Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ

06
Aug
13

Reaching out with the love of Christ to a dying and lying world

My heart aches as I think of and pray for numerous people in various stages of cancer diagnosis, treatment or follow-up. It is incredible how many people are directly or indirectly impacted by this horrible disease. Added together, the amount of time, effort and money spent to monitor and treat various cancers is staggering.

My heart aches as I think of and pray for numerous people facing battles that are testing and trying their faith. So many people are afflicted with pressure in their lives due to financial and other issues. So many people are firmly entangled in the various elements of oppression and depression. Situations that arise and will not quit leave a person tired, worn out and vulnerable.

My heart aches as I think of and pray for numerous people firmly in the grasp of oppressive powers intent on making and keeping them slaves. Those who have sold their bodies or minds to others for the sake of financial security are in reality slaves to whom they sold out to. Once caught, very few people ever escape from the imprisonment of their choices and corresponding obligations.

Never in the history of this world have things appeared so good on the outside but so rotten on the inside. At first glance, the world seems to be buzzing along doing better than ever. At first glance, people seem to be content, happy, satisfied and well taken care of. But are they really what they project?

Under the surface of the pretty facade so many put up are unhappy, dissatisfied and restless people worried about what tomorrow will bring and what they did yesterday. Locked in the prisons of their own minds, they become experts at looking good to hide the inner turmoil, unrest, guilt and fears that eat them from the inside out just as cancer does in the human body.

Subdivisions and communities are full of people who outwardly appear to have it together and happily are living the American (or any other country’s) dream. Behind the walls of their mini mansions and within the confines of their own minds, these people are tormented day and night by unanswered questions, regrets about the past, guilt for things done or said and fears about what tomorrow may bring.

Lying underneath the smooth exterior people project are truly troubled individuals. Hidden out of view of prying eyes are questions, temptations, battles and doubts that drive people mad. How many millions of people resort to drugs or alcohol to subdue the demons afflicting them? How many people run to every distraction this world offers in hope of finding an ounce of peace and comfort?

Without Jesus Christ there is no peace. Without God there are no answers. Without the Word of God there is no hope. Without the fellowship of believers there is no way to withstand the onslaught of all that seeks to derail and destroy the faith by which we live.

There is a whole world out there diseased and dying; waiting for someone to care enough to help them out of the nightmare they call life. Let us pray to be Ambassadors for Christ willing and able to reach out with His love to those hurting and teetering on the edge of spiritual oblivion.

12
Jul
13

My life’s story written in one day on August 24, 1969

I look at August 24, 1969 as the date my life started for that is when I had my first encounter with the God of all creation. What I experienced that day in New Mexico was intensely personal in nature and in some ways similar to what Saul (Paul) experienced on the road to Damascus. There is absolutely no guarantee God will provide an “experience” for a person when they come to know Him, but if He does; the person better realize how phenomenal it was and stand fast upon what took place throughout their lifetime.

It took God the better part of 24 hours to turn a disgruntled, depressed, afraid and angry kid into the most joyful, exuberant and loving young man anyone had ever seen. The change God wrought in my life was undeniable and indisputable. Everyone who knew me stood in awe at what happened to me which opened great doors for me to share the love, grace, mercy, joy and peace of God.

I did not go to a stream that Sunday morning in 1969 asking for anything. I only went because of an undeniable calling I felt to go. It was as if some gigantic hand was gently prodding me to where God wanted me to go. Far removed from the camp, in an isolated spot beside a gently moving stream, God set out to convince me that He was for real and that He loved me. Through His patience, mercy and love He waited me out and then personally helped me become what He wanted me to become.

I spent an entire afternoon sitting by that stream releasing 16 years of anger, fear and disillusionment before God. I spent an entire afternoon being convicted of my many sins and repenting of them. I spent an entire afternoon pouring out all the junk in my life that separated me from God. I spent an entire afternoon being cleansed of everything that defiled me.

I spent an entire evening and much of the night in a sleeping bag on a porch listening to it rain while writing down every possible thing I was thankful for in my life. God spent an entire evening and much of the night filling me with His goodness, grace and love. What was empty became full. What was defiled became pure.

I spent an entire morning wandering among sunflowers glistening in the sun providing beauty I had never experienced in my life. God spent an entire morning blessing me with peace which surpassed all understanding and joy unspeakable. When He was done, God in just 24 hours, had succeeded in totally transforming me into a new man, full of His spirit, love and light.

When I came down from the mountainside with sunflowers in my hair and enough for each person to have a bunch, everyone there stood was amazed and in wonder. More than one person equated what they saw in me with Moses coming down from the mount with his face aglow.

I spent an entire train ride from New Mexico to Kansas reading and teaching the group about the love of God from 1 John. I had never read 1 John in my life before then. I spent the entire trip laughing, crying and praying with the same people I had despised and wanted nothing to do with just 2 days earlier.

By the time we got back to Wichita and I stepped off that train, I will never in a million years forget the expression on my mom and dad’s faces when they saw me. They knew the instant they saw me that their prayers had been answered and that I was delivered from the demons which had afflicted me for years and nearly destroyed me.

If I lived another thousand years, nothing could ever surpass the joy, peace, thanksgiving and love I felt and manifested in August through December of 1969. The only thing that can be better is the joy of seeing my Lord face to face, which day I long for with every fiber of my heart and soul.

God’s blessings 2 you and thank you for allowing me to share my life’s story.

25
Jun
13

Beware of charlatans everywhere

During my time working with victims of Hurricane Katrina, I talked to many people who had first suffered great loss to their homes during the storm and then even greater financial loss due to swindlers who claimed they could repair their homes but in reality took the money and ran. For many, losing their life’s savings was worse than losing their home.

Every day senior citizens fall for schemes and scams promoted by imposters who capture the trust of unsuspecting and gullible people regarding their money. Using promises of safe returns on their investments and/or putting their money in a safe place for their children; people willingly turn over all they spent a lifetime accumulating to con artists who are experts in deceiving people.

In every realm of life, there are people who make their living claiming to be someone they are not and able to do things they cannot do. The key to their success lies in their ability to mimic the genuine. As such, they are experts at being counterfeits. Without a trained eye and great wisdom, these charlatans will succeed in tricking people every time.

The worst imposters are those who manipulate people’s minds through false promises or use threats to get what they want. Those who are experts at mental manipulation prey upon people who are in a weakened state. They present themselves as a knight in shining armor or the messenger of gloom and doom who can provide deliverance—for a price.

Spiritual charlatans are nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing. These counterfeits play upon the hearts of naïve Christians whose only desire is to do the right thing and help others. The key to a charlatan’s success is their ability to present themselves as someone who can be trusted and believed. A charlatan appears to have all the credentials, expertise and recommendations to be genuine, but in reality everything they do and say is a lie.

My heart aches for those who have fallen under the spell of someone who presented themselves as the savior of a situation but in reality draw people’s faith away from THE Savior Jesus Christ. It pains me greatly when I see naïve and gullible Christians give their heart, soul, money and even their families to people or groups that promise them the moon but only deliver wilted flowers.

Just as worldly swindlers take people’s money and run, so spiritual charlatans take people’s spiritual dignity and trample it under their filthy feet. Woe unto those who through spiritual deceit and trickery destroy innocent lives who simply wanted to help others.

I have no tolerance for charlatans of any type, but especially those who parade around in long flowing robes making themselves out to be representatives of God but who in reality only serve themselves. Woe unto those who cast their spell on God’s people for the purpose of self enrichment, fame or gratification.

God help those who through spiritual intimidation scare God’s people into believing their sins are forgiven or their punishment reduced through financial means. Accepting bribes puts these charlatans at the top of the list as far as being most disgusting and dangerous. Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins and anything short of this is a lie.

Beware of those who appear to be too good to be true for they are frauds. Beware of those who through fair speeches and false promises deceive God’s elect. Both 2 Peter and Jude speak of these spiritual frauds arising in the last days and certainly Christianity is rife with them even today.

16
Jun
13

Is Jesus Christ a superhero?

I recently heard that Superman is being compared to Jesus. At first glance the idea seemed kind of cool but upon further reflection the whole thing to me is absurd. Jesus Christ is NOT a superhero. He is not to be compared to Spider man, Superman, the Green Hornet or any other figment of over-active imaginations.

For some people, Jesus is the boyfriend they never find in this life. He is the sweetheart that makes them gush and brings a spring to their step. Jesus Christ is NOT a boyfriend. He is not to be compared to the local quarterback in high school that every girl wants to go steady with.

Over the years, I have heard people say Jesus is their “good buddy”, their “homeboy”, their “sidekick” and other terms that indicate casual friendship. Jesus Christ is NOT just a pal. He is not to be compared to the friends on your social networking site or the gang you hang out with.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Lord of all. His name is above every name and every knee must bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God. Although Jesus is friend to sinners, He should not be brought down to the position of being a sinner. Jesus Christ is high and lifted up and worthy of admiration, praise and worship—not slaps on the rear end or given high fives with.

I worry that in so lowering the stature of Jesus, people lose sight of who and what He is. We are to respect Jesus Christ for who He is and what He has done. We are to adore Jesus Christ as our Savior. We are to love Jesus Christ with all of our heart and devote all of our heart to Him as our Lord.

I have severe reservations with trying to spiritualize movies that are produced by natural men for the sole purpose of entertainment and making money. Instead of believing there was a secret Godly side to a movie, I choose to believe that in most cases such a side is merely a counterfeit.

I am aware that God uses analogies and metaphors throughout His Word to explain principles and place emphasis on certain things. Jesus used parables to teach the people things they would never understand otherwise. But, I believe that it is a stretch to say God uses “Star Wars”, “Lord of the Rings” and other movies to teach people about Himself.

Once in awhile movies come out that do have a profound spiritual application such as the Narnia series. But, in those cases they are deliberately made to bring glory to God and help people know God better. I am indeed thankful for any movie, book or other means of communication that teaches people about who Jesus is and why He came but I have a problem with comparing Jesus to superheroes, good kings or cool dudes in every movie.

28
Apr
13

The Greatest Name in the universe

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,

6 who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God,

7 but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.

8 And being found in the fashion of a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death—even the death of the cross.

9 Therefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven and things on earth and things under the earth,

11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”

Philippians 2:5-11

There are perhaps no greater verses in the Bible which explain who Jesus Christ is, what He did and what God did for Him than these verses. If we can grasp the truths laid out in these incredible verses, we can in turn understand the will of God as manifested in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Simply put, Jesus willingly emptied Himself of His heavenly reputation and became a servant, made in the likeness of men. He humbled Himself and obeyed His Father’s will, even though it meant death on the cross. It was because of the willingness of Jesus to empty Himself, humble Himself and lay down His life that allowed God to redeem us from sin. Without those three things, our redemption would not have been possible.

Through the willingness, humility and obedience of Jesus, propitiation was made once and forever for our sins. Through the willingness, humility and obedience of Jesus, God was able to legally justify us and acquit us of all our sins. Because Jesus was willing to empty Himself, humble Himself and obey the Word of God we have eternal life and exceeding great and precious promises that far surpass our mind’s ability to understand.

Because Jesus was willing to humble Himself and die for us, God has HIGHLY EXALTED Him and given Him THE name which is above every name. Incredibly, it is now the name of Jesus ( who was beaten, spit upon, humiliated, tortured and hung on a cross to die) that is the greatest name in all of creation. At the name of Jesus EVERY knee must bow, whether in heaven (angels), on earth (people) or under the earth (demons).

Every tongue now must confess that the same Jesus who was humiliated and obedient unto death on the cross, is now CHRIST the LORD. The humiliated Jesus is now Christ Jesus the Lord. There is no name greater than Jesus for He is indeed the risen and exalted Christ who God has made Lord of all. In so granting Jesus this place of dignity and power, God is glorified and His redemptive plan of the ages comes to pass. Always remember that there is no name greater in all of God’s creation than Jesus Christ who is our Lord!

23
Apr
13

Are we really willing to “surrender all” to our Lord?

If you added together all of your assets and subtracted all of your liabilities, you could determine your net worth. Your net worth represents the sum and total of all you own in this world. If you have a lot, you are considered wealthy. If you have very little, you are considered poor. If you have nothing, you are considered destitute.

If you added together all of your friends and subtracted all of your enemies, you could determine your popularity. Your popularity represents the sum and total of how many people think you are “cool” and like you. If you have scores of friends, you are considered popular. If you have a fair number of friends you are considered “normal”. If you have few or no friends, you are considered a social outcast.

If you added together how important your decisions are, you could determine how much power you have. Your power is directly reflected in how many people are directly impacted by what you say and do. Simply put, the more powerful you are, the more lives depend on the words you speak, the things you do and the decisions you make.

According to the world’s standards, unless you are wealthy, popular and powerful you are a failure. According to the world’s standards, unless you have everything money can buy, are a beloved celebrity and a person of powerful influence you are a failure. According to the world’s standards, unless you devote all your time and energy to earning money, developing huge “friends lists” and becoming a powerful figure in the world you are a failure.

That which defines greatness in the world’s eyes is NOT what defines greatness in God’s eyes. God does not care how wealthy you are, how many friends you have or how much power you command. In fact, God demands that a person be willing to surrender all of these things if they truly want to commit themselves to Him. No man can serve two masters, thus each one of us must decide whether we will serve God or mammon.

Money, popularity and power usually distract and make it impossible to serve and love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Money, popularity and power may enable a person to become a celebrity in the world’s eyes, but usually drive a person away from God. Who needs God if you have money, friends and power?

The only way to determine how committed you are to God is to determine how much you are willing to surrender to serve Him. Anything you are unwilling to surrender represents something in your life more important than God. Unless we are willing to empty our bank accounts, become unpopular and become a servant instead of a master, we cannot say we are fully committed to Jesus.

Tell me how important money, friends and power are to you and I will tell you how committed to the Lord Jesus you are. Would you be willing to live in a cardboard box, with no friends or influence if God asked you to do it? Would you be willing to sell everything and live as a vagabond if God demanded it? Would you be willing to be a destitute social outcast if God so willed?

PLEASE, take a few minutes and ponder “I Surrender All” by Clay Crosse. Please take a few minutes and honestly determine where you are at and what God wants you to do with and in your life.

21
Apr
13

Before the throne of God

What do you see when you gaze at the sky on a clear night? Are the stars laid out as a canopy simply white specks or do they give witness to the vastness of our God and the majesty of all He has created? With God there is no beginning and no end, and that is what I see when I look upward. The vastness of God’s creation surpasses our feeble mind’s ability to comprehend.

The skeptics decry God’s creation and seek to diminish its greatness. Somehow to them, the universe just sort of happened without the help of a creator. The natural man cannot grasp or understand the things of God, including the most foundational aspect of them all which is that God created the heavens and the earth.

That this awesome God would see fit to call us by name and reach into our hearts and touch us with His mighty yet tender hand boggles the mind and melts the heart. That this High and Holy God would plant within us His Spirit and allow us to worship Him in spirit and in truth should bring us to our knees in humble adoration. That this mighty and strong God would allow us to stand before Him clothed in righteousness should blow us away.

Almighty God through the finished redemptive work of His Son Jesus Christ has made it available for us to not just worship Him from afar, but know, love and worship Him intimately from within. His Holy Spirit within us gives us the freedom and ability to stand before His throne and dwell in His most holy habitation.

There are many incredible things we should be thankful for every day of our lives, but at the top of the list should be the right we have as sons of God to stand before Him with no guilt or condemnation because of the righteousness we have through and in Christ in us. We do not need to cower in fear as we pray to our God, for we have been cleansed and washed of all sin through the blood of Jesus. We do not need to feel unworthy or insecure when we approach Almighty God for He is our Father and we are His children.

I feel sorry for those who do not know God and thus reject Him as being some fictional character or crutch for weak and helpless people. I feel sorry for those who feel it wrong to have a personal relationship with God and thus relegate Him to the status of being a “thing” that is not to be touched, felt or known. I feel sorry for those who believe God hates them and live their lives in fear of being smitten by God for their sins.

When we are saved, God cleansed us from all unrighteousness and gave us freedom of access into His presence. When God called us by name, He expressed His desire for intimate fellowship that involves the depths of worship but also the incredible honor of being held tightly by our Father during times of distress or confusion.
God does not hate us nor is He waiting for the right time to smite us for our sins. God does not have a box of lightning bolts at His side, ready to hurl them at us when we mess things up. God loves us and longs for us to open our hearts to Him and trusting Him as our loving Father which He is.

I sincerely pray that each and every one of us never forget the awesome privilege we have to know, love and share our lives with the creator of the heavens and earth. I pray that we never forget the awesome privilege we have to approach His throne with boldness in time of need and stand in the grace which we have in Christ Jesus.

I leave you with my second favorite song of all time. I believe this song beautifully and accurately shares the truth regarding what God has done for us and the freedom of access we have through Christ to His throne. For your blessing, I give you “Before Your Throne” by Dallas Holm.