Friday, December 25, 2009
My wife’s mother is 100% Danish and collects those Bing & Grondahl & Royal Copenhagen Plates from Denmark. You know, those blue ones with great scenes and landscapes that people hang above doors and along the ceiling. Here in California, we have a little Danish village, just inland a little bit from the coast, between Buelton (where Andersen’s Split Pea restaurant is) and Santa Ynez, off highway 246. They have the best Danish Butter cookies, Danish pastries and abbelskivers (Danish round pancake with a Raspberry jam) there. But they also have a shop of these Danish plates that date back to before the turn of the century. Here I found a beautiful B&G “Jule Aften” Christmas plate from 1911 titled “First it Was Sung by the Angels to Shepherds in the Fields”, that depicted this very Bible passage above. I took it home to reside on our dining room plate rail at Christmas each year to remind us of the reason for celebrating Christmas ... the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Christian Christmas carols fill the air with praises to God for sending His Son “God with us”, to redeem all of mankind from sin and death to forgiveness and eternal life. What would it have been like to have been one of these privileged shepherds to see and hear and experience the proclamation of the Angels that night that the coming Messiah, the Prince of Peace and the Redeemer of the world, promised by God (Creator of Heaven & Earth), had arrived.
This Savior, Jesus Christ, is what we, in pure gratitude and excitement, celebrate this and every Christmas. We are so blessed! Thanks be to God!
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
May you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!
In Christ, Brian
Monday, December 21, 2009
You may or may not have heard, or noticed the efforts of secular America to eliminate the phrase “Merry Christmas” and replace it with “Happy Holidays”. This conscious and concerted effort, in the name of “Political Correctness”, is being implemented to not offend the non-Christians, atheists and those of other world religions in this nation, who do not know or believe the Holy Scripture above and the Savior of the world sent by God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” One politician recently said that he believed that America was no longer a Christian Nation, as originally founded, acknowledged by the United States Supreme Court and known around the world, but now just a nation of citizens. For humanist sake, ignoring the truth of Christmas, John 3:17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” So the unholy campaign to remove the mention of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost and the word “Christmas” has begun; to reject the gift of God.
Revelation 15:3-5 : They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: “ Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.” After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.
Psalm 116:8 “For You, Lord, have delivered my soul from death, My eyes from tears, And my feet from falling.”
In Christ, Brian
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I see a significant element of the temptation of Christ is that Jesus answers all three temptations from Satan with Holy Scripture (Temptation #1 from Deuteronomy8:3, Temptation #2 from Dt. 6:16 & Temptation #3 from Dt. 6:13). With Jesus as our model, this demonstrates what we need to be prepared (by reading, studying, meditating on and knowing the Word of God) and use the scriptures in our defense of temptation and for our offense in spiritual battles. A surprising element is that the devil quotes scripture also in Temptation #2 from Psalm 91:11-12 - Satan knows scripture and twists the Word of God to trick and trip us, to cause us to fall. You learn to know a counterfeit dollar by studying a real dollar so well that a fake dollar is easily recognized. This is also true with the Holy Scripture. We need to recognize when the Word of God is taken out of context and manipulated to tell a lie and deceive. Christ truly is the model for all believers when tempted. We are to stand firm on the Word of God and we are to rely on God for our physical and spiritual providence (cares and needs fulfilled).
The first Adam (in the Garden of Eden) failed the great test of Satan and plunged the whole race into (original) sin. Jesus (the second Adam) was faithful in temptation, demonstrating his qualification as Savior of all who receive Him. Some state that since Jesus was “God the Son” (Second person of the trinity - Father, Son & Holy Spirit), He could not be tempted. But Jesus is God incarnate (meaning God with skin on ... in the flesh). Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time. Jesus has the same senses, physical and mental needs that the human body and mind requires in all of us. Therefore these, after forty days of fasting, were tempting, yet Jesus was faithful.
Satan shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, with all their splendor and tells Him, "All this I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus does not deny that Satan owes the kingdoms of the world, but gives a commandment back to Satan in reply: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only”. In other words: instead of me worshiping and serving you, Satan; you are to worship and serve me – the Lord your God. By dying on the Cross, Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world, the propitiation (satisfying payment for the debt) to God for all mankind. Had Jesus by-passed the cross at the temptation, he would have escaped his death, but also forfeited the salvation of man ... the purpose that He was sent by God the Father. Because of his faithfulness, God exalted Jesus to the Right hand of God in Heaven (Acts 5:31). All judgments (for all the kingdoms of the world and all people) was given to Jesus (the Son) by God (the Father) (John 5:22), therefore Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. This is what we celebrate each Christmas! Emmanuel – God with us, our Savior!
Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
May you and I keep our hearts and minds on our Lord Christ Jesus, especially when Satan tempts us to turn away.
In Christ, Brian
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009 marks one year since my priceless cousin Laura's passed away after a couragious fight against breast cancer. Laura once wrote me: "People always look for the “why” in these situations. People often say “why me”? I guess my mindset is “why not me?”. If I ever got sad during treatment, I would remember that I would rather take on this disease than any other member of my family. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I wasn’t a cancer survivor. If I could take it all back or start all over, I probably would. But, then I remember the story of Job or Noah or Jonah or Abraham. All of them went through suffering and God allowed it to happen because that is just the way life is on earth. Suffering happens. It just does. I am a better person because of all of this and my family(extended, included) are much better, closer. I appreciate hearing the positives you saw in me, I only hope to be a positive influence on others...to help them know you can live a happy and abundant life, even while having to address cancer. I have to support other causes, too. It is just part of who I am now. Once awakened to these things, there is no turning back! :) God bless you and your family!" Laura
What an incredible woman! Though I knew her for such a short time, Laura touched my life with love and faith, and made me a better person. I hope to be half the person that she was. I heard this song today and I thought that the lyrics were fitting and honored Laura so well.
Why did she have to go? So young, I just don't know why. Things happen half the time without reason, without rhyme. Lovely, sweet young woman; Daughter, wife and mother. Makes no sense to me. I just have to believe she flew up to Heaven on the wings of angels. By the clouds and stars and passed where no one sees. And she walks with Jesus and her loved ones waiting, and I know she's smiling, saying: Don't worry 'bout me. It's hard to say goodbye. Her picture in my mind will always be of times I'll cherish. And I won't cry 'cause ... she flew up to Heaven on the wings of angels. By the clouds and stars and passed where no one sees. And she walks with Jesus and her loved ones waiting, and I know she's smiling saying: Don't worry 'bout me. Don't worry 'bout me. Don’t worry 'bout me
Alan Jackson - Sissy's Song
Laura's Husband wrote on her Blog last Friday: "Everything that happens to us leaves a mark… it changes us as a person. We all have, or will, lose someone we love. When that happens, we can never be the same. I know she does Rest In Peace. Let us remember to Live In Peace. I know it is what she wants."
Daniel 7:18 “The saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.”
In Christ, Brian
Saturday, December 12, 2009
The father of humanism wasn't even a human. This fallen angel Lucifer (the Devil) is "the father of lies", who tempts and attempts to deceive us into becoming a slave to Sin and take us down with him. In John 8:44 Jesus said. "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." Satan is nothing but "the thief of mankind", who steals our life and our future - In John 10:10-11 Jesus tells us, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” – Satan is the thief and Jesus is the “good Shepherd”.
The temptations of this culture are there, calling us to Sin, turn our minds from God, and forget righteousness, holiness, faithfulness, godliness and our eternal home, and to return to what we were saved from . Stand firm.
Romans 6:19-23 “Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
May you and I keep our hearts and minds on our Lord Christ Jesus, especially when Satan tempts us to turn away.
In Christ, Brian
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I was once asked if I could explain anything without referencing a Bible verse. My humanist enquirer did not read, study and know the word of God, and therefore didn’t not revere nor trust the knowledge and wisdom about life communicated from the Creator in the Holy Scriptures or vise-versa. Through years of reading, hearing and studying the Bible, I have found that the answers to life and living are found in the “living” Word of God. It is the road to maturity of mind & soul, love of brother & sister, peace in the storms of a chaotically uncertain world, and joy that only comes from the Lord.
2 Samuel 22:31 & Psalm 18:30 “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”
We must understand that the natural man looks at the world through the physical, but does not comprehend the spiritual and supernatural. A Creator in Heaven is outside the fields of their sense perception and ordinary reasoning that God is spirit (what Jesus speaks of in John 3:3). Lacking saving faith and belief in God, they seek answers from that which is familiar and visible. They put their trust in mankind and nature; things that they can sense and reason, spiritually blind. At best, they may believe in an energy, a force or a power that affects life, but the focus is on self, not in the sovereign God, Creator of all, that actively reigns, provides, maintains, and rules the affairs of His creation, and that they must give account. But, the Holy God of the Bible is our heavenly Father, Maker and Sustainer of Heaven, the Universe and all life. Point to the Holy Word of God for those who want to know Him (Father, Son & Holy Spirit), but, in dedication, devotion and the desire to know Him more and be improving progressively in the likeness of the Lord, read His Holy Word found in the living Scriptures of the Bible daily and commune with God in prayer and relationship, and be spiritually filled, find contentment in your soul, and truly find satisfaction in life, as your walk and grow in the knowledge and wisdom that only comes from above. Don’t miss the love, peace and joy of the Word. Details shall follow. Seeing or not, God is love.
Jeremiah 15:16 “Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.”
In Christ, Brian
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.
Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.
--William Bradford, Ye Governor of Ye (Plymouth) Colony, November 29, 1623
WHEREAS, It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor;
WHEREAS, Both the houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted' for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best. --George Washington - October 3, 1789
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience.
President Abraham Lincoln - Oct. 3, 1863
Psalm 100 – "Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."
I included the original three proclamations by Bradford, Washington & Lincoln to remember the original intent of this holiday that we set aside in America. We live today in a very egocentric and materialistic world, society and culture (and maybe it has always been that way in varying degrees due to human nature). Americans have freedoms and blessings in abundance that most other nations and peoples never know.
I love President Lincoln’s assessment “To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come. Do we take our lives for granted and neglect the freedoms and liberty that we enjoy, our families and loved ones, the bounties of our possessions, and the source of them all (Almighty God)? We need an “attitude of gratitude” towards God, not only for the things that happen in our lives but also for the things that did not happen by His providence. We need to give thanks in the “good” times and the “bad” times, in all places and in all things despite our current circumstances because of who He is, what He does, how He loves us, what He did for us in Jesus Christ, our adoption into the family of God and our eternal home in Heaven to come.
Do we thank God for our faith, for the gift of Heaven and eternal life? Is it not Jesus Christ who loves us, seeks us, guides us and protects us as the “good shepherd? Despite our faults and failures, God still loves us, still accepts us; we are still his child, and still His desire. We can come to Him with our dreams and our problems without fear because of our relationship, our standing and our position with God. Our decision to salvation through Jesus Christ brings hope, forgiveness, prayer, peace, blessings, holiness, and an eternal prospective of the world to come in Heaven.
Are our lives in conformity with His will? Do we desire and strive to live a life pleasing to Almighty God? Do we claim to be a “Child of God”, and give no thanks? The sin of ingratitude displeases our Holy Father in Heaven. Where our heart is at, this is where our treasure is. Where is our treasure? Where are our hearts? We need to begin each day with thankful gratitude, end each day with gratitude and fill in the middle with thanksgiving. We are not lucky, but blessed and need to thankfully rejoice as Christians! What do we have that we didn’t receive from God? May the gracious name of God have all the praise! This is Thanksgiving Day, but every day should be Thanksliving Day!
Psalm 136:1-3 & 26 "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever."
I wish you and your families a blessed and happy Thanksgiving Day.
In Christ, Brian
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Blind faith ... not really! Blindness is walking without sight in darkness, but faith is walking through this life, in the light of Christ, on the promises of God. We see the length, the width and the depth of this physical Earth, but our spirit desires the spiritual; the happiness and right relationship with our Father in Heaven, which we enjoyed before the fall of man. We have a “God-shaped” hole in our heart that can only be filled with Jesus.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Faith is no longer necessary once we go to be with our Maker in paradise, because we shall be standing face to face with The Truth. There is no need for faith in something that we see and know. Faith, with certitude, is for this life, here on Earth, and to be used today for God’s purposes and our happiness despite our “seeing is believing” secular society. John 20:29 Jesus told Thomas, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Be blessed!
Faith transforms us into the light of the world (Matthew 5:14) for a lost and dark world, while walking in the Word of God (the lamp unto my feet – Psalm 199:105) that illuminates the paths of righteousness in our Father’s plans & purposes for our lives through the darkness of this age, led by the Spirit. Now that’s night vision. Keep the milk; got faith?!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Romans 1:17 “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
Righteousness literally means to be “right” with God; aligned with His Will, Statutes, Teachings and Commands, in a right relationship, and walking in the Spirit by faith, compared to self-righteousness which is sinful (Galatians 5:16-26). Webster’s Dictionary defines “righteous” as “Just, equitable; ruled by what is right in the eyes of God; blameless; upright, Godly, pious, guiltless, and pure.” To be “unrighteous” would then be the exact opposite of this definition: “Unjust, inequitable; ruled by what is right in their own eyes; with blame, iniquitous - wicked, ungodly, irreverent, guilty, and impure”, but Webster’s gives the antonym for “righteous” as: Evil, sinful, immoral, and unholy. Talking with friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers; they take an honest look around at the unrighteous state of our culture & society today and come to the conclusion that we are “going to Hell in a handbasket” morally and spiritually. Wikipedia says: "Going to Hell in a handbasket" is an English alliterative phrase of unclear origin, which describes a situation headed for disaster without effort or in great haste. By godless, unrighteous living, we are literally cutting ourselves off and severing our relationship with our Just & Holy Creator/Father; putting a cleaver to the satisfyingly balanced, loving contentment, peaceful existence, and abundant life found only in the righteousness of a faithful heart towards God. The Bible tells us that we are all born with a Sin nature through Adam & Eve, but we are also nurtured (reared, cared for, educated, and trained) in a sinful world. But by the grace of God, though faith in the redeeming blood of Christ, our hearts and lives are changed; our eyes are opened and bent towards righteous living. Not because we have to, but because we want to. Faith is what you put your trust in. Trust in Christ and his work. Put your trust in the love of God, and live in the joy of righteousness and your salvation in Christ; for the child of God is in the world, but not of the world.
John 8:12 “Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." It is my prayer that we, with purpose and concerted effort, not only share the faith and love that dwells within our hearts, but reflect the light of Christ’s gospel into the darkness of an unbelieving world, that neither knows the truth or is deceived to follow paths of unrighteousness.
In Christ, Brian
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Hola from Mazatlan, Mexico,
While leaving Puerto Vallarte yesterday, I was walking on the open deck at sunset and came to the very front tip of this massive ship. The noise of my busy life left and as I looked out ahead, the Ocean was smooth with only a slight ripple, the light warm breeze blow straight into my face, a silvery cloud cover was broken over the water and the bit of Mexico coast that remained, and that sun cast a soft and calming glow across everything. How beautiful God's creation is! I stand there leaning on the rail and taking in this wonderful view and prayed. The Lord is so obvious in the hands of His work. How can we help but praise Him?
I'm reading a book by Blaise Pascal, who lived in the 1600's. He had an encounter with the Lord that immediately filled him with certitude and lead the remainder of his life in apologetics for Jesus Christ to others. Sadly, he died at the age of 38. I hope that you get a chance to read his writings - The Pensees. Pascal explains the reasoning that combines with the heart that inflames the Christian inside (heart, mind, emotion and soul) towards Jesus. Explaining the nature, heart and thinking of men & women with & without the moral compass of God's Word, Will and Way in their life. Here is just a taste from the Introduction from Mind on Fire.
The present life is momentary, but the state of death is eternal. How terribly important it is, then, to live in the light of the eternal, since it ultimately affects all that we do or think! Since nothing is more obvious than this observation, how absurd it is to behave differently.
Seen from this angle, how absurd it is for the people to go through life without regard for their final destiny. Instead, that are led as they feel inclined and as they indulge themselves, unreflected and careless, as though they could wipe out eternity and enjoy some passing happiness merely by repressing their thoughts. Yet death is real, for it threatens us at every moment of time, while eternity is also real, and is in fact a threat of ultimate destruction and misery.
This creates the prospect of terrible consequences; indeed, it is the prospect of eternal damnation. Yet people do not even bother to find out if eternity is merely an old wives' tale. Though this stares them in the face, they do not even trouble to find out if the arguments for it are valid. They have no idea whether they should or should not refuse to face up to this question.
It was Socrates who said: "The unexamined life is not worth living". To not would be absurd!
Hasta La Vista,
In Christ, Brian
Saturday, November 7, 2009
There is culture war going on today for the hearts, minds and souls of everyone on Earth, between believing God or believing man. The enemy (the flesh, the world, and the Devil) attempt to steal, kill and destroy our relationship with God the Father, God the Son & God the Holy Spirit with lies that range from outright rejection of the existence of God to subtly questioning His authority and willfully reinterpreting His teachings, statutes and commandments to fit our will, instead of His will. I read that the real dividing line in our modern culture is not between right wing and left wing, not between conservatives and liberals, but between the orthodox (holding, or in accordance with, established belief, especially in connection with religion) and the progressives (the people favoring changes and reform in authority or administration of God). We see this, even within the walls of some churches today. Divisions are taking place on worldly standards over the very Word of God among the people of God. John 14;23-24 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” Luke 6:46 "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?
Luke 11:28 “But Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"
Talking to a good friend, who is a Christian Marriage and Family Counselor at a major mega church in the area, he said that this is the very issue that he deals with in counseling sessions today. The thinking goes: “God wants me to be happy. Following my needs and desires make me happy, therefore God is okay with me doing them, even if it is against his statutes and commands. My God loves me and will forgive me”. But this is a classic case of “Not thy will be done, but my will be done”. In many cases, the people of God compromise the word of God for the sake of the secular world and the beliefs of people in their lives that do not know the Lord; either to live politically correct at peace with them without confrontation, to be accepted socially by them out of fear of rejection, or to deny the sorrow of the reality of their loved one’s true eternal destiny without Christ. The writer concludes that it is not the revelation of God where we must stand, but on the Word of God. There is the solid ground. There is safety and security. We need not seek to curry (with flattery) favor those who would gainsay (contract, dispute, oppose or deny) the Word of God. We need instead to call them to repentance. Matthew 28:8 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
It is not God (the Creator of Heaven & Earth, and of all that lives and breathes), that needs to change to our Will. It is us who need to change, to align our lives with His Will and Way. To be a disciple of Christ is to be a Follower, Pupil and Student of the Word (John 1:1). This is the message that this culture needs to hear. May you & I be the messenger to this culture at war.
Matthew 5;17-19 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
In Christ, Brian
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
This month marks the 150 year anniversary of the 1859 publishing of Charles Darwin’s landmark work, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life”. It’s been more commonly called “The Theory of Evolution”, but in the century and a half of time and observation, this theory has evolved into the religion of the Atheist. With no discoveries of transitional forms, no fossil record to substantiate the theory, and no findings of “missing links”, along with the advances in science to discover the infinite complexity of DNA and the Cell, etc., Darwinian Evolution is no longer regarded feasible, and no Evolutionist today will try to explain the origin of life. Yet Evolution is still taught in American Public schools. Why? To indoctrinate the next generation to reject the “Intelligent Design” of the Universe, the Earth and all life by creator God, and no high authority to be accountable to.
Job 38:1-7 Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said: "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone-- while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”
Based on observations of nature on his famous round-the-world voyage aboard the Beagle, Darwin exchanged “micro-evolution” (which is minor changes and adoptions that naturally occur with species based on environmental influences) with “macro-evolution” (which is the creation of an entirely new species from another totally different species) as a philosophical consolation to explain the universal origin of life apart from the Bible ... to explain the natural world apart from a creator God. From the natural physical changes that occur, he tries to explain the very origin of species.
Romans 1:18-25 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.”
The battle is truly not between evolution verses creation, but between belief and unbelief in God. Does evolution explain how nature produces life out of inert material? How does nature produce a seeing eye from nothing?There are many great books and DVD’s on Creation Verses Evolution out there today. It’s time that we tell our culture and society, which has been fed the lie of Evolution and give them the Truth of their creator God and His creation. We are reaping the chaotic results of decades of godless teaching on evolution and lack of biblical knowledge of the Creator. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we need to turn this society around for Christ, our Lord & Redeemer for today, tomorrow, and eternity.
Psalm 139:14 “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”
In Christ, Brian
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Atheists choose to not believe because if there is a God who created everything, then that God has sovereignty to reign and rule over all Creation, and all Creation is subject to his teachings, commands, and statutes. To an unbeliever, that is unacceptable to their self-governing life standards. But whether we believe in God or not, He exists and there comes a day when He judges all, just and fair, by His holy Law. There is purpose to God’s Law for us and nature. It is not legalism, but the standard that He sent before His Creation for contentment, order and peace. We have the liberty to follow His righteous Law or not, but there are consequences to breaking any law: Man’s, Nature’s or Nature’s God ... there is loss and penalty in some way, shape or form, based upon the law. We are accountable, whether we believe in the law or not. The Law-giver has authority whether we like the law or not. Sin is falling short of God’s standards ... missing the Mark set by God and hitting a different Mark. But if perfect observance of God’s law is the standard, then how can anyone be found righteous before God? Nobody is perfect.
Romans 6:21-23 “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become bond-slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Galatians 2:16-21 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I, through the law, died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I didn’t know what would change in me, but what I did expect would change, didn’t. Sin continued to be a part of my life and that didn’t seem fit my perceived definition of Believers. I understood that my Redeemer took my sin upon Himself and, in my place, paid the penalty with His blood on that cross, but I didn’t understand why sinful desires continued within me. There seemed to be a battle within me. I desired to follow the Lord, learning & living by God’s Word, Will, and Way for my life, but my eyes were open and I was sadly aware that my carnal desires had come along for the ride. As the Apostle Paul said above, I had the joy of my salvation (justified by grace through faith), the Spirit within my heart, and the desire to please my Heavenly Father, but the sinful nature of the natural man was waging war within. Reality is that this battle wages within every Christian because the world, the flesh and the devil tempt us daily. It would be discouraging, except we know that God allows this battle within, so that we may see clearly and understand that we can not make it on our own. That we all need to take up our cross daily and follow the Lord; trusting and depending upon Him always and forever. Believers are freed from the bondage of sin in Christ; called to liberty as Children of God. Walk in the Spirit! Be encouraged ... in the end, we win the war.
Galatians 5:13, 16-18 & 24-25 “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
In Christ, Brian
Saturday, October 24, 2009
1 Corinthians 15:40-50 “There are heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”
For those beyond the age of accountability, salvation unto eternal life begins the moment we first believe and profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but the journey began the day that God created us and we were conceived. As life starts at the beginning, the pilgrimage to Heaven begins before the Christian walk. I look back and see this in my life. Paths that progressively revealed reality & truth through seeds planted by God in the people, places and events that led us to clearly see our true selves, this world (both earthly & godly sides), and the race set before us that we are all running that led us to the foot of the Cross and the right to become children of God (John 1:12). Profession of faith is the first & foremost goal of our God-designed journey on earth, and once saved by “new birth” in Christ, is taking the route to eternal life, in new life on the road to Heaven, defined by God and guided by the indwelling Holy Spirit with Jesus in our new heart.
John 6:63 Jesus said, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”
In Christ, Brian
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
At church, I progressed as a Bible Study teacher and Student through my Mentor Bill Stiles, who was my dad's age. My wife, Patty, actually was an Adult Bible Study teacher before me. Once I discovered the Word of God, a thirst for spiritual knowledge and to teach the truth drove my life. The Lord removed my blinders from my eyes, and the Bible now made so much sense to me and I was growing quickly. Bill was the Senior Bible Study teacher and discipled us with in depth study. I love "in depth" study! He was so demanding of our dedication, but Bill was light-years ahead of us in Bible Knowledge and Spiritual wisdom, that our spiritual adolescence frustrated him some. But he truly loved us and enjoyed teaching the Word of God. I learned so much from him. Eventually, Bill and I taught on alternating Tuesday nights and we attended each others classes for literally years. It was a wonderful group of church friends that wanted to learn about the Bible and mature their walk. also in the class was a friend, Tim Chambers.
One Tuesday night, Bill gathered the Bible Study group together in the church kitchen, after the class and broke the news that he had been diagnosed with Esophagus cancer and would start Chemo-therapy, so would have to step down as Bible Study teacher to concentrate on fighting the disease that threatened his life. He said that it didn't look promising for him due to this particular type of cancer. We all prayed together, but I was in shock. We didn't see Bill for almost six months. He was an extremely over-weight, but the radiation treatments had reduced him to a slender man. One day, He returned to run the church office computer system for the Pastor. We talked for a little time and as I was saying good-bye, he said "Brian, God bless you". It was the last time that I saw him. Bill was such a godly man with a servant's heart. With him I came to know and understand "blessed assurance". I miss him dearly and can't wait to see him in Heaven someday. He is there and Victory is his. His son-in-law told me that on Bill's last day, it was as if Angels surrounded his bed. A true "Child of God" went home. What a great man, that blessed me and helped me see truth in Christ and life.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
In the 1890 American Public School ‘Primer of Ethics’, it is written: God is the creator, and we ought to adore Him. He has made laws, and we ought to obey them. He forgives the penitent – He loves all His creatures; and we ought to love Him. He is always near us, and ready to listen to us, and we ought to pray to Him for help, guidance and protection. His power is always present with you and around you.
Every duty which we have to perform is required of us by God; so that we cannot neglect any duty whatever, without disobeying Him; which is, as it were, a double sin. When a person does wrong to their fellow man, they are being unjust and oppressive to their neighbor. If the action is expressly forbidden by law, then, in addition to the sin against their neighbor, they would be guilty of being disobedient to the law – breaking it. Now, the law of God clearly forbids all the sins of which we can be guilty against anyone; so that we cannot do any wrong without disobeying Him. Therefore, if a person is unjust, disrespectful, deceives, wastes time, or is insubordinate and troublesome to their fellow man or woman, they disobey and displease God. Every offense which we can commit, small as well as great, is a transgression of His law; and we cannot really be happy after we have committed such transgressions, until we repent and obtain His forgiveness. We ought, therefore, to make it the great duty and business of our lives to secure and enjoy, at all times, the favor of Almighty God, our Father in heaven. We should seek His pardon for our sins, go to Him always in our troubles, look to Him for protection in danger, for strength in temptation, for comfort in sorrow, and for peace and happiness in duty; and we should cultivate such constant habits of intercourse and communion with Him, as shall help us, under all circumstances of life, to feel that He is our refuge and strength, and a very present help in time of trouble.
1 Peter 3:8-18: Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
How would our children and adults act, and what would this nation be like, if this lesson on respect was still taught in our schools today? Why did this teaching ever stop? Hearts, minds and souls seek this truth.
Love & Respect, in Christ, Brian
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Many years ago, after starting to attend church in Fresno, California, the Holy Spirit opened my mind and heart to the loving and living Gospel. Accepting the Lamb of God as my Lord and Savior, I began hearing the truth of being saved by grace through faith, not works, the sovereignty of God, and the severity of the consequences of sin, if not forgiven. I, like most, did not understand that being a Christian meant being set apart from this lawless world by God for God’s purposes in righteousness for fullness of life. Not having a church up-bringing or knowledge of the Bible’s Holy Scriptures, the Lord started teaching and molding this “born again” mind, body and soul. What I was blind to in the pursuit of happiness was becoming clear in the light of Christ. To live the “good” life was not tied to materialism, position, wealth, pleasure, or power, but to a loving relationship with the Creator of Heaven & Earth – Father God, and my Redeemer – Jesus Christ, God the Son. I was in the world, but not of the world. I was a Child of God with citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven; an Ambassador for Christ to this lost & dying world, but NOT OF THIS WORLD. Kingdom workers love and serve the Lord, and their neighbors in this world, as the desire of our heart is to please God. My great Christian Mentor Bill used to say that he walked out the door each day and everywhere he looked he saw ministry ... people who needed help and needed to hear about salvation and life in Christ. So many neighbors seeking happiness in all the wrong places, with a godless world system that encouraged the walk on “wrong” path as sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and drugs; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; wild parties, drunkenness, orgies, and the like - Galatians 5:19-21. When all the time is was faith in the one true God of the Bible and the finished work on the Cross by our Lord and Savior that fulfills our hearts desire that produces the good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) that is defined as true happiness.
The Logo “NOTW” is from the store “C28”. C28 is a Christian retail store, offering an alternative to the mainstream mall stores. The Christian clothing, music, jewelry and accessories reflect a clean and positive Christian lifestyle. C28 stands for Colossians 2:8, Not Of This World (NOTW), and all about Jesus! A great store. Check them out.
Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
In Christ, Brian
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Though I believed in God always, it wasn’t until the Lord woke me and opened my eyes to the truth, that the Bible revealed the true answers to living and peace. There are two aspects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: First and foremost, Salvation to eternal life, Jesus rescues us from Hell. Secondly, Life abundant here & now; healthy, holy and wise. John 10:10b “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” The regenerated heart has an amazing desire to learn, grow and mature as a disciple (Follower & Student), which creates a thirst for the Word of God in Holy Scriptures for that godly knowledge and wisdom for life (physically, mentally and spiritually), and peace in life. Salvation in Christ does not eliminate or produce immunity from the sinful nature in this life, but brings them to light that they may be identified, targeted, and addressed to remedy, in the will and with the help of God, by kingdom of Heaven workers (aka - us).
Proverbs 12:20 & 28 “There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace. In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.”
One of the first verses that captured my heart was “blessed are the peacemakers”. I visualized both the narrow and wide gates & roads that the Lord explained in Matthew 7:13-14, and clearly saw that belief & righteousness produces “peacemakers” who bring the message of faith, hope and love in Christ to the world blindly traveling on the broad road to destruction. Oh, how I wanted to be a Peacemaker. God blesses a Peacemaker, not a Peacekeeper because one maintains only, while the other addresses the root problem and changes the condition to what is right, which is peace in heart, mind and soul. First and foremost, to the foot of the Cross for Salvation to eternal life, to rescue from Hell by being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Secondly, for Life abundant here & now, healthy, holy, wise and full of peace. Seeking the evidence and truth will not lead us to the “right answer", but to the “right person” ... the Prince of Peace, the Savior of the world. Glory Hallelujah!
James 3:13-18 “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”
Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
Shalom, in Christ, Brian
Saturday, September 26, 2009
A question - When you tell someone that you prayed for God's help for something and he answered your prayer but you're not sure why he answered the way he did - and that person tells you that you prayed wrong, what do you say? She says you need to be careful how you pray and that you make sure to say exactly what you want down to the smallest detail. I just wondered how you felt about "praying wrong".
Thanks for asking the question. The person that you talked to was making prayer harder than it is supposed to be. Jeremiah 29:12 says: “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Who added, ", but only if you make sure to say exactly what you want down to the smallest detail."?
The Bible tells us so much about prayer.
Matthew 6:5 Jesus said, "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. "This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'' Notice that Jesus tells us not to go "on babbling", but just talk open and honest to your Heavenly Father, Abba, as you would your own dad. You don't have to get every detail, because He knows what you need before you ask Him. He knows, but wants you to pray for your benefit of talking to him about it ... some call it "venting". We need to talk for our good. God loves to hear from His Kids and isn't looking at the words as much as your intent. Sure, our Heavenly Father doesn't want a hurried "Half-hearted" effort, a ritual obligation out of obligation without sincere meaning, or self-centered lists of personal non-essentials based on covetousness, pleasure or greed; no parents would enjoy such a conversation. Prayer time is "devotion time" with our Creator Father in heart to heart talk ... as intimate and as safe as it gets. James 4: 2-4 "You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?" God is not a Genie in the sky to grant selfish and worldly wishes, which the false "prosperity gospel" thinks. Our prayers must be aligned with His perfect love, will, way and word. Remember that God searches the heart. But our all-seeing & all-knowing God even sees the details that you & I do not see, and as the perfect Father, who loves His child is going to answer - either yes, no or wait. You are not sure why He answered your specific prayer for help in the manner that He did, but rest assured that it was answered according to His purpose for you and that shall be revealed, but it wasn't because you lacked saying exactly what you want down to the smallest detail.
Secondly, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are given the Holy Spirit to dwell within of heart. in John 14:15 Jesus tells us, "If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you." The Holy Spirit counsels and guides the Christian, even in our prayers. Romans 8:26-28 tells us, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." So, when you & I don't come up with, or forget, what you need and desire in your prayers to God, the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, intercedes for us and expresses those missed prayer requests. Nothing is missed. Is that awesome or what?!
One thing is for sure, and that is that you have a unique, personal relationship with your Heavenly Father. The Creator of Heaven & Earth not only knows and loves you, his daughter or son, who is worth so much that He sent His Son to die for your Sins that you may have eternal life in Heaven with Him, but knows even every hair on your head. In Matthew 10:29-30 Jesus said, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." That's how important you are to God! Don't worry about how exact the details of your prayers are. God is pleased that you are praying ... many don't as much as they should. Deuteronomy 4:7 “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?”
I wrote a couple Blog messages titled "The Garden of Prayer" & "God Answers Prayer" that may be helpful to you also. If you like to read them, just go to my Blog site @ http://briantodd.blogspot.com/ and scroll down the right side to the "Labels" column and click on the label "Prayer".
I hope that this explanation of Prayer helped you understand clearer that there isn't a special and rigid formula that God required in Prayer between you and him. Child of God, God loves you! That’s the best detail of all. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
In Christ, Brian