He Is Risen!

Indeed, in the midst of all of this turmoil with our world, the economy, the nation and the fears of all the talk of war and other dangers, there is a Savior.

There is One, Who, by the power of God, conquered death and has ended the enemy’s reign here on earth.

While he has limited power, it is nothing compared to the power that the Christ, the Son of the Living God, exhibits.

Place your faith in Him, for He can save you from the wrath of God, because He has faced that wrath for you.

He is risen! This means so much more than just eternal salvation.

Trust Him.

He is risen!

Hershey’s Subtle, But Bold, Statement

As the Easter season came and went, there were many changes to the area in which I live, specifically with businesses and the messages that are displayed on their signs. For many of the businesses in my area, Christianity is a common theme.

Many of the owners subscribe to some sort of Christian worldview and proclaim Christ on their LCD boards or the simple block letter boards.

On many of their signs, one would see phrases like “He is Risen!” or “Because He lives” or similar phrases.

It is heartening for me to see this, because in my usual hometown, it is not common for local businesses to make such proclamations on their publicly viewed signs. Usually it is something subtle, like a cross on their wall or a verse or set of verses around their establishment.

However, as Spring and the Easter season approached my area, the town of Hershey, PA made a bold statement with their billboards and even the small flags that hang from their street lights along Main Street in Hershey.

Continue reading “Hershey’s Subtle, But Bold, Statement”

Believing is Seeing

“You know what the issue is with this world? Everyone wants a magical solution to their problem, and everyone refuses to believe in magic.” – Jefferson (Once Upon a Time)

Interesting thought, isn’t it? We all want a magical solution, some panacea, some sort of quick fix to all of our problems, yet, we refuse to believe in the magic that we want to save us.

We are all familiar with the phrase, “Seeing is believing”. We won’t believe something until we see that it is true. Whether it is Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster (Nessie, to her fans), magic, or God, we won’t believe it’s real until we see it.

That was the issue Thomas faced after the resurrection of Christ.

Continue reading “Believing is Seeing”

Is Your Family in the Bible?

“…you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Every day, a teenager drinks something alcoholic or does some sort of drug. Young boys and girls, some not even teenagers, are taking part in sexual activity, losing their virginity at a very young age.

Husbands are cheating on wives and vice versa. Money is being taken, people are being cheated and lied to.

Families are falling apart.

And these are just the families that call themselves “Christian”.

Why is this happening?

Continue reading “Is Your Family in the Bible?”

Before the Throne

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Lately, I’ve been thinking about the idea of coming before God with our requests. I’ve heard various ideas about how to come to His Presence and especially the idea of kneeling before His throne.

First, let’s explore this throne and the idea behind it.

As everyone knows, in the kingdoms of the royals, the king and/or queen sat on a throne. When a request was brought to the ruler, it was in their throne room, where it was made quite obvious who was in charge. The throne was usually set high on a stairs and the petitioner was usually forced to kneel, emphasizing even more the image and idea of who was in charge.

It is to this throne that many people feared to come. They would come, most likely trembling in fear, asking the king/queen for what they desired, whether it be a fair ruling, trade of land, settlement in a dispute or even money/status. If the king/queen were in a good mood, their request would most likely be granted, or at least thoroughly considered. If the ruler were having a terrible day, the person would most likely be the recipient of a verbal lashing from the ruler, an outright refusal to hear the matter, or, even worse, imprisonment or death. The subjects of the kingdom feared coming to the king/queen, not knowing what to expect. Thank goodness we don’t have a situation like that nowadays!

However, we do have a King who sits on a throne, and His name is YHWH. He is the LORD of hosts! He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and He sits on a mighty throne in heaven, a throne to which we are strongly encouraged to come.

The author of the book of Hebrews tells us that we are to “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace”. (4:16a) Some translations state that we are come boldly to His throne.

But why? If this King is so mighty, so powerful, Ruler above all rulers, why should we come boldly, with confidence, to His throne? As Michael W. Smith put it in his song “Here I Am”:

“Here I come to Your threshing floor where the angels fear to tread.”

The angels, God’s own personal servants who are perfect fear to walk on the floor before God’s throne, the “threshing floor”. So, if they are afraid to walk before His throne, why should we go to it bodly? Once again, the author of Hebrews makes it clear:

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (4:14-15)

He states that we should go with confidence because of our great High Priest, Jesus. He is there to protect us, to be the Mediator between us and God. Because of what He did for us, dying on the cross and rising from the dead, we are able to go to God’s throne with boldness, with confidence.

So, my dear, dear friends, my brothers and sisters, when you have something you need to bring to God, go to Him with confidence. Do not doubt, do not fear, do not tremble, for Jesus is your High Priest and Mediator and He will keep you from harm. He interceded for you on the cross. Let Him intercede for you before the throne.

Go to God’s throne with strength, confidence and full assurance!

Until then, my friends, be strong and keep the faith.

No Doubt

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We all have doubts: is this where I’m supposed to be in life? What if I don’t have what it takes? What if I really do amount to nothing. What am going to do with my life? Am I going the right way?

Every single day, doubts plague my mind. I wonder if I’m ever going to get out of this slump (though it is looking up) and I doubt if I have what it takes to get to where I’m headed. And there are times when I pray when I doubt that God hears me or that He will answer me or that I’m praying the right way. And there are times when I doubt that God is able to do what I am asking Him for.

In a previous post, More! More! More!, I talked about how what God does in our life depends on how much faith we have in His power. I discussed how God will do more in our life if we just have more faith in the fact that He can not only do what we want, but can do exceedingly more than what we believe He can do (Ephesians 3:20).

According to James, the brother of Jesus, faith and confidence while praying is extremely important.

“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” – James 1:6-8

This is incredible. Anyone who doubts when they pray that they will have what they pray for, they should not suppose that they will receive anything from the Lord.

Did you catch that? Not a thing. Nothing.

Zip.

Nada.

Zilch.

Nothing.

So, be strong when you pray. Be confident. Have no doubts, because the more you doubt, the less you will have from God until you get nothing from Him.

Have faith, my friends, for God rewards those with great faith (Hebrews 11:6)

Until next time.

Keep the faith.

More! More! More!

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I love that thought. He is able to do abundantly more than we might ask or think.

His power is so great. As a matter of fact, His power and might, what He is able to do, is so much greater than what we ask or even think!

Think about that!

No matter how great we think God is, no matter what wonderful, amazing things we imagine God doing, He is so much more and is able to do so much much more than that. Not only that, but the Scriptures tell us that he is able to do “far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” The New Living Translation says that He is able “to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

However, it is important to note that it is according to “the power at work within us.” Some translations say that it depends on how much faith we have. If we want more from God in our lives, we need to have more faith. We need to believe that He is able to do it.

As an example from my life, I hit a really rough patch, losing my job and being stuck in the horrible limbo of unemployment and the never ending job search. As I sought and was constantly turned down or not even interviewed, I had lost all hope. Then, I turned to God for guidance and help. As I prayed and believed that He was able to accomplish what I wanted and needed, a door began to open. I am now working full-time as a warehouse employee for Goya Foods, Inc. Within one month of working there, I became trusted to work on a pallet jack, giving me more responsibility and more trust from my floor supervisor. Though it may not seem this way to some, God has truly blessed me in answering my prayer and giving me what I needed because I asked and believed that He was able to do it.

So, increase your faith, my friends. Believe that He is able to do it and able to do more than what you believe.

As the author of Hebrews says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

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As Christians, we endure so much: hatred, curses, beatings, swearing, temptation to give up, persecution because of our beliefs, challenges to prove that Jesus is the only way, people who defy us every step of the way. Families abandon us because we live a life they don’t accept. Friends leave us because we changed our ways and don’t live like the world. And the world is confused because we refuse to be a part of what they consider to be a normal way of life.

We struggle. We fight. We cry. We beg God to make things easier or to punish those who persecute us for our beliefs. We are tested, if not by God then by Satan, who wishes nothing more than to see us fail. Our faith is brought to the test. And what happens?

I don’t know about you, but when my faith is tested, I fight for a little bit. I try to keep strong, I pray, I seek God, look for answers and I do what I can to make sure that I do not stray. But as things get worse, then I start to turn away. I turn my back on God and I refuse to listen. Life gets bad, I fall into a deep struggle with a terrible addiction, I hit rock bottom and I turn back to God. Then, vicious cycle begins all over again, never to be broken.

This is the story of many Christians, specifically Christians who live in America. Troubles come, either in the form of persecution, faith-testing or discipline from the Father, and they give up. They stop seeking God.

What do we do about this? The author of the book of Hebrews gives us a solution.

In Hebrews 11, the author defines faith, “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” (v. 1; The Message). There it is, in semi-confusing black and white. Faith is our handle of what we can’t see. We can’t see God, but we have faith that He is there.

Our forefathers in Christianity and Judaism gave us very clear instances of faith. I’m not going to go through them all. You can read it for yourself in your own Bibles in Hebrews 11. I am, however, going to give you the highlights.

Noah had faith that God was going to send a flood to destroy the world. He couldn’t see the flood coming. Some Biblical historians believe that Noah and his people had no idea what rain was, and so the idea of a whole bunch of water falling from the sky and overflowing the oceans and rivers and lakes and flooding the earth seemed rather farfetched to Noah. But, God told him that a flood was coming and Noah had faith. What was the result? Noah and his family was saved. (Genesis 6-8; Hebrews 11:7).

Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, on an altar because God told him to. Does that seem a bit harsh? Maybe, but God was testing Abraham’s commitment to Him. Abraham knew that Isaac was the chosen descendent to give Abraham an everlasting family, and so Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac, having faith that God could raise the dead (Hebrews 11:17-29).

Moses, an Israelite saved by God, raised Egyptian, refused to live the Egyptian lifestyle and instead faithfully trusted God to make him the leader that would deliver Israel out of Pharaoh’s hands and into the Promised Land. And the Israelites faithfully followed Moses through the desert for forty years, having faith that God would deliver them to the Promised Land (Hebrews 11:24-31).

These people, and many more, lived great lives of faith. They never actually got a hold of what they were promised, but they still had faith, and we are reaping the benefits of their faith.

But the greatest example of faith is the faith of the Lord, Jesus Christ. We are told to keep our eyes on Jesus, or rather, look to Him (Hebrews 12:2). He “began and finished this race we’re in.” (The Message)

When times got rough, Jesus kept going. “Because he never lost sight of where he was headed–that exhilarating finish in and with God–he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.” (12:2; The Message)

That to me, my friends, is something worth considering. The author of Hebrews goes on to tell us this, “When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story [the story of Jesus] again, item by item, that long litany of hostility [Jesus] plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (12:3; The Message).

So, consider Jesus, my friends, when you are weary in your faith. Remember that He struggled through so much. He even endured death on a rough, wooden cross! He knew where He was headed, but He never so much as once gave up the fight.

“Do you see what this means–all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running–and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.” (Hebrews 12:1; The Message)

God bless you all.