Monday, March 31, 2014

The greatest LOVE story ever told!

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Everyone voting on their favorite love story, book, movie, etc. would probably have several
that come to mind. One I always associated with the theme of love was "Love Story," the
Ryan O'Neal, Ali MacGraw flick from which came a very trite and ridiculous saying... 'Love
means never having to say you are sorry!' "Dr. Zhivago" also comes to mind, and I know
I am dating myself, here. Really my major attraction to that movie was Julie Christie, probably for all the wrong reasons! "Somewhere in Time" is right up there, as well.

I just wonder how many people, even Christians, would vote The Holy Bible as the
greatest love story ever written? Hands down!  No contest!  Probably ought to be unanimous!  

In addition to being the story of Jesus, the Bible is an intense look into the character
and essence of God. Having been created in the image of the Trinity, we, therefore
are indwelled with the ability to love. God is, as stated in John, love, and by His
creative license, we have the ability to love and are commanded by scripture to love
others, God and those who do not show love toward us.

But it's God's remarkable love toward His creation that has brought about our salvation
through the grace of God's offering His son for the forgiveness of our sins. We, truly, were
not worthy of this love gift as we were lost and had nothing to offer that would make us
merit such love. Yet, with a plan that was in place before creation, itself, God gave us
the gift of forgiveness and the chance for adoption into His presence and family for all
time. Amazing grace, indeed!

So now it is up to us to accept this loving gift. It does require us to accept in our hearts
the sacrifice of Jesus, making Him our Lord and King in all things. As frightening as it
may seem, there are those who reject this love. One cannot say that he is unaware
of the ramifications, here. Ignorance is not an excuse.

Get down on those knees and proclaim that you, indeed, need the saving gift of God's
love through Jesus Christ. It is, after all, the greatest love story ever told and the
greatest gift ever given!

Praise our Holy God!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Yes, we CAN go home again!

Second Corinthians 5:1 “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

You are probably familiar with an old saying that goes something like this: 'You can never 
go home again,' which apparently was taken from a Thomas Wolfe novel. I remember
a time when I had to move back in with my parents while in college at Ohio State University;
it wasn't easy for any of us! You get established, for better or worse, on your own, with
your own set of rules and schedules, only to return to the parents' set of norms!

The problem, it seems to me, with that saying and the reality of returning to a previous
earthly home, is simply that it isn't 'really' our home.  Our real and true home is one that
we will be moving back into when the days of this life run their course; the beauty is
that there will be no problematic transition this time,  just a smooth transition back to what
truly is our normal and wondrous place of residence: heaven! 

What a homecoming that will be!!! We will see Jesus in His glory, Almighty Father God,
saints abounding and many, yes many, or those that were friends and family members
while we were on this earth. Some of those relationships will be different, there are
questions and uncertainties about how, exactly, things will work there, but oh how
wonderful it will all be! 

I am most excited to see my grandparents, friends that have passed and maybe even
some folks that I didn't meet fully, here, yet who passed briefly into and out of my life.
I am most anxious to see what sort of 'job' is in store for me, what type of food we
may eat and how we will recall our days here on earth.

So what about the interim...what should we be doing as we wait with patience for
this return? Well we have tasks that we are called upon in scripture to work at.
We need to be doing that which glorifies our Lord, worshiping Him with all our
energies and spreading ,in whatever way we are led, the saving gracious
gospel of Jesus Christ. That's plenty to keep us occupied!

Can't wait! I'm really quite ready. Come, Jesus, we await your glorious return!

Praise God!

Monday, March 24, 2014

A verse is worth a thousand words!

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.  Romans 8: 28

Much has been written about the tough times. I guess it would not be big news to
anyone that life is certainly full of situations that are difficult for we humans to both
understand and to cope with. While life is full of many joys and great positives, it is
balanced by many situations that, quite frankly, are most difficult to get through.
We look to praise and thank God for the many many blessings that He has shared
with us; yet, it becomes a different story when we face obstacles, heartbreaks, loss
of loved ones, etc.

How can we look at devastating life occurrences as positives? How can we possibly
see a good outcome from what seems to be insurmountable sadness and difficulty?

God is working out His plan; a plan that seeks to do what glorifies Him. While this
might seem to be not in our best interest sometimes, nothing could be more untrue.
He, and only He, through His omniscience and omnipotence, brings together both
His will to be glorified with His desire to love His created beings. He puts all the
pieces of the puzzle together in a way that is fully successful. Will we be able to
see the plan as He pieces things together, probably not. Is this a negative or
a weakness in us.... no; we are humans who do not need and are not capable of
examining God's workmanship.

So we need that elusive faith and trust, which can be helped by the fact that
Holy scripture gives us verses like Romans 8: 28 to read, reflect upon and lean
upon when we just cannot understand. Sometimes these powerful verses suddenly
jump off the pages of the Bible, even when we have heard and read them
countless times.

He is in charge. He knows what is best for us and is working to bring that to
fruition through His guidance of our lives. He is to be trusted because He has
shown through His gospel, through the cross and through His creation that He
knows exactly what He is doing. Always. He will not forget us, He will not
abandon us and He will bring us to His holy purposes.

Our lives aren't always easy; they were never meant to be. We need a God 
and a Lord to lean on, always!

Praise God!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

So what REALLY will be and NOT be in heaven?

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

The Bible is full of verses that discuss heaven; this is particularly true of the descriptions
of Prophets who have envisioned or been taken up to heaven, as John's account in

Really there is much about what will NOT be there, as well, in scripture. Still, we are left wondering in anticipation of what our glorious God has created for those who follow and
have faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Well, as a blogger bonus, here are some special "Will's and Won'ts" when it comes to
what we all can expect. Ready....

-No mosquitoes! Not going to need any repellent when you venture outside in Heaven.

-Ice Creams of all types! Yes, Blue Bell, Ben and Jerry... the selections will be limitless!

-No poison ivy, sumac, etc. Put away the Calamine Lotion, not going to need it...

-Whataburger!  In and Out Burgers, burgers, burgers, burgers + no cholesterol! 
    That's right... no problems with saturated fats, clogged arteries.... 

-No lawyers!  There will be a  big-time Judge and He will know the verdict before
   someone gets their Miranda Rights!

-No one driving on your bumper down the interstate. No one changing lanes without
   any reason,  no one passing over that double yellow line...  I'm  not even sure 
   traffic lights will be necessary.

-smiles; real smiles! Lots of 'em.  

-glorious music of all kinds. Sunsets that amaze! Lots of beautiful trees and flowers.
-Animals and pets.... yep! Gonna be there to enjoy and love!

In heaven, there will be: No power shortages, for God is all powerful; no bumping into things in the dark; no sleepless nights (there is no night there, Revelation 21:25). Nor will there be: Bills; hospitals; bank accounts. In fact, heaven will have: No complaints; no back-talk; no hate; no fear; no crime.

- No sleep apnea, no migraines, no sprained ankles, no spider bites, no wrinkle creams,
    no anxiety attacks, no traffic circles...this is fun!

In all seriousness, God has promised such beauty and glory for those who love
and honor His Son. We do not want to do anything but praise Him, thank Him and
glorify Him as we wait for the day we are in His loving care!

Praise God!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Thank heaven for Google Translate! CHRIST JESUS IS SUFFICIENT!!!!

Jesús es suficiente!

Jezus is genoeg!

Jésus est assez!

Jesus ist genug!

Ο Ιησούς είναι αρκετό!

ישו זה מספיק!

Iesu yn ddigon!


Jesus är nog!

Иисус достаточно!

Jesus é o suficiente!

예수님은 충분하다!

Jesus sat est?   

Gesù è sufficiente!
No matter what the language, the message remains the same: Jesus Christ is enough!
He is bigger than your biggest problem, bigger than your biggest fear, bigger than your
most egregious sin, bigger than bank account balances, bigger than harsh words,
bigger than feuds between friends or family, bigger than any physical ailment, bigger,
yes bigger than death, bigger than Satan, bigger than the strongest sorrow, the
biggest loss the grandest temptation.....

Jesus is all you will ever need. Ask Him to be the center of your life, repent sins
and glorify Him. He is humble; yet, strong. He is loving; yet, powerful. He is a servant; yet,
a King. His shoulders are strong, His heart is huge. His patience is forever. He is
God, King, High Priest and Savior. 

Praise His glorious name!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fully God, Fully man... fully amazing!

Upon seeing the resurrected Christ, Thomas cried out, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28) 

I have started reading a book entitled, The Man Christ Jesus, written by Bruce A Ware,
that emphasizes the humanity Of Jesus, fully accepting that He was both Man and God.

Now there are many many concepts that boggle the mind when one reads scripture,
listens to God's word being taught and considers ideas that may or not be totally
beyond our ability to really understand. The notion that Christ Jesus was born of
a virgin, Mary, conceived through the Holy Spirit of God, thus truly being "genetically"
both divine and human, seems to me to be just another reason to be amazed by our
Savior and aware of the extent to which He "chose" to come here to die.

One notion that always seems to come out of a discussion of His dual-identity, if you
will, is whether or not He was both these things, consciously, at the same time. Mr.
Ware does great job, I think, of discussing Christ's willingness to "cover over" His
God nature with His human nature. In this process, He remains both, yet acts in the
realm of our human existence. 

We know that He had to come to this Earth and live a sinless life. He had to successfully
be the second Adam, the Adam that succeeded where the first could not. His march
to the cross had to be in complete submission to the Father and to a spotless. unblemished
life. He had to be the great high priest, the propitiation for sin; He had to become the sin
of our lives even though His life was sinless. These tremendous and unselfish endeavors
had to be as a human.

The fact that He was the son of God, that He possessed the same qualities of the
Father and was, therefore, God, is fully emphasized in scripture through the very
word and words of the Father.

 "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1: 14

Could Jesus have saved Himself from the pain and suffering he knew was to come?
Could he have called upon angels, throughout His ministry, to come to His aid? Could
He have, just once, allowed Himself to be God at the expense of the reason for His

I think not because only Jesus Christ could have done for us what needed to be done
for the forgiveness of mankind. He is amazing, he is Lord..... He is God!

Praise Him!

Monday, March 10, 2014

We wins! and yes,.... Love Wins!

 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28  John 14: 27

Pastor Rob Bell wrote what is a very controversial book, in the eyes of some,that emphasized
the loving nature of God. The controversy, as I understand it, having read the book, is the
fear that this emphasis might cause some to over-stress the importance of this trait of
our God at the expense of the other Godly traits He also possesses.

Not pretending to be anything other than a lover of our amazing Holy God, I, nonetheless,
have some opinions about all of this angst over placing too much emphasis on God's love.
Personally, I can make a case that one could ever overestimate the love of God. I won't
even hit you with John 3: 16.

It seems to me that there are two vastly important aspects of God, as seen from a mere
mortal, a created being completely amazed by God. The first would be God's utter loathing
of sin.

Psalms 5:4 For You [are] not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You. 5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. 6 You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. 

He cannot abide sin. he is completely Holy and righteous and that is what He envisioned
as a goal for His created... lives devoid of sinfulness. Well, a serpent got in the way and
the world was forever changed to one that is spoiled. We are a part of the overall sinful
nature of the world. Even, in fact, after being born into Christ, we tend to sin.

The second would be God's love of His creation. Scripture abounds with His love
culminated in His plan to allow His Son to provide the only way to salvation. Here is
the major point; He did not have or need to provide this path to forgiveness! He
developed the plan to bring the gospel message into the world to provide a
means of sanctification that we might some day join Him in a much different world.

So one could, based upon this Grace, suggest that in the end, the love of God
provided the only counter-balance to His hatred of Sin. He provided an adoption
plan based upon His willingness to forgive us; a Father's love for His children, His

Yes, WE WIN! We are winners only through the Grace and Loving-Kindness of
our God. We didn't deserve to win... He didn't have to allow us to win.... He simply
created an answer to our sin because He could.

Praise our God!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The ever elusive ability to have Faith

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

I have been listening to Wayne Grudem's video series on the basics of the Christian
faith; it is an enjoyable overview of the terms a Christian encounters and works through.
In a recent discussion of sanctification, he mentioned a long-time Christian woman who
was terminal. When questioned about her faith that she would soon be in the presence
of Jesus, she replied that she hoped so. Wayne saw this as very sad, as an indication that
her faith was not full.

I, on the other hand, see this as very human. Faith, when one speaks of a Christian's
journey, is TRUST in God, in Jesus, in the Gospel.... I could go on. Having assurance
is something that I believe grows as we grow into more mature followers of Christ; however,
I am not willing to forget a very important characteristic of we people... we are people.

That means we carry with us a certain amount of doubt and inability to completely 
trust in something we cannot physically reach out and touch. I am not implying that
faith doesn't grow, that we do not become much more comfortable about trusting in
Jesus as we read God's word and continue our walk. I am certain that were I to be
told tomorrow that I was soon to rest, I would have many things to tie together and
would feel a certain amount of anticipation because I fully believe in the saving power
of Jesus and the grace of our God. I also, in my most honest look ahead, am sure that I
will respond honestly in a way very similar to the woman discussed above.... with HOPE,
with heartfelt joy, with excitement, with a certain amount of sadness that I will be
leaving this wonderful life God has provided for me.... and also, with a degree of

Not doubt in Jesus!  Not doubt in God! Not doubt in the gospel message of salvation
through the work on the cross... doubt because I am a human being... incapable of
total trust and faith.

I know and believe that God will understand me because, after all, He was the one
who created me.

All praise and glory be to God the Father!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Not even a cameo appearance

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.    Ephesians 2: 8-10

So many questions, aren't there! It's difficult to understand why it is that there are issues
and questions that, quite likely, will not be answered in this lifetime. Once saved, always
saved? Predestination? Sola Fide? Works? Apostasy? While a lot of these and other
issues are different, there seems to be an overlap.

I am going to take a blogger's stand on the importance or relevance of our own part
in the processes of being transformed once we establish Jesus Christ as our personal savior
and Lord. First, I believe that this very act of choosing to follow Christ is done To us, not
By us. I'm not buying that we even have a choice once God reaches out and "plucks" us
into His hands. So our very justification, assumed righteousness (0f Christ) and
salvation are, in my eyes, totally passive. We aren't involved in these life altering
changes; GOD is!

So taking the stand that we have been changed out of the very grace of God, I also
do not feel that we are "actors" in the saga of our sanctification. The very process of
being sanctified, has as its goal, the removal of all sin. It is a process that ends after our
death; a process that is on-going through the work of the Holy Spirit who is challenged
by our corporal sin abiding flesh... we simply aren't up to the task of doing the process
ourselves. To believe that we can change ourselves from within, is, as I see it, prideful
and mistaken.

Will we strive to live lives more closely resembling the Jesus we love? Yes, I believe
we will do so through our appreciation and God's support. Will others see a change
in us and surmise that we have changed?Yes, I believe we will look and live
differently: I believe we will have no choice because that will also be done To us.

Are we really weak and in need of a wonderful savior to make the changes necessary
to reach everlasting life with God? Well, that's exactly what the gospel message
shouts at us!

We are human. That's okay. We need God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to do their
saving, graceful, miraculous transition to our lives. 

Praise our Holy God!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

He IS coming, again!

for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. Thes. 5: 12

It's a 100 percent certainty. Jesus Christ will return to this earth to defeat the enemies
of God, Satan, and to bring the promised judgement upon the world. This is something
that folks have tried to predict even from the days Jesus walked the earth, and His
words seemed to predict that it could even happen back in the first century.

"Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." ( Luke 21:32-33)

He assured that even He did not know the exact date and time, that only the Father
was aware of the timing. He warns in scripture that we should always be ready; that
his return will be sudden. His return will most certainly differ from His incarnation as
a carpenter's son in a remote village. It will be obvious to all who inhabit the earth
as He arrives at the trumpet's call from the heavens as a conquering King. All will
fall to their knees and be aware that He is King. No one will miss His arrival!

It is obvious that everything will change at the moment He arrives because the world
as we know it, a world lost to sin, will end. There will be no need to check the day-timer
to change our daily priorities or reschedule appointments. We will drop everything
we are doing and be lifted up to be with Him and the saints already departed. I think
it's safe to say that it will be a day like no other sense the beginning of creation, a day
that will be a one-time occurrence, a day, the day, that everything is changed and

Our attitude, it seems to me, should be to seek His coming. There are obviously
people in this world that live under terrible life conditions who can only be trusting
and praying that the day will be soon. For those of us blessed to be living lives
free of these horrible conditions, we, too, should look forward each day and be
prepared in heart and spirit for His return. Nothing in this life can compare to
the blessings that will come when the Lord and King of the Universe makes
His triumphant return.

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15: 52 

Come, Jesus!!!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Whole Life PLUS..God's amazing life assurance policy

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23  

I can remember when telemarketing calls used to make up about 80% of my incoming
phone calls! Aaaarrrgghhh! The ones that I probably most hid from were the life
insurance salespeople because I knew it was needed... just didn't enjoy being reminded
of my mortality and didn't want to have that be my 'conversation of the day.'

Well, have I got a life insurance (assurance) deal for you! This policy comes to you
without a phone call, from a "company" that has been around for..well, since time began.
There's no contract to sign, no paperwork to keep, no premiums to mail in or, if you
are really brave, to pay on-line. The cost of the policy is free; that's right, a free gift
from none other than my favorite CEO, Almighty God Himself. 

But it came to you at a cost! Jesus Christ, who became sin so that we would no longer
be seen as sinful, was sacrificed upon a cross so that this policy could be available to those
who would choose to give their lives and their trust to Him. He served as the only
possible propitiation for our sin; He was the payment for sin that God could not and can
not accept. His righteousness was exchanged for our sinful nature so that when we
stand before a Holy God, we will be seen as the righteousness of Lord Jesus.

But wait, I'm not done with the sales pitch. Not only is this a policy that cannot be
revoked, the beneficiary is YOU! That's right, when you die for the first and only
time, the glorious payout promised by this policy is eternal life in the presence
of God. You receive a place in the new Heaven, experience a glorious resurrected
body and become a permanent resident in a place where there is no evil, no sin,
no death, no tears.....get the picture?

Here's the payment plan... you need to accept Jesus into the prominent position
in your heart, as your Lord and Savior. You need to give up trying to direct your
life and turn it over to Him. That's the bottom line. The extra benefits abound....
less stress, worry, pride, anger, sinfulness and hopelessness. 

How and where do you sign up? Easy. Take a knee or two and ask God to
save you with this Life Assurance Plus promise. He's waiting. Do it now!

Praise God!