The Master of the waves

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

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jesus is Alive and well and at the Right Hand of the Father

Howdy y'all; Here we are at the tail end of September and fall has really made itself know with a bang! I love this weather with it's warm days and cool nights. For many years we have enjoyed sitting out on the porch in the cool of the evenings just chatting, playing Uno or some other card game or board game, and sharing in Christian fellowship. And sometimes sharing our Bible study time. When family or friends are not around I love just sitting out there with my wife or even alone is wonderful. My bird feeders were always a pleasure during the days and sometimes in the early evening when things are cooling down and in the beauty and peace of twilight the birds stop by for a bedtime snack. My heart swells with joy and wonder at the beauty of God's handiwork. What an awesome God we serve! If anyone questions the existence of God I direct them to the wonders around them. The beauty of the clouds, trees, birds and even the air we breath itself can remove any doubt if one truly sees with an open mind and heart. Think about the grass and trees, how they are made, how they have chlorophyll in their makeup to create energy and food for themselves and the animals and insects that depend on them for life, or for that matter, how we depend on them for cleansing the air of CO2 and put out Oxygen for us to breath. Look at the human body and how it works; how each vein, vessel, tendon, muscle, skin and other organs work! We are NOT accidents of nature or evolution. Nothing so complex and so perfect in form and function could just be an accident. There has to be a creator to organize and orchestrate the world and all of it's wonders. I am convinced in my heart, mind and soul that every day I wake up to, every breath, every beat of my heart is a gift of a loving and caring God. I know what many people as unbelievers will say; that there is no God or creator and it is all an accident of chemistry and evolution. All I can do is show them what I see and pray for them, that God will move in their lives in a meaningful way. I know there is illness, tragic deformities and dangers all around us. I see the evil that is in our hearts as part of the human condition and all I can say is that God has His hand in all of that as well. Why, I don't know! In Genesis God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, and He also created Adam and Eve to be tillers and caretakers of His garden. In the beginning there was no illness no evil in the hearts and mind of "man" (I use that inclusively). I know the story of the "Tree of Knowledge" and how Eve was tempted by Satan and took the apple and then gave it to Adam to eat. By that act of disobedience and willfulness sin came into man and we have been paying the price ever since! Romans 5:12 - "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin: and so death passed on all men; in that all have sinned." Sin, by definition in Judeo-Christian circles is "separation from God", and therefore SIN is ANYTHING that separates us from communion with God!! God wanted us to be with Him and to be obedient to His word; to love Him and worship Him. For that obedience we would have been free of illness and death and would have been in control, or have dominion over Eden and all of God's creation. Adam and Eve ruined that perfect scenario. But now, even in our "fallen" state, God still loves us. I know that God has given us "free will" and wants us to turn to Him by our own choice and to turn away from our propensity to sin. God gave His promise that if we obeyed Him in all things and interacted with each other in love we could inherit the Kingdom of God. He gave His "chosen people", the Jews, or Israel a land of milk and honey and His love IF they obeyed Him. Did they do it, did they obey Him? Sometimes they did and they had His favor in the times they did, BUT in the times they turned away from Him and His love they fell out of favor and were sent into exile. Our sinful nature seems to ALWAYS win out over our obedience to God. BUT, Here is the "good news", that God still loves us and cares about us even when we are sinners! How wonderful and awesome is that!? In Romans 5:8 we read; "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners , Christ died for us." GOD wants us ALL to repent of our sins and turn to Him. God gave the LAW to His people in the form of the Ten Commandments, but even with these simple rules to live by we couldn't do it. The law, instead of bringing us closer to God brought us condemnation to everlasting death because we all are sinners and cannot obey even these simple ten commands from our creator. Romans 3:23 - ". . .for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Now here is the real beauty of God, who like a perfect father, wants only the best for His children. He gave us a way to come unto Him and be worthy to share in His Kingdom; to be heirs along with His only true Son Jesus Christ. By that "gift" of His grace through Jesus Christ we are saved! Psalm 32:1-2 - "Blessed are they whose sins are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not count against him." By one man, Adam, sin and death came into the world and by one man, Jesus Christ, salvation and life everlasting is given to us. By the death and blood shed by Jesus Christ we are cleansed of all sin, His blood washes us white as snow. Jesus was the "perfect lamb' sacrifice. IF we believe in Jesus and His son-ship through God we are no longer condemned to eternal damnation and death! We are saved, we are made clean, we are brand new! By accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior we are covered by God's grace! Praise God, no longer sinners condemned, but sons and daughters and heirs, and therefore co-heirs with Christ to God's kingdom! We are made righteous, by the act of accepting Christ! By Gods grace are we saved and that grace is given to us because we have repented of our sins and are washed in the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8 - "For by grace are ye saved by faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God." and in; Romans 5:15 - ". . .and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many." As you are reading this; I ask you; do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? If you do I praise God and thank Him for bringing a brother or sister to this blog. If you do not know Jesus as your personal savior, but you would like to, I ask you to join me in a simple prayer: Lord God I repent of my sinful ways and I turn to you and thank you for sending your only Son Jesus Christ to suffer and die for me on the cross. I ask Him to come into my heart and to leave the Holy Spirit to dwell within me forever so that I may join into fellowship with Him and with you Lord. By the blood of Jesus I am washed clean and healed of my sinful nature. I praise you and thank you Lord for the gift of your grace by which I am saved. I thank you for the gift of eternal life. Amen. If you truly repent and truly believe in Jesus Christ as the only son of our living God you are "BORN AGAIN" You are made brand new, washed clean in the blood of Jesus. If you don't have a church where you can find fellowship I suggest that you find one that you can be comfortable in. If you have a church, talk to your pastor and tell him about your decision to ask Jesus into your heart and how you might serve in the church. If you live near Grapeland Texas I suggest you come on over to the church I attend which is New Hope Missionary Baptist Church just off highway 287 North. It is a great church and we have a wonderful pastor, a great church family and joyful Gospel based worship. I also suggest you read your Bible regularly. Try to read it cover to cover, jump around in it if you want to because you don't have to read it straight from Genesis to Revelation. I have, and many people have done it too. If you don't have a Bible just about every church I know of has Bibles available in their pews, and some give Bibles to a person who is baptised in their fellowship. There are some books in the Bible that I and many believers find to be helpful and a comfort at different times. The Psalms are awesome when you feel like the world is pressing in all around you. Romans (and chapters 5,6,7&8 in particular) are great to learn about faith and God's grace. The book of James is great to read and re-read over and over. Read them all because, . . . all scripture is given by God and is important for instruction and Christian growth. (I have paraphrased a bit there!). God is an awesome God. Do NOT be discouraged if you find yourself sinning again. No one is perfect, and even the most dedicated, born again Christian sins. The only person I know of who was perfect and without sin was Jesus Christ, and you know what the world did to Him! Jeremiah 33:11 - ". . .praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; and His mercy endureth forever . . ."

Friday, September 10, 2010

September - Roshashanah

WOW! Can you believe it is already September! This is the month in which Roshashanah is celebrated. That is the Hebrew New Year! It is also considered The Day of Atonement. In the Hebrew tradition that Jesus grew up in it would be a day of prayer and a time for asking for forgiveness from anyone you may have sinned against. I think we should celebrate the Day of Atonement as Christians too. We have all, at one time or another wronged someone or sinned against someone we know. How nice it would be to ask for their forgiveness and also forgive those who have sinned against us. We pray that in the Lord's Prayer. Wouldn't it be nice?
Well, anyway, on to my point for today. It seems like the older I get the faster and faster the days go by. When I was 18 years old an older friend of mine told me that the days would seem like they went by faster the older I got and I told him he was full of beans and nothing could make the days seem to go any faster than they were right then, when I was eighteen. Well, I was wrong, and he was very right! Back in the day, as they say now, it seemed like I had all the time in the world. I was working two jobs, taking classes and still was able to find time to go fishing with friends or go and shoot some hoops with buddies. When my step children were in school and doing different things, having to be chauffeured here and there for track or baseball, T-ball, football or whatever it seemed like there was time to do all of that and still have some time for myself and my "fun things". I wonder what makes the difference? There are still only 24 hours in a day. Still only 7 days in a week, sixty minutes in an hour! Is it our "energy level". I know I had more energy back then. But still there were chores to be done, wood to be chopped, split and stacked. Lawns to be mowed, fields to be plowed, meals to be cooked, household chores top be done. Still with all of that, I was able to find time to hit the rivers or streams for a few hours of fishing, or time to go hunting with friends or my step-son. Maybe it is because now that I am retired there is not the press for time as there was back then. I had to manage my time more closely to be able to get all of the "got to's" done and that left more time for the "want to's". I don't really know . . . but I do know it seems like I have less time to get things done than I used to. Any way, the point of all of that is to get to this realization that I had about spending time with God. "Back in the day"; I would get up at 4:00 or 4:30am and spend at least an hour with my Bible and with my prayers. Now I kind of fit it in whenever I can and that is not fair to me or to God. What I have decided is that from now on I am going to set aside a special time for God, the Bible and my prayers. For me morning has always been my best time. It is usually quiet and peaceful early in the morning and what better way to start the day than with my Lord and Savior, my Bible and my prayers. I will still set aside my Saturday evening prayer time at 8:00 central time to do my Prayer Warrior devotions and prayers. That is the time we all agreed upon to spend in prayer so that all of us would be praying at the same time. When two or more are agreed in prayer ". . .It shall be done!" The real point is that we ALL need a special time to reflect on life, God, prayer, service to others and especially on the people who really mean the most to us. One of the things I figured out a long time ago was that if I just read a couple of chapters in the Old Testament and a few chapters in the New Testament it wouldn't take long to get the whole Bible read cover to cover! I have done that many times in my life and I plan on doing it many more times. There is so much wisdom in the Bible that you realize that there really is "nothing new under the sun", and that just about any situation you come up against in life is already written about in the "Good Book". I have found that the Holy Spirit gives me a new understanding of the scriptures at different times! I have read a passage and had it speak to me about a certain situation in a certain way, and read the same passage at a different time and had it speak to me about a completely different situation and in a completely different way; and for both of those "understandings" to be right on the money EVERY TIME! I'm not exactly sure why or how, but the Bible is truly the "Living Word of God". I have heard many people criticize scriptures and say that it is too "confusing" or too "contradictory" and friends I have to say there was a time when I thought the same thing! You know what the difference is? It is the power of the Holy Spirit! Once you give you life over to God and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit fills your heart and understanding it makes ALL the difference in the world! We are all human and we all stumble and fall away from the Lord at times, BUT if you are truly responsive to the Holy Spirit and to the Biblical "Truths" of God's Holy Word; and if you truly try to live your life according to His commandments the Bible is alive and speaks directly to you and your heart. Every time I read it I find something NEW! Some new truth that I can hold on to that helps me make it through another day. Life is hard there is no doubt; and it is NOT fair sometimes. But with God, the Bible and prayer we can face all things and defeat all of life's foes and woes. One of my mom's favorite verses and it is also one of mine is: Philippians 4:13 - "I can do all things through Christ which strengthenest me." or as it says in the NIV version of the New Testament "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." With God nothing is impossible. Romans 8:31 ". . .If God is for us who can be against us. " I want to leave you with this thought: Pray, pray alone, pray with others, pray in your church and most of all pray in your own special quiet place. I would also like to tell you all to read Romans 8 the whole chapter. There is much in there for you to discern. Read it prayerfully and with your heart open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. You won't be sorry!