A You-Sized Hole

Your church needs you…even if you don’t go to church. God has a church out there for you, and they are suffering from a you-sized-hole right now. You could be the one who helps out with the kids….the one who writes notes to encourage the pastor…the one who always remembers to bring food for the food pantry…the one who always welcomes new people with a warm handshake…the crazy one. I’m not sure which one you are, but you are an important puzzle piece in the kingdom of God.

You may have a very good reason not to go to church. A church may have hurt you in the past. I’m sure you did not deserve that, but it’s time to forgive and find a new church. Maybe you have to work Sundays. What if you told your boss you have decided to get serious about church attendance and request Sundays off? Or you could visit a church on Wednesday evenings.

Keep trying new churches until you feel certain God has placed you there, but rest assured that God is placing you somewhere. Church is for every believer. We need to pray for one another and encourage one another in God. We can do more together than separately. What? You don’t know God? You belong in church too. God’s house is a great place to be introduced.

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What’s Your Sign?

Seriously, what is your sign? You probably know without looking it up, don’t you? Astrology has become part of culture. Some look to it for hints about the future and for guidance. In today’s society, we can read our horoscope just about anywhere. If someone is really desperate, they can hire a roadside psychic. It is easy to think we can make better decisions for ourselves if we know the future, but I want to challenge that way of thinking.

Life is what happens to us when we are making other plans. It’s a famous quote first noted in Reader’s Digest 1957, but it has been repeated in multiple variations in songs and movies. Think about it. What great parts of your life happened to you unintentionally? In general, it is not good for us to know the future. If there is something we need to know, God can communicate it to us since he is the only one to clearly and perfectly see the future. If we need guidance, wouldn’t it be best to ask the Lord?

Sometimes you may not sense a clear answer and feel lost, but you can trust God for peace and to ask him to show you the steps. If you still feel lost after a time, then talk to a Christian friend. Another person with the same Holy Spirit in them that is inside you can draw out some deeply hidden God spoke to your heart and confirm what you think you have heard.

A close relationship with God will put you on the right steps for your best happiness in God’s perfect will for your life. If you have never committed your life to Christ, you are on a path away from God and may be feeling despair. It is never too late to turn that around. Give God the reigns of your life by accepting Christ into your heart and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit inside you.

A Little Buddha for Good Luck

Do you have a little Buddha statue in your home for good luck? Let’s talk straight. If that little statue is bringing you any luck (good or bad), then it is more than a statue. We both know statues are made from cement or other common materials. They have no power in and of themselves. If your statue is endowed with power, then it has a source and God is not it. How can I be sure?

Buddha’s claim is contradictory to Jesus’ claim. The ancient man called Buddha claimed to know a different way than Jesus. Yet Jesus specifically said, “I am the way.” He did not say one of many ways. He said “the way.” Millions of people have adopted Buddhism as their religion instead of accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. Buddhism and all of its ways are in opposition to Christianity.

What about you? Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? If yes, then stop advertising a false way. Stop trying to gain fortune outside of God’s will. Toss out the statue. Pray to God for the blessings you want in your life. If that is what is best for you, our powerful God will delight in bestowing the blessing and provision you want in your life because He loves you.

I’m a Good Person

You may think you are a good person. I don’t doubt it but only by comparison to other people. Compared to God, you are not a good person. Let’s take a look at some of the standards God set forth for mankind, also known as the Ten Commandments.

  1. Have no other gods but God.
  2. Do not worship statues.
  3. Be careful with God’s name. (Only when you are talking to or specifically about God with reverence—never saying OMG or using the Savior’s Name as a cuss word.)
  4. Remember the Sabbath. (Rest from work and dedicate the day to worship).
  5. Honor your father and mother (yes both of them).
  6. Do not murder.
  7. Keep your marriage vows (all of them.)
  8. Do not steal (not even a pen).
  9. Do not lie (even little lies).
  10. Do not covet (or wrongly desire what belongs to someone else).

Even if you kept some of these, you did not keep all of them perfectly. Even if you did, there are many more wrongdoings that qualify as sins. Even knowing the right thing to do in a circumstance and failing to do it is a sin according to God.

Yet somehow Jesus kept every commandment perfectly. How? Because He is the Son of God. The good news is He died to pay for your sins and the sins of the whole world. If you die, please don’t try to justify your sins by saying “I’m a good person.” Your best bet is to simply say, “Jesus died for my sins.” In God’s eyes, Jesus is a good person.

Reincarnation

Do you kinda believe in Jesus but also sort of think reincarnation is a possibility? When you think it through, the combination of the two belief systems is simply incompatible. Let’s look at both belief systems.

In reincarnation, humans are granted multiple chances to obtain a type of perfection. In this belief system, people work at achieving the right attitude and actions.

Now, let’s look at Christianity as it is presented in the Bible. Mankind is not expected to achieve perfection. Instead, a person must recognize and accept Jesus as the sinless Son of God and his or her Savior. With this act of humility, the person is granted a perfect standing before God as a gift. Then the Holy Spirit lives alongside of their soul to influence him or her to make the right choices and attitudes.

Do you see how the two cannot be reconciled? Either perfection is earned or it is a gift. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then let go of your false beliefs in reincarnation. Put your full TRUST in Jesus Christ to make you presentable before a perfect God. Even with unlimited lifetimes, I guarantee you will never be able to achieve the kind of perfection that our holy and glorious God is worthy of. Jesus is the only one who can do that.

Judgement

You have heard it, and so have I. Maybe you have even said it or thought it. It is the phrase: I don’t want to be judged. We think if we somehow hide our real selves around when we are around our Christian friends or leave out certain details from the stories we tell that we can avoid judgement. Unfortunately, hiding our real selves robs us from authentic relationships and close friendships.

The fear of judgement can be even more harmful when we apply it to our spiritual lives and relationships. You may be rejecting the idea of salvation or delaying acceptance of Christ because you fear being judged by God. The Bible tells us we will all be judged whether we come to Christ or not. In fact, our decision for Christ now washes us clean of all of those mistakes and sins that we feel ashamed about so that God only sees a spotless version of us. If you do not come to Jesus now for our salvation, then we will be judged according to our many sins by a perfect God with no hope for justification, redemption, or purification.

The Bible says, “…today is the day of salvation.” We are not guaranteed a single more day in this lifetime, and judgement is certain. You admit you are a sinner—I admire that! You are ashamed of your sins—that’s admirable too! Now take the additional step and ask Christ for your salvation so that you can be judged a pure and spotless saint. Then you can enjoy eternal life with the rest of God’s people.

 

Rejection

According to scientists, rejection triggers real pain in our bodies. Think back to the times you experienced rejection. It may still hurt to think about it. You may have been rejected by one or more parents. Siblings or school peers may have rejected you. Then there is the most painful type of rejection: unrequited love. Now think of the times you have rejected others. You may barely be able to remember those people, but they remember you because they still feel the sting of your rejection.

Consider for a moment how God might feel. Yes, that’s right—God. Have you rejected him? Has he reached out to you through other Christians only to have you shut them down? Have you been invited to church and rejected their invitations? God has all of the emotions that humans do. The Bible says we are made in his image. In fact, he loves so much more deeply than any human ever has. If you are currently experiencing rejection from someone you love, perhaps God is using that circumstance to demonstrate His love for you and your rejection of Christ. I encourage you to stop rejecting the God who loves you and accept Christ into your heart. It is the best decision you will ever make.

If you are a Christian who has accepted Christ as your Savior, you may want to take a moment now to forgive those who rejected you. After all, there was a time you rejected Christ and He forgave you. Set yourself free from bitterness and say aloud, “I forgive ____________ for ___________________________.” Now take a minute to ask God to move the hearts of those you rejected to forgive you. There. That’s better, isn’t it? Stay blessed.

 

Why, God? Why?

We hear of some tragedy. Someone has been murdered. Someone committed suicide. Natural disasters claim lives. Each of us individually asks God the same question: Why?

If you have read even to the third chapter of Genesis, you have heard God’s answer. God spoke to Satan, who took the form of a serpent in the Garden of Eden to tempt mankind to sin. God cursed Satan with these words: He will crush your head, and you will bruise his heel. The curse foretells of Satan’s minor triumph of putting Jesus to death in the body. It also foretells Christ’s great victory over Satan. Jesus rose from the dead, which opened the way for all people to gain eternal life.

How does this verse explain modern tragedy? Today when we learn of someone’s death in the body, keep in mind that Satan has merely “bruised their heel.” Jesus has already gained the ultimate triumph by giving that person eternal life if that person has put his or her trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Why is Christ’s Death so Grim?

I know what you say. Christians are obsessed with the death of Jesus. You ask why. You admit he suffered a painful death, but people have suffered harsher deaths. Well there are several valid reasons Christians feel so strongly about Christ’s death.

1. Jesus was innocent. Innocent men have been imprisoned many years for crimes, and then those same men were freed when DNA evidence vindicated them. This stirs such a sense of injustice in you, doesn’t it? Consider the injustice of capital punishment on Jesus, the man who never sinned.

2. Jesus was the son of God. A community is disheartened when anyone from a community is killed, but consider how much more the community reacts when someone of great importance has been murdered. Like President Abraham Lincoln or President John F. Kennedy? Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Jesus was way more important than those men. He was the most important person in born in all of creation.

3. Jesus is beloved. Death brings about sadness for everyone, but no life event brings about more pain or stress than losing a loved one. Christians are in a deep personal relationship with Jesus. Even though we recognize Jesus has risen from the death, it still brings such great grief to remember his suffering and death.

It may be difficult for nonChristians to understand how Christians can be in a personal relationship with a man who died over 2,000 years ago, but it should be perplexing enough to ask yourself if there is something to this Jesus Christ. Could you get to know him personally like a brother or a friend? It is possible if only you ask for it in prayer. Give it a try right now. You have nothing to lose.

A New Type of Prayer

A few years ago, I edited a free ebook called Never Forsaken: A Testimony Collection. Something miraculous happened as I read the submissions. My own faith grew. Of course I had faith God exists, but I did not necessarily know how to apply all of the promises God has for us in the Bible.

I learned one such promise and application when I read one of the testimony submissions by a woman named Kristen Nelson. She shared a testimony of how God healed her wrists and included a Scripture from John 10:10. It says, “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  She didn’t have inoperable brain cancer. She simply wanted a fuller life.

Sometimes people are afraid to pray for God to help us in little ways as though He were too busy or something. Other times they are scared to ask God to help people on their deathbed because we are all destined to die. This is my new prayer for people on their deathbed. “Dear Lord: All of our days are numbered, but You came to give us life abundantly. While this person is here on earth, give them life to the fullest.  Thank You for being our Healer. In Christ’s Name, Amen.”

A few days ago, I prayed it over my elderly cat who has not been well. That particular day she would not eat and could hardly stand. We were all preparing our hearts for her death. Then I prayed this prayer over my cat. Guess what? The very next day she was eating and walking around. She even ran upstairs! She may die tomorrow, but today she is living life to the fullest because God is good.