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Sunday, November 22, 2020

God Speaks--Blessings


It is the time of year when we begin to focus our attention on the blessings in our lives. This year in particular has been a difficult one in which to find many blessings. We often get so wrapped up in our sorrows and problems, that we forget to focus on the good things.  An old hymn, written in 1867, may be a needed one this year. "Count Your Blessings" was written in 1897 by Johnson Oatman, Jr, and I can only imagine it was sung quite often at the beginning of the 20th century. The country in the first 20 years of the 20th century certainly had gone through a lot, including a World War and a world-wide pandemic.

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done. 

Psalm 2:12--"But blessings await all who trust in HimThey will find God a gentle refuge."


Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, ev'ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by. 

Psalm 5:12--"You, O Eternal, are the One who lays all good things in the laps of the right-hearted. Your blessings surround them like a shield."


When you look at others with their lands and gold,

Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

Psalm 92:7--"That evil men sprout like grass and wicked men flourish, only so that they will be doomed forever." 

Psalm 128:4--"Such are the blessings the Eternal lavishes on those who stand in awe of Him!"


So, amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.

Psalm 67:7--"God is the source of our blessings; may every corner of the earth respect and revere Him."


Count your blessings, name them one by one;

Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

Psalm 115:15--"May the blessings of the Eternal, maker of heaven and earth, be on you."







Sunday, November 8, 2020

God Speaks Amid Politics


What I am about to present is purely my OPINION! It is mine and I have a right to have it (at least for now). You have the right to agree or disagree. It requires no fact-checking unless you want to look up Bible verses. I will not be bashing any particular people or sides, only presenting what I feel led to present.

I have felt led for some time to address this and feel that now is the right time. Whether you are happy with the recent election results or not, I believe that as Christians it is our duty and responsibility to pray for those who lead our states and our country. I prayed for the leadership under the Obama administration, just as I did under the Trump administration, and will continue to do under the Biden administration. 


1 Timothy 2:1-2 (The Voice)--"So, first and foremost, I urge God’s people to pray. They should make their requests, petitions, and thanksgivings on behalf of all humanity. Teach them to pray for kings (or anyone in high places for that matter) so that we can lead quiet, peaceful lives—reverent, godly, and holy—all of which is good and acceptable before the eyes of God our Savior"

This post goes beyond that, however. If you are a Christian thinking about what changes MAY happen to our country in the next few years, let me give you a word of encouragement and again, my OPINION!. I do believe that we do not have long to celebrate or worry (depending on your political preference). I firmly believe that the day of Christ's return is fast approaching. I'm not even sure we have to worry about the next presidential election. Each generation, it seems, regards theirs as the one in which Christ will return, but now more than ever many prophecies are being fulfilled. Besides the return of Israel as a nation, plans are being made for implantation of chip readers in the skin, which many attribute to being a part of the "mark of the beast" or the sign of the anti-christ. 


The whole political unrest of our own country and the loss of what many consider to be traditional values and morals is here. I attribute the political unrest, not to a particular person or party, but to the workings of the devil and his desire to gain as many souls as he can.  The Bible describes folks in the last days:

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (The Voice)--"And know this: in the last days, times will be hard. You see, the world will be filled with narcissistic, money-grubbing, pretentious, arrogant, and abusive people. They will rebel against their parents and will be ungrateful, unholy, uncaring, coldhearted, accusing, without restraint, savage, and haters of anything good. Expect them to be treacherous, reckless, swollen with self-importance, and given to loving pleasure more than they love God. Even though they may look or act like godly people, they’re not. They deny His power. I tell you: Stay away from the likes of these."

Matthew 24:12 (The Voice)--"The love that they had for one another will grow cold because few will obey the law."

2 Peter 3:3 (ESV)--"knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires."


The point of this diatribe is not to scare anyone, but merely to point out that I BELIEVE the time of Christians on earth is very limited. For those who believe, we will be spared the "really bad stuff", but for those who don't believe when Jesus calls believers up, the worst is yet to come. Please be sure you are ready when Christ calls His believers up! If you are not sure you are ready, or not sure how to know you are ready, please feel free to leave a comment or fill out the contact form and I will get back to you.



Monday, September 28, 2020

God Speaks Forgiveness


Have you ever forgiven someone?  Has someone ever forgiven you?  I suspect the answer to both of these is YES.  Forgiveness is the "intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, and overcomes negative emotions such as resentment and vengeance."  There are a couple key words in or missing from this definition. First, this definition is missing the sadness.  Forgiveness does not eliminate sadness; it eliminates resentment and vengeance. There can still be feelings of sadness after offering forgiveness and that's okay.  The other key words IN the definition are "intentional" and "voluntary".  Forgiveness does not usually just come upon someone...it is an intentional and voluntary act.  Forgiveness is a choice! 

According to an article put out by hopkinsmedicine.org, your very health is dependent on whether or not you choose to forgive.  Per the article, unforgiveness can lead to heart attack, poor sleep, and higher levels of pain, blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and stress.  Forgiveness, on the other hand, calms stress levels, which in turn, eases the other symptoms.  The article goes on to say, “It is an active process in which you make a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings whether the person deserves it or not,”

From a science standpoint we can see that forgiveness is good and necessary.  Right in line with the thinking of science is what God has to say about forgiveness.  It is good and necessary.  There are many verses in the Bible that deal with forgiveness. All throughout the Old Testament, God continually forgives the nation of Israel for things they do against His will. He is constantly giving second (and sometimes third, fourth, fifth) chances.  God often declares His sadness at the misdoings of Israel, but there is never a time He refuses to forgive them.  If our family or children acted out against us as often as the nation of Israel did against God, we may be tempted to reach a point where we just can not forgive anymore, but God does not reach that point.  The people of Israel always see the error of their ways and ask for mercy from God and He always intentionally and voluntarily gives it.


The New Testament talks about forgiveness as well, but in the NT the focus seems a little different.  In the NT, we are introduced to Jesus, God's Son.  He is still a part of the Godhead but has come to live on earth.  Jesus tells us that God wants us to live forever in heaven with them, but because of Adam and Eve and the choices they made, it is impossible as only perfect people can live in heaven and we all know, no one on this present earth is perfect. We ALL sin, or do bad things, in one way or another.  Some SEEM to have worse sins than others, but to God, all sins carry the same weight.  A sin is a sin is a sin!  These sins keep us from being perfect and keep us from gaining entrance to heaven.  God decided that the only way to solve this problem was for someone who WAS perfect to bridge the gap for us.  God sent Jesus, as the perfect one, to make this happen.  Jesus intentionally and voluntarily took the punishment for our bad things dying not only physically, but also going into Hell to overcome our punishment after our death.  Additionally, Jesus forgave us even before we were born.  Some of His last words on the cross were, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."  Most believe He was talking specifically about those who put Him on the cross, but He was likely also talking about ALL of those people in past and to come and the bad things they would do.  

Since this forgiveness came BEFORE we were born and before we had done anything wrong, it is up to us to realize and accept it.  I believe the time is coming quickly when we will no longer have the opportunity to receive this forgiveness that God and Jesus give to us.  Remember that God created Adam and Eve to have perfect fellowship with them.  They disobeyed God, humans then became imperfect and did and do bad things.  These bad things prevent us from living in a perfect world with God when we die.  Jesus forgave our bad things and made a way for us to live in the perfect world and all we need to do is realize and accept His forgiveness. 

If you are ready, but unsure how/what to pray, feel free to use this prayer or something similar.  "Jesus, I acknowledge that I do bad things and I thank you for forgiving me ahead of time.  Thank you for preparing the way for me to live in the perfect world with You and God.  I accept your forgiveness for the bad things I've done.  Help me to live each day more like You!  Amen."