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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Singing to the Lord


Singing to the Lord

I grew up hearing my mother sing. She sang continuously when she was working around the house and her voice was extremely beautiful. She even had an opportunity to sing professionally, but she turned it down because she had a husband and two little children that she did not want to leave to go on the road with a national band. I, on the other hand, was not born with a beautiful voice. Oh, I can carry a tune, and I love to sing for the Lord, but I am not a good enough singer to even be in a church choir. However, I have used my voice to sing praises to the Lord and to lift up my prayers of thanksgiving to Him. I even sang after my replacement knee surgeries when I walked every day in the underground garage at our condo to strengthen my knees. In fact, singing to the Lord is something that we can all do to gain courage, to praise Him, to celebrate His love, to ask for help, and to recite some of the Scriptures that are used within songs. Some say that our Christian songs are actually our prayers that we sing to the Lord. What kind of songs do you sing to the Lord?

The Apostle Paul and Silas evidently believed in singing their prayers to the Lord too. One example of this is found in the book of Acts. You may remember that while on their second missionary journey Apostle Paul and Silas were unjustly arrested, beaten and thrown into prison to await a trial or something worse. They had been proclaiming Christ to the people in Macedonia, and while there they removed a demon spirit from a girl who was a pestering fortune teller.  This demon possessed girl earned money for her masters by telling fortunes to anyone who would pay. But, she kept pestering Paul and Silas’ calling out constantly “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved”. Although what the demon was saying was true, Paul could not let the Good News be linked with demon-related activities, because this would change the message of Christ. So, when Paul had finally had enough, he removed the demon that was shouting out and harassing them, which was the same demon that helped the girl her tell fortunes. Her masters were furious when the girl no longer had the ability to tell fortunes, so they grabbed Paul and Silas threatening their lives for ruining their business, and then the other merchants turned against them too. A mob quickly formed and then the city officials ordered Paul and Silas to be stripped, beaten, and thrown into prison. But even though they were thrown into prison and put into stocks, Paul and Silas were not defeated. Instead they prayed and sang songs to the Lord.

“Around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, Don’s do it! We are all here. Trembling with fear, the jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down before Paul and Silas. He brought them out and asked. ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  -- (Acts 16: 25-29. NLT).

Despite the terrible situation that Paul and Silas were in, they had prayed and sang to the Lord and to the other prisoners. Their singing was a form of prayerful praise and was also a way to ask for intercession from God. God saw their trust and their love of Him, and He heard their beautiful praise and prayerful worship to the One who could change their situation. Later, in Ephesians 5: 19-20, Paul also encourages the members of the Ephesian church to “to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. [Telling them to] … always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” How often to do you sing to the Lord when you have a problem or need? Maybe you could make a list of all the godly songs that you know that you could sing asking for help or proclaiming God’s powerful protection, guidance, or His past intercession and provision for the needs of people.

In the Older Testament, David, even before he became king, sang songs to the Lord. He put his requests of God into music and sang them to the Lord. Many of the Psalms were praises, but others were songs sung to God for help and protection. For example: Psalm 4 is about rejoicing in God’s protection and peace, knowing that God will listen when we call; Psalm 6 is about David calling for deliverance from trouble and his knowing full well that God is able to rescue him (us); In Psalm 13 David prays for relief from his despair, trusting that God will answer him (us) even if He doesn’t’ do so immediately; In Psalm 18 David sings about his gratitude for God’s deliverance and victory, as he tells those who hear his song that God’s help is the only way that we can be delivered from evil, therefore, we must call upon God for His glorious help; and David even sings in Psalm 26 of his loyalty to God, as he stands up to those who oppose him and God. Finally, we see songs of praise and worship sung by David and the Jewish people, such as Psalm (song) 136 which tells us that God’s endless love is why He deserves our constant praise.  There are 150 psalms recorded in the Bible and all of these are songs of praise, worship, and love, along with other prayerful songs of need, protection, provision, and needed intercession. David knew that God loved music and that God listened to the prayers that were sent up to God. So, David prayerfully sang his heart out to the Lord!

God invites us to praise Him and to call out to Him in our hour of need, despair, and hurt. (See Matthew 7: 7 and Luke 11: 1-4). Unfortunately, we are not always sure how to go about telling the Lord what we want to tell Him. But, David set examples for us. Like David, we can talk to the Lord through singing, dancing, and the playing of musical instruments as we pray to and praise the Lord with all our heart. In fact, singing to the Lord is often easier than trying to think of exact words to say. We just need to choose the psalm or the song that best expresses our need or that expresses the praise that we want to use to honor God.

I will end with Psalm 146 which tells us not only how great God is, but that God’s help is enduring and complete.
“Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord, I tell myself. I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God even with my dying breath. Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When their breathing stops, they return to the earth, and in a moment all their plans come to an end. But happy are those who have the God of Israel (i.e., of Jacob) as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He is the One who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He is the One who keeps every promise forever, who gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts the burdens of those bent beneath their loads. The Lord loves the righteous. The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and the widows, but He frustrates the plans of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever. O Jerusalem (i.e., Zion) your God is King in every generation. Praise the Lord.”  -- (Psalm 146. NLT).

Start singing to the Lord. Let Him know how wonderful He is and also tell Him of your needs. God wants to hear your prayerful songs. And, if you haven’t yet turned your life over to Christ, sing out in repentance of your sins and then ask for forgiveness of your sins. He will hear you and give you Salvation. Then you can truly sing songs of praise to the Lord!

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Importance of Voting in the Mid-terms [Our Christian and Democratic Worldview is at Stake]







"One day Jesus said to His disciples, 'Let's cross over to the other side of the lake.' So they got into a boat and started out. On the way across, Jesus lay down for a nap, and while He was sleeping the wind began to rise. A fierce storm developed that threatened to swamp them, and they were in real danger. 
The disciples woke Him up shouting, 'Master, Master, we're going to drown!' So Jesus rebuked the wind and the raging waves. The storm stopped and all was calm! Then He asked them, 'Where is your faith?'" -- (Luke 8: 22-25. NLT).

We, too, have to have faith and believe that God is in charge of everything, including the storms of life. Recently, though, we have not lived as God wants us to live, i.e., as a nation that should be focused on him. That is why our nation is in a terrible storm. But if we are willing to do our part, I believe that God will give us another chance to be a nation blessed by Him and that He will calm the storm. But at the same time, we must do our part to keep our country focused on truth, honesty, and love. That is why we must know what our country needs and we must be willing to get out and vote for those people whom we believe will live up to truth, honesty, and love for our country and its people. 

Although it is always important to vote, this year it is extremely important for those who believe in our country and in our established way of life to get out and vote. Why? Well, we are at a crossroads in our country. One path will take us down the tried and true path of destruction and false equality that leads to poverty for the majority and wealth for only a few i.e., into socialism, which will eventually morph into communism as fewer and fewer people are allowed to be wealthy. The other path, the one that we have been on, leads to continued freedom, capitalistic opportunities, and the continued individual pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. But, if fail to know what we are voting for, if we fail to vote, or if we vote to allow the progressive liberals and declared socialists into the Senate and the House of Representatives as well as into our local and state governments, we will be walking down the path that leads to total socialism and eventually to communism. Certainly, if we fail to get out to vote for the conservatives who believe in democracy, capitalism, and the truth, we will then allow those liberals and socialists who get into office to lead our country into Venezuelan type socialism and capitalism. So, this election and the next one in 2020 are the most important elections we have yet to face. Please do not allow socialists and communists or the America hater, George Soros, with his billions which are funding Antifa and other hate groups, to take down this country that our founding Fathers worked so hard to establish. Vote!

Do you know anything about why or how America was founded?

So, why should we be voting? Well, if you or your children have gone to school in the last twenty to thirty years, you or them may not have been taught the truth about the founding of our country. What is that truth? Well, you should know that it was God who guided our founding fathers into writing the greatest Constitution that has ever been written. In fact, it is on the basis of this Constitution and the idea that all men are created equal by our Father in Heaven that we are to have not only equality, but the freedom that comes with it: i.e., the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And, for over 240 years, Americans have basically lived a life as close to true freedom as one can get. But in order to maintain that freedom, we have to get out and vote!

Yes, we have struggled over the years with a few areas of inequality, but we have continued to pursue equality for all, and we have continued to search for the truth. Up until ten years ago, our country was gradually making more and more progress with ensuring equality for all. Unfortunately, one president, who hid his hatred of our country to get elected, stirred up hatred and dissent by pointing out our past inequalities, which led people to believe that they were not making progress today, but that they were instead going backwards into more inequality. All the progress that had been made over the years was suddenly in jeopardy of disappearing as Obama stoked the fires of dissension and hatred toward whites.

Adding to this unrest and hatefulness, were the philosophical and even physical repercussions that we began to see as a result of the liberal teachers and professors in our educational system who over the last fifty years or so had begun to teach our students that our founding fathers were evil, manipulative, businessmen who had no altruistic bones in their bodies. These so-called liberal and socialistic educators had instead, been using our country’s past sins to teach that all white people still believed in racism and still believed in inequality for some people. These educators were either failing to teach the truth about our past and what America had fought against in WWI and WWII, or they were skewing the truth to fit their own agenda. Part of their agenda also included the introduction of socialism to students as the only way to make everything right and equal for everyone, with lots of hand-outs and money for all. The physical repercussions came about through riots and the physical refusal to allow those with different view points to speak on campuses. Only the voices of the liberals and socialists would be allowed to be heard. There was no longer freedom to have a different viewpoint or to speak about that viewpoint or worldview. 

Adding to the harassment of those with conservative worldviews, was the fact that many minorities and immigrants did not know the truth about our country’s past or even the truth about our present beliefs. They had been manipulated and lied to by President Obama and the liberal media over the last ten years. To make matters worse, they and the current college generation still do not know today that the main reason that our country has pursued equality and freedom for all is that we were originally created to be a free nation that lived for the One and only God, i.e., the Creator and God of the Universe. 

Knowing that God created us to be free, our founding fathers in the establishment of our country not only fought for our right to live the way that we wanted to live, but they fought for our religious freedom from Great Britain as well. In fact, our country was founded on the right of every human to pursue their own way of worshipping even if it included worshipping a god other than the true God that early on most people came to America to worship. That is because true freedom means that we have the freedom to choose whom we will worship even if it breaks God’s heart when people worship false gods and idols. So, our founding fathers put into the Constitution that our government could not force us into worshipping who we don’t want to worship. And, no one was to be harassed for their beliefs.

Capitalism and Democracy go together.

Our country was also founded on what has become known as a democracy which is based upon capitalism. Capitalism simply means that everyone has the right to sell their products for a price that another person is willing to pay. If the other person refuses to pay the price, then that person selling a product at too high a price will eventually go out of business. But, at the same time every person has the right to pursue a job or the right to create a business that will bring them a living, or a business that may eventually bring them an extreme abundance. And, as long as the person is not cheating, not being dishonest, or not hurting someone else, they can live freely, working at their favorite job or working at their established business; hopefully a business that will benefit not only the owner, but their customers as well.

Capitalism works well, because everyone has the chance to work as hard or as little as they want, and everyone has the chance to pursuit their dreams of becoming wealthy through hard work and through legal means. But, in setting up a government to protect the people who were living and working in the United States, it was determined that part of the Federal government’s responsibility in protecting the people of this country also included making sure that all the different businesses and different products did not hurt the people of the country. But, in order to not only provide safety, there was also was the need for taxes to be established, so that the people overseeing our safety and the infrastructure of the country could be paid. We needed taxes, too, in order to have an infrastructure, a military to protect the citizenry, and we needed taxes to build schools and libraries for the education of our citizens. Eventually, as our nation grew, and as it grew, we needed more and more government agencies to look after the nation’s interests, which also required more and more taxes to run the government.

The Difference between Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism.

The one thing that makes our nation different from many other nations is that we get to vote not only on how we want our country to be run, but we get to also vote on the people we put in congress who will determine the taxes needed to keep the government running. But, as power began to be the all-consuming reason for senators and representatives to want to be re-elected, the government grew ever bigger which meant that the government needed more and more taxes from the people. So, taxes were raised. But to stay in power or get power, lies and more lies were told by politicians so that they could get re-elected or so that some could get elected to have the chance at getting power in the first place. Therefore, it has become extremely hard to determine the motives of those running for office or re-election. That is why this has become the year of political scandals and the year of undercover videos outing the lies of the politicians. That is also why it so important for each of us to really read up about each candidate and then look deeply at what they say they support and will do, before we go to the polls to vote.

Until recently, most people thought that capitalism was great! Indeed, most people who have been taught about the true difference between socialism, communism and capitalism still think that capitalism is great. Unfortunately, over the last fifty years or so, our free educational system has failed to teach the truth to our students. And, a majority of professors are actually teaching and promoting socialism as the best way to live. In fact, our educational system has failed to teach our students the true history of failed socialism and communism around the world. And, our liberal and socialistic teachers have also failed to teach the students how to think for themselves or how to discern the truth from fallacy. Instead, the liberal and socialistic teachers have brainwashed our children into believing that capitalism is evil, so the students repeat what the professors have told them. Sadly, when our students get into college, the liberal professors, instead of teaching facts, require their students to believe what they believe or they will fail the students. In fact, most of these professors are liberals and/or socialist who want their students to believe what they believe.

It is so easy from early childhood through about age twenty-five to brainwash individuals into your way of thinking, if indeed that is really what you want to do. And, this is precisely what the liberal college professors do as they continue the brainwashing and skewing of the truth about our country. This is also why we have so much hatred spewed out upon our country and its citizens today. For, the liberal professors have basically armed an army of liberal students as weapons against capitalism and the truth. And, they are teaching their students to be proponents of socialism.

Socialism

The principles of Socialism were first advocated by Karl Marx (1818-1883), who was a German social philosopher and economist and Fredrick Engels (1820-1895), a fellow German socialist leader and writer, who was a close associate of Karl Marx. In the Marxist doctrine, Socialism is actually a stage in society that comes between Democracy/ Capitalism (Democracy and Capitalism is what the United States has believed in) and Communism. So, according to Marx and Engels, the social and economic stages of society would be Democracy/Capitalism, then Socialism, and finally Communism.

Although Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism each have a strong economic premise, it is important to understand the role of Democracy within Capitalism, because without Democracy, the economic principle of Capitalism could not be maintained. That is because Democracy provides a certain amount of freedom for capitalism, as Democracy allows the people of a nation to rule through fair voting and the exchange of ideas along with entrepreneurship which can benefit society overall.

Socialism, though, is an overall economic structure set up to rule and control people through the idea that there should neither be rich or poor people. There should only be people living together equally without waste and for the good of all. In Socialism, private ownership, once based upon capitalistic ownership and production, as well as on entrepreneurial enterprises, have all but been eliminated for the equalization of society. In other words, in the extreme, individuals can no longer develop and produce items to sell on their own, because all production and distribution is done by the government, so that supposedly everyone will have the same identical piece of the pie. For, in socialism, all members of society are to share in the work as well as in the products and the profits. Sounds altruistic doesn’t it? It also sounds boring unless you want exactly what everyone else has, which is basically very little. But it turns out that there is one group of people who will benefit greatly in socialism. The very rich will continue to be very rich, and they will not have to share. Also, if the production is not what it is supposed to be, then everyone suffers except the rich.

Democracy.

On the other hand, as opposed to a Monarchy or a Dictatorship that has only one person in control of the rule of the people, Democracy is supposed to be the rule of the people through chosen representatives of the people; not chosen because they are rich, but chosen through fair elections in order to make decisions for the good of the country and the good of all people. Moreover, the decisions and the rules that affect everyone in a democracy, including the rich, are supposed to be made through majority rulings.

But in recent years our true democracy has been dwindling away, because the minority has often demanded to have their way, and they no longer accept what the majority of the people want. And, in many cases, the minority has gotten their way. And, the minority is now trying hard to get their way over even bigger issues that affect all of us. For example, even though the majority of the people want the right to bear arms, given to us in the constitution, to be maintained, there are minority groups including liberals and socialist who are doing everything in their power to take away from all the people the right to bear arms. Now the liberal media is also doing the work of the minority for them by constantly beating the drums of “no guns” for anyone except policemen. Both the liberals and socialists as well as the liberal media are now foisting their worldview of a gunless society upon congress, as they constantly fight against our right to carry arms. They are against having guns to defend ourselves, and they want laws against having guns even if the majority of people do not want these anti-gun laws.

Socialistic and Communistic Worldviews versus Capitalism, True Freedom, and the Christian World View.

Some of what I have been posting at this time has been taken from a previous blog of mine written back in November of 2015. But I feel that it needs to be read again or read for the first time by those who didn’t get a chance to read it then, so that you can understand how important it is to know the candidates and what they stand for. Only then, can you make a good informed decision when you get out and vote.

Everyone needs to know that there are worldviews today that we thought would never again be part of the American culture. These worldviews came about with the advent of World War II in the late nineteen thirties and the growth of socialism and communism in the late nineteen forties and the early nineteen fifties. Because of the devastation of WWII and the oppression of those who lived under socialism and communism during the next few decades after the war, people could see what socialism and communism did to other countries and their peoples. They could see the bread lines and the poverty for everyone but the very rich. In fact, at one point our country was so afraid of the rampant communism, which was being promoted by secret communists and some educators living within the United States, that some in the government actually harassed the communists and anyone that did not agree with democracy and capitalism.

These were truly dark and shameful days for the United States and freedom, as McCarthyism reared its ugly head within our government. Everyone was afraid of communism because of what they were seeing happening in other countries as a result of the oppression by communism. Consequently, many people were harassed because someone thought they were a communist. Then Senator Joseph McCarthy decided to attempt to eradicate socialism and communism in the wrong way by ruining the lives of many people who may or may not have been communists. Consequently, America for a short period of time over reacted and oppressed those who were thought to be communists. Then, in realizing our mistake, we went overboard in the opposite direction, in showing that we were ashamed for what we had done, by allowing socialists and even communists to teach our young people in college.

Most true born-again Christians try to understand and accept the right of others to express themselves, but we also have to always seek the truth, while we work hard to expose the untruths, deceptions, and lies before they become the accepted norm. We also need to look closely at those who are teaching our children and make sure that they are not foisting their personal beliefs upon our children and students.

In the past, Christians have put their heads in the sand hoping that the things that are wrong in America will simply go away. But evil and those who are proponents of socialism, communism, and of negative ways of living will not go away. So, we have to understand what they want and why they want what they want. We also have to get out and vote so that our freedom and our capitalistic and democratic, and Christian way of life does not disappear.

So, why is it so important to understand the worldview of Capitalism? Well, in the Capitalistic world view, anyone who is willing to work hard, anyone who can think outside the box and come up with new ideas, and anyone who wants to succeed can start their own business if they are willing to work hard and do it honestly. A capitalist can make economic deals with other capitalists to create more jobs and to provide greater production for items to be sold. However, there will also be those people who have no desire to become business owners or entrepreneurs. In fact, many people who want to work to make a living, actually want to work for someone else. They do not want the headaches or the responsibility of owning a business, but they are willing to work to earn money and help that business grow. That is fine, because everyone in a capitalistic society has the freedom to work as much or as little as they want. Usually, it is the amount of money that a person wants to make that determines the job that they take. The job they can take is also dependent upon their desire and determination to get an education as well as their abilities and their desire to succeed. And because capitalism allows for free enterprise, there will always be those who succeed and there will always be those who fail. However, in a capitalistic society, a person can start over as many times as they want or as often as they need in order to succeed.

In the capitalistic and democratic worldview, some people will be blessed with initiative and or an entrepreneurial spirit, while others will be blessed with the ability to get and education and become lawyers, doctors, etc. Others will be blessed as housewives, technological innovators, or workers in stores or corporations. For, there is the freedom to become whatever kind of worker you wish to become, even if you just want to be a street sweeper (and there is nothing wrong with being a street sweeper). And, in a capitalistic society and democratic worldview, everyone has a chance to succeed if they work hard and desire it. But Capitalism is not a share and share alike worldview. Instead, it is a worldview that gives everyone a chance to succeed. We also need to remember that capitalism goes along with the Christian worldview too, for in the Bible we read that “Diligent hands bring wealth.” – (Proverbs 10: 4. NIV).

The Christian worldview fits in nicely together with the worldviews of democracy and capitalism because Christianity has within it an inherent caring about the other person. Christianity always cares about the freedoms of others. Christianity also supports the dreams and the fulfillment of the dreams of those who are willing to work hard and adhere to the laws of our nation. In fact, the Apostle Paul told his mentee, Titus, that “Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.  -- (Titus 3: 14. NIV).

In the Christian worldview, followers of Christ are concerned for the unfortunate and help them in many different ways. Christians often feed those who lack food. In fact, Christians often start caring programs like “Hope House” that provides clothing and household items for just pennies and that gives food to those who cannot afford to feed their families. The Christian worldview is compassionate, caring, and encouraging; caring about the needs of those less fortunate.  But most of all, the Christian worldview cares about the souls of all those who do not yet know Christ as their Savior. For, Jesus said, “And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like Him who are lost.” – (Luke 19: 10. NLT).

In the Christian worldview, we care where others will end up spending eternity. And, we want everyone to develop a relationship with Christ through the repentance of their sins and their belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as the risen Son of God. For, it is the soul that sees a relationship with God and His Son. We can reach more people for Christ through a loving and caring attitude than through isolationism and selfishness. But we cannot reach people for Christ if we react in hatred when we are rebuffed or are mistreated. And we cannot reach others when the freedom to voice our opinions and our knowledge is not allowed. That is why, if we want to reach others for Christ, we cannot let the lies of the liberals and socialists change the type of country that we have been given by God. That is why we must get out and vote on November 6th. We must elect men and women who want to tell the truth, who want to maintain our democracy, capitalism, and our country’s Christian worldview. For, if we elect men and women who are socialist into government positions, they can press their false beliefs upon an unsuspecting nation. That is why we must not only get out and vote, but we must mentor the younger generation in the truth of Democracy and Capitalism as well as the truth of Christianity.

If you would like to read more about the worldviews of Democracy/capitalism, socialism, and communism and how you can mentor our young people and others in the truth and knowing Christ, please go to my earlier blogs in October and November of 2015.

Salvation

And, if you do not know Christ as your Savior, I encourage you to pray and ask Christ to come into your heart. All you need to do is to understand that we are all sinners and that the payment for our sins is eternal death and separation from love and God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  -- (Romans 3: 23). But, with repentance of your sins, and the recognition that Christ is the living Son of God who died on the cross while taking yours and my sins on his shoulders, and by believing that He arose on the third day, having paid for our sins and having conquered eternal death, you, too, can be Saved for all eternity. “For, the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  -- (Romans 6: 23). By repenting of your sins and by believing in Christ you can be filled with peace and the certainty that you will spend eternity with God and His Son.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For, God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”  -- (John 3: 16-17).

And Romans 9: 9-10 says, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus as Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be Saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in Salvation.”

Christ said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and He with Me.”  -- (Revelation 3: 20).

For, “Whoever will call upon the Name of the Lord will be Saved.”  -- (Romans 10: 13).

Don’t let this time pass you by, call out to Christ and repent! Then, go and tell someone that you have been Saved. Your life will never be the same, for the glorious love of Christ will permeate your heart.

For those of you who are interested in learning more about Active Relational Christian Mentoring, please check out my book: The Three-Strand Cord of Active Relational Christian Mentoring. You can get the book through Barnes and Nobel, Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Becoming More Like Christ Each Day


Let your roots grow down into Christ, and draw up nourishment from Him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth.”  -- (Colossians 2: 7. LB).

Did you know that you were created to become like Christ? Well, you were. However, each person has to first develop a relationship with Christ, and in order to do that they must first hear about Christ, then in belief ask Him into their heart, while choosing to live for Him. Only then can a person become more and more like Christ.

We know that everyone is born with the ability to recognize God. At the time of conception, i.e. at their creation, God is with them throughout each person’s development. Then once a person is born, God is still there for them throughout all their days here on earth. As the Psalmist tells us: “You (God) made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.  -- (Psalm 139: 13-16. NLT). Throughout each person’s life God is there for them just waiting for them to acknowledge Him and His Son, because God wants to bestow upon them His endless love and constant protection.

Even though every baby is born a sinner, before they become toddlers they can understand who God is. There is just something in their soul that recognizes and longs for a relationship with God. But as a child grows up in this world and faces the evilness within, the longing for a relationship with God can be pushed so far to the back of their minds that they no longer recognize God. However, they will continue to long for a relationship with God even though they don’t realize it consciously and don’t know Him. That is why so many young people, by the time they are in their early teens, are totally lost but yet they are still looking for something to fill that hole or void within their souls where God belongs.

Many People Refuse to Believe in God.

Many people did not have parents who introduced them to the Bible and God and they refuse to believe in God or Jesus Christ. Sadly, even some people who were raised with godly parents refuse to acknowledge God and His Son, Jesus Christ. These are people who are constantly searching for something, but at the same time refuse to see what is right in front of them. Little do they know, but there may come a time when God no longer pursues them to become one of His children, because eventually the Holy Spirit will quit calling out to them. The Apostle Paul explains these stubborn and sinful people’s situations this way: “God shows His anger from Heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves. For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put the knowledge in their hearts. From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and the sky and all that God made. They can clearly see His invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature. So, they have no excuse whatever for not knowing God.  -- (Romans 1: 18-20. NLT).

Along with all people’s ability to recognize God as their Creator and Father, people have also been given the free will to choose to serve God or not. For, God will not force anyone to love, obey, or serve Him. Yet, with the ability to recognize the truth of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, many people will still not acknowledge or believe in Jesus Christ. However, those who do choose to recognize and believe in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, will be blessed in so many ways.

In creating us individually, God has given each person a unique personality and special talents, gifts, and insights that can be used in serving Him and in serving and caring for others. Unfortunately, because we live in a fallen world that constantly presents problems, trials, and difficult matters or situations to us in many different ways, all these things when taken individually or together can then affect our lives in a either a positive or negative way, depending on each person’s specific personality and intellect and the way they handle the matters in life. In addition, some people’s personalities are more prone to participating in the evil things of this world. Moreover, some people just cannot contemplate the goodness of God, because their minds only think about simple things or only things that are right in front of them, as they are presented with the negativity of this world that they encounter. Others are simply unwilling to look at God’s creation or are unwilling to contemplate His power, love, and divineness.

We can choose the path that we take.

There are many other matters or situations that can impact a person’s life in such a way that it will override a person’s innate knowledge of who God is. Sadly, these matters, events, or situations can range anywhere from physical and emotional abuse by family, strangers, or even so-called friends to events or matters that are subtle, unexpected, or hurtful. So, whether or not a particular person can handle a negative situation or event in their life depends upon the character of that person and the depth of their faith and trust in God. In fact, how a person perceives, thinks upon, and views everything in life ultimately depends on their personality, their ability to think things through, as well as how they look at the world around them, and how they choose to handle each and every situation; all of which will then determine their willingness or not to pursue having a greater relationship with God.

There are also people who, because of their circumstances or because of their pridefulness, or their desire to accumulate power along with their willingness to accept unfounded philosophical ideas of their own or of others’ making, will actually defy goodness, truth, honesty, love, consideration, or kindness toward others. In addition, they may even lack principles, values, and ethics as well as integrity and honesty. Usually, these are very unhappy people. But, in such cases, God knew even before they were born that it would take some type of momentous event to get their attention, but even at that God knew that many of these people would still refuse to believe in Him and His Son. These individuals would simply refuse to see things differently or change the way that they perceived the world. They do not think upon their own, use common sense, or search for answers that God has ready if they would just ask. Instead, they succumb to group think, selfishness, and the desire to be their own god.

However, God also knew that some people that He created would willingly choose to look at life through the eyes of goodness, kindness, caring, and love. These individuals, like Abraham, would search for the truth and find God. God knew that still other people would be able to see Him within all He had created and seek Him out. Indeed, it would be these people who could be saved from their sins and saved from the sins of this fallen world. But in order to Save them, God would have to sacrifice His Only Son. Because, it would take the blood of Christ to wash away their sins and make them righteous before God. However, each person would still have to make a personal decision for Christ in order to have their sins forgiven and in order to be made righteous before God. This means that everyone who hears the Gospel message or who sees God and His Son in all Creation will have the opportunity to believe in Christ as the risen Son of God and will have the opportunity to repent of their sins.

God has given us the ability to become more like Christ.

Individuals who have heard the Gospel message of Salvation given to us through Jesus Christ, and who will then turn their lives around and believe upon Jesus Christ as their living Savior will indeed be Saved. It is these people who will then have the opportunity to become more and more like Christ as they live for Him daily. In fact, the Bible specifically tells us that we were created to become more and more like Christ every day, for

God knew what He was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the lines as the life of His Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity He restored. We see the original and intended shape our lives there in Him.”   -- (Romans 8: 29. The Message.).

In fact, “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. Christ is the one through whom God created everything in Heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see – kings, kingdom, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through Him and for Him. He existed before everything else began, and He holds all creation together.” -- (Colossians 1: 15-17. NLT).

Actually, from the beginning even before the world was created, God’s plan for humankind was to make them like His Son, Jesus Christ. We know this, because at the time of creation, the Trinity of God, i.e., the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit said, “… Let us make people in our own image, to be like ourselves. … So God created people in His own image; God patterned them after Himself; male and female He created them.”  -- (Genesis 1: 26, 27. NLT).

Obviously, we were not created to look like God or to be God. Rather, we were created to reflect the glory of God through the lives that we live for Him. It is God’s character and the character of Jesus Christ, His Son, that we are to reflect back to God and to reflect upon others who do not yet know or have a relationship with Him. So, what characteristics are we to reflect back to God and upon others? Well, part of God’s character and the character of His Son is reflected in our love, patience, kindness, faithfulness, truthfulness, forgiveness, and integrity as we interact with other people. For, God, the Trinity, has all these characteristics and so much more.

However, it is not easy to develop even some of the characteristics of God. That is because humans are born sinners who often do not even realize that they are sinners. But recognizing that we are sinners and then asking for the cleansing of our sins through Jesus Christ is how we are Saved for all eternity. It is through our belief on Jesus Christ and His gift of Salvation that we can then develop some of the characteristics of God and His Son and then live by those good characteristics and attitudes. In developing these characteristics and attitudes, we can live by truth and love which can then be reflected in our giving glory and honor back to God? But to do so, we first have to be made righteous in the sight of God. We have to be imputed with righteousness through the cleaning blood of Jesus Christ. But, in order to be imputed with righteousness, we first have to come to know Jesus Christ, God’s Son, personally while repenting of our sins and desiring to live for Christ.  Only then with our Salvation re-birth can we become a new creature that can gradually become more and more like Christ. But in order to become more and more like Christ, we must choose to grow in our knowledge of Christ and choose to grow more like Christ in our behaviors and in our use of words. So,

How Can We Become More Like Christ?

Well we must start with understanding what our new birth in Christ should look like. This means then that we have to understand what the full “image and likeness” of God is and what it means. The full “image and likeness” of God looks like Jesus Christ! For the Bible tells us that “[Jesus Christ is] the exact likeness of God.” – (II Corinthians 4: 4. NLT). Scripture also tells us that “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. Christ is the one through whom God created everything in Heaven and earth.”  -- (Colossians 1: 15. NLT.).

We are also told in the book of Hebrews that “The Son reflects God’s own glory, and everything about Him represents God exactly.  -- (Hebrews 1:3. NLT).

With our own Salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son, we are given the opportunity to reflect the nature and goodness of Christ to the rest of the world. If we become more and more like Christ, we, too, can then give God glory and honor as we represent the glory of the Son in the things that we do. But in order to do this, Scripture tells the Saved person that with your Salvation you must “… throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness – righteous, holy, and true.”  -- (Ephesians 4: 22-23. NLT).

So, in order to become more like Christ, we must turn in a new direction with our life. We must allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us in all that we do. This means that we must make a conscious determination to commit our daily living to representing Christ in all that we do. We have to care about right and wrong and want to do what is always right in the eyes of God. We have to clear our minds of the darkness of this world and focus on the truth and righteousness of Heaven. In other words, we have to work at becoming a more godly person every day.

With our re-birth and with our pursuit into the likeness of Christ, we must “put away all falsehood and ‘tell y[our] neighbor the truth,’ because we belong to each other.” – (Ephesians 4: 25. NLT). The Apostle Paul gave this verse to the Ephesians, because God does not want Christians to lie. God does not lie. Moreover, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.”  -- (Proverbs 12: 22. NASB). We are also not to let anger, which is a worldly emotion, get the best of us. For, anger is not representative of Christ. In fact, Jesus said, “But I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone and idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the high council. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.  -- (Matthew 5: 22. NLT).

Christlikeness means, too, that those who are Saved are to “begin using y[our] hands for honest work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow upon the Holy Spirit by the way you live. … Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind, to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving, one another, just as Christ has forgiven you.”  -- (Ephesians 4:26-32. NLT).

We are not to try to become a god. But God does want us to become godly, and in so doing, become more like Christ so that we can represent Christ to the rest of the world. Becoming godly means that we take on the values, attitudes, and character of Jesus Christ. We are to “Take on an entirely new way of life – a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces His character in you.”  -- (Ephesians 4: 22. The Message).

However, in order to live a godly life and be renewed from the inside out, we must listen to the Holy Spirit who indwells all truly born-again Christians. For, “as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory even more.”  -- (II Corinthians 3: 18. NLT). And, if we listen to the Holy Spirit and do the will of the Lord within our lives, we will become more and more like Christ. In fact, all born-again Christians have been given the desire to obey God through our Salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But, to become more and more like Christ, we have to do more than just desire to become more like Him. We have to train ourselves to constantly think about developing and acquiring the characteristics and attitude of Christ. And we need to read and try to obey the Word of God. Only then can we become more like Christ which will then be seen by others within our behaviors, words, actions, and within our service to Christ and the Heavenly Father. This service will be displayed through our kindness and loving actions toward others.

Every day people will be able to see that there is something different about those individuals who are becoming more and more like Jesus Christ; as they display kindness, caring, and love toward others. People will see their good behaviors, actions and words. People will also see the joy and smiles upon the faces of truly born-again Christians who are reflecting the love and goodness of God and Christ out upon their little part of the world. These Christians will also show the characteristics and attitudes of Christ when they reach out in service to others. Indeed, our service to God and others can in many different ways be seen as not only a reflection of our love for God, but also as a reflection of the acquisition of the characteristics of Christ. In other words, people can see that we are living for Christ in all that we do. Our Christian life then becomes a way of sharing the Gospel message which will then open the door for the Good News to be shared.

 Active Relational Christian Mentoring is just one of the many ways that we can show the world that we are emulating the actions, attitudes, and characteristics of Christ within our own life. Have you reached out to mentor and help another woman? Have you shared your love of Christ with another person? Can others see Christ in you? If you want to learn more about the service of Christian mentoring and the importance of becoming more and more like Christ, please check out my book: The Three-Stand Cord of Active Relational Christian Mentoring. You can purchase the book from Amazon, Christian Faith Publishing, or Barnes and Nobel. The following is a link to Amazon.


Accepting Christ as Your Savior.

Accepting Christ as your Savior, or giving your life to Christ is so simple. All you have to do is believe on Jesus Christ as the risen one and only Son of God. But, you need to understand that you are a sinner, for we are all born sinners. “For all have sinned, all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” – (Romans 3: 23). You also need to understand that we must pay for our sins. In fact, the Bible tells us that “the wages (payment) of sin is death (eternal death).” – (Romans 6: 23). Yet, with our belief in Jesus Christ and with the repentance of and the turning away from sins, “God in His gracious kindness declares us not guilty.” – (Romans 3: 24).  God did this through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ whose blood takes away our sins. “For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed His blood, sacrificing His life for us.”  -- (Romans: 3: 25.).
God loves you so much that He sent His Son to earth to die for your sins. But the grave could not contain Him, for three days later Jesus Christ arose from the grave conquering eternal death. Christ's sacrifice on the cross is that payment for our sins that will give all who believe on Christ as the risen Lord the right to eternal life with God and Christ.  If you believe that Jesus Christ died and arose from the grave and that He is now back in Heaven preparing a place for you, then you have been Saved. All you have to do now, is to tell someone that you have repented of your sins and have accepted Christ as your Savior, and that Christ is now truly living within your heart. Congratulations! You are a child of God’s.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Importance of Communication within Relationships


I have been remiss in communicating with you the last three weeks. That is because I have been very busy communicating with my Bible Study group and with others. That is not an excuse, but just the reason that I haven’t gotten this blog out sooner. I should know better, because communication is extremely important in life. Without communication we cannot develop relationships, and without the development of some type of relationship we cannot actively mentor another person. As we have discussed in the past, relationships are not only very important in our own lives, but are also important to the lives of other people as well.  In fact, it is extremely important to develop relationships with other women not only in order to be there for them when they need help, but in order to be able to communicate with them so we can know when they need our help.

Communication is how we develop a relationship with another person, i.e., if we know how to communicate with respect and kindness. Communication covers so many different avenues or methods, and we are not limited to only one type of communication. For example, we can talk directly to another person, we can tell someone else to let another person know that we are thinking about them or praying for them, we can pick up the telephone and call a person, or we can text the person, especially if we don’t have time to talk on the phone.

In our technological world today, there are even more ways to communicate than the previous tried and true ways of communication in the past. We can now communicate using such things as twitter, emails, messenger, Facebook, Snap-Chat, Skype and a few others besides just the tried and true methods of face-to-face communication, telephoning, actual letter writing or the writing of notes of support that we can send out to someone when they are needed. With all the latest technology and the ease of staying in contact with another person, one would think that actual communication would be even greater than it has been in the past. However, that isn’t necessarily the case. Today, we often fail to communicate adequately, let alone communicate to understand what someone is going through or thinking. 

Yes, we have all these new technological communicating methods or tools, but in our fast-paced and often ungrateful and rude society, these various technological means of communication have just allowed us to by-pass decency, concern, caring, etiquette, and kindness. Instead, of taking the time to talk to people and to discuss our differences or ideas on certain subjects, many people now use these new communication tools as a quick means of saying hateful things, of posting some political rhetoric, of showing others how stupid they think that someone is, or as a quick method of supporting some agenda. Those so-called newer methods of communication often just end up encouraging hateful words and personal diatribes of communication, which are often used as a means of telling someone how superior the so-called communicator thinks he/she is over another person.

In the end the one who is posting all the hateful words via twitter, emails, texting, etc. is not really communicating (i.e. they are not allowing for an actual back and forth discussion that allows both parties to glean some type of understanding from each other or that will allow one or both parties to learn something new about the other person.). Instead, some people who are using the new fast and simple means of communication are actually telling the world about their insecurities, hurts, and anger, as well as sometimes presenting their lack of etiquette and couthfulness to the world.

Communication as a Two-way Endeavor

What happened to just common courtesy or simple caring about another person? Part of the problem is that we have forgotten that true communication is supposed to be a two-way endeavor. Rather than just saying or shouting out what we want to say, we need to think about the other person and we should want to hear their response to our statements or questions. And instead of thinking that everyone else should want to hear what we have to say, we should want to hear what the other person with whom we are communicating has to say and what their opinions are on different subjects that are supposed to be discussed. That doesn’t mean that we have to immediately accept what they have said as the answer to all our questions or as a means of perceiving the world around us the way that they do, but it should mean that we are willing to mull over what they have said and then politely explain why we agree or disagree with their thought process on the subject matter.

Running down another person has never gotten anyone anywhere and it certainly will not make friends. Many times it just shows their ignorance. Moreover, not being willing to even engage in a give or take conversation will actually stop the conversation in its tracks.  And, if the conversation ends in belittling or yelling, either on one side or both sides, one or both of the two people trying to communicate have just made themselves an enemy or at the very least have given the other person a reason to never want to talk to them again.

When God gave us voices and brains with which to form logical sentences and to be able to communicate with each other, He did not plan on us belittling, conniving, and ultimately hurting each other with our words just because we have the vocal ability to do so within our ability to communicate. But, God did know that all (i.e., each) of us would have to overcome living in this fallen world after Adam and Eve sinned. Part of the overcoming of the evil within this fallen world is the ability to overcome the evil that is within ourselves; such as selfishness, sinfulness, jealousy, immorality, idol worship, pride, greed, and the desire for power over others among the many other fleshly evils and sinfulness that can arise in the hearts of men and women.

Salvation and Heavenly Bodies

There is only one way to overcome our fleshly desires and our innate evil and that is through the Cross. We are all born sinners and can only be forgiven of our sins through belief on the One and only Son of God, Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for our sins. Christ arose from the grave and overcame eternal death. In belief on Christ, we can have eternal life. In fact, through Jesus Christ each of us can live better and more caring lives here on earth knowing that we will one day reside in Heaven with God and His Son, Jesus Christ, when we discard our physical bodies in this earthly death, or if Jesus returns before we die here on earth we know we will receive new heavenly bodies in the air. For, if we have believed in Jesus Christ as the risen Son of God who is now in Heaven preparing a place for us, we will never die again, because we will live forever, i.e., eternally with Christ.

Our earthly bodies, which die and decay, will be different when they are resurrected, for they will never die. Our bodies now disappoint us, but when they are raised, they will be full of glory. They are weak now, but when they are raised, they will be full of power. They are natural human bodies now, but when they are raised, they will be spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, so also there are spiritual bodies. … It will happen in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will be transformed so that we will never die. For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die.” 
-- (I Corinthians 15: 42-44, 52-54. NLT).

Do you know Christ as your Savior? If not, you can communicate with God and Jesus Christ through prayer asking for Christ to forgive you of your sins and then being willing to accept Christ's Salvation. If you still need some help understanding the path to Salvation, please reach out to a born-again Christian. That Christian can share the Gospel message with you and pray with you. “For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For, it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.”  -- (Romans 10: 9-10.

Communication is Important for any Type of Active Mentoring.

Whether you are sharing the Gospel message, helping another person through some trial or just helping empower them to be able to do something they could not do before, you need to be able to communicate with them. Good communication requires a heart that cares and is willing to listen to what the other person has to say. Only through two-way discussions are people able to listen and learn from each other. The same is true when it comes to listening to God and the Holy Spirit and then talking to Him about your needs. And, just like we are to praise God for the great and wonderful God that He is and for all the things that He does for us, we are to also be willing to praise our mentees for their accomplishments and their willingness to learn.

When mentoring another person, whether it is a friend, a spouse, a child, or co-worker, we have to be able to communicate with them in a way that does not alienate them or hurt them. We also have to be willing to listen to what the other person has to say and then be willing to hear their needs within their communication with us. We certainly cannot allow pride in ourselves or pride in what we think that we know to keep us from being caring, kind, and understanding listeners. And, sometimes we have to throw out preconceived ideas about a person or the subject matter in order to get to the truth and to understand the other person better.

The failure to communicate with the other person, i.e., the mentee, can destroy a relationship or it can keep a mentoring relationship from forming. Yes, communication takes time. It takes time out of our own lives, but the reward of gracious, kind, and caring communication with a mentee is greater than we can even imagine when we see the mentee being empowered to be more than they ever thought they could be.

So, whether you are communicating with your friend, your spouse, your child, a family member, a co-worker, or even an acquaintance, please remember that true communication is not only you doing the talking, but is also allowing the person with whom you wish to communicate with to talk too. For good communication is a two-way street, and it is also having the determination to try to understand that other person and their needs and desires. Good communication has nothing to do with anger, hatefulness, meanness, or selfishness. Now, go out and communicate for God.