Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Does the Eclipse of the Sun Mean the End is Near?

August 20, 2017

Does the eclipse of the sun mean its near the end of the world?

Jesus himself said many things about the time of the end. You can read what he said in Matthew 24; Luke 17:20-37; and Luke 21. He doesn’t specifically mention an eclipse, but does mention signs in the heavens.

Does tomorrow’s eclipse have any special meaning? I am not aware of anything in the bible that specifically says that. As far as the End Times, we should always stay alert, ready for Jesus to come as a “Thief in the Night”. If we always stay ready for Him, confessing our sins, staying in prayer, staying busy doing the work Jesus gave us, we will not only be ready for his final coming, but ready in case he suddenly comes for each of us at the end of our life. We all know that any day could be our last–and that is the end of our life on earth for us as individuals.

Jesus has made us several promises for uncertain times: Hebrews 13:5 says “I will never leave you nor forsake you” and Matthew 28:20 says “I am with you always”
We won’t go through anything alone–Jesus is with us, as near as our breath.

The State of the World

August 17, 2017

I share your sorrow over the state of the world. However, it is no surprise to Jesus. He always knew we would go through this time, and He is still working. Jesus apparently taught about it 2000 years ago, because the apostle Paul taught about it in 2 Timothy chapter 3. It could have been written today. We know how the story ends—God wins! The fact it isn’t over, means God is not finished yet… Don’t be depressed  When people read Matthew 28:18-20 they remember the “Great Commission” to go and make disciples–but there are two very important truths in there as well…”All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” and “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” So the reason we needn’t be depressed is that Jesus is still working, and He will be victorious. Read Revelation chapter 22 for how it all ends. It makes me feel better when I read it. We are in a war, but the outcome has already been determined.

In Times of Trouble

August 17, 2017

 

“Dear Lord, ________ is going through a tough time. It is so difficult, she has trouble focusing on You because the difficulties clamor for her attention. I do not know what the troubles are, but you know them intimately, Lord. Guard and protect _______, and protect her mind. Help her know you have a hold on her and you will never let her go. You won’t let her problems overwhelm her, just as you didn’t let the boat sink in the storm when you walked the earth. Let her know you are with her and because she has asked you to be her Savior, you will save her from anything that would destroy her. Remind her that your spirit is within her. We ask these things in the name of Jesus, the most powerful name in all the universe. Amen.”

It helps to read God’s promises to you in your bible. Dr. Billy Graham recommends you start with the Gospel of John. Then read the rest of the New Testament. It might also help to get a copy of a little devotional book of bible promises, such as “Precious Bible Promises” or “Keep Calm and Carry On”. You can also underline bible verses that comfort you and go back and read them over and over. Here are some I love:
Romans 8:37
Matt 28:20
John 14:13,14
Rom 12:12
Ps 42:11
Ps 34:19
Heb 13:5
Deut 33:27
Jer 29:11
Heb 11:1
Rom 8:28
Isaiah 41:13

Hope these help restore your confidence. God is on your side. He has your back.

How to Get Stronger in the Lord

August 16, 2017

For hundreds of years, the way to get stronger in the Lord has been based on three practices. The first, is to get to know Him by studying, praying over and becoming familiar with the bible. Dr. Billy Graham recommends starting with the gospel of John in the New Testament. I recommend continuing in your reading with the rest of the New Testament, and then the Old Testament in the order it is written. There are many places where you will have questions about what you read. You may ask them here, but if you have a study bible, the footnotes will likely be a big help to you.
The second practice is frequent prayer. Prayer doesn’t have to be formal or religious. If you have asked Jesus into your life, He has come in forever. His spirit is in you. You can just talk to him about whatever is on your mind. You can talk to him silently because he hears your thoughts. You can ask his help, ask his forgiveness, ask help for others, and just tell him whatever is on your mind and heart. Don’t forget to thank him for his answers when they come.
The third practice is to fellowship with other believers. A lot of churches are doing small groups, and this is a great way to ask your questions and get help and encouragement from people who have walked with Jesus longer. You can also join a church or bible study. In any of those settings, you will find help for yourself and opportunities to serve God by helping others as well.

Hearing Jesus Voice

August 13, 2017

Most people don’t hear Jesus speak with a voice you actually hear with your ears, although occasionally some do. Most often, Jesus puts ideas into our mind as a result of our talking with him. It is a wonderful thing to talk to Jesus in your mind as though you were talking to a best friend. It is a beautiful, honest way to pray. Often, as you do this, thoughts will come into your mind about something you should do, or something you should say to someone, or just an encouraging thought for yourself. The trouble is: we often have a lot of thoughts running through our minds that come from ourselves, or even occasionally, temptations. How do we know when an idea or thought is from Jesus, or when is it just something we thought up ourselves?

One very good way to grow as a follower of Jesus is just get to know him better. You can do it by reading the gospels first, which contain his teachings, his thoughts and his promises. You can then read the epistles where his first followers wrote what they learned from and about Jesus. These help you know Jesus. Then, just as you would be able to say “That sounds like something my mom would say” because you know her so well, you can tell whether something sounds like Jesus. And if you aren’t sure Jesus is telling you something, ask Him. Sometimes you will see a bible verse that answers the question for you, or you may see a favorable circumstance in your life that seems to point to your doing that which you’re questioning. For instance, if you’re asking Jesus about which of two colleges you should attend and one offers a scholarship, that might be an example of a favorable circumstance. Don’t forget to ask trusted believers for their opinion too. And Jesus won’t let you go wrong if your desire is to please Him. If you honestly start off the wrong way, He will intervene and change things.

 

Why Can’t I feel Jesus in my Life?

August 10, 2017

If you have asked Jesus to come into your life as your Savior from sin, He comes in forever. Some people think that must mean they will feel something wondrous, but it doesn’t always or even usually happen that way. Our life with Jesus is a life of faith, and while we don’t always feel something at first, or all the time, it doesn’t mean there aren’t profound and wonderful things taking place.

Perhaps it helps when you think that many other wonderful things happen without our feeling anything. When a mother becomes pregnant, weeks go by before she even knows she has a new life inside. When you are given medicine that will cure an infection, you may not feel anything different for days, but you are getting better. Many great things happen to us without our feeling anything.

Jesus is now in your life because you asked him in. He is as close as your breath. He sees what you see, hears what you hear and experiences everything you do. He will work in your life to help you. He will use everything that happens to work out good for you (Romans 8:28). He will work in you to make you more and more like him. As you pray and talk to him about everything, he will begin to make you aware of things you never thought of before. As you get to know Jesus better, you will gradually become more aware of his presence and work in you.

You can help get to know Jesus better by reading about him in the gospels. You will learn what he does, what he teaches and what he promises you. You can also begin to talk to him often during the day. Just tell him about whatever is on your mind. You can start writing down some of your prayers, and watching for Jesus’ answers when they come so you can thank him. These practices in your life will help you recognize his work in you and in your life.  They will build your faith, so that you know Jesus and love him, even if you don’t always feel a sense of someone there, or great emotion.

 

How can Jesus be God if it says he sits at the right hand of the Father?

August 6, 2017

I love this question.  I have to say it is a question that puzzles me too. People have also asked how Jesus can be God if he was on Earth in a human body and the Father was in Heaven.

Jesus did say to Philip “If you have seen me you have seen the Father” and “The Father and I are one”. How can this be? I don’t know. Everything is not in the bible. God doesn’t tell us everything, and some of what He tells us, He doesn’t explain. There are two things about this I really love: First, the mystery of it all shows the bible wasn’t invented by humans. If humans were making up this God they would never have come up with a Trinity. That just doesn’t fit our human minds. Second, it shows a God who is vastly bigger than me, and that is comforting. I don’t need a God who is no more intelligent than I am.

I remember when I was a kid, each new school year I’d look at the back of the Math book to see how hard the year was going to be. About 5th grade it started looking pretty hard. My grandmother told me not to worry. She said by the time I’d worked through the whole book, the last chapter would be easy. Sure enough, it was. When we are in eternity with Jesus, I’m convinced we’ll no longer be earth bound, and we’ll be able to understand many things we couldn’t understand here. I think we’ll be so awestruck by the wonderfulness of God and his vastness, we’ll be glad we have an eternity to discover and appreciate it all. So, Victor, I’m ok with this question I can’t answer. I love that God is mystery.

God bless you Victor, as you walk this beautiful adventure of life with Jesus by your side.

Can I trust God?

August 4, 2017

You ask if we can count on God’s promises. Its a good question. How do we know, for instance, that the things Jesus said are true, and that he will do what he promised. Well, first of all, did he mean what he said? Jesus went to the cross to die for us, so the price could be paid for our sins and we could share heaven with him. He loved us too much to go through eternity without us. So, he surely meant everything he said. He backed up his words with his life.

Second, can Jesus do what he promised? He is God. How do we know? He rose from the dead. No saint or prophet ever did that. He is God, and He can do everything. The bible says in many places “Nothing is too hard for God.”

Third, is the issue the character of God or the size of our faith? Suppose you watch a man walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope without even a hesitation. If he asked you “Do you think I can make it back across again?” You’d probably say he could. What if he asked you to ride back on his shoulders? Do you trust him that much? We may have seen what God can do in history, in creation, and perhaps in miracles that are part of our family history. But do we trust him with our lives? That’s a big issue, isn’t it? God is happy when we trust Him, because we are essentially saying we believe in his goodness. On the other hand, who else are we going to trust with our lives–ourselves? Put that way, its easier to trust God.

Knowing God’s Will

August 3, 2017

The good news is God wants us to know His will for us. We definitely know in our conscience if we are not in his will. If our desire is to please Him, and we are being honest, God will make his will known.

The Bible, God’s love letter to us, is the primary instrument that God uses to “speak” to us. For example, you might read a verse in the Bible that seems like it was written just for you and your particular situation that day, or a pastor’s message from the Bible may suddenly grip you in a special way. But the Holy Spirit will “speak” to you at other times and in other situations as well. He will let you know when you have done something wrong, or bring to mind someone to pray for, or give you peace (or lack of peace) about a certain decision, etc. I have found in my own life not to move forward till I have peace about a situation. In times that I felt pressured to make an immediate decision and I was not at peace, it turned out to be the wrong thing. The good news is God always makes a way for U-turns too.

When you pray, ask God to give you a sensitivity to His Holy Spirit, so that you will be alert to the many ways that He “speaks” to you throughout each day. However, remember that what you “hear” from the Lord must always agree with what the Bible clearly teaches–or else it is not a word from God. My biggest battles with myself are the times when I know what God wants, but it is not what I want.  “Oh Father, I know I would want what you want if I could see what you see.  Help me want what you want more than what I want.  Amen.”

 

If God Loves Me, Why Do I Suffer?

August 3, 2017

It is difficult to understand why things happen. Hard times are indeed hard to live through and sometimes we never understand in this life why we had to go through them. I was praying about such a situation when the Lord reminded me of a time in my own life. Our oldest son required several surgeries, and before the last one he (age 6) asked me if I loved him. He said “If you love me why do you let them keep hurting me?” I understood the need for the surgeries, and what would happen if they weren’t done, but it wasn’t something I could explain to a 6 year old. I felt the heartache of that and wondered if our Heavenly Father doesn’t have that same heartache when he must take us through suffering without explanation.