Found this online…

I came across this letter posted online and I thought it was worth sharing. Any thoughts?

A Letter From Our Pastor

“The journey of 10,000 miles begins with the first step.” Chinese Proverb

Every New Year, just like every new day, gives us the chance to begin again. Waking to the light of day, feeling the breath of life flow in us, means we have one more chance to do just a little better than the day before. A chance to be a bit more patient. A chance to be a little more loving. A chance to give more to others and take less for ourselves. One more opportunity to forgive those who have injured us or to ask forgiveness from those we have hurt.

A new day…a new Attitude.

Central to Jesus’ understanding of how we are to live our faith are these very common, everyday decisions. Jesus spoke very little about what people should believe compared to the tremendous amount he spoke about how we should act with one another. Our actions flow from our attitude, and there is NO ONE who has control over that except ourselves.

The other day I overheard a person walking into HEB say, “He just ruined my day. I’m so worked up now I’m going to have a terrible day…” I thought to myself, “Yep, you certainly are as long as you let other people control your attitude like that!” We allow people to move us out of our peace. It isn’t their fault our attitude is bad…it is our fault.

This Fall I’ve been working on some cabinets at the house, and I have been very careful to do a good job. Then this week, when I was putting on the final handles, I drilled the holes crooked in the doors. I was SO MAD!!! Now, to correct them I would have to leave holes in the finished doors. Beth saw me right as I discovered the problem, and I was fuming!!! I said, “I just want to break something!!” I left the house to go get some hole filler at the hardware store, and it took me the entire trip there and back to work on my attitude. Why was I so mad??? After really digging underneath the anger I realized I was mad because one more time, my need to push and hurry to finish a project resulted in a stupid mistake that could have been avoided. I was furious that I had repeated a mistake I have made many times before.

I stopped and asked God to help me correct this part of my nature. To help me not be so driven to finish something that I make foolish errors. To learn to let things take the time they need. The anger began to dissipate. A more peaceful spirit returned to me. I got home, re-drilled the holes, filled the visible ones and put the handles on. The cabinets look fine.

When you just need an ear…

It always seems as if the enemy is gaining in the war on sin. With every attack his only goal is to knock us down, to shake our foundation, to shatter our faith (steal, kill, destroy). When the unthinkable happens my first thought is..why, Lord?

I tell myself it’s not God that makes mistakes. It’s His children that make bad choices, that choose not to be obedient. I inevitably question my own walk, my own committment to the living God. Ultimately, I ask myself…”Did I not impress upon my loved ones the ways of God sufficiently to have avoided this horrible incident?” 

(RM) “Sometimes my life makes no sense!” That’s what I say. When I read that

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Rom 8:26-28).”

Hearing the news…I cry out, Lord, I don’t know what to pray. 

The world does not know what it wants! It’s quite evident in the lives of many individuals. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of the impenitent sin of the people, complete deviation. Our society is heading south very quickly and moral absolutes are no more. 

Rich Mullins sang, “I am ready for the storm…” As I sit and listen to him sing this song, I am telling myself…”NO, I am not ready for this storm! Lord. 

The storms of life can be devastating on so many levels.  As believers we turn to our God knowing full well that the battle has already been won. The enemy has been destroyed. He may try to shake our foundation, but the Lord is our rock and He is not shaken. He is not moved.

We are in this world, but we are not of this world, and though we must confront the enemy we hold on to the promise of God that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. Still, we need to confess our doubts and fears, and our unbelief so that the Lord can minister to us, so the Lord can work in us and through us, so the Lord can meet us where we are and give us peace.  

Oh Lord…guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 

Christian Women watching 50 Shades of Grey?

What? I came across this article today on Charisma Magazine. I admit I have been having a difficult time understanding why any woman would want to watch this movie, reading that Christian women are as well attracted to this type of film, well….for me it’s a clear picture of the condition of the church.

I have this image of Lot’s wife. God’s angel yanking on her arm to “come on!” And all she has on her mind is what she is leaving behind. She turns to look back and turns to salt (Gen. 19:26). Not everyone that says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of God…Mat. 7:21. This is very disturbing.

Here’s the link to the article.

Why are ‘Christian’ women watching ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’?

When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

“And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

A couple of nights ago I was reading in Luke and this particular scripture, Luke 18:8, jumped out at me. It troubled me that Jesus – knowing all that the Father would and could do for His children, He nevertheless asked…

“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

It got me to thinking, believe it or not, about Rich Mullins and something he once said.

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It’s been a while since I’ve had a lesson to share. Well, the last few weeks have been filled with one lesson after another, but as usual…life’s distractions have left me with little time to blog. I read posts as time allows. I have also been busy working on another writing project that has taken precedence. Still, for me blogging is a mission that must be accomplished, so here I am. As always I hope readers will glean what they can from my experiences and lessons from God. As it says in…

Ephesians (4:1-3), “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” 

God has always used His chosen people to pass on the message of hope, love and eternal life, that has not changed. Hebrews 13:8 tells us as much. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” 

In this last hour God is using His obedient and faithful servants to fulfill His purpose.

As in Joel 2:28…

“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”

And as the world turns, like everyone, I get caught up with daily living and sometimes a cold, cedar allergies and the flu strip me of energy and desire to do anything, let alone write. I was down with allergies, and a bad cold for a couple of weeks and I have not been able to get my writing groove back. Any other time, well like most… I go through life surrendering to the demands of this world, relinquishing time, and my peace of mind for a lot of worry. The things of God wind up taking a backseat, because unlike God, the world has no patience, no compassion and short on forgiveness. It is cold and heartless and ready to strike fear in the heart of man. Grandkids, keeping house, errands, doctor visits, bills, work, car problems…all take a small piece of my peace of mind. Nothing ever runs as smooth as I would like, but when you live in a multi-generational household the smallest of things can be problematic.

As a believer, the smallest of challenges always seem to turn into major trials. The enemy knows it, and uses it to steal my peace and joy and strip me of faith and hope, but I thank God Almighty that regardless… “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself (2 Tim 2:13).” A few years ago, the enemy could steal my hope, my joy, make me lose faith and I would let him. Even though I knew the scriptures and even repeated them during trying times I hadn’t realized the power behind them, so any victory was short-lived. It was a constant roller coaster ride with me and my faith.

Since I started on this spiritual journey the Lord has taught me so much about Himself, the power of prayer and the two-edged sword in every scripture. This year the goal is to read through the words of Jesus, in different versions of the bible. It seems meaning is lost in translation. I few years ago, I would not have given that notion a second thought. The times are such that as believers we need to be cautious in all areas when it comes to the things of God…even what version of the bible we choose to read.

So, back to faith. Will Jesus find faith on the earth? I think I can confidently say “we” believers get caught up in the affairs of the world, more than we should, or is necessary, and lose sight of our purpose on this planet. Even when we focus on the things of God we want attention for the things we do. I’ve heard Christians talk about the people they blessed, the wonderful things they did. And I am just amazed at how quickly these people will surrender their treasure in heaven for 15 minutes of glory on earth. And I remembered Luke 17:10 where Jesus talked about duty…

“And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”

It’s like the employee who wants to be recognized for his hard work when he’s only doing what he was hired for. The Lord prepared works for all of us to perform. Yet, our desire is to be recognized and rewarded for our work and the world will happily comply. The world loves to put people on pedestals. That’s what was so different about Rich Mullins. All the glory belonged to God. For Rich Mullins it was all about faith. He always shifted any attention to his heavenly Father.

Rich Mullins also said…

“Most Protestants have no problem saying ‘The Lord told me this’ and ‘the Lord told me that, but they won’t believe that the Lord speaks through the pope. At least the guy has some credentials”

Focus: the Lord told me…and the guy has some credentials. 

The notion of credentials piqued my curiosity – for a lot of reasons. Christian believers and credentials, do we need any when we speak of the things of God? Schools of theology are everywhere. Are they producing men and woman of God sufficiently trained to rightly divide the word of God? These schools are like any other college or university offering education in a specific discipline. Are they necessarily teaching truth?

There are many Christians that truly believe “the Lord told me” and they run with it. And when it never comes to pass, well they just find a way to rationalize their statements. I hear it a lot from fellow believers. Sometimes it’s a simple message, sometimes it’s an elaborate message. Who should we believe? Should anyone who delivers a message from God be required to show his credentials? Well, the only credential we should recognize is the Holy Spirit. Whether a layman theologian, or highly educated one, it is the Spirit of the Lord that reveals truth to those that seek it. Hence, why all believers should read the bible and learn the scriptures, so they can identify truth when they hear it.

Beware of the scribes Luke 20:4547

“Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

Will the Son of man find faith when He returns?

Luke 21:34-38

“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Faith is like water, we need it to live. Whether it’s faith in ourselves, others, or faith in the living God, we all exercise some form of faith, but only faith in the living God produces righteousness…

For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Rom. 4:2-3.

Faith, during trying times…like tonight where a young man was shot and killed and another injured…in our back alley of all places…is what we need to have. Because the first thing that wants to take over is fear. Fear must not reign in our mind. When things like this happen in our communities and so close to home it is challenging to not express fear and doubt, especially when you witness some part of the incident. Please pray for us, especially for my two daughters that may have seen the culprit before he did the ultimate deed of taking another man’s life. Pray that the culprit be identified and apprehended quickly. Pray for our safety and protection. Pray for peace of mind for my grandkids. As SAPD collects the evidence, the coroner picks up the body, as they clean up the crime scene, please pray for the family of the young man. I don’t know why this young man’s life ended. My daughter and I can make no sense of the violence. We are just trusting God to work things out.

In faith, be blessed.

Thank you reading.

The Final Sacrifice for Which Without God’s Grace we would be in a heap of mess!

There are so many things in our lives that we should be and are thankful for, daily…not just when the occasion arises. But if we should be thankful for anything, we should be thankful for the final sacrifice…the Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world! 

Last night, I finished reading through the book of Ezekial. It is a most interesting, yet very difficult book to read. As I read through the book, difficult as it was, the Lord managed to show me a few things. The first lesson was that from the OT to the NT, God has not changed. He says as much in Malachi 3:6.

“I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”

He did not change, but something changed. What changed was the processes that it took for His children to approach the throne of grace.  No doubt, much has been written on the God of the OT. Forgiveness of sins, atonement and such, was an extremely sophisticated process, with no detail left to chance. Anytime that God gave His prophets a message, whether to warn, to build, to destroy, to cleanse, God was very specific. Then, came His Son, Jesus Christ who also came to do the will of His Father, again with very specific details.

John the Baptist referred to Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) the ultimate and final sacrifice.

Before Jesus, some sacrifices were to give thanks to God. Some sacrifices were to make atonement.  And only after atonement could God forgive their sin (Lev. 4-26). As I read, I was ever so thankful for the ultimate sacrifice, His Son. Can you imagine conducting such sacrifices in this 21st century? God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us, that we should no longer have to offer up burnt sacrifices or sin offerings and other such sacrifices.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Hebrews 10: 8-18

“First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:

16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
    after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.”

17 Then he adds:

“Their sins and lawless acts
    I will remember no more.”[c]

18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

The second lesson was the idea of the tower of Babel. I can’t recall exactly how this message came through Ezekial, but it had to do with modern day “Christians.” At first listen, it “appears” as if we are all speaking the same message. Then, it’s as if … we are all clawing our way up the tower to reach God, but we can’t work together because we can’t understand each other. Thus, we try to find our own way to heaven after realizing there’s only one way into the Holy of holies. And all these so-called prophets, pastors, bible teachers, apostles…etc. are for the most part deceiving, divisive, destructive spirits.

A good example: I have known one family, they’re all Christians. Some are pastors, others bible teachers, but they have one rule when they get together – they do not discuss politics, or religion/beliefs. Amos 3:3 “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” 

Gen. 11:1-9 “Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a namefor ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 TheLord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Another quick lesson, as “Christians” We’ve all become like Jonah…running from the mission God prepared for us to accomplish. Some people don’t deserve salvation.

We are all like John and James, who were brothers, and asked Jesus if they could sit one on each side of him, as an honor. It’s all about status.

We are all like Martha doing works to please God and we get upset, and lay a guilt trip on others, because they do not follow suit, or we gripe and complain about being used, or exploited. There’s something wrong with such a heart.

Luke 10:38-42

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

The Gospel of Jesus Christ has become so distorted that everything sounds like truth, but truly it is just the ramblings of men, and women. It takes a spiritually discerning spirit to know the difference.

Finally, the last lesson. My bedroom window faces east. It’s always been a nuisance because of the brightness of the morning sun, especially when I worked overnights. Well, in reading Ezekiel 43, I finally realized that every sunrise, every bright and morning sun was a reminder from the living God that He calls me by name every morning. He calls me to the window to behold His glory. I was left speechless.

“Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, 2 and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory. 3 The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he[a]came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown. 4 The glory of the Lord entered the temple through the gate facing east. 5 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.

As a Christian, or as I like to refer to myself…a believer in Jesus Christ…my transformation into the likeness of Christ is oftened hindered by the carnal Christian that sincerely believes that “he, or she” has the ultimate, fail proof recipe for a total transformation into the image of Christ. A recipe that yields no less than 100% of God’s blessings (The true focus of transformation). I heard it on Christian radio, “If you are going to trust God for “____” you might as well dream big. Trust Him for exactly what you want.” God is more than able, was the sum of it. And not to say that God isn’t. However, this radio personality forgot Prov. 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Transformation is more than positive thinking. That’s only a superficial transformation. Transforming into the likeness of Christ requires a change of heart, a newness of mind.

God is able to do all He promised, but Christians forget that although God wants to bless us in every way, He wants to use us in every way. He doesn’t have to. He doesn’t even have to bless us. Because of Jesus, He does.

God is faithful. We are not. We are tossed about by every emotional and physical whim.