Tag Archives: Jesus

The Will to Live

The Will to Live

The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?  Proverbs 18:14

God has given to man an incredible powerful (yet not all-powerful) attribute – man’s will. The spirit of a man can help him cope, deal with, and go through incredible and extraordinarily challenging difficulties. When a man “loses spirit” that is when he is most susceptible to giving up, giving in, or “Throwing in the towel.”

I have seen this “will power” to live when visiting the hospital rooms of those with terminal illness.  Sometimes their resolve is the only reason (other than the will of God) that they are alive.  Medically speaking, humanly speaking, they should not be alive, but they are by the grace of God.  They are looking forward to another day.  They have hope for a better tomorrow.

I have also seen the shift in countenance when a person has lost hope, when they are no longer fighting the sickness, when the body has been diminished to the point of their giving up.  Even the possibility of pain and suffering can change our minds.

Yes, the spirit of man can sustain through sickness.   Generally speaking – as long as there is life and breath – a person has hope of getting better.  This is a wonderful perspective that God has given to mankind.  If you are facing extreme health conditions, if you are discouraged emotionally, have hope.  God cares for you.  There are other people who love you.  Set up a time to meet with a Christian counselor if you are in a state of despair.  Get help in nurturing the God given “spirit of a man.”

In recent days, we have seen an uptick in celebrities and famous people take their own life in suicide.  In spite of the fame and financial status, something was missing in their lives.  They gave up.  They lost hope.  Causes are certainly different and individualistic to each case, but overall – they missed the purpose for living. Perhaps they were “wounded in spirit.”  If you are depressed or deeply discouraged – talk to a Christian Counselor today.  Don’t wait until tomorrow.  Make the call today.

Please know that everyone will face discouragement from time to time.  It is a natural part of the human experience.  There will be low moments of extreme disappointment.  The Lord can help you through those times.  There will also be times of great joy!

There is natural “Will to live.”  Be sure to allow the Lord to nurture that will!  He is the One who gives meaning and purpose to life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Artificial Earthquake

An Artificial Earthquake

Recently during soccer’s World Cup, Mexico scored a goal against the reigning champion, Germany.  The citizens of Mexico City were celebrating so much that they actually triggered a measurable reaction on the earthquake scale.  The seismic monitoring officials said the celebrants created and “artificial earthquake!” What excitement?!  What earth shaking zeal?!

What if Christians were more excited about being more like Jesus than they were excited about being like the world?  That is what the Apostle Paul is addressing in Galatians 4:18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

I enjoy sports; soccer, baseball, basketball, etc.  But as fun as these sports can be – they are just games.  Just temporary.  Just leather-bound balls of cork or air being chased around a field or court.  That is it. Would God help each of us be more excited about the things of God!  Paul went on to say what this zealously affect would have in verse 19, My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.

Paul wanted to see the Christians be more like Jesus.  That was his goal.  He was not in Galatia when he wrote this letter.  He wanted to be with them at church.  He wanted to preach to them personally, but he was not able to do so for the moment. His goal in his relationship with them was that they would become more like Jesus.

We should not try to cause an artificial earthquake at Bible study or in our church services; but we should be excited about being more like Jesus.  Ask the Lord to give you “zeal according to knowledge!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

He Did Not Miss

He Did Not Miss

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Recently I read of one High School Graduate in Pennsylvania who was being honored for perfect attendance.  From Pre-K to grade 12, this young man did not miss a single day of school.  Incredible!  This truly is a good record to hold.  No matter how he “felt” he was at school.  On sick days, he took medicine and toughed it out.  How could he be so consistent?  Perseverance.  Dedication. Determination.

In the verse above, please note how that the Lord is faithful to finish what He starts.  When a person is saved, the Lord begins to change them from the inside out! This is called “progressive sanctification.”  It is the Lord who changes us, but the change is also dependent on the Christian yielding and submitting his life each day as a living sacrifice to the Lord.  Jesus wants us to “live for Him.”  God is faithful to preserve us and take us to Heaven at the time He has appointed for us.

These same qualities of faithfulness, perseverance, dedication, and determination are also necessary in the Christian life for us to develop, be more fulfilled, and for us to live lives that truly glorify Jesus.

Here are 3 helps to be faithful to the Lord…

  • David Looked For the Faithful. Psalm 101:6 Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. David wanted to be around people who loved the Lord and were faithful to Him.  The people we “hang” with do influence us.
  • Moses was a Servant. Hebrews 3:5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after.  Moses, a prince of Egypt, leader of Israel, and spoken directly to by God, did not let that get to His head.  He was faithful because he still saw himself as a servant.  Who are you serving today?
  • God Sends His Blessings to the Faithful. Proverbs 28:20 A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent. Serving self, or being selfish is not blessed by the Lord. The “others” focused person who is faithful in His walk with God is blessed in many tangible and intangible ways.  There is no price tag on peace or contentment, yet this is what God can give to the people who are faithful to Him.

Well, I can’t get perfect attendance in school; I am well past that stage of life – but I can be reliable.  I can be dependable.  I can be faithful to the Lord.  While the Lord is sanctifying me and making me more like Jesus, I can yield my life and decisions to Him each day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Missed the Conference

I Missed The Conference

Red face. Swollen brow. My left eye was nearly swollen shut.  It was somewhat difficult to breath. The headache was paralyzing.  “You look terrible.” My doctor said to me Monday morning.  I appreciate it when my medical doctors are straight up with me.  “Take this medicine and you will be better in 3-4 days.”  I would rather be “better” in 20 minutes, but I was grateful.

That night was our Mission Conference.  I fought through the pain the previous day or two, but after several nights of not sleeping well and with the eye still swollen and headache still pounding, I knew I was a “no go” for the conference.

I do not recall ever missing one of our church missions conference.  Never. Ever.  Even as a young person, it was a priority in our home to be at every church service and every church event.  Our parents were faithful to see us be involved in church.

Missions conference holds many special memories in my mind as a young person.  The kid’s conferences, meeting the missionaries from around the world, and seeing the pastor call “all those willing to serve as missionaries” to come to the front so we could have a word of prayer.

As I have been reflecting on the message I heard Dr. Scott Caudill deliver on Tuesday night (I was well enough to attend) I began thinking of a verse he referenced, Matthew 6:21, For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Of course, the context of what Jesus is speaking is dealing with money and stuff.  It applies to our time and talent as well.

Because my parents placed their treasure in the things of God; church, missions conference, youth group, etc. they made sure that their sons were at these events and services.  Ball games, piano practice, art class, overtime at work, and other stuff (even school) were not more important than the church stuff.  This made a difference in my life.  Their “Treasure” eventually was where their heart (and where my heart also) ended up – invested in the things of God.

Check out this verse again, “Where your treasure is…”  Before the heart is moved, the treasure is already in it’s place.  The heart catches up to where the treasure is.  It does not say “Love God with your heart and then your treasure will be at the right place.”

No, Jesus is saying, “Put your treasure in the right place and then your heart will be in the right place.”  There is a big difference in this approach.

Where is your treasure today?  I can’t believe I missed a mission conference service!  I feel like the sickness “Providentially Hindered” me from attending on Monday.  That said, most of the time, when my treasure is not in the right place it is my personal choices and my own decisions that hinder me.  Believe me, I know we can’t be at everything the church offers, but shouldn’t I make an attempt?  At least for the Mission of the Gospel?  We have no reason for living were it not for the Gospel.  I don’t expect everyone to be at everything.  But what about your treasure?  Where is it today?  When you find your treasure – you will find where your heart truly is.

Be encouraged today to put your treasure in the right place.  Only then will your heart be in the right place.

 

 

 

 

Let Jesus into Your Life

Let Jesus into Your Life

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20

At the cusp of every human heart is a door.  Through that door we allow all our emotions, choices, and decisions to flow in and out of our heart.  We choose what we love and who we love.  We decide who we will allow to influence us and what teaching we will learn.  What we say is informed by our heart.  How we “feel” is instigated by our heart.

For the “Bible in New York” one wrote the following insightful observation:  “Socrates taught for forty years, Plato for fifty, Aristotle for forty, and Jesus for only three; yet those three years infinitely transcend in influence the combined one hundred and thirty years of teaching of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, three of the greatest men of all antiquity. Jesus painted no pictures; yet the paintings of Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci received their inspiration from Him. Jesus wrote no poetry; but Dante, Milton, and scores of the world’s greatest poets were inspired by Him. Jesus composed no music; still Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, Bach, and Mendelssohn reached their highest perfection of melody in the hymns, symphonies, and oratorios written in His praise. Thus every sphere of human greatness has been incomparably enriched by the humble carpenter of Nazareth. But His unique contribution to the race of men is the salvation of the soul. Philosophy could not accomplish that—nor art—nor literature—nor music. Only Jesus Christ can break the power of sin; only He can speak “power into the strength-less soul, and life into the dead.” The world admires Christ afar off. Some adopt Him as their example and try to pattern their lives after His. A few open the door of their hearts and invite Him in to be their Saviour. Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, If He’s not born in thee, thy soul is still forlorn.”

Would you believe in Jesus?  He died on the cross, shedding His blood, not for sins of His own (He had no sin), but for your sin and mine.  He completed the work necessary for “God’s Plan of Salvation.”  Jesus is offering salvation free to you.  He paid the price with His own blood.  No matter how many sins, how big they are – or how little they may seem to you, all of us are sinners in need of salvation from our sin.  Jesus paid for your sin and died in your place on the Cross. He then rose from the dead and He is knocking on your hearts door today.  He loves you.  Will you receive His salvation by faith?

Christian friend, rejoice and be glad that Jesus is living in you!  Allow His Spirit and His Word to guide and direct your steps and decisions each day.  Let the God in your heart have control of your life.  You are a new creation made to produce god works to the glory of God. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

 

 

 

 

 

The New “Valentines Day Massacre”

The New Valentines Day Massacre

February 14, 1929, seven men were killed in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood by 4 men in a planned attack in a mob war.  According to Wiki – “Two of the shooters were dressed as uniformed policemen, while the others wore suits, ties, overcoats and hats. Witnesses saw the “police” leading the other men at gunpoint out of the garage after the shooting.”

Interestingly enough the student assailant of the February 14, 2018 shooting walked out with others students to try to avoid being captured. What can one say? Sad. Tragic. Needless. My heart goes out to all the students and their families in that school.

The New “Valentines Day Massacre” is a reflection of the human heart.  In Florida, 17 Students are dead and many others are physically wounded.

In addition, the psychological trauma and the emotional distress will be painful for years to come if not properly processed by each student.  Those intense moments of either confronting the assailant, evading him, or even being confronted by the SWAT teams as they secured the area can become horrific memories in the mind of each student.

I read somewhere that since 1999 and Columbine High School in Colorado, that there have been 25 mass school shootings with nearly 100 students killed.  Just shortly after the Columbine event, I walked around the school property, saw the crime scene, and looked at the makeshift memorials on a hillside outside.

Who is to blame?  Why do mass casualty events like this happen?  Why does it seem to be increasing?

The problem of people killing other people is rooted in the cognition level of what people were celebrating on Valentine’s Day – the heart.  While people were eating chocolate hearts, sending hearts on texts, and attempting to express love to their mate, a troubled student in Florida was planning and formulating in his heart a plan of hate and harm.

An old prophet named Jeremiah wrote about the heart 2600 years ago in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Mankind, at his best is still a sinful being living in a world of pain, suffering, temptations, injustice, and unkindness.  People can be flat out mean.  It is because we are sinners and have a sin nature that is part of our DNA.

Apart from the “regeneration” of the Holy Spirit of God, individual men will continue to sin against themselves, against others, and against God.

When mass casualty events take place in schools, I ask the following questions:

  1. Where were the parents?
  2. Has the dad been a steady influence?
  3. What kind of abuse did the assailant endure as a child?
  4. How long has bitterness, anger and rage been left unchecked?
  5. What was the one “trigger event” or spark that brought this rage to the surface?

Like a chemical reaction, the chemicals can be mixed all together but lacks one ingredient, that when added causes the reaction or explosion.  What was the tipping point event (ingredient) in the life of the assailant?

Anyone with “no future” will be living in the past.  I suspect that this young man endured a difficult home life, did not feel loved and valued, and reacted to the hardships of life by isolating himself from the accountability of friends and family.  This young man had not discovered a purpose or reason for living.  It is possible one attempts to find significance by harming others.  Sometimes it is even posted in social media ahead of time.

The perception that “I have no reason for being alive” is just that – a perception.  It is informed by choices, environment, and the person’s past.  This is a sad way many people are living.  A person desperate for attention, significance, or security could drive himself to the point of insane actions to gain what he believes is lacking in his life – value.

God loves people so much that He sent Jesus to die on the cross, shedding His blood and taking our punishment and paying for our sin with his very life.  Following a person’s belief in Jesus, the Christian has a new purpose and reason for living.  Ephesians 2:10 states, For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  Have Hope Today!  Choose New Life!  Jesus values each person and wants to have a personal relationship with each person.

Common denominators and problematic symptoms of assailants seem to include: a wounded spirit, isolation of self from others, a broken family, playing violent games, listening to music with violent lyrics, and a rebellious attitude that is quite and not always evident on the surface. Sometimes the assailants are trying to replicate something they saw in media.  Many times it is the student who is suffering life in silence.  The ones who suffer more vocally tend to get more attention from their peers and teachers.

The prophet Jeremiah, cited earlier, was known as “the weeping prophet.”  He saw the people of his land suffering and was fast to cry genuine tears.  Children in particular were being killed. Jeremiah 31:15 says, “Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.”

The reason for their suffering?  Why were their children being killed?  The Babylonian enemies of Israel were taking the people captive.  Why did God allow the pain, suffering, and even death at the hands of these evil attackers?  The people of God (who knew better) were no longer honoring God with their lives.  They had forsaken God for money and man-made idols.  They had even looked to the government to try to solve all their social and spiritual problems, but it could not help.

Original Sin is the cause of all human suffering.  The bad things God allows into our lives are conditioned to our response and relationship with Him.  Bad things happen to good and bad people.  Good things happen to both too.  One pastor friend of mine knows one of the young people who was killed in the Florida shooting.  Nothing takes God by surprise.

How we deal with the pain and suffering really depends on our perspective of God. Knowing God is loving and believing He does not want shootings like this to happen can give you assurance.  Trusting that God is perfectly Holy, and that mankind is inherently sinful causes us to see the need for God in our lives all the more!  God’s heart is that when people love Him, they will want to love and be kind to other people.  The heart is the issue.

The assailant broke many laws already including a very basic one – murdering people.  He took a weapon(s) onto school property.

Not only did the assailant break current civil laws, he broke the law of God.

  1. He was not loving his neighbor. Romans 13:8, Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
  2. He murdered innocent people. Exodus 20:13 says, “Thou shalt not kill.”
  3. He hated others in his heart. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus likens hating people to killing them.  To God, when we humans hate other humans it is the same as murdering them.  (Matthew 5:21-22)

A few random concluding thoughts…

  • Anytime a person takes the innocent life of another (circumstances of war and self-defense are different) it is a tragic symptom of a heart that does not know God.
  • Until there is a change in each human heart we will continue to see more and more evil in this world. Legislating morality is only on the surface.  The heart must be affected for it to be lasting.
  • Crime can be punished. Even the preventative nature of a swift justice system can be a deterrent, but a person who senses no purpose for life may want to go out “in a blaze of glory” anyway.
  • Evil events can be minimized, but they will not be eradicated in a world filled with sin and sinful people. Personal defense courses teach that “only a gun will stop another gun.”  Talk to your kids about safe responses.  Make them aware of “danger signals.”
  • Pray for the victims to recover.  Pray for the families of the deceased.  Ask God for His peace and comfort to be real to those hurting today.  God cares.  He knows the pain.
  • Above all – give control of your home to God. Teach your kids to love God.  When we love God, we will be kind to others. Develop and mold their hearts to be accountable to the God of Heaven.

I leave you with two statements Jesus made in Mark 12:30-31, And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Attacks like this reflect the heart.  Many times, the heart is a reflection of the home.  Make your home a place that gives meaning and purpose to life with the Lord as the source of that meaning.