Thursday, October 19, 2017

Finding Faith in a Weary World

Huntsville Botanical Garden
What does a Christian do when faith is hard to find? World injustices or the evil days in which we live can make it harder to believe Christ is on the throne and in control. Maybe your pain is much closer to home, a divorce, a financial disaster, the death of a loved one for whom you diligently prayed over.

When we walk through life seasons that are heartbreakingly painful, we have to make the conscious choice to believe what the Word of God says. In the bad times, clinging to the scriptures is crucial. It is just as important in the good times, but when we are brokenhearted, often the last thing we want to do is pray.  We may open the Bible only to find the words bouncing off our eyeballs and into the abyss.  Find one scripture that speaks to you and believe it, hold on to it; it is your lifeline.

Fear plays a big part in our moods and emotions. Fear doesn’t always creep in, often it walks up and slap us, stopping us dead in our tracks. We can’t let these days filled with divisiveness, threats of North Korea bombs, war, or people doing unspeakable evil to each other cause us to forget that God already knew about such things. He said there would be wars and rumors of wars, nations rising against nations, famines and earthquakes in various places, and he warned us that because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. But He also told us not to be afraid.

Not being afraid isn’t easy, but the more we learn to put our trust in Him, the clearer things become. When we are clearly thinking, we can see things for what they are. We aren’t fighting people…flesh and blood…we are fighting satan and his evil crew, and they use people as tools to kill, steal, and destroy.

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I saw this on Facebook: 
Fear does not stop death, it stops life.

The Bible tells us repeatedly, “Don’t fear.” But how do we do that when faith is slipping, and there are real threats surrounding us? How do we trust Him?

The answer is relationship. When we draw near to Him, he draws near to us. The closer we are to our Source of life, the more we trust Him. The more we trust Him, the less fear we have, and we are able to love Him with our whole hearts. The more love and less fear we have, the more we are willing to do the things we are commanded to do for the kingdom of God:

Love our neighbor as ourselves
Feed the hungry
Care for the orphans and widows
Proclaim the good news of Christ

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We know life isn't easy, and we don't always understand our heartaches. But God promised to save us, to be our peace, to comfort us, and to hold us in His hand.   We have to not only read the words written in the pages of the Bible, we must believe them with our entire being.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and His ears are attentive to their cry

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
He delivers them from all their troubles

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all
(Psalm 34)

Don’t focus on the problem. 
Focus on the Solution. 
His name is Jesus.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Stolen Identity...

Who are you?

Too many of God’s children are in the middle of an identity crisis.  It’s not that people have forgotten who they are in Christ…many have never known.  There is a famine of God’s word all across the land, and it is not because it isn’t available, it’s because people are not partaking of the bread of life.  Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35), and John 1 tells us that Jesus is the word, and has been since the beginning.

But we have to read it to truly know who we are! 

Do you know what happens when people don’t know who they are?   They take on a persona that is not who God says they are.  Why do you think there is such an epidemic of men who think they are women and women who think they are men, or why we are having an explosion of homosexuality? 

It’s because satan himself hones in humanity’s self-will and convinces people (even at very early ages) into believing that they are the exact opposite of who God has called them to be and who He says they are.  It’s a complicated case of mistaken identity; complicated because people truly believe lies about themselves.  They grasp those lies with all their might until they totally accept the deception.  It then becomes a case of identity theft. 

To put it as plainly as I can:  The devil twists God’s truths and convinces people that they are who he (satan) says they are instead of who God says they are.   They are perishing from lack of knowledge…the lack of knowledge of who they truly are! 

And it’s not just happening in the world.  It’s going on in the church, in our youth, and even in our own lives.  We (or maybe I should just say “I”) believe we are not worthy to do what God called us to do because of the way we look, or not able to do God’s will in our lives because of our current circumstances or situation.   God has a plan for each and every one of us, and the thing holding us back is a lie…or more specifically when we believe the lie. 

Read God’s word about who you are, and get in your rightful place.  If you have accepted Christ as your savior, you are a legitimate child of the One True God.

John 1:12
…to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.

1 John 3:1
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.




On Calvary’s hill of sorrow
Where sin’s demands were paid,
And rays of hope for tomorrow
Across our path were laid.

I see a crimson stream of blood,
It flows from Calvary,
Its waves which reach the throne of God,
Are sweeping over me.




Sunday, October 8, 2017

Confessions of a Reluctant Church-goer


I’ve been doing a lot of confessing lately.

I really don’t know how people will perceive me after I say this:  I don’t get excited about going to church, and there are times I just don’t want to go.

::::There, I said it::::

I go because I know I should.  I don’t want to forsake the assembling together, but if I miss a service, I don’t feel guilty.

I saw a Facebook post asking, “What do you like about your church?” I didn’t have an answer.  I mean, I don’t dislike anything about my church.  The preacher has a good word for us each service, the singing is fine…I don’t know most of the songs, but that’s not so important because I was never very demonstrative in public worship. Although if there’s a song sung that touches me, I may get a little teary.  Everyone is pleasant, though most of the folks with whom I was friendly left when our former pastor retired.

Are you thinking I need to find a different church? Nah. I think it has always been this way. It is not a phase I’m going through. My walk with Christ isn’t determined by where I go to church, and my lack of passion for attending a service doesn’t affect my salvation. I talk to the Lord all through the day. I spend most of my lunch breaks in my car praying and reading the Bible through. (I probably won’t make it to 100% because after Leviticus, I’m thinking seriously of completely skipping Numbers, Deuteronomy, and 1 & 2 Chronicles.) I listen to sermons online during the week.

But I’m just not enthusiastic about church. 
Am I alone in feeling this way? 
::::raised eyebrow:::: 
Would you admit it if you aren’t always enthralled with the experience? 
And maybe you are. 
I hope you are.

When I was a child, if there was a church service, we were in attendance. If there was a revival, we were there every night…even if it was a six-week revival in the summertime. Every service. For some reason, I still remember that evangelist’s name: Jerry Ramsey.

Preaching was different then. My pastor preached salvation hot and Hell hotter. He could tell you in excruciating detail the agony leading up to Christ’s crucifixion, until you could almost feel the pain yourself. There were nights when everyone, saint and sinner alike, was on their knees at altar call.

This morning I am missing the old hymns and a 
good old-fashioned Hellfire and brimstone sermon. 

I am also missing my childhood preacher and his family…people to this day I consider my own family, though they live many miles away. I am missing the little church on Tuscaloosa Street that was such a huge part of my youth.

I wasn’t excited about going to church then, either. 
I never knew there would be days I would really miss it.



Saturday, October 7, 2017

Did God do That?


Nate is headed to North Alabama…or what will be left of him by the time he gets here.

Have you ever noticed when someone suggests that earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, etc., could be God’s judgment, some folks lose their minds.   They indignantly say things like “God doesn’t do things like that!” and “That’s not the God I serve!”

I don’t argue with them because truthfully, I don’t know.  

But I do wonder why they think that’s not the God they serve.  Reading through the Old Testament, we find stories of God commanding complete and utter destruction of people…men, women, and children, too.   At times, livestock as well.   Then there’s the time He told Joshua to hamstring the horses…

Sending earthquakes and hurricanes?   It could be the God we serve.   
  • He hardened hearts then made them pay for being hard.
  • He allowed kingdoms to defeat the Children of Israel for their sin, then punished those kingdoms for doing so. 
  • Nehemiah called Him a great and terrible God.   
  • Then there’s Job…

But did He purposely destroy Puerto Rico, flood Houston, or send earthquakes to Mexico?   I don’t know.   But I do know He allowed it.  The Bible tells us the wind and the sea obey Him (Matthew 8), He makes lightning for the rain (Jeremiah 10), He rained down hail more than one time to kill people (Exodus 9, Joshua 10), and plans to do it again (Revelation 16). 
 
It’s kind of hard to think about, isn’t it?
But He loves me...and I love Him, even
when I don't fully understand.
The LORD does whatever pleases Him, in the Heavens
and on the Earth, in the seas and all their depths.
(Psalm 135:6)

And I will serve Him.

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
(Joshua 24:15




Praying for protection for all from the coming storm.  


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

How are you sleeping?


After waking up to the news about Las Vegas on Monday, I found myself doing my normal functions, performing my duties so that other people could do theirs. Every time I heard something about Las Vegas, I shut my eyes tightly so that I only teared up a little. Oddly, I noticed an irritability with others that normally isn’t there.

I am thankful to be alive; thankful my family and friends are fine…yet my heart still breaks for a place I’ve never desired to visit, and for people I don’t know.

With the hurting people not far from my mind, life went on. I ate, I talked with others, I did what I was supposed to do. Something was different, though. As the hours went by, when Monday turned into Tuesday, and now Wednesday, people are thinking of Las Vegas less and less. But I am mindful that while today I am exempt from the heartache others are suffering, tomorrow is not promised.

We are bombarded with information every day, and precious little of it is good news. Story after story of destruction and evil, people bickering, hurting each other, killing each other. Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Hate. My mother said people are desensitized. I believe she is right. We watch TV and scroll through social media, blasted with the evil deeds of the day, and then as a new story develops, we forget about the last one.

Is it any wonder so few of us are sleeping and so many 
of us are on sleeping pills and/or anti-depressants?

I don’t know if this post could get any more bleak, so I will put this out there for us to dwell on instead of bad news:

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed,
yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant
of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 54:10

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.
In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart!
I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

…The peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.
Philippians 4:7

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you…
do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27


I came across this video on Facebook. If you haven't watched it, it is well worth 8 minutes and 39 seconds of your time:


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