Hello and thanks for your interest in my blog posts. I write them on a platform called Medium, which is behind a paywall. It costs $49 per year to join (their charge, not mine).
However, there is no need to incur this cost. If you would like to receive them free of charge and delivered to your email whenever I publish one, you can subscribe below.
I chose to use Medium because they have a beautiful layout design for articles. Their mobile app makes reading articles enjoyable, and most articles are easily read in under 7 minutes. I would love to connect with you. My plan is to post them here as well, but it will not always be in real-time.
If you would like to see my Medium site, I believe they let you look at 10 posts for free before they ask you to pay for a subscription. Once again, I am NOT encouraging you to do this. While I enjoy reading articles on Medium, especially on their app, you may not.
I will seek to post them here shortly after they are published and you can read them on this site or click the link to the story and you can read it on their app for free with my "friend link."
My personal page on Medium is:
3 Essential Qualities To Ensure You Are Not Part of a Cult
Even though none of us have all of the answers
“The line between delusion and what the rest of us believe may be blurrier than we think.” — Zoë Heller
Is the earth flat? What happened at Area 51? Did we actually go to the moon? Was the election stolen?
There are untold theories about many things for which we will never achieve total agreement. So each side calls the other side delirious or uninformed.
Am I thinking clearly?
We tend to believe, for the most part, what others in our sphere of influence think. That is not a bad idea if they are clear-thinking, intelligent, sane people. However, everyone believes that about the people they surround themselves with, don’t they?
In the little book of Colossians, the Apostle Paul warned the Christians about this exact problem that can creep into their church.
“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” (Colossians 2:8 NLT)
The word “capture” speaks of being kidnapped. Imagine that you or I could be mentally kidnapped. The worst part is that this happens all the time, and the one kidnapped doesn’t realize it has happened. The victim still thinks that they are the sane one.
We can get caught up in a love for wanting to be right so badly that we often miss the forest for the trees. We get so committed to past traditions that we do not realize that God wants us to be relevant to the current culture without compromising biblical principles.
Trust me, I have been here and convinced others to follow in my steps at times. Yet, as I look back at some of the things I used to believe the Bible said and died on clearly wrong hills, I cannot help but wonder how my Savior must have grimaced.
Am I thinking like God?
So, how do I ensure that my beliefs match the heart and mind of God?
#1 — Walk by faith
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.” (Colossians 2:6 NLT)
Salvation comes through faith in Christ alone, and He tells me that He expects me to live my life the same way, by faith. That means I am to take Him at His Word and allow Him to guide me. Family and friends will undoubtedly influence me, but the Holy Spirit should be my guide, not my heart.
#2 — Be Rooted in Christ
“Let your roots grow down into him, . . .” (Colossians 2:7a, NLT)
God wants me to be thoroughly grounded in Him. He wants my mind to be so saturated with the Scriptures that I will think and act like Him. So regardless of how long you have been saved, you need to keep growing.
#3 — Keep building through Christ
“ . . . and let your lives be built on him.” (Colossians 2:7b, NLT)
God finished the blueprints for how He wants you to live, but He wants you to work it out practically every day. The old saying, “Let go, and let God,” is a cop-out. Yes, He wants to work inside of you, but no, He does not do all the work. He expects you to put into practice what He tells you to do.
Notice the results
“Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:7c, NLT)
You will be established in the faith. You will not constantly drift or blow in the wind with every new truth you hear. You will not be gullible when a smooth talker uses some religious talk that has no basis in the Bible.
On top of that, you will overflow with gratitude. Being a thankful Christian is the supernatural response to what happens when you follow His steps for spirituality and allow Him to work in your heart.
Keep diving deep into the Scriptures and surrendering your heart to the Holy Spirit, and He will keep revealing Himself to you.
3 Character Traits That Every Child of God Should Display Every Day
- Published on November 18, 2021
Photo by Iurii Ivashchenko from Pexels
Daniel was a bright, Jewish teenager who the Babylonians captured. He was taken to their country to be trained in their ways and assimilated into their culture. The goal was to use him to help promote their kingdom.
There was no opportunity for Daniel, or any other captive, to recoil at the new requirements they are obligated to live under in this new land. What a drastic change this was going to be!
On day one, Daniel’s superior confronted him with a personal challenge. The meals that he was required to eat were not part of a faithful Hebrew’s diet. It was going to be an affront to his convictions, yet what was he to do?
1. Be respectful
No doubt, he prayed about this, sought wisdom from his friends, and settled on respectfully asking for special dietary grace.
Believe it or not, this worked! He was given a short window of opportunity to test whether or not his Jewish diet was better than the Babylonian diet. At the end of ten days, Daniel and his friends appeared to be healthier.
Having won a moral victory, Daniel needed to continue to live in a way that would glorify his God. There would be many eyes upon him, hoping that he would make a mistake.
It appears that for the 70 years that he lived in captivity, he was known as a man of respect, but he also had other godly qualities that we could mimic.
“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” (Romans 12:10, NLT)
2. Be faithful
God allowed Daniel to get promoted in captivity continually, and he kept his position even through different kings and kingdoms. That in itself is a remarkable testimony of his faithfulness to his God and the kings that he served.
Was Daniel convinced that the kings that he served under were always making the best decisions? Absolutely not! He understood that his role was to faithfully follow through on the tasks that He was given in life, do his best, and serve faithfully and with respect.
“Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2, NLT)
What he would not do is ever go against his moral conscience.
Were there other times in his life that he had to go before the king and explain that he could not fulfill a task and ask if someone else could do it? Most likely.
3. Be consistent
Although we live in a land where many people consider which way the wind is blowing before they make a decision, God wants His children to live by principles found in God’s Word. Therefore, our lives should be so consistent that others can guess how we are going to act.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9, NLT)
As we represent Jesus Christ on this earth, being respectful, faithful, and consistent will often open doors for us, but it will also cause some doors to be closed. Sometimes it will cost us dearly. Daniel is an example of one that was greatly blessed for the choices he made.
As we make an application of Daniel’s story to our lives, would your co-workers, neighbors, or friends classify you as someone who is always respectful, faithful, and consistent?
“What you are speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Character matters more than you and I will ever know. People are watching you every day, listening to your words, your tone, and your lifestyle. Let us do our best to reflect the impeccable character of our wonderful Savior.
8 min read
What if You Desperately Needed a Miracle and God Chose Not To Answer?
How to handle a crisis of faith without quitting on God
Photo by George Becker from Pexels
Our perception of God is that He is a Heavenly Father. Scratch that! The Bible calls God our Heavenly Father, and He wants us to think of Him this way.
He also wants us to surrender to His will and trust that He is only good.
That’s easy to do when you are a child and your world is stable and carefree. However, when your life turns upside down and God does not step in to help, it can cause quite a bit of turbulence in your faith.
Either you have felt this crisis of faith, or you know someone who has gone through it. It is not a rare situation, but it is one that few people like to share. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix for this problem, and I would never suggest that; however, here are a few simple reminders to help keep your feet pointed in the right direction.
Trust that God is paying attention
In Psalm 10, David experiences some form of a gut-wrenching situation. In his hardship, it seemed as if God was far away.
“O LORD, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I am in trouble?” (Psalm 10:1, NLT).
David asks God why He was standing aloof, watching and doing nothing when there is so much trouble all around him. Without a doubt, we have all faced times when it appears that God is indifferent to our trials.
In this text, David asks God if He would wake up, step into his life, and remember what happened. To him, it seemed as if God did not care, but nothing could be further from the truth.
God does care, and He is not indifferent to our needs; however, His time frame is not our time frame, and we must rest in His plan.
David didn’t understand all God was doing and why He allowed the wicked to have control, but he was confident that God knew what He was doing and was still on the throne.
He believed that God heard His prayer and that He was going to respond based upon His character.
When we go through difficult times, we must not rely upon the things that we see or feel but rather upon the truths of God’s Word.
I think of Hagar when Abraham cast her out of his house, and she had nowhere to go and no one to help her. Yet, God stepped into her life and ministered in a significant way. She was blown away by the fact that God saw her.
I know you have times when it appears that God is not paying attention, but hold on to the truth in God’s Word that He sees you.
Trust that God will not give up on you
In Isaiah 42:1–17, there is a remarkable text that you need to read. It demonstrates the gracious and compassionate heart of God toward those who are feeble and weak. Indulge me with just a few verses from this text:
“Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or raise his voice in public.
He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.
He will not falter or lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth. Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction.” (Isaiah 42:1–4, NLT).
Jesus came to minister, specifically, to bruised, bent, and broken reeds. Notice that He tells us that He did not come to harm us but help us in our darkest moments. This passage also tells us that He did not come to extinguish a flickering candle.
There is virtually nothing good that you can do with broken reeds or flickering candles. From the human point of view, they are worthless. But, from God’s point of view, you are priceless.
Not only are we likened to reeds in the eyes of God, but he often recognizes that we are discouraged, broken, crushed, or depressed reeds.
God delights in serving you, and He will never give up on you. Here is something that might blow you away. This text also tells us that Jesus Christ was never discouraged.
How could that be? He chose twelve men, and all of them deserted Him during His darkest hour, and one of them was a traitor. His very own nation rejected Him, and none of His brothers or sisters believed Him, at least not until after the Resurrection.
It is incredible how gentle our Heavenly Father was in dealing with humanity. He plans not just to provide man an escape from Hell; He wants to give true spiritual life and allow us to enjoy His glory and have a relationship with Him, even as we go through deep, dark, spiritual valleys. God will go with us through our trials.
Think about the great Prophet, Elijah. He had a crisis of faith and, in essence, resigned from being a prophet. He ran as far as he could and asked God to take his life. However, God did not give up on him.
Instead, God told him to take a few long naps, eat some nourishing food, and a little later said to him that He did not accept the resignation. On top of this, sometime later, God called him home in a rather fantastic way.
“For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” (Psalm 103:14, NLT).
If you have ever felt like quitting on God, remember that He will not give up on you.
Trust that God’s way is better than your way
Now, this is a little harder than the other two. I get it. I have been there. You probably know the following verse by heart:
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8–9, NLT).
You and I have both seen our share of tragedy in life. Of course, we are in a sin-cursed world overrun with trials. We understand that truth. We have a hard time understanding why, since God is Omnipotent, He does not fix some of the things that He could quickly fix. If He loves me, why does He not answer some of my desperate prayers?
While I cannot give you an answer that will satisfy your curiosity, I can only point you to the above verse. God’s ways are higher than our ways. Could it be that He will sit down with us in heaven and explain to us why He allowed that thing that caused us so much pain? Possibly, but remember that He is God, and He owes no man any explanations.
He reminds us over and over throughout the Scriptures that His nature is only good. Therefore, everything that God does is right, reasonable, and appropriate.
“Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8, NLT).
In all of this, we must not fail to remember that there are 7.8 billion other imperfect human beings who make mistakes and cause heartache in our lives. For example, just last week, a rising star in the NFL was driving over 150 miles-per-hour, and he had over twice the legal limit of alcohol in his body, and he killed a 23-year-old young lady.
Hear me when I tell you that this was not God’s plan, nor was it Henry Rugg’s plan (the young man who killed her). It was a tragic accident, complicated by a foolish decision to drink and drive.
Last year, there were over 21,000 murders in the United States. These were the results of people who intended to harm others. People are touched by tragedy every day. On top of that, we deal with the stress of work, unkind people, and burdens that we should not have to handle. Remember this:
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalm 34:18, NLT).
Why doesn’t God stop it all since He can? That is what Lazarus’ sisters asked Jesus when their brother died. They reminded Him that if He had been there, Lazarus didn’t have to die. They were correct, yet God had other plans.
Here’s the thing. One day God will set all things straight. That will be called heaven for those who have trusted Jesus as their Savior. His plan was never for sin to be on this planet; that was man’s choice, and it still is.
God has no plan to stop all of the nonsense on Earth until He returns, sets up His Kingdom, and ushers in the eternal state. Until then, He wants His children to:
- Trust that He is paying attention.
- Trust that He will not give up on you.
- Trust that His way is better than your way.
God weeps when you weep. But, he loves you more than you will know, and He wants to help you through your difficult times.
“This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:15–16, NLT).
If you are struggling in your faith because God did not work a miracle in your life when He was capable and available, you are not alone. Countless people have walked the road you are walking. Many are on that same journey right now.
There is no magic formula for getting through this, and the difficulty may last the rest of your life.
What God wants you to do is to keep taking the next right step that He asks you to take, trust His character, and allow Him to whisper to you each day through the Word.
He is more patient than you will ever know, and His love is eternal. Therefore, you can do nothing ever to make Him love you any more or any less than He already does.
Be patient with yourself. The God Who created you wants to minister to you. So let Him do His deep work in your heart today. He will do it again tomorrow and every day for the rest of your life.
6 min read
3 Good Reasons Why We Might Not See Many Miracles Today, Even Though the Bible Is Filled With Them
It has nothing to do with God losing any of His power
Photo by Alex Geerts on Unsplash
If you grew up in church, you can recall some of the amazing miracles that took place that had you on the edge of your seat. From the ten plagues that Moses demonstrated in front of Pharaoh to Elijah’s miracle on Mt. Carmel with the false prophets — and you can’t forget Lazarus being raised from the dead, walking out of the tomb still wrapped in his graveclothes.
These are just a few of my favorites, but there are hundreds, both large and small. Technically, I guess you cannot have a minor miracle. According to Merriam-Webster, a miracle is “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.”
In my opinion, we do not see miracles of biblical proportion performed today, and there could be a few good reasons why.
Don’t get me wrong. God is still working miracles today and I have witnessed them in my own life, but I wonder if I would see more of them if I were more surrendered to the Lord. Maybe I wouldn’t ask for as many miracles if I were more focused upon God’s will rather than my own.
At any rate, let me suggest three reasons why we might not see as many miracles today as we did in the days of the Patriarchs or the Prophets, and it has nothing to do with God losing any of His power.
1. Maybe the Bible is all I need
Many of the miracles were to validate a prophecy and point to Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that the Bible was not complete until the end of the first century. Following that, it still took quite some time for the church to recognize and agree on which writings contained the very words of God. Then, we had to wait even longer before Gutenberg invented the printing press to get copies of the Bible into our hands.
Now that we have completed Bibles readily available, we do not need the validation of miracles, since we have a biblical gift on our lap. Instead, we can read about God’s miracles and see the continuity of the Scriptures and how it all points to Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. No doubt, this is one of the reasons why we do not see as many miracles that we might expect or hope to see. I think God wants us to walk by faith, not by sight.
Do we still see miracles today? Yes! God delights in showing Himself strong. In my personal life, I have watched Him do amazing things that could only be chalked up as a miracle.
It wasn’t too long ago that my wife and I were on the highway when a tractor trailer stopped in front of us. We were inches from being sandwiched by another tractor trailer and that would have it. Somehow, miraculously, we were spared. No one will convince me this was not a miracle from God.
2. Maybe I am not a usable vessel
Just think about the many miracles that the Bible reveals. Jesus performed some, and He is God so that He can do anything.
Yet others were performed by ordinary human beings. When I say ordinary, I mean that they were completely human, not God in the flesh, like Jesus. They were people like you and me.
When we dig deeper, I think we might see the secret sauce.
Those who performed the miracles were people who were in touch with God. They had a strong relationship with Him and were pliable in His hands. On top of this, God had a task to perform, and He chose to use specific people. There were many others He could have used; however, there were some that were unusable.
Indulge me for just a couple of stories. In Acts 12, Peter was in prison, chained and sleeping. However, some godly believers had gathered in a home to pray that God would miraculously allow Peter to be released, and God sent an angel and released Him!
In Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas went from city to city preaching the Gospel, and miraculously, many came to Christ, homes were transformed, and many of these towns became new outposts for churches to be established.
As Paul ministered in various towns, the Holy Spirit astonishingly saved and transformed lives. Paul was passionate and, no doubt, a convincing preacher, but more importantly, he was a holy man with a timely message to a people with a desperate need. But don’t forget that Paul’s ministry was also bathed in prayer.
These were miracles that God chose to perform, but He did it through godly people who were wholly dependent upon God to act.
So, if we want to see God perform a miracle in our lives, we need to be a usable vessel, fully conscious of God’s power and consumed with prayer for His will. He is ready, willing, and able to me, but sometimes I limit His power because I am not walking closely with Him.
3. Maybe God has other plans
We must also keep in mind that there are some miracles that we would like to see God do that are unnecessary for Him to do. For example, remember the rich man who died and went to hell and asked if God would send someone to tell his family about God so that they would not end up in hell? The response was that his family already had access to Moses and the prophets (the Bible), and if they did not believe that, they would not believe even if someone rose from the dead and returned to tell them about it.
Did you catch that? Someone did rise from the dead 2,000 years ago. We have the completed Bible, and people still will not believe the Gospel. Maybe one more miracle would help? Probably not.
However, the early church prayed for the release of John the Baptist from prison, just like they prayed for Peter, and God did not release John. Why? God didn’t tell us. What we do know is that God had the power to do so, but, in the eyes of God, John’s mission on earth was complete. He was still young but “mission accomplished.” It was time to go home.
Why does God answer some prayers and not others? Why do some people see God do many miracles and others not so much? Only God knows the answer to that, but we know that we need to be people He can use. So seek to make sure that you are living so that God can use you, be fully immersed in prayer, and totally dependent upon God.
If that is where you are and God still chooses not to answer your prayers, trust that He had other, better things in mind. God has not lost any of His power, but His ways are much higher than our ways.
Please don’t limit our Omnipotent God, but we must not demand that He answer our requests for a miracle. He is God and we are His servant.
So, yes, God is still working miracles today, but there are times that I want God to work a miracle in my life when He wants me to learn to walk by faith. Sometimes I want God to work a miracle in my life and His response is that He cannot use a dirty vessel, and sometimes I want Him to work a miracle and He responds with different plans that are better and wiser than my plans. Oh, that I would trust God's Omniscience as much as I believe in His Omnipotence.
3 min read
Did You Assume Your Life Would Materialize Better Than It Has?
You can either get angry or get busy
Photo by Manuel Rheinschmidt on Unsplash
There is a tiny little book near the end of the Bible called “Titus.” The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to this man and explained what God wanted to do with him.
It is a fascinating book that gives us some great insight into God’s structure for the church, but that is for another day.
What is interesting is that what Paul told Titus has some great application to your life and mine. God gave Titus the task of ministering on the island of Crete, which is approximately 100 miles south of the mainland of Greece. The size of this small island is not much greater than the State of Delaware.
While today many would love to go to Crete for a vacation, this was a different ballgame back in this day. Paul explained to Titus that he left him on the island of Crete for two reasons. But, ironically, it could be the same two reasons why God has placed you in the circumstances that you find yourself.
1. To straighten things out
Titus’ mission was to set things in order, which means “to straighten further.” We get our English words “Orthodontist” (teeth straightener) and “Orthopedic” (limb straightener) from the root word.
There were some spiritual problems on this island, and God called Titus to help get things in order.
Are you involved with people, places of employment, situations, or circumstances that you can help straighten out?
You might not have chosen to be in some of these places, but clearly, you are there with a purpose and an ability to help.
Instead of getting frustrated that you are not at a different place in your life, help straighten things out where you are and use your God-given abilities to serve in the way He wired you.
2. To help things run smoothly
Titus also had the task of helping churches ordain and install godly, mature Pastors to lead them. Titus’ role was to find men who were willing and qualified to be Pastors within the church.
Serving on Crete may not have been Titus’ dream job, which is why Paul had to convince him that this was God’s plan for him. Likewise, I have always wanted to be the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, but at 54 years of age, that ship may have sailed.
Have you ever been in a specific situation or position that you didn’t want to be, but you knew God wanted you there? For example, Titus was not in the most glorious ministry in the world, but it was where God wanted him.
Most likely, your life has not turned out exactly the way you wanted it to, and you may have some situations that are irreversible at this point. Your task is not to straighten out churches and ordain Pastors on a Greek island; however, you have a mission and a calling.
God has an ordained assignment that He wants you to fulfill. It could be caring for a sick spouse, rearing children, helping an elderly relative, encouraging the next generation, or countless other challenges.
In reality, many of our days are filled with straightening things out and helping things to run smoothly.
God will not give you the exact same mission He gave to Titus, but your life is not a whole lot different than his. So just keep asking God want He wants you to be doing each day, and realize that you do have an essential role in the Kingdom of God.
Remember the adage, “Keep Blooming Where God Has Planted You!”
Precisely Who Is Jesus?
Please do not get this question wrong
Sep 7 · 4 min read
Photo by Matteo Di Iorio on Unsplash
Billy was a chemist’s son
Billy is no more
What he thought was H2O was H2SO4
Poor Billy thought he was drinking water when he was drinking sulfuric acid. No doubt someone designed this pneumonic device to help those in chemistry remember the periodic tables.
In the movie, Madagascar, there was a scene where Melman couldn’t tell which zebra was Marty. Clearly, Marty was shocked and hurt.
Could you identify Who Jesus is if given a test? There are many opinions on Jesus’ identity, and we ought to be thankful that God gave us a Bible to clear up the matter.
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all Creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on Earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all Creation together. (Colossians 1:15–17, NLT)
Jesus is the Creator of the universe
If you thought that God created the universe, you would be correct. The Bible explains that Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God. At the Incarnation, God (Who is invisible) became a man. He took on flesh, not just to be seen, but to become one of us. God became a man with a human nature minus a sinful nature. This divine act took place at the perfect time in history that God had planned.
But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. (Galatians 4:4, NLT)
So, the Second Person of the Trinity, the One that we know as God the Son, existed from eternity past. He had no beginning and has no end because He is God. He is the One Who became human, yet He is still Supreme over all Creation.
What an amazing truth that our Savior, Jesus Christ, was the agent of Creation. But, there is more. Jesus also continues to hold all things together. For example, we really should not be concerned that a giant asteroid will crash into Earth and wipe out humanity because God has already explained the end of Earth in the Book of Revelation. He also has a plan for a new heaven and a new earth one day. Check it out because it is incredible!
When we ponder this great truth about Jesus, it should add a level of appreciation for what God has done for us. Knowing that Jesus created us, saved us, and sustains us, we should recognize that He is Lord of our lives.
Jesus is the Lord of your life
In this brief text, Paul explains that Jesus created everything, and all things were created for Him, which means God created you for His pleasure. We exist to bring glory to Jesus Christ. Because of this truth, Jesus has the right to call the shots in your life.
You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased. (Revelation 4:11, NLT)
Jesus created you, so He has every right to tell you how to live. Sadly, those who do not have a relationship with Christ think that He wants us to be miserable, which is laughable. God’s plan is not to order me to live a joyless life. He is the source of joy and wants me to enjoy life. He does, however, want me to surrender my will to His, and He knows that in doing so, I will be more fulfilled than living any other way.
So Paul reminds us that Jesus is our Creator, and we must surrender our will to His will. When you consider what Jesus has done for you, it should change the way you live, and it should be logical for you to devote your life in obedience to Him.
Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice — alive, holy, and pleasing to God — which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1, NET)
We should be cultivating our relationship with God and never forget the eternal torment from which God has delivered us. We were born into a kingdom of darkness before salvation, under the influence of Satan. We now are in the Kingdom of God, under the influence of Jesus Christ.
When we ponder where we were without Christ and where we are now, we will understand our purpose in life and get a better understanding of Who Jesus is and what He expects from His children.
Don’t Forget to Say ‘Thank You’ to Your Heavenly Father
He has blessed us more than we deserve
Sep 3 · 4 min read
Photo by Romain Paget on Unsplash
On September 1st, a tornado ripped through Mullica Hill, N.J., just a few short miles up the road from where I live.
Little did we know at the time that our daughter traveled across the path of the tornado just a few minutes before it hit. Sadly, it destroyed several homes, along with a dairy farm that lost most of its cattle.
Fortunately, this type of devastation is rare in our neck of the woods.
I am so thankful for God’s protection for the many lives spared. It was terrible but could have been much worse. In times like these, we often stop to say a prayer of thanks to God for His protection. It ought to remind us to praise Him more often.
In Colossians, Paul gives us several reasons we should live each day as an act of thanks to our Heavenly Father.
“Always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” (Colossians 1:12–14, NLT).
You are qualified
If you have placed your faith in the finished work of Christ alone to save you from your sin, God has enabled or qualified you to share in His inheritance. Forever!
A few years ago, Skippy made a commercial indicating that only “fun” peanuts are qualified to be in their peanut butter. It is pretty hilarious, and you can watch it here.
However, the same thing happens to us.
You are either qualified to share in the inheritance or not. There is no middle ground. Yet, our criteria are not whether or not we are fun, religious, or kind, but did we trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to save us.
Therefore, you are qualified based upon what Christ did, not anything you did, and you should daily be thanking God each day for this beautiful gift.
You were rescued
Notice that each child of God is also rescued or delivered from the kingdom of darkness. Tragically, when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, sin entered the world, and Satan brought about spiritual darkness all over this world.
When we were born, we entered this dark kingdom under the influence of Satan.
We see this kingdom on display virtually everywhere we go, which is why God encourages His children to wear spiritual armor.
“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11, NLT).
We ought to be daily thanking God that we are delivered from the power of darkness!
You were transferred
The moment you repented of your sin and placed your faith in Christ alone, you were transferred out of Satan’s kingdom and into the Kingdom of God. Thus, there has been a change in position. You are now under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ in your heart.
Because of the change in position, there should also be a change in your practice. You are to be a servant of Jesus Christ where you seek His Kingdom first in all things.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33, NLT).
You are redeemed
Notice that God has also purchased your freedom, and He has forgiven your sins. The theological term for this is “Redeemed.”
“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” (1 Peter 1:18–19, NLT).
Jesus Christ bought you from the marketplace of sin where you were a slave and destined to live and die there, and you were going to spend eternity in hell. Instead, he bought you from being a slave to sin and set you free! He not only chose to redeem you through His blood but also to forgive you.
For every child of God, we ought to live every day thanking God that He has redeemed us from sin and has granted us forgiveness.
We have so much to thank the Lord for, yet Paul gives us four things that we would do well to ponder in these few verses. Let’s be thankful for the fact that, if you know Christ as your Savior, God has given us more than we deserve.
I Keep Forgetting Where I Placed My Car Keys
I must not forget where I have placed my faith
Sep 1 · 6 min read
Photo by Syed Hussaini on Unsplash
Losing your car keys is not only frustrating; it can be costly. It didn’t use to be that way because to cut a new car key was only a few dollars. Today’s cars need a specially designed FOB key that costs about $200 and even more to program it. Recently, I have done a bang-up job of misplacing mine; once, in a locked car with no other key. An embarrassing call to AAA fixed that problem.
When was the last time you forgot something vital, and it caused you some serious issues? You wondered how you could have overlooked something like that. Forgetting something meaningful is what prompted the Apostle Paul to write the letter of Colossians to this church. They had forgotten a primary biblical truth, and Paul writes to encourage them to remember what God has done for them. In the first fourteen verses of chapter 1, Paul encourages us not to forget where we have placed our faith.
This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.
We are writing to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. May God our Father give you grace and peace.
We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.
This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.
You learned about the Good News from Epaphras, our beloved co-worker. He is Christ’s faithful servant, and he is helping us on your behalf. He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.
So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” (Colossians 1:1–14, NLT)
The Gospel changes you eternally
When the Colossians accepted Christ as their Savior, it instantly began changing their lives. They were making progress in their walk with God. Sadly, because of their neglect, they were allowing some tragic heresies in their church.
Some brilliant people (who were enemies of the Gospel) brought worldly wisdom into the church that sounded good but was incompatible with God’s truth.
The Apostle Paul wrote this short letter to the church in Colosse, which is in modern-day Turkey. The reason that he wrote to them was to combat false teaching that was creeping into the church.
The heretical belief that was going around was that Jesus was a great man, but He was not God.
This teaching was an attack upon the Deity of Jesus Christ. Consequently, Paul reminds them what the truth of the Gospel has already accomplished in their lives.
Your faith produces spiritual maturity
Not only did they embrace the truth that Jesus’ payment on the cross was enough to save them from hell, but their faith caused them to trust Jesus’ plan for their lives. Paul was praying that they would grow in their discernment of spiritual things in their lives.
Some will mock a believer for their faith as if it is a leap in the dark, but true faith in Christ is a persuasion that we cannot fully explain to someone who does not have faith. The writer of Hebrews gives a good definition of faith:
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1, NLT)
Another idea of what faith produces can be seen in the book of James:
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. (James 2:17, NLT)
These believers were experiencing the power of God in their lives, which caused them to love one another. They were willing to sacrifice for their extended church family. When others hurt, they hurt, and they ministered to each other.
They were also living with a future hope. Genuine confidence that physical death is not the end of our lives. Eternity with God is ahead, and this is not a “hope so,” but absolute confidence.
Spiritual maturity changes your priorities
Paul encouraged the Colossian believers to remember what God has done for them and how He has changed their lives. Jesus wasn’t a trinket that they added to their lives; He is their Savior Who has transferred them from the kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of God.
The expectation for every believer is to keep maturing in their walk with God, their understanding of His will, and their application of God’s power in their lives.
If you are in the Kingdom of God, there must be a King who is Sovereign. We know it is Jesus and the Kingdom is a spiritual one. It is the rule and reign of Jesus Christ in your heart and mind. God is not at your disposal, but you are to be at His disposal. You are the servant! He is the King!
Since I am in the Kingdom of God, and He is my King, why do I struggle with sin and temptation? Why does my flesh seem to win the day so often? Most likely, it is because I am not making His kingdom my priority. Precisely why we are encouraged to make Jesus’ kingdom a priority in our lives.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33, NLT)
Are you endeavoring to seek God’s will and plan for your life, or is He a weekend thing?
It is so important that we remember what God has done in our lives and remember from what He has taken us. It is hard for the one who was saved as a child to see a difference; however, we must realize what we would be without Christ.
Jesus truly changes everything! If He were merely a man or even a spiritually great man, He could not do that for us. Jesus is God in the flesh. He is the Second Person of the Trinity. He was sent to earth by God the Father (Galatians 4:4), but Jesus is also the Creator of the universe (Colossians 1:16).
Now, stop and think about the truth that God lives inside of you if you have been born again. What a great thought! If you genuinely believe that Jesus was powerful enough to save you from hell, wouldn’t it also make sense to trust Him and follow Him while here on earth?
Don’t forget where you have placed your faith — In Christ Alone!