He is Faithful

The Bible says God will neither leave us nor forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

I found this to be so true. Year ago my family went through a financial downturn. Over a period of year we lost almost everything we owned. As a teen it was disheartening to see your toys, furniture, etc going out the door. My parents had to sell these things to put food on the table. Then the table was sold!

Eventually we lost our home as well and spent a day driving around looking for a place to live. We eventually found a 1 room rental cabin we stayed in for a month until a home opened up. This home, and the series of homes we went to after, were not in the best shape. We see through the walls, there was mold, mice, etc.

God eventually brought us through this period. When we were going through it I did not always see God. However that poem/song Footprints is very true. I look back and see that God carried us many times. We ALWAYS had a roof, maybe not the best roof but a roof, over our heads. We always had food in our belly. Our NEEDS were met. Our desires weren't always met but our NEEDS were!

God IS faithful. He never abandoned us. He was faithful to supply all our needs according to His riches in Glory! (Philippians 4:19)


Alpha and Omega (Just A Thought #25)

"In the beginning GOD..."

What a powerful opening statement. I remember years ago reading a Q & A with a popular American Western writer named Louis L'Amour. He said a good book should grab you from the opening line. Well, I believe the Bible is more than good books, more than just great literature; however, as far as opening lines go, that one is fantastic.

"In the beginning GOD...."

This makes me want to find out more about this God. Who is He? How can I know Him? He sounds powerful. He sounds mighty. I read this verse and it makes my knees want to buckle. I want to drop on my face before this God. No melodrama...just fact. God, to me, sounds awesome right from the beginning.

While speaking of beginnings, look at John 1:1 in the New Testament and you see the same phrase referring to Jesus Christ. "In the beginning the Word..." We find out here the Word was Jesus and He was also there at the beginning.

These 2 verses leave me awestruck. Maybe it's just where I am right now in my relationship with the Lord right now. I find myself craving simplicity. I want more of the Lord and less of the "window dressing" that the church today seems to focus on. No tangents...just the Lord Himself. I want more of Him.

I also find myself wanting to focus on the facts. He created the heavens and the earth. He sent His Son to die for us. JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN! He will return one day. As I get older I find myself longing for His return more and more. I keep thinking of the end statement in Revelation. "Come Quickly Lord Jesus!"

In this life I realize that what matters most is my relationship with Him. I want more of Christ and less of me.

Alpha and Omega...the beginning and the end.


Can we trust Him?

God answers prayer!

I was participating in a conversation this week that revolved around the question of God's existence. In the midst of this discussion I made a comment along the lines if, "I know God exists because I have seen him do too much not to believe in Him!" I have seen God heal the sick, restore marriages and save lives! I know for a fact He answers prayer. I have often quoted God's Word when praying. I have claimed His promises when praying for healing, restoration, etc. I know God hears and does answer prayer.

Then I started thinking.....

What if He doesn't? What if we pray and pray for a specific situation and God doesn't answer the way we want...or at all? Can we trust God to be God even if we don't see His hand move?

I was talking this over with my wife, Sarah, and she pointed out to me Hebrews 11. This is commonly known as the faith chapter, but a couple verses stood out to me. One is Hebrews 11:13 which says, "These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth."

WHOA! They did NOT receive the things promised....the answer to their prayers...yet they held on and died in faith....trusting God would still do what He had promised. The awesome thing was....He did! He did it though in His time and it just so happened to be the perfect time!

The other verse that leaps out at me is Hebrews 11:39, "And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised."

God did not deliver, in their lifetime, what was promised. However He did deliver! The awesome thing was that they still trusted God to do what He promised even if it was not in their lifetime. They had faith! The substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen! (Hebrews 11:1)

So to answer my own question: Can we trust God to be God even if we don't see His hand move? I think the answer is not only Yes, but also, how can we not, when the heroes of the faith did the same thing!

Trust God, even when the answer doesn't come in our time.


Suicide is Painless and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves.

A number of years ago I thought very seriously about committing suicide. Actually, the thoughts tore at me during several periods of my life, and at one point it seemed like the only answer. I told myself so many lies. No one really cares about me anyway. The world would be better off without me. I can’t take it anymore. My problems are overwhelming. I want out! Death would be easier. Lies: all lies. Yet, I believed so many of these thoughts. It seems the same is true for most people. We begin to believe the negative things we hear others say about us, or the rejection messages we have been sent by the people around us. I believe these lies are Satan’s tools to keep our eyes off of Jesus.

I started out as a very sick young child, with constant nosebleeds, being misdiagnosed with Leukemia and then Hemophilia. I was in and out of hospitals with broken bones and various ailments. As I grew, it was discovered that the cause of my weakness was only that I had severe allergies. What a relief! Only I was so skinny that I was constantly being picked on, beat up, etc... To top it off, I grew up with my Mom being sick and being warned she would die from Multiple Sclerosis. I had to shoulder a lot of responsibility as a young child, more responsibility than a child needs to bear. I would help my Mom with my younger brother and sister. I tried to be the mature one, the strong one.

However, being sickly and with a dying mother, I developed a lot of fear about death and dying. It was always in the back of my mind. Looking for a safe place from those fears, I began to check out religion. I had been raised nominally Catholic, the only religion I knew as a child. My only remembrance of church was something I felt I could not relate to. I talked with a friend who began to tell me about ESP, palm reading, astrology, etc and I began to try to learn about these things, reading books, practicing palm reading, ESP, etc..., but the fear still held me in a firm grip. I could not find peace of mind.

One day my life changed. My family moved to another state. Upon arriving in our new home I began to seriously consider church again. One day a lady from a local Baptist church invited me to a vacation Bible school. After two days of listening to how much Jesus loved us and how He died on the cross for us so we could belong to Him, I became so excited that I prayed and asked Jesus into my heart as Lord and Savior. I thought all my problems would be over. I was wrong. I was told some very unscriptural things from a church official which led me to immediately begin doubting my salvation. I started worrying even more about the things happening around me and in my life.

A few months later my Dad lost his business and we then lost the home we owned; we were forced to move from the next house we rented due to the inability to pay our rent, and the pattern was to be repeated in the next house, and the next. We very soon had no place to live. We began to sell off all of our furniture, jewelry, toys and other belonging to put food on the table. We never knew what to expect or where our next meal was coming from. Looking back, I see that God never left us, but at the time it sure felt like it.

As I entered adulthood my family slowly came out of this poverty. I moved away and got married. I became a missionary to a foreign country. I thought things couldn’t be better, and then they got worse.

I was still so afraid of death and dying; so afraid of losing everything again; so afraid of life. I began to think my only hope was the very thing I was afraid of.. death. I had begun a secret struggle with pornography; anger was overwhelming me; I was yelling, unhappy. I wanted out. I felt like I had reached my limit.

There came a point where I began thinking regularly about suicide. I felt it was my only option. Life had become unbearable. I was massively depressed and it was harder and harder to fake a happy face for those around me. I soon began talking openly of suicide. After mentioning this rather frequently my wife became so concerned that she called a Christian counselor seeking advice. She then told me that if I mentioned it again she would know I was serious and she would call an ambulance and get me help. I was crying out for help, but in my mind I truly believed that no one could help me. One day I went for a drive and with tears streaming down my face, I started contemplating how to crash my car and end it all. I remember screaming out loud, "I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!" Something happened at that point which is hard to explain but I heard the Lord speak to me deep inside. He said, .You are right. You can’t, but I can.. I broke down. I felt a wave of relief sweep and a true peace that passes all understanding began to enter my heart and mind.

The Lord then brought me into contact with a Christian brother who shared some deep Biblical truths with me. What were these truths?

It began with realizing that the Lord was my only answer. I discovered a secret. A secret so powerful it changed my life. It started with John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." Christ died for me and He took ALL of this junk, all my fears, my doubts and insecurities, my worries about the future, He took all of it to the cross. He banished death and gave us the hope of an eternal future with Him. "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." Hebrews 2:14 -15

The answer then led me to Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." This means that I died to sin. Christ took my sins, my life to the cross. He is living in me now. He has been since I first gave my heart to Him.

Then I was shown Ezekiel 36:26 which says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." I found out that He had given me a new heart. Brand new! I became very excited by these truths and as they began to soak into my life my life was changed forever.

I discovered that all the things I struggled with, all the lies I believed, were just that--lies. God loved me, gave Himself for me...changed me. I still have problems that pop up in life. However He has given me the strength to handle them. Suicide is no longer an option. A greater power and truth now operates in my life: God the Father, Jesus His Son and the great comforter, the Holy Spirit. If you've ever felt suicidal...like life isn't worth it, then email me...let's talk.