And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. — Deuteronomy 8:3 (KJV)
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. — Luke 9:23 (KJV)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. — Romans 12:1 (KJV)
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. — Isaiah 6:1-8 KJV)
These are a few of the verses or passages I have read recently that convince me that I need to get back to basics.
Have you ever found yourself doing so much for The Lord that your relationship with Him suffers? Like, your time is so full of godly activities that you miss God in all the hustle and bustle?
That is where I am finding myself now. I should have seen the warnings, like picking up new activities without really being sure that the activities are really God ordained, or did I just decide to do them because I thought God would be impressed with my faithfulness.
I need to stop listening to the flesh, stop doing things for God that He may be impressed with my faithfulness, and begin again to make myself available to God, so that He can lead me in what He wants me doing.
Am I the only one? Do others feel this as well?
If you died tonight, are you sure you would go to heaven?
Eternity is too long to be wrong!
IN LOVING MEMORY
On July 8, 2000, Alice and I drove to Esparto CA, a small town near Sacramento, and purchased a white
miniature poodle named Cindy. Cindy was about 13 months old at the time and was originally bred as a show
When her owner brought Cindy out to us, we instantly fell in love with her and began a love affair that
lasted nearly 16 years. On the way home to our home in San Jose, we decided to change her name to Tiffany.
Yesterday, after a decline in health that lasted some time, Alice and I knew that it was time to say
goodbye to our loving little companion, February 25, 2016.
And today, we drove down to Royal Oaks, to the Loving Pet Cemetary of Monterey Bay and had her cremated.
Yesterday morning started like any other day with Tiffany and Suri playing while I made their breakfast,
and then, while I was eating mine, Tiffany jumped down from the couch she likes to sleep on. As she landed
on the floor, she seemed to stumble, and immediately her walking was hindered. I was very concerned and
asked Alice to keep an eye on her while I was at work.
But two hours later I got a call at work, “John, Tiffany can’t walk!”, Alice blurted out between sobs.
An hour later, Tiffany was at the vet, and barely an hour after that, we got the sad news that there was
nothing that he could do, and recommended that we put her out of her pain.
So, at about 3:30 yesterday afternoon, Tiffany received a large dose of a sedative drug and fell asleep in
And today, less than 24 hours after we said goodbye to our baby, we began our drive home from Royal Oaks
with a little walnut box that contains all that remains of our sweet, sweet, loving Tiffany. Tiffany always loved to ride in the car, so today, she rode home in her mommies lap, next to her heart, for one last time.
Neither one of us has yet to wrap our minds of the events that took place in a period of just 28 hours,
barely more than a day.
So, let me ask you a question. Is there someone in your life that you have been meaning to tell that you
love them, but somehow haven’t gotten around to it?
Tell them now! Just 24 hours can change everything you thought was the status quo. Even a brief instant,
a car crash, a heart attack, anything, can take that opportunity away forever.
Or maybe there is that someone who needs to hear the Goon News of Jesus Christ, but you keep putting it
off. Can you really afford to put it off any longer?
We all like to think that we have it all under control, that we can make it through life on our own, without help from others. But can we really?
Let me tell you a story about two skydivers. Both are in a plane flying at 12,000 feet. One is wearing a parachute, and is ready for his jump. The other has left his parachute hanging on its hook in the plane, confident that he can make the jump on his own.
The diver with the parachute jumps first, feeling the absolute freedom of free-fall, tumbling in somersaults and soaring through the air like the worlds fastest bird. And then, at just the right moment, he pulls the rip-cord, his parachute deploys, and he floats safely to the ground.
And now it is the others jumper’s turn. He watched the first person’s jump and noted how much fun he seemed to be having. And with a smile on his face as he jumped from the plane, he vowed to do even better. He soared and somersaulted, he dove head first, then spread his arms and legs and took up the perfect free-fall form.
As the ground neared, he decided to do another head first dive. He put his arms by his sides and rolled his head slightly toward his chest until he was diving vertically toward the ground. Hurling toward the ground at over 150 miles per hour, that is how he hit, head first, his skull and body shattered nearly instantly, and death was both instant and inevitable.
I would like to make a few observations about this second man’s performance.
First, his belief that he could make the jump without a parachute had absolutely no impact (no pun intended) on the outcome of the jump
Second, his ignorance of the laws and forces that come into play when one jumps out of a plane had no impact on the outcome of the jump
The consequences of the jumper’s actions were fixed and unchangeable. The only way to avoid the consequences would be to change course while there was still time.
Finally, both jumpers had an inevitable appointment with the ground, and the outcome of that appointment was dependent on the choice they made about the necessity of wearing a parachute.
In just the same way as both jumpers had an inevitable appointment with the ground, we all have an inevitable appointment with God. We will all meet Him on Judgment day. The Bible teaches:
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, Hebrews 9:27
Both skydivers had ultimate control over their ultimate fate, just as we have control over the outcome of our meeting with God on Judgment Day. But, you may ask, on what will we be judged on that day? Will it be on our good works? On all the good we did during our lives? Or will it be according to something else?
We must understand that God is a Judge, and a Just One. And we will be judged according to our obedience to God’s Moral Law, The Ten commandments. So, let’s assume that this judgment will be today. How would we measure up? Let’s see.
First, have you ever told a lie, even a little one? Then you are a liar, and guilty of breaking the ninth commandment.
Have you ever stolen anything, even if the value was small? Then you are a thief, and guilty of breaking the eight commandment.
Jesus said that if we look at another person with lust, then we have committed adultery in our heart. Have you ever done that? Then you are an adulterer, and guilty of breaking the seventh commandment.
Ever used the name of God or of Jesus as a cuss word? If so, that makes you a blasphemer, and guilty of the third commandment.
So, I have assesd my position before God along with you, and I find that I am a lying, thieving blasphemer and adulterer, and we have looked at only four of the ten commandments. And the Bible teaches:
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10
So, if you are guilty of even one of the commandments that we discussed, in God’s eyes, you are guilty of all, I am guilty of all. So, is there a need to go on?
The question is, what is the consequence of breaking these commandments? The answer lies in a particular verse in the book of Revelation, and elsewhere:
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Revelation 2:18
Just as the foolish jumper did not understand the seriousness of jumping from a plane without a parachute, many times, we do not understand the seriousness of our sin, nor the terrible consequences of our sin. But God, being a just Judge will punish all sinners in just the was the Bible describes.
But John, the Bible teaches that God is a God of love, surely He will not punish me for the sins I have committed, or perhaps you will hold up all of the good things that you have done as expiating circumstances. Have you ever tried that in an earthly court of law? If you had robbed a bank, how likely do you think the judge would be to let you off if you showed him that you frequently feed the poor and help the orphans of your city? True, the judge may commend you for your goodness, but he will still sentence you to a just sentence for robbing a bank. And so it is with God. If you have committed sins, then there must be a punishment. That is a principle in earthly courts, and it holds true in the heavenly court as well.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
God does love you! In fact He loves you enough that He sent His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect, sinless life, and then to die on the cross as punishment for YOUR sins. Jesus committed no sin of His own, making Him eligible to die in your place, taking the punishment that is justly yours, allowing you go go free.
If you will admit to God that you are a sinner, that you can’t make it on your own, and then repent, that is, turn away from your sins, and turn toward God, trusting in Jesus as the complete payment for your sins, then, just as Jesus was raised from the dead three days after His crucifixion, never to die again, , you also will be given the gift of eternal life as a free gift.
But, how do we trust in Jesus? In just the same way that the wise skydiver trusted in his parachute. He didn’t just look at it and say, “Yep, I trust this parachute”, he put it on! The Bible says it this way:
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Romans 13:14
For more information, please visit: AfterLifeCatalog.com/GoodPerson
I have recently discovered “Chick tracts” and thought I would share one, or maybe more, with you. This one, entitled, “This Was Your Life” shows how things might end up for you. Please take a moment and click on the link, and see what you think of the story.
Here is the link: http://media.chick.com/tract_1.swf
Why was Jesus born in a stable and placed in a manger? After all, Jesus, the Son of God, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the very Word of God and Creator of All Things, deserves better, doesn’t He? If Jesus was born in a place befitting His place of power and glory, that place would have to be built for Him, because such a place did not even exist in the time of Christ. Indeed such a place has never existed.
I am writing from the Old Testament book of Leviticus, chapter 18.
I want to be clear, I am not trying to pick on any particular group of people, and since Leviticus 18 does not start with homosexual acts, I will not start there either.
The chapter begins with God’s proclamation, “I Am The LORD”, and the warning not to walk in the ordinances of Egypt, from which He brought Israel out or of Canaan, the land to which He was leading them, but rather to walk in His statutes and to follow His judgments.
So, what are His statutes? Well, for starters, we are not to uncover the nakedness of another person, if you want the complete list you can read verses 6-18. But rather than looking for loopholes, I would say that the safest course is to just not do it!
Next, God warns against lying carnally with your neighbor’s wife. This would include the sins both of fornication and adultery. These are sins, and the one who take part in them defiles himself with them.
God also warns against sacrificing children to Molech, a truly horrid practice whereby a child was placed into the hands of a metal idol that was heated to the point where it was glowing hot.
And then God says:
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion. (Leviticus 18:22, 23)
And the people are warned that not only do they defile themselves by such acts (Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. Leviticus 18:24) but the land itself is also defiled, therefore the LORD visits the punishment for their iniquity and the land vomits out its inhabitants.
Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 18:30)
A pastor transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service. Only 3 people said hello to him, most looked the other way. He asked people for change to buy food because he was hungry. Not one gave him anything.
He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was told by the ushers that he would need to get up and go sit n the back of the church. He said hello to people as they walked in but was greeted with cold stares and dirty looks from people looking down on him and judging him.
He sat in the back of the church and listened to the church announcements for the week. He listened as new visitors were welcomed into the church that morning but no one acknowledged that he was new. He watched people around him continue to look his way with stares that said you are not welcome here.
Then the elders of the church went to the podium to make the announcement. They said they were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation. “We would like to introduce you to our new Pastor.” The congregation stood up and looked around clapping with joy and anticipation. The homeless man sitting in the back stood up and started walking down the aisle.
That’s when all the clapping stopped and the church was silent. With all eyes on him….he walked up the altar and reached for the microphone. He stood there for a moment and then recited so elegantly, a verse from the bible…..
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me.’
After he recited this, he introduced himself as their new pastor and told the congregation what he had experienced that morning. Many began to cry and bow their heads in shame. “Today I see a gathering of people here but I do not see a church of Jesus. The world has enough people that look the other way. What the world needs is disciples of Jesus that can follow this teachings and live as he did. When will YOU decide to become disciples?
He then dismissed service until the following Sunday as his sermon had been given.
If you have a relative or friend who is dabbling in Buddhism, please, take my advice, fall on your face in prayer for this person until they steer clear. I might say something like this if the friend or relative was involved with a dangerous drug, but I am firmly convinced that Buddhism is as dangerous as any drug. No, more dangerous, much, much more.
I would like to relate a recent interaction between my self and a dear one who, sadly, is deep into Buddhism. I will not identify this person any further to protect their identity. This dear person is so involved with what they call, not a religion, but a philosophy that they are not even aware what a dangerous and destructive path they are walking.
First, a little background. This person lives in another state, and we had just started communicating with this person and their significant other via Google Hangouts. They have been away for over a year when we had our first hangout and it went really well. My wife was looking forward to our next hangout which was scheduled for about two weeks later. When the time came near for our next hangout we received the news that another engagement would get in the way and they would have to reschedule. My wife was upset and disappointed, as was I, and I suggested that they could arrange their time to fit in their other commitment as well as ours. When our dear one refused with a comment that they could not understand why I was making such a big deal over this, I responded, “Sorry to have bothered you, hope you have a good time.
And the response to this was, every time we attempted to contact this person via email or other means, we received dead silence. This went on for over 3 months, until my wife received an email explaining the reason for the silence. It was the same explanation I am about to quote. This was an email, by the way, and it is a response to the email I sent in apology for the snarky statement I made to him 3 months ago.
I disconnect when relationships with people develop friction in any way. I respond the same way to everyone…..I have always been like this.
I don’t become emotional or vindictive nor do I hold a grudge. I know some people believe that family should simply endure whatever other family members throw at them but I do not.
I could not care any less what people want to call this way of being or what people think of me for being this way. I stay true to myself always.
That being said, I fully realize that I have alienated myself from plenty of people over the course of my life because of the way I am but I am also just fine with that as well.
I understand your email and I know we all make mistakes. I make a ton. As I said in my email I don’t care about that event or figuring anything out regarding it.
I very much live in the now and that is not my now. My inner peace comes from finding the joy that is in every moment. When I bump into things that conflict with that I focus on other things. If you read between the lines you will see that I am very much a Buddhist now. I receive friction but I do not give friction back, I simply maintain my inner peace and give my energy to things that provide no friction. Hence my silence when I encounter such friction.
I hope you understand. If not, that is OK too. We all need to remain true to ourselves regardless.
I do hope you are feeling better. Please do not confuse the difference between my personalty and yours with me not caring. I care a lot about mmmm and nnnnn but I also care a lot about maintaining my peaceful and friction free life. I wish I could have both a healthy relationship with you and inner peace. Any none religious suggestions? Remember, Buddhism is not a religion it is a philosophy. I am very much an agnostic now…..please don’t confuse that with an atheist. I simply believe in the way things are, religion relies heavily on both of the things that I do not believe in…..the way things were and the way things might be in the future. Don’t worry, we are still raising the boys to know and understand the Christian way as we are letting them form their own opinions and beliefs. We will explain ours to them but leave the choice up to them.
So, our dear one apparently believes that nothing is more important than peace of mind, and that no sacrifice is too large to attain it. If anyone threatens their peace of mind, just change course, go a different direction. It is also obvious that they have no intention of accepting an apology. Or, to put it another way, “there is nothing more important than ME!”
That is what Satan told Even in the garden, and it worked so well on Eve, that he has been repeating it as his best tactic for controlling his victims ever since. First, convince a person that nothing is more important than self, and that ones interests must be protected at all costs. This has worked so well in our dear ones life that they are totally unaware that their life is forever getting smaller, and smaller, and smaller, until finally there will be only two left, our dear one, and Satan.
I can promise you this, if I had it within my power I would smash Satan to smithereens this very minute! But I don’t, so I will have to be content that God’s ultimate plan for “the great deceiver” will be both just and satisfying and greatly deserved. But in the meantime, he is destroying real lives of real people who my wife and I care about.
Hence, my original plea, if you know anyone who is dabbling in Buddhism, please, do whatever it takes in prayer to turn that loved on back. Or, if you yourself are caught up in this so-called philosophy, get out! Get out quickly before your mind can be turned against those you love and ultimately, against yourself.
I am finding great comfort in the 37th psalm these days, and my wife and I pray for our dear one fervently, several times every day.
Recent events, including the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the definition of marriage, have really gotten strong responses from Christians, including myself. Whenever these things happen, if you are like me, you start looking immediately for the best response. I find that most often I want to do something,, voice a protest, vent my opinions and anger on social media, maybe join in a march or something.
But recently, I have been thinking, have any of these recent events taken God by surprise? No, Jesus said that in the last days it would be like the time of Noah, (see Matthew 24:37 or Luke 17:26) and if you look at God’s description of the world in Noah’s day from Genesis 6:5
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Things are getting bad, but I don’t think they are that bad yet. But the point is, God knew things would get bad in the last day. He even told us how things would be, so if we really believe that the Bible is truly the word of God, then the Supreme Court decision, or any other recent event, shouldn’t really be surprising to us either.
In reading Psalm 37, I got a lot of Godly insight into how I need to be reacting to events from a faith perspective.
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb. (vv. 1,2)
Okay, so I shouldn’t fret, but what should my reaction be?
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday. (vv. 3-6)
I see three key words or phrases. “Trust in the Lord”, “Delight in the Lord”, and “Commit your way to the Lord”. So, with the world getting worse by the day, we need to be drawing ever closer to the Lord, which we should have been doing all along, but now even more so.
I believe that one thing God is doing in these last days is providing an opportunity for His true followers to show themselves for what they are, the true followers of our Lord Jesus. The true sheep of Jesus’ pasture will follow Him, while the goats will find themselves drawn more and more to the world and its darkness.
Recently, I have found Psalm 37 to be a true treasure. If you ask the Lord to open your spiritual eyes to what He is saying, perhaps you will as well.
Will you join me in reading through and meditating on Psalm 37 every day for a week? And then perhaps extending your reading of the Psalm even further?