I Am In Need… or, I Am Needy

“O GOD, You are my GOD; I earnestly search for You. My soul thirsts for You; my whole body longs for You in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen You in Your sanctuary and gazed upon Your Power and Glory. Your unfailing Love is better than life itself; how I praise You! I will praise You as long as I live, lifting up my hands to You in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise You with songs of Joy.” – Psalms 63:1‭-‬5 NLT

I want to be like David, satisfied with nothing more than God’s Love, but I am too much in need…… or too needy?….. to be satisfied with the best thing available in this world. And it is a GIFT; freely given to us by the Almighty, the gift of His Faithfulness and Sacrifice and His Love. A gift so rich that not all of the billionaires and millionaires joining all of their resources can even begin to compete with. And our LORD wants us to have it with zero cost. How can that be? WHY can we not be satisfied with such a priceless, unmatchable gift?

GOD saved you by His GRACE when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a Gift from GOD.” – Ephesians 2:8 NLT

I think we aren’t satisfied because it is incomprehensible to us. Bill Gates, or Donald Trump, or George Soros could gift me with mansions and property, vehicles, and a trust fund to carry me effortlessly through life, and yet all that doesn’t even come close to the Gift of GOD’S Love. Incomprehensible, incomparable, …… unbelievable? For far too many people, GOD’S incredible Gift is exactly that – unbelievable. A deity that we cannot see or touch wants to give me Life? They can’t understand it, so they reject Him.

“He was despised and rejected— a Man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.” – Isaiah 53:3 NLT

Oh, for the faith of Paul, who was jailed for his faith, yet continued his testifying, and his encouraging letters to other believers, in spite of his confinement and suffering. How many of us would continue teaching and preaching while held in chains? “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent!” ” – Acts of the Apostles 18:9 NLT

Will you be like Peter, whom JESUS called the Rock, or will we be as dry grass when the Judgment occurs?

“Therefore, just as fire licks up stubble and dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will rot and their flowers wither. For they have rejected the Law of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies; they have despised the word of the HOLY ONE of Israel.” – Isaiah 5:24 NLT

Dead…. Only NOT Dead

Have you ever wondered what we will look like when we meet again in heaven? I subscribe to the belief that we will look like ourselves, only perfected by Christ’s Love. There won’t be any twisted bodies or missing parts or damaged brains. There won’t be any ugliness or sorrow, either. So, the next question is “Will we have wings, and will we all be blue-eyed and pale-skinned?” Absolutely not! God created us in our of our splendor, just as He created animals in theirs. Heaven will be a colorful and cheerful place. After all, God created color! I can’t speak for you, but I look forward to waking up in heaven and seeing Jesus in all His splendid Glory. My Daddy and my Grandma, our lost babies, and my fur babies will be waiting, vigorous and healthy and happy. All the Christ-followers that I have known, plus millions I didn’t know on earth, in all of their colors and ethnicities, will be there, too. I know that I will know them, however God sees fit to resurrect them in paradise. Sidenote: remember all of the people who have searched for the fabled Fountain of Youth and the City of Gold? They all looked in the wrong place, and WE get to spend eternity …. i.e. for-EVER ….. with both, because heaven contains them.

“But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting.

Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed. Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory.

It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.”

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” ( 1 Corinthians 15:35‭-‬44‭, ‬55 NLT)

Are you confident of gaining your new body, or are you still running scared from the sting of death and the enemy? It is your choice, and yours alone, whether you will have a magnificent new body in heaven with Jesus, or a tormented and deformed body in everlasting hell with the enemy.

“Thank God for His Gift too Wonderful for words!” (2 Corinthians 9:15 NLT)

Revelation!

“Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” – Hab. 2:2‭-‬3 NIV

Heaven and hell; Real, or imagined?

What do you say? I pray, for your sake, you have accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, that you pray and study the Bible, GOD’S Word, and that you believe that is true. I pray that you have said “Yes, I believe there is a heaven and a hell.” I have nothing to gain by asking that question, but you have EVERYTHING to gain by believing and knowing the Truth. Jesus said:

“I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life. NO ONE comes to the FATHER except through Me. If you really know Me, you will know My FATHER as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.” – John 14:6‭-‬7 NIV

How cool that must have been for the disciples, when they begin to understand that they were actually in the presence of GOD! I will eventually get to see JESUS face to Face, by imagine! The crowds of people and the disciples…. they walked with Jesus and they talked with JESUS, in the flesh, where they could look Him in the eyes and receive His Blessings in person. How AWESOME is that! It won’t be long for the rest of us, and we will get to see Him, too. Before that happens, we have to deal with our world as it is: messed up, polluted, filled with corruption and evil. The Ren Collective sings a song that says “I need a miracle.” So do I!

We have something as Christians that is uniquely ours, and that is our salvation. We know where we are going, and we know, or should know, that we can run to JESUS when the world tries to overwhelm us. Is that where you run? Do you ask Him for clarity of thought and protection? If not, …… WHY?

“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near……. “Look, He is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of Him.” So shall it be! Amen. “I AM the Alpha and the Omega,” says the LORD GOD, “Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come, the Almighty.” ” – Revelation 1:3,7‭-‬8 NIV

AMEN.

Anonymous

The group calling themselves Anonymous is all over the internet, spreading their truth and their reality around the world. Who are they? They hide their identities behind masks and electronically altered voices.

The Ku Klux Klan, better known as the KKK, has pushed their agenda for years through fear-mongering, hiding their faces and identities behind robes and hoods, spewing hatred and persecuting anyone who disagrees with them.

Anonymity is a standing principal in AA and other recovery programs. You can call in tips to the police tip lines anonymously, and most companies have policies in place to protect your identity so that you can report unethical behavior.

These are just a few examples of anonymity in our world. I think Christians make up the biggest anonymous group in the world. We don’t talk about Jesus for fear of offending someone. We aren’t insisting that prayer be reestablished in schools. The Christian flag is missing from our churches….. and we no longer use the world ‘sanctuary’ to describe our main meeting room. Look around your church and your home. Is there a Bible in sight? Will the books and games and DVD’s convince anyone you believe in the Almighty God, and that you are a child of the Most High? I am vocal about my beliefs, but for years I hid them. This verse describes how our Christianity should ‘fit’ those who call themselves Chistians:

“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ Lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NLT)

“Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine. For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” ” (Mark 4:21‭-‬23 NLT)

Anonymity may serve us well in certain situations and circumstances, but it is NEVER beneficial to be an anonymous Christian; in fact, isn’t that an oxymoron? By the words and example of Jesus, our mission as Christians is to spread His Story and ensure that every person has the opportunity to hear it. We can’t do that anonymously.

Just some thoughts that were on my mind this morning…..

End Times, or Chicken Little

Remember the story of Chicken Little? He ran around yelling “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” He did it so often that when the sky actually fell, no one believed him since he had yelled in error so many times before. That seems to be happening today in our world ….

I won’t be one of those people who stand on the street corner, brandishing a sign, proclaiming “the End is Near!” Well, I say that, and then I remind myself that I don’t know what God has planned for me. Let me rephrase. I don’t expect to be a street corner prophet…. but perhaps I am, in an electronic sense. Still, I find the following scriptures to be fascinating, especially in lieu of the nature events going on around the world.

” ‘In the last days,’ GOD says, ‘I will pour out My Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out My Spirit even on My servants—men and women alike— and they will prophesy. And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below— blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the LORD arrives. But everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.’ ” – Acts of the Apostles 2:17‭-‬21 (http://bible.com/116/act.2.17-21.NLT) Also read Joel chapters 2-3

Fascinating, and quite scarey. Watching videos of the record breaking fires in the northwest, in California, and in Canada, the sun is darkened and the moon looks red from all of the smoke in the air. People who were interviewed stated things like “It seems like twilight at noon” and comments on how red the moon appears. Is it time for the second coming of Jesus? I defer to these verses:

“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” – Matthew 24:36 (http://bible.com/116/mat.24.36.NLT) Also, Mark 13:32, and Acts 1:7

Despite all the people screaming about the end of the earth as we know it because of wars and pollution and global warming, the truth is that this is all a part of God’s plan. Yes, the damage we humans have done to the earth is irreparable; at least, it is for us. Nothing is beyond God. NOTHING. When Jesus returns, whether it is today or in another 2000 years, and after He defeats the enemy (and He will defeat Satan, no doubts on that score!), we will see a new heaven and a new earth. All of the damage with be gone.

“But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth He has promised, a world filled with GOD’S Righteousness.” – 2 Peter 3:13 (http://bible.com/116/2pe.3.13.NLT)

What a promise! I highly recommend reading 2 Peter chapter 3 in it’s entirety as well as the rest of the above noted scriptures. In fact, sit down and start reading the whole New Testament. I know it can be difficult to get through all the genealogy of Jesus, but cross reference some of the names with their stories in the Old Testament. Jesus wasn’t born with a silver spoon, and His human ancestors were a motley crew. Just goes to show you that God can use anyone, no matter how broken, to fulfill His plans.

You have to decide for yourself whether you think we are in the end times, or if we’re all Chicken Littles. Whatever you decide, remember this. No man, I reiterate, NO MAN, can say when Christ will return. Only God knows, and He isn’t sharing the information. This is why Jesus tells us to be ready at any moment. Personally, I believe we are well into the end, and I know without any doubt that He will return. Someday, time and date unknown and unspeculated by me. Chicken Little? No, just a believer.

Side note: I haven’t seen this movie and I am not advocating for anyone else to see it; the image is strictly for illustrative purposes.

Greater Things

What a contrast. As I was watching a newscast of the destruction in Puerto Rico from the latest hurricane, Chris Tomlin came on the radio with this song. Take a moment, and in light of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the floods in the floods in India and Pakistan; the massive earthquakes in Mexico, and the threat of war from North Korea, really focus on his words.

God of This City

Chris Tomlin

You’re the God of this city
You’re the King of these people
You’re the Lord of this nation
You are

You’re the Light in this darkness
You’re the Hope to the hopeless
You’re the Peace to the restless
You are

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this city
Greater thing have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this city

You’re the God of this City
You’re the King of these people
You’re the Lord of this nation
You are

You’re the Light in this darkness
You’re the Hope to the hopeless
You’re the Peace to the restless
You are

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

For greater things have yet to come
And greater…”

As the darkness descends in our world, we are seeing record storms and record famines and record floods. We have dictators who seem bent on world destruction. In the United States, we have violence and looting of our neighbors, conflict between the police and the people, and we are being overwhelmed by illegal immigrants who have no desire to come into the country legally. We have politicians who are more concerned with their personal gain than the care of the people who elected them. Politicians and pro athletes and Hollywood actors who blatantly disrespect our flag and our country.

Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God, given to us for our instruction? I do. After you read these verses, tell me, does it sound like what’s happening on the earth now?

“When the Lamb broke the second seal, I heard the second living being say, “Come!” Then another horse appeared, a red one. Its rider was given a mighty sword and the authority to take peace from the earth. And there was war and slaughter everywhere.

When the Lamb broke the third seal, I heard the third living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a black horse, and its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice from among the four living beings say, “A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day’s pay. And don’t waste the olive oil and wine.”

When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a horse whose color was pale green. Its rider was named Death, and his companion was the Grave. These two were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals.” – Revelation 6:3‭-‬8 (http://bible.com/116/rev.6.3-8.NLT)

As frightening as these predictions are, there is hope for followers of Jesus Christ. Check out these verses!

“After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” – Revelation 7:9‭-‬10 (http://bible.com/116/rev.7.9-10.NLT)

Salvation only comes from the Lamb, the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!

Oh, Proverbs – How We Need to Heed Your Teachings!

“Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.” – Proverbs 4:5‭-‬7 (http://bible.com/116/pro.4.5-7.NLT)

Looking back over my life, it’s very easy to see that I turned my back on wisdom, and pushed her out of my mind and my life when I was in my second year of college. Keeping in mind that I went to a small, conservative, Christian Midwestern college…. No place is safe from the enemy. The first year wasn’t too bad. I had my sister and a good friend from our church to sort of mentor me and help me to stay in my faith. I also was introduced to alcohol and smoking by my dorm-mates, and I experienced snubbing and ridicule from my first roommates. Instead of the Christ-followers I expected, I got professing Christians who took every opportunity to cut me down verbally. It was not a fun first semester in that room, and it seriously impaired the way I began to look at life. Somewhere along the way, I quit reading my Bible, and eventually quit going to church.

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” – James 1:22‭-‬25 (http://bible.com/116/jas.1.22-25.NLT)

James points out quite clearly what happens when we walk away from God’s Word. We forget what it says, and it becomes easy for us to follow the wrong paths in life. Anyone else get this? If not, take a moment to look around you. The arrays on our leaders, both verbal and physical. The mockery and cruelty and disrespect that comprises so much of our “entertainment.” Television shows promoting mob justice, commercials showing complete disrespect for parents. It’s wrong to bully, but it’s okay to make fun of your parents? What???

I guess all of these First Amendment supporters think this is all just part of our rights, but I’m pretty sure that being disrespectful wasn’t what the founding fathers had in mind. I’m POSITIVE they would agree that a lawsuit over a display of raw cotton in a vase is completely ridiculous. I think that they would agree that refusing to be respectful of our flag and our service people is a not a “right”. It’s very simple, folks. If you are so upset by being an American, go live in another country. Please. Just go.

We, the Patriots and Christians, need to be on our knees with this prayer as the LORD said to King Solomon:

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 (http://bible.com/116/2ch.7.14.NLT)

AMEN.