Storms Often Come When You are Obedient

So many today think that if they follow Jesus and be a Christian, they will not have any problems. I knew a co-worker who thought he would never be sick again in his life. So what happens when problems do befall on them? They, in their guilt, think God is mad at them. This is all wrong! Besides the desires of the Devil to impact, not those already in destruction, but those trying to live as Jesus taught, I blame television preachers proclaiming the so-called “gospel of health and wealth”. Another name for this false unbiblical teaching is “word of faith” (sounds so much better, easier to hook people); this preaching comes from the likes of Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and many others. Sadly, many local churches have also fallen prey to this heresy.

Let’s look at the book of Mark chapter 6 for a great example. After the feeding of the 5,000 men plus women and children, Jesus in verse 45 tells the disciples to get in a boat and go ahead of Him to Bethsaida. In the middle of the sea, the disciples were struggling against a strong wind storm. They were in trouble and afraid BECAUSE they had obeyed Jesus!

So at their darkest hour (it is darkest before the dawn, see verse 48), Jesus comes to them and says “take courage, it is I, don’t be afraid” (verse 50). To be obedient does NOT mean you will be well with money in your pocket, and a fancy new car. To be obedient could kill you, as it did for 11 of the 12 disciples; obedience killed Jesus!

I pray we stand up and be obedient; stand for something greater than what the world offers. Christians, show that we are not of this world! Show the world we stand for something so much better than the world we currently live in! Be obedient to the words of Christ Jesus and get in your boat. Recognize the LORD, it is Jesus coming to you, our one and only Savior! Jesus will come to you at your time of need!

We Get What We Sow

This first weekend in August, in gun-free Chicago, we have 10 or 11 killed and some 70 shot.  How can that happen in a gun-free city? It is not racism. Maybe, the “bad guys” don’t follow the laws of the city. Well, obviously it is NOT about the gun…it is about the HEART.

There is an innate understanding in all of humanity of what is right and wrong, so that is not the problem. All the usual excuses are removed. So that only leaves one other thing…it MUST be about the heart. The more we remove God from the culture and shackle the way we can talk about the saving grace and mercy of our LORD Jesus the Christ, the more we will find evil stepping in to fill the void. We get what we sow.

What is Your Response?

My Christian friends, do not look down on any non-Christians for we were once non-Christians too. We should be telling others of the love of Jesus Christ and that salvation is available to all if they would simply repent (turn from their sins by admitting they are a sinner) and receive the free love, forgiveness and mercy from the Lord Jesus who shed His own blood on the cross to redeem (pay the price) for the sinners (all of us) of the world.

If you desire to keep on sinning, then you are rejecting the free gift already handed out to you. What should a person do when they receive a gift (any gift)? Be thankful, of course! You have already been handed a free gift, what is going to be your response?

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!

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.

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]

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.

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!

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!