Archive for December, 2007

Chrisy and I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and we sincerely wish that your 2008 will be filled with happiness, success, health and most importantly, Jesus Christ.  Let’s use 2008 to rededicate ourselves to becoming more Christ-like and becoming humble servants of our living Lord that will seek His face everyday, and will refocus our attention on fulfilling God’s greatest command, the Great Commission. 

There are so many people dying and going to hell because we have lost our heart for the unsaved and sinners of this world, and have replaced it with a drive for self-satisfaction and self-comfort.  We’ve become too concerned with the “needs” of the members within the church that we have forgotten why Christ died on the cross.  He died for the lost souls of this earth.  He didn’t die so that Patrick could drive a nice car, own a nice house, have a good job, have a nice, comfy Christian place to retire too, or for any other reason.  We have forgotten that we don’t deserve anything but to spend eternity in hell with Satan himself.  Whatever I have, it’s because God chose to give to me and chose to give me His Mercy.  I am saved because He gave His only Son as the ultimate gift of salvation.

Our responsibility is to the lost souls of this world.  So, let’s all, including Christy and me, make a decision that we will live for Christ and the lost souls of this earth in 2008.  We will give more and do more to reach the lost souls.  We will get involved in missions and we will give our time, our money and our resources to fulfilling the Great Commission. This is our duty and our responsibility as Christians. 

We may not know worldly blessings in 2008 but I promise you God will honor those that will live for Him in the coming year. 

Let’s make 2008 the year that we turn our hearts back to the lost. 

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Happy Birthday Jesus!!!

Posted: December 25, 2007 in Christianity, Faith, Jesus, Life
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Happy Birthday Jesus!!!

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”   Luke 2: 11

If there were no presents, no family gatherings, no delicious, home-cooked meals, nor any Christmas songs to be sung, there would still be a reason to celebrate on this day…the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ so many years ago in a lowly manger in Bethlehem.  He was born as a sign and as a gift to all people from our Merciful and Gracious God so that this little baby could one day die as a sacrifice for all humankind.  It was this birth, and this ultimate sacrifice that would allow a sinful people to save faith and hope of an eternal reward that awaits His followers in Heaven. This was true on that day, and it is still true today.  In fact, it is Christ’s birth that is the only truth that still echoes throughout the myriad of empty and hollow lies that surround this holiday season.  So as you spend precious moments with your loved ones today, let’s bow our heads in prayer and thank our Merciful and Gracious God for sending His only Son to us as the baby Jesus to be our Savior.  

Merry Christmas everyone, and I hope that you will have a Christ-filled holiday season!!! 

“Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is dark.”

Life is a daily struggle that requires tremendous effort to just get out of the bed sometimes.  We never seem to get enough sleep, rest, time with loved ones, quiet reflexion or a multitude of other things wished for. 

Life moves on and the clock ticks, never slowing down or stopping for those times where the world is enveloping us with darkness and storms are pounding our spirits with hurt and sadness.  We look around for something… someone…anything that can pull us out of the darkness and calm the storm but we find no one.  The storm continues pounding on our spirits, and we shout and shout and shout at the storm to be quieted until we are exhausted. We resign our last ounce of hope, realizing that we are powerless and at the mercy of the darkness that is driving this screaming, wailing, destructive storm. 

But it’s in that moment of realization that we look skyward, and see a beautiful white dove soaring gracefully through the darkness, unaffected by the storm until it lands gently in our hands.  It is at this instance that all darkness is gone and the storm is quieted.  The rains stop, the wind leaves for that place that only the wind knows, and the sun shines brilliantly bright, revealing a blue, cloudless sky that seems to have no starting point, no ending point.

The dove coos and its song is like a lullaby that echoes hauntingly throughout your soul, causing your spirit to drift away into a gentle, peaceful slumber.  Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has come to us to heal our spirit and to give us rest.

In the still and quiet of the night, a phone rings and rings and rings, waiting to be answered.  It continues to ring, echoeing throughout a dark and empty house.  No one is home tonight.  Little Bobby had soccer practice, little Susie had Dance, Mom had a scrapbooking class, and Dad is with some friends watching the big game. Eventually the phone stops ringing, and the answering machine picks up, giving the usual, “You’ve reached the so and so family, we’re not home but if you leave a name and number, we’ll get back with you.” 

The caller, frustrated that there was no answer reluctantly leaves a message….”This is your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I was really hoping to catch you tonight. I really need to speak with you because I am needing some good Christians to go to Brazil, and tell them of the Gift of Salvation that I have to give to them.  Me and some of the angels had our annual “Missionary Draft” and you were chosen to participate, and I am calling to give you the great news.”  Jesus then pauses for just a moment to see if anyone was just screening the call before hanging up. 

Time passes and there is no call back.  Although Jesus was stoked about working with the so-and-so family, there is too much work to be done so He just marks them off of the “Future Great Commission Warriors” list, and calls the next person/persons/family on the list.

Although this is an obvious fictionalization, I do get the impression when speaking with other Christians on occasion that this is how they view being “called” by God to do something….anything.  We, as Christians, often dismiss and rationalize our apathy toward participating in a specific ministry by quickly stating, “Oh, I haven’t been “called” to do that, go there, say that, start that, etc., etc.”  Oh really…that’s interesting.  Just prior to stating that rehearsed and oft practiced line, you told me that you had never heard of Gospel for Brazil (example dear to me), or whatever it may be.  If that’s the case, then how do you know within 3 seconds of my finishing the last sentence that God didn’t “call” you to become involved in that ministry.  Then come all the worldly excuses about bugs, spiders, heat, children, businesses and whatever else their mind can spit out to get them out of the conversation as quickly as possible.

I must admit that I have done the same thing at one point or another but I hope that I am growing spiritually to the point that I don’t insult and offend God in this way.  I’m sure I will at some point or another unfortunately but I do realize that being called by God as a trusted servant is too serious to treat it like we do.  We must daily put our lives completely into His hands, praying for his absolute direction be given to us. Then we must quiet our spirits so that we can discern His gentle calling, His ordained leading for our lives.

If we’re waiting for the phone to ring, then we’ll never get that call.  God cannot use a heart or spirit that is not fully committed to Him, or worse, is closed to His direction.  And that is why I believe more people aren’t “called” into effective, soul-reaching action; we simply aren’t open to God’s direction and aren’t being obedient to His commands. It’s like waiting for the phone to ring but being some place else when it finally comes. 

So if the phone doesn’t ring, just know that it was your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ trying desperately to reach you.

The Illusion of Ownership

Posted: December 10, 2007 in Christianity, Faith, Jesus, Life, Prayer
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Christy and I finally closed on our new house, and moved in last week.  It was a stressful, delayed closing with a few last minute surprises but we were told that this was normal…like that was supposed to make it easier.  Oh well…

We have bought a condo before at the beach in NC but this is our first house.  It’s been an exciting experience moving in, and having a space that’s truly yours, and isn’t attached to someone under you, above you or beside you.  Although we still have a lot to get done in the house, it’s also part of the fun.  It’s fun unpacking and seeing it take shape and become a home that we can retreat to after fighting this world on a daily basis.  We’ve even taking a walk in the new neighborhood, which thrilled Christy because this wasn’t anything she could do at the apartment because she is the Manager and residents didn’t seem to grasp the concept that she didn’t really want to hear about their toilets leaking while trying to take a relaxing walk with her husband. 

Anyway, the past week has been a fun ride, and many people have inquired about, “What’s it feel like to finally own your own home?”  Good, really good actually but it also got me to thinking, “Do I really own this home.”  Thinking about this I’ve come to the conclusion….No

Now, I know many will tell me I don’t really understand this “homeownership” deal after all but there are a couple reasons why I know this to be true:

1.  We own NOTHING in this life.  Everything we have is a gift from God.  It is He that is the true owner of all that exists.  He owns our cars, houses, jobs, boats, motorcycles but more importantly He owns our spouse, our children, our hearts, our minds, our souls and our spirits.  Anything that we have has been given by Him to watch over, to protect, to lead, to love and to use for His benefit. 

2.  If you think you truly own your house, car, boat, etc., then forget to pay your loan payments  or your taxes.  The county, city or state will show you very quickly that you don’t “own” it. 

So what’s the big deal who truly owns what?  It’s important because the world and Satan has  convinced us that WE “own” these things.  He’s even convinced many that we “own” our lives, our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our souls and our spirits.  Believing we own anything makes us take our eyes off of God, and the true Mercy and Grace that He has shown us.  It’s the reason why people don’t tithe (tithing means giving 10% of our gross, not $5 every week in the offering plate), the reason why people don’t volunteer and serve God and His church more, the reason we don’t reach the lost souls of this earth more.  You see, we are so busy running and working to hold onto the things that we “own” that we turn our hearts and souls away from a hurting and lost world because we are afraid, in doing so, we will lose something we “own”.  Ask someone to sell their boat in order to support a full-time missionary or ask someone to sell everything and move to Brazil to reach lost souls, and see what type of reaction you get.  If we all understood that we own nothing and we owe everything to the owner of our lives, Jesus Christ, it would really make a difference in how we serve Him. 

Am I asking people to do this?  No, only God can do that.  Am I saying that I could do this without some major difficulty?  No!!!  It would be a tough decision that I hope I would make but I can’t truly say this with 100% certainty.  Why?  Because I’ve, we’ve been spoiled in America, and come to believe we can’t live without the things we “own” that it would be a drastic, jarring change to our lives.  So, I must continue striving and praying to be more obedient to God’s calling, and to reminding myself on a daily basis that I own nothing, and am nothing without Jesus Christ.  This is the only way I can see past this “illusion of ownership”, and become a better servant of our Lord and Savior.

Spoiled

Posted: December 3, 2007 in Christianity, Faith, Jesus, Life
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It’s hard to imagine that I would be spoiled, being an only child and the only grandchild on my father’s side of the family, but amazingly enough… I admit it… I am very spoiled. 

The evidence was clear this past Friday when our house closing did not happen as planned.  Believe me, we had all of our ducks in a row.  Everything was planned down to the last detail, but at the last minute it all fell through.  So much for having the weekend to move and get settled.  Maybe the closing will be Monday, maybe not.  Just put our lives on hold and never mind that all of the dishes are packed and Patrick and I can’t even have hot chocolate at the same time because we only have one unpacked coffee mug!

I cried and pitched a fit, just as you would expect a spoiled child to do, only I am thirty-five and should have better coping and self control skills by now.  Naturally I stomped into the local banking center of the  bank lending us the money  and begged and pleaded for the poor personal banker to call someone, somewhere to make this loan close and make it close by the end of the day!  Of course, the clocks couldn’t be turned back to meet the 3pm deadline for the money to be wired.  As well as the fact that the paperwork was “being processed” in the underwriting department. 

Emotionally spent and completely feeling defeated and out of control of my entire life, I came back to the apartment and called the movers, the cable guy, and all of the other vendors that I had called to set up the meticulously scheduled move and canceled all of the appointments (and no I did not have a date to re-schedule yet).  Who knows when we’ll close on the house and actually move?! 

And then I think about all of the people who would give up everything to just have the chance to live in America with the opportunity of buying a house.  Haven’t I been acting like the spoiled child that I admit I am, but you’d think that I would have learned something along the way.  I guess not. 

Seeing poverty and starvation and mud huts unfit and unsafe for habitation for one minute, much less a lifetime wasn’t enough for me to realize that I am so lucky to have the chance at buying a house and living in a nice neighborhood where I don’t have to worry about having safe water to drink or food to eat or being killed by an insect that might bore into my brain through my ear while I am sleeping.  How petty and insignificant it is that my move might be delayed a few days when there are people that I have met and have a special connection with who live in poverty every day and their basic needs are not being met and I am whining and crying about a little bump in the road.  What is wrong with me?!  Shame on me for not being thankful and for once again forgetting that I am not in control. 

I am so thankful for all of the material luxuries that I have and I am also thankful for the spiritual luxuries of having a church on every corner and having been raised in a Christian home and a family that taught me about Jesus.  There are astounding numbers of people around the world who will never hear the name of Jesus spoken, much less understand the love and saving grace having a relationship with Him can mean for eternity.  I pray for my forgiveness and that I will be reminded when we do get to close on our house and move in, to be thankful and not spoiled and a big baby wanting things my way, when I want them on my terms.  What’s a few days of being patient for something so insignificant in the grand scheme of things?

C.