The Disrespect of Our Disillusion


Tom sat with his head in his open, sweaty hands.  How could he have done this?  What prevailed inside his mind that would allow him to do such a heinous act?  He decided to pour a drink to calm his nerves.  He got up and opened the oldest bottle of scotch he could find.  As he poured himself a double shot, the bottle chattered against the glass.  His hands could not stay still.  His mind raced with thoughts of anger toward himself.  “How could you have done this”, he thought.  “What was it that brought you this far away from reality?”

In the other room, a young lady walked in with a smile on her face and his shirt on her torso.  She graced herself over, grabbed the glass from his hand and took a sip of the scotch.  A kiss from her was placed on his cheek with these words, “That was really special”.  He tried to muster a smile, but could not as he knew he betrayed his love, his wife and the woman before him wasn’t her.

Every decision we make, every word we speak and every thought we think, has a consequence.  Whether good or bad, every action, work or thought has a reaction, a consequence.  We may not see it at the time, but be rest assured, a consequence is there, ready to peak it’s head, like a viper when it is about to strike.

Recently, I have been an observer of social media and news agencies.  I have cautiously not opened myself to a specific political view, social movement or radical divide.  Day by day, I have seen many people, good people, begin the process of drawing a hypothetical line in the sand declaring where they stand and what they believe.  Whether it is about which political candidate you like or whomever lives matter, many of us are going out of our way to declare what we believe to be the truth.  We have been convinced of our reality no matter how disillusioned we are.

This disillusionment has caused us to become a divided nation.  A nation where all conflicting  testimonies are correct, truth has become irrelevant and division among people groups are growing at a rapid pace.  Conflict is on the rise while love is declining into extinction.  All over the news and social media we see the results of this lack of love and increase of hatred and rebellion.  Many have taken to the street to protest in ways that breaks out in violence, fist shaking and gnashing of our teeth.  So how did we get here?  What caused us to be in this global predicament?  Was it a specific people group, ideology or is it human nature to destroy oneself?

Both Christian and Atheist, Buddhist and Islamic, Jew and Greek, have bought into this disillusionment, making each other vulnerable to prejudice and exposure.  We all have allowed our society to fall into an illness that can be likened to terminal cancer.  If we do not turn away from what we have become, we will ultimately bring ourselves into the chasm of death and be buried in the annals of history lost.

Unfortunately, most will exclude this writing as nothing more than someone who is disgruntled or upset with others behaviors without looking at themselves.  Let me make this disclaimer.  What I am bringing up has nothing to do with you or someone else.  It has to do with us.  We are the problem.  All of us are feeding the beast of this culture.  We all are to blame.  No matter our background, no matter our skin color, no matter who we think we are, we are all to blame, including me.

History has shown that when a nation is divided, then that same nation falls at the hands of others not of the same mindset.  Our own history shows how divided we were but the declaration of United We Stand was the war cry for change.  Today that war cry has gone unheard and ignored.  We have become the nightmare of countries and the falsehood of hatred.   Change is inevitable but it doesn’t have to be negative.  A positive change can happen, but it cannot start with us.  It cannot start with any other person from any other nation.  It can only happen when we reserve ourselves to allow the Gospel of Jesus Christ to transform our lives.

“…we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit,[b] as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth…” – Colossians 1:4-6 (NKJV)

It is the Gospel that changes lives.  It is the Gospel that bears fruit in our lives.  Only the Gospel can change our hearts and minds to unity and progress.  Because we have forsaken the Gospel, we have forsaken our Creator.  Because we have forsaken the Gospel, our lives are deteriorating into the very pit of Hell.  We have allowed sin to overtake our lives and become our slave master.  We have forsaken the freedom of loving others the way Jesus Christ loves us.  So what is sin compared to salvation in Jesus Christ?

Sin is the chain maker.  Salvation is the chain breaker.  Sin binds us to things.  Salvation frees us.  Sin tells us we are worthless.  Salvation tells us we are worth more than we realize.  Sin leads to death.  Salvation leads to life eternal.

No matter how you feel about society, no matter how you feel about the current social, economic or political environment, sin is the reason we are where we are today.  It has been used by Satan to ensure that our lives are chained to the slavery and division.  Sin has placed in our hearts that some lives matter while others do not.  Sin has told us that one person is a liar and the other is a scam artist.  Sin informed us that one group of people are to blame for the ills of our society.  Let me make sure I am very clear.  Satan is using our sinful lives to bind us, destroy us and ultimately convince us to reject our Creator.

In the words of the famous theologian Francis Schaeffer “How then shall we live?”

“…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, 12 so that you will [i]behave properly toward outsiders and [j]not be in any need.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

“19 [a]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…” – Matthew 28:19-20

These two passages show us what our lives are really about.  These passages show us that our goal is to live a quiet life, mind our own business and work with our hands.  We are to be productive, kind, loving and ready to serve others.  We are to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ by our testimony.  We are to make disciples, not division.  We are to do the work that has been commanded to us.  Did you notice that?  Both of these were commanded.  They were not suggestions.  These are things we are to do.

What I will say next is for those who claim to the servants of Jesus Christ….

WAKE UP CHURCH!  We are not doing what God has commanded us to do.  We do not love others when we bash our government leaders and others via social media.  We are not living how God commanded us to live when we shout from the mountain top about our rights and forget to love those who are lost.  We are living in sin if we do not do the things commanded us.

Our goal in this life is to spread the love of Jesus Christ and make disciples.  That’s it!  We may have the “American right” to speak our peace, but is that the way Jesus handled it?  He didn’t go after the political leaders, he went after those who claimed to be His.  He toppled the tables and drove the money changers away because they had no respect for where God’s people gathered.  He didn’t go after the Roman government or voice his discontent with Caesar.  He simply served others, drew people to Himself, showed them compassion and reprimanded the religious leaders who were enslaving their own people with rules and regulations.

The good news about all of this, is we still have time to turn to God.  We NEED to turn back to God and repent of our lack of love.  We NEED to repent of our sin of division and disrespect.  This country CANNOT change unless Jesus Christ is involved and this country CANNOT change unless WE (the Church) repent of our sin and change how we do things.

If we (the Church) do not change, our country will run the high risk of extinction.  The United States is not mentioned in Scripture nor is it implied.  The United States is not the center of this world but God has used us to further His Gospel all over the world.  His Gospel is the center of all creation, not us.

I hope you understand the tears I shed for us.  I pray that we all change our current travels on the wide path (which leads to destruction) and turn toward the narrow path (which leads to life eternal).  Only Jesus Christ and His Gospel will change us.  Please join me in repenting of our sin and making a positive difference by refraining from passionate division and disrespect.

May God have mercy and grace on us as we all seek to change the direction of this country toward Him.  God bless and encourage someone today.

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What is Your Greatest Passion? – Greatest Life Series Pt. 2


When you think of the word “passion”, what do you think of?  Do you think about the movie where two people have a “passionate moment”?  What about business?  Have you ever heard of someone pursuing their “passion” and being successful?  Now think of those who are in the news yelling and screaming about change.  Aren’t they described as being “passionate”?  In my opinion, the word “passion” is grossly overused and totally misunderstood.

Recently, I was speaking with someone regarding a situation where they upset me.  As loving as I could muster, at that time, I asked the individual several questions, asking them to explain their actions.  Their response to me was, “I can hear your passion.”  After think about this for a moment, I thought to myself, “This isn’t passion.  This is being pissed.”   If it was “passion”, my strong desire would have led me to do something that I would probably regret.  Luckily for everyone involved, we were able to come to an agreement that we would never agree.

The term “passion” is used for so many things.  When someone voices their anger, we call it passion.  When someone pursues their dreams, we call it passion.  When someone is in “love” or “lust”, we call that passion.

So what is passion?  In the simplest of terms, passion is an overwhelming desire that leads one to action.  This could be negative or positive action, but in all cases, the overwhelming desire leads to action.  What is your greatest passion?  What are you so excited about that it led you to action?  Not just saying words, but actual action?

In Scripture, we see a verse that so many people in our culture have become familiar with…

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son.  That whoever believes in Him, will not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

Have you ever thought about this in detail?  Have you ever considered its implications?  If not, let me share some quick thoughts.

First, this verse says that “God so loved the world…”  In the Greek, the word “loved” translated from the word “agapos”.  We get the term “agape” or “unconditional” from this word.  It is a form of decided unconditional love.

Second, what did this “agape” love trigger?  “…that He gave His only Son.”  Did you catch it?  The God of the all creation unconditionally loved us so much that it led Him to action, to send His only Son.  God was so passionate about us, that it led him to act accordingly.  What’s even more mind blowing is this verse:

“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.  This command I received from my Father.” – John 10:17-18

Isn’t that amazing?  After John wrote how much God passionately loved the world, Jesus confirms this with stating, “No one takes it (my life) from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.”  Jesus was so obedient to the Father, that He too passionately loved the world.  So much so, that He gave His life up for us.

Think of it this way.  God (Father) passionately loved us so much that He gave His Son (Jesus).  Jesus passionately loved the Father and the world that He gave His life up by his own willingness.  He wasn’t surprised to see Judas and the soldiers when they came for Him.  It wasn’t unexpected when they beat Him and cursed at Him.  He wasn’t surprised or shocked when He hung on the cross and suffered.  In fact, it was Jesus who asked the Father to forgive us, because we didn’t realize what we were doing.  Jesus was passionately in love with you and I.  His love led Him to action.

So, what is your greatest passion?

Maybe, you love your career so much that you work as much as you can.  Is it possibly your kids or spouse?  You desire to spend as much time with them that even your work schedule revolves around them?

Whatever, your “passion” is, may I suggest that if you are not passionate about Jesus Christ, you are not living your “greatest life”?  We all have dreams and goals.  We all want to achieve the best for our families.  We all desire to be the best, but without Christ, our lives won’t be the greatest they can be.

As I stated earlier, Jesus was so passionately in love with the Father and us, that He gave His life for us.  It is because of Christ and Christ alone, that we can go to the Father and worship.  It is because of Christ alone, that we can pray with confidence.

We call the time surrounding Easter, “The Passion of Christ”.  This proves that our understanding of what passion is, is correct at times.  Those who termed that time of the year understood that His love for us was so great, so real, it led Him to take action.

We didn’t deserve His passionate love and still don’t.  Yet, Christ in all His understanding decided to love us with action.  So what should our response be?

I don’t know about you, but for me, our response is logical.  We should respond to Christ by accepting His free gift of eternal life.  Then once we do that, He places a “passion” in us to serve the Father.  That “inserted free passion” allows us show the love of Christ to others through action.

“Faith without works, is dead.” – James 2:17

Are we acting in a way that shows the passionate love of Christ?  Do we say things that show others how passionately in love He is with them?  When we take this perspective of Christ’s passion for us, we see the world differently.  We see what others can be in Christ, rather than who they are.  We act in love toward others, caring for them in every way.  Not just those we like, but also to those who hate us.

Living your greatest life, must include the passion of Christ.  Living your greatest life must include loving others like Christ loves us.  Living your greatest life must include a living, breathing, action packed life that displays the supernatural change that only God can do through Christ.  Live your greatest life and make Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior.  He passionately loves you.  What’s your action toward love going to be?

A Boy, a Coat and a Valuable Lesson (Starting Off Life Right – Pt.2)


Have you ever had a sibling that felt it was necessary to rat you out constantly?  What about a kid in school?  Has a co-worker ever told your boss things that makes you look bad?  Well, if so, then you will be able to relate to our next “Life Starter”, Joseph.

A bit of background first….

Joseph was one of twelve sons of Jacob.  He was the 2nd youngest, which means that Jacob was older when Joseph was born.  Eventually, all the sons of Jacob would one day be the “tribes of Israel”.  One day they would be the fulfillment of Abraham’s promise from God.  Unfortunately, Joseph needed to go through some things that seemed difficult.

As I was reading over the story of Joseph, there were a few things that came to mind.  First, Joseph is introduced to us as a “tattle-tale”.  We see that Joseph had ‘spoken badly about his brothers to his father’.  There is no reference as to why, so what I am about to say is strictly ‘opinion’.  I personally believe Joseph was not only immature, but felt that he could go further in life by telling on his brothers.  If not, he was at least not “street smart”.  Obviously, this would make his brothers angry.

Next, we see that Jacob favored Joseph over all his brothers.  In fact, Jacob made a special garment for Joseph.  It was the most beautiful of garments in that day.  No where does it say that Joseph didn’t want it or didn’t wear it.  Later in the story we see that Joseph wore the garment regularly.

Lastly, we see Joseph telling his brothers about two dreams he had.  He had told his brothers that they would one day bow down to him.  But we do not see where God told him to inform his brothers of this.  It was as if Joseph, having these dreams, understood what they were, but because of his immaturity, he decided to brag about them.

So what did his brothers eventually do?  Well, if you hated your sibling that much, what would you have done?  If you are like me, you would not talk with them, cut off all communication with them and regard them as non-existent.  However, Joseph’s brothers wanted to do more than that.  They wanted to kill Joseph.  If it wasn’t for the youngest brother, Benjamin, they would have.  However, Benjamin convinced them to fake Joseph’s death and sell him into slavery.

One day while Joseph was doing his chores, his father asked him to report what his brothers were doing.  Notice it doesn’t say rat out or talk badly, it was simply to be an update.  When Joseph arrived, the brothers jumped him, tore the garment that his father had made and threw Joseph into a pit.  They slaughtered a lamb, dipped the garment into the blood and sold Joseph to an Egyptian.  This is where I personally believe that Joseph started to understand what he had done.

Growing up in a church, I was always told that Joseph was simply being obedient to his father.  However, after reading this story more and more, I am convinced that Joseph didn’t start out life that great.  I also believe that it wasn’t until he was sold into slavery, that Joseph started to understand why all this “bad” stuff had happened.

Despite his rough beginning, Joseph ended his life on the right track.  While he was still young, he worked for a high Egyptian officer.  The officer’s wife wanted to commit adultery but Joseph wouldn’t have it.  Joseph understood that to commit adultery was not just a sin against himself and his boss, but it was a sin against God.  Unfortunately, Joseph ended up in prison because of lies the officer’s wife told.

While in prison, he was regarded highly by the guards and was put in charge of the inmates.  There were two other inmates that were there and were about to be released.  Joseph asked them to do him a favor and mention what had happened to him to the king.  But these two men forgot about Joseph.  It wasn’t until the king had a dream he couldn’t explain that one of them spoke up.

Over time, Joseph was released from prison and became the highest ranking officer (besides the king), in Egypt.  During Joseph’s reign, he was able to bring all of Egypt and his family through a famine. He also confronted his brothers and all was worked out between them.

Now think about this for a moment.  How many times do we go through horrific events only to ask, “God, why is this happening to me?”  I know I’ve asked that question.  What would happen if ‘bad things’ that happen to us were God’s way of preparing us for greater things in the future?  What if the bad was to be turned to good?  Isn’t that one of the promises of God.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, and have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28 (NIV)

If ‘in all things’ means good or bad, then we see here that whether we face good times or bad times, God will work so that it will all turn out good and it will be because of His purpose, not ours.

We may start out life badly or make bad decisions, but God is able to take those bad situations and turn them around to profit the Kingdom.  When we see the kingdom growing because of our bad circumstances, we will be joyous through our trials.

Back in April, I watched a good friend of mine enter the Kingdom of God.  Prior to his death, we would pray with another friend of ours.  It was amazing to see my friend, who was in process of dying, turn to us and say, “It is okay for me to suffer now.  So long as others see Christ in it.”  He was only a Christian for a few years, but learned a lesson that most of us ‘older’ Christians haven’t learned…to trust Christ withe everything.

It was through my friend’s suffering that more people heard about Christ.  Until the day before he died, the visiting nurse had just started and in his pain he asked the nurse, “Do you know who Jesus is?”  She responded, “I’ve heard.”  His response was, “Then we need to talk.  We are going to have many discussions on Jesus.”

Until his last breath, he wanted others to know about Jesus.  This same nurse was there with us when he died.  As I cried as my friends feet, telling him that he did a great job and to let go, she sobbed not understanding what had just happened.  It was right after he took his last breath that I was able to share with her about the love of Christ.  In fact, at least 2 others asked about Christ because they saw something that was strange to them.  Even though we were saddened, we understood that one day we would see each other face to face, rejoicing in what God had done in our lives.

One day, I hope my life ends just as good as my friend’s and Joseph’s.  Our lives may not start out the way we want them to, but remember, it is not about us but about the Kingdom of God.  Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.

God bless and encourage someone today.

If You Don’t Think Your Loved….Read This


Have you ever felt you weren’t loved?  Did you ever have the feeling that the world was against you?  Was there a time in your life you doubted anyone could understand what you were going through?

Many people go through life feeling like no one understands their problems or circumstances.  They think God has some sick plan to torture their life while blessing others.  Depending on our circumstances, maybe we feel lost, lonely and afraid.  Well in this blog, I will show you how much your loved.

The Bible starts out with a book called Genesis, which basically means “the beginning”.  It the start of a series of books that have stories spanning thousands of years.  What became interesting to me was that during the first chapter we see God not only creating the entire universe and life contained within that universe, but we also see God desiring to make human life.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God, he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

He had just created all the stars, planets, galaxies, birds, fish and beasts.  Instead of having his own little zoo, he creates people.  Why would He do that?  As we read we find out that God created a man He called Adam.  As God brings the animals to Adam to name, he also observes how Adam interacts with them.  This is when Scripture shows us some insight.

“But for Adam no suitable helper was found.” – Genesis 2:20b

God noted that Adam needed someone and not something.  He saw how Adam interacted with His creation but decided that Adam having no suitable helper was not a good thing.  So God puts Adam to sleep and creates a woman out of Adam’s rib.

Now we have all probably heard this story before, but you may be asking how this shows love toward you or how someone else understands your circumstances?  Well, God saw that Adam needed a helper, not wanted but needed.  There was an unmet need in Adam’s life, a need for a relationship.  Adam desired to be loved.  He desired to have someone else respond to his love toward them.  So the only suitable helper for him was a woman.

Why would God decide to go down this road, especially this way?  Later on, we find Adam and Eve being tempted by a serpent.  After both Adam and Eve sin they hide and cover their nakedness.  Then the Bible says this…

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” – Genesis 3:8

Did you see that?  Both Adam and Eve knew the sound of the Lord.  They knew what God sounded like.  Although not stated, it is a logical conclusion to understand that God, Adam and Eve must have spent some time together.  They knew what His steps sounded like.  For a short time, Adam, Eve and God had a relationship that was right and perfect.  Once Adam and Eve sinned, that relationship was tarnished.

We see more examples of this in Scripture.  We see God calling Abraham into a relationship with Him.  We see God calling a group of people as His own, the Israelites.  We see God spending time guiding His people for forty years in the desert.

In Ezekiel, God gives Ezekiel a mission, to be a watchman for Israel and Judah.  He was told to warn them about their sin.  He tells Ezekiel to be in a relationship with God’s people and take care of them.

Why would God want to create a universe, where one planet has creatures made in His image that rebelled against Him, yet at the same time seeks them out to have a relationship with Him?  Simply, because He loves YOU!

He loves us so much that He sends Jesus to live with us, eat with us and discover life with us.  He loves us so much that Jesus made a conscience decision to live a servants life knowing He would one day have to die a horrible death.  He loves us so much that on the cross, Jesus cries out to God and says, “Father forgive them, because  they don’t understand what they are doing.”  Jesus actually cries out to God to forgive those who tortured Him.

After Jesus died and rose again, he told His disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit.  Once the Holy Spirit came to the disciples, they were commanded to leave and tell others about Jesus.  Jesus felt it was so important to have a relationship with us that He sent the Holy Spirit to guide us, teach us, discipline us and talk with us.

In fact, Scripture says that Jesus suffered all of what we experience so that we would not be alone in our suffering.  The New Testament commands Christians to be in a relationship with others, telling them about Jesus.

When we look at Scripture as a ‘one story at a time’ view, we miss the actual picture, God seeks to have a relationship with us.  When we look at our circumstances as “one story at a time”, we fail to see how those bad circumstances can be used for a much larger purpose than us.

This past year, I lost a close friend of mine to cancer.  Until his very last breath, he always smiled, praised God and asked everyone who saw him if they knew Jesus.  This was a testimony of God’s love toward mankind.

In the past month, another friend of mine ended up doing things that landed him in prison.  Time after time, people talked with him about the love of God, yet he chose the opposite path.  A day or so ago, his mother told me that he is now reading the Bible, seeking God and “testing the waters” to see how much God loves him.

Two very different stories, with different outcomes, yet one purpose.  To tell the love of God toward mankind.  No matter how bad things get in this world, whether sickness, poverty and even death, God loves us.  He allows each of us to suffer in unique ways for the purpose of sharing His love toward mankind.

Don’t ever give up!  Don’t ever think you are alone.  You are not alone.  Someone out there is going through the same type of suffering as you are.  Just ask God to bring them into your life and show you how much God loves you.

God Bless and encourage someone today.

Is Faith Blind? (Thinking Challenge #4)


So, is faith blind?  Is faith a matter of believing in something that we cannot see, hear, taste, touch or feel?  What is faith?  Is it some psychological state of mind that allows us to believe in something or someone that does not exist?  When someone says, “I have faith in God”, what does that really mean?

At a time in my life, I had to reconcile these questions.  Growing up in the church, I had heard the word faith over and over again, but the only definition given was Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

But what does that really mean?  It almost seems like a contradiction rather than a definition.  I mean, everyone else says that faith is hoping in something that you can’t see, feel, hear or touch.  Even the dictionary says faith is a “firm belief in something for which there is no proof”.  Now we have just encountered a problem.  The Hebrews 11 definition seems to contradict the dictionary.  Oh no, what ever shall we do?

Let me ask this, ‘If faith is a belief in something that cannot be proven’, then it would come to reason that the faith is a theoretical based system.  Let’s think about this for a moment. If something cannot be proven, but someone believes in it, it would then become a theory until completely proven, right?

In science, something cannot be considered a law of nature, physics or chemistry until there is solid evidence that the theory exists.  When a specific number of proofs are then seen, in a tangible way, it is only then called a law.  So what about evolution?  Why is it still called ‘the theory of evolution’ if everyone believes it to be true.  A lot of people have “faith” in our current scientific “discoveries” so should this theory be called ‘the law of evolution?’

So if faith in God is simply a belief that cannot be proven, then is God simply a theoretical mindset?  Or is there something else to this?  Is it possible that God really exists in a tangible and real way?  Do demons and angels really exist or was that postulated by some uneducated morons and imbeciles?  If these are just simply uneducated, then why do so many people, who are highly educated, still believe in God?

Here is what I believe about faith….

The real definition of faith is – ‘allegiance to duty or a person; fidelity (accurate) to one’s promises’.  This means that faith is not just something fly-by-night.  It is a commitment to God caused by believing in His very accurate promises.

The word fidelity means accurate to the extreme.  It is so accurate that it has to be true.  So, faith is a total commitment to God and believing in God’s promises, so how does this equate to the Hebrews  11 definition?  Here it is again, piece by piece…

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for….” – Knowing and completely trusting…(the original definition of hope is trust)

“…and certain of what we do not see.” – Knowing (with evidence) in a God we cannot physically see.

So faith is simply knowing and completely trusting in a God we cannot see but the evidence exists to allow him to be Truth and not theory.  So what evidence do we have?  This is where you come in.  Simply reply with what tangible evidence you have that God is alive and well.  If you feel God doesn’t exist, then reply with the tangible evidence you have.  Either way, I am looking for your input.  Remember, whatever evidence you bring must be tangible and not theoretical.  I’ll update this later on, depending on the responses.

Let’s see what you come up with.  God bless and think today.

Works or Faith Alone (Thinking Challenge #2)


This is the 2nd installment of the Thinking Challenge.  If you haven’t read the last post (the 1st in this series), I am challenging everyone to reconsider what they had been taught growing up.  This is a challenge to think a bit about what we believe and why.  If you have any opinion or dare to take this challenge, I will be doing this for the rest of this month and possibly next month, depending on responses.  READY for the next challenge?

James 2:14-26 talks about faith versus deeds (works).  James is asking a very critical question to those Jews who called themselves Christians.

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save him?” (vs. 14)

Is James suggesting that deeds and faith make you a follower of Christ?  This would seem to contradict what Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”  So is there a contradiction here or is there some way we can clearly tell if both of these statements are correct?

Now look at 1 John 5:1-4, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.  This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.  And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Now ask yourself this…Are James and John right and Paul wrong or is there another way to rectify this potential problem?  Let’s look at what James says about believing in God, “You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” (James 2:19)

Oh boy, now it gets confusing.  First James says that you have to do deeds and have faith.  Then Paul says it is by faith alone in Jesus that saves us. Finally, James and John seem to disagree with each other as one says that everyone who believes in God is a child of God, while the other says that even demons believe in God and shudder.

Hmmm.  Sounds like a predicament awaits and some answers are needed.  How would you rectify this sticky situation if someone asked you these questions.  Respond and let me know how to satisfy both sides of this argument.

The reason for this one is mainly because some Evangelical Christians believe in faith alone, while others say that our works get us into heaven.  Yet other Protestant beliefs say that faith alone doesn’t get us into heaven, we must also do works to.

Again, the challenge is here….Let’s see if anyone is up to this challenge.  I can’t wait to see how you respond.

God Bless and Think Today…

The Day Religion Was Abolished…


It’s been a week or so since I last blogged.  Partially because I had what some call “writer’s block” and partially because of pure laziness.  However, as I have been thinking about what to write over the past few days, I thought it might be nice to imagine what some may consider the near future.

In a story I began to write, called Serpula, the main character, Dr. Jordon Ronnel, had to deal with many mentally ill patients who thought they could speak to plants and animals.  He was an educated man, who knew what was best for his patients.  His story begins with his remembering his childhood.  His father was an abusive alcoholic and his mother believed that she could talk with animals and plants.

Over the years, he had to deal with this fact, his mother must have been mentally ill.  He learned that this belief in speaking with animals and plants was a notion that came from an ancient religion called “Fatherism”.  Unlike the other world religions, this one taught that, another character, Father, made everything seen and unseen.  The followers of Father were called Children.  Allegedly, Father gave his children the ability to understand things that no one else could understand.  They could read and see things that others could not see or understand.  So society called then mentally insane.

During the course of time, Dr. Jordon Ronnel, starts to hear the same things his mother had spoken.  As Dr. Ronnel tries to understand this mental illness, he is confronted with one fact that no one else understands.  Why was religion abolished?

In this story religion had been abolished because of the conflict that different religions had caused.  One religious belief conflicted with another so those societies decided to go to war.  Others felt that they were made to believe their religion, but the government decided not abolish all religion.

So the question of the day is, “What would you do if religion was abolished?”

In the Bible, Daniel had to deal with this problem.  Daniel was known for his wisdom and knowledge.  He was known for doing the right thing, all the time.  Unfortunately, there were some in his day that believed Daniel was incorrect and wanted him dead.

“It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss.  Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.” – Daniel 6:1-5 (ESV)

So what did these men do?  They convinced the King to make a law that said “If anyone prays to any god other than the king, they would be sent to the lion’s den”.  AMAZING!  But Daniel decided to continue his time of prayer…

“When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.” – Daniel 6:10 (ESV)

Daniel decided that it was more important to do what God said rather than listen to men.  His decision did cost him.  Daniel was caught praying and thrown into the lion’s den.  There God closed the mouths of the lions (which if you study history is a miracle of itself as those lions were starved purposefully) and Daniel just sat there.

Ultimately, Daniel was released and his accusers were thrown into the same lion’s den where they did not have the same fate as Daniel.

Again, I ask the question, ‘What would you do if religion was abolished?”  It sounds like a far fetched question, but the realization is that it is possible.  It has happened before and probably will happen again.  So what would you do?  Would you give in and never worship again?  Would you defy the law and continue what you know to be right and true?

These questions are the type of questions I ask myself on a regular basis.  They help keep me strong both mentally and emotionally.  They also allow me to take a “gut check” on what I really believe.  I hope that sometime today, you will take the time to ask yourself the tough questions.  This way, if someone ever asks you, “What do you believe”, you can say with strength, “I know this is true…”

God Bless and encourage someone today.