Saying No To Jesus?

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

On occasion, someone will declare to me that they do not believe that placing one's faith in Christ is the only way to heaven.   Notice I said, declare not debate.  That's ok, Jesus gives everyone a choice to accept or reject Him.  But I have often wondered, "Why was it important for them to tell me that?"  

Some people want me to know that they think I'm a religious fanatic. 
Some people want me to know that they think I've got it wrong. 
Some people want me to know that they found another way to heaven and they don't need my help. 

Now the theological implications that Jesus got it wrong here is staggering.  Too much to dive into right now.  But either Jesus is a liar, and lunatic or He can save us from our sins.  Now obviously I agree with the latter. 

I have a real relationship with Christ that meets my needs every day. 
I have experienced His presence and power in my life - frequently. 
I have seen genuine miracles and wonders that only He can get the credit for. 
I can go on.  

So my point?  You can choose to believe or reject John 14:6.  But I know that it is true because I have experienced it for myself.  Have you?  

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I want to experience you today.  AMEN  

For God So Loved The World . . .

John 3:16 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

The world we live in has become more unlovable every day.  I shudder to think that we, as a civilization could stoop to new lows.  But we can!  So when God says that He loves this world, how?  The verse goes on to say that He loves the world so much that He gave His one and only Son.  We know that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose from the grave to guarantee our victory over sin and death.  But for THIS world?  

Someone might say, "Well God can love this world all He wants too, but I'm not."  I get it.  We all have war stories of how life has treated us unfairly and even inhumanly.  Why would we show any amount of love or mercy to the world around us?  But still, God loves everyone.  Jesus died for everyone. Salvation is for everyone.  

Recently I posted something on Facebook that essentially said that our children are leaving the church because they don't see it as a necessity in their lives.  Someone responded by saying, "Or... they haven't met Jesus....".  I wasn't quite sure where they were going with this, but I had to think about it.  

Expanding my thought to everyone, including children. 

Do people go to church and never see anyone having a real and relevant relationship with Christ? 
Do people go to church but are never given the opportunity to accept Christ into their life? 
Do people go to church, are led to pray a prayer of repentance, but are never taught how to have a relationship with Him? 

How can that happen?  These are the things that make me lay awake at night.  So let me help you, so you don't lose any sleep either. 

Jesus didn't die for the world's systematic way of doing things.  He died for people.  The world is corrupt, and that isn't going to change.  But people can change. 

Jesus didn't die so people could GO to church.  He died so people could BE the church.  

Jesus didn't die so people could say a prayer, He died so people could change their lives and have hope again. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus,  Thank you for loving me.  AMEN

The World Didn't Blow Up!

As I was driving around during the solar eclipse, I noticed people taking in the moment for themselves.  As they were taking pictures and looking through approved glasses for watching, there was this surreal sense of awesome as the sunlight dimmed for a few minutes.  It was like putting on a pair of sunglasses.  (No I am not in the direct path of the eclipse.)

What I didn't see was people panicking in the streets or anyone holding a sign saying, "The End Is Near!"  I did see a guy with a sign that said, "Fast cash here!"

Matthew 6:34  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Jesus said, don't worry about tomorrow there will be anxiety and problems to face.  But I've already taken care of it, you need not worry.  

Some people have suggested that Jesus was saying, eat, drink and be merry (party) for tomorrow you die.  He wasn't doing anything of the sort.  He would never encourage us to indulge our selfishness.  Besides, wouldn't it be depressing to think, "Tomorrow I'm going to die."  

Jesus was simply saying, live for me today - I've already provided for your every need, and by the way, I've got tomorrow covered too.  

PRAY: Dear Jesus, I trust you to take care of me today and tomorrow.  AMEN 

Birthdays, Death and Solar Eclipses

Annekas (my daughters) birthday is tomorrow.

My Aunt and my moms best friend passed away today.

There will be a solar eclipse tomorrow.

One brings joy, one brings sadness, one brings a sense of awe.

All these emotions at the same time can be a bit overwhelming.  But that's life, isn't it?

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

God started something in my life nearly 54 years ago.  Each day has been a new revelation of that plan.  With it comes pain and joy, life and death, hope and despair.  Just because I follow Christ doesn't mean that my life is insulated from the bad.

Matthew 5:45 For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

So how do you deal with life when it becomes too much.  

#1 Don't deal with everything at once.  That's impossible.  Break everything down into parts that you can manage.  I'll show you how in just a moment. 

#2 Don't deny the emotions of the moment.  While we do need to manage them, don't deny their existence.  God gave them to you for a purpose.  

#3 It's OK to say no.  While someone may be disappointed at the moment, the best decision is to keep your sanity.  

I will celebrate my daughters birthday with joy tomorrow. 
I will pray for my Mom and rest in the knowledge that my Aunt lived her life with faith in Christ. 
I will watch the solar eclipse tomorrow (safely) and be amazed at what God created.  

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, help me to keep it together today!  AMEN

Need A New Life?

Habakkuk 2:2   And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.

Someone once told me this little formula. 
Direction + Pace + Price = Vision

What direction do you want to go in? 
How fast (or slow) do you want to get there in. 
What are you willing to pay for it (this isn't necessarily about money). 

These three key elements will determine the vision of your life. 

#1 - What direction, pace, and price are you going in right now?  
It doesn't matter what you say, the answer to that question will tell you where you will be in a year, 5 years and the rest of your life.  Do you like what you see? 

#2 - What direction do you want to go in? 
Maybe you want to be healthier.  Maybe you want to be closer to God.  Maybe you want to change your career.   Ask God for His help.  Believe me, He will answer you.  Whatever it is - decide and then write it down. 

#3 - How soon do you want to achieve this vision? 
Bigger visions take longer.  But break it down into manageable goals that will lead you where you want to go.  

#4 - What price are you willing to pay? 
This is the tough one that usually trips people up.  Your current direction demands something from you.  But you're going to have to give that up to achieve your God given dream.  FYI - You are going to pay the price.  Not your marriage.  Not your family and not your faith.  

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I need a new direction in my life.  Put me on the right track.  AMEN  

Sunday's A Comin'

Hebrews 10:25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Right now some people are saying, "Thank God it's Friday!"  Their week actually beings on Friday.  They have a whole weekend of activities planned.  

Some people are looking forward to Monday, "I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go!"  You probably know the tune.  

But for followers of Jesus, Sunday's a Comin'

Why do we worship on Sunday?  Because it is the day that Jesus rose from the dead.  We see the early church establish this practice in the New Testament.  

But more importantly, Sunday represents everything that we believe in.  Jesus - Hope - Love - Life - Joy - Deliverance - Miracles and more!!!

When you give God Sunday - it encourages the rest of your week. 
When you give God Sunday - you are encouraged by meeting with like minded people who care about you. 
When you give God Sunday - it gives God the opportunity to do something wonderful in your life. 

The writer of Hebrews said, encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
What did he mean?  He wants us to encourage each other (as opposed to all that gossip, lying, manipulating way of life many people embrace) until the Day that He returns to take us (the Church) to heaven.  (It's called the Rapture)  

This Sunday is your day to be encouraged, empowered and enlightened.  Start making plans now!!  Sunday's a Comin' 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, help me to go to church this Sunday!  AMEN