Monday, September 25, 2017

It's Happening For A Reason

We are mortal and limited in our understanding of life. For this reason, we tend to react and think only in real time. What I mean by that is, if something happens to us in the present, we respond accordingly. God, however, thinks very differently.

If a tragedy befalls us, it almost always comes unexpectedly; that is because we cannot see the future. On the other hand, our Lord and Protector is not subject to our limitations. The bible says, God knew us before we were even born. If this is true, He also knows every mistake we will make and every hardship we will endure, before they even happen. 

When we are in a very painful situation, we pray for strength and deliverance. While we wait for an answer to our prayers, oftentimes it can seem like God will never respond. In fact, it may seem like He can't even hear us. The truth is, God made a solution before our problem even existed.

So then, if God created our solution before we were even born, then He also knew about our painful ordeals in advance. Why does He still let them happen? That varies for each individual. We are all unique creatures with unique problems. Sometimes God will use our suffering to tell us we need to change. Other times, He uses adversity to bring us to another place in life where He needs us most. Whatever the reason is, we can rest assured God is using our suffering to make us stronger.

Nothing is by accident in our lives; everything is according to His plan. We can trust in Him because, not only does He know what truly is best for us, He sees everything in advance. All of life's variables are before Him, and He arranges them in an equation that equals eternal life, for those who believe. 

Whatever struggles we have, let us always remember that God loves us. He knew exactly the mistakes we would make before the creation of the world. He knew every storm that would come our way before we were given life. Our deliverance and path to victory was also prepared for us in advance. Everything is happening for a reason and all according to this plan, which is eternal life and salvation for those who love Him.

(Scripture References: Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 1:5)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Good People Are Being Deceived

The truth in this world can be hard to find; that's because there is a devil who works very hard to hide it. Just as there are good people who look to share and expose the truth, there are also bad people who look to hide others from it. 

I'd like to share a bible passage:

"At this they (the crowd) exclaimed, 'Now we know that you (Jesus) are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?'”

"Jesus replied, 'If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.'”

“'You are not yet fifty years old,' they said to him, 'and you have seen Abraham!''Very truly I tell you,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I am!' At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds."
(John 8:52-58) NIV

What is happening here? Clearly these people were offended at Jesus' words. But it wasn't until Jesus told them He was God (by saying, "...I am!") that they became enraged and tried to kill Him. Rather than focus on the intolerance and hatred in their hearts for wanting to kill a man, simply because He said something that offended them, I'd would like to focus on their ignorance.

First, I'd like to share another bible passage that describes the Jewish Messiah:

"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this." (Isaiah 9:6-7) NIV

Please notice the words I have highlighted. In the very Scripture these Jews believed to be God's word, it clearly says the Messiah will be a son and God. So why did many of the Jewish religious leaders and citizens consider it "blasphemy" when Jesus claimed to be the Son of God? The Jewish religious leaders had no excuse for this behavior. They had access to the Holy Scripture and knew the truth, but refused to acknowledge it because they valued their power and authority in this world over God's truth. However, most of the common, everyday Jews did not have as easy of an access to the truth found in Scripture.

Those days were not like today, where it is easy for people who live in a free society to obtain God's word. Because the Jews were unwilling or unable to find the truth in God's word on their own, many were deceived and believed the religious lies from religious leaders of that day, who claimed it was blasphemous for Jesus to say He was the Son of God.

This type of deception is happening today. Many in power right now are evil and deceitful, just like the Jewish religious leaders of the past. They look to hide others from the truth by telling lies that fit their agenda, which is to accumulate power and wealth.

Why do the common people believe? Some are deceived by their evil heart and are all too glad to persecute others who have been deemed as "intolerant or hateful" by the so-called gate keepers of our society. But sadly, there are many others who are decent people and have good intentions that are also being deceived. Why? Because they are not digging deeper to find the true meaning of things and the real intentions of those in power. It is easier to accept what is being spoon fed to us, rather than go against popular culture and dare to question the status quo.

Just like in Jesus' day, we are surrounded by people in power that do not have our best interests at heart. On the outside they seem to care: They speak eloquently and follow all the "politically correct" social guidelines. But inwardly they are selfish and evil, caring only about power, wealth and their own pleasure. 

Now more than ever, we must cling to the Holy Spirit in our hearts for guidance. We must grow closer to Jesus and turn away from the lies and deceitful pleasures of this world, which only help to blind us from God's truth. Starting today, may we all have a renewed sense of commitment to God, so that we will not be deceived when the coming tidal wave of evil engulfs this world.










Monday, September 18, 2017

Keep Fighting

All of us have failed in our relationship with God. When this happens, it can be difficult to right the ship and not sink deeper into failure. The good news is, no matter how many times we fail, a clean slate and success is just around the corner.

In the midst of our struggle, God can seem very far away. Sometimes this struggle is self-inflicted. Other times it comes from seemingly nowhere, unrelated to anything we may have done or not done. Both situations have the same effect: Our sinful lifestyle blinds and separates us from God. Also, while in the heart of a storm that is not self-inflicted, God's love for us can seem non-existent.

If our pain is self-inflicted due to sin, guilt is our greatest enemy. It tries to make us feel unworthy of forgiveness; it tells us we are too weak and will never dig out of the hole we have created. If our painful situation is due to circumstances out of our control, doubt is our greatest enemy. We are tempted with thoughts questioning whether God still loves us; we question whether He is still in control, and wonder if He has left us all alone in our suffering.

The good news is, no amount of lies the enemy fills our mind with can change the truth: God loves us and will never leave us. We have an intercessor on our behalf, who knows exactly what we are going through. I'd like to share this bible passage which tells what Jesus said while suffering on the cross:

"From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). (Matthew 27:45-46) NIV

Why did Jesus say this? How could God forsake Jesus, when Jesus Himself was the Son of God? The answer is, Jesus became sin for us on the cross. As the Scripture says, He who knew no sin became sin for us. Just like sin separates us from God, it also separated Jesus from the Father. When He became sin, He temporarily lost the feeling of fellowship with God's love. 

What does this mean for us? Our Lord can relate to every pain we feel, even the consequences for our sin. He knows what it feels like to have separation from God. Just like He persevered through this darkness and overcame, He knows how to lead us through our darkness so that we can overcome. 

Also, if we are in the midst of a terrible and painful ordeal in our lives, one so bad that it seems we cannot even feel God's presence in our lives, Jesus knows exactly how that feels. No amount of suffering we feel will ever compare to the pain He endured. It must have been hard for Jesus to know the Father was still there with Him as He suffered on the cross, yet by faith He persevered and won the fight. He can and will give us victory as well, if we trust in Him through our painful ordeal.

I believe Jesus, as His body was tortured, torn to pieces and left bleeding on a cross, thought of you and I to help Him overcome. He knew if He could just keep going until the fight was won, we would have eternal life and know freedom from the shackles of sin. Just as His love for us helped Him win the fight, His love for us now will help us win our fight. 

(Scripture references: Hebrews 4:14-16, Hebrews 13:5-6, 2 Corinthians 5:21)





Friday, September 15, 2017

Spirtual Exercise

In some ways, our physical bodies mirror our spiritual bodies. A key to a healthy, physical body is getting plenty of exercise. This will help us build strength and enable us to better overcome physical obstacles in our daily lives. Likewise, when we exercise our invisible spiritual body, we gain strength to overcome the invisible pressures and emotional struggles we encounter in this life.

In the gym, we lift weights and push ourselves physically in order to build endurance. In regards to our spiritual bodies, we build endurance by facing our fears and doing what is right. There is an invisible bully who looks to intimidate, denigrate and deceive us in our minds. When we stop hiding and finally gain the courage to look him in the eye and fight back, our spiritual bodies grow stronger. The bad news is, the bully is way too strong for us to overcome. The good news is, we have a Champion; one who never backed down to the bully and always overcame his attacks. Our champion's name is Jesus Christ.

It is important to note, before working out in a gym, a wise person consults a trainer to help get started. If you don't exercise properly, you can do serious damage to your body. The same is true when exercising our spiritual body: We need someone to guide us through the process so we do not hurt ourselves. Thankfully, God has given us the Holy Spirit to live inside us and help. Who better to fix the spiritual body we cannot see than the one living along side it? Plus, we can trust in His instruction, knowing that He loves us and created our spiritual bodies. He knows exactly what is wrong and how to fix it.

When we work with a physical trainer, often times we resent his constant motivational instructions. During our painful struggle, we hate to hear that voice pushing us harder and farther. But afterwards, once we have overcome our physical obstacle and reap the rewards, we are thankful for our trainer. The same is true in the spirit- Oftentimes we will be angry and resent God as we go through our emotional struggles and obstacles in this life. But when we stay obedient to His commands and make it through the storm, we look back and are thankful for His strength and guidance. Also, the spiritual strength and wisdom we gain from this process is priceless. 

There is a tendency in our society to look at every adversity in life as a bad thing. Some people believe we must shield ourselves and hide from everything that might upset us. If something is challenging us emotionally, some would encourage us to find a safe place to hide, rather than face it head on. It is for each individual to judge what to do in these situations, but I will say this-We cannot grow and gain maturity in this life unless we accept responsibility for our actions and face adversity. 

There comes a time when all of us must face the fears and pressures of life. To do this, we must be stronger than the obstacles in our way. We are not born with this strength; rather, we must exercise our spiritual body until it becomes strong enough to overcome adversity. For those who have rebirth in Christ and are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, we have a guide who can help us gain this strength. May we all submit our lives and will to His guidance, so that none of us will live in fear or submission to the evil one who rules this world.

(Scripture references: Timothy 4:8-10, Jude 1:20-21)



Thursday, September 7, 2017

Something More

For many of us, life is very busy. It can be difficult to maintain everyday affairs, much less our spiritual relationship with Jesus. Having said that, it is imperative we take time to listen for God's voice inside our heart each day. 

I'd like to share these bible passages:

"That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: 'A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.'” (Matthew 13:1-9) NIV

And...

Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:18-23) NIV

Please notice the words that I have highlighted. I believe all of us fall into this category of people that Jesus described. In this deceitful world we live in, it is nearly impossible not to be negatively impacted by the "worries of this life." As a result, many Christians have had the power and love of God living inside them muffled or hidden entirely. This has lead to an unfruitful life, in regards to the fruits of the Spirit of God.

I believe with 100% conviction that God wants to be closer to each and everyone of us. The benefits of this are twofold:

1) The closer we get to God, the further we get away from sin and the negative impact it has in our lives. We will start to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit and less of the selfish characteristics of the flesh. The peace and love of God, which passes all understanding, will begin to spring up and come alive inside our hearts.

2) The closer we get to God, the more His light will shine inside of us. We will begin to see life and this world in a whole new way. Many of the hidden deceptions all around us will begin to be exposed; those who pretend to be good will be exposed as liars. The devil and his accomplices are extremely clever and deceptive. However, there is no deception that can fool God. As we get closer to God, the Holy Spirit can begin to open our eyes to many things we were once deceived by.

This is extremely important because of the days in which we live. As our country and world descends deeper into darkness, those who seek to deceive others for selfish gains are on the rise. There are some who are so good at their deception that it cannot be seen as a lie. Indeed, the very things they say seem to be good and wholesome; their character appears impeccable. But if we watch them long enough, they will eventually give themselves away and bear fruit that is evil. However, unless we have the Holy Spirit to open our spiritual eyes, we will never see this evil fruit and will remain deceived.

Wherever we are in our spiritual relationship with God, He wants something more. He wants us to give our whole heart to Him and turn away from worldly pleasures that are harmful. In doing so, not only will our hearts become filled with His peace and love, we also become more aware to those things around us which seem to be good, but in reality are very dangerous. The latter is extremely important as we live through these troublesome times. The closer we get to God, the more our doubt of His existence disappears. When this doubt has been completely erased, even the most clever of deceptions cannot pull us away from the truth found in Jesus Christ.




Thursday, August 31, 2017

Division

It seems America has never been so divided as it is today. Why is that? Some people believe certain politicians are responsible for this problem; but the truth is, this country (and our world) has always been divided. That is because those who love evil will always fight against those who love what is holy and pure.

The English settlers who originally arrived here from Europe were Christians searching for freedom from religious persecution. While it is true that not everyone who formed our government after winning their independence was a Christian, many if not all were greatly influenced by Christianity and the bible.

Regardless of their religious background, all of our founding fathers believed in free speech and freedom from tyrannical rule; our Constitution reflects this truth. They instituted a government that was subject to the people, not the other way around.

These principles are clearly inspired by the Christian faith. In the bible, we are taught to respect authority, but that God is above all of us; no person is better than another, regardless of their wealth or social status. It teaches us to have patience toward others and not physically harm someone in a vengeful way, simply because we disagree with what they say or believe. It teaches that mankind is blinded by sin and we should look to Christ for wisdom and deliverance. Mankind should worship God, not those in power or each other.

Because of this rich history, Americans have been blessed and fortunate to escape much of the evil found in other nations. But what would happen if Americans were to stray from our values and align ourselves with the world? We are seeing the answer to this question right now all around us. This is the main reason why there is so much division in our country today.

I'd like to share this bible passage:

"You, (Christians) dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." (1 John 4:4-12) NIV

And...

"You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." (James 4:4) NIV

God is very clear that we are to be separate from the world. How do we know who is of this world? Quite simply, people who love this world reject God's word and those who speak it. For example, if you are harassed, persecuted or accused of preaching "hate speech," simply for quoting what the bible says, whoever does this is of this world, even if they claim to be Christians.

For many of us in America, the truth about our separation from the world has been watered down. We have created a false sense of reality; our blessings have blinded us from what is really happening around us. In essence, we are enjoying the fruits of our ancestors, even though we have strayed from the formula that enabled us to enjoy these fruits of prosperity.

What has this done? It has empowered those who hate God into thinking their way is better. Life is all about reaping and sowing. When you do bad things, inevitably you reap suffering and turmoil. But what happens if this spiritual law is temporarily rescinded? Evil that results from mankind's sinful nature is able to flourish.

Though we do not like to admit it, suffering has a way of bringing us to a place of truth. What happens when we are coddled and kept from experiencing the penalties for our bad choices? We grow up with a selfish and distorted view of life. Each generation is producing more and more of these types of individuals. The result is a society that is more susceptible to be deceived by Satan and those who advance his agenda on this earth.

We are seeing the horrible results of this process today. Those Americans who love this world instead of God are growing in number. Once their numbers are large enough, they will be able to completely remove the freedoms we enjoy. They will be able to change the laws and install a government that reflects their ideology. 

How long will it be before these people succeed? Can it be stopped? If it can't, our lives will be much different than what we experience today. Free speech will totally evaporate; those who speak or believe something contrary to a totalitarian government will be punished. Those who worship God and believe in traditional, biblical values will be persecuted, ostracized and even physically assaulted. When you really think about it, aren't we witnessing the birth of this future right now in America?

Those who love evil are attacking and blaming those who love the truth for the problems all around us. They claim to be loving and tolerant, yet they hatefully abuse and shun those who disagree with them. Those who truly love others respect those around them and desire to live in peace, even with those who hate them. On the other hand, those who are filled with hate cannot coexist with those they oppose. When those who have God's love in their heart outnumber those who love hatred, there is peace in the land. What happens when those who hate outnumber those who love God? Violence, civil unrest, anarchy and war.

There always has been and always will be division in America and on earth. Also, the bible says the earth will one day be ruled by a dictator who is hostile toward those who love God. We must prepare our hearts for this inevitability, since we are not sure when that day will come. The only time this earth will ever truly see peace is when God Himself (Jesus Christ) comes down from heaven and eliminates all liars from power. May this truth comfort us during these violent and turbulent times.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Spirtual Blindness

What is spiritual blindness? It's when the truth (according to God) is hidden from us. The biggest and most important truth is, we must receive Jesus Christ into our hearts and believe in Him to gain eternal life. But there are also numerous truths to be learned in our everyday existence. The devil and his demonic underlings are tirelessly working many deceptions in our lives right now. The only way we can truly recognize and expose the lies that engulf the world around us is with help from the Spirit of Truth, or the Holy Spirit of God. 

We are blinded when we are separated from God. What separates us from God? Sin. Since we are all born having a sinful nature, immediately upon entering this world we inherit spiritual blindness. This sinful nature is ingrained into our mortal flesh, making it weak and vulnerable to sinful urges and thoughts, all of which are inspired by Satan.

If we are aware of this truth, we can also learn this: Not everything that feels or seems good to us is from God. In fact, some things in our lives that feel good are actually sinful and self-destructive in nature. If this is indeed true, how can we ever completely trust ourselves to know what is right or wrong? The answer is, we can't; nor should we try. God tells us we must trust Him with all of our heart and not lean on our own understanding to guide us through life. 

The perfect scenario for us in this life is to only be subjected to God's truth. However, we live in a sinful world; we are surrounded by lies and destructive, sinful pleasures. Quite simply, as long as we are alive on this earth, there is no way to completely avoid being influenced by the evil all around us. For example, even if you don't smoke cigarettes, if you stay in a smoke filled room long enough you'll eventually leave smelling like smoke.

Most if not all of the pleasures found in this world feed our physical needs and desires. In some cases, there is no way to avoid doing this. However, it is important that we become disciplined when indulging or satisfying these needs.

I believe our spiritual diet parallels our physical diet: Those things in this life which cater to our flesh are like junk food. Junk food tastes really good...but when we eat too much, it will often make us sick and give us an upset stomach. Also, if we only eat junk food and never give our bodies the healthy food that it desperately needs, our health will deteriorate over time. The same is true in our spiritual life: If we only feed the desires of our physical body but ignore the desires of our spiritual body, we will become spiritually sick and unhealthy. 

The level by which we eliminate sin from our lives and resist the urges of our flesh, will have a direct effect on our level of spiritual blindness. The more we feed our spiritual body with God's Word and Truth, the more our blindness will give way to spiritual clarity and wisdom. God's truth will become like a light inside our hearts, guiding and leading us down every good path. Once we have received this light inside of us, we will no longer stumble through life in spiritual darkness.

We must learn to discern right from wrong in all matters, and to test the spirits which try to influence us on a daily basis. Think of our spiritual battle like this- The devil sits on one of our shoulders with a megaphone, screaming lies and temptations into our ear. On the other shoulder rests the Holy Spirit, whispering very softly and gently things from God.

Because the devil's voice and influence is much louder in this world, it can seem nearly impossible to hear God's voice. Therefore, we must learn to muzzle the devil's voice. How do we do this? By resisting the empty, sinful pleasures found in this world, and embracing the hidden treasures found only in God. When we sow in the flesh, we reap emptiness, sin and vanity. But when we sow in the spirit, we reap the fruits of the Spirit of God. Doing this will also help remove the spiritual blindness that is present in our lives.

(Scripture references: Proverbs 3:6, Psalm 119:97-105, Isaiah 59:9-10, 1 John 4:1-6, Galatians 6:8, Luke 11:34-36)



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What Separates Christianity From The World?

In America today, we are seeing an increase in attacks on individual freedoms. For example, if someone publicly says something that might offend others, they are often vilified and persecuted. Instead of simply ignoring or quietly disagreeing, many feel they are justified in punishing others with different viewpoints.

This type of demonization or de-humanizing of others is the catalyst behind this behavior. In the minds of those who love hatred, this gives them the moral authority to impose judgment upon those they disagree with. If the target of their abuse is guilty or "deserves" it, this serves as justification, at least according to their way of thinking.

On the other hand, the love of God (which was revealed to us through Jesus Christ) is completely different. Jesus commanded us to love those who hate us, and to pray for those who persecute us. In the eyes of a loving God, there is never an excuse for one person to physically instigate violence toward another individual.


I don't believe this means we have to be best friends with our enemies. Nor does it mean we should let people physically assault us without defending ourselves. It does mean that we should treat everyone with respect and kindness, even those who hate us. 

We have laws in this country. If somebody commits a crime, they are subject to punishment according to our laws, not according to vigilante "justice." This also applies to imaginary crimes, such as the ever popular "hate speech" crime that many Christians are supposedly guilty of these days. There is never a time when a person is justified in persecuting another person, or physically/verbally assaulting someone just because of their words or beliefs; at least not according to God.

The bible says that when Jesus returns, He will separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep are those who receive Christ as their redeemer. Having been forgiven, they likewise extend this forgiveness to others. The goats are those who embrace the hypocrisy found in this world. Though they themselves are imperfect and make mistakes, they refuse to show mercy to those around them who are also imperfect.

So then, what separates Christianity from the world? In a word, love...but not the love that is born of this world. It is the love of God; the kind that requires us to keep showing His love, even toward those who hate us. Indeed, it is only God's miraculous love that can truly overcome the hatred and hypocrisy, drowning this evil world in which we live.

(Scripture references: Matthew 25:31-33, Matthew 5:43-48)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Nearing The End

I believe the entire bible is the literal word of God. For me, this includes what it says about our future. We do not know what day Jesus will return, but He did tell us we could know when His arrival was near. What are some of these signs of His return? I would like to share some that exist today, that are happening right before our very eyes.

The bible speaks of a future where Christians are persecuted and murdered for their faith. While it's true this is happening today, it will one day reach epic proportions. In fact, the entire world will condone this behavior. Notice what the bible says about this subject:

"Then the dragon was enraged at the woman (Israel) and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus."
(Revelation 12:17) NIV

...

"It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.


Whoever has ears, let them hear.

'If anyone is to go into captivity,
into captivity they will go.
If anyone is to be killed with the sword,
with the sword they will be killed.'


This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people." (Revelation 13:7-10) NIV

These passages speak of a future where a world dictator, commonly known as "anti-Christ", will have authority over the entire world. He will wage war on God's people and murder many innocent people. This beast, or anti-Christ, will especially target both Jews and Christians.

It seems hard to believe the whole world will condone mass genocide. But if we are paying attention, don't we see the seeds of this behavior being planted today? Jews are often scapegoated and falsely blamed for many problems in our world. Christians also are often unfairly attacked and persecuted for their beliefs.

These days, many Christians (or anybody else who does not subscribe to a progressive or politically correct ideology) are attacked simply for disagreeing with some aspects of our modern culture. Some even condone the use of violence as punishment for their beliefs. They accuse others of using "hate speech", which in their mind justifies the use of physical violence or persecution.

America was created on the foundation of free speech. It's citizens could speak their mind without the fear of retaliation by government or their neighbors. But there is a growing movement in our country which ignores these rights found in our Constitution. These people believe they are morally justified to silence those who they disagree with. In fact, their opponents are often demonized, which in turn leads to persecution and sometimes violence.

This would explain why there are many who often attack America and its history. Those who hate freedom cannot stand someone else having a right to speak their minds without being punished (unless of course they agree with what others are saying, in which case they are allowed to share their ideas). There are many groups who try and slander America in everyway possible. Little do they realize the very freedoms they enjoy will be lost if they get their wish, which is the elimination of the rights found in our Constitution.

I believe the devil is inspiring the hearts of many people to hate America and our liberty. He knows that before his anti-Christ can gain control of the world system, America as we know it must be eliminated. Will he one day succeed? The answer sadly is, yes.


The bible speaks of a world kingdom more fearsome than any before it, that will come to existence shortly before Jesus returns:

“He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.
 
“ ‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’" (Daniel 7:23-27) NIV

The United Nations is a world leading organization that is very interested in uniting the earth under one government system. (I encourage you to do some research into this organization). Indeed, there are many powerful people in our world who consider themselves "globalists". A lot of money and political power is being used to push a world government ideology on the population. If these people get their way, we will one day (perhaps very soon) see the fruit of their labor, which is one world government.

To summarize, in order for the future described in the word of God to come into existence, we would need to see a world government come into power. Since a free America stands in the way of this, it would have to be drastically changed in order to graft it into this new system. Also, Christians (and Jews) will be demonized to such an extent that world wide genocide of its people would be justified by the masses. Do we see the evidence of these circumstances happening in our world today? Do we see the seeds of these ideologies being planted in the hearts of people everywhere in our society right now? The answer is, yes.

May the Lord give strength to those who one day will face the rapidly approaching avalanche of evil, descending upon our world today. Amen.








Monday, May 15, 2017

The Truth Can Be Found

I like to be honest about everything so let me be honest in this matter: The things found in the bible are foolish to our natural mind. There is no way to effectively dispute this fact. I'll take it a step further...in my opinion, a person would have to be crazy to accept what it says strictly upon face value.

While we are being honest, can we be honest about something else? In spite of all our scientific and technological advancements, there is still so much we do not understand. More importantly, in our own hearts there remain many important questions unanswered.

Regardless of what we believe, we are all in the same boat. Nobody was around when the universe was created. Sure, we can believe a scientist's explanation of creation based on their data and research. But do we really understand every single detail that went into their research? Probably not. If not, aren't we on some level simply trusting their explanation without knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt it is true?

The same goes for those who believe in God. Do we really know for sure He exists, or are we just trusting our parents, pastor or whoever else taught us about faith? If we do not know for sure what or why we believe, or if we are not absolutely sure that God exists, aren't we just trusting someone else's explanation?

So how do we know for sure if God exists? It may sound crazy, but why not ask God Himself? If He isn't real then you won't receive an answer. If He is real, surely He could find a way to prove it inside your heart. Makes sense, right?

Sadly, there can be major obstacles to this simple process. The biggest is this- If we are not willing to open our hearts to the possibility that God is real, He will never be able to come inside and prove His existence. Why? Because the God I know is a gentleman and respects the free will of all people. He will not force Himself upon anyone.

Why are we not willing to open our hearts to the idea He might exist? Some are not willing to change their lives according to God's plan. For others, the existence of a loving and righteous God would mean they are guilty of sin. If God is not real then a person will not have to address these difficult issues.

The truth is, many of us are afraid to deal with these issues inside our heart. Making matters worse, the world around us often serves as an enabler for our desire to hide from the truth. We mask our pain and hide by indulging in various pleasures in this world. Our actions are justified and normalized in our mind because we surround ourselves with people who do the same thing. In essence, we create a reality that serves our agenda, rather than facing truth and shaping our reality around that instead of lies.

Since I have done all of these things, I am qualified to speak about the solution I've found. Until I was ready to accept truth and responsibility for my own actions, I was unable to see truth around me. Indeed, we are all in some ways blinded by the spell that engulfs this evil world. The only way we can accurately see truth is to receive the Spirit of Truth. Unless we are willing to admit our blindness, the Light cannot come inside our heart and expose the lies around us.

People can argue about science versus God, politics, or anything else. I have no stomach for this because it is vain and useless. My motivation is not to sound smart or to be right about everything...I am motivated by my love for truth. Here is my testimony and question for you and the whole world: Truth is there for everyone to see, if we are willing to receive it no matter what form it takes. Why not just ask for it?

Friday, May 12, 2017

Witnessing For Christ

When I first received the Lord as a very young man, I had very little understanding about many things. In regards to sharing my experience with Jesus, I knew doing so was a good thing. But my ignorance and spiritual immaturity caused me to make many mistakes.

Before I go any further, let me be clear that my experience may not be similar to yours. We are called to be different things to different people. My story is not meant to be a cookie cutter approach to the faith for people to mimic. Rather, I share these things to inspire others to draw closer to Christ and become everything He wants you to be, not what I want you to be. If somebody can relate to my experiences and be blessed as a result, Amen. If my testimony does not relate to you on a spiritual level, Amen. Nonetheless, I will be obedient to the One inside my heart.

So then, when I was a new Christian I was susceptible to many deceptions. Oftentimes I would feel obligated to witness for the wrong reasons. Instead of being lead by the Spirit, I was motivated by things inspired by other people. I also allowed a guilty conscience to guide my heart instead of God. This resulted in many poor decisions and unsuccessful endeavors.

During this process of failure, I learned that trying to do the right thing for the wrong reasons will not yield spiritual fruit. Sharing Christ with others is a noble and righteous thing; doing it your way instead of following God's lead is not. My heart was in the right place but I lacked spiritual discernment. Because of this I made many mistakes.

There are two major lessons I learned that have helped me be more effective in my testimony for Christ:

1) People do not believe in God by choice. It is imperative that people who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ be given this information. This is why our Lord commanded us to preach the Gospel to the whole world. However, in America just about everyone has heard about Jesus. Those who have not believed in His name have done so willingly.

Some will claim they do not believe because there is a lack of proof. But if they are like I was, they are using this as an excuse to avoid addressing the subject in their hearts. The truth is, if anybody wants to know if God is real, they need only to ask Him. When I was willing to admit I was a sinner and receive God, no matter who He was or what I needed to do, this is when I received proof in my heart. Unless somebody is willing to accept the truth, no amount of arguing will change their mind.

2) Jesus knows everyone who will accept Him in advance. The bible says before we were born, God knew us. This is what it means to be pre-destined into the Kingdom of God. He doesn't play favorites in regards to eternal salvation; indeed, the bible says God desires everyone to be saved. But in His foreknowledge of who will accept Him, He has crafted a pathway in life for all of His children to find His love.

What does this mean? For me, this revelation meant I didn't have to worry that my mistakes would cause someone to go to hell. The eternal destiny of others does not rest on my ability. God knows exactly what it takes to bring His children to Him; my faults, weaknesses or mistakes will not stop God's eternal plans for salvation. In fact, in crafting His eternal plan, He already had my weaknesses in mind. The bottom line is, God will find a way to reach those who will choose Jesus Christ and salvation no matter what we do or don't do.

Now let me be clear about something. God is counting on us to reach others with the Gospel of Christ; If we don't, who will? It doesn't mean we should sit on our hands and let God or somebody else do the work. But if we try and do the right things for the wrong reasons, we will fail in our attempts.

If I know in my heart that God will not allow His children to slip away, suddenly my anxiety disappears. I simply need to be obedient to what the Holy Spirit is leading me to say or do. If I am not successful at first, I do not need to pound the Gospel down somebody's throat. I can share my testimony and leave it at that.

We can only water a plant; it is God who makes it grow. If the truth is not enough for people to accept Jesus, nothing will. Or, perhaps our testimony is a seed being sown in their heart that God will grow at a later date. We may not see results now but our efforts may bear fruit later on.

To summarize, what did I learn? I learned in order to effectively witness to others about Christ, I must do so for the right reasons. If I am allowing myself to be influenced by anything else other than the Holy Spirit, the effectiveness of my testimony will be severely weakened. If I argue instead of having patience by allowing God to work in the hearts of others through my testimony, my efforts will fail. Since God knows everyone who will receive His love in advance, He knows exactly what it takes to bring them to a place of repentance and acceptance. This frees me from the pressure to be perfect or to witness in an overbearing way. Now I can be lead by the Spirit and trust in His plan, rather than force the issue against the will of God.

May we all sacrifice more of ourselves and draw closer to Jesus, so that we can receive spiritual enlightenment and discernment, not only in regards to giving our testimony of Him but also in everything. Amen

(Scripture references: Jeremiah 1:5, Romans 8:29-30, 1Timothy 2:1-4, John 6:39,40)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Miracle Of Grace

The bible says we are all born into sin because of one man, Adam. It also says we are all redeemed and rescued from sin because of one man, Jesus Christ. After learning this, two things jump out at me:

1) Our actions and words have an enormous impact in our lives. Think about it...because of one man's sinful act of disobedience, all of mankind after him was cursed with death! Just one sin did all of that. This is a testament to how much God hates sin and how destructive it can be in this world.

2) The grace of God is immeasurable. I think we all take for granted just what our Lord's death on the cross really meant. To put it in perspective, try and imagine giving up your child or most cherished loved one to be tortured beyond belief. And for what reason? To save complete strangers who are disgusting and vulgar criminals, who have committed the most heinous of crimes. Even though God loves us beyond anything we can imagine, that is how repulsive our sin was to Him before he offered up His Son to be tortured for our sake. That kind of unselfish love cannot be found in this world.

The bible also says when we accept Jesus into our hearts, our inherited sinful nature is destroyed and we become new creatures in Christ. When this happens, we become adopted sons and daughters into the family of the Most High God. Now, all of us know that every good parent loves their adopted children as much as their own. If imperfect human parents are capable of this kind of love, how much more will a perfect God love us, his adopted children? :)

Our salvation is a free gift and is not conditional. Those who have been transformed by Jesus know about the change that has occurred inside their heart. They also recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit from when He wasn't there before. In fact, the bible says the Holy Spirit is our down payment for the promise of one day meeting our Heavenly Father. It is our proof that we have indeed been rescued from death and given eternal life.

This is the grace of God: When we were dead in sin and enemies to God, He offered up His beloved Son do die for those who deserved death. The King of the universe humbled Himself and took on the flesh of His creation. He also submitted Himself to suffering and death so we could live. Quite simply, He saved us because we could not do it ourselves. We did the crime and He did the time.

For this reason I will bow my knee only to Him. Because He loves me so much, I will submit my whole heart to Him. There is no other who is worthy of my admiration or worship, other than Jesus Christ. When I was drowning in shame and sadness, He came into my heart, put me on my feet and gave me life; I owe everything to Him. To show my gratitude, I will proclaim to the whole world what He has done in my life, in the hope that others will receive the same grace I've been given.

(Scripture references: Romans 5:12-21, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 8:14-17, John 3:16-18)


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wisdom Is For Everyone

I do not believe God only wants to reveal Himself to a small, special group of people. In fact, my life is a living contradiction to that idea. I know in my heart that God wishes to have a deep and personal relationship with every single one of us, regardless of our social status or level of education.

The wisdom that you read in my posts does not come from any man. I was not taught these things in school. If you were to meet me in person, you would not be overly impressed. I am not a great speaker and I don't have a lot of money; I am not some important member of society.

On the contrary, I made a lot of foolish mistakes growing up. I come from a broken home; I lacked direction and guidance. At one point I stopped believing in God, having been blinded by the sinful pleasures of this world.

One day when I was alone, I cried out to a God I wasn't even sure was real. He answered my cry for help and 24 years later, here I am. Why I am here with you now? I believe God has chosen me to be an example to everyone. He can take ordinary people whom the world considers foolish and fill them with His wisdom.

Everything I write and share with you has one purpose- To lead people closer to Jesus Christ. All you need is a strong desire to learn from Him, in order to gain wisdom and spiritual strength. When I first gave my life to the Lord, I was so lost and pathetic. All I had was my belief in an invisible God and His promises found in Scripture. There was one in particular that stood out to me: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled."

Looking back at who I was before and who I am now, I am living proof that God will keep this promise. If we search for His wisdom like buried treasure and value it above all else, we will be richly blessed, just like Jesus promised to us. Not only that, His love will begin to overflow in our hearts and our fears will melt away.

I believe all of us have something unique in Christ to show to the world. Individually we are only given a small revelation of Jesus. But together as the body of Christ, we can shine a more complete image of Christ to the world. May we all be motivated to give up everything to Him, so that we may be filled with His Spirit, and in turn shine His light to a darkened world. Amen.

(Scripture references: Matthew 5:6, Proverbs 2:1-8)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Spiritual Justification

In life we are rewarded by how hard we work; this is necessary to excel and succeed at something. The same applies to our spiritual life. However, there is a difference between earning spiritual gifts versus earning eternal salvation.

The bible tells us salvation cannot be earned. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ and not because of our good works. If we look to justify ourselves toward God based on a merit system, we will always fail. That is because we are born with a sinful nature; our bodies are weak and imperfect, which causes us to sin.

On earth, if somebody does not break the law for their entire life but then robs a bank, is arrested and brought to trial, won't they still be punished and sent to jail for their crime? The judge will not say, "Well, since you've been a good person all your life before robbing a bank, we'll drop the charges against you." The same is true in the spiritual realm. After we die and stand before God on Judgment Day, no amount of good deeds will overcome our crimes.

Whenever we break God's law through sin, we are guilty and subject to eternal punishment. If we are justified by obeying His law, then we are also worthy of punishment when we disobey His law. This is precisely why people cannot earn eternal life by doing good deeds. Our bad deeds always cancel out the good ones, not the other way around.

If religion could save us, Christ did not need to come down from heaven and die for our sins. So why did Jesus have to die for our sins? Because nothing unclean can coexist with God. In order for us to find eternal life and fellowship with God, our unclean hearts must first be changed. But before this could happen, someone had to satisfy God's need for justice. Since we are unable to pay the price for our sin, He sent the only One who could: His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

God cannot overlook sin. Therefore we must receive the gift of salvation by accepting Christ into our hearts. If we do this, when we stand before God on Judgment Day, our sins will not be held against us. Rather, we will be judged by Christ's perfect life on earth.

Those who trust in Jesus are trusting in His righteousness in place of their own. Since our "righteousness" is not good enough to earn eternal life, those who do not accept the free gift of salvation will be judged by their own deeds.

The bible is clear that no man or woman will be justified by good works. In fact, good works should be a reflection of the love of Jesus inside our hearts, not something done to earn salvation. Those who trust in their own strength will always fail and fall short; those who trust in Jesus Christ will not only find peace in this world but everlasting life in the world to come.

(Scripture references: Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 3:10-13)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Eternal Medicine

Human nature is to wallow in self-pity. I've done it; we all do it. Life is rough and can beat you down sometimes.

I can tell you how it's better to give to receive, that we should think about others above ourselves. It's true this is a more noble way. But the truth is, there is no one more important to us than us. Unless we are well, it is impossible to serve others unconditionally.

If we are to become selfless, I believe the hole in our heart must first be filled. How can we be a light to others if we suffer from the pain inside our darkened hearts? How can we cheer up those around us when we ourselves are suffocated by sadness? If we are to become selfless, I believe the hole in our heart must first be filled. How can we be a light to others if we suffer from the pain inside our darkened hearts? How can we cheer up those around us when we ourselves are suffocated by sadness?


Friends and family are a big help. Nothing feels better than a kind word from somebody we love. But if we're honest with ourselves, no matter how much support we have from other people, in the end we must face our fears alone. Everyone has to overcome their demons on their own. Nobody can fight all our battles for us in this life. When it's all said and done, we alone will be accountable for our actions, good or bad, in this life and the next. One day, all of us will die and face the afterlife. At that time, our friends and family will be unable to help us.

So how can we fill the hole in our hearts? By now you know what worked for me. In the bible, Jesus said that whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. This statement seems to contradict itself, but those who have trusted the Lord and have lived by this command can attest to its truthfulness.
My priority in life used to be looking for ways to have a good time. Deep down I was trying to mask the pain and loneliness in my heart. I would feel sorry for myself when things went wrong. Rather than acknowledge my lifestyle was causing many of my problems, I chose to make excuses and play the victim. When I decided to finally accept responsibility for my actions and ask for forgiveness, the hole inside my heart was filled. When I stopped living life my way and started trusting the new voice of God inside my heart, that is when happiness flooded my heart.

Rather than feeling sorry for ourselves by focusing only on our needs, why not embrace the unselfish love of God? Rather than trying to satisfy the physical lusts of our flawed bodies (that will one day be worm food anyway), should we not prioritize the need to satisfy our eternal spirit instead?
There is a saying that a cheerful heart is like medicine for our bodies. Let's all grab hold of everlasting medicine, which is the love of God. When we do, we'll find the strength to overcome every obstacle this life can bring. It will always burn brightly in our hearts, even when everything around us have become dark.


(Scripture references: Matthew 16:25, Proverbs 17:22)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Lean Not On Your Own Understanding

The turning point in my life happened when I discovered some of my perceptions and attitudes were flawed. In fact, I learned my very nature was dishonest and hypocritical.

There is a Scripture in the bible that reads: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." When I was young and arrogant, these words meant nothing to me; I regarded this as foolishness. But once I started suffering the consequences for lifestyle choices I thought were good, I became more willing to accept other ideas other then my own.

Suffering has a way of breaking down the walls of stubbornness that surround our hearts. It also has a way of humbling our souls. This is essential if we are to find God. Without humility, no man or woman can ever receive God in their heart.

We can never truly find righteousness until we admit our mistakes. A person can never be pure and find spiritual honor until they first humble themselves to God. The bible confirms this truth when it said: "Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor."

I used to think I knew everything. If someone disagreed with me I would belittle their opinions and consider them as fools. If people believed something I could not understand, they were crazy idiots in my mind. Rather than look deep inside myself and accept responsibility for my lack of vision, it was easier to mock what I did not understand.

It wasn't until I started to honestly analyze my thoughts and reasons for doing things that I began to find wisdom. It happened in many different ways but I'd like to use one example to help illustrate what I'm talking about.

I am very impatient by nature. The main reason is because my inner motor is always running 100 mph. It can be very hard for me to slow myself down. As a kid, this impatience manifested itself in many aspects of my life, one of which was driving a car.

I had a very hard time waiting for people around me who were driving slower than I was. As a result, I often did risky maneuvers to get around other cars. I couldn't understand why everyone else was going so slow. A lot of times I got angry at other drivers and thought they were morons.

Then one day I almost got into an accident. The fear I felt inspired me to start analyzing my driving methods and thought process. Over time I learned my impatience clouded my judgment of things happening around me. I found that in my over zealousness to get around other cars, sometimes I didn't see things. This was creating dangerous situations.

Then I learned something else. Say for instance I passed a red car. I would fly past them, only to be stopped by a red light a little while later. A few seconds passed after stopping and I would see the red car pull up right next to me at the red light.

What did that mean? All of my impatience and energy spent trying to pass the red car was useless. It was a waste of time. We traveled the same distance, even though I passed him. So not only was I putting myself and others at risk by my impatient driving, in the end it didn't even matter. Most times I wasn't getting there any faster than those who were driving patiently.

I learned my impatient, impulsive nature was counterproductive and dangerous. This truth has confirmed to me that the bible is right about human nature. When I was willing to accept the truth about myself and admit I was flawed, God's wisdom was able to come into my heart. When I started to lean on Him instead of my distorted perception of life, I became enlightened in many things. Countless deceptions around me that were hidden before were now being exposed as lies.

When we humble ourselves to God and receive the Holy Spirit of Truth inside our hearts, confusion will give way to knowledge; light will replace darkness; sin will be replaced by integrity and our emptiness will be filled by love. Wisdom will reveal itself when we condition our spiritual eyes to see it. I am a living testimony to this fact. Wisdom costs nothing and is eager to come inside us; all we have to do is ask for it.


(Scripture references: Proverbs:3:5, Proverbs 15:33)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Faith

What is faith? Faith is a belief in something we cannot physically see. It is often used to achieve something we do not have. Sometimes we use faith to overcome a hardship in our lives.

Christians have faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and redeemer of mankind. Since we were not able to see Him on earth for ourselves, we can only trust that He is real. On what do we base this trust? The answer to this question will help determine how authentic our faith really is.

If we believe only because of our upbringing, oftentimes our faith
will not survive the doubts and troubles we face in this life. If we believe something only because someone else told us to without really understanding for ourselves, it probably isn't authentic; it is based on somebody else's vision of the truth. But if we clearly
understand the faith inside our hearts, we are more likely to overcome every obstacle that threatens our beliefs. When we analyze and fully comprehend what our faith consists of, we will eventually find peace and not be so easily deceived.

How can we strengthen our faith? After all, isn't it an all or nothing thing? You either believe or not believe in God. So what does it mean if someone has more faith than someone else?

Faith is a belief in something we cannot see; therefore, faith is spiritual. God is also a Spirit we cannot see. The bible says and we know by experience that sin separates us from God. If that is true then the opposite is also true: Righteousness brings us closer to God.

In the bible it says we are justified by faith. It also tells us that Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Therefore righteousness and faith go hand in hand. The more we turn away from sin and embrace the righteousness we receive through our faith in Christ, the stronger this faith becomes.

Our faith is strong enough to overcome sin, but only if it is real in our heart. If we are living in the flesh and indulging in sinful things, it will separate us from God and cloud our spiritual eyes. If we cannot see Him, He will not seem real to us. This will result in a faith that is weak and vulnerable to temptation.

This is why it is imperative that we follow the Holy Spirit's instruction and give up sinful things in our lives. The more we embrace Jesus and deny ourselves, the stronger our faith becomes. The longer we continue down this path, the more we'll be able to see God in our hearts. He will become more real than anything we can see, touch or feel; and we'll be able to resist and overcome every obstacle or hardship that contradicts God's promises to us.

Faith is real but only if it rests on a solid foundation of truth inside our hearts. If we are unsure why we believe; if our faith is based on lies or weakened by our indulgence in sin, it will undoubtedly crumble under the weight of this world. Therefore, let us be confident what we believe can stand against every doubt or argument.

By following Christ and obeying the Holy Spirit, we will turn away from our sinful lifestyle and grow closer to God. The closer we are to God, the stronger our faith will become. And if we persevere, our faith will become strong enough to overcome any obstacle in life.

(Scripture references: Romans 5:1-2, Romans 4:3)



Self-Destructive Nature

I believe all of us have a self-destructive side; I know I do. It's why we enjoy doing certain things that feel good, even though we know they are unhealthy.

Why are we like this? I believe all of us are born with an emptiness in our hearts that needs to be filled. As we grow up and become adults, many times we fill this emptiness with things that cannot permanently satisfy us. This can lead to a lifestyle of binging on pleasures that are selfish, temporary, and unfulfilling.

As we indulge in these things, at first they appear to satisfy the emptiness in our heart. But inevitably, the sense of fulfillment wears off and we are back where we started. We become trapped in this endless cycle of indulgence and then regret.

The true nature of these self-destructive things is initially hidden to us. Almost as if we are under a spell, we fall victim to its pleasurable allure. But in time, the cloak of deception wears off and we eventually see these false pleasures for what they really are: empty, unhealthy and unfulfilling. Unfortunately, by this time these things will often gain a stronghold inside us and can be hard to turn away from. Those who struggle with addiction are very familiar with this.

Even if we come to terms with our self-destructive side, oftentimes we resist deliverance. We claim to want relief but are unwilling to do whatever it takes to find it. Why? Because deep down we still love our self-destructive pleasures. In reality, it is only the consequences we want deliverance from. Deep down we still want to do bad things that feel good; we just don't want the pain that comes with them.

Isn't this foolishness? Are we not living in a fantasy world when we think like this? The laws of nature clearly tell us we reap what we sow. If we put our finger in an electrical outlet, will we not get shocked? If we put our hands in fire, will we not get burned? Why would we think it is possible to avoid the repercussions for our actions?

The things we do are a reflection of what is inside us. If this is true, how can we change what is on the inside so that our lifestyle can become healthy? I believe this cannot be done by human means. In our own strength, we can mask the pain and find temporary relief. But real and everlasting change is miraculous and comes only from God. I believe it is something we all must find in order to gain real victory over the things that plague our spirit.

If I have an unhealthy love for something but cannot resist indulging in it, what if my desire for it could be removed? Temptation has little to no effect when it is not desirable. It is much easier to avoid doing something if it doesn't feel good anymore. This is exactly what happens when God changes our hearts. The self-destructive temptations and pleasures of the past become like a dog barking up the wrong tree.

If you're like me then you have a self-destructive side that enjoys doing unhealthy things. Are you looking to find the strength to overcome this side of you? Is it really possible to find peace and have the emptiness in our hearts (the source of our self-destructive behavior) permanently filled? It happened for me. But it wasn't until I was willing to acknowledge and accept responsibility for my self-destructive behavior that I was able to receive this free gift from above.

There is a love which can heal all things. When we invite it into our hearts, it will fill the emptiness within. We can become reborn inside and in time, shed the self-destructive nature we are born with. This transformation is not logical and cannot be explained. Nevertheless, it is real. Those who have experienced it can testify to this truth.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Absolute Truth

What is reality? I believe there are two forms of reality: The first is what we perceive to be reality. This changes from person to person. The spiritual lens with which we view and understand reality is shaped by many variables: How we are raised, where we live, what we expose ourselves to, our belief system, our choices in life, traumatic experiences, etc.

For example, the reality for the average American is much different from the person living in a secluded and primitive culture somewhere else in the world. Somebody who doesn't know where their next meal is going to come from on a regular basis probably has a different reality and outlook on life than the rich kid who has everything.


The second form of reality is absolute truth; it cannot be changed and is not affected by the variables that distort our perception of reality. The absolute truth about everything exists but cannot be attained or understood completely by mankind because of our limited abilities.
All of us fall somewhere in the middle between these two realities, though some of us are closer to the truth than others.

There are many things that cloud our judgment. We all have imperfections in our heart that blind us from truth. Bad choices we make can also pull us farther away from seeing absolute truth. Other times, outside forces cloud our perception. And often unbeknownst to us, many of the things we watch in the news and on television help to paint a distorted outlook on reality.

How do we overcome these factors that distort our perception of reality? We have to fix or change the spiritual lens with which we view life. Without doing this, it is impossible to see past many of the deceptions and smokescreens in life.

So what is the answer? Since mankind is flawed, it is imperative that we all look elsewhere for guidance in this matter. If we are honest with ourselves, we admit there are things we do not understand; we acknowledge our judgment has been wrong leading to past mistakes.

In order to see more of the absolute truth in reality, we must invite the Spirit of Truth inside our hearts. We must allow Him to open our eyes; to shine a light on those things that were hidden to us before. It is a long, gradual process and one that never ends until we die; but if we are persistent, many of the mysteries of life will begin to be unlocked. Our spiritual lens will become clear and our perception of reality will begin to align more with absolute truth, which is the only reality that matters.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Anxiety

Maybe you are like me...I am often plagued by anxiety. In spite of the fact I do not consciously worry about things, I am bombarded by feelings of uneasiness and doubt; not in God or His love for me, but in my own perception of who He wants me to be in this life.
If I'm being honest, the road I am on now is a frightening one. I have no earthly example to follow. My own weaknesses and limitations make it harder for me to stay focused and see my final destination. A lot of times I feel as if I'm grasping blindly in the dark, trying to grab something I cannot see.
My mind races a million miles an hour; my body struggles to calm itself and focus on simple tasks. Sometimes the only thing I am really sure of is an invisible God I've never seen before. If that isn't crazy, I don't know what is.

All of this might consume and destroy me, if I did not already know what I've learned of God. His Word tells me that all things work for our good, for those who love Him. By faith I am sure He knows everything before it happens; therefore He knew I would be in this place right now, before I was even born.

What does this tell me? There are no accidents with God; He is not surprised or caught off guard by anything in my life. He knew the mistakes I would make and crafted my life's journey accordingly. He created my body, weaknesses and all. Therefore He must have had a good reason for doing so, even though I cannot see it with my own eyes.
Whenever I am tempted to doubt or complain, I just remember these things. Though I have left behind a trail of numerous mistakes, the one mistake I refuse to make is questioning the One who loves me. Though I am uncertain of many things regarding my future, I will always be certain of His ability to lead me through it. And most of all, the adversity I face now is there for a purpose; for it is through hardship that Jesus strengthens our spirit and brings us closer to Him. For this reason I will rejoice. For this reason I will pray for strength to reach the finish line, knowing that the end result will be a blessing.
If you're going through something difficult right now and you are leaning on Jesus for strength, don't give up. If your faith has reached it's breaking point, don't turn away from God, if for no other reason than the alternative is empty, cold and dark. If Jesus Christ has come into your heart then you also remember what it was like before He did. The trials that we face now could never be worse than what we faced in the past without His love in our hearts.

He is faithful and will never leave us. When we haven't the strength or patience to keep believing in Him, may the spirit of Christ rise up inside us to overcome the darkness that tries to separate us from our God. Amen.