What happens if you deny Jesus?

In the dark future we face, what happens if you deny Jesus? What if we are given a choice, deny our Lord or watch those we love die? Or are killed yourself? Do you comply? Or not?

We have written about this subject before, but I heard a Bible study this week, it got me thinking about these questions again.  Remember the verses when Peter denies Jesus three times? (The full account is below if you are unfamiliar with them.) At Passover, Jesus and his disciples are having the Passover meal. Jesus tells Peter he will deny Jesus three times before morning. Peter refuses to believe, in fact, he rejects the words.

Peter does exactly what Jesus said he would. He denies Jesus three times. When Jesus arises from the dead, he seeks Peter to show his love and forgiveness. This is what I want to point out. Jesus will always forgive us when we go to him with a repentant heart…no matter what we have done. Now back to our verses.

First, Jesus said Satan was behind Peter’s temptation and he would pray for Peter, that his faith would not fail. Then he said ‘when you have returned to Me.’ Most likely, Satan whispered in the minds of those who asked Peter if he knew Jesus, to do so. Sure enough, Peter stumbled, but what was in his heart? The next verses tell us…he went off by himself and wept bitterly. I would venture to say, his sorrow crushed him, he loved Jesus and always would. So he asked for forgiveness.

Why is all of this important to us? Because when the horrible, dark times come, we too may be tempted to deny Jesus. If Peter can fail, so can we.

Consider: Someone has a gun pointed at your wife’s, husband’s or child’s head ready to kill them and all they require is you deny Jesus. Do you say the words that will release them or …?

In conversations with other Believers, the opinions run the gamut. Some say, deny Jesus and you’re lost forever. Others, just let them kill you and your family, you’ll go to heaven anyway, so there’s no reason to deny your Lord. The last group believes we can say what we need to because Jesus knows our heart and we must do what’s required to preserve our lives.

We must remember, Peter was forgiven and so can we. Where there’s life, there’s hope. But Satan is a formidable enemy. We cannot under-estimate his abilities and strategies. His goal is to steal, kill and destroy. He will do whatever it takes to pull us down to defeat, because when we’re down, we are easier to stomp on and we are a smaller threat. It’s important to work this out in our hearts before the evil arrives. The better prepared our hearts are, the less chance of failure and the firmer our faith.

 

Luke 22:31-34 (NKJV)
31  And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.
32  But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
33  But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
34  Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”

Luke 22:54-62 (NKJV)
54  Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance.
55  Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them.
56  And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.”
57  But he denied Him, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”
58  And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”
59  Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.”
60  But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
61  And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
62  So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

John 21:15-22 (NKJV) (Note: this is after Jesus arose from the dead and is spending time with his disciples)
15  So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
16  He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
17  He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
18  Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”
19  This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
20  Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?”
21  Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”
22  Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

 

2 Chronicles 7:14

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
14  if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

This popular verse is important to many Christians today. The problem is, we want unbelievers to follow along too. But the verse says ‘if MY People GROUP2who are called by my name.’ It does not say ‘if everyone.’

Time and time again, believers expect others outside of our faith to follow our commandments and beliefs. Why do we do that? What if another religion wanted you to follow all their rules? We would venture to say, you would refuse and so would we. The same goes for Christians. We cannot demand outsiders to love God, follow the Ten Commandments, or accept Jesus as God’s only son. We must win them over by being different, taking on the mantel of Jesus and walking in love, acceptance, and forgiveness. Allowing people to see the distinctions between true believers and the lost.

Let’s go back to our verse. There are four things God requires. Humility, prayer, seeking God and turning from wickedness.

Humility takes our control, power and will, and transfers them to God. We must acknowledge God is our source and we relinquish our lives to him. The world’s ways are not God’s ways. We must let go of man’s ideas and philosophies, and do things God’s way. Jesus is our example of what God wants from us. He said he came to do his Father’s will. That is what we should do as well.

Prayer is simply having a conversation with Father God. He wants us to share our thoughts, feelings and concerns with him. He would prefer you not just run to him when things go wrong. He wants to share your joy and success with him too. He wants a relationship with us…individually.

Seeking God’s face. The face is the window into someone’s spirit. We need to get to know our Father in Heaven.  To seek is to look for, to search. God wants us to pursue, shadow, chase and follow him. He wants us to learn about his character and understand his ways.

Turn from our wicked ways. If we are doing all of the above, this is much easier to do. Walking away from our sin, seeking holiness in our lives, will bring us closer to God on every level.

Provided we do each of these, God will forgive our sin and heal our land. We know that through Jesus we are saved. But by adding these four to our faith in Jesus, God will live up to his promise and heal the land.

We must remember, these words were written to the Jewish people. They knew God. Most, if not all, believed in God. In our nation, 80% claim to be Christians. But only 17-20% attend services each week. There are more who attend Bible studies or home fellowships that are not part of an established church, but those numbers are low as well. Let’s assume 20% will diligently apply our verse to their lives. 20% don’t belive in any God or belong to a different religion and will never follow anything 2 Chronicles says. That leaves 60% who believe in God, but are they willing to put into practice humility, prayer, seeking God and turning from sin?

The fact is; we have very little humility these days, it means letting go of our pride and we are an arrogant people. Prayer might be achievable, but if people are too busy living life to attend church or Bible studies, how much time will they spend seeking God’s face. As for turning from wickedness, even people in the Christian community disagree on what sin is, so how can they turn from it?

For those of us who want to please God, make an effort to apply 2 Chronicles 7:14 to your life. In addition, follow the Commandments, love God, love people and serve both. If God tells you to stop something, stop it.  If the Bible says something is wrong, it is wrong. If God says something good, it is good.

We do not have the solution for turning our country around outside 2 Chronicles 7:14. God knows not everyone will do as he requested, but we believe God will honor our prayers one way or another. We have to remember God moved when just one person prayed in the past, so our prayers matter. But it’s important to note, even  if he does not heal our entire nation, God will bless and help you because you are one of his own. So Brothers and Sisters, let’s apply 2 Chronicles 7:14, humble yourself, pray, seek God, and turn from evil. With God on our side, even in the darkest of times, the light will always shine pointing the way to Jesus.

Moms

We cannot let Mother’s Day go by without acknowledging the honor each mother should receive. Yes, I know, some moms have made huge mistakes. Other moms abandoned their children; some abused their kids physically or spiritually. But there are millions of momsOld fashioned Homemaker who did their best. They love their children and would anything to help, encourage and support them.

My mother is a woman of God. She had passed on her faith in Jesus before I was old enough to understand even who he was and why he was important. That is one of the greatest things she did for me. She taught me how to garden, can and sew. I got my love for music from her. And though we’ve had our difficulties, she is a central figure in my life. Mom has my love and deserves my honor.

I had two Mothers-in-law. Both were friends and confidants who accepted and loved me. Both have passed on, but I remember them with fondness and love.

I have an adopted Mom as well…a spiritual mother in the faith. For nearly twenty years, she has stood in the background, counseling and encouraging me. She has been one of my strongest supporters of my writing and my Christian walk as an adult. I have a special love for this wonderful lady.

I am the mother of three children, two daughters-in-law, and two grandchildren. My husband and I have adopted a few others along the way, not children of blood, but of our hearts. All of our kids are a great blessing in our life.

I have not been a perfect mother, by any means. I have made many mistakes, but I can say, if necessary I would give my life for any or all of them. My heart sings when I get to spend time with them. I am proud of the Godly men or women they have become. I love them with my whole heart.

I encourage you to remember and honor the mothers in your life. Each has had an impact whether you want to acknowledge it or not. Each person God brings into our life is for a purpose. For me, I thank God for these extraordinary women who have taught, inspired and cheered me on. I am also grateful I’ve had the privilege to mother the exceptional children God has brought into my life.

Father God,                                                                                                                             Please bless mothers everywhere. Thank you for their inspiration, encouragement, love and devotion. Amen.

Luke 18:20 (NKJV) 20  You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’

 

 

Doomsday?

Have you noticed the increased number of movies and TV programs about doomsday? Stories have always circulated depicting the end of the world or major wars, but nothing likethought emoticon today. I can name several, all say the same thing…the world as we know it is going to end.

Some programs talk of wars, others tell of the corporations’ take-over of the world. Then there is our government turning to a police state with either corporations or politicians (or both) being the bad guys. Invasions from other countries, you name which one. Environmentalist who believe humans are a cancer on the earth, destroying it bit by bit. Therefore, people must be reduced to a very small number. But no matter who turns out to be the evil perpetrators, the people suffer.

It’s interesting how the writers have the top dogs in the government or corporations. But any way you look at them…we, the people, are slaves. The general population is dependent on a class of leaders who pull their chains and tell them what to do, where they must work and live, and what they can or cannot think.

Some stories have the leaders believing because of their religion, intellect, education, or status, they are better than the average person. And that equals…privileged. They believe, if they are in power, they know the better way and can lead the world into the utopia people all over the world have been seeking since the beginning of time.

Years ago, when someone talked about this kind of thing actually happening, people thought they were crazy. But no more. We are dangerously close to the loss of freedom even here in the US. Others around the world have already lost it. The politically correct have already closed down freedom of speech and thought, for anything they do not support, by calling it hate speech or intolerance. There was a time in this country where differences of opinion were accepted…even promoted. Universities encouraged diversity and contrasts of thought and reasoning. Now if you don’t accept the ideas of the establishment, you are a rebel, a non-conformist, a radical or persona non grata.

Our world is a living time bomb, ready to explode at any time. It is no longer fiction. We have terrorists who want to destroy anything in their path of world domination. We have corporations who want to gobble up more and more competition and expand their power through whatever means it takes. We have governments who think their way is best and want total control over their citizens by hook or crook. There are environmentalists who want nearly all humans dead (though they can certainly stay since they will take care of the planet). And finally, a financial system that cannot be sustained.

All the while, regular people, like you and me, just want a good job, live a comfortable life, the freedom to believe what they want (religion) and the ability to make decisions for ourselves.

Going back to our original thought, there is some truth in every TV  or thriller about the changes in our world. We have reason to be concerned and prepare. The difference between us and others…we have Jesus. We must remember he is on our side. As we prepare for difficult times, (and you must prepare) keep in mind one thing, no matter what the future holds, God is on our side. He will guide and direct you, all you need to do is ask, open your heart and listen.

Caterpillar, Cocoon, Butterfly

Caterpillar, Cocoon, Butterfly

We can learn a lot about life when we look at the life cycle of a caterpillar. It begins as a small crawling insect, then a cocoon forms, and finally a beautiful butterfly emerges.  In comparison, humans are born dependent on parents to feed and clothe us. Then they cocoon us in their love and protection. During this stage, children need encouragement,
Blue butterfly_edited support, and love, every success celebrated, every failure commiserated. It is vital youngsters are given the ability to make mistakes and suffer consequences for bad behaviors, attitudes, and actions. Correction or punishment for theses misdeeds is necessary for the preparation for the final stage. Without it, children do not learn right from wrong, self-control, integrity or obedience. Without these characteristics, we cannot please God. The Butterfly stage is a period when we spread our wings, become independent and mature into the beautiful person God made us be.

Each stage is important to our development. God established families, but it is an unfortunate truth, some families are better than others. Some are exceptionally good, caring and loving. Others are uncaring, uninvolved or even abusive. Fortunate children have good and loving relatives or people who enter their lives and serve as mentors. But the reality is, no matter your background, every person has the potential to be a beautiful butterfly.

Problems arise if people get stuck in the cocoon stage. Everyone has seen the teenager or young adult who seems tied to their parent’s apron strings. They just can’t let go and move on into adulthood. Sometimes, it is the child who refuses to let go of the parent. Other times, it is the parents who do not want to allow their kids to move on to the next phase of life.

A parent’s job is to prepare, instruct and encourage kids in the caterpillar and cocoon stage, and then allow their children to spread their wings and fly…away. We can’t hold our children. We can’t extend our life through our children any more than our parents could through us. Our children have lives of their own. The best gifts you can give to your children are unconditional love, the knowledge they can and will be successful adults, and that you will always love and encourage them.

All of this is a reflection of spiritual truth. We have the same stages in our life with Jesus. In our early days of faith, we receive the easy truths. The virgin birth, Jesus dying in our place, taking our sin and punishment, rising on the third day and his return to Heaven to sit at God’s right hand. He cocoons us in his love, patience, and mercy as we prepare to step out in faith and do his work here on this earth. Then the day comes; we accept his love and forgiveness. We are reborn (Jesus removes our old stony heart and replaces it with a heart alive to God) and the Butterfly takes flight.

The fact is; this cycle repeats itself over and over throughout our spiritual life as God increases our knowledge and wisdom concerning His kingdom and the work he has for each one of us. Each new turn in the path has a period of baby steps, cocooned in love and launch into flight. It takes a leap of faith to follow when we don’t know where we are going.

God is preparing each of us for the dark days ahead. We are growing in understanding and preparing to spread our wings. We are learning ways to become self-reliant, not dependent on the government or world for our needs. But there is one major difference between our parents and Jesus. We are now and always will be cocooned in his love. He will always surround us with his presence. When we take flight, he will soar with us, and never leave our side.

Does God Micromanage?

I find it interesting when things don’t go the way we think they should, people say, “It’s not God’s plan.” Why do people say that? How do they know? Because they believe God micromanages every little thing in our lives including our pain and suffering. I disagree.

Let’s look at God for a few minutes. The Bible tells us sin caused a great divide between God and men.  The punishment for sin is death, total separation from God for eternity. But God loves us so much he came up with a plan to bridge the divide. He sent his only son, Jesus to reconcile us to our Creator. Jesus died in our place taking all our sin, shame, and punishment. This is foundational to our faith, but Jesus did not stop there. Jesus came to give us an abundant life, filled with peace and joy.

God sent his son to repair the damage we did to our relationship with him and show us a wonderful life, does that sound like someone who would deliberately do something to harm and cause us pain? The answer is a resounding NO!

So why do people blame God for every little thing that goes wrong in life? Could it be easier to blame God when pain and suffering strikes us because someone has to be the culprit? I believe Satan has successfully lied to all mankind. (check out last week’s post) He has convinced humans God is responsible when Satan and his demons are the ones causing all the anguish in our lives. After all he is here to kill, steal and destroy. He’s done a good job deceiving people.

Could some of our problems be consequences of our own decisions or those of others that have spilled over on us? Or have things simply gone wrong and no one is at fault? Again, why does it always have to be God’s fault?

Brothers and Sisters, God loves us too much to cause us any kind of pain. His desire for our happiness and contentment is paramount. It is not God’s plan when anything bad happens. God doesn’t make people ill. He doesn’t cause accidents that injure us.  He does NOT kill our loved ones, though he does receive them with open loving arms when they die. Side question, why would we want to spend eternity with God if he was responsible for our pain, suffering, and death in this life?

God is not the big boogeyman in the sky sitting on his throne in heaven and calculating how he can make our lives miserable. That is not in his character. His character is love. Love with a capital L. He is patient and kind. He bares all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. His love never dies. Remember, he sent his only son to us to make a way for us to spend eternity with him. What greater love is there than that? Yes, he will work all things together for good for all those who love him and have devoted their lives to him in times of trouble. But he didn’t cause the problem only to then make it right. That doesn’t even make sense if you really think about it. God wants us to come to him for all our wants, needs, and desires. He wants us to depend on him and find hope in him. Do you really think he would treat us poorly, then expect us to run to him for comfort or protection?

Consider this, if God created your problem or pain, how can you really believe God will help? That would make God double minded, first creating a bad situation or harming you in some way, then providing the solution. Jesus tells us we must not be double minded. He tells us to stand firm in his love and wisdom. I assure you, if he tells us not to do something, he nor Father God would do it either.

We must get God’s love for us straight in our hearts, if we are to totally depend on him and his promises. We have to believe he loves us more than anything in the universe, has our best interests at heart, and will provide for us. There is a spiritual battle going on and we are in the crosshairs. We need to accept he will make a way for us, because God is righteous and holy, his love is unending. He will never leave or forsake us and because we believe in his love, we can stand firm in that love in the dark days ahead. We must be able to turn to Father God without hesitation or reservation believing with all our being, God will protect us, shelter us, and give us comfort.

Identity Theft

Have you ever been a victim of identity theft? Someone steals your name, money, and tarnish your character. They don’t care if they turn your life upside down, cause great pain, and tarnish your name. After all, they will just move on to the next victim as soon as you know what they have done and shut them down. Then you can spend weeks, months, or years trying to repair the damage.

Consider this: Satan stole God’s identity. Lucifer envied the love and respect man and angels have for God. He wanted that for himself. In order for this to happen, he stole God’s identity and set out to make people believe he is different from he actually is. Satan paraded around impersonating God. He misaligned God, making people fear, hate or ignore the true Creator.The difference, between our identity theft and the one Lucifer perpetrated against God, is he still attacks God at every opportunity.

God loved, provided for, and protected his beloved creation in the Garden of Eden. Satan had to create a divide between God and man. He needed Adam and Eve to disobey. First, Satan encouraged defiance through lies and deceit. It is true that Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, but they were deceived and tempted first. Satan knew man would suffer if they fell into transgression, but he needed sin in the world to advance his cause. Damage the relationship with God, then some men would worship him instead of God. As long as men remained obedient and walked with God, that would not happen. I am sure Satan rubbed his hands with glee when Adam and Eve fell and brought sin into the world.

Next, Satan needed to further the divide between God and humans. God had a love letter written to the people of the earth…the Bible. Satan saw it as a perfect tool to use against the Creator. His goal… bring fear, confusion, and lack of understanding into the hearts of men. By whispering into the minds of individuals, Satan convinced people God is angry, vindictive, and punishes people for every missed step. By twisting the truths of the Bible, Satan and his demons could get gullible individuals to believe false information. This would bring division between groups of people as well as between God and man. That suited Satan even better.

Life is filled with ups and downs. Great joys, children, dream jobs are offset by accidents, illness, loss of jobs and death. These are normal occurrences in life, but people tend to blame God whenever anything they don’t like happens. It is certain Satan and his demons encourage this belief when negative things occur. But people have free will and as we have stated many times on this blog, there are times the free will of others can affect us in a bad way. In addition, sometimes bad things just happen. I don’t understand everything about illness and disease, but I do know God is NOT the author of that either.

Finally, Satan came as an angel of light to establish false religions. What better way to get people to worship you? Simply disguise yourself and supply devotees a new way to believe. You promise everything God does…eternity in heaven if you follow the rules. These fake creeds weigh supporters down with oppressive regulations and laws that no one can ever completely follow. Harsh punishment in this life and the next is promised if you fall short.

If Satan can’t get a person to follow him, he uses other methods. Education, science, wealth or power can easily fit the bill. For him, it is better they believe there is no god at all than follow the Great I Am, the true and living God. Lucifer/Satan and his demons have done a very good job at identity theft through the years. He knows he and his followers will spend eternity in hell and want to take as many people with him as possible.

We, who are believers in Jesus, know the evil one and his followers will do anything to keep men and women from the love and salvation God offers. I challenge each of you, step out in faith and share the truth about God with those around you. We need to help people see God’s great love. He is not angry with people, disappoint or saddened, yes, but not angry. He does not want to send anyone to hell. God loves us so much he sent his only son Jesus to take our punishment. So let’s do a better job of reflecting that love. It will go a long way to bring a lost and dying world to the true and living Creator of heaven and earth.  And it will help people see God’s true identity…LOVE.

Jesus is Risen

Jesus is Risen; he is risen indeed! I can’t remember not having Jesus as a part of my life. From my earliest memories, he was there. My understanding, in my youngest years, wasCross simple. Jesus, the son of God, came to the earth, lived a sinless life and died in my place on the cross. As a child, all I needed to know was Jesus loves me.

In my teen years, my understanding grew. I grasped the truth that sin created the divide between a holy and righteous God and sinful man. No matter how hard I tried to avoid sin, it seemed to chase me. Sometimes, I gave in which caused distress and remorse. But I grew to understand, Jesus loved me still and forgave me the second I asked to be forgiven.

As a young adult, I was stagnant. I never lost my faith, but I didn’t pursue Jesus either. Yet, I always knew he was by my side and I never strayed far from his teachings. My husband and I taught our children about Jesus from their cradle. We wanted them to share the same faith and love for our Lord as we did. I am grateful, all of our kids know and love Jesus as much as we do.

My crisis of faith came in 1998. We lost our business and home. We had to make major changes in our life that I found very difficult. I blamed God. After all, he could have made everything work out couldn’t he? Why did we have to lose everything? But it was through the struggle and loss I came to a new place of understanding and faith. I also learned that Satan and his minions are alive and well. They do their best to cause pain and suffering in this world. They are responsible for a lot more of our problems than people realize. It was during this period of time, I learned how much Jesus/God truly loves me.

My great awaking to renewed faith came in my mid-forties. My hunger grew to learn, study and increase in understanding of Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Father God. I am thankful we found good and faithful teachers to share the Word and their knowledge with us. Of course, the Holy Spirit is a great teacher too.

Understanding God’s love is the beginning of wisdom in my book. When we comprehend he only wants good for us, we can see him in a new light. God’s shining light of love casts out all darkness. When you finally understand that love, you can finally believe, all things are possible through Christ Jesus. We can see evil for what it is. We are not deceived by the lies of man or Satan concerning things of faith. This is why so many hate Believers. We can discern truth from lies, and they don’t like opposition.

Each of us has a faith story… a testimony of faith in Jesus. As you reflect on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, think about your own walk…your old life, your death to sin when you accepted Jesus, and your new birth and life with Father God because of what Jesus has done for us. This is a time of great sadness, that sin brought death to the world and Jesus choose to die because of it, but great joy because he paid the price and dealt with that sin before rising from the dead. Now we are free from sin and can walk humbly with our Lord and Savior today, tomorrow and forever. Amen.

Thoughts

Thoughts

Our thought life is a part of our being that we must be in control of, instead of allowing it to control us. Many people do not realize, actions begin in our thoughts. If we have a poor opinion of ourselves, negative or sinful thoughts, we are in danger of turning down a harmful path. Pride and selfishness also begin in our thoughts when we elevate our wants,thought emoticon needs and opinions above those of others and or above God. These are some of the reasons we must take every thought captive. However, we must keep in mind, a great deal of good can come from our thoughts as well. Thinking about and meditating on the Lord is very positive and beneficial to us.

Have you caught yourself thinking about something and ask, where did that thought come from? If you are like most people, you have. The world intrudes on our lives in more ways than we realize. Education, philosophies, theories, false religions, entertainment (TV + Movies), government, opinions of family and friends, all of these and much more, bombard us with ideas that are contrary to God’s Word. It is not surprising to find ourselves thinking about some of it.

Satan can play with our thoughts too. I don’t believe he can read our minds, but he sure can plan a thought or whisper into our minds. That’s another reason we must take every thought captive. We are responsible for what we think. Therefore, if our thoughts do not line up with the Word of God, we must cast them aside.

Have you ever had an imaginary conversation? Have you rehearsed a discussion with a friend or family member? It’s okay to think about or to plan what we will say, but going over and over it may not be healthy. It is not uncommon for people to nurse and rehearse these exchanges to the point they take over reality. That is why two people in the same discussion can remember it differently. I would venture to say, it is because one of them went over and over the conversation to the point it evolved into something it wasn’t. We can’t assume we know what others are thinking and to rehearse in this way makes that assumption. Females have a greater problem in this area than men do. I used to struggle with this, in both positive and negative situations. I had to stop myself.

It takes discipline to control our thought life. It is a part of self-control we need to learn as Believers. We are called to be righteous and holy, just as Jesus is. That includes our thought life. Most sins begin with a thought.  I am sure someone contemplating an affair, planned a theft, or any other sin thought about it first. That is why it is important to take our thoughts captive and make them line up with God’s Word. Next time you catch yourself thinking about something unhealthy for your spiritual life, cast it aside. If you do this every time, the thoughts will come less often until they rarely happen.

We are entering a period in history where our faith is going to be tried unlike it has ever been before. We must stand blameless before an evil world. Since our walk begins in our thoughts, we must control them. We encourage you to examine this area of your spiritual life and make any adjustments that need to be made. In addition, Satan will use our thoughts to condemn us. We must remember, whom Christ has freed, are free indeed.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NKJV)
5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ

Passing the Baton

Every human being is born with an inner knowledge of God, yet each person has free will to accept that truth or not. God wanted his children to learn his truths from those who accepted and believed in him. He knew the importance of sharing God’s miracles, blessings, and instruction. He gave the task of passing the baton of education and understanding to the elder generation. In the earliest of times, God told parents and grandparents to teach the children. God did not want his children learning from the world or society where man’s philosophies abound.

Children are impressionable by nature. Their minds are empty slates. It is our job as parents to show them, at an early age, God’s love and teach them the foundations and Bible truths that rule our lives. As we instill truth into their tender hearts and establish the absolutes of God’s character and love, we help them see Jesus can be trusted. As with every person on the planet, our children have free will to choose to follow our Lord or not. We need to plant seeds of faith deep in their hearts so deep roots can be established before the world and society intrude and challenge God’s truths.

One of the problems is, the many (not all) public schools are indoctrination stations for the very young pulling them from the very foundation that established our nation and our lives. No longer is any faith taught, in fact, children are instructed in evolution, science and theories, much of which cannot be proved even when using their own methods of establishing facts. This causes confusion and distrust. Many teachers go on to tell their students people of faith are wrong, believe in fairy tales and lies. As a result, the United States at large is becoming more godless each day. To fill the vacuum left in the hearts of people, the world’s philosophies and false religions are making huge inroads in making converts.

We need to question and listen to our children about what they are learning in school. When they bring home false teaching, gently yet firmly make the correction; explaining that people in the world don’t believe as we do. We encourage parents to be active in the schools. Join the PTA, volunteer to help in your children’s classes. If you have the time, run for a position on the school board. If we are to take back our country, it begins with our children and the schools where they are being taught.

Next, we cannot be Sunday only Christians. We cannot leave the education of our children in the things of faith to others. Spend as much time as possible teaching your children about Jesus. Daily devotions and Bibles studies are important. Our faith is relational. Jesus is our Savior, and we walk with him day by day. It is not a dead religion. Our children need to see us walking out our faith. That is the best teacher. The mantel we pass to our children is even more important today than it has been in the past. It must include faith, Bible truth, and righteousness. Evil is growing at an alarming pace. We and our children need Jesus more today than at any time in history.

It is time for Believers in Jesus Christ to step up and speak out. We must stand for truth and righteousness without condemnation. We are not perfect. We are saved by grace and strive to do Jesus’ work on this earth. He never condemned anyone, even those caught in sin. We must follow his example. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Doing that is walking a fine line. True and faithful believers are up to the task. We can love sinners into the kingdom through love, kindness, and friendship.

These truths hit hard with the passing of a couple of elderly relatives recently. As the older generation dies, the baton is being passed to us. No one knows if we are the final generation. But whether we are or not, we must stand firm and tall in our faith, without wavering. Let’s share the truth of the gospel of Jesus, especially with our loved ones. Let God be true, and man’s philosophies lies. Finally, let us walk in love, kindness, and forgiveness; a shining example of a true Believer to the next generation.