From My Heart to YOURS

On this physical plane of existence most people struggle to reach the top of the mountain. Their personal ambitions and desires shrouded in pride, and self-awareness drive their calloused hearts and self-absorbed minds ever forward.

They are intensely focused on getting to that door at the top of the mountain where they believe they will have arrived and finally fulfill their purpose for themselves and be satisfied.

No one else matters in this personal journey to self-fulfilled glory. People get there by using other people for their own benefits. Cast off on the side of their road to success are spurned people who once trusted them, loved them…broken people left far behind. They make up parents, wives, husbands, friends and children.

There is a procession of haunting memories that occasionally break into their consciousness and touches what is left of their hardened hearts. Their climb to the top becomes increasingly harder, because the weight of those whom they have left behind clings to their dead hearts like anchors.

Finally their journey to the top of the mountain ends when they die. And they begin a new journey that begins with opening a forever door. They have arrived, standing before the door. They are close enough to reach out and touch the handle to open the door at the top of the mountain. Their focus has been so intense, so self-serving that they do not see a small sign just above the door.

But why should they see this small sign? All their lives they only focused on themselves, never had their gaze widened to see the needs of all those around them. Their ears were only tuned to hear what they wanted to hear, never once did they hear the cries, the sobs representing the emotional and physical pain of those around them needing their help. They never cared about the blind, the lame, the deaf and the dumb… a world filled “With the Least of These.”

So they eagerly reach out and grasp the handle to open the door to the fulfillment of their desires. The handle is painful to their touch…it’s so very hot ! But they are consumed with their desire so they bear the pain and open the door.

Standing in the open doorway they see a light off in the distance, yet they seem to be standing in shadows. As they look out into the distance a faint path emerges that leads to the light. But as they look down they cannot see the place to put their foot on the path so they may follow it to the Kingdom of Light.

A random thought comes to their minds, words they somehow recognize but have never heard before “My Word is a lamp unto thy feet”.  So they look up and see the little sign. It says…“If you had seeked me with all your heart, mind and soul you would have found me. You have lived your life in darkness yet you have seen a great light and now it is appointed to man once to die, and then the judgment”.

The message falls on a soul filled with shadows and a mind that never became renewed; for they had lived their lives deaf, dumb and blind to the truth.

Just under the sign is a pull chain attached to a light bulb. Still not understanding the message they reach up and pull the chain that’s attached to the light bulb expecting the light to come on and illumine their path, but instead they turn ON the Darkness. They finally have arrived at the place they personally have chosen to spend eternity. They will be in outer darkness…blind and alone for eternity without hope in a place where …”the dead shall live again.”

“ Yet those who live in Darkness have seen a great light ”.

The Bible gives us in-sight into the physical world we think is real; and into the invisible world that is true reality. The spiritual dimension is more real than our own existence. The physical realm is ending, but the spiritual realm is forever. You can read about your future in the BIBLE. If you just take the time to read it.

Being Salt and Light comes at a Cost

Salt and Light

How can you and I as believers in Christ remain true to our individual calling by God to be His Salt and Light in the darkness of the culture we live in? To begin we need to define both Salt and Light. Salt is a preservative. As long as salt remains pure and does not get mixed with another substance it will keep its properties and continue to be effective.

Like salt, Believers who remain in the Word and stand alone for Christ in society will have an effective witness. Once we try to be like the surrounding culture our witness becomes ineffective and our credibility is gone. Then to make matters worse through our stumbling we let the Lord be mocked.

Salt also provides flavor. The Gospel represents a meal that when flavored with truth, and given to a true “Seeker of God” will satisfy their appetite forever. Salt also makes us thirsty and so we drink water to refresh ourselves. But water is only a temporary solution for our thirst as we begin to thirst over and over again but never get satisfied. The Gospel however is the Living Water that satisfies our body, mind and soul eternally and will satisfy our everlasting thirst.

Light is meant to illuminate. Just as darkness flees from the light, so to the Gospel, the light of Truth; causes the lies that live in the shadows that plague mankind’s soul to disappear. Light illuminates the path before you, so you can see the destination of your journey clearly. The Gospel represents a journey that everyone needs to take in order to gain the Salvation offered by God. The Word of God is a “Lamp unto thy feet”. It keeps you from stumbling on the pathway home.

God if you recall never prepared Hell as a destination for mankind. Hell is the place prepared for “the devil and his (fallen) angels” in which fallen humanity will also reside. It is mankind’s destination by choice. It is not Gods choice for mankind.

“The lost will enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded and are therefore self- enslaved. God will abandon sinners to their own choice and the consequences of their choices.”
CS Lewis…Problem of Pain

Therefore, you and I are to be salt and light in a Godless society. We are to open our mouths whenever the Holy Spirit gives us an opportunity to witness to a forever dying soul. We are never to compromise our life, our walk or our talk. All three must be unified for us to effectively witness to non-believers.

The Apostle Paul in the Book of Acts spoke about “becoming like one of them” in order to witness to the pagan world around him. He did not mean to blend into the society, to be like one of them, to do what they do; so he could have an opportunity to witness to them. If Paul acted like them he would not have stood out from among them. “Becoming like one of them”, means to understand what they believe and why they believe it so you can witness to them intelligently and show them the errors of their belief system, the flaws contained within their worldview.

Rather than engage people in meaningless witnessing on topics of their choosing, which lead people away from the Truth into arguments, and animosity. Paul chose to control his witnessing by preaching Christ Crucified and His Resurrection from the dead. The ultimate objective of your witnessing is to take people to the Savior’s Cross and to His Resurrection from the dead.

People must understand their need to be saved. Your job is to explain both why they are in need of a Savior and what it is that they are being saved from. This way they will understand the truth of their situation before a Holy God who is coming this time in wrath and with judgment. Without repentance there can be no Salvation. When Paul spoke to someone with biblical knowledge, he spoke to them using the Bible to show them the God of the Bible. When they had no knowledge of the Scriptures Paul spoke to them about Creation and the God of Creation revealed in the Scriptures. These are the two areas of common ground we have with people to explain who God is.

I realize we are all afraid to take on “Spiritual encounters with darkness”…which is the essence of witnessing. However we need to realize as believers we have the resident Holy Spirit, the Comforter within us so we can step out in faith knowing we are not alone in our witness.

Even Moses feared to do this. But God reminded Moses that it was God who made his mouth and it would be God who would put the words into his mouth. Because Moses doubted, God gave the honor of speaking HIS words to his brother Aaron, who then spoke for Moses to Pharaoh. Moses lost part of the Joy that belongs to each of us in our journey because he chose not to listen and obey God.

God is strong when I am weak. This insures that He Gets the GLORY…not me. My ears have heard responses from my lips in witnessing confrontations that came from the Holy Spirit, not from me. How awesome it is to see God use our weakness while watching HIS strength in action.

All of us can look back on our journey to faith in Christ and see the multiple seeds that were planted by people into our lives. You and I are not responsible for any one persons Salvation. We are not responsible for that person’s choice to either accept or deny the Gospel. In the end the responsibility rests with the Holy Spirit and with the choice each person must ultimately make.

You and I are responsible to obey God and do His will during our lives. Being obedient is how we prove to God that we really love Him. One of the saddest stories in the Bible is about Samson. God was with Samson from the womb. He was a believer that was used greatly by God until he became like the culture around him. The process was slow, like a frog being cooked alive in a pot till it dies.

God did not turn away from Samson; it was Samson who turned away from God to live a perverted life. You know the story, Delilah cut his hair. Samson got up to fight but his strength was no longer with him. The saddest part is that Samson did not know that the Holy Spirit had departed from him. He no longer was salt and light in his culture. God left Samson to the consequences of his own choices for the rest of his life. In a sense he was given over to satan for a time. Yet God in His mercy to Samson allowed him to end his life in the service of His Lord.

Every face of someone you know represents the face of God. They were made in the image of God. If they do not know Jesus as Savior, their image is damaged. They need to hear your personal God story; they need the seeds that God has uniquely given you to plant. They need you to be salt and light for their sake.

This is a time when the pulpits of most churches are filled by weak men in weak churches giving weak messages. Instead this should be the time for boldness, for strong biblical ministry so people hear the word of the Living Lord and respond in true repentance for their sins. One of the signs of the wrath of God is when he abandons a culture. I believe He has done that throughout the world, including the United States. Our culture has asked God to leave and He has complied. We now are left to reap the whirlwind.

There is one last aspect of Salt we did not touch on, the ability of Salt to heal. As a believer, knowing who I am in Christ is a great responsibility. When I act like Moses and refuse to open my mouth or when I act like Samson and choose to flow with the current of the sewage we all swim in rather than Stand Alone against the tide… my heart breaks leaving an open wound. You see, my soul is full of light. I know better than to let the encroaching shadows of the old man get a hold of me…yet…often shadows fill my soul.

Sometimes even a follower can get lost.

When this happens my witness is tarnished, the Holy Spirits power is diminished in my life and I am ashamed and cry out for forgiveness. The salt that I am supposed to be turns inward and flows into the open wound in my broken heart. The salt then causes me pain as it heals me.

The God I serve knows that ”I am but dust “ before HIM. My God loves me and extends new mercies everyday to all those who love him. He heals my broken heart and takes away the evil shadows in my Soul with His light. And then, I begin a new day devoted to making a difference for Him with those I love and those He puts into my path.

May you continue to live your days under the protection of His wings, bathed in His light and covered by the Shadow of His Cross.

Everyday is CHRISTmas

This little CHRISTmas tree we have is made from Silver Tinsel. There is a Silver Star at its top. The tree lights are all white and they glow intensely in the dark. The tree is 2 ½ feet tall and it sits on a table in front of the window. This is the very first CHRISTmas tree I have owned that when you look at it…you only see JESUS. The tree is small like Jesus was when He came down from heaven to be born of a virgin at the Incarnation. Can you believe that God miraculously entered the womb of a virgin named Miriam as prophesied back in Genesis? That God became a Holy Embryo so He could be born and grow up to become the God/man, the Messiah of the Old Testament and later the Christ of the Cross. Do you understand that His only purpose in doing that was to save you from yourself? That He came to die in your place so that you would have eternal life and not eternal death.

Jesus was born in a manger and myriads of Holy Angels announced His birth to mankind. God His Father tore open the darkness that enveloped this planet to allow Holy Light to come through from heaven. This light washed over the faces of Shepherds in the field. God still honors Shepherds today who take their responsibility to share the light of Christ with their sheep. Shepherds who lift up Christ and NOT themselves. There were no gifts given at His Birth, except God’s gift of His Son to you personally. The gifts given by the Magi came two years later. This little CHRISTmas tree represents the gift that Christ gives to you…the gift of HIS LIGHT.

It is pitch black now in my living room. I am aware of only two things. Both give my heart Joy as I now anticipate the celebration of CHRISTmas. The first is the sound of laughing water from our fountain. It fills my ears as I am reminded ONLY JESUS is the Living Water that will quench the thirst of my Soul. As I sit now in the darkness of my living room I see the second item of Joy, which is the little CHRISTmas tree of lights on the table by the window. Interesting as I approach the lights how my shadow runs and hides behind me. It reminds me that even though I have the assurance of my salvation I continually need to be bathed in the Light of the Word of the Living God to keep my sins behind me. That is what Christ came to do for you at CHRISTmas. His light while drawing you to HIMSELF at the same time drives out the shadow within you, which is the sin you were born with.

CHRISTmas is simple to understand because it is really not about us but about HIM. The Story of CHRISTtmas existed before our universe was created. It is a story from Eternity past that bridges Time to Eternity future. That bridge in Time is a tree. You see the real CHRISTmas tree was the CROSS that Jesus was nailed to. But as the lyrics from one songwriter say…it was not the nails that held HIM there…it was HIS Love for you that held HIM there.

As I look across the room to the door wall I see two more things. I see my outline in shadow and the bright lights of the little CHRISTmas tree reflected there next to me. The scene in the door wall reminds me that Jesus, the LIGHT of the World has already come. It reminds me that His light, which is the Spiritual Fire ignited within the heart of every true believer; will shine brighter against the darkness of the people of this world…until HE Comes Again as the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings to claim what is rightfully HIS. Today we see through a mirror dimly, but soon the darkness will be swallowed up by Light and you and I who believe in JESUS; will live forever by SON-LIGHT.

silver tree

2 Doors, which will you stand before?

It’s been said to die is just entering a new door to another life. In a sense that is true. You have also heard Jesus stands outside the door to your heart patiently waiting for you to open the door to HIM.

Just something to think about. If you never let Jesus into your heart. Then HE will never open the door to HIS Heaven for you to come into. Instead when you die you will stand before a door that you will open. There is a sign above the door you will stand before.

Just under the sign is a pull chain attached to a light bulb. Still not understanding the message you will reach up and pull the chain that’s attached to the light bulb expecting the light to come on and illuminate your path inside, but instead you will turn ON the Darkness.

Congratulations you have arrived at the place you personally have chosen to spend Eternity. You now will be in Outer Darkness…blind and alone for eternity without hope in a place where …”the dead shall live again.”

Then you will hear HIS VOICE say to you…
“ those who live in Darkness have seen a great light ”. And the words on the sign HE wanted you to read when you lived your life on earth, will flood into your mind.

Matthew 4:16-17
16“The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light,
And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death,
Upon them a Light dawned.”
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Reflections:
The Bible gives us in-sight into the physical world we think is real; and into the invisible world that is true reality. The spiritual dimension is more real than our own existence. The physical realm is ending, but the spiritual realm is forever….

Dark Door Image

Click to View PDF

Being Salt and Light

How can you and I as believers in Christ remain true to our individual calling by God to be His Salt and Light in the darkness of the culture we live in?

To begin we need to define both Salt and Light. Salt is a preservative. As long as salt remains pure and does not get mixed with another substance it will keep its properties and continue to be effective.

Like salt, Believers who remain in the Word and stand alone for Christ in society will have an effective witness. Once we try to be like the surrounding culture our witness becomes ineffective and our credibility is gone. Then to make matters worse through our stumbling we let the Lord be mocked.

Salt also provides flavor. The Gospel represents a meal that when flavored with truth, and given to a true “Seeker of God” will satisfy their appetite forever.

Salt also makes us thirsty and so we drink water to refresh ourselves. But water is only a temporary solution for our thirst as we begin to thirst over and over again but never get satisfied.

The Gospel however is the Living Water that satisfies our body, mind and soul eternally and will satisfy our everlasting thirst.

Light is meant to illuminate. Just as darkness flees from the light, so to the Gospel, the light of Truth; causes the lies that live in the shadows that plague mankind’s soul to disappear.

Light illuminates the path before you, so you can see the destination of your journey clearly. The Gospel represents a journey that everyone needs to take in order to gain the Salvation offered by God.

The Word of God is a “Lamp unto thy feet”. It keeps you from stumbling on the pathway home.

Therefore, you and I are to be salt and light in a Godless society. We are to open our mouths whenever the Holy Spirit gives us an opportunity to witness to a forever dying soul. We are never to compromise our life, our walk or our talk. All three must be unified for us to effectively witness to non-believers.

The Apostle Paul in the Book of Acts spoke about “becoming like one of them” in order to witness to the pagan world around him. He did not mean to blend into the society, to be like one of them, to do what they do; so he could have an opportunity to witness to them.

If Paul acted like them he would not have stood out from among them. “Becoming like one of them”, means to understand what they believe and why they believe it so you can witness to them intelligently and show them the errors of their belief system, the flaws contained within their
religious worldview.

But FIRST take them to the CROSS of JESUS the CHRIST. Remember that Eternal Life and Eternal Death begin at the CROSS.

Matthew 12:30
[ The Unpardonable Sin ] He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

salt-and-light

Is Your Witness ECLIPSED by Darkness?

Its 5:30 am and pitch black outside but soon there will be rays of light and the sun will shine and once again ONLY because of the promises of God, another day will begin.

It’s interesting how you can light one candle in the darkness and the darkness flees from the light, such is the power of light. Jesus claimed to be the truth, the light of the world. The world has seen a great light, but it seems that since His coming 2,000 years ago His light has diminished and the darkness is growing.

The more familiar you are with the Greatest Story Ever Told, the more you understand the times we live in …that they are called the End – Times by Jesus.

What has changed in our world is that the darkness is now growing, while the light recedes and the minds of men grow dim.

The Lord has asked us to witness because the fields of harvest are ripe. There is an urgency to do so because “Soon the night will come” and the light and the Truth will not be found.

This darkness that is all around is not physical but Spiritual. We are experiencing the Dawn of the Darkness of Sin…producing a temporary eclipse of the SON.

Not physical Darkness you can see, but darkness of the soul and mind causing us to see life through a mirror dimly. Just like God has said, we are seeing everything that is wrong becoming right and what is right becoming wrong.

Darkness fills our time and we wait for the day when time is no more and the Dawn of Eternity breaks…so you and I wait for OUR Coming KING.

We wait in FAITH….because we believe that the Bible is True.

The evidence is overwhelming regarding Jesus, His life, death and resurrection. If people just took the time to explore Scripture they would find themselves neck deep in proof. It is impossible to mine the depths of the Word of God. But when you dig deep with your spade into the Judean dirt you will strike nuggets of gold.

How do we know the Bible is Gods Word to us? Because it is mankind’s Pre-Written History and the Autobiography of GOD.

The Bible you own is ONE Book. With ONE HERO…. JESUS, with ONE villain…. satan, with ONE THEME…. SALVATION and ONE PURPOSE….To GLORIFY GOD.

Max Lucado wrote,
“I have heard it said that…
It wasn’t enough for HIM to appear in a bush or dwell in the temple.
It wasn’t enough for HIM to become human flesh and walk on the Earth.
It wasn’t enough to leave HIS word and the promise of HIS return.
HE had to go further. HE had to take up residence iN US.
Perhaps you didn’t know God would go that far to make sure you got home.”

Man says, look inside yourself and find self.
God says, look inside yourself and find God.

Sun Eclipse

SON-SHINE warms my heart

If you believe in Jesus the Christ then your eternal death has been conquered by the One who came to die in your place on a Cross 2,000 years ago.

But what can we expect at our death, having placed our Faith in the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus?

Here is a true story, an analogy that says it all…

When five-year-old Emily Kimball was hospitalized and heard she was going to die, she started to cry. Even though she loved Jesus and wanted to be with him, she didn’t want to leave her family behind.

Then her mother had an inspired idea. She asked Emily to step through a doorway into another room, and she closed the door behind her. One at a time, the entire family started coming through the door to join her.

Her mother explained that this was how it would be. Emily would go ahead to Heaven and then the rest of the family would follow. Emily understood. She would be the first to go through death’s door into the waiting arms of Jesus.

Eventually, the rest of the family would follow, probably one by one, joining her on the other side.

God has made Himself known to us through His creation and also through His Word…the Bible. He is a God who waits patiently to be wanted by you and I.

Like little Emily we all need to put our hand in the care of our loving father.

This poem by Anonymous makes it so very clear:

Their faces I formed so that mine they would seek.
Ears to listen for the Word I would speak.
Eyes to see, minds to understand.
All they required I made with my Hand.

The Law and the Prophets for centuries foretold
the birth of a baby begotten of old.
In words uuencoded, with language so plain
that even the simplest could call on my name.

Fathom mysteries confounding the wise.
See the Messiah through a child’s eyes

The Prophet Isaiah foretold death’s destruction in an ancient prophecy: “God will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord (Jesus) will wipe away the tears from all faces.” (Isaiah 25:7-8).