The Hard Truth

2 Cor. 5:10
2 Cor. 5:10

My posts are generally pretty light. I believe in Jesus’s greatest commandment: Love each other as I have loved you, John 15:12However, I don’t want to shortchange you. So, here it is, The Hard Truth:

If you are not saved, this is the best it’s gonna get. This is your heaven. So live it up. ‘Cause it’s only gonna get worse. A lot worse.

I’m talking Epic worse.

If you are saved, this is the worst it’s gonna get. This is your hell. So keep your chin up. ‘Cause it’s only gonna get better. A lot better.

I’m talking Epic better!

While you walk and breathe, it is never too late to turn back to the Father. He is anxiously waiting on the edge of the field for his child to return, Luke 15:20. But once God sanctions your heart to beat it’s last, then that’s all she wrote. Game Over. No do-overs.

Then there will be judgement. God is all about Love. But, God is also all about Justice. “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Cor. 5:10

That’s it. No candy-coated happy-go-lucky froufrou. No God is a pushover that will let me get away with being a spoiled little brat my whole life.

God “hates with a passion” those who are wicked, Psalms 11:4-7. That’s the NIV. The KJV says, “his soul hateth” the wicked. Psalms 5:4-6 says God “detests” the bloodthirsty, the deceitful, and those who tell lies. “Evil people are not welcome. The arrogant cannot stand in Your Presence. You hate all who do wrong.

Jesus said “If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.” John 15:10. Let us never forget that we serve a Loving God but also a God of Justice. This is serious business.

Sorry for the tough love but tickling your ear doesn’t do you any favors. And you know what, I’m not sorry. So, there.

May God’s Love be with you

The Nerve

Jeremiah 3:4,6
Jeremiah 3:4,6

Just the other day, I came home from work and discovered that my dog, Annie, decided she would turn her nice bed into tiny little pieces and then spread it all over the room. She also thought it would be fun to chew up a laundry basket and then shred some paper while she was at it. Hey, once you start, why not go all in.

Needless to say, this was not the homecoming I was looking forward to.

I had gone out of my way, to make a nice, comfortable space for Annie. She had the entire garage actually. It was equipped with a super-nice dog bed, multiple chew-toys, and treats. In her mind, however, the chew-toys and treats did not look as appetizing as her bed, a laundry basket, and a bunch of paper. I can only surmise that in her mind, I had left her alone, abandoned her without revisions, and couldn’t care less how she was doing.

Here’s the kicker: just moments later, she was begging for some pizza that I was eating. I looked at her and actually said out loud, “You’ve got to be kidding me. After how bad you’ve been today, you expect a treat from me? Are you out of your dog-mind?!” (What? You talk to your dog like a human too, right?)

Lately I’ve been studying Jeremiah. This situation made me think of Jeremiah 3:4 & 5. This is Jeremiah speaking for God to the Israelites: “Have you not just called to me: ‘My Father, my friend from my youth, will you always be angry? Will your wrath continue forever?’ This is how you talk, but you do all the evil you can.”

Are we constantly complaining to God? Why did this happen? Why did that happen? Yet, we do all the mischief that we can. We try to get away with as much as we can! Then we have the nerve to ask God for His favor. God has got to be saying, “You’re kidding, right? Look at the mess you’re making! Can you not just love Me and follow My Son’s example? I have not abandoned you. The rules I gave you are for your benefit. They are meant to free you, not to enslave you. Don’t you realize that I love you? Don’t you realize that I am coming back soon!”

Truth be told, I did share my pizza with Annie.

Even after she went against my commands. Even after she did whatever she wanted. Even after she created a big mess. I couldn’t resist her.

I love her, even when she’s very bad… which is a lot.

May God’s Love be with you

My Life Verse

Matt. 5:14-16
Matt. 5:14-16

This has become my life verse. It is what I live by: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 5:14-16.

I used to treat my faith, my beliefs… my God as something… personal. It was a private matter. You know, society tells you: “Avoid politics and religion in polite conversation.” It’s a touchy subject. People’s feathers get ruffled. So, keep it to yourself. Keep it internal. That’s between me and God.

Then I read Matt. 5:14-16 and it was like a lightning bolt to my heart. It leveled me. It left me in tears. It changed my whole life.

You don’t buy a lamp and then put it under the table. Who in the world would ever do that? You put that lamp where everyone can see it. You put it in a special place so the whole room is lit up. Without that lamp, the room is in darkness. You would stumble around and bump into everything. Turn the lamp on… and suddenly the room is easier to navigate.

My love for God and my service to Him is too big to hide under the table. It’s too important to me to keep it internal. Sorry, if bringing up Jesus Christ makes you uncomfortable because it makes me uncomfortable NOT bringing up Jesus.

You can’t hide a city on a hill. It’s impossible. It’s up there, man. It’s lit up for all the valley to see. Why would you even want to hide it? What do you want to do? Move it? Dig a big hole and bury that city underground? Who wants to live like that? You’ve taken the thing that makes that city so beautiful and snuffed it out.

So, the lamps in my room are all on the table. The city where I live is not hidden. In fact, we’ve added new brighter lights and a “bat signal” light like in Batman. We might even have fireworks tonight, I don’t know. But I can tell you this: We aren’t hard to find.

May God’s Love be with you

#cityonahill

You Get OUT What You Put IN

Col. 3:23
Col. 3:23

As an avid P90X user, I can tell you that the old adage: “You get OUT,what you put IN,” is absolutely true. I mean, you can get by with only doing Plyometrics half way, but what’s the point? Why even do it if you’re not willing to give it 100%? If you want maximum gains, you have to give maximum effort. If you kinda sorta try, you kinda sorta get results. Anything less is sort of… a waste of time.

Many Christians want maximum gains without putting in the maximum effort.

“I don’t feel God’s presence.”
“It’s like God is not listening to my prayers.”
“My faith is not as strong as it once was.”

Ever have questions like these? I know I have.

Well, instead of asking God questions, let’s ask ourselves some hard questions: Have I been spending time in study and meditation? Have I been putting in the time in prayer. Let’s get serious, have I been giving God my 100%?

P90X requires dedication and commitment. Without dedicating myself and committing to the grueling schedule, I cannot complain about what kind of shape I am in. The harder I work at it, the better the results.

Let’s be more intentional with our service to the Lord. Let’s be more dedicated to cultivating a relationship with Him. Let’s commit to giving Jesus our 100%. Then we can sit back and watch God do some awesome new work!

May God’s Love be with you

Ref: Col. 3:23

Walk With God

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If my wife agreed to go on a walk with me and then took off in a different direction, would you say we were walking together?

Amos 3:3 asks a similar question.

To walk together, you have to be in agreement. Our “walk” with Jesus is a metaphor for our way of life, but it’s also ture literally. There are many accounts of people walking with God; Adam & Eve, Noah, and Enoch. Jacob even wrestled God!

How is your walk with God? Are you in agreement? Or have you taken off in a different direction. If so, like the Matt Maher song says, “All you gotta do is turn around.”

God Bless!

Short Distance Relationship

James 4:8
James 4:8

Long distance relationships stink. Anyone who’s ever gone through one will tell you: They are hard and most of them don’t work. Hey, relationships are tough no matter what. Add distance to the equation, and you are almost doomed.

You wouldn’t make a relationship with someone you loved long distance on purpose, would you? Why make a relationship harder if it doesn’t have to be? You want the person you love as close as possible. If it was in your power to close that gap, you would. Right?

Jesus wants a close, SHORT DISTANCE relationship with you. He wants to be the first person you turn to in need. He wants to be there to comfort and guide you. He doesn’t want to be a world away. He doesn’t want to be the fourth or fifth or sixth person you go to. He knows what’s best for you, He knows God’s plan for you, and He wants nothing more than for you to succeed… so He can spend even more time with you.

It is you and I that create the distance. I say, “create,” because, it isn’t there until we put it there. We disconnect. We disengage. We cut the lines of communication. Jesus is always there. Always waiting. Always hoping. He is there waiting and hoping that we reach out to Him.

Skype is cool. Facetime is really neat. But there’s nothing quite like spending time with someone in person.

Take out your daily planner and set aside 10 mins every morning. 10 mins to just catch up with the Lord. Now, once it’s on the schedule, it’s on the schedule. There’s something about actually writing it down that makes it… more official. Know what I mean? You can’t break it… unless, of course, something more important than Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God comes up… then, by all means, take it instead. (Thanks to my Pastor, Dr. Rev. David Cyphers for this practical application.)

Long distance relationships stink. Jesus doesn’t want that. James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” It’s in your power to close the gap. All it takes is that first step.

May God’s Love be with you

Up To You

Acts 26:28,29
Acts 26:28,29

It’s not my job to get you to believe in Jesus.

It’s not my job to “sell” you on Him. It’s not my job to make Him as appealing as possible so maybe, if I’m lucky, (fingers crossed!) you’ll give Him a try.

It is my job to tell you about Him. It’s my job to help you realize what Paul realized when he said, “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Phil. 3:8 (New Living Translation)

It’s really up to you.

  • It’s up to you if you’ve continued reading this far.
  • It’s up to you if you think this is all nonsense.
  • It’s up to you if you let Him into your heart.
  • It’s up to you where you will spend eternity.
  • It’s up to you, not me.

King Agrippa told Paul that he was “almost persuaded.” (Acts 26:28,29) Almost doesn’t cut it. “Almost” might as well be “Not At All.” Paul gave his witness and then it was up to Agrippa. The ball was in his court. And he dropped it. Big time.

It’s not my job to get to you to believe in Jesus, but I’d be happy to help! Jesus is with me to the end of the age. (Matt. 28:19-20) Is He with you?

May God’s Love be with you always

Creation Waits

Romans 8:19
Romans 8:19

Did you know creation waits for us to get our act together?

It’s actually “frustrated” (Romans 8:19-22).

Earth and all the things in it – hope to be liberated from their shackles. Paul tells us creation is chained up and left to decay. It longs to be brought into the freedom and glory of God. It longs to breathe. It longs to live! Ever since Adam, creation has been cheated and it yearns to be restored (Gen 3:17).
Restore to what? Soon God will restore everything (Acts 3:21). He will reinstate a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13, Rev. 21:1).
Jeremiah asked, “How long?! How long will the land starve?” (Jer. 12:4) Not long, man. Closer now than ever. And what a day that will be!
God Bless!

Standby

1 John 5:13
1 John 5:13

Ever been at the airport and people-watched? That’s the best place to watch people. I think it’s so interesting; just observe people as they come and go. Where are they going? Where did they come from?

Ever notice the people who are prepared? They are calmly seated. They have their ticket out and ready to go. They are not anxious about anything except to just to get going!

Ever notice the people on standby? They are not calmly seated. In fact, they are pacing back and forth. They do not have their ticket out and ready to go because they are not sure if they are going to be lucky enough to get one. They are anxious alright. And actually they have every right to be! They may not have a spot on that plane. Then what?

God is all about us being confident. He wants a people who are not pacing back and forth wondering if they have a ticket or not. He wants us to be anxious… not because we aren’t sure if we’re on the manifest, but because we are so excited we can hardly contain ourselves!

Is it too bold of a thing for me to say to you: You can be sure that you are going to Heaven? Ok, well – do you believe that the Gospel is the Word of God? Of course you do. Then what do you think about 1 John 5:13? “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

So that you may KNOW! Do you believe in the name of the Son of God? Has He made something new out of the mess you’ve made of your life? Then what are you worried about? “Oh, I’m not sure… I hope I get to go to Heaven… but,… you know, I’m not sure…” What?! That doesn’t sound like Victory to me. Jesus didn’t die on the cross, glorify His Father, and take on our sins for you and I to be… uncertain.

God doesn’t want us spending all our time and energy fretting over our destination. He wants us spending all our time and energy praising His name, helping the poor, and getting as many other passengers on that plane.

John 10:28 says “no one can snatch them out of My Hand.” No one. Not even you! No one can snatch God’s children out of His hand! Why act like someone snatched you out of God’s hand? It’s not even possible.

John 6:37 “whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 10:9 “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

I could go on and on. There are so many verses assuring salvation… hmmm, maybe God knew we would need this many. Maybe He knew we would struggle with just flat-out accepting His amazing Love. So, like a good parent, He tells us over and over, down through time: You are saved.

This is my story. This is my song.

May you experience God’s perfect love today!

All Things

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I can do some things through Christ which strengthens me. I can do a couple of things through Christ which strengthens me. I can do a few things through Christ which strengthens me.

Nope, that’s not what the Holy Word of God says, is it? Instead it says: I can do ALL things through Christ which strengthens me. ALL THINGS! Not some, a couple, or a few.

All things.

That means everything. That means anything headed your way, good or bad – you can handle through Christ which gives you strength.

Now, does that mean you could run faster than a speeding bullet and jump over a building in a single bound? No… not unless God willed it and it would bring Him glory. Then, you bet you would. But, this refers more to like daily troubles.

As we face daily trials and tribulations, we know that Christ Jesus will strengthen us. He will be our strength when we have none. He will be our courage when ours has run dry. He will be there for us daily and supply us with ALL that we may require.

May you recognize God’s love with you today!