God’s Grace, not Greed!

I work one in one of the top five deadliest jobs in America, I was reminded of that just this month when I badly injured my left hand while at work.  I was lucky that I didn’t break my finger and only had to have it stitched up.  Being a garbage collector is a thankless job and a deadly one.  In addition to working with big machines that crush anything (and anyone) that gets in the way, there are the risks posed by hazardous materials and heavy traffic.  In June of 2000 a 30 year-old male sanitation assistant (the victim) was crushed by the hydraulically powered tailgate of a garbage truck while unloading garbage at a county landfill.   The County Sheriff, and ambulance personnel arrived at the scene within minutes but the county medical examiner pronounced the man dead at the scene.  A discarded fishing pole was found inside the garbage compartment of the truck, and it is possible that the victim was trying to retrieve this item immediately prior to getting caught.

Could it possibly be that we simply can’t believe
That this unconditional kind of love would be enough
To take a filthy wretch like this and wrap him up in righteousness?

Greed is defined as an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves.  We think we never have enough in life and want more and more.  More time, more money, more to eat, more love!  We can’t stop and we are always looking of more ways to make us look and feel good.  But the truth is, we are not good.  We deal with Body Image, Reckless living, Selfishness, Cancer, Doubts about life, Fears, Diabetes, Working too much, Failing health and past issues in our life.

No matter the hurt or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain, still the truth is
The cross has made, the cross has made you flawless

I was very lucky (if you want to call it luck) that I didn’t lose my finger.  The wound was very deep and the pain, oh the pain!  Three weeks later and my finger feels a lot better, but it still hurts sometimes. Even though the wound has healed up, there will be a scar to remind me that I’m not flawless! And just like the song Flawless by MercyMe, I just need to take a breath, smile and say.  Right here, right now that I’m OK; because the cross was enough.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”. ~ Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

Their is more to life than what you own, what you drive or how you look. In the end, it’s not what you do that matters the most.  Don’t think getting just one more thing will make you better, Greed is deadly to the soul and will catch you to you before you know it.  The Cross has made you flawless no matter what issues you are facing in life.  It’s never too late to be introduce to grace, God’s grace.   Grace can wipe away to stains of your past and leave you flawless in God’s eyes!

Some of us have been bruised by abuse. Broken by disappointment. Weighed down by depression. We don’t think we’re worthy of God’s Grace, worth being flawless. But the Lord says of His people, “You are precious and honored in my sight” (Isaiah 43:4).

There is more to life, you are flawless in Christ.

Why Me Lord?

Music has always been very important to me.  As a young boy I love singing along to songs that was playing on the radio. One of the songs I remember the most was “Why Me” by Kris Kristofferson, something about that song stuck in my head and I would sing it to myself ever chance I could.  Most people wouldn’t call this a “Christian song”, “Why Me” was Kristofferson’s lone major country hit as a solo recording artist, reaching No. 1 of Billboard magazine‘s Hot Country Singles chart in July 1973. My faith journey to know the Lord didn’t start for me until later in my life.  Faith is defined as belief, confidence or trust in a person, object, religion, idea or view despite the absence of proof.  Most of my life I didn’t need the “proof” He (God) was with me and I was blindness to His love and kindness.

Try me, Lord, if you think there’s a way
I can try to repay all I’ve taken from you
Maybe Lord I can show someone else
What I’ve been through myself, on my way back to you

Kristofferson wrote Why Me during an emotionally low period of his life after having attended a religious service conducted by the Rev. Jimmie Rogers Snow. Like Kristofferson, I too went through a very emotionally low period in my life and in 2008 while spending a night in jail and facing prison time, I knew I needed Him!  It is that state of mind in which a poor sinner, conscious of his sin, flees from his guilty self to Christ his Saviour, and rolls over the burden of all his sins on Him. With a deep sense of sin and a distinct view of Christ and a consenting will, and with a loving heart, I turned over my trust to Christ that night.

Today, I live because of God’s good grace and look ever day to be able to “repay” all I have taken from life. I pray that someday I can help others who are facing some of the same problems I did and just, maybe I can show them what I went through and how I found my way back home.

God bless,

Kent.

God is All

Hearts can easily be broken, as life deals out blows and challenges. We feel lost, empty and hopeless, as we battle to overcome adversity and take a new direction. God is all we need  spiritually. He can strengthen us and bring us hope, as we trust him more and more, in our daily lives.

Psalm 103:1-8 gives us strong reassurance of what He willingly does for each one of us, as we bring Him into our lives.

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. 8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. ~ A Psalm of David

All these things can be available to us, but we have to claim them through accepting Him through Jesus Christ. God is all-powerful and all-knowing. He is everything we need and we can tap into His unending power, any time, by taking a different direction in life, and including Him in all we think, say and do. His promises can be trusted.

By Grace Through Faith

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. ~ http://New King James Version (NKJV)

  • dead in trespasses, means, spiritually dead and lost.
  • You once walked, it could be a path of moral carelessness or a dark alley of evil, believers should no longer live according to their past evil ways.
  • Pince of power, namely the adversarial spirit Satan. To continue to disobey God’s way of living, is to support the devil.
  • We were dead, because of Adam’s sin, the entire human race is spiritually dead. Only God can grant new life and save us from our wrong choices. His mercy and kindness prevail forever through Jesus Christ, His Son.
  • The gift of God, is something we cannot earn by any good works. We cannot earn our salvation. Everything is received from our merciful and gracious Father, once we have faith enough to trust Him and believe in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, for us.

All that God is, we need. First we have to invite Him into our lives and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.

“Dear Lord, I want to know you personally. I know that I have done wrong and I am sorry. I am willing, with your help, to turn away from my sins and turn to You. I believe, Jesus, that You died and rose again for me. Please come into my life. I welcome you as my Savior and Lord, as best as I know how. Right Now”.

Amen.

 

Born Twice, Die Once!

Death and taxes!

Death and TaxesTwo things are certain in life: death and taxes!  Except for Adam and Eve and those who die in the womb, all human beings experience physical birth. That is a given. And, except for Enoch, Elijah, and those alive at the time of the Rapture, all human being die physically as well. The notion of physical life and physical death are universally accepted.  Today (September 23) is my physical birthday but now that I’ve accepted Jesus Christ into my life I have a “new” birthday.  My new or as I call it, “reborn birthday” is October 30th.   Scripture knows of two births, two deaths.  Everyone is physically born once and that each person will experience one or the other, but not both.. Those who do not undergo the second birth, the spiritual birth, also undergo the second death which is the permanent separation from God with eternal torment.  When a person is born again he will only undergo the first death, but the second death has no power over him: “though he may die [the first death], he shall live [be resurrected never to face the second death]”.

Jesus answered him,  “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born againhe cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You[ must be born again.”  (John  3:3-7 ESV)

Two Births or Two Deaths?

When Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” Nicodemus thought that Jesus was talking about a second physical birth.  But the Lord went out to make it plain that he was speaking of a second birth that was spiritual. This spiritual birth, while clearly a second birth, is never specifically called the second birth in Scripture.  It is variously called being born of God (John 1:13),  being born again  (John 3:3)( 1 Peter 1:23),  and being brought forth by the word of truth  (James 1:18).  In the passage on the Great White Throne Judgment, where unbelievers will be judged and condemned, John says, “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life  was cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death” (NKJV).  Both the Majority Text and the Critical Text actually end verse 14 with “This is the second death, the lake of fire.” In other words, the experience of the lake of fire is the experience of the second death.  Unlike John 3:3-4, here we have no one asking the obvious question, “Will a person’s heart and brain stop a second time?”  No, that is not what is in view.  The resurrected unbeliever will have a heart and brain and they will continue to function properly forever.  The second death is not a second cessation of physical life.  It is an eternal lack of spiritual life, or, conversely, the eternal experience of separation from God in the place where those who have died twice will live, the lake of fire.

Sin Entered the World!

God had told Adam that the day he ate of the forbidden fruit he would surely die (Gen 2:17).  Adam sinning, his nature became guilty and corrupted, and so came to his children.  Thus in him all have sinned.  And death is by sin; for death is the wages of sin.  Then entered all that misery which is the due desert of sin; temporal, spiritual, eternal death.  If Adam had not sinned, he had not died; but a sentence of death was passed, as upon a criminal; it passed through all men, as an infectious disease that none escape.  In proof of our union with Adam, and our part in his first transgression, observe, that sin prevailed in the world, for many ages before the giving of the law by Moses.  Adam’s sin means that when Adam first sinned, that sin (and its blame) was rightly regarded by God to be our sin as well.

Eternal life in the Bible is for sinners who are the beneficiaries of the death of Jesus Christ on their behalf.  Had there been no sin, Jesus would not have died and no one would have received (or needed) everlasting life.  But once sin entered the world, two options were possible for all of the descendants of Adam: the second birth or the second death.  Everyone who experienced the second birth could not and would not experience the second death  “He who lives and believes in Me shall never die”.  Everyone who did not experience the second birth would surely experience the second death (Rev 20:14).  There is no third alternative!

So which is it for you?  Two births or two deaths?  If you have experienced the second birth, then thank God daily that there will never be a second death for you.

Get into the boat.

God granting miracles

A religious man is on top of a roof during a great flood. A man comes by in a boat and says “get in, get in!” The religous man replies, ” no I have faith in God, he will grant me a miracle.”

Later the water is up to his waist and another boat comes by and the guy tells him to get in again. He responds that he has faith in god and god will give him a miracle. With the water at about chest high, another boat comes to rescue him, but he turns down the offer again cause “God will grant him a miracle.”

With the water at chin high, a helicopter throws down a ladder and they tell him to get in, mumbling with the water in his mouth, he again turns down the request for help for the faith of God. He arrives at the gates of heaven with broken faith and says to Peter, I thought God would grand me a miracle and I have been let down.” St. Peter chuckles and responds, “I don’t know what you’re complaining about, we sent you three boats and a helicopter.”

This Joke got me to thinking about how sometimes we take all the good things God blesses our life with.  We pray for many things and we know what we want but yet when the blessings pass us by because only see what we want to.  God can bless us in many ways  with  things that look the same, maybe a  job, a home or someone to love us.  Our idea of what we want is not going to be the same as what God will offer us, it’s up to us to not over look it and jump in the boat when it comes our direction.