Tag Archives: Gods Love

The Lord Reigns!!!

The Lord Reigns

The Lord Reigns

The Lord Reigns!!

 

Regardless of what we think

The Lord Reigns!

Regardless of what we see

The Lord Reigns

Regardless of what we feel

The Lord Reigns

Regardless of the nations on earth

The Lord Reigns

Regardless of the troubles we face

The Lord Reigns

The Lord Reigns

and He will be magnified in all the earth

and will show His love to you

No matter whatever you may be going threw today please take refuge under His wings and know that He reigns over all the earth and He will save you because He loves you.

Reality Memories History Fairy Tales

The 82nd Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting will be tonight and it promises to be a spectacular show. Perhaps many of you make this a tradition for your Christmas season.  Maybe you have actually attended this event with family or friends. Whether you saw it in person or watched it on TV I bet you have fond memories of the show and the excitement of seeing all those lights come to life.

 Even as I write this I can hear the Carols being sung as the tree lighting show starts. In a short time tonight’s event will be a memory – like the 81 similar shows before this one.  Our current reality is continually becoming a memory. Memories become history and sometimes history turns into a myth or fairy tales. The passage of time fades our vision and whats real can fade.

My Grandfather built a house in Southampton many many years ago. Last year I was out that way and went by to see it and show it to Betty. It wasn’t there! In it’s place was the entrance to a large cul-de-sac of condos. So I sat there, awestruck, telling Betty what the house looked like and where it stood and how much pride Pop-Pop took in how well it stood for so many years. Betty took me at my word that this home existed and that I saw it and knew who built it even though it was no longer there.

But time waits for no one. The area of New York City where throngs of people are currently gathered to see the tree lighting was farm land not so long ago.  We know this because there are drawings and writings about the growth of the Big Apple. How many children learned in school how Dutch colonists purchased the island of Manhattan for $24 in 1626?

1626! That was less than 400 years ago. Old enough that anyone who was alive at the time has past away but young enough that its recorded as a historical fact. Perhaps in another 400 years it will become a fairy tale or myth. But, that will depend on the prevailing mindsets of that yet to be time.

A little over 2000 years ago Jesus walked the earth in Israel. Hundreds, even thousands, of people saw Him and saw the things He did and heard the words He spoke. Some wrote those words down and told of His great works. These memories were shared with friends and family year after year until they became history – literally – His-story. But with the ever-present passage of time these memories that became history can be seen as fairy tales if we don’t keep the vision clear.

In Reality, Jesus walked this earth and touched the hearts and minds of many many people. Eyewitness accounts were written down and told over and over again as trusted history. Time should not change these facts. Nor should public opinion trun the truth into a fable.

This Christmas Season as we busy ourselves with all that the holiday brings – find the time to open the Gospels and read the eyewitness accounts of the Birth of a Savior, the Great Gift of God and the Love story of the ages.

KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS

Be Blessed and Merry Christmas – Al

 

 

Why do you call me good?!?!?

So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good?

No one is good but One, that is, God.

Mark 10:18 NKJV

Do you consider yourself to be a “good” person? Do you do the right thing? Follow the rules? Treat others like you would like to be treated?

Do you believe in the Ten Commandments? If so, do you keep them? Would you say that you do a better job of being good than Jesus?

Of course you don’t think that you are “good-er” then Jesus especially considering the verse quoted at the start of this post. But, let’s be honest here,  if only for a moment – You know that you aren’t better than Jesus but you KNOW you are better than __________! You fill in the blank. There’s someone whose name you would write in there.

It is a shame but true that human nature causes us to compare ourselves against one another.  The way others dress, speak, park there car, care for their children and on and on all comes into our focus and is accepted or criticized based on our own standard of right and wrong. I may not be the best Christian but at least I never did __________ like he/she did. Again, you can fill in the blank.

The only problem with this aspect of human nature is  that it goes contrary to Gods Word and Jesus’ teaching. Sure, you never killed or raped anyone like so-and-so but Jesus clearly said that if you harbor hatred or lust in your heart – YOU HAVE DONE SO. But, of course, you know that you aren’t guilty of doing those things because you can clearly see those who do and you look nothing like them.

The comparisons continue. Even comparing what’s forgivable and what is not. We have our own list of what is forgivable and what is not. You can disrespect me but don’t you dare say anything about my kids! You can have different beliefs than I but don’t put my beliefs down. You can …….. the list is endless but you get my point. But in the final analyses we have no legs to stand on here.

In Gods eyes the murders, perverts, liars are in the same group as cowards and unbelievers and idolaters and they are all on the same bus heading to the lake of fire for all eternity. Don’t even get me started on the Gossip!!

When Jesus was approached by a rich young ruler He corrected the man for calling Him good. So, if Jesus says that He shouldn’t be called good – Who are you to think so highly of yourself? The next time you look down on someone try to remember that Jesus looked down on you – from the Cross where He died for YOUR sins and loved you the whole time.

Judge not that you be not judged.

Forgive or don’t be forgiven!

Love because He first Loved us!

ps – I know this isn’t the usual “feel-good” post but I felt lead to write it and hear it. Be Blessed, Al

I do not know this man !!!!!

A little later others standing around the fire began saying to Peter, “You are, too, one of them, for you are from Galilee!” He began to curse and swear. “I don’t even know this fellow you are talking about,” he said. And immediately the rooster crowed the second time.Suddenly Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.”

And he began to cry.

Mark 14-70-72 Living Bible

Peter, Peter, Peter. Poor Simon Peter. The disciple who walked on water with Jesus and swore to keep Jesus from harm. The one who heard from Heaven that Jesus was the Son of God. It was Peter (along with his brother Andrew) who were the first to drop everything in a moments notice to follow Jesus. Now he is the one who denied Him three times – just as Jesus told him he would.

Peter reminds me a little of myself. I can tend to speak first without thinking. My enthusiasm can get me into trouble at times and like Peter, I lack a filter too often. Peter is almost child-like in his wide-eyed wonder of the world around him. With Jesus, James and John upon the mount of Transfiguration it was Peter who stepped forward with the idea of building memorials to Jesus, Moses and Elias.  But this spontaneous life-loving attitude of Peter will be used greatly in the Kingdom of God.

After 3 1/2 years of traveling with Jesus and suffering from foot-in-mouth-disease and after outright swearing that he doesn’t know Jesus, it is Peter who will stand up in public and preach the first sermon about the deity of Jesus and win 3 thousand souls to the kingdom.

IMG_5225

Peter’s denial of Jesus must have been a very dark time in his life. But having seen the resurrected Lord and being so lovingly forgiven Peter was free to return to his enthusiastic old self – only stronger.

Do not discount the gifts God has placed inside of you. If you see yourself as clumsy, awkward, uncertain or boisterous – just go for it! Be all that you are to the Glory of God. It is your destiny. It’s what you were made to do.

So if anyone asks you if you know Jesus don’t hold back. Stand up and tell them all about Him because He has your back.

Be blessed, Al

Where is the Love?!?!?

 Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth.  Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times—speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly—and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of his body, the Church. Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Ephesians 4:14-16 TLB

Many years ago, 20 years ago unfortunately, my brothers in Christ and I used to have a saying that we would use in response to any harsh criticism voiced by another – “Oh Brother! Where’s the Love in that?”

This plea for compassion was voiced because we all knew this scripture Paul wrote in his letter to the church is Ephesus encouraging the believers to speak the truth in love. You see, it’s not that we don’t need to hear the truth or be corrected from time to time. But, rather, the truth we need to hear should be sprinkled with liberal amounts of Love. The world has a similar expression – you can catch more flies with honey than yo can with vinegar.

So, lets take this to the next level.

If this is how we are encouraged to speak to one another within the body of believers why shouldn’t we do the same for those who are outside? Many of us know this verse found in Mark when the scribes questioned Jesus about which commandment was the greatest –

 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

But, how many of us remember the rest of His answer?

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Mark 12:28-31 KJV

I have a saying. Not one I made up but one I like and try to use. It says that no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. We can do so much more for the Kingdom of God with love and compassion than we can with soapboxes and banners. Have you ever heard of believers being called “Bible-thumpers”? I can only imagine that this expression was born from those of us who have tried to use the Bible as a blunt force weapon of conversion rather than the scalpel for heat surgery its intended to be.

Jude gave us an encouraging word regarding not only how to care for our own salvation but the fate of those unsaved souls around us.

21 Stay always within the boundaries where God’s love can reach and bless you. Wait patiently for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is going to give you. 22 Try to help those who argue against you. Be merciful to those who doubt. 23 Save some by snatching them as from the very flames of hell itself. And as for others, help them to find the Lord by being kind to them, but be careful that you yourselves aren’t pulled along into their sins. Hate every trace of their sin while being merciful to them as sinners.

Do it all 1So, lets try to ask ourselves, just before we open our mouths to speak – Where’s the Love in what I want to say?

Be Blessed. Al

How does it feel to be LOVED?

This one will be brief. Especially since the question posed is more rhetorical than literal.But first, some background.

The other day my wife, Betty, was cleaning up her inbox. She gets so many emails and seldom unsubscribes, so her email gets full quickly. While doing this she called me over to ask if I had any of “these” emails saved? The “these” Betty was referring to were the emails we exchanged as we first began to chatting with each other. I wasn’t surprised that Betty had the absolute first email from me dating back nearly 15 years (she is a romantic sort that way) but what shock I did feel looking at her computer screen was at what saving that email said to me. Brace yourself for this revelation – Betty really loves me!

Yup, that’s it. Sounds simple, maybe even stupid to some. But it got me thinking. I know how it feels to be afraid, anxious, angry, embarrassed, happy, shocked, tired, hungry and others but I did not know what it feels like to be loved.

As a couple for all these years we say that we love each other several times a day and these are sincerely said I love you’s. As Christians we are told of how God loves us and that God is Love and Love never fails. In our society at large we say/hear/text love all of the time. I’d love to see how many times a day the word Love is tweeted! We love our cars, our shoes, our new phone, our new iPad, our this and our that. Everything under he sun is loved by all and yet what does it feel like to be loved?

For me, if I had to answer this rhetorical and severely introspective poser, being loved feels like a sense of awe at the idea that another person looks at me and sees something of such value that they would save the first words I spoke to them. To think that they would see in me a person worthy of their time and attention and to consider that they would profoundly miss me if I were suddenly gone. Betty may never know what showing me that email meant tome (unless she reads this of course – lol) but I was humbled and surprised. Even as I write this I feel something inside myself that wants to laugh and cry at the same time. Something that makes me want to delete this and at the same time shout it from my roof top.

What does it feel like to be Loved? It feels humbling and uplifting all at once.

IMG_7169It’s an old saying but it bears repeating especially in the context of this subject –

It wasn’t the nails that held Jesus to the Cross –

it was His Love for YOU!

I hope you can feel His love for you today and always,

be Blessed, Al

Who do you think you are?

Who do you think you are?!?!

   There’s a saying out there which goes something like this –

What matters most is how you see yourself”

   We as believers understand that what truly matters most is how Jesus sees us but before we completely dismiss this seemingly introverted concept lets look at it in the light of scripture.

    For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he Pr 23:7 KJV

   So, the Word of God is telling us that our self image affects or actions but, thankfully, that is not the last word on the subject.

for man looketh on the outward appearance,

but the Lord looketh on the heart. 1Sam 16:7c KJV

In the Book of Judges we see Gideon threshing wheat in hiding from the occupiers the Lord sent to correct His people and we have an open window into the way Gideon sees himself when he responds to the angels greeting…lets listen in….

    And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.  And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.  And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?  And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house

Judges 6:12-15 KJV

  So, here we see Gideon in hiding out of fear and explaining that he is the least (perhaps smallest or youngest) in his family and that his family is poor in the tribe of Manasseh, which isn’t the largest or greatest of the tribes of Israel. Gideon sees himself as the lowest of the low BUT the angels’ greeting reflects the way God sees him – A MIGHT MAN OF VALOR! Those of you who don’t already know the rest of the story should take a minute to see how it turns out but for the purpose of our discussion I will leave it there.

God doesn’t want us to “think of ourselves more highly then we should” nor does he want us to live in fear, self doubt, or shame”.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are children of the Most High God. We are inheritors of Glory. We shall rule as Kings and Priests in the Kingdom of God to come. We are Blessed and Highly favored. But, we are to walk in humility with lowliness of heart and put others before us as we follow the example Jesus gave us of a servant not a master.

image

Distorted Selfie

As important as it may be for us to have a healthy self image it is how God sees us that matters most.

Be Blessed, Al & Betty

What in the World is going on?

Political unrest and wars in multiple parts of the world. Sickness and diseases like the Ebola outbreak and the MERS virus are killing people in large numbers and causing concerns worldwide. Earthquakes, floods, fires, tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes and huge swings in weather patterns producing violent rains, stifling heat with droughts as well record breaking blankets of snow with freezing temps.

In just the past few years the globe has seen all of these and more. Some site Global warming for climate change and the weather related problems.

With respect to the political upheavals some say its time for a change of the old regimes to the new. The Arab Spring saw protests and changes in nearly 20 countries across the north of Africa and the middle east. In Iraq a civil war rages long after America pulled its troops out. Russia is in the Ukraine and fierce fighting going on in Israel and Palestine. Isis is growing and fears are raised in the west.

All of this can cause one to wonder – “What in the World is going on?” But who can know what is going on? Is there anywhere to turn to find answers?

Obviously, the answer is Yes. There is somewhere you can go to get answers to the question of what in the world is going on –

Gods’ Word

– The Bible tells us about all these things and those things which are still to come.

It is God who controls the countries of the earth. He causes one to rise and another to fall. History shows us how Alexander the Great rose to power and how he built institutions of learning all around the known world. He caused everyone to learn the Greek language and when the time was right his empire fell. Later the Roman empire rose to control the known world and built highways and connected the various pieces of the empire with better trade routes. Soon after that we see our Lord ( and His followers) using these roads and the common language to Preach the Gospel. So we see that God orchestrated the rise and fall of these nations to His glory by setting the stage for the Ministry of Jesus Christ as well as the spreading of the Gospel by His followers.

Likewise, Jesus told us  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:6-8KJV

So, these things are not a series of unrelated hysterical happens but simply a part of the plan. Yet with all that is and will be coming let us be encouraged –

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,  whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”  Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.  For our God is a consuming fire.

Heb 12:25-29 KJV

 

He makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them. Job 12:23 KJV

 

Tribulatios Escape

Finally, let all of us be encouraging and loving towards each other and reach out to those who have not yet found the love and grace of Jesus especially as we see these things come to pass.

Be blessed today by His Love for you!

 

If You Love Something…..

If you love something set it free
and if it comes back to you its yours
and if it doesn’t it was never was.

For decades this poem, or some version of it, has been set to music, printed on posters and repeated as sage advise to the love lorn youth.

But the truth is the concept behind this montra is much older. Its as old as time itself and continues to this very moment. That’s because the concept of setting something, or someone really, free to go and live their life and hope that they come back to you frist started with God.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.  Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV

That’s a statement to consider.

Taken at face value it says that we all came from God before we came from mommy! The question is will we go back? Just like the poem says – if you love something set it free. God has done just that. He loves us and He set us free. Free to make our own choice as to whether or not we will return to Him or go our own way. Free to believe in Him and His love for us. Free to trust in Him or to venture off on our own.

In this culture of being “green” why not consider the ultimate act of recycling and ….

RECYCLE YOURSELF BY TURNING TO HIM WHO REDEEMED YOU ON CALVARY’S CROSS

_MG_7165

Caps and Gowns

Commencement Ceremony?!?!

 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin,  Zec 4:10 NLT

The first time I heard the term commencement exercise I thought it odd. After all it’s a graduation ceremony. The end of High School, or College, so why call it a beginning? Obviously, I was young and naive.

When Zerubbabel was encouraged to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem he was told to not despise the undertaking of such a monumental task.

That word of encouragement resonates threw time and can be applied to every young believer  setting out on their journey into the world today.

Do not let fear or economic circumstances distract you. Do not be concerned with what others around you may be facing. If God is for you who can be against you? Let Psalm 91 be your compass into the uncharted waters that lie ahead.

Eternity

Its a beginning and not and ending! A beginning that is full of hope, excitement and promise when you begin it with God on your side. Be encouraged even as Zerubbabel was to get started no matter how small the start or how daunting the task

Sports Metaphors Abound

So many sports activities have a similar first rule – look closely at the object of the sport. Whether it’s the basket you are shooting for or the baseball you are swinging at or the pins at the end of the bowling alley. If you are looking at something other then the intended target you shouldn’t expect to hit the target.

Our spiritual walk is not dissimilar in this one rule. Case in point – Matthew 14:22-31

Then Peter called to him: “Sir, if it is really you, tell me to come over to you, walking on the water.” “All right,” the Lord said, “come along!”So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

Peter knew that there was a storm in progress. He had been in the boat with the others for hours fighting the weather but when he saw (look at intently) Jesus, Peter was eager to join Him on the lake. Peter even stepped over the rail and walked on the water UNTIL he took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the circumstances around him. That’s when he fell victim to those circumstances.

What a powerful example for us to learn from. No matter what storms we may be in we should keep our eyes on Jesus. In fact the Scriptures say exactly that – Heb 12:1-3

Darkness 1

looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,

Heb 12:2a NKJV

The Living Bible says – Keep your eyes on Jesus! Good advise in any language. So, no matter if the sun is shining on you today or if the storms are raging all around, remember how Peter and the disciples found Jesus in the midst of their storm and know that He is there with you. He is ready to reach out His hand and save you just as He did Peter.

Be encouraged and be blessed.

 

the first commandment with a promise

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6: 1-3 NKJV

That it may go well with you and you may live long.

The Living Bible translates this scripture like this –

This is the first of God’s Ten Commandments that ends with a promise.  And this is the promise: that if you honor your father and mother, yours will be a long life, full of blessing.

Whatever translation you choose to read the idea still resounds. God will reward you for honoring your parents.

See also Exodus 20:12  and Deuteronomy 5:16 NKJV

On this Mothers’ Day as we salute our Moms  and celebrate their devotion in raising us through the years we need to remember that not all Moms are feeling loved and appreciated today. Sadly many Moms (and Dads too) are abandoned or ashamed by their children.  Is it any wonder that prisons and morgue are filling up as our society shows less respect for parents and more concern for what matters only to me.

That it may go well with you and you may live long

Fortunately, God is the God of U-Turns. If  we think that we have been less than “honorable” towards our parents we can repent and turn towards God as we change our ways. Even if our parents have passed away we can still ask God to forgive us of being rebellious and disobedient children. Even if they were less than perfect parents, we can be honorable towards them. God does not tell us to honor our father and mother if they are good and perfect parents. The responsibility is on us to honor our parents. How good a job they do with the children they were given is between them and God. So, if they were poor parents or even abusive derelict parents, we should forgive them.

That it may go well with you and you may live long

It’s a promise from God that He clearly put in writing. No reading between the lines or ambiguity here. Simply put do this and this is what will happen. So, the exact opposite is rationally true. Dont honor your parents and it will not be good for you and you will not live long.

Maybe this should have been a happy funny uplifting post but I don’t tend to plan what I write too far in advance. I write what is on my heart. I speak as a layman – not a clergy. I have to say that this is something that I had to learn and like almost all of my life lessens – I learned the hard way. After years of disrespecting and disobeying my parents and years of speaking critically about their shortcomings I found myself in a bad place. Only by the love of God was I able to learn Gods Word and live a new life.

My parents both died long before I learned what kind of child I should have been but I know that God has forgiven me and I honor them today in how I speak of them to others and by looking back at them with compassion rather then judgement.

Painted Gerber

Finally, I pray that everyone had a wonderful Mothers Day today but if you did not, I want you to know that there is a God in Heaven Who sent His Son, Jesus, to show the greatest measurable amount of love towards YOU! He died so that you don’t have to. He LOVES you and will wash away that hurt you feel because of  a child or a parent who hurt you so long ago.

He will hear you when you call – Honestly, He Will.