The Quality of Your Faith

28 10 2018

Dr. David Jeremiah spoke of people of weak faith who might say, “Well, I’ve tried everything else; I guess I’ll try prayer.” Faith should be our default mode and it cannot be quantified…either you have faith, or you don’t. It can, however, be qualified, or made stronger. What is the quality of your faith? When the Apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith, Jesus told them at Luke 17:6, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Jesus was telling them they could accomplish great things, even with a tiny bit of faith. Having more faith doesn’t equate to greater accomplishments. It’s like exercising your body. There are over 700 muscles in the human body. When you lift weights, you don’t get 800 muscles, but you make the muscles you already have stronger. David Jeremiah said, “We learn faith by stretching our faith muscles.” When we exercise our faith, we don’t get more faith; but, the faith we have becomes stronger and, eventually, seeking God becomes second nature rather than an afterthought.

 

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My Friend, Jesus

5 10 2018

When Don (that’s President Trump to you) was in North Carolina inspecting the damage caused by Hurricane Florence, he gave me a call and asked if it would be okay to drop by the house for a couple of hours on his way back to Washington. He said had a few ideas he wanted to bounce off of me and that he was also in the mood for some of my turkey barbecue. I had to turn him down because I had already agreed to a request from University of Alabama head football coach, Nick Saban, to provide his team with a pregame pep talk in Tuscaloosa.

 

In all honesty, as if you needed me to tell you, I don’t really know either of these two gentlemen. I have rubbed elbows with the likes of Phyllis Diller, Larry Miller, Wynonna Judd, Jeanne Robertson, and several other celebrities. Well, I didn’t exactly rub elbows with them; it was more like we touched elbows while sitting side-by-side in a plane. I suppose it’s human nature to want to claim an intimate friendship with someone famous. Perhaps it gives one a feeling of standing amongst their peers. The closest I’ve come to knowing a celebrity would be my brother, Jerry, a local artist in Wilson, North Carolina. Oh, I did teach Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s daughter in Sunday school for a short while, but that probably doesn’t count.

 

Well, I don’t mean to brag; but, I have a very close and personal friendship with the most famous man that ever drew a breath. Not only is He well-known throughout the world, He is the wisest, most intelligent, kindest and most powerful man who has ever lived. In 1968, I saw Paul Anderson, considered the strongest man in recorded history, drive a 16-penny nail into a board with just his right hand. My friend can bring Paul Anderson to his knees in the blink of an eye. My friend can outsmart, outwit, out-debate, out-anything anyone who has ever lived. My friend is Jesus and we talk every day. In fact, I’ll go a step further and say, He is my Heavenly Father. You might say, I’m a son of the Son. Now, before you go all Joy Behar on me, noI don’t hear voices. I can’t say I’ve ever heard the audible voice of Jesus, but we talk nonetheless. He speaks to me through His Word-the Bible. He helps me to know the right things to do. He helps me when I’m in a jam and gives comfort when things are bad. I’ll be glad to introduce you sometime, if you don’t already know Him. He’s always open to making new friends.





God’s Promise to Protect His Children

14 09 2018

Life is much like riding a bicycle through the woods; there are obstacles you have to go around and an occasional hill you have to climb. The difference is, when you are riding your bicycle, you are in control. You decide which way to steer so you don’t run into a tree. You decide which path to take when you get to a fork. You decide when the hill is too steep and when it’s time to stop and take a break.

 

In life, we have to allow God be in control; this is especially true when we face adversity. To do otherwise demonstrates a lack of faith that He is watching over us and will take care of us. Relying on our own strengths is both foolhardy and sinful. We want things when and how, we want them. We demand instant gratification and often get exasperated when we don’t see an immediate answer to a prayer, or when we think He is ignoring our requests. God has His own timetable and His own way of doing things. We have to trust He will do just as He promised.

 

David said in Psalms 31:14-15, “But I trusted in Thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in Thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.”

 

When David said, “…my times are in Thy hand,” he was saying he fully trusted God to care for him in both his present and his future. And, he had good reason to think that because God had promised He would care for him. That same promise applies to all of us who trust Him and seek His help.

 

Isaiah 43:1-2 says, “But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

 

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”

 

When we encounter hardships, or as Isaiah puts it, go through the rivers, God will protect us. If we try to swim the raging river alone, relying on our own strengths, we will most certainly drown. But, if we rely on God, and let Him be in control, He will get us through safely.





Because the Bible Says So

26 07 2018

I could say, I don’t believe in global warming and a Gore disciple might tell me I’m ignorant for not believing. I could say, I’ve studied the available research and have taken a position that the data is inaccurate and can’t be trusted; and, therefore, I can’t accept global warming as fact.

 

I could say, I don’t believe in evolution or the so-called big bang theory. I could say, I believe the only true God created the earth in six, 24-hour days, no more than about 10,000 years ago; and He created man and woman just as Scripture describes; and some, no doubt, would tell me how crazy I am.

 

The truth is, all the theories which support claims of global warming and evolution are just thattheories. I feel as convinced as the evolutionist, the global warmist, and the archeologist that my source is more reliable than theirs. I am as stubborn in my conviction that what the Bible tells me is the everlasting truth as they are in their fossils and carbon dating. After all, their theories are based in science and my God created science! The biblical record is replete with events that were foretold hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of years before they actually occurred-events corroborated by the historical record.

 

So, that said, Scripture also tells us Christ will return one day. Believers will be called into heaven and there will be a reckoning for those who are left behind. They will have an opportunity to accept Christ but, not before suffering through persecution, torture, murder and many other atrocities. The devil will make an all-out assault on the world’s population in an effort to keep them from turning to God.

 

When times get bad, people turn to religion. Even non-believers will turn to a higher power when they get desperate (Think, George Bailey on a bridge). A day is coming-we don’t know when-when things will get unthinkably bad. In that day, there will be one, a great deceiver, who will use religion to bring false hope to the world. But it won’t be a true religion. It won’t be God-centered and many will fall into this trap. And in the end, those who buy into this false religion, and accept the mark of the beast instead of Christ the Messiah, will spend eternity in unending suffering in a burning hell. If I am wrong, then the worst that will happen is I will die and people will say, “That Bill Taylor sure was a stupid chump.” I can live with that. But if I’m right, and I have no doubt I am, then those who have not accepted Christ as Lord and Savior will one day cry out, “Lord, I was good. Lord, I did good things. I treated people kindly. I went to church on Sunday. Why must I suffer? Why can’t I be with You in heaven?”

 

The only way to avoid eternal hell is to accept Jesus. I’m hoping you will.





God is not a Sunday Morning God!

24 06 2018

II Chronicles  7:14- “If my children , who are called by my name, will humble themselves and Pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 

 

My wife and I raised three sons-three great sons. As children, our sons were a joy. Even as toddlers, we could take them anywhere without fear of tantrums, outbursts or conniptions. We played Lego, sports and ran through the house shooting Nerf guns at each other. We vacationed and, in general spent quality time together as a family.

 

Not to say they were perfect. They would misbehave and we would parent. They would hurt and we would hurt. They sought advice and we always cherished the opportunity to pass on a bit of wisdom. Our sons always made us so proud and I thank God every day in my quiet time for allowing me to be their father. They are, and have always been, thoughtful, loving and grateful. And although each has grown and moved out to raise their own families, hardly a day goes by that I wouldn’t like to see, or at least speak with, my sons.

 

The Father Loves His Children

I believe God, our Father, is much like any other father. I believe He wants to see, or at least speak with, His children every day; yet, so many of His children see Him only as a God to keep in their back pocket to be pulled out as needed, like a fire extinguisher.

 

God is not a God of convenience whom we can call upon only when we are in trouble.

 

God is not a God of opportunity whom we call on only when there is something we want.

 

God is not a God of spectacle whom we visit only on Sunday mornings to demonstrate to others how “religious” we are.

 

Whether we realize it or not, God is in our lives 24-7. What does He ask in return?

  • “…humble themselves…”
  • “…pray and seek My face…”
  • “…turn from their wicked ways…”

 

Humble themselves: Realize and accept that no matter what you experience, no matter what you achieve, no matter how successful you may be, God is greater. God is omnipresent. There is nowhere He isn’t. After all, He made every corner of the universe. He is all-powerful. There isn’t anything He cannot do. He loves us with a love that cannot be measured. How can we be anything but humble when we come before the Lord?

 

Pray and seek My face: Take just a few minutes…two minutes each day to speak with God. Pray. Thank Him for all you have and the many ways in which you have been blessed. Spend five minutes reading Scripture and thinking about what you read.

 

Turn from your wicked ways: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (KJV) None of us is perfect, or ever can be, regardless of how hard we try. We can’t love a sinful world and still love God. If we want to please God, we must deny sinful temptations and turn to God.

 

God wants to share time with you. He wants to hear your voice. Make Him a part of your life every single day. Spend a little time speaking with Him and listening. It’s a dialogue and not a monologue. Enjoy the moments and let Him enrich your life.





Jesus Paid it All

8 04 2018

I was going to post these as two separate posts. I then realized they go hand-in-hand, and, to me at least, seem to work well together as a single post.

 

This morning I read from Ezra 3:3, “And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the Lord, even burnt offerings morning and evening.” (KJV)

 

God’s children, about 50,000 strong, had just returned to Jerusalem after having been released from 70 years of captivity in Babylon. The surrounding community was filled with a hodgepodge of people whom the Israelites feared. But, they had learned to trust in God. So, the first thing they did upon their return to Jerusalem was not to build fortifications or defenses, but instead, they built an altar so they could immediately begin to worship God. But notice what the passage says…”and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the Lord, even burnt offerings morning and evening.”

 

Burnt offerings were offerings of atonement. Before the Crucifixion, believers sought forgiveness by burning a sacrificial animal, such as a lamb. The offerings were in recognition of their sin and the aromatic smoke rising skyward was symbolic of lifting those sins to God. Because Jesus took our sins upon Himself and was crucified, we are no longer required to offer animal sacrifices. Instead, we can go straight to Him and simply ask for forgiveness.

 

When I read this passage, the first thought that came to mind was Luke 9:23. This is where Jesus tells us that if we want to follow Him, we have to take up our cross daily and follow Him. In other words…every single day…not just on Sunday morning. Every day we have to fight off the temptations of a worldly life and try to live like Jesus. We need to ask God to forgive us of our sins, such as when you called in sick to stay home and watch March Madness (Thou shalt not lie); or when you failed to give God credit for all the good things that have happened to you or your accomplishments. These are blessings and all good things come from above. Or, when you were disrespectful to your spouse, your child, your parent, etc.

 

Living by Faith

That brings me to one of my favorite scripture passages, which comes from Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (KJV)

 

When you stop and break it down, you can see that verse packs an awful lot into a single sentence.

 

When Jesus went to the cross, in His 33rd year on earth, He had not committed a single sin; but, then, a miracle occurred. Jesus took the sins of the world upon Himself; and, when He died on the cross, the sins of the world died with him. That’s not to say there would be no more sin. That is saying that He paid the penalty for the sins we commit even today. Then, three days after He was crucified, He rose from death. He had a new body; one which had been cleansed of the sins He bore.

 

In the same way, when we accept Christ as our personal Savior, that is our crucifixion-our old lives die and we are raised to a new life to walk with God in faith. Through the Holy Spirit, He indwells us as we live a life based on faith in Him.

 

Remember to go to Christ every day to ask for forgiveness, guidance and strength to resist the temptations of a worldly and sinful life.





Our Heavenly Home

18 03 2018

If you’ve ever built a house, you can remember the excitement you felt as the builder neared completion. Time seemed to stand still as you anticipated the day you would be able to move in. And, when that big day finally came, you were filled with excitement as you made decisions on where to place furniture, who got which room, and just setting up your household.

 

At the trumpet sound, we’ll be going home!

The night before He was crucified, Jesus told the disciples, in John 14, that He was going to go on ahead and build a house for each of them and all followers. He, then, promised He would come back one day to get all of His faithful believers and take us to our new home, which will be located in God’s presence. We’ll be able to live there eternally.

 

Prophecy is being fulfilled, meaning, God has nearly completed our heavenly home and it won’t be long before Jesus returns for us. In fact, I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to get excited because I know it could happen at any moment.