Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Finding Peace in a Crazy World

Hello Friend. It has been a while since we published anything. Life has been crazy and busy with normal vocational day to day activities to keep the family tasks completed and of course the work activities in order to pay the bills. I try to plan and get ahead in life but most the time everything I plan never works out like I would like. Yet when I go on vacation I have the opposite because I do not plan and have no expectations and like to just have fun. However as the stress from all these things build up I constantly have the song from Toby Mac where he sings 'I don't want to gain the whole world but loose my soul!'. Which is also from Matthew 16:26

The other day I read my daily devotional from the book "Jesus Calling" that I received when I was going through some tough times in the hospital earlier in the year. The first sentence grabbed me like a nothing ever. It says "YOU WILL NOT FIND MY PEACE by engaging in excessive planning: attempting to control what will happen to you in the future." WOW what a fantastic piece of information. It fits perfectly. I will not find peace, worrying and trying to accomplish all the earthly junk that will just burn up in the end. Proverbs 16:9 says that we as people plan but the lord establishes steps. Matthew 6:31-34 tells us that we need to focus on the GOD in everything we do, and by doing so he will take care of the future planning for us. There are enough problems for today that we can focus on that will enable us to follow the steps laid out for us.

WHOA WHOA WHOA you mean my planning is worthless?? Actually not at all. The issue is excessive planning an worrying about what will happen and trying to control what the future holds. In Luke 14:28-31 the bible tells us that it is wise to plan. You wouldn't build a house without first figuring out how much it would cost. The trick is when you are planning do what you can today that will benefit tomorrow. For example if you know you want to send you child to college, put back money when you have it in order to benefit from it later. However when you make these plans make sure that your plan includes submission to GOD. James 4:15-16

So how do define you are making good plans? Proverbs 15:22 tells us that we need to surround ourselves with many counselors. Too few can cause your plans to fail. Having a support structure is very beneficial to planning and having goals. These people can help keep you motivated, but also let you know if you are risking too much and if you are making a plan that does not submit to GOD.

Things for thought.
  • How do your plans fit with submitting to GOD.
  • Do you have counselors or mentors that can help you with your planning?

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Gospel of Jesus Christ and Heaven vs. The World and Hell

I wanted to take some time to explain the difference between these two concepts from a Christian perspective because it seems that there is much misunderstanding, fear, and controversy around these two issues.  I will start with the bad news and then I will give you the Gospel, which literally means “good news.”  Let’s see if I can keep this short and simple for the sake of readability.

The World and Hell

I once saw a YouTube video by Paul Washer and he stated that the most terrifying truth about God is that He is GOOD.  Like you might be right now, I was quite taken by this at first.  I didn’t understand but that’s exactly what kept me wanting to listen.  As Paul continued, he explained that God is incapable of accepting anyone who is not “good” into his presence.  So that leaves us with another question.  How do we become “good”?  Let’s imagine for a moment, a piece of wood about 1” thick, 12” wide, and 12” high.  The piece of wood is freshly cut, has no imperfections, and it perfectly square at all edges.  It’s overall integrity is 100% perfect.  Now, imagine taking a hammer and a nail and pounding that nail straight into the center of that piece of wood.  Perhaps I even take a few more nails and do it again.  After a while, I realize that what was once a perfect piece of wood is not full of nails so I decide that I want to fix the problem.  I remove all of the nails and now I see that there are a bunch of holes in the wood.  I quickly begin to patch those holes but it’s not long before I realize that I can still see the blemishes in the wood.  My point here is that once I put that first nail into the wood, it’s overall integrity went from 100% perfect to less than that and no matter what I do, I can never fully restore that piece of wood back to the way it was originally.  This is how God sees us.  When we sin, which means to “miss the mark,” we have added another hole to ourselves.  Since it is an acceptable statement to say that no one is perfect and this is biblically sound as well, we can all agree that we have a few holes.  Per the analogy I have used here, there is no way we can bring ourselves back to 100% perfection.  For us to be truly “good” to God, we must be 100% perfect.  Gosh, that is a problem isn’t it?  We messed up, we can’t make it right no matter how much effort we exert, and we have become unacceptable to God in that process.  So people try to make the right decisions.  They try to “live right.”  They try to “be a good person.”  We follow the supposed good people in the world.  This is all in hope that we will be acceptable to other people, much less God.  But again, we cannot fix it.  If we die trying to fix it, this is where hell comes into play.

The world we live in defines hell and eternal misery, which is true, but it’s actually a little more than that.  It is a place where we are completely separated from God.  When you wake up in the morning and sip that fresh coffee or you get into those comfortable PJs at night, you fail to realize that this is God’s grace.  The kiss from your spouse, the warm hug form a friend, the fact that pain is never truly constant from second to second, and the fact that there is still always beauty to be found around us is God’s grace.  When we remove God completely, none of that will exist.  So now for the important question…is hell a place where God tortures sinners or is hell a place where God does not exist?  I’ve heard others ask time and time again how a loving God could put us through eternal suffering.  The simple answer is, He doesn’t.  We choose to reject Him and therefore, He gives us our wish.  He lets us go to place where He does not exist and the result is the complete absence of grace.  Without grace, pain is always constant.  We suffer not at the hands of God, but at the hands of all who rejected God’s grace.  IT is important to understand that absolutely EVERYTHING that is truly good, comes from God.  There can be no bad thing that comes from God.  This includes good feelings, positive experiences, beauty, and relief as well.  Without those things, we have nothing left but BAD suffering.  As originally stated, God cannot accept anything but “GOOD” into His presence.  Therefore, no, hell is not God in ugly retaliation.  Hell is simply a place where God is not.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ and Heaven

I saved the best part for last – the “good news.”  Since we cannot fix our problem and make ourselves good again, God took it upon Himself to give us a solution to the problem, to make the “wood” 100% perfect again by removing the holes as if they were never there.  He gave us His Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus is 100% perfect and the only One that ever walked the earth Who is.  Men killed Him.  The interesting part is that Jesus wasn’t just a man.  He was God Himself in the flesh.  How many of you would give your life for someone you love?  I bet many hands are raised right now, but let me ask another question.  How many of you give your life for an enemy, someone who hurt you and continues to hurt you?  The truth is one sin is enough to remove our “good” status, which makes us an enemy.  Sin simply means that we failed to obey our heavenly Father.  He could have just done away with us, but instead, He chose to die for us.  When He died that day, over 2000 years ago, He did two very important things.  First, He took the pain for every sin for all mankind for all time.  Because He was perfect and acceptable as “good,” this sacrifice was enough to satisfy the penalty for all sins.  Therefore, all sins for all people, past, present, and future were remembered no more.  Secondly, He promised us LIFE by way of the Holy Spirit.  I don’t just mean life in heaven.  I mean life here on earth AND in heaven.  The life that He promised means all our needs (actual needs, not “wants”) will always be met, that we will do great things for the Creator Himself and others, and that we will find great joy, peace, and endless grace in the process.  When we do finally arrive home in heaven, He promises to remove all forms of pain, suffering, tears, and fatigue.  We can move mountains all by way of faith in what we cannot see.  We will finally be seen as “good” again because the blood of Jesus from His death washes away our sinful filth and God sees us as if He were looking at Jesus Himself.  We literally become sons and daughters of the One True God.  We become ambassadors, representatives, friends, family to and for the Almighty, All-Knowing, All-Powerful, All-Seeing, All-Present God.  Seriously, how can we turn that down?

There is only one way we can lose out on this absolutely free offer.  We can choose not to believe it.  That is the ONLY unforgivable sin, to reject Jesus, what He did, and what He promised.  It seems so simple doesn’t it?  Yet still, so many would rather trust in their own intellect to make the best of this temporary life.  I ask that you choose otherwise.  I ask that you choose to believe.  You might wonder how you will know if your belief and your faith in Jesus is real.  The answer is simple. Your life WILL change and transform.  If it does not, you do not believe and you do not understand.  It is literally impossible for your life not to change if your faith truly exists in Jesus Christ.  Once you believe, you will receive the Holy Spirit, Who will cause you to walk in God’s ways.  You will want to do it.  You will fail daily, I promise.  But you will desire to walk with God.  You will desire to listen to Him.  As a result, your life will take a different direction.  You will receive new gifts and talents that you never had.  You will learn about traits you had that you never knew were there in the first place.  You will begin to see where God has led you to this moment throughout your life so far.  You will start to see God move in your life in ways that you never noticed before.  This is what being a Christian is all about.  Did you think it was about fixing yourself?  Did you think it was about reading your Bible more often?  Did you think it was about anything you could do?  Do you really think it is I, the author of this article, who moves myself to write this?  No my friends.  It is the Holy Spirit in me that gives me the desire to want to type it because I love you and God loves you.  This effort was not to earn points with God.  It was to show you how much God loves you and to encourage you to begin to put your faith and trust in Him today.

Receiving the Gift

How do I receive this free gift of salvation?  Pray this prayer right now.  You can do it alone or with someone.  It doesn’t matter as long as you mean it from the depths of your soul:
“Jesus, I confess that I have sinned against you. I want to be made new again.  I am asking you to please come into my heart and forgive my sins.  Today, I am putting my trust and faith in what you did on the cross for me over 2000 years ago.  I believe that You are the Son of God and I believe in Your promises.  Help me to follow you.  I give myself to you and ask that You lead me all the days of my life.  Thank You for dying for me.  I accept You and what You’ve done for me.  Amen.”
If you’ve just prayed that prayer, welcome to God’s family my friend.  Your life will NEVER be the same again!  As the years go by, remember this day so you can see how the journey has changed you.  May God be with you always!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Promises about Prayer

Praying is a very important part of having a relationship with Jesus and it can also be a very powerful tool.  With any tool that you have you need to know what it its capable of in order to use it to the maximum proficiency.  Here are some promises that God has provided us that allow us to pray fervently. 

  • Psalms 
    • 91:15
      • "He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him."
    • 141:2
      • "Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting of my hands as the evening sacrifice."
  • Jeremiah 
    • 1:12 
      • "I am ready to perform My Word."
    • 29:12
      • "Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you."
    • 33:3
      • "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things"
  • Isaiah 
    • 55:11
      • "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."
    • 65:24
      • "It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer, and while they are speaking I will hear."
  • Matthew 
    • 21:22
      • "whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
    • 18:18
      • "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
    • 18:19
      • "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven."
  • John 
    • 16:24
      • "Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."
    • 14:13
      • "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."
    • 14:14
      • "If you ask anything in my name, I will do it."
    • 15:7
      • "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you."
    • 15:16
      • "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you."
    • 16:23
      • "whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you."
  • James 
    • 5:16
      • "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
  • Job 
    • 22:27
      • "You will make your prayer to Him, He will hear you..."
  • 1John 
    • 5:14
      • "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."
    • 5:15
      • "And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pray for your leader - Davids Tent DC

Politics are in the air America.  It is that time of year where the campaigns are full steam ahead and not only do we get the chance to vote for our next leader, but we also get the chance to pray and worship Jesus Christ.  Matthew 18:19-20 tells us that when ever 2 or more come together in the name of Jesus that he will be there.  Please take some time to pray for a positive, qualified and great leader for America that will help lead us in a moral direction.

If you have some spare time off and a little money, feel free to check out Davids Tent.  How awesome would it be to show some conviction for Christ and make a stand in front of the current President and the nation.  Lets show America that we still believe in good morals and family values.  Lets show America and the world that Jesus is our one and only Savior.   

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Marriage Tips for the First Decade: Take off the Mask (Mask #8)

Mask #8: Marriage issues should always stay private.

Scripture to consider: “Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 11:14, NASB)

The General Reality: It is important to understand that there really is no supporting Scripture that states that all issues in a marriage should be kept private from those outside the family structure nor is there Scripture to support that families should be wide open.  Before moving forward with this, it is also important to mention that there is supporting Scripture to say that the couple themselves should have no secrets from each other (Genesis 2:24).  To become one flesh is to be in complete unity with one another.  This diminishes all room for secrecy within the marriage covenant.  Looking from the family outward, many issues within a marriage are best kept private, but there are some benefits to sharing both marital problems and successes with others.

Married Couple

Based on observation, I find that there are many married couples that believe 100% privacy is completely necessary.  Others will share their life story to the point of exhaustion at the expense of the listener.  Many fall somewhere in between.  How can we achieve a healthy balance?  How can focusing on this balance potentially improve your marriage?  Here are just a few potential benefits that can be gained by sharing marital issues with others:
·         Accountability
·         Healthy friendships
·         Families working towards a common goal together
·         Fresh perspectives on achieving a healthier marriage
·         A shoulder to cry on when “the going gets tough” (a.k.a. “venting”)
·         A strong family support system
·         Lessons for others to learn from
·         United families can be a great resource for families in need
However, marriage issues should not be brought to just anyone.  If you are going to seek help, you should always seek help from either a professional or someone who already has a healthy marriage.  Notice that I didn’t say a “perfect” marriage because there is no such thing, no matter how much you think it might be true.  Ultimately, someone (preferably a Christian) who has been married for a while and has applied godly principles to their marriage would be the best person to seek counsel from. 
I would love to hear that you have sought the best Counselor that I know, Jesus Christ.  If you wish to do that, I recommend that you get down on your knees right now and ask Him to forgive your sins, thank Him for saving you, and ask Him to take over your life.  Ask Him to show you how your marriage should look and start letting Him answer you by reading His Word (the Bible).  There is no counselor in this world greater than He, I promise.  You will have to start down that journey to understand.
Marriage is without a doubt a difficult relationship to maintain.  It is hard with God’s help and even harder without God’s help.  We must not forget that our God created the concept of “relationships” and He did so for a reason.  God has revealed throughout Scripture that He is also relational.  He weeps for us, He rejoices with us, He feels our sorrow, He cheers for us, He supports us, He wants to hear about our problems, and He provides for us.  He experiences all of the things we seek in relationships with others. 
The marriage relationship is supposed to be the best human example of what God’s relationship is like with men.  When one family functions according to God’s design, the relational aspect of the family should extend beyond the walls of their home as well, with little effort.  Additionally, when a family decides to reach out, they should be accountable for what they do, able to establish healthy relationships, have support when needed, and learn from others’ mistakes and successes.  Sharing with others establishes a connection and opens the door to gaining good resources for a healthy marriage and a united effort to reach out to the world for God’s glory.

Conversation Starters

·         Have you ever shared your marriage experience with others?  How did it work out?

·         Can you think of a time where you went to God to fix your marriage and He did?

Things to Try

·         After asking Jesus to take over your life, begin praying every night or as much as you feel you can with your spouse.

·         Do you know anyone with a healthy Christian marriage? Try asking them about what a healthy marriage should look like.  You don’t even have to share anything about yours.  Just listen.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Miracle Baby born 12 ounces

Faith is a wonderful thing, and can really bring hope to your life. With the right attitude and faith miracles can happen. Noelle Christine Aguiar was born 27 weeks in gestation at an amazingly 12 ounces. Though she has medical problems the encouraging aspect is the attitude of the parents. The father has been quoted as saying "If this is the time God had given us with her then we are grateful. The mother agreed and said "We never expected to have one day with her."

Read More

Conversation Starter

  • Do you take each day with this amount of faith and hope?
  • Are you grateful for what God has provided and with the time you have?
  • Do you use the time wisely or do you squander it with fruitless ventures?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

To God You Are Beautiful

Do you struggle with your self image? Down on yourself about your clothes, hair, weight or the way you look? I know women especially struggle with these things and many more. If our hair is straight we want it curly or the other way around. We compare ourselves to every other woman we think is prettier or skinnier than we are, especially, the models in magazines we look at everywhere and wish we could look half as good as they do. Its seriously a vicious cycle we go through every day. If someone says one bad thing about us it sticks in our heads, like forever , and can cause so much drama, depression or worse, suicide. We're so focused on the bad stuff, that when someone does say something good about us, we don't even hear it, or if your like me its “no I'm not...I'm fat, ugly....” fill in the blanks, the list can go on and on. Lets face it, the society we live in is all about self image, what you wear, how you look yada yada yada.....You feel like you have to buy clothes, handbags, make up, shoes and all these material things to make you feel “good” about yourself. When in fact, all you need is Jesus Christ.

If you look in Genesis 2:7 KJV “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” How beautiful is that, God Created man from dust, in His image. How amazing is that he made man from dust. Then God tells Adam where his land is in the garden of Eden and had him keep up and eat of the land, it was plentiful, but not of the tree of good and evil. Read in Genesis 2: 18 NIV “And the Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him” So God had formed all of the animals out of the ground and brought them to Adam to name them. This is a key roll for Adam,. God made Adam in His image so in naming all the animals on the earth, Adam had dominion over them. But after all of this, there was still no suitable helper for Adam.. Read in Genesis 2:21-22 NIV “So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep: and while he was sleeping he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man and he brought her to the man” So God made man and woman in His image. So when we say to/about ourselves “I'm fat, ugly, I'm not good enough etc.” Aren't we really saying that about our creator God, since he created us in His image.. So all those nasty, ugly, down right awful things we say about ourselves, try putting God in front of it. It would look like this God is ugly, God is fat, God is not good enough. That's a tough one to swallow right.... God is our creator, He created us in His image, He created the heavens and earth, every living thing on this earth. God is awesome, righteous, all mighty, powerful, our creator, merciful, just, loving, forgiving, the same today, yesterday and forever.

  • Will we think before we say something negative about ourselves or others?
  • Will we teach our kids it's not nice to say mean things about ourselves or others?
  • Will we make the step to change from the ways of the world or will we continue to be like the world?

Things to do:
  • Pray that God will change your heart to be more like his and to be content with the way God made you.
  • Pray for those people that say negative things about you,(your enemies) because you may never know what their day has been like or what is hiding in their heart. They may be feeling some hurt from someone saying the same thing about them....

Something to think about:
  • When someone says a nice thing about you and in return we say I'm fat, ugly, not good enough, no I'm not. We are rejecting them and rejecting God because God is our creator, our giver of life, our Father in Heaven. We are not promised tomorrow so make something of today!