Saturday, November 7, 2009

What's so wrong with gambling?

Wouldn't it be nice at times if the Bible would speak straight forward with thou shall or thou shall not on certain issues? Just add a whole new list of commands in Exodus or even at the sermon on the mount in Matthew of thou shalt not gamble, thou shalt not do drugs, thou shalt not get abortions. It sure would make it easier for laymen like me if this were the case. Don't fret though, for that's the beauty of the Bible. It does say all these things, not so bluntly but with careful examination of God's Holy Word we see all that He actually does say on these topics.

Lets look at why gambling is indeed wrong, and it is wrong for so many reasons, I ask you to bear with me for this post may be long. The driving motivation behind gambling is greed. People want the big payout. You don't play the lottery for fun, you play to win the millions. The Bible is extremely clear on the issue of greed and covetousness which is another motivation behind gambling. So is materialism. I will put the extensive list of sins that motivate gambling or a result of gambling at the end of this post, so that now we can examine a little of the history of gambling.

The history of gambling in America is interesting. The American Revolution was funded by the sale of lottery tickets. The lottery was also used by Washington to build federal city, Washington actually bought the first ticket for that project, and we now know federal city as Washington D.C. Many colleges and churches in those times used gambling to build their building, for it was an easy way to raise funds for such projects. However the church started coming to their senses apparently, because they started speaking out against the unbiblical act of gambling, and in 1894 all forms of gambling were outlawed. The state lottery was again enacted in the state of New Hampshire in 1964, and since then it has spread like wildfire to other states and areas such as casinos, dog/horse tracks and more. Saint Augustine said that gambling was invented by the devil. Martin Luther said that money that was won from gambling was won out of self seeking sin. John Calvin outlawed gambling in all of Geneva.

There are studies that show 500 billion dollars a year are wagered legally. That's 500 billion just legally, taking the amount I'm sure much higher if we could tally all the illegal gambling dollars wagered. Just to put that in perspective, that is more then we spend on dentists, or sporting events, or foreign travel, or household appliances, or even health care a year. This is a huge problem, all driven by greed. Studies also indicate that there are approx 10 million compulsive gamblers in America. I think that's more then admitted alcoholics. Twenty percent of compulsive gamblers have admitted to thoughts or even attempts at suicide. The suicide rate of spouses of gambling addicts is 150 percent higher then the national average.

Atlantic City instituted gambling and casinos in 1976 to help revitalize their economy, unemployment and tax revenue. We always hear about the great tax revenue and jobs casinos bring. Now in Atlantic city, the crime rate has risen 380 percent, the police force has been doubled, even though the cities population is down 20 percent. Half of the 2100 small businesses closed, and unemployment is up. The best is, four of their last six mayors have been indicted for corruption, 3 of which are incarcerated. I could give more statistics but that would be moot, I just wanted to make the point that casinos and gambling bring a lot more with them then they promise, and that which they do promise is a lie in the end.

A big sin a person commits by gambling is discontentment. Phillipians 4:11-12 11Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
Paul knew what it was like to have and to need, and either way he was content with what God gave him. Gambling is in a sense saying I need more. What You have provided is not enough. Discontentment is a lack of faith, and it is a sin.

Proverbs 30:7-9
Two things I asked of You,
Do not refuse me before I die:
8Keep deception and lies far from me,
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion,
9That I not be full and deny You and say, "Who is the LORD?"
Or that I not be in want and steal,
And profane the name of my God.

This is such a remarkable verse. Be happy that you have enough. I know the American dream is the big house with a picket fence in a suburb with new cars. The American dream revolves around greed, so it shouldn't surprise us that the lottery and casinos do so well. The lust and materialism and greed drives us to get that American dream and all the things to "keep up with the Jones". This verse should teach us to be happy, be happy we have enough. Be happy you have a roof over head, no matter where you live. Be happy you have an automobile, no matter if it's a "beater". Be happy you have food in your belly. Many people don't have the luxury of saying those things. Here the Bible pleads for God to provide, not abundant riches, and not extreme poverty. You may not have abundant riches, but if you're on your computer right now reading this, then you also are not living in extreme poverty.

I will not post the entire parable of the talents, for it would make this post even longer, but I do ask you get your Bible out now and read it. It's found in Matthew 25 starting at verse 14 and going clear to 30. Many of us may already be familiar with these words of our Lord. I want you to look at verse 30: "Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

This slave was a bad steward of what he was given. He did not lose his masters money, not a bad steward in that way, but he was a lazy steward. He was irresponsible with what he was given. That is exactly what gambling is! This is also a sin, and look at what Jesus said to do to the person. Outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth are always used in reference to hell. I am not saying if you gamble as a Christian you will go to hell, we all are and can be forgiven, but I am saying it is a sin. How does God look at sin? Well, you, me, our kids, and every other human, will die because two people ate fruit they weren't supposed to. It wasn't even the act, but the rebellion against God. That's what sin is, rebellion against God. Gambling is rebellion against

Lets look at sins that motivate and sins that result from gambling:
1)Greed and materialism
2)Covetousness and lusts to have more and more
3)Laziness it undermines Gods standard of working by "trying to get rich quick"
4)Discontentment not happy with what you do have
5)Bad stewardship with what you are given
6)Distrusting God and His providence
7)Irresponsible family leadership it is true men
8)Stealing in order for you to win big someone lost big. So even if you do have a good day you are taking from someone who did not, and most gamblers are the poor
9)Not keeping the great command of loving your neighbor look at 8

I actually think I could keep going and going. Gambling exploits the weak, the poor, the undisciplined, and the gullible. It is the greatest example of taking money from the pockets of a lot of the poor and putting it in the pockets of a few rich. If you have extra money, and you claim Christ, don't gamble with it. It would be much better off to directly give it to someone in need. Or church, or a charity that helps people. Not the casinos. I did this blog because of issue 3 that passed here in Ohio (unfortunately). I was thinking, what is so wrong with gambling, so I listened to a few sermons on it, read my Bible and researched some statistics and was amazed at how much I learned and what a huge problem this is. The true church is busy defending the Bible against homosexuality and abortion, and have let this issue slip through the cracks. I say if you know Christ and have the hope within you, step up and defend God's Word and character when people push these immoral sins upon us. This is one of those sins that is not "good if done in moderation" like so many say. It's a sin, no sin is good in moderation. As far as helping school's and tax revenue, that still does not make it right, but even more wrong. That's just feeding the bigger chain of greed and discontentment. Plus the ends do not justify the means. This has gotten extremely long, and I will put another post about it soon on other parts I wanted to point out.

My prayer is that we learn the higher calling the Lord calls us to as His children. That we live holy lives because He is Holy. That we study His word and learn what is right and wrong according to His standards, which as His children are the only standards that matter. Let us also, with gentleness and love, help those who have fallen into the temptation and addiction of this sin, that they may know Him and be changed from within as we have been. With love and prayers always

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Where two or three gather

We are all familiar with the saying of where two or three gather in my name I am there. I love this verse, however I am sad how so many people take the bible out of context and make verses mean what there original purpose was not.

Matthew 18:15-20"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother."But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED."If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven."Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven."For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."

What is this passage talking about? It is talking about a brother who is sinning and confronting him on his behavior. The capitalized verse up there is a quote directly from Deuteronomy 19:15, which Jesus uses to show the law of the OT is the same as His message. Should be, they were written by the same author. When one won't repent of there sin you are to go to him with two or three witnesses so that it is not just one mans word against another, rather you have more then one brother to confirm the testimony of the wrong doing. Am I being clear, my mind keeps wandering and I am struggling to find the right words. Look at it like this, I see a fellow believer from church who is married sneaking around and cheating on his wife. I will go go to him and tell him what he is doing is wrong, Christians are not to act like that and Gods holy word backs that up. Well he shrugs me off, don't care and keeps going along with his extramarital activity, then I will take two fellow brothers from church to tell this guy that this is against Gods word and that he must stop. Then as Jesus explains in other places, you would take the matter to the church if the fellow believer does not repent (stop/turn away from) from his immoral activities.

This is what this passage alludes to, church discipline. I love how Jesus said that when we gather in His name for this matter that He is within our mist. That's a comforting thought because seriously, who wants to do this. Right? It is told that we should and I understand why, we have to keep the body of Christ pure and holy. I know we are all sinners, unredeemed flesh, but we cannot claim Christ and not be obedient to His commands. That is illustrated best in Jesus and the relationship with His father, He loved the Father and was obedient, even unto death on a cross.

So should we be obedient? If Christ, The Son of God did, we most definitely should. That is the gospel message, repent and believe. Repent from what? The sins in our lives. The darkness in us that brings dishonor to God rather than glory. We all know we have a dark side in us. It's our nature, we are born sinners. But with faith in Christ and obedience to His word we can overcome those dark areas of our sinful nature. I'm not saying perfection here, we will not obtain that until Christ glorifies us, but that is no excuse to live like our sinful nature desires.

Now lets get back to the topic and scripture I was talking about before I sidestepped a little. People use the verse where two or three gather in my name I am there in there midst way out of context a lot. We see through the scripture itself that it talks of confronting a sinning person and that when we go to confront that brother that God is with us. OK. But a lot of people quote this just when two or three believers come together for prayer or bible study that God is there within their midst. Well this verse is not referring to that. However I do got good news to the people who quote this verse in that way, God is always within our midst if we are true followers and believers in Him. Number one He is Sovereign, so He sees and knows all. So he is near everyone in that sense, but also He has sent His spirit to dwell in the hearts of His faithful followers. So in that sense He is not within our midst, rather He is within us! How glorious a truth is that? When I pray to God, I believe He hears my prayers and is with me as I pray them. And that is not when I'm with people, but alone. I feel God listening and "within my midst" when I am pouring out my heart and praying to Him. I use the word feel hesitantly, for Christianity is not about all feelings, but about learning Gods word and drawing closer to Him through knowing Him by His words. God wrote one book, The bible, and He wrote down everything He wanted to tell His people in it. It is absolute truth and inerrant. It was relevant then just as much so as it is relevant today, for it is the perfect words of God. You want to know God? Read His word, and read it often.

I did not write this blog to mock or make fun of anyone who may use or have used that verse in the way that may take it out of context to the passage. I merely write to share with others the truth that I learn from Gods word. I want all of us to know what God says through the bible and how it impacts our lives. May we grow ever closer to Him through His awesome truths for us. My prayer is for all of us to read His word, read it often, and dig deep into what that word is telling us. I hope we all see and know that God is within us rather just within our midst. He is our shield, our strength, our God. For the more of the Word we know, the more of God we know.

With love and prayers always

Friday, September 25, 2009

To long FB status update

Look anywhere in scripture and you will find the Son. He was the ark that carried Noah and family to safety. He is the bronze serpent looked at for healing. He was the manna from heaven that nourishes. He was the staff that brought water from the rock to quench thirsts. He was the ram that was caught in the thorns to sacrifice instead of Isaac. He was the path on the floor of the red sea that lead to safety. He was the the extra person in the fiery furnace saving his faithful servants. He is the one who hung on a cross to forgive mine and your sins if you know Him. That's my God! That's my protector! That's my shield! And even if I am cast into the pits or the furnace, He is with me! Do you know Him readers? Or do you just simply know of Him? There is a difference. Call on Him. Lean on Him. Love Him.

May God bless you all.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


A minister I really enjoy has opened up all his sermons for free on his website, and I like to download them and listen to them at work. Well he mostly does in depth studies of the entire bible, and every once in a while he will tell of a story, sometimes they are true, sometimes they are just made to get you thinking. I would like to share one such story with you, which I know is different for what I usually do here, but I feel this has some relevance. This is not exactly how it was told word for word, for I am just going off of memory of when I heard it about a week ago.

There was a old retired preacher back in the day, that had a good friend who was "out of his league" so to speak in the social sense. One day his friend invited the preacher to a dinner party he was having that was quite an affair. Reluctantly the preacher decided to go. When he got there he was seated beside a very well known actor. The friend ask the actor to do them all a favor and recite something beautiful for them. The actor asked what they would like him to do and the preacher asked him if he knew the 23rd psalm. The actor said that as a matter of fact he did know that psalm. So the actor agreed under one condition, that the ol retired preacher recite it after him. The preacher agreed and the actor went on to recite the psalm in such a beautiful and dramatic way that the crowd at the dinner just applauded his performance of it when he was finished. The room fell quiet and the old preacher got up with his cracking and squeaky voice and humbly recited the 23rd psalm. When he was done there was not one dry eye in the house. The friend was struck, got up and said I think I get it, I get the difference in the reactions. For the actor knows the psalm but my friend here, he knows the Shepard.

I ask you, do you know the psalm that most do, or is it deeper for you? Do you know the Shepard? May He manifest His glory and light into all of your lives today, tomorrow, and for eternity. With love and prayers always.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Fall Of Man

Genesis 3:1-6 "Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field that the lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, you shall not eat from any tree of the garden?" The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, you shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die." The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from it's fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate."

This is the verse in theology that describes the fall of man. It is in this chapter that the devil pulls out his craftiness and turns the whole order of things upside down. Now this is not to say that God made it happen, just that he allowed it to happen for it would fulfill His will and mankind's future.

We all know this story from our youth, but let's really look deeper into all the lessons contained in this chapter. First thing we notice is that the devil comes as a serpent, a talking snake. It's funny how the devil never comes as he truly is, instead always disguised as something else. Whether it be a false prophet, false religion, a loved one appearing to you in an occult seance, or in this case a snake. I do find it ironic that a serpent is a very close description of himself considering how the devil is crafty and slithers around the world in search of things to devour. So beware, for the devil can come at you in so many ways, forms, shapes and symbols. The devil and his minions love to present themselves as good and pure. The devil isn't going to get his work done parading around telling everyone to come to a bottomless, painful, wretched burning place with him. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:14, 15 No wonder, for even satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, who's end will be according to his deeds."

The next thing to notice is that the devil comes to Eve and addresses her. Where's Adam? What's he doing that the devil comes to the woman? We are not given this info in the text, just that Eve took, ate and gave some to Adam to eat after the serpent deceived her into believing she surely would not die and actually would become like God. One could almost come to believe that Adam was beside her the whole time while the snake was conversing with her and if this is true, why didn't he speak up?

The main point of this blog is to look at how the devil/snake talked her into eating of the fruit. The first thing out of his mouth (verse 1) is said in a way to bring about doubt or distrust. I can almost hear the manipulating tone, "did God reeeeeally say you could not eat of any tree of the garden?" Just how he asks it makes one think that God is this big unfair entity with so many rules, when in reality it's one rule. Don't eat from that one tree. Enjoy this vast garden and all it's riches just don't eat from the one tree.

Look at Eve's response. She states the fact that they can eat of all the trees of the garden except for the one in the middle. But she goes on to say that of the one in the middle, God said do not eat from it or touch it or you will die. Now if you look back at the giving of this command by God in chapter 2 verse 17, you will see that two things stand out. Number 1 is that Eve was not even created at the time of this command. So I'm sure Adam passed it on to her. The second point is that God says not to eat from it, but he never says anything about touching it like she told the serpent. So either Adam told her not to touch it for her protection or she is lying to the devil going along with the doubt and "restrictive character" that the devil is trying to paint in her mind of God. It's something to ponder because this is the only time "not touch it" is mentioned.

Now look at the devil's response. He tells her she most surely will not die. But instead will become like God, knowing good and evil. So Eve saw that it looked good and was desirable to make one wise and ate of it. And gave some to Adam who listening to the woman rather than God's command, ate it. And it should be noted, Adam wasn't tricked or manipulated like Eve. This is the fall of man. The first sin against the only command God gave them, and they couldn't follow it. In the next few verses God comes calling them to find out they have not obeyed his one command. Look what Adam says in verse 12 "The woman who you gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree and I ate." This is just like modern day. He blames her and God! God gave him the gift of a partner and he's blaming God! And Eve was deceived, tricked, manipulated! And even though that's no excuse to break a command of God it's better than just eating when Eve gave him the fruit! Adam is doing exactly what so many of us still do to this day, start playing the blame game. Well I did this because...... Or I didn't stop this for..... Or blah blah blah... It's funny and sad that in the beginning with the first humans Adam didn't take responsibility for his actions like so many of us still don't. This is a big lesson I hope to get across in this post.

However, this is yet another just as important lesson to learn from this story in God's word. The devil told them they would not die. In reality they ate the fruit and they didn't die...right then. Instead they died spiritually in the aspect of being separated from their one on one interaction in the presence of God. Death in the physical sense would come, just not instantly right then. The greatest thing the devil did here and what we need to constantly be on the guard against is he put doubt into Eve's mind about God's word. That goes on so much these days. Just look around. Even religious groups and organizations now a days are stating there is no absolute truth. Well if that's the case, what's the Bible? I always thought it was God's absolute word and truth. Right? Yet so many evangelical Christians will argue with me on that fact.

Sorry this blog got so long. I just wanted to make the few points clearly so we might better understand God's word and how it's truth is so relevant even today. Remember beware for the enemy will come in many forms. Definitely as an angel of light. Never let anyone teach you anything that goes against the word of God. And please, let's take responsibility for our actions when we do sin, making no excuses, rather confessing and repenting to God as the gospel message teaches.

My prayer is that we keep our eyes and ears on the Spirit, that we may discern when trials and temptations from the devil arise. That we take a stand against anyone and everyone who denies Gods word and or character. That we follow Gods law cheerfully and without burden to bring Him the glory and praise that He desires and Deserves.

With love and prayers always


Thursday, August 13, 2009


Well if you are a christian you know the teachings of Jesus about not doing your deeds in front of others. This is a true statement. And let's see what God's word says about it. I intend to show that what it comes down to is motives.

Matthew 6:1
"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven." These words of our Lord go on to say don't sound your trumpet when you give and don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. I want to concentrate on this first verse in chapter 6. Because many say it contradicts a few other verses in the Bible. The Bible when understood as God shows us NEVER contradicts itself. It is inerrant in all it's fullness.

There are several verses that tell us to be lights of the world. Just one chapter before this we see our Lord saying, Matthew 5:16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."

Now wait, Jesus tells us to be lights that shine good works for men to see. And then in the same sermon tells us not to do our works for men to see them. Are you starting to see what the Lord is doing here? In 5:16 at the end of the verse it's saying to do our good works that they may glorify the Father. In chapter 6:1 it says not to do it for men to see. In other words for the glory of how great we are. We are to act like christians to glorify God, not ourselves. It's all about motives and the condition of the heart. We are not called to be monks for our solitude and quietness would not glorify God. Our pure conduct and walk in the true christian life of pureness, righteousness and love is what glorifies God to others around us. I think the Westminster catechism got it right in their first question, Q. What is the chief and highest end of man? A. Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God and fully to enjoy him forever.

Jesus in chapter 6 has seen the pharisees follow the law to the T outwardly. But inwardly, they were full of dead mans bones. We are called to live Godly lives outwardly as well as inwardly. Show people you care, show people you love them, show people you're not afraid to give to those in need, whether it be lending a hand or monetarily. I encourage any and all christians to do that. In Matthew 7:19- 20 Jesus tells us the false prophets will be known by their fruit. Well let us be known by our fruit as well, being good fruit. So that the name of the true God can be glorified.

That's the key though. If you do your works so that so and so sees you doing something good, as Jesus said, you will have no reward with your father in heaven for that. It is merely outwardly and you glorify yourself rather than God. This is a tough topic and I advise we pray for discernment in these matters because there are going to be many times that your doing or giving should be done just for God to see. Notice in 6:1 Jesus said beware. He doesn't say don't, he says beware. Because it is so easy to get caught up in pride and self gratification/glorification. The truth is the treasure in heaven you store up for yourself by doing good deeds and bearing good fruit is so much more grand than gaining the praise of men. Do your deeds to be noticed by God because you love Him and are dedicated to Him. Let's finish with one of my favorite verses, Phillipians 2:14 - 15. "Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights of the world"

Jesus said in Luke 11:33 "No one after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar, nor under a basket, but on a nightstand so that those who enter may see the light."

My prayer for us is that we show the world the light of Christ through us. That we have the right intentions and motives to show the world what makes us Christians, who we are, and most importantly, whom we serve. Let the world draw close to God through our actions and love that the Spirit pours upon us. Let people know what us Christians are not only by what we confess, but by what we do. May the Lord bless you all.

With love and prayers always,


Sunday, July 26, 2009

What Do You Seek?

John 1: 35-39 "Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, behold the Lamb of God! The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, "what do you seek? " They said to Him, Rabbi (which translated means teacher), where are you staying? He said to them, come and you will see. So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour." (NASB)

I want to explain a little about the gospel of John so that it can lead us to a better understanding of what God is saying to us through this passage. The disciple John wrote this gospel and it was written in his latter years, approximately 50 years after his time with Jesus. That's quite a while, and what intrigues me about it is that after all that time, he remembers to the hour what time he met Jesus. (verse 39) What an impact and thing to behold, not meeting Jesus like we do, but literally meeting him in the flesh.

Verse 35 tells us that these two (John and Andrew) were disciples of John the Baptist and when they heard John proclaim that Jesus was the lamb of God they followed Jesus. Not follow as disciples, at least not yet, but they wanted to see where he was staying and I'm sure to know if he really was the Lamb of God as John the Baptist proclaimed. They were seeking the One whom the Jews have always been seeking, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. Now I love how Jesus turned to them and asked, "what do you seek?". Jesus will always turn to those who honestly and faithfully approach him and he will be straight forward. The pharisees and Sadducee's always came after Jesus to "trap him" or get him to "mess up". They were always rebuked and never given the answers they sought, rather they were given the truth of Him and the Kingdom of God. Many others came to Jesus such as the rich young ruler in Luke 18:18. Jesus knew this young man's heart. He loved money and the fact that he was rich and comfortable, and was willing to follow Jesus, but only because he had nothing to worry about. Jesus called this young man, and us, to be willing to give up all we have for him. To sell all, to walk away from family, to pick up our crosses daily and follow him is the kind of following Jesus wants us to be willing to give. John Wesley once said, earn all that you can, save all that you can, so that you can give all that you can. I'm not saying you can't have money or family, just that we have to be willing to give these things up if led in that direction.

Notice he told John and Andrew to come and they did and ended up staying with Jesus. That's the same message for us today. To approach Jesus with the right motives for his glory and not our own. Our benefit through Christ is a mere byproduct of glorifying him.

I am not saying that we are not to confess our sinfulness to God. For we are to. I am not saying we should not claim Christ as Lord for we definitely should. But I do have to point out that Jesus never turned to Andrew nor John nor the rich young ruler and say, pray this little sinners prayer, believe and go on with your life. Jesus never said that to anyone ever. Jesus always said things like I have just discussed. Take up your cross daily or sell all you have, repent and believe , and of course, follow me. Following him is not a one time deal, it's a lifestyle choice. It's a constant walk with Him down a narrow, lightly traveled path that leads to salvation in the kingdom of Heaven where he has gone to prepare a place for us. This path is rocky and it's not always full of riches and healing as many try to claim and on this path we will stumble on the rocks and boulders, but that end prize of being in the presence of Him who created us is worth any pains or troubles we endure.

My prayer is that we turn to Him with honest and true motives. That we seek Him for His glory and not for our own benefit. I pray we act like Andrew, and go and tell our brother, and all of whom we know for that matter, that we have found the Messiah! (verse 40) Let us pick up our crosses and follow Him so that we feel His touch and guidance in our lives every minute of everyday.

With prayers and blessings always

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Few Sayings I Like

First: It is none of your business what people think of you. I really like this one and have to often remind myself of it.

Second: Always speak the truth, speak it lovingly and always truthfully. That one can be hard at times.

Third: When one is a Christian and has dedicated his/her life to Christ, they are not perfect. However they can reflect on three things:
1} I am not what I should be.
2} I am not what I could be.
3} But I am not what I used to be.

I heard this on the radio to a pastor I try to catch every now and again when hes on. It's a truth that is both humbling and uplifting. I also heard the always speak the truth from his radio show. His name is Josh McDowell and here is his site if anyone's interested.


Monday, May 4, 2009


It doesn't take a genius to look around and see that we as a state, country and world have gotten ourselves into some financially trying times. Many people are losing their savings, their retirement, their jobs on a daily basis. It is really sad, yet I am going to look into the topic of giving. Yes I know, what in the world am I doing, bringing up the subject of giving in times like this? Well, you probably think I'm going to break out the old saying, you have to sow seeds to reap a harvest, and I agree this is true, but I don't and won't present it like all the "health and wealth" preaching going on out there.

First off, if you are a tither (give 10% religiously to your church) that's great, but if it offends to hear that I don't believe a tithe is required then I would stop reading now.

I will not go to much into why I feel the Bible does not require a tithe, that is a topic I could spend many words and hours on. A church, as many establishments and organizations, need funds to operate, that's just a fact of life. I am all for a person supporting their church, and feel strongly that members of a church should indeed do all they can to support their church financially.

1 Corinthians 16:1,2 "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also; On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come."

In this verse Paul is instructing the Corinthians to give, but he is instructing them to give as they prosper. He is not giving them a fixed amount, such as 10%. No required amount or percentage of giving to the Lord's work is specified in the New Testament. All giving to the Lord should be free will giving and discretionary.

Let's touch on free will giving first. Look at Romans 15:26. "For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem." This was a free will offering given out of the heart and not because it was required or demanded. We love our children and our children love us because we want to, because of the relationship between us. Right? Not because we are required or demanded to love one another. With that being said, I want to make this statement so no one gets the wrong idea when giving. It has to be a sacrifice. True giving from the heart is a sacrifice. For what kind of giving is it if you give out of your abundance?

Mark 12:44 "For they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had, her whole livelihood."

Now lets look at giving in a discretionary way. Jesus says in Matthew 6:3-4. "But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in a secret, and your Father who sees in secret will of himself reward you openly."

How many times have we seen or even have done this? Give for all to see, see how great we are for our big hearts and gracious motives. That's all fine and dandy, the problem is when we do this we are seeking the praise of men rather than the praise of God. We should always keep in our minds that it does not matter what people think of us. For the only opinion that matters is how God sees us. Does he look upon us the wretched sinner we are, full of hypocrisy, or does He see us washed in the blood of His son and as faithful servants? IT IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS WHAT OTHERS THINK OF YOU.

Malachi 3 8-10 "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me! But you say, in what way have we robbed you? In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me. Even this whole nation bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food n my house, and try me now in this, says the Lord of Hosts. If I will not open for you the windows of Heaven, and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it."

I bring this verse into this blog to point out that I did not skim over this part of the Old Testament when reading my Bible. So many people have thrown the "do not rob God" verse in my face every time I bring up that I feel a person should give out of their hearts freely, and not a certain amount under obligation. Many never take into consideration that the Levites were to be servers and priests in the temple full time (doing nothing else) and they completely depended on the ten percent of the crops, animals and money to survive on. When the tithes were unpaid, the priests were deprived and had to give up their ministry to farm for food to eat.

Let me finish with a verse that I believe wraps up giving in a nut shell for Christians today. 2 Corinthians 9:7 "So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver."

I love that verse. God loves a cheerful giver, and I think this goes beyond just momentary and material giving. but also giving of your time and your talents, the ways God has so richly blessed you to help others. The Greek word for "cheerful" is the word from which we get "hilarious" which suggests that God loves a heart that is enthusiastically thrilled with the pleasure of giving. Should we be giving then in such troublesome times, well I believe we should be giving more of all we have now because there are so many more out there in need of help.

My prayer for us all is that we develop a true passion for giving our all in all ways to the kingdom of God. That we build up "treasures in Heaven" as Jesus told us in the sermon on the mount. That we be the cheerful givers God loves and may we go forth in an attitude of cheerfulness in all things.

With love and prayers,