Tag: Faith

Encouraged By The Beaver

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Guest Author – Phyllis Grace

I came across this link on Facebook today from Jerry Mathers, who was the star of the old TV show that began in the 50’s, Leave it to Beaver.

He was sharing on the occasion of Gus the Fireman’s (Burt Mustin’s) date of birth. He told how he enjoyed working with him and how kind he was. The thing that really stood out to me, though, was when he mentioned that Burt didn’t begin his acting career until he was in his late 60’s.

Read “Gus the Fireman” article here.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Why? Because we are in our early 60’s and I have found myself at times questioning the dreams the Lord has given us. I look at our circumstances instead of God’s promises and start feeling that we are “unmarketable” because we are no longer young.

I question God and say, “How can You use us, and how are You going to make things happen?”

I’m not proud to admit it, but I have lost sight of what we feel He has told us to do. I have looked at things around me and not seen what I thought should be happening. Or I’ve questioned why it isn’t happening much quicker.

But today I found encouragement from an unexpected source.

Thank you Beaver Cleaver, for sharing about your old friend Gus the Fireman, and helping this sixty-one year old child of God see that age has nothing to do with it.

When God gives us a dream, it’s real. And He will bring it to pass. Even if we are in our sixties.

Or older.

If I Won The Lottery

 
Okay, Powerball participants and enthusiasts, let’s talk about something you and I both like. 

Money. Lots and lots of money. Approximately eight hundred million dollars worth of money. 

What would you do with that much money? Can you count that high? I’m not sure I can. I really can’t fathom just how much money that is. Hard to wrap my brain around it. 

Know what I mean?

I’d kind of like to try, though. 

Let’s see. I could buy a his and hers Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita, for a cool $4.2 million a piece. Here’s a picture of the little jewel, shown with real diamonds in the paint. 

 
The ridiculously monstrous engine, 4.8L V8 with over 1000 hp will flat outrun and outmaneuver anything else on the road. 

That leaves $791.6 million.  

Oh, I’d better deduct half the winnings to pay Uncle Sam, 10% tithe to the church, another 20% for other charitable donations, and we’re sitting on $151.6 million. 

I’m sure my wife and I could build a dream home for $6.6 million, dropping the total to $145 million.

I’d better watch it, we’re getting kind of low on funds.

How much is $145 million? 

Well, in terms of miles it’s approximately 5,800 trips around the world. Or, if you’d prefer to take a slightly more exotic trip, you could go to the moon and back 300 times and still not reach the 145 million mile mark.

Let’s look at $145 million using McDonald’s $1 menu hamburgers as our unit of measure. Supposing each hamburger is 3 inches high. If you had 145 million hamburgers, and you could stack them against the tallest building in the world (the Burj Khalifa, which is 2,717 feet tall), you’d have enough hamburgers for more than 13,340 such buildings. 

That’s a lot of hamburgers!

$145 million is an extraordinary amount of money, in just about everyone’s mind. And though I like money, yes, lots of it, something inside my heart waves the caution flag when I begin to dream my “if I won the lottery” dream. 

“A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty.” (Proverbs 28:19 NLT)

“Greedy people try to get rich quick but don’t realize they’re headed for poverty.” (Proverbs 28:22 NLT)

“Greed causes fighting; trusting the Lord leads to prosperity.” (Proverbs 28:25 NLT)

People have said to me, “When I strike it rich, I’m gonna give a lot to the church, and to the poor.”

That’s great, but if it’s hard to give away a dollar, where will they find the strength to give away a thousand, or more?

People can be overtaken by the love for money and still be dirt poor. Folks just like you and I have been known to listen to the “promises” a bank full of money can make. “If you can save this much, or that much, you’ll be set for life!” 

Somehow, the bank full of money is never enough. 

I know there are quite a number of people who play the lottery simply for entertainment. Every so often they toss in a few bucks just to see what could happen. You know, kind of like buying a raffle ticket at a church bazaar. 

But there are some to whom it’s not a game. It’s an addiction. Tickets are purchased before bills are paid. The chance to hit it big looms large in their mind every payday, so a trip to their favorite place to play is a necessity. To me, that’s more than sad. 

I understand those compelling, driving urges, for I discovered some time ago just how easy it is to develop an addiction. Whether it’s an addiction to drugs, porn, , or even fantasy football, an addiction can take over a person’s life. What may have started as a little pastime fun, turns into a full time master. 

A master who wants only one thing; everything.

I’d like to win $800 million, but I won’t. I’ve been told I have to play to win. So…

But I feel like I’m rich, anyway. No, I don’t have extra hamburgers to stack against the buildings in Dubai, but my God meets ALL our needs according to His riches in glory.

I don’t have enough loot to “bless” my wife with such a hot sports car, but He’s able to make all His grace abound toward me, so I can have His abundance to meet every challenge. 

I give, and it’s given to me, pressed down, shaken together, and running over; for the way I give it’s given to me.

Although I’m certain I could find some great uses for the lottery money, I’m really enjoying the liberty I’ve found in Christ, Who’s able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all I ask or even think. 

So when I choose to honor the Lord with what I have, and anything I gain, it’s exciting to see just how He makes my storehouses, cupboards, bank accounts, and gas tanks not only full, but overflowing!

There isn’t any “if I won the lottery” for me. Not when God’s promises are a sure thing; for they are “Yes! And amen!” In Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20)

Can The NSA Stop End Time Prophecies?

I guess I’m just wondering out loud, as I do quite often these days.

I was watching the republican presidential debate the other night and some of their comments got me to mulling over a few ideas in my head.

Mainly, can the NSA stop end time prophecies from happening?

The NSA (National Security Agency) is pretty much responsible for monitoring all electronic communications, coded and cryptic messages, etc; anything and everything that could pose a threat to our national security.

I’d say they have their hands full.

But why the question?

Scripture teaches that in the end time evil men (and women) will grow worse and worse (2 Timothy 3:13).

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:12-13 ESV)

Deception breeds deception. Evil begets evil. Bad people do bad things, and evil folks do even worse.

And so it will be in the end time, which I believe is right at our doorstep.

Good will be persecuted by evil to such a degree evil will believe it has won. “Deceiving and being deceived” spells it out pretty clear.

Mark it down, we haven’t seen anything yet!

Mild tremors of persecution are beginning to rumble throughout the earth, though in some nations the persecution of the righteous is in full force.

The evil one has a taste in his mouth for the blood of the righteous and won’t stop until he’s had his fill, or until he’s forced to.

Deceiving and being deceived. He actually thinks he’s going to win!

I don’t know how persecution of the righteous will come to the United States, but I believe it is coming.

And no, being told to remove a nativity scene, take down the Ten Commandments, or not being allowed to mention God at a High School graduation ceremony is NOT persecution.

Nor is it when a certain coffee shop doesn’t use the word “Christmas” on their cups.

But real, hard felt persecution is coming to those who won’t compromise their righteous walk with God.

And I don’t believe the NSA can stop it.

No matter how many phones are tapped, or how closely they monitor the millions of emails sent each and every day; the end time prophecies are going to happen.

They can fly thousands of drones over our cities, each equipped with the latest spy cameras and ultra sensitive microphones, yet nothing will alter the end time persecution of the righteous.

I’m not saying it’s going to be ISIS, or any other particular terrorist group. But mark my word, it will be a group of people who are deceiving and being deceived.

It COULD even be our own government!

Isn’t that something to look forward to?

Can I offer you a little bit of advice?

Don’t worry about it. Plan on doing the right thing, regardless. Determine to walk with God whether you are in the fiery furnace or the lion’s den. Make up your mind whether the government loves you or not, you’re going to walk with God.

Even if your presidential candidate isn’t elected, make it your aim to please God in all you do.

Paul said his “light affliction” (that’s what he called it) did something more than just make life hard. What light affliction was he referring to?

Nothing more than beatings, shipwrecks, nakedness, a stoning or four; you know, light afflictions.

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV)

Persecution and hard times aren’t what anyone really wants to think about.

Ever.

But you’d better think about it, and prepare for it.

Prepare by walking with the Lord Jesus NOW; no matter how many people think you’re nuts.

Yes, the NSA will do their best to keep this nation as safe and secure as they possibly can. But that WON’T keep persecution away from those who have decided that, come hell or high water, they ARE the righteous ones in Christ and they’re going to live as such.

Go for it!

And I’ll see you on the other side!

God, Guns, and Faith

I understand our nation’s history, her Minutemen, Paul Reveres, etc., but I’m having a hard time reconciling some of the remarks made by my Christian brethren with what Jesus Himself said.

“Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52 ESV)

“You have heard that it was said, ’An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil…” (Matthew 5:38-39 ESV)

“…Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8 ESV)

“By your patience possess your souls.” (Luke 21:19 NKJV)

When I mention the need to trust God, rather than be so “up in arms” fanatical, you’d think I was the antichrist. 

There’s basically one thing you’re going to leave this world with. Everything you have with God is directly tied to that one thing.
Faith.

It’s the one thing God requires.

And I would hope that ANYONE who puts their finger on a trigger is a God fearing, God honoring person with a DEEP faith in God. You should, as well. 

Since when did God start demanding of His kids that we talk mean and hateful, strutting our stuff around on Facebook like we’re the saintly version of John Wayne? Or, maybe Chuck Norris and Clint Eastwood?

Somehow I find it very difficult to picture Jesus walking down the streets of Jerusalem with a Colt 45 strapped to His side. 

You say He didn’t carry a weapon because He came to give His life a ransom for many? True!

But when asked by Herod why He wasn’t defending Himself, He DIDN’T say, “Listen punk, don’t you realize I’ve got a whole cache of weapons back home in the upper room? My boys are just waiting for My word.”

No.

Instead He said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:11 NLT)

Earlier, when Herod began his questioning of Jesus, Jesus responded, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36 NLT)

His particular wording I find interesting. We, in many ways, have become so patriotic we have lost focus of God’s kingdom and its principles.

We’ve traded our trust and walk with God for our election process, and our constitutional rights. 

Folks, I am NOT discounting our rights! I’m saying that first and foremost we, those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus, must be KINGDOM OF GOD oriented and inclined, or we will not fulfill God’s will for our lives, and this country will forever fall short of its destiny.

Am I saying we can’t defend ourselves, either individually or as a nation?

No!

King David was allowed by God to have an army. In fact, the King was quite the soldier. He was the Audie Murphy of his day.

No one messed with David’s army and got away with it.

But here’s a point you must see. David, a man after God’s heart, was enticed by Satan to sin before the God David loved. What was the temptation?

It went something like this:

“Psst, David! Hey, you, Mr. King! Yeah, you. Haven’t you noticed the headlines lately?”

“What do you mean?”

“All the Syrians and Philistines have been chanting ‘death to Israel’, and they’ve recruited an awful lot of people for their armies. Doesn’t that scare you?”

“Well, come to think of it…”

“Yeah, you know you’re scared. So how many soldiers do YOU have, O King?”

“Well, I’m really not supposed to be thinking about that. God wants me…”

“Oh, knock off with the faith stuff. You know what it’s like to run short of people; people who know how to fight! C’mon, man, use your head! Get some data so you’ll know how many to draft. You mustn’t be caught unprepared!”

So, David grabbed one of his generals and told him to number the troops.

And God said, “Wrong move, mighty warrior.” (1 Chronicles 21)

It wasn’t wrong to have an army!

It’s not wrong to own a gun, or three!

It IS wrong to TRUST in them. 

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright. O Lord, save the king! May he answer us when we call.” (Psalm 20:7-9 ESV)

But if you simply MUST trust in chariots, then choose wisely whose chariots you’ll trust in.

“The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them…” (Psalm 68:17 ESV)

If you haven’t figured out what I trying to say, maybe these passages will help:

“The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.” (Psalm 33:16-19 ESV)

“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” (Proverbs 21:31 ESV)

Victory belongs to the Lord. Do all you can; saddle your horse, load your gun, whatever you feel you should do. But before you do, there’s one question every Jesus follower should ask first.

“Lord, what would You want me to do? How can I follow you in faith in the situation I’m facing?”

Because remember, whatever is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

So can we drop the God, Guns, and Guts bit, replacing it with, “God, Guns (if you want), and FAITH”?

Cheering Them On 

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Lately I’ve come to realize that I haven’t always been very encouraging when it comes to the younger generation.

It’s not as though I’ve said bad things to them, or about them. But I’ve not always viewed them as worthy of my “praise”, if you know what I mean.

After all, how could they be as spiritual as my generation? 

This younger bunch doesn’t look like me and they don’t talk like I do. And they seem to understand technology like they invented it.

I’ve acted like “How can the Kingdom of God continue with all of the spiritual giants dying off?” Like my generation is the only one that ever walked with God.

But you know what? People probably felt the same way about my generation. Yes, we were once very young and inexperienced.

Lately I’ve spent time with some young kids. And my, do they seem young. But I started thinking how important it is for me to keep my negative thoughts to myself. In fact, I need to bury the negativity and start cheering them on!

The writer of Hebrews wrote a word that, I believe, was supposed to be encouraging to us all.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1 ESV)

“Since we are surrounded…” seems to indicate a group of spectators, fans, standing alongside a track where those in the race are running. The group isn’t screaming at them, “You’ll never make it!” “We ran differently when we carried the baton.” “I can’t believe God would ever trust you to carry the baton!”

No! The group, the great cloud of witnesses is CHEERING THEM ON! Cheering you and I on!

The cheering helps us run better, work harder, and be our very best for the King and His Kingdom. 

Don’t you think it would encourage younger generations if we became their cheerleaders and helpers (if they ask), instead of their know-it-all critics?

I sure do.

That’s why I’m gonna quit finding fault with people because they’re young. I’m cheering on this group of believers, and praying they accomplish much more than I ever dreamed of – for the Kingdom of Righteousness.

Hey, I’m not finished working. And I know how great it feels when someone tells me they believe in me and what I’m trying to accomplish.

So, call me a working cheerleader. Working with all my heart, while at the same time, cheering on my younger (some a lot younger) brothers and sisters.

Yeah! Go get ’em, kids!

God Hates Cancer

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It’s as though a light suddenly turned on inside my spirit, illuminating my understanding and igniting my faith.

As I said a silent prayer for someone we know who just recently was diagnosed with cancer (for the second time), deep in my heart I heard the Spirit of God say, “God hates cancer!”

I have believed in divine healing for a long time, but at times have let my faith subside. Personal pain can sometimes override my faith; at least it has in the past.

But God hates cancer! In fact, He hates sickness and disease! He hates it with a passion.

Sickness and disease of any kind are results of the fall of Adam and Eve. God created them perfectly. They were created to live forever. It wasn’t until they disobeyed God, and obeyed the evil one, that sickness and disease entered the human race.

But God has demonstrated His will concerning healing and health because He has NEVER turned anyone aside without healing them; if they approached Him with believing faith.

Look throughout the New Testament. Time after time Jesus says, “As you have believed, be made whole.” “According to your faith…”

God hates cancer. There are several reasons why I believe it:

1. Its author is Satan. Notice what Jesus said: “So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound – think of it – for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” (Luke 13:16 NKJV)

I’m not saying a person is fighting a demon every time cancer is diagnosed, but ultimately cancer originated in the bowels of hell. It wasn’t part of God’s original plan, you won’t find it in Heaven, and it can be destroyed by faith in God.

“All things are possible to those who believe.” (Mark 9:23)

2. Jesus paid the complete cost of Adam’s treason; spirit, soul, and body.

“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” (Isaiah 53:4-5 AMP)

And in case you’re wondering if that Old Testament passage applies, notice how Matthew uses the same verse in his gospel.

“So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them. When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.'” (Matthew 8:15-17 NKJV)

Even the Apostle Peter agrees:

“Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24 NKJV)

3. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.

“…The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done].” (1 John 3:8 AMP)

“how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38 NKJV)

Not once did Jesus tell someone, “I’m so sorry; you just have to keep that cancer so God can teach you something.”

4. Cancer destroys life. God is the God of life!

“Our God is the God of salvation; and to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death.” (Psalm 68:20 NKJV)

5. Cancer mocks God’s power. But God is able, and willing, to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV)

6. Cancer declares God can’t, or won’t, forgive sins.

Notice: “When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” – He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God .” (Luke 5:20-25 NKJV)

Why would Jesus say something like that? Maybe because of what the Holy Spirit inspired David to write in Psalm 103.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction…” (Psalm 103:2-4 NKJV)

Healing and forgiveness require power from the same source – God. His power saves and heals.

James said somewhat the same thing.

“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:14-16 NKJV)

7. Jesus told us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven.” Healing and health abound in Heaven.

God hates cancer because it reminds Him of His adversary, the devil. God isn’t using the devil to teach His kids something. A house divided will fall.

Do YOU hate cancer? I’m sure you do.

But you and I hating it isn’t the same as having faith in the Living God Who has demonstrated His power over it.

He demonstrated His power over anything and everything hell could possibly use against us when He raised Jesus from the grave.

God hates cancer! He has a word for it; a word that demolishes it to its very root.

Jesus!

You WILL Believe 

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So you’re pretty sure you don’t believe in God, eh? Does it make you feel better about yourself knowing there are others like you?

I’d like you to know one thing.

You will believe. So will those who believe as you.

And it may happen sooner than you think.

Regardless of the reasons you can think of to NOT believe, I’ve got three reasons why you WILL believe.

1. You were created to believe in God.

Everyone, and I mean everyone on planet earth, was created by God. Your spirit knows from whence it came. Your mind may have overruled your heart, and because you can’t figure out the Eternal One, you conclude He must not be.

But when things in life become bad enough, when the world as you know it falls apart, you will believe in God.

The scriptures declare it. You will believe.

“Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?'” (Revelation 6:15-17 ESV)

Everyone… will declare they know Who is punishing them for their unrighteous ways and, more importantly, their unbelief.

2. Even the demons believe in God.

“You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” (James 2:19 NLT)

The very demons who try and convince you there’s no God, know the score. They work overtime to try and keep you confused, busy, selfish, or whatever else they can think of so you won’t come to find out what they know to be true.

If you were to find out God really is, you’d not be far away from experiencing His Presence, forgiveness, new birth, Holy Spirit, and everything else which pertains to life and godliness.

And that’s unthinkable to a lying devil.

After all, misery loves company.

3. Everyone will believe in God.

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11 ESV)

Every knee and every tongue. Mine, yours, every knee and every tongue.

Some because they want to, others because they are forced to.

Everyone will believe. 

Which brings me to the point of this post.

On behalf of my Savior and Lord, I want you to believe BEFORE you have no other choice.

As Jesus said, “Repent and believe the gospel.”

Not everyone will, but YOU can. 

Your heart is begging you to know your Creator; to have an amazing, intimate relationship with the Living God. 

It begins with an act of your will; a decision to believe. Faith is a choice.

And so is not believing. Unbelief is a choice.

Please, don’t be like those Jesus told John about in Revelation.

“The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” (Revelation 9:20-21 ESV)

Like everyone who’s ever lived, you will believe. 

Please, choose to believe.

Today.

TSA Security Officers and Preachers 

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Just recently I noticed a similarity between TSA security officers and preachers.

Maybe more than one. Yeah, more than one.

Besides the fact that both have a job to do, there’s something about TSA men and women that makes me think of preachers.

TSA folks are, at times, in your face. Why? Because they don’t like you, why else?

TSA security officers don’t have anything better to do than think of ways to make your traveling experience as bad as possible.

Yep, just like preachers.

TSA personnel are only concerned about receiving a paycheck, nothing more, nothing less.

TSA men and women stand around all day just looking to get into someone’s suitcase. Yeah, they get a real charge out of riffling through a person’s unmentionables.

And we all know how preachers can be. Preaching? It should be called meddling instead.

Yep, TSA security officers and preachers are quite a bit alike.

But maybe, you know just maybe, they’re neither one quite so awful.

Maybe they’re really just concerned.

Maybe they want you and yours to arrive at your destination in one piece.

Maybe that’s why they seem to be nitpicking when they inform you that you’re in violation of some regulation.

Maybe it’s a regulation for a reason.

I know, I’ve had those same ugly thoughts about TSA folk. Do you recognize any of these?

“Who does this guy think he is?”

“He must not know how important I am.”

“Who gave him the right to judge how I’m traveling?”

“Get out of my face, preacher; er, I mean, security officer.”

Think about it the next time you go through the security checkpoint at the airport. Maybe look at the agent in a different light.

While you’re at it, why not do the same with the preacher?

Because maybe, just maybe, they’re not trying to make you late, or uncomfortable, or prove what a worthless jerk you are.

Maybe they only want to see you arrive at the right place on time, and in one piece.

I know this preacher does.

A Matter Of Faith 

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I recently asked my Facebook friends “Is the devil real – yes or no?”. 

Overwhelmingly their response was yes.

Okay. Does that mean the devil IS real?

No. Public opinion doesn’t make a thing true or false. 

If YOU asked YOUR Facebook friends the same question, yours might respond in a different way.

Back to my question: “Is the devil real?” What are the possible answers?

1. Yes

2. No

3. Maybe yes, maybe no

What if I asked, “Is God real?”
Same choices.

Truth is truth, regardless of whether you, I, or anyone else believes it.

And truth is truth whether or not you or I know how to prove it.

So, is the devil real?

Let’s go through our choices. Starting with, “Yes, he’s real”, how might that truth affect us? Will it change the way we act? Should it?

“No, he’s not…” I mean, really. If we were to find out the devil isn’t real would that change our worldview?

Maybe you are of the opinion that no one can know until their life is over. But if you wait until that happens, what then?

There are people who claim to have seen the devil. Others claim to have seen God, Jesus, angels, demons, and Elvis Presley (while visiting Branson, Missouri).

I’m not going to make a big deal about what someone claims to have seen. Why? Because none of it matters, where faith is concerned. 

“…for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV)

I believe the devil is real. I also believe he’s a liar, a killer, a thief, and grade A jerk. Why do I believe that?

Because, and only because, I believe the Bible. 

 

It’s simply a matter of faith.

 

I believe the Bible is the Word of God. It is His revelation to mankind regarding His holiness and our sinfulness. It reveals His character and our lack thereof. It also reveals the way His undying love reached out for you and I, through the cross of Christ, and our woeful attempts to reach Him by being good enough.

I believe in God and I believe in the devil. Better still, I believe God and what God said about the devil.

Someday each one of us will find out, in no uncertain terms, exactly what is true or false. But until then, we must choose what we’re going to believe.

That could make all the difference in the world and the hereafter. Because, like I said…

…it’s a matter of faith.

“…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:9-10 ESV)

Power To The Faint

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“Be strong, hang in there, you can make it, keep a stiff upper lip, hold it together…”

Words spoken by well meaning people.

But is that the best advice?

Maybe. But not always.

Many times it is the exact opposite of what we really need to do.

“Oh, come on, man! Are you crazy?”

Think of it this way: if I’m trying so hard to keep it all together, to keep my power generator cranking out all the energy I can muster; if I’m pushing myself to dangerous levels and STILL not making it, maybe I should try something else.

Like giving up?

Really. 

It’s a principle of God’s Kingdom. 

“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.” (Isaiah 40:29 ESV)

Power to the faint; the exhausted, the spent, the empty.

Did you get that? The EMPTY have room for what He has to give.

The way of the Kingdom. 

“He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich (full) He has sent away empty.” (Luke 1:53 ESV)

“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29 ESV)

The way of the Kingdom. 

It’s a principle Paul learned when he complained three times to the Lord about all the beatings he had been receiving. (Paul’s true “thorn”)

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10 ESV)

Many folks believe God answered Paul with a resounding, “NO!”. But read the passage again. God told Paul, “What I have for you is sufficient. Allow MY grace to be your strength. Don’t just approach My throne of grace; RECEIVE My grace to help you in your time of need.”

As long as we are convinced God needs OUR strength, we will fail. But if we will understand it’s okay to feel (and be) weak, that’s when we’ll begin to experience GOD’S strength – His power to overcome any obstacle or weakness.

He gives power to the FAINT! To the exhausted. To the empty, bankrupt, breathless and starving.

Which is actually what every one of us are.

Don’t be too strong for your own good. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and He WILL lift you up.

He gives power to the faint. 

Do you remember how God delivered the Israelites from the land of Egypt? Do you remember WHEN He did? Here’s a hint:

Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings…” (Exodus 3:7 ESV)

Many times the Lord must wait for us to become so weak we finally call for His help. The children of Israel were in Egypt 430 years; and when the situation became more than they could bear, they cried out to God. And God heard them.

Jesus said, “My Father knows what you have need of, even before you ask.”

Yet, the answer doesn’t magically appear just because we’re His kids. Until we’ve exhausted all our resources, we aren’t capable of receiving His help.

But He gives power to the faint. 

Are you willing to empty yourself of your strength, and humble yourself under His mighty hand?

If so, He’ll raise you up. Then you will experience His power for the faint.

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.””  (James 4:6 ESV)

So be it!

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