October 31, 2006

Halloween: What does it mean to you?

For as long as I can remember, the Fall season always reminded me of apples, changing leaves, crisp air that drove out the long, hot summer, and Halloween.

I was always big on decorating for Halloween and when my children were young, I always took them trick-or-treating. Some nights were drizzly and wet and I admit, it was a chore to drive along, letting them out, getting them back in the car, while onward we drove to the next house. But looking back, I wouldn’t trade those days and I will always remember them. It was worth all of the soggy costumes, messy makeup, and ripped candy bags. The joy it brought the kids couldn’t have been more than the joy it seemed to bring those homeowners who greeted them with a bowl full of goodies. When I was a kid, growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, Halloween was not regarded as an evil holiday. It was generally viewed as a “fun” holiday. I am a Christian in case you were wondering. When I was a teen and still trick or treating, I was regularly attending church. The pastor and church members pretty much saw the issue of Halloween and what a Christian is to do on Halloween very differently as many in the church do today. There were no fall festivals to keep the members and their little children from participating in trick or treating because it was “evil”. A majority of the church members took their kids trick or treating without the slightest worry that they might be committing a sin by doing so. But times, they certainly do change. What we have in the past ten years is a bend towards viewing these Halloween activities as evil incarnate. Since I am not one to go with the flow, the following is my view on Halloween and the activities of Halloween:

On Halloween history:

Just because some did evil and had twisted views regarding October 31 long ago does not mean that I hold their views. I am not somehow flung back to the past and joined with those who held twisted and evil thoughts concerning the day October 31. The question of whether one is to decorate, participate in harmless activities that have to do with the holiday, just as other issues in life, is an issue of the heart. Did you know that the Christmas tree has pagan roots? Even though it does, if you are a Christian, you don’t share those pagan beliefs about the tree do you? I know that I don’t. And that is why I do put up a Christmas tree. When I think about the origin of the Christmas tree, I don’t care what some people BEGAN using a tree on Christmas for long ago in the past, they are not me. The same applies for Halloween. I don’t share the beliefs that the pagans held. Their twisted beliefs mean nothing to me and my life in the year 2006. They were deceived. Instead of seeing a pumpkin, they saw a damned soul? Well, that is their problem. That is what spiritual ignorance will get you. When I see a pumpkin, I see a fruit that the Lord made and allowed us to enjoy. The same goes for the bat. The bat is associated with Halloween and to some it may be associated with evil in some way, but I don’t associate it in the same way as they do. The Lord made the bat and they are creatures to me. That’s all they are.

Trick or Treating will always be to me what it was when I was a child. A day in which you dress the kids up in silly garb and take them around to collect treats. It brings those who greet them at the door much joy and really makes the kids happy. Going to a Halloween carnival is fun and is not something that is evil unless perhaps it is to you personally. And in that case, you should not do it. If some of the activities we associate Halloween with such as going to a Halloween carnival or trick or treating or carving a pumpkin is evil to you, ask yourself why you view them as evil. Why would cutting up a pumpkin and putting a candle in it be evil? If the answer is because some druids or Celtics did it to ward off evil souls or some such nonsense, then you have to ask yourself if you hold their same view. If you do, I feel sorry for you, you are just as deceived as they were then. If you don’t, then grab the pumpkin, carving utensils and get after it!

If Halloween is a stumbling block to you, then don’t do anything on that day. But please, don’t think others are evil if they choose to participate in some of the activities pertaining to Halloween.

A day is just a day. It is what we make it and not what those who lived it long ago made it. They and their beliefs should hold no sway over those of us who have been made alive in Christ! We are free from the traditions of man. What matters? The heart and our motivations in everything we do.

To read more on Halloween, click the following links:

Halloween and the Christian, Pt 1

Halloween and the Christian, Pt 2

Halloween and the Christian, Pt 3

October 28, 2006

Blast Off – Rush Limbaugh’s Mouth Once Again on The Run

I was appalled by Limbaugh’s latest. My thinking now is that perhaps the man suffers from a mental disorder or perhaps has no shame and no compassion for anyone. I certainly hope that he is not back on drugs again. On his October 23 radio show, Limbaugh stated that Fox is "moving all around and shaking" and declared: "And it's purely an act".

Whatever possessed Limbaugh to make this accusation? I have no clue, I don't even want to venture a guess. I only know that his radio listeners should sit up and take notice as to who they are so fervently following and giving their ear to. His blatantly false accusations toward Michael J. Fox left me outraged and saddened. Compassion is the very essence of Christianity. I suppose that Mr. Limbaugh either doesn't know this or he doesn't care. Those who have this disease face a struggle everyday that many of us will never know.

If you have nobody in your life who suffers from Parkinson’s, you have no idea what it takes for for them to just live life. Getting up in the morning and facing another day is not an easy task for those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease because there is no, “springing up out of bed” as there is for those of us who are not stricken with it. Trying to control tremors which you really have no control over becomes monotonous and tiring.

Michael J. Fox has met these struggles head on from the get go. Those who suffer with this disease do not want our pity, they only want to live life. These are very courageous people. They are an inspiration to me and forever will be in my thoughts and prayers. My view of Michael J. Fox has not diminished over the years since we’ve found out about his disease. I don’t see him as less than what he was since he has been diagnosed. I think I see him as more.

Anyone can blast off at the mouth such as Limbaugh has, but not everyone can live life with such courage when facing a mountain in life such as Michael J. Fox has since his diagnosis. Mr. Fox is a rare and precious person. I hope and pray that this would all die down.

That is until Limbaugh targets his next victim, and starts that mouth of his on a collision course again.

To visit Michael J. Fox's Website on Parkinson's Disease, click here .

October 27, 2006

The Origin of Evil in this World

A healthy conscience and a spirit which gains faith, strength, and direction from the truth of God will keep you from doing things that harm others. We are astounded by news reports of a mother or father killing their own child. Where do these horrible acts originate from? What could drive one to murder their child? The origin of such an act comes from Satan himself.

The following are Jesus words taken from the Gospel of John 8:

44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

The above scripture lets us know that both murderous acts and lies originate from Satan himself.

Satan became filled with pride. He was all consumed with "self" as the below scriptures reveal:

Isaiah 14:12-16

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;

Evil in the World
We get caught up in all of the mental illness we see and are told about that is prevalent in today’s society. There is an overabundance of those suffering from various mental and personality disorders. But let me tell you, there is not so much mental illness going on as there is plain old evil that is being poured out upon many innocent bystanders, the victims of those without conscience. And the reason why this evil is so prevalent today? Many more today are walking around with consciences that have been seared and they feel no guilt whatsoever over the evil they do. To them, they are just being themselves! They don’t concern themselves with how others may feel about their selfish actions. They lack empathy and don’t feel compassion for their fellow man. They have no concern over what their selfish acts will bring upon the innocent. These people are raising children that follow in their parent's footsteps.

The God of this world has blinded the minds of many

2 Corinthians 4:3&4

3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Satan is still the god of this world. If this were not true we would not have the natural disasters, murders, greed, and all of the other sad occurrences that make up our everyday lives and brings much sadness and despair to all of us. These things that bring untold grief and pain and suffering to humanity today were initiated when Adam and Eve turned aside from obeying God and listened to the serpent in the Garden of Eden. This is when the fall of mankind first started. Ever since that time, Satan has been the God of this world. Remember what Jesus said about the prince of this world?

John 14:30

Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

Satan will be the God of this world until Jesus Christ returns. Remember when Satan offered all of the kingdoms and glory of the world to Jesus when they were both on the mountain? Those kingdoms, along with the glory of them were surely Satan’s to offer.

Matthew 4:8-11

8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Satan needs people to work through

Satan works through people just as God works through people. The only difference is that when God works through people, he brings goodness and wholeness to their lives. When Satan works through people, he brings chaos and grief to their lives.Those who don’t believe that there is a literal devil need to wake up. They need to open their eyes and open their hearts and recognize the damage being done by the ever increasing numbers of those who suffer from a lack of conscience. People open themselves up to Satan when they turn away from God. One thing is certain, you will do the works of your father. Is your father the God of the bible or is your father the God of this world?

John 8:44-45

Listen to Jesus words to the Pharisees:

44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

Just as walking with God for years and becoming closer to him makes one more like him, walking with the devil for years and becoming closer to him will make one more like him as well. This is what it all comes down to. Have you been born again of the spirit? Have you committed your life to the God of the bible or the waster of this world, Satan himself? Who rules and reigns over you? Do you listen and strive to do the works of the Lord by loving and helping your fellow man? Do you listen and strive to do anything that feels good to you because you have no conscience and your primary concern is that of self?

The darkness that has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe

We are told in the bible that evil actions come from an evil heart.

Matthew 15:19&20:

19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

We read in the bible that giving our hearts to the Lord changes them. This is so true. Our hearts before we are born again are only concerned with the selfish desires we have. This selfish nature is the sin nature that has been passed down to all who are born into this earth. This is the reason why Jesus proclaimed, “Ye must be born again ”. The second birth is one of a spiritual nature and not of the physical. Our Spirits are made alive in Christ. This happens when we give our hearts and lives to Christ and it is called being born again. Our hearts once we are born again are changed. God takes out our heart of stone and selfishness and places within us a new heart of love and concern for others. This is what being a Christian is about. It is not about paying tithes, being in church every time the doors open, volunteering until we drop in things concerning a church or denomination. These things are totally irrelevant. And if our hearts are not in the right place, if there is no love, all other things are useless:

1 Corinthians 13

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.

October 26, 2006

Television: Turn off that Tube

Sometimes I feel like unplugging my television set. Increasingly ridiculous commercials, lost in a sea of reality shows, it makes me want to unplug from that chattering box permanently. In fact, around two months ago, I decided to leave the set off all day. The silence did wonders for me.

Television for Americans is a way of life. We switch our sets on when we get up in the morning without thinking about it. Some of us leave our sets on overnight.

What would we do without television?

We would have to do other things with our spare time instead of tuning into the tube and tuning out of our real world. We might have to communicate with that neighbor we never talk to. Or we might have more time to do work outside or inside our home. We might spend more time talking with our children or spouse. I believe we would be shocked at what we could get accomplished if we disconnected from the tube once in a while.

We have people who are so taken with television that they sit like zombies absorbing every word and vision they see on the tube. This is the very essence of turning it on and tuning everything else out.

I believe our culture is obsessed with television. I remember as a girl visiting my grandmother. Here's what her day consisted of: Making breakfast, doing yard-work, feeding the livestock, cleaning house, preparing three square meals a day. You get the idea. She hardly ever watched television. Her main program of choice was the news at 5:00 p.m. Had she been even a third as obsessed and addicted to television as most of us are today, she couldn't have possibly been as productive as she was.

Commercialism and Consumerism

Television, it is believed, was created to inform and entertain us. But I am convinced that the television serves a dual purpose. And the ones who profit most from those of us who are T.V obsessed are those who profit from consumerism. We seem to see more commercial time than ever before. Big business cannot hope for a better money maker than that of commercial air time. This is the dream of those who want to sell their products and services. We see an item or service via commercial and many of us speed out the same day to purchase it. We believe we must acquire these things we see advertised. Most of the time, we tire of the product we just “had to have”, the same week we get it.

The Increase of Big Pharmaceutical Commercialism
There are so many of these pharmaceutical giants that have splashed their commercials on our screens encouraging consumers to “ask their doctors” about prescribing for them a particular drug. These drug companies that pay for commercial advertising are already making a killing financially off of their drugs. This advertising that you and I are getting progressively disgusted over just makes them more rich. In these days we now live, there is a pill for everything. Less is always better. Remember that goes for medication as well. If you don't have to take it, then you are probably better off without it.
I have tried to post a link or two on the Ambien and Vioxx lawsuits and backlash but am not able to. Don't ask me why, but every link I try to put up identifies them as invalid.

The News Media

The news media molds and shapes our beliefs and thought processes. Don't think for a moment that they don't serve that purpose. Watch CNN or FOX NEWS for an hour and then tell me that you are not influenced by what they put out there.

The news media was created to influence us and not merely to REPORT the NEWS.

We must all take care that we are not influenced in the wrong direction. People that work for the news media are paid big dollars to say what they are told. Money seems to make the world go around and the news media is no exception. The view they wish us to hold will first be blasted over our television screens. Those who don't believe this must wake up and face facts.

The majority of our news media is biased. Those who claim to be, “fair and balanced” are anything but. They are not balanced, and they do surely have a slant, especially FOX NEWS. And this slant can be noticed so easily it is ridiculous. Just because a particular news agency claims to be fair doesn’t mean anything. We hear those words, and most of the time that is all they are, empty words.

They control what we will hear and see. Do you think that you are getting all the facts and all of the news reports that are vital to you and yours by tuning into the mainstream news? Don’t be this naive. There are news stories that you will never hear from our mainstream media. If you want to find out all the news that is pertinent to you, don’t choose the mainstream media. You must go online to get it.

The news media attempts to mold and shape our viewpoint. What is the vehicle they use to get this accomplished? Our television sets.

If you want to have a sweet reprieve from the chatter you continually get from that box sitting in your living room, I encourage you to switch it off and enjoy the sweet silence that you may have forgotten was possible.

What is a Christian?

A Christian is one who follows Christ, agrees with what he taught, and who chooses to live in the way he reveals in his word, the bible. They are “in” Christ. The Holy Spirit comes into their lives and influences them and teaches them through the word of God all things pertaining to them concerning Jesus Christ and the things of this life and the next. Jesus told the disciples before leaving this earth about the comforter that would come and would abide with them forever and teach them all things: John 14:

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Jesus also said that this comforter would testify of him:

John 15:26

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

He said that he would not leave them comfort less. The Holy Spirit now lives and works through the believers and followers of Christ. The Christian yields himself or herself to the encouragement and urgings of the Holy Spirit. A Christian lives by faith in the word of God. They have a childlike faith, the type of faith a small child has in their parents. Jesus himself told us that unless we were to become as little children, we would not enter the kingdom of heaven:

Matthew 18:3

And said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Do some Christians believe they are better than others?
Yes. There are in fact many Christians who have a high and mighty attitude and feel as though they are better than those who are unsaved and other Christians. This attitude is not one they should have. This is in direct opposition to everything that Christ taught. We are taught in the bible that we are not to have respect of persons.

James 2:8&9

8 If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well:

9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

Unfortunately, many Christians don’t live out this admonishment we were given by the Lord. There are many hypocritical Christians that would do well to examine themselves and stop picking apart every little area of other’s lives.

How is a Christian to live?
A Christian is to be content with food and clothing.

1 Timothy 6:

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

They don’t have to have anything more than these things. In the current days we live, it is sometimes hard to keep this admonishment, but we still must do so nonetheless.

We are not to concern ourselves with the finer things of life.

9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

Our focus is not to be on money or prosperity either. There are many prosperity teachers who have been led astray because of their love and fondness of money:

10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

We are given warning from Jesus about making money an idol in our hearts:

Matthew 6:24

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Is a Christian supposed to push their beliefs upon others?

No, they are not. A Christian is to live their life in such a way that their true love and concern for others and their faith in God catches the attention of those they are around and because of this, others who are unsaved want to have what those Christians possess. If there is love in the life of those who profess to be Christians, others will recognize it easy enough. If there is a Christian who professes, yet the love and compassion for others in their life is non existent, this will be recognizable as well.

What makes a Christian different from others?

Christians do not live for themselves. They live their lives with concern and compassion for others along with a strong faith in Jesus Christ. Just as Christ said he had come to serve others and to be a servant, we who are Christians hold the same view. And Jesus told us the importance of this when he said:

John 13:34 & 35

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

This is the main difference my friends. A Christian will be known by his love for others and concern for others.

Do Christians sin?

Yes Christians sin. A Christian is not immune from sin. Christians do sin but the difference is that we who have grown in our relationship with god and have pressed on toward the deeper things spiritually speaking have adopted humbleness and subjection toward god so that when we do sin, we repent and learn from our sins. We realize our weakness and god’s strength. We see our lack and his abundance. Those who are not saved don’t feel that they need to repent for their sins. This is the major difference in Christians who sin and those who sin who are not born again. What are Christians to do when they sin?
1 John 2:1

1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

We learn that our stubbornness cannot gain us anything and will take us toward a dead end road very quickly. Humbleness is a key in the life of a Christian and is one that is sorely lacking in the lives of many who profess to be Christians.

October 23, 2006

Life in the Pressure Cooker

Many times in my life I’ve felt as if I was at the end of my rope spiritually, mentally and physically. Trials and troubles we all face in life are overwhelming. Living life under these circumstances can seem as though we're trapped in a pressure cooker. More often than not, I didn’t have a person to talk to about my problems, so in desperation I turned to the only thing I had at that time, the word of God – The Bible.

Sometimes after maybe only fifteen minutes of taking in the truths from God’s word, I felt much better in my spirit and mind. The unrelenting pressure and worry over my previous trial I had faced then seemed to fade away. Peace came in and replaced uncertainty and fear. I don’t take antidepressants, but when really tough times in life have come knocking on my door, I think of the word of God as the best antidepressant there is.

In fact, only this morning I was feeling a little down and once again I reached for the truth. That was a few hours ago, now I am sitting at my desk, my previous anxieties and cares are now gone from me and I am writing to you!

What happens when we turn to the truth in our trying times of life?

When we are facing tough times, we are blindsided with the things in our life at present and the things of this earth. But when we turn to and take up God’s truth, his word, our attention is then shifted toward the words of the one who created us. We get too wrapped up in our problems and trials and struggles in this life and this gets our minds off of what is the most important aspect of our life. The most important aspect is our eternal and unending spirits and not the temporary situations or circumstances of our life at present. These situations in our life that get us down are only temporary. But when we are not spending any of our time with the truth of God’s words we are blindsided and little things have much more leeway to become major things to us and usually always do.

His spirit bears witness with our spirits

We join ourselves with the Lord when we choose to read of him and his ways which are written of in the bible. We learn about ourselves when we read his truth. We are saying, “I am turning to you Lord, because I cannot find my way out of these troubles I am going through”. There is very little truth to be found in this earth. There is in fact no truth that we can cling to when we are being tossed to and fro from the hits we all experience in life. The one place we can find truth and peace is in the Word of God. There are things temporary (this includes all things that pertain to the life we live on this earth) and there are things eternal (this includes all things that pertain to the life we will live in heaven). After we exit this life, we will spend eternity in either heaven or hell. We are told in the scriptures that Jesus has already paid for our sins. We could not pay for them. Dear friends, this in itself is something to get so excited over! We have always have struggles and trials in this life. There will always be something that has us by the tail and that will attempt to make us stumble and knock us for a loop. But thanks to God that we have his word and a relationship with him if we want it and those two things will always be enough to get us out of any jam and bad situation we face in life!

The Cares of this Life

We will all be concerned at some level with the cares of this life. There is no getting around this. We live in the earth and it just makes sense that our concern would be over the things that make up our life here. But Jesus gave all of us a warning when he spoke of the Parable of the Sower:

Luke 8:11

11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

So when the cares and concerns of this life become so abundant and overwhelming that they choke out the word of God, then we see that we bring no fruit to perfection. Jesus never said that problems and cares in our life would not come. He only said that we are not to allow those cares and concerns become such that they produce unfruitfulness in us. When we are choked with the pleasures and cares of life we will bring no fruit to perfection.

We are not to become entangled with the affairs and cares of this life.

2 Timothy 2:4

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him (God) who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

We are also given a warning from Jesus about his return that is very important:

Luke 21:34

33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

The cares of this life have the potential to weaken us in every way imaginable. We can be weakened in our spirits, minds and bodies. This is why we are given the above warnings from scripture. But we don’t have to let the concerns and cares of this life choke out and overwhelm the truth that God has planted in our hearts. God’s word is eternal and will never pass away. His words are not changeable as is our situations and circumstances in this life. The one sure thing we can depend on and always turn to are his words. They will fill you with peace and tranquility when you are in the midst of the spiritual, mental or physical storms of life.

October 20, 2006

Sickness, Healing and Christianity

I hope none of you believe that Christians do not get sick and suffer health problems. I bring this up because back in the days when I would occasionally watch Christian television, a well known preacher was bragging that he had not been sick in many years. I’m not saying his claim wasn’t true, I'm saying that I was stunned by this proclamation. And what was it supposed to mean by him making such a claim? I don’t know. All I know is that I get sick probably just as much as anyone else does. Does this mean I am not living right? Does it mean that God is using sickness as a chastisement for me? No, I don't believe any of these things.

Sickness happens to all of us who live in this earth. This earth is full of sick people, various bugs, chemicals and numerous other hazards that find their way into our systems from time to time. We are not living in a perfect earth, we’re not even close to it. Once Adam and Eve sinned, there was no more perfection to this earth. We are not going to live forever on this earth. We are all going to live forever in either heaven or hell, but we won't spend eternity on this earth. Our lives here will be touched at times with both good and bad health. And if we have more healthy days than sick days, this in itself is another reason to thank God.

Faith Healers

I am well aware of the faith healers who hold services for those who desire to be healed from all manner of disease. I believe some people have been healed while attending these meetings. Did the faith healers heal these sick people? No, it is always the Lord who heals, this is done through our faith and his spirit. Knowing that God meets you and listens to your prayers and pleas for help no matter where you are is very important. You can be healed in your kitchen or in a church meeting. The main thing to know is your surroundings doesn't matter, because God is everywhere, he is omnipotent.

My own experience with healing

I have been healed before by calling out to God when I was alone, in my own home. God heard my plea and healed me when I was at my most desperate, and I had finally had enough and decided to cry out to him. There were no mega preachers holding service at 10,000 seat auditoriums when I was healed. There were no thunderbolts or grand revelations when I was healed. It was a simple “healing”. And I was thankful for it.

Paul's Thorn In The Flesh

There have been other times when I, like Paul the Apostle cried out to God to "take this thing from me" as he did his thorn in the flesh. But it was not done. Did I lose faith in God because of this? Did I doubt that God is who he says he is because I did not get healed? No, not for a moment.

Many believe that Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was a disease. The bible clues us in to the fact that this thorn in Paul's flesh was allowed because of his abundance of revelations : 2 Corinthians 7-10

Paul speaking: 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted (puffed up with pride) above measure.

8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

A Word About Doctors and Medicine

I know there are some Christians who frown on the sick taking medicine or visiting the doctor. I believe that God gives the doctors to us for our benefit. I am thankful for doctors and their knowledge. Doctors and medicine are things to be thankful for and I view them both as a gift from God.

Why me Lord?

Like many of you who have struggled, I have asked God before, “Why is this happening to me”? What I failed to understand is that sickness and disease happens to ALL of us in this earth, whether we are saved or unsaved. It’s just like the scripture from the bible:

Matthew 5:4 and 5 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.

Diseases and plagues will only get worse as time marches on. It is indeed one of the signs of the end times, the time just before Jesus Christ’s return. Here is some of the scripture to which I am referring:

Matthew 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

Our bodies, though they are marvelously put together by God, are nonetheless fragile when it comes to harmful pestilence and other strong bugs that we are introduced to. The long list of diseases that we are subjected to are numerous. We need to understand that while this is innescapable, God is still with us. And he hears us when we are at our most desperate. Do not beat yourself up and listen to silly so-called men of God who tell you that you are not healed because your faith wasn't present or strong enough. Many times I KNOW I have had faith, yet I did not get well when I prayed.

Why are some healed while others are not?

When I don't know the answer to something, I say so. If anyone has the answer to this question, please email me at once. I am open to discussion. The fact is, there are questions that all of us have that will only be answered when we get our chance to ask them of our creator. There is one thing I can tell you concerning this, it is not always that our faith falters. Our lack of faith is not always the reason we don’t get healed. I know this because it’s happened with me and with others I know. I suppose if we got EVERY prayer answered that we requested, we perhaps wouldn't need God as much as we should. We wouldn’t tend to lean on him in tough and dark times, would we? This is the way of human nature, when we have things go our way and don’t go through trials, tribulations and yes, even sicknesses, we get puffed up with pride and the next thing you know, we don’t acknowledge God our Savior as we did previously. How changeable human nature is. It has always been this way and will remain so until we are in God’s presence.

God's Concern For Us

God is concerned for our wellbeing and doesn't want us to be sick. But as I stated before, we have our habitation in this fallen earth and because of that, we are subjected to illness. I have often thought that God's concern for us when we are sick is similar to our concern when our own child is sick, only God cares much more for us than we could ever care for our own.

Sickness reminds us that we are not God and that we are but flesh, made of dust, yet carrying around the very spirit of God in earthen vessels.

The Nation Whose God is the Lord

Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.

We are told all through the bible that the nation which keeps the Lord as their God is blessed. We can then say that the nation who does not keep the Lord as their God will live under a curse and will not be blessed. In America there has always been much talk of “freedom”, but the fact is that in America, more and more of us are becoming slaves to sin.

As I have stated before in my writings, I believe that judgment is at the door of America. Why would this happen? Let’s review:

What rules and runs America?

Who or what can we say holds sway over America? Money

Money is America’s Lord at present.

We see this at every turn. In the media we are reminded of it every day. There are many Americans who have still not bowed the knee to the love of money, however, a great majority have. The corporations are only concerned with one primary issue, that of profit. At one time in our past, those who made decisions in big business were just as concerned with the people who worked for them. Not anymore. Now they will lay off people so they can make the portfolio of their shareholders look more profitable. The bottom line is profit at all cost. And the ones who suffer are the American workers.

The love of money is still the root of all evil.

With money, we feel as though we can do all things. If we are sad, going shopping is often the remedy. If our neighbors have something we envy, we feel we must have what they have. If we have a chance to take a high paying job, yet we know that staying home with our children is the right and noble thing to do, many of us choose that great career instead. Life is made up of choices and sadly, there have been seriously bad choices made by many in our current culture as a result of simple selfishness.

What happens to Nations whose God is not the Lord?

They fall and are taken captive. That nation may get what they want for a time. But there will be a day of reckoning. The Lord God is the one who made this earth. He also made the men and women who inhabit it. When mankind cares more about the money in his wallet than he does the God who created him, that day of reckoning will come quickly and strike suddenly. As that Nation’s sin intensifies, their discernment grows weaker and weaker. The discernment of the people fades gradually until there is none left. They turn dumb and deaf. They cannot see spiritually and cannot discern between truth and lies. This is a sad picture, but one I must get across to everyone nonetheless.

Is God Angry at America?

Yes, I believe that he is. Here are a few reasons why he may be:

The American Christian Church – I have written for years about the charlatans who make up a large number of our Christian leaders and teachers in the United States. To read more on this issue click here and here .These people are making a profit and living the high life. They talk about feeding the hungry and caring for the poor and yet they have five expensive cars parked in their garages that are the size of most of our homes! They put out pleas on their websites and in writing for the money to buy a state of the art airplane for their ministry. They cannot fly in an ordinary plane I suppose. Where do these desires for the best in life come from? They don’t come from Jesus Christ. They are carnal desires that these preachers are controlled by. We are pressed to flip on our televisions and find a simple preaching of the gospel. Instead, we are bombarded with prosperity teachers who tell us that Jesus was rich and we can be too. The early Christians suffered lack and hardship. We are told about this in the book of Hebrews. They lived in caves for crying out loud! Yet none of these particular truths are brought up in the prosperity pushers sermons.

The greed and selfishness of many – We have parents who are not parents to their children at all. These parents are so lost they behave like children themselves. We have politicians who do not keep their word on key issues that got them elected. They use words to gain control of an office and then do nothing they promised. We have a majority of citizens whose key thought is how they can get and stay ahead. They are looking out for number one, and this means themselves, period. You cannot worship God and money. Jesus told us this when he was on this earth and the same still holds true for these days we live in. Do you worship your comfort and your fat wallet? Or do you worship God in heaven more than money? If your God is money, God is angry with you. Make no mistake.

We have forgotten God and we refuse to repent of our sins – We are told over and over in the scriptures that we are to REPENT of our sins. God is angry for one thing because we REFUSE to do this. We simply are bullheaded and will not do it! We are told the consequences in the scripture if we fail to heed his admonishment: Chastisement comes to us from God and is beneficial to those of us who learn from it and repent. But to those who refuse to learn of it, they will remain stubborn and remain in their sins. There is much more woe ahead for these people. They care more for themselves and their stubborn pride will cost them so much more than they ever bargained for. When you refuse to choose God as your Lord, you are choosing self and the devil. Satan is all about self and those who are his care more about themselves than anything else.

All nations that forget God will be turned into hell

Psalms 9:17

The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

If we forget God, we cease to exist for long. We may go about our lives and do alright for a time. But the one who made us longs for us to acknowledge him. He has kept his hand of divine protection over these United States for a long time. I believe we have stopped being thankful for that protection he has provided to us.

October 19, 2006

The Last Days and the Man of Sin: Part 2

As the days grow darker and people grow more deceived, there will come a day in which this deception will ultimately prove to be the end of many. The Antichrist will appear on the world scene and men will listen to him. They will have ceased to think or have concern over what prophecy in the bible has shown about him. They will have rejected the light of the world, Jesus Christ. Because of this, they will be totally opened up to the deception that this wicked one offers. The following is what we read in the book of Thessalonians about the rampant deception in the upcoming days:

2 Thessalonians 2:

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

This Antichrist will hold the answers to all of mankind's problems. And what problems am I referring to?

The Antichrist: Problem Solver

In the last days, there will be a money problem. Money has become the God of many even now. There will be a money problem in the last days on a grand scale. The answer to this problem will come through the Antichrist. Where will man’s concern be in the last days?

His concern will primarily be with money, food, and comfort. The comfort and care of their bodies will be of utmost concern to mankind during these days. What single thing makes or breaks power in the world today? The movement of money and all things monetary is what holds sway in every way. In the last days, the world’s financial situation will falter. The markets of the world will go through a vast change and hardship. I cannot tell what specific hardship that will prove to be, I only know that there will be one. With this in mind, we know that it will not only be the issue of Israel that the Antichrist will settle. He will also settle the issue of money and all things monetary.

Supply of the Earth’s Resources

In addition to monetary problems in the last days, there will be problems and hindrances with supply of natural resources.

One of these supply issues will involve oil. Another supply issue will be water. I feel that these will be major issues. There will be shortages of both and the deceiver that will come, the Antichrist, will offer a solution to solve these most important issues. What would you do or give in order to have gasoline to make it back and forth to work? What would you do or give in order to have a fresh supply of drinking water or a loaf of bread to feed your hungry family? Sure, we may all say that we would not bow the knee to anyone or anything to get these things we need to survive and that we would gladly give our lives in order to stay true to our Lord Jesus Christ, but will we really choose him over our own comfort and very life? Our professions seem to remind me of Peter’s profession that he would never deny Christ. What happened? Peter did end up denying him three times.

;It will be in times like these on the world stage that the Antichrist will come into view. He will come when there is much trouble and tribulation on the world scene. When man needs a problem solver and a savior, he will offer them one by offering them himself and his solutions to this world in crisis. Keep in mind that these men and women have rejected the true messiah, Jesus Christ. This Antichrist will appear to have the answers to mankind’s problems. He will surely come up with an answer to the problems facing the Palestinians and the Israelis, but he will also come up with a novel answer for our shortages of oil and our perplexing monetary issues also. We are told in the book of Revelation that there will be issued a “mark” and that all who buy and sell will have to have this mark.

Revelation 13:16 &17

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

The Antichrist will come up with this scheme. There will never be a time greater than these days in which man must make the most important of decisions he will ever have to face. Will he bow the knee to the system of the Antichrist? Will he stay true to the God of the bible? This reminds me of the bible scripture:

Joel 3:14

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.

The Antichrist: The Foolish Shepherd

Satan came to Christ and tempted him on the mountain. He told Jesus that all of the kingdoms of the world would he give to him if he would just bow down and worship him. In much this same way, the Antichrist will appear to the men and women who are left on this earth at that time and offer them security, comfort and everything they desire if they will only bow down and worship him. But this Antichrist will appeal to men's fleshly needs and desires. He will offer them food, just as Satan tempted Christ to turn the stone into bread. What did Christ say? Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Remember, bread is going to be hard to come by in the last days. Wide-spread famine is going to be unleashed upon this entire world when one the four horsemen of the apocalypse ride. So what will this Antichrist really be saying? I will give you bread if you will worship me. If you do not, your bread will be stopped. And how will mankind in those days worship this man of sin? They will worship him by receiving his MARK in the right hand or forehead. Through worshipping him, you essentially will be marked as his. This mark of the beast isn't just a physical mark. It is also a spiritual mark. By receiving it, you will be allowing yourself to be joined with the Antichrist, just as a man and woman are joined together in marriage.

October 18, 2006

Literal and Spiritual Prisons: Are You Free?

There are many people serving sentences in prisons all across the world. But recently, a thought came to my mind. How many of us are serving a sentence without ever having visited a prison? The bars are there, even though they cannot be seen. We live in chains of pride, addiction, depression, anger, resentment, and shame.

This made me reflect on what true freedom is all about.

What is freedom?

To those in prison, freedom often means getting out of that cell. But if all those held in prisons were suddenly set free today, would they “truly” be free? Or would they still be in a prison spiritually and mentally speaking? How free are you if you are in prison? There are people like the Apostle Paul. Even though Paul spent many years in prison, he was free indeed. Look at some of his writings from prison and then tell me that he was a prisoner of anyone but the Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Corinthians 11:23

Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?

30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.

32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:

33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.

We see that Paul was free by God’s standards, even though by man’s standards, he was often a prisoner.

Who held Paul prisoner? The Lord Jesus Christ, as the following scriptures reveal:

Ephesians 4:1

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

2 Timothy 1:8

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

Philemon 1:1

Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer,

Philemon 1:9

Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.

Those who are not bound

I thought about the vast number of people who are not confined by a prison cell. These people, who like me, are free to roam anywhere they please upon this earth. No man has them bound and nobody tells them what they can or cannot do. Yet these free people are living in a prison, and many of them don’t ever recognize it. The cold steel that surrounds those in a literal prison, these people have never known. Yet they are bound by a prison of the mind and spirit. Yes, they are spiritually and mentally bound up. You could also say that many of them are physically bound as well. Who could deny that these people who have never known a literal prison cell are prisoners nonetheless?

Breaking free from your prison

There are many ways you can become a prisoner, but there is only one way to gain your freedom and make those chains fall off. Your only chance for freedom is through the great author and finisher of our faith, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Through the spirit, you can gain freedom. You can get this freedom whether you are serving time in a literal prison, or in your own chaotic and sad life in which you have never known the confines of a literal prison cell.

We are taken prisoner when we don’t have our spiritual compass pointing towards Jesus Christ. We are taken prisoner when we don’t know who our creator is and what he has done for us . If we have known the Lord and backslid away from his truth and love, other things in life enter in and we are taken captive by them at random. Do not be deceived. There is a literal devil and a literal hell. The devil desires to deceive and distort every thought we have and every step we take in life so that he can take us with him to hell. He desires nothing more than to get man’s eyes off of God and onto themselves, other people and then by deception, get mankind to treat others as beasts. While God desires our love and concern for one another, the devil desires our hate and lack of concern for one another.

Are you bound up by sin? Confessing that you are will start you toward the path of freedom. How can you be free if you are lying to yourself and others? How can God help you be free if you will not acknowledge that you are a prisoner of sin and are in need of a savior? The one thing that keeps all of us from confessing our sins, our need for a savior, and our own weakness is PRIDE. Stubborn pride will only end you my friend. It will always hinder you and since the dawn of time pride has proven to be man’s downfall.

The irony in all of this is that those of us who have never known a literal prison, often look down upon those who are bound in them. We may not be held behind those steely prison bars, yet so many of us are bound in these prisons of our own making. Those who serve time in literal prisons have been captured by the law and are serving time for their offenses and crimes. Yet many of us who are walking around, living our lives with abandoned are prisoners nonetheless and we are blind to it or else we don’t choose to acknowledge it. Many in their literal prison cells right now are free, where it counts, in their minds and spirits.

October 17, 2006

When Children Rule Parents

Is it easier to give into your child's demands and give them their way instead of standing your ground and providing good discipline? It is indeed easier, but it is not right and God is not behind it.

Loving your children and providing discipline for them go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. Those who say they love their child, yet do not discipline them are doing them harm in the worst way imaginable. How can you have no boundaries for your child if you love them and wish to raise them up in the ways of the Lord? If you wish your child to respect others and treat them with care, you will institute boundaries for your children and keep them in place.

The Last Days

In the last days, we are told in the bible that the children will be disobedient to their parents. This is one of the signs that we will see increasing as the days grow closer toward the return of the Lord Jesus.

Many parents have become spineless and weak. They would rather watch television or stay on the computer than take interest in their child. Parenting is work. It is not a party. The majority of children who rule their parents started out knowing that their parents were not available for them. They knew that the parents required little of them, they recognized that the parent for the most part just wanted to be left alone.

So these kids eventually found other interests. Some of those things will turn out to be bad things. Some of them will involve drug addiction, skipping school and other situations that prove to end up in a disastrous outcome for both the child and the parent.

By the time the child acts up to the point where the law is involved or the school calls the parents to notify them of something the child has done, the parent then acts shocked!
Why would this shock them? They haven’t been there for their child at all and it isn’t a wonder that it has finally come to this.

It is in the child or teens very nature to want to have their way.

Weak parents who cannot say no to their children are easy prey and are in for a life of weariness and woe.

Does God give us everything we want? No. Neither should we as parents give to our children their every desire. Do you know what it does to our kids when we give them everything they want? It spoils them rotten and breeds in them a feeling of entitlement that they will have the rest of their lives. They will carry this entitlement with them and cause many people they meet through the course of their lives much grief and woe.

Keep this in mind when you are tempted to give into the whims of your children and supply them with everything they dream of. You possibly could be creating a monster in doing so.

We have spoiled children who lead parents in any direction they choose. The parents are to be leading the children, yet nowadays we see less and less of this. Pushover parents will put themselves in debt in order to give their children what they want. Why on earth they do these things is beyond me. Maybe those parents were given everything they wanted when they were children as well.

The Gifts of Love and Discipline

The best gift you could ever give your child is what costs nothing monetarily, it is love. But keep in mind that love is not only a word. It is an action. It is praise for their accomplishments and discipline for their wrongdoing. Love and discipline go hand in hand. You cannot leave out one of them and cling to the other. That would be seriously unbalanced and detrimental your child.

Chaos in the family

Sometimes the child will say what their parent wants to hear and leave out the facts. In order to keep his backside out of a sling, he will embellish incidences and gloss over important truths. It takes a parent with discernment and patience to separate truth from untruths.

Remember when you were a teenager? Did you want your way most of the time? Sure you did, we all did. Did you get it? If you did, you are likely a spoiled adult now. If you didn’t get everything you wanted as a child, you are most likely a stable and contented adult. These issues are really simple to understand.

Kids may attempt to pit one parent against the other. If the child views one parent as a pushover and easy to manipulate, look out! There will be no good outcome for the parent or the child in such a situation.

None of us are perfect parents. There are going to be certain issues or situations we neglect as well as those we may overdo and take to the extreme.

What I am trying to get across is that love and discipline and consistency with both will do much good for your child. When we stand before God which all of us will eventually do, we can do so with a clear conscience if we have done this much for our children in this life.

October 16, 2006

Drug Addiction and the Teeter-Totter Ride

If you are the loved one of a drug addict, you will experience times in which the addict seems to do better. But this phase of the addicts see-saw ride usually only lasts for a short time.

From time to time he or she may appear to have turned over a “new leaf”. Some addicts go through this in an honest attempt to get clean. Some addicts will turn over this new leaf temporarily in order to get you to back off, stop nagging them, or so that you will stay in a bad relationship. The addict may also show this better side of himself in order to appease you so that you will keep handing out money for drugs, shelter, or to supply him with what he needs to survive. Don’t make the mistake of thinking he would never do this to you. To think this way is to be na├»ve. I like to think that many of the addicts go through this abrupt new leaf because they are honestly trying to get clean and clean up their act. But this is not always the case.

Why does it hardly ever last? Why does this "new leaf" always turn?

The reason the addict tends to go back to the drugs is because they are still chasing the high, they are still being bitten by the bug of addiction. They are trying to gain the intensity they had the first time they were turned on to the drug. Each and every time they do drugs, they believe they will achieve this. But they end up only having to do more and more drugs to gain the euphoria they had the time previous. Their lives are totally dedicated to obtaining the drug and using it. Addicts have a tough time facing the truth and cannot live in reality. They are masters at deception because that is the chief tool they use in order live the life they do. Their survival depends on this ability to manipulate. Getting their family to feel pity and sorrow for them is only one of the manipulative tools they use and keep at their disposal. I don’t like having to be so blunt in my writings about this because I still have loved ones who are addicted. I want you to know that I still have hope for them. One good way I have to get my emotions out and to help others who are like me is to write about the times that are difficult. I don’t want to come off as being overly pessimistic. There are many addicts who get clean and stay clean. But it is a hard task. And if you are the spouse or other loved one of the addict, it is not an easy mission for you to keep yourself in the addicts world.

The effects are overwhelming:

The loved ones of addicts find this back and forth lifestyle distresses them to no end. It causes them to be angry, resentful and sad. And who could blame you? You live with a person who is hitting the dope more than ever, then that person turns over this “new leaf”. You are so thankful for this change in them. You can hardly believe it, but don’t want to jinx it so you keep your mouth shut and try to be positive and happy about it. The gloriousness of this lasts around two or three weeks at best and the next thing you know, one day your addict doesn’t come home from work and won't contact you.

You hope that he hasn’t been arrested or in a wreck. After this fear passes, you might even feel guilty that you nagged him last week over some insignificant issue. After a few more long hours pass, this guilt is replaced by the anger you feel over the entire situation. You pause only for a moment to give way to the panic you hold inside. What if he has used again?

You eventually do find out that he has used again. You probably won’t find this out because he confesses. You may find some stuff on him or smell it on him. Then you must face the denials, raging, and fighting. At some point during all of this being rehashed you may even feel like giving up. You think to yourself once again, "What’s the use"? You cannot control him or spend the rest of your life baby-sitting him and you certainly don’t trust him to tell you the truth and to get clean.

So what do you do? You stay in the same situation you have become accustomed to. Many times it’s because you have a fear of being without him and on your own. It also crosses your mind that he needs you in his life and you pity him. And so the cycle continues again. This teeter-totter ride will never stop until you decide to get off it. And when you do, it will not be painless. It will be sorrowful, unusual and very terrifying. But what do you face if you don’t? The same old ride.

There is always an end to it

You still have hope for the addict. This is the prime reason you haven’t left him yet. But sometimes, your staying is not beneficial for him. Sometimes, our love and support for the addict is too much and it gets in the way of their wellness. How does this happen? We enable their behavior and never recognize that our actions are getting in the way of them getting themselves cleaned up.

The teeter-totter life the addict leads is one that will draw us in and depress us. There is no doubt that the addict is depressed, but those of us who live with them or see them on a regular basis will easily find ourselves visiting the depths of depression as well. You cannot help another if you have nothing to give. If you stay with your addict, just know that until they hit their own personal bottom and suffer extreme loss due to the dangerous and selfish life they lead, you will be staying on that see-saw, riding right along with them.

Turbulent Teens and Tired Parents

What is a parent to do when his teenager won't listen to him?

The parent is to be content with the fact that he or she has TRIED to teach that child right from wrong and express these things to that child.

What the teen then does with these truths is beyond the parent's control.

This is what God always does with us.

He steers us in the right direction, he tells us the way to go, and then allows us to make our own decisions. When a child becomes a teen and then enters adulthood, hopefully they will remember these things and will make the right decisions when confronted with tough choices in life.

I realize this sounds very good and makes sense, but saying it and doing it are two totally different things. Being a parent is NEVER easy. Anyone who tells you this is off their rocker.

I consider myself a "good" parent. Not a perfect parent. There are no perfect parents around that I know of. I have raised my children to know the Lord, to make the choices that would be beneficial to themselves and others. I have instilled in them the importance to treat all people with respect and love. I have gone over the list of dangers if they do drugs, steal, lie and so on. I have told them all of these things and backed up my words with my own conduct as well. After all of this being done, I still am not a perfect parent and yes, my teens have not had a perfect and easy life. They have nonetheless at times made harmful choices in their lives, but they have made right ones and beneficial ones as well. Do I regret raising them as I have? No.

Your teen will make the wrong decisions from time to time. This is all a part of growing up and learning from our mistakes. When I was a teen, I thought I knew more than my parents did. My own children grew up, became teens and did the same thing! This is just something that all of us go through during the turbulent teenage years.

It is not a cakewalk, raising a child and especially raising a teenager. Kids are now faced with much temptation for wrongdoing. I feel for them all. There were temptations that I faced when I was a teen as well.

Teens and their struggle for independence from mom and dad will cause conflict

One thing I have learned from raising teenagers is this:

Once the child reaches the teen years, there is a time in which they will not get along with you even though previously you shared a very close relationship. This new conflict will most likely come out of the blue. The reason is because they are feeling out their independence, they want to express that independence and you, their parent will not understand nor like this. I didn't like it. I felt that they were growing away from me when all they were truly doing was trying to gain that independence. Looking back now, I felt a little resentful because I didn't understand this at the time. I didn't know what I had done to them that they would distance themselves in this way. Now I understand that the independence thing is one that happens to all teens and their parents. So don't take offence at this when it happens with you and your child.

Do you have an uncontrollable teen?

Tips for dealing with an out of control teen:

Many teens who are out of control got that way over a period of years, not weeks or months.

In most instances, they got that way because the parents gave them too much freedom with little or no boundaries.

So it can come as no surprise that once you try to introduce rules or boundaries, your teen is going to flip out on you. This shouldn't surprise you one bit.

The important thing is that you be consistent with discipline. If you are strong with them one moment and weak with them the next, they will know that you are wishy washy and they can get by with whatever they choose to do. They will see you as a pushover. What a lot of it boils down to is how much are you as a parent up for? Are you content to let them do their own thing and continue on a destructive course, or are you willing to be strong and take initiative, set boundaries and be consistent with your discipline?

Some say that once a child becomes a teen and has not had much discipline and godly teaching in their lives, that there is little hope for them. I would rather believe that there is always hope! I think that anything is possible with God and with us as parents changing our course and getting on the right track.

With that said, just know that if your heart and actions and good intentions are involved in these things, there will be a positive outcome for you and your teen.

Yes, the teen years are turbulent and they will always make the parents tired. But you don't have to allow these years to do you in.

October 12, 2006

Does God Expect Perfection?

I have heard some preachers and other teachers of Christianity say that God expects perfection from us in regards to our walk with him. The first thought that comes to my mind upon hearing this is, "If God expects our perfection, then why did Jesus die for our sinfulness"? If these preachers are right, it makes me wonder why our Lord's sinless blood had to flow for our salvation.
We have all went our own way which was apart and separated from God and his love. I love God very much, but even though I do, I have strayed from him in my past. I think if we were all entirely honest, we would admit to the same.

Christianity is a walk. It is us changing our minds about everything we were so sure of in life and then changing the direction that our lives will take, with the help of the comforter, the Holy Spirit and the Bible: the word of God. It is an admittance and an acceptance that what God said in the bible is true and that it is to be applied to us personally.

Where does our perfection fit in to all of these revelations? I am not so sure what those preachers mean when they say we are to be "perfect". I could be perfect according to my own standards, but that may not mean that I would be perfect according to theirs. And even if I were able to live up to another's standards, would those even be the standards that God requires of me? I don't think so.

Does being perfect mean being sinless? It cannot involve being sinless because all of us, even those who share the closest relationship with God and Jesus Christ still do sin on occasion. The bible reminds us that if we say we have no sin, we are liars and do not tell the truth. We live in this world that is stretched beyond measure with it's darkness and sinfulness. We are still in this world by the way. Even though we are not to allow this world to mold and shape our minds and spirits.

The Christian Walk

As Christians, I believe that we are to walk it out. On this walk called the "Christian walk" we will surely meet up with good times and bad. We will see and experience overwhelming temptations and other bad situations that will make us stumble as well as beautiful things and things that edify and make us stronger and strengthen our faith. We are overwhelmed at times and brought low with the struggles of living in this world and other times we are made stronger.

God's son and our Savior, Jesus Christ was and is perfect. He never sinned, yet he was tempted to sin in all areas, just as we are tempted to sin, yet the temptations that surrounded our Lord did not lead to his sin as our temptations many times do lead us to sin.

This is the reason that he is the supreme sacrifice for sin. The lamb of God, Jesus Christ, is truly worthy in every way to be that sacrifice for our sin. Even though we desire with everything in us to "be perfect", we are not going to get there until we are finally in his presence in heaven where we will stand before him in all his glory. There will always be some life matter that we will struggle to overcome and to gain victory over. When I was younger, I would overcome a particular temptation or weakness and think that I had finally come to the point in which I was "almost perfect". I had much to learn :)

For no sooner had I conquered that particular sin but what would you know? I would have another to face soon after. And this is what I meant by Christianity being a "walk". You pace yourself in this walk with the Lord. You don't go full steam ahead at 100 mph or you will burn out quickly. Spiritual burn out is something that happens to many Christians and leads to discouragement in their walk with the Lord. God has mercy and patience with us. This is what many Christians do not fully understand. He knows that we are but dust. But with his spirit living inside of us, we are mighty. We should never come to expect more from ourselves than God does.

Just as a good parent knows that their children will make mistakes and do the wrong things, those parents are never ok with the children learning nothing from their negative experiences, they expect those kids to learn from their mistakes. And yes, there will be sins that we struggle with in life. We are expected to learn from them and go on to overcome them, all with the Lord's help. He is there for us. He knows we are not perfect. But thanks be to God for sending Jesus to this dark world and giving us the gift that none of us deserve.

When we overcome a particular weakness or sin, God rejoices with us! But we should not neglect to remember that there will surely be other temptations and trials during our Christian walk. We will be perfected when we are in his presence at last and look upon his beautiful face and behold his glory.

October 10, 2006

Who Calls Men to Preach?

If you are called by God to preach his word, what man on earth is able to deny you? What man is able to silence you?
For it is not man who has called you in the first place. Another man has no say so over the matter. What man has the right to force you to gain credentials (from his particular denomination) in order to preach God's word which comes by revelation from the Lord Jesus himself?
The things I speak of are forms of control that are not of God.
For God, through his Holy Spirit, is the one who works through man and anoints him to preach his word.

Galatians chapter 1:
1Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Notice in the following scripture what Paul the Apostle says about being called of God:
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
So we see that Paul received the gospel not by man, neither was he taught it by man, but he received it by the REVELATION of JESUS CHRIST.

There has been an attempt by Satan and those who do his bidding, to put up obstacles in order that the true word of the Lord will not be sown by the preacher, nor received by the hearer. This is the enemies most important priority, that the preachers of the true word of God would be silenced. What is most sad is that the very ones who do these things are those who are ultimately in charge of our Christian churches!
This has been going on for a long time and there has been an upsurge of obstacles of late.
It can be very distressing for those men and women who KNOW they have been called of God to preach, yet find that the actions and requirements of MEN are hindering them from doing so.
In many churches, one must belong to a particular denomination in order for them to speak to the congregation. Now I understand that denominations have been with us for the longest time. But when a denomination is able to STOP the word of God from going forth to help others, we are in real trouble my friends.
What are those who do such things afraid of? Are they fearful that someone may draw members out of their church or denomination and into another? Is this a fear that any of us should have? Why would we fear anything like this if we have our hearts and minds set upon what God expects of us?
The answer is that most of us have our minds on the things of this earth instead of things that pertain to God and eternity (those spiritual things that are of the utmost importance). We can see this clearly.

What is a person to do if they know they are called to preach in these days?
Take courage and add patience to your list of spiritual fruits. Take every opportunity to preach God's truth in good times and bad times. Don't be puffed up, but approach others with humbleness. Preach to them the words of life, which is God's holy word with humbleness and power as well.
Remember, we are not called to please men and women. We are called to preach the gospel. This means that we will NOT be making everyone happy in doing so.
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
There is no possible way that we will never have opposition. Roadblocks will be tossed our way and we will have trouble. But Jesus said, do not fear, for he has already overcome the world and is victorious. The truth always lands you on your feet!
In conclusion, I leave you with the following words of our Lord:

John 9:4
I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.