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shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331“You raise me up so I can stand on mountains. You raise me up to walk on stormy seas. I am strong when I am on Your shoulders. You raise me up to more than I can be.”

Every once in awhile you come across a song, a poem, a phrase that makes a deep impression on your heart. There is a song called “You Raise Me Up” that was made famous by the very talented Josh Groban. It was written by Brendan Graham and Rolf Lovland. I received much comfort and strength from this song while going through a very difficult time in my life. A few years back at my church, I heard a version of it that took my breath away like never before. The singer was a very gifted man of God, Steve Crawford, and he was backed by the choir. It was the most anointed version that I’ve heard! I was able to find this video recording of Steve singing it and I hope it blesses you as much as it has blessed me:

Steve has been singing since he was a little boy and has ministered over the years along with his sister Da’dra Crawford Greathouse in the Christian group Anointed. Both Steve and Da’dra are now worship leaders at my church and I am blessed beyond measure week after week as they use their talents to serve and glorify God.

Steve is getting ready to start on an exciting new project and record his first solo CD. We have the opportunity to share in this event by funding the project on Kickstarter. He’s received a lot of support already, but is still short of the goal. There are two days left to back Steve on this project and I truly feel that this CD will touch and minister to many hearts that are reaching out and seeking God for their lives. If you feel led to join me in supporting Steve, please check out his page: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1959319832/steve-crawfords-first-debut-cd.

God is with us and for us. In 2 Corinthians 9:11 Paul wrote “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” Let us do what we can to lift up the name of Jesus Christ to a world that needs to know His great love and mercy. We always receive much more back from God than anything we give to further His kingdom.

Be blessed everyone!

shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331“The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.   Every summer, as another chapter comes to a close on a school year, I can often look back at a particular moment, when something happens that tugs at my heart.  It’s a moment when I think to myself “Yeah…that’s why I’m glad to be a teacher.” Most of the time, it’s something a child has said or a picture that they have drawn for me. The previous year, that moment came on graduation day, and it involved five students. For graduation, students were allowed to dress up for the special occasion. The little girls came into the classroom looking like little princesses in their fancy dresses with little bows and ribbons adorning their hair. Some of the boys came in looking very handsome and suave, wearing a suit and tie, and others wore a very stylish shirt and nice pants. They were all so excited that their parents would be coming to see them sing and receive their certificates that afternoon; all, that is, except one little girl and four little boys. They came wearing their same old school uniforms. I called their parents during a break to remind them about the program, but the numbers were either disconnected, not in service or unanswered.

After the ceremony was finished, several parents wanted a picture of their child with the teacher, so I spent a few minutes posing for photos. After several minutes, one of the five came up and very excitedly said “My turn!” and stood next to me and put his arm around me. When no one responded or lifted their camera up, he said “Come on! Someone take a picture!” Gently, I had to tell him that they were only taking pictures of their own children. It broke my heart to see the disappointed look on his face. He said “My parents didn’t come.” and went back to sit down and wait with the other four children. After everyone had left, and it was just the remaining five kids and myself, we went back to the classroom and I did my best to celebrate the kids and take a group picture of them holding their certificates. We ate cookies, I let them pick out  whatever sticker they wanted, and then it was time to go. They seemed content as they left, and I was so grateful to have the opportunity to be there for them, but I knew that none of it could take the place of having their mom and dad there.

Every year, there are those one or two students in class that are very shy and keep to themselves. They sometimes come in with their clothes unwashed, or their hair uncombed. Their parents don’t come to the special events when invited. For whatever reason, their parents don’t seem to take or have the time to nurture them and show them how special they are. These kids are usually very quiet, and try not to attract attention to themselves.  They are, unfortunately, either ignored or picked on by the other kids.  It is these very children that keep me going as a teacher.  I could relate to these children on so many levels.  I was in sixth grade when I was singled out, made fun of and bullied in class by several students.   I was very shy, and every time someone called my name, I would blush a bright red color.  I also was a straight A student, so that was another strike against me.  No matter what I did or how I tried to fit in, I was teased mercilessly.  There were some difficult situations going on at home, so I never mentioned anything to my parents.  I continued to do my school work and even allowed some students to copy off me, so that they would maybe like me.  Of course, it didn’t work, and on the last day of school, a group of girls decided they wanted to beat me up after school.    I tried to ignore their taunting, but in the last half hour of the day, I broke out in tears.  The girls then felt bad and apologized.   I was very relieved and grateful the next year, when I was placed with a whole different mix of kids and made good friendships that year.  It brought a lot of healing.

In today’s culture, there is a criteria  set that people must meet in order to be considered valuable and successful.  People are judged on what they do, how they look, and how they handle themselves in social settings.  Women are judged on their appearance and what they wear.  More and more, there is a lot of emphasis on performance and competitiveness.  There is a time and a place for a healthy dose of these things in certain events; however, never ever should performance be a tool to measure a person’s worth and value.  Unfortunately, it is very rampant in our society.   Our educational system is set up in a way in which national tests determine which of our students are the best and brightest.  Those that don’t score well risk being labeled as low performers or “not as good” as their peers.  With tests now being given in Early Childhood Education, the competition and labeling is beginning before children even have a chance to develop their thinking skills.  In this data driven environment we now live in, they are burdened with working harder and studying more instead of exploring and discovering the world about them through play.  People are challenged to do as much as possible in a small amount of time.   Faster is considered better, which leads to more careless mistakes, less creativity, and lower quality overall.  There is a standard that is set by the world and those that don’t fit in or conform to that standard, are cast away or ostracized by society.  If one cannot produce something the world considers important and necessary, they are considered useless and throw-aways.   Pregnant women who discover that their unborn baby has a defect are strongly encouraged, if not down-right pressured to end the pregnancy.  Our senior citizens, whose health and strength begin to fail or slow down, are sometimes placed and abandoned in nursing homes.   It doesn’t matter that they have a wealth of wisdom, history or insight to share, they are left and forgotten.  It becomes a type of “survival of the fittest”.  The strong set the standard and the weak get left behind.  It would seem hopeless to live in a world so harsh and cold, but thankfully, we don’t.  There is a God of love, mercy and grace who sets the ultimate standard.  His standard is the only one that matters.

We can catch a glimpse of the nature and character of God towards those the world deems unworthy and rejects through a story in the Old Testament.    One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when David sought out and showed kindness to  Mephibosheth.  Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan, David’s best friend.  Even though Jonathan’s father, King Saul, grew jealous and sought to kill David, nothing could diminish the close bond that David and Jonathan shared .   David had been forced to be on the run, living in caves and hiding from Saul, but he and Jonathan’s friendship remained rock solid through it all.  When Jonathan died in battle against the Philistines, David grieved heavily for the loss of his dear friend.    Sometime later after David had become King, he asked “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness to for Jonathan’s sake?”  (2 Samuel 9:1).  Mephibosheth was brought in from where he lived and stood before David.  David spoke kindly to him and restored all the land that belonged to Saul.  Not only that, but he told him that he would always eat at his table, giving him high honor before everyone.  Now, Mephibosheth had grown up with two big strikes against him.  Mephibosheth lost his father, Jonathan, at the tender age of five.  The role of a father is so important, especially to a young son.  He had no father to turn to model what a true man is, no father from which to receive love, advice and guidance through life.   If that wasn’t hard enough, Mephibosheth was crippled in both feet.  His self abasement was clearly evident when he answered David with “What is your servant that you should notice a dead dog like me?”  It did not matter to David, he was the son of Jonathan and that superseded anything else.  It’s much like you and I, and every soul created by God, He loves us all and invites all of us to come to Him and receive our inheritance, our favor and our blessing from Him.  That invitation comes by believing in His Son, Jesus – His death on the cross and His resurrection.

The story of Mephibosheth resonates with the deep compassion of what God’s standard is.   His standard is that every human being is created in His image for a divine purpose.  He has a plan for each and every life that comes into existence.  He places gifts and talents along with different strengths and weaknesses in each and everyone of us.  He never looks at the outside appearance, but looks at the heart.   Nothing can separate the love of God from His children.  He promises that His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.  His heart reaches out to the lost, the hurting.  He cares for the widows, orphans and the alienated. He is closest to those who are broken hearted and crushed in Spirit.  When Jesus walked on this earth, His ministry was for those who were sick.  He healed the lame, the blind, the deaf, the mute.  He made lepers whole again.  He reached out to those that were socially unacceptable.  Wherever He went, those He touched were made whole and healed of all afflictions and infirmities.  He sees those that feel invisible, and He walks with them.

We need to value the lives of others and see them through God’s eyes.  We need to defend those who are weak, speak for those with no voice, and seek justice for those who have been wronged.   Jesus said  in Matthew 25:40 “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”   Our prayer should be that God would gives us eyes to see the invisible, that we may reach out to them.  We as believers can overcome evil with good, and show kindness and compassion to others, no matter what the circumstances are, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  We have God dwelling on the inside of us, and God is love.

If you are one that feels invisible, know that the Creator of the universe sees you, and He cares about every concern you have.  Things may not make sense now, but a day is coming when they will.  If you haven’t invited Jesus into your heart or made peace with God, please pray this prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I confess that I’m a sinner.  I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You sent Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead.  I invite You, Jesus, into my heart and ask that You would wash me and cleanse me in Your blood.  I thank You for Your love and mercy.  I make You my Lord and Savior.  Amen.

We have the victory in Jesus!  Be blessed, everyone!

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Have you ever read something over and over and suddenly something astonishingly new jumps out and grabs you?  I’ve had that experience recently and it’s one of the most amazing, mind-blowing facts about the love and goodness of Jesus that I’ve ever tried to wrap my mind around…and it all has to do with a pair of dirty feet and a well-known, infamous disciple named Judas. A couple of weeks ago, while I was on Spring Break, I was reading John chapter 13 where Jesus showed “the full extent of His love” to the disciples”.  Another translation says that “he loved them to the last”.  This was John’s account of the last supper, the Passover Meal, that Jesus would share with His disciples.  It would be His last moments of personal time before the crucifixion with the twelve men that had left everything to follow Him.  Knowing what He had to go through Himself, He knew that His disciples would be shaken, confused, and for a short time, the bottom of their world would fall from beneath their feet.  He knew that these very men, would also be the ones to build the foundation of the Church on Him, the chief cornerstone, with the help of the Holy Spirit who they would meet in a little over forty days. 

The way Jesus showed His love, and taught them one of the greatest lessons on serving and humility, was through washing His disciples’ feet.  Since people wore sandals on their feet, and they didn’t have the nicely paved  streets and sidewalks that we enjoy today, the dusty roads made their feet really dirty, grimy and, as I hear kids at school say, nasty.  The commentary in my Bible states that washing feet was a menial task, normally performed by a servant, upon arrival.  At this particular time, there was no servant and no one else had volunteered which is when Jesus took action.  We know that He did this as an example for us to humble ourselves and serve one another.  This is always an excellent lesson to keep in mind and apply to our lives, most assuredly. However, there was another lesson inside this lesson that jumped out  and amazed me even more and that is found in verse 11 where it says that Jesus knew who was going to betray Him, and that would be Judas Iscariot.

Wow! Imagine that!  Jesus, the Son of God, the King of Heaven and the Lord of lords, washed the feet of Judas Iscariot knowing already that he was going to betray Him in just a few hours.  Don’t know why I never caught that before, but that thought just floored me.  I mean persecution from an enemy who doesn’t know or understand you is one thing, but betrayal by a friend, someone you love and have included in your life, is a whole different ballgame.  He didn’t wash everyone else’s feet and say to Judas “Dude, I know what you’re up to! You don’t deserve this! Go wash your own feet!” He didn’t give him an attitude, treat him coldly or heap condemnation on him.  No, Jesus showed him the full extent of His love, just like on the cross, He showed the full extent of His love for us. He knew that Judas’ actions were necessary to carry out God’s plan and fulfill scripture. Judas’ betrayal could still not separate him from the love of God.

It’s so hard in today’s culture to grasp how awesome the love, grace and mercy of God really is.  He set the example for how to respond to differences and adversities that seem to bombard us more and more these days.  When the world says “Kick that person that offends you to the curb!”, “Don’t give that “so and so” another thought!” and to “put that person in their place!”, Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us  (Matthew 5:44): and to bless those who curse you (Luke 6:28).  If you try to give a gentle answer to turn away wrath, you get looked at very strangely by others.  Jesus purpose was never to try to reconcile us with the world, but to reconcile us with the Father.  God is love.  The message of the cross is the forgiveness and atonement for sin.  So why the added illustration of Jesus washing Judas Iscariot’s feet?  I believe it has a two-fold purpose.  It’s Jesus’ way of saying “I know it hurts to be betrayed and the pain is overwhelming, but I’ve been there and not only can you find it in yourself to forgive, but you can find it in you to serve and do good to those who betray you.” The second purpose I believe is for those who once were close to God, but fell away.  They believe, “I’ve done too much wrong in this life, I’ve disappointed Him so much, there’s no way He could ever accept me back”.  Jesus proves through the washing of Judas Iscariot’s feet, that His love and mercy are greater, than even the worst betrayal. Go to Him today, He’s waiting for you with loving arms wide open.

May you all have a blessed and peace-filled Resurrection Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331Happy Purim! As Jews all over the world celebrate this holiday that commerates the selfless actions of Queen Esther from the Old Testament and the deliverance of her people from the evil destructive plot of Haman, today’s Christians have a lot to learn about this woman of God. Esther 4:14 states: “And who knows whether you are come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

In her life of difficult and unwanted circumstances, God, who saw the whole picture, worked them all together for good for the deliverance of His people and for His glory. Esther put her life on the line, after fasting and prayer, and is now remembered and celebrated to this very day. While many of us may not have as grand of a mission as Queen Esther, every one of us have a call and a mission to those lives God has placed around us. In God’s eyes, there is nothing too small or anyone not too important to be left undone or unreached. Remember, Jesus said in Matthew 18:12-14: “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.”

Just as in Esther’s case, God can use everything you’ve ever been through to prepare you for His call on your life. When I think about Esther, I think maybe, just maybe, had she not had to press through and overcome so much difficulty in her life, she would not have had such a depth of inner beauty to attract the King over the other multitude of beautiful woman to be his queen. When we have been tried by fire, and our lives reflect pure gold, it gives us whatever credibility those in our lives may need to see in order to surrender their lives to Jesus.

I came across this link that is full of indepth teaching on what we can learn from the life of Esther. Hope this is as valuable to you as it was to me. Be blessed!

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/life-Esther.html#ixzz2LqSz608l

Why Christianity? The Love Factor!

shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331Why Christianity? I say, why not Christianity? I’m not talking about the religion which is filled with following rules, trying to be perfect to appease a critical, fault-finding God with His finger ready and itching to press the trap door button to Hell underneath us. That kind only causes self-righteousness, pride, criticism and condemnation. No way! I lived under that for too long, and that is not for me! I’m talking about the relationship, which is based on unconditional love, grace and mercy! On social media, one can find all kinds of discussion about life and philosophy. In fact, it was one of these debates about the various belief systems of the world that inspired me to write this.

With an interest in world missions in my younger years, I learned much about world religions from missionaries returning from the field. In raising support to go back to where they were called, they gave compelling testimonies to the struggles they faced from the governing forces and religious leaders of the land. They shared how time and time again, God helped them overcome their circumstances and provided miracles, convincing many to give their hearts to Jesus Christ. When it comes down to it, there are no other religions known to man, in which the center of their worship demonstrated any kind of love toward them. When men sinned, fell short, and missed the mark, only Jesus Christ left Heaven to come to Earth, to die for me and all of His children: not Allah, not Mohammad, not Buddha, not Gandi, not Lucifer, not any of the Hindu Gods, not Karl Marx, not Joseph Smith, not L. Ron Hubbard, not anyone…except Jesus. Only through Jesus, do we have an open door to our Heavenly Father.

This, my friends, is unconditional love, grace and mercy. I Timothy 2:6 says God, our Saviour “wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men.” 2nd Peter 3:9 says “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” The riches of a loving relationship with God are more satisfying than trying to live on your own, doing your own thing. The presence of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s love as He dwells within your heart is peace and joy like no other! He is faithful and true. Invite Him in today.

…And that is why Chrisitianity! Be blessed!

shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331Today in the United States, many of us have the day off in honor of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the truest sense of the title of being a World Changer and History Maker, there is no doubt Dr. King fits that description to the fullest. He had a dream, and that was a beautiful dream that he shared on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in front of the largest crowd of gatherers at that time at the National Mall in Washington D.C. in 1963.

He shared his “I Have a Dream” speech which was based on the American Dream and that “All men are created equal” as stated in the Declaration of Independence. His dream was a dream of love, peace and unity in which people of all races would come together and live in brotherly love. His dream is a representation of the Bible scripture in Acts 10:34 that states God is no respecter of persons.” meaning He shows no partiality or favoritism among those who follow Him , and Galations 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. I am very blessed to serve in a large church in which we have brothers and sisters of various races and languages, as well as every socio-economic level. The love of God is so very real and present in that place it would baffle the minds of Social Scholars.

I’ve also been given the privilege to work in an inner-city elementary school for the past several years where the racial make up of the school is roughly half African-American and half Hispanic. As a white female, I’ve face a lot of unwelcoming attitudes that I’ve had to press through, but at the same time, I’ve been warmly welcomed and accepted by many others who have the same goal of preparing our students to grow up and be effective and productive future leaders in a multicultural society. For three years, I was the only white member on staff at my school. We now have a principal who is a man of God, who also wants our children to have positive experiences with people of all races. Last week, he hosted a group of Asian-Americans who provided new coats to some of our neediest students.

So, Dr. King, we thank you for all you did during your time here on Earth. You were a great blessing to us all. We honor you this day for standing up for what you believed in. It’s not the color of our skin that should be noted, but the content of our character. Let me end with his words:

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.”

Be blessed, everyone!

Resources: The Bible, Wikipedia

You know, it’s interesting that the older I get, the more I appreciate the holiday of Thanksgiving. As a child it used to be my least favorite holiday. I mean, c’mon! We had to eat turkey and traditional side dishes, when I’d much rather fill my tummy with pizza, hamburgers and fries. There weren’t any fun, lively songs, no cute characters bringing me gifts or candy. Except for the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Program, there weren’t even holiday cartoons to look forward to. I’m glad to say I’ve grown up a lot since then and now see the things I took for granted as a kid such as gathering with loved ons and reflecting on the simple gifts and freedom I have as priceless treasures to be cherished, indeed.

As a Christian, I’m thankful to God to earn a living in a job that invests in the lives of children. I’m thankful that my school had a Thanksgiving Program that allowed us to sing about being grateful. I’m thankful to have a Christian principal and that we begin each day with the Pledge of Allegiance, the Texas Pledge and a moment of silence. I’m thankful to have my own home, transportation, the freedom to pursue my own interests. I’m thankful for family and friends who open up there homes to me, put up with my suddenly bursting out into to song at random moments and laugh at my unique, off-the-wall sense of humor. (Well, at least fifty percent of the time anyway…). And of course, I’m most grateful for my relationship with God, experiencing His presence and peace, and a future with great promises.

Anyway, that’s enough about me. If you are a U.S. citizen of the still greatest nation in the world, you still have blessings to count whether or not you acknowledge the existence of the One who has bestowed them upon you.  There are a few obvious ones during this time that very often get overlooked.   Most Americans can be thankful to live in a country that still takes a day to close schools and most businesses to gather with loved ones for the sole purpose of showing gratitude to our great Provider (I’m talking about God, not any elected officials!). You can be thankful to prepare and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal, be it turkey and dressing, tamales and jalapenos or brisket, dirty rice and collared greens (whatever your meal preferences). We don’t have to take rations of food determined by the government or go without any food at all. Even people that are homeless and jobless can be grateful to have the choice to stay in a shelter funded by charities and faith based organizations. They are given food and clothing until they are able to get through the hard times and get back on their feet.  There are those that opt out and choose the streets instead, but they still can be thankful to have that choice available to them.

Even if you are one who rolls with the latest trends in society, fashions and commericialized versions of “Turkey Day”, you can be thankful as you eat your fill, watch football (Go Texans!), take a big nap to later stand in line for Black Friday deals. It means you have food to eat, a couch or bed to crash on, and time to do as you wish, money to spend on your choice in electronics, appliances, games, toys and any other thing your heart desires being sold in stores.

There are some who may not feel they have much to be thankful for as they may find themselves alone. I’ve spent a few Thanksgivings holidays by myself so I can relate. You can still be thankful to relax at home, accomplish some things you haven’t had the time to do lately, look into volunteering at community Thanksgiving dinners, and think about things you can change so that you in the future you won’t find yourself alone if you don’t want to be. One year, I decided to go to a cafeteria style restaurant, Lubys, located here in Houston, for a traditional turkey dinner. While standing in line watching families interact, a lady in front of me turned around and began talking to me. It turned out her family was working so she invited me to eat with her, and another lady she met in front of her who was also alone that day. We had a nice meal and conversation and I was touched to not have to sit and eat alone.

There is another group of people who’s gratefulness may be overshadowed by the loss of a loved one. Nothing will make you miss them more than going through holidays without them. You will cry and feel  great sorrow, but if you allow God into your grief, He will carry you through and give you peace, strength and comfort. When you’re able to look past the ache of their absence, you can be thankful you had those people in your life and the lessons you learned as a result of your relationship with them. You can cherish their memories and let it bring a smile to your heart. Three years ago on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I got a call from my mom that my dad took a turn for the worse and was asking for me. I flew in that night and got to spend his last days on earth with him. I was also given one of my greatest gifts that weekend and that was the opportunity to lead my dad into receiving Christ into his heart the night before he died. I know that I know that I know that I will see him again in Heaven.

I’m so thankful to have God’s promise of Heaven. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” I’m grateful that every hardship and trial I’ve ever endured will some day pay off in the everlasting joy and peace that is promised by God, who is faithful and true.  There is a glorious age to come to those who choose to believe and receive.   If you haven’t made this choice, I hope you will today!  It’s the best!

Be blessed! Happy Thanksgiving!

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one  without faith, no explanation is possible.” – Thomas Aquinas.  This quote certainly hits home when one considers the influence of technology on today’s culture.  Faith is being replaced by reasoning in our society and the divide between believers and non-believers is more vast than ever.  The thought of miracles and prophecy are unheard of to the data-driven line of thinking.   So then in a world where science and logic rule and try to squelch any possibility of the supernatural move of God, Christian believers need to rise up more than ever and share the rest of the GOOD news of the Gospel… that Jesus Christ is, indeed, coming again. We need to stand strong against any ridicule or mockery that society will most assuredly  dish out towards us. Most importantly we MUST do this in genuine love and compassion! We are not to condemn as John 3:17 says”For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” So while we are still living within this age of grace and non-believers still have the opportunity to freely search their hearts and seek what is true, I want to state that Jesus is coming again, just like He promised in Revelation 22:20“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.'”

Other scriptures that confirm the rapture and the return of Jesus are Mark 13:26 “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”; Revelation 1:7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.” and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever”.

Of course, there will be scoffers who will do all they can to intimidate Christians into silence on the return of Jesus and the end of this current age, but they are not above the God who created this universe, and we need to stand up for our faith.  There are many believers I’ve talked to who are not even looking for His return.  They argue that “the Church has been saying this for two thousand years, and He hasn’t come yet”.  However, it wasn’t until an estimated 4,000 years, that the prophecy of the birth of the Messiah would come to pass.  The first prophecy  regarding the birth of a coming saviour of mankind, occurred in the Garden of Eden, when God the Father cursed the enemy who came as a serpent to deceive Adam and Eve to sin in Genesis 3:15  “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”  I’m sure during those four thousand years, they felt the same way and He did come and fulfill that prophecy.

Non-believers call the prophecies of the last days events as far-fetched and try to label those who believe as “crazy” or “out of their mind”.   Consider a servant named Rhoda, and even the apostle Paul  were called exactly that in the book of Acts.   Rhoda was proven right within minutes, and Paul’s teachings have endured 2,000 years of attacks and opposition and still are preached and proclaimed all over the world still to this very day!    Yes, of course, the thought of Jesus appearing in the clouds and believers suddenly being caught up and taken away is completely illogical to the natural mind but so does the thought of a young virgin giving birth to a baby and I believe that happened!  I believe that Jesus died and  rose again three days later after being crucified!  I believe Jesus ascended to Heaven in front of eye witnesses without the help of NASA!  I believe the blind could see, the deaf could hear, the lame could walk and the sick made healthy and whole after an encounter with Jesus, the Son of God!

There are at least two other resources besides the Bible that confirm the existence of Jesus.  In the Jewish Talmud, it is claimed that Jesus was the son of a Roman soldier, which only proves to me that Jesus did exist and it was well-known that Joseph, Mary’s husband was not his natural father.  If the Roman soldier claim was true, Christianity would NOT have endured the test of time!  Another writing, The Antiquities of the Jews (94 A.D.) by Josephus Flavius, a Jewish author who lived during the time Jesus was on earth, confirms aspects of the New Testament.

Jesus is coming soon.  Most of the things He prophesied in Matthew 24 are coming to pass in front of our eyes.  From what I,ve learned about Bible prophecy and what I observe through current events, I’m inclined to believe  that The Tower of Babel has been rebuilt by men…not with bricks or mortar, but with USB cables, computers and the internet.  We are racing towards becoming a one world system.  The United Nations are becoming more active in running the affairs of this world.  Israel has become a nation once more, and leaders of nations surrounding  them are openly plotting her destruction. Public School Curriculum is no longer controlled by local communities or the state, but instead is being aligned with international curriculums funded by powerful partners of education.  Technology is raising and shaping more children’s values than their parents.  In this past Presidential election, it’s noted that the sanctity of human life and the slaughter of the unborn is no longer a major concern to our nation.  Surprisingly enough, even many believers turned a blind eye to this issue to vote for a presidential candidate who wholeheartedly embraces the choice of abortion and funding it with taxpayer dollars.   That’s not the only issue brushed aside…Biblical institutions and terminology are being changed and compromised to the delight of those who do not reverence the Founder of them.  Evil is considered good and good is considered evil.  This is not man’s doing, but the result of dark forces that rule this world.  Satan’s time is growing short and he is furiously  setting out to destroy as many lives as he can.

The good news is that there is still time to give your heart to the One who has loved you and given everything, including His life to bring you back to the love and security of the Father.  In the same way that God told Noah to build an ark, before there was even  a drop of rain, to carry Noah, his family and the animals through the flood that would drown those who’s hearts were  hardened refused to acknowledge Him, you can enter the ark of God’s love and mercy through His grace before the door closes.   Are you looking for His return?  Will you be ready?  Please, come unto the ark, while there’s still time.

If you’ve never prayed this prayer or need to rededicate your life to Christ, please pray the following:
“Heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Your Son Jesus to die for my sins. I confess that I’m a sinner, and ask that You would come into my heart, and wash me clean with Your blood. I’m done trying to live on my own. I need You to lead and guide me. I choose to follow You and make You my Lord and Savior for all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Be blessed, everyone!

Just As You Are

Did you know that the God of all creation loves you? He loves you with an everlasting love that is perfect. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 49:16 “See, I have engraved you in the palm of my hands.” and in John 10:28 “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” The nail-pierced scars on Jeus Christ’s hands forever confirms this very truth. The hands that created the universe hold you forever. He will carry you and never let you go. Sometimes we feel that we must change ourselves to stay pleasing to Him or He’ll give up on us. It’s the world that pressures us to conform to what it thinks we ought to do and be to have any worth or value in this life. The world is wrong! Friend, His word says in Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” When you surrender your heart to Christ, there is nothing you can ever do to be more pleasing to Him. When God sees you, He sees you in Christ. All we have to do is abide in Him. Jesus said in John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”   As we remain in Christ and grow in Him, it’s then the changes come as we become more like Him.  Our hearts are transformed to desire the things that He desires, with His love as the foundation of our motivation to serve Him ,  “…for love is of God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. ”  – 1 John 4:7

He is the source of your strength, joy and hope. You are never alone.  Trust Him today and be blessed!

The Roman’s Road

I’ve been a believer in Jesus Christ for over thirty years now. I’ve seen many changes and shifts during this time, but lately it seems to have come full circle. People that influenced me very early in my Christian walk seem to be appearing all over again. Pastor Tommy Barnett and the Christian band, The Katina Brothers, have recently ministered in my current church which is over a thousand miles away from the church in which I first became aware of them almost 25 years ago. It’s pretty amazing to see how their ministries and lives in Christ have continued to grow and be blessed throughout all these years. Tommy Barnett’s son, Matthew, has founded the Dream Center in Los Angeles, which is transforming broken lives and bringing hope to many in that city. So in an age where trends and fads change and evolve over time, it’s comforting to know that Christ is my anchor and His love, grace and mercy never ever change. In keeping with this thought, it seems only fitting to revisit the Romans Road here, for these are the scriptures that remind us that we were all born with the sin nature in our hearts. We all were condemned whether our sins were the big ones, such as murder or stealing or the little ones such as pride, jealously or envy. It’s in believing these scriptures in the Roman’s Road that leads us to accept what Jesus did on Calvary and make Him our Lord over our lives that leads all who are willing to righteousness. It’s nothing about what we do, it’s all about what He did. It’s all about His grace. Below is an image I found from the internet that you can click on that shares the Roman’s Road scriptures. Read them and be blessed, everyone!
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