Keeping up with the Kardashian’s

Mathew 19:16-22, 16 Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” the man asked.  And Jesus replied: “You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. 19 Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?” 21 Heinrich_Hofmann_Christ_and_the_Rich_Young_Ruler_525Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.”

It is so easy to fall into the trap of wanting to have stuff, the whole “Keeping up the Jones” has never been more real than today. Although it would be more realistic to call it

“Keeping up with the Kardashian’s”

kardashians

We see that money and objects as rewards for doing well in life.  You can find yourself getting lost in the idea that being successful means that you have expensive things, things that you place more value on than you do God.  Jesus said, “”Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Luke 9:58).  So, just because you have an expensive home and with 1000 sheet tread count does not mean that you have made it… We are called to be like Christ and that is the only thing that will fill that void in our lives that we are trying to fill with useless goods (that will be out of date next week).  Now I do not believe we are called to live in poverty (unless God tells you that directly) but I believe it is a matter of your heart.  The rich young rules had a heart issue that Jesus was trying to help him with.  Jesus did not tell everyone to sell all their stuff and follow Him but He did say you will have to sacrifice… “If anyone desires to follow me let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

To many think that money will raise them high on the pyramid of life…

new-rich

Many people are constantly seeking success, wealth, possessions, or perfection.  Sometimes people assume that if they could achieve one of these then the others will follow. Desiring to be better, have better, or do better can drive many to extremes in their life.  One day, while traveling along the coast of Judea, Jesus was approached by a young man seeking to know how eternal life could be achieved.  The Lord spoke to him about how he should follow the commandments of God.  The young man quickly replied, “I have done all this from my youth up!”  Sensing the young man was looking for more, Jesus told him that if he wanted to be perfect, he should go and sell all his possessions, giving the proceeds to the poor, and then return to follow him.  We all know how this story ends!  Having achievements in life can be wonderful and fulfilling.  But they do not perfect us and can many times create difficulty in our life.  Allowing achievement to overshadow our relationships with our family and the Lord can become very costly.  Perfection is found in the Lord, and success is found in balancing our desire for achievement with those things in life that are more important, such as our family.  How do you find this balance in your life?  Is there a time or season when achievement may be more important in an effort to provide more for your family?

FAMILY

Feelings…

By: Paul Grywalski

Feelings

Feeling destroyed from all my mistakes,
Feeling like life has no room for me,
Falling deeper into a trench I’ve dug,
Feeling lost, broken, and worthless,
I fall to my knees crawling to your feet,
I look up to your face tears flooding my eyes,
All my hope is diminished and my will to continue, gone,
I beg you to forgive me,
I beg you to restore me,
I beg you to fulfill me,begging
You lift me up high above the mountain that I’ve been tumbling down,
You wrap me in your warm embrace,
Drying my tears with the sun you created,
Washing away all my doubt and fear,
Flooding me with confidence,
Whispering “you are my son”,
“You are forgiven and I will never abandon you”,
Even though I don’t feel worthy of your love,
You show me the truth,
“My love for you is endless and unrelenting”,
My Lord, does not forsake me,
He will never forsake you either,
Faith and love is all you need,
I have lived in darkness,
I have lived in fear and depression,
I have done things that he hates and that have condemned me in the eyes of man,
God has still loved me,
He has never left me even when I ran far from him,
You can never run to far,
All that is required is to turn your head,
He is always right behind you,
You say you don’t know love,
He is,
You say you don’t know your father,
He is,
You say you don’t know happiness,
He is,
You say you don’t know your worth,
He is,
No matter what you fear, need, or want,
God is all of those,i amm
He will wash all of your sin away like a mighty flood,
He has done it before, he will do it again,
Truth is, he does it daily in all of us,
Every day after this one is a gift,
We need to recognize it for what it is,
We need to be thankful for all he does,
Unfortunately we aren’t,
He will not leave us though,
He is always here and very evident in our lives,
I pray for all of you, whether you know him or not,
He will redeem you, he will forgive you,
He is the one true father,
He made the ultimate sacrifice for us,
We could all be so fortunate to appreciate that more,
In the name of his son I pray that you will all recognize this,
Thank you Lord for the life you have created for me,
Amen!

There is a way that seems right…

“We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.   People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.  Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:1-3).

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            I find my strength in only one thing… I find strength and happiness in knowing that no matter what happens the Lord has my best interest at heart.  Even though I think I may know what I want God really knows what is best for me.  I make plans which I believe we are called to do but I believe that God gives me the right answer, which means I must be willing to change my expectations for God’s.  That is true strength.  People always think they know what is right for them so in their own eyes they are right and pure but the Holy Spirit inside of us tells us our motives.  If I never lose sight of God then know matter what I believe I truly will succeed.  It is easy to become prideful in our lives because we think that we can or did “it” on our own.  This is dangerous though because,

“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.”  (Proverbs 16:25)death

Not physical death because one out of one people will die… but spiritual death.  We must as believers know that we may do big things in life but our character has to match our calling of God because if it does not we will reach our calling and our character will not be strong enough to hold us there.  We need to know that it was because of God that we are able to have a calling in life.  It was not you and you alone… that’s why they say the pride comes before the fall.

When we hear the word perseverance we think of strength and power.  But where does that strength come from?  Do we find it in our own self-will?  Or do we discover this strength to persevere in the depths of our faith?  Proverbs chapter 16 has abundant advice for us on how to persevere in life.  We can be enticed to fall into traps throughout life that can weigh us down, and many of these snares are found in the form of worldly behavior.  The world tells us to stand in the face of adversity and laugh!  The Word of God shows us to kneel in the face of adversity and pray. prayer

Worldliness thrives on self-will and promotes defiance as the answer to all of life’s problems.  This type of pride and rebelliousness can set one up for the eventual fall.  Proverbs 16:25 informs us that there is a way that seems right to man, but that way leads to destruction.  As we prepare our hearts to follow the ways of the Lord by accepting his guidance and counsel, we will find the strength to persevere in all areas of our life.   Perseverance does not come from a hard exterior but rather from a soft heart that will receive the instruction of the Lord.

Do not talk about it Be about it!

walt

Philippians 4:6-7, “ Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

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 We are called to have a mind like Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16, “… But we have the mind of Christ.”  Imagine the experiences that Jesus had to go through in life being mocked and spit on and having people make fun of Him as He hung on a cross and died for them.  Bringing someone in to your inner circle only to have them betray you, while the whole time knowing that they were going to do it.  “Don’t worry about ANYTHING; instead pray about everything.  Tell God your needs, and thank him for all he has done” (Phil. 4:6).  This is just what Christ did, throughout the Gospels it tells us that Jesus retreated and prayed for hours at a time even up to the point that He was betrayed.  So if we are to have the mind of Christ and scripture says that we do we need to take this to heart.  There is nothing in life that is too BIG for God.  Life will try to get in the way of your relationship with God if you let it but if you let God take over your life nothing will be to HUGE for you to overcome.

chessIt has been said that what we experience in life is not as determinate upon our future as how we handle those experiences.  Our attitude toward faith, family, work, and education has a huge impact upon our life.  As Christians, we are encouraged to approach all facets of our life with the mind of Christ.  With this Christ-like worldview, we are able to react to experiences in our life in ways that will build us up rather than tear us down.

Philippians chapter four has incredible advice for us concerning attitude. Our busy lives can create a great deal of stress and anxiety.  Pursuing an education in addition to all the other daily activities we are involved with is no less stressful.

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However, within the Scripture we read that the peace of God, which passes all understanding, can be found.  How?  It is acquired through an attitude of prayer that is presented to God upon a foundation of thanksgiving.  The Scripture goes on to teach us that it is this peace which will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

strength

Your busy schedule will create frantic days at times.  But through an attitude of prayer, you will be able to approach these experiences with the mind of Christ.  As your Christ-like attitude steers the course of your life, you will find that attitude does indeed determine your altitude in all facets of life.  With this mindset the words of Philippians 4:13 come to life within our hearts and we can truly say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Holy Spirit vs. Angels

HOLY-SPIRIT-191606_630x298

 Let me start by telling you the end of the story first,

THE HOLY SPIRIT WINS EVERY TIME!

So If an angel from God himself came down and told you to do something you would probably listen right?  There are plenty of places in the Bible we can find this…

Ancient-Aliens-Angels-and-Aliens

                  The Bible gives several examples of angels coming down to earth and speaking to human being that were as average as you and I.  It was not until after the angel spoke to most of them and they listen to God that they did great things, earth changing things for the glory of God.  At the beginning of the Gospels there are many great example of this.  Before the Messiah could come there had to be a voice, “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3).  Well Zechariah was visited by an angel in his old age, “the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.” (Luke 1:13).  So Zacharias’ son John would be that voice.  He would prepare the way as the angel told Zacharias.

Following that example in the Gospels Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel.  In Luke 1:30, “The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.”  Mary had to believe what the angel was telling her, that she had favor from God and that she was going to bear The Son of God… That is a heavy pill to swallow yet after she stepped out in faith and believed that she would have the Messiah Jesus it took her to a places that she never thought possible.  Even to the point that we still speak about her thousands of years later.

Then you have Joseph, Mary’s future husband, imagine that you are about to be married and your soon to be wife tells you that she is pregnant and you know that it is not yours.  Not only is it not yours but she tells you that she has not slept with anyone and it was conceived by God.  I can only imagine the thoughts that would be going through the head of that young man at that very moment she told him that… but later an angel came to Joseph and spoke to him, “an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20).

So throughout the Bible there are many times when angels come and visit average people and have them do extraordinary things… Are you next!  WOULD YOU LISTEN TO AN ANGEL IF YOU WERE TOLD TO DO SOMETHING…

We would probably all say that we would listen to an angel if it came and spoke to us face to face just like those examples in the Bible… I mean how could we deny that it must be God telling us to do something.

Yet we have the Holy Spirit who is part of the trinity, who dwells inside of us.  In 1 Cor. 3:16 it tells us this,

Paul asks this is a question because he wants you to think about that fact that you are the temple of God…  So why is it that we all would say that if an angel came down and talked to us that we would listen yet when the Holy Spirit (who is God) tells us to do something we ignore it. or say “it couldn’t have been God telling me to do that!”

While sometimes it is hard to tell if it is God that is speaking to us through the Holy Spirit other times it is as plain as day.

So the Holy Spirit vs. Angels

holy-spirit1

The Holy Spirit is our Great Counselor who is with us everyday and angels are not…

You tell me who wins!

Star Light, Star Bright

light unto this world

Light unto this world

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

This little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine, This little light of mine I am gonna let it shine.  Let it shine, let it shine, let it shiiiii-iiiiii-innnneeee…

This past week Pastor Jeff Schultz of Living Hope Worship Center preached on 1 Peter 3:8-16, he challenged us to look at what kind of light we are in response to that passage Peter wrote.  In conclusion Pastor Jeff said there are many lights that we could be like for example a nightlight or a flash light… but those lights are for special occasions not for us to use all the time.  He suggested that we should be like a Pilot Light.  A Pilot Light by definition is a small gas burner kept continuously burning to light a larger burner when needed…  And I agree we need to be continuously burning because we never know when we are going to need to be used by God for something greater than ourselves.

So this being said it really got me thinking about what kind of light that I think the Bible says we should be and what kind of light that I want to be.  I like the idea of being a pilot light continuously burning…

So as I was thinking about it this week I believe (my opinion) we are called to be like a “STAR”…

intro star

I know right off the bat some will say that we are called to be humble and being a “STAR” sounds a little arrogant.  When we think of stars we think of people that are all about themselves… I get that and that is not what I am talking about.  I believe we are all “STARS” in God’s eyes and yes the Bible tells us to be humble… “

“Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God that He may EXALT you at do time…”

 (1 Peter 5:6).

I think we can be “STARS” when God exalts us to be.  It is a heart issue and we can never forget that what we have in life is because God’s grace and love.

Now here is the real reason I think we are called to be “STARS”

Stars burn so bright that we can see them from over 4.3 light years away… When we look up at the Stars at night we see the twinkling lights in the deep dark night sky but if we could look closer at a Star, we would notice that it is something so much greater… it burns with a fire that exceeds 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  Like a Star we have something so much greater to offer than what you first see… We have the Holy Spirit burning inside of us!  Which burns deeper and brighter than any star in the sky!

Another thing is enough Stars brighten the darkest night, we are called to be a light in this dark world just like the stars brighten then midnight darkness.

And the MAIN reason I think we are to be a light like a STAR is because Stars also never turn off…

(like the pilot light).

We may only think of the Stars in the evening but during the days it is not as if the Star is like a light switch and shuts off and on.  The Star is still shining even during the day,

THE ONLY REASON THE YOU DO NOT SEE THE STAR DURING THE DAY IS BECAUSE THE SUN (SON) IS BRIGHTER THAN THE STARS…

jesus sun

So we to as “STARS” are to be out shined by the SON (SUN)!

So whatever light that you want to compare yourself to make sure it burns bright and is continuous.  Always being ready to glorify God!

SO,WHAT KIND OF LIGHT ARE YOU?

Wait for It!

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“You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” Luke 1:45. Because you heard from God and waited for it to manifest and believed you are blessed…
The book of Daniel gives us glimpses into the future.  This prophecy would take place throughout Daniels life and many things he spoke of happened hundreds of year after they were spoken by Daniel.  Daniel never got to see them manifest…In the ninth chapter of Daniel says, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” “Daniel 9:24.  What we should know as a beginning to the correctly understanding this prophecy, that in Daniel’s view, those weeks represented years, so the 70 weeks of Daniel represent 490 years -70 times 7 years- that ended with the death of Jesus the Christ. jesus Daniel spoke these things around 457 B.C.  If we extract this number to 490 (490-457=33) so, here we see that the 70 weeks of Daniel were completed with the death by crucifixion of Jesus around the year 33 A.D.  Continuing on in that chapter, “Yet shall he confirm the covenant with many for one week.” Daniel 9.27.  Did Jesus confirm His covenant of love and mercy with Daniel’s people for 7 years? There was a 7 year period between the death of Christ and the time the Gospel was sent out to the Gentiles at the calling of Cornelius. This is the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy.

Later in DANIEL 11:3 it says, “Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.”  After the military defeat of Xerxes by the Greeks, a number of additional Persian kings ruled the empire. But Xerxes had set the stage for a strong Greek ruler to arise. This ruler was the Macedonian Alexander the Great, who defeated Persian King Darius III Codomannus in 333 BCE at the battle of Issus (located on the Mediterranean coast in what is now southeast Turkey). This defeat signaled the beginning of the end of the Persian Empire.

At the height of his power, Alexander conquered and ruled an empire that stretched from southern Europe to North Africa to central Asia.great But the Greek empire of Alexander was not destined to endure. He fell ill and died on June 10, 323 BCE in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon.

So throughout the life of Daniel there are some compelling things that God spoke to Daniel that Daniel himself did not even have a chance to see fulfilled… The question that pops into my head then is what is God telling you that you think is never going to be fulfilled?  Do you think that it is impossible for it to happen?  Well when God speaks something into your life sometimes you have to give it time to manifest into reality and not give up so easily because you do not see anything happening right now!

After all when you plant a seed you do not see it pop out of the ground the moment you cover it with dirt, it takes time for the seed to sprout and mature then it bears fruit!

God is Greater Than All My Unanswered Questions

I don’t have all the ANSWERS! And I don’t CARE!

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“You are worthy, O Lord our God,

To receive glory and honor and power.

For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you please.” (Revelation 4:11).

            I never really thought or saw this before but, it is important to realize that from the beginning of the Bible (Genesis) to the end of the Bible (Revelations) God is telling us that He created the world.  It is also worthy of pointing out that this is one of the hardest topics to witness and prove to people.  With the world today teaching our kids evolution and everything else besides intelligent design it is harder and harder to get people to believe in a God they cannot see.  Not only that it is hard for them to get them to believe that God spoke something into nothing and from nothing came everything that we currently see.  The facts are that while we may not know what to say when someone asks us about these tough questions, the truth is always the same.  God did indeed create something from nothing and we are not God’s sales person who needs to convince people of the facts we know are true.  God is His own salesman and we are just called to do what we can to be His hands and feet.  A hammer does not look at a house and say, “Look at what I just built!”  The hammer without the Carpenter is nothing… We are the hammer and as

Genesis 1:1, 2 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.     galaxies

           God created it whether we believe it or not that does not change the fact that He is who He is… God is not made smaller by our small view of Him.  He is the God who created something out of nothing and gave us the honor to be made in His image.  I am challenged every day to see the world God created and see Him in all of it and so should you…

God is bigger than our explanations of Him and I find it refreshing when people do not act like they have all the answers, because we don’t… If I had all the answers to the questions of God then the God you and I serve would not be a Big enough God to serve.  I am glad I don’t have all the answers because in that He keeps me coming back to know Him better.

beginend          From the beginning to the end of the Bible it tells us the same story God is the creature that’s the “start and finish of it”

Take the bull by the horns

“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”-Matthew 26:39
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In the Orient young bulls are tested for the fight arena in a certain manner . Each is brought to the ring and allowed to attack a picador who pricks them with a lance. The bravery of each bull is then rated with care according to the number of times he demonstrates his willingness to charge in spite of the sting of the blade. Henceforth recognize that each day you are tested by life in like manner. If you persist, if you continue to charge forward, you will succeed.

Sometimes you have to feel the sting of the blade to get to the ultimate goal…

Think about Jesus in the garden right before He was betrayed by one of His very own followers. Jesus knew the sting that was about to come even to the point that He asked His Father to take that cup from His hands. Jesus knew that to suffer ment He would succeed in His mission to save you and me. Yet in spite of the sting of the nails He preceded to charge forward…

The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning; and it is not given to us to know how many steps are necessary in order to reach our goal. Failure you may still encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road. Never will you know how close it lies unless I turn the corner.

Sometimes you have to suffer a little to succeed… pain brings on change! Take the bull by the horns and

BRING ON THE PAIN OF CHANGE!

William A Horton