Dying denying God

Most of us know someone, or know of someone who has died never having accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Today, many people will die denying God. They will defend to the end their rejection of a Supreme Being, of a risen Savior, of forgiveness of sin, of salvation and eternal life, or any such nonsense. They may also try to convince you that your faith is foolish and misplaced. And they will also try their hardest to make you feel silly for believing in such nonsense.

In November, a dear friend went home to be with the Lord. She served the Lord through the hills and the valleys of this Christian life. To me she was blessed by God tremendously, but as she said…it came at a painful price. A life filled with pain and sorrow, disease and abuse, she lived never taking her eyes of the Comforter. Even in her darkest moments she would not deny her God. Sure, sometimes it was difficult to keep the faith, but she marched on. Now she is with her Lord and all that went before her, singing praises to the one and only true God.

Adversity is something we face at some point in our lives. And honestly, some of us have more than our share and some handle it better than others. Adversity can bring one closer to the Lord, or draw one completely away and still others teeter-toter. It’s about where we draw our strength.

Last weekend a family member, a former believer in God, passed away. Sadly, his faith had gone by the wayside and he passed fully persuaded there was no proof of a living God. And it was not so much that he died rejecting God and His Son, but that on his deathbed he boasted of the fact that he had trained his grandchildren to believe otherwise…in themselves, their own abilities. His children already seem to share his sentiments toward a Supreme Being. I knew he was once a believer, so I encouraged him to reconsider his choice. There was still time, I said. We don’t know the exact hour the Lord will call us home.  His response was so nonchalant. Nah! He took a great deal of pride in his accomplishment. “I trained them! I created them! I stood next to his bed listening to his rant and I could not help but think that truly … this “former Christian” had actually rejected Christ, but that was not enough…he had to teach his future generations that all that God stuff was nonsense. And the only thing we could rely on was ourself.

He knew I was a believer and acknowledged as much, but out of the corner of his eye he gave me this look and said…I would also encourage you to reconsider your belief.

Truly, as a believer in Jesus Christ…how do you respond to such rejection? I prayed for him and talked to God about him for a while. It was sad. Unfortunately, people… people that we love, people that we grow up with, people that we admire…will leave this physical existence completely persuaded there is no God. What a surprise they will get when they get to the other side. While it may be too late for those that died without Christ, the children…they still have hope… We need to pray for our children.

The enemy is walking about…waiting…seriously…

Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

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Home…finally!

My dear friend, Lupe passed away on Monday night. She had spent the afternoon with her grandchildren, her estranged son and her husband. During their visit she had an anxiety attack and the nurse had to give her something to calm her down. Hubby asked her if she was afraid and she said no. Everyone left, but her husband who stayed with her until she calmed down and fell asleep. Since she was out he figured he would go home and take care of some stuff and come back the next day. Soon after returning home the hospital called him and told him he needed to return to the hospital. He got there as fast as he could. She was in rough shape. Lupe was having a difficult time breathing, but her hubby said she was sleeping peacefully. He said she gasped. She took her last breath and went home.

I could not have known that my visit the Wednesday before would be the last time I would see her. I had car problems during the weekend, so I was not able to visit with Lupe on Monday morning. She usually had dialysis on Tuesdays and was out the whole day, so I would not visit until Wednesday. That visit would never take place.

I have not had a chance to cry for my dear friend. I will miss her. I hate that I had to hear about her death from my sister, that read it on Facebook. I know her husband was probably caught up in the moment, but he thought enough to call family living hundreds of miles away, but could not text me to tell me my dear friend had passed. Family quickly posted on Facebook. My flesh was offended. I called him right away to hear the news from him and all he could tell me was she had passed last night. He could not talk anymore because he had another call coming in. So, I confess I have been wounded. This flesh! Who will save me?

Well, last night I had a dream. In my dream I find myself at home. We were all there. It was a beautiful home too, very spacious. I looked out the window and saw Lupe and her husband pull up in front of the house. I could see her husband look back as if he were reaching for something in the backseat, then Lupe opened the door and got out of the car. She darts to the front door. It opens and she quickly walks in. Yes, she walks in. She is smiling ear to ear. She is dressed in jeans and a nice fitting top. Her hair is short and styled. She is beaming with joy. She is looking so young, healthy and happy, completely restored. I had never seen her that joyful. From the look on her face I could tell that she was happy to be home.

We can see her. I can’t see who “we” are, but I know I was not alone. For some reason, I get the feeling that she is looking for me, but she never sees me. We don’t engage in conversation. She is walking around just a smiling…she kinda seems to walk on and then I wake up.

It was truly awesome. I was happy for her. I was confident the Lord had given me a glimpse of what my friend had just experienced. Going home. As believers in Christ we all want to get there. We all want to go home. Our loved ones will miss us when we leave this earth, but truly the next life is more than we can imagine. Jesus had prepared a place for us that will surpass anything on this planet, of that I am confident. It sounds morbid, but I am so glad that Mercy came running to save my friend from further pain and suffering. He leaves me completely humbled. Our God is an awesome God! I am trying not to harp on how I found out about Lupe’s death, because the Lord was gracious to show me how she got home.

Praise God, for His mercy is new everyday!  Be blessed! sunrise-2011

It’s Jesus!

So, I hadn’t has a chance to watch the movie Son of God. AlthoughI had attempted to watch once before, shortly after it was released on DVD. My daughter had purchased a copy for me. I was so excited to watch it after all the great reviews from family and friends. The evening I sat down to watch it, I must have been really exhausted, because I fell asleep at the beginning of the movie. So, finding myself ill this weekend with cold and cough, stuffy nose, not being able to sleep soundly, instead of settling for feeling miserable, I decided to watch some of my old favorite movies. That’s what I did yesterday. Illness is the only thing that will compel me to watch television all day. Today, I decided to venture out of my bedroom to the den where my daughter was watching movies on Netflix. She had been wanting to watch Son of God also, so we sat and watched it together.

The movie, as we might expect, is not biblically accurate. Hollywood movies are about money, not message. Nevertheless, if anyone went looking for take aways from this film, they were there for the taking, pros and cons. Even coughing and sneezing, blowing my nose, trying to find a comfortable position, my mind nevertheless wandered to the things of God.

Jesus is Coming!

My first thought was on celebrity status. The bible records all the times that Jesus attracted the masses. People flocked to Him when they saw Him. It’s Jesus! Jesus is Coming! This was centuries before movies and Hollywood were even thought of and here was a man, the Son of God, that was attracting people by the thousands.

Mark 9:15 (KJV) “And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.”

Crowds by the thousands gathered to hear what He had to say.

John 6:2-3 “And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.”

He met His critics. Dealt with His bad reviews. He drew crowds by the thousands, even fed them a couple of times. Those were huge luncheons with plenty of leftovers to take home. Jesus traveled with His hand selected entourage. He had His faithful followers. Some would defend Him, others guarded Him, a few even question some of his claims, but they hung close.

Centuries before Facebook and Twitter, advertising, electronic communication, the news of Jesus spread like wildfire, by word of mouth. As soon as people saw Jesus, they dropped whatever they were doing and ran to Him. He was the first man who could attract large crowds, and many followed Him.

That was the Jesus portrayed in the movie. I thought that was a good depiction of who most people believe Jesus was, and is. I thought the actor did a pretty good job in delivering His lines with some passion. As I said early, the movie was not 100% accurate, but it was good enough to move the seeking heart. It’s not to farfetched to believe that a movie can create a change of heart in anyone.

The other side of the coin, was what the world saw. The world saw all the hatred of the religious – for their own. The Jews did not recognize Him, because He did not look like them, or act like them. There walk and their talk did not align with the message of Jesus. Certainly, Jesus was more than able to go one on one with the scriptures, with any of the church leaders. It’s disheartening to acknowledge that today, we still place a higher emphasis on appearance than integrity, especially when it comes to church leaders. Our humanity, even though we proclaim godliness, is pure evil. We see it in the world today more pronounced because of technology. Jesus followers could do nothing to stop what was going to happen. Those present at the resurrection, that believed in Jesus, were powerless to do anything, because God had a plan. And His plans always supersede man’s plans. Even Pilate had no choice. Mat. 27 records it, “While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.” It’s a difficult truth to swallow, that we can make all our plans, but if God has a different plan, His will always prevail.

Since Hollywood began making biblically based movies, we’ve watched such movies for pure entertainment, but to those that believe, the story is much more. it’s eternal life for those that believe. This leads me to my last point about this movie.

The Resurrection

When we go through various trials our first instinct is to turn to the world for solutions, for resolve. Jesus, too felt as if He had been abandoned by the Father, but He knew the end result. The world held no deliverance, not then, not now. That’s why He had to come. When we remember to pray, we pray with all the why’s. Why me, Lord? Why now? Why my ___? We forget that God has a plan, because at the moment, we are only thinking of the self. When people wrong us, we find it difficult to forgive. We find it much easier to get even, or to part ways. And that’s when we recite the scripture “vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.” We refuse to acknowledge that forgiveness comes before prayer.

Before Jesus was hung on the cross He was scourged beyond recognition and publicly ridiculed. All the depravity of man was unleashed on Him, at the request of close friends of His Father, no less. When Jesus hung on the cross barely able to open His eyes to see the ugliness below Him, He said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” Man is still in the same place, without Christ. Man still lacks understanding when he rejects God. The veil needs to come down. However, for believers, when Jesus finally gave up His life, it was into His Father’s hands that He committed His Spirit. And those present beheld His power and glory. When we die to the flesh, when we surrender our life into the hands of our Heavenly Father, it’s then that we can behold His glory. Surrendering all, that’s not an easy thing to do either, but as believers and followers it should be a daily goal, that we may behold the awesomeness of God.

We live in a different world than the apostles, by the mission has not changed. What happens after we surrender to the Father does not change. Everything else, the Lord has a plan, and a purpose for every believer. And still we can say that we have many things in common. The hope of His salvation. His abundant grace. His new mercies every morning. Eternal life.

Rich Mullins said it well…

 “Never forget what Jesus did for you. Never take lightly what it cost Him. And never assume that if it cost Him His very life, that it won’t also cost you yours.”
Rich Mullins

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Oh the love of God…

Rich Mullins – The Love Of God Lyrics

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God
Now I’ve seen no band of angels
But I’ve heard the soldiers’ songs
Love hangs over them like a banner
Love within them leads them on
To the battle on the journey
And it’s never gonna stop
Ever widening their mercies
And the fury of His love
Oh the love of God
And oh, the love of God
The love of GodJoy and sorrow are this ocean
And in their every ebb and flow
Now the Lord a door has opened
That all Hell could never close
Here I’m tested and made worthy
Tossed about but lifted up
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God

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Psalm 19:1-6 

The Perfect Revelation of the Lord

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

19 The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.

In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,
Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.
Its rising is from one end of heaven,
And its circuit to the other end;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” Our God is an AWESOME GOD!!! Sing your praise to the Lord!!!

God's mercies are new everyday. What an awesome God we serve!
Lamentations 3:22-23 “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” What an awesome God we serve!

Psalm 147 Praise the Lord!

For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.

2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.
4 He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name.
5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite.
6 The Lord lifts up the humble;
He casts the wicked down to the ground.

7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
Sing praises on the harp to our God,
8 Who covers the heavens with clouds,
Who prepares rain for the earth,
Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.
9 He gives to the beast its food,
And to the young ravens that cry.

10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
In those who hope in His mercy.

12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For He has strengthened the bars of your gates;
He has blessed your children within you.
14 He makes peace in your borders,
And fills you with the finest wheat.

15 He sends out His command to the earth;
His word runs very swiftly.
16 He gives snow like wool;
He scatters the frost like ashes;
17 He casts out His hail like morsels;
Who can stand before His cold?
18 He sends out His word and melts them;
He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow.

19 He declares His word to Jacob,
His statutes and His judgments to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any nation;
And as for His judgments, they have not known them.

Praise the Lord! Today, and everyday and forever.