Archive | February 2019

Sometimes Life Sucks, Romans 13:12

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Recently we had a snowstorm, then an ice storm and then a windstorm. The branches on the trees couldn’t handle the extra weight and many limbs broke and crashed to the ground in our neighborhood park. Along the pond Buddy had to carefully navigate between the wall supporting the upper parkland and the limbs of a broken tree. It wasn’t easy for a little dog.

The trees broke because their limbs were already carrying a heavy load and couldn’t bend to survive the extra force of the strong winds. Sometimes life feels like that: We already feel burdened, trying our best to navigate the normal, everyday obstacles of life and then the strong winds of adversity blow against us and we feel like we’re about to break.

And we cannot see where the path ahead of us is leading and if more obstacles await, ready to burden us further.

We feel like a once-strong tree that is about to break under the weight.

And we wonder where God is.

Jesus never promised us an easy path. In fact, He pretty much promised the opposite:

“In the world you have tribulation…” John 16:33

And Apostle Paul, after being stoned in Lystra, advised the disciples in Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”–Acts 14:22

“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”–Apostle Paul, 2 Timothy 3:11

Not very encouraging when you’re hurting.

God loved Job yet, when Satan stood before God and accused Job of loving God only because he lived a protected and prosperous life, God permitted Satan to put Job through a series of tests, killing his children, his servants, his livestock, his finances, and destroying even his health. His marriage went to pot too. He sat on a pile of ashes, scraping his painful boils with a potshard in great misery and his wife asked him to curse God and die. Then his supposed friends said he must be suffering because he is an evil man and needed to repent. Couldn’t get much worse than that.

Understandably, Job complained to God. God responded, in summary: I’m God the Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth. What right do you, a puny mortal, have to complain to me?

One of my favorite verses in Scripture, believe it or not, especially when I am suffering, is in Job:

“Though He (God) slay me, I will hope in Him.”–Job 13:15

Job never gave up on God’s goodness, and He rewarded his faithfulness with much more than he had previously lost.

I believe the answer is in the book of Hebrews:

“Let us run with ENDURANCE the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the JOY SET BEFORE HIM endured the cross…” Hebrews 12:1-2, emphasis mine

Jesus looked past the agony of the Cross to the joy ahead: the many millions who would have their sins paid by His suffering and death so that they could enter into a relationship with Him, the Father and the Holy Spirit.

We cannot see what lies beyond the bend in our life’s path, perhaps more obstacles and pain await. But God promises that, if we keep our eyes on Jesus, and keep walking the path of life with Him, there are far better days ahead.

“The night is almost gone, and the day is near.”–Romans 13:12, Apostle Paul

“The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.”–Proverbs 4:18, King Solomon

“”Therefore we do not lose heart,…For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things which are not seen…”2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Apostle Paul

The greatest gift God gives us is hope. Because a wonderful future awaits us all who trust in Christ.

“And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”–Revelation 7:17, Apostle John

If we can just keep from breaking.

“God is our refuse and strength, A very present help in trouble…the God of Jacob is our stronghold.”–Psalm 46:1,7

If you’re suffering, please pray and reach out to godly friends who can encourage you.

And if you’re not suffering at this time, please encourage or help a friend who is.

God bless from Dawn and Buddy

***

Life is hard. But it’s doubly hard without Jesus. He gives hope and strength in times of need. This world is temporary and will pass away and so will all of your problems and tribulations one day.

Jesus offers you a wonderful future because He loves you.

Everyone is born separated from God because we sin. Not always intentionally, but God hates sin. The only entrance ticket He accepts into Heaven is perfection. But He also loves us and wants to be in relationship with us, so He punished Jesus for our sins. Jesus lived a perfect life, suffered and died on the Cross for all of us. After that, He was raised from the dead, proving He was God and that His sin offering was accepted by the Father.  If you want to enter into relationship with Him, please pray the below prayer:

Dear Father, I admit that I’ve said, thought and done things that displease you. I believe that Jesus is God who died for my sins on the Cross and was raised from the dead to give me eternal life. I ask you to forgive me. I invite the Holy Spirit into my life to lead me and guide me into the paths of righteousness. I thank you for wanting to be my friend, my great Shepherd and my Lord for now and forevermore. In Jesus’ name, Amen

“Now to Him Who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.”–Jude verse 24

Please find a Bible-based church and obtain a good Bible. You cannot stand alone, particularly when the winds of adversity blow. There is usually a Christian radio station and/or bookstore in your area where they can give you some guidance in the right direction if you don’t have a church nearby or know a Christian who can assist.

And being a Christian isn’t about being perfect: nobody is, only God. Jesus already lived the perfect life for you. It’s about having a relationship with God through Christ. And having spiritual life, empowered by the Holy Spirit. It’s not about working to meet a high standard to please God: It’s about loving God because He loves you.

And when you love someone, it’s natural to want to please them.

 

 

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The Zombie Apocalypse, John 10:10

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Buddy can sleep contentedly without fear of harm, knowing that he is loved by his human family. But before I adopted him through Silky Terrier Rescue, he lived but did not have a real life: He was mistreated and miserable. I thought he’d be thrilled to have a new owner. But when I put his new leash onto his brand new halter and started leading him to my car to take him to his new home, he bucked and kicked and struggled against me like a wild horse. He didn’t realize there was something far better awaiting him, a much better life. Once he realized that he was adopted into a new family with people who loved him, he began to relax and really enjoy life. (In other words, he is now spoiled rotten.)

This current generation of youth appear to be obsessed with zombies, whereas the prior generation was smitten with vampires (I think maybe because of Anne Rice’s novels about the Vampire Lestat which led to the Twilight craze). Subconsciously, they are onto something: I believe they sense that there is something very wrong with their generation, that something that truly gives a person life is missing. They live but perhaps sense an emptiness inside.

They are the Zombie Generation, the first generation of kids raised with zero knowledge of Jesus, God and the Bible. They walk and move about, but they don’t truly live.

When I was growing up, Christianity did not exist in a TV ghetto, confined to Christian cable shows. Bible-based or Christian tales like Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments were frequently on the major networks and on Easter, movies about Jesus would be televised.The Billy Graham Crusade would rent time on the local TV networks in prime time. There were Christmas pageants in school and history teachers weren’t forbidden to acknowledge that the United States had a Christian heritage.

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”–Jesus, John 10:10

As Bob Christopher and Richard Pfeiffer like to say in their radio ministry, Basic Gospel, the problem with humanity is that we are dead spiritually. We’re walking zombies: We have souls and bodies but our spirits are dead.

Many people sense this emptiness and try to fill it with things that never satisfy. My pastor, Ben Davis, likes to quote about those who don’t know Jesus, “They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13, Old Testament prophet) They try to fill their empty cisterns (their incomplete souls) with food, or drugs, or parties, or sex, or serial romantic relationships, or books, or exercise, and after exhausting themselves physically or mentally, wonder why they still fill empty inside.

It’s because only One can fill that emptiness: the Spirit of God.

We are all created in the image of God, and in a sense, were also meant to be triune beings just like He is. He is Three Persons yet One God, called the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We were meant to have bodies, souls and spirits. But we are all born incomplete: body and soul only, lacking the Spirit of God.

Jesus referred to Himself as water, when He invited people to come to faith in Him, crying out to the crowd attending a great festival in Jerusalem:

“Anyone who is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” But this He spoke of the Spirit…John 7:37-39a

I wasn’t raised Christian, so I had no idea what being “born-again” meant and the Christians I knew in college never explained it. Born-again means that you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, Who gives you eternal life. This occurs when you believe that Jesus is the Christ, God in the Flesh (Emmanuel, Matthew 1:23), that He died for your sins and was raised from the dead, so that you can be declared righteous in His sight. The Holy Spirit comes to live within your spirit, giving you spiritual Life. Where once you were dead spiritually, incomplete and broken, you are now alive in Christ. And once you are born-again, it is forever, for He “will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13;5)”.

You become a triune being: body, soul and spirit.

You are no longer a zombie.

“But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have LIFE in His name.”–John 20:31 (emphasis mine)

Please come to Jesus and be filled with His Life.

God bless you.

From Dawn and Buddy

***

If you realize that you’ve been spending your entire life feeling broken, empty, that something is missing, then please ask the Spirit of Life, Jesus Christ, to be your Lord and Savior:

Dear Father, I believe that Jesus is God in the Flesh. He lived a sinless life and died for my sins on the Cross so that I don’t have to pay for my sins. I believe that He was resurrected from the dead. I don’t understand much about Christianity, but I want Your abundant Life and Your guidance. Please forgive my sins. I invite You into my life and heart.

If you prayed sincerely, congratulations for entering into the abundant life that Christ gives. It is not an easy road, but it is a path that leads to everlasting life. I recommend finding a good Bible-based church and getting a good translation of the Bible. I use the NASB and many recommend the New Revised Standard version. The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, so there are different organizations that translated the Scriptures into English, which why there are various versions. Once you obtain a Bible, I recommend learning the 23rd Psalm and meditating on the 139th. These will both assure you of God’s great love and care for you. Then please read the Four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, to learn about who Jesus is and what He taught. But always pray to the Father that you are led by God to understand.