Obama Deserves Respect…Whether You Like It or Not!


Let me begin by saying this….I do not agree with the moral policies of the current Presidential and Congressional authorities.  However, I also believe that all of our leaders have been appointed by God.  I already hear the cries of anger…”How could you say that?! President Obama cares nothing about the people, only his pocket!”

With that I would like to ask a question…Did the disciples ever lead a revolt against their leaders after the resurrection?  Here’s another question…At what point did Jesus ever say, “Don’t listen to your leaders.”  NEVER!  Jesus never said to disobey the leaders of any country.  In fact, on one occasion, Jesus was asked a question with a specific sinful attitude in mind.

People came to him and showed Jesus a coin.  They asked, “Do we obey Caesar or God?”  Jesus took the coin and said, “Whose face is on it?”  They replied, “Caesar.”  Jesus said, “The render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”  This has to be one of the most powerful statements I have ever heard.  It is also one of the most convicting ones as well.

What did Jesus mean by saying this?  Was He simply talking about paying taxes or was there something greater going on here?  Obviously, Jesus was referencing taxes and money, but the greater principle here was this.  We are to obey and give to our worldly leaders what they deserve.  We are also to give God what He deserves.  So what do our leaders deserve?

Romans 13:1-2 says,”Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgement on themselves.”

Did you see that?  This passage says that EVERYONE MUST SUBMIT.  Not certain people, but all of us.  Who are we to submit ourselves to?  The governing authorities.  So does this mean we are to humbly allow our leaders to make grave, sinful mistakes?  Yes.  It also means that we are to obey the rules of the land.  If we need to pay taxes, pay them. If we need to stop at stop signs, then stop.  All of the laws in our land have been written by man, but allowed by God.  The next portion of that verse says it all….”for there is no authority except that which God has established.”

God has allowed our leaders to be where they are to be.  They are called to govern us.  They are called to lead us.  Even if we don’t agree with all of their policies, we are to obey. This leads me to a very sensitive area.  CNN and FOX News have it all wrong.  They are completely one sided.  However, both sides bash those they don’t agree with.  Personally, I am tired of hearing about policies that they might not agree with and then state it as a personal attack on them.  This simply is not the case.

As our leaders have been called by God and He has established their authority, we must respect those over us, including President Obama.  If we do not, Romans 13 says, we will bring judgement against ourselves.  Why?  Think of it this way.  God established the authorities therefore if we disobey them, we disobey God.  When we disobey God, we bring judgement on ourselves due our sinful acts.  It’s that simple.  However, never forget the following…We also must obey God.

Remember Jesus also said, “Give to God what is God’s”.  God’s Word is the guide to life as we know it.  We are to obey the words written in order to understand and know the will of God in this world.  So, how do we rectify this most probable impossible situation?

If the government says, “You are no longer allowed to teach about Jesus”, we can disobey.  If the government says, “You are no longer to teach moral subjects because it might offend people”, we can disobey.  If the government says, “You have no choice but to work 50 hours per week”, we must obey.

The principle is simple.  If the government tells us not to share our beliefs, talk about Jesus, read His Word or pray, then we can disobey.  Why?  Because God desires us to spend time with Him, share His Word with others and care for those with prayer.  This does not mean we can march with hatred or write hate-filled things, just because we don’t agree with them.  Our job as Christians is to show society that we are different.  We are considered holy (set apart) by God.

The disciples continued to preach until death.  Jesus preached until death.  Never did any of them lead a march against abortion or homosexuality.  However, they spoke up in love and taught the Word of God.  They spoke about the sanctity of life with love.  They spoke about true marriage with love.  They spoke about all moral, social and economic issues with love.

We are to do the same.  We are to speak what God’s Word says but in love.  Whether we like it or not President Obama deserves respect, whether we like it or not.  God bless and encourage someone today.

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Trashing the Gifts


We’ve all seen it.  A child has a birthday party.  Their friends are all gathered having fun, playing games, eating and waiting for the infamous clown or magician.  After lunch and some more games it’s time for the child to open their gifts.  All the friends gather with the child’s parents.  There is joy and happiness on each child’s face.  The birthday child proceeds to open the first gift.

“It’s what I always wanted”, excitedly chimes the child.  Gift after gift, “It’s what I always wanted” echoes.  Then at an instant, one gift is opened that the child doesn’t expect.  It is not the gift they were looking for.  In fact, there is now a confused look on the child’s face as to what it may be.  The child looks up and says…….

So what is the first reaction you thought of?  There were two that I can remember as a child.  One was the child who was thankful no matter what it was.  They would figure it out or just place it to the side, but there was no way they would ever be rude.

The other example is one where the child says, “I don’t know what this is and I don’t want it.”  Sometimes it is with tears, sometimes with anger, but always out of a thankless attitude.  Now ask this question…how did the gift giver feel?

In this life, we have been given 5 essential gifts that our Gift-giver has given.  All of them are free-of-charge and require nothing but acceptance.  Yesterday, I explained the five (5) gifts are marriage, children, money, life and salvation.  Today, I want to explain how we (even Christians) have a tendency to trash the gifts God has given to us.

Marriage

When we get married, we make a covenant (stronger than a promise) to not just love the person but go through the ups and downs of life with our spouse.  We make a public statement that no matter what happens we will stick by each other and go through the rough and calm roads together.

God has implemented marriage not as a strict way to procreate but also as a means to share His love with each member (husband and wife).  He explained that when a man and woman come together in marriage that they would “become one”.  This is not just physical but also emotional, thought processes and journey.  Marriage is the means to live this life together so that God will say, “It is good.”  So the question remains, how do we trash this gift?

Unfortunately, this gift can be trashed in many ways.  One of the most common ways is to not appreciate the person God presented to you.  Many times husbands and wives don’t see eye to eye.  Each has a different opinion or idea.  The key is to appreciate each other regardless of the differences.  When we learn to accept each other for who God has made us to be, we tell Him, “Thank you for the gift of marriage”.  However when we say, “I made a mistake in marrying you” we say to God, “This was not the gift I was looking for”.

Another way we trash the gift is we don’t hold to what God considers marriage.  According to Scripture, marriage happens between a man and a woman.  It also is sacred that no earthly bond should break.  So when the divorce rate is the same in the church as it is in the world, we say to God, “This gift doesn’t mean anything”.  We throw the gift of marriage back into God’s face or in the garbage.  In addition, when we think that homosexual marriage is good, even though Scripture says it is not, we take the gift of marriage and place it in the sewer.

God has made it clear.  Homosexuality is wrong.  It is an act of selfishness, pride and it is sinful as it goes against what God had intended for men and women regarding relationships.  Therefore, homosexual marriage is just as wrong.

Children

One of the most joyous times was when my sons were born.  Although my wife had pains and struggles as every woman who has given birth has.  The end result was a happy one.  Out of a loving relationship in marriage comes a child who is the person that loves physically displays.

I stated yesterday that Christ loves the children.  Their innocence, commitment and unconditional love are just part of why God loves children.  However, we can take this gift and throw it in the trash and here’s how.

When we are too harsh with our children (I am guilty of this on occasion) or when we have no respect for them, we tell God, “This gift is nothing more than a burden”.  It is the same thing that Adam did after the fall.  Instead of taking responsibility for his actions, Adam blamed God for the situation.  Many times children are falsely blamed for the parent’s problems.  I have heard people say, “If only I didn’t have kids.  I would be free.”  The reality is that children have allowed you to be freer than you have ever been.

When my sons are happy and playing nicely, I am happy.  When my sons are fighting over something silly, then I am not so happy.  Both of my boys have a way of showing their love and desire for me to have their interests in mind.  However, when I disregard their feelings or say, “What you say does not matter”, even I am telling God, “It’s your fault”.

Children are a gift and they should be treated that way.

Money

This one is the most controversial subject in the church.  We can easily trash the gift of money by not doing something that is so easy but yet is so hard to grasp.  Give God the firstfruits.

As I explained yesterday, God accepted Abel because he gave his best to God, while Cain gave his leftovers.  We too can grieve God because we forget to give back to Him for what He has provided.  Did you know that your job, your boss and the strength to work have been given to you as a gift as well?  Work is a means that God uses to sharpen us to do His work.  If we do well at our jobs, we should also do well with His ministry.  One easy way to do that is to give God the best of what we have.  This is not just money, but it is a start.  Most people don’t give their time or talents to the church.  I would like to argue that most times those same people are also giving God the leftovers from their check.

We are commanded to give our tithe (both in the Old and New Testaments) but it can be argued about the amount.  The tithe typically was a minimum of 10% of what the person made.  Most times, it was in the form of food and sacrifices.  The tithe was to show God how much you appreciate and love Him.  God then used the tithe to feed the priests and those who worked in full-time ministry.

When we refuse to give God the best of what we have (including money), we tell Him, “This gift I made.  You did nothing.”  Remember, you and I didn’t make work, God did.  You and I didn’t make our bosses, God did.  You and I didn’t make the strength we need, God did.  God has done more for you and I than we could ever imagine.  Don’t trash your money to things that you don’t need, to impress people you don’t like.  Show God how much you love Him and give Him the best of your money.

Life

We have all heard the expression, “Life is a gift”.  This is not just an expression but truth.  Life is a gift that God has given to all of us.  However, this gift is not an easy one.  We all have encountered sickness or injury.  We have either seen someone or experienced extreme illnesses, injuries that disable us and lifestyles that prohibit some of the happiness we think we deserve.

There are levels to trashing the gift of life.  If we don’t eat right or exercise don’t respect and love the bodies that God created.  When we go through plastic surgeries just to change the way we look (outside of medical reasons) we say, “God you made a mistake”.

We also trash life when we decide that life isn’t worth living.  Depending on your outlook, this thought process can lead to depression or suicide.  In fact suicide is the most selfish act you can take.  Taking your life says, “God you don’t know what I am going through and you don’t care.”  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  (The next gift will explain this.)

Life is gift worth fighting for.

Salvation

Salvation is a gift.  It cannot be earned.  Salvation through Jesus Christ alone is the best life anyone could live.  God cares for us so much that while we were still actively sinning, Jesus Christ died for us.  Salvation is the greatest of all gifts.  We cannot give it back.  Once we are saved by Jesus, we are His children forever.

There is only one way to trash the gift of salvation.  Just don’t accept it and die in sin.  We have only one shot at this one.  Once we allow Jesus to enter our lives, He starts the work of transforming us.  Jesus cleans our closets, washes our floors and works to make our lives “living sacrifices”.  We are given the opportunity to choose eternal life or death.

God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to suffer and die for us.  Because of this, we are responsible to use the other four (4) gifts in order to bring others to Christ.  We are only told to introduce people to Christ, not to convince them.  Only the Holy Spirit can convince anyone that He exists, so if you are trying to convince someone about Christ, stop it won’t work.  Let the Spirit do His work.

The use of our gifts tells God and others how we feel about our relationship with God.  From time to time ask this question, “How am I doing with the gifts God has given?”  Once you evaluate your situation, you will be able to act accordingly.  Open your heart to God and let Him tell you how to use the gifts He has given to you.

God bless and encourage someone today.

The Top 5 Gifts….(and how we treat them?)


Have you ever received a gift that you absolutely loved?  For a moment, I want you to really think about this gift.  How did it make you feel?  Joyous?  Happy?  How did you feel about the gift-giver?  Thankful?  Loved?  Well, there are 5 gifts that we have been given.  Here they are in no order of importance:

  1. Marriage
  2. Children
  3. Money
  4. Life
  5. Salvation

I am certain you can think of others, I know I can.  However, I have found that the above five mentioned can bring joy and happiness.  I also realize that these same gifts can be looked upon as a burden.  So, let’s go through each of them and see why they are the top 5 gifts and how we should treat them.

Marriage

Marriage was given to us by God.  We know this from Genesis.  God made Adam.  God told Adam to name all the animals.  God was not pleased as there was no suitable helper for Adam.  God put Adam into a deep sleep, did a bit of surgery and made Eve.  God presented Eve to Adam.  Adam felt deep joy and happiness.  He also felt a sense of thankfulness to God.  God had given Adam one of the most greatest gifts of his time, marriage.

When people get married today, a lot of times, we say the vows but don’t fully understand what they mean.  When we say “in sickness and in health”, we rarely ever think sickness.  When we say “for richer or poorer”, we rarely ever think we will be poor.  When we say “till death do us part”, we think that because of differences, divorce is okay.  We treat the gift as if it is just another part of life.  We tend to forget the Gift-giver.

God wants marriage to be a unity between a man and a woman for the purpose of showing how much God loves us.  Did you know that the relationship between the church and Christ is compared to marriage?  If marriage is important enough that God would allow Christ to be the groom and the church, the bride, then obviously it is important enough that we should treat it with not just respect but with holiness.  Marriage is a gift worth fighting for.

Children

Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. (NASB)

Children are not a burden, they are a gift.  Did you know that children play such an important part in the life of Christ that when the disciples tried to keep them away, Jesus said, “Let the little children come.”  He then proceeded to talk about how if we have the faith of a child, we please God.  We don’t need a lot of faith, only what God gives to us at the time of salvation.

Children are considered sacred as well.  Christ warned that if anyone leads a child astray it would be better to be buried at the deepest part of the sea or never to be born at all.  Jesus loved children.  He loved their innocence.  He loved their commitment.  He loved how they wanted to spend time with their parents.  Children love unconditionally.  Children are a gift worth fighting for.

Money

How many times does the Bible talk about money?  How many times does the Bible talk about heaven?  I’ll answer this one for you.  The Bible talks more about money and hell than heaven, salvation and love.  Money is a vital part of life and God decided to teach us a bit about ourselves regarding money.

Did you ever hear, “Money is the root of all evil?”  Some say this comes from Scripture.  However, this is not the actual statement and I believe it is a twist that Satan came up with.  The real verse says, “Money is a root of all kinds of evil.”  It is only a root.  If you dig up one root of a tree, it will still survive.  There are many other areas of life that are roots of evil, money may be just one of them.  However, it isn’t money this passage is talking about but rather the attitude towards money.

Many times in the Old Testament, God rejected the sacrifices (money and other items) not because of the gift but because of the attitude of the gift-giver.  Think about this for a moment.  Abel’s (Adam and Eve’s son) gave a gift that was pleasing to the Lord.  While his brother Cain’s gift was not pleasing to the Lord.  Why?  Abel gave the best of the best to God, while Cain only gave the left-overs.

How we treat money says volumes on what we think about God.  If we give from the top, we show God that He is important in our lives.  We say, “God thank you for the gift of money.  You allowed me this gift so I want to give back to you as a thankful offering.”  When we give out of our left-overs, we say, “God you are not important enough.  I work for it so I’ll give you what I want”.

Life

From the time we are born, to the time we die, the breath of God is in our lungs.  God gave to us the gift of life.  So how do we treat it?  Most times, we eat till we are over-filled, drink until we are drunk and sit around without thinking of others first.

I have a friend who is sick and realizes that although it is better to be with God, he still wants to live.  He has said, “As long as there is breath in me, I will praise God.”  Our lives need to be pleasing to God.  So how do we do this?

What I am about to say is an area that God is currently working on in my life.  I don’t exercise.  I don’t eat right.  I sometimes want to sit around and do nothing.  Therefore, when I am like this, I am living in sin.

God wants all of us to treat our bodies as a gift.  When we treat our bodies as a gift, our lives become a gift.  We have the energy to help others.  We have the motivation to lead others to Christ.  We desire to do what we can for His Kingdom.  Conversely, when we do as I have been doing, we don’t want to help others.  We have little motivation to do anything, so we sit around, watch T.V. and are tired all of the time.  So here is my prayer request.  Please pray that I will change in order to glorify God with my body.  I desire to be the living sacrifice He desires me to be.

Salvation

There is life after death.  However, it will be either a life of eternal joy and contentment or a life of despair and regret.  We will either go to heaven or hell, but we will go somewhere.  So how do we guarantee that we will go to either heaven or hell?

To go to hell, do this.  Absolutely nothing!  The minute we were conceived we were considered separate and apart from God.  We were created with sin as our core.  We are not inherently good, but we are inherently evil.  How do we know this?  Do you have to teach children to be bad?  No, but we always have to teach them to be good.  Think about teenagers.  I have one.  I never have to teach him how to be bad.  When he decides that I am wrong and he is right (and I know that I am right in this case), he rebels.  He decided to act against what is right.  So I discipline him to correct his ways to be good.  As we are inherently evil, we inherently deserve hell.

So what about heaven?  It is simple.  If you are reading this and do not know Christ as a personal loving Savior, then God is “wooing” you into a relationship with Him.  The Bible is very clear.  Salvation can only be given by God through Jesus Christ.  It is not something to be earned, but a gift given to us.

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father, except through Me.”  Asking Jesus to take over your life and be in the driver’s seat is the only way we will go to heaven.  It is Jesus and Jesus only.

So, how did you do?  How do you treat these gifts?  I ask this because how we treat these gifts determines how much we love the Gift-giver.  Tomorrow, I will discuss what happens when we reject each of these gifts.

God bless and encourage someone today.

To Be Carried


Luke 16:22
The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. (ESV)

Have you ever wondered what will happen after you die?  Did you ever ask yourself, “What will be the first experience I will have after I die?”  Many people have either asked these questions or similar ones.  These same people also have different views and opinions.  The question I always have for them is, “Where do you find that in the Bible?”

I want to be clear, I don’t know all the answers.  However, what I do know, I ensure that there is evidence in the Bible.  So, today I want to cover the poor man that was carried by the angels to heaven.

Last night, I visited a friend of mine who is physically sick.  He knows that a time is coming that this life will end and the next life will begin.  As we sat together, we discussed many different things.  Some of them had what I call “no doubt Biblical evidence”.  These are areas that are clear and concise.  There is little room for debate.

However, the other subjects we talked about was regarding areas that are debatable.  These discussions are Biblically based but many opinions and arguments can be discussed without hurting our friendship.  One of our rules is “No matter what we discuss, we will always walk away as close brothers, joined by Christ for the purpose of His Kingdom.”  Even though we may not agree with each other, we respect each others opinions no matter how heated it may get.

As we discussed many different things, I remembered a story that Jesus told regarding a poor man named Lazarus and a rich man (who is not named).  The story goes something like this:

There was a rich man who had everything anyone could want.  He had barns, food, clothing and friends.  There was also a poor man who’s name was Lazarus.  He was so poor that he ate the crumbs the rich man dropped, like a dog does with his master.  The rich man paid no attention to Lazarus.  The rich man also had many parties for his friends and stored up many physical things.  He was so rich that one day he said to himself, “I have stored up so much that all I have to do is eat, drink and be merry.”  However, God said, “Oh foolish man, tonight your life will be called into account.  For tonight you will die.”  That night, both Lazarus and the rich man died.  Lazarus was carried by the angels to heaven.  The rich man, however, was buried and ended up in hell.” – JD Very loose paraphrase

If you decide to read it yourself it can be found in Luke 16:19-31.  What I noticed was not the fact that one was carried to heaven while the other was buried and in hell.  When my friend and I were discussing what the heaven will be like, I asked, “Do you think you’ll be carried or will you just wake up in heaven?”  He looked at me with a curious look.  I proceeded to say, “This is my opinion and it is debatable but I think when we die, we will be carried by the angels to the presence of God.”

My friend pondered this for a short time and said, “Maybe you’re right.  But no matter what happens, I know I’ll be with our Savior.”  Although his understanding is perfectly correct and Biblical, it is fun to think of these things.  I do not want to sound morbid, but I believe that as a Christian it should be an exciting time when we discuss death, heaven and hell.

Death, because it is the entry door to our eternal life with Christ.

Heaven because no matter what we think it will be like, it will be so much better.  Our lives and  thoughts are skewed and sinful, therefore, we cannot comprehend what heaven will be like.  No matter what we think, it surely will be better than we can ever imagine.

Hell because it is a place we will not end up.  As we believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven (as Christ claimed Himself), we will never end up there, so it is exciting to know that we will avoid torment and start our eternal life with worship.  However, it is bitter sweet.  Why?  Because we also realize that those who don’t know Jesus as their Savior will end up in hell.  Why you ask?  Isn’t that outdated?  No and here’s why.

In Matthew 7, Jesus was teaching about the Kingdom of God.  There He says the following:

21  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one whodoes the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (ESV)

One day there will be many people who do good and great things.  They may even say they are doing these things with the authority of Jesus.  However, they are not.  Did you see what Jesus said?  These people prophesied, cast out demons (using Jesus’ name) and did “mighty works” under the auspices of Jesus Christ.  Yet with all of that, Jesus said, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”  Why would Jesus say that?

Jesus desires a personal relationship with us.  He desires to spend time with us, cry with us, laugh with us, discipline us and encourage us.  Jesus desires to show His love toward others by using us and our situations.  Our Savior loves when we use the gifts He has given to us and share them with the world.  More importantly, He desires to spend private time with us.

When we pray, sing, fellowship or read the Word, that is our time with Jesus.  Some of the most learned times I have experienced have been times of prayer, singing in the car, spending time with other believers and systematically reading His Word.  It is during these times, God speaks so clearly that there is no doubt what He desires.  Spending time with Him, allows us the time to think about not just this life but the life to come.

In this world, like my friend, we are all dying.  But when death knocks on the door, we will enter the first day of the rest of our eternal lives.  We will stop dying and start living.  This life is just the training grounds.  Now is the time to learn.  Now is the time to share.  Now is the time to serve.  When this life ends, we may be carried by the angels because we don’t have the energy to walk on our own.  The angels carry us to the One who carries us now.

Isn’t it great to know that we will not approach God on our feet, but by the arms of the servants who He created.  I think it is a privilege for us to be carried by the angels who have seen God face to face.  Now the question is, what will you desire?  If you desire to be carried by the angels to the feet of Jesus then accept Him as your Savior.  Admit that you sin and ask Jesus to take over your life and start a relationship with him.  Otherwise, if you die tonight, you won’t be carried, you’ll just wake up in a dark place being tormented (not tortured) wondering what happened and why you are there.  Choose Christ today.

God Bless and encourage someone today.

If You Wait, It’s Much Better


Okay, I couldn’t think of a suitable title for this entry but I think it fits.  The topic…sex.  We see the world’s view of it everywhere.  We see it in movies, on video games, books and television.  No matter where we turn we are bombarded with sex.  However, what we are not taught are the consequences (good or bad) regarding sex.

Sex is one of the most wonderful gifts God has given to us.  However, if it is taken out of context, it can be one of the most haunting experiences as well.  So, why did God create sex?

Unlike what most people think, it was not just for pro-creation.  It was meant for intimacy and becoming like one.  Here is what God presented Eve to Adam:

“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

So why does a man leave his father and mother?  Why does a man need to be united to his wife?  Why and how do they become one flesh?  These questions are easily answered but not necessarily easily understood correctly.

In the context of Genesis 2, God has told Adam to start naming the animals.  One by one, the animals came to Adam and he named them.  After Adam had finished what God had tasked him with, God noticed “there was no suitable helper for the man”.  God recognized that Adam was “alone”.  This makes me think that although Adam was perfect at that time, he still wanted to have a relationship outside of his relationship with God.  No matter what the true motive may have been, God wanted Adam to be fulfilled.

God knew that Adam was going to need a helper so He created Eve.  I personally believe that she was so pure of heart, mind and sight, that Adam could not resist this present from God.  Adam immediately knew that she was what he desired and he also knew that God had done this for him.  What a gift!

Do we think of our wives this way?  Our wives are a gift from God.  If you listen to or read of stories of couples meeting, you never hear of a man or woman saying, “Nah, he/she wasn’t at all what I wanted.  I don’t even like him.”  In almost every love story, there is a moment of complete infatuation where both man and woman know beyond any shadow of doubt that they are meant to be together.  This is the moment that God presents them to each other as a gift.

When we receive gifts from our friends and family, we cherish them.  We place them on shelves, take care of them and remember who gave them to us.  We remember the joy and pleasure it gave to us at that time.  Do we think of our wives in the same way?  Do we treat them as the best gifts that we have received?

In today’s society we think of marriage as a business transaction rather than a commitment for life.  We hear of people divorcing because of money problems or just because they don’t get along so well anymore. I personally have heard people say, “I just fell out of love with them.”  I don’t want to sound too harsh, but that has to be one of the most ridiculous statements.

Love is a decision not something that you fall out of and in to.  Here is some proof.  If you have kids, there are times you don’t like their behavior or attitude, but you still love them.  You may argue with them and wish they would think differently, but you still love them.  Naturally, you decided to love them the minute you knew they were coming.  You made a conscience decision to love and take care of them, no matter what they do.  We need to think of our spouses the same way.

If we believe that our spouse (or future spouse) is a gift from God that is to be cherished, loved and appreciated, then the second most wonderful gift needs to be treated the same way – sex.  God created sex for our enjoyment.  Sex is the one way a husband and wife can not only show their love but become closer and like-minded (one).

Ephesians 5 describes what intimacy should be about.  There are more verses for the husband than for the wife.  And guess what?!  What God stated in Genesis 2 is there also.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church – for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” – Ephesians 5:25-30 (NIV)

When we experience sex in marriage, it should be one of the most wonderful and passionate times we have with each other.  Our wives should be able to say, “I am complete.”  We should be able to say, “I am complete.”  Both husband and wife should be completely satisfied with each other.

So how do we short-circuit this?  We have sex outside of marriage.  Today’s young adults and teenagers feel that sex is just a means to pleasure.  Nothing more, nothing less.  If you ask most teenagers and young adults, they believe that sex is like test driving a car.  If you don’t have a good experience then don’t get married.  Unfortunately, they also have a skewed view because of television and movies.

If you survey those who had sex before marriage and those who waited, the one’s who waited have the best experiences, the most satisfying relationships and the most joyous of lives.  Here is a brief list of why waiting is the best route:

  1. Those who wait until marriage for sex never have to worry about sexually transmitted diseases.
  2. Those who wait until marriage for sex never have to worry about comparing one partner to another.
  3. Those who wait until marriage for sex always discover something new about each other.
  4. Those who wait until marriage for sex always become closer and more intimate.

There are a lot more reasons, but these are probably the best ones.  So to those who are debating about having sex before marriage, STOP AND WAIT!  If you do, I promise you that you will have the best experience of your life and will appreciate the gift God has given to you.  It will not only bring you closer to your wife, but also to God.  God created sex, so why not wait for the gift (wife) God will present to you one day.

God bless and encourage someone today.

When Nations Forget….


We have all heard the term, “Never forget”.  It is a term to display our loyalties to our nation, heroes and individuals who gave their lives for freedom.  We make monuments, have special days and have parades so that we never forget the day or people who are honored on that day.

However, what happens when the nation forgets it’s history?  What happens when the people of a nation built on Biblical principles forgets to keep those principles pure and holy?  Without leading you down a path where only depression and sadness start, I want to let you know what our future may be like if we forget from whence we came.

I have been reading through the book of Jeremiah.  Just a brief background, Jeremiah was a young prophet who was bringing bad news to Israel and Judah.  Both nations had forgotten God and decided to worship idols.  They followed the same traditions as other nations like, adultery, legalized prostitution and sacrificing their babies.  These nations also tried to keep their own traditions as well, but with little to no success.  Jeremiah was called to bring bad news to these nations in order to bring repentance.

In chapter 18, God leads Jeremiah to a potter’s house.  There Jeremiah sees the potter struggling with clay.  The clay didn’t form properly, so the potter decided to make something different.  It was the potter’s decision to change his plans for the clay.  When Jeremiah sees this, the Lord says something that can be taken as a warning for today.

“Then the word of the Lord came to me: ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?  Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.  If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.  And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.” (Jer. 18:5-10 NIV)

Did you see what I see?  First, God chose the words, “If at any time…”  This means we are not in control.  We are not on a different time table.  This is God’s time table and His desires, not ours.

Next, in both examples, He uses, “I announce…”  God introduces the nations to the world, not men.  No matter what we think, it is God who does the announcing.  God announced to the world, that the United States of America was to be born.  He allowed bad situations to happen in order to birth a nation.  We didn’t do this on our own.

Finally, it is God’s decision to allow destruction or peace.  If God sees a nation repent and return to Him, then He will turn aside the destruction He planned.  Conversely, if a nation refuses to repent then God will consider destroying them as well.

God is the ultimate decision maker when it comes to a nation, it’s peace, it’s war and it’s life.  Today, we live in a country that has strongly and swiftly forsaken it’s Godly roots.  We were founded on principles which encouraged life, prosperity and equality.  Our Constitution and Declaration of Independence display our forefathers dependency on God, their faith in God and their hopes that the generations will follow God.

Today, we hold to principles that are against what God’s Word says.  We encourage sexually immoral lifestyles.  We think that equality means putting up with the hateful words of others because they don’t agree with the Word of God.  Our nation’s leaders encourage destroying life in the womb and pushing legislation that is immoral and unethical.  Judges make decisions that are unconstitutional and are never taken into account.  We are living in a nation that is full of sin and pride.  But there is hope.

As with Israel in Jeremiah’s time, we can repent of our ways and turn back to God.  We have the opportunity, each day, to return to the One who birthed this nation.  As long as there is breath in our lungs, we are given another chance to return to God.  The question becomes, will we?

God is in complete control, whether you believe it or not.  He is allowing us to continue to live for a time.  Only God allows a nation to be birthed or destroyed.  My personal belief is that we only have a short time to repent.  I believe we no longer have generations but years.  Now, I could be wrong and hope that I am, but if we do not repent as a nation, then God will judge us for what we have and have not done.  In God’s time, we will either live and prosper or be destroyed.  It is up to us to show God that we want life.  It is up to God to  allow us that chance.  Remember, each day we live free, we are given the grace to repent and change.  What will we do and how will we proceed?  Think about it and encourage our leaders to take this into account.  Only God knows the time He has for the United States of America.

God bless our nation and encourage someone today.

What Does The Yellow Light Mean?


I don’t know how many people remember the sitcom series ‘Taxi’.  I remember watching it as a kid and watching the re-runs as I got older.  For those who don’t know or understand what I am talking about, here is a brief synopsis of that show.

The T.V. sitcom ‘Taxi’ took place in the garage of a local taxi driving service.  Danny Devito was the verbally abusive and sexually harassing manager of the place.  Tony Danza and a couple of others were the drivers.  The one person that stood out to me was Christopher Lloyd’s character – Reverend Jim.

Jim was an alcoholic who had the tendency to say things that either didn’t make sense or out of place.  In one episode, Reverend Jim, wanted to be a taxi cab driver.  Danny Devito said that if he could pass the test, he could be a driver (even though the manager was being completely sarcastic).  With the help of his friends (the other taxi drivers), he went down to the DMV to take the written test for a driver’s permit.  As Reverend Jim took the test, he had a tendency to speak the questions out loud.  As he did this there was one question he had trouble answering…What does the yellow light mean?

Jim read aloud, “What does the yellow light mean?”  As he thought about it, his taxi driver friends whispered to him, “Slow down.”  Jim said, “Ok…W-h-a-t d-o-e-s t-h-e y-e-l-l-o-w l-i-g-h-t m-e-a-n?”  His friends said once again but louder, “Slow down.”  Jim shakes his head and proceeds to read, “W–h–a–t d–o–e–s t–h–e y–e–l–l–o–w l–i–g–h–t m–e–a–n?”  With that the story continued until Reverend Jim just gave up on the question.

It wasn’t the question that made that funny, but the way the characters interacted.  The taxi drivers knew what the answer was, but Reverend Jim was so busy answering questions that he failed to listen and understand his friends answer.  He failed to actually slow down, pause and think and then take their given answer and write it down.

So now I must ask…How many of us take the time to slow down?  I know I don’t.  Just this evening, I came home from work, started to work on my basement, then made dinner, while eating went onto Facebook and then continued working on the basement.  From there I showered, waited for my older son to go to bed and then started writing this blog.  It is now 11:00 P.M. and I still have a couple of other things to do.  This life style has been happening for about 2-3 months.  I haven’t slowed down.  How about you?  Is your life so crazy that you can’t remember the last time, you slowed down?

When Jesus was here, He took the time to slow down.  During the greatest times of busyness, He took time, went to a quiet place and spent time with the Father.  He walked and talked with the Father before proceeding with the next step of His ministry.  Jesus even took some time to slow down the disciples.

In Matthew 6, during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke to his disciples (and the surrounding crowds) and said, “What are you worrying about?  Look at the birds, they don’t plant or reap, yet they are fed.  Not even one bird dies without the Father knowing it.  Now look at the lilies.  They don’t work for their growth.  The Father does all of that.  He so beautifully dresses them that even King Solomon, in his best outfit, can’t match these plants.”  Jesus took the time to observe what God was doing, point out what was before everyone’s eyes and taught a valuable lesson about worrying.

When we become so busy, worry and fear enter our lives.  Fear and worry drive us to do more.  They place thoughts in our heads to keep us awake.  Fear and worry physically do things to us that actually shorten our life.  So why do we allow it?

As we become busier and busier, we believe the lies of fear and worry.  We start to wonder if there is more that can be done.  We stop praying, stop reading and stop sharing because we feel we no longer have the time.  We believe that working 60+ hours a week is normal and that we have to get things done.  However, here is the reality of our lives.

We are given 24 hours in a day.  If we sleep according to what is recommended, 8 hours, we still have 16 hours in a day.  Now if we work an 8 hour job, we now have 8 hours left in our day.  Then if we include eating breakfast and dinner, commuting and some chores, I make you a bet that you actually have 2 or 3 hours left at the end of your calculation.  So what are we doing for 2-3 hours every day (5 days a week) that we no longer have enough time?

Most likely, we are watching T.V. or spending time on the computer or doing more than what we are capable of.  This method of doing is what teaches us to be busy and not to slow down.  How do I know this?  I have lived this way and fight not to live this way every day.  This is the battle for every human being, of which I am chief of.

So what are we to do?  How about spending time with your kids?  Or maybe, taking a walk.  Maybe, we can go outside, sit down and look at our surroundings.  Look at the trees, flowers, clouds, stars or whatever interests you.  Just remember to stop and observe.

Will there be times where we are busy?  Of course.  But if Jesus took the time to talk with God, spend time with God and listen to God’s next step for Him, I believe that we can do the same.  So with that I am saying goodnight, so that I can at least spend 20-30 minutes with the One who died for me.

God bless and encourage someone today.