Tag Archives: Encourgement.

Hello…long time no see.

Hello my friends and fellow bloggers,

I haven’t shared anything since my mournful Saturday post, just before Easter Sunday, for several reason which I would like to share here today. It’s not that any earth-shattering event took up my time and attention. It wasn’t any personal crisis or family related problem. No, nothing great or loud. It was more like a whisper that hummed in my ear and kept me from articulating myself.

The distraction keeping me from sharing my faith with you here is the concept of blogging itself. I’m an older man, in my late fifties, and I have seen the growth of technology with all that it brings. Cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, World Wide Web, Blogging etc. etc. I embrace the ability to communicate and surf the web and use map applications and so on. I also jumped at the idea of creating a blog to share my love of Scripture and my view points in hope of encouraging others.

BUT

   But, isn’t it all a bit self-involved, self-important, self-serving? Do I really have anything to say that hasn’t been said before? What impact can I really have by sitting here in my small office telling fellow bloggers what they already know? Isn’t it a bit like preaching to the choir? Shouldn’t I be standing on a street corner handing out tracts and sharing the love of Jesus Christ with those who may not have found His love for themselves?

Betty and I attended (past tense) a church where the Pastor, during a bar-b-que, commented that street evangelism and tent revivals “don’t work anymore”. Really? Seriously? The absurdity of such a comment echos in my ears today as my contemplation of my blogging value whispers in my ear.

Is this what I should be doing? What good does it do? What direction should I go?

   I haven’t yet found the answer. There is a value to encouraging each other – iron sharpening iron and all that. But I will not give up or silence the voice inside me that cries out to tell them about Jesus. With everything that is going on in the world around us – NOW more than ever – Jesus is the answer. So, I may not be sounding a trumpet here as much as in the past. I will Go and tell them about Jesus.

I would lovingly encourage you all to do the same. Jesus is coming.

Thank you all for the pats on the back and thumbs up you have given me.

I pray that God continues to richly bless you. Al and Betty

Triumph or Tragedy?

Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

John 1:29 KJV

he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb

Isa 53:7b KJV

   With Holy Week drawing near many of us remember the passion of our Lord. All the pain and sorrow and suffering He endured for our sakes. The humiliation and the mocking and the ridicule.

  I remember the stations of the cross that as a child taught me about that day so long ago. How the processional around the church would stop at each important event to commemorate the disrespectful act performed. The judgement and whipping and the trial. As an adult I remember the first time I heard the name “Via Dolorosa” also known as the Way of Sufferings. The name of that street Jesus walked brings visions of the blood-soaked head and shoulders bent low by the weight of the beam He carried. I can see Him fall each time and hear the anger in the voices of those who pushed Him onward to Calvary. You can almost see the clouds begin to gather as they nailed him to that cross. Such pain. Such darkness. Such despair. Such defeat and utter tragedy.

   As a new born Christian I heard singer songwriter Michael Card perform “This Must Be The Lamb“.

   I was surprised by the turn in the song. It was the first time I heard the crucifixion talked about as a triumph. Well, of course, I understood that Jesus died for my sins. I also understood that He did so willingly. But I suppose I just never fully understood that He was the victor on that hill until He opened my eyes up to His love for me. He defeated hell and death that day over 2000 years ago. Because of His victory I need not worry about death and hell. The devil has lost the battle for my soul.

 Defeated by the Lamb of God satan has no power over all of us who believe. That dark day that saw so many tears will lead to cheers as we all shout out

Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne,

and unto the Lamb for ever and ever

Rev 5:13 KJV

Joyful Noise sil

During this Holy Week take the time to tell someone about the victory of that day. Help them to see Jesus the Victor and tell them how He gave you the Victory so that they can be Victorious also. Jesus can turn any tragedy into triumph if you let Him. That is the Good News Amen?

Look back but don’t stare…

Look back but don’t stare.

This is an expression I heard a long time ago and the older I get the more I understand it.

Recently I had one of those days where my mind went on a trip down memory lane. I wish that I could say it was a pleasant trip. It wasn’t.  Frank Sinatra used to sing – “Regrets. I’ve made a few. But then again too few to mention.” I can mention more then a few – I should have stayed in college, I should have studied more, I should have saved more money, I should have exercised more self control, I should have done this and not done that.  Regrets, I think, are a way we say sorry to ourselves. When I look back, excuse me, when I stare back at the road I traveled I don’t want to say “Sorry” to me – I want to punch myself.

But I don’t.

The reason that I don’t punch myself is that, well, it wouldn’t change anything and more importantly,  I have been forgiven by God for my past. If God has forgiven me than who am I to not forgive myself? It is hard though. The affects of poor judgement and bad behavior can be irreversible. Life does go on. Life will be different but it does go on.

Seize the Day Pana

Moving on can be tough. The people around us may never forget the harm we have done and may even remind us of just how far we fell. We fell. But we got up. Isn’t that what really matters?

The Word says –

Rejoice not against me, oh my enemies, for when I fall I shall arise. When i sit in darkness the Lord shall be a light unto me.     Micah 7:8  KJV

When I fall I shall arise. I will not stay down. I will not beat myself up. I will not stare back in anger and regret. The past is not only the past but it has been forgiven and forgotten and thrown in a sea of forgetfulness never to be brought up to me again. At least not by God. One of the names of the devil is the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10 KJV). He will remind us and use others to remind us.

Another old expression suitable for this topic is – “The next time the devil reminds you of your past just remind him of his future!”

I started this post by telling you how I spent a sad day staring regretfully back at my past. So I am not trying to over simplify putting the past behind us. My goal was, however, to remind myself and those of you that this may apply to, that we have every good reason to stand tall with our heads up as we walk confidently into our tomorrows. If Jesus is our Lord – We are children of the King. Forgiven. Loved. Saved. A new creation. Heaven-bound. No matter what was it’s what will be that’s important.

Thanks for letting me share that even if I was the only one that needed to hear it.

Be Blessed, Al

Similar post on forgiveness – But If You Don’t Forgive

Start at the very beginning….

A Very Good Place to Start

As a contractor with 30 years of experience I have learned a lot about my trade and others around me. Its safe to say that I have seen my share of mistakes made during those early years. But I give my thanks to a good teacher. One, who may not have always been patient but always thorough in his explanations of how to do something and why.

In my years I have had the opportunity to train helpers to work beside me and always observed one thing. Teaching is the best way to keep things fresh in my own mind. Somewhere in the relating of the process there is a reliving that revives me. I am taken back to where I was when I learned it and can relate the truth of the process to another with passion.

It is this reason that I want my first post of the year to be about “contending for the faith” that was first inside of us all at conversion. Jude tells us that he wanted to write about the shared salvation of the saints but was moved to respond to false teachers and ungodly people.

But lets review the Basics that we all do know –

Very simply put – Christ came to save sinners of which we are all (1 Timothy 1:15 and Romans 3:23). If we repent and trust in Jesus we will be saved (Romans 10:9-13)

I guess the only question now is – Have you been saved? If not. Why Not?

All you have to do is believe you are a sinner, that Christ died for your sins, and ask His forgiveness. He knows you and loves you. What matters to Him is the attitude of your heart and your honesty. Although there’s no special way to ask to be saved we suggest praying the following prayer to accept Christ as your Savior:

“Dear Lord Jesus,

I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead.  I trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior. Guide my life and help me to do your will.

In Jesus name, amen.”

If you prayed this prayer congratulations, you are a Child of God now and your sins have been forgiven, never to be remembered. We encourage you , if you do not already attend a church, to find one that believes in Bible study. One that teaches the whole Word of God and proclaims the Good News that Salvation is available to all. We encourage you to get a Bible and begin reading it. If you don’t know where to start we suggest you read the Gospel of John first but you can find many Bible study reading lists online also. Consider Bible Gateway or some of the other links from our home page.

Whatever you do read the Bible daily and pray to our Lord for guidance because He is not dead but alive and ready to talk with you. Congratulations as you start a new life in this new year! Be blessed. Al and Betty

 

Choose Life

Squinting into the invisible – Happy New Year!

As we herald in the New Year we look back at the year behind us to see what we have gained and what we have lost. This introspection causes us to make resolutions for a better year ahead. We look forward into the invisible. Squinting at what we hope to see this time next year. We want to be skinnier, healthier, faster, better, richer, cooler, happier, holier, etc., etc. etc..

But, in reality, we can not see into the invisible distant future. In fact, we can not see past this moment we are standing in. The very time that we count down to the millisecond is invisible too and yet we measure it as if we could control it. But we can not.

All we have is this moment and hopefully the next and so on. We may take it for granted or obese over it. We can waste it or cherish it. It’s all ours to choose. We live (or die) by the choices we make in those moments and no choice is greater than the one that affects our ever after. Because we do not know what the next moment may bring we need to secure our place in eternity. No, I am not going to sell you a burial plot! I’m not talking about where your bones end up. I am talking about the eternity that awaits us all.

We try so hard to hold onto this time here on earth. We measure the passage of time and collect memories and photos and belongings of our time here – but it’s fleeting at best. No one knows when the clock will stop. But when our time is up on earth we will pass, as effortlessly as walking threw your own front door, into a place that has no time. A place that we have chosen for ourselves that will be home for forever.

Now, maybe you are saying that you haven’t made a choice yet so how could there be an eternal place waiting for you? Simple, to not choose Life is to choose Death. When faced with the choice of a life with or without Jesus on earth you have chosen your own forever place. The few short years here on this blue ball in space are nothing compared with the never-ending life afterwards.

In some ways we are like a child within a womb. Safe and secure in being cared for and fed until suddenly we are moving towards an end of the life we know and into some foreign unknown world. Obviously, an infant has no comprehension of what is going on as it is being born – it’s a metaphor. It’s a perfectly good metaphor for the vast differences between the finite possibilities that exist within the womb and the infinite ones that wait outside of it. This world that is plagued with sin, sickness, strife and sorrow is a short-lived journey into a much greater world of limitlessness. It can best be described as rest stop or lay-over between where we came from and where we are going to because in the vast scheme of things it is that brief.

So, as we look into the invisible space of this next year and squint at what we hope will be lets take a moment to look behind 2015 into the wondrous world of eternity and …………

Choose Life

 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live Deu 30:19 KJV

Thank you all for making this past year so special. I hope that you have been encouraged by reading our posts as much as we have been in writing them. As we cross the threshold into a brand New Year it is my hope that all of us can rise to the occasion and spread the Good News of Jesus even further.  If you would like to see the impact you have had on us this past year check out the year in review page or click here.

Happy New Year and God Bless you all, Al and Betty

You Do As I Say Not As I Do !!

“Do as I say but not as I do!”

Ever hear someone say that? Ever had it said to you? Ever said it to someone?

My grandfather, who raised me, used to say that often. I always found it to be confusing and hypocritical. After all wasn’t he supposed to be setting an example for me to follow? Shouldn’t he have said “Now, you do exactly as I do.”? Well, perhaps, in some perfect world that’s what would have happened. But in reality, he wasn’t always setting a good example for me to follow even though he tried.

The Word of God has a lot to say about example-setting. Parents are told to Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Pr 22:6 KJV That word “Train” is the Hebrew word Chanak and is found only 4 times in the Old Testament and it means to train, dedicate and inaugurate. So, we could say train up or dedicate your child in the way he should go. either way it is one of many examples of what the Word says about teaching our children – none of which tells us to behave one way and demand that they do differently.

One of the most wonderful things about our Almighty God is that He doesn’t just “tell” us how we ought to behave, He shows us. Jesus was sent to show us the kingdom of Heaven. He walked this earth in the same flesh and bones that we also live in. The Word tells that –  

we do not have a high priest {Jesus} who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Heb 4:15 HCSB

Jesus had victory over the same sinful temptations we face every day. Before you dismiss that awesome fact by saying “Well, it’s easy for Jesus to have the victory. He is God after all!”, keep in mind that this Scripture clearly says He WAS tempted. Jesus did, however, know just what must be done to defeat temptation – fellowship with the Father.

Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. John 17:11 KJV

Fellowship with the Father threw continual prayer was modeled for us by Jesus. He told us plainly that He could do nothing except what He sees the Father do. Likewise, He also encouraged us to be in fellowship with Him when He told us that without Him we could do nothing.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:5 KJV

Do as I do not just as I say because actions speak louder than words !

The best thing we can train up our children to do is to lean on Jesus threw prayer. The only effective way to accomplish this is by modeling that for them to see.

Thank You Lord Jesus for making clear the path we all must walk to make out way to YOU.

Be Blessed and thank you all for stopping by, Al

 

The featured image is I'm warning you by evertt225 at Depositphotos.com

 

What Child Is This ?

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior,

who is Christ the Lord.

 

About this time Caesar Augustus, the Roman emperor, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the nation. (This census was taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

Everyone was required to return to his ancestral home for this registration. And because Joseph was a member of the royal line, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, King David’s ancient home—journeying there from the Galilean village of Nazareth. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was obviously pregnant by this time.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born; and she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in a blanket[a] and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.

That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly an angel appeared among them, and the landscape shone bright with the glory of the Lord. They were badly frightened, 10 but the angel reassured them.

“Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone! 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem![b] 12 How will you recognize him? You will find a baby wrapped in a blanket,[c] lying in a manger!”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God:

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,” they sang,[d] “and peace on earth for all those pleasing him.”

15 When this great army of angels had returned again to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Come on! Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Luke 2: 1-15 Living Bible

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS