God Cares For You!

For August 14, 2022
Our God created the heavens and the earth, and He still maintains them. Yet, He is not too distant or too big to concern Himself about us individually or collectively. He wants the best for each of us, although it does not take a rocket scientist to see that our world is facing a pervasive “sin problem.” Strong delusion, bondage to sin, guilt, shame, hatred, and unforgiveness consume us.

To the casual observer, it’s as if the demographic for discovering new ways to harm the most innocent and vulnerable of our citizens is growing still younger by the minute. Mere “lip service” has replaced human compassion and common courtesy, while hatred and unforgiveness has replaced civility as those whom you’d never expect violence are committing heinous and atrocious acts against both their family and strangers indiscriminately.

Jesus spoke of such things happening just before His return,

Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold! Matthew 24:12 (NLT)

Our depravity prevents us from attaining moral and spiritual perfection. Although some falsely argue humans are not inherently hateful, self-serving, or prejudice, and that we can perform good deeds without malice consistently, we can perform good deeds, yet our tainted nature skews our moral compass to produce immoral outcomes consistently.

There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12 (NKJV)

We all sin, and as the Bible teaches, and “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) Moreover, “good people” suffer from sin’s collateral damage, (e.g., fear, doubt, guilt, shame, depression, cognitive failure, and death).

God sent His Son to transform depraved human hearts and establish eternal fellowship with Him, through a personal contact with His Son, the Living Christ. For only a sinless person could shed pristine blood that would satisfy God’s righteousness and remediate our sin problem. Thus God became that Perfect Man (Jesus Christ), and paid sin’s price forever,

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

When we invite Jesus Christ into our lives by faith, we reveal how deep and wide God’s love and care is extended to us. His Spirit dwells within us to make us new creatures. (1 Corinthians 5:17) Our spiritually dead nature is quickened so that now we are free from sin’s bondage and our own selfish interest. Instead we now eschew worldly things and desire godly things so that we can truly give our all to Christ,

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)

Our social profile and bank statements may not show the dramatic change, but we have been changed drastically nonetheless. The Lord cares for us and desires to transform human hearts, so He can have eternal fellowship with us. Once He performs this glorious work in us, everything else we have becomes His—forever.

With a new heart comes a new standing before God, and this is our greatest reward, Christ in us, the hope of glory! Won’t you give the Lord your life, and allow Him to transform you today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

The Blessing of Tribulation

For July 31, 2022
Feeling helpless and constrained; having exhausted every known option; “hemmed in” with no relief in sight expresses the Greek word for tribulation, thlipsis (Strong-G2347).1 Forged in the fire of tribulation can be beneficial to others and us, as we glory in them,

But we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:3-5 (AKJV)

This is not the Great Tribulation or that turbulent period forecasted in Daniel 12, Matthew 24, and Revelation when Christians suffer worldwide persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. Yet, persecution for the Christian faith remains a horrible reality, as one writer explains,

Therefore a merely external suffering, such as anybody may have, is not meant thereby, but the cross as a consequence of Christian faith. Faith leads into tribulation, because as peace with God, it leads into conflict with the kingdom of darkness, and also with sin in ourselves, because it endows the ordinary suffering of this life with a spiritual character.2

We are living in the “Last Days” when strong delusion to trust a lie encourages our blatant disregard for human dignity, through the killing of the unborn and helpless, the calculated destruction of the weak and aged, and the exploitation, abuse, trafficking, oppression, and violence perpetrated against all those who fall between these two extremes. Ultimately, we have reduced precious, God-given lives to mere dollars and cents.

Although this is not in the Great Tribulation, our modern society seeks to remove Judeo-Christian principles and teaching from the public discourse under the guise of “separation of church and state.” Our society respected and welcomed prayer, the Ten Commandments, and other Judeo-Christian values. Now, we vilify the righteous and praise the wicked to our own peril, just as the Bible warns,

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Isaiah 5:20 (AKJV)

Persecuting Christians and eradicating our God from society is the most destructive approach to maintaining our civility and progress. For it is not our technology or military that make us great, it is our faith in God, and the Judeo-Christian upon which we were founded and yet embrace and uphold, just as the Scriptures attest,

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34 (NKJV)

The Lord is the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). He does not cause our self-inflicted calamities. Nor does He tempt us to commit sin. He is loving and longsuffering while leading us “in the path of righteousness” in ways that credit Him for what will always be the most beneficial outcomes for all concerned. (Psalm 23:3)

He often uses tribulation to show His power, to encourage or edify us, and to give instruction. To show His power and teach a valuable lesson, Jesus told His Disciples that a person’s blindness would reveal “the works of God.” (John 9:3) When He healed that person, it dumbfounded the religious leaders, solidified His claim to be the Son of God, and it showed how our loving God can restore sight to the blind.

God also uses tribulation (or trial) to chasten or correct us. Sometimes we take the wrong path, and God will use adversity to turn us in the direction He wants for us. God uses trials to guide us towards achieving the noble behavior patterns that show we are His beloved sons and daughters,

My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:5-6 (NKJV)

Through trials, we can count it all joy as we collaborate with God in our spiritual completion,

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

In our trials and tribulations, His Spirit moves us to keep our minds on Him, so that He can replace our insecurities with His peace through prayer,

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV).

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

Philippians 3:10 tells us we can experience the Lord’s mighty power through our tribulations. We can glory because they connect us with Christ and further distinguish us from the world.

The Lord is a special, loving companion Who guides us during our tribulation. He is also our Friend and will never leave or forsake us, even in our most desperate moments. Thus, we can glory in our tribulations, having peace with God without fear of torment. (cf., Proverbs 18:24, Philippians 4:4, 1 John 4:18) Won’t you trust Him today, even in tribulation?

What a Wonderful Savior!

A Spiritual Vision Is Needed Today

For June 19, 2022
The Bible teaches that “when people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.” Proverbs 29:18 (NLT)

What we experience in this chaotic present day can be attributed to a departure from the Judeo-Christian values we were founded on as a nation. Moral consciousness, intercessory prayer, faith in God, selflessly serving others, distinguishing between right and wrong, expressing love and forgiveness are traits of a healthy and prosperous God-fearing society,

Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people. Proverbs 14:34 (NLT)

Some argue that our country was founded on disparity and injustice. And as we consider the history of some natural-born US citizens, unfortunate events, (e.g., slavery, prejudice, segregation, discrimination, etc.), yet evoke feelings rage even today. From a purely secular standpoint, some of those feelings may seem justified.

However, from a spiritual standpoint, we can understand that ours is not a perfect world. Exploitation and victimization happen everywhere. Thus, the work of mutual respect and reconciliation is much needed—amongst and within all races. People must turn to civility and understanding, because we need each other and we share this world together.

Some contend, I suspect from a victimization standpoint, that they are exempt from racial prejudice; contending that victims cannot be hateful, self-serving or prejudice. Yet the Bible teaches that all humans will engage in evil acts (cf. Romans 3:10, 23), and that “if we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” 1 John 1:8 (NLT)

No one particular race “cornered the market” on victimization or being victimized in the US for instance. We all have a history of giving and/or receiving discrimination, injustice, and hostility—even within our own races.

Nevertheless, I am grateful to live in this country, which the Lord has blessed with opportunities that we often take for granted: to freely worship, to express opinions without censorship, to elect our representation, to travel where we want when we want, and to take on vocational pursuits that enable us to live the “American dream.” Such endeavors allow us to benefit from a capitalistic system that supplies us with goods and services that enhance our standard of living and improve our overall quality of life.

Yet those same freedoms allow some to abuse, assault, and perform other atrocities that disclose the depravity of the human heart. Although disenchantment and despair have become more prevalent today causing many to turn to drugs, sex, alcohol, power to find purpose, fulfillment and meaning, God’s still invites us to repent and return to Him wholeheartedly,

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)

“Doing life” can sidetrack us so that we lose our spiritual vision. Here, we can replace our love and service to God with a love and service to the world. But spiritual vision allows us to exercise our faith in a faithful God, who can save us from ourselves.

As we trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we can discover a rich, fulfilling life and experience victory through prayer and faith, as we trust Him for the attainment of specific outcomes under His divine will.

Prayer is an often overlooked means of communication with God that helps to renew our trust in the sovereign power of the living Christ. Through prayer, we become attentive to his voice, as His Holy Spirit brings His Word (vis-à-vis the Holy Bible) to mind. It is through the miracle of prayer that we can find renewal and victory; confident that God hears and will answer us, when we pray according to His will.

Through prayer, drought, floods, social hostility, violence, political uncertainty, economic upheaval, inflation, unemployment, poverty, homelessness, pestilence, disease, despair, and disenchantment can be offered to the God of the Universe, who promises to “supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NLT)

Prayer is the act of the Holy Spirit stirring us to rely on the Lord for our sustenance. God is the originator and object of prayer. When we pray, we fulfill His will for our lives and the lives of others as we pray for them.

Prayer is essential to our life and existence as Christians, and its effectiveness rests solely on God’s providence—as He responds according to His eternal timetable. Our confidence rests in knowing that our God and Savior will always supply us with the power we need to overcome.

Won’t you put your faith in Christ and pray for renewal and revival today? Only then can we find true peace, joy and fulfillment.

What a Wonderful Savior!

What Could Happen?

For January 30, 2022
Once, a pastor challenged me to work for the Kingdom, which ultimately begged this question, “If I were to give myself to the Lord completely, living according to the Bible, and trusting Him to fulfill His wonderful promises—what could happen for this poor black kid from the projects?

Some would contend that I am a hopeless because of my impoverished past environment, social status, and skin color, I will always be a “victim.” Thus, I must accept a life that is “inferior,” “disadvantaged,” and/or “predisposed to crime and/or failure.”

However, as a youth, I realized two things. First, I saw how my race was not the only one exposed to hatred or prejudice. I also noted how the races expressed hatred toward people within their own race, which I found quite curious. From these experiences, I learned that sin is a universal problem, which causes all people to hate and pre-judge indiscriminately.

Second, I realized that despite how society would classify me, my Everlasting Creator and Redeemer makes no such distinction. He is “no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34-35), and He loves all His Children—including me—equally. Thus, He gives me the freedom and grace to live a morally responsible life, consistent with His perfect will.

The Lord used my racial, cultural, and societal circumstances to fulfill His excellent work, which far surpassed anything I could have planned for myself. I just needed to trust in Him enough to, as another Christian once told me, “Let go and let God!

Therefore, I differ with those who trivialize the Christian faith as a “pie-in-the-sky” religion. Mine has been a life of abundance (John 10:10), which began the moment I met the Lord and will continue forever. Only He gives my life its purpose and meaning while supplying me with fulfillment and satisfaction.

My life has not been about keeping the rules and rituals associated with a stereotyped religious practice. Instead, I have an intimate, personal relationship with a loving friend and companion.

Thus, I’ve tried to answer the pastor’s question by not depending on my gifts and ability alone. Jesus Christ needs to occupy the center of everything I desire in life, as He orders and delights in every step I take,

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. Psalm 37:23-25 (KJV)

Although my being a “good” man has been questionable, He remains loving, patient, kind, and faithful in all things. In John 16:33, the Lord tells us to be of good cheer because He overcame the world’s challenges successfully—including an inhumane death on a Roman cross. Therefore, my victory is in Him. Won’t you give your heart to Christ today and experience His victory, fulfillment, and life?

What a Wonderful Savior!

What They Taught Me

For January 23, 2022
I am concerned about our future leaders. In today’s fast-paced, twenty-first-century world, we give very little consideration to the sound, biblical parenting I received as a child. With absentee fathers and mothers, single-parent homes, blended families, and latchkey kids, no wonder so many children today are growing up with either a non-existent, limited, or skewed spiritual/moral understanding.

The Lord blessed me with Christian parents who expressed their love for me by not merely telling me about the Lord Jesus Christ. We went to church together as a family every Sunday as well. They also showed their love for the Lord by practicing a consistent Christ-likeness before me—although imperfect as with us all—but consistent, nonetheless. Their actions spoke volumes to this youngster.

These extraordinary people introduced me to the Lord Jesus Christ and helped me to understand abundant Kingdom living. Their faith and fidelity helped cultivate a desire to experience and learn about the wonderful God they were showing and telling me consistently. I should also note they were my good friends as well.

We should have more such examples today. As no one should ever trivialize the essential role that loving, nurturing, godly parents play in raising children on the right path, so that and when they are older, they will not leave it as Proverbs 22:6 teaches. There are others who share a similar view,

There is no denying that culture and church play a major role in the developmental life of any person. But the role parents play in their children’s lives far outweighs any other influence. What parents believe and how they live out their beliefs (positively or negatively) has a huge impact on their children.1

My parents encouraged and supported my spiritual growth by taking the time to explain fundamental biblical truths so I could understand and adopt as my own life principles to practice consistently.

They were not alone in my development process. The Lord blessed us to join a church where there were many spiritually mature, biblically astute men and women who recognized the importance of quality, Bible-based Christian education, and discipleship. These men and women were especially adroit at facilitating our comprehension and incorporation of sound, fundamental scriptural nuances, and doctrine critical for our spiritual development. In particular, the solemn reverence they had toward God and His Word captivated me, along with the fervor, anticipation, and vigilance of our Lord’s imminent return.

The Lord used all these influences to help nurture a Christian faith that resonates in me today,

    • We all have a sin problem – For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
    • Our righteousness won’t get us into Heaven – We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind. Isaiah 64:6 (NLT)
    • Jesus Christ is our solution For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 (NIV)
    • We must be new inside (Born Again) – Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” John 3:3 (NLT)
    • Through Christ, God declares us righteous (or justified) – Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2 (NKJV)
    • We grow spiritually and take on Jesus’ character (or sanctified) – And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (KJV)
    • Our faith in Christ secures our eternal reward in Heaven (or glorified)However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20 (NIV)

Oh that there were more of us Christians teaching the substantive lessons our children (and their children) need, so that they grow into honest, hard-working, responsible, law-abiding, productive members of society. Such training would secure a more promising future for all of us.

What a Wonderful Savior!