Never Vilify Your Friends and Neighbors

Three nearby churches on a hot summer day had their windows open and were trying to outsing the others. The Baptists were singing, “Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown?” Then the Presbyterians began singing, “No, Not One. No, Not One.” And the Methodists began singing “Oh, That Will Be Glory for Me.”

All humor aside it’s not fun to be put down or criticized.  When we are criticized and maligned our natural inclination is to do the same. As Christians, however, we are instructed to do the opposite. When provoked, we are not supposed to talk about someone behind their back. Instead, we are to bless them.

The word “bless” literally means “speak well of”. We ask God to bless people, but did you know that you yourself can actually bless a person? You can bless people by the way you talk about them. When someone ridicules you and puts you down, speak well of them. George Washington Carver said, “I will never allow another man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.”  

While we can’t control what others say about us, we can control what we say in response. That’s what God will hold us accountable for. When somebody criticizes another, the other person shouldn’t go around bad-mouthing him. Instead, bless him. Find something you can approve of in their life. To find a reason to criticize is easy–anyone can do that. To find a reason to affirm can require a bit more creativity.

James 4:11a NIV – “Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law (God’s Moral law) and judges it.”

If you are a follower of Christ, you don’t have any business judging one another. There is a higher walk in this life: bless don’t curse. For what a man sows that shall he also reap.


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Thank God for President Trump

I am grateful for the president God gave us. Our president knows how to get things done! In seven quarters the results to our economy has been amazing. He also honors Israel and honors God by joining with God-fearing men in Bible study and prayer.
 
I believe the President understands family is healthiest when prioritized over others, with God being the center of it all. Even though we do need to care for our neighbors, our family should always come first. This is what President Trump is trying to do, putting the American family first.
 
The greatest problem in our nation is not who is in the White House; instead, it is the breakdown of the family in our own house and our abandonment of Godly values. The spiritual force that owns the family owns the future and the journey of a nation always mimics the journey of it’s families’ values.
 
Christian parents: we cannot afford to leave the spiritual well-being of our children to just anyone. The institutions of the world try to tell us how we should think and act, to conform to their ways. But we must follow God’s ways.
 
Joshua, in the Bible, knew some would not follow after God’s ways. He encouraged those who did believe to stand up for what was right. Joshua addressed two groups, those who wanted to serve the true God of the Bible and those who did not.
 
Joshua 24:15 NKJV  “… if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, … as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” We live in a country of religious freedom. We can choose to serve whom or what we want. As for me and my family we choose to stand up for Christ and we will serve the Lord.
 

It is my prayer that God would have His way but we also have a part to play.  Please, get out and vote your heartfelt values this November. And remember to keep God in the equation and be thankful for how God has blessed us!


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How is Your Walk With God?

Years ago before seat belts you could always tell what kind of relationship a man had with his sweetie by how close she sat by him in the car.

How close are you sitting next to God on this journey called life?

There was a man named Enoch who was taken to heaven alive because he walked with God for 300 years. Enoch’s walk pleased God.

In order to please God you must first believe that He is personable and knowable. Because if you are not sure that He is knowable you cannot be sure that He can be walked with.

To walk with God means God is part of your decision making, thought processes, schedule, and your relationships. God wants us to include Him in all the steps of life.

If you only talk to Him when times get tough He is just an acquaintance you visit from time to time, not someone you go on a daily walk with.

But God wants a relationship with you. He doesn’t want visitation rights, he wants full custody of you.

In addition, our lives ought to be a public walk not just a private walk. It was public for Enoch and it should be for us. Why? Because God cares about everyone and he uses us in public to reach others for Him.

Now, you may not be used to walking with God but even if you make the effort to start, you will begin to pick up on what God is pleased about and what He is not.

Begin this journey by simply putting your faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus (His death and resurrection), confess your sins to God and simply follow Him by taking heed to what the Bible is saying to us as His people.

I will guarantee you this: if you choose to put God in every facet of your life and really walk with Him, it will be the best investment you will ever make.


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Many Claim to be Christians

What is a Christian? Originally they were called “Followers of The Way”, which was based on a quote of Jesus saying that He was “The Way, The Truth and The Life” (John 14:6). That’s a bold statement coming from anyone else. Who else can say they are the only way, the only truth and the only giver of life?

There are many today however who would call Jesus a liar because they believe there are various paths to eternal life. But if Jesus is a liar then He is also not Lord because that would disqualify Him from taking our place on the cross. He died as our substitute, his perfection for our imperfection.

To choose one’s own way of salvation is to choose spiritual death, separation from God for eternity. Refusing Jesus as the only way is to refuse true salvation. A genuine Christian is not someone who goes to church or believes that God exists. A genuine Christian is someone who embraces absolute truth through a relationship with Jesus.

Only Jesus is The Way, the Truth and The Life and no man shall come to God for salvation any other way.

Are you a follower of Christ or merely in name only? Have you accepted Him as Master of your life, forsaking what you know is wrong to follow Him? Have you put your complete trust in Him? Or do you still think you can be saved based on your own goodness? You would have to be perfect.

We have to rely on Christ’s work on the cross. Let’s make it simple, here is what we do: 1. Believe Jesus is God and came to earth as a human to die for mankind and was raised from the dead by God himself. 2. Confess your sin to God, turn away from your sin and begin following Him. 3. Completely trust in His righteous work on the cross to save you. Have you accepted Jesus as Your Lord? Are you a Follower of The Way? Or just a Christian in name only? The ball is in your court.


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The Path to Unity

If the message of Jesus Christ is to shine brightly in this dark, broken world than the Church needs to be unified. Jesus himself prayed that His disciples would be one, just as He and the Father are one (John 17:20-21). So often, however, this is not the case. Instead the Church adheres to a viewpoint all too prevalent in our world today—a viewpoint far more perilous than helpful.

I’m talking about “tolerance”. Tolerance lauds our differences while making no effort to draw us together. In favor of acceptance and in fear of offense, tolerance denies the existence of moral absolutes. Ultimately, tolerance proves selfish and destructive, leaving in its wake a mass of shattered lives that could have been spared if someone cared enough to intervene.

Unlike our culture, which pursues the hope of unity along the faulty path of tolerance, the Christian faith is founded instead on truth and love in the person of Jesus Christ. While diversity is wonderful in many ways, in other ways our differences can be outright harmful. And yet, where differences once separated us Jesus now draws us to unity.

Ephesians 2:14 (NIRV) “Christ himself is our peace. He has made Jews and Gentiles into one group of people. He has destroyed the hatred that was like a wall between us.”

Galatians 3:26, 28 (NIRV) “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God by believing in Christ… There is no Jew or Gentile. There is no slave or free person. There is no male or female. That’s because you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Tolerance is not the path to unity, but Jesus is. True unity can only exist within the Church as we abide in Christ (John 15:5), find our primary identity in Him (Galatians 2:20) and as we conform to the infallible truth of God’s Word (Romans 12:2). Unity is found in Jesus Christ alone, and when we dwell in His love and His truth, the prayer of Jesus is fulfilled and our witness made unshakeable.


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Building Loving Relationships with Your Mouth

Proverbs 18:20b, 21a, 22 NASB “…He will be satisfied with the product of his lips… Death and life are in the power of the tongue… He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.”

I don’t think it’s a mistake these verses are placed together. Your marriage will only be as satisfying as the words you speak. You can either build up or tear down with your tongue.  

Your words are seeds and what you plant is what you will get back in return. Good seeds (words) produce a life of good crops. And bad or mean seeds (words) produce a life of death crops.

Every single word we speak matters. If you want a wonderful life you need to put a bridle on your tongue. Vulgar, disrespectful and unloving words have no place in marriage or in a Christian life.

Matthew 12:35 NASB “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.”

You can always tell the condition of your heart by what comes out of your mouth. Unforgiveness and/or bitterness are characteristics of an evil heart. Not only do these things affect your relationships here in this life but also in the hereafter. You will be held accountable by God for the words you speak.

It’s time to forgive and let it go. The opposite of an evil heart is a heart full of love, forgiveness, grace and mercy for others. But this kind of heart only comes when you have made a decision to follow Christ and turn from what you know is sin. That is the starting point.

Yes, you can be forgiven. You will be given a good clean heart if you confess your sins to God and put your trust in Jesus Christ. He will help you so your relationships can begin to flourish.

God has given us wonderful instructions in the Bible on how we can have a marriage filled with love: it begins and ends with a changed heart and affirming words. Start fresh with your words – today.


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The Greatest Gift of All

The whole world marks the years by the birth of Christ. “AD” stands for anno Domini which means “in the year of the Lord”.  When God became man, the Creator became the creation. He became human to take our sinfulness upon Himself on the cross.

Isaiah 7 tells us God gave a sign that He was coming as a man. What was the sign? It was The Virgin Birth. The Holy Spirit had a specific role, to place God’s seed in the womb of Mary. We call that The Immaculate Conception.

An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph saying, “the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through Isaiah the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”

That is the most beautiful love act of all, that God came to earth to save us. The Virgin Birth signaled the fact that Jesus was fully God and fully man. He came from the Father, was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a woman.

Some think that Jesus was just a man, or perhaps a prophet, but He was much more than that. He was God in human form.

As a man, Jesus understands all that we go through, He lived and died in our place to pay the penalty for our sins. And His sacrifice broke the power of evil over us.

When Jesus died, we were freed from the power of death. When He came to life again, that guaranteed our eternal destination. Now we must accept the Greatest Gift of all, God’s Son, to be saved. Would you accept Him today with this prayer?

Jesus, I believe that You are the Son of God. I give my life to You today. Please cleanse and renew me. Thank You for taking my penalty for sin upon Yourself. Equip me to serve You and others rather than myself. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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A Pastor’s Perspective on the Election

Follower of Christ,

If your family’s future depended on how you voted this year, wouldn’t you take it seriously?

This election is so important. The outcome will either take us closer to or further away from Godly principles. Decisions will be made by the new Supreme Court Justices, whose beliefs will reflect those appointing them. So, what do the candidates believe?

Our votes can’t be based on a candidate’s personality, their past, or superficial attributes, but instead on their beliefs. Do their beliefs align with God’s Word? Shouldn’t we allow our faith to form our political supportive reasonings? If we truly believe the Scriptures are inspired by God, then let us see what He has to say on the subject.

Whether it’s from the Old or New Testament, God’s Word speaks truth. God’s moral law doesn’t change, and He doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6). To truly be a follower of Christ means to speak, think, and act like Jesus, who always did and spoke the things He heard His Father say and do (John 8:29,38); what’s more, Jesus and the Father always agree (John 11:27,31).

Clinton and Trump have clear differences on their positions. Whoever is elected will determine our future on important issues like the definition of marriage, the right to life, government vs. private health care, the national debt, and our religious freedoms.

If every Christian will vote according to biblical values, we can change the future of our country. Please join us in taking a stand for righteousness so we can continue to be “one nation under God.”

And please remember: no matter what happens in this election, Jesus is still our Lord and Savior–not the government! But let’s at least vote as though it matters.


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On the 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther’s Protest

This month we remember Martin Luther’s publication of his 95 theses or complaints against the Catholic Church which launched the Protestant Reformation and opened the eyes of many people to God’s forgiveness.

Here are the historical events that led to our salvation by Grace.

God created mankind. They sinned. Mankind was separated from God spiritually.  God became man, Jesus of Nazareth. He was born without sin and lived without sin, the only person in history to do so. God became our substitute in paying the penalty of our sin. His humanness was sacrificed on a cross for you and I, a righteous man for sinful mankind. And now God desires for each of us to understand that He loved us so much as to suffer and die for us and He desires that we accept that work of forgiveness.

So many people think they will make it to heaven based on their good works.  But Martin Luther found out the truth about our forgiveness. We are not forgiven by our works, we are forgiven and saved by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, repentance and simple trust.

Many people think since  “I’m a pretty good person, I think God will let me into heaven.  I’m certainly not as bad as some.” But the good news today is you will never be able to earn your salvation, it’s a gift.

When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior  – God will change your heart (attitude) about living in sin which is true repentance.  Then we need to simply trust Him as you would trust a parachute when jumping out of an airplane. Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.”

There is no other way to eternal life. Will you accept Him in prayer right now?

I hereby declare today, like Martin Luther, that Jesus Christ saves us by His Grace as we turn to Him in faith, repentance and trust.


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The Rapture or UFO Abduction

The fake media will probably call it a worldwide UFO abduction. Don’t believe it.

When this remarkable event takes place it won’t be aliens, but a part of God’s glorious plan in redeeming all of creation. What am I talking about? The event we call “the rapture” is when God will remove his people (born-again followers of Jesus Christ) from the earth in preparation for a terrible time of judgment prepared for those who have rejected His Gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ.

No doubt frightening for the rest of the world, Christians should be ready and comforted by this event.

This event is verifiably scriptural, although the word “rapture” is not found in the Bible. The Greek word used to describe rapture is harpazo, it means “to be caught up, to snatch away”, as seen in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NASB):

“Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”

There’s an upcoming event on God’s calendar called Yom Teruah, or Feast of Trumpets. This will be fulfilled when the Trump of God blows and all followers of Christ, dead and alive, are changed, physically, from mortal to immortal, in the twinkling of an eye, to meet their Lord in the air.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NASB) – Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

Each year this appointed time is celebrated in the fall, this year it will be September 21-22, and our church will be celebrating it. God has already fulfilled the first four dates and there are three more appointed times on God’s calendar yet to be fulfilled. The Feast of Trumpets is the fifth and next prophetic event to take place. We don’t know which year but it sure looks like it will be very soon.

Are you ready for His return? If not, simply acknowledge you are a sinner in need of a savior (asking Christ to forgive you), repent (turn from what you know is sin and begin to follow Him) and then simply trust Him to save you. And he will!

The rapture is real and so is the wrath of God which follows. Choose life in Christ!


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