Category Archives: Inspirational

Is this the day?

Mortality looms in the shadows of every day. It’s there and we try to not see it or simply assume it will have a long wait before stepping into our life. Until we fall suddenly ill!

In the past 24hrs I went from felling discomfort that I assumed was work related to preparing for death. Sounds dramatic, I know, but having been in a place of sudden sharp chest pain and other symptoms typically associated with a heart attack was startling. The uncertainty caused me to draw on my faith. I prayed that I was ready. I prayed for my wife. I prayed that I might make it thru this trial so as to take care of unfinished business. In a way I also, selfishly, wanted to go home.

Thankfully or unfortunately I am fine and still here and will be for a long time – at least my doctor said so. I did in fact hurt myself at work picking up a desk. I strained muscles in my chest. My heart is strong and I’ll recover. No heavy lifting for the near future. 

But, the experience was like no other. I mean sure I’ve been scared before. Even had some bad health issues. But there’s a difference between having the flu and wanting to die just to feel better and thinking you’re about to die and having time enough to consider the concept.

Paul tells us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” Phillipians 2:12 NKJV

Work it out. To me that means self examination. Where am I in my walk with God? How close am I with Jesus? Am I being honest with me? With Him? 

Is today the day? Well, for me this day. This 24hour period is over and I’m still here. Today is not the day that I leave here. 

Today is not the day…..but one day will be the day for me ….and for you….work it out before that day ends!

Thanks and be blessed, Al

What is faith?

What is Faith? 

The text book answer is found in Hebrews chapter 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen 

   It’s paraphrased that Faith is an empty hand full of what you hope for. Beyond the text book or the paraphrase lies the personal interpretation – what “faith” means to you! I could have easily titled this post “What do You believe?” Or, “Who is Jesus to you?” First lets consider Who Jesus was to some people He encountered.

   In Matthew chapter 5 we hear the story of a lady with an issue of blood for 12 years. It’s been speculated as to what her ailment was but whatever it was, the Law of Moses prevented her from coming in contact with others. Knowing this she entered the city and made her way threw the crowd to Jesus because she believe that touching the hem of His coat would heal her. She touched Him and was made whole that very moment. In the same chapter we find a man named Jairus whose daughter was home in bed sick. Jairus believed that if Jesus came home with him and laid His hands on her she would recover. Jesus agreed to go with Jairus but as soon as they turned to go word came that the girl had died. Jesus calmed the distraught father by telling him to “only believe.” Once Jesus arrived at Jairus’s home He raised the child from the dead. Lastly, for now, the well known story of the Centurian who came to Jesus on behalf of an ill servant. He recognized the authority of Jesus and believed that Jesus need only say the word and the servant would be healed. Jesus healed the servant and commended the Centurion for his great faith.

   Three examples of who Jesus was to three different people. There are many more. Jesus met them where they were in their faith. He will meet you where you are as well. 

   So, I ask you all again. Who is Jesus to you? Is He your Savior? The God Who became man to die for your sins? Is that all? Perhaps He is also your Lord? Your Lord Whom you obey in humility and reverence? What else? Is He your friend? Your confidante? Aside from being your Savior and Lord just what is Jesus to you. When we look into His face by reading His Word we see a loving, generous, compassionate and patient Savior, Lord and Friend. He is our High Priest Who defends us. He is Healer and our Provider. He is preparing a place for us in Heaven. He will return to take us with Him. He sent the Holy Spirit to comfort and instruct us. He will never leave of or forsake us. He is our all-in-all.

   If all of that sounds too rhetorical or vague consider the lovely story Corrie Ten Boom told of two ladies who were friends. They were long time friends and enjoyed spending time together especially on birthdays. Now the one friend had a lovely vase that the other always admired. On the occasion of the seconds birthday the one came with a wonderfully decorated box. When the friend opened the box there inside was the vase she so greatly admired. With tears in her eyes she held it in her arms and thanked her friend for it. She then looked down to see the box and ribbons and bows and asked – “May I keep the package and wrapping also?”

Sounds strange right? After all the gift was the vase. The lovely, coveted vase. Why keep the packaging? 

   Jesus told us that He came to give us life and to give it more abundantly. Yes He died for our sins and certainly He should be our Lord – this is the vase. But the easily overlooked gifts He gave, like the brightly colored wrapping paper, ribbons and bows, are the freedom that comes from knowing the truth found in His Word; walking in the confidence that we are children of the King, sons of God; living a life more abundantly then the life we had while walking in darkness before he saved us. 

   Ask yourself what faith is or what you believe or even who Jesus is to you and if your not sure how to answer any of those questions – read, search, pray or ask, seek, knock and the Lord Jesus will show you Who He wishes to be to you. He stands at the door and knocks. 

   As a side note; In the story of the woman with the issue of blood we hear Jesus ask “who touched me?” The disciples were dumbfounded at His question because the crowd was pressed in close with many people reaching out and touching Him! But she touched Him in faith and “the virtue has gone out of Him.” She touched Him and drew on His power. 

We can too and should.  Be Blessed Al

Ps. I admire Corrie Ten Boom and wish no disrespect by the retelling of her story. I am sure that I did not do it justice. If you are an avide reader perhaps you should consider her books or searching the internet for her videos. She was a wonderful woman of God with many great lessons. A

Well, I just don’t know….

   Well, I just don’t know………

……if the Bible says that.

…….if it’s God’s will.

…….what I should do.

…….what Jesus would do?

    In this age of information technology why is there still so much uncertainty?

   When I first got saved I went to buy a Bible and the gentleman behind the counter suggested a Thompson Chain Reference Bible. It was a King James Version of course but what got my attention was how you could look up a topic – like marriage and see every instance where “marriage” was mentioned from Gen to Rev. No commentary or discussion or opinion just every single scripture related to that topic. Wow! What I also realized as I looked threw the topics was that God has an answer to every question or topic imaginable. Anything you could think of related to the Word of God and how it can apply to you is easy to find. There doesn’t have to be any ambiguity or confusion if you are a believer. Just look into God’s Word and you’ll find the answer.

Well, I just don’t know….

….because the Bible is so confusing!

…..which Bible version is trustworthy?

…..if the Bible is relevant for today.

…..because you can make the Bible say what you want.

   I have heard people say that the Bible is confusing because of its old world language. Today we have so many translations that speak in plain, easy to understand language. I like the King James Version, also called The Authoritative Version, but really it is a translation also. Yes! That’s true. The Bible in any English version is a translation. Jesus spoke Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic – not English. Having said that you might wonder how we can know that our English Bible is correct? The answer is a Concordance. A concordance takes every word in the Bible and shows us what the Greek (for the New Testament) and Hebrew (for the Old Testament) words were and what they mean so we can see how it was translated and learn. Granted, some translation can be more elaborate than others but I believe in God and His power to protect His Word. After all the Word was withheld from the common man for centuries but God’s spirit prevailed.

   Regarding the ability to manipulate the Word of God. This can be done if you take scripture out of context and pick and choose what you want to site. But in context and supported by other scripture on the same topic the Word of God is true. God’s Word is not full of contradictions if you take the time to study it. But so many people want to be fed tiny Sunday bites of the Word of God rather than feast on it by personal study time.

  Lastly, if Jesus is the same yesterday today and tomorrow why isn’t His Word relevant for us today? Did God not know that we would be here in 2017? Are the circumstance’s and challenges we face a surprise to Him? Are things today really that different then 2000 years ago? I don’t think so. Sin is sin regardless of the civilization, technology or calendar.

   Thankfully God is still on His throne and we can know the truth and it is that truth that will make us free.

   Remember that Jesus told us that even though heaven and earth shall pass away His word will not pass away. Matthew 24:35

Trust in God. Read His Word. Be Blessed Al

As always please do not take my word for anything written here but be challenged and look into God’s Word for the answers – you will find them. al

Build the Wall

There’s lots of talk about building a wall that will separate America from Mexico. Who will pay for it? Is it feasible? Is it the right thing to do?

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said “Hey! We’re all immigrants!!” I suppose that could be said in a broad loose way about everyone that isn’t  of Native American heritage. That is a shot at those who are opposed to the illegal immigration epidemic that has been a part of our country’s past. I don’t think that this new administration is anti-immigrant per-say when they talk of securing our borders. Just anti-illegal immigration.

Can we step back from the politically correct rhetoric long enough to acknowledge the phrase – Illegal Immigrant?

My heritage is Irish American. My paternal Grandmother came from Ireland as a teen at the turn of the last century. She went threw the process to get here. She became a citizen. She learned the language. She assimilated! She came here legally to become part of this great nation. Likewise, my in laws came here from  Ireland legally. Every year people from all over the world swear an oath as they become American citizens.

There’s a right way to do something and a wrong way. While we hear people say that “Jesus loves everyone” and “Jesus ate with/hung out with/associated with sinners” we have to look at the whole picture. Jesus loves everyone for sure. He died so we all might live. He also ministered and befriended sinners because He wanted to save them. Jesus often said to a sinner “go and sin no more”. So don’t start saying that Jesus endorses a lifestyle of sin because He loves the sinner. His heart will break over every single soul lost to eternal damnation because they did not repent.

Over and over the Word of God tells us to do what is right. Obey the laws over us. Pray for those in authority over us. Jesus doesn’t endorse breaking the laws of God or man.

We here in America have in place an Immigration and Naturalization Department expressly established for the introduction of foreigners into our country. Those who seek to (or have already) circumnavigated this process are criminals and as such are subject to the penalties laid out for such acts. They are not victims. They are not citizens. They are not innocent. They are criminals.

Build the wall. Make it high and strong. Make it so that those who wish to join our nation do so through the door that has been provided for so many other law abiding people.

The government has a right and a responsibility to protect its people from all threats foreign and domestic.

 

I suppose this will not be “Liked” by many but it’s what I believe to be true. Be blessed, Al

The Mega Millions Jackpot is now……

Does your shopping list include bread, milk, cold cuts, lotto tickets and scratch offs? Many people do. Many Christians do too. After all as a Christian we could do so much good with alllllllll that money. Right? Where’s the harm in that?

From cover to cover The Word of God tells us how much God loves us. In the Old Testament we learn the Names of God as He revealed Himself to the children of Israel. He is the God our Provider, The God our Healer, He is God Almighty, The God Who goes before us and so on.  In the New Testament we see God incarnate – God with us. The Creator of the universe left heaven to walk amongst us and even suffer unbearable things and die for us. We need to grasp just how much we are loved and be humbled at the thought of it.

But don’t forget to check your numbers! You gotta be in it to win! Today might be your lucky day! Someday my ship will come in!

But seriously brothers and sisters look at what the Word says about God’s provisions for your life and the trap of riches. God has no problem with wealth. Look at Solomon – the richest man ever – past, present and future.  That’s just one example of people God has blessed with great wealth because He wants to bless us. God promises to open up the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing on us that we can not contain – if we are good stewards of what He has already given us. If we fall into the trap of thinking that we don’t have enough or that we would be better off winning the sweepstakes what we are doing is telling God He is not enough or worse – He lied!

Thou shall not covet! It’s one of the Big Ten! Covet. Such an Old Testament word. Covet – to desire, be envious of, want or lust for. Now I know that none of us do that but there’s plenty of opportunity to if you did. The TV, Magazines, Billboards, Social Media all flash images of things we don’t have, or newer, bigger, nicer, better versions of what we do have, in our face. So naturally we want the newest, bigger, best, whatever. After all look at what we do have! ugh! It’s  old, it’s dull, boring, outdated.

It’s a trap. A trap to get you to devalue the blessings that God has given you – spouse, job, money, home, stuff, etc.,  and lust after something you don’t have and can’t afford to have. But, if I could just win the Lotto my problems would be solved. No they wouldn’t!

Goggle lotto winners and you’ll find many have lost it all. Spent it, gave some away, got robbed, whatever that case. The sweepstakes did not solve their problems. Only God can do that. He may be doing that already and you just don’t see it.

If you are working – you’re blessed! Many people aren’t.

If you’re working but unable to make ends meet. Look at what you spend your money (God’s Blessing) on.

If you are not working ask yourself why. If you’re health prevents you from working – Pray for strength or assistance.

If you are healthy enough to work but aren’t ask yourself why. Pride is a big hindrance to getting a job. “I’m a college educated ________ and I’m not going to work for anything less than $_____ an hour/day/week. Get a job. Any job and pray that God blesses your humility. I have countless stories of people I know who are in great positions but started at the bottom.

Instead of wishing you could win the jackpot and get all those new, bigger, brighter, better things, thank God for what you have right now. Because either God loves you and has provided for you and will continue to provide for you. Or He is a LIAR!

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.                                                                                                                      Phil 4:19 NKJV

God is NOT a Liar. But He told us about one and we should be careful not to fall into the traps set by that liar. He (the devil) comes to kill, steal and destroy.

Give thanks and be blessed, Al

 

The 45th President of The United States

As I sit watching the inauguration of the 45th President of the United Sates with it’s procession of dignitaries, past Presidents, and all it’s pomp and circumstance with one thought in mind.

Is Donald J. Trump God’s man for the job?

Is he? Does God even concern Himself with who sits in the Oval Office? The Word of God would lead us to believe that God isn’t a nationalist. He is not a respecter of persons and wishes that all men (and women) come to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus. We know that He loves the children of Israel. The people, not the nation.

The Word of God tells us that we are not of this world. We are, in fact, strangers in a strange land. This is not our home. At the same time we are instructed to pray for those in leadership positions over us. Pray for the Peace of Israel. To follow after peace and treat each other as we would want to be treated.

But all this doesn’t answer the question – Is our 45th President ordained by God?

In my humble opinion – Yes! God ordained Donald Trump to be President at such a time as this. Not, because he will be the savior of the USA or the hero of our nation. Not because he is a deeply religious man. Not because he is an accomplished statesman. No. The now, President Donald J. Trump, is ordained by God to lead our nation because God is in control. From His Throne on High, God orchestrates the course of history to accomplish His goals. He  allows nations to rise and fall, leaders to come and go, in order to fulfill is mandate – save souls! God desires that no man perish! He know the number of the hairs on our head, He collects our tears in a bottle, He loves us with an everlasting love and sent His own Son to die for our sins.

It is this Father God in Heaven Who loves us enough to care about who is our leader. Weather that leader is great or small. Fallible or infamous. Religious or secular. No matter if you love our new President or hate him if you call Jesus Lord and God your Father you must pray for him and trust that God is in control.

Presidents will come and go but Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow!

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,   for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus                               1 Timothy 2:1-5 NKJV as read at the inauguration by the Rev. Franklin Graham

May God Bless President Donald J Trump and May God Bless America!

Sticks and Stones….

Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me!

As a child growing up in the 60’s this was a mantra used when kids would, well be kids. We didn’t call it “Bullying” then even though we knew who the bully’s were. We knew how to avoid them and we knew how to deal with them. But weather you ran from a bully or stood up to one, we always said that “names will never hurt us.”

Truth be told, they did hurt. Even more than the cuts, bruises or broken bones that may have been caused by sticks and stones. That’s because words, and name-calling, have power. Maybe even more then we can know.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat it’s fruit                                                                                                                                                             Pr. 18:21 NKJV

Death and Life! Really?!

Yes. Words really do have that much of an effect, both on us and those whom we speak to. What would you give in order to have someone speak positively to you? How much would it mean to you to have your father speak to you about your future?

Two brothers were born into a family. The firstborn son was in line to inherit from the father. The second son wanted his brothers inheritance. Desperately! So much so that he tried to take advantage of his older brother in a moment of weakness and trade him for it. The older brother half-heartedly agreed to the trade not thinking anything of it. Still not sure that he obtained the inheritance, the younger son impersonated the older brother and stood before his near blind and dying father to get the coveted gift. He did indeed receive the fortune.

Here it is –

“Surely, the smell of my son
Is like the smell of a field
Which the Lord has blessed.
 Therefore may God give you
Of the dew of heaven,
Of the fatness of the earth,
And plenty of grain and wine.
 Let peoples serve you,
And nations bow down to you.
Be master over your brethren,
And let your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
And blessed be those who bless you!”

Yup! That’s it! The coveted inheritance that Jacob tried to steal from his brother and deceived his own father, Isaac,  for was a blessing – words. Words spoken over him by the man in authority over him that he allowed into his heart. Words that sealed his future and set the course of his destiny.

If only we were not so advanced a civilization and would remember these lessons from the Old Testament. The lesson that a father or a mother or a teacher or any authority figure,  real or perceived, can speak into the heart of a child and shape their future. Like it or not. Believe it or not. Words are that powerful.

Romans 10:9-10 tells us how powerful our words are –

 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those that love it will eat it’s fruit. Proverbs 18:21 NKJV

What does that mean? It means that your words affect your life. Whatever you have, or don’t have in your life today is a result of yesterday’s speech. How can our speech have such a significant impact on the reality of our circumstance?   Because it’s a reflection of ourselves brought about by our own creative ability working in conjunction with one of the forces around us. God or evil.

For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks Luke 6:45 NKJV

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved Romans 10:9 NKJV

For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Mark 11:23 NKJV

So, here we have examples of how powerful what we think/believe and say has on our lives. Luke, Paul and Jesus all showed us how important it is to “guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life” Proverbs 4:23 HCSB

Isaac blessed Jacob and Jacob believed in his heart that those things would come true. I’m sure he even told people that they would come true. God told Abraham that he would be the father of many nations in spite of his old age. God even changed his name from Abram to Abraham which means “father of many” so when ever he told someone his name he was saying “Hi, I’m a father of many!” Imagine that! It is recorded that  “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” He was “in-right-standing” with God because he believed what God said to him about being the Father of many nations.

He believed it and spoke it and it came to pass. He co-operated with God in the creative process and it came to pass.

There’s examples of how unbelief and doubt stopped or could have stopped the hand of God. Yes, it’s true – when the angel came to Zacharias to tell him that he would have a son in spite of his obvious age he doubted and questioned it’s possibility.

And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” Luke 1:19-20 NKJV

Shutting Zacharias up did not change his heart but it stopped him from speaking against the plan of God. Once the child was born his mouth was opened and his heart was changed. God’s will was done.

Likewise, even Jesus was unable to perform many miracles in His hometown because they did not believe He could.

He went to His hometown and began to teach them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “How did this wisdom and these miracles come to Him?    Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother called Mary, and His brothers James, Joseph,  Simon, and Judas?  And His sisters, aren’t they all with us? So where does He get all these things?”  And they were offended by Him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his household.” And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:54-58 NKJV

Imagine that! And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief!! They tied the hands of God!

If only God would shut our mouths sometimes so that we do not tie His hands with our doubt filled words and unbelief. What do you believe about yourself? Your life? Your God? Your Savior? Search your heart or better yet, look around you? Do you have a medicine cabinet full of drugs? Do you stress out over your checkbook balance? Do you shake your head at the promises of God found in His Word because you don’t think they apply to you? Just how far does your faith in Jesus go? How much do you believe? Does your words agree with His?

He loves you and died for you and has a future and a hope for you not just to live this life but to have it more abundantly. But you have to believe. The Word of God tells us that God Himself asks us to remind Him of His promises!

I, even I am He that blotted out thy transgressions for Mine Own sake and will not remember thy sins. Put Me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. Isaiah 43:25-26 KJV

Trust in Him Who died for thee and shed His blood to set you free. Be blessed, Al

*This post is dedicated to the memory of one of the gentlest, most compassionate and humorous men of God that I have ever known. While at The Word Of Life Ministries in Freeport, NY I had the pleasure of knowing Brother James Orr who lived from January 12, 1934 – until he went home to be with the Lord on February 21, 2001. Along with his love of God and His Word, Brother James had an infectious smile, and a answer for “Hey, Brother, how are you?” “How am I doing?!? Is that the question? Why I’m blessed and highly favored! I am a child of the Most High God! I’m a child of the King! How am I doing!!!”

I laugh at the memory of how many times he stopped me to answer that question – which, I asked in passing as easy as saying “Hi”

Brother James Orr understood the power of the tongue and I will always remember that lesson he taught me.