Obedience Is A Requirement Of GOD

The more I have studied the Bible the more aware I have become of how important it is to God that we have an obedient spirit.   In the forth chapter of Genesis God is pleased with Abel because of his offering by giving the best.  God was displeased with Cain because he gave God what was left over.  God said to Cain “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” We must be willing to master sin that encourages us to put ourselves first and to become disobedient to God and others.  Can we do it in our own strength?  Probably we will not be able without the help of the Holy Spirit.  It was also Adam and Eve’s disobedience that caused their downfall.

We continue in Scripture and God makes very clear the importance of obedience: in Acts 13:22b – “God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’”  Almost everyone in the Bible that God blessed, we read of their willingness to do whatever God asked.  We read of Jonah and the great fish that God used to get Jonah to become obedient.   However, he finally obeyed God.  Gideon had to ask God for signs (fleeces) to confirm what God was telling him to do. Was it really God that wanted him to do what he believed was impossible.  Once the signs confirmed it was God, Gideon did exactly as God had asked.

We must realize the importance of doing God’s will.  How can we do it if we never study Scripture?  Would you want to stand before Christ on Judgment Day and be told you did not do the will of My Father?  Your reply: “I never knew what was required?”  Do you really believe that would be an acceptable answer?  We are told that our minds and attitudes need to be the same as that of Christ Jesus in order to be obedient.  (Phil. 2:5)  There was no doubt Christ was continually praying so that He could carry out Gods requests exactly as needed.

We are told in Philippians 2:6–11 “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledges that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

God hates a prideful heart.  Jesus gave up His omnipotence to come as a man to give an example as to how God wants us to live.  Christ humbled himself and was obedient to dieing on the cross.  If we are to please God, we must be careful not to want to be served by others but to be willing to serve.  We need to continually make an assessment to see if we are truly obedient to His will.

I Thessalonians 4:1–8  “As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.  For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.  It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.  For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.  Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.”

Living to please God must be every believer’s priority.  God requires each Christian to turn their lives over to Him.  We are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.  We are told to become sanctified and holy.  Sanctified means to separate ourselves from the world and give ourselves obediently to God.  We are told to prepare ourselves for heaven in the way we live.  The Bible teaches us to let the Holy Spirit take our sinful, self-centered nature, our old habits and behaviors and let them be transformed to emulate the life of Christ.

We may think living a Christian life can be done by accepting the do’s and don’ts taught in the Scripture.  Christianity is about a relationship with God and our willingness to please Him.  It seems many Christians find this hard to do.  One of the strengths of my temperament is loyalty.  This is probably the reason I find it easier to live to please God than those with other temperaments.

I do not believe God is pleased when we deliberately sin.    In the Old Testament, people were punished for disobeying God and Paul says we will be in verse 6.  I believe He continues to punish and in most cases it may be deferred until after death now that we live under grace.

The positives are that we find God will bless us in many ways beyond our expectations.  We will have peace, calm and happiness even going through life’s trials.  Our faith and trust in God continues to improve.  Our personal relationship with Him gets better.  The Holy Spirit becomes more powerful in our lives.  We become more positive and gain confidence and know that we have continual guidance and help from God and the Holy Spirit.

Defining Christian Leadership Both Good And Bad

As a store manager for 23 years I have attended more than 25 leadership one or two day training meetings. I spent one week in Chicago being taught how to train store managers to be leaders. I recently heard a sermon comparing the leadership of two men: King Saul and King David. Hopefully, I can share with you some attributes of good leadership.

God grieved that He had made Saul a king. (I Samuel 15:11) God said that David was a man after his own heart and he will do everything I want him to do. (Acts 13:22)

Both these men lived horrible lives. I have often wondered why some of the things King David did was inserted into the Bible. David was a lady’s man and had a number of wives and had many sons and daughters (I Chronicles 14:3) He had his friend Uriah killed so he could have his wife Bathsheba. (II Samuel 11:15)

What can we learn about leadership from these two kings according to Scripture? The prophet Samuel told King Saul that God wanted him to attack and destroy every one of the Amalekites leaving no one alive. Take nothing that they had. He disobeyed and kept their king alive and brought back some livestock. Another time Samuel did not come in time to offer a burnt offering to God so Saul did it himself. Samuel told Saul because of his continual disobedience He would no longer be king.

We learn that Saul was disobedient. He was unwilling to take direction. Being overly stubborn is not a positive attribute. He was in denial. When Samuel reprimanded him for not doing as God commanded he would not accept criticism and would blame it always onto someone else. He would not accept responsibility for his actions. He didn’t seem to be too disciplined and continued to do whatever pleased him. The more you read about King Saul the more arrogant he comes across and he has a fairly large ego. Power went to Saul’s head and he wasn’t too concerned about what Samuel or God told him to do. It appears he had a hard heart and not receptive to Godly guidance. Saul ended up falling on his sword and committing suicide.

King David appears to be just the opposite. II Samuel 5:23 – 25 – “so David inquired of the Lord, and he answered, ‘Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.’ So David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.”

King Saul was not concerned about the Ark of the Covenant that the Philistines had captured and placed in their Dagon’s temple. One of the first things King David did was to retrieve the Ark and bring it to Ekron. Prior to David making any major decision he asked God for guidance and direction. He was completely obedient. Anytime that He sinned and God through others brought it to his attention, he immediately accepted that he had sinned and repented by asking God for forgiveness. As a leader he was very disciplined and did exactly as directed by God. He had a servant’s heart and often was extremely kind to others.

I Samuel 16:7 – “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (This is in reference to King Saul.)

From a Biblical standpoint leadership is about the heart, one’s attitude toward God and to others. It all gets back to the two great commandments of Loving God and others. King Saul was more concerned about what was best for Saul. King David was more concerned about how he could please God and being just to those he ruled over. Which king would you prefer to be a citizen under? Here is a recap: One was disobedient, the other was obedient. One was in continual denial the other accepted responsibility. One king was arrogant and egotistical and the other had a servant’s heart and was kind to others. One was unreliable and the other reliable and dependable. One put him self first and the other put God first. One learned to listen intently and was able to change as needed and the other was too stubborn to listen and change. One king wanted all the glory and the other gave all of the glory to God.

King David made a lot of mistakes or sins. Yet, he was a man after God’s heart. He paid some horrible consequences for his sin but his heart always wanted to please God. Where is our heart? Is it on ourselves or focused on Christ, God and others? Do we have a servant’s heart and are we kind to others? Regardless of why we were allowed to see how badly an individual can live and still please God, it does not give us permission to deliberately sin. However, He is a God of second chances!

Here is what I have learned through lectures and actual experience. Leaders must make decisions. Every decision demands weighing the pluses and minuses of each choice. For example, how will the decision affect your long-term career goals? How will the decision affect your family? How will it affect your spiritual life and that of people with whom you associate, including those who you may be working for? Making decision begins with prayerful consideration of the known pluses and minuses. I always ask: “Are there any unintended consequences I am not aware about, God?”

We as Christians have an advantage in knowing that whatever decision we make, it is the right one. We may struggle for a while asking, “Should I, or shouldn’t I?” or wonder, “What would happen if I . . .” But once you’ve made your decision, you can throw yourself into your career with complete confidence that you are where you belong. The Christian who daily surrenders to the Holy Spirit can take the words of Solomon to heart: “For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared” (Prov. 3:26).

Believe me, if you are in tune with the Holy Spirit and consistently pray, the Lord will lead you into making the right decisions. I would never think of making a major decision without checking with God first. Sometimes we must be patient, for He doesn’t always answer in the first few minutes.

If the decision we make turns out to be completely wrong realize that God allowed it to happen for the purpose of teaching us. But I am describing a spiritually mature Christian leader who has the right heart. God placed His Spirit into our lives to help us make good and moral decisions.


This is written for anyone having periods of unhappiness.  There are a few requirements to guarantee happiness.  You must believe there is a God who loves you.  It is necessary to accept the Bible as God’s manual for living life to the fullest.  The Bible is a daily reading requirement to become knowledgeable with how one is to live their life as taught by Christ.

Here is the problem.  Most do not read or accept the Bible as God’s manual for life.  Many, who read it, do not understand it.  There are some who read regularly and understand but do not apply its principles to living.  The results are: most people live unhappy lives and try everything the devil proposes to become happy.  They think that accumulating an abundance of material things, fame or power will make them happy.  They learn that happiness is only temporary.  The fulfilling of greed and lust is the devil deceiving many to think that will bring them true happiness.

In ancient times people were ruled by kings, priests and religious authorities.  They told them what to do and what they were to believe and they had little choice.  At one time we are told that one-third of the world’s population were slaves.  Under those conditions very few lived happy lives.  But that is not how God had planned for us to live.

Genesis 1:26 – “Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”  NLT

God made us to be like Him.  But man sinned and was no longer like God. This nature changed man completely and it was this new self-centered nature that rebelled against God just as Lucifer and 1/3 of the angels did.   History tells us how sinful man behaved and it was more evil than nice.  Had man kept his original nature and had not sinned, we would have had the potential to rule the universe as God had planned and everyone would have lived a joyful, peaceful and happy life.

God tells us through Scripture that we will never find true happiness until we recreate our human nature.  We are told we must be born again to become a new person.  The old nature must die out and we take on a nature similar to what God had originally planned for us.  The only way that could happen was to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior in order for God’s Spirit could come and live within us.  It is with God’s Spirit and our new nature that provides this guaranteed happiness if we follow the Spirit’s guidance.

We learn to love God with all our might and love others unconditionally.  We learn that it is more blessed to give than to receive.  God tells us His blessing and our happiness is a result of giving out of love.  He commands us to return to Him a tithe or one-tenth of what we receive.  Malachi 3:8 – 10 – “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’ “You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me.  You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me.  Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”

With this new nature that God gives us we learn to have faith and trust that whatever He promises He is committed to doing.  Without that spiritual nature maturing, it is difficult to have the kind of faith and trust necessary to accept God’s promises.  We learn from Christ that we are to have a servant’s heart and a spirit of kindness.  Galatians 6:10 – “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

As a person who has tithed more than 10% for over fifty years God has never failed to keep His promise to us. I can attest to the fact that three things that will make your life happy is putting God first, loving others as ourselves and being a giver rather than being a willing taker.  Do you look for ways to be kind to others?  Scripture tells us that being kind will bring us happiness and it is a promise.  This is part of love others as we love ourselves.

America can still be called a Christian nation but they are not living by Christian principles.  God tells us to stay out of debt.  We are teaching our people to be proud takers and not be concerned about being givers.  Are we a nation that is putting God first?  Is our nation known for loving and being kind to each other?  Knowing what you see, would you say the majority of Americans are living happy lives?   Is it because we are unwilling to allow God to change our nature back to what He wanted us to be in the beginning?

We may not be able to change a nation but we can allow our own natures to be recreated and live holy lives.  When that happens, God promises that He will bless us and we shall have a joyful, peaceful and happy life, guaranteed.  This is one person who knows it works.  You can face all kinds of difficulties and still remain happy.  Our security is in God, knowing that all things will work out for our own good.  Try it, (let God give you His Spirit and a new changed nature) you will like the difference!

Are You Religious Without A Personal Relationship With Christ?

There is a tremendous difference between being a religious person and a person having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Many who convert to Christianity believe they are required to live by a long list of do’s and don’ts, abide by 1000s of years of traditions and laws monitored by a God Who is waiting to punish us for any misstep.  Do you adhere to a religious philosophy that makes you feel that it is your job to work your way to heaven? You may realize the Jews had 613 laws that they had to obey.  Plus they had different sacrifices and festivals that were required.  Rules and laws, many believe, are because ordinary people do not understand how they should live. If that is you, you will miss the joy that a relationship with Christ and God can bring under the New Covenant of grace.

Mark 12:30 – 31 – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”  If you are capable of doing these two things all of the other commandments will be met.  If you love others you will not take advantage of them by stealing, coveting or the others.

Some people have never felt loved or feel capable of loving.  Yet, we are commanded to love God and others.  God would never command us to do something we could not do.  Scripture tells us we must develop this love relationship with Christ.  This is only possible when we learn to love.  God knows we cannot love Him and others unless we first love ourselves.  It is amazing how many struggle with loving themselves.  They see themselves as lacking confidence, feeling unworthy or not truly being accepted by others or belonging with others.  This is why it was so necessary for Christ to die that our sins could be forgiven and our guilt erased.  Is it possible to develop a decent relationship if a person lacks any of those three factors?  Having a personal relationship with Christ will give us confidence, give us that assurance that we are worthy and assured us we will be accepted into the family of God.  There is no greater joy than knowing you have been accepted to live in eternity with God’s family.

God, knowing the frailties of man, made believers many promises, such as:  Romans 8:31 – “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”  A good relationship with God will change our personality and how we see ourselves.  He gives us His Spirit to help us do whatever God calls us to do.  He then tells us not to worry because no matter who or what problems we encounter, He will be with us and for us.

Romans 8:38 – 39 – “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Scripture tells us that once we develop a personal relationship with Christ and God nothing can ever separate us from their love.  What must it be like to never have felt unconditional love asking nothing in return?

What is it that God wants from each one of us as Christians?  He is looking for and preparing a body of believers that will live with Him through eternity.  What is the number one requirement to enter that final destiny?  The answer is love through our personal relationship with Christ.  He wants our love toward Him and the same love to others.  Can you visualize living in an eternity where everyone had that kind of love for God and for others?  How do we obtain that kind of love and a relationship with Christ?  It will only come through the Holy Spirit’s help.

The Bible repeatedly says God is not interested in our works but He cares about what is in our hearts and our attitudes.  Is His love really in our hearts?  If so we have learned there can be no hate or a lack of forgiveness.  What God requires can only be obtained by allowing the Holy Spirit to change who we are.  This is why we cannot allow the Holy Spirit to be ignored or we fail in enhancing our personal relationship with Christ.  We must let the Holy Spirit become very active in our daily lives. He is our contact with Christ and God.  If we are not seeing supernatural occurrences from time to time we probably have not made the Holy Spirit our partner or developed much of a relationship.  So shouldn’t we expect the Holy Spirit to be manifest in most everything we do?  He will if we pray and ask for His help. He will not force Himself onto us.

Philippians 4:13 – “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

Start each day with prayer asking specifically for the Spirit within us to guide in everything we do throughout the day.  When we are driving to and from work we can pray, without closing our eyes that he will bring the same love God has for us so we can return that love to Him and to others.  The last thing each day, take a minute and thank the Holy Spirit for being active in our lives.  After a time we will begin to realize and recognize that God’s Spirit lives within us and is actively changing our personality and behavior.  We will then begin to realize that we as Christians have been given a unique advantage in living our lives.  We too will learn there are many blessings that God wants to give to us through the Holy Spirit within.

God Knows When You Sin & Still Loves You

What are you hiding that you are afraid someone may find out? What can they do to you? God knows everything you do. In fact, He knows the number of hairs on your head. Does that concern you? It doesn’t matter whether you are a believer or a non-believer, He knows.

Jeremiah 23:24 – “Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the Lord.
Psalms 139:1 – 4 – “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.”

There is no situation where God is not aware of what is happening. As a believer He places His Spirit into us. The Holy Spirit is there to give us council, guidance and protection. I was with a Christian friend and asked: “How much do you rely on prayer and the Holy Spirit?” I was talking to a person who has been a Christian for many years and we were talking about the world problems in general. It didn’t take long before I asked him about how the Holy Spirit was working in his life. It was kind of like: “Well I have the Holy Spirit, but what do you mean?” I replied: “Do you realize the power that is within you, having God’s Spirit to direct and check you?” He answered: “I know the Holy Spirit is in me because the Bible is very clear about that. But what are you getting at?” I told him: “What do you think the Holy Spirit is in you to do? Don’t you believe that God’s Spirit wants to help you just as much as you would want to help your own children? The Bible is very clear that salvation allows us to become adopted into God’s family and a part of God comes to live within us.”

I wanted to make sure he understood God promises that if we pray to Him He will answer our prayers. I asked how do you think our prayers will be answered if the Holy Spirit doesn’t communicate to us or doesn’t make what is needed to happen? Our whole conversation was about realizing the power of prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit that is within us.
Our discussion then turned to whether Christians have problems feeling unworthy. So you don’t live a perfect life. Do you know anyone in the Bible, but Christ, who did? Don’t you realize the reason God has given you His Spirit was because He knew we could not make a drastic change in how we live by ourselves. Yet we keep on trying by our own will and we keep failing. We live and believe as if this life of Christian perfection is entirely up to us. The result is that unworthy feeling. We are negatively influenced by Satan’s emissaries that God is not pleased with us.

We realize our part is surrendering this selfish nature we were born with. We are taught that we can surrender that nature only when we learn to love God with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind and others as ourselves. It doesn’t seem that true surrender can be accomplished until we learn to love God and others. We must surrender this selfish nature in order to love God and others. It is this love of God and others that gives us a completely different perspective as to how we are to live and treat others.

I remember a story that was shared on TV at TBS. It was told by a mother to the TBS audience. I will share how I remember 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 because He loves me. 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. Lastly, we need to realize the depth with which God loves us. Because of His love, I do not want to do anything that would displease Him by deliberately sinning. I also know the Holy Spirit will check me.

Let GOD Help You Make Wise Decisions

Do you have a spiritual ear guiding you in making correct decisions most of the time?  I have talked to some and read about others who have visions, dreams, some see signs and a few hear the voice of Jesus or the Holy Spirit.  God doesn’t tell me what is going to happen ahead of time but I have many times seen the impossible become possible supernaturally, at least I believe it so.

John 10:10 – “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”  How do I get what Christ promised: “A rich and satisfying life”?  NLT

The first thing we must understand is that God created us with a purpose.  Through His Word He promises that He will guide us throughout life to fulfill that purpose.  But we have a real problem.  We have been given a self-centered, sinful nature that wants to make decisions; we have a devil wanting to influence the choices we make and we are offered God’s Spirit to show us the path that God has prepared for us.  If we accept Christ and receive the Holy Spirit we then have one positive and two negatives that want to guide us through life, particularly in making decisions.  Our life will depend upon who we listen to: the two negatives or hone in on the positive One?  We must determine who we want to help us make decisions—the self-centered “I” or God through the Holy Spirit.

Scripture is very clear that we must live according to the example Christ set for us.  We must be obedient to God’s way.  We cannot continue living as the world lives and expect the Holy Spirit to guide us in making decisions.

It is possible that the guidance given must come from our prayers requesting direction and help.  The amount of help we may expect from the Holy Spirit will depend on how seriously we spend time in Bible study and prayer.  We must not throughout the day, continually ignore God’s Spirit if we want His help, because the two negative spirits will try to help us make every decision.  So do we make a decision and then pray that it is the correct action?  I point this out because this has been one of my problems.  Is it because of pride, the feeling I can do it on my own?  Is asking for God’s help a weakness?  Whatever it is, it comes from our self-centered nature.

Having been a high school coach, production foreman, a store manager and a buyer of equities it seems all I did was make decisions and most instantaneously.  It didn’t seem like most decisions allowed time for prayer.  If I did pray I expected an immediate response.  There are times when you have adequate time to pray and wait for an answer.  For example, choosing a spouse, buying a home or car, these decisions do not have to be made quickly.  Sometimes it may take weeks or longer for God to help you make wise decisions.  So we must be patient, keep praying and listen intently.  When there is not time we ask before making a decision: God is there some unintended consequence I should be aware of before making this decision?

There will be times when God will allow you to make the wrong decision.  There are some things we can learn only through bad experiences.  We should never ask: “God why did you allow this to happen to me?”  The correct response is: “God what did you want me to learn from this negative experience?”  Did I make the wrong decision because of the pressure I was under?  Should I have prayed more or longer?  But you said you wanted me to have a rich and satisfying life.  To get there may take learning experiences.

When bad things happen that we have no control over, such as parents losing a child in death, there may be a tendency to blame God.  “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.” (Romans 8:28)  When we were created God knew everything that would happen in our lives and you were chosen to be the parents of the one who died at an early age.  We will only know the reason when we get to heaven.  But there will be a reason. There may even be occasions when God uses sickness or other means to draw us closer to Him.  We then have time to read our Bible and certainly we increase our prayer time.  Remember the outcome of all decisions God knew the result before we even thought about it.  Is our relationship with Him such that He is our mentor or the person we come to only when we need bailing out?

Finally, how do we know when our decisions come from God?  We sense a real joy and peace in our heart.  It feels like the right choice to make.  We have sought His help, allowed Him time to answer and believe He is in it.  I complied with what I believe God wants me to do and am willing to accept the result of that decision.

CHRISTIANS Your Attitude Determines Everything

Scripture says our attitude will influence the outcome in the decisions we make.  Are you a positive or negative thinker or somewhere in between?  Do you have a problem trusting God, accepting His promises or do you hear an inner voice predicting only bad things are going to happen?  Do we concentrate on what Scripture tells us or do we listen to what Satan is saying, who wants to defeat us?

Do you wonder why you have gone through life continually having problems?  We know that a poor self-image creates a defeatist attitude and self-fulfilling prophecy can result.    Do you see yourself as a winner, a loser or just unworthy?

Life is full of hindrances.  Many of our problems may result from the temperament we were born with.  A perfectionist may not try something unless they can do it perfectly.  Often they find it difficult to make decisions because they never want to be wrong.  Other temperaments have weaknesses as well as strengths.

How important is your attitude?  Our attitude can be our most important role in determining our future.  How do we respond to any given situation, particularly a serious problem?  We have many attitudes toward many things.  We can have a favorable attitude toward blue and a negative attitude toward gray.  We also have an attitude or philosophy toward life.  You may dwell on the unpleasant things or see things through rose colored glasses.  The world is not perfect and life presents many hindrances.  You may be faced with a divorce, loss of job, a financial disaster or health problems.  Different people may handle each in various ways.  As bad as the situation may be, worry will drain one’s energy and possibly cause unhealthy conditions.

The more we study the Bible and become more spiritual and Christ-like the greater is our motivation, we are more energized, enthused and it usually raises our productivity.  We have a greater commitment to following the teachings of Christ.  We become more trusting and obedient to the commandments of God.  As our attitudes changes we learn to love rather than hate, to forgive rather than be unforgiving.  As our spiritual condition gradually changes our perspectives on life should change.  We can overcome the hindrances of being critical, jealous, greedy, prideful, unbelief, and lustful.

Stress can kill!  Negative attitudes have a tendency to produce stress.  Our attitude determines what we see in life.  What we think is who we are and what we become.  What are two very important points found in the Bible?  It is having a life filled with peace and joy.  Joy and peace produce healthy bodies.  Lack of joy and peace produce unhealthy bodies.  Having participated in sports and as a coach I found those with normal positive attitudes healed quicker than those who were more negative.  I don’t think most realize the importance of having a positive, Christ-like attitude when it comes to health issues. Christ-like attitudes do not guarantee healthy lives but it improves the possibilities.

Scripture repeatedly emphasizes God wants us to have our needs met.  In fact, He talks about true believers being prosperous and having abundance.  If you don’t expect it, chances are you will not pursue it.  You can’t be positive all of the time.  That would be disillusional.  However, Christians are told they can do all things through Christ who gives them strength.  Whatever Scripture says you can do, believe it and don’t be a doubter.

Remember, attitudes are not something you learn, they are acquired.  Who are you and how do you see yourself?  Do you feel unworthy of being successful or prosperous as too many do?  Have you been told you will never amount to anything?  Do you accept everything you hear?

Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

A person with a positive attitude has a tendency to be a giver.  A person with a negative attitude often is a taker.  How can you be a Christian and not be positive and a giver?  Can you be Christ-like and be negative most of the time?    Only if you imagine Christ being negative and there is no indication of that.

Do negative thoughts come as a result of a lack of trust in God?  Maybe you do not understand God’s unconditional love for you.  Do you see yourself as a child of God?

Proverbs 11:25 – “The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”  NLT

Proverbs 13:21 – “Trouble pursues the sinner, but the righteous are rewarded with good things.” NIV

Proverbs 28:25 – “The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper.” NIV


Is it harder to be a Christian today than 100 years ago? People lived 1000s of years but only 100 plus years ago things started to really change. In 1903 the Wright Brothers flew the first airplane, for 12 seconds. In 1908 Ford built the Model T car. My grandparents moved from North Carolina to Oklahoma for a few years and then to Oregon by covered wagon. As a child I lived on a small farm with no indoor plumbing or electricity. In the world, at that time, there were still some people living in caves, tents, tepees, huts and lento houses.

When I was a child it was unusual for anyone to live past 70. Most died in their early 60s. Telephones and radios were rare and there were few TVs prior to 1950. Families, during my grandparent’s time, had many times up to ten children. Many lived and worked on farms. Probably not more than ten percent had a high school education. With the exception of teachers, doctors and a few others very few had a college education. Most families had a religious background and had respect for each other and their neighbors. Most leaders were respected and held in high esteem. Businesses had few regulations and anyone could start a business with hardly any red tape. Democrats were a little left of center and Republicans were a little right of center. It wasn’t too difficult to reach agreements. Politics did their thing and they had little apparent effect on the general public. Schools taught morality and there were times when Scripture was used in teaching. There were no public unions or teacher unions. There was no such thing as political correctness.

There is no need to point out the differences today because we are well aware of the many changes. For example, there are 5.6 billion cell phones in use. The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell and it was invented in March 1876. There were not too many phones in use 100 years ago.

With all of the changes and distractions is it any easier or harder to live a Christian life now? What would it be like living a Christian life if everything we have today was discovered 2000 years ago? What would people’s morality and spirituality be like? Do you think the world would still exist or would we have destroyed ourselves? Can you see what all of the recent changes and distractions have done to people’s religious beliefs?

We have a God that foresaw everything that would happen. There have always been distractions causing man to rebel against God. The Old Testament history tells of the Israelites worshipping false gods and denying God. Man’s self-centered nature is such that we are selfish and concerned more about what is most pleasurable to us. We see God wanting to restrict what we think and what we do. We do not want anyone watching or supervising, telling us what to do. We do not like, as a whole, restrictions.

But God knew, in His infinite wisdom, that man could not live like he was created, to be on his own. He would need help. Therefore, He sent His Son to be crucified for our sins and our salvation. His ultimate plan was to provide us with His Spirit, the Holy Spirit. To receive His Spirit, man was required to accept Christ as his Savior and be committed to worshipping God. That meant repenting and changing the way man was living.

John 14:16 – 17 – “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

John 16:5 – 7 – “but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”

Unless Jesus died there would be no gospel or Holy Spirit available. Thus, the Spirit of God was available to reside within the heart of every believer because of Christ’s actions. The Holy Spirit is to convict us of our sins; reveal God’s standards and requirements and to be our councilor and give us guidance throughout our lives.

The Holy Spirit is with us to help us navigate all the changes and distractions that hinder us from living the life Christ exemplified. He is with us to change our nature from being self-centered to Christ-centered. He is with us that we might receive the fruits of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22 – 23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” He is with us giving us confirmation that we have been sealed and guaranteed to become a child of God.

A problem too many Christians have is they are either unaware of the Holy Spirit in their lives or they ignore Him. If that is you, this is what you are missing:

  • Ephesians 1:13 – The Holy Spirit will mark you with a seal to guarantee your redemption and salvation.
  • Hebrews 2:4 – The Holy Spirit will give us signs, wonders, various miracles and gifts. If we have seriously surrendered our lives to Christ the Holy Spirit will make us aware that He is with us.
  • II Timothy 1:13 & 14 – The Holy Spirit will help you live a holy life by giving you faith and love in Christ Jesus.
  • Luke 12:12 – The Holy Spirit will tell us what to say.
  • Acts 1:8 – We shall receive power from the Holy Spirit.
  • John 14:26 – The counselor, the Holy Spirit will teach us all things and will remind us of what Jesus taught.
  • Acts 13:12 – The Holy Spirit will speak to our spirit and give us directions and where to go.
  • Acts 20:23 – The Holy Spirit will warn us of potential problems.

If you truly have the Holy Spirit in your life and you allow Him to guide you, He will get you through every change and distraction that comes. God wants what is best for you and that is what the Holy Spirit will allow you to have if you are surrendered and submissive.

Will You Be The Christian That Is Deceived And Gives Up?

I recently read where a semblance of Noah’s Ark has been built in Dordrecht, Netherlands and also in Hong Kong.  The Ark was 450 ft long and 75 feet wide.  The first one took 120 years to build, the one in the Netherlands three years and the one in Hong Kong 17 years.

It reminds me that everyone on earth was destroyed, during Noah’s time, but eight people.  When you are told everyone is doing it, making it o.k., you might remind them of what happened during Noah’s life.  For those 120 years Noah preached to the people that there would be a flood.  However, no one believed him because it had never rained previously.  The earth was irrigated by a form of dew each day.

All the people were deceived and rejected God’s warning.  When it started to rain and fear overcame them they ran to the Ark.  But the one door had been closed and sealed shut unable to be re-opened.  It was too late; they had failed to receive and believe the preaching of Noah.  Don’t be misled by those telling you that there is more than one door or one way to eternal life with God.  But there is still time to knock on that door and it will be opened to you.

We are entering a time when it appears the end time is again approaching.  There will be false teachers who are moral, knowledgeable teaching that these are not the end times.  We are told in these times things will change.

Matthew 24:6 – 8 – “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

There will be those who will tell you that there will be global warming or climate change caused by man’s use of carbon fuel.  There will be times when men will tell us that we are not overspending ourselves into bankruptcy.  There will be a time when we will have a world financial crisis and money will be devalued and famine and sickness will result.  Countries will be unable to make entitlement payments and there will be riots in the streets of nations worldwide.  Chaos will lead to one man taking control and promising to save the world.  There will be false prophets with counterfeit signs, supernatural powers and they will speak with authority.  If we get our eyes off Christ and focus on people we could be the ones Scripture is predicting will fall away.  Cross references:

  1. Matthew 24:7 : Isa 19:2
  2. Matthew 24:7 : Ac 11:28


I Timothy 4:1 – 4 – “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.  They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.  For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,”

II Timothy 3:1 – 5 – “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”

Many will go to church and there will be an appearance of godliness.  They will know the Christian doctrine and follow Christian traditions.  But they will lack worshipping God and they will not know how to love.  We can be deceived by people claiming to be Christians but their behavior will give them away.  Knowing Scripture is vital to Christian maturity.  Those who have had little preparation and study will be easily persuaded by those teaching false doctrines.

Viewing those who have been interviewed on television gives a glimpse of how little people know.  They will vote for a Hitler or a Stalin.  They will follow religions that require you work your way to Heaven.  They don’t understand God’s grace or His character.  They don’t know Jesus Christ nor have they witnessed the Holy Spirit.  If you were to ask: “Are you religious”?  They believe they are.



We as humans have a love that is perverted, selfish and selective.  Christ came with a gospel correcting the love that man knew.  Our love was not what God had intended for man.  It wasn’t until Christ revealed the nature of God did we understand the true meaning of love.

Sin is a type of perverted love.  How could we love God with all of our strength, mind and soul if the only love we knew is what can I expect in return?  What’s in it for me?  This is not the kind of love God wants and especially not the love He has for us.

We are told to live a holy life.  This cannot be done without love. The two are inseparable.  Living a holy life is the perfecting of love.  Christianity is our love to God and to others.

I Corinthians 13:1 – 8 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.   Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”

There is nothing more important than unconditional love.  You can have the fruits of the Spirit and the gifts, but if you do not have love you will not have the ability to exercise God’s gifts or the Spirit’s fruits.  God’s love is directed outwardly toward others and this love is not toward ourselves.  Unless we overcome our own desires and instincts we cannot give unconditional love.  Therefore, we must develop the mind of Christ in order to consistently love God as He loves us and for us to love others.

Love is having patience with people but not necessarily with normal events of life.  Love is being kind in dealing with people.   A Christian who is unkind lacks love.  Positive responses normally come when we are kind and thoughtful toward others. Love does not envy.  Envy can mean that we want what others have badly enough to do almost anything to get it.  Envy can mean that if we can’t have it we do not want them to have it either.  Most everyone would like to be wealthy, well known and accepted.  How we accept others good fortunes is indicative of our true love.  A person with love will not boast.  We realize how unworthy we are, were it not for Christ’s death and resurrection.  Love keeps us humble and it never offends.  There is a difference between confidence and pride.  Love does not allow our egos to become inflated.  Great leaders do not think of their importance.  Love does not become rude and self-seeking.  Christians are to be tactful and polite.  Love for others allows us to control our tempers.  Anger many times results from a bruised ego.  When we become exasperated with others we must not lose our tempers.  We must not allow situations to defeat us.  Love forgives and holds no grudges.  We must never be pleased with the misfortunes of others.  Love looks for the good in people.  Christian love never hides the truth.  Truth must always win out.  Love is trusting and takes God at His word.  We must look for the good in other people.  Love always hopes.  The worst thing a Christian can have is a negative attitude.  Prior to Christ the Israelites feared God.  Fear can cause people to do irrational things.  Christ came that we may overcome fear by giving us hope.  Love is reaching out to others.  It stops indifference, isolationism and pride that hinder relationships and exclusiveness.  Love is central to a Christian’s faith and lifestyle.  Christian perfection is a perfection of love.  Christ said if everyone had unconditional love there would be no need for laws.

A number of months ago I believe I heard Dr Charles Stanley say once He could feel God’s love it changed his life.  I have prayed that I too might feel that love and that I might return it to God and others.  The answers to my prayers seem to say: You do not need a sign.  Your faith is sufficient.  You understand what unconditional love requires.  But I keep on praying!