that will also go along with our discussion of faith. Guess this will have to be a 2 page devotional. We know we have faith, believe... born again, are part of the family of God... are a Christian; when our spirit comes alive. That is when our spirit comes alive, through Christ Jesus and at the same time when His Spirit abides(dwells) in us. Here are 2 set of verses to help us understand this; Eph. 2:1-4&5 "And you were dead in your trespasses and sin, ---But God being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)." Let me throw in one side note and verse, James 2:26 "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." Yes, we all were dead before our acceptance of Jesus Christ, even though we were still walking around. Remember Pastor Paul's diagram of what makes up man? The 3 parts, body, mind and spirit. Well that is the spirit that we are talking about; it is dead before our acceptance... of Jesus Christ. Back to our next set of verses 1John 4:13 "By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us His Spirit." So this verse answer the question above. If you were like me this verse was hard to realize; it still left me with the deeper question of how does one really know He has the Spirit of God? What does one experience...?
The first thing one can experience is found in John 16:8 "And He, when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment." That "He" is the Holy Spirit. Have you ever heard that voice within, saying you should not do that or this, because it is "bad"? Or when you are deciding to do something good, do you hear the voice within say yes do it? Now for judgment, let's just leave that for now. It is easy for children to understand this principle, but as adults some times over time our hearts become harden to the voice of God; that time thing again. We need to come to God as children, trusting children, and believing children. Then this verse will become more prominent in one's life.
The next thing one can notice is that the Word of God starts to make sense. It starts to have meaning...you begin to understand it. Be it from reading or hearing it preached. 1Cor.2:12-14 " Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritual appraised(examined)." Now these first 2 can be used of God before one is a Christian, example would be God open ones heart to hear the gospel for the first time.
There is also the giving of one's spiritual gift, 1Peter 4:10 "As each one has received a special gift..." Now I will not talk about this aspect in this devotion but it is also part of the answer to our question.
Now the last thing we are are going to talk about is found in Gal.5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control against such things are no law." The fruits of the Spirit will start to be more and more evident in one's life. That these traits will start to take on a newer meaning, a higher meaning...and one will start manifesting these traits in a renewed way. That these traits that one knew about before being a Christian, now are more desirable to the fullest extent. That one desires each trait more and more; that one strives to learn and comprehend these traits. But most important is that one begins to do these traits more and more. Somehow over time they become more natural; not to say we ever attain perfection in these areas, but we are always growing in them.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Faith and time

Now as we move on in our discussion of faith, we move into our growth spiritually. Now this does involve time, experience, learning...Some might grow in aspects of the Lord rather quickly, while others slowly, but that time thing plays a big part. Faith though it involves learning, it is more than learning and memorizing. It involves all aspects of one's life and the actions one does if every day life. The learning part helps us to know God's direction. That is learning the word of God. But, God also gives us the Holy Spirit, who helps us...
Now let's get back to the time thing. As we go through life time continues, day and night keep on coming. With each day different things come with it, our world is not a boring place! People are all around, things need to be done, places to go... Now this is where our faith starts to grow. As we see God working in our lives from day to day, in situation to situation, from task to task... When we see that He is helping us, protecting us...We learn to lean on our God, going from strength to strength(Psalm 84). The learning of life that is hands on. That, when you needed patience; God helps you to learn patience. Think about it, are you more patient than you were 2 years ago, 5 years, 10 years...and still even if it has been 30 years you find that you still need more patience. How do I know; because every day is different and guess what, some things just keep on coming, in different ways of course. Hopefully one is getting stronger with God's help and hopefully one begins to understand that we need God's help.
How many of you have teen-agers? For some strange reason they seem to have life figured out. They don't need wisdom from their parents...I'm not too sure but my dad tells me I was the same way. How foolish I was. Now that I am older I wished I had all that wisdom and experience that I have now, back when I was younger. You see our faith grows stronger as we go through the things of life with God's help. We must understand that it is the time thing, we don't go through all life situations all at once or in just a few short years. We started out our faith by believing the truth that God is real and His son is Jesus Christ. Then we moved on to that word of "trust", that we will trust God to do what He said He would do. Now let us remember the things God has done for us, in the "times of life" and ... It is so important to remember what God has done! The nation of Israel did, they held the Passover and other feasts. They built stone memorials, Ebenezer stone, 1Sam.7 . We are commanded to do it. The Lord's supper, " do this in remembrance of me." To remember the basic of our faith, the forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ and eternal life. So we must always remember, to remember our God, to the race is finished and we are taken home. " We will never forget", we here that saying often, now let's say that statement about our God.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Faith

Faith, do you have it? Last week we mentioned that faith involves God, that He has a big part in us having more/stronger faith. You see we trust Him to do the things He said He will do. Blessings we receive in this present time and we look forward for blessings to come. We also come to the recognition that without Him we are hopeless (that's a good thought); we can't do things... to make ourselves to be better, perfect...that no matter how hard we try, well that bad side keeps popping up. Did you listen to Pastor Paul's message last week? Totally depraved. We also need God's help to make that decision of accepting His son Jesus. He calls! Then He gives us a helper, the Holy Spirit.
Now when we see the Holy Spirit working in our life; that is when our faith can get stronger. Our part is to recognize when God is working. To give Him the credit, praise...God does something for you, you praise Him...When He answers a prayer, you praise Him. When He is silent you praise Him. When He is working in others you praise Him. Now here is the hard part, when things get rough...and we have needs or we are in difficult places, we expect, sometime, God to work...right away. We forget that sometimes we are where we are because of our choices or because of sin. Or even God letting you be tested so your strength can be seen, like Job was tested. How easy it is for us to forget all that God has done for us. Don't we tend to do that, times get hard and we forget how God has worked in our life. Or we blame Him for whatever it is, or we just forget we live in a fallen world and believe the lie that God isn't here...We must remember all that God has done for us and all that He is going to do for us. We must never forget the simple gospel, that God so loved "you" that He gave His son. That He gave you eternal life...Like the song says," I'm forgiven because you were forsaken, I'm accepted you were condemned, ....Amazing love, How can it be that you my King should die for me?...Amazing love I know it's true, it's my joy to honor you..." Our part of faith is to cling to that true fact(s) of God. To remember the things...He is doing in our(your) life. We must give Him honor.... So remember to, praise, give honor, thanks, pray...

Faith

So we are still talking about faith. We ended by saying which leads to more faith. Let's change that more faith into stronger faith! Now how does one's faith increase or get's stronger? When we start talking about strength, strong.... we think about exercise. We need to do things to strengthen our faith...Yes, but also no. Yes we have a part but also God has a bigger part.
In life all types of things, situations, problems, decisions...come our way. Even when you become a Christian these things...still come your way; and not all of them are what we will call pleasant. Some may involve extra toil, some maybe pain, some financial cost, personal relationships hardship....now before we were Christians we had to work these out on our own...and sometimes the results were not to good...
Now as Christians we have God to help us in our struggles of life. We have God on our side. He is a present help in time of need. He even refers to us believers as His children. We can call on Him to help us. I want to stop there for a minute and give a thought that relates and then pick up with some example type...for an ending.
Have you ever thought how in life God uses situations...to grow you? Think about, have you ever wondered why the same type of thing keeps coming up? Then you get it, you do it God's way or with His strength and/or wisdom(not yours); and somehow the easy button was there. Now this doesn't mean that everything will be let's say easy, perfect...But you changed to God's way...that's how God perfects us; that's how our faith get's stronger.
Do you remember these 3 guy's? Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Well they were the 3 guys who were going to be throw into the furnace for not bowing down to the golden image. In response to the king they said this Duet. 3:17-18 "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. Even if He does not, let it be known to you O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image you set up." God did rescue them.
How about Stephen, in the book of acts 6- 7. A believer doing great things for God, then just like that He was being stoned to death. The reason I used these 2 examples is to show that God can work...but sometimes He chooses to work in ways we don't understand. You see the strong faith of the 3 above, no matter what they would not turn from God and God rescues them. Stephen full of wisdom from above, the Holy Spirit. Did not back down when brought to trial. But unlike the 3, he was put to death. Now is your faith strong enough to endure to the end? Can it a mist of hardship...can you say, no matter what I will follow Jesus Christ, till He brings me home. Even when God seems not to be working?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

As we continue our look at faith we need to move on to the next essential word of our study. That is trust. We can believe in someone or something, that they or it was/is real. For example I believe that George Washington was a real person. That the pyramids in Egypt are real. Even though I have never seen either personally. That part is the first step, of faith. For us as we mentioned is to believe that God is real. But faith also involves the word trust. Without trust we only believe, and that belief will probably weaken...because we don't trust. For us that would be to trust, or to put our trust in God the father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit; God in three persons but one.
What does trust involve? Have you ever thought of that? To trust is to rely on the character, strength, ability and truth of someone. For us that is, that our God is Who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. Before we go too far lets introduce one more word that is; hope. For hope is also part of trust; you see when we trust someone we look forward to the accomplishment of what they said they could do; that is hope. For us we see who God is and what He can do and what He is going to do in His word, the bible. going to do things in His word, future things, and sometimes we get discouraged we want things now...You know what I mean? Life here gets hard, we want God to fix it, the now thing...fix my dilemma, problem or other problems...we lose focus that God did/ will fix everything but that it is in the future; that's our hope (heaven). We fall into the trap or lie that once you put your trust in God your life will become easy, no more problems...We place things on God or try to demand God to do...when He tells us it will be done in the future. Even when He tells us that life here will still be hard. So let me end with one thing that I know God does here for us believers for those who have faith in Him and His son Jesus Christ. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9. Have you confessed to God your sin or sins and felt the forgiveness? It's wonderful, isn't it. So don't forget that, keep on trusting and putting your trust in our God and His son the Lord Jesus Christ. When we see God working in our lives doing what He said, not what we think, that is how our faith grows stronger. So our faith is in Jesus Christ the son of the one true God.
So we believe that God is and we put our trust in Him that He will do what He says He can do. Which comes to more belief. God tells us that He is
So, sometimes do you wonder? Wonder if I had done that, would I be better off? Do you sometimes wonder about God? Who He is? What is He doing? Or even sometimes, maybe, is He real? Is this going to church...following Jesus...is it real, does it have meaning.... Now these later questions are some hard questions. It is not easy to share with someone that you are struggling with your faith in God. But we all must realize that these times come. Now they come in all different ways and times...Sometimes one will question the reality of God and His son, Jesus and walk away...for a short period of time. Others for a longer period of time and still others walk away for good.
So the next few devotionals we are going to talk about faith. So when those times come we will be better prepared to stand strong and not falter in our faith...about God and His son Jesus Christ. First let's get a definition of faith: 1. Allegiance to duty or a person. 2.belief and trust in and loyalty to God. 3.something that is believed. If we look at this definition there are two words that are critical to having faith, belief (believe) and trust.
The first thing one has to do is believe. Believe that God is. That is, that there is one God who's son is Jesus Christ. In our modern world it is hard for one to get to that point of believing in God. There are so many theories...and things that get in the way. They too are pulling you to belief. Never mind being too busy to hear the call of God. Now some might say they don't believe in God or anything...but they do have belief. They believe that there is no God, they might even recognize there might be a God....but they are unsure; not willing to believe totally. Do you believe that God is real? That the God of the Holy bible is real? That Jesus Christ, God's son is real? That what is written about Him is real? That this God is living...and still working in the world? That He loves you? That He wants to have a relationship with you? That, this relationship is available through Jesus Christ?
You see when you start to believe in God; you will start to realize that there is a lot more about God. Good things about God and His son Jesus Christ, to believe. Now believe means: to consider to be true; or to accept as true. So when times come that have you questioning your faith, you need to go back to the basic principle that God is real; and that I (we) believe this to be a true fact, for it is a fact. No matter what comes our way we need not lose sight of this basic truth. There is one true God, who's son is Jesus Christ.