The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Holidays from Jesus

Have you ever wondered what God’s view of Christmas is? I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately and I really don’t think it’s what we would have imagined. I see and hear Christians getting upset and forwarding emails about how someone removed a manger scene or is no longer saying Merry Christmas, but Happy Holidays.


First of all there is no where in the Bible that tells us to celebrate or to worship Christmas. Many say I’m not worshiping Christmas, I’m worshiping Christ. Are you really? Do you worship Christ the other 363 days of the year or just on Christmas and Easter?


You may ask is Christmas a religious holiday? Yes and No. However, it was not originally a Christian holiday. As far as I know all Christian or religious holidays are manmade. Christians seem to go nuts trying to make it a spiritual or religious holiday and the anti-Christians are trying to make it a non-religious holiday. All while we are in this battle we forget the main point and it’s not about worshipping baby Jesus.

Go back to when you were a kid. What was it you enjoyed about Christmas? The thrill of anticipation, the cold, (no snow here. in fact I’ve never had white Christmas) watching the Andy Williams Christmas Special or the old Rudolf show, shopping and of course as a kid it was hoping for that new toy.


I remember one Christmas when I was around 6 years old I had come across some coupons. Back in those days you could take them to the grocery store and exchange them for cash. I had a whole $1.25 in coupons. Then I went to the variety store and was able to buy everyone in my family (there was 6 of us) a Christmas gift and I even had enough left over for the wrapping paper. I’ll never forget it. It was a shiny purple. I wrapped them myself and I was so excited. It was a month long of a special feeling. Many of you probably still enjoy this today. However, the political war has been a distraction from the joy.


I couldn’t help but think what would God enjoy? Many times when I think of this I try to look at it from a parent perspective. What are the things we really enjoy about our kids? For many years I’ve been the Scrooge around Christmas. I’ve always wondered why I felt that way. I believe it is because of the internal battle of Religious verses Secular.


Hopefully as we’ve gotten older we have learned to enjoy the giving more than the getting, especially if you have kids. It’s another special blessing to give to those who don’t expect it or that may be having financial troubles at this time. I cannot express the excitement I feel when I see my children having a good time, laughing, excited and getting along and when I see them reaching out to someone else, well, I couldn’t ask for anything more. I can’t help but think of the Statler Brothers song, “The Greatest Christmas Present is one that You Can’t Buy.”


This is when it became apparent to me that this is probably what God is experiencing too. Watching us enjoy ourselves and loving each other. It’s giving to those in need and not just at Christmas, but all year around. There is nothing I believe is more pleasing to God than seeing His children loving each other. I really doubt He cares much about all the Christmas hoopla going on at the churches or if manger scenes are set out or if we have a Christmas tree in our living room. What is your relationship to Him now where you are and where He is?


I believe God wants us to worship Him and not Christmas and we do this by serving and loving each other. I’m sure it’s good for us to remember the arrival of Jesus on this planet. This is good, but don’t let it become a distraction of the present. Christmas to me is a time for family and Thanksgiving is as well. It is a time for us all to be together and enjoy each other and not bicker over stupid insignificant issues.


Don’t be too concerned about keeping Christ in Christmas, but keeping the truth of Christ in our lives every day. If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hiding Behind Morality


“The gospel isn’t religion... Nothing hides our fellow man more than morality, and nothing hides the face of God more than religion. When we are most religious, we may be most at risk of losing touch with God.” Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Everyone loved Ted. He was a most dependable person and one of the most loving people you would ever meet. He seemed to be involved in everything at the church. He was a Sunday School teacher, deacon and sang in the choir. He was involved with so many school activities and he managed to coach a baseball and soccer team. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect person. He was the perfect family man; a loving husband and a great father to his children. However, it did seem odd that his wife and the kids seemed to keep in seclusion. For some reason she never participated in the women’s functions and the kids always came home right after school. Everything they did, they did as a family.

Until one day out of the blue Ted’s wife took off with the kids and divorced him. The entire community was shocked. They couldn’t believe this woman could do such a thing to poor Ted. Many people came to his aid to give poor Ted comfort during his grieving period. The people of the town scorned his wife, calling her names and berating her. All the while she just kept her mouth shut because she knew it was futile to say anything. Ted was an upstanding pillar of the community and anything she said would just be turned around against her.

It was amazing how many women wanted to be the next Mrs. Ted. They would know how to treat this wonderful man much better than his old harlot ex-wife. They couldn’t believe how this ungrateful woman could throw away this prize of a man.

Several years later Ted was accused of raping a 14 year old girl. The entire town was in shock. They all came on Ted’s behalf to defend this outrageous accusation. They belittled the young girl and eventually managed to run her whole family out of town. All charges were dropped and poor Ted was able to resume his wonderful life.

Less than a year later, Ted was caught in the act of molesting a 7 year old girl. This really upset the town and made them all feel so foolish because Ted had beguiled all of them for so long. They came to learn that his first wife and children had been physically, verbally and sometimes even sexually abused. They were overcome with shame with how they had treated them and the girl he had raped. Ted’s entire life was a lie and he suckered and whole town into defending him.
________________________________________________________________________

At one time or another all of us try to hide behind morality. We don’t want people to know who we really are. Charles Spurgeon called it secret sins. I know you’ve all heard the saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” I believe the reason so many reject Christ is because it sounds too good to be true, but it is. God doesn’t hide behind religion or morality. He doesn’t have to, He’s God. He is perfect! However, if a man appears to be perfect, be alert.

Pastors/Preachers, Priests, Deacons, Politicians and distinguished business men sometimes hide behind their positions to divert truth. Of course all of them aren’t corrupt, (except maybe politicians) but we should never let ourselves be blinded due to a position.

I don’t know about you, but when I see someone who is too perfect I get suspicious. I may not see anything obvious, but something in my spirit says be careful. Some of you may have had this intuition before you got married, but ignored it. I’ve known many people like this and usually something does come out later. I don’t think I ever have to worry about people thinking I’m too perfect because I have way too many faults. However, if you do, call me and I’ll straightened that out real quick.

Have you ever talked with someone and they are constantly saying stuff like, “Praise God, Amen or Hallelujah?” You could be telling them about working on your septic system and all you hear is, “Praise God, Amen or Hallelujah.” It’s really annoying and of course it makes me very suspicious. This is how I remember some of my pastors in the past. It was what we expected from them because this was the church language. I don’t feel like we gave them a chance to be real and genuine. We believed a pastor had a special connection with God and had a natural ability to be better than us. We denied them the right to be human. I think this was what they were taught to believe as well. That’s a lot of pressure!

We may think we hide things from man, but we will never hide things from God. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7b.

We can be assured that neither we nor anyone else will get away with anything. The truth will eventually come out. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7,8

Monday, December 7, 2009

Suffering

All of us at one time or another has endured some suffering. It could be physical illness or pain from an accident or even someone deliberately trying to hurt you. It could be emotional suffering from loss or verbal attack. Some may be suffering from mental and emotional illness due to depression and many other sources. Many of us feel we’ve endured spiritual suffering from attacks of fear or Satan. Many of these things we can’t do anything about because these were problems brought on us from an outside source.


There is a suffering we can do something about and I think this is where most of my suffering is rooted. This is due to expectations. When we believe or want something to happen in a certain way we have planned and it doesn’t happen the way we thought it should, then it brings on suffering and disappointment. This is a suffering we do not have to endure.


Did you expect to get that certain job or career and it never happened? When you got married did you have all kinds of expectations on having a perfect marriage and living happily ever after? What about your children? Did you expect them to love school, get a college degree or have a substantial position of some type especially following in your footsteps? Did you expect them to be a strong Christian walking close with the Lord? Do you expect your children to be grateful for all the sacrifices you’ve made for them? Did you expect to get that new house or car? Did you expect to get that raise or promotion? You see, when these expectations don’t come, they bring on disappointment and suffering.


I’ve experienced a lot of suffering from my own expectations. Nine years ago when I became a certified personality trainer I just knew that when I got back home and started having seminars, people would flock to hear this wonderful information. It didn’t happen. When I developed a seminar on boundaries, I thought the same thing and it didn’t happen. When I wrote a book on depression I believed it was going to be a big seller. Of course, disappointment and suffering was soon to follow.


Then there are those who give you expectations. Maybe someone told a person or you told someone they were going to be a great singer someday, all the time knowing they couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. This is called lying and giving false expectations. It’s disguised by saying, “Oh, I was just trying to be encouraging and nice.” I’ve know I’ve done the same thing. Maybe someone told you that you were going to be great at something and you feel as if you were not only a disappointment to them but to yourself.


Since my brief encounter with death one of the things I’ve heard a lot over the last year was, “I know God has a special purpose for you or you wouldn’t be here.” First of all this is not true. The only reason I’m alive is because God wanted me to be and nothing else. Not because He has great plans for me or anyone else. It’s simply because He is God and that’s enough. God is Sovereign! You may want to read Romans 9. One of my favorite scriptures as well as may be yours too is Jeremiah 29:11. ‘For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’


This is where this really gets interesting for me. You may be saying, “Aren’t we are supposed to have hope. What is life without hope?” I want you to understand that hope and expectations aren’t the same thing.


“Expectations are when we expect God to follow our plans

And hope is when we are willing to follow His.”

There are some who say that since we are God’s children He wants to give us everything we want. The truth is He wants to give us everything He wants. His gifts are so much better than we could even imagine. If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11 One of the problems we have is we do not know how to ask for GOOD GIFTS. Our desires are usually selfish and materialistic. God neither thinks like us nor do we naturally think like Him. He wants so much for us to have the growth and maturity to think as He does. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

There is an old hymn that goes, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” When we learn to have all our hope in Him, this is when He can use us the most. I’m not going to say He is going to give you what you want, but He will always give us what we need. We need to set our hopes on something larger than expectation and that alone is Jesus. Years ago I thought I knew for the first time where I was going and what I wanted to do. Right now I don’t have a clue where my path will lead. That’s not my problem, that’s God’s. All I have to do is follow Him.


So are we not supposed to expect anything in life? Not necessarily. There are things we can expect God to do because He said it would happen. If you have accepted Jesus as your savior you can expect to go to heaven. Not because of anything you have done, but because of what He has done. If you have not accepted Jesus then you can expect to go to hell. Jesus said to expect Him to return someday and I do. I just don’t know when. If Jesus doesn’t come back in my lifetime, that doesn’t mean He’s not going to.


I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

Friday, December 4, 2009

Competition

Recently, I was watching the movie, “The Right Stuff.” You might have seen it. The movie was what prompted me to send out the questions I did a couple of weeks ago. “The Right Stuff” is a semi-historical-Hollywood account of the great steps in aviation and test pilots. One, of many, of the main barriers to be broken was the speed of sound, or also called, Mach 1. Chuck Yeager was the first to achieve this goal and break it. However, it wasn’t long before Scott Crossfield came along and broke the Mach 2 barrier also. Concerning space travel, from a list of new astronauts Alan Sheppard became the first man in space. Gus Grissom was the next with a suborbital flight followed by John Glen who was the first to orbit the earth 3 times. There were a lot of “firsts” during those days. Just a few years later Neil Armstrong was the first man to step on the moon. Do you know who the second man was? It was Buzz Aldrin. What about the guy who waited for them in the command module? His name was Michael Collins. Not related to flying: Did you know that Mark Spitz held the world record for winning 7 gold medals at the 1972 Olympics? This record held until Michael Phelps won 8 gold medals in the 2008 Olympics.

There are several points to be made by these events, one being, only people who are interested in that particular sort of thing will remember the milestones. Since my background is in aviation, these things are interesting to me, but maybe not to you. The main person who remembers these accomplishments is the person who accomplished the goal. However, the people who you will remember are the one’s who have done something for or you’ve done something for them.

There is only one “First.” There will never be another man to be the first on the moon. The greatest differences between Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin is one of the greatest ever faced from mankind’s point of view. Most people remember Armstrong, but have no idea who the second man was. Some are really concerned with making it into the history books. In the end, in reality, there will be no history. Just HIS story!

We might not have a choice in where we place in life and sometimes we do. Our competitive nature might improve us and other times destroy us. Someone once said that there are too many people in this world to compete with, and the only person I have to be better than is the person I was yesterday. My wife says I’m a worse winner than loser when we play games.

No matter what kind of records we set, there will always be someone to come along and break them. Were you the child that was compared to other siblings or are you the kind of parent who compares your children to each other and other children? Do you compare yourself to everyone else? Do you feel less than or more than? If so, then this is absurd. We just can’t compare ourselves or our children to anyone else on this planet because none of us were cut from the same mold. WE ARE INDIVIDUALS!

I know I can get caught in this comparison dance as well as anyone else. Then I have to step back and remember this person is not me and I am not them. You are the only one that can let others put you down and make you feel inferior. No one else can do it. What do you believe? Why do we give others this power?

Mankind’s opinions are completely restricted to mankind. The only opinion that really matters is God’s. A thousand years from now it’s not going to matter who received gold medal and who set certain records or who was the wealthiest person in the world. In a thousand years the only thing that will matter is where you are, Heaven or Hell? The only thing we can take to Heaven with us is our children and hopefully several others.

I’m not against competition and it does have its place. However, we shouldn’t let it control us. We need to control it! What we might use to help us to better ourselves could also bring out the worst in us.

Recently my wife and I got a Wii sports and Wii Fit. At first we competed with each other, but when you have the record the only one to compete with is yourself. I ask, “Can I do better than I did yesterday?” This should always be our spiritual goal. We need to ask, “Am I closer to God today than I was yesterday?” It’s a little like the Army slogan, “Be all you can be!” Wouldn’t it be beneficial if we were all deaf to those spreading their negative poison?

There is another thing we older folks with health problems and such have a tendency to compare ourselves to: What we used to be or what we used to do. “Our past selves” I know from experience this type of contemplation can lead to depression. We must do our best with what we have right now. Easier said than done right? Our only hope exists in God and through His Holy Spirit we can accomplish this.

Here is a verse I have to remember frequently because I have a tendency to forget:

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12

Monday, November 30, 2009

Who's Your Enemy?


Look closely at the picture. Do you see the dog in the picture?



When they train bank tellers to be able to tell the difference between counterfeit and real money, they would give them a stack of real money and slip a counterfeit bill into the stack. They would then blindfold them and have them count the money. They would then learn to detect the fake money by touch. They didn’t give them a bunch of counterfeit money to examine. They gave them the real stuff to teach them what real money felt like. In other words, if you learn the truth, then anything outside of the truth is false.


There are probably several applications to this story, but I wanted to emphasize that everything isn’t as it seems. Today there are many religions out there and there are those who want us to accept those religions as part of the family. The “All roads lead to heaven” philosophy. The New Age religion promotes this idealism, and to say that the only road that leads to heaven is Jesus is being self-righteous, prejudice, judgmental, closed minded and it’s definitely not politically correct. If I reject their new age beliefs, then I guess I am all those things. A few years ago I learned something that was interesting and affirmation for my own faith. The New Age religion accepts all beliefs except for Christianity. Hmmm? Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus said this and I guess I would rather listen to Him instead of those new age gurus.


Look again at the picture. Did you see the dog in the picture? Are you sure?


So who do you think is behind religion? First of all let’s determine what religion is. Religion says…

  • Jesus + Works = Salvation
  • Good Works = Salvation
  • Jesus + Giving = Salvation
  • Good Citizen = Salvation
  • Religious rituals = Salvation
  • Jesus + Baptism = Salvation
  • Religious Sacrifice = Salvation
  • Biblical Knowledge = Salvation
  • Going to Church = Salvation
  • Related to or knowing someone high in the “Church” = Salvation

I know there are many, many more. So who is behind religion? It’s not man, it’s Satan. He will be the one who profits ultimately from false religions. If anyone teaches a doctrine different from salvation only through Jesus Christ is a false prophet. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! Galatians 1:6-8 I guess this probably includes Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.


There are many times we are 100% convinced of our belief in Jesus. Then Satan likes to come along and says, “Are you sure?” Maybe it’s this way OR could it be that way. He is the author of confusion and prince of doubt. He loves to throw in the “OR” into our beliefs. Why? So he can make us second guess ourselves and make us miserable. Are you really sure you’re going to heaven. God doesn’t do this. He says, “Here are the facts! You can either accept them or deny them.” I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13


There is no dog in the picture. At least I don’t know of any. I did it to prove a point. You looked and some of you looked hard. Then I casted doubt. For a short time you were sure, but when I casted doubt then you thought maybe you were missing something one way or the other.


This is a very old trick of Satan. In fact, he’s been doing it since the beginning of time. Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" Genesis 3:1 So why does he keep using it and try something new? Because it still works. If you got something that works, why change it?


I know this is long, but I also know that it is important especially during this day and time. False prophets and false religions are everywhere and they are trying to make Christians fill guilty and self-righteous because we exclude them. They want us to accept sin as if it was ok. There are many who want to help you feel good about yourself and not say much if any about sin because if they offend you then the size of their church may decrease. I don’t exclude them, but I will not buy into their sin and false beliefs.


You may want to read this section of scripture at your convenience. Matthew 7:13-23

Glimpse of God

So many times when I’m reading God’s word or perhaps meditating, or sometimes not even thinking about God at that particular time and all of a sudden I get a glimpse of God. What is a glimpse of God? The best way I can describe this is when everything about God, heaven, eternity, life or just a particular verse comes into focus and makes perfect sense. In other words, you see the big picture.

You could call it several things I guess, such as, insights, gifts, a taste of heaven, a special touch, a revelation. The main thing is that I enjoy these brief moments so much and I wish they would come more often. The only thing I don’t like about these special times is that they quickly fade away. I want to call someone up and tell them about it and before I get the chance, the glimpse is gone. You desperately try to recall the moment, but it’s just gone. Even if you wanted to share it with someone, you just can’t find the words to express what you’ve seen or understood.

Why can’t we hold on to these or why does God not let us? I believe that these are blessings and gifts that God gives us and they are just for us. He’s excited about giving us these gifts just as we just as we get excited about giving a special gift to someone. I know when I give someone a special gift just for them; it’s just for them and no one else.

Luke 11:13
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Are You Happy?

This is a question that we may think about too often. We even feel we deserve to be happy in our life. In fact, it is one of our inalienable rights as stated in the Declaration of Independence that we have the right to pursue happiness. So I ask the question again. Are you happy?


First of all I want to define that happiness is based on happenings. It comes only from things on the outside such as, a raise, new car, new house or some kind of new toy or just good news. I’ve always said that happiness is like a full tank of gas. I have to admit it always feels good when I drive away from the pump, look down at my gas gauge and see it on full. It really feels good and maybe even a little safe. The other day I saw more of the analogy. Just as the full gas tank makes me feel good, over the next few days it slowly goes down. Is this not the way happiness works? We constantly have to have a new form of stimulus to maintain a level of happiness.


I used to work with a man that really personified this belief and I know I’ve done the same thing. He and his wife were constantly in search of the new __________ to fulfill their life. He would come into work all excited about his NEW purchase and within a few days or weeks that newness wore off and he would start looking for the new high. It had become a drug to them. They had already filed for bankruptcy once and were working on their second.


A few years ago I read a book called “The Screwtape Letters” and it may be where I got this idea from. This book written by C.S. Lewis describes the subtle workings of Satan and his demonic realm. The interesting thing was ultimately Satan wants to destroy us all in the end. He wants to take many people to hell with him and he wants to keep Christians distracted so they are no threat to his cause. How he does it comes in a variety of ways. He will use distractions and even benign things to keep us from the truth. His belief is that people are stupid, selfish and greedy and as long as he keeps them happy they will go through life not even acknowledging God.


So how does he keep us happy? Here in America all he has to do is entertain us, give us a little walking around money, hopes and dreams of having more money, the occasional new car, new house, occasional sex, a good party and of course a good vacation. Are any of these things wrong? Some of the things no, but some it depends on the situation. However, when they become our focus and our fear of losing them is when they become wrong. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1Timothy 6:10 I’ve heard if you want to find the corruption, then all you have to do is follow the money trail.


We have to realize that happiness is Satan’s counterfeit for God’s joy. Joy comes from the inside and works out. No matter what is going on the outside cannot affect joy. This is the real Christian testimony. Not being controlled by happenings whether good or bad. Joy needs to all ready be there. I remember hearing this man telling a story about how his house caught on fire and was burned to the ground losing everything he had except for his family. As he began looking around he realized that everything except his family could be replaced he began to smile. God filled him so much joy that he began to laugh. Then he decided he better keep it under control before the authorities thought he’s burned his own house down. So how do we get this “Joy?”


There is only one place I know of and it speaks of it over and over throughout the Bible. True joy comes from the Father through the Holy Spirit. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence. Acts 2:28 But how do we get joy? I would start by asking for it. Then we have to be willing to accept God’s eternal joy and turn our backs on temporary happiness. So how do we do this? Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

Friday, September 25, 2009

Light and Dark

Imagine if you will that we’re in this room as pictured with the light. We are standing far away from the light and are trying to read some important instructions. The instructions could be a matter of life and death. We really need to see these instructions. The obvious thing to do would be to move closer to the light to enhance our vision, but we have a tendency to resist. Why?

Even though we may be afraid of not seeing the instructions, we’re more afraid of what may be revealed by the light. People may see us for what we really are or what we think we are. Our sins may become public knowledge and of course that’s scary. Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. John 3:19 We think the instructions will tell us to do something we feel we can’t do. In the darkness we believe all of our filth and grunge is hidden from many people, but not from the one who really matters.

I have talked with many people who don’t want to hear the truth, but what they are looking for is someone to agree with them or validate what they already plan to do. I have done this a lot. Years ago a discovery was made in Glenrose, Texas. They had found a man’s footprint inside a dinosaur footprint. This really shook up the evolution community. According to evolution, mankind and dinosaurs existed 50 million years apart so how could this be. This unraveled the very foundation of their lie. One of the big evolutionist leaders (I can’t remember the man’s name off hand) was at the site all day, but he wouldn’t look at the evidence. He would walk right up to it, but always keep his back to the footprint. NOVA was doing a documentary and when they asked him what he thought he would only say, “I see no evidence of mankind existing with dinosaurs.” If he would have turned around he would have.

We approach the light only when we’ve exhausted all our efforts and failed. We become desperate because we’re tired of stumbling around in the dark. However, before we do, we attempt to cleanse ourselves by vigorously scrubbing. They grope in darkness with no light; he makes them stagger like drunkards. Job 12: 25 We feel that certainly we must be clean enough to approach the light now, but as we approach the light we realize we’re just as filthy as ever. You see, we don’t have the power to forgive ourselves nor to clean ourselves up. Only Jesus is capable of this task, but our pride resist and we think we can handle it ourselves. When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12 Does this make you curious?

It’s only when we start walking in the light can we see life for what it really is and what it was meant to be. In the darkness we cannot see the truth and the real Christian life. We and others can only speculate and I assure you it is nothing like I thought. It is only when we come into the light can we see clearly for the first time. Many are walking in the shadows and think they have arrived, but only when we step into the light do we realize how far off the path we strolled.

There are those who want to believe that mankind is basically good. It’s actually the opposite. We are all born with the seed of sin and apart from God. It is only through Jesus that this darkness can be removed and we can join the light. It’s like this. Darkness is a natural state or the absence of light. You’ve never heard anyone say, “Turn the dark on.” No, we hear them say, “Turn the light on,”

We all need to realize what we have become if you have accepted Christ into your heart. Christianity is not something to be compartmentalized where we have our spiritual life and our secular life is separate. We need to see ourselves as God sees us. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What is God’s Will?

This has to be one of the most perplexing questions for Christians and non-believers alike. We make it so complicated that it is impossible to learn the truth. I don’t know how many times I have asked this question and how many have asked me this question. “What is God’s will for my life?” The real problem is when we don’t care.

Many years ago when I was a young pup, Karen and I had probably been married less than a year and living in the rural area of Mineola, Texas. At this time I was 21 years old and was a Youth Director of this small country church. To be honest as I look back I realized I was not qualified to be there and I felt I had no business being there because I was so ignorant. At this time I knew nothing about the Bible nor did I even have much life experience to draw from. I realized God had put me in a crash course. This became very apparent to me over a short time. I had all these legalistic ideas of being a “good” Christian and of course I was failing. One day I was at home alone extremely frustrated, angry and hurting. I was on the floor sobbing because I felt like such a loser and failure because I was such a horrible person. After some time I picked up my Bible and saw this verse and I have never forgot it. I really didn’t understand it completely at the time, but I knew God was speaking to me. It’s Psalm 51:16-17 and it said, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” I don’t even think this needs much explanation, but I also like The Message version as well. “Going through the motions doesn't please You; a flawless performance is nothing to You. I learned God-worship was when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don't for a moment escape God's notice.”

These were all the questions I asked myself.

  • What have I given up
  • What am I sacrificing
  • Where do I move to
  • Have I enlisted in some sacrificial work that I hate
  • Is God’s will left or right
  • What am I supposed to do
  • How often do I need to do it
  • Is this the right job for me
  • Should I go back to school or is this the right school for my child
  • Will God love me more if I….

I was injured at my job in McKinney and was off of work for a year. I finally went back and I ended up injuring myself again and was out again. I just knew that during this time it was God’s way of setting me up in something special. I knew it was just around the corner, but it never came. At least I thought it hadn’t. Then I had heart surgery and died a couple of days later and was revived. So many people told me that God definitely had a special purpose for me and this got my hopes up again. I knew it was coming anytime. What did I believe was coming? My dream! What was my dream? I really don’t even know anymore. God is in the process of reshaping it.


Years ago I heard someone say, “All of us are willing to be something for God, but are you willing to be nothing for Him.” That hit me where it really hurt. I was willing to be something, but I honestly couldn’t say I was willing to be nothing. I feel as if I’m on a path of becoming nothing. My health is failing, I work a very mediocre job, every day I feel may be my last and one of the few things that I can still do and love to do is write. I’m not telling you this because I want you to feel sorry for me. I probably do enough of that already. The truth is, I really don’t think I’ve been feeling sorry for myself because I have to admit I’ve grown closer to God. Oh, I still get upset and even mad at Him at times, but we work it out.


Now to answer the question, “What is God’s will for your life?” It’s really quite simple in answer, but extremely difficult to do. God’s Will is in His Word. He wants our HEART! He doesn’t want perfection or service, He just wants our heart. As said, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 The first step to have a perfect heart is to accept Christ into our hearts. I believe what God is saying is He wants us to completely and wholeheartedly agree with Him. That His Word is final and we don’t change it to fit our lives and circumstances. He wants our hearts! Our life may be all screwed up, but God wants our hearts to be perfect. Life changing begins with the heart. It’s always from the inside out, not the outside in. Otherwise it is just worthless actions.


We have been placed on this planet for a purpose and our main purpose is for a relationship with God. Everything else needs to fall behind this. Whenever we put ourselves ahead is when we start having serious problems. During this life we will have all kinds of distractions, blessings and adversity, but we have to keep our hearts on the mark. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 What is the mark? Heaven! I’ve heard many times it is not the destination, but the journey. I disagree. If it wasn’t for the destination then why even make the journey. This should be the desire that keeps us going. It’s not the futile purposes we have everyday, but the prize at the end of the race. Our responsibility is to take everyone with us that we can. How often do you think about heaven? Do you really have any idea what it’s like other than the silly propaganda you’ve seen on TV or movies? There are several books on the subject you may want to read.


Of course you can’t think about heaven without thinking about hell. Hell is something we don’t like to think about because it’s uncomfortable. So we just don’t think about heaven or hell. Not thinking about it is not going to make it go away. Jesus spent more time talking about hell than He did heaven. Why? When I took my children to Six Flags for the first time, I really didn’t have to sell them on the idea. I knew they were going to love it and they did. However, when I told them about horrible things in this world I cautioned them several times to be careful. Jesus is doing the same thing. He knew that heaven was going to blow our minds away and we couldn’t even understand it anyway. So any time you accidentally burn yourself cooking, hot water in the shower or picking something hot up for an instant, think about how that split second hurt, think about what that feeling all over your body would feel like for an eternity and never a second chance.


Many believe heaven is the default and you only go to hell if you are really a bad person like Hitler or Charles Manson. It doesn’t matter how good or evil a person is. What matters to get into heaven is the fact our names are written in The Lambs Book of Life. Do we trust Jesus for our salvation? If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15


So, what is God’s will for our life? To become like Christ and to have a relationship with Him. It’s difficult to become like Christ if we really don’t know anything about Him. We learn about Him in His Word. Anything else really doesn’t matter as long as this comes first. The problem comes when Satan will do anything and everything to keep this from happening and get us off the path. Just keep coming back to the path.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Personal Ads

Woman seeking Man
Looking for a man who will disregard all my needs and goes out at least 4 nights a week with his friends. He must be able to argue over the smallest of things to the point of becoming verbally abusive and even physical. He must also ignore the children and be extremely selfish spending money only on himself.

Man seeking Woman
Looking for a woman who is extremely superficial and spends lots of money trying to impress her friends, even though I can’t afford it. She must be frigid and spends much of her time emasculating me so that I will feel too worthless to want her sexually. She has to be very touchy and moody; ready to go off on me at a moments notice.

Woman seeking Man
Looking for a man who is easily whipped and will grovel at my beckon call. I am looking for a man with absolutely no backbone and will never argue or question me. He must be willing to stay at home and watch TV while I go out and party with my friends to late hours in the night. He can never question what I do when I’m out either.

Man seeking Woman
Looking for a woman with low self-esteem. Someone that will cringe every time I come home and do everything just the way I like it or else. While I’m at work she must keep the house perfectly clean, take care of our 4 children, run all the errands, keep the grass mowed and have my supper on the table when I get home. I may not be at home the same time every evening so she will have to be able to anticipate my arrival and desires.

How many of you would answer these ads? How many of you did answer these ads? For anyone to actually run these ads would probably never get a response. Their ads actually looked like this, but you still have to read between the lines.

Woman seeking Man
Looking for a man who likes to have fun and laugh. (I never take anything serious, especially our relationship) He must have a good sense of humor. (He better entertain me) He must have an adventurous spirit and like to travel. (I plan on dragging him everywhere, especially shopping) He needs to be gentle, kind and sensitive. (Never gives me any flack) Likes long walks on the beach and watching sunsets. (Pretty much do whatever I tell him and always agree with me)

Man seeking Woman
Looking for a woman who likes sports and likes to exercise. (I don’t like fat women) She must be a Dallas Cowboys fan. (I think more of football than you) She needs to be educated, preferably with a degree and doesn’t mind working. I strongly believe in the women’s rights to hold high level positions. (I plan on staying home watching sports on TV while she brings home the bacon) She must be exciting and have lots of energy. (Cause I don’t and someone has to take care of all the junk around here)

I know many of you saw the signs and ignored them for whatever reason. Now you find yourself in a difficult position. It would be wonderful if people wore signs on them that spoke the truth and we knew what we were getting into, but they don’t. Wouldn’t it be great if mechanics, car salesmen or politicians wore signs of truth? This is why we need to be discerning and intuitive. If we made a poor choice, it’s nobody’s fault but ours.

The only way I know to be discerning is to know what God thinks. Then when I am headed for something dangerous, not only do I need to listen to Him, but I also act. There are many who make plans and arrangements for a beautiful wedding, but the closer they get to the date they start having second thoughts. Sometimes it’s just nerves, but many times it could be a warning from God. There is something within us that says ignore the obvious even though you’ve seen things that you hadn’t seen before, close your eyes and have the wedding anyway. You wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself or your family.

We become blinded by our own desires and fears and it makes it difficult to see the truth. This is why we need to listen to parents or close friends because they can be more objective. One of my favorite quotes is… “They that want to deal the worst, gets the worst deal.” If we enter into any situation in life with desperation, there is always someone there ready to take advantage of us. It doesn’t matter if it’s a prospective spouse, car salesman or real estate agent. We need to be on guard and careful. How many of us have said, “I wished I would have listened to ….”

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Monday, August 31, 2009

Papa

I have grown up in church all my life or at least until now and I definitely learned about fearing God. I not only learned how to fear Him, but I learned how to be afraid of Him. It’s really difficult to have a relationship with someone when they keep running away from you. Imagine if you would try to talk to your spouse, children or a friend and every time you tried to talk to them they ran away from you. It would be very difficult to have any kind of relationship with them.


I learned how to fear God as well as seeing Him as distant and aloof. It was difficult to imagine a God who was really interested in my daily life other than watching me blow it all the time. I may have been taught about the Love of God, but I don’t know if anyone teaching me understood it either. I saw God as critical and unfair. I asked questions like, “Why did you make ugly, poor, born in this town?” I could go on and on looking for justifications of why I was such a bad person. Fortunately God understood and patiently led me to truth.


There are many that are stuck in this belief and even though the Bible says countless times that God wants a relationship with us, they think we’re being disrespectful if we become too familiar with Him. The legalistic attitude that God wants me to grovel and crawl to Him in constant unworthiness and shame is totally unscriptural. One of the main reason religious leaders do this is because it gives them control over people. God wants us to recognize who He is in all His Glory and Power and then realize this Almighty God wants a close, familiar relationship with us. Wow! He wants us to know everything about Him. And we think how awesome it would be to stand next to a famous star, political figure or some other person of fame.


This is the part that is really awesome to me. We get to call Him Father, but to go another step into the amazing is we get to call Him Abba Father. “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." Romans 8:15 Abba Father is another way of saying “Papa or Daddy” in our modern language. Remember that it’s only because if Jesus that we are able to do this. Jesus, through His Blood and sacrifice gives us this privilege. If you haven’t accepted Jesus into your heart and life you cannot share in this.


I have 3 sons and sometimes they call me Papa. I love it because it is a term of endearment. If you are a child of God you have the privilege to call Him Papa, not because of anything you have done, but because Jesus gave you that privilege.

Monday, August 24, 2009

You Can’t Talk to Stupid

So many times I see people get into knock down drag outs trying to convince someone to their way of thinking. They know they’re right and they go on and on never convincing the other person to their way of thinking. I’ve even probably done it once or twice myself. There are times that I start to get into it with someone when I realize I’m wasting my time because you can’t talk to stupid. You know you’re right and there may be very convincing proof that you’re right, but you can’t talk to stupid.

So what are we really talking about? These people really aren’t stupid usually. They just seem that way because 1) they don’t agree with you or 2) they are closed minded and unwilling to listen. I’ve been there too. This was something Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, “Don't be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They'll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they're animals. Stay clear of these people.” Sound familiar?

If you’re constantly arguing with someone at work or with a friend, you can’t win. Now, when you do this with a spouse you know you both lose because you damage the relationship. It’s like playing tug-o-war with an expensive, delicate heirloom. You may get the bigger piece when you rip it apart, but now it’s worthless. As you know, even if you win, you lose overall. Did you know this is found in the Bible? "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces. Matthew 7:6 If a person’s mind is made up, it doesn’t matter how good of an argument you present because they’re not listening. By the way, there are several applications to this scripture. Here’s another one from Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”

One thing we should never argue about is the Bible. This is where we need to let God do the mind changing be it yours or the other person’s. Believe it or not I have been wrong on some things before and I’ve had to retract my statement or belief. If I learn or hear something new then I test it to the scriptures in context to make sure I’ve not been deceived. Don’t ever take my word for it.