You could have incredible prosperity, fame, power, and if you don’t have love, you would be unhappy.
You could be dirt-poor and humble and anonymous, but if you have love, you are the richest person on the planet?
Jesus extends His love to you continually. It only remains for you receive this live.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. — 1 Cor. 13:13
Once you become a Christian, growing in maturity means growing in love — loving the unlovable. This is what Jesus did, and it’s what we must learn.
Ultimately Ben Franklin’s attempts to reign in his flesh failed because making lists and checking off behavior charts smacks of religion. Only the Holy Spirit can truly change a person.
We just read in our literature class fragments of Franklin’s autobiography, and Franklin discusses a sort of perpetual New Year’s Resolution scheme he had. He charts his successes and expresses frustration over his failures. While laudable, human power trying to dominate human impulse is doomed.
Instead of a list of “don’ts,” your relationship with Jesus Christ is better seen as love. I didn’t adhere to a list of prohibitions when I fell in love with Dianna. I simply WANTED to be with her and to please her.
This is what the Holy Spirit does, those tongues of fire that descended on the disciples on the Day of Pentecost. Peter, the despicable coward who denied Christ to a child, didn’t need to psyche himself up to eloquence, despite the danger of testifying publicly to the Sanhedrin. Once the Spirit came on him in power, he just flowed.
Don’t strive for less of world but for more of God.
*original image from smashingapps,com by Jayan. You’re awesome. I don’t own the rights to it, and I’m not making any money on it. Thank you.
The photo before I worked on it.
Ok, so I’m just a beginner with photoshop. I guess I’m having fun. Maybe I can get a job at Target. They don’t seem to have very good photoshoppers.
I tried to lighten our faces.
Jesus does the best job of bringing light to our families.
You can’t “do it yourself” when it comes to earning Heaven. Only what Jesus did suffices to earn your entrance. He lived perfectly according to the law. After he passed sinless on the earth, He took our punishment upon Himself. If you have received Jesus, believing in Him, you possess salvation.
Many have tried to earn salvation. Some whip themselves. Some make huge charitable donations. Others become suicide bombers. It’s all pointless.
It’s good to do good things and bad to do bad things, but all are irrelevant is you are trying to “do it yourself,” to impress God enough that He lets you in. We are saved by grace, not by works.
from Blue Pueblo
Dianna’s co-worker was dumbfounded — why was Dianna not crying? Her dad had just died.
Dianna explained that 1) his passing came as no surprise, and 2) we have no doubt as to the reality of Heaven.
from Blue Pueblo
If you don’t believe in Heaven, you will try to extract every ounce of pleasure from Earth. Don’t get me wrong: I believe there’s a great taste of Heaven here. But that is just a foretaste. Those who try to experience Heaven on Earth are accepting tinsel for gold. If you don’t believe in Heaven, then you wail hopelessly upon the death of friends and family — or stiffen yourself stoically.
from Dumb a Day
The evolutionists deride Heaven. The atheists scoff. The humanists ridicule. Still the human heart yearns to believe in eternity. We are not animals. Undeniably born in the human heart is the knowledge of eternity. What we yearn for, God confirms in His Word:
- My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I a.m — John 14:2-3 NIV.
- We do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first — 1 Thes. 4:13, 16 NIV.
- And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God — Revelations 21:3 NIV.
In regards to Heaven, let me say one important thing: We eat sumptuous food in Heaven. Why should Dianna cry? Dad is in Heaven.
Posted in Heaven
Tagged Christianity, death, eternal life, eternity, God, grace, Heaven, heaven is real, Jesus, life, lifestyle, love, religion, salvation, spirituality
It used to be that if a rock star wanted publicity, she’d send a press release to the news media, and these self-constituted arbiters of newsworthiness determined if it should be ignored or published. No longer.
Lady Gaga has 34 million followers on Twitter, the Los Angeles Times a mere 54,000. So Miss Gaga goes straight to the source, the public, without having to worry about trying to impress the intermediary
You too. Go straight to the Source, God
I like attention-getting pics, but this one is not as random as you might think, since it speaks of communication and Jesus. Hahaha!
Himself, without worrying about intermediaries. Jesus taught us to pray to God: “Our Father, who art in Heaven…” It’s good to get a pastor and friends involved in your prayer need, but don’t think for a minute that religious hierarchy authorizes access.
In fact, God’s twiddling His thumbs waiting for you to talk to Him. In Guatemalan Spanish, “twiddling His thumbs” would be translated “scratching His belly button.” God is probably even scratching His belly button, waiting, waiting, waiting.
Go straight to God. Pray. It’s the best.
We have won and lost games at Lighthouse Christian Academy this season, but the most memorable was the game against P.H. In that game, we literally could score at will. It was so much fun, and most of the kids were going for hattricks (three goals in one game). As coach, I actually pulled my stars out of scoring position and even took them off the field to NOT humiliate our opponents any more. In the first 20 minutes, we racked up seven!
In life, when you pray with faith and urgency, you literally score at will. The successes hum. But when I pray tepid prayers, or when we neglect pray altogether, then we go through a losing streak. Step up your game today and pray! Have no mercy on the devil!
Posted in prayer
Tagged Christian school, Christianity, church, Faith, God, inspiration, Jesus loves me, Lighthouse, Lighthouse Christian Academy, Messi, religion, revival, Rooney, spirituality
The man behind the MustardSeedBudget ravenously devouring Christmas cookies.
These cookies my daughter bakes are soooo good. I never eat them; I flee them; they’re dangerous. But she insists that I must try. Reluctantly, I relent. They have more than chocolate chips: marshmallows and crackly red and green sugar crystals. Needless to say, the exquisite ecstasy produced instantaneous addiction. I threatened to NOT stop with the broken cookies. I would need a 12-step program to break off gobbling them up
I bet my friends of the photo blogs could take a much better picture of these delights.
One menacingly look from Rebekah was enough to deter me. When she was younger, she obeyed me. It’s biblical. But now that she is 16 years old, I have to obey her. No one warned me this switcheroo would happen. She’s enough for anyone to go cold turkey. As Rob’s friends know well, you don’t mess with Rebekah.
Becky has been making me feel less Grinch-like. When I was missionary in Guatemala, I was a gringo. But now, I’m a Grinch. Making the transition from belt-tightening missions to spendthrift USA has not been intuitive. She plays Christmas carols incessantly and prevailed on my wife to get a Christmas tree. So the effects have been to put me in the mood. And now, I just wanna wish everybody a Merry Christmas! My Savior was born (probably not on this date), and He could be your Savior too!
I guess I had better read my morning blog about exercise, now that these tantalizing temptations are beckoning. Where’s Rebekah? I need to sneak another one!
Maybe we should report those cookies to DEA. You might be dreaming of a white Christmas, but I’m dreaming about green and red sugar crystals.
Posted in Financial Talk
Tagged Christianity, Faith, family, God, Grinch, humor, Jesus, life, lifestyle, marriage, people, relationship, religion, Savior, spirituality
Often, the struggling pastor goes only for subsistence. He prays for just enough to pay bills and keep the church open. It’s true that God takes us through years of skinny cows, but He never wanted us to succumb to unbelief. He tells us to pray believing for ever bigger things. We fail to pass the test when we scale down our prayer requests, as if we ask too much, or as if God doesn’t want to give us. Bigger is in His interest because His kingdom grows. So go for something outrageously huge next prayer!
Posted in Christianity
Tagged Christmas, church, Faith, family, inspiration, leadership, marriage, ministry, pastors, prayer, relationships, religion
Circling, circling around their prey, the hungry lions will overpower the man in an instant. The lions’ dungeon is capital punishment in the Persian Empire.
They stride steadily, eyeing the poor Jewish eunuch. At any moment, they will leap crush the helpless man with claw and tooth. Each minute seems like an eternity. And yet each minute passes and give way to another eternity. Strangely not a lion goes for the kill. They menace, gaping hungrily at him. But the entire night passes, and they don’t eat Daniel.
Early in the morning comes the king, who was tricked into throwing his favorite administrator into this hellhole, to see if God delivered him. He calls, and Daniel responds: My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king. — Daniel 6:22 NIV.
Similarly, trials are circling you. At every step, they threaten to sink you. Dont panic. Don’t run away. Don’t quit ministry. You only must remember how God delivered Daniel. Though the lions COULD overpower you, they WON’T. Pray and wait for the morning.
Posted in Christianity
Tagged Daniel, deliverance, God, Holy Spirit, hope, Jesus, lions, ministry, pastors, religion, trials
Edgar, second from left, lunching between outreaches.
Bro. Glen prays with a needy soul.
Pacoima was the city of Edgar’s downward spiral. It was there at age 13 he was arrested, high on PCP, trying to steal a car. It was there he was in-and-out-of jail until age 26. He got “two strikes” and under California law teetered on brink of life imprisonment. When he got out of jail, the specter of succumbing to his old life in this deathtrap of a city made Edgar shudder.
On Saturday, Edgar Cervantes went back to Pacoima. He went to tell others about the wonders of Jesus. For seven years, he’s been off drugs, away from alcohol, out of crime. He has outreached for Jesus in many
Edgar’s nephews were in the audience.
places, but this was different. This is where the devil had waylaid him. This time Edgar went home get revenge on the devil.
There’s a pioneer church here so small they use a park childcare center for services. (Ah the beauty of pioneering! Where just one soul turning to Christ from sin thrills the soul!)
Junior, Edgar’s nephew, saved out of tagging, now raps to listeners about what God has done.
After hours of passing out flyers and knocking on doors, only two souls came. One was Edgar’s brother. Another was a lady’s cousin. I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. — Luke 15:7 NIV.
The place he feared became the place where the devil fears him. A place of defeat becomes a place of triumph. Only God can do this.
Posted in inspiration
Tagged atheism, Christianity, Christmas, Faith, fear, God, Jesus, love, miscellaneous, News, overcoming, Pacoima, relationships, religion
Photo thanks to ART Freelance.
Photo thanks to Ben Rogers Blog
The purpose of trials is to build your faith.
To lead you to depend more on God.
Sadly, many instead lose their faith at this point. And they decide life is arbitrary, that there is no justice, no overarching design nor control, no
When life gets hard, look up.
providence. Life is meaningless, they say. (Yet they still try to imbue it with meaning.)
Go back to God again and again until your trial turns to triumph.
Photo thanks to PatriciaDDrury
On the verge of my wedding, an older friend told me the three happiest moments in life were: marriage, the birth of child, and becoming a grandparent.
Harrison Sommer, former a trial lawyer, opined that the greatest feeling is relief. When he wins, he gushes relief — he will get paid; the stress and uncertainty is over.
Photo thanks Climb St. Louis
I vote for forgiveness. It is something like all of the above-mentioned emotions.
Being forgiven is a part of love, more mature than falling in love, more undeserved than having a baby or a grandchild. Not everyone who feels love, experiences this subgroup of special love called forgiveness.
It is a compounded relief. Relief is when you’re sweating it out to see if you get it. With forgiveness, you simply don’t stand a chance to get it, but you get it anyhow.
I have been forgiven by my wife. And that is how we are still married today, 22 years later. Anyone can fall in love. Anyone can leave (married) love to go experience the immature rush once again, thinking that’s all there is to love. Not just anyone gets the special privilege of forgiveness and getting a chance to continue with the choice of your youth.
Of course, God’s forgiveness on mankind, available instantly, is the most powerful. If you haven’t yet experienced it, by all means, do so today. He sent Christ to the cross in order to forgive us our sins. All we need do is ask.
Posted in inspiration, psychology
Tagged Christian, emotions, Faith, forgiveness, God, hope, Jesus, marriage, relationships, religion, self-improvement