Tag Archives: Faith

Coronavirus, Christ and Common Sense

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. How many times have we heard this scripture in sermons, songs and writings? Trusting in Jesus is so easy when things are going well. When we are healthy, happy and prosperous. When our jobs are secure and our loved ones well. But how do we react to adversity? Where do we turn when life becomes challenging? When the days turn dark and fears attack like arrows? This isn’t how we thought this Christian life would be. Turning our lives over to Jesus and repenting of our old ways was supposed to bring blessings and bounty right?

The truth is that Jesus never promised that we would be exempt from trials and tribulations. He did, however, promise to be there with us through whatever it is we experience. John records how Jesus revealed the events that were about to unfold just before His darkest hour.

Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone.

And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.

In the world you will have tribulation;

but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

In the world you will have tribulations. Notice He never promised to keep us from experiencing difficulties, trials or tribulations . He did promise to be with us always even to the end of this age (Matthew 28:20) and that He would never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5 )
So, as we see the events unfolding around us we as believers should take a stand against the fear and hopelessness that wishes to overtake us. We, now more than ever, are not alone.
There’s an old saying I remember from my early days in my walk with the Lord. It goes – Work each day as if it all depends on you and Pray every day as if it all depends on Him.
Some take offense with such a suggestion but I came to believe that as Christians we must put feet to or faith. After all no man lights a candle and hides it under a bushel.
With this in mind I would encourage the Body of Christ to exercise their faith in a way that shines a light into the darkness of this Coronavirus trial. We are not of this world and so we can wear this life like a loose coat. Hold fast to the love that Jesus has shown to you and share that love with the world around you. Jesus sent His disciples around the world but first He told them to preach the Good News to those in Jerusalem, then Judea. For us that means our homes first, then our town then as far as our influence can reach.
I encourage the use of common sense here. Exercise social distancing, personal protective equipment and hand washing. Stay at home except for essential trips out as directed by those in authority have outlined. Fortunately being home these days does not hinder our ability to interact with the world outside our doors. Social media can be used to spread fear or faith. Use it to shine the light of Jesus and calm fears.
Look at the big picture. History has taught us that unthinkable things have happened in the past and yet the world survived. Currently we can watch endless news coverage of this ever growing crisis but it leads us down a rabbit hole of despair. No one knows what tomorrow will bring but we can look around us at the blessings we do have and be grateful. We can sleep at night while this darkness looms because we know Jesus and we trust Him at His Word. We can live out these days without fear and uncertainty because we know that this world is not our home and that whether we live or die we will live forever with Him. We can defeat this virus together by shining the light of Jesus love into the darkness it wishes to cast.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Be Blessed A&B

Get-it and Don’t Forget-It

   Have you ever sat in service and felt like God was speaking directly to you or your situation through the pastor? Ever been distracted during or immediately after that service and loose the revelation God just gave you? 

Ever notice those people who take notes during church service? Maybe you are one of those people. But why should we need to take notes? Couldn’t we just buy a tape of the sermon or download the message? Isn’t hearing the word preached enough to make the point? 

The short answer is no!

The long answer is found in the Parable of the Sower found in Matthew chapter 13.  

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 

Matthew 13:3-4 NIV

Later Jesus explained the meaning of the parable to His disciples. 

When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

Matthew 13:19 NIV

   Here Jesus illustrates how quickly the message can be taken away from us. This can happen many ways; being distracted during service, being sleepy or preoccupied with thoughts about the events after service and even by being in service during service such as working in the nursery or choir for example. 

Call me old school but I learned a long time ago just how to make sure I “get-it and don’t forget-it” when I’m sitting in church. Two invaluable tools needed are a good Bible and good notes.

The First – The Bible. 

The owner of the Bible store I walked into just after getting saved showed me what I believe to be the best Bible ever – The Thompson Chain Reference King James Version!! 

“What you need is the Word of God!” He told me. “No commentary or opinion or doctrine. Just the Word!” The chain reference simply means that the first key word in scripture is connected to every other mention in a chain. Kind of like a topical. No commentary just the Word. No flash just substance!

The Second – Sermon notes

Which is what I want to focus on here. We covered why they are needed now let’s look at what we need and how to take notes that the enemy can’t steal from us.

The Tools:

A Bible, Note book or note pad, Pens, A good seat

  • A Bible

Preferably bring a Bible that is the same version as your pastor usually preaches from. Being old school I’m suggest the King James Version but to avoid the distraction of not being on the same page with the sermon follow your pastors lead. New King James and New International Version are widely used also. 

Having a Bible that you feel comfortable writing in or highlighting the text is best. Also if it falls off of your lap while your taking notes it won’t break your heart. 

  • Note book or pad

This is a no brainer. Whatever you like. Lined or unlined. Spiral bound or loose sheets. Just be sure that you’re comfortable with whatever you choose because distractions are the devil’s thieves sent to steal the Word from you. 

  • Pens

Several pens because one will run out of ink or not write. Just another way that you could be robbed of the message.

  • A good seat

This might be more important then paper and pen because sitting near a door or on the isle where people may be coming and going can be very distracting. Ideally a seat with empty seats around you would be best. 

The Notes

As a rule the following should be noted 

  • The Sermon title 

This may or may not be mentioned up front. It might be in the summation at the end. Regardless of when a title is revealed it should be placed at the top of the notes. This makes it easier to find when you want to revisit it. 

  • Key Scripture verses

During the sermon your pastor will (should) quote scripture. Turn to the verses in your Bible and read along. Make note of at least three key verses that pertain to the sermon. Write down any that you think of as addressing the main point if you think of any. 

  • The Main Point

Hopefully your pastor is getting to a point. The main idea or point that is being taught might be the same as the title and may not. Listen for it and write it down. 

  • Life Application

How can you, personally, apply the point to your life or spiritual journey? Is there something you should do or stop doing? Is there a physical (real world) change that needs to be made or a spiritual inner change? 

  • Selah 

This phrase is found in the psalms. It is literally a pause. Since the psalms are songs it’s said that “Selah” is a break in the rhythm of the music/song. 

In the Hebrew this word comes from the root word meaning to “weigh”. 

Either way you care to translate it, a pause or a moment to weigh/consider, both are equally applicable.

Later, after service, when you have finished with brunch and fellowship, take a moment to pause or weigh the message that you have heard and even more importantly still have. The birds of the air (the evil one) didn’t steal the revelation of Gods Word from you because you captured it on paper. It’s yours to relive, study and put into action.

Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
Blessed are You, O Lord!
Teach me Your statutes.

Psalm 119:11&12 NKJV

Be Blessed A&B

 

“What must I do to be Saved?”

    But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.  And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 

Act 16:25-32 NKJV

Happy Sunday friends. Today I wanted to take a break from the current series on sin and get back to some basics. It can be so easy to become involved with deeper spiritual matters that the very basic truths can be overlooked. Even Jude writes that he intended to write about the common salvation, yet, he in fact addressed a deeper matter of wolves that entered into the church to led people astray. Jude 1:3 So, then as now, there can be many distractions and devisions surrounding doctrine and beliefs from the word of God. Thankfully the basic truth is simple, unchanging and immutable.

What must I do to be saved?

   The question causes some to ask another question. Saved from what? Why do we need a Savior? Why do we need to be saved? What will we be saved from?

I knew a man who, whenever his children asked him a question about the world or human behavior and the obvious inhumanity man inflicts on others, he would answer their questions by going back to the beginning – “Well, children, God planted a garden……” He would start every explanation with this point of reference. Over the years it became a fond memory of their Dad but he made a point. I hope to make the same point here.

God planted a garden. In the garden He made man and from man He made woman. He gave them dominion (all power and authority) over all His creation within the garden. He asked only one thing of the couple. Even warned them of the consequences of disobedience.

“Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Gen. 2:16-17

   One could ask why God placed the tree in the Garden if He didn’t want them to eat the fruit of it. If He hadn’t placed the tree in the Garden He would never know if the couple would obey Him or not. They had free will to obey or disobey. They were not robots. The absence of temptation does not breed righteousness only ignorants. If you don’t have a choice of right or wrong then doing right is the only option. God gave Adam and Eve free will and over time they freely chose to give into temptation. In their disobedience they brought upon themselves the consequences for their actions – separation from God. Gen. 3:24

Ok, ok, ok but what has that to do with me? The sin of disobedience that Adam and Eve brought upon themselves is passed down from generation to generation right down to you and I. Add to that the sins we committed ourselves (yes, you have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard) and we are sinners indeed. But God is a just God. He made the Garden. He created the rules. He also made a way back. That Way is Jesus.

   For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16 NIV

   “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas answered the man – “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved”. The apostle John tells us that God loves us all so much that He sent Jesus so that all who believe in Him will not perish but instead have everlasting life.

So, to be saved from eternal separation from God and have everlasting life all you need to do is believe. It’s the most basic, simple, unchanging and indisputable fact of the New Testament.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved

Jesus said I am the Way the truth and the Life,

no man (or woman) comes to the Father except through Me!

In a time when there can be conflicts of doctrines regarding the christian life and what that should look like. This one simple truth resounds threw the millenniums. The next truth is just as important and simple too – Jesus said Go! so if you aren’t saved ask yourself why not? If you are saved then go. Go now. Go quickly. Go tell the world what Jesus Christ has done for you.

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Mark 16:15 NIV

Don and Wendy Francisco telling the story of Jesus and Jairus – Mark 5:21-43 NIV

Be Blessed A&B

 

Grace and Mercy

Both grace and mercy are often spoken of in the Scriptures. So much so we perhaps we glance over them as we seek the point of the verse or passages we read.

But we should take a moment to reflect on these words and consider how they apply to us or more specifically our eternal salvation.

Grace

noun

dictionary.com

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  Eph. 2:8-9 NKJ

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.  Gen. 6:8 NKJV

For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.                                          John 1:17 NKJV

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood to be received by faith.                                                                                                   Romans 3:23-25a NIV

What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift (grace) but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.     Romans 4:3-5 NIV

Grace as we see defined and exemplified here can be summed up as unmerited favor or gift of God. It can not be earned so we should stop trying to work at being saved. If we were able to earn God’s favor then Jesus would not have had to die. The Law which was given to Moses was not a standard we were ever expected to achieve but rather a mirror with which we would see our desperate need of a savior. The inability to keep all 613 laws outlined by Moses does not mean that we are free just throw up our hands and give in to sin.

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?         Romans 6:14-16 NKJV

Likewise Paul tells us that even under grace we will see the consequences of our actions. Even though our salvation has been a gift of God by His grace we should work to be as good as we can within our own frail abilities or suffer the consequences.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.  And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Gal. 6:7-8 NKJV

So if grace is God’s unmerited or unearned gift or favor, what then is mercy? Isn’t it the same thing?

Mercy is, in a simple way of saying it, the other side of the same coin! Let’s look closer.

Mercy

noun

compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence:
Have mercy on the poor sinner.
the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing:
an adversary wholly without mercy.
the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.
an act of kindness, compassion, or favor:
She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.
something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing:
It was just a mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened

Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.     Matthew 5:7 NKJV

Then many warned him (the blind man) to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”                                            Mark 10:48 NKJV

For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.  For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.                   Romans 11:30-32 NKJV

Mercy is simply translated from the greek word(s) “elehos” meaning compassion. In the verses above from Romans we see God’s mercy is mentioned in contrast to the disobedience of others. Mercy is God’s compassion.

Grace is God giving us that which we could never earn.

Mercy is God compassionately not giving us that which we deserve.

Whether we like it or not, we are born in sin and sin is in our nature. As such we deserve death – The wages of sin is death! Regardless of how proud you are of how good a person you think you are – you are a sinner. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Your only hope is to pray for mercy and receive the grace of God.

Mercy and Grace / Grace and Mercy

Two sides of the same coin and both given to us by God.

Without these two we are hopelessly lost and doomed to the darkness of Hell

If you haven’t already, I beg you, cry out to Jesus.

Beg for His mercy and receive His Grace!!

Be Blessed A&B

The Future is Here!!!

THE FUTURE IS HERE!!

He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Rev 13:16-17 NKJV

This prophecy speaks of an authoritative entity creating a situation worldwide that will effect everyone’s ability to purchase or sell anything. The thought that a cashless electronic society would be necessary to implement this mark system has long been discussed. Speculation about an RFID chip embedded under the skin, much like those currently in use with pets, could contain the information necessary for transactions at point of sale spots. Today we have many ways of transferring funds or paying for everything from our mortgage, utility bills and even our morning cup of coffee without handling one single piece of cash. Wire transfers, direct deposits, auto pay and Zelle transfers could replace cash and checks. Many places of business already refuse cash payments for the ease of book keeping, avoiding human error related losses and in hopes of avoiding robbery. 

 

Financial Big Brother Is Coming, But Bitcoin Will Remain By Tomas Salles

Earlier this week, news broke that Alex Patelis, the chief economic adviser to the prime minister, is proposing to force the Greek population to spend 30% of their income using electronic payment methods. The measure aims to increase the country’s revenues by €700 million a year by preventing tax fraud.

The threads that would sew these two remnants of today are the CBDC or Central Bank Digital Currency. Learn the concept. 

Yesterday, Christine Lagarde, president of the ECB (European Central Bank), announced the creation of a working committee on the CBDC, intending to advance rapidly towards the launch of this instrument.

China plans to launch its CBDC at the beginning of 2020, Canada is already set to work on it, and every week a new initiative is made public.

What I extract from the three news items is that we are moving towards a society where governments will control the payments that everyone makes. Governments are preparing to implement 100% electronic payment systems, in a quest to eliminate tax evasion.

The CBDC is the specific instrument to impose a financial version of Big Brother will be imposed.

Posted on Yahoo Finace December 13, 2019, 1:10 PM EST

Did you hear that?

   Governments are preparing to implement 100% electronic payment systems, in a quest to eliminate tax evasion.

Eliminating cash would not only eliminate tax evasion but would very well eliminate illegal activities such as drug sales, gun sales, robbery (after all if you don’t have money in hand that’s one less thing a robber could target you for) etc. But it would obviously give the government (all governments – local, state and federal) total insight into what we earn and what we buy and where we do go. Privacy is the first victim of technology today. 

Now, I’m not saying that a cashless society is the mark of the beast but it is a technological advancement which the Antichrist can utilize or manipulate to influence people and control them. 

The prophecy clearly states that those who worship the beast will receive this mark and therefor be able to buy and sell. 

What about those that do not?!?

Rev 13:15 says it all – those that do not worship the beast will die. All true believers will have a life or death decision to make and it may be sooner than we think. 

What Is God’s Will For Me?

What is God’s will for me?

A question that many believers ask at some time. Along with;

Why am I here? What is my calling? What should I do with my life?

Life is full of so many choices. Crossroads appear at ever turn. Schools, activities, friends, choices, choices, choices. What if we make the wrong choice? Go to the wrong school? Pick the wrong career? Move to the wrong town? Marry the wrong person? Oh My!!!!! I can be overwhelming! But does following God’s will really need to be so difficult? Do the choices really matter?

Break it down

Looking into The Word of God we see that God tells us what He desires for and from us.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. What this tells us that God loves us and sent His Son (Jesus) to us so that by believing in Him we can have everlasting life.  This means it is God’s will that we believe in Jesus and have everlasting life.

Likewise, 1 Timothy chapter Two, tells us that living “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior

And

“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”

So I believe it can be said that God’s will for everyone is to be saved and live a quiet and peaceful life.

Ok, but what about all the choices that we face? What is God’s will for those decisions? Does he care about those choices we make and if so can we make wrong choices? I would say both yes and no in that if salvation is God’s will for everyone, then as long as these other choices do not distract or conflict with that prime directive then His Grace is sufficient.

Some believe that there is one perfect almost predestined plan that God has for our lives and that we should seek that out earnestly. Prayerfully seeking God’s direction before making any important decision is always a good thing to do but being anxious about a decision or regretful about a past decision because one believes they are outside the will of God is defeating.  Certainly, God wishes us to do well, be happy, live long and use our gifts to glorify Him.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth  3 John:1-2

God saw that it was not good for man (Adam) to be alone. God made Eve as a companion for Adam and it is safe to say that He wishes that single people find someone to be a companion to. He cares about our happiness but cautions about being unequally yoked (paired with someone that is not of the same faith). Some say that this scripture verse relates to marriage and business/career relations but we are in the world even though we are not of the world and as such we should shine a light especially on unbelieving co-workers and the world in general.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of your heart. Ps. 37:4

Prosperity, health and happiness and our eternal salvation of our souls are a concern to God and the reason He sent Jesus to make a way for us all but that’s not all.

He wants us to tell others the good news! The Gospel of Jesus is The Good News!! Death has been defeated and the grave is not the end. We will all pass from this life to the next but our final destination is not a fateful unknown. We can choose our destination and as previously pointed out – John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. What this tells us that God loves us and sent His Son (Jesus) to us so that by believing in Him we can have everlasting life.  This means it is God’s will that we believe in Jesus and have everlasting life.

But if we must believe in order to have everlasting life then how can anyone believe that does not hear? This is why Jesus commands us to go, and share the Gospel. Matthew 28:19

In summation

God’s will for your life doesn’t concern itself with where you live, what car you drive, what school you attended, what career you follow or any of the temporary superficial things we as a society worry and tweet about.

God’s will for your life (everyone’s life) is that you believe in Jesus and receive everlasting life as a result of that belief. Additionally, having received this gift of God, share the Love of God and the Good news of Jesus Christ to a world full of people who will live an eternity in agony if they don’t.

If you surrender to His will all those other things will fall into place or be revealed as useless vanity and be forgotten.

Be blessed A&B

How Time Flies….

How time flies!

As we approach October of 2019 I am shocked to be celebrating our 6th anniversary here at TSP Blog. What first started out as a photography sales website (a colossal mistake on my part but lesson learned) morphed into this blog where we had hoped to encourage the body of Christ and engage in dialogs about The Bible, Jesus, The Faith Walk and more.

As time has gone by there have been lapses of silence here but no lack of inspiration.

So, here we go! Autumn of 2019. Summer is over. Kids are back in school. The leaves are turning and pies are baking! I am committed to put down on paper (figuratively obviously) all these thoughts that bounce around in my head. Some of which have come from wonderful sermons I have heard and books that I have read or revelations that have come to me. As always I have not and will not attempt to act as an authority on these subjects. The Word of God thoroughly and seriously read is the ultimate authority. I simply seek to set the stage for discussion, shine a light on a subject or at the very least cause some self examination and reflection.

Subjects will include

  • Knowing God by His Names
  • Jesus Revealed by His Names
  • What must I do to be saved
  • Salvation? Who, How and Why?
  • Being a Christian – Christ’s example of how we ought to live
  • What is Faith?
  • God’s Will for you
  • Hell! It can’t be real!?
  • Getting Back to Basics – A Fundamentalist’s approach.

Just to name a few

This blog is intended to Encourage, Inspire and Challenge the body of Christ

All content published here represents our interpretation and beliefs. We take The Word of God at face value. We believe it to be the unadulterated and infallible voice of Almighty God to the World. Unchanging and able to cut into the heart of the reader, It is God’s sword.

If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ or you do not believe in or read The Bible, you will probably not enjoy the content found here but please understand that we do not wish to offend or attack the beliefs/ideals of others.

I would like to say that’s to those that followed our posts and would hope that others will stop by, read and speak up.

Be Blessed, A&B