The Master of the waves

The Master of the waves
Come, and Serve the peace giver!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fans or Followers!

Howdy y'all; It has been a very long time since I put up a post and for that I apologize, and I am hoping that I will be able to keep up a bit better in the future. The first thing I want to let you all know is that Leona and I have found a new church and are taking steps to be made members. It is a wonderful group of people dedicated to service to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! We also share a feeling of "family" that is awesome. The whole congregation are also dedicated prayer warriors and if anyone needs prayer they are right there "Johnny on the spot" ready to keep you covered in prayer. Our Pastor, Tommy Sprinkle is obviously a Spirit filled preacher and teacher of God's word. His wife Donna is also a Spirit filled servant of God and Jesus Christ. I feel confident in stating that by watching them and seeing how they lead their lives. You can tell a true believer and a spirit filled believer by their "fruits" and brothers and sisters I have to tell you their fruits are evident in all they do. They are loving, caring, committed believers of Jesus Christ. You can feel their love! Pastor Tommy's sermons are truly inspired by the Holy Spirit! After the years I spent in Seminary, my years of preaching myself, and also the years I spent sitting in pews listening to a wide variety of Preachers I think I can be fairly correct in my estimate of a Pastor's devotion and dedication to God and Christ by the words that proceed from his mouth, and also how he / or she responds to members of the congregation and the community. 
For the past few weeks Pastor Tommy has been preaching on what it is to be a true follower of Jesus rather than just a "fan" of Jesus. Twenty-five years ago I also preached a series of sermons on the same thing. "Fans or Followers" that is the big question we all should ask ourselves. The "fans" are the folks who have the WWJD, Fish, and Honk if you Love Jesus bumper stickers on their cars and trucks. They wear the biggest gaudiest crosses around their necks when they go to church and usually carry these huge King James Bibles (You know . . . THE only Bible!) And they have big Bibles on their coffee tables or open on their book shelves that have NEVER been open. That is unless they are open to the 23rd Psalm for show. They also have a cross collection or numerous crosses all over their houses and in all the rooms, including the bathroom! Some brag about how they accepted Jesus into their hearts when they were six, seven, eight or nine years old and how it made a great change in their lives then. Now I am not condemning those things, but you had better have a good reason to do so. Some of them go up to the alter at EVERY alter call, and kneel there in pious prayer for a long time. Unfortunately many of them hold tightly to the old Baptist saw, "Once saved always saved!"  You can also see them hanging around with some pretty disreputable folks, going to honky-tonks and bars, cussing and fussing about everything. They go to church every time the doors are open and they even have many "good works" in their lives. They may Bring food to shut-ins, pray with folks for all kinds of things, and may also adhere to the "Name it and Claim it" group of "believers" who are way off base in what it means to believe in God. They may have their own special pew that they always sit in and get VERY upset if anyone else dares to sit there. They may say things like; "My family have been members of this church for four generations and we have always sat in this pew." or "We have never done it that way before, the old traditions are the best traditions." or even something like; "We, in our family, have all believed in Jesus as Lord and Savior!" Here my dear ones is the dilemma. Believing in God and in Jesus as His only Son is great! Scripture is pretty clear in that. That is true.

Romans 10:9
". . .that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
Romans 10:8-10
But . . . that is not the only requirement!
Jesus himself says; "

In John 6
35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Jesus also said to the young rich man who asked what he must do to gain the Kingdom of God:
Mark 10:21
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
Mark 10:20-22
So what does it mean to take up your cross? As my Pastor pointed out, taking up ones cross is to begin to live like Jesus! This also ties in with the "Greatest Commandment" noted below.
Matthew 22:37-39
New King James Version (NKJV)
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]

Believing in Jesus is wonderful, accepting Him as your personal Lord and Savior is the best step anyone can take in their lives, just doing that may get you saved, but the fruits of the spirit MUST be evident in your life. You must reach out to others in love. That pure love that Jesus had for us when He went to the cross to bleed, suffer and die for us so that we would have eternal life and salvation. But just believing is not enough. It is love, love for God, love for Jesus, love for one another that leads to service to one another! Jesus said numerous times, and the Apostles recorded it many times in other New Testament books:
John 13:33-36, John 15:11-13, John 15:16-18, Romans 12:9-11, Romans 13:7-9, Galatians 5:12-14, Ephesians 4:1-3, 1 Thess. 3:11-13, 1 Thess. 4:8-10, Hebrews 10:23-25, 1 Peter 1:21-23, 1 John 3:22-24, 1 John 4:10-13, 2 John 1:4-6 are but a few. Look it up it is every where! 
A fan believes in Jesus, maybe even accepts Jesus, maybe even has some good "works" that they have done. They may go to church every time the doors are open and wear out their knees in prayer. But if you do not truly love your neighbor as yourself and commit to service to others first, even first before your own needs. It is nothing. Even Satan believes in God and Jesus. Believing doesn't cut it, service is the true test to your faith! The fruits of the Spirit must be evident in your life. Going to church every day doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you an automobile! We must die to the world, take up our cross and serve others! When I was young I thought that "your cross" was whatever pain, bad health, bad habit you had in your life was it. Well, it isn't that. Taking up your cross daily and dying to the world daily is putting yourself and all of your needs second to serving God. Just as Jesus' cross was an actual cross of service to us by hanging on that horrible rugged rough cross and dying for us! Max Lucado's book; He Chose The Nails, puts it very clearly before us. Jesus could have turned away, he could have refused the cross, but He didn't. He chose to act as propitiation for our sins and take ALL of our sinfulness upon Himself so that we might be worthy to even gaze in through the gates of heaven. We owe Jesus EVERYTHING! Without Him and without what He did for me on Mount Calvary I would be nothing but a worthless sinner not worthy to even kiss His sandals! Jesus payed a debt He did not owe. He paid my sin debt. It seems to me that the least we can do is to pick up our own cross and follow after Jesus in service to others and also to spread the Gospel message by sharing our testimonies with others so that  maybe they could see the change in our lives and maybe want what we have received FREELY from God for accepting His Son as our Savior and believing in Him and wanting to do for others out of no selfish desire but out of true Christian Love. The same kind of Love that Jesus had for us. All Praise, Honor and Glory to God our creator and Jesus His Son, our salvation! I would encourage you to go to my Church's web-page at: and check it out. There is a Pod cast page too where you can find sermons and a Face book page and a page of Testimonies of some of our members. God Bless you all in all you do. Remember SERVICE to the Kingdom of God is the way.          

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I John 3:16 we learn that ; "God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son . . ." that we all should have life and have it abundantly through Jesus. Not only do we have life we have a chance at life everlasting in heaven with God the Father and also with Jesus, IF we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. December 25th is the day we as Christians choose to celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus. I really doesn't matter what day he actually was born. We can argue that point forever. What really matters is that God loves us and sent His Son. The words in the Christmas story proclaimed by the angels that we "FEAR NOT" should be words that we hold dear to our hearts all year long. Fear not, for the Lord is with thee! Fear not . . .because God is always with us. Think about that . . . God is always with us! No matter what we do or what we say, no matter what trials and tribulations beset us . . .GOD is always with us. He holds us and our lives in the palm of His hand. We have nothing to fear . . .EVER . . . AS BELIEVERS IN Jesus Christ. If you don't know Him as your personal Lord and Savior NOW is the time to call upon His name. Accept Jesus as Lord! 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What is going on in our churches?

Howdy folks; I am sorry for the delay in getting new posts up. I have been pretty lax in the last year, but I am going to try to turn over a new leaf and post at least twice a week from now on. I would like to address some "issues" that I have been seeing and hearing about in a lot of the local churches around here, and from what I hear from friends and relatives around the Good Old U.S.A., in the churches all over the country. There seems to be a big push for building "Newer", "Bigger" , more modern churches! What is that all about? Now if your church is really growing and seeing a great revival and y'all NEED a bigger church building then God bless you! BUT, if your church Pastor, Elders and Deacons think that building a bigger, newer, more "modern" church with a fancier worship hall or altar or family center is going to make your church "better" and will make it "look" successful or make it "look" like it is growing or undergoing "Revival" then you are in some deeply troubled and muddy water. What a church "NEEDS" is not a fancier building or a bigger fellowship hall with a bigger dishwasher or anything else like that. What it needs is the Spirit of Almighty God to move through the church!! Churches don't need any of those fancy accoutrement's. The church needs a pastor and elders and deacons who have the Spirit of God in their hearts and they need to preach the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. Some of the fastest growing, spirit filled churches I have worshiped in, heard about or seen have been simple little country churches. Some that didn't even have a fellowship hall or even airconditioning or plumbing for that matter. But what they did have was a church (and by church I mean the people or members of a congregation) that were all filled with the Holy Spirit and believed and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The message of Jesus Christ or His "Commandments" for the church is that of; "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and spirit, and to love one another like He loved us"! Jesus stood up against the Pharisees and Sadducee's because they had all become too involved and tangled up in the "Law". Jesus said; " I have come to fulfill the law." and to free us from the law so that we could have; " . . .life, and to have life more abundantly." Jesus Christ was born, lived and died for all of us so that we could be freed from the sinful lives and sinful natures we all have. It almost smacks of blasphemy to even think that the size of the buildings that you worship in and fellowship in is important to God. What have you done for God and His Kingdom? Has your congregation, or you personally, feed the hungry?, clothed the poor?, or given shelter to someone who was homeless? That, my dear ones, is what matters to God. I really believe in my heart that God isn't going to care what kind of car you drive, or how big your house is, or how much "bling" you have on your fingers or around your neck. God is a gracious God, and the grace He gives is freely given to all believers. You can't DO anything to earn it, but by the fruits of the spirit you will be able to BE recognized by others, and will work to provide for people those things mentioned above; food for the hungry, clothing for the naked and shelter to the poor and needy. 
   (    James 3:17
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.James 3:16-18 ) and (Matt. 7 -15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.)

God is also a judgemental God and God will not be mocked. He knows there will be false prophets and there will be those who "preach" His word for personal gain and personal recognition.

(Matthew 7: 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

God will separate the "sheep from the goats", and ALL who choose His only Son Jesus Christ, and all of those who preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ "rightly" will be judged by their "fruits" and what they have done to LIVE the word of God and not just speak it or preach it and DO nothing. So, as mentioned above, Grace of God is freely given, and that is grace by faith, and we all have read in scripture that faith without works is dead. And a body of believers (a Church) can also be judged by it's works. Not by how big the building is or how new it is. Growth in a church is good. At times it can be proof that the Gospel is being preached and that the church body is doing the work of God. Building a new building like a bigger worship hall or fellowship hall because you really need it is wonderful. A church usually will not grow IF it is not having the Gospel (good news) message preached in it. . . . Usually . . .,but at times it can happen, but just because a specific Church  is growing doesn't mean it's blessings and growth are coming from God. Satan is just as able to "grow" a church for his own motives and desires. We are ALL the church, but if you are looking to join a specific Church congregation, think about it, PRAY about it , watch it for a while, look at it's record in the community, What is it doing? Is it doing God's work? Is it 's message one of God's love and the message of Jesus Christ and the "Good News" about Jesus? And that is the message that Jesus was born, lived, suffered, was crucified , died and was resurrected for the redemption of ALL sinners. The greatest and most wonderful day in my life was the day that I accepted Jesus as my Lord and savior and asked Him into my heart. I have never known such love, such peace and calm inside. I had read the scriptures many times "cover to cover"  in the past, but when Jesus saved me all of a sudden the "Word of God" came alive for me. I began to crave reading the Word. I carried my Bible everywhere I went and read it every chance I got. Jesus filled me with the Holy Spirit and nothing was ever the same ever again! It was wonderful! One of the next most wonderful days was when my wife accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Man, how my soul soared! I felt like I was ten feet off the ground and was the most blessed man in the world. If you haven't accepted Jesus do it now. All you have to do is ask Him to forgive you. Tell Him you believe that He is the Only Son of the Living God and that you repent of your sins. Ask Him to send the Holy Spirit to fill you up! If think you need help  ( you don't need it really, but if you think you do) find a good solid Bible believing, Gospel preaching Church and ask a member, an Elder, a Deacon or the Pastor to help you. They will help!   

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer HEAT!!

Howdy y'all; Hot enough for ya? I cannot believe how hot it has been. So many records have been broken. It has really been hard to do anything here with this heat. It has been a VERY long time since last I was here to put up a new post , and for that I beg your forgiveness. It has been very busy for me and I have had a bit of a "hiccup" in my faith walk and about my feelings about what a "pastor" & "minister" should be and how it differs from a "Preacher"! I have served a few churches as pastor/preacher and I have served MANY churches as a member of the congregation in many different capacities. I have cooked banquets, done bar-b-ques, washed floors, swept up, cleaned pews, vacuumed floors, scrubbed toilets, mowed lawns . . . you name it! It is ALL service to the church and service to God. All of it, and all of it is very necessary for the smooth functioning of the church. As we are all parts of the church body and the body of Christ. No body can function well if one or more parts is out of place or broken or missing. Well anyway . . .What is the difference between a pastor, minister, reverend, preacher, etc., etc. etc. In reality it is just a matter of accepted definition by most folks, religions and religious sects. Some churches (Non-denominational) call their preachers, ministers etc. Bishops! Biblical definitions are also a bit vague. The only term that really stands without much ambiguity is "preacher"! A preacher is one who preaches. The person in the pulpit who brings the sermon message is the preacher, who may or may not be ordained by the particular sect's hierarchy. Usually if they are not ordained by the formal church hierarchy they can be (and usually are) ordained as and elder or deacon by the particular congregation they may be speaking to, or they may be sent out to another church to be a guest speaker and are still under the "umbrella" of the parent church. I believe that preaching is a serious onus and should be taken VERY seriously because every word spoken in the name of God from the pulpit is going to have to be accounted for when the day of judgement is at hand. When the day comes and I / we/ you stand before the Lord wewill be called into account for every word spoken in the pulpit or in the name of God!  Reverend is usually a term used within the particular churches hierarchy to designate a person ordained by that hierarchy as a "minister", or "pastor" for the churches under their umbrella of control. So a person sent out to a particular church or one who is hired by a particular church in that hierarchy "Officially" is the "Reverend" Mr. or Ms. such in so. As a "minister" one is ordained to minister (care for, take care of, tend) to the spiritual needs of a member of a congregation or even a non-member if  that person recognizes the person as their "Minister". Prayer for that person is a way to minister. Holding their hand at the time of trial or need is also a way to "minister" to that person. Keeping shared information (sins, failings etc.) confidential is also a way of ministering for a person. We ALL, as believers in Jesus Christ, are called on to be "misters" at one time or another to each other. It does NOT need to be "officially" ordained to minister. It is a verb as well as a noun. Pastor also has both "official" and "un-official" connotations. One can be "ordained" officially as a "Pastor", but pastor is also one of those words that is both a verb and a noun, and means pretty much the same thing as minister. An ordained Pastor is meant to minister to the needs of their congregation. Anyone can, and should be able to preach, witness to, or minister to the needs of another. We are told to do so by Jesus Christ. When He said "Love one another as I have loved you." that is what He meant for us to do. Love lets us take care of each other. By being a member of the body of Christ we are all called to minister one to the other. Do you have to be ordained by a particular church? No, you do not have to be ordained by the church to "minister" or to preach. But . . . whenever you do those things in the name of God, or the name of Jesus, you had better be sure you are doing it out of the pureness of your heart and to the best of your abilities and in a way that will bring glory to God and His kingdom because you will be held accountable for your actions at the time of judgement before the Lord. We all have a witness. We all have a message to "preach" if you think about it. How, where, when and what brought you to the point where you could accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? That is your witness! That is your message to all, especially to non-believers, that you can share or preach. We all have a story. We are NOT unique, because there is always someone who may be in a spot or condition similar to mine / yours before you or I accepted Jesus. Because of the similarities of our human condition we all have known sinfulness and evil in our hearts and can share how Jesus saved us and wiped away our sinfulness with His precious blood! God is good . . .all the time, and will respond to your request for forgiveness if you truly repent. Your words of witness cannot return void. God will use them.      

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 8 2011 - Back on line at last!

Well, I am finally able to get back on-line since my computer broke down! I can't believe I have lost EVERYTHING!! SILLY ME I DID NOT BACK UP EVERYTHING TO DISCS. I had a lot of my stuff "backed up" but not everything, and I could not afford to pay for one of those online services where you can back up all of your data! I still cannot afford to do that but I definitely will be backing up my stuff on discs at least.
         Here we are coming into spring FINALLY! I am so tired of winter and the cold. God is so good. I know we need winter for the cycle (circle) of life to be fulfilled but the older I get the less I can handle being cold and all that the winter weather brings with it. Leona and I suffered through three weeks (actually four) of illness! We both had temps over 103 degrees for many days and then ran temps up and down between 99 and 103 for almost two weeks solid, and then just generally felt awful for the rest of the time; coughing up the most nasty stuff you can imagine. We are still fighting it off but are doing much better. God has made us stronger though so we can be thankful. 
       I am brought to mind of James 1:2-4 where it says that we are to count it all joy when we face various trials because the testing of our faith brings perseverance so that we can be complete and lacking in nothing, and also growing in maturity. I am sure that means Christian maturity. I love the book of James because it also teaches us about when we ask God for anything we must ask in confidence trusting and believing that God will answer our prayers, and NOT being of a "double mind". That is a mistake I think a lot of us make, me included sometimes, by putting limitations on God! God is ALL powerful, ALL seeing, ALL knowing, and He does want the best for us, His children! I think it hurts God, just like it would hurt an earthly father, if we asked for something and didn't believe that He (he) would provide what we had asked Him (him) for. Personally speaking, I definitely don't EVER want to disappoint God. Unfortunately, I do it all the time. We all do because we are human, and because we are human we all have those human failings. We all have "feet of clay" sometimes. We know what we must do to please God, and yet we constantly let Him down. The beauty of being a "Born Again" believer and having Jesus as our Lord and Savior is that even though we are not perfect and never will be, we are forgiven! Jesus died for us so that our sins would be washed away! We strive for perfection through Jesus Christ, striving to be more and more like Him as we grow in Christian maturity, knowing that we can only attain that perfection when we finally leave this world and wake up in heaven. The wonder of it all is that we are washed by the blood of our Savior and Redeemer, and we are "Saved"! Saved by GRACE and not by works. Our salvation is a gift, given freely by God the Father. We don't have to be perfect, we don't have to be holy! We must not ever give up trying to grow in Christian faith and maturity we MUST strive toward that perfection . . . but even though we are not perfect or perfected . . . GRACE covers us! Thank you God!! When we have stood the test, we will receive that "crown" that was promised to us by God to those who love Him. (James 1:12) I encourage you all to go to the book of James. It is right after Hebrews, and before 1 Peter.  Read it all. It is a great book. Martin Luther also thought it was a powerful book and one that every Christian should read over and over. Don't ever give up. Don't ever stop "striving" for that perfection that we can find in Jesus Christ because that is the Christian walk we all must make. Trust God! Do not ever limit God or His powers! God the creator made all things, created all things, and as the creator He has dominion over all things; so NOTHING is impossible for God! EVER!   

Saturday, January 29, 2011


We must all learn to forgive. Not just others who have harmed us or hurt us, but also how to forgive ourselves. God wipes away our sins the minute we are "born Again":

Ephesians 1:6-8 (King James Version)

6 "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;"

Matthew 18:15-22

15 "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."

The problem is, that even though the Lord has removed our sins from us as far as the East is from the West . . . ( Psalm 103:12: "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us."
Psalm 103:11-13(Context)
. . . we have a hard time forgiving ourselves. Satan has a way of knowing our weaknesses and our "soft spots" in our human nature and he will use them at every chance he has! And if Satan can keep our mind on our sins that means he is successful in keeping us from concentrating on the Word of God and the purpose that God may have in store for us. The other thing is, that as long as he can keep us thinking about our own sins, he can keep us from forgiving others. Forgiving others is the only way that we can be truly free. And, that is truly free to love others. Love and forgiveness goes hand in hand. We need to forgive ourselves before we can really love ourselves and until we can really love ourselves we cannot truly love another. One of the other things that I had found difficult to do, was to forget my sins and to forget the harm I had felt from others. The old saying "Forgive and Forget" is much easier to say than it is to do. We MUST learn to do this if ever we are to mature as Christians. Being "Born Again" brings a great responsibility with it. Growth in the gifts of the spirit is what we all must strive for. It is imperative that we grow in our spiritual walk.
 Ephesians 5:9-10;  9 "(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)10Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord."
The way that we can do this is to strive to walk closer and closer with Jesus every day. We seek that perfection of the spirit that is Jesus Christ, and, unfortunately, we can never really attain that perfection, BUT we must strive daily to be more and more like Him. We must learn to surround ourselves in prayer every day and every hour that we are alive. It is like Paul said, that we must "pray continuously".

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (King James Version)

16 "Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

We must also learn to "walk in love" just as Christ loved us we must learn to love one another.
John 13:34 "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." John 13:33-35( context)
 Ephesians 5:1-2  1 "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour."

We must also learn to be wise, and wisdom comes only from study of the "Word of God."

 Ephesians 5:15-21; "15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." 
I have been using a lot of scripture references in this entry and, I have meant to do just that. We are nothing without God, and the only way that we can learn about God, and learn about Jesus Christ is by study of the scriptures!  
2 Timothy 2:15
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:14-16 (Context) 

Romans 10:16-18 (King James Version)

16 "But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world."

1 Peter 1:22-24 (King James Version)

22 "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:"

Ephesians 6:17

"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: "
Ephesians 6:16-18 (Context)

Hebrews 4:11-13 (King James Version)

11 "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."

So back to forgiveness! In order that we may learn to be more like Christ, and learn more about God we must study scriptures. In order to learn how to be forgiven and to learn how to be forgivers of others we need to study scripture! Do NOT just count on the preacher to tell you about the "Word of God" or tell you what the "Word of God" says; get a Bible and study it for yourself. Try to read the whole Bible, cover to cover! After you have done it once . . .do it again, and then do it again. Make notes, underline things that "move you" or things you don't understand and then look them up or ask someone you trust as a Christian to help  you understand it. Pray, pray every day. Pray that God will give you wisdom and understanding. Pray that God will show you how to forgive yourself. God bless you all, and I will pray that you learn how to forgive yourself.      

Monday, January 24, 2011

All Praise, Honor and Glory to God!

Folks; I have got to tell you that Yesterday we had an Awesome morning service at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in beautiful Grapeland Texas. The Holy Spirit was so powerful ALL of the congregation was lifted up by the power of God. We also had an awesome message and service at the evening worship. My wife, Leona, was also baptized after the regular worship service, Praise God! When she came up out of the water I could see a "glow" around her that I know was the power of the Holy Spirit shining in, through and around her! I was so excited by it I wept, laughed and danced a bit for the joy I felt at knowing she was now, beyond any doubt, truly "Born Again". Forever saved, and her name was written in God's Book Of Life! We will be together forever after we pass from this life into the next for, as Paul says, to be absent from this life is to be present with Christ.  

2 Corinthians 5:5-9 (King James Version)
5 "Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

It is a good feeling for me to know that we will be together in Heaven! In my family there are a great number of my ancestors that I know were filled with the Holy Spirit, and that when my time comes to pass from this world I know that I will be present with them as well as I will be present with God! Of that I have absolutely NO doubt.

 Philippians 3:7-11 (King James Version)

7 "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."

Long ago when I was a very young man I felt the "call" of God upon my life! I knew I was different. I knew that there was something that God had in store for my life and I needed to discover exactly what that goal was and to work towards it with all that was in my power. I loved being in church and I loved praising and worshipping God. Every time I could be in church I was there. When I was hired for jobs, even when I was still a teenager, I made sure that I would be free to go to church. Most of the times and most of the employers were okay with that, and I was able to go to church regularly. Once in a while I had to take a job that didn't allow me to go to church, but eventually I would work around it and be able to go to church, and if I couldn't I would quit as soon as I found a job that would let me worship. I grew up in the fifties and sixties and church was taken much more seriously back then I think. It played a major role in society and in most families I knew. Prayer was still allowed in school, and prayer was allowed in public at ball games, and at almost every public function. A commitment to God and God's service was much more acceptable. Unfortunately, in todays world and society, it is not necessarily so. So much has become influenced by what is "politically correct" and publically acceptable and it is because of that, that people are affraid of offending someone or some group. Back then I taught Sunday School to 4th and 5th grades and I was very active in the Christian Youth Group at my church. We did all kinds of things for people in our community and especially for the elderly. We as a group would visit the "shut-ins" and other elder folks. Not just those who were members of our church either. We had an outreach to every one who was in need. Our youth group would help folks rake leaves in the fall, trim trees and bushes, paint porches, and at times whole houses if the person couldn't do it themselves. We mowed lawns, weeded gardens, shoveled snow and hung storm windows for folks; AND we did it for free! We also put together food baskets and delivered them, and not just for holidays. When we found out about a person or family in our community that was in "need" of anything, we were there to help. That's the way things are supposed to be! That is part of what it means to serve God. The church I belong to now does a lot of what I have been writing about, but there are NOT too many churches anymore that do that kind of ministry. Oh sure, most all of them have food drives for public assistance groups around the area, but very few of them do the kind of "outreach" that I remember. And they should. Instead folks have to depend on, or demand, government help. Part of the problem, I suppose, is that there are not as many folks who belong to churches like there used to be. That too, is something that has changed for the worse. All that I have been writing about is a reflection of the above passage in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 9 "Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him."

Corinthians 10:31 "Whatever you do, do ALL to the Glory of God." That should be our "goal" as Christians; to be accepted of Him (God) in all we do. We need to take care of each other. We don't, or shouldn't have to depend on the government for help. Our churches should be where we turn when we have a need of any kind. God has said that He will provide ALL of our needs. He also promised that for all we have done for others in this world it would be counted as if we had done it unto Him. We are saved by God's grace and that by faith, but when it comes time for the "final judgement" we will have to be accountable to God for our every deed done here on Earth. Good or bad.

Matthew 25: 34-40

34 "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For many years I had a poster that showed Jesus hanging on the cross and the caption underneath the picture was;

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

All that I have written above was part of the way that I thought I could satisfy "the Call"  I felt on my life. In many ways if was, but as I grew up and moved from childhood to my teen years, and then into my early adult years I realized that much more was required of me. I fought it, hard! I knew I was ment to be in ministry to God, and to God's people. I reached out to many others in the church and quite a few of them also felt that I should do all I could to enter the ministry. Still I fought it. I became bitter and angry for many reasons, some of them we may cover in this blog a little later, but right now suffice it to say that there were a lot of reasons for it, and I found myself drifting farther and farther from the church and service to Christ and God's Kingdom. It was in the middle and late '60's and into the early '70's when my battle became more and more self destructive. I tried drugs, alcohol and sex. You name a drug and I put it into my body. I was living for myself. I didn't care about service for, or to God or anyone any more. I worked hard and partied hard! Thank God my mother didn't give up on me! She kept praying for me and for my soul. She too, knew I was ment to be in service to God and His Kingdom. Finally, praise God, finally I turned away from my sinful and willful ways and turned back to God. I'll tell you all more about it as time goes on, but for now let me just say "I saw the light"! I had hit bottom. I was completely broken in my lustful ways. I realized that drugs and alcohol are poisons that rob you of life. You may feel great when you're high, but the reality is, you are being slowy destroyed from within. It is a path of slow suicide, because they will kill you! When I finally accepted Jesus as my personal Lord, Master and Savior, I turned back to the path I was ment to walk. I was now a "born again" child of the living God! I was "saved"! I was made brand new in Christ! All of my sins and sinful ways were washed away by the prescious blood of my Savior Jesus Christ. God is always faithful. God never gives up on you. God made it very plain to me that He was always there, even when I was at my worst, He was there with me. Holding me, loving me, waiting for me to turn back to Him. All praise, honor and glory to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. One of the hardest things for new believers to understand is that they are different manifestations of the same God, the Great Three in One, the Great I AM WHO I AM, Jahova. Creator of all things and Master of the Universe. The Great Potter.            

Colossians 1:10-16 (King James Version)

10 "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; (11) Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; (12) Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: (13) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (14) In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:  (15) Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (16) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
No matter how far you have fallen, no matter how revolting your sins may have been; God is there, lovingly holding out His arms, waiting to take you back. Scripture supports this in numerous passages, but one of my favorites is the one from Revalation 3 and another is in Matthew 7!
Revelation 3:20

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Revelation 3:19-21 (in Context) Revelation 3
Matthew 7:7-8"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

I asked Jesus, how much do you love me? And He opened his arms wide and died for me! What more can I say except that in scripture it is written:
Romans 5:8

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:7-9 (context)
Of course we also have John 3:16 that says:
 John 3:16 (King James Version)

16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

No matter what, no matter when, no matter where, God is there, waiting for you to make the commitment to Him. Waiting for you to "answer the door" , waiting for you to accept His only Son as your Lord and Savior! God be praised! If you are not yet in those who's names are written in the "Book of Life", do it now accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Tell your pastor about your decision! Tell him you want to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Read your Bible every day. The more you read it the more you will come to know God and His awesome power, and the more you learn, the more you will want your life to conform to the life of Jesus Christ. Without God, without Jesus Christ, all that we do and all that we are is empty foolishness. It doesn't matter if you are a sanitation worker, a mechanic, or like me many things; a chef, carpenter / boat builder, wood carver & model ship builder and Nurse, or even if you are the CEO of some big corporation! God wants you to be in fellowship with Him. He loves you, He loves you so much that He sent His Son to suffer humiliation and death for you so your sins could be washed away with His blood; the blood of the perfect Lamb, Jesus Christ. Answer the call - say "YES" to God!!