Christians: Victory is His!
Tag Archives: Bible
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. — Matt. 7:13-14 NIV.
By “wide” we might understand “permissive of everything.” God exhorts us to a narrow path, not that I or any Christian is perfect. Far from it, we recognize our sin and ask Jesus for forgiveness. But we don’t stop calling sin sin.
Why should we choose the straight and narrow path? Because it and only it leads to Heaven.
Photo source: Original from Pinterest.
*Original image: Pinterest.
Such is the transformation Christ brings when you receive Him into your heart. Jesus says that in order to receive the Kingdom of God, one must undergo this miraculous and instantaneous transformation from unbeliever to believer.
Photo source: Pinterest.
Yeah, yeah, I know. You don’t believe in such fanciful stories. As a matter of fact, such a ridiculous story (yes, it’s hilarious!) is proof — you say — that the Bible couldn’t be true.
Well, to the stubbornest, God has resorted to some tough communication. He blinded Paul and knocked him off his donkey. He killed Pharoah’s firstborn.
I’m not trying to scare anybody here. Just remember one thing: God loves you. When He reaches out to you, it’s because of love.
It’s only a recommendation. Don’t it make tough for God to get through to you.
Original image from my friends at https://donkeywhispererfarm2010.wordpress.com/
and they’ve released this photo of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
But if you want to participate, you have to receive Jesus into your heart. (And this is only the finger food!)
*Image from Facebook.
The two things are absolutely related. It’s hard to beat Banner, even though his older brother Mario is almost as good at soccer. I was on Mario’s team, and we pretty much trailed Banner’s team by one goal the whole game.
But after two-and-a-half hours playing in the sun, having fasted breakfast, I suddenly found myself, somewhere between heat stroke and exhaustion, on the bench in the shade. I needed water, and there was none. I was breathing quickly.
“Pastor, come and play. This is probably the last time you’ll play in Guatemala.” Ordinarily these words would shot energy into me. But this time this 48-year-old body wouldn’t budge. I didn’t care any more. I was really dog-tired.
As poorly as I played (about 20 turnovers), still my presence on the field counted for something. I made it a little bit harder for them to score, a little bit harder for them to defend. My absence proved our demise by simple math: one less player favored them.
When you quit the church, you cause the team to lose. Keep playing.
In America, we take hygiene for granted. Why do Third World countries not get it? One reason is lack of money. Soaps and hygienic food is expensive. If you don’t have the money, you don’t buy it. You make do without.
People get sick. I’m in Guatemala right now, and I got diarrhea. We all got the runs. Lack of funds is to blame. They were trying to stretch a shoe-string budget to host a quince años — like a Sweet Sixteen but at age 15.
It’s a reminder of the blessings in America.
Spiritual hygiene will cost you too! Prayer, church attendance, Bible reading.
Personally, I think it ironic that people who are fastidious for external hygiene give no thought to internal hygiene. As Jesus said to the Pharisees: they are like whitened tombs, beautiful on the outside but full of death and decay inside.
A lot of Guatemalans don’t see the need for external hygiene. They think it’s all annoying and useless habits of gringos. But you can get sick if you’re not clean — physically and spiritually.
*Image Google search.
Dream big. Fear small. Based your decisions on your vision for a better future, not on the fears of a bad future.
As ministers of God’s grace, we should never lose sight of the fact that we, ourselves, are sinners. We are NOT the inerrant voice of God. Stay humble.
The world hurls “hypocrite!” I don’t snarl in return. Because basically it’s true. Who can say it’s not? Who is without sin to throw stones?
God’s grace is such that He reaches people with His grace THROUGH imperfect people.
The Contras slipped in during the wee hours of the morning and slit the throats of sleeping Sandinistas, sometimes 30, sometimes 50, sometimes the whole battalion of 350 before they disappeared undetected into the forbidding jungle.
Not so with Alex Delgado’s battalion. His lieutenant had received training from the strictest military specialists in communist bloc East Germany, and Tito Castillo never let a guard fall asleep.
Alex didn’t join the Sandinistas, the former Marxist government of Nicaragua that the Contras sought to topple, because of ideology. As a matter of fact, Alex really had no idea about the meaning of communism and capitalism.
He was just an 18-year-old, the seventh child in his family, ignored among the many mouths to feed. With no one pushing him to study, with no future in sight, Alex got swept up in the euphoria at the beginnings of the Sandinista government with hopes of eradicating the corruption of the former regime.
But the decision to join what seemed like a winning cause turned into two years of sheer misery. He trudged 10 hours a day, in danger of ambush, in danger of trip wires, gathering energy from inadequate food (they once made soup with roots and tree limbs).
His commander voiced vivid dreams of finding the enemy and decimating them in combat. Inside, Alex prayed to a God he didn’t yet know to never find the enemy – and God granted his wish. The only deaths in his battalion were from an ambush on a supply pickup and a friend while fording a river.
Body bags from other battalions flooded homes; sometimes they were left on the doorstep to be found by parents after soldiers rang the doorbell and fled at midnight. For the rest of the article, click here.
Walls are for bad people. They either KEEP OUT wrongdoers (such as thieves from your house) or they KEEP IN wrongdoers (such as prison convicts). But the good person is free to go in or out as he pleases.
When we look at God’s law as walls, we need to keep this in mind. God’s walls are not restrictions on our fun, to keep us pinned in to His boring Kingdom, as some see it. They are protections against all the harm the devil wants to bring on us.
Ask the hopeless drug addict if he could have done it all over would he never touch drugs. Ask the alcoholic if it would have been preferable to never taste liquor. Ask a million and one people destroyed by sin if God’s walls were arbitrary morals imposed upon them by cruel religious people who had no right to tell others what to do. Go ahead, ask them.
Ask the people in Hell.
Don’t chaff at Christianity’s “limitations,” viewing them as a horrible prison to suppress your freedoms. No, you are free to go. You are a good person. Walls are NOT for the good person. They are for the bad person.
Sin is flaunted, parading, justified on every side, but we don’t circle the wagons. Because the darker it gets, the brighter the light shines. Be of good cheer, my brothers and sisters, and shine on for Jesus!
Keep calm and keep shining.
Perfect for our time! Now we can bend Jesus any way we want.
If you don’t like certain scriptures, put a nice spin on them.
Barcelona surprised, breaking up its usual quick-passing game that dizzies defenders. It added counter-attacks and long-balls, perhaps to catch Juventus unprepared.
The first goal came when Lionel Messi whipped a cross-field ball surgically over to teammate Neymar, who combined with Iniesta and Rakitic before the Juve defense could reconfigure.
Juventus sought to force mistakes with high-field pressure, exploiting Barca’s penchant for launching attacks out of defense with slick passes (as opposed to most team’s approach of using clearances to get out of the danger zone). The strategy paid off with some clumsy turnovers, but Juve failed to capitalize with goals.
Messi was again the director of the orchestra with the second goal with lightning dribbling that confounded defenders. Though Buffon expertly batted away Messi’s shot, he could not scramble over to block Suarez’s rebound smash.
Thankfully, Luis Suarez didn’t bite anyone in this game (he has bitten someone in the Dutch League, the English League and the World Cup). But he was up to his usual controversial antics. He faked injury to kill time. With mock pain, he writhed on the ground as the seconds counted down of the last minute of extra time. Then, he limped off the field, waved at fans, took a selfie, got lost, consulted a map, asked for an autograph, answered his cell phone and cooked up whatever time-wasting shenanigan he could. The ref simply allowed another minute of play.
Juve attacked, looking for the tying goal that would force overtime — 30 minutes. But Barca parried their attack and launched a counter. Again Leo escorted the ball down the field, this time finding Neymar, who converted, 3-1.
Juve Goalie, Gianluigi Buffon said about him: “Messi is an extra-terrestrial who plays with us humans. So we hope that on June 6 he returns to earth and becomes a human too.”
It didn’t happen as Buffon wished.
But if you thought Barcelona, in sealing three championships this season (League, King’s Cup and European Champions), was impressive, just remember that God never loses.
Many things are said to be blessings, but not all comes from God. If you swallow the wrong stuff, it will be bitter. I guess that’s why Rom. 12:2 says we should pray for discernment. The fact that the majority says something is good does not mean that it is in fact good. As human beings, we want to receive true good from God, not a something that looks like it.
Comic source: pinterest
Need a breakthrough in your life? Maybe you think you need money. But not too many of us have that in abundance. This is how you get a breakthrough without a monetary investment. It’s called prayer.
Prayer only costs us time. Other than that, it’s completely free.
When I was a missionary in Guatemala, I didn’t have a lot of resources. So I spent time praying. And God did amazing things.
I realized that more work wasn’t the answer. Logically, God can get more done that I could. So if I prayed more, God would do what I couldn’t do.
Some people are so busy that they don’t pray. They don’t know what they’re missing.
But his dad was a boxer and believed God would heal his son. It seemed natural for his father to train him in the sport of gloves. So today, Van Heerden, 27, is the current holder of the IBF International welterweight Title. He beat on points the previously undefeated Cecil McCalla at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 9, 2015.
“I’m blessed by Jesus Christ,” the native South African says. “Win or lose, I’m blessed.”
He may call himself blessed when he loses, but he sure has won a lot. Starting on his native continent, he now holds a record 22-1 (and one draw) including three fights since he’s come to the U.S. His only loss was in Serbia. Eleven of his wins were by knockout. Read the rest of the article: Christian boxer.
God’s principle job is rescue.
We are a sinners, incapable of saving ourselves. God did that for us. Don’t conjure an image of a finger-pointing deity who is hankering to haul the sinner off to jail. That’s contrary to the message: God is love.
If you violate the fire codes, don’t be surprised if you get burned. You may not agree with the fire codes. You may use academic language like “morality is subjective.” But the fire codes — His Bible — is there to help you, not to hurt you.
Regardless, if you violate the fire code, God will rescue you when you call 911 — when you pray to Him.
I’m getting close to my dad. A week ago, he was rushed to the hospital from the supermarket with what turned out to be nothing. Sick with the flu, he felt like he was going to fall.
He’s 87, so I felt like this is the red flag I’ve been waiting for to take more care of him. My dad and I are so different. I was a missionary. He lived the American Dream. I love people; he’s a recluse. My life revolved around extending God’s kingdom; his life revolved around HDTV. I was closer to my mom. She’s in Heaven now.
I’ve been sleeping out in the San Fernando Valley to keep him company. I’ve been driving him on his errands. I’m happy that finally I’m able to honor him with this service.
While I was a pastor in Guatemala for 16 years, Matt. 15:5-6 befuddled me. You say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is “devoted to God,” they are not to “honor their father or mother” with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition NIV. That is what I was doing: I couldn’t help Dad and Mom with either money or service because I was serving God in Guatemala.
God brought me back to the States four years ago. I’m only an assistant pastor, so I’m freer now. God orchestrated everything so that I could honor my dad.
We let our sinful desires run rampant, and then we wonder why God hasn’t blessed us.
It’s like the person who blames water for shocking him when he uses electronics in the tub. Why refuse to accept the
physical laws spiritual laws that govern the world?
We accept that rules govern a happy relationship. We accept laws for civil society. We understand that geometry has its logic. But we want to tell God that He’s wrong when tells what will and will not work.
It’s not that you need to be perfect. God forgives. But when we flout the law of God, then why do we blame Him when things don’t work?
That would have been impressive! But no all the resurrected would have had relatives to cut off their grave clothes and feed them. It was best to keep things simple.
Consider Joseph. For having a call of God on his life, he was reviled by his brothers and rebuked by his parents. Eventually the brothers sold him into slavery, after very nearly killing him.
And in the end, God raised up Joseph to great leadership in Egypt. He was the catalyst for enlarging Israel in the incubator of Egypt. He was the man for the plan, but the plan was unrecognizably from God. How did Joseph not spiral in depression from such rejection from his loved ones?
Remember when you were in love? No mountain was too high, no sea too stormy. You spent time thinking up new and fantastic ways to be kind to your beloved.
People tend to “let their hair down” around family, which means they’re mean. Oddly, with strangers they’re nice. Reverse this and be nice to family. Be tender to your spouse.
If you will simply be kind (even if your spouse “doesn’t deserve it”), you could set your marriage onto a path towards renewed happiness.
1 Cor. 13:4 says: Love is kind.
Here’s every element of the series:
- 1 Cor. 13:4
1 Cor. 13:5
1 Cor. 13:6
1 Cor. 13:7
1 Cor. 13:8
To me, the great controversy is NOT why did Jesus turn the water into wine. It’s why didn’t He turn it into coffee?
What pollutions hide in your heart? Only God sees into darkest secrets, in the murky plumbing beneath the splendorous veneers. God wants to dredge and clean.
People want only go. They want a green light for sin. But the reality is that you can’t have go without stop. Otherwise, you’ll crash your life.
The Bible is NOT a list of DON’Ts as is so often alleged. To the contrary, it is a guidebook of how to live your life with happiness and success and make it to God’s Heaven.
There’s no use fighting against each other.
The image comes thanks to Colorado Landscapes on Google+. I don’t own the rights, and I’m not making any money on it.
First of all, the devil has no day. Every day belongs to Jesus.
Second, Christians are told to crucify their flesh, to live spiritual, not carnal lives. The sinner gives free reign to his flesh. There’s no death going on as you’re getting drunk with plastic vampire teeth in your mouth. The blood is fake.
But what Christians are doing is real. These verses sounds pretty Halloweeny:
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. — Ro. 6:4, 6, 11 NIV.
Do you think your party celebrating death-things is cool once a year? You should celebrate a real death 52 times a year (every Sunday).
But the good intentions soured. Dark ambition took over his heart. When the king visited his castle, MacBeth killed him and made it look like it had been the king’s own guards. As next in line to the throne, MacBeth got the crown.
All his bases were covered except his conscience. He hallucinates that his hands are covered with blood. Then he argues with the ghost of the king in front of his friends. His kingship was short. What’s ill-attained quickly will go up in smoke.
I get discouraged by my own circumstances.
But when I think about other rising disciples in the church, I rejoice to see God blessing and using them.
Lesson learned: think about others.
The marathon — 26 miles — is divided into two parts: 1) the first 25 miles, then 2) the last mile.
Forget about who’s first. Just finish the rest. Too many Christians burn out, get confused, get bitter or otherwise fall out of their orbit.
He who persevere to the end shall be saved. — Matt. 24:13.
With Ebola on the one hand and beheadings on the other, Santa Monica-based Lighthouse Medical Missions cancelled its Fall trip and instead is sending a container of food and medical supplies to West Africa this week.
Dr. Robert Hamilton – a Santa Monica pediatrician who’s braved dangers since 1998 to provide care to some of the neediest people on the planet – was originally eying a trip to Lebanon to care for Syrian refugees. But then jihadists began killing Westerners in retaliation for the U.S.-led air war against the Islamic State.
On the other hand, the usual Fall trip to West Africa was also ruled out because of rampaging Ebola infections.
So Dr. Bob, as locals affectionately call him, figured he could do the most good by simply sending supplies to Sierra Leone, where he has contact with 100s of pastors and church members who virtually work as permanent Lighthouse staff to help local needs 365 days a year. Lighthouse Medical Missions has realized 20 clinics, almost all in Africa, at a total cost of $1.5 million, Dr. Bob said.
Read the rest of the article and find out how to pitch in: Help with Ebola.
Judas Iscariot reasoned that it was time to cash out on Jesus. He reasoned Jesus wasn’t going anywhere after all, and that he should make the most of three years of following the loser named Jesus.
Job’s friends reasoned against their friend. Instead of consoling him, they blamed him. You must have sinned because look at the proof: God’s not with you anymore.
The very same logical fallacies atheists accuse us of using, they too use! (When a pseudo-intellectual brandishes an exotic Latin fallacy, it tends to quiet the non-Latin speaker.)
As Christians, we too can “reason” ourselves out of the will of God. We can “reason” our way of out going to church, tithing, outreaching, our marriage, etc.
To avoid this pratfall, bathe your decisions in prayer. Make sure you don’t spend your time praying trying to convince God that He ought to approve your previously determined decision.
As a sandanista, Alex had a super strict commander. Good thing too, because other platoons woke up to find two-thirds their throats slit. The contras in the Nicaraguan civil war of the 1980s took advantage of any platoon with sleeping guards. They slipped in, put one hand over the sleeper’s mouth and with the other cut his throat. It was a noiseless death that allowed them to move to the next and the next, killing 100s, and slink out before dawn. Because Alex’s commander maintained strict discipline, his platoon never fell victim. They were vigilant.
And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. — Luke 12:38 NIV.
As a Christian, I feel like I’ve dropped my guard, eased off the gas pedal — now in the second watch of my life. I’m 47.
On my first watch, as pastor in Guatemala, I was diligent in prayer and the word. Forced to return to the United States four years ago, I don’t get much “playing time.” Consequently, I’ve toned down the regimen. And I feel bad.
We go through different seasons in life. In my “first watch,” the souls of Guatemala took priority. Now in my “second watch,” my kids get it. God is doing wonderful things in their lives. Can I keep following hard after the Lord?
There’s no monkeying around. If you want to win, you have to work at it. No matter what you do. Don’t practice until you can do something. Practice until you cannot fail at something.
She chooses poverty, discrimination and likely abuse all to be with her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi. What gets into Ruth to leave behind the connections and culture of Moab and go to Bethlehem, where she has no chances?
Without any job opportunities, she decides to “glean” behind the harvesters, a back-breaking sun-scorching 12 hours of picking up dropped grains in which you’d expect to get about one meal for one person. A panhandler in the U.S. fares far better.
Yet she was hot. Since she was a foreigner, someone could have taken advantage of her, and she couldn’t expect legal protections. Ruth opened herself to all these dangers and adversities to be loyal to her new family and serve God.
God has a way of honoring those who honor Him. Boaz takes note of her sacrifice and kindness rendered to her mother-in-law. Eventually he marries her. As a result, her finances and future are secured.
Despite your sincerest efforts, people will doubt you. It happened to the Apostle Paul. He was accused of being a false apostle because he didn’t want gentiles to get circumcised. (He was vindicated by the head honchos in Jerusalem, but still itinerant preachers cast doubt over his person.)
If it happened to Paul, to Job, to Jeremiah, to Daniel, to Amos, to David, to … to JESUS, why be surprised if it happens to you.
This is not to say that you, or anyone, is perfect. It is only to say that we live in a fallen world, and we are not the only ones to possess a cynical sin nature. Others can view us how they want.
In those moments, may our God strengthen us to keep fighting the fight of faith, to keep trying, to not give up.
They didn’t even smell of smoke. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had been thrown into the fire by the despot. While inside, they walked around with Jesus and suffered no harm. King Nebuchadnezzar beckoned them out. Astonished, he forgot all about their disobedience in not bowing to his idol. He recognized that Jehovah was the only true God.
They not only survived, but they survived well. No smell of smoke on them.
Joseph survived prison well. He didn’t execute bitter revenge on his brothers who sold him into slavery.
As the years pile up, we pass through evil, wrongs perpetrated by family or friends. The challenge is not go cynical. The challenge is have the light-hearted delight for life of a child still.
It’s one thing for young pups in love to send each other “forever” memes. We need to see
older mature (?) married couples still in love. My wife and I celebrate 24 years this month. Praise God! It is not always easy but always worth it to work on it instead of throwing it away. My kids agree too.
Katy Faust, who valiantly reaches out to gays with compassion and truth, visited our school. It is the second time I’ve been blessed with a fellow blogger coming to talk to the Christian students. Raised by a lesbian mom, she has the credibility to bring some balance to the national maelstorm raging over “equality.”
On the one side, there are Christians who condemn gays and forget that we are all sinners needing forgiveness. On the other side, there are gays who say you are a hater if you believe the Bible. Increasingly in national media, the later dominant and the former are stereotyped. (Westboro does not represent Christianity.)
This blog has never touched the issue of homosexuality nor do I intend to treat it here, but I can recommend Katy’s blog, though its tongue-in-cheek title makes me cringe, here.
Thank you, Katy, for bringing balance and answering kids’ questions with empathy.
What is dear on Earth, is detestable before God. Arrogant fame, selfish ambition, destructive behavior come to mind.
While the world fawns over its winners, the Christians huddle in unseen prayer. The world ridicules, still we read our Bibles.
Then suddenly, what was all-important loses all its importance… when we die. And everything that we gave scant importance becomes suddenly and eternally consequent.
And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God — Luke 16:15 KJV.
So when the Bible says that we as Christians must “die to ourselves,” we understand that the flesh will scream and fight with everything.
Unless a seed dies, it will not live, Paul says in 1 Co. 15:36. It seems like I’ve had a lot of dying to do lately. And I still have a lot ahead in the foreseeable future.
How to not get derailed when:
- your best efforts meet only criticism?
- everyone drops unwanted advice on what you need to improve?
- the people you love are exasperated with you?
- you don’t have the support of your family?
- your achievements are ignored and your faults are blown out of proportions?
- finances are not so good?
- by most worldly measures, you don’t measure up?
Look steadfastly toward the end of blessing. If you’re serving Christ, keep serving Him.
Many seeds need to be dried before they can be planted. It sounds like Jesus was referring to these. Jesus had to die in order to resurrect. So too, we must “crucify the flesh” in order to experience God’s transformation.
Don’t be surprised if you are a “mature” Christian and God puts you through a process of “killing you.” It is all for good.