Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Lord's ways are not our ways- A peek into the unbelievable!

How many times as Christians have we heard the passage from Isaiah 55:8-9?

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I decided to use a couple of examples from the Bible to highlight just how God's way are definitely NOT OUR WAYS!  In fact, when I read through them I would typically think to myself "Why did it have to be that way at all, you God and I'm sure it could've been done a different way!"  Would He be God if He was so predictable and we could easily figure Him out?  Would we choose His way or ours?  Would we choose to have faith?

Hosea 1:2- God commands Hosea the prophet to take a prostitute for a wife.

Jonah 1:17- God has a giant fish swallow Jonah to take him to Nineveh.

Ezekiel 4:1-8- God has Ezekiel lie on his left side w/o moving for over a year and on his right side 40 days.

Joshua 6:1-20- Joshua and the children of Israel march around walls of Jericho for 7 days and cause the walls to fall.

Genesis 22:1-13- God asks Abraham to offer His son as a sacrifice.

And finally

1 Peter 21-25: Jesus dies on the cross for our sins.

This last example is but a highlight of the Word (Jesus) referenced in the whole Bible that points to His coming, death on the cross, and resurrection to everlasting life along with why He was sent and did what He did; to offer us salvation through Him (John 3:16). 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Own up to it!

I hear from Christians all the time that they are going through a season like Job or Joseph when they are suffering.  It seems that they always tend to look at their suffering as something that's happening to them, it's unfair, it sucks, and it is out of their control. 

When is the last time you heard any Christian say "I'm complaining like Job?" or "I'm being disobedient like Jonah" or even "I am acting like Jacob and God needs to change me."

This is another flaw, and sin, in that just like Adam and Eve in the Garden, it's not our fault and our suffering is a result of unfair situations.  It's during these times that God uses these situations to bring around a change in our lives.  I am not saying that every time we suffer it is because we have an issue but instead trying to make aware to all that we should look at our suffering and ourselves honestly to see what is really going on.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Why does God allow modern medicine?

Have you ever wondered why God allows modern medicine when He clearly is the power that can heal the sick and raise the dead?  I believe it is His desire to meet the needs the lost as well. 

God cares about everyone.  By allowing modern medicine people that don't believe in Jesus also have an opportunity at being healed.  At the same time, Christians, even though they believe God can heal them, have an opportunity to get the care they need if God chooses not to perform a healing miracle in their lives.

With the advancements made in modern medicine minor, and even some major, illnesses can be treated with a simple pill.  People can be, and have even been, brought back from the dead.  Now this is not to exclude God or imply that He is impotent in power.  Instead it should be celebrated that He has graciously allowed these advancements to be made and provided us with the knowledge and resources to do so.

For example, the average person living in the U.S. today lives to be about 78 yrs. old.  One of the major contributing factors is the advancement in healthcare.  As a Christian, this allows us more time to enjoy our lives and also preach the salvation of Jesus.  For a person who is not saved by Jesus, this also allows them more time to enjoy life and to hear the word and avoid judgment.  Lost souls who would have normally been terminally ill or have died and been condemned to Hell now can be cured and even brought back from death to live another day to hear the saving Word.

Again, if anything, we see God's grace and mercy by allowing the creation of modern medicine.

But why couldn't God just heal everyone who was prayed for?  First, here are millions more non-believers than there are Christians so access to a person with the gift of healing might not be possible (Mark 35). Also, as I stated earlier, not everyone has faith.  I would even go as far to say that some people might loathe the idea of being healed by God in that they would then have to acknowledge by their miraculous healing that there is indeed, God.

Ultimately, this thought is not to explain why God does, or doesn't, heal a person.  He made us and He can heal us.  It is to look at His healing, grace, and mercy in another way.

May the Lord bless you!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Playing the lottery. God's best?

If you live in America you can walk into almost any supermarket or convenience store and see the lottery machines in the corner with lottery signs displayed on the outside and inside of the building.  If the jackpot rises to a considerable amount of money you will even start to see advertisements on the billboards and the news.  Around the nation people will be hyping up the riches to be won and salivating at the prospect of becoming the next multimillion and having all of their dreams fulfilled with a new life of luxury and ease.  The Bible does not specifically condone gambling but as a Christian, are we honoring God by taking a chance with Lady Luck?

As innocently as it seems in buying a chance at winning a sizeable amount of money, you are actually hurting your relationship with God.  I pose a question.

By seeking quick riches what is your true motivation?

a)  Are you trying to buy happiness?
b)  Do you want more things?
c)  Maybe you would like a better opportunity for you or your family?
d)  You're tired of working?
e)  Maybe your goal is to use it for something honorable like starting a ministry?
f)  Maybe it's some other reason?

God provides what you need in His time.  He knows what you need and what will hurt you.  By trying to seek a quick buck you are saying that:

a)      "God, I am not happy because you haven't given me enough money for me to be happy."

b)      "God, I need more things as you have not given them to me. I want to win the million  
dollars so I can get everything I want."

c)      "God, You have not provided enough for my family so I must now go out and try to do it  

d)     "God, I hate working and the job you gave me so now I want a life of ease free from  responsibility, growth, and potential witness opportunities." And finally,

e)      "God, I want to serve you but on my terms and my own strength so let me win the million  
            dollars so I can use it to serve you."

God wants to bless us but when we try to take short cuts we subvert what He really desires for us to have.  Around the world money holds many opportunities but it can come with a price.  Instead of seeking riches seek God, serve Him, and let Him reward you with what he thinks is best.  It may not bet what you expected but it WILL BE God's best for you.  Trust in Him to provide and do not seek the worldly way in striving for quick riches.

The Bible does hold references to money and wealth.  For example, Matthew 19:21-23 tells the story of a rich man asking Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life.  The rest of the story is as follows:

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.  23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Another famous scripture quote is 1Timothy 6:10.  It states:

10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Now this is not to say that having money or being rich makes you evil or it is a sin.  Jesus’ friend Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead, was a wealthy man.  God does honor and bless people with money through hard work and honest business practices.  Instead, it warns that the love (lust) of or the overwhelming desire maintain wealth can lead to idolization and other sins such as covertness, murder, lying, etc…  In Exodus 20:3, one of God's Ten Commandments is "You shall have no other gods before me."  God does desire for you to prosper, but within His guidelines.  For some people, God has bestowed great wealth.  Some manage it God's way while others do not.

In summary, the Bible clearly warns about money.  You look around today and society is based around it.  However, as Christians, we must constantly remember that everything is His, and not ours, and He is capable of meeting your every need, without money.

Verses for study

Proverbs 13:4, 7-8, 11
4The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing;
But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.
There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing;
And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches. The ransom of a man’s life is his riches, but the poor does not hear rebuke.
11Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase.
Proverbs 28:19-20, 22
19 He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough! 20 A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
22 A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, and does not consider that poverty will come upon him.
Hebrews 13:5-6
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.
Luke 16:11
11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit   to your trust the true riches?
Proverbs 22:16
16 He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches,
and he who gives to the rich, will surely come to poverty.
Matthew 6:13
13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Titus 1:7
For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money
Luke 12:15-21
15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness,[a] for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” 16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

May the Lord bless you!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Was man Satan's tree?

Disclaimer:  This post is not fact but a theory based upon scripture, reasoning, and drawing conclusion based upon my personal opinion.  I have painted a hypothetical situation based upon what I currently believe could have happened.  Please do not quote this as fact or actual doctrine.

I have often thought about, and even written a post, as to why would Satan turn from God.  The obvious answer is pride but what led up to this pride?  If everything in Heaven is wonderful and perfect and Satan and the angels knew that they were created beings (by the God they physically were in the presence of since the moment of their existence), why would they choose the path they took?

I had planned to write this post a few months ago but held off because I wanted to be very careful what I post, as not to mislead people in thinking that I had a new revelation.  I ran it by my wife first and although she thought it was truly profound she even cautioned me to seek wise council before posting the thought.  It wasn't until I was listening to To Every Man An Answer on the 23rd of August, 2012 ( that I heard what reaffirmed my thought so I am now comfortable to share it with you.

Sometime before Satan fell he was the most beautiful angel in heaven.  Not only was he beautiful he also had authority.  Next to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit there was none higher.  Angels do hold different positions in heaven as shown in the Bible.  Life was great!  Then one day God took Satan into counsel and showed him His master plan.  He was to going to create new beings that would someday hold higher position than the angels and the angels, and Satan, would serve this new creation called man.

Now, try and put yourself in this situation.  Life is great, you're in a top position at your job, you're a model employee and all of the sudden your boss calls you in and says "I want you to meet your new boss!"  You look across the room and it's a 22 yr. old kid fresh out of college with no real life experience and to top it off, it's the boss’s son.  Honestly, I would be furious!  Now back to the thought.

So Satan is told that he would serve this new creation.  Imagine how he must have felt.  Imagine his pride puffing up and saying "NO WAY!!!  I'M BETTER THAN THEM!!!"  HOW DARE GOD DO THIS to ME!!!"  I believe the angels in Heaven were given free will which allowed them to make a choice.  However, there has to be an option for a choice to be made.  Now up to this point why would they have a reason to abandon God for what they thought would be a better option when there wasn't the option to begin with?  Where was the temptation?  Now, with man, the choice, the temptation, it was all there.  This is not to say that God tempted Satan but that Satan allowed himself to be tempted instead of trusting God and His judgment for the future.  Does this sound familiar?

I imagine Satan going from that meeting with new emotions and ideas and then expressing his displeasure with God's new plan by sharing not only the problem with it, but also a solution!  It says in the bible that Satan said "I will be like the Most High!" (Isaiah 14:13-14).  I can envision him going around to the other angels and gathering those who also believed his deceit and joined with him in supplanting God.  There can be many questions as to how he accomplished this.  It also asks the question why God would allow Satan time to collect followers.  One of God's characteristics is to show restraint.  It could be that Satan was allowed to move through the heavenly host and preach his message of mutiny until the time came when the choice was made and sin was born in their hearts.  This would allow God to see which angels truly were His by allowing them to choose Him for themselves.  It could also be that Satan made a public announcement and the choice was made immediately at that time.  Personally, I lean towards the 1st choice.  As we do not know the complete workings of heaven there is no sure way to know.  Either way, a choice was allowed and a choice was made.  This is the evidence of the angels having free will.

Satan was already the "head angel" apparently over the entire host of other angels but if that was the case, why would he make the statement "I will exalt my throne above the stars of God"?  "Stars of God" is used to represent the angels but Satan was already over the angels.  If you look closely at this statement Satan uses the word "throne".  This clear statement he is making is saying that he will rule over the angels but under his OWN authority, separate from God.  Therefore, whoever chose to follow Satan obviously reasoned that Satan's way (based on lies and deceit) was the better way separate from God's authority. The Bible states in John 8:44 that Satan is called "the father of lies".  This is where he earned one of the many names he holds.
It may be that Satan thought if he could gather enough followers he could overthrow God, but I doubt that. 

Being that God is eternal, infinite, and not a created being the angels would've understood this.  I would suggest that Satan intended to install a kingdom separate from Gods, in Heaven, which he would rule.  In other words, he wanted to do his own thing.  As we know, God does not allow this. In His original 10 commandments the first one, Exodus 20:3, states "You shall have no other gods before me."  It applies to us and it applies to the angels as well.  One could assume that by taking this route Satan and his followers probably thought they could avoid punishment, sidestep God's plan. and live independently.  No harm, no foul, and no serving this new creation called "man".  Unfortunately for Satan and his followers, this would not be a choice.

Instead, God passed judgment on their actions.  They were now doomed to spend eternity separated from God in a lake of fire and brimstone upon the final judgment of mankind.  Until that time different, immediate punishments were handed down.  Some fallen angels are bound at the Euphrates River while some are bound in the bottomless pit restrained in chains in the darkness.  Still many others are presently confined to earth tormenting people today.  Apparently Satan, though doomed, still is allowed to hold a place of authority and still has limited access to God (Job 1:6,Job 2:1, and Luke 22:210).

When God placed the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden Adam and Eve were told not to eat of it.  However, for Satan to have continued authority, prolong the final, eternal judgment, destroy God's creation, get back at God, etc..., he had to get man to also disobey God by having him commit sin.  When Eve was tempted in the garden Satan used the same lie that originally came from his "humble" beginnings.  In Genesis 3:4-5 the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  He tempted her with the option of "being like" God.  This is exactly what Satan wanted to be!  Instead, the exact opposite was true and man now suffers the same fate as Satan and his demons, EXCEPT, we were given the one thing they were not allowed, grace.

Though we deserve the same fate as Satan and his demons, God made a way through Jesus Christ's death on the cross (John 3:16).  The grace he gives us is so easy to receive and it's completely free!  All one has to do is believe that Jesus died on the cross for his/her sins, confess with their mouth their sins and their need for a savior, and turns from their sins.  This is followed by a public proclamation and baptism.  This is man's free will, although our choice can be a more difficult one with all of life's struggles, suffering, temptations, and satanic attacks.  I would even be so bold to offer that maybe this is why we were allowed grace but Satan and his demons were not.

I believe that because of this grace, Satan became more enraged at mankind and God.  The Bible says that Satan does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy (Part of John 10:10).  Not only can he not stand that he would be subject to mankind but I believe even more so he takes out his wrath upon us because he blames us for all of his problems and wants to make mankind, and God, pay.  Also, at the same time, for a short time, he wants show God that he still holds authority (although limited which is what he stole from man at the fall in the garden) separate from God even though God would not allow this in Heaven.

I hope that this post has not discouraged or confused you but instead helped you to see how God does not only love and care for us, but that He is also a Holy God.  God wants to be loved for Himself just like you and I would want to be loved for who we are.  Love involves trust as well.  He asks us to trust Him because He knows what's best for all.  However, when we don't trust him and choose to do things our way the consequences can be detrimental to our relationship.  Ultimately, the choice we make will have an eternal consequence, either way.  As you can see what happened to Satan, choosing not to trust God led to eternal separation and destruction.  If you are not a Christian please choose to trust God with your life and develop a loving relationship that will last for eternity.

May the Lord bless you!


References for review..

Isaiah 14:12-14
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’

Job 1:6 and 2:1
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[a] also came among them.

John 10:10
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 3:16
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Gates of Hell

I was thinking that if the gates to the New Jerusalem are made of a single giant pearl are the gates of Hell made from a giant single piece of fruit that Eve and Adam took a bite of which they were commanded not to?  :)  Just a funny thought but it would be a simple reminder.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What is true happiness?

What is happy about life?  We are born, grow old, and die.  But what truly is the happiness we are searching for?  For me, as a Christian, I find life hard to enjoy, especially when compared against being in Heaven with God.  I believe this is where true happiness is.

I know that Heaven will be an amazing place that my finite mind cannot possibly comprehend.  First, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will be there.  I look forward to the relationship building that will continue to grow with my heavenly Father and the other residents of Heaven for ever.  I look forward to seeing the New Jerusalem.  I think about all of the new experiences such as the sights, colors, emotions, and sensations that I will be able to have for eternity and wonder about the millions more that I can't possibly image.  I'll bet a few words that will continue on forever are Ooooo, and Ohh, and Ahh, and Wow! 

Can you imagine talking with your creator?  What it must be to listen to Him talk about you so intimately that it would make you wonder if you even knew yourself at all. How about sitting on His lap while He explains mysteries of the universe to you?  Or image getting an embrace from your Father who truly loves you unconditionally.  What must that feel like? What if you were afraid of flying your whole life and now you are freely exploring the universe?  What about being free of sin?  No more sin forever!  No more temptation, or guilt, or persecution, or pain but freedom and peace!  This is what I want.

I look at my life today, and in comparison to God and Heaven, how can I be truly happy?  To help you better understand my dilemma you must understand my situation.  I am a Christian not only in name but actions also.  I truly have a love for God and a relationship with Him too.  I am extremely happy being married to my beautiful wife who I have had three children with and adopted her oldest from a previous relationship.  I also have 3 other children from a previous marriage.  I can honestly say that it has taken God quite some time to get me to truly appreciate family but I am so grateful for all of them. I have a steady job that sustains our simple lifestyle and one vehicle that so far God has kept running for almost 10 yrs. without any real issues.  We attend a great church that has excellent leadership and the worship music is incredible.

Unfortunately, my three children do not currently live with us.  Although they have given their lives to Jesus it is difficult for them to grow their relationship because their mother and stepdad do not attend church.  Also, 2 of our babies have been diagnosed with ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder.  My oldest still live at home trying to get his life together.  He is a Christian but is frustrated with still living at home when he so badly wants his music career to take off.  We currently live on one income in a 2 bedroom duplex that still has the original carpet (40 yrs+ old), metal frame windows, and a single heating unit near the hallway that runs on gas.  We have one vehicle which makes it hard for my wife to get out of the house.  Our parents are unable to help with our situation because of distance, illness, financial woes, and neglect.  I don't make enough money to better our situation and we live in one of the most expensive areas in the United States, San Jose, California.  Because of my children with ASD I am limited in my job search for a better opportunity in lower cost of living state because of the lack of services and because of what my skill set is I a m limited in positions I can apply for, not to mention the economy is horrible.  My wife and I never get alone time and forget regular vacations.  Lastly, It is extremely difficult for us to participate in any church activities on a full time basis.  No community groups and no ministries.  Actually, we both wanted to serve as missionaries but that doesn't seem possible anymore without a miracle.

So in case I have misled you, my previous paragraph was not intended to explain why I am not happy with life.  In fact, these are things that I am dissatisfied with in life but truly, even at my happiest of moments I feel life dull compared to what awaits me when I die.  The point I am trying to make is that we, as Christians, need to go through life and realize that life does have its good and bad moments but it doesn't bring true happiness.  In fact, they are but distractions.  True, some people are happier than others due to their circumstances but even people who seem to have it all end up being the most dissatisfied.  If you have ever heard of Owen Wilson that you know he tried to commit suicide a few years ago.  But why you ask?  He had everything, money, girls, fame, attention, but he still felt empty.  He needs God to fill that void.  But even if Owen does find God he will still long for the day he can be with the Father.  As Christians, we all do!

I want to go home, but it is not my time yet.  So I go through life longing for that true happiness I will only know when I die (or raptured) and am in eternity with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and all of my brothers and sisters who gave their life to Jesus.  Therefore, until that day I will get through life by the grace of God.  I will never be satisfied until I finish the race.  I just hope that He will provide a few more happy "distractions" to help us with our current situation.

Verses for reflection:

Psalm 84:2

2-My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Philippians 3:20

20- But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Revelation 21:21through Revelation 22:5