Walking in the Footsteps

I was surprised and moved to find out, through reading Jonathan Feldstein’s article this morning, that astronaut Neil Armstrong [first man to step on the moon] while visiting Israel in 1994, said to his archaeologist guide, standing on the old Temple steps, “So Jesus stepped right here?” The guide said these are original steps and Jesus often went to Temple, so yes, Jesus walked on those stones.

Quoting from Feldstein’s article [Jonathan Feldstein] “I have to tell you,” Armstrong said to the Israeli archaeologist, “I am more excited stepping on these stones than I was stepping on the moon.”

Think of that my friends! To be so moved by the reality of walking on the very stones that Jesus the Christ, the eternal Son of God, walked! Many still deny that Jesus Christ even existed, which I find extremely hard to go along with for many reasons, but also because we have first century Jewish and pagan historians writing about the real Jesus and His activities. The reality of Jesus many will accept; but the sticking point is…who Jesus is. Some will say He was just a good man. He was a teacher/Rabbi. He is God. He was a prophet.

Who do you think Jesus is? Your answer will impact your eternal destiny!

I know, beyond a shadow of doubt, who Jesus is; He is all those things previously mentioned, all in one LORD and Savior Christ. It is no surprise in our relativist world of self-indulgence and no absolute truths that church membership is forgetting who Jesus really is, for if we had the excitement of Neil Armstrong walking in the footsteps of Jesus, we would have full churches singing the roof off for the indescribable glory and reality of our risen Savior and LORD.

A Growing Darkness…Not a New Problem

Are you paying attention to the level of coarseness, ugliness and hate going on in America and Great Britain? Mostly based on orchestrated untruth for political agenda, we see growing darkness and a hardening of the heart within people all over. Sadly, this is not a new problem.

The apostle Paul speaking to the Ephesian people: “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed” (Ephesians 4:18-19).

Do you not cry for the country so filled with hatred, so purposefully mislead? National legislative leadership swearing oath to the US Constitution, then condemning it…where has integrity gone? Honesty? Morals? I thank God for the middle of the USA, Bible-belt Americans, hard working salt of the earth, a bedrock foundation so often mis-characterized; they are the glue trying to hold us together. I would ask you to stay the course and hold fast, keep your vision, and pray for our country’s leaders.

Humble Roots & Decent Actions

As we sang the song in church yesterday, I could not help but reflect on the unfortunate discord we currently see in our great country, especially as we approach our Independence Day celebration this July 4th. The song: “America! America! …God shed His grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood, From sea to shining sea!” Brotherhood, what a great word…from the east coast to the west coast [yes, it is an inclusive word].

My reflection on national character brought me to the Larry Provost Article published today on humble roots and decent actions. Why not take time to read it, stop with the politics and slow down for your own reflection this July 4th on how we should treat one another? It just may bring a blessing to you!

Humble Roots & Decent Actions

As we sang the song in church yesterday, I could not help but reflect on the unfortunate discord we currently see in our great country, especially as we approach our Independence Day celebration this July 4th. The song: “America! America! …God shed His grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood, From sea to shining sea!” Brotherhood, what a great word…from the east coast to the west coast [yes, it is an inclusive word].

My reflection on national character brought me to the Larry Provost Article published today on humble roots and decent actions. Why not take time to read it, stop with the politics and slow down for your own reflection this July 4th on how we should treat one another? It just may bring a blessing to you!

It is About the Heart

Friends, my book “A Different Kind of Tree” is about moving from sinner to a child of God; half of each of the 15 chapters is about my own life. I wish to blog about Christianity and not politics; I believe political engagements are killing us by creating hateful debate and setting up a battle field.

What would Jesus say about the four young children killed in Florida this week and the two police officers shot trying to save the children and stop the madness? Would Jesus wish the President happy birthday today? You know Jesus would show compassion, tears, sensitivity and blessings. We need to do the same; can we stop the hateful rhetoric, stop the ugly cursing, and show some respect for people?

Our nation is dying, not by our actions, but by our hearts! Actions follow the heart; the hate, the killings, the cursing, the riots that we are experiencing are all driven by the heart, and not by some political bent. Proverbs 4:23 tells us “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” My friends, be at peace and show love!

There is Always Time to do…

In one of my daily devotionals from “Truth for Life”, I saw this small piece of text years ago. It is from C. H. Spurgeon and updated by Alistair Begg at Truth for Life and published by Good News Publishers (2003). It is good and worth revisiting every now and then. Somehow, as I reflect on my 50th High School Reunion, current weather events, volcanoes in the world, family life and death, it called me back again to share this portion with you.

“Reader, if you are not yet saved, may your heart, in keeping with the universal awakening of nature, be opened to receive the Lord. Every blossoming flower warns you that it is time to seek the Lord; do not be out of tune with nature, but let your heart bud and bloom with holy desires. If you tell me that the warm blood of youth leaps in your veins, then I entreat you, give your vigor to the Lord. It was my unspeakable happiness to be called in early youth, and I am thankful to the Lord every day for that. Salvation is priceless, let it come when it may, but oh, an early salvation has a double value in it.”

Have you thought of the value of time as it is reflected in nature? Every season has it’s time…time for this and time for that…new life and new beginnings happen annually. We have a chance at new life and new beginnings every day; all you need to do is to turn toward the Lord, your Savior and Creator. Perspective comes in many forms; a chance at a wake-up call is a blessing not to be overlooked. Why not take a walk, study a new blossoming flower and think about your life and the directions you should go. Blessings to you!

Focus – be Steady and be Like Joseph

Joseph of the Bible’s Genesis stories had an interesting life; his brothers hated him and tried to kill him. He was sold into slavery. But over and over again the story tells us that God was with him; many might question, where is God in this? Joseph kept going, succeeding at every level; but problems still followed him. Falsely accussed of attempted rape by a jilted high-powered woman, he was wrongly thrown into prison. Prison, where he now had more chances to succeed, which he did. Forgotten by an exiting jailmate, he remained in prison where he continued to do the Lord’s work, not sitting around in self-pity. Joseph got out of prison by following the Lord’s Spirit and succeeded even greater, always keeping his eye on God and doing the right thing regardless of the possibile negitive outcomes when dealing with “the world”.

So what’s in this story for us? We would ALL do well to keep our eye upon Jesus Christ, do His will (not our own), and not worry about what the world thinks of us Christians. Put the Lord first and everything else (be it good or bad) will fall into proper alignment. Just because you follow Christ doesn’t mean your life will be easy; Jesus told us the world would hate us for what we believe (John 17), so don’t worry! Be of good cheer! If you are a Christian, you are a child of God…it doesn’t get any better than that! Blessings to you!

Where are they now?

I wrote about death a long time ago, the article is free to download at Muskrat Books , but we don’t like to think about death and dying, though it is and will be real for all of us. I think many young people, especially those sick individuals that commit the shooting of the innocent, don’t have a clue what death is. Sounds funny, I know, but when you grow up with all the violent computer games & television and hateful rap music, what can we expect? The voices to the contrary seem to be mute!

I recently lost my wonderful Mother-in-Law, my own Mother, and a principal in the firm where I work. Where are they now? If you have a secular worldview, a false view, then you believe they are dust, gone, no more. This greatly magnifies the pain of loss! However, if you have a Christian worldview, then you have HOPE!

Resurrection Hope! Hope that one day we will be reunited in Heaven. Jesus redeemed us with His blood on the cross, taking my sins and paying the price of death that I myself should be paying. Our Redeemer conquered death itself and lives to prepare a place for us in Glory…all we need to do to join Him is to believe Jesus Christ is LORD and accept Him as your personal Savior. I look forward to being reunited with my family that has gone on before me, for those that have faith in Christ Jesus, I know where they are!

Foundation Repair Needed…Fast!

My book, A Different Kind of Tree, is about growing from sinner to a child of God. Using the metaphor of a tree, it is about bearing good fruit or bad fruit.

A simple look at our culture now reflects a lot of bad fruit! The violently expressed hate filling social media over simple things of no consequence seems so out of balance. Where is that energy coming from? Why is hate so forcefully being expressed these days? The coarseness of our language, the violence cast upon the innocent, the lack of integrity of our leaders, the lack of balance from our media and schools, and the general disrespect for the rule of law by our citizens…all points to a fallen nation…bad fruit.

We have taken away and turned our backs on the foundation of our nation. What happens to a building which develops a broken foundation? It falls apart! We must return to our founding structure, and re-instate the 10 Commandments…even if you reject the first 5, the second half tells us how to live with one another…REALLY, that has to be to our benefit!

Happiness is a state of mind!

You do NOT have a right to be happy!
You DO have a right to pursue happiness, however; so it is up to you to be happy. So, how can you be happy?

Happiness is a state of mind. Happiness is about your focus. If you hear negative news all the time, what will you start to think? If you are more optimistic about things, you will start to think positively, talk positively and act positively…and you’ll be more fun to be around, and you’ll have more fun too. It is contagious!

But, Haven, you say…the world is falling apart; how can you be optimistic in all this muck and mire? Is the world really falling apart? How do you really know?

You all have heard about the so-called Man-made Global Warming Catastrophe and the fear of a worldwide crisis. Those supporting this idea say there is a scientific consensus; there is not and those scientist pushing the hoax have been shown to have doctored the information to suit thier personal agendas. But this scares people! They have been claiming the world’s end for decades; in the 70’s, our doom was to be an ice-age. Historically, the climate temperatures do in fact naturally go up and down about every 25 years or so, and it is currently cooler than the temperatures we have had in the past couple decades. Polar caps change; they always have. It is all part of solar cycles…its a normal God-created thing.

So, why the fear? Why the worry? …and does all this “worry stuff” make you happy? Do you just want to stay in bed, pull the covers over your head and tune out?

Throughout history, every crisis has birthed innovation and new discovery; what made these people create these other options? What made people look beyond the acute problem immediately facing them? Was it a belief in what they could do? Maybe it was a belief in WHO created them and that they too might be creative enough to work through a problem. Notice I said: WORK THROUGH A PROBLEM. This is the difference…attitude & focus to move forward…that they could achieve results.

It was the FOCUS on the fact that THEY could do something! That they had God-given abilities to do something…it got them out of bed in the morning and to rise above any problems.

WORKING THROUGH A PROBLEM is not about “not having any problems”…it is about not letting the problems control you, but YOU control the problem. Problems are opportunities to excel in something, to have achievement and reach innovative solution. They are not to be feared, but to be conquered!

I have VERY good news for you…you are created to do amazing things, and YOU have already been granted God-given abilities to be creative!

Can We be Better Children?

Everyone is a child of/from someone; that is, you had a mother and a father. My father died in 1994; I remember his last words to me as if they were spoken only moments ago. Well, my mother is now dying. Will I be repeating my words concerning my father? “I wish I was a better son.” Will I be saying, mother, I wish I was a better son a year from now? I don’t know…but I think so, I am far from perfect. I have not been a bad son, I love my mother…but I could have been better.

Don’t waste any moments being upset with your parents; be thankful you were given the gift of life. Likewise, be in relationship with your children now so that they too may have the benefit of relationship later in life with you. Don’t waste a single day by being selfish. My book, “A Different Kind of Tree” available at Amazon or at http://www.muskratbooks.com was all about my journey from sinner to be a child of God. Did I mess up earlier in life? Yep! Did I waste valuable time? Yep! Can I learn to do better? Yep, I did learn! Will I do better? You bet! I have siblings, children and grandchildren; it is definitely worth the effort!

What is a Christian?

What is a Christian? Someone who knows Jesus Christ? No…the Bible tells us that the demons know Jesus Christ. Someone who knows Jesus is the Son of God? No…the demons know that too. Fact is, Jesus told us that many so-called Christians will call Him Lord and He will say, “I don’t know you”. So what then is the real Christian? Maybe the Christian is one who does good things. No, many non-Christians also do good things. So what then is the real Christian?

Michael Brown, past professor at a number of seminaries, wrote an article published on January 3, 2013, entitled: “What’s Right and Wrong with American Christianity”. He listed 8 “right things” and 12 “bad things”. The right things were about the things a Christian “does”: feed the poor, generosity, being helpful to others, being moral, pro-life, and pro-Israel. Jesus asked us to go and “do”, strive to be righteous and look after your neighbor; so I agree with Brown’s “right listing”, but these things don’t define a Christian. The bad things consist of having shallow faith, leadership scandals, moving away from orthodoxy, prosperity preaching, false teaching, and changing the church to fit the culture. Here we have a serious and accurate list. If we can reverse this “bad list” we will find out what a real Christian is.

A real Christian has a very strong faith in Jesus Christ and is willing to put Jesus above all things including self. The Bible teaches that leadership will be judged harsher than others; leadership should be stronger and humbly better, no excuses. The Christian’s faith must remain orthodox; the Bible is the very word of God, believe it with all your mind, heart and soul. A Christian does not change Jesus to suit his personal whims nor to change orthodoxy to appease the culture to comer sit in a pew.never give up A Christian loves Jesus no matter what the world thinks, no matter if it costs him his business, his friends or his life. Disciples don’t die for a lie…no matter what!

Think YOU have problems? Who are you riding with?

We all have “storms” in our lives, problems and pains. The “storms of life” come against us all. Jesus chose the disciples for a grand purpose; He would not allow them to drown in the Sea of Galilee…read Mark 4:35-41. Furthermore, Jesus had a purpose for the group to get into the boat. The purpose was NOT to drown in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, but to get to the other side. So, why do you suppose these seasoned fishermen, familiar with the storms on the Sea of Galilee, were so upset that they thought they were going to drown? They forgot who they were traveling with! The Lord Jesus would not allow them to drown; they had nothing to worry about. So let me ask you, who are you traveling with?

Jesus can and will calm the “storms in your life”, all you need to do is to get into the boat with Him! This Easter, I invite you to finally accept with Jesus did for you and get into the boat with Him! I promise it is the best and only trip you can take for all eternity! Amen.

Want to Change Your Life? Try this Every Morning!

We Christians often will say that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and rightly so, for He is! But in addition to this truth, I would like for you to try something new, starting this Easter. A saying you probably have repeated before, but I wish to challenge you to say it everyday this year and mean it; don’t just repeat empty words but concentrate on each simple word: “This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

What if you started everyday with this statement before you got out of bed, and then lived the day in rejoicing God’s creation and creatures? What a difference your outlook would be! How much different would your speech be knowing you are talking to one of God’s creations? Whether they know or believe in God doesn’t matter; the Creator still loves them and so should you. Would your morning commute be more friendly? How much better could you cope with life’s problems knowing that YOU are a blessing from God? We all have problems, but knowing that the day was a gift to YOU from God should make a huge difference to you! Know that you are loved by God (John 3:16-18)! Sing out everyday inspite of those nay-sayers all around you, “This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

See the Creation, See the Creator – Part 2

When we view God’s creation, we see part of God. Our Creator, the Lord God Almighty, will move His creation toward higher order through relationship. This is why He created us. He loves us! He wants to see us grow toward completeness, just as we delight in seeing our own children grow toward completeness, and become fine adults. How many parents have looked out from the audience at the school awards ceremony, to see a child receiving an award, and think “I had something to do with that…I sure am proud!”

A sense of completeness and relationship, we each seek this “reward of living”, much more important than money. So it is with God, and this is why He created you and I. He seeks out relationship with us; God desires to look at us and say “well done my good and faithful child, I am proud of you and I love you so very much”.

Some would say that God has no need of us. I think just the opposite. Why? As an architect, I know about the feelings between a creator and his creation. I know there is a “relationship” with the created object; after all, as discussed earlier, the created object is actually a part of the creator. God delights in creating; we are all created in His image. You don’t create and then destroy a masterpiece. Oh, you may experiment, realize it isn’t working, and then start over, drawing on your newly acquired knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. But you don’t destroy your final masterpiece; you work to save it.  God is reaching out to you now; salvation can be yours.

[For more discussion on Creating, please refer to the book, I Am, the Great Creator God by Haven D. Mankin. Information about the book and how to obtain a copy is available at: http://www.MuskratBooks.com]

Trees are known by their fruit

“A Different Kind of Tree” is a book about life. It is a book about how and where you get nourishment; a book about where you have planted your roots and what fruit you bear. Everybody bears fruit; the only question is: Is your fruit good or bad? Is what you do of a positive impact on others or is it of negative impact? This book is about growing in the LORD, if you love the world and it’s evil, you are not in the LORD (1 John 2:15-17); it is about the decisions you make in life. Each Chapter starts out with a portion of my true life story because this book is also about “the journey”, my journey through the bad, the ugly and the good. It is about my journey out of darkness toward Christianity and becoming a true Child of God. Check it out at http://www.MuskratBooks.com. The book shows that God is great and truly forgives, we simply need to repent and try to do better.

See the Creation, See Creator – Part 1

It is a God given wish of all humans to create, yes, I mean each and every one of us. Why? Because it is a reflection of you; we all wish to leave a mark, part of you ends inside that creation.

There is an inner spirit in each of us, yes each of us, created by God and in His image and character. Besides the Holy Spirit, this other inner spirit is the creative “juice” that will move to do creative things. I like to call it “juice” because it (whatever “it” is) this creative essence in each of us, “flows”. You can feel it when it is moving and you know when it dries up. Haven’t you heard an artist say things like, “I don’t have it anymore” or “nothing was coming to me”? Every artist has a dry period; a period when the “juice” is not flowing. The juice hasn’t dried up forever, gone and never to be experienced again. No, the juice is still within you; it has only ceased to flow at that given time. It is best to just get up and do something else for a time. When the juice is flowing, you can do amazing things. Michelangelo’s statue of David can be carved out of a rough block of marble. Frank Lloyd Wright’s house, called “Fallingwater” in Bear Run, Pennsylvania can be designed. Leonardo Da Vinci’s 16th Century painting of the “Mona Lisa” and Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet” can all be created out of nothing, ex nihilo baby!

Every time you read a novel, a poem, a sonnet, a play, any literary work, you have revealed something of whom the writer is and about their life. You can see that Michelangelo understands human anatomy when you view his drawings, such as the portion of the Sistine Chapel ceiling called the “Creation of Man”. Most architects display “their style” to the point that a person can view a set of buildings and place the architect’s name beside each one. In the created object, there is indeed part of the creator.

Part 2 – Your Relationship with God

Following my Part 1 from last week, let me give you an example of how much God loves you. Aside from the fact that you are created in the image of God (Genesis Chapter 1), God listens to your prayers for others, your prayers for yourself, and is willing to take action according to His will. In the example below, Daniel has been praying for his people and for himself.

Daniel chapter 10, verses 12-14, an angel came to Daniel:

“Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I [an angel] have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia [one of Satan’s demons] withstood me twenty-one days [a war in the heavens], but Michael, one of the chief princes [one of God’s main angels], came to help me [God’s main angel came to help the first angel], for I was left there with the kings of Persia [Satan’s demons], and came to make you [Daniel] understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”

Here we see God not only hearing, but acting due to the prayers of a man who believes in the LORD. God not only sent a messenger, an angel, but when that first messenger  was delayed by evil forces, God sent a more powerful angel to hold off the evil influences to allow Daniel to understand God’s will. My point is this…this story shows how important your relationship to God really is…that God will work out His will, whatever it takes, to those who love Him. Knowing this happened to Daniel gives us understanding that the same can also happen to us.

Part 1 – Your Relationship with God

2 Timothy chapter 3, verses 1 to 4 states: “In the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” (ESV)

Probably most will say that the above verses spell out our current culture. They would be correct; but please note that the end times have been on-going since the death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection. The human values noted in 2 Timothy 3 have been on display for most generations since. Yet, we have the ability of seeing first hand these ugly sinful values on display in our current time on this planet.

We need to turn; that is, we need to repent and turn toward our only Savior, Christ Jesus! Any view of history, no matter how long or short, reveals that mankind cannot save themselves. Many will reject the idea of an ultimate savior, saying there is no God because there is evil in the world. Will you bet your eternal soul on that? …or, do you believe this world is all there is?

God will bring all things to a close and re-create all things anew at His time. Out of love, He is waiting for as many as possible to turn…to repent and accept Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior, so to find a heavenly home.

Part 2 will be an example of how much God really cares for those that love Him.

Garbage-in Means Garbage-out

I contend that a person’s dress and their speech are connected to their actions. Just look how people dress these days to travel; not long ago you would dress up to travel. People’s actions will affect what they think, and what they think affects their actions. I believe that what you chose to take into your heart impacts how you will act and talk. I believe that “garbage-in means garbage-out”. It is all connected. Today, it is rare to encounter “manners”. It is rare to see chivalry and courtesy. Many say that the culture is much more coarse today than just a few decades ago. One thing that is very common today among young and old…foul language in open everyday communications. We see teachers in young classrooms using foul language. It is a rare rap song that isn’t laced with foul language. Kids tell parents that everyone talks that way.

The Bible has much to say about the evil of the tongue, driven by an impure heart. An evil tongue, driven by an evil heart, is the cultural damage we see every morning in newspapers and on TV news shows. It is the tongue that creates the gang wars and shootings at sports events. Obviously there are some refreshing exceptions, but does anyone doubt me concerning the current state of our culture, our politics, and Hollywood?

Fill your heart with the blessings of God’s Holy Word, the Bible, be at peace with yourself, and be nice and courteous to those you meet…you will find your heart and your voice will start changing into a compassionate and sensitive human being.

 

Moving Backward into the Deep Caverns of Hate

Evil comes in all packages. Often, groups with the nicest sounding names can be the most evil; wolves in sheep clothing. Where I live, middle America, I see no racism…we all get along just fine. I see people helping one another. Why is it that the purported racism seems to most often be in the big liberal cities, rather than middle America? God created all of us in His image; we are all children of God. Whether you believe in God or not, you were created by a Divine Hand. All blood is red! We Christians (true, not just name only) do not see the human differences; so, I must ask, is there a business, a way of gaining power and money from promoting hate?

I am not completely unaware; I have been a witness to history for more than 60 years, but we seem to be moving backward into the deep caverns of hate. Have we not learned anything after all the trial and errors that have been made in our 200 years? It appears to this one observer that the arguments are growing more absurd and dangerous. Why is hate fueled so much? What is to be gained? In recent memory, there was a Washington News Bureau Chief who broadcasted, to his own demise thankfully, that the GOP would be happy with black people drowning as hurricane Isaac approached. This so-called journalist didn’t know the real facts; that it was the GOP that brought about all the civil rights improvements we have in this country…that the KKK was first a democrat group. Can we move forward and not backward?

In recent memory we have Ferguson activists threatening the police and praying for their death. But people like this are fueled by their leadership. The so-called Reverend Sharpton, speaking in a church on the events in Ferguson claimed an ancient Biblical text, not supported by Jesus Christ, that there would be an “eye for an eye” in retaliation for their perceived mis-justice in the case. In other words, he was saying there would be death for death and the fight was not over. In pulling down Old Testament verse to suit his passion, his political agenda, he chose to not obey the teachings of Jesus (Matthew 5:39-45) for a pastor is not to make the Word of God his vehicle for hate.

Please, I pray, let’s turn around before it is too late in this country to repair itself and become a “Godly Nation” again. Shalom.

 

Connections of Love, Hate, Respect and Violence

Blessed are the Peace MakersSeveral years ago, this image was placed on the doors of the Houston County sheriff’s cars in Alabama. In recent years, we have seen many police officers being gunned down, murdered by hate-filled people fueled by the hateful rhetoric from hate groups such as “Black Lives Matter”, a group applauded by then President Obama. The folks in Alabama reacted negatively to the image due to its Bible reference of Matthew 5:9. Why? Did they not want peace? If they hated cops, then they must really love anarchy!

Maybe they did not know where hate comes from? Hate and evilness comes from Satan. Were they on the side of Satan? Love, Hate, Respect and Violence are all wrapped up in who we really are. This is not about black or white, rich or poor, male or female, nor any other set of comparisons the Progressives wish to divide us over. This about the heart and your inner spirit.

Goodness, love and peace come from God, and the Bible is God’s Holy Word…plain and simple. God was speaking then and is still speaking today…first, YOU must stop speaking and listen!

 

Turn toward Jesus Christ, Jesus will meet you wherever you are!

In the English language, we have just one word for “love”. In the Greek, there are 4. There comes the diminished understanding within a complete understanding of the Bible text in John 21:13-17.

Most all English Bibles use the word “love” in a dialog between Jesus and Peter, after the resurrection and just before the ascension, but this doesn’t provide us with the full meaning of what is going on here, but with a Greek Interlinear, we can see the true differences within the questions and answers between Jesus and Peter.

John 21:13-17 from the Hebrew Names Version of the Bible

13 Then Yeshua came and took the bread, gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Yeshua was revealed to his talmidim, after he had risen from the dead. 15 So when they had eaten their breakfast, Yeshua said to Shim`on Kefa, “Shim`on, son of Yonah, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection for you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Shim`on, son of Yonah, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection for you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Shim`on, son of Yonah, do you have affection for me?” Kefa was grieved because he asked him the third time, “Do you have affection for me?” He said to him, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I have affection for you.” Yeshua said to him, “Feed my sheep.”  [bold and underlines added]

John 21:13-17 from the Complete Jewish Version of the Bible

13 Yeshua came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Yeshua had appeared to the talmidim after being raised from the dead. 15 After breakfast, Yeshua said to Shim`on Kefa, “Shim`on Bar-Yochanan, do you love me more than these?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I’m your friend.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Shim`on BarYochanan, do you love me?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I’m your friend.” He said to him, “Shepherd my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Shim`on BarYochanan, are you my friend?” Shim`on was hurt that he questioned him a third time: “Are you my friend?” So he replied, “Lord, you know everything! You know I’m your friend!” Yeshua said to him, “Feed my sheep!”   [bold and underlines added]

The point? Look at the first two responses of Peter to Jesus’ questions of “do you love me?” Peter replies, well…I have affection for you or well, I am your friend. Hardly coming up to the level where Jesus was in His questioning. So the third question comes…note the change. We see Jesus coming down, if you will, to meet Peter where he was in his understanding of the relationship he had with Jesus. To Jesus, it is about relationship; He will come to you where you are if you will have faith in who He is!

The book, A Different Kind of Tree, is about this growing in the faith and having a relationship with Christ Jesus. If you will first turn toward Jesus Christ, Jesus will meet you wherever you are! Whether you are wealthy or poor, healthy or sick, wise or ignorant, homeless, a criminal,, or any other manner of person…Jesus loves you this I know, for the Bible tells us so!

Won’t you turn to Him now?

I have to admit, I am so very tired of hearing from our academic institutions, be they from kindergarten through our highest universities, of the gushing out of pure garbage of the zero-evidence non-proven “truths” about how mankind came into being.  So prevalent in so many circles, most drink it in as truth. Absolute trash about how creation came about, even from the likes of the great Steven Hawking. They all pour out their ideas, all the while ignoring the very science that proves them wrong.  You can not (should not) pick and choose your supporting arguments to fit your agendas if your adventure is to find the real truth.

I have written on this subject before and I am not going to try to fight in this short post. But what I do want to request of anyone out there with a brain of their own, please think through all that you hear, test it out, does it hold even a little bit of water? You are sensible people, don’t just buy the voice of the mob!

For thousands of years thoughtful scholarship has taken place to show and prove that God is not just some construct. God always is and has been, and will be! God is the non-created “first cause”! We have never had the ability to know more than we can electronically today, and that will only mushroom many times over in the future. But we have never been more mistaken on what the truth really is. Ecclesiastes 12:1 says, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them [your days]’.” (NIV). You still have time; remember your Creator. Seek a Biblical worldview instead of a humanistic worldview. You have been gloriously created by a very loving God who wants you to be in relationship with Him. Won’t you turn to Him now before the end of your days?

Won't you turn to Him now?

I have to admit, I am so very tired of hearing from our academic institutions, be they from kindergarten through our highest universities, of the gushing out of pure garbage of the zero-evidence non-proven “truths” about how mankind came into being.  So prevalent in so many circles, most drink it in as truth. Absolute trash about how creation came about, even from the likes of the great Steven Hawking. They all pour out their ideas, all the while ignoring the very science that proves them wrong.  You can not (should not) pick and choose your supporting arguments to fit your agendas if your adventure is to find the real truth.

I have written on this subject before and I am not going to try to fight in this short post. But what I do want to request of anyone out there with a brain of their own, please think through all that you hear, test it out, does it hold even a little bit of water? You are sensible people, don’t just buy the voice of the mob!

For thousands of years thoughtful scholarship has taken place to show and prove that God is not just some construct. God always is and has been, and will be! God is the non-created “first cause”! We have never had the ability to know more than we can electronically today, and that will only mushroom many times over in the future. But we have never been more mistaken on what the truth really is. Ecclesiastes 12:1 says, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them [your days]’.” (NIV). You still have time; remember your Creator. Seek a Biblical worldview instead of a humanistic worldview. You have been gloriously created by a very loving God who wants you to be in relationship with Him. Won’t you turn to Him now before the end of your days?

Spiritual but not Religious…oh really?

You hear people say, I’m a spiritual person but I am not religious. What does that mean? Many will tell you that spirituality is finding your inner peace, finding your true self and your true path…whatever that means. They will tell us that spirituality is deep healing of mind, body and spirit…a shift to a higher consciousness and understanding. This is all humanism; making the person the power generator capable of reaching the high levels on their own. This type of thought sets the individual at the center of all that happens. This kind of spirituality is simply a preoccupation with ourselves.

Real spirituality is something you cannot do on your own, but requires formation by God’s Spirit. Called “Spiritual Formation” and it is entirely different from the humanism we see all around us. It is complex and takes a lifetime. Spiritual Formation places Jesus Christ in the center to keep us out of the center.

If you really want a worry-free life, one with a peace that passes all understanding, you only need to turn to Christ Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to  be a child of God. God will replace your evil heart with a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). God will put His Spirit in you (Ezekiel 36:27). This is the real spirituality available to all people.

What will be MY response?

Forgiveness, what a word. The Bible tells us to forgive 70 x 7 times; in other words, an unlimited number of times. The Bible also tells us that if we don’t forgive others, that we will not be forgiven. We are all told to forgive one another but it is very hard to do. Here is why. There is a thing called the “stress response”. If the stress response is triggered by a meeting of one you said you had forgiven, then you had not fully forgiven.

A lawyer beat me out of a sizable architectural fee 40 years ago. He was an evil person and hurt many others. He also hurt my wife and children. The courts were of no help after years of trying, so one day I decided that I was carrying way too much baggage about this guy, after all I had recovered from the pain he caused. I wrote him and said I forgive you. Of course, I never got a reply; I didn’t expect one. He probably thought I was weak. Soon, I began to consider…what if I run into him on the elevator? How would I feel? Being honest with myself, I decided I would get nervous, flushed with adrenaline, and so thought I had not FULLY forgiven. It took about a year of working on my forgiveness before I decided I would have no reaction and could actually wish the man “a good day”.

Yes, to fully forgive can be difficult but I promise it will be YOU who will be blessed in doing so. Furthermore, each and everyone of us needs forgiveness for something; looking back, I could fill a book; I am so glad that God has forgiven me, now what will be my response be to God’s mercy and grace?

God Created all Peoples to be Free

You have heard the saying that those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. I wonder why we in the USA are so afraid of history? We see the nation founders removed from many text books; and many universities not requiring American History to get a history degree. Did you know that Germany has kept a great many of the awful Nazi Concentration Camps, because they now know how evil the Nazis were and they don’t want to repeat that evilness again.

So why are we seeing so many groups trying to revise American History now? Why are so many actually re-writing history? What are they afraid of? What we are seeing in America now with the destruction of Confederate Monuments has nothing to do with racism because most don’t know the history of slavery in America. I dare say, they don’t have a clue why the Civil War was even fought, because it had very little to do with slavery. They don’t know the impact that Great Britain had upon American slavery. They don’t know that blacks sold blacks. They don’t know how the founding fathers hated slavery though many had slaves. They don’t know that you could not rid yourself of slaves no matter how much you hated slavery if they were inherited.

Leave history alone, leave the monuments alone, it is what it is! Let us all remember how awful the slave period of time was so we will never ever repeat the sinfulness of slavery of any kind. For if you try to cleanse a nation to suit a particular ideology, you are only making the nation a slave to that ideology. God created all peoples to be free!

So, what is a Christian anyway?

What is a Christian? Someone who knows Jesus Christ? No…the Bible tells us that the demons know Jesus Christ. Someone who knows Jesus is the Son of God? No…the demons know that too. Fact is, Jesus told us that many so-called Christians will call Him Lord and He will say, “I don’t know you”. So what then is the real Christian? Maybe the Christian is one who does good things. No, many non-Christians also do good things. So what then is the real Christian?

Michael Brown, past professor at a number of seminaries, wrote an article published on January 3, 2013, entitled: “What’s Right and Wrong with American Christianity”. He listed 8 “right things” and 12 “bad things”. The right things were about the things a Christian “does”: feed the poor, generosity, being helpful to others, being moral, pro-life, and pro-Israel. Jesus asked us to go and “do”, strive to be righteous and look after your neighbor; so I agree with Brown’s “right listing”, but these things don’t define a Christian. The bad things consist of having shallow faith, leadership scandals, moving away from orthodoxy, prosperity preaching, false teaching, and changing the church to fit the culture. Here we have a serious and accurate list. If we can reverse this “bad list” we will find out what a real Christian is.

A real Christian has a very strong faith in Jesus Christ and is willing to put Jesus above all things including self. The Bible teaches that leadership will be judged harsher than others; leadership should be stronger and humbly better, no excuses. The Christian’s faith must remain orthodox; the Bible is the very word of God, believe it with all your mind, heart and soul. A Christian does not change Jesus to suit his personal whims or to make the culture like a false message. A Christian loves Jesus no matter what the world thinks, no matter if it costs him his life.

Hurricane Storms? Yes, but Christ brings the Calm!

We all have “storms” in our lives, problems and pains. The “storms of life” come against us all. Jesus chose the disciples for a grand purpose; He would not allow them to drown in the Sea of Galilee…read Mark 4:35-41. Furthermore, Jesus had a purpose for the group to get into the boat. The purpose was NOT to drown in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, but to get to the other side. So, why do you suppose these seasoned fishermen, familiar with the storms on the Sea of Galilee, were so upset that they thought they were going to drown? They forgot who they were traveling with! The Lord Jesus would not allow them to drown; they had nothing to worry about. So let me ask you, who are you traveling with? Jesus can and will calm the “storms in your life”, all you need to do is to get into the boat with Him! Amen.