Tag: Believe

You say you don’t believe in God…

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Although there are many people who’ve convinced themselves and others that God isn’t real, God knows the truth.

He knows He exists.

“For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar…” (Romans 3:3 – 3:4 NKJV)

There was a time in my life I would have sworn that either God never existed, or He was dead.

Yes, I knew so much.

But just because I had never met Him, didn’t mean He was nonexistent.

I know tons of people. You probably do as well.

If I was to tell you about my great friend Greg, how we enjoy fishing and playing music together, and you said to me, “I don’t believe in Greg”, I’d have to think you’re some kind of nut.

Well, shouldn’t I? Just because you don’t know my friend doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist. It doesn’t make me a liar, or a weak fool for believing in Greg.

What would be wrong with saying, “Greg sounds like a great guy. Maybe some day I can meet him”?

It’s really that simple with God.

Back when I didn’t believe in God, I met a guy who did. I kind of thought he was a bit on the kooky side, because I’d never met anyone who talked so freely about Jesus; like he really knew Him.

I didn’t believe automatically, but there was something about this guy I liked. So I listened.

And I began to sense my heart changing from “God can’t exist”, to “well, what if…?”.

Finally, about a year later, while riding a bus from Columbus, Ohio to Louisville, Kentucky (Fort Knox), I actually met the One I’d been told about.

No, the roof of the bus didn’t open, nor were there angels singing the hallelujah chorus (that I heard, anyway).

I just believed. The blinders of doubt melted away and I knew, I KNEW, a change had occurred.

I had passed from death unto life.

May I encourage you to give yourself a chance at new life?

Just because you haven’t met God, doesn’t mean you can’t.

My doubt and unbelief never kept Him away. The very moment I believed, He was there.

And He’s close to you, as well.

Our limited knowledge and perspective can never authenticate or invalidate the claims of God.

We cannot explain away God, or make Him something He isn’t.

He just IS.

God has never needed our affirmation, and He doesn’t worry about those who slander His Name.

He can handle His own reputation.

Because He IS.

“He who comes to a God must believe He IS, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Come as you are, with your frustrations, troubles, worries, and doubts. He’ll help you sort them all out.

Because He IS.

Are Preachers Ever Guilty Of Jealousy?

The biggest day of the year for church attendance has come and gone. Easter Sunday, the number one day of the year when pastors and church leaders around the globe attempt to woo the masses into visiting their church, and hopefully, become a regular member.

Although I’m no longer a pastor, haven’t been for over five years, I can still recall some of the feelings I’d have to deal with on Easter; and especially the day after.

Through the years I’ve had the privilege of pastoring two churches for a total of about eighteen years. Both churches were growing churches; one grew upward in attendance, the other, downward. Try as we might to reach out to our community, I’d many times feel embarrassed and cheated by a low Easter attendance.

So I ask the question: are preachers ever guilty of jealousy? 

Yes, they are. Is it good? No, but it happens. Has it happened to you? Is it happening to you?

Yesterday I looked at a number of Facebook posts from area churches, their pastors and members. I’ve divided them into two groups. One group told of the number of salvations, visitors, baptisms, etc. Very exciting to read. The other group posted a much more simple message; nice, but I’d hardly call it exciting. “Had a great Easter Service and breakfast”, pretty much defined the whole day.

I’m not putting anyone down for their Facebook post. Not at all. But as I read the first group’s gloriously glowing posts, I couldn’t help but think back to the days when Easter didn’t end up like I’d envisioned. For whatever reason, it wasn’t the “breakthrough service” I had prayed, planned, promoted, or preached for.

And before twenty four hours would pass, I would be filled with jealousy and resentment.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to burst your bubble.

Actually, a person doesn’t need to be a pastor, or even “in the ministry” to be guilty of jealousy. But just because a person is a spiritual leader doesn’t make them immune to those terribly sick feelings.

We need to recognize those feelings, call them what they are, and get rid of them. I know it’s hard to do, especially with the adversary whispering all the reasons why you deserve much more than you’re receiving. But something which might help you beat the jealousy demon back into its hole is to give thanks to God for the people you’re jealous of.

After all, shouldn’t each of us, regardless of the scope of our leadership influence, have just one primary focus? Aren’t you and I called to be faithful?

Faithful to our individual calling, not someone else’s.

I thought about adding a number of scriptures pertaining to jealousy and envy, but that’s really unnecessary, don’t you think? We all know it’s wrong to wish for something another person has, or maybe even worse, wish the other person or preacher wasn’t doing as well as they were. It only causes us to forget the things God has called us to do.

I remember the wonderful pity parties I used to throw for myself. I could sit for a couple hours “meditating” on how unfair ministry is; and instead of doing something creative, I’d end up wishing my life away.

I hope your Easter Sunday went well for you. I hope you were in the first group, the one with all the glorious pictures and comments. God’s good, all the time, and Jesus is still alive!

But if yesterday was kind of a drag, and all your effort seemed wasted, the Lord has a word for you, as well. He’d like you to remember He’s good, all the time, and Jesus is still alive.

Jesus is the One Who builds His church. Yes, we’re workers together with Him. Yes, it’s His desire to see everyone born again. Yes, yes, yes.

But He’s only requiring one thing from us. Faithfulness. Faithfulness to His call, direction, and everyday opportunities. Nothing more, nothing less.

So please don’t waste any part of your life giving in to feelings of jealousy. You’re part of something far greater than your own little world. You’re part of the glorious kingdom of God.

And God is just as much God in your neck of the woods, as He is in someone else’s. He’s STILL able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all you can ask or even think!

How Long Must I Believe?


“I am so tired of waiting!”

“If God is so good, and His promises never fail, why is it taking so long? How much longer must I believe?”

Those are honest questions, don’t you think? I mean, really. I understand Rome wasn’t built in a day, but c’mon.

Most people despise having to wait. They pray, “Lord, I want patience, and I want it now!”And honestly, it’s not easy waiting, no matter how patient or spiritual a person is.

But how long is a reasonable time to be required to wait? Whether it’s waiting for God to answer my prayer, or for a potential employer to call saying I’ve been hired, even one or two days can be a drag.

Recently, like today, I’ve found myself on edge; impatient. Frustrated for several reasons, all legitimate of course.

Since I’m sure you’re interested, I’ll give you a few examples.

I’ve been working through a course to help improve my writing, and increase my readership. I’ve been at it a whole week and I haven’t noticed any difference whatsoever. Nothing positive, that is.

How long must I wait? How long do I have to keep putting the ink to the paper? How much longer must I believe?

What would you do, if you were me?

I’ve been seriously looking and applying for a job, one that will work with my life’s focus and still bring in some good, supplemental income. Three days ago I had a very good interview, and felt I would be called back for a second one. But no word. No call. No job.

And it’s been three whole days!

How long must I wait?

There are other things I’m waiting on, as well. And like so many, I often find myself wishing I could find a way to make God and others work at my pace, not theirs. But even though I’m antsy, I can still hear the Lord speak the words of Habakkuk quietly to my heart.

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength…” (Habakkuk 3:17 – 3:19 ESV)

How long must I believe? Well, I suppose until I see the answer. If I’m only willing to wait a minute or two, or even a week or two, maybe what I’m calling faith isn’t faith at all.

But while I’m waiting, I think I’ll keep applying for work, and continue adding words to the paper.

Because, after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And practice never hurt anyone. Besides, when patience is allowed to run its full course, I will be thoroughly equipped for every good work (James 1:4).

By the way, what do you do while you wait? How do you stay patient? I’d love to hear how you keep going when you feel like quitting.

 

Day Five

40 Days of PromisesThe Faithful God

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations…” (Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV)

I love this description of God: the faithful God. He keeps covenant; in other words, He can be depended upon.

Life is full of uncertainties, but the faithful God can always be counted on.

“And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.” (Joshua 21:44 – 21:45 ESV)

Even when we are less than perfect (and who isn’t), like Israel in Joshua’s day; God is faithful. He will give us victory over all our enemies if we will only give Him a chance.

Give God a chance? What’s that mean?

It means to trust, to believe, to obediently do our part.

Because He is the faithful God.

“Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all.” (1 Kings 8:56 ESV)

To give God a chance also means to hold fast our confession; to verbalize our faith in our faithful God.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23 ESV)

Yes, the One Who makes the promises IS faithful!

He IS the FAITHFUL GOD.

The Confessions of a Closet Doubter

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So what happens to me if can’t find my way clear to believe all of the bible?

Who says I have to?

And so what, if I don’t?

Can I enter into Heaven if I don’t believe in the biblical account of creation? What if I believe in the “six days”, but use Peter’s “thousand years is a day” verse to define the length of each day? And why not? People use it to prove other things.

What if I don’t believe Jonah lived for three days and nights in the belly of a great fish? Would that ruin my chances for eternal life?

Would it be better for me to say I believe all the bible, from Genesis through Revelation, when God knows I don’t?

Who cares more about what I really believe; you or the Lord?

Will I be given the opportunity to walk the streets of gold if people discover I am a closet doubter? You know, there’s an awful lot of stories in that big book. Like the one of Samson whooping up on a number of men using only a donkey jawbone. Really. And I’m expected to believe THAT?

What about the story of Gideon’s fleece, Jacob’s ladder, or Cain’s wife? I have to believe EVERYTHING? What if I haven’t even read “everything”?

The thief on the cross; what did he believe that unlocked Heaven’s gate for him? Was it the story of Joshua’s sun standing still, or Hezekiah’s shadow moving backwards ten degrees?

Where can I find scripture telling me I must believe every jot and tittle?

Do YOU believe everything?

Don’t get me wrong. I WANT to believe everything. I desire to be FULL of faith, having no doubt. But sometimes I just can’t see it. Even with my measure of faith, it’s tough at times.

I DO believe Jesus is God. He is the Word made flesh. He came, lived a sinless life, for me. He went about doing good, and healing all oppressed by the devil. He was crucified as the Lamb of God, taking upon himself all of mankind’s sin; yes, even mine.

I DO believe God raised Jesus from the dead. He ascended into Heaven. He is Lord of all.

I DO believe he is MY Lord. Without a shadow of doubt, I believe.

Oh, I THINK I believe everything in the bible, but there are times when I find a little (or a lot of) doubt tiptoeing around in my heart.

But I KNOW what I believe; I have the evidence, the reality, in my heart.

And I’m working on believing the rest.

Everyone Believes Something

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Faith is an interesting thing.

Everyone has it, though not everyone realizes it. But everyone lives by that which they believe.

It’s easier to see it in others than in one’s own life.

A person’s faith will grow or shrink; but they’ll always have faith. It may become “NO FAITH”, but it will never be “GONE FAITH”. What do I mean? “NO FAITH” is still something that influences the way we think, speak, and act.

God has given each person a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). Faith, the ability to believe, is an element of the human experience. It’s part of our life. We can’t help but believe something about anything.

Faith in God, or faith in God’s power and ability, grows just like faith in people, faith in airplanes, chairs, or garbage cans. If you’ve ever sat on a chair and it broke under your weight, you’ll think twice about putting faith in a chair. Faith grows through either positive experiences and/or from hearing the word of someone who’s never lied to you or stolen from you. Someone who has always treated you right is someone you’ll learn to trust; someone you’ll believe.

That’s how faith in God grows. By hearing his word and responding obediently to what he says.

There’s one other way faith grows, and that’s by hearing, or reading, what God has done for someone else. It works the same way in the negative sense. “Testimonies” of people treating others terribly will tend to affect the way you interact with the “terrible” ones.

We’re simply wired to believe. It’s part of who we are, which greatly determines what kind of life we’ll live. Do YOU want your faith in God to grow? Do YOU want to live the kind of life God has designed for you? With God all things are possible.

Are you interested in reading testimonies and teachings that will help your “believer” grow in faith in God? If so, please check out these three eBooks available through Amazon Kindle.com.

“Breaking the Spirit of Poverty”, “Generosity”, and “How to get the most out of your Pastor”. http://tinyurl.com/nhhzozt

God has given faith to each one of us. What we do with it is our choice.

Let’s choose wisely.

What Do You Believe About Jesus?

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Have you ever heard of Jesus? Who do people say that he is?

Or was?

What have you heard?

Some have called him Elijah; others, John the Baptist.

What do you say?

I’ve heard some people refer to him as Lucifer’s brother.

Yes, and there are those who believe we evolved from monkeys.

One of the prophets, the divine light, one of many gods, and eternal guide, to name just a few other purported names and views.

His name is used in many ways depending on the user’s belief. For instance, some use the name when they are mad or upset. Others, when they need heaven’s intervention. Many like to throw it on the end of a sentence as an exclamation point! Considering how many people speak the name, for one reason or another, it must really be a powerful name.

But what you heard? What do you believe?

Some have called him the son of David, the bright and morning star, everlasting father, mighty God, and prince of peace.

Down through the ages people have had varying opinions of this one called Jesus.

Do you have an opinion?

I’ve had different opinions through the years; especially the first twenty one years of my life. I remember when he was a non-entity to me. Jesus? Never heard of him. That’s when I was ten or eleven.

My twelfth birthday rolled around and I attended a Methodist Sunday School class a few times. My opinion quickly changed from a non-person to a mystery man who wore sandals and rode donkeys while crowds threw a bunch of sticks at him. Hosanna didn’t sound like praise. It sounded more like, “Get him! Hit him with the sticks!”

I learned a lot more about Jesus, and a lot quicker, once I began hanging out with older kids. I learned Jesus had a middle name that began with the letter “F”, that he was always ready to damn something, and that he didn’t like cute girls, rock and roll, long hair on guys, cigarettes, drugs or alcohol.

Yep. I never did meet a cute girl in church.

All my teen age friends agreed with me. Jesus might have been cool when he was alive, but that was then. I was told, over and over, God is dead.

My opinion changed when I was twenty one. That’s when I met this one I thought was a non-entity. I found out he did take a beating, and that he took it for me. Oh yes, and he took one for you.

He didn’t come to curse or damn anything. Instead, he came to try and release mankind from the curse they were covered in.

Cute girls? It’s amazing what happens to a person’s eyesight after Jesus has had some time to tweak their heart.

I don’t know what you have heard, or what you believe about Jesus. But whatever it is, you will conduct your life accordingly. And wherever you finally end up, you will be there because of what you’ve believed about Jesus.

Once there was a woman with a severe bleeding problem. She had it for twelve years, and though she kept spending her money on doctors and treatments, she never got any better.

One day she heard something about Jesus. I don’t know what she knew beforehand, maybe nothing at all. But now things were different. She heard he was healing people.

And she believed. And she acted on what she believed. And her life was changed.

“She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe.”(Mark 5:27 NLT)

If you haven’t heard this yet, hear it now. Jesus loves you. He’s not willing for you to spend eternity in a hell prepared for someone else. He wants to make you a brand new person with a new mind, new language, new beliefs.

He did it for this twenty one year old; thirty nine years ago.

How about you? Isn’t it time you really considered this one called Jesus?

What you believe determines your actions. Your actions determine your destiny.

So what have you heard? What do you believe? Where are you headed?

And does that make you happy?

Major Setback to Peace Process

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Major Setback to Peace Process

by J. Grace
Staff Reporter for Daily Planet

The Mideast Peace Process was dealt a major setback today, after Eglon Faht-mahn, king of Moab-Jordan, was brutally murdered by an Israeli terrorist.

Ban Ki-moon, current Secretary-General of the United Nations, openly condemned the attack and is meeting with the UN Security Council to determine whether economic sanctions or military action should be initiated against the nation of Israel.

The attack marks the 18th anniversary of Israel’s surrender to Moab-Jordan, after a short, but costly war.

The Honorable John Kerry, the United States’ Secretary of State, also condemned the attack; pledging both military and financial aid to the pacifistic nation of Moab-Jordan.

Said Kerry, “For 18 long years we’ve worked diligently on the Mideast peace process. Israel had finally submitted to subjugation. For 18 years the Moab-Jordan nation has watched over and even defended the Israeli people. Everlasting peace had finally come into view. And now some renegade Israeli Zionist, and his ruthless band of terrorists, have jeopardized everything. Terrorism will not be tolerated. Not in our nation. Not in our world.”

President Barak Obama, long time friend of King Eglon, eulogized the fallen leader. “Eglon Faht-mahn was a much loved leader. He had led his nation to where it had become one of the most prosperous nations in the region. He was a lover of peace; abhorring violence of any kind. Such a senseless and violent act of terrorism has cost the world a great leader, and an even greater man.”

According to the Moab-Jordan National Police, the terrorist group, Free Israel, has claimed responsibility for the murder of King Eglon. A world-wide manhunt for terrorist Ehud Ben Gera has been initiated. A coalition of UN peace keeping forces, as well as troops from Russia, the United States, France, and England are participating in the world-wide search.

Ehud Ben Gera is known to be left-handed, and exceptionally skilled in hand to hand combat. He was last seen organizing an army in the mountainous region of Ephraim.

A UN diplomat, speaking under the condition of anonymity said, “We had received reports of a spiritual awakening of sorts taking place in the little nation of Israel. There were no reports of the amassing or training of troops; only a greater emphasis on ‘crying out to the God of Israel’, as they put it. No one saw this act of rebellion as even remotely possible. We just can’t understand it. Praying people are always passive people. Praying people turn the other cheek and never stand up against anything or anyone.”

“The King’s private security police, the MJP Elite, had been warned of an imminent uprising, but failed to give the warning any credence. So when Ehud arrived at the King’s quarters, saying he had a special message from God, every one of the King’s elite left the room, walked to the break room, and turned on the TV to watch the Al Jazeera Newcast.”

“This is still anonymous, right? Okay. Because I really believe the God of Israel heard the cries of his people, and anointed Ehud to break the stronghold of the Moab-Jordan oppression. I’ve watched this sort of thing happen far too often. Israel forgets their God, and God gives them over to a cruel nation. When they repent and cry out to him, he raises up a deliverer. That’s exactly what happened here; regardless of how the media twists the truth.”

The UN liaison presently in Moab-Jordan reports that the Moab armies were completely routed in the area surrounding the Dead Sea, and it appears that within a few hours, Moab will have lost all territory west of the Jordan river and the Dead Sea.

Using the words of our anonymous source, “The best thing Moab can do is retreat and secure their borders east of the Dead Sea. If they don’t, it appears they will have to fight, not only Israel, but God himself.”

Yes, it would appear so.

Three questions: Is there any part of your life that has been overrun by the adversary, the devil? Have you tried to be strong in your own might and beat your spiritual enemy with human strength and ability? Have you tried submitting your life and situation to God FIRST, and then resist the devil?

Four Questions for Atheists and Agnostics

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Calling all atheists and agnostics. May I ask you a question?

Okay, maybe four.

What do, or who do, you believe in since you don’t believe in God?

Is it hard to accept the death of a loved one?

Was there ever a time in your life when you believed in God, or in a higher power?

If so, what happened? Did you just grow out of believing, or did something/someone disappoint or hurt you? You may be as specific as you’d like.

Some questions will always remain unanswered. But some questions have never been answered simply because they’ve never been asked.

People allow hurts and disappointment to steal any semblance of hope and faith because they are either afraid to question their feelings, their situation, or the authority figure in their life.

Not asking results in not receiving.

Not seeking ends with not finding.

Don’t knock, and you’ll always stay on the outside.

And if you don’t receive or find, or if you find yourself always on the outside of a relationship with God, it’s not because there is no God.

So let’s talk about it. Would you please, first, ask yourself the above questions?

Then, if you still would like to dialogue with me, please do so in the comment section of this post.

Thanks.

Mary Magdalene’s Morning

Alabaster

I got up early, after a fitful sleep. Over and over, throughout the night, my mind replayed the horrible sights and sounds I witnessed a few days earlier.

I begin my walk of mourning, to the place where my heart was buried.

Jerusalem had been very busy for several days, with the Passover feast and all. People had come from miles around to offer sacrifices, meet with family and friends, and to watch the show.

It’s funny how people are, don’t you think? They almost faint when they see a single drop of blood, yet when something so extreme as a crucifixion takes place, they can’t seem to pull their eyes away from the gruesome sight. And when there are three crosses raised toward heaven, it really draws a crowd.

I didn’t want to look. I didn’t want to go to the hill at all. I even tried to force my way through the crowd, trying to make it home before lunch; but I could only go where the mob took me. There was no way out. And all I could see were the crosses; each one displaying their prize.

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