A Letter to My Children

My dearest child,

I love you.  That is the first thing I want you to know.  I love you.

My love for you cannot be expressed in words or pictures.  It cannot be explained by the philosopher.  It cannot be understood by the educated.  I can only be realized by actions.

The actions I have taken at times have been extreme and misunderstood.  I have been falsely accused of things that no person could ever imagine.  My accusers have painted my actions with the dirtiest of brushes and made me appear as vile and evil.  No matter how hard I have tried to explain my actions, they do not want to hear.

Although my enemies have attacked me, my love for you never wanes.  You are my child, my offspring.  The fact that you exist brings joy to my heart and peace to my mind.  Nothing can change that.  You are my child and always will be.

In recent days, I have been watching the news.  I have seen the hypocrisy and confusion of this past election.  I have watched as many have marched in protest against the results.  I have read the evil and disgusting posts on social media.  Hopefully, you have not succumb to the rhetoric now being spread by those who want to do you harm because of my actions.  Please stay away from being sucked into stating what you think your rights are and remember you are my child and always will be.

Many of your siblings have forgotten what I have done and my love for them.  They have allowed the promises of this world to cloud their judgment and have forgotten about my love for them.  One of your brothers and sisters were on the news.  It wasn’t good.  They began to stand for issues, I never intended for them to stand for.  During their interview, they questioned my love for them and asked for me to not contact them again.  They have forgotten, they are my children and always will be.

Don’t ever forget how I saved you when you were drowning.  Don’t ever forget the time when you cried out for me to carry you because you scrapped your leg. I came running to comfort you.  Don’t ever forget the time when I carried you into the operating room and watched over you as the doctors did their work.  Don’t ever forget the time when you cried because someone hurt you and I told you, “You are my child and always will be.”

Do you remember the time, when you were young and you went out all night with your friends, even though I gave you a curfew?  Did you forget the time you screamed, “I hate you” and stormed to your room?  How did I react?  Did I not explain the necessary discipline with tears in my eyes?  Did I not hug you deeply and held you until you fell asleep?  Did I not continue to watch over you and ensure your safety?  You are my child and always will be.

I have tried to remind your siblings of this very same thing.  My expression of love has been overwhelming, even though many have forgotten what I did for them.  They have forsaken my love to satisfy their own desires.  They have argued over needless topics and have twisted my guidance.  They believe things I never taught and claim I teach them.  They have even turned my own words against me in order to have their own following.  I am upset with them and will deal with them soon as a loving father.  They are my children and always will be.

Others have claimed to be my children even though I do not know who they are.  They have claimed to be knowledgeable about my business but deny what I am doing.  Many times, they have called and I have answered only to hear nothing but static and noise.  They do not visit me for dinner.  They do not come over for the holidays.  They only call when they need something but I cannot understand their language.  They are not my children and never will be.

Yet in spite of this, you have spent time with me.  You know who I am and I know who you are.  We have enjoyed each other’s company and holidays have been a blast.  The time we have spent together has been my most joyous times even in times of trials.  I have watched as you have grown from my little baby to my adult child.  You are my child and always will be.

Unfortunately, your siblings have forgotten that I commanded them to be of one mind and purpose.  They have forsaken my will and sought after what they want.  They call me only when they need something and when I try to talk, they either interrupt me or hang up.  I try to call them back but they do not pick up the phone.  I have spent countless hours crying over them, desiring that they come back to me and listen to my words.  In spite of their disobedience, they are my children and always will be.

They have forgotten the time when I rescued them from the fire.  They have forgotten the times I cried in front of them, yet they spit in my face.  Now they are attacking you because of me.  In their own desperation to explain the evil in the world, they deny what I have done and curse me to my face.  They march in the streets, spread hate over social media and push the agendas of my enemies.  No more do I recognize them, no longer can I stand and wait.  No longer can this disobedience continue.  They may be my children and always will be, but discipline to my house is coming!

I am still in charge.  I have never left my place of authority.  It was given to me by my father because of my love for him and you even if you don’t want to believe it.  In the coming days, I will discipline my children because of their disobedience.  They will come back to me whether in this life or the life to come, because they are my children and always will be.

I have never changed and never will, even if my children forsake me.  My words will always stand.  My rules have never waned.  No one can change what I have spoken for they have been written down for you.  I have ensured all of my letters have been gathered to one place for your convenience.  You have everything I want you to know in those letters.  Each letter was written with a specific purpose in mind, to ensure you never forget that I am your father.  You are my child and always will be.

The day is coming and almost here when I will come back for you.  I will return when I am allowed in the time my father commanded me.  When I arrive, you will know.  You will see me and I will bring you home.  Your suffering is almost over.  Your trials have just begun.  My children will be reminded of my love through my discipline.  I will not spare my rod and my discipline will hurt, but always remember, you are my child and always will be.

My child, forsake those who speak without thinking.  Leave alone those who would yell and shout over me rather than listen to my words.  Read my letters.  Call me just to say hello.  Do not allow yourself to go in the way of your siblings.  My children should not be divided.  If my children are divided, then my enemy will seek to destroy them.  They are my children and always will be.

The words I have spoken are true and right.  Did I not destroy those in Laodicea as I told to them so long ago?  Have my words ever fallen upon the deaf and not healed them?  Has not my touch restored eyesight to the blind?  Have I not already broken the chains of slavery and freed you from them?  Have I not already said, “IT IS FINISHED?”

Now I have instructions for you to do.  They are not new instructions but reminders of what I have already commanded.  Restore your brothers and sisters by showing them the love I have shown you.  Refrain from speaking what you want but give them the silence they deserve.  Was I not silent before my accusers?  In the same way, you should be silent and your silence will bring them to repentance.  No longer march in the street but share my message of hope and love with everyone.  Listen to my commands and do what I have asked.  You are my child and always will be.

Never forget my love for you.  Never forget I died and rose again for you.  Remember that my love for you is unexplainable, unimaginable and unforgettable.  I love you with my inmost being.  All I ask is for you to return that love by spending time with me.  Read my words and call on my name.  I will answer, even if my enemies try to hinder me.  Do not listen to the countless voices in your head but listen for my voice.  My sheep know my voice and follow me.  You are my child and always will be.

I love you and will return shortly.  Do not fret or be dismayed because my return will happen, even if others deny it.  When I come, I will bring you home and we will spend eternity laughing, working, walking and talking.  There will be no more pain or suffering.  I am building a place for your, if it weren’t so, I would have told you.  Let your focus be on me and not the circumstances surrounding you.  This is a temporary dwelling, a temporary home.  Your ultimate home is with me.

I love you and desire only good things for you.  As you obey the small things I commanded, then larger responsibilities will come.  Until that time, remember, you are my child and always will be.

In love,

Jesus Christ (The Risen Savior)


Positive Message, Negative Results

Have you ever noticed that someone who has a positive message may get a negative reaction?  Think about it for a moment.  Someone shares how their life was changed for the positive.  They stopped drinking or doing drugs, maybe their marriage was healed and restored or possibly they were greedy and now are generous.  However, no matter how positive and inspiring their message may be, their one “fault” is this….Jesus.

Let me clarify.  In no way is Jesus a negative “fault”.  In fact, when you look at many lives throughout the world and hear their stories, you realize that Jesus was the only One who could have changed them.  They could not do this on their own, they may never have sought counseling, but their lives changed regardless.

In Acts 19, we see an example of a positive message with negative results.  Paul had traveled to Ephesus, the trading capital of it’s day.  There was also a strong belief system there as well.

In Ephesus, there was the temple of Artemis.  From what I have read, this became one of the “7 Wonders of the World”.  There people worshiped the Greek goddess who protected children and virgins.  Legend states that she was the twin of Apollo who was the protector of young boys.  The people of Ephesus truly believed in this goddess who would protect the young girls who didn’t want to be married and stay a virgin.

Although a lot of people believed in this goddess, there were many who wanted to profit from this system of beliefs.  They made decorative idols, told myths about how the idols came to be and were able to convince people that it is truth.  This was where Paul decided to take the positive message of Jesus Christ.

While Paul was there, he came across a number of disciples who didn’t have the right theology.  They had heard of Jesus and repented of their sins, but when they heard Paul teach, they questioned him.  Paul asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”  Here was their answer, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

Knowing how their thought process was, Paul then asks, “Then what baptism did you receive?”  Paul understood that because they believed in Jesus, they also had been baptized.  They responded to Paul that they had received John the Baptist, baptism.  Paul then places his hands on them and the Holy Spirit enters their lives with immediate changes.  These changes were so sudden that people were amazed at what they were doing.

Paul had some obstacles during his two year stay.  There were people who refused to believe.  Paul had been preaching in the synagogues telling everyone about Jesus.  This means that other religions, besides the temple of Artemis had been allowed.  Everyone had lived on their own, believing what they wanted not caring they were different.  Now here comes Paul preaching a message of hope and healing.  However, this message also was convicting.  Paul preached Jesus was the only Way.

During his time in Ephesus, many Jews and Gentiles came to know and accept Jesus as their Savior.  They would take their idols and any other paraphernalia and destroy them publicly.  What did this mean to Ephesus, business started to lose money.  The people who created the idols lost income.  It was enough income that a riot started because of it.

During the uproar, many people marched with those who started it but “most of the people did not even know why they were there.”  Interesting, isn’t it?  There was a large amount of people protesting against the message of Christ and yet most of them didn’t understand why they were even there.  They just got caught up in the moment and because a lot of people said they were marching for the right cause they believed it.

This is what is happening in the United States today.  We have many religions that worship different gods.  Many people go to church out of obligation rather than belief.  However, when you teach that Jesus is the only Way, people get bent out of shape.  They start small at first, debating you, arguing their points.  However, when people start to believe in Jesus, these same protesters go public.  They start saying how their life choices are “natural”, how they are being attacked by Jesus followers and most of all, blame Christians for the failing economy.

If a country’s economy is based on sinful practices, when people start to follow Jesus, they stop supporting those same businesses.  They start by giving to others in need, helping others get back on their feet.  They start serving others, learning about Jesus and sharing what they learned.  This causes that sin based economy to suffer great losses.

Conversely, if the country’s economy is based on Godly beliefs and practices, the economy will thrive and continue until the people of that country disobey God and stop doing what they had been called to do.  This is what holds true of us today.  If you ask the average Christian what they believe, they can’t explain it into words.  They debate using others teachings, which can be selective and incorrect, rather than being able to go to the Word of God and show why they believe what they believe.

The message we have been given is positive and helps people change their lives for the better.  It changes individuals positively, which changes families positively, which changes businesses positively.  This in effect can change the country positively as well.  The only problem is that those who are the belief minority can and have been so convincing that people are following them, not knowing why they are following them.

As Christians, we need to start helping to change people’s lives in a positive way.  We also need to stand up publicly and share what God is doing in our lives.  Christianity is not a religion nor is it a private belief system.  Jesus didn’t die privately, He died publicly.  Jesus asks us to stand in the gap, publicly, and lovingly share His positive message with the world.

Jesus wants to change the world, but with His positive message, don’t be surprised with the negative results the world has toward His message.  Share in a loving way and let Him handle the negative.

God bless and encourage someone today.

I Can’t Wait for My Own Room!!!

This was the phrase my older son said as we were about to close on the house we currently live in.  He had shared his room with his brother for 7 years, was getting older, not wanting to go to bed but also not wanting to watch History Channel or Discovery Channel with me.

At the time we were in a two bedroom apartment on the 2nd floor of a house.  My wife and I had been searching for some time, but either didn’t have the money to afford the house or the house needed too much work.  Either way, the apartment was becoming too small for us and our boys.

The day we closed on the house, we brought the boys inside and told them which room was theirs.  My older son asked for the larger room, but we asked him, “What are you going to do in that larger room?  You don’t have friends over and play in your room anymore.”  He responded, “Because I’m older.”  Even though that may be a good reason for some, we wanted him to express his feelings toward the larger room.

The end result was that he got the smaller of the bedrooms with the understanding that we would re-finish the basement so that he could have a place to bring his friends and play video games, talk or just simply hang out.  He agreed.  Which brings me to this moment in time.

Over the past few months, I have been working on re-finishing the basement.  I ripped out all the old paneling, secured some unsafe walls, built 3 more walls, put up insulation and will complete the sub-flooring tomorrow night.  As I have been doing all this, one passage in the Bible that keeps coming to mind to motivate me to work even harder…

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.” – John 14:2-4 (NIV 1984)

As I had done some previous studies on this, the translation can vary.  Here is another translation….

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” – John 14:2-4 (KJV)

So which is it?  Is it a room or a mansion?  Well, if you look up the Greek and look deeper, the real meaning is “dwelling place”.  It may be a room or a mansion, but no matter what we think, it is a dwelling place that you and I can’t and won’t understand until we see God face to face.  However, that is not the focus.

The focus here is on what Jesus said next, “If it were not so, I would have told you.”  Isn’t it great to know that no matter what we think, Jesus’ words will always come true?  Don’t you get a sense of security and contentment knowing that Jesus said, “Not only am I going to prepare a place for you, but I will also come back to bring you there and spend eternity with Me”?

No matter you views on theological discussions we may have or read, this one truth is very clear, Jesus is preparing a place for us.  It may be our own room.  It may be our own mansion.  It may be a community center (just kidding).  But in all seriousness, it is good to know that the Creator of the Universe is preparing a place for us.  This leads me to my next quick thought?

I wonder if that is why He chose to become a carpenter?  Hmmmm.  As I am doing more and more carpentry, I realize the importance of measuring twice and cutting once.  I also am getting a better appreciation of how hard the work really is.  Jesus is laboring for us to make us a place we can spend eternity with Him.  He is working hard to get this place just right so that we can enjoy it with him, just like I am doing for my sons.

During the week, think about how much God loves you.  If you are not sure, then ask yourself, “Why would He go and prepare a place for me if He didn’t love me?”  Then read John 14 and find out how much Jesus love you.  He truly is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

God Bless and encourage someone today.

What if Your Rights Were Suddenly Taken Away

“What if your rights were taken away” is a question that draws so many emotions.  Some might say, “I would fight to get them back”, while others may say, “I’ll try to live with it.”  No matter what end of the spectrum you come from, our response to that question may tell us what drives us and what we believe.

The word belief can be described as “conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence.”  This means that there is a level of understanding and knowledge that is founded on factual evidence.  However, it also implies that we actively study to get that level of conviction.  Either way you look at it, our beliefs will actively affect how we feel about certain questions.

Paul, the apostle who wrote most of the New Testament, had very specific convictions and beliefs.  When he wrote the letter to the Philippian church, he expressed these convictions with evidence that could not be reputed.

Paul starts off his letter with expressions of gratitude and thankfulness.  He was grateful to Christ for sustaining the Philippian church.  He was thankful for their expression of love for Him by continuing on the mission of Jesus Christ, to proclaim that He is risen and lives with the Father.  However, Paul also includes some ideology that was happening during his time.  He mentions about people sharing the Gospel for both monetary gain as well as for purity.  He talks about convictions that made no sense and were determined to be false doctrine.  He also explains what God is looking for in life, but what struck me was not just the positive message, but the attitude of Paul’s letter.

In Philippians 1:12-14 Paul writes the following:

“ I want you to know, brothers,that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guardand to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.  And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the wordwithout fear.” (NASB)

Did you notice the problems?  Paul was in prison.  Other people who were proclaiming Christ were also in prison.  Think about this for a moment.  What would happen to you and I if we found out people we personally knew were being placed in prison for simply sharing their faith in Christ?  What would our reaction be?  Would we proudly stand up or cower in the corner?  These questions we need to wrestle with.  Why?  Because as Americans we are slowly losing the battle for the rights given to us by our forefathers.  More and more, there are fronts to silence the testimony of the church.  One front is if someone comes to you during your lunch break and asks you about your beliefs, there is a chance you could lose your job because it may be against company policy.  Another area is when churches want to gather for a worship service, they are being denied access to places that other organizations are allowed to access.  This is what is currently happening in New York City.

Did you also notice the attitude towards Paul’s circumstances?  Paul was happy and proud to write that their imprisonment was causing others to stand up and speak without fear.  Was this natural or from an outside source, that is still a debate, but in my experience, I believe (with conviction) that this lack of fear to proclaim the Gospel was from God.  Why do I feel that way?  Look around today.  Most Christians do not speak up about their beliefs.  In fact, most have decided to simply live quiet lives, never really expressing what they believe and why they believe it.  Unfortunately, this has happened in the past with unprecedented and unfortunate results.

In the 1920’s, Germany was experiencing an economical downturn that other countries (like the United States) had experienced.  There was limited food, limited jobs and limited everything else.  People were starving and suffering like never before.  In the 1930’s, a young man started to speak up.  He proclaimed a future of prosperity, a future that would end hunger for his people.  Treaties were made with Great Britain and other Eastern European countries that appeared to be good for their society.  Everyone thought the future was bright.  There were celebrations in many nations, but a small group of people saw something different.  They expressed that this man was deceptive and had other intentions.  They claimed that no matter what peace he promised, he would never keep his promises.  His alleged prosperity would turn to poverty once again.  However, no one listened.

The name of this man was Adolph Hitler.  He promised many positive things.  He promised prosperity.  He promised peace.  He promised he would never attack any other countries to further his country’s causes.  All his promises were for naught.  As we all know, Hitler was one of the worst murderers of our time.  However, what most people don’t know was that the church at that time also saw the signs but decided to ignore them.  They ignored the typical signs of a horrible leader.  History has taught us that if someone promises prosperity and peace, the likelihood of that actually happening is extremely slim if at all.  When a leader starts to talk against a specific group of people that has done nothing to instigate that criticism, the likelihood of that leader taking steps to suppress that people is very great.  The church of the 1930’s saw what was happening, they never spoke up.  It wasn’t until Hitler also killed Christians alongside the Jews that they started to notice.

From both this passage in Philippians and history, we must learn that we may lose our rights one day.  We may experience suffering and jail time.  No matter what we will face, we must all take Paul’s attitude.  If we end up in jail for Christ, then so be it.  Maybe if that starts to happen, others may take up the cause of Christ and spread the Gospel once again with fervor and zeal.  Rather than wait for persecution to occur, let’s take up our crosses daily and follow Christ in His mission, to save the lost.

God bless and encourage someone today.