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Sunday, April 19, 2015

After Jesus?

Some years ago, CNN ran a program around Easter titled "After Jesus." I don't remember the content of the
program, but I did not like the title then and I do not like it now. It sounds like Jesus is dead or obsolete or a thing of the past. Nothing can be further from the truth. According to Newsmax, there has been a rise in practicing Christians in America as opposed to those who simply profess to be Christians but never darken the doorway of a church. People are getting saved, witnessing for Christ and finding new hope in Christ.

Other reports state that Christianity is on the rise in South America, Africa, Asia and South Korea. Many Muslims are also risking their lives by converting to Christianity. One only has to look at the number of Christians being martyred in Iraq and Africa as testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ. In addition, Christian bookstores, radio and television stations and major films continue to draw record numbers of people.

Whenever I visit some forums on the internet, I am always amazed at the number of questions that atheists are asking about God and Christianity. Many of these questions are very sarcastic, but why take the time to inquire about someone you don't believe in, or someone you say is dead. I attended a viewing this weekend and you can be sure I won't be inquiring about that person any longer. 

Some may look at the number of negative events happening in the world and say, where is God?  However, the Bible tells us that in the last days, "perilous times will come." 2 Timothy 3: 1. Luke 21: 28 says, And when these things begin to come to pass , then look up , and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." 

Jesus is very present in the world today, and always will be. When you write the date on a check or post something to your calendar, you are acknowledging that we live in 2015 AD, the year of Our Lord. He says,
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last" (Revelation 22: 13). His name is "Emmanuel, which which being interpreted is , God with us," (Matthew 1: 23). 

Let us as Christians show the world that the light of Jesus still shines in us and through us, not only at Easter, but all year through. Enjoy the video below and please leave a comment in the box below or share this post on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site you frequent. God bless.  

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Rejoice?

News of another fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a police officer has left Americans stunned and another family grieving for their loved one. As I thought about this latest incident, a word flashed across my mind: REJOICE. But as quickly as it came, I tried to push it away. What was there to rejoice about? A father, brother, husband, friend lost his life in a senseless way. The Scott family will never be the same again.

Yet, the apostle Paul said, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" So I questioned the Lord, "How can we rejoice when such a tragedy takes place? There can be no cause for rejoicing when the breadwinner of a family has been cut off. But the Holy Spirit gently reminded me, "Two thousand years ago an innocent Man was crucified."

Yes, Jesus was innocent. He was unarmed. He didn't even open his mouth to try to defend Himself. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And after He died, His disciples saw no cause for rejoicing. They went back to the life they had before they met Him. They obviously thought, that was the end of the story. But on Easter Sunday, He rose from the grave, and the world has never been the same since. Now we rejoice because Jesus is risen and we who have accepted Him will one day be with Him.

So what does this have to do with the Scott family? We certainly do not rejoice over their loss. We mourn with them and the Browns and all the other families who lost loved ones. But we can take comfort in knowing that just as God used Jesus' death for good, in the same way He will use the deaths of Walter Scott and the others for good. And in that we can rejoice. 

If you enjoyed reading this blog, will you share it on your Facebook page and any other social media sites that you frequent. Thank you and God bless.

 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Jesus Loves You

What are your thoughts as we go into Holy Week next week? Do you reflect on what Jesus may have been thinking as He rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday? When I was a child my mother had me read the story of the crucifixion. I read it the way I read my stories and wept when I realized there was no way Jesus' life would be spared. Now as an adult and a Christian, I know that Jesus came to earth to die for my sins. As a child I couldn't understand this. Do you?


Most of all, do you realize why Jesus died? It wasn't because the religious leaders hated him or because Herod and Pilate couldn't agree on what to do with Him. If Jesus wanted to get out from dying, no amount of hate or political bungling could have made Him die. He died because He loves you and he loves me. Plain and simple. 

It's easy to say, "Yes, I know Jesus loves me."  But the concept of someone loving us to the extent that He would die for us can be difficult to grasp. Here's what the Bible says:

For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son that all who believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3: 16.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  John 15: 13

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 8

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3: 23

The amazing thing about Jesus' love is that it is unconditional. You don't have to be good or holy or even a Christian for Jesus to love you. He can't help but love you, because He is love. So when you reflect on Palm Sunday and holy week, realize that Jesus had you in mind when He did all that He did. And He still does. That's why He stretched out his arms wide on the cross so you could run into them and be saved. And they are still outstretched. Won't you run into them today? He's waiting, but He won't wait forever. 

The Bible says, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts" (Hebrews 4 : 7).

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What Does Your Conscience Say?

So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man. Acts 24: 16 NIV

 

"They don't have a conscience." We often say this to refer to people who commit heinous crimes without showing any feelings of remorse. But everyone does have a conscience. Call it "the little voice" or whatever you choose to call it, our conscience can keep us from wrongdoing and even from getting into serious trouble.

Christopher Reeve said, 
"I think we all have a little voice inside us that will guide us. It may be God, I don't know. But I think that if we shut out all the noise and clutter from our lives and listen to that voice, it will tell us the right thing to do."

The Bible has a lot to say about conscience. Is is just a little voice, or is it the work of the Holy Spirit in us?

When Abraham and his wife Sarah went on a journey, Abraham feared that because Sarah was so beautiful, the men would kill him and take her, so he told her to say she was his sister. Sarah did as she was told and the king did, in fact, send for her to make her part of his harem. But the Lord appeared to him in a dream and warned him not to touch her because she was another man's wife.

The king, very afraid, said, "Did he not say to me, 'She is my sister,' and didn't she also say, 'He is my brother'? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands." 
Then God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her" (Genesis 20: 5-6). 

In Romans 13: 5, Paul says,  "Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience."

In other words, you don't submit because you fear punishment, but because your conscience tells you it's the right thing to do.


Christians face many temptations throughout life, but we must always listen to the voice of our conscience. We must be able to say like Job,  "I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live" (27: 6).

Even children have a conscience. Although they may not always confess when they do something wrong, the guilt shows on their faces. Children know when they deserve to be punished. It's the same with us adults. We know we deserve God's wrath, but instead, we receive His grace. However, that doesn't give us the license to ignore our conscience and go on sinning. We must do the right thing. Go to God, confess our sins and ask Him to help us turn away from them once and for all. God bless.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Half Empty Or Half Full?


I'm sure you've heard the question before: Is your glass half empty or half full? I answered this
question in a forum recently where the person who posed the question seemed to think that the glass is half empty for most people. I daresay I was pleased that most of the respondents, including myself, agreed that it was a matter of perspective and for many, the glass was half full.


This question reminded me of Ruth and Naomi who I wrote about in a recent post. If you haven't read it yet, you may read it here. Naomi became bitter over the loss of her husband and sons, while Ruth, who had also lost her husband, looked to the future with hope.

Ruth could have easily become despondent and bitter. She was a young widow and she did not have a son to provide for her. Two factors that put her at a great disadvantage, unless she could remarry. When Naomi, her mother-in-law, decided to leave for Judah, Ruth readily decided to follow her. Ruth saw her glass as half full, waiting to be filled. And it did, as you read in my earlier post.

What I find amazing about this story is that Ruth, who had been childless before, became pregnant and bore a son when she married Boaz. And Naomi, who had never been a grandmother before, became nurse to Ruth's baby.

The Bible says, "... godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Timothy 6:6).Ruth gained by being godly and contented. Not many Christians are contented. We tend to fret and become anxious when our glass looks like it's half empty, when instead, we should see it as half full.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lessons From My Orchid

The orchid you see in this picture was once as beautiful as it is now, then after a while, it became withered,
the blooms fell off, and it looked pretty sad. I had two options: keep it and try to restore it, or throw it away. After considering for a few weeks, I decided to take the uncertain route. I would repot the thing and see what happened. I went down to the garden store, bought a nice terra cotta pot and some orchid potting soil. Armed with these, I faced the poor, unsuspecting plant.

Now this orchid had sent out a lot of leaves and roots, and not being a horticulturist by any means, I wasn't sure how to separate them, but I did my best, and the result is what you see in the picture. As I looked at my lovely orchid this morning, I thought about the way God restores us when we are burnt out, tired and no longer feel capable of bearing fruit. 

Sarah was a woman like that. Well past her child-bearing years, she thought she could no longer fulfill the promise God had made to her and her husband Abraham. God had told her she would have a son, but here she was, already ninety years old. Impossible dream, right? Wrong! Nothing is impossible with God. If I, a novice where orchids are concerned, could transplant an orchid and make it produce beautiful blooms, think what God, the Master Creator can do with us if we would only entrust our broken lives to Him. 

 The Bible says, "Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings" (Isaiah 58: 12).
You don't have to go about feeling like a dried-up plant. God has promised, "Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up" Psalm 71: 20). 
 
"God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill" (Numbers 23: 19).

You can learn more about Sarah and how she received God's promise of a son even though she had been barren most of her life. Just go to Amazon Kindle where you can purchase my book Women For All Seasons for just $2. 99.  

Friday, February 13, 2015

A True Love Story For Valentine's Day

The Book of Ruth (novel)
The Book of Ruth (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What is your favorite Valentine's Day activity? If you say curling up with your honey and reading a good love story, then you may be in tandem with some other people. So, if you're looking for a good love story to read this weekend, why not read the book of Ruth? Aww, that's the Bible, you might say. True, but reading this story has several benefits:
1) If you feel guilty because you haven't been reading your Bible, this is a way to assuage your guilt.
2) If you love romance, this is one of the best romances ever.
3) It's true.

So, here's the story of Ruth.

Ruth was a young widow who decided to follow Naomi her mother-in-law to Bethlehem because there was a famine in the land where they lived. Naomi had recently lost her husband and, feeling very bitter, thought she would be better off relocating. She and Ruth got to Bethlehem at the beginning of the harvest, and no sooner had they settled in than Ruth decided to go in search of work.

She went straight to the field of Boaz, who just happened to be Naomi's relative. Boaz came in to inspect his field and his eyes lit on Ruth. "Who is that?" he asked. When the other workers told him who she was, he invited her to have lunch with him. How many of us have been invited to lunch with the boss on the first day? That evening when Ruth told Naomi where she'd worked that day, Naomi began to hear wedding bells. When the harvest came to an end, she instructed Ruth to put on her best clothes and go down to the threshing floor where Boaz would sleep after threshing wheat that night. Ruth obeyed her mother-in-law, and the rest, as we say, is history.

I'm not going to tell you the whole story because I want you to read it for yourself. But, like all romances, it does have a very happy ending. Ruth's story is the story of every believer. Boaz represents Jesus Christ and Ruth represents us, His bride. Ruth was a Moabitess, a race of people who were outside the covenant of God. We were Gentiles, outside the covenant of God. Just as Boaz redeemed Ruth and made her his own, just so Christ has redeemed us and made us His own. Isn't that beautiful? Read the story for yourself. You will fall in love again. Happy Valentine's Day.

For a limited time, you can learn more about Ruth and other women of the Bible by purchasing my book Women For All Seasons from the Amazon Kindle store for just  $2.99 cents. Or, if you prefer the print copy, go to