Category Archives: Christian

Breath of Heaven

To the Shepherds it was a glorious heavenly calling that brought them to the manger that night.  To the wise men it was a star in the sky that guided them to come see the King born as a child in humility.  To Mary and Joseph it was the census that brought them to this place at this time.  To Jesus. it was His choice to come in this manner.  To us, it is often just the faint sound of the Breath of Heaven.

Don’t expect the angel;s to come and tell you what God wants from you.  Don;t expect a miracle to point the way.  Don’t expect the events of this life to lead you in Christ’s path.  Most often, it will be that still small voice, that breath from God, that tells you the way to go.  If y’u are not listening closely., you will miss it.  if you do not wait for God to speak with earnest expectation, you might just think He hasn’t spoken.  But He is speaking all the time.  He is breathing life into you all the time.  He lights our path with His still small voice.  He shows us the way by His word.  Don’t miss a single word.  Listen for His breath!

 

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Take Hold (Music Video)

I usually publish these on my poetry site, but this time I thought I’d post it here.  This chorus was written back in 2014.  I pray it blesses you as it does me.

 

Love That Divides

I want to start out this blog by saying that some will be offended by what I am going to write. I am not writing to offend anyone. I have long struggled with posting this piece and have given it a lot of thought and prayer. II hope you will rely on the same as you read it.

I was sent an article that appeared in an email on Perspective from the United Methodist Church. The article was about decisions that are currently being made on how to handle the LBGT community when it comes to same-sex marriage and ordination in the Methodist church. It highlighted the struggle between the progressive arm of the church and the conservative arm. The analysis made was that in 10-20 years, these practices would be common place in al churches, and the United Methodist Church wanted to be at the forefront of this trend. It also talked about the fact that a full 45% of Methodist say they are on the conservative side (those who do not agree with this stance). Adopting such a doctrine would further diminish the Methodist church, which has lost hundreds of churches over the last few decades.

But this is not simply a Methodist dilemma. Many denominations are struggling with this issue. They feel that the love of Christ needs to be shown to all and is all inclusive. Christ accepts us all just as we are, and therefor who are we to deny anyone the right too serve God the way they feel called to do so. Many believe we must allow this trend to continue and accept this lifestyle as mainstream and fully compatible with God’s will. With that, I have a problem, and I hope to at least let you know what I have learned after over 40 years in ministry.

The church today is weak on sin and strong on mercy. The problem is that God is strong on both. His opinion of sin has always been the same – He hates it (Eccl 12:6). He is a holy God, and He expects us to do all we can to be holy (1 Peter 1:16). He convicts the world of sin (John 16:8), and He sent His son to save us from our sin (Romans 4:25). If sin was not an issue with God, then Jesus died in vain.

There is not a single verse in the bible that says anything about LBGT being righteous. There are several that say it is a sin (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Tim 1:8-11, 1 Cor 6:9, Lev 18:22, Lev 20:13, Deut 22:5). I am not saying that these should be put to death, because we are in the age of grace. Those who say that they were wrongly gendered in the womb, and are the opposite of what their body clearly shows, are calling into question the very purpose of God, who created us in the womb (Jer 1:5, Is 44:24, Gal 1:15, Psalm 139:15-16). Those who believe God made them wrong also must believe that God is capable of telling a lie and doing things the wrong way. How can we have these people as clergy?

The bible is also very explicit when it comes to marriage. The verses above show God is against same sex relationships when it comes to the bedroom. Marriage is as old as Adam and Eve, and is defined by God as being between a man and a woman (Gen 2:24, Mark 10:6-9). But we now feel we have more intelligence than God and can change His definition of marriage. How proud we have become!

Many theologians and church leaders are saying that Jesus command is to love all, no matter what their condition, and I agree with that statement. However, when a sinner accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, His command is to repent and go and sin no more (John 8:11) He expected the lepers to go and show themselves to the priest so that, by law, he could declare them clean (Luke 17:11-19). Jesus demands repentance, a turning away from our sin, before one can truly follow Him. Just because we call Him Lord does not mean we have heaven as our home (Matt 7:21).

Love is a funny thing. It asks us to unconditionally accept those around us and treat them as equals. It is a giving of ourselves to another. Real love, however, is not afraid to correct the object of its desire and set them on the right path. Who among us does not love their children? Wouldn’t we stop them from doing something that would harm them out of love, even if it made them feel terrible? Wouldn’t we deny them things to keep from getting hurt in the end because we love them?

As Christians, we are considered watchmen on the wall (Ezekiel 33) for the gospel. It is our obligation to warn those who are headed for eternal destruction, otherwise known as hell, so that they can avoid such a demise. If we do not warn them, the bible is clear that their blood is on our hands. Pastors have an even higher responsibility to do so. But we have exalted love and grace over judgment, and we are afraid to correct one another of their faults.

This is a subtle tactic of our enemy, the devil. He goes about seeking whom he may destroy (1 Peter 5:8). We are not fighting the LBGT Community on this, it is a spiritual battle (Eph 6:12). We are commanded to love them into the family of God, make sure they repent of their sin, and follow Christ in obedience to the word. Allowing them to stay in their sin is just wrong.

I will end this by saying I am not the final judge, and I do not pretend to be. This is what I see happening, and this false form of love the devil has convinced many we must have is dividing the church. That is the enemies ultimate victory and aim – to bring down the church. Jesus says the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. I would venture to say if the United Methodist Church continues down this road, they will also continue to diminish in influence and numbers until they are barely recognizable as a church anymore. And that would be sad.

Just Do It!

Philippians 4:9

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

 

Now that Paul has done his best to get the congregation thinking the right way, he gives a final admonition on what they should do. It’s almost worth going back and looking at the different ways he tells them to think.  I know we spent a lot of time on this but there’s nothing more important than getting our thought life straight. So the things were going to think about are things that are true, honest, just,  pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy. If you  missed the posts on each of these characteristics, please go back to the last 8 posts and enjoy them

With that in mind, let’s look at the things that Paul says here that they need to do now that he has them thinking the right way.  First, they need to do the things that they’ve learned. As we look back at the Philippian Church, they learned about salvation, they have learned about the Holy Ghost, they have learned about deliverance (remember Paul was delivered from prison in Philippi), they have learned how to pray, and the power of prayer, and they have learned humility. Now they need to do these things.

What have they received? They have received salvation. They have received the Holy Ghost. They received several of Paul’s co-workers to help minister the gospel. They most likely received immeasurable blessings from the Lord. So they need to do these things. How did they do these things? They share them with others. That’s how we do the things that we receive – we give them away. When was the last time you prayed for somebody to receive Christ.  I have to admit it’s been awhile for me. I need to give away some of the things that I’ve received.

And what if they heard?  They heard the gospel message. They’ve heard about humility. They’ve heard about their thought process. They’ve heard about sacrifice. They’ve heard about being like-minded. They’ve heard about deliverance from prison. They’ve heard about the power of prayer. Now they need to do these things. It’s not enough to just go to church and hear the sermon.  When we hear it, we should do it. When was the last time you acted upon a sermon that your pastor gave? You might say to me that he’s not a very inspiring speaker.  He hasn’t inspired me to go out and do things. I’ve heard it said that Jonathan Edwards was not a very fiery preacher either but people would feel like they were burning in hell as he sat in the chair and delivered his message.

When it comes to hearing and doing it’s up to you. The pastors job is to deliver the message God has given Him for that  day.  I am a firm believer that if I am sitting in that congregation, God has something for me in that sermon, and it’s my responsibly to listen and act upon it.  It’s not up to your pastor to put it in some dainty little package. It’s up to you to act on the word of God. So stop paying attention to how it’s delivered and pay attention to the word that’s given.

Lastly he says to do the things that they’ve seen in him. What have they seen Paul do?  They’ve seen him give his life for the gospel.  They’ve seen him worship and praise the Lord while he was in prison.  They’ve seen him traveling all over the place to minister the word.  They’ve seen him not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. These are the things I need to do.  And, as a side note, would I be comfortable telling people to do the things they have seen in me?  How about you? I’ll leave that as a rhetorical question.

Paul then leaves them with this thought: if they all do these things God will be with them and He will give them peace. I don’t want to be questioning whether I’m doing what God wants me to do or not. I can have peace with God by just doing the things that I’ve learned, received, heard and seen others do. I think I better get busy.

Have Mercy, Lord

Psalm 51:1-3

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

I can only begin to imagine how David felt when Nathan left the room.  He had just been told that God had seen his sin with Bathsheba. David thought that he covered it up pretty well.  I mean, after all, Uriah was killed in battle.  As far as anyone else and he did go and sleep with his wife while he was home on leave. So her pregnancy wouldn’t be too much of a shock. But Nathan said those words – “You are the man”.  David’s heart must have sunk deep down – way deep down. And over the next few hours I’m sure the grief mounted before he started to pen these words. It’s hard to say whether he wrote this all out at one time or if it came pieces.

It comes as no surprise to me that the very first words out of his mouth would be “Have mercy upon me oh God”. We’ve seen countless times already David crying out for the mercy of God. David knew that God is the God of mercy. There was no doubt in his mind. And there was no doubt in his mind that he needed mercy right now. He had taken a woman in adultery and had her husband killed so that he could have her. He could have anything and any woman he wanted, but he had to have this one. He needed mercy.

According to your loving kindness, God give me mercy. We have a tendency to think that God is going to be merciful to us according to our sense of mercy.  I think we expect God to do what we want him to do. It doesn’t work that way. God does what He wants to do. And whatever He does is the best for us. When we pray and ask God for mercy according to HIS loving-kindness instead of our own thoughts of what mercy might be in this situation, it’s a different prayer.

For example let’s say I have a financial difficulty and I need money quickly. I pray to God have mercy upon me and help me in this situation. Now according to my own definition of what the answer would be to that prayer, mercy would be somebody showing up at my door, or a check arriving in the mail for the money that I need to take care of the situation. But God’s form of mercy in that situation might be to keep my car from breaking down when it’s due to break down, or it might be to keep me healthy so I don’t to go to the doctor and I’ll save money on that, or it might be that I’ll get offered overtime at work. You see we expect God to do it our way but God has His own way. I think sometimes that’s why we don’t recognize the mercy of God when it comes in.

“According to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions”. The word transgression means pretty much what we think it does.  it’s the Greek word Pesha and a few other translations of the word could be a breach of trust or rebellion. All sin is rebellion against God. So this transgression of David’s is not just against Bathsheba and Uriah, but it is against God.  Do you realize that when you sin against someone else, it’s a sin against God?  If I lie to someone, or deceive them, or hurt them, the transgression against them is also a transgression against God!  This scripture is one that shows that truth.  The other portion of scripture I can think of that really stresses this is found in Matthew   25:31-46.  Here Jesus teaches that if we do something nice for someone, it’s the same as doing it for Him.  And if wed refuse to do something nice, we refuse to do it for Him.  So the next time you’re tempted to be mean to someone, or to “transgress” against someone, remember – God is watching,

David is bold enough to ask God to blot out his transgression – get rid of it make it so it can’t be seen. God did not do that.  It turns out that the baby was very sick after he was born and David mourned and wept over him while the baby was still alive.   It was a very public thing. David kept asking the Lord to heal the child and God did not. When the child died, David stopped mourning.  Everybody asked him why because usually people mourn after the child dies. David said what can I do now?  While he was still alive perhaps God would have healed him. David’s prayer was according to the multitude of God’s tender mercies. I’m sure this didn’t go the way David would have wanted it to.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Again David ask God to wash him completely from his iniquity and cleanse him from his sin. David realized that God was capable of doing this. We need to have this same prayer. We know that Jesus wiped away all of our son at the cross. The gospel says if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive them and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1st John 1:9). It doesn’t change the fact that we have to ask him.

In verse 3 he acknowledges his transgression. He makes himself accountable. We live in an age of people that don’t feel like they’re accountable or responsible for their own actions. It’s always somebody else’s fault or somebody made me do it. People don’t take responsibility for their own actions anymore. Well I’m sorry but you need to acknowledge your own transgressions. When you do something wrong, it is your fault. You cannot point the finger at somebody else and blame them when you do the wrong things you do.  The sooner we take responsibility for our own actions the closer we will be to God. This is why David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). It’s not because he was a perfect man – far from it. It’s because he took responsibility when he did wrong, he repented, he asked for forgiveness and he just went right on praising God. This is the heart we all need to have in our walk with the Lord. Ready to repent and ready to take responsibility for our own actions.  We must never try to place the blame on somebody else. God wants us to be honest with him. and with ourselves.  If you don’t think a sinful act is completely your fault, you can not truly repent from it.  When you take ownership of your sin, as David did, then you can truly repent.  And this is what God  desires from you.  True repentance.

 

The Attitude of Gratitude.

Philippians 4:8 Part 8

Finally, brethren,

whatsoever things are true,

whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,

whatsoever things are pure,

whatsoever things are lovely,

whatsoever things are of good report;

if there be any virtue,

and if there be any praise,

think on these things.

 

 

How thankful are you?  Are you someone who rarely says thank you to those around you?  Do you tend to find fault everywhere you turn?  I bet if you’re not that person you know someone who is.  There are plenty of people who fit that description.

 

I bet there were the same type of people back in Paul’s day.  Ungrateful, not responsible, not accountable.  They refuse to acknowledge the good deeds of others, preferring instead to find the one thing that wasn’t done right.  The scribes and Pharisees in Jesus day are a perfect example.  Look at all the good Jesus was doing, yet all they could see was the people following Him instead of them.

 

If there be any praise, think on these things.  Now we start out by giving praise to God, of course.  And there is NEVER a time that He is not worthy of our praise – NEVER.  No matter what is going wrong in your life, there are a million things going right that you can praise Him for unless you are dead, and then hopefully you will be praising Him in heaven.  There is always reason to give Him praise!  Are you breathing?  Praise Him for the sair He supplies.  Can you see? Praise Him for the sunlight, even on the cloudy days it’s still there!  Are you sick?  Praise Him that your blood is still flowing through your body.  Do you have cancer (Yes, I do)?  Praise Him that your breathing, that He gave the doctors amazing knowledge, that you still have sight, hearing, taste, touch, the list is endless of things I can praise Him for, not matter what my situation.  Give Him praise.

 

But this verse goes beyond that.  If there be any praise!  What about that janitor in your church who does such a good job – doesn’t he deserve some praise?  How about the grocery clerk who helped you out with your groceries?  Or the bank teller who helps you with a transaction?  Or the convenience store clerk who assisted you today?  Don; these people deserved praise – in the way of a thank you?  A simple thank you is praise in it’s simplest form. And we as a church need to be doing more of it.  An attitude of gratitude is what it is often called.

 

Our world today has lost a lot in this area, and we need to show the way.  We as a church should be the most grateful people alive.  We should never have reason to gripe and complain.  So many blessings have been lavished upon us by our Heavenly Father.  Let’s let the world know that gratitude is he way to go!