I Just Don’t Get It

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” – JOHN 21:25 NASB

There are other, similar statements in the scriptures, stating that Jesus did innumerable unrecorded miracles. These miracles were witnessed by hundreds of people. Yet we still don’t believe? I just don’t get it. Millions follow Buddha. He never did a miracle, he never claimed to be sent by the Creator of the Universe, and he didn’t arise from the grave after he died. Research “great religions of man”. Belief in Jesus in not a religion. It is a way of life. There is no dictated behavior. I found this from the C.S. Lewis Institute, and it says what I mean to say much better than I am able to.

“When we look carefully at the teachings and example of Jesus Christ, the call to “follow me” takes on much greater clarity and specificity. It is indeed a call to “walk as Jesus walked,” to live a life of radical faith and love. Once we truly grasp this, our first reaction is likely to be one of dismay. If we are at all aware of the depth of indwelling sin and the dysfunctions that plague our lives, we know it is impossible for us to fulfill such a call. Yet this reaction is actually healthy, because it is based in reality. It is indeed impossible for us to live this way. And that is precisely the point.

Jesus knows we cannot follow him without a power beyond ourselves. And that is why he sent the Holy Spirit to empower us.

It is only through the indwelling Holy Spirit that we can obey the teaching of Jesus and follow his example. He assures us of the Father’s love, he makes the things of Christ real to us; he makes the gospel precious to us; he convicts us of sin and assures of forgiveness when we repent; he transforms us from glory to glory, into the likeness of Jesus (2 Cor. 3:16–18). That is why we are taught to earnestly seek to be filled with the Spirit each day (Eph. 5:18) and to be led by him in all our ways (Gal. 5:16–25). When we do, we will find that we can live in newness of life. Not perfectly and not immediately. But day by day, as we walk in faith and obedience, the Spirit will produce in us the character of Jesus: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23).” – Thomas A. Tarrants, III, D.Min. Director of Ministry, C.S. Lewis Institute

(http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/Following_Jesus_Christ_Tarrants_Single-Page_Full_Article)

I’m grateful to have access to study such diverse sources! Study for yourself and determine the truth. I don’t believe that anyone who diligently and honestly searches for the Truth won’t find it. I know where it lies, and it is in the Person of Jesus Christ. My prayer is that you will discover the Truth – and accept the Truth – as well! Amen!!

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” – JAMES 1:5 NASB

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

“When they have really learned to love their neighbours as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as their neighbours.” #CSLewis – “The Screwtape Letters”

Have you read The Screwtape Letters? It should be on every Christian’s reading list. This quote, in particular, seems to be put into action this time of year. It’s a time when many people become extra generous with their time and their money, and it is very apparent in the organizations and individuals who focus on children. It’s heartwarming to see kids who are disadvantaged in different ways light up when they receive unexpected toys and gifts. I just watched a video clip of our First Lady working with Toys for Tots, handing out gifts and interacting with the children – regardless of your politics, she’s a classy lady. With the media watching and recording so many of these organizations that provide for children and families, it appears that we are putting the commandment of JESUS into effect: “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:39 ESV

Sadly, this is a temporary position.

It rarely extends beyond the Christmas season.

Why? Because we humans are selfish and self-centered. We love ourselves over our neighbors. Life has become a race to see who can acquire the most, best, biggest, most expensive “stuff.” Even Christmas has become all about getting attention for us. Selfishness takes over the goodwill. I’m not condemning anyone, and I certainly don’t know why anyone really does what they do. It’s not for me to judge the hearts and motives of anyone. I give everyone kudos who steps out of their comfort zone, physically or financially or both. At least people who need the help are getting it, even if it is just temporarily.

Less selfishness; more selflessness. Isn’t that how we should live our lives? I confess that I may be the chief sinner when it comes to selfishness. I want to be sure I have everything I need (translate: want) before I make any “sacrifice.” Sound familiar to anyone else? The only way to answer is to go back to the reason that this day we call “Christmas” even exists. CHRIST. “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call His Name Jesus [Immanuel, which means God with us] for He will save His people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:18‭, ‬21 ESV

A few years ago, there was a popular saying running through Christian fellowships: WWJD, or What would JESUS do? Maybe that’s the question we should be asking ourselves now. Would He be more concerned with where He was going to sleep that night and where His next meal was coming from, or would He be taking care of someone else’s needs? All we have to do is read the scriptures to know the answer. I can’t think of a single instant where JESUS put His needs over any one else! In fact, the reason He left heaven was because He put our need for salvation over His own LIFE. The Reason for the Season is the SAVIOUR Who put the needs of every human above His own desires. That’s a hard act to follow, but it’s the only way to go.

I have some work to do!

https://churchm.ag/sermon-illustration-love-your-neighbor-as-yourself/

Truths, Halftruths, or Lies?

Talking Heads. That’s one way of referring to reporters. I remember when we believed that the reporters told the truth, and we didn’t need to second guess them, or research to determine the real truth. We trusted that whatever Walter Cronkite said was right; true. Unfortunately, it is no longer true that we can believe whatever is said. The news now is full of blatant partisanship, outright disdain, lies, and halftruths. Nighttime talk show hosts are among the worst offenders, and are so prejudiced that I refuse to watch them. Making a couple of offensive jokes is one thing, but making the entire monolog about disrespecting our elected officials is not acceptable. Even when I cannot stand a person or their politics (and there have been many!), I still should respect the office they hold.

There are reporters whom I hold in great respect, and they are the recorders and reporters of the scriptures; the writers of the Bible. When GOD spoke, they listened and accurately recorded His messages alongside first-hand accounts of their history. In the New Testament, the Gospels are eye-witness accounts, and well researched accounts, of the Life and Testimony of the One known as JESUS CHRIST, MESSIAH. Luke, a physician, began his account:

“Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.” – Luke 1:1‭-‬4 NRSV

“Then He [JESUS] said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the SON of MAN, and you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look here!’ Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the SON of MAN be in His day. Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it.” – Luke 17:22‭-‬24‭, ‬33 NRSV

We should give serious thought to who we listen to, whether on the nightly news or in the pulpit on Sunday, or on social media, 24/7. What is the real TRUTH? Are we listening to GOD’s Truth or the half-truths and lies of the world? I try to follow Luke’s example and investigate, but we all fall victim to the propaganda and outright lies being promoted, at least part of the time. A couple of days ago, we had the opportunity to vote for a number of political offices. For months beforehand, there was a huge amount of rhetoric (i.e. lies and halftruths) that went on from the candidates, their PAC’s, and the groups who supported – or opposed – them. Lines were drawn between parties, and I think people failed to look at the candidate’s records, choosing from emotion rather than fact. As a result, I believe our country lost people who were much better suited for the job at hand than some who were elected. We desperately need to look to GOD for guidance through His Word, rather than looking to the news pundits; the Talking Heads.

JESUS is coming back, I believe sooner rather than later. The earth and all of her people, all of humankind, are in the throes of great trials and tribulations. Just look around! Research it! Matthew 24:4-29 describes how bad things will get here on earth, and it is all happening now. John was a great reporter, and in his book of Revelations, chapters 6-18, he tells in detail everything that will occur before JESUS returns, and in Revelations 19 reveals how JESUS returns:

“Then I [the Apostle John] saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its Rider is called Faithful and True, and in Righteousness He Judges and makes war. On His robe and on His thigh He has a name inscribed, “KING of kings and LORD of Lords.” ” – Revelation 19:11‭, ‬16 NRSV

What does this all mean to me? It means that I need to take everything I hear and carefully weigh it against GOD’s Holy Word, the Bible. I need to be quiet and listen, try to discern the truth behind the rhetoric, and look to the recorders of Truth. Remember this:

It’s That Time, Again

“My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance ….. ” – James 1:2‭-‬3 NRSV

Tomorrow, we vote. At least, I hope and pray we all do! Do we vote our conscience, do we vote party-line, do we vote the politically correct way – or do we skip it altogether because we don’t like the choices? I think that for the followers of CHRIST it has become a battle to know the ‘right’ way to vote. Negative political ads flourish on television and social media, every candidate trying to destroy their opponent’s credibility. Often, it comes down to picking the lesser of the two evils as presented. These are indeed times of trial for us. We cannot, unfortunately, take anyone at their word. It’s a definite challenge to “consider it [ALL] joy,” when it appears to be more of a time to weep.

I know who I will vote for. I have done the research, I have spoken with candidates when possible, I have talked with friends who might know the candidate, and I have prayed. Read the rest of these verses from James:

“…. because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask GOD, Who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the LORD.” – James 1:2‭-‬8 NRSV

I admit to being frightened by so much of the current rhetoric and hate being spewed out across all of the media. The reality is that these United States are being dragged into an exceedingly liberal, socialist time. Regard for Christians is falling rapidly as we embrace diversity in everything, including religion (except Christianity!), and especially the religion of “ME.” Selfishness abounds and is rampant in our so-called heroes of the day. The honor and respect for patriots, our armed forces, and our leaders is rapidly waning as Hollywood and pro-athletes and liberal politicians take over.

What can I as an individual do? Pray. Vote. Most of all, I must bow to GOD’s superior Will, realizing that it may not be what I see as the best for my country….. but that doesn’t mean I will just lie down and let my country go to hell in a handbasket! No matter what happens tomorrow, or in the next election, or the next, I know this without a doubt: GOD WILL PREVAIL IN THE END. There will be much tribulation, and many trials, for CHRIST-followers before our LORD returns, including the rise to power by the Liberal Socialism being touted as the answer to those trials. [Side note: L.S. is NOT the answer! Only JESUS.]

Don’t lay down, and don’t be complacent. Listen to Carrollton sing “Made For This” from their album “Made For This.” Ask GOD, and ask in Faith, never doubting. In the end, Satan loses. How do I know? Because my LORD promises the defeat and destruction of all of the Enemy’s handiwork. (Read the “back” of the Book, Revelations.) Amen!

Are You Ready?

Are you ready, prepared for disaster and break-ins and violence? We frequently hear about being prepared; being safe, through the media. We put burglar bars on our doors and windows, we have alarm systems and safe rooms, we have our emergency stash of food and water. We know to evacuate in certain circumstances, and to barricade ourselves in others. Not knowing when a burglar is coming, we attempt to thwart them before the act. I am a firm believer in having a plan, and a back-up plan. My late husband and I taught a personal safety course alongside a firearms safety course, focusing on being ready for danger so that our students wouldn’t be caught unaware. I still offer private lessons, because I want people, and specifically women, to understand what to do in an emergency and the best form of defense for each individual.

JESUS is our ultimate teacher of self-defense. He teaches us throughout the scriptures how and why we need to prepare for His return, and also, for the death of our physical bodies.

“Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the SON of MAN [JESUS] will come when least expected.” – Luke 12:39‭-‬40 NLT

It’s very different to be prepared (or think we are prepared) for a physical attack as opposed to a spiritual attack. We should prepare for physical attacks, but that doesn’t need to be our focus. We have to be ready for the constant, incessant, spiritual sneak-attack from the enemy, whose desire is to keep us off balance and unprepared for our LORD’s return. We have the WORD of GOD to instruct us on keeping us ready, but we ae constantly ignoring it and doing our own thing – but “our thing,” as opposed to GOD’s “thing,” isn’t our thing at all. It is the enemy, putting those thoughts in our heads.

Rather than letting down our spiritual defenses, JESUS is all about keeping the devil in his place. He came to do battle with the enemy for our souls, and He will return to claim those souls as His own. Jesus is not a peacekeeper; He knows that the only way to defeat the enemy is through warfare. We see it in our physical world, too. People who consider themselves peace ‘keepers’ want to negotiate and make concessions to avoid conflict, while true peace makers know that the only way to peace is through battle. Whether spiritual or mental or physical, we who are followers of CHRIST are locked into the battle!

“And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other!” – Luke 12:47‭-‬48‭, ‬51 NLT

Do you yearn for peace? Are you a pacifist and your stated goal in life is to “give peace a chance;” to do away with conflict; is it “peace on earth?” Those who choose pacifism over JESUS are like the servants in verse 47. I’m sorry to burst your pacifist bubble, but your “peace on earth” is not gonna happen as long as Satan has his foot on this earth. We are fighting the Good Fight, preparing for JESUS to return, whenever that might be; maybe while you are reading this, maybe in an hour or a decade or an eon, but rest assured, JESUS will return!

Are you ready?


Revelations 19:11-16

Are Satan and Demons Real?

“As He [JESUS]stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw JESUS, he fell down before Him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have You to do with me, JESUS, SON of the MOST HIGH GOD? I beg You, do not torment me”— for JESUS had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) JESUS then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him.” – Luke 8:27‭-‬30 NRSV

According to the records of the disciples of JESUS, demons were very much alive and among them – and they acknowledged that JESUS was (is!) in truth the Son of GOD, MESSIAH. For centuries before JESUS lived, there are stories of demons and evil beings in opposition to mankind, beginning with the serpent in the Garden of Eden who subverted the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. http://www.Britannica.com has this to say about demons: Malevolent beings—demons, fallen angels, ghosts, goblins, evil spirits in nature, hybrid creatures, the daevas of Zoroastrianism, the nārakas (creatures of hell) of Jainism, the oni (attendants of the gods of the underworld) in Japanese religions, and other such beings—hinder man in achieving a proper relation with God…”

The story above of the man who was possessed by ‘Legion’ (“many demons”), is just one of many such stories recorded in the New Testament. On numerous documented occassions, witnessed firsthand by many people, JESUS and His disciples commanded demons to leave a person. There were demons who mimicked insanity, and others who caused illnesses and deformities and even death in their victims. You can Google the words demon or evil beings and get lots of hits. Many of the references of these beings are from hundreds of years before CHRIST. He didn’t make them up to make Himself look good! Listen to Isaiah and what he said to Satan:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn*! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of GOD; I will sit on the mount of assembly on the heights of Zaphon; I will ascend to the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the MOST HIGH.” But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit.” – Isaiah 14:12‭-‬15 NRSV *Lucifer, known as the Day Star, son of Dawn, Morning Star – his name is changed to Satan, which means Adversary. Reference also Ezekiel 28:18, Job 1:6-12, Zechariah 3:1-2, Luke 10:18

In Revelation 9:1, Satan is described as “…. a star that had fallen from heaven to earth,” and in Revelation 12:4a,7-9 “His tail swept down a third of the stars* of heaven and threw them to the earth {*angels; also Hebrews 12:22} ….. And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”

Dragons, demons, devils, fiends, evil beings, imps, incubus…. there are so many words, euphemisms, for the followers of Satan. They are real, Satan is real, and HELL is real. Are you prepared? Do you believe? Do you have the Assurance of Salvation from this very real threat that you can only find in JESUS CHRIST? Evil frightens me, but Satan doesn’t scare me.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but GOD is the Strength of my heart and my Portion FOREVER.” – Psalms 73:26 NRSV

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the Love of GOD in CHRIST JESUS our LORD.” – Romans 8:38‭-‬39 NRSV

Lindwurm (means dragon) fountain, c.16th century, Klagenfurt, Austria – is it the sculptors imagination, or is it based on reality?

My Fortress

Satan tempted JESUS, saying to Him, “To You I will give all this [worldly] authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If You, then, will worship me, it will all be Yours.” And Jesus answered him [Satan], “It is written, ” ‘You shall worship the LORD your GOD, and HIM only shall you serve.’ ” – Luke 4:6‭-‬8 ESV [Deuteronomy 6:13]

This same enemy who tempted JESUS looks for our weaknesses to exploit. The longing for power and authority as wielded by kings and goverments is a huge temptation for many. Watching the ‘rich and famous’ through media outlets, others want that same financial strength and public recognition. Sometimes, even good things like children are a source of weakness when we desire them and can’t have them. Satan looks at our desires and places correlating temptations in our path. Without JESUS (Listen to “Only JESUS” by Casting Crowns), we can’t withstand the enemy’s relentless assault of our hearts and minds.

“GOD is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in trouble. ….. ‘Be still, and know that I AM GOD. I Will be Exalted among the nations, I Will be Exalted in the earth!’ The LORD of hosts is with us; the GOD of Jacob is our Fortress. Selah” – Psalms 46:1‭, ‬10‭-‬11 ESV

Thank GOD for His Mighty Fortress! Thank Him for the Gift of Himself in the person of JESUS CHRIST and the HOLY SPIRIT to save us from an eternity of untold and unimaginable agony in hell. Remember the old hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our GOD….”? It was written by Martin Luther in the mid 1500’s, and it is as true today as it was 500 years ago.
A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing:
Our helper He, amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work his woe;
His craft and power are great,
And armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth is his name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,—
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! His doom is sure,—
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers—
No thanks to them—abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also:
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is for ever.

(Credit Wikipedia.org for the information and lyrics)

Remember, with the LORD GOD as our Refuge and our Strength; our Fortress, we cannot lose! Oh, we will lose skirmishes while we are on earth, because the enemy has dominion over the earth…. for now, until our LORD creates the new heaven and earth! Unlike any earthly fortress, whether past, current, or future, our GOD’s Fortress will never fail. (Read the back of The Book – even the devil and all his little demons knows he loses!) AMEN!

(Photo from englishrussia.com )