Human Nature Demands that someone will, in your lifetime:
1. Betray You
2. Deny your friendship/relationship when the heat is on
3. Abandon you in your time of need for selfish reasons
"Then they all forsook Him and fled." Matthew 26:56
The Lord Jesus invested so much in His relationship with 12 men (His disciples/Apostles) and look at what He went through with them in the end. The Lord more than understands the hurtful, painful things we experience in friendships and family relationships. Even among believers we can and will go through much of the same. The Lord understands the things people will sacrifice where a relationship with you is concerned.
Not everyone hangs around you for pure reasons. This was true of Judas Iscariot. We see that the love of money caused him to betray his relationship with Christ.
The Lord foretold for Peter what his reaction would be when the heat was on. Peter really thought that he was capable of a faithful, dedicated relationship with the Lord. He meant it at the time, but when the challenge came, he denied Jesus. The disciple who laid his head on the breast of the Lord (John), he too fled and forsook the Lord.
In Luke 22 we read the account of what took place with Peter's denial (vs. 31-34; 54-62).
It is true that whatever the Lord Jesus suffered on earth, His followers will suffer much of the same. He tells us to prepare to suffer many things as a Christian. We must not be surprised when we are hated, rejected, scorned, disowned, cursed, and lied on by those who know not Christ as personal Savior. It will hurt, especially when it comes from those of our own family or those, we were close with. As a Christian we will have to make certain decisions and choices that won't go over easy with people. They will almost always label us as thinking that we're:
1. Better than others
2. Full of ourselves (prideful)
3. Looking down on others
These are the comments we may receive from those in the world who don't understand our need to separate from anything or anyone that goes against the lifestyle we have chosen to live.
As for the Disciples, they were afraid and reacted based on fear. Peter had great remorse and regret for having done so. He wept bitterly. Judas on the other hand, was riddled with guilt and tried to undo what he'd done and when that failed, he committed suicide. There's a difference between guilt and remorse. They are not one in the same. Remorse leads to repentance while guilt terrorizes the individual to no end. Remorse is being sorrowful for what you did. A guilty conscience just leaves you in turmoil and you aren't saying you are sorry for anything because you don't acknowledge any wrongdoing.
Are you willing and ready to take a bold stand for what is right as a Christian? Are you able to lose relationships to follow the Lord God? Can you take the ridicule, rejection and the ostracizing from unbelievers as well as believers? Why have I thrown 'believers' into the equation? I added them there because not every Christian is an obedient child of God. Some are worldly and saved by profession of faith only. Some may not be really saved and have a resemblance of a Christian by way of attending church, serving and talking the talk. Some believers hate their brother. We read of that in 1 John 3:9-11.
Let us draw near to God and He promises to draw near to us. Let's keep a strong and steady prayer life in order to receive the strength and help we need in times of challenge. Ask God to help you to be bold and courageous no matter what. He is faithful, He will help us to do just that.
"The ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people."
"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established, by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches." Proverbs 21:3-4
Nations are comprised of families and families are comprised of individual people. When we look at the nations around us, what do we see? When we look at the particular State we live in, what do we see? When we look at the city we dwell in, what do we see? When we look at the community we live in, what have we learned? Each is a characteristic of the families within them.
Things have degenerated to the point where we can only speak to a portion of individuals or families around us that mirror morality, respect with character.
We cannot change what is, but we can make sure that we make a profitable, healthy contribution to society. We are responsible for ourselves.
You can grow up in the worst of situations, but cannot blame ill behavior, disrespect and lawlessness on the individuals who raised you. Each person knows wrong from right. Life is about choices and we each are free to make them. The challenge is in making the right choices in every area of our lives.
Parents have the awesome responsibility to raise their children in an environment that will breed
love, respect, and morality. Children, more than not, will do as their parents. Even if they hated their upbringing, many still end up repeating the cycle of abuse, dysfunction and broken homes. It takes a strong person to do better than their parents, to prosper better than their parents, and to make better choices than their parents made with them.
The bible says it takes wisdom, understanding and knowledge in order to build one's house. There are so many ingredients that are necessary to have a happy home, a peaceful home with everyone intact. It takes hard work to not give in to the negative environment around us and it takes saying 'No' to many things and even saying 'No' to people to achieve this. Sometimes separation is needful for your own sanity and survival.
Our society, our nation and our world are broken and wrought with so much pain. Jesus is the answer for what ails the world. Again, life is about choices. It's up to people to decide what kind of life they want. But let us not be fooled, for what a man sows, he will surely reap, more than he's sown and longer than he's sown it. That's the danger that faces wrong decisions. Take a look at what your life has become. Is it what you want it to be? Why not? What could you have changed to make life better for yourself? Perhaps you're reaping the consequences of good choices and are enjoying the fruits of it. That's the way to live out life.
By the time we are 40 years old, all the bad habits we've nurtured up until then will undoubtedly plague us for the rest of our lives. Bad habits are hard to break, and good habits are hard to break as well. By the time we reach middle age, our behavior, speech, and attitude are engrained in us and we're hard press to stop doing certain things and behaving in certain ways. If we're raising children, they too will follow our lead in the same way, more than not. If we are known for lying, they too will practice lying, and it goes on and on. All of these things impact a city, a state, a nation, and all of the world.
We as humans can break the cycle of dysfunction and a bad upbringing. It will take work, discipline, and a hate for all that is bad to accomplish that. I advise that you be strong and do it!
John 4:39-42 The Samaritan Woman's Testimony
"And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified." (vs. 39)
What is your testimony? When last did you share it? Do you know the power it holds?
It's a privilege to be called upon to share your testimony with others. Whether you're sharing it one on one in a conversation, or a group, or larger audience, it is a privilege to do so.
God doesn't save the soul of a person and leave the past events of their lives without purpose. He uses everything for His honor and His glory. If we have truly been delivered from darkness, we will share our story of what we were saved from. The past has much to do with the present. Before we were saved, each of us represented many in the world who are in darkness with a death sentence over them. We must be willing to share the manifold grace of God upon our lives.
Ask the Lord to open doors where you can share your testimony with others. You can also carve out opportunities for yourself. Write your testimony in Track form, or in a memoir, or go on You Tube and record it there. Technology is wonderful in that regard. We can get the word out and never have to leave our home.
The woman at the well had no reservations about sharing her personal encounter with the Lord Jesus. She was beyond impressed with His words and knowledge, He looked right into her soul, and He told her who she was. She could not get over that. She had to run and tell others of the one who told her everything she ever did.
Are you going to go and tell likewise? You may have been saved for a day or for many years; will you run and tell others of the deliverance and salvation that was given to you?
Our testimony is ongoing. It picks up more paragraphs and chapters the longer we walk with God. My testimony ended up encompassing two books on Amazon. Since the last record of it, more experiences of God's power and love has occurred. We are continually writing our testimony. It would be a shame to keep it to oneself and not share it with others.
Do you know the power your testimony has?
"But He answered and said, it is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."
In these troubled times God's Word never changes. Everything else around us is changing and not for the better. Nevertheless, God's Word to us remains the same. Churches have emptied out, some are trying to reopen, millennials continue to leave the churches they once attended, some older believers are remaining at home due to health conditions and feel the need to not expose themselves to the strains of viruses that are plaquing us. Yet, there are others who are done with going to church period.
Not long ago our churches had a full-on schedule of programs and events, but much of that has ceased. Even before Covid-19 hit, there was a big shift and exodus from local gatherings for various reasons. Our churches have become smaller in number, and some are greatly discouraged by this. We mourn the loss and physical presence of many, and we don't understand what's happening.
What is the main draw for attending church? Why do we go? What does it do for us when we are there? Is it the activities that we live for? Is it the overall environment of bodies in the building that make it worth the while? Is it the social circle we've developed over the years? What is it?
While Jesus was being tempted by Satan during His fast, He quoted the above verse. Man shall not live by...... it made me think of the things that spell substance to us. What is our 'Bread' so to speak? Sometimes what we fill up on is the churches itinerary with events and activities, music, and relationships. When that's gone, one could feel like there's nothing left to attend church for.
The Lord specifically states to Satan where true life and sustenance comes from. It comes from feeding on the Word of God! When all else fails that will suffice and be enough for us. I get it, that is not what we want to hear. We want to hear things are going to change and return to what they once were. We want the church to be filled with people again and a resuming of all activities.
How much time are we investing in our spiritual lives? Are we feeding daily on the Bible or are we walking around without a spiritual meal? That's where the rubber meets the road. We can have as much of God as we want. The choice is ours. It is reading and meditating on the Word of God that will sustain us through hard times, economically challenging times, times of dearth in the church and times when the world is in chaos. There's no other way to be sustained as a Christian. After we've read God's Word, we have to set out to obey it. If we're not ready to obey God, we put ourselves in real jeopardy. God will force Himself on no man.
Things may never go back to what they were, and we do know that things will get much worse as we move forward. To be encouraged, to have joy despite what's going on around us, requires that we stay in the Word, prayed up and walking in the Spirit so that we will hear what the Lord God wants to say to us. In order for God to use you and I, we must sit in His presence each and every day. That makes all the difference. The things going on around us and in the world should not shape our lives as Christians.
Many biblical heroes were called, as adults, by God to accomplish His perfect will.
Moses was called to lead the children of Israel.
Jonah was called to preach to the Ninevites.
The disciples were called to minister with Jesus.
Finally, Paul was called to declare the gospel to the Gentiles.
I, however, like Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, was called to suffer. This fact was discovered as a child as I was Abandoned, Abused, and Rejected!
Imagine being called to suffer as a child!
Where was God?
How come He didn't help me?
This is only a part of my testimony. I continue to live the life I am called by God to live. I can now say that I wouldn't exchange my life for any other for I am loved by God. He proves it to me over and over and over again.
May you trace the hand of God, connect the dots, as you look over your entire life to this point. I trust that you too will see how much God loves you!
JESUS LOVES ME, THIS I KNOW
Jesus Loves me, this I know,
for the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to him belong;
they are weak, but he is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.
So how are you doing? The tragedy continues. Man continues to hate and destroy life that God has so graciously given.
I don't know how you see the world around you, but from my window, nothing is getting better. Sin has reached its boiling point and ready to spill out on anyone in its way.
The tragic ending of 10 lives who were simply going about the dailiness of life is heart breaking to say the least. The heart of man that is far from God is filled with hatred. Some are so consumed with it that Satan stirs the pot and fills their mind with evil actions.
"Jesus still is the answer for the world today; above Him there's no other, Jesus is the way" (lyric from Andrae Crouch).
As Christians, we cannot live in fear. We must trust the Lord as we go about our daily tasks. If we've neglected a prayer life in the past, it's time to engage in one now. Prayer along with meditating on God's promises, will sustain and keep you and me. It's imperative that we lean hard on the Lord in these troubled times. The Word of God tells us that we are in difficult and dangerous times. 2 Timothy 3:1-13 describes what this looks like. Perilous means full of danger, hazardous conditions, menacing, threatening, and unsafe. This clearly speaks to what we are experiencing no matter what part of the world we live in.
My encouragement for us all is to keep our eyes on the Lord and obey what He asks of us. Sit in His presence daily. Pray throughout the day and trust Him to travel with us on the trains, buses and in our vehicles. We need Him more than we realize. We need His protection over our families, on the job, in the schools, and in the church building. Sometimes we take these things for granted, but we can no longer do so for Satan is sending evil and wicked men into our church buildings to destroy the people of God. It happened in Charleston some years ago, other southern states, and yet again this week in a Taiwan church.
If you happened upon this website and you know not Christ as your personal Savior, please make no delay. Stop and read the Poster at the top with the verse that states that God so loved the world. When you get to the part that says, 'whosoever believeth', you are the whosoever. God is ready and willing to take your burdens and exchange them for peace, joy, and eternal life. All you have to do is believe that He is the son of God and that He paid the price for your sins on the cross that you might go free. Accept His offer of salvation today while there still is time. Tomorow is not promised to you.
*I do not own the copyrights to the above photo*
Romans 12:1-2 (CEV)
"My Christian friends, God has been very kind to us. Because of that, I really want you to serve God with your whole life. Offer your bodies to him like a sacrifice that continues to live. Serve him with everything that you have and that will please him. That is the true way to worship God.
Do not become like the people who belong to this world but let God completely change the way that you think, so that you live differently. Then you will understand what God wants you to do. You will know what is good. You will know what pleases God. You will know what is completely right."
If I were to ask you if you resemble people in the world, you will quickly answer "No"! You will also let me know that you are a Christian, blood bought, and fear the Lord God. Praise God for that! But I'd like to share some of the ways we Christians are resembling the world. Conformity doesn't always come in the form of the 'big things' or 'bad things'. Sometimes it comes in more subtle ways.
Let me preface my remarks by saying that technology has been helpful and useful, and I appreciate all that it helps me to do that I couldn't have done years ago. The downside to technology is that it has introduced, those of us who participate by having its devices, to great distractions and has made us mentally lazy at times. What do I mean by this? For example, I get more You Tube videos with religious messages than ever. Are they good? Profitable? They can be at times, but I'd much rather that individual pick up the phone and share a word with me that the Lord has laid on their hearts. That's where the power lies, that's the life changing stuff that impacts my heart, my mind and my soul. While the You Tube video is someone else's thoughts given to them by God and flows through cyberspace over and over again. Some believers think that this is the way to go when trying to encourage someone. They may even feel as though sharing these videos allows them to share fellowship and is counted as service to God.
I don't think God had social media tools in mind when He commanded us to encourage one another and edify one another in spiritual things. We cannot use the excuse of a Pandemic because this has been going on long before Covid-19 struck. Have we become lazy as Christians? Are we sitting in His presence, hearing His voice daily and enjoying fellowship with God? If so, why are we resorting to online video messages primarily as a way to pass along God's thoughts?
We have conformed to the ways and practices of the world whether we want to believe it or not. Many of us don't even communicate by hearing the other person's voice on the phone. We send a text instead. We call that 'keeping in touch', 'checking in', 'talking to' or 'hearing from'. This is not what God calls fellowship. Many of us don't have people over for dinner like we use to or make time for getting together. Bible study groups have lessened and dwindled. What I noticed that has increased majorly over the years has been group travels. While nothing is wrong with traveling with groups of friends; it's important to have down time, we seem to make time for it, plan for it, and it's on some of our must do list.
Technology is useful as I said earlier, but when it gets to the point where we are inseparable from our cell phones and are impacted by clicks and likes on social media or checking in regularly to see who is paying attention to our posts, that's conforming to the world by way of our behavior. When it gets to the point where we are following all the social media advice on how to sell our product, or how to get noticed, find the right circles, or how to get more clicks, we have conformed to the ways and practices of the world.
The ways of the world will cause us to ignore God and the things He has given us to do. Our occupation will be so consumed by investing in Bit coins and Cryptocurrency. Satan has devised these things to occupy the minds and hearts of people to the point where there is no thought of God. Christians are getting caught up with the same mentality. Satan is hoping to distract us and make us invest in things that will bring us wealth and prosperity. Little by little we will find ourselves trusting in these things and not in the Lord and the promises of His Word.
The perspective of Christians is changing more and more. Many are turning from the God of the Bible to the God of this world. The falling away is in full swing. Individuals who once believed and served God are now walking away from spiritual things. Even believers are failing to invest in the care of other believers as they ought. The phone calls have stopped, but if there is something to criticize or put one in the position to give advice, you may get an isolated phone call from them. This is not what God had in mind when He gave us the following scriptures:
John 13:34-35 "Love one another, everyone will know you are my disciples if you love one another." This cannot be done via You Tube videos or texting. What are unbelievers observing from you?
Romans 12:10 "Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor." This is a sincere and pure love that involves being around one another, helping one another, when need be, praying for one another and interacting with one another.
Philippians 2:4 "Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." Are we spending enough time around one another to know what the other needs?
Galatians 5:13 "Carry one another's burdens." Are we praying together? Do we have prayer partners?
1 Peter 4:9 " Be hospitable to one another without complaining." It's important to get together for home Bible study, and fellowship. Merely socializing isn't going to help anyone spiritually. Use Zoom for Bible study to edify one another.
There are many scriptures that speak to the things we should be conforming to. God intended that in renewing our minds, we would think more in terms of what pleases Him and what builds His kingdom not Satan's. Let us re-evaluate how we're doing what we're doing and make the necessary changes that will honor God.
Are You Standing Out?
"The weak you have not strengthened, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them."
What a sad picture of the extent of where things got to in Israel, among the Lord's people. The scripture goes on to say, "So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth and no one was seeking or searching for them" (Ezekiel 34: 5-8).
What is the spiritual work of a shepherd, also known as an overseer, or spiritual leader in the local church/assembly? The spiritual work of a shepherd is to feed the flock, strengthen the weak, bind up the wounds of the broken and to go after the sheep who have wandered away.
There were shepherds in Israel who failed to do this. These shepherds were acting as though the sheep personally belonged to them. They were neglectful of the flock. The sheep belong to God. 1 Peter 5:2-3 says, "Shepherd the flock of God, which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock." These shepherds were unfaithful and lacked concern for the flock.
In Israel some of these shepherds used coercion, forms of manipulating the sheep, threatening them which is cruelty at best. As a result, God pronounced punishment as a judgement against them via the mouth of the prophet, Ezekiel (during the Babylonian captivity).
What does that look like in our time? We have some of the same failings among the people of God where the sheep are concerned. There are shepherds who are ungodly shepherds. They neither risk nor sacrifice themselves for the sheep. They may even act as though the sheep belong to them and they can respond to them or not respond to them as they please. Some shepherds feed themselves and not the flock and for this God says He will hold them responsible for such actions.
But here is a most blessed word from God himself. He says, "I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. I will feed them in good pasture, I will feed them and make them lie down. I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick;" (Ezekiel 34:11-16). Praise the Lord God for this!! Yes, this right here!!
How many instances have sheep among the flock been neglected.? Their bleating's gone unheard, and their brokenness ignored broke the heart of God. And what about the sheep that went astray? Sometimes sheep are fickle and silly like that, they get separated from the flock and wander off. They become distracted. Who goes after them? Who tries to find them? And beloved, what about the ones who were driven away? Who even cared to bear their concerns or to hear them out? Who tried to sit down with them for God's sake? Is God disturbed by this? Yes, He is! The sheep belong to God, and He expects the shepherds, the overseers, the leaders to care for His sheep. So, what happens when there is failure in this matter? What does God do about it?
God goes after the sheep and rescues them from whatever situations they're in! This is so precious to me because I have firsthand experience with The Good Shepherd, The Good Shepherd who didn't rest at just giving His life for me. He continued to shepherd me. Praise The Lord! For He, He alone, not only came after me as a wandering sheep, He, on another occasion bound up my wounds and provided good pasture for me to feed in.
Let all who assume positions in the church as shepherds, leaders, and overseers take this very seriously; sheep belong to God, and He expects you to risk and sacrifice for them when need becomes evident. God expects that none of His sheep will be abandoned, ignored, or neglected for any reason. God loves and cherishes His flock of sheep, and He expects that you will do the same. God's sheep are priceless and hold much value in His eyes. No sheep are insignificant, useless, or not needed. There is no respect of persons when it comes to God and His sheep.
May God help us to love and value what He loves and values, and remember, we must give an account of how we handle the Lord's people!
"I may be able to speak different languages that people or angels speak. But that is worth nothing if I do not love other people. I would only be making a loud noise, like someone who hits a piece of metal. I may be able to speak messages from God. I may understand all God's secret things and know all facts. I may have great faith so that I trust God enough to move mountains. But I am nothing if I do not love others. I may give all my things to help poor people. I may let other people take my body to burn it. But that would not help me if I do not love others."
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (EASY)
Are we noise makers in the ears of others; always having a bible verse to apply to everyone's situation? Do we go around spouting biblical knowledge and feeling proud of ourselves as we hear our own voices? Are you and I simply just a bible toting Christian without empathy, patience, and understanding? Do others feel loved by us?
It has been the habit of some to lean so heavily on the doctrinal side of things and forget that the example the Lord showed, when He walked this earth, was one of humility, grace, and empathy for others. The Lord came to give the knowledge and much needed information concerning God, His father, along with the Good News of Salvation. His message was not void of empathy. He brought also the Social Gospel, the one that fed the people, clothed the people and healed the people. Jesus met the everyday needs of people and that made His doctrine all the more impactful.
Are we sensitive to the needs of others or are we only interested in our own things? Are we prideful and boastful of our spiritual gifts and abilities and want to put them on display as often as possible? Any 'Yeses' to these questions means that we are 'Clanging Cymbals'; we are noise makers in the ears of others. We are also hypocrites because the words we speak do not match the way we handle and treat others. We see others as merely audience members who we want to look up to us while we look down on them.
If we love people, we will be patient with them. We will encourage them every opportunity we get because we want to see them thrive and grow, becoming more like Christ. If we love people, we will be kind. Jealousy would never enter the picture. We will put their interests and concerns above our own. There would be no interest or desire to please ourselves. We wouldn't be quick to become angry neither would we be glad when something bad happens to them, instead we would weep with them in times of sadness and rejoice with them in times of happiness (vs. 4-7).
There is an old saying that states, "People don't care how much you know, they only want to know how much you care." God is telling us by way of these scriptures, that if love isn't the motive behind the use of our gift, we are not being impactful at all. People eventually will want us to shut up, sit down and be quiet. Clanging cymbals grate on the ears and create headaches. The sound is annoying and aggravating to say the least.
Let's look within ourselves and search our hearts to see if the real reason behind what we do is laced with love or pride. Love or look at me. Love or I'm great. Love or jealousy. Love or envy. Love or the need for attention. Love or I need to fill a void within me.
Are you a CLANGING CYMBAL?
*No copyright infringement intended*
"But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil-doer or as a meddler in other men's matters." 1 Peter 4:15 (ERV)
There are consequences for gossiping about others. Passing along information you either heard, or that was told directly to you in confidence will costs you something.
Gossipers, tattlers, and busy bodies are dangerous people! They cause injury to others and generally they dislike or hate the ones they talk about. Let's visit a story in the Old Testament where gossiping became dangerous.
In 1 Samuel 22:7, 17, 21, we read of an account when David was running from King Saul. Apparently, David was in Nob and Doeg, the Edomite, who was over Saul's servants, told Saul that he saw David going to Nob to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, to inquire of the Lord from him. He went on to say that Ahimelech gave David food and the sword of Goliath, the Philistine.
Saul now feels as if Ahimelech has conspired against him because he helped David and threatens Ahimelech with death. Saul goes mad and orders that the priests of the Lord be killed because they helped David. Doeg the Edomite killed not only the priests of the Lord, 85 men who wore the linen ephod, but also their wives, children, nursing infants, oxen, donkeys and sheep with the edge of the sword. What a blood bath! This was all because Doeg gossiped, tattled, and meddled in the business between King Saul and David! Many lost their lives that day!
Don't minimize the act of gossiping for it is dangerous, and injurious. The damage it does cannot be undone. We forget that God is the silent listener to every conversation we have with others. "And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13).
Remember, careless talk will always lead you into sin. "Set a guard over my mouth LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips" (Psalm 141:3). This needs to be the prayer request we make to the Lord daily in order to refrain from speaking evil about people.
"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear" (Ephesians 4:29).
The tendency is to believe that being a busy body, tattler, or gossiper is what 'Women' do; not all together true. There are men who do much of the same and in my opinion, it's even more disgusting.!