Do You Realize What God Can Give You?

II Timothy 1:1 –“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus: verses 7 & 8 – “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.  So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.”

Over the years I have noticed many Christians have a problem with their past and overcoming their guilt.  Paul, in writing to Timothy tells him he has a clear conscience.  Most of us find it is easy to accept being forgiven.  Our problem is how do we forget?

Scripture promises us a new life through Christ that starts at conversion.  This new life is a time given to preparing for life after death and living throughout all eternity with God.  It is not necessarily what we do but what we believe and the knowledge that we receive from studying the Bible.  Prior to Christ’s coming, personal salvation was not possible.  Christ came to destroy death.  That does not mean we as humans will not die.  However, physical death is just the beginning for those who have been saved through Christ.  This is one of the greatest promises in the Bible. Christ brought to Christians that they will become immortal.  They shall rise and live again and death is not the end.  Paul tells Timothy what Christ commissioned him to do was proclaim the Good News, the gospel.

Paul continually taught that God was in control and He would protect the souls of those who accepted salvation.  No matter what situations or problems occurred he could fully trust God and that nothing could separate him from God.

It is not uncommon for those who have received salvation and have made a commitment to live a holy life to be suddenly energized and eager to take on the world.  This places them in the unenviable position of reversing themselves.

I have witnessed too many Christians who downplay the seriousness of negative influences.  No two Christians are defeated in precisely the same way, yet there is a definite pattern to the traps in which they fall.  The four most common traps are directly related to our worldly natures and our spiritual natures.

Every Christian or non-Christian has an inherent need to love and be loved.  It is well-known that love can be a source of inner strength or it can be the source of individual weakness and misery.  All Christians should understand that God fulfills the need to love and be loved and He does it unconditionally.  Be alert to the possibility of finding the wrong kind of love in the wrong place.  No one is immune to being attracted to a person of the opposite sex.

The need to belong and be accepted is universally recognized.  We know that teenagers take up everything from using drugs to committing acts of violence in order to belong.  There is no difference with adults; they may just be a little more discreet.  We must remember we have become a member of the most privileged group in the history of the world.  No other group has the gift of salvation and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

We all need an identity or the need to be someone.  Christians must know God has given them an identity.  Our worldly natures tempt us to fulfill this need of identity through careers and business successes.  No matter how successful, well-known or even famous, it will only last for a matter of time.  Galatians 1:10 – “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Finally, everyone needs a purpose in life.  The enemy is once again ready to set the trap by leading people, one step at a time, into believing that career success and the financial rewards that often accompany it, are one’s only true purpose in life.  Nothing in Scripture indicates that God opposes successful careers, wealth, position or the pursuit of personal interest, recreational or otherwise.  In fact, we have every reason to believe that God will bless us in those endeavors.   Our true purpose is to serve God by living a holy life, be accountable to and dependent upon Him and live at peace with others.

Who but God can meet all of our basic needs?  Do you want what God can give you?

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Christ returns to judge each one of us—part two.

Revelation 20:13b – “each person was judged according to what he had done.”

Each day I wake up about 30 minutes before I need to get up. This past week I have been thinking about this verse: we will be judged by what we have done. It is only in the past few years that I have been able to understand how God would know everything thing we have ever said or done. This morning a number of things came to mind how this could occur.

As a child I lived on a very small farm with no electricity or running water and a wood burning stove. Today our office has motion detectors and cameras that are connected to our cell-phones. If someone goes into our office at any time, we can see who it is if we are hundreds of miles away. If I make a call to financial businesses they tell me I am being recorded. If I call a client they answer: “Hello, Don” because they can tell who is calling. What I can fantasize for the future I could never have done as a child with my limited background.

Let’s assume that as we were born and when our spirit entered our body it was miraculously connected to a computer in heaven the size of a pin head. It records everything we say and takes a picture of everything we do just as our cell-phones. I have heard people say they were in an accident and believed they were going to die and their life past before them. Would you like to be reminded of every bad thing you have ever done?

In our office we have a monitor that records everything the cameras pick up and indicates the exact time a certain thing happens. If we want to erase anything we can do so. A number of years ago every sale made from our Ward’s cash registers was recorded on a central computer and at the end of each day the tape was taken out and transmitted by wire to Chicago. They had a record of every item sold that day. From that information they re-supplied our inventory and kept tract of our sales. A week later we would take the tape and run it through a de-gauzer that erased everything on it.

Here is the point I want to make! When Christ says we will be forgiven of our sins, don’t you think they can be deleted and remembered no more? When we get to the Day of Judgment isn’t it possible that only the positives will be revealed for those members of God’s family? Let’s assume a person never accepted Christ as their Savior. Would you want to stand before Christ and see and hear every bad thing you have ever done? Then have Christ say: You are not a part of my family. You shall be cast into the Lake of Fire.

Let’s use the above concept. Everyone’s spirit is connected to God’s computer system. When we receive the Holy Spirit He acts to advise us what we are communicating to heaven. He realizes that all of the good we do will be sent to the “Book of Deeds”. He is continually encouraging us to be humble, love others, be kind and control negative emotions. He is looking out for our best interests. He knows the more good we do, the more at peace, the more joy and the more hope for eternity we will have. We must keep in mind that every minute He is there for us. Do we forget Him, do we ignore Him, do we reject His Guidance? When we realize how connected we are to God why do we fear? Why do we question when testing and trials occur in our lives? Aren’t we aware that our Father God is molding us, His children, because He has a plan for us?

When we feel lonely or unworthy accept the fact that we are connected to God who wants what’s best for us. We are not alone! We are not unworthy as none of God’s children are. If we are living according to the teachings of Christ we are achievers. Think on these things and see if your faith and your hope don’t improve.

Our battles in life can be overcome.

We are told we have a mind and soul that are influenced by our flesh or by our spirit. If we are mostly allowing the Holy Spirit to direct our thinking we can usually live a less sinful life. However, when we permit our flesh to direct our actions we probably would live more like the world. If we should live as the world lives we might encounter problems from a negative perspective and become either overly discouraged or depressed. It would be more likely that we try to solve our problems by ourselves rather than trusting God to meet our needs.

A number of years ago a very devote Christian lady we know was encountering some problems in her life. She became very depressed. She allowed her depression to become an escape from her problems. Rather than trusting God to meet her need, she became involved in an affair. She then developed a guilt complex that she couldn’t seem to get over. She was sharing the situation with my wife and how it had affected her life. Instead of overcoming her depression it became worse and caused anger and loneliness. Of course, she allowed her flesh to make her decisions.

I heard a story how doctors believed that the mind, under certain circumstances, can cause one’s body to heal on its own. They had two patients who needed knee operations. For the first patient they did what they normally would do in order to surgically fix the problem. The second they made three minor punctures and stated they had used a new procedure. They both were wrapped equally and afterwards both were treated the same. Two years later they both had no knee problems and x-rays indicated both had healed. Surgery healed one and the mind or a miracle healed the other.

My wife was having tremendous pain with a foot. X-rays indicated the need for surgery. A nurse told her to take a tennis ball and roll the bottom of her foot back and forth on the ball. She did this constantly for days. She has had no problem with pain in her foot for the past two years.

We make choices every day. When problems come and they always will, do we ask: “God why aren’t you meeting my need?” Or, do we say: “God, I know you are with me. Please help me make the right decisions and get through this situation?” How can God build our faith and trust unless we see Him getting us through the valleys of life? The greater our knowledge that we acquire through Bible study the more wisdom God gives to us. Our relationship to God and our trust factor can be a very positive effect on our minds and bodies. We are told stress is probably harder on our bodies than anything else. Why would the Bible tell us not to worry? Disappointment and depression is normally caused by fleshly thinking and results in stress that can be damaging to our health.

Our spirits and minds have tremendous influences over our bodies and our well-being. Would you rather have your mind controlled by the flesh or by your spirit and the Holy Spirit? Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Do we not believe that God is in control and can change things? When problems come do they control us or do we, through Christ, control them? Therefore, we must stop conforming to the pattern of this world and have a mind that daily is being transformed and renewed to have the mind of Christ. Once we are developing the mind of Christ there is no longer a need to become depressed. Maybe disappointed or frustrated but only temporarily.

Where is God in all of the world’s problems?

This is my 124 posting. If you have not read the previous three postings this posting may not be as meaningful.

It has always amazed me how many people do not believe the Bible is 100% inspired by God. As a result some believe God has removed Himself from the world and is sitting on the sidelines. Some believe God is everywhere and in control of everything. Some believe God predestined everything so whatever happens we have no control over it. Others just believe there is no God. I believe the Bible tells me that God is everywhere and He can be in us and He is in control of all things. He wants to have a personal relationship with everyone who wants one under His conditions; which is to live in accordance to His will.

I believe if God can create planets and stars, hang them in the heavens and make sure they stay where they are suppose to be, He can inspire individuals to write exactly what He wants written. I do not believe God would allow a prophet to write that God made a promise that God does not intend to keep. So if His Word says He promised, I will not doubt it.

Psalms 103:18 – “The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.” What does rule over all mean to you? To me it means He is in control. Doesn’t it mean nothing happens that He does not permit? Is there some power greater than God that is responsible for what happens? No!

Proverbs 21:1 – “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.” Does it not mean God is in charge of whoever is dictator, king, president or prime minister?

I believe that whatever has happened God either allowed it to happen for a reason or He caused it to happen. There are a number of times in Scripture that God allowed evil to happen to serve His purpose. The story of Job is one example as well as Joseph. Evil caused both to suffer tremendously. Yet God knew about it, allowed it to happen and their results were very positive. Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Would you not imagine Job and Joseph going through their misery were wondering—why God? How could a young son who dies of an accident, “work for the good”? An illustration was used that a person early in life died and went to heaven. He was there just minutes. He looked around and saw the indescribable beauty. He was asked: “Would you rather stay here or go back to earth?” The answer was: “Stay”! Death does not have to be the end. To a believer it is the beginning.

Do I believe the present administration and congress is there as a result of God’s direction? Is the world going through some difficult financial times by accident? Are many individuals struggling like never before throughout the world? Did God allow the Holocaust for a reason? Would the Israeli nation be there today had the Holocaust not have happened? It is another example of evil that caused a positive result.

God has a plan for every believer and every nation. No one on this earth knows all that God has planned. Even Christ could not determine the end times when He was here. God’s ways are not our ways. But I believe God is giving us a wakeup call. We are either in the end times or we are being given a preview of what the end-times could be like.

What I have learned from all of this is that no matter what situation I encounter God is in it with me. Everything that occurs is for a reason and God allowed it to happen. While it is going on, no matter how difficult our disasters, I know He loves me. Therefore, no matter what, I am not to get angry, depressed or seek revenge. As I have said before: “God, what am I to learn from this problem?” Why do I believe this? I believe the Bible is 100% accurate and this is what God’s Word tells me I must believe and do.

God Must Protect Israel

I have been advised to stop writing about Israel from response received from my recent blogs. I agreed it might be wise to post different topics in the future. However, I feel the Holy Spirit has given me insight into why God must protect Israel and I must share it.

My last two blogs intended to explain why God must protect Israel. Regardless of what the Israelis do God has promised to protect them from their enemies. The Old Testament, in particular, prophesied that Israel would again become a nation, God would curse anyone who cursed them and bless those who blessed Israel. The Bible states that Russia, Iran and others will attack Israel and no one will come to their support as America has always done. God alone would destroy the armies from the north.

If God breaks any one of His covenant promises to Abraham and the prophets, His enemies would use that to state the Bible is meaningless and God cannot be trusted. What if Israel was attacked, defeated and was completely destroyed? How much credence would you place in the Bible? The Old and New Testament states, in the end times, God will protect Israel from its enemies. When Jesus Christ returns to earth most Jews will accept Him as their Messiah.

God has used the Jewish nation and history to prove that He is Who He says He is. Eliminate God’s relationship with Israel, from Abraham until today, and you might as well throw out the Bible. As I previously wrote destroy Israel and our faith and trust in God and the Bible is shattered.

In my blog “Worst hurricane season in American history could be possible” I used the verse Genesis 12:3 – “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” If we are to take the Bible literally that would mean God has an obligation to curse any one who curses Israel. Is Scripture implying cursing and blessing individuals or would this apply to nations? When I am presented with facts that throughout history those nations who attacked Israel were retaliated against, it must also include nations. Therefore, should we not be concerned when our government is not supportive of Israel? At this time the U.S. has failed to support Israel in the latest test of their blockage and our administration continues to want them to give up covenant land. Should we not expect God to fulfill His promise? In the past it is possible that He has used hurricanes to tell us to support Israel. Thus, I suggested that if previous hurricanes were the curse then this year we might expect some tremendous damage. It is also possible that the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico could be a sort of payback. It all boils down to God must keep His promise that He made in Genesis 12:3.

When I read Scripture and God says He is going to do something should we not believe Him? Revelation 8: 8 – 9 – “The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.” When I see pictures on TV showing red-colored oil spurting up I am reminded that one-third of living creatures in the sea died and a third of the ships were destroyed. Is this a preview of what is to come? Is this a warning, a curse or just an accident? I truly do not know and God certainly has not shared the answer with me.

Many Jews today believe as the Pharisees and the Sadducees did during the time Christ was on earth. Many have stated that Israel is now a secular nation. There is little the Jews have done to merit God’s protection. It is not about works. It is about grace and covenant promises. What does that tell us about God’s grace toward all sinners? To me it unequivocally tells what the Bible teaches and God says that I can accept and trust both God’s promise and grace to Israel and to sinners is absolutely true.

Why can’t people understand God’s relationship with Israel comes under New Testament grace and His protection of Israel is not earned, it’s a covenant promise? One of the most difficult beliefs for many Christians to understand and accept is God’s grace in salvation. Otherwise, we would not have so many legalistic believers. 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.”

Can’t we see what God is doing for Israel is what He promised He would do for anyone seeking Christ as their Savior? God’s promise to Abraham is very similar to the promise He makes to everyone of us. Grace was not given on the condition that we had to have lived a certain way before He would accept us because He will accept us as we are or have been. Abraham had to have faith and become obedient to God’s will. We must do the same to become a Christian and then live according to His will. The world is in turmoil and needs our prayers.

What proof is there a God? How do you know the Bible is the Word of God? (Information obtained from “As America has done to Israel” – J. P. McTernan)

The history of the Jewish people and the Prophecy that Israel would become a nation once again confirmed God’s commitment to Abraham that Israel would become a nation for the third time. And Israel became that nation once again when it was established on May 14, 1948 on land God had granted to Abraham. God made Abraham that promise over 4000 years ago. That covenant is the reason the Jewish people and the nation of Israel exist today.

Twice Israel was destroyed. In 586 the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar totally destroyed the nation, Jerusalem and the temple. After 70 years they returned to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. Some 650 years later in 70 AD the Romans totally destroyed Israel, Jerusalem and the temple. They were no longer a nation for 1,878 years. The Old Testament prophets predicted that the nation would again take place in the future, thus proving that God kept His word. June 1967, through another war, Jerusalem became the unified capital of Jerusalem. There is no other nation that was once totally destroyed and its people dispersed throughout the world and survived and Israel was driven out and twice destroyed. The Hebrew language was almost extinct. Today, the Israelis speak Hebrew their original language. One promise that is still to be fulfilled is the rebuilding of the Temple on the Temple Mount.

Beginning in 1880 Jews very slowing started coming back to Israel. Jews coming from Russia trickled in at first. Then came World War I and in 1917 many more Jews returned. After World War II and the Nazi Holocaust hundreds of thousands of Jews fled to Israel. Then came 1948 and Israel was attacked by surrounding nations. The war ended with Israel’s independence. For the next 23 years there was continual fighting. Next came the six day war of 1967 and Jerusalem was united with Israel. There has been continual fighting ever since. The problem has been over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. At one time 1/6 of Jerusalem included the Temple. The Bible states that the War of Armageddon will be in part over the possession of Jerusalem. God is in the process of fulfilling His promise.

Israel is the link to God. Many believe that if they destroy Israel they can prove that Israel has no God and the Bible is not true. Most nations of the world do not recognize God’s covenant with Israel. Some believe the Jews did have a covenant but it is no longer valid. God is using the birth of Israel to show that His Word is true. The Islamic religion does not believe the covenant was made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They believe it was made with Abraham and Ishmael. Whereas, the Christian Bible believes it was not with Ishmael but Isaac. (Genesis 17:19 – 21) – Therefore, they believe that what Allah promised was to Ishmael and it is their covenant.

Muslins controlled Palestine for most of the time since 638 yet could not prevent the restoration of Israel. For Muslins to recognize the nation of Israel would be an admission that their beliefs are wrong. Yet, our government believes that they can obtain a peaceful co-existence between the two. The rebirth of Israel shows the authority of the Bible as the Word of God and proof that the Koran and Mohammed are incorrect.

The 36th Chapter of Ezekiel makes it very clear that the property belongs to Israel. However, there are a number of Christian theologians who believe the covenant God had with Abraham was broken in Ad 70. They believe Christianity replaced Israel as God’s chosen people.

It was Zechariah who prophesied the restoration of Israel, but said that when the people returned it would be in unbelief toward God and the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. God also said He would judge any nation that tried to destroy Israel. Zechariah 12:9 – 10 – “On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem. And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” There will be a day when the Israelites will accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

If the restoration of Israel is not of God you would have to ignore all that has happened. We must not listen to the false teachers that teach differently. Christ warned to be careful and know your Bible because there will be many who will try to lead even the elite Christians astray.

The importance of FAITH, PEACE and JOY in HEALTH and LIFE

For most of twenty years as an elder I have had the opportunity to pray for those who have needed prayer for healing. James 5:14 – 16 – “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

I have struggled with the meaning that says: “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.” Not everyone, I or others have prayed for, are healed and some have passed away. One question I have always wondered about is how important is faith in healing? Research tells us that fear can actually kill. We have heard of people dying of shock resulting from an accident. Can fear cancel out faith?

Mark 6:5 – 6 – (Jesus) “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.” Mark 10:52 – “Go’, said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.”

I have written about this previously. However, Scripture that says “faith will make the sick person well” keeps me struggling for an explanation. Each week some of us receive a prayer list from our church asking that we pray for the sick. How many actually are healed? Why did some receive healing and others seemed not to? Was it because of a lack of faith on the people praying or the person asking for healing? You may have heard me say faith does not heal you; it takes the power of the Holy Spirit. But it takes faith on the part of the sick person to be healed and stressful-fear must be overcome. How about the person in a comma? They may not be aware that there is anyone praying for them. Then are the prayers of those praying for healing dependent upon the prayer’s faith?

In the 9th chapter of Mark a father asks the apostles to rid his son of an evil spirit and they couldn’t. When Jesus arrived He was frustrated at the apostles for not having enough faith. The father asked Jesus to rid the demon if He could. Mark 9:23 & 24 – “’If you can’? said Jesus: ‘Everything is possible for him who believes.’” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” The apostles asked Jesus why they couldn’t handle the demon. Jesus indicates that prayer was the key that unlocks and reveals faith. Effective prayer needs both an attitude of complete dependence and reliance on God.

Jesus then sent out His disciples with instructions to heal the sick. I don’t think the disciples prayed: “God if it is your will heal this sick person.” It is like saying: “God if you don’t want to heal this person you really don’t have to.” I still believe that God, in His way, answers every prayer of a faithful believer. He may not do it in the way we expect or in the time we want. But His love for us tells me He will do whatever is best for us. Many may not believe going to heaven can be God’s answer to prayer when we are praying for healing. Yet, it may be what is best but only God knows. Some people have been terrified of being sick and God took away their fear. That was His answer to prayer. It was then possible that they healed according to nature’s normal way or as a result of medical treatment. That I believe was God’s answer to the many who prayed for me. If our church had elders that miraculously healed the sick every time they were asked we would have a congregation of many, many thousands. People would come because of the healing more than to hear the gospel. This is what attracted most to Jesus, His healing and His miracles.

One thing I can attest to when going through a life and death situation is that the Holy Spirit can give you continual peace. John 14:27 – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Worldly peace usually means a lack of conflict. Christ’s peace is confidence that the Holy Spirit will comfort and guide us through any circumstance. There is no reason for our hearts to be troubled or should we be afraid.

For the past 26 years I have had a heart problem. I have had bypass surgery twice and angiogram procedures twice with stenches inserted. My cardiologist is amazed that I am alive. Through it all I have learned that faith can remove all fear. This has made me question how important is one’s faith and can fear block out faith? Fear can be a lack of faith and trust in God’s healing power as we learn in Scripture. When the doctor tells your family your heart is not strong enough for you to live and tells you your organs have just shut down and your color is as yellow as a lemon, knowing that you are in God’s hands can give you complete peace and joy knowing God cares. Thank God no matter what I have gone through, problems or in health, I have always felt the peace that only the Holy Spirit can provide. Were it not for answered prayers, faith and a deep peace and God’s healing hand I would not be writing to you.

Now let’s address the importance of faith and peace in life. Going through the deepest recession since the 1930s many have become scared, frustrated and to a degree hopeless. Ask them if they have any peace in their lives and the answer is unequivocally no and their stress is horrible. As a financial advisor with over 500 clients seeing their investment portfolios go down month after month was very disconcerting. Yes it is very disturbing. However, this is a time when we must completely put our trust in God that He will meet our needs. I had the same peace that was there when I was going through my physical problem. It was the same peace I believe Paul talks about having. I assume it comes from having knowledge of the Bible and believing in God’s promises. It may require reaching a certain spiritual maturity that allows complete trust and being totally dependent upon God. It is a peace that I believe every Christian can have. However, I believe it takes time to reach that trust factor with God before His peace overcomes all stress and hopelessness. Seek it out!

P.S. Each week as I receive the church’s prayer list, my heart aches for those who are going through some very serious situations. It reminds me of the story of the man who was complaining because he had no shoes until he saw another with no feet. We often just take for granted that life is to be one big bowl of cherries. However, many of us have been blessed, in general, with good health and few problems. Let us remember those unfortunate and the stress they are going through in our prayers and thank God for His blessings that we still have feet.

Do you feel unworthy? You must understand the meaning of grace.

I Timothy 1:12 – 17 – “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”

Paul was chosen by Christ to take the gospel to the Gentiles and much of the New Testament tells of his past. He was the worst of sinners. He says we should look at him and see how desperate he was. He then praises God and says if He can save me, empower and strengthen me, then by His grace He can and will do it for anyone.

Scripture says that Paul did not exaggerate his past. He approved the stoning of Stephen. His purpose, prior to being converted, an ultimate goal was to destroy Christianity and the church. He went from home to home dragging people off to prison. He yelled murderous threats to the Lord’s disciples. He was a huge part of the Jewish persecution of Christians. The Jews put some to death and others were placed into prisons. He did whatever he could to oppose the followers of Christ.

Regardless of everything that Paul said and did, once saved, God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit gave him the love for both believers and unbelievers. What Paul lacked God supplied. What He did for Paul He can and will do for each one of us because of His grace. As we know, grace is a gift and cannot be earned. Yet, many believers struggle with grace, which is given through Jesus Christ, believing that they must work and earn their way to heaven. Too often we set ourselves personal standards that we cannot reach or the church or church people do it for us. Frustrated and discouraged we feel like failures and unworthy to be children of God.

How does one become convinced we are forgiven and accept God’s grace? We must thoroughly understand the meaning of “grace” because it is major in comprehending what the New Testament is based upon and how God is different from the Old Testament. It may take reaching a certain spiritual maturity. But once we fathom the meaning of grace and can accept it, then Christ wants to show His unlimited patience in our lives. We then can become examples to others. So we may need to stop trying to make certain changes in our lives, which many cannot do and totally die out to our self-centered nature and let the Holy Spirit make those changes for us. But that can only be done by faith in Christ that God truly loves us regardless of our past, present or future. However, our part is to become obedient and accountable to the teaching of the Gospel. If we do not know what the Gospel teaches it makes it most difficult to feel accepted by God and feel worthy. We do not earn being worthy. We are made worthy by God through His Spirit. It is His gift and it is “free” to us. Do you have the faith to accept it?

There are three things that can make us feel worthy: faith, love and hope. First, faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ. To have faith requires certain facts. The Gospel is a simple message that God asks us to believe. The world continuously looks at a Christian to see how they treat other people and family. The Gospel repeatedly states that we are to love our brothers and if we have hate in our hearts we will not have eternal life with Christ. Lastly, hope is believing in the future and our lives in heaven and beyond. Why have love for Jesus Christ if there is no hope. Possibly it is the “hope” we have for eternal life that motivates us to have “faith” to accept and the “love” that comes from being transformed by the Holy Spirit.

It is the acceptance of God’s grace that forgives our sins. It is faith, love and hope that helps us understand that through Christ we are judged worthy to become God’s children. It is the devil who tries to defeat us through promoting negative thinking that we are just not worthy and God’s grace won’t change that! It is the Holy Spirit who is trying to convince us otherwise. To whom should we listen?

How Much Does God Love Us?

Have you ever been to a party where everyone was given a number and number one told a story to number two and on it goes? Two hours later number twenty tells the story and it is a little like the original story. At our Bible study John heard a lady on TBS tell her story. I will share how I heard it.

The lady had lost her father and her husband. Now her one and only young son had terminal cancer. The last few days completely consumed her. Once her son passed on and the funeral was over she could not seem to get on with her life.

One morning she woke up and went to the kitchen to make coffee. On the table was a letter. The letter starts out: Dear Mom – You will only be able to read this letter once and it will disappear. I just wanted to tell you that Jesus does not look anything like His pictures. He told me to sit on His lap and He would help me write this letter. Mom, you have no idea how beautiful the surroundings are. When I first got here dad and grandpa showed me all around. We are having a ball. Mom, I just wanted to let you know that I am o.k. Love, your son. She rose to get a Kleenex to wipe away her tears. She came back, sat down and the letter was gone.

If you are a doubting Thomas you may ask: is this something she imagined, is this for real? Could she have made up this story to get on TV? My attention was drawn to thinking just how much Jesus loves us. As I was reading Scripture it was sharing how the leper came to Jesus to be healed. Jesus reached out His hand and touched him. Something no one else would have ever done. The man was healed of his leprosy.

Assuming this lady’s story is true, (many knew her young son had passed away from cancer), this letter allowed this woman to get on with her life. God met her need. To the rest of us it gives just a glimpse of how much God loves us. God knows what everyone of us needs and He meets our needs. However, we believe our personal needs seem to be unlimited. If we lived in the slums of Calcutta, India our needs would probably be different than if we were raised in a very wealthy family in America. Are our individual needs greater than those living in Haiti?

How many times does God meet my need and I do not recognize it? Probably the more we have and the ease in which we live, it is unlikely we would be aware of how much God is in our lives compared to those Christians having very little.

It is stories like these and the many I have heard from foreign missionaries that give me the faith knowing each day God is aware of everything I do and each word I utter. He promises that if I have a need He will meet it. We may think we need a million dollars but God knows better. The greatest need we all have is to have the Holy Spirit within us actively guiding and checking us, giving us direction and a purpose for living our lives.

How does God meet most of our needs as American Christians? Spiritually! When we pray we should be sure to thank God for meeting the needs we may not even realize we have to be met.

The Rejection

Last March we received word that the book I wrote, with the help of Doug Lee and Dick Shine and according to our contract it would be printed January 2010. As I have mentioned previously, it was suggested that I start a blog. At first I was very hesitant and wondered if I had time and could I put something together each week. Seventy four blogs later and approximately 3500 hits to the blog we have been told the book will not be published.

My first response was: “God, what are we to learn and what do we do next”? The book was to help others; from the experiences we have had working with hundreds of people in the workplace. It is our belief that as Christians we have tremendous advantages. Whereas, we hear so many Christians indicating that being a Christian has many disadvantages at work.

We have been employees and we have been employers. We have worked with some fantastic people and some who were not. There are all kinds of bosses and then there are leaders. There are numerous differences between the two. It has been our intent to share what we have learned with others. Most employers are looking for people who are honest, dependable, loyal, hard working and have positive attitudes. Christians who strive to become Christ-like have those attributes. As Christians in the workplace there are many things we can do to enhance our productivity and acceptance. There are tips we thought we could share to make a Christian’s talents more marketable.

From the beginning we believed that if God wanted us to write a book it would get published and if not we could accept the outcome. Where do we go from here? Some of you have read enough of our blogs to know praying for future direction will be a priority. To continue writing the blog weekly will also be in my prayer.

For those of you who have read the blogs and if what has been written has been beneficial to you I would ask that you take a minute and also pray that God would give us direction. We have no desire to pursue seeking another publisher or continuing to write a blog if it is not God’s will. With prayer I am totally convinced that God will either open or close doors. Your prayers and comments would be appreciated!