Monthly Archives: December 2012

Something to Mediate On

“Christians must not lose sight of the truth that the eternal life we celebrate-the abundant life we have in Christ-comes at monumental cost. For us, the cross must be more than an ornament, symbol, or spire topping. It must serve as a constant reminder of the lengths to which God in Christ would go to save us. Such love and sheer grace deserve and demand our best in love, worship, and service.”

Taken from “Life Ventures, Bible Studies for Life, winter 2012-2013.)

We as Christians must never forget that our access to our Heavenly Father comes by way of His son, Jesus Christ, hanging on the cross, and shedding His blood for us.

A challenge… Will You Share This?

Worth pondering!

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat…

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking. In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school… The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about.. And we said okay..

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it… no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

A Thought On Being Religious and Self-Righteous

Sometimes what I think we as Christians need to do more of in this world we live in is to be honest and truthful, rather than be religious and self-righteous. I’m sorry, but I’ve read too many posts lately where the authors talk as if they’ve already arrived rather than that they’re on the journey.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ll tell you I’m on the journey. I understand why “Christianity” is under attack, but the truth is that in some cases self-proclaimed Christians bring the attacks upon themselves.

I’d love to sit here at my computer keyboard and write the words, “I’m sin free,” but I’d be lying. I’d love to tell you that I don’t struggle daily with trying to die to my own selfish desires, my own wants and needs, and that I do and make the right decisions without fail, but once again I’d be lying.

I’ve read posts where people claim you can lose your salvation. I don’t know where they get that. If you can lose what God says He has given you through His Son Jesus Christ then He’s not much of a god, and I can understand why people would reject a god who can’t save you completely and totally.

Well, I’m here to tell you that my God can and does. The question isn’t whether my God can and does save me completely and totally? The question is whether I’m going to believe that He can and will, or do I think I can save myself?

Listen, friends, there’s a lot of people, and people who claim to be Christians, that wouldn’t and don’t know any more about God and loving God than an earthworm would know about lasagna.

The fact of the matter is that too many people think that they’re doing God a favor by loving Him. They work themselves to death trying to please Him, and stand up for Him, and try to do His job for Him. They walk around and make long posts about hating the “sin” yet so often it’s the sinner who ends up feeling the hatred.

Let me tell you, I need God. He doesn’t need me. I need Him daily, minute by minute, hour by hour. If I’m left to my own devices I’ll do the wrong thing almost every time, and even when I’m trying to do the right thing I can still mess it up.

I’ll tell you that there’s a lot about God I don’t know nor understand. You ask me how many verses I’ve got memorized, and I’d be having a good day if I could quote more than 3, and I couldn’t give you a theological or historical perspective on the Bible to save my life.

You ask me why the Bible is the Word of God? What proof do you have? Here’s my answer. I know it’s author. I know what I was, what I am, and what I’m becoming. I know that Jesus Christ died for my sins past, present and future, and that every time I look up and around I see His witness staring back at me. I know the Bible is true because I’ve seen it’s truth lived out in my life and in the lives of countless others.

I’ve sinned, and there’s not a day goes by in which I haven’t had to confess my sin. Sin doesn’t mean you don’t know God or that He doesn’t know you. It means you have deliberately, knowingly disobeyed God and His divine law. If anyone tells you that they aren’t guilty of that then you’re either looking at a liar or the Lord Jesus Christ, himself.

There are many “Christians” who will tell you that once you become a Christian you’ll be happy. They’ll tell you that God wants you to be rich. You just have faith and claim what you want in the name of Jesus and it will be yours. You name the lie and you’ll find a “Christian” somewhere who’s either deliberately said it or said it in ignorance of God’s Word. I’m sorry, and I’m sure I’ve offended someone somewhere, but truth is truth, and some people should be offended.

The reason I’m writing this is because I want you to know that God loves you, but you have to receive that love. The truth is that Jesus Christ died for yours sins, but you have to acknowledge and confess your sins, and ask Him to come into your heart and be your Savior. Friend, you cannot save yourself. Nothing you do past, present, or future based upon your own effort will make any difference.

There’s nothing you can do or have done that will separate you from the love of God except for one thing….the sin of unbelief.

Please don’t feel that you’re not good enough…know that you aren’t, and you don’t have to be….Please don’t feel that you don’t need Jesus… You do, and one day you’ll know it…. Please don’t be discouraged by failure…. We’ve all failed, but Jesus never has or will….

Come to Him where you are as you are…

Simple, true, not to be forgotten.

Pastor Mike Says

serviceWhosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his rewardMark 9:41

We often look for the big, splashy acts of service or devotion by which we can prove our love for God. But Jesus says even the smallest act of service in his name is never missed, will never go unrewarded by God.

Genuine Christian service can be as simple and practical and otherwise forgettable as giving a thirsty person a cup of water to drink. The person themselves might forget you brought them the water; you may forget the service the moment after you render it (Matthew 25:37); but God will not forget it.

Most Christians are not required to be martyred for their faith, or to be tortured for the sake of Christ…

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A Thought on Sin, Bad Habits, and Addictions

Here’s a quote from the book “Authentic Faith” by Gary Thomas. “I must learn to accept some suffering as an inevitable part of living in a fallen world. These changes hurt. They are not easy. Suffering and change go hand in hand. If I refuse to suffer and refuse to suffer the discomfort of change, I will experience even more severe consequences as the idol increases it’s hold on my heart. I will be forever a stranger to experiential holiness.”

Idols are anything we give more of ourselves to than God. All sin is akin to addiction, and addictions enslave us. Some people have developed habits of sin over years. Breaking addictions is often a long and painful process, and I can tell you that even after you break the habit you still have to deal with what made you become an addict in the first place.

In this world we’re so used to immediate results, that when something doesn’t happen instantly we assume we’ve failed. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re doing all you can and you’re getting nowhere. We must remember habits are built over time, sometimes years, breaking them may take as long.

There is an initial period of suffering that has to take place as one breaks an addiction, but then the further you get beyond it the more freedom you experience. Having patience with yourself and others as you struggle to break free of those sins or addictions can make this process easier.

God sees us in the midst of our struggles, and He measures our successes as we should…minute by minute, day by day. We break sin and addiction by breaking it over and over again, until eventually it’s broken for good.

We can be holy, but “holiness may make your life more miserable in the short run, though far more joyful in the long run. If you insist on avoiding suffering at all costs, you will never be free of your addictions. If someone is truly serious about spiritual growth or overcoming a long-term bad habit, he or she had better be prepared to go to war.”

I’ve been through this, and for anyone who is facing these challenges I want to tell you that you can be free of them. God doesn’t stop loving you and He doesn’t give up on you, and with our amazing God all things are possible. There’s nothing no sin, no habit, no addiction that is bigger than God’s ability to take care of it.

Fear

Today as I was listening to David Jeremiah, I heard him say something that made me think, and reflect on, and I’m going to share it with you. “Fear is a form of idolatry.” When we fear the problem whatever it may be we’re saying that the problem is greater than God’s ability to handle it. What problems do you have that are greater than God’s ability to solve them? The way to deal with fear is found in worship and praise. When we recognize God for who He is, and acknowledge that all we experience and know is because of Him, we put our problems, our fears, where they belong…. In His hands.

If you’d like to know more you can click here http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/turning-point/listen/ and click on “When Fear Dominates You” under the month of November.

In Our Rush to Help…

Sometimes I wish we, as human beings, had the capacity to hear our words through the ears of those who are in the midst of terrible suffering. No matter how well intended, how true, how comforting they may be to some, there are those who will be hurt even more by what we say. Are the words we use directed toward those who are suffering, or toward ourselves? I know and sympathize with those who want so badly to say something, anything, that might bring some solace if even for a moment, but how many times have I seen in the last few days well-meaning comments and references to a loving God in connection with people who just aren’t able to see this truth in the mist of such heart-rending sorrow. There is a time for truth, for acceptance, for talk about solutions, and whys and wherefores, but I can’t help thinking that maybe some of our attempts to put words to our thoughts and feelings, and our desires to help might be better echoed in our prayer closets rather than in public. Sometimes in our rush to help, to comfort, to make better, the intended benefactors of our desire are often the ones trampled in the process.

Letter to New Town, Connecticut Residents

Dear New Town Connecticut residents,

I have no words to express how sorry I am for what you are having to go through during this time. I know that words during this time are of very little comfort, and I wish that I could offer something more. I’m saddened and heartbroken that I have nothing to give that can make or change even for a brief moment the reality of what you’re suffering. I can only tell you that I am willing to share your burden with you. As you mourn, as you cry, as you rail against the injustice of what has happened, I want you to know that I hold each of you in my heart, and that I’m willing to share whatever you feel like sharing with me for as long as you need in whatever way you need me to share it with you. Please know that you are not alone in your grief. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Love,
Wayne