Satan’s Puppets

16 04 2017

The chief priests, elders and scribes who conspired against Jesus and delivered Him to the Cross; the Roman soldiers who mocked, beat and nailed Him there; and, the citizens who demanded His crucifixion were all unwitting participants in an event that would affect mankind for eternity.  In spite of having been eyewitness to many of Jesus’ miraculous works, they defiantly refused to believe He was indeed the Messiah and the Son of God. Rather, they felt Jesus was a threat to their power and beliefs. But, during His short mortal life, Jesus made it clear He had come to save when He said, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:17. Jesus’ death was part of God’s plan of salvation.

 

Jesus also made clear the path to that eternal life when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6.

 

Sadly, many today do not believe Jesus is the Son of God, nor do they appreciate what Jesus endured on that day on our behalf. Many are as blind and clueless as those who murdered Jesus and do not realize the harm they are causing or the destructive road they are following. University professors, the ultra-biased media, non-believing celebrities, corrupt politicians, and others who use their platform to spread their secular agenda, striving to remove all traces of Christianity from our lives, are unknowingly serving as pawns of Satan. It is one thing to espouse an opinion; but to openly, or subliminally, deliver evil is a fulfillment of Scripture and their followers will follow them to an eternal hell.  

 

God’s plan hasn’t changed. Jesus will return, but not riding on a donkey as He had done on what we now know as Good Friday. Instead, He will be as a warrior returning to defeat Satan and all evil. Those who have not accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior will not be saved from damnation.

 

Because of His suffering, we now have been given the greatest gift possible-eternal life. It’s right there like an apple on a low-hanging branch. All we have to do is grab it. Confess your sins and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. It’s that simple. Unfortunately, many will continue to ignore His call.

 





The Big Picture

3 04 2016

Have you ever prayed for something, and didn’t get it? Have you ever prayed for someone to be healed, only to watch them die? How many times have you heard the preacher say to ask, and it shall be given to you? He was quoting Matthew 7:7, in which Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Several years ago, a young lady, who only a few years earlier had been a student in my sixth grade Sunday school class, gave birth to a beautiful little girl whom she named Cadence. However, Cadence was born with the rare birth defect, gastroschisis, in which the stomach and bowel are formed on the outside of the baby’s belly. Everyone at our church prayed for Cadence. Friends and co-workers of church members prayed. As I traveled the country on business, I wore a button with Cadence’s picture on it. People would see her sweet, smiling face on the button and ask about her; thus, opening the door for me to share her story. I had clients from North Carolina to California praying for Cadence. Flight attendants gave me cash or wrote unsolicited checks to donate toward her medical expenses and told me they would pray for her. There were thousands of people praying for Cadence but, sadly, she never recovered. Cadence passed away only nine days before her first birthday. Doesn’t that contradict Matthew 7:7? We asked but we weren’t given.

 

We all prayed that God would allow Cadence to live, and we were all disappointed. We later prayed to thank Him for the year He allowed her to be with us, for during her 356 days of life, Cadence brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. Many non-believers might point to Cadence’s death as proof that God doesn’t exist; or, if He does exist, He ignores our prayers. My daddy didn’t tell me the reason behind his decisions every time he told me I couldn’t do something, but he had a reason. He knew more as an adult than I did as a child. Likewise, God has a reason for the things He does and we don’t always know or understand His reasoning.

 

On the night before He was crucified, Jesus prayed these words, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” If God didn’t answer Jesus’ prayer, why should He answer ours?

 

The Bigger Picture

Jesus knew the horror of the crucifixion. He knew what was just hours away and the great suffering He would soon have to endure. He didn’t want to do it, and would have liked to have had a way out, but He knew, too, that there was a bigger picture. Someone would have to pay for the sins of mankind, and He was willing to sacrifice His own life so we wouldn’t have to. He saw the big picture. So, actually, God did answer Jesus’ prayer. Jesus prayed for God’s will and His prayer was answered.

 

We aren’t God, and we don’t always see the big picture, or know what God has in mind, and why He works as He does. But, there is a bigger picture. Just as Jesus did, we should pray for God’s will in all things and then rely on His wisdom. Yes, pray for specifics. Pray for healing for friends. But don’t be surprised if you find your prayer answered in a different way than you expect. After all, if He loved us enough to die for us, He certainly loves us enough to take care of us.

 

As for Cadence, I like the way my good friend, Lollibells the clown,  put it when she would encounter the death of a small child during her ministry to seriously ill children. She would say, “Daddy God wanted some beautiful flowers for His garden so He picked Cadence.” God has answered our prayers for Cadence…we just haven’t seen the big picture yet.





The Great Crusade

7 06 2015

Imagine, if you will, the thoughts which must have been running through the minds of the German soldiers stationed along the beaches of France on the morning of June 6, 1944. It was widely known the Allies were planning a massive invasion, but no one knew when or where they were planning to strike. Some thought along the French coast while others were convinced the attack would occur elsewhere. Some soldiers no doubt, were afraid. Many may have believed the whole invasion rumors were just that-rumors- and had no concern about how they might spend the day. They would just go about their boring daily routines, standing guard near a bunker, listening to the waves crashing onto the sands of Normandy Beach.

 

Finally, as the veil of darkness begins to lift, German commanders, peering from bunkers through their field glasses, begin to see thousands of Allied ships appearing on the horizon on a path directly toward them. Thousands of soldiers died, both Allied and German, and thousands more were injured. Following several weeks of intense fighting, when the smoke had cleared, France had been freed by the Allied conquest.

 

That was a moment in history when, as General Dwight Eisenhower said in his speech to the troops, “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you.”

 

I’m neither a doomsayer, nor an end-timer. I don’t, with rare exception, read end-times books, although I did enjoy the Left Behind series. But, there is no doubt the Lord will return. The prophets foretold His return and Jesus Himself told us on several occasions. And, although we don’t know when it will happen, there is no doubt among believers that it will happen. That’s the best kept secret of all time. But there are increasing signs, again foretold in Scripture, which indicate we are getting closer to that day. Many are ready, many are not.

 

 At Matthew 24:36, Jesus told His disciples, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” (NKJV) In this passage, Jesus went on to say that His return would be as in the days of Noah when people were going about their everyday routines with no suspicion they were about to die. Not until Noah entered the ark and the floods came did they realize the warnings they had heard had come to fruition.

 

So it will be with the return of Jesus. People will be at work, on vacation, sleeping or at a movie when suddenly they will find the person who had been sitting next to them, only moments before, will be gone. With no warning, the time will be here and for those who do not follow Christ, it will be too late.

 

Some will say this is no more than the blathering of a cynical, self-righteous, Bible thumper. I would prefer to think of it as a sincere warning from someone who has a genuine concern for others. If you are among the non-believers in this world, I would implore you to read the book of Matthew and get to know God on a personal level. It will be the smartest thing you’ll ever do.





KNOWING God

19 04 2014

Tomorrow we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Easter is the day Jesus walked from the grave; and, with that single act, gave a gift to all mankind-salvation. With His death on the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sins; and, with His rise from the grave, He made us the beneficiaries of the greatest gift ever-eternal life. Now, that said, I hope you will join with me in adding Michael Bloomberg, the guardian of the nanny-state, to your prayer list.

This week, after pledging $50 million of his own money in his fight for gun control, Bloomberg said, “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

A very telling comment. It would appear, Mr. Bloomberg thinks pretty highly of his largesse. This comment really shows his ignorance on several levels. In revealing his uncertainty of the existence of God, he makes it clear that he doesn’t know God; for if he knew God, then he would have no question regarding His existence. And if he doesn’t know God, then he cannot get into heaven. Further, heaven isn’t something you earn…it is a gift. Just as with any other gift, it is free. The price has already been paid.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” That passage comes from Ephesians 2:8-9. Michael Bloomberg is the embodiment of this passage, bragging about his donation for what he sees as a worthy cause, and confident he has purchased his way into heaven. It doesn’t work that way, Mikey. The only thing required to get into heaven is to confess your sins, repent and accept Christ as your Savior. When you do that, Bloomboy, you will know there is a God and you will know Jesus on a personal level.

There is no requirement for us to go door to door passing out tracts or sharing a testimony. There is no amount of money we can spend to buy our way into heaven. Salvation is free. It is ours for the taking. If Bloomberg does get to heaven, imagine his surprise when he looks around and sees his limo driver, gun-toting good ole boys, the kid he saw flipping burgers at McDonalds, the greeter at Wal-Mart and so many others whom he now considers beneath him.

I hope the day will come when the ex-mayor will see the light and call upon Jesus, and not his bank accounts, to see God. Maybe he and I can slip down to the Heavenly 7-11 and have a 122 ounce Big Gulp. See ya there, Mike?

Don't worry, Mike, there are no calories in heaven.

Don’t worry, Mike, there are no calories in heaven.





KISS- God’s Plan Made Simple

3 10 2013

Yep, KISS-Keep It Simple, Stupid.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATwenty-five years ago, I was the manager of ergonomic programs for a consulting firm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I was visiting a manufacturing plant in Dublin, Georgia to assist them with a non-ergonomic related issue. While there, the safety and health manager, knowing I was familiar with ergonomics, asked me if I would look at a seating problem. Hey, I’m thinking, it’s your money; for 150 bucks an hour, I’ll grill you a pork chop if you want me to. He took me over to a workbench surrounded by stools similar to the one pictured. He explained that the stools were new, but one particular employee complained every day about her legs going to sleep while she worked. I asked the lady to sit on the stool. When she did, I noticed her feet were dangling about six inches above the foot rest, which was positioned as low as it would go. So now I’m thinking, this can’t be that easy. I leaned down and adjusted the footrest upward until it made contact with the bottoms of her shoes and took the pressure off of her thighs. She exclaimed, “Oh, I didn’t know you could move that thing!”

 

Sometimes things are so simple we can’t see the solution because we are looking for something more complex. Both the employee and the safety and health manager were looking for a more complex solution and, thus, were unable to see the simple fix right before their eyes.

 

That’s the beauty in God’s plan….simplicity.

 

Look at the birth of Jesus. It was very simple. The newborn Jesus wasn’t surrounded by rich and powerful well-wishers. Shepherds, the lowest of the low, the smelly, wretched refuse, were led, by God, to the stable where Jesus lay. And as Jesus grew to be a man and announced He was the promised Messiah, many Jews refused to believe Him because they were looking for something on a much grander scale. They were expecting the Savior to arrive as a mighty warrior on horseback and wipe out their enemies. Because Jesus didn’t fit the model Messiah they had created in their minds, they felt He could not be who He claimed to be and rejected Him.

 

Many years ago there was an old man with eight sons. The youngest of his sons was a scrawny little kid named David, who spent most of his time tending the family’s sheep. Three of David’s older brothers were in the Israelite army and were involved in the battle against the Philistine army. Fighting had come to a standstill because the Philistines had a nine foot tall warrior who would come out every day and issue a challenge to the Israelites to send out their best fighter to do battle with him…mano-a-mano. And each day, his challenge went unanswered because there were no Israelites brave enough or stupid enough to go out and answer his daily challenge.

 

David was bringing lunch to his brothers out at the battleground and asked why there wasn’t any fighting going on. When he learned what the problem was, he told them he would go out and fight the giant. They thought he had more courage than brains, neither of which was going to whip a nine foot giant. What they were unaware of was that David wasn’t planning to rely on either. He was leaving the battle to God. We all know the result.

 

God has a reputation for accomplishing great things in the simplest ways. He took a little kid and beat a giant and with it brought victory for the Israelites over the Philistines.

 

The ultimate goal of all believers is, or at least should be, to live eternally with God. To achieve that goal, God doesn’t demand that we go door to door passing out tracts. He doesn’t tell us that if we are good we will get to heaven. He doesn’t require us to do anything to earn our way into heaven, other than to believe. Again, He has made it simple to achieve that goal. We must confess that we are sinners and believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the promised Savior. That’s it. How simple can it be? Yet, here again, there are those who think there has to be more to getting into heaven than that. It’s too simple.

 

When I was publishing my book on managing safety, the publisher, John Wiley, sent the manuscript out for peer review. One of the reviewers, a long-time safety professional and writer, commented the book was too simple. Well, duh! That was my goal. It is widely held that the average reading level for adults is eighth grade. For that reason, I write for the masses, not the scholarly-a much smaller group of readers.

 

God’s plan of salvation is very simple and it’s simple for a reason. Salvation is for all people and it is made simple so all people, not just the educated, the rich or the elite, can understand and ask for the free gift of salvation He promised. K I S S !

God loves you





Yea Team!

10 06 2013

In the third chapter of Acts, Peter and John, in the name of Jesus, performed a miracle when they healed a lame man. Then moving into Chapter 4, they preached to a large crowd in the Temple. We aren’t told how many in total, but scripture states there were 5,000 men, not counting women and children. This crowd also included some of the same religious leaders who, only weeks before, had orchestrated the murder of Jesus. Their preaching was interrupted when these religious leaders approached them and asked in whose name they preached and performed miracles. They were arrested and jailed for the night.

The following day, they were brought before the High Priest and several of his family members. This, to me at least, is where it gets interesting. I find it amazing to read not just what Peter and John had to say before the High Priest, but how they said it. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and, as a result, were so emboldened it was hard to believe this was the same Peter who only two months earlier had said on three different occasions that he was not associated with Jesus. Peter, at this point, is clearly a changed man and it shows in his courage. As a result, about 3,000 people came to God.

Do we wear our colors as boldly and proudly as Peter? When people see or speak with you are they able to identify you with Christ?

If you walk into someone’s office or home, you might see banners, paintings, pennants, miniature football helmets, stuffed dolls or mascots and other things which proudly proclaim the owner’s favorite college or professional team. That’s great. Be proud of your team and the support you give them. But can people just as easily tell by what they see or hear that you are Christian? Or is that something you keep to yourself? It isn’t always easy to publicly acknowledge our beliefs, but remember what Jesus said in Matthew 10:32, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”

Right now, to some people that might not sound like such a big deal, but I can’t imagine anything greater than to have Jesus brag on me to God.

Be bold like Peter and show your colors.





The Stone

23 05 2013

The Jewish leaders had heard of Jesus’ promise to rise from death, but since they refused to accept Him as the long awaited Messiah, they didn’t believe Him. Instead, they feared some of His followers might take the body and claim Jesus had fulfilled His promise and, indeed, had risen. For that reason, they sealed the tomb by having a large stone rolled in front of the opening. I can just see them in their arrogant, self-pious pride thinking they had foiled the plot of Jesus’ followers. If they had any idea who he was, they probably would have said something like, “Even Houdini can’t get out of there.”easter

Boy were they in for a surprise! Sure enough, when Mary Magdalene, along with several other women, came along early Sunday morning, the stone had been moved to expose the opening. And as promised, Jesus was no longer inside the tomb.

Now, flip the calendar forward a few pages to the year 2013. It’s a natural assumption for us to think Jesus moved the stone so He could get out of the tomb, but that wasn’t the case. There were a couple of angels inside the tomb when Mary Magdalene looked inside. They are probably the ones who moved the stone, but not so Jesus could get out. He could have easily gotten out with the stone in place. No, the stone was moved so others could get inside to see He was not there. He had risen just as He said He would. Had the stone been left in place, no one would have been able to see inside. No one would have been able to see the fulfillment of prophecy. No one would have been able to see the glory of the resurrection and the single greatest moment in the history of the world. Instead, everyone would have assumed Jesus’ body, like anyone else’s, would lie in the tomb until it returned to dust. Can you say Schrodiger’s cat?

Sadly, for a great many people, that stone still sits in the mouth of the tomb. They are unable to see that the Lord has risen. They can’t know God because they won’t accept the resurrection. Look around your obsessions long enough to see the tomb is empty. Jesus isn’t there. Instead, He is among us in the form of the Holy Spirit.

I know, that sounds awfully preachy and you’re thinking I’m going to ask you to stand up and sing Hymn No. 313. In the Free Will Baptist Hymnal that was “Just As I Am”. Growing up, that was our closing hymn EVERY Sunday. Well, I’m no preacher and we aren’t going to sing. I’m just a guy who enjoys writing and have, like you, been charged with the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). This is my small contribution. Now, look inside the tomb and know that Christ is near. empty-tomb-copy